The blow of 15 August 1940
The attack of Italian submarines on the port of Tinos on 15 August 1940 and the provoking sinking of the cruiser Elli were the first indications of a change in the Italian regime's mood towards Greece. Although the attack had been orchestrated from De Vecchi without the formal consent of the Italian dictator, it is proven that Mussolini had given orders for the escalation of provocative acts against Greece in the Aegean.
Initially, the German government had conveyed to the Italian Fascist leadership its desire to preserve peace in the Balkans, given the emphasis of the Nazi war plans against Britain. Hitler's negative attitude against Mussolini's plans led to the temporary abandonment of his offensive plans against Greece.
However, the failure of the German bombardments in Britain and the suspension of Operation Sea Lion until further notice reinforced the expansionist ambitions of Mussolini, who now openly referred to the Italian war against Britain. In the framework of this strategy, the plan for an attack on Greece was prioritised again by the Italian government, in spite of the reservations of the commander of the Italian armed forces, Badoglio.