Description The European-Mediterranean-Middle East Theater was a major theater of operations during the Second World War (between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946). The vast size of Europe, Mediterranean and MThe European-Mediterranean-Middle East Theater was a major theater of operations during the Second World War (between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946). The vast size of Europe, Mediterranean and Middle East theatre saw interconnected naval, land, and air campaigns fought for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The fighting in this theatre lasted from 10 June 1940, when Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, until 2 May 1945 when all Axis forces in Italy surrendered. However, fighting would continue in Greece – where British troops had been dispatched to aid the Greek government – during the early stages of the Greek Civil War.
The British referred to this theatre as the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre (so called due to the location of the fighting and the name of the headquarters that controlled the initial fighting: Middle East Command) while the Americans called the theatre of operations the Mediterranean Theatre of War. The German official history of the fighting is dubbed 'The Mediterranean, South-East Europe, and North Africa 1939–1942'. Regardless of the size of the theatre, the various campaigns were not seen as neatly separated areas of operations but part of one vast theatre of war.
Fascist Italy aimed to carve out a new Roman Empire, while British forces aimed initially to retain the status quo. Italy launched various attacks around the Mediterranean, which were largely unsuccessful. With the introduction of German forces, Yugoslavia and Greece were overrun. Allied and Axis forces engaged in back and forth fighting across North Africa, with Axis interference in the Middle East causing fighting to spread there. With confidence high from early gains, German forces planned elaborate attacks to be launched to capture the Middle East and then to possibly attack the southern border of the Soviet Union. However, following three years of fighting, Axis forces were defeated in North Africa and their interference in the Middle East was halted. Allied forces then commenced an invasion of Southern Europe, resulting in the Italians switching sides and deposing Mussolini. A prolonged battle for Italy took place, and as the strategic situation changed in southeast Europe, British troops returned to Greece.
The theatre of war, the longest during the Second World War, resulted in the destruction of the Italian Empire and altered the strategic position of Germany resulting in numerous German divisions being deployed to Africa and Italy and total losses (including those captured upon final surrender) being over half a million. Italian losses, in the theatre, amount to around to 177,000 men with a further several hundred thousand captured during the process of the various campaigns. British losses amount to over 300,000 men killed, wounded, or captured, and total American losses in the region amounted to 130,000.... More
Criteria The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, ... The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following conditions: On permanent assignment within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater; or, For service in a passenger status or on temporary duty status for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days; or, For service in active combat in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations against the enemy and awarded a combat decoration or furnished a certificate by the commanding general of a corps, higher unit, or independent force that the individual actually participated in combat. MoreHide
Criteria a. The ADSM was established by EO 8808, announced in War Department Bulletin 17, 1941. It is awarded for service between 8 September 1939 and 7 December 1941 under orders to active duty for a period o... a. The ADSM was established by EO 8808, announced in War Department Bulletin 17, 1941. It is awarded for service between 8 September 1939 and 7 December 1941 under orders to active duty for a period of 12 months or longer.
b. A clasp, with the inscription "Foreign Service", is worn on the ADSM to denote service outside the continental limits of the United States, including service in Alaska, as a member of a crew of a vessel sailing ocean waters, flights over ocean waters, or as an assigned member of an organization stationed outside the continental limits of the United States. Possession of a clasp is denoted by the wearing of a bronze service star on the service ribbon. MoreHide
Criteria The Army Distinguished Service Medal may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, performs exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsi... The Army Distinguished Service Medal may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, performs exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. The individual's performance must merit recognition for services which are clearly exceptional, and the performance of normal duties in an exceptional manner by itself will not justify an award of the Army Distinguished Service Medal MoreHide
Criteria The World War I Victory Medal was awarded for military service during the First World War. It was awarded for active service between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918; for service with the American... The World War I Victory Medal was awarded for military service during the First World War. It was awarded for active service between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918; for service with the American Expeditionary Forces in European Russia between November 12, 1918, and August 5, 1919; or for service with the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia between November 23, 1918, and April 1, 1920. MoreHide
Criteria The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la L?gion d'honneur) is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802. The Orde... The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la L?gion d'honneur) is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802. The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross). MoreHide
Description The United States of America declared war on the German Empire on April 6, 1917. The U.S. was an independent power and did not officially join the Allies. It closely cooperated with them militarily buThe United States of America declared war on the German Empire on April 6, 1917. The U.S. was an independent power and did not officially join the Allies. It closely cooperated with them militarily but acted alone in diplomacy. The U.S. made its major contributions in terms of supplies, raw material and money, starting in 1917. American soldiers under General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), arrived in large numbers on the Western Front in the summer of 1918. They played a major role until victory was achieved on November 11, 1918. Before entering the war, the U.S had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to Great Britain and the other Allied powers. During the war, the U.S mobilized over 4 million military personnel and suffered 110,000 deaths, including 43,000 due to the influenza pandemic. The war saw a dramatic expansion of the United States government in an effort to harness the war effort and a significant increase in the size of the U.S. military. After a slow start in mobilising the economy and labour force, by spring 1918 the nation was poised to play a role in the conflict. Under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson, the war represented the climax of the Progressive Era as it sought to bring reform and democracy to the world, although there was substantial public opposition to United States entry into the war.
Although the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, it did not initially declare war on the other Central Powers, a state of affairs that Woodrow Wilson described as an "embarrassing obstacle" in his State of the Union speech. Congress declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire on December 17, 1917, but never made declarations of war against the other Central Powers, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire or the various Co-belligerents allied with the central powers, thus the United States remained uninvolved in the military campaigns in central, eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
The United States as late as 1917 maintained only a small army, smaller than thirteen of the nations and empires already active in the war. After the passage of the Selective Service Act in 1917, it drafted 2.8 million men into military service. By the summer of 1918 about a million U.S. soldiers had arrived in France, about half of whom eventually saw front-line service; by the Armistice of November 11 approximately 10,000 fresh soldiers were arriving in France daily. In 1917 Congress gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans when they were drafted to participate in World War I, as part of the Jones Act. In the end Germany miscalculated the United States' influence on the outcome of the conflict, believing it would be many more months before U.S. troops would arrive and overestimating the effectiveness of U-boats in slowing the American buildup.
The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted U.S. units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not to waste scarce shipping on bringing over supplies. The U.S. rejected the first proposition and accepted the second. General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commander, refused to break up U.S. units to serve as mere reinforcements for British Empire and French units. As an exception, he did allow African-American combat regiments to fight in French divisions. The Harlem Hellfighters fought as part of the French 16th Division, earning a unit Croix de Guerre for their actions at Château-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Séchault.
Impact of US forces on the war
On the battlefields of France in spring 1918, the war-weary Allied armies enthusiastically welcomed the fresh American troops. They arrived at the rate of 10,000 a day, at a time when the Germans were unable to replace their losses. After British Empire, French and Portuguese forces had defeated and turned back the powerful final German offensive (Spring Offensive of March to July, 1918), the Americans played a role in the Allied final offensive (Hundred Days Offensive of August to November). However, many American commanders used the same flawed tactics which the British, French, Germans and others had abandoned early in the war, and so many American offensives were not particularly effective. Pershing continued to commit troops to these full- frontal attacks, resulting in high casualties against experienced veteran German and Austrian-Hungarian units. Nevertheless, the infusion of new and fresh U.S. troops greatly strengthened the Allies' strategic position and boosted morale. The Allies achieved victory over Germany on November 11, 1918 after German morale had collapsed both at home and on the battlefield.... More