ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
Italy would liberate the Baltic states so that it could use those countries as a new home country in the event that Italy falls. This is best dealt with in a convention or home setting by threatening to throttle the Italian player, but on the computer that would be more difficult.
A similar situation would arise where the USSR takes Bulgaria and Italy liberates it.
Please, could there be two settings for AI in MWIF?
Historical and "everythings possible, based on rules as written"?
Sure, WIF rules may allow Italian liberation of the Baltics and German total Mediterran strategy. But most of it was historically not quite thinkable. Fact is, in Nazi-Germany ideology was structurally quite central. That's a main reason why they lost the war.
And its ideology was not about liberating any Eastern people, nor just let the Italians liberate them. Barbarossa was absolutely central for the regime, and it was about extermination and absolute power.
I won't say that with German AI there should always be a straight Barbarossa. But personally, I wouldn't like a Mediterrane strategy every second game.
I'm quite sure, this is a minority position on this forum. But nevertheless.
I am not sure where to draw that line. Hitler had a lot of ideas floating around about who to attack and with whom to ally. Sometimes he did both (USSR). Ruling out possible actions because they did not occur historically or seem too far fetched (weird/unlikely) could be difficult.
OK. main points seem to be:
1. possibilities and probabilities
2. drawing the line between them both
3. gaming fun and historical stuff
1. possibilities and probabilities: No other WW2 participant is better researched than Germany (vanished states are historical researchers friend, best access to to archives. Japanese is harder to access because of language. Italian changed sides in midwar).
German historicans do the main part of research about Nazi-Regime.
They probably always will debate about how to weight different aspects of the regime (Hitler, ideology, opportunities, polycratic power structures) in different fields (e.g. foreign-, social policies, the holocaust).
But there is quite a long lasting consensus, that war policy was neither totally opportunistic nor somehow traditionalistic (like napoleonic rationale of beating Russia, the last continental "weapon of weapon of England", if you cannot beat England itself).
The Nazi war against Russia was one of the few main targets of the regime and its ideological repertoire. "Lebensraum" and a new racial order just were in the focus.
Hitler Stalin Pact was just a tool to secure invasion of Poland and France. And this tactical move confused Germans and Russian population alike, which were used to anti-communist and anti-nazi ideological antagonisms.
Battle of France was about revenge for Versailles and a stepping stone for Barbarossa. The ongoing war against England was not seen as really necessary by Hitler, the "insulted admirer" of the aryan British Empire.
2. To put it bluntly: A Mediterranean strategy was secondary to the regime simply for ideological reasons. Apart from cheap victories. Even if this might hurt anglosaxon pride.
So from a German historical point of view, even a Mediterranean Nazi strategy seems quite unlikely.
Now Italian liberated Baltic states, well, is quite ridiculus: Why should the Grossdeutsche Reich give its Lebensraum away? Why to the mediterrean oriented Italians? Remember, the Baltics even had a German minority (Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi ideologue was a Baltendeutscher).
3.Where to draw the line between gaming fun and historical probability? Well, that's a matter of taste. And therefore I would love to see two AI settings. But I can see that this maybe might be difficult to accomplish.
And I can also see that for the anglosaxon gamer its fun play WIF with Wallies-German focus. It's the same with some of the anglo-american historicans: Nobody loves Rommel like them
Post Scriptum: I checked some references on the German consensus about Nazi Barbarossa focus. They are a little older now, but believe me, discourse here on that hasn't change since then.
Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt, MGFA, (ed.): Deutschland und der Zweite Weltkrieg, [Institute for Military-historical research, it's the "official" ongoing German war history in ten thick volumes, VERY detailed, lots of statistics. Quite expensive per volume, about 40 Euros. But sometimes you can get the eight already published volumes cheaper on ebay.de]
Vol. 1 Ursachen und Voraussetzungen der deutschen Kriegspolitik [ Origins and conditions of German war policies], Stuttgart 1979, p.700
Vol. 4, Der Angriff auf die Sowjetunion, Stuttgart 1983, p.12.
Andreas Hillgruber, Der 2. Weltkrieg: Kriegsziele und Strategien der großen Mächte. [War aims and strategy of the Great powers]. Stuttgart 1996, p. 66-67.