Italy not only wants to annex Albania, but also threatens France, a power in Western Europe.
This is not because Italy has much power, but because the appeasement policy pursued by Britain and France has greatly stimulated Mussolini’s appetite.
After the Munich conference, Mussolini, who was determined to establish an empire in the Mediterranean and Africa, could no longer restrain his aggressive ambitions.
On November 14, 1938, in a letter to the Italian ambassador to Britain, Italian foreign minister ziano publicly declared for the first time that Italy’s colonial claim to France was a practical policy issue.
On November 30, when the Italian Parliament debated foreign policy, an anti French demonstration took place in Italy.
The crowd shouted: “Tunisia! Corsica! Sava!” Italian newspapers and periodicals also responded positively and did a lot of anti French propaganda.
On December 17, Italy officially notified the French Ministry of foreign affairs to repeal the Franco Italian agreement of January 7, 1935, and formulated the principle of coordinated operation of Italian and German armed forces.
On November 8, 1938 and January 8, 1939, Mussolini talked to ziano twice about Italy’s ambitions for French territory and French colonies.
His goals are: autonomy, independence and annexation of Corsica.
Tunisia has become a settlement of Italian ethnic minorities, autonomous governor, and a protectorate of Italy.
Djibouti’s ports and railways were free and open, jointly managed with France, and finally annexed.
The Suez Canal should hold most of the administrative power.
On March 26, 1939, Mussolini delivered a fiercely worded speech, once again putting forward his request for the Mediterranean against France.
On March 15, Mussolini also said with great conceit that if there was a war with France, Italy could fight alone.
Italian chief of general staff Adriano pariani said he would fight a local colonial war with France.
These Italian measures have caused great panic in France.
In November 1938, when Italy made a territorial claim to France, France believed that it was a sign that Italy might attack France in the near future.
It was worried that Germany would encourage Italy to realize its claim to France by force, and Germany would participate in the war as an Italian ally.
The French believe that the Germans will attack the Netherlands, Switzerland and Tunisia at the same time.
After Germany’s annexation of Czechoslovakia, many French worried that as preparation for moving eastward, Germany might defeat France with all its strength with the help of Italy to consolidate its rear.
In addition, the Italian army that helped Franco overthrow the legitimate Spanish government did not withdraw from Spain at this time, and there was a rumor in April 1939 that the Italian Army stationed in Spain was still reinforcing.
As long as Italy maintains its strongholds in Spain, the Balearic Islands, and Sardinia, Sicily and panteria in Italy, some of the main traffic routes in France and northwest Africa will be controlled by Italy.
At this time, France was most worried about the situation: Germany attacked France from the northeast, while Italy attacked Tunisia from tripolitania on the one hand.
On the other hand, it attacked the French mainland from the Pyrenees on the Spanish side.
On April 7, Italy invaded Albania, creating a direct threat to Greece.
France is also very alarmed by Italy’s action.
It is worried that Italy will soon create an incident against Cobain, Egypt, Gibraltar or Tunisia, and even believes that the attack on Albania is only a prelude to the general offensive of Italy and Germany from the North Sea to Egypt.
In order to nip in the bud, as early as November 12, 1938, French Prime Minister dalaidi informed Army General gammerlin that the government would provide 25 billion francs of special funds in 1939 to prepare for the war.
This, together with the regular military budget of 15 billion, brings the total to 40 billion francs.
On March 20, 1939, France issued a series of decrees, including giving priority to national defense orders, guiding workers to participate in industry and other measures, and stipulating that the national defense industry works 60 hours a week.
On March 31, the French parliament indefinitely extended the two-year service decree of March 17, 1936 and passed a bill authorizing the government to call up reserve soldiers at any time.
On the evening of April 9, the French National Defense Commission decided to transfer most of the Atlantic Fleet to the Mediterranean, further send reinforcements to Tunisia and French Somalia, and concentrate the air force in places easy to bomb Italy.
That night, French Prime Minister dalaidi assured British ambassador to France Phelps that if Britain helped Greece resist attacks on any part of Greek territory, France would immediately declare war on Italy.
At the same time, Britain and France have also strengthened military cooperation.
On March 22, Britain and France stipulated the obligation of mutual support in wartime by exchanging notes.
To guarantee military assistance to the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland in the event of a German attack.
Thus, the unwritten alliance between them was further determined and the British French military alliance was formally formed.
Since then, the general staff of Britain and France held a series of talks, and the two sides reached an agreement on how to cooperate in case of war in Europe.
The two sides confirmed that the armed forces of the two countries will jointly fight against Germany and Italy.
Joint operations in a certain theater shall be under the unified leadership of the headquarters of one side.
In case of war, Britain should take positive action by sea and air force and send expeditionary forces to France.
The battle plan on land was drawn up by the French general command, under the command of the British Expeditionary Force.
On July 21, British Prime Minister Chamberlain sent a letter to dalaidi proposing the establishment of the supreme military conference of wartime allies, which is composed of the prime ministers of the two countries and a minister.
Subsequently, Britain proposed the establishment of a joint operations staff.
On August 3, dalaidi entrusted gammerlin to draft a reply letter, agreeing to establish the supreme military conference of the allies, but proposing to allow representatives of the highest military authorities of both sides to join.
However, because France was worried that the establishment of a unified command would subject itself to British strategy, it advocated the establishment of an Allied Military Research Committee rather than a joint operations staff.
On August 17, Britain agreed with France.
However, the first meeting of the Allied Supreme military conference was not held until September 12.