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The Axis Powers were comprised of Germany, Japan and of course Italy. Italy was a player in the Axis of evil but it never really in the center stage. So when WWII broke out in Poland in September of 1939 why did it take Italy until June of 1940 to join with Germany?
Initially, Benito Mussolini resisted joining Adolf Hitler’s quest to conquer Europe, keeping Italy isolated from the war. However, the mounting political pressure kept pushing on Mussolini to make a decision. Did he take the risk of staying neutral and becoming a target for an invasion of Nazi Germany or should he join his powers with Hitler? A British Field General even compared Mussolini to a kid hesitating to jump off a diving board.
“I think he must do something. If he cannot make a graceful dive, he will at least have to jump in somehow; he can hardly put on his dressing-gown and walk down the stairs again.”
– General Sir Archibald Wavell
So in June of 1940, Mussolini declared war on Great Britain and France, expecting a short war. He had high hopes that allying with the Axis Powers would provide new land to Italy without having to fight many battles. Peer pressure was Italy’s undoing because they didn’t have the resources to fight a lengthy war, nor were they successful in combat and essentially ended up being more of a nuisance than anything.