|Full Name||Â||59 Dominion of Malta|
|Alliance||Â||Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession|
|Possessing Power||Â||United Kingdom|
|Entry into WW2||Â||3 Sep 1939|
|Population in 1939||Â||269,000|
|Civilian Deaths in WW2||Â||1,300|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseMalta became a part of the British Empire in 1814, and it immediately became a major military and civilian maritime center, with such role enhanced after the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1869. Ironically, because Malta was deemed indefensible against an enemy landing, the British Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet was relocated to Alexandria, Egypt in Oct 1939 to remove them from Italian aircraft threat, thus depriving the small island (about 260 square kilometers or about 100 square miles) most of its naval defense. Within hours of Italy's entry into the European War bombs began falling on Malta, but no landings were planned until Malta was proven to be effective as a base for Allied operations against Axis shipping between Southern Europe and the battles in North Africa. As the British increased the efforts to bring men, aircraft, and supplies to Malta, the Germans and the Italians also allocated more resources against supply convoys and the island itself, resulting in the long running and costly, for both sides, Malta campaign. By the time the Desert War was nearing an end, the siege of Malta was effectively over. The Germans and the Italians flew a total of 3,000 bombing raids in the two-year span, making the small island unofficially the most bombed place in the world. For gallantry during the siege, the people of the island was collectively awarded the George Cross on 15 Apr 1942 "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". Upon the conclusion of the Desert War, Malta became a staging point for the invasion of Southern Europe, namely Sicily and then the Italian mainland. When Italy signed an armistice with the Allies, the Italian fleet was sailed to Malta for internment. After the war, Malta was given independence on 21 Sep 1964. In 1974, a republic was declared, and the position of President replaced the British monarch as the head of state.
Last Major Update: Sep 2014
|Events Taken Place in Malta|
|Malta Campaign||11 Jun 1940 - 31 Dec 1942|
|Malta Conference||30 Jan 1945 - 3 Feb 1945|
|Grand Harbour||Naval Port, Shipyard|
|RAF Hal Far||Airfield|
Malta in World War II Interactive Map
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