Polynikes wrote:I don't have any faith that Mussolini would attack British Egypt had there not been a state of war between Britain and Germany (that Italy joined in after it was obvious - to Mussolini - that Germany was going to win).
Maybe I misunderstood you, but your question looked rather clear: "Not sure what you're saying...that had Britain NOT been at war, then Mussolini would've backed off because he KNEW his army wasn't capable of defeating the small British force in the Western Desert?". What did you mean? I think, asking it, that you wanted to say that Italy would have attacked the British forces in Egypt even if Britain hadn't been at war with anybody. Wouldn't this be an attack on the British Empire of Italy alone?
What I do believe is that Facsist Italy had built (seemingly) a powerful army, navy and airforce. To think that these were just for show is a pure denial.
I believe you utterly ignore Fascist Italy.
Mussolini's actions clearly show him to be at best somewhat uncertain and at worst cowardly - the courage of a mugger.
Italy declares war on France with the French on the very verge of defeat - perhaps it seemed to Mussolini that the 30,000 Western Desert Force was an easy victim.
Greece likewise probably looked like an easy score too.
About the fact that Greece looked easy you are right, but so what? In 1923 Italy occupied Corfù to be sure that Greece would have paid an amend for the murder of Gen. Tellini and other Italians by Greek bandits. Greece paid, but the Italian forces had been retreated because of British pressures. Mussolini knew well, much more than you, that an attack on Greece (even more in 1940, with the increased British influence on that country) would have meant a war with UK.
About the political attitude of Mussolini, I hope you remember that he was the only one who actively stopped Hitler when he tried to annex Austria. Then the Naval Treaty of London shown the courage of British leaders. By the way, the DoW on France was not followed by any attack because of Mussolini's own order, who didn't need to attack an almost defeated country. The offensive of 21-24 June was made only for political reasons (to force the acceptance of the, indeed rather mild, Italian conditions of armistice).
The Western Desert Force didn't look like exactly an easy enemy, also because its dimensions were unknown and over-inflated by Italian intelligence. Yet, yes, it seemed possible to attack Egypt (but only in Rome, not in Graziani's commands), but, again, only because Britain was already involved in a war with Germany. And again (and again, and again...) we return to the start: no war of UK with Germany = no war of UK with Italy = no war of Italy with Greece.
No, I think that Mussolini wanted italy to be powerful and wanted to cast himself as a powerful leader - he WANTED conquest.
Ah, well, if you think it it must be true...
To think that he would spend all that money on his armed forces and NOT use them is foolish IMO. You could draw a modern parallel to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and his war with Iran. You don't built up your army unless yo intend to use it.
Do you see that you have still failed to demonstrate:
- that Italy spent so much money for the Armed Forces (by the way, the exchange rate of Italian Lira and British £ was about 90 lire for 1 £ in 1936)
- that the money spent was not comparable to that spent by other European powers
- that it was used to modernize or even enlarge the Armed Forces, rather then to keep them in service or for the Wars of Ethiopia and Spain
- that Italy had a project of expansionism using military means and that this alleged (unproved and pratically never considered by any serious historian) project was directed against the British Empire
- that the British DoW on Germany reduced the threat of Italy for UK.
A cynic would add that, given the Italian army's lack of willingness to fight, even a war with African tribesman was taking a risk.
Ah, now we have reached the good old British mythology... OK, OK, the Italian soldiers were good only for parades...
However, one of Fascism's characteristics was bending political reality to suit its requirements. Nevertheless Mussolini actually believed his army in Libya actually WOULD beat the small British force and the Italian navy WOULD beat the RN.
Polynikes, here the only one who is bending reality it's you.
Absolutely. The Spanish civil war officially came to an end in April 1939 over a YEAR before the Italian attack on British Egypt.
Hey, here you are becoming quite annoying: if you were able to read, you would have seen that I have written too that the war of Spain had finished a year before the Italian entrance in WW2. And in a year you modernize nothing (as happened). By the way:
- I can read: no need of bold and capital letters
- keep capital letters for other people: they mean you are shouting, if you want to shout, go to a stadium.
Check your history.
You'd like to know how Italy could build up an army as happened?
I suggest you study some more as you've answered your own question.
Ah well, an Army that had the most obsolete equipement? An army lacking any tank (just 20 on 10 June 1940)? Yes, truly a very expensive army.....
The nightmare of British leaders....
I was asking about the British figure of 15%+ which is quite riddiculous....
While your historic knowledge is pretty ridiculous, your math is unexisting!
I have provided the sourcem and the numbers, just recalculate the percentage if it's not too difficult for you...
I'll get a British figure for you.
Yes, thank you very much. By the way, do you think that "Italian figures" are crap? De Agostini is a serious publisher, that keeps and publishes statistical data each year since 1904. I can trust what they publish.
By the way, what are your great sources about Italian expansionism?