chapter
The world around war Politics and war
Pages 7

The war in the Mediterranean theater was unique in many ways, from the large-scale, ideological wars fought in mainland Europe and the Far East. The almost complete absence of civilian populations, apart from a few nomadic Arabs and Italian settlers in Africa, partisans in northern Italy or on the small island of Malta, ensured that the fighting was predominantly a purely military affair between professional armed forces, with minimal civic disruption. The relatively small sizes of the forces involved, in comparison to the overall war effort of each side, also had minimal impact on the domestic economies or civilian populations of the nations involved, except in Italy. Nevertheless, even from an early stage the thrilling exploits of the glamorous armies, and their flamboyant, often self-adulatory commanders, were ruthlessly exploited by the Axis and Allied propaganda machines alike.