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The First VictoryThe Second World War and the East Africa Campaign$
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Andrew Stewart

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300208559

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300208559.001.0001

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War Comes to East Africa

War Comes to East Africa

(p.48) Chapter 3 War Comes to East Africa
The First Victory

Andrew Stewart

Yale University Press

This chapter analyzes how the militarization of East Africa increased dramatically during May and June 1940 as British and Commonwealth forces continued to assemble in anticipation of war breaking out with Italy. The policy of ambiguity and confusion which had existed since before the war had led to British Somaliland effectively being offered up for occupation. The prospect of taking advantage of the dramatically changed strategic position became too great for the Italian General Staff to ignore. They concluded that an attack against this territory and a quick and spectacular success could strengthen the flanks of Italian East Africa and raise the morale of Italian people everywhere. In a territory larger than England and Wales, defended by fewer than 3,000 British and Commonwealth troops, the scene was set for the first major battle of the East Africa campaign.

Keywords:   East Africa, militarization, British forces, Commonwealth troops, Italian General Staff, British Somaliland

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