WWII - War In The Mediterranean
(North Africa, Sicily, and Italy)
By December 11, 1941, the U.S. was officially at war with all three major Axis powers, but most Americans wanted to see the Japanese head of the three-headed monster cut off first because of what happened at Pearl Harbor. American military strategists disagreed. They argued that defeating Hitler first was vital to the ultimate success of the Allies, an argument backed by good reasons. Though Germany and the Soviet Union had signed a friendly pact with one another in 1939, Hitler decided to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941. The strategists reasoned that if the U.S. focused primarily on Japan and ignored Europe, Hitler might be able to overrun not only Great Britain, but also the Soviet Union. This, in essence, would have given Hitler control over all of Europe, making it nearly impossible to remove him later. However, if the Allies could defeat Germany first, they then could bring their full forces to bear against Japan and end Emperor Hirohito's quest to conquer Asia.
America and Great Britain agreed on the “Europe first" strategy but disagreed about where to strike in Europe first. The U.S. wanted to hit the European Axis (Germany and Italy) directly through an all-out cross-English Channel invasion into France, pushing the Nazis out of France back into Germany. The British, though, wanted to chip away and weaken the
Through 1941 and 1942, Italian and German forces commanded by the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel-nicknamed the "Desert Fox" because of his great victories in the deserts of North Africa—had swept across North Africa. Operation Torch was to be a joint effort by British and American forces to squeeze Rommel's forces between the "rock" of Eisenhower's forces and the "hard place" of Britain's Eighth Army, led by General Bernard Montgomery, at Tunisia. Eisenhower set off from Casablanca, Morocco, moving eastward while Montgomery started from Tripoli in Libya
Still fearing that Germany had not been softened up enough for an Allied invasion into France, the Brits convinced the reluctant Americans to move on to Sicily in July (Operation Husky) and Italy in September (primarily Operation Avalanche). Despite tough fighting, Sicily fell quickly to the Allies in August. Just before Sicily fell, the Italian dictator Benito “II Duce” Mussolini was deposed. Eisenhower then negotiated a deal with an Italian Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, placing him at the head of a newly created Italian government in return for that government's unconditional surrender to the Allies in September 1943.
Italy left the Axis powers, but the Germans did not leave Italy. Numerous German troops remained in Italy to hold off the Allied invasion starting in September. Germany became even more determined to meet the Allied threat when Italy, a former friend, became one of the Allies and declared war on Germany in October 1943. Some of the nastiest, brutish, and bitter fighting of the war happened in the blood-soaked, snowy mountains of Italy. The Allied advance came to a screeching halt early in 1944 at an ancient monastery, Monte Cassino, where the Germans set up what seemed to be an impenetrable defense.
Two days after the fall of Rome, the longed-for Allied invasion of France-known as D-Day-began. From that day forward, the Germans focused most of their attention on the French front. However, fierce fighting continued in Italy as the Allies slowly and painstakingly made their way to northern Italy. German troops in Italy finally surrendered on May 2, 1945-only five days before Germany's official surrender to the Allies, which ended the European part of the war.
Location. 30° 13.708′ N, 90° 54.782′ W. Marker is in Gonzales, Louisiana, in Ascension Parish. Marker can be reached from South Irma Boulevard 0.3 miles north of East Worthey Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gonzales LA 70737, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. WWII - War In Europe (here, next to this marker); World War II (here, next to this marker); WWII - War In The Pacific (here, next to this marker); A View From The Trenches: A Doughboy From Donaldsonville Writes Home (a few steps from this marker); World War I (a few steps from this marker); "The War to End War" (a few steps from this marker); The Vietnam War (a few steps from this marker); The Korean War (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gonzales.
Categories. • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 1, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 1, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 1, 2018.