Image via Vodkacide/reddit

That’s-a spicy meme-ball: Why pictures of Italy in World War 2 are taking over

Italy didn't do much in World War 2, and now we know why?


David Covucci

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 25, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 3:31 am CDT

When it comes to the Axis powers of World War 2, everyone knows that Germany conquered all of Europe and Japan subjugated half the Pacific, but what exactly did Italy do? 

If you remember your history books, not much at all.

Why was the country so ineffective? Reddit’s meme community has an interesting answer—and, of course, it involves pizza.

Over the last few days, users have been unearthing photos that tell the story of the Mediterranean nation’s participation in the global conflagration, and they show a conflicted country grappling with economic depression brought on by supporting the Francoists in Spain, and an internal conflict between the monarchy and the fascists running the government.

No, wait.

 They don’t.

Here is “Italian air force circa 1945 (colorized)”

That said, their clandestine forces appear to have been extremely effective in the war. 

But you can see why the nation failed in its assault on Vichy France.

The problem, perhaps, were their generals, who ordered the meatball strikes. 

Their calvary wasn’t particularly impressive either, nor were their aircraft carriers. 

Not an effective fighting force. All in all, a bad world war strategy. 

Still, you need to feel particularly sympathetic. For when the tide turned, it turned badly. These “Brutal photos of Italian soldiers being eaten alive by rats in neglected POW camps, circa 1944” are gut-wrenching. 

To fight off the Allied invasion of Sicily, Italy brought in reinforcements. 

But when the Allies struck, they struck hard. Here is an “Italian Army base set ablaze after bombings.” 

Perhaps the blame should be placed on their leader. 

This stereotypical meme—not far removed from the *Italian chef kiss* meme—didn’t originally have anything to do with World War 2, but rather someone simply taking the Google Image Search results of “floating pizza” and slapping a fake the “Italian Navy” label on it. 

User x2K284 did not respond for comment on creating the joke because a perfect meme doesn’t need to be explained or elaborated upon—just iterated on by the masses until it becomes something absurd and wonderful. 

And possibly a new entry into the history books. 

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2017, 6:00 am CST