In the Mediterranean. Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940, with an army of 1,500,000, a modern navy, and a highly rated air force. The first naval action in the Mediterranean came on July 20. It resulted in the sinking of the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleone by the Australian cruiser Sydney. Italy attacked Greece on October 28, and the British, in an effort to secure the eastern Mediterranean, sent troops to the Greek island of Crete. The British struck at the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 11-12. In this action, planes from the carrier Illustrious damaged three battleships and a cruiser, crippling the Italian fleet.
World War II was a horrific period in history during which 50 million people perished from death camps, atomic bombs, and years of battle. Often called the Janus event of the 20th century, WWII is truly unforgettable. Learn how the Allies defeated Nazi Germany.
This World War II timeline highlights important dates from September 1939 to April 1940. This time period saw the official start to World War II on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Follow the events of World War II and the German invasion.