The campaign in Libya
After Germany decided to isolate Britain, it demanded the destruction of Egypt as a means of smashing
Britain's naval power and weakening the empire. Hitler's success in the Balkans, Crete, and the shores of
North Africa could have given Hitler an important strategic connection to the Middle East - thus gaining
control of the way to the Soviet oil fields.
When Italy attacked on June 10, 1940, were under the command of the British Field Marshal Vival in the
Middle East. The Italians' strategy should have been a decisive blow to the British forces in Egypt, but
Vival pushed the Italians away and eventually, withdrew from Libya and with the help of General
O'Connor defeated the Italians in successful battles in the Western Desert.
Vival also sent troops to Sudan and Kenya to purify East Africa from the Italians. In April 1941, the British
forces entered Addis Ababa and by the end of the month cleared the supply routes for their forces in the
Red Sea. In these battles, Ethiopian guerrillas were assisted.
In Libya, the small British force that held the lines south of Benghazi remained. The aim was to
completely eliminate the Italian forces from North Africa. India and Australia provided human resources
to these systems, especially in the period before the American intervention. Churchill acted in the
Mediterranean as if it were a front of the highest priority, even though the senior command did not
place the war on top of the agenda. He expanded the military involvement of the British forces in the
Middle East beyond the wishes of the British Chiefs and part of his Cabinet.