Italian occupation of Majorca

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Majorca
Majorca
Italian-occupied territory

1936–1939
Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Majorca
The Balearic Islands during the Spanish Civil War.
Majorca is the large central island.
Light blue: Italian / Spanish Nationalist-occupied territory.
Grey: Spanish Republican-occupied territory.
Capital Palma
Government Occupation
Proconsul
 -  1936 Arconovaldo Bonaccorsi
Historical era Interwar period
 -  Established 1936
 -  Disestablished 1939

The Italian occupation of Majorca refers to the invasion and occupation of the Balearic island of Majorca by Italy during the Spanish Civil War. Italy intervened in the war with the intention of annexing the Balearic Islands and Ceuta and creating a client state in Spain.[1] Italy sought the acquisition of the Balearic Islands due to its strategic position in which Italy could use the islands as a base to disrupt lines of communication between France to its North African colonies and between British Gibraltar and Malta.[2] Italian flags were flown over the island.[3] Italian forces dominated Majorca, with Italians openly manning the Majorcan airfields at Alcúdia and Palma, as well as Italian warships being based in the harbour of Palma.[4]

Prior to all-out intervention by Italy in Spain, Mussolini authorized "volunteers" to go to Spain, resulting in Fascist Blackshirt leader Arconovaldo Bonaccorsi (also known as "Count Rossi") led a raiding force that landed on the largest Balearic island of Majorca, and seized control of the island.[5] Bonaccorsi was sent to Majorca to be an Italian proconsul in the Balearics.[6] Bonaccorsi proclaimed that Italy would occupy the island in perpetuity.[7] Bonaccorsi initiated a brutal reign of terror in Majorca, arranging the murder of 3,000 people on the island accused of being communists, including emptying its prisons by having all prisoners shot.[8] During the aftermath of the Battle of Majorca, Bonaccorsi renamed the main street of Palma de Majorca Via Roma, and adorned it with statues of Roman eagles.[9] Bonaccorsi was later awarded by Italy for his activity in Majorca.[10]

Italian forces launched air raids from Majorca against Republican-held cities on mainland Spain.[11] Initially Mussolini only authorized a weak force of Italian bomber aircraft to be based in Majorca in 1936 to avoid antagonizing Britain and France.[12] However the lack of resolve by the British and French to Italy's strategy in the region, encouraged Mussolini to deploy twelve more bombers to be stationed in Majorca, including one aircraft flown by his son, Bruno Mussolini.[13] By January 1938, Mussolini had doubled the number of bombers stationed in the Balearics and increased bomber attacks on shipping headed to support Spanish Republican forces.[14] The buildup of Italian bomber aircraft on the island's airfields and increased Italian air attacks on Republican-held ports and shipping headed to Republican ports was viewed by France as provocative.[15]

After Franco's victory in the civil war, and several days after Italy's conquest in the Balkans of Albania, Mussolini issued an order on April 11 or 12 1939, to withdraw all Italian forces from Spain.[16] Mussolini issued this order in response to Germany's sudden action of invading Czechoslovakia in 1939, in which Mussolini was aggravated by Hitler's swift success and sought to prepare Italy to make similar conquests in Eastern Europe.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. J. B. Bosworth. The Oxford handbook of fascism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 246.
  2. ^ John J. Mearsheimer. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. W. W. Norton & Company, 2003.
  3. ^ S. Balfour. Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century. Routledge, London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: 1999. p. 172.
  4. ^ LIFE 22 November 1937.
  5. ^ Mr. Ray Moseley. Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano. Yale University Press, 2000. Pp. 27.
  6. ^ Mr. Ray Moseley. Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano. Yale University Press, 2000. Pp. 27.
  7. ^ Raanan Rein. Spain and the Mediterranean Since 1898. London, England, UK; Portland, Oregon, USA: FRANK CASS, 1999. Pp. 155.
  8. ^ Mr. Ray Moseley. Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano. Yale University Press, 2000. Pp. 27.
  9. ^ Abulafia, David. 2001. The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean. Oxford University Press. p. 604
  10. ^ Mr. Ray Moseley. Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano. Yale University Press, 2000. Pp. 27.
  11. ^ S. Balfour. Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century. Routledge, London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: 1999. p. 172.
  12. ^ Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. Cornell University, 2002. Pp. 32.
  13. ^ Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. Cornell University, 2002. Pp. 32.
  14. ^ Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. Cornell University, 2002. Pp. 29.
  15. ^ Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. Cornell University, 2002. Pp. 32.
  16. ^ Robert H. Whealey. Hitler And Spain: The Nazi Role in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Paperback edition. Lexington, Kentucky, USA: University of Kentucky Press, 2005. Pp. 62.
  17. ^ Robert H. Whealey. Hitler And Spain: The Nazi Role in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Paperback edition. Lexington, Kentucky, USA: University of Kentucky Press, 2005. Pp. 62.