The italian Frogmen

Years of Turmoil Leading to World War II

Despite the many unsolved social problems, the Peace Treaty gave the Europeans a sense that, once again, there was no big war looming. But when Germany began to build its forces, all kinds of objections began to emerge. And when Italy invaded primitive Ethiopia, Germany quickly moved to support Italy against the objections of France and of England. If it was alright for Fran. a. England to have colonies, why should not Italy be able to do the same? Hitler's solidarity won Mussolini's allegiance; it also aggravated the already frail relationship with Fran. and England. Worse, Hitler continued to build up his forces with wanton disregard to the terms of the Armistice and of foreign opinion.

Some fifty miles south of Sicily, Malta was the thorn in Italy's back. The British held the island of Malta and the Italians could not digest the defiance posed by such a visible presence of English vessels in Italy's own back waters.

In the meantime, Mussolini felt it was good to have a friendly Germany to the north. As result Italians felt safer, a., once again, disarmament seemed more plausible.

Italy's military apparatus was never a real force on land or at sea. Yet, it had sporadic successes due to unconventional actions by specific soldiers, pilots, and sailors. Among the more distinguished branches were the Alpini soldiers specializing in mountainous terrain a. the Bersaglieri who were most effective in offensive deployment. In the Navy, there were the special guerrilla warfare units—.w, but very effective. Although Italy kept a regular army and navy, there were never the national resources to do more than was necessary for pea.-time needs.