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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2020

Richard Hammond
Affiliation:
Brunel University
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Summary

On 10 June 1940, despite a distinct lack of enthusiasm from both the German and Italian military high commands, Benito Mussolini formally joined the war on the Axis side. That evening he gave a speech from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome to an assembled crowd, informing them that their country was going to war to stop ‘the plutocratic and reactionary democracies of the west’.1 In reality, much of that ‘stopping’ had already been done by Germany: most of the British personnel had already been evacuated from the continent to a homeland faced with the prospect of invasion, while France would soon sign an armistice. What it did achieve was to transform the war by spreading it beyond the boundaries of Europe and igniting a long and bloody contest to control the Mediterranean. It was the ultimate ability of the Allies to prevail in controlling its waterways and thence strangle Axis communications at sea, which proved vital to securing victory. This forced the collapse of the Italo-German position across the broadly defined ‘Mediterranean theatre’, removed the threat to key British imperial possessions and ensured the defeat of Fascist Italy.

Type
Chapter
Information
Strangling the Axis
The Fight for Control of the Mediterranean during the Second World War
, pp. 1 - 10
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Introduction
  • Richard Hammond, Brunel University
  • Book: Strangling the Axis
  • Online publication: 04 June 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784566.002
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  • Introduction
  • Richard Hammond, Brunel University
  • Book: Strangling the Axis
  • Online publication: 04 June 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784566.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Richard Hammond, Brunel University
  • Book: Strangling the Axis
  • Online publication: 04 June 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784566.002
Available formats
×