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The Footprint of Mussolini is an AlternateHistory.com TL written by Sorairo.

Benito Mussolini came to power in war-torn Italy seeking to create a new Roman Empire, with himself as the emperor. In OTL, he tied himself to the Nazis, leading Italy down the road of ruin, and himself to overthrow and a humiliating demise.

TTL, however, a chance encounter with an assassin and the Heroic Sacrifice of a Jewish blackshirt changes Mussolini's outlook toward the Nazis. He proceeds to chart a unique course for the Italian empire, changing the events of the 20th century as well.

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It can be read here.

Tropes Include

  • 0% Approval Rating: Wallace's pro-Soviet policies turn him into a complete pariah. After he shares nuclear information with Stalin, who proceeds to nuke a Polish rebellion, he eventually ends up impeached in an effort lead by the Republicans. His actions end up destroying the Democratic Party as a whole.
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • Josef Mengele also drowns in this timeline... but much earlier, and under very different circumstances.
    • Einstein becoming Israel's President. Einstein was offered the post in real-life, but turned it down..
    • Kokura ends up being the target of America's second atomic bomb; in real life, it was the original target for Fat Man until adverse weather cause it to be dropped on Nagasaki instead.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: After one of the Jewish Brigades arrives at Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss tries to claim that the Jews were being treated humanely. He says the deaths were caused by starvation (saying infighting among the Germans was causing supply issues) and a cholera outbreak. Zvi Brenner destroys this defense with two questions:
    "May I ask, commandant, are these the shoes of Jewish children? May I ask, commandant, why we haven't seen any children at the camp since we arrived?
  • Balkanize Me:
    • Yugoslavia is carved up by the Fascist Bloc, with Italy getting Dalmatia and Slovenia, Hungary getting Vojvodina, Bulgaria getting Macedonia, an Croatian state that gets Bosnia, with the Serbs getting a greatly reduced rump state.
    • The fate of the Middle East after the UAR fell. Syria was carved into an Assyrian state, a Druze state, and Turkey taking the coast. Lebanon became an exclusively Christian state. Egypt was divided into two, a Coptic Lower Egypt and a Muslim Upper Egypt. The Algerian coast remained French, and Spain annexed all of the Moroccan coast. Kurdistan was established as a socialist state. South Iran occupies all of the former Saudi Gulf coast. Hejaz was occupied by Turkey and later returned to the Hashemites. As for the rest of the former Saudi Arabia, it became the Islamic State of Arabia and regressed into a backward, medieval theocracy that even though ISIS from OTL might approve of the ISA's intent and ideology, they might still view the banning of all Western technology, even loudspeakers, as a step too far.
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: Elie Wiesel is a decent guy, but he had little mercy for Rudolf Hess.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Nazi diplomat and Holocaust perpetrator Martin Luther kills himself rather than let himself be captured and face the hangman's noose.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Despite the Israeli Presidency being a ceremonial post, Einstein feels crushed by his job.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: After the Nazis execute Horthy, the German media claims he was killed by communists.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: For being Defiant to the End in his show trial, Erich von Manstein is executed slowly with a knife.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • According to some reports, Horthy told one of his captors that he would rather "the Jews ruled Hungary forever rather than let your buffoon of a leader rule it for one second" before he died.
    • During his trial before a Kangaroo Court, Erich von Manstein is openly contemptuous of Roland Freisler and the Nazi regime.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Several Slovenian fascists proceed to kill several Italians during a race riot. Mussolini responds by razing Ljubiliana to the ground, and virtually destroy Slovenian identity.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The war against Hitler doesn't just unite communists and liberal-democratic capitalists, but fascists as well.
    • After Spain goes to war against Germany, some members of the anti-Franco resistance ironically end up joining his army.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Many Nazi commanders finally turn on Hitler when the madman proceeds to invade Italy, already overstretching German resources, and drawing in the entire fascist bloc against Germany.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Mussolini is a brutal, imperialistic dictator, but after a Jewish blackshirt takes some gunfire for him, he decides he'll never have anything to do with anti-Semitism.
    • Horthy may have instituted anti-Semitic laws, but that doesn't mean he wants all of Hungary's Jews to be killed in Nazi death camps.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The American public of the 1950s aren't very racially tolerant, but many are outraged over the lynching of Jackie Robinson, who in this TL became a decorated veteran.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Like in OTL, the Soviet Union fights against Nazi Germany. After Horthy deports Hungary's Jews to Italy rather than send them to the camps, the Fascist Bloc/Roman Alliance also gets drawn into the war against the Nazis.
  • Fatal Flaw: Hitler's raging antisemitic paranoia leads him toward his most stupid choices. His hatred of Hungary's Jews is such that he invades Italy just to kill them. His hatred then leads him to murder a popular aristocrat for his ties to Italy's monarchy, aligning Germany's nobility against him.
  • Fictional Political Party: After Wallace's disastrous Presidency, many Southern Democrats form a "Freedom Party", a pro-segregationist party.
  • For Want of a Nail: Mussolini being saved from an assassination by a Jewish Blackshirt changes Mussolini's outlook on Jews, as well as the course of history.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Fascist Italy was infamously incompetent in the field. TTL, Fascist Italy is a far more militarily competent, having managed to learn from previous military disasters.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: While TTL's People's Republic of Korea is still an oppressive communist dictatorship, the lack of the radicalization brought about by the North-South divide in Korea has led to this united communist Korea being relatively more moderate than OTL's North Korea with Kim il-Sung forced out of office in the mid-1950s.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Due to his magnanimity toward Jews, and becoming a member of the Allies during World War II, Mussolini enjoys this in-universe, with many of his atrocities glossed over.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the course of the Auschwitz Reprisals, Josef Mengele is drowned in an ice bath he'd used to test how long humans could survive in freezing water.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: President Henry Wallace avoids making deals with the authoritarian Mussolini and proceeds to enter a military alliance with the totalitarian, mass murdering Josef Stalin, much to Winston Churchill's chagrin.
    Winston Churchill: The only thing on that man's head is his hat!
  • Hypocrite: Despite his preaching about the evils of race-mixing, Joseph Goebbels had an affair with a Czech actress named Lída Baarová. This ends up being used against him during his trial.
  • Insanity Defense: It's speculated by in-universe historians that Himmler's... unusual defense strategy was intended to shock the judges, cause them to think he was insane, and thereby secure him a lighter sentence. If that's what he was going for, it didn't work.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Eichmann is successfully provoked into losing his temper and having a Villainous Breakdown at his trial, which seals his fate.
  • The Kingslayer: Claus von Stauffenberg's bomb successfully kills Hitler in this timeline.
  • Last Stand: The Battle of Trieste, where most of Hungary's Jewish population faces off against the Nazi war machine. They eventually win once the Italian-Croatian counteroffensive gets underway, and more than ninety percent of them actually survive.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Mussolini is a corrupt, imperialist, fascist demagogue, but he's the corrupt, fascist demagogue who isn't trying to invade all of Europe or commit mass murder against the Jews.
  • Loophole Abuse: Erwin Rommel, despite his frustration with the Nazis, refuses to turn on Hitler due to his oath. When Hitler stupidly attacks Italy, he decides Hitler is practically braindead and joins the anti-German resistance.
  • Moral Myopia: Italo Balbo is horrified by Germany's antisemitism, but it is clear he didn't lose any sleep over Mussolini ethnically cleansing Slovenia and destroying Slovenian identity.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Defied by Mussolini, who does his very best to ensure that fascism is seen as an ideology distinct from Nazism.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Horthy's refusal to participate in the Final Solution ends with him being overthrown and killed by the Nazis.
  • Not So Different: Goebbels tries to play this card at the Nuremburg Trials against the victorious Allies, saying they have no right to condemn him and his fellow Nazis when they're guilty of similar misdeeds.
  • Nuke 'em: what Mussolini does after Israel was attacked by the UAR. Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia were targeted.
  • Operation: [Blank]: The German invasion of Italy is codenamed Operation Visigoth.
  • Our Presidents Are Different:
    • President Henry Wallace (who takes over after Roosevelt dies of a stroke) tries to be President Personable, but actually ends up being a combination of President Buffoon and President Puppet due to his naivete regarding Stalin.
    • President George Patton is a President Badass and President Iron.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Holocaust perpetrators in Auschwitz and Dachau are subjected to reprisals as brutal as they are deserved.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Mussolini goes from being ambivalent toward Jews toward gladly welcoming Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Western Europe and Hungary.
    • Subverted with Hitler's decision to deport over a quarter million Jews to Libya rather than exterminate them. It may seem like an act of mercy on his part... but he does so under the impression that they'll be "stranded in a lifeless desert under a Latin heel". The success of Jewish resettlement in Libya is a big part of why Hitler reacts so badly to the news that Horthy deported Hungary's Jews to Italy rather than sending them to the camps.
    • Patton leans sympathetically toward racial equality and clamps down hard on the Klan after they murder Jackie Robinson.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This is pretty much what Himmler's defense at the Nuremberg Trials amounts to. He says the Holocaust was perpetrated in self-defense, talks about how the material challenges of the genocide were overcome through "German ingenuity", insists that even children had to die to prevent vengeance and end the cycle of hatred, and even has a recording of a speech he made in Posen on the topic played in court. It backfires, and only succeeds in making him a more hated figure than even Hitler.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman:
    • Anne Frank survives The Holocaust and becomes the Israeli Prime Minister.
    • Similarly, Jackie Robinson (famed for breaking baseball's color barrier in our world) becomes a Medal of Honor winner after returning to the Army due to being rejected by the MLB. His lynching at the hands of the Klan leads to President George Patton starting a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on them.
    • In a blink and you'll miss it example: Mariya Takeuchi (of Plastic Love fame) ends up being an author in this timeline.
  • Rightful King Returns: Otto von Habsburg and Louis Ferdinand von Hohenzollern become kings of Hungary and Germany respectively after the Second World War.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Harry Truman, being the Only Sane Man of Wallace's cabinet left, resigns seven hours into his presidency so as to avoid being tarnished with Wallace's downfall.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Anne Frank and her family, much of Elie Wiesel's family, and almost 1 million more Jews end up surviving the war.
    • Italo Balbo avoids the friendly fire incident that claimed his life OTL, living into at least the 1970s.
    • Likewise, Rommel manages to avoid the death throes of the Nazi regime, and becomes a renowned commander for the Allies and lives at least into the 70s as well.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Himmler and Goebbels show signs of this. Once the war starts going south, they start putting random civilians in uniform, executing for desertion anybody who refuses to fight. However, they have little problem trying to escape with their lives in a submarine to Japan.
  • Stupid Evil: Hitler invades Italy just so he can kill Hungarian Jewish refugees, crippling his own efforts to beat back the Allies and the Soviet army, and uniting Europe's fascist nations against him.
    Adolf Hitler: “I would rather have a world with no Germans and no Jews than one with a hundred million Germans and a single Hebrew”
  • Taking the Bullet: Part of the POD is a Jewish blackshirt named Isaac Carpi taking two bullets for Mussolini.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt are please to have another ally in the war against the Nazis, but are not exactly thrilled to work with self-aggrandizing Mussolini.
    • Albert Einstein becoming President of Israel means he has to work with Mussolini. Their meeting is about as fun as one expects.
  • Tired of Running: Discussed by Elie Wiesel, who sees the Battle of Trieste as when Jews went from merely surviving to fighting back against oppression.
    Elie Wiesel: At that point, we knew we’d survive - as a people. But that wasn’t enough for us anymore. All we’ve ever done is survive! It was so routine, it was almost boring. Of course we would pull through, we always had and we always would. But there was one thing more we were going to do now: fight back. The Nazis said we’d cower and shake at their sight. But it wasn’t what the Nazis said about us that matter. The only thing that mattered was what we said about us. If we said we were going to fight them to the death, then by all the strength within us, we would. David was still a boy when he slayed Goliath, and so I would slay those who would have killed my family, my country, my whole world. As the day broke over the horizon, I could feel the presence of God within, telling me that I would enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but not to be afraid … for he was with me.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While Italy's fascists have varying degrees of sympathy and moral ambiguity, Graziani is the most vicious of Mussolini's army.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Eichmann is provoked into one at the Nuremburg Trials. When prosecutor Hartley Shawcross asks him a series of questions about Jewish combatants designed to get under his skin, he loses his temper and goes on a furious anti-Semitic rant.
    "I never begged to those disgusting vermin! I’ve done nothing wrong! The fact that we killed five million of them is the greatest thing we ever accomplished! I’ll go into my grave with a clean conscience that I did so much to remove those cockroaches from the face of the Earth!”
  • War Is Hell: And how. Due to various circumstances, the wars of TTL are far bloodier and larger in scope than that of the equivalent time IOTL, despite the Second World War ending earlier and having far fewer casualties than in our world.
  • We Have Reserves: Mao's attitude towards the Battle of Shanghai can be summarized as this. It's estimated that one and a half million Northern Chinese died in that battle alone.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Played for Drama. Horthy and Graziani both laughed at the idea that Hitler would blow his cap over Hungary's Jews being sent to Italian colonies. Hitler's racism is so deep, he proceeds to invade Hungary, and start a war with Italy.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Goebbels' affair with the Czech actress Lída Baarová comes back to bite him at the Nuremberg Trials. The official reason she gets called to testify is to give statements about Goebbels' anti-Semitism, but unofficially, it's to destroy his image as a dedicated follower of Nazi ideals — and thereby kill his popularity among those Germans who are still pro-Nazi — by exposing him as a "race-mixer" and a hypocrite. It works.
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