An Empire Reborn
Preliminary Note: This is a sequel to my previous series "Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II." While it is not required, it is highly recommended you read that series first. I will be striving to make this as stand alone as possible and to fill in new readers on past events but to get the total picture you should really consider reading "Italy 1936."
January 27th 1965
Looking over the map he surveyed the empire, his new empire. Just a few hours before he spoke to the Italian people on his new role as Consul, assuring them that he was in no way replacing their great leader he was merely continuing in his tradition. But, things would be changing. Il Duce only saw soldiers when he looked over these very maps, the only value a province had was how many men could be put in uniform. Medici saw a mercantile empire, provinces that Mussolini discounted as worthless Medici instead saw untapped resources ripe for the picking. He would make the New Roman Empire the envy of the world and build an economy and trade empire to rival that of the United States. It would be a difficult task, but Medici knew he would have to succeed if he intended to be remembered as greatly as Il Duce. It was only fitting that the New Roman Empire’s first Consul be remembered as its greatest.
January 28th 1965
Taken from the Diary of Count Ciano: "The ‘little duce,’ now our Consul visited the Duce’s family to give his condolences. He offered nothing but the party line about he merely following in the footsteps of Mussolini and is not replacing them. It appears his bark is much more fearsome than his bite. When it comes to running the vast Empire he has inherited, he is not Mussolini. He probably won’t last a year, hopefully the Empire can survive that long."
January 29th 1965
Sensing that the new government may not be as enthusiastic in supporting him and his organization, Heinrich Himmler begins penning his memoirs to be titled "My Rise And Fall."
*Note: The title may be familiar to the astute reader, it is the title of Mussolini’s autobiography in our time line.*
January 30th 1965
In England, Winston Churchill is given a state funeral. Though nowhere as massive as the one granted to Mussolini, hundreds of thousands of British citizens come out to mourn the deceased leader.
February 1st 1965
Before enacting any policy changes or announcing a strategic plan for the Empire, Consul Medici announces he will embark on the "Grand Tour of Fascism," and visit every corner of the Empire to better get in touch with its people and the Fascist spirit.
February 3rd 1965
Before leaving Rome on his tour, Medici makes philosopher Julius Evola a minister without portfolio. Medici would have preferred to have granted Evola a spot on the Grand Council as Minister of Culture but due to his pledge not to remove any Council members he would have to wait on that.
Evola, a Fascist philosopher who has often been pushed aside by the party for his untraditional views. He views Fascism as a much more spiritual and mystical enterprise than a purely political one. This has caused him to occasionally be censored by the party. But, Medici feels that Evola’s different approach to Fascism will make the Empire stronger and has all but officially declared him the "Philosopher of Fascism."
February 4th 1965
Consul Medici begins his Grand Tour.
February 7th 1965
The United States escalates its campaign in Vietnam and begins massive bombing against North Vietnam.
February 18th 1965
The Gambia gains independence from Great Britain.
February 21st 1965
Malcolm X is gunned down by fellow Black Muslims shortly after delivering a speech.
There are allegations of conspiracies involving both the U.S. government and various groups of the Young Fascist Movement being responsible for ordering the hit, but there is no direct evidence pointing at either.
February 24th 1965
While in Constantinople, Consul Medici officially declares Rome and Constantinople to be sister cities. Continuing, he orders that the palace used by Byzantine Emperors for centuries be rebuilt and restored as an Imperial residence.
March 3rd 1965
Medici meets with community leaders in Greece to encourage them to start a movement to promote the integration of Greece into the New Roman Empire.
March 7th 1965
A civil rights march turns bloody in Selma, Alabama when State Troopers clash with over 500 marchers.
Marcy 8th 1965
The first American Combat troops arrive in Vietnam.
March 9th 1965
A second march in Selma turns violent when American Fascists launch attacks against the civil rights marchers when they spread out through the town. There is an uproar when injured Fascists are allowed admittance to the local hospital, but marchers are denied admittance with claims that the hospital is full.
March 15th 1965
While visiting Ethiopia Medici’s bodyguards foil an assassination attempt orchestrated by Ethiopian monarchists.
The Ethiopians were planning to detonate a car bomb in the hotel that the Consul was scheduled to stay at. Only the quick thinking of Medici’s head of security prevented the plot from succeeding.
March 16th 1965
Medici declares his cadre of bodyguards to be heroes of the Empire and of Fascism for dismantling the plot against him.
March 20th 1965
Consul Medici returns to Rome to announce that a wave of new programs are soon to come which will make the New Roman Empire the envy of the world.
March 21st 1965
Martin Luther King jr. and civil rights activists have a third march in Selma. Violence is kept to a minimal after many of the marchers against the wishes of organizers arm themselves with clubs and bats to keep the Fascists at bay.
March 23rd 1965
Medici approves massive funding increases the Imperial space program promising the people that an Italian will be in space by the end of the decade.
Medici also introduces a new energy program in which nuclear power and to a lesser extend hydroelectric power will begin replacing older oil burning plants. The goal is to have over 70% of all energy production be provided by nuclear and hydroelectric by the early 1970's. Additionally, Medici orders the synthetic oil plants that have been barely running be put back into full production to increase. To compensate for the increased cost of synthetic oil, most oil will be switched to a natural-synthetic mix. While this will slightly increase the cost it will also help to greatly increase the total production.
Research will also be conducted in other forms of fuel including biodiesel. Medici not only wants the Empire to be completely self sufficient but also able to produce a considerable surplus to be exported around the world.
March 25th 1965
OVRA agents are sent to speak with Heinrich Himmler. He is informed that the Consul is aware of ODESSA backroom actions and he, unlike Mussolini will not tolerate them. Himmler can either resign from his position as Chief or he will be arrested and his organization dismantled.
March 26th 1965
Heinrich Himmler resigns his position as ODESSA Chief. Recognizing his days are numbered with the introduction of Medici rule he redoubles his efforts to finish his memoirs before the Blackshirts return for him. Adolf Eichmann replaces him as Chief.
March 30th 1965
Teams of engineers and economists are sent to the United States(and other industrialized countries) on tours of factories and industrial centers to examine how they operate. While the trips are billed as mutual exchange of information, the true purpose of these exchanges is to find the weaknesses and shortcomings of western industries. Medici knows that the NRE can not compete against the United States on all the industrial fronts but in one or two industries that the U.S. is weak in the NRE would be able to take a lead.
April 3rd 1965
Nations across the world have become more and more willing to do business with Italians. It seems the death of Mussolini has made them forget their grievances against Rome and the lure of new markets and profit has proven too great to ignore.
April 7th 1965
Independence minded Rhodesian officials meet with Count Ciano to discuss the possibility of a Rhodesian-Roman alliance. Britain has been exerting more and more pressure on Rhodesia to give the native Africans more rights to prevent a rebellion, the Rhodesians have been extremely hostile to such a move and are looking for new friends.
April 10th 1965
Billed as the last film seen by Benito Mussolini during post production, "The Stand In The East," produced by Mussolini’s two sons opens to sold out audiences across the Empire.
The film is one of the first taking place in the "Wild East," a take on American westerns set in Italian East Africa. The film follows the story of a discharged Italian officer named Mario. During the war his unit was ambushed and nearly totally destroyed, blaming himself for the loss he migrated to the small Italian settlement New Verona along the Ethiopian-Kenyan border, falling into depression he drowned himself with the bottle. Living out a meager existence as a scrap metal collector his only friends are his loyal Somalian scout Ghedi and a young waitress Appollonia at the café.
All in not well in New Verona though, a perfidious Englishman by the name of Captain Morgan commands a band of African mercenaries operating out of Kenya has been launching raids against Italian settlements seeking to start a new war in Africa and remove the "Catholic taint" from what should be Protestant land.
Captain Morgan and his men start the attack against New Verona by cutting the telegraph lines leading out of the town forcing the magistrate to send runners to Addis Abbas requesting support. Raids are then launched against farms several hours away, when word arrives in New Verona the magistrate calls on all able bodied men to report for duty. As men are seen rushing from the café to grab their rifles and don their black shirts Mario adamantly refuses to go and stays behind with the old men and young boys. Several hours after the posse leaves to engage the band another runner arrives in the city, it appears that the attack against the farms was merely a diversion and that a larger force is heading straight towards New Verona. In the panic, Appollonia knowing of Mario’s past as a soldier pleads with him to take up his rifle and organize the defense of the town. Mario refuses and in a rage storms out of the café, Ghedi promises Appollonia he will speak to Mario and pursues him, stopping him in the street the tracker tells his boss that he will, either die a coward with the deaths of Appollonia and all the townspeople on his soul which he shall suffer eternally for or he can banish the demons of the past and die a hero’s death. Taking his rifle in hand he returns to the tavern to organize the towns defense.
In the meantime, a particularly disturbing scene takes place when Morgan’s men raid a Catholic convent and slaughter the nuns residing there. The scene was almost cut from the movie for being too violent but was left in after a little editing.
The raiders strike New Verona right after dusk, the meager defenders mount a valiant defense that only fails when many of the men run out of bullets. Sweeping into the town the bandits set many of the buildings ablaze. Finding themselves separated from the rest of the defenders and out of ammunition, Mario and Ghedi draw their knives and engage in a vicious knife fight against the attackers as the first light of dawn peeks out from the horizon. Despite their heroic effort they soon find themselves faced off against a wall of gunmen, it seems that their last stand is about to come to end when machine gun rounds wrack the bodies of the mercenaries, the relief column from Addis Abbas has arrived.
Rushing to the café to tell Appollonia the good news he finds the place ransacked and the girl’s father mortally wounded on the floor. The old man tells Mario that they came and took his daughter. Grabbing the fallen man’s gun Mario sets out in pursuit of the now fleeing bandits. In a thrilling chase through canyons and mountains Mario manages to corner Morgan alone, killing him in a gun battle.
The final scene shows New Verona a peaceful town being rebuilt and growing, Mario is wearing the uniform of a magistrate and by his side is a very pregnant Appollonia. Off to the side stands Ghedi in a highly decorated Askari uniform keeping a faithful watch over his commander and friend.
*Note: Special thanks to two of my fans for coming up with this idea. Katan for coming up with the "Wild East" setting, and for Herr Montag for "The Stand In The East."*
End of Part 1.
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