In April 1924 the body of Adolf Hitler is found in his prison cell. It is unclear whether he committed suicide or died of some other means. Without Hitler's leadership the Nazi party soon descends into internal infighting and disarray, ceasing to a significant force in German politics. Instead Mussolini's PNF continues to be the most significant fascist movement in Europe and after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 Italian-inspired fascist movements seize power in Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria and right-wing governments take power elsewhere in eastern and southern Europe.
Encouraged by League of Nations' impotency over German remilitarisation of the Rhineland and the asscention of fascism, in 1935 Mussolini took the first steps towards the creation of the New Roman Empire with the invasion of Ethiopia. The campaign was a success, however the drawn out nature of the Italian campaign in Ethiopia led many to joke that the Italians had been held back by spear-waving savages and as such shouldn't be taken as a serious military threat.
These dismissals of Italian military capability proved to be premature however as proved by the 1938 invasion and annexation of Albania, the first Italian gain in Europe. Many in Britain and France still regarded the Italian army as obsolete and ineffectual however and they seemed to be proved right when, in 1940 Mussolini, buoyed by his previous successes ordered the invasion of Yugoslavia. The Italians soon became bogged down in the tough mountainous terain, having only secured small gains by the winter of 1940.
The following spring would prove a turning point however, as reports started coming of Yugoslavia of fresh Italian gains with Yugoslav soldiers coming back from the fighting with their ears bleeding and their brains in turmoil, unable to follow orders or concentrate on any task except fleeing. Within weeks the Italians had captured Belgrade and forced Yugoslavia to surrender. The majority of the country was annexed by Italy with small areas in the east going to Hungary and Bulgaria, who had assisted Italy in the invasion.
The unprecedented effectiveness of this new Italian 'superweapon' and uncertainty over its exact nature caused deep concern in Britain and particularly France who now started to feel particularly vulnerable next to both Italy and their German allies. The French were right to feel concerned as keen to preserve their momentum the Italians launched an invasion of France almost a soon as Yugoslavia had surrendered. Once again the Italians stormed through the countryside sending defenders fleeing before them. With the help of the Germans they had reached Paris by August 1941 and France was defeated. The south - the watersheds of the Rhône and Garonne rivers - was incorporated into the Italian Empire while the Germans reclaimed Alsace-Lorraine with the remainder of France coming under the control of an Italian puppet regime.
Now only Britain stood in the way of Mussolini acheiving his goal of establishing Italian hegemony over the Mediterranean. The United Kingdom had declared war on Italy when France had been attacked and the Italians had been quick to take advantage of this by using their radio-guns, or 'ray guns' as their new weapon became known, to seize the British bases at Cyprus and Malta. Over the autumn and winter of 1941-2 the south and east of England had been subject to a relentless bombing campaign by the Italians and the Germans, who had also moved along with the Hungarians against Czechoslovakia. Many of the bombers had been fitted with specially adapted ray gun technology, deafening many people who were exposed to the noises emitted.
By the summer of 1942 the British government, now isolated with the continent under fascist domination and the Americans only proving a trickle of unofficial and unreliable support, was forced to come to an agreement with the Italians. Cyprus, Malta, Palestine, Transjordan, the Suez Canal Zone, British Somaliland and parts of British East Africa along the border with Italian East Africa would be ceded and Britain would reliquish all influence over Egypt, which would now be an Italian puppet state.
With his dream now realised, Mussolini proclaimed the creation of the New Roman Empire and reorganised the Empire into provinces based on those of antiquity.
The map shows the situation in the 1960s. With the Second Great European War now over the New Roman Empire and its allies - fellow fascist states and others under more traditional authoritarian conservative regimes such as Spain, Portugal, Romania, Poland and the Baltic states - enjoy near dominance over Europe and Africa. The threat of communism looms large on the eastern horizon however with the recent Soviet-sponsored coup in Iran that overthrew the Shah and established the Socialist Republic of Iran, making it just the latest Asian country to fall to communism. This fear and opposition to communism is one of the things that binds the far-right regimes together and also ensures American support. Relationships with the US are strained however over the issue of independence, with the US advocating the creation of new liberal democracies as the best way to combat the threat of communism while the European countries (including Britain) maintain that only their continued 'guardianship' will prevent the spread of socialism.
Only 'independent' countries are labelled. All the abbreviations should be obvious with the exception of TS which are the Trucial States. 'Other States' includes conservative dictatorships, traditional monarchies and other non-democratic but neither fascist nor socialist regimes. Cameroon and Togo were returned to Germany.