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Destiny in the Desert: The road to El Alamein - the Battle that Turned the Tide by Jonathan Dimbleby

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– THREE –MUSSOLINI’S MISTAKE

‘You have done great deeds and won much glory. We are fighting for freedom and truth and kindliness against oppression and lies and cruelty, and we shall not fail.’

Archibald Wavell

In Rome, news of the British seizure of Sidi Barrani hit the Foreign Ministry like ‘a thunderbolt’. But though Ciano realised that the Tenth Army had ‘had a licking’, Mussolini appeared quite impervious to the gravity of the situation. By now, according to the timetable he had projected three months earlier, he should have been celebrating victory with Hitler as an equal partner with his German ally. That vision had turned to dust in the desert, crumbling so fast that even so delusional a leader as Mussolini should have found it impossible ...

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