World War: MIDDLE EASTERN THEATER: The Syrian Show Begins

Faced with a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't choice of action when Nazis began occupying the Aleppo, Palmyra and Damascus airfields in French-mandated Syria, the British made a quick decision. They chose to be damned-for-doing.

To invade Syria with the forces available from the Middle East Command—in face of the Nazis' well-proved winged might—was risk enough. There was the added risk that the invasion would give the Germans an argument to force Vichy to send the remains of the French Fleet against the British. But to let Syria fall into the Nazis' lap without a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!