No pain no gain – but unfortunately unnecessary pain when the obvious dangers are ignored. Politicians suffer no pain – you do.

18th November, 1940 : Important talks begin in Berchtesgaden, where Hitler receives the Italian Foreign Minister and the Spanish Foreign Minister. He does not conceal his anger at the failure of the Greek campaign and his anxiety about the obvious disagreement at the heart of the Italian supreme command. He argues, and repeats it in a letter to Mussolini which he hands to Ciano, that if the British acquire air bases in Greece (at Athens, Thessaloniki,Larisa and Arta) they will be able to bomb the oil wells at Ploesti. He therefore considers it necessary for Germany to intervene, though this cannot be done before 15 March in the following year.

He calls on Duce to make radical change in his policy towards Yugoslavia, which must be attracted into the orbit of the Axis, perhaps by promising the Yugoslavs the port of Thessaloniki when the Greeks are beaten. Mussolini must not forget that the British air bases in Greece pose a threat to Albania and the whole of southern Italy.

Finally, Hitler says it is necessary to close the Mediterranean, to seek an accord with Turkey, to persuade Rumania to accept a stronger German garrison and Hungary to allow the passage of German forces, to defeat the British in North Africa, and to induce Spain to enter the war by attacking Gibraltar.

About Ludwig von Gress

Born in communist Europe, interested in defence matters on a macro scale, with a cavalry “devil may care spirit” from his grandfather and cautious effectiveness of asymmetric warfare approach from his guerilla father. He sometimes despairs that he may be the only one taking the defence of Australia seriously.
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