The Mediterranean and the Middle East in British Global Strategy, 1935–39
Before spring 1939, the Mediterranean and Middle East did not take first priority in British plans for global war. The threats posed to London by the German air force and to Singapore by the Japanese fleet seemed more profound — if sometimes less urgent — than those generated by the intermittent crises in the Mediterranean. Yet in summer 1940, when Britain was fighting for its independence, the Prime Minister urged an offensive in North Africa and sent precious tanks to Egypt to carry it out. Priorities had clearly changed. This chapter measures the significance of the Mediterranean in British global strategy between 1935 and 1939, explains the gradual changes in the strategic importance of the region during this period, and considers their military and diplomatic consequences. It is not an analysis of strategy in the Mediterranean, but of the Mediterranean in strategy.
KeywordsMiddle East Suez Canal Grand Strategy British Strategy British Interest
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