When the Italians invaded Ethiopia, there was widespread
condemnation of the invasion and calls for the western powers to act.
Letís say that one of the British politicians takes a tougher stance
and demands that the British honour their league commitments.
The British donít quite declare war, but they close the Suez to Italian
shipping and seal off the Italian positions.
Mussolini canít back down.
He needs to have military success to validate Italyís role as a great
power, so he orders the Italian forces in Libya to prepare for war and starts
making noises about illegal blockades. Italian
ships start convoying troopships to Libya and British ships shadow them.
One incident later and Italy and Britain are at war.
Italian forces head out of Libya towards Egypt.
The Italians are slower than they were in OTL 1940 and even less eager
for war. On the other hand, the
British donít have so much in place to stop them.
The Italians grind towards Cairo.
The British impose a blockade on Italy and attack the
Italian navy. The Italians are
short on oil and fuel and lose several ships to British action.
Italian troops are running out of supplies in Libya, although their
resort to poison gas comes as a shock and gives them a couple of minor
successes. The British supply the
Ethiopians with weapons and help them to fight back.
The British build up rapidly in Egypt.
Indian, Australian and South African troops are used to launch a
counterattack that shatters the weakened Italian army and then head to Tripoli.
Italy launches an amphibious invasion against Malta that is a complete
failure. Mussoliniís power is
As the British cross the border of Libya, Mussolini offers
to negotiate. The British want
several guarantees that Mussolini refuses to give, including his own removal, so
the British keep the war going. Their
economy gets a boost from the war. When
Libya falls, the Italian government sees the writing on the wall and overthrows
Mussolini, restoring a democratic government.
Peace comes swiftly. Italy
loses all its colonies in Africa. Ethiopia
gets a full apology and Italian Somaliland.
Italy loses most of its navy and is forced to accept limits on some of
its armed forces. Hitler gets the
message that not all democratic states are weak.
WW2 is averted as it seems to be clear that the democratic states will
halt any too aggressive state.
This has major long-term effects. The Spanish Civil War wonít last so long without Italian
involvement and probably no soviet involvement. The republicans would hold most of the cards without their
opponents receiving aid from Hitler and Musso, Franco would end up trapped in
Morocco. If France helps out,
Morocco might be recaptured, if not, there would be a nationalist-dominated
Morocco complicating politics. Without
the SCW, Hitler canít rearm the way he needs to, meaning that Germany wonít
pose such a great threat. Once
itís clear that there will be no more conquests, the Third Reich is likely to
Japan would be less aggressive if itís clear that Britain
still has some fight left in it. This
would probably mean a quiet agreement on spears of influence.