Monday, June 10, 2013
Italy Declares War
When World War II broke out after the German invasion of Poland over the city of Danzig, Italy tried to arrange a cease-power and talks between the major powers but Britain and France ignored the offer. Unprepared for war, Italy at first remained on the sidelines, trying to maintain good relations with both sides. This was what King Vittorio Emanuele III thought best but the Allies became convinced that Mussolini would get into the war sooner or later and so determined to provoke him into entering the conflict before the Italian armed forces could be fully upgraded and prepared. Allied military buildup around Italy increased dramatically and in March the Allies ordered the seizure of all shipments of German coal headed for the industrial heartland of Italy in mid-Channel. This was particularly infuriating to public opinion in Italy and again brought to mind the earlier sanctions imposed on Italy by countries with whom Italy was at peace and toward whom Italy had done no harm. Mussolini denounced the action as piracy and, given that it was the forceful seizure of goods on the high seas by a neutral power with whom neither France or Britain was at war, he did have a point.