All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-1943

All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-1943

All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-1943

All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-1943

Synopsis

German and Italian fascist armies in the Second World War treated the Jews quite differently. Jews who fell into the hands of the German army ended up in concentration camps; none of those taken by the Italians suffered the same fate. Yet the protectors of the Jews were no philo-Semites, nor were they (often) great respecters of human life. Some of those same officers had sanctioned savage atrocities against Ethiopians and Arabs in the years before the war. Jonathan Steinberg uses this remarkable and poignant story to unravel the motives and forces underpinning both Fascism and Nazism. As a renowned historian of both Germany and Italy, he is uniquely placed to answer the underlying question; why?

Excerpt

All or Nothing tries to explain why Fascist Italy systematically refused to assist Nazi Germany, its nominal ally, in the extermination of the Jews between 1941 and 1943 in the zones of Greece, Croatia and Southern France, which the Royal Italian Army controlled. This refusal amounted to a kind of conspiracy by several senior figures in the Italian government to block the unfolding of the Holocaust. Why did they do it? Why did Hitler permit it? By using German and Italian sources the book attempts to answer those questions. In so doing it looks at two different types of fascism, Hitler and Mussolini as dictators, two allied but illmatched armies and two contrasting cultures.

The first edition appeared in the spring of 1990, and I am delighted that Routledge have now decided to republish it twelve years later in this handsome format. The publishers asked me to compile a bibliography of books on subjects treated by All or Nothing since 1990. I realised to my astonishment that most of what I now believe about Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy became part of my intellectual furniture after I wrote All or Nothing. I saw that there had been an explosion of historical activity on Nazism and the Holocaust, which transformed the way I look at Nazi Germany, the Second World War and the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question', as the Nazis called the murder of millions. In Italy too there was an unexpected debate about Fascism, resistance to it and the very justification of Italian democracy, which has transformed the writing of Italian history. This extraordinary activity in the realm of historical scholarship forced me to think about the relationship between what historians do and what happens while they do it. All or Nothing reappears in a different world and a changed scholarly scene. Can it still be read when so much new work jostles for attention? How has it been affected by the great changes in the world since it first appeared?

When All or Nothing was published, the Berlin Wall had just fallen and gurus were pontificating on the 'end of history'. The twelve years between first publication and the appearance of this edition have shown how ludicrous such prophecies were. In the 1990s and first years of the

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