Summer 1944. The Time of Decisions. The 2nd World War is going towards its end with the defeat of Germany. Now politics come into first place and Generals must obey their Governments. Whilst von Stauffenberg rebels against Hitler in the attempt to save what is still possible, the Anglo-Russian-American "Strange Alliance" is showing its first splits. The Russian Joseph Stalin plans to sovietize Europe (Khrushchev) and points to the destruction of Germany and to the mastery of the Mediterranean, key of three continents, the British Winston Churchill, following his nation's traditional policy of the balance of power in Europe and of the control of the Mediterranean, because "the control of the Mediterranean means the control of the Western World", points at the Balkans as a barrier against the Red Tide spreading from the East, the American Franklin D. Roosevelt, who aims at the destruction of all colonialism (British inclusive) is pro-Stalin (Teheran) and, besides, being severely ill, depends heavily on his pro-soviet advisers, the political Harry Hopkins and the military George C. Marshall.
The decisive struggle on the Gothic (Green) Line
Gothic Line n 2
Gothic Line n 1
Was the Gothic Line offensive the first battle of the imminent "Cold War" ?
In that fatal Summer truth will out. Unbelievably by the military point of view the Americans break off the pursuit of the Germans defeated in the battle for Rome and send the bulk of their forces away from Italy into Southern France against Churchill's will. The British Premier, who believes that "it is in Italy where the future of the Balkans and Europe will be decided" and who had been informed that in Yugoslavia the situation was still uncertain between the friendly Serb Mihajlovic and the communist Croat Tito, now thinks that only Alexander can solve the situation leaping from Italy into the Balkans and decides to launch a decisive strategic stroke with what is entirely British and under British command.I hope to turn and break the Gothic Line, break into the Po valley and ultimately advance to Trieste and the Ljubljana gap to Vienna".
Churchill political aim merges with the ideological aim of the Church, to defend Christianity from the Soviet communism, atheist and materialistic. The Premier meets the Pope Pius XII on Aug. 23, agrees with him about the danger of Communism, decides to launch a Christian offensive with the Pope viaticum.
He will not be an imperialist who fights for U.K., but a Crusader, who fights in defence of Christendom. His battle will have the epoch-making mark of the battles of Poitier (732), Beograd (1456), Wien (1683), Beograd again (1716) which saved Christendom from the Islam deadly menace of Arabs and Turks.
Which were in 1944 the Grand Strategies of the Three Bigs after Teheran?Roosevelt. According to British historian Arnold Toynbee the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt was more friend of Stalin than of Churchill. At Teheran he had shared Europe with Stalin and didn’t have any interest to change their plans. Actually the President dreamed of a Brave New World to realize with Stalin. (on April 12, 1945 his death will persuade Stalin, shocked, not to launch the “proletary revolutions” already scheduled in Germany, France and Italy) In his book “As He saw it” Elliott Roosevelt, son of the President, reports the Grand Strategies of his father and of Churchill with the words of his father. “Whenever the P.M. argued for our invasion through the Balkans, it was quite obvious to everybody what he really meant…That he was, above all, anxious to knife up in central Europe in order to keep the Red Army out of Austria, and Romania, even Hungary if possible. Stalin knew it, I knew it, everybody knew it…“The one thing I’m sure of is this: if the way to save American lives, the way to win as short a war as possible, is from the West and the West alone, without wasting landing craft and men and materiel in the Balkan mountains, and our chiefs are convinced of it, then that’s ! I see no reason for putting the lives of American soldiers in jeopardy in order to protect real or fancied British interest in the European continent.”
Stalin. Kruscev marks in his “The Glasnost Tapes” the Grand Strategy of Stalin. “We had our hopes. Just as Russia came out of World War I, made the revolution and established Soviet power, so after the catastrophe of World War II Europe might become Soviet.”
Churchill. Churchill’s Grand Strategy is reported by LIFE International presenting Churchill’s “History of W.W.II” -“ The biggest difference of opinion on military strategy between Britain and the U.S. came over the proposal to land a force in the South of France to join the forces in Normandy into Germany ( Landing Anvil-Dragoon to take away U-S. troops from the Gothic Line offensive) . Churchill argued against it, maintaining that it would divert from Italy troops which could otherwise push north and east into the Balkans. Roosevelt insisted on the original plan and the landings were made .The weakened forces in Italy were stalled and Russian armies sweep into eastern Europe.”
Pius XII. Christendom Grand Strategy was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in his Sept.1st, 1944 radio-speech as soon as the Gothic Line was breached by Canadians. “This is the gravest hour for Mankind…From It depends the destiny of Christendom in Europe and in the World"
is the genesis of the Gothic Line offensive, a great pincer manoeuvre
called Alexander's "Summer Offensive", which in its first
decisive phase from 25 Aug. to 30 Sept. 1944 is known as the "Battle of
Rimini". The "important divergence" between Churchill and Roosevelt, the
reluctant will of the Americans to trespass the Gothic Line, together with
the bravery of the German soldiers and tactics, make a failure of the
offensive. "The weakened forces in Italy were stalled and the Russian
armies swept into Eastern Europe". (Churchill)
Comment. The necessity to review history
Militarily this phase of the offensive reveals the disconcerting line of the Americans who, twice,
at the end of September renounced to close the Alexander pincer manoeuvre around the best German
troops in Italy, giving the victory as a gift to their enemy, fieldmarshal Albert Kesselring (who
thought the victory a miracle, not knowing the important divergence between Churchill and Roosevelt).