20.06.

1940: Mussolini Invades France

1940: Mussolini Invades France
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Mussolini delivering his declaration of war speech, from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 20 June 1940
  • The Italian troops, commanded by Mussolini, went through the mountainous area at the French-Italian border. Allegedly, there was a snowstorm and the Italians had to stop near the Little St Bernard Pass.

On this day in 1940, during World War II, the Italian troops  launched their invasion of France. At the time, the Germans conquered almost the entire France, so Mussolini’s decision was something akin to an opportunistic act.

Most of the French Army was fighting against the forces of the Third Reich. Even in such circumstances, the Italians didn’t prove to be good soldiers.

Mussolini declared war on France on 10 June 1940, the same day when the French government decided to leave Paris before the arrival of the Germans.

President Roosevelt thought the Italian declaration of war was something akin to a betrayal.

Apparently, Mussolini didn’t want to help the Germans, but to get part of the French territories after the end of the war.

The Italian troops went through the mountainous area at the French-Italian border.

Allegedly, there was a snowstorm and the Italians had to stop near the Little St Bernard Pass. It seems that Italian troops penetrated into the French territory, and then stopped.

Despite that, France capitulated on 25 June. Mussolini didn’t get what he primarily wanted.

Namely, Italy occupied about 832 square kilometers of France (about 0.15% of the total area).

But, in 1942 the Germans approved Italy’s occupation of Corsica and substantial part of France along the border with Italy, which lasted until the Italian capitulation in 1943.

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