The British Defence of Egypt, 1935-40: Conflict and Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean by Steve Morewood
A comprehensive and challenging analysis of the British defence of Egypt, primarily against fascist Italy, in the critical lead-up period to the Second World War.
Culminating in the decisive defeat of the Italian military threat at Sidi Barrani in December 1940, this is a fascinating new contribution to the field. The security of Egypt, a constant of British imperial strategy, is a curiously neglected dimension of the still burning appeasement debate.
Steven Morewood adds to the originality of his interpretation by suggesting the old view should be reinstated: that Mussolini should and could have been stopped in his empire-building at the Abyssinian hurdle. Thereafter, as Nazi Germany tore the Versailles peace settlement to shreds, the drift to war accelerated as British resolve and credibility were brought into question. The fascist dictators in Rome and Berlin held no respect for weakness and Mussolini became the conduit through which Hitler could apply pressure to a sensitive British interest through reinforcing Libya at critical moments.