Talk:Middle East Theatre of World War II

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Command Structures[edit]

I don't think casual readers are sufficiently interseted in the structure/commanders for them to go at the top of the page. They want an overview of the campign more than anything and it disrupts the "flow" of the article. See the ABDACOM article for an example of what I mean. Grant65 (Talk) 02:49, May 7, 2005 (UTC)

It depends what is in the command structure. ABDACOM is not a good example because it is about a command and the second sentence says "On December 29, Winston Churchill said that it had been agreed Wavell...".
Although I would agree with you that the details as described in the "Official command structure" as shown in ABDACOM should not be placed at the top of this article. Tables like that should be placed at the bottom of the article, or not at all as IMHO they should be in the Middle East Command as they are too detailed for an overview like this.
What I envisage the "command structure" to be is the overview of the campaigns with who was in command of what and why they were replaced. Many people are interested in the high level politics which goes on in a theatre (Eg Churchill and Monty) and in biographic tipbits rather than the military campaigns. It also saves having to repeat who was in command of what in several different campaign sections. See Mediterranean Theater of Operations and South-East Asian Theatre and for prototypes of what I mean.
In most theatres it is particularly easy to follow the Allied command structure because there tendeds to be only one Allied supreme commander from start to end of one major campaign. The Axis forces often had different commanders and in the case of the Germans dual reporting lines because Hitler worked that way. So the command section should be broken into two subsections one for Allies and one for Axis. For example I am aware of the command structure of the Allies on the Western Front in 44-45 because it is easy, but I only have a hazy idea of the German command structure for most of the campaign).
The Middle East and the Med, like South East Asia the Allied command structure it is more complicated than Europe or the North Pacific and involves more overt politics. For example Monty in one of his more unusually modest and candid moments said that when an army has had a defeat and is building up for a new attack the commander is vulnerable to being replaced because he is perceived as having been defeated and then timid because the front is quiet. If he is replaced, the new commander benefits from the near completed build up for the new attack and is seen as an aggressive commander when he launches it shortly after arriving.
The reason why so many people tend to lump Africa into the European theatre is because they assume that if Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander in Europe, was also supreme allied commander in Africa, then the two commands must have been combined in some way. This perception is reinforced with the movement of the Mony from Italy to the UK along with the more famous British Divisions in the 8th army. Most people once they know that there is a diffrence are interested to know when Eisenhower left for the UK, was it after Africa, Sicily, or the invasion of Italy? Many would be surprised to learn that a Brit replaced him as supreme allied commander. Philip Baird Shearer 10:49, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough :-) Grant65 (Talk) 10:02, May 9, 2005 (UTC)


Why does "North Africa Theater of World War II" redirect here and not to "North African Campaign"? This is the top search result on WP for "world war ii north africa", but ANY person making that search will be far more interested in that material than this. EthanS 11:13, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. --dashiellx (talk) 15:24, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


According to the British official history of the fighting in the Middle East, there was no "Middle East Theatre".

See Volume I, p. xxv of the official history by Playfair:

"Fighting in the Mediterranean and Middle East began in June 1940 when Italy decided to enter the war. It went on for five years - which was longer than in any other theatre."

Nor have i seen any other source refer to the fighting in the Middle East as a theatre of war, the fighting in the Middle East more suits the defination of a "front" than that a theatre - a front of the overall Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatre/Mediterranean and Middle East theatre or whatever you wish to call it.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:06, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Google is our friend [1]. See for example. Winston Churchill The Second World War Snippet view --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:34, 10 October 2008 (UTC)


Prehaps i was a bit to brash suggesting the Middle East theate was fictious however historians also call this same theater the "Mediterranean theater", the "Mediterranean and Middle East theater" etc etc.
Considering that there are now two articles dealing with the same theater, this one, covering only a small section of the theatre mostly based off the fact a certain command structure was set up and controlled this area, and the Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatres of World War II, which covers the entire theater in more detail including some basic info on the naval campaigns which were fought. There is no reason for two seperate top tier articles.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 10:49, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I am against the merger. There are good reasons as we have already discussed for keeping them separate. As you know more than one person has already suggested that the Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatres of World War II be moved back to the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:38, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Stop being an ass - you know full well there was a hell load of people who agreed that "Mediterranean Theatre of World War II" should be merged with this article and several others to become the Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatres of World War II. There is absloute no reason for there to be muliptle articles and by your attitute in this articles discussion page and others you appear to be taking it personnaly that people dont agree with your POV.
I have reverted your last edit on the main article as you do not equal complete consensus on that there should be no merger.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:08, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
It should be noted that using this tool: this article has been recieving less views since the creation of the new Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatres of World War II article.
Using - there is more text, i.e. there is also more info available than on this article. While i would suggest both need copyediting according to that tool - according to that tool this article is the one in the need of it most.
Looking through the history section of both articles - there has been basically nothing done to this article since the beginning of the year while the new article is under constant work - i cannot vouch for the information being added but it is recieving far more attention from editors.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:44, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Battle and campaign articles reflect actions that are closely linked in time and/or place. Theatre articles such as this reflect the relevant unit/command structures. The relevant British Commonwealth formation was the Middle East Command. I regard the Middle East Theatre (including the North African Campaign), as a subset of the broader Mediterranean Theatre, along with the naval, Balkan, "Torch", Tunisian and Italian Campaigns. (The argument about whether other campaigns in Africa should be lumped with those is a separate debate.) Grant | Talk 06:05, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I completely disagree on what the theatre is; from the oxford dictionary: "the area in which something happens: a theatre of war". From the wiki: Theater (warfare): "In warfare, a theater or theatre is defined as a specific geographical area of conduct of armed conflict, bordered by areas where no combat is taking place. In many ways the term is derived from the Colosseum of Rome. A theatre is defined by the need for separate planning to be occurring at the highest command echelon of the participating armed forces, including where separate Services are concerned. The delineation occurs along regional boundaries or maritime areas that require distinctly separate approach to planning from other regions bordering it. A single conflict may be waged in multiple theaters, and a single nation or an alliance may be participating in multiple theaters. Alternatively a nation may be participating in multiple but unrelated conflicts waged in separate theatres of war."
The article also quotes On War by Carl von Clausewitz: "Specifically in his book Clausewitz defines the term as one that, "denotes properly such a portion of the space over which war prevails as has its boundaries protected, and thus possesses a kind of independence."
Major-General I.S.O. Playfair, the lead writer of 4 out of the 6 volumes of the British governments official campaign history titled: the ‘Mediterranean and Middle East series’ states the following in the introduction to Volume I, p. xxv.
"Fighting in the Mediterranean and Middle East began in June 1940 when Italy decided to enter the war. It went on for five years - which was longer than in any other theatre.”
These 4 sources, 1 primary, 2 strong secondary and 1 weak secondary, show that what command structure in place is totally irrelevant. Do you have a single source which states a theatre of war is based off what command structure was in place?
If it were the opposite, the "Middle East theatre" would have to be split between the Indian command and the ME Command. The naval fighting would have to be split between god knows how many commands and the Axis command structure is changed several times - where the Italians fighting in a separate theatre than the Germans pre-Operation Sonneblumme?
How would you define the so called European Theatre of War? There was no single command structure organising operations between the Soviets and Western Allies. Even the Western Allies could surpass Ike and report to there own Chiefs of staffs. The Germans command structure was so fragmented that OKW ran one front and OKH the other.
Back to topic at hand though, did the Italians or Germans have a "Middle East Command"? If not why are we naming this theatre of war based purely off a British Command structure - where is the NPOV? Why is this not the “South theatre of war” (iirc that was the name of the command Kesselring was c-in-c of) or the Italian equivalent?
By the logic you have implied following the conclusion of the "Middle East Command theatre" when the 18th AG was formed the next theatre of war should be the "Allied Forces Headquarters theatre" not the Med theatre.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:11, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Just to make another point, if i may draw your attentions to 'Army Council Instructions to the General Officer Commanding-in-Cheif in the Middle East' (the document sent to Wavell letting him know he had been reassigned to C-i-C ME) paragraphs 3, 10, 14 and 15 - Middle East Command authority was only over land forces. You can find a copy of this on pages 457-458 Volume I, British Official Campaign History by Playfair.
This was at least the state of play when the Command was established and this raises some odd questions on how this theatre could be fought if articles "such as this reflect the relevant unit/command structures. The relevant British Commonwealth formation was the Middle East Command." Are we talking about the Army command or the RAF command? What about the Navy? :)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:17, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

merger of Middle East campaign[edit]

Please see Talk:Middle East campaigns#No merge and no deletion for further discussion on this. --PBS (talk) 23:01, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Currently we have these articles:

  • European Theatre of World War II
  • Middle East Theatre of World War II
  • Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatres of World War II
  • South-East Asian theatre of World War II
  • South West Pacific theatre of World War II

The capitalization of the word "theatre" needs to be consistent. Punkmorten (talk) 16:45, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Not really it depends if it is descriptive or a name. --PBS (talk) 17:40, 25 May 2009 (UTC)