From Our Diplomatic Correspondent
The Italian attack on Greece is one incident in an ever widening circle of warfare for which the whole world is now becoming the stage.
The offer of paramount influence in the Mediterranean — which the Italians call " our sea " (mare nostrum)—was made to Italy by the Nazis to draw Rome into the German world. This offer included satisfaction of Italian demands in Dalmatia, in Tunisia, and probably Corsica and Nice. Greece was to be in the Italian sphere of influence, an ancillary power in the new Roman Empire, whereas the Germans were to have a free hand in Hungary and Rumania.
UNSTOPPABLE STEAM ENGINE
But the Italians have been cautiously refusing to seize upon their lebensraum, in marked contrast to Germany. The supreme example of this is the failure of the Italians to occupy any part of France or the French colonies. In fact, the so-called unoccupied France could not be occupied by the Germans without irritating Italy, and the present dividing-line between occupied and unoccu
pied France is roughly the line drawn between the Italian and German empires on fanciful maps drawn .by Nazi enthusiasts and geopoliticians as far back as Iwo years ago.
While the Germans have been advancing into their lebensraum with the precision of an unstoppable steam-roller. Italy has been losing prestige by failing to doe the same, and the reason for this is quite simply weakness.
By attacking Greece, Mussolini thinks to kill two birds with one stone. He hopes to get his lebensraum from the strong strategic position of Albania. But at the same time, the plan is to turn an impossible corner.
Without the Greek concessions which the Italian ultimatum demanded—i.e., the occupation of strategic points for the duration of the war—Italy is finding it exceedingly difficult to achieve serious successes in Egypt. But, furthermore, the possession of the Greek mainland in security is Italy's lifeline to Rumanian and Russian petrol.
These days will see a race for the Greek islands between Great Britain and Italy, as spectacular as the Allied and German race for the sea in 1914, but the Italians engaged on the German path, are already
subject to the historical farm affecting the ever-widening extension of war areas. from which there is no end but absolute world victory or world defeat.
EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY The primary aim of the Axis Powers consists not in conquering the whole British Empire east of Suez piece by piece, which is impossible. Their aim, and this is how their aim is understood throughout the continent, is to win strategic victories and seize strategic points such as Egypt and Gibraltar, and possibly Iraq. But this is the stage for setting up a grand council of European solidarity to force peace on Great Britain. The whole tone of Axis propaganda is now moving along these lines of " Europe for the Europeans without British interference."
• Meanwhile a further attack on a small country will fan up American antagonism tio the Axis to a further height, especially when committed by Italy, a country even more disliked in the United States than Nazi Germany is.
If the immense Axis plan has a weakness, it lies not in the military sphere, but in the extra-European world. It may be that the decisive battle is not to be fought in Britain or even on the Nile, but on the Potomac.