Been reading about the Italian view of the Winter War, and how Mussolini saw that he had to help the battle against communism ( Stalin ) alongside Finland. I am amazed that actually the relationship with Hitler could have been broken easily but it didn´t. ´Here´s some points from the book by Pirkko Kanervo " Italy and the Finnish Winter War" Axis History Forum • View topic - Italian volunteers in Winter war After a break of nearly four months Mussolini approached Hitler by writing him a long letter, dated 5 January 1940. The letter has been regarded as Mussolini’s last attempt at trying to prevent the major war from spreading into the West. Without doubt it was that too, but it can also be regarded as an appeal for Finland. In the letter Mussolini covered extensively Italy’s relations with various countries of Europe and criticized in particular the German orientation towards the Soviet Union. The Germans should not be surprised how painful an effect the German-Russian alliance had had for example to Spain, to the Spain whose soil was covered by the dead bodies of Germans, Italians, and Spaniards. He announced that a further step in German relations with Moscow would have catastrophic effects in Italy. The German Lebensraum was in Russia, and nowhere else. Russia was Slavic and Asian, and Germany had the duty of defending Europe from Asia. Four months earlier Russia had been the enemy number one of the world, it cannot have changed to the friend number one. Mussolini said the issue had been deeply upsetting among the Italian Fascists and maybe also among many German national socialists. Mussolini wrote about the Fascist Italy being, despite the sanctions of the League of Nations, favourable towards Finland, “this small gallant nation”. He referred to the IKL (the extreme rightist political party of the time; translator’s remark) as he continued that “the best part of the Finnish people” had nevertheless not accepted the sanctions. Although there had been a lot of talk on the aid to Finland given by Italy, it only consisted of 25 fighters ordered before the war, nothing else. Thousands of Italian volunteers had reported at the Finnish Embassy and Consular Offices, but the Finns had rejected the offers until the date, wrote Il Duce. Mussolini was all but shy in modifying the truth in his letter. The fighters he could not deny, because six of them just lay at the harbour of Sassnitz at the time, but he omitted that the Finns had reached agreement on a batch of war material worth 2.9 million dollars three days earlier. It consisted of 100 trench mortars and 60 anti-aircraft guns with their ammunition, which the Italian Ministry of War was to hand over straight from an Army depot. On 14 January Finland managed to buy yet another 10 Fiat G.50 fighters more against cellulose. When the Italian Ambassador took Mussolini’s letter to Hitler, Finland was the only issue generating discussion. Hitler expressed his surprise, whether all this great sympathy towards Finland was really felt in Italy. He stated that the demands of the Soviet Union – a great power – were not unreasonable and that true friends of Finland should have advised the Finns to comply with them. As soon as the Ambassador had left, Hitler let Göring be called to see him, while Ribbentrop was the third one present. The gentlemen had more than five hours of heated discussion. The Italian diplomats studied the effect of Mussolini’s letter also among the rest of the German political and military lead. Colder than cold Ribbentrop stuck completely with the official line of the country. Soldiers were more open. Admiral Canaris said that it was not in German interests that Finland should cease to exist. Göring on his behalf let it be understood that a peaceful solution in the North would be beneficial for Germany. Embassy Secretary Magistrati, who discussed with Göring, proceeded to ask why Berlin would not utilize its opportunities to act as a mediator between Moscow and Helsinki to save Finland. From Göring’s answer it could be deduced that he himself personally would have had nothing against such a move, but that the proposal would run into difficulties in the contemporary German policy of the time. When did Hitler then reply to the letter he had received? Not until two months later, at the time when Finland was negotiating for peace in Moscow.