The son of a poor blacksmith who was an ardent Socialist, Mussolini grew up in an atmosphere of political agitation. He taught school for a brief time and then became a fiery journalist, attacking the government with a violence that caused him to be imprisoned eleven times before he was thirty. He was a genuine idealist, but he was also an opportunist. Mussolini used his influence to get Italy into World War I by accepting a bribe from France, thus betraying his cause.
Mussolini’s weaknesses were dramatically revealed by the fantastic blunders he committed during the war and by the swift collapse of his Fascist party under pressure. As defeat followed defeat, he was arrested but escaped to northern Italy, where he became head of a puppet government set up by Hitler. When World War II ended, he was executed.
Why was Crete invaded in 1941, but Malta was not? Why in 1942 was a second planned invasion of Malta rejected and abandoned, and what were the strategic repercussions of not invading Malta? The Axis never captured Malta, and the offensive capability of Malta was never destroyed. This was a critical factor in the defeat of all Axis forces in North Africa.
From the origins and background to the war to its aftermath and legacy, The Second World War covers:
* the pre-war ambitions of Italy, Germany and Japan
* the outbreak of the war in Poland
* the 'Phoney War'
* Blitzkrieg, the Fall of France and the Battle of Britain
* Pearl Harbour
* the war in North Africa and El Alamein
* the final solution
* D-Day, the liberation of Italy and deliverance from the concentration camps
* the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the global ambitions and the global warfare that was the Second World War, making it essential reading for all students of twentieth century world history.
This volume, the second to be published in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations subseries, takes up where George F. Howe’s Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West left off. It integrates the Sicilian Campaign with the complicated negotiations involved in the surrender of Italy.
The Sicilian Campaign was as complex as the negotiations, and is equally instructive. On the Allied side it included American, British, and Canadian soldiers as well as some Tabors of Goums; major segments of the U.S. Army Air Forces and of the Royal Air Force; and substantial contingents of the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy. Opposing the Allies were ground troops and air forces of Italy and Germany, and the Italian Navy. The fighting included a wide variety of operations: the largest amphibious assault of World War II; parachute jumps and air landings; extended overland marches; tank battles; precise and remarkably successful naval gunfire support of troops on shore; agonizing struggles for ridge tops; and extensive and skillful artillery support. Sicily was a testing ground for the U.S. soldier, fighting beside the more experienced troops of the British Eighth Army, and there the American soldier showed what he could do.
The negotiations involved in Italy’s surrender were rivaled in complexity and delicacy only by those leading up to the Korean armistice. The relationship of tactical to diplomatic activity is one of the most instructive and interesting features of this volume. Military men were required to double as diplomats and to play both roles with skill.
This study examines the collapse of Italy in 1943 and the contribution of air power to this collapse. Several broad works, often citing Ernest May in “Lessons” from the Past, claim that air power decisively caused the Italian surrender, but do not indisputably argue this point nor do they define the coercive mechanism(s) air power employed to achieve this result. Studies such as the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey or the British Bombing Survey Unit largely ignore Italy or in the case of F. W. Deakin’s The Brutal Friendship, cite the coalition politics as the primary cause of Italy’s surrender...
In an era of clean conflict, both painless and quick, leaders and airman downplay the psychological effects of air power-with the exception of the questionable negative effects of casualties on the democracies. Operation DESERT STORM typifies both these effects. Furthermore, attrition-based computer wargame simulations largely ignore the human element. The collapse of Italy serves as one example where the psychological effects of air power outweighed the physical damage caused by bombing.