On this day in 1940, Britain demonstrates that it will not remain on the defensive, by bombing Italian targets in response to Mussolini’s declaration of war on England and France.
Having already marked out an offensive strategy in the event of Italian aggression, Britain bombed targets within the cities of Genoa and Turin. Africa was also another theater of conflict, as Italy and Britain were imperial neighbors. Italy had just bombed targets in the British-controlled Suez Canal territory, as well as the British-controlled island of Malta, in the Mediterranean. Britain retaliated with a raid on the Italian military installation in Eritrea. Even the Pacific would see fallout from this new conflict, with an Australian merchant cruiser giving chase to an Italian vessel, which ended up scuttling itself rather than surrendering.