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PostDid Stalin Attempt to Take Over Italy? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 03/08/18 6:00 pm)
In his detailed post of 7 March, Ángel Viñas stated: "Did Stalin ever try to Sovietize Italy? He never tried it."
Clearly our friend Ángel did not live in Italy immediately after the collapse of the RSI in April 1945; otherwise he would not have written the above.
The great majority of the partisans, the communist Garibaldi Brigades, fought to install a Soviet republic in Italy (and give Istria, Fiume, Dalmatia, and neighboring regions to Tito), They had a red star in the center of their flag. Their idol was "Baffone" (big mustache) Stalin. Their military leaders were experienced ex-fighters in the Spanish Civil War whom the good Mussolini spared and sent on vacation "exile" on little islands, now among Italy's best tourist destinations.
The only reasons why a Soviet republic was not installed was due to the agreement at Yalta and the presence of Anglo-American troops. Furthermore Stalin could see what was happening in Greece.
Of course there were people ready and armed to fight against the Communists. For instance a friend of mine (now an elderly priest) with many others, but they would have been outnumbered.
To terrorize the people, the partisans committed horrible crimes. To mention just one: young girls considered hostile or suspected of involvement with the RSI were raped repeatedly and blown up with a hand grenade in the vagina.
Until 1980 the USSR continued to send money to the Communist Party in the hope that it could reach power within the democratic system. Not to be outdone, the CIA gave money to the anticommunist parties.
I hope that Ángel will forgive me if (together with Nigel Jones) I stick to the idea that Stalin tried to Sovietize any country, including Spain, that he realistically and without great problems could.
JE comments: We know that Stalin did his darndest to bring Greece into satellite orbit, but was thwarted in that country's brutal civil war. But why didn't he attempt the same thing, say, in Finland? Or Austria? Finland, practically next door to Leningrad/St Petersburg, especially has always puzzled me.