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World War II

Mussolini, on February 4th, 1939, addressed a private meeting of the Grand Council of the Fascist Party and outlined the war aims and aspirations of Italian Fascism. The Duke stated: "The premise from which I argue is the following: States are more or less independent according to their maritime position. Italy is bordered by an inland sea, which communicates with the ocean through the Suez Canal, and by the Straits of Gibraltar, dominated by the Government of Great Britain. Italy has in fact no free access to the oceans. She is really a prisoner in the Mediterranean and the more populous and powerful she becomes; the more will she suffer from her imprisonment. The bars of this prison are Corsica, Tunisia, Malta and Cyprus. Its sentinels are Gibraltar and Suez.
Mussolini planned that Italy should enter the war in the spring of 1941. "After the conquest of Norway and the domination, of Den­mark, (by Germany), I had already brought this date forward to early September 1940. Now, after the conquest of Holland, the fall of Belgium, the invasion of France and the resultant situation, I have brought the date still further forward and consider that any date from 5 June next is suitable for entering the war. If we delayed two weeks or a month, we should not improve the situation while we might give Germany the impression of arriving after the fait accompli when the risk is slight. All this could be important when peace is signed", said Mussolini in a memorandum to the King on 31st March, 1940.
Mussolini planned a token campaign on the Western Alpine frontier with France that would bring him to the conference table with the French and make it possible to settle the historic claims to Nice, Corsica and Tunisia. An operation on the Libyan/Egyptian border against the British would entitle the Italians to take their seat at the surrender talks, which would rapidly follow operation 'Sea Lion', the planned Nazi invasion of Britain. The failure to invade Britain and Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union changed the face of the war and precluded any major German military effort in the Mediterranean. However by then Mussolini had declared war on Britain and France, which was On the verge of collapse
  • On Italy's declaration of war on the 10th of June 1940


    On September 3, 1939, England and France declared war on Germany. That was very far away, but Italy a great friend of Germany, and not very pleased with England was Quite near to Malta. "What is Italy going to do now?" everyone was asking. Italy gave her answer in the afternoon of June 10, 1940: she sided with Germany. Malta, all of a sudden, was in the forefront of war, just 60 miles away from enemy lands.
    Early next morning, the wailing sirens announced the first air raid, the Italians attacked Malta, and several families became homeless. A few people were killed, more injured day after day; our three Gladiator fighters went up into the sky to frighten enemy bombers. 'Faith', 'Hope', and 'Charity' (as our fighters were nick-named) were overworked, but, little by little, help, food, munitions, and anti-aircraft guns began to arrive.
    until proper shelters were dug in the solid rock, the inhabitants had to take refuge in cellars and under staircases. The 'Hurricanes' and later, the 'Spitfires', began to defend Malta. So, German planes used to help the Italians to bomb our Islands. In January 1941, there was a mass attack on the aircraft carrier "Illustrious" and on the Dockyard, with very heavy damage.
    Supplies of food were always getting smaller, and very little could reach the Islands, so convoys were organised. Merchant ships loaded supplies for Malta, and were then escorted by warships all along the route. The enemy attacked these convoys, so as not to let them reach Malta, but the Maltese prayed without stopping. They begged God and the Virgin Mary to make convoys arrive safely... No one who saw it can forget the convoy that reached the harbours of Malta on August 15, 1942, feast of the Assumption. Crowds lined the shores, children waved flags with joy... that convoy saved Malta.
    we had supplies for only two days: Then, surrender! But God had heard our prayers. For the gallantry shown by all the people of Malta and Gozo, King George VI gave us the 'George Cross', the highest honour he could give us, in June of 1943, he personally visited Malta. Even Churchill, the British Prime Minister, and Roosevelt, the President of America, visited our dear Islands.
    On September 8, 1943, the feast of Our Lady of Victories, Italy surrendered. In May 1945, Germany, and on August 15th of that year Japan surrendered, bringing an end to the war. Once more, Our Lady had helped Malta to save Europe, and Britain could save her Empire


    when the never-ending air raids of the last war began, the first to get used to the war was surely the Maltese child. In the streets, they played their usual games, or some new war ones which they invented, they even used fallen stones to build toy fortresses, which they manned and guarded. Then at the air-raid signal, they would raise their own red flags and stand by them during the raids.
    those who took refuge inside the shelters, hurriedly scampered out as soon as the 'raiders-passed' signal was given, usually by those outside. But children also helped a lot, they helped those moving to some other pace on the Island after their homes had been blown up, they helped in the cleaning of the shelters and in bringing rations from the shops. Girls looked after the house, brought bucketfuls of water, mothered the younger members of the family and took rigorous care of the rations.
    Children may have gone about badly dressed, certainly they had to control hunger and times of meals, but they learned not to grumble and to take for granted every discomfort that the war brought about. And most became better citizens.

    Click picture to view the whole story about 'The Convoy of Santa Maria'THE FIFTEENTH OF AUGUST, 1942

    After 26 months of war, Malta was still surrounded by enemy forces in Northern Africa, Greece, Italy, Crete and Sicily. While food was running very short, supply ships were not left to reach Malta and were destroyed at sea by German bombers. Several heroic efforts were made to bring to Malta all the war and civil needs, but the Germans seemed to be everywhere.
    Then came the time when it was convoy or surrender, Malta's days were numbered. At the beginning of August, a very large convoy had left Gibraltar with 85,000 tons of cargo, each ship had a quantity of each commodity so that, whichever ships reached Malta, they would have a certain amount of whatever was necessary.
    From the very start, the ships were attacked by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Junkers 88 which gave them little or no time to relax. One cruiser and 5 destroyers never reached Malta to share the triumph. As soon as the ships were safe in harbour, well organised gangs of workmen unloaded them, and the supplies were all in the stores before 24 hours had passed

  • The century and a half of British rule was marked by alternating periods of comparative prosperity and learner times for the Maltese. The local economy was mainly based and dependant on the requirements of British military and naval policy, so that any increase in the navy or military presence meant more opportunities for gainful employment in and with the Services and a corresponding growth in commerce and industry; a run-down in the Services was inevitably reflected in periods of unemployment and hardship, which caused many Maltese to migrate to other lands near and far.

    Though the people of Malta began their struggle for local government and autonomy from the very first years of British rule, constitutional evolution was slow and long-drawn. It was only in 1921 after the First World War in Which many Maltese saw service in various theatres of operations, that London granted Malta her first self-governing Constitution? The part played by the Maltese, and Malta's contribution to victory in the 1939 - 1945 war was considerable. The epic story of those years in what became known as the Second Siege of Malta has been told and commemorated in a number of volumes dealing with those arduous years.
    Click picture to view the whole story about the 'George Cross'At the height of her ordeal - in April 1942 - King George VI Awarded Malta the George Cross to honor her brave people . . . to hear witness to a heroism and devotion which will long be famous in history.

  • All the information found on this web site is the result of a lot of research, from books I own dating back to the 1900's and other resources. All credit goes to the respective authors. If you think that I am in breach of any copyright, please contact me, and I will remove the material in question.

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