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Profile of Mediterranean Strategy

ISSUE:  Summer 1941

Expressed in its ultimate terms, the struggle for the Mediterranean during the past fifty years has been a contest for its mastery waged by two non-Mediterranean powers. The Germany of today continues the struggle of Wilhelm II which was frustrated in the years 1914 to 1918. The Mediterranean powers themselves, whether wittingly or not, have functioned to serve the ends of one or the other. The Triple Alliance was smashed by the Great War, but essentially, because of certain commitments which continued in force, the Triple Entente remained, even though it was no longer referred to by that name. Italy, France, Spain, and Russia—in this order these countries had become the pivots of Britain’s Mediterranean strategy. But within the last ten years the equilibrium that Britain had built up in the Mediterranean began to get out of balance and fall apart. Russia, Italy, Spain, and France—this was the order in which these countries withdrew from that equilibrium.

Immediately after the Great War Britain showed a hostility toward Russia that amounted to a rejection of Russian friendship. France, pursuing a realistic policy, entered into a partnership with Russia for purposes of defense, but the Tory Government of England pursued a course aimed at breaking up this partnership. It was not until Germany invaded Czecho-Slovakia in March, 1989, that Britain’s statesmen realized they had made a mistake. England then set to work feverishly to undo what it had done and to try to bring Russia into a triple partnership with herself and France. The fiasco that resulted is known to everyone. The Russian abandonment of Britain and France created anew the old Russian threat at the Dardanelles, in the Balkans, at Suez, and toward the East.

The British Government’s secret acquiescence in Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, which was revealed by the Hoare-Laval agreement and by the half-hearted sanctions so riddled with loopholes, weakened the British system of defense in the Red Sea. The most serious effect of British complacency toward Italy, however, was the encouragement it gave to the Fascist government. Had Italy been effectively stopped in Ethiopia, as she might have been, it is hardly likely that she would soon have embarked on a new venture in Spain. Nor would she have got very far toward becoming a partner of Germany, for Italy was at that time exceedingly jealous of Germany and had not yet joined the partnership.

Yet Italy has always been a second-rate factor in the European chess game. For something like threescore years she has striven to make herself mistress of “Mare Nostrum.” She has followed a strategy of her own that was designed to keep open the two bottlenecks of her great inland sea. She has alternately allied herself now with the Central European powers, now with England and France, in her effort to win an advantageous position. She seemed always doomed to be the prisoner of one side or the other, and today she is the prisoner of Germany.

The desertion of Spain was far more serious to Britain. Although Spain was not counted as a first class power, like Italy, her function in maintaining the equilibrium was more vital. And her desertion is a real one, notwithstanding the fact that certain existing treaties have not been denounced. As a result of the Spanish Civil War of 1936, Spain withdrew from her old position as the lesser partner of Britain and France. All the guarantees she had given to France in 1904 were swept to the winds. The Spanish Rif, facing Gibraltar, and the Spanish shores around Tarifa were fortified. Hostile guns now menace the Strait and the Rock. The neutrality of Tangier was ended by Franco at the beginning of the present war, and the Balearic Islands, the Canaries, the African colonies of Ifni, Rio de Oro, and Spanish Guinea have all become focal points of Nazi activity and potential bases from which Axis raiders may menace British sea routes in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

By the defection of France, Britain lost her major partner. The French shift toward the Axis is unmistakable, notwithstanding the disclaimers of Vichy. One of the most acute phases of it is seen in its collaboration with the Nazis in Syria, where the Petain government presents itself as defending French sovereignty over a country which it has relegated to the status of a colony. Yet France’s only claim over Syria was the mandate from the League of Nations. When France, in 1940, renounced her membership in the League, she forfeited the mandate over Syria.

France now collaborates with the Axis in the Mediterranean, where it might have been collaborating with Britain. This is the greatest blow that Britain surfers as a result of the breakdown of the Mediterranean defense partnerships. By one of the treaties between England and France, secretly executed by Sir Edward Grey before the World War, France undertook to defend the Mediterranean with her fleet while Britain defended the Atlantic. Now Britain is compelled to divide her fleet to defend both. Fortunately, Britain’s naval building program, which was one of results of the lesson taught by the Ethiopian affair, provided for a greatly augmented Mediterranean division. What Britain further loses, in losing the partnership of France, may be gathered from the following agenda of military collaboration that France had undertaken; France was to be Britain’s mainstay in Northern Africa in case of attacks on the Strait, on Egypt, on the Sudan, or on Suez; if the war touched North Africa, France was to attack in Libya; if Spain failed in her obligations, French troops were to attack in the Rif, at Ifni, Rio de Oro, and Spanish Guinea; with or without British aid she was to possess the Canaries and the Balearic Islands; further, France was to render Britain first aid in the Middle East, in Iraq, Palestine, Transjordania, and other Arab states; from Syria she was to stand astride the Berlin-to-Bagdad route, blocking Germany’s passage.

Before the present war, Britain had co-operated with France in making Syria a huge depot of war supplies. Motorized equipment, heavy artillery, oil and gasoline stores, a thousand airplanes, and great stores of munitions were deposited there. About 175,000 French troops in Syria awaited the call to action. One of the possibilities of this concentration was shown by General Weygand’s proposal, in April, 1940, that three French divisions be brought from Syria and another from France to establish an allied front in the Balkans. Had this been done, and had Britain obtained the French collaboration which it expected in the Middle East, there might now be a different story to tell in Greece. A strong allied front in the Middle East in the spring of this year would have enhanced Britain’s prestige and strength there. Moreover, Egypt and Turkey would perhaps not now be searching for alibis to excuse themselves from observing their mutual defense undertakings with Britain.

In the seventy-two years that have followed the opening of the Suez Canal, Britain’s Mediterranean strategy was first laboriously built up and then, through statesmen’s lack of prescience, allowed to fall apart. Today the defense of England follows a set rhythm: England must first hold herself safe in her islands, converting them into a system of tight, sea-girt fortresses to fight off invasion. After that she must keep open her Atlantic lanes of supply. Yet before and after these tasks comes the problem of safety in the Mediterranean.


What does the struggle for the Mediterranean, reduced to its essence, mean to Germany and to Great Britain? Is the control of it necessary to their prosperity and general well-being?

The facts of Germany’s economic and political development give a negative answer to the second question, and that negative provides a clue to the first. Germany, up to 1914, grew powerful and wealthy without having mastery of the Mediterranean; with a different technique, she was on the way to achieving the same result up to 1939. What, then, does she seek? She has left no doubt about the answer. She hopes, by extending her dominion to the south and the east, to become more powerful and wealthy than is actually necessary for her prosperity and general well-being. To accomplish this, she strives to control the routes to the East and to make England her vassal in all those waters.

Had the Germany of Wilhelm II and of his successors shared the practical-minded complacency of Bismarck in such matters, she would have waived in favor of Britain and France the costly business of extending empires and guarding highways to them, and would then have stepped in, as other nations have done, to use those routes and trade with the enriched domains to which they led. Holland is an excellent example of a nation profiting by the routes which Britain keeps open. Germany has not needed colonies in Latin America in order to trade there, and her trade has been just as free with other parts of the world.

In the case of Britain the second question may again be answered before the other. Because England’s case is unique, the preliminary answer is not a simple “yes” or “no.” She has built up her vast empire by controlling Mediterranean routes, and they have been vital to her under the prevailing conditions. Her need for control of the Mediterranean is predicated upon the existence of a menace. If the menace disappeared, so would the necessity. This brings us to the portals of Utopia. Yet it is not too much to hope that at least a step shall have been taken toward Utopia if those who still adhere to the rule of law among nations are the vietors of this war. In fine, Britain has considered mastery of the Mediterranean necessary to defend and to maintain commerce with her empire. Yet here arises a paradox, since Britain could do without the Mediterranean for a considerable time. She has made plans to do so. Its loss in wartime would not be fatal, and under certain circumstances it might even prove to be an advantage.

A quick glance at the map will show how the Mediterranean is divided into its eastern and its western basins. It is almost cut in two by the Italian boot which is sometimes referred to as Germany’s bridge to Africa. Away from the toe of the boot is Sicily, and between Sicily and Tunis is the small, fortified Pantelleria island which also belongs to Italy. Almost at mid-channel, the Pantelleria guards the waters between Sicily and Africa; the passageway is sometimes called the real bottleneck of the Mediterranean. However, its importance has been overemphasized. Sixty-two miles separate the island from Sicily, and forty-four miles from Africa. Contrasted with the eight miles which separate the opposite shores of the Strait of Gibralter, even forty-four miles is a considerable area in which ships may maneuver for a passage. In the present war these narrows have been little more than an inconvenience to Britain. Yet the “bridge” does divide the Mediterranean into two basins.

In the eastern Mediterranean Britain has bases on the islands of Malta and Cyprus, and she also has possession of harbors at Alexandria, in Egypt, and at Haifa, in Palestine. It was half an accident that Britain acquired Malta in 1799 after Napoleon had occupied it. Happy circumstance also placed it excellently well to administer to a fleet before the era of more perfected aerial warfare. During the Napoleonic wars the British fleet acquired the greatest degree of superiority over an enemy that it has ever possessed. Its prime need in the Mediterranean was bases, with their anchorages, their docks, and their depots; these enable a fleet to do its work from a given spot and thereby to acquire strategical endurance. This requisite met, a base is further valuable in so far as it provides a fleet with the most favored position from which to intercept the enemy. Malta, guarding the mid-Mediterranean passageway, offers this advantage.

But the air threat has now made Malta vulnerable. Britain really awoke to this fact in 1935, when the difficulties with Italy over Ethiopia forced the British fleet to move to Alexandria and Haifa. Malta’s harbor has no natural defenses against air attack. It was estimated that if planes managed to pierce the anti-air defenses, their attacks would be fifty per cent effective, which is very high. Malta is only twenty minutes from Sicily by air, and the British Admiralty considered abandoning it, particularly as more favorable bases were available. Later it decided to fortify the island strongly and to hold it. Cruising with units of the Mediterranean fleet in 1936 and 1937,1 learned that blackouts and smoke screens were to be relied upon heavily for Malta’s defense; as that fact must be well known to the enemy by now, I suppose it can be mentioned.

But Britain, after the lesson of 1936, turned her eyes toward Cyprus. Her strategists also knew of the possibilities of the island of Crete, belonging to Greece. Cyprus lies closer to the Canal and to the Turkish and Arab coasts than Malta does, and hence is more favorably situated to guard the routes to the East. It supports the ships based on Haifa and the Suez Canal; its central plateau favors airfields both for commercial and military planes whose missions take them eastward toward India. Alexandria and Haifa, lying on either side of the Canal, serve the double purpose of guarding it and the important inland routes of Cape-to-Cairo, via Egypt and the Sudan, and the gateway to the Iraq oil fields and beyond, toward India.

Italy counterposed a threat to this system by seizing the Dodecanese Islands after her war with Turkey in 1911, and by her fortification of Tobruk. She thereby established the Dodecanese-Tobruk line from the Turkish coast to Africa.

When Italy opened war on Greece in October, 1940, Britain occupied Crete’s Suda Bay, thus interposing a barrier between this line and Italy. The possession of Crete by the Axis would have been the logical completion of the Dodecanese-Tobruk line, This is the significance of the furious battle that began in mid-May of this year for the possession of Crete. A perfected Dodecanese-Crete-Tobruk line would create a third basin in the Mediterranean, that of the Levant, which would enclose Cyprus, Haifa, and Alexandria in that basin, and thus narrow the struggle for the Canal.

The German conquest of Greece and the subsequent seizure of a number of AEgean Islands, including (as Germany claims) Samothrace and Lemnos, which guard the Dardanelles, Mytilene and Chios off Asiatic Turkey, and Naxos and Paros, of the Cyclades, as well as others, give the Axis the mastery of the Dardanelles and of the AEgean Sea. The Treaty of Montreux, by the terms of which the free use of the Dardanelles to commerce was guaranteed, and its defense entrusted to Turkey, is to all practical purposes annulled. The Axis-held islands watch over Turkey like sentinels. She can only with difficulty leave or enter by her front door without the permission of the Axis. The Axis powers now control the Dardanelles and the Black Sea, and are thus provided with a potential gateway to the East.

Up to this point we have considered Mediterranean strategy principally in its relation to sea power, but within the past decade air power has become a factor of the first order. England began to awaken to its importance at the time of the Italian threat in 1935. I recall an interesting conversation I had at a luncheon with Winston Churchill and F. A. Linde-mann, professor of physics at Oxford University, while the Italian threat was at its height. Both were considering the theme of “Bomber vs. Battleship” that was then being discussed in England. The Italians had been boasting a great deal about their suicide squads which were sworn to dive to certain death as they planted their bombs on battleships.

Professor Lindemann, who was an expert on this subject, was not convinced by the data from which judgment could be formed that the effectiveness of battleships could be canceled by airplanes. He posed such objections as this: “No useful conclusion can be drawn until we know what is the fifty per cent zone of airplanes bombing moving targets from various heights and what is the percentage of disabling hits scored by battleships against airplanes attacking at different heights.”

Sharing the view that air fleets were not capable of canceling battleships was Admiral Sir Herbert W. Richmond, former President of the Royal Naval War College and a former Commandant of the Imperial Defense College. He criticized the airplane on such grounds as its limited endurance, which is measured only by hours, and its highly inaccurate fire. He pointed out also the impossibility of maintaining an adequate and constant scouting service or an attacking force in large numbers at all times. He found the analogy of the airplane and the gun erroneous because the gun is more accurate, has a greater volume of fire and a more plentiful supply of munitions.

Here it is merely possible to suggest some of the outlines of this debate, but it is surprising to note how the war has borne out objections like these I have mentioned. The forecasts of the annihilations of sea fleets by bombers have not been fulfilled. In the fight for Norway the British fleet was under continuous air attack; although two cruisers were damaged, they were not put out of action. When a large bomb struck the Rodney it could not pierce her armor. Smaller craft, of course, did not fare too well. Yet Mr. Churchill found it necessary to withdraw British warships quickly from Norwegian waters lest they be trapped. In the Mediterranean, the story has been largely the same. British ships transported troops to Greece and elsewhere almost at will. In the first days of May, 1941, a British fleet shelled Tripoli unmolested for forty-two minutes. There are as yet no detailed reports of the attacks on the aircraft carriers, such as the Glorious and the Illustrious, but they appear to tell no decisive story. One report has it that the Illustrious was temporarily put out of action by a “lucky hit” when a loaded dive bomber crashed on her deck—a two-way bit of “luck.”

Enemy air fleets have found it impossible to annul any of the British bases, including even exposed Malta. The heavy attacks on the British fleet around Crete followed the logic of the objections I have cited. Here there was concentration and vigilance and an attack of limited duration against a selected focal point. Nevertheless the British fleet remained at its post, fighting off the enemy from sea and air. Let us suppose that before this has been printed, the British fleet shall have been driven off and Crete seized. That fact would demonstrate the efficacy of concentrated attack under special conditions, but it would not invalidate the general objections.

The sinking of the British battleship Hood and of the. German battleship Bismarck add a postscript to the foregoing. The Hood was sunk at sea by naval action, not by air attack. But the pursuit of the Bismarck by sea and air, and the sinking of it by an aerial torpedo, reveal a hitherto undemon-strated potentiality of air power under special conditions.


An analysis of the western Mediterranean basin brings us back to the Italian “bridge.” Italy and Sicily, although they are so favorably situated, exert little control over the Mediterranean. The reason may be expressed in a few words: Italy lies exposed, and she has no safe harbors; because of these and other factors—her lack of raw materials, for example, and perhaps also the ineptitude of her naval personnel —she has never been able to gain naval superiority.

In the western Mediterranean the two French ports of Toulon, in southern France, and Bizerta, in Tunisia, were considered by England, in pre-Entente days, strong enough to give France control of the western basin. Later they became the principal bases for the French fleet’s collaboration with the British. They may now be thought of as potential, if not actual, bases of Axis operation. With or without French consent, Germany can and will take them when she so wishes.

The Balearic Islands, which lie in the center of the basin, have always been felt to be extremely important in actual or potential Mediterranean strategy. It must not be imagined, as is often done, that they block the routes from east to west and from north to south; the waters between them and the mainland—a hundred miles more or less in the case of the two main islands—are too wide to permit that. But they must enter calculations to the extent to which they can fulfill the requirements of bases. Majorca’s harbors are broad and open, vulnerable to attack by sea and air, although its bays have many sheltered spots suitable for seaplane bases and its central plains invite airdromes. It is Minorca to which chief attention must be given.

Mediterranean seafaring folk have a saying: “June, July, August, and Mah6n [capital of Minorca] are the best harbors in the Mediterranean.” Minorca’s deep harbors, nearly land-locked, and sheltered by cliffs, are almost impregnable. Knowing its harbors, I can testify to their astonishing facilities for natural defense, to which must be added the big Vick-ers guns I saw being placed there under the Spanish Republican government. Mah6n harbor fulfills all the ideal conditions of a naval base. That is why England, France, and Spain fought to push each other out of it during the best part of the eighteenth century. England, after she was well installed at Gibraltar, made the mistake of relinquishing Minorca to Spain. In view of the menace to Gibraltar, Minorca assumes an importance of the first order. Should Gibraltar fall, England might well find herself without a base between Portsmouth and the Near East, some three thousand miles apart. In that case Britain would likely find the western Mediterranean untenable. But if England were in possession of Minorca, she could keep her western Mediterranean position almost indefinitely.

It has frequently been stated that a secret pact made by Spain and Italy gives Italy wartime bases in the Balearics. If so, Italy has guarded the secret well. But it is significant that in 1932, I, like many another, observed Italian warships making complete observations and surveys in Balearic harbors all during a month.

German strategy in the Mediterranean, in the early summer of 1941, is shaping itself in the direction of an attack on the western Mediterranean as soon as control of the eastern basin can be wrested from Britain. This means an attack on Gibraltar. Recent British diplomacy in connection with Spain has seemed to be repeating the mistakes of the Spanish Civil War. Responsible British statesmanship apparently does not yet see that Spain is already a partner of the Axis. I cannot imagine Mr. Churchill being deceived about this, for during the Spanish Civil War I discussed this very problem with him and found him alert to its dangers. Sir Samuel Hoare, as British Ambassador at Madrid, has appeared to be dictating British policy toward Spain in the deluded belief that either Spain is not a partner of the Axis, or that she can be bought off, if she is. It is not certain that the American Ambassador is not suffering from a similar delusion. Certainly there is evidence to indicate the presence of such a point of view in our State Department. Perhaps the numerous blind spots of which Hoare has given such abundant evidence may help explain British action. Perhaps, also, there are certain pressures directing British policy that come from the appeaser group, which is still powerful.

Whether or not Gibraltar falls, Spain is destined to loom large in Mediterranean strategy. The reason for this is the new importance aerial warfare gives to Spain as a base of operations. The Civil War in Spain must also have awakened the British strategists—if not the professional statesmen—to the danger of attack from Spain’s Atlantic ports, particularly from the superb naval base of El Ferrol, and from Vigo, one of the bases of the Vigo-Azores-Canary Islands triangle.

Two other new factors must be considered in connection with the future strategical position of Spain. The first is the possibility of a trans-Sahara railway uniting French Equatorial Africa, halfway down Africa on the Atlantic side, with the Mediterranean. The second is a tunnel under Gibraltar Strait. It would be premature to overemphasize these two possibilities. Let note merely be taken of these facts: the totalitarian government of France is actually undertaking the construction of the railroad which the Republican government of France had not considered feasible, largely because of the human wastage involved, Totalitarian France, having abjured the principles of the French revolution, now uses Spanish refugees and other unfortunates in the desert labor camps, and is not much concerned about the wastage of lives. Similarly, the totalitarian government of Spain has revived the project of a tunnel under the Strait which the Republican government of Spain did not stress, largely, I understand, out of consideration of its responsibilities toward Britain and France. A glance at the map will reveal how the old Mediterranean strategy would undergo profound changes, and how Spain would attain the very first order of strategic importance, were the continents of Europe and Africa to be linked by railway and tunnel via Spain. However, this dual contingency is still so much a part of the future that to pursue the theme too far means to enter the realm of pure speculation.

The Axis attacks in the Mediterranean have two major objectives: the seizure of the Canal and of Gibraltar. How serious would either of these blows prove, and would they drive Britain from the Mediterranean? The seizure of Port Said by the Axis would certainly block up the Mediterranean at its eastern end, but would not necessarily mean possession of the Canal for the Axis. It must be remembered that the Canal can be defended as well from its eastern as from its western end. The Red Sea must be considered in this connection as a prolonged arm of the Mediterranean. Britain possesses Aqaba, Saukin, Port Sudan, British Soma-liland, the Isle of Perim, and Aden, and as a result is admirably well defended in this sea. Her conquest of Eritrea and Ethiopia strengthens her position beyond her dreams. The French port of Djibouti, with its railway to Addis Ababa, is within her grasp when she deems herself justified in taking it. Moreover, her position on the western shore of the Red Sea has a vital relation to the defense of the Sudan and of Egypt from the south and the east, and consequently of the continued defense of the Canal from Egypt. Aqaba is in a position to defend the Canal from the East. All this constitutes a new system of strategy which cannot be considered in more detail here. Only events could tell whether Axis domination of the northern end of the Canal would actually drive Britain from the eastern Mediterranean.

Seizure of Gibraltar by the Axis would not necessarily close the Strait. An expanse of water eight miles wide is a considerable gap through which ships may maneuver by night, notwithstanding air and sea patrols, searchlights, and other forms of vigilance. I have watched the monotonous procession of ships pass between Tarifa and the opposite shore, and have observed the smugglers doing regular business at the nearby Spanish ports at night. During the Great War, British patrols slipped in and out of a channel five miles wide at the Dardanelles, notwithstanding all the guns and lights and other defenses of the Turks. During the Spanish Civil War Welsh sea captains, like “Potato Jones” and Captain Roberts (who didn’t like one another) and other mariners of my acquaintance, traveled by night in small unprotected tubs and, pursuing zigzag courses, made regular trips from Marseilles to Barcelona, and from Barcelona to Valencia, eluding Italian and perhaps also German destroyers, submarines, and bombers. Their greatest danger was from bombing in the harbors at the end of their journeys.

Germany has made sufficient gains in the Mediterranean to warrant the hypothesis that Britain might be pushed out of it or decide, on her own initiative, to retreat. Retirement from the Mediterranean under war stress presents one prospect that to British sea dogs must be alluring: the Mediterranean could then be sealed up at both ends. At the Red Sea the situation is tailor-made for this purpose. At the Strait it would be more feasible for British ships to blockade the Mediterranean from the Atlantic than it would be for the enemy to cork it up by holding Gibraltar. Retirement from the Mediterranean has another inviting feature: it would enable Britain to withdraw a large part of her forces there for use in the Battle of the Atlantic. She could always go back later to drive Germany out.

In blockading the Strait, Britain would have the advantage of being based on home ports—about a thousand miles away. Yet the possibilities of other bases present themselves: the Azores, Lisbon, and Spanish and French ports on the Atlantic coast of Africa. These would also serve to protect the alternate trade route around the cape. This trade route was utilized during the Great War, and to some extent during the Italian scare of 1935. It has the disadvantages of slowing up trade and of requiring about eighty per cent more tonnage than the Mediterranean route. Some writers have pointed to the fact that only twenty per cent of Britain’s imports passes through the Strait of Gibraltar, maintaining that this demonstrates the possibility of abandoning the Mediterranean route altogether. The fact undoubtedly demonstrates the possibility of a long-term abandonment of that route without affecting Britain in any vital way, but the record and the necessities of modernized commerce testify against the thesis of any permanent abandonment of the Mediterranean being possible.

I ought to note that, so far as I have seen, British naval strategists have not yet admitted the acceptability of withdrawal from the Mediterranean. What they have considered is the withdrawal of shipping so that the navy, being released from convoy duty, could concentrate its efforts on purely military action, This was the proposal of Admiral Richmond who wrote in 1936: “The military situation in the Mediterranean would be eased by relieving, for a time, the naval forces of their purely defensive function, giving them in consequence greater freedom to use their whole efforts in active operations, in combination with Britain’s allies, against the fighting forces of the enemies.” Unfortunately, since 1936, Britain has lost her Mediterranean allies and her strategic position has changed. What I have noted, therefore, has been the possibilities remaining open to Britain should events force her to abandon the Mediterranean for a time.

That Britain now fights alone is the result of what The London Economist on the eve of the war called “the bankruptcy of British statesmanship.” At a critical period Britain had at her helm no Palmerstons, Disraelis, or Salis-burys. She had only appeasers blinded by Tory incomprehension. The tale of their errors is long and sad; it winds from Paris to the Rhine, to Moscow, to Italy and Ethiopia, to Spain, to Munich. Had these statesmen been able to see the significance of the Spanish Civil War as the Battle of Spain, precipitated by the Fascist powers as a preliminary to the Battle of France, they might not now be in their present-day plight. But unfortunately, in Britain there was an alignment of forces very similar to that which prosecuted the rebellion of Spain. The ruling classes, in each case, could see only the bogey of a menace to their particular positions,

In the London Fortnightly Review for September, 1986, I wrote: “If the rebels are successful Spain will become an appendage of Mussolini and Hitler. Fascism will acquire three European fronts. France will be strangled. . . . European history will take a new course.” Others sounded similar warnings, but the ruling class paid no heed.

And so Fascism has acquired, not three, but multiple European fronts. France is strangled. And Britain, in the Mediterranean, fights a lone hand.


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