Courtesy Reuters

MUSSOLINI'S hope, like that of Stalin, has been to reap the rewards of victory without sharing in its risks. On June 10, 1940, it was logical enough for him to assume that these rewards would be his by a mere declaration of war against the Western Powers. Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries had been overrun by German troops, France was on the verge of collapse, and even the British Isles seemed wide open to Nazi invasion. "There came a moment -- let it now be acknowledged," The Times reminisced editorially on September 3, "when imminent defeat stared the British Empire in the

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.