History reviewed

Rodolfo Ragonesi seems to conveniently overlook the butchery by Italians in Africa prior to WWII.

The Italians had no great reputation as fighters, so it is hardly surprising that when they faced a German force, even though weakened by the Russian campaign, they were defeated.

I seem to remember an old post-war joke: “How many gears has an Italian tank? Six: five to reverse and one forward, in case the enemy attack from the rear.”

Winston Churchill made mistakes, no doubt, but his overall strategy was victory at all costs.

Ragonesi is, like many historians, endowed with hindsight (with first class honours). He should ask himself what he would have done, and why, at the time. No doubt, he would have joined Lord Halifax, waving a white flag so that he would now, in the present, be subject to a Fascist dictatorship, which is obviously his view of history.

It is incredible the number of people like Ragonesi telling us where leaders in the past went wrong. They should think of Omar Khayyam: “the moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on. Nor all thy piety, or wit, shall serve to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.”


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