The Battle for Malta

The Battle for Malta


In 1942, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the entire island of Malta in recognition of the heroism of its people while under siege from German forces.

Probably the best recent account of that siege was written by James Holland, who presents this one-off programme about the years when the fortunes of the Allies and the Axis powers in the Mediterranean hinged on controlling one tiny island between Europe and North Africa.

In trying to force the Maltese to surrender, the Germans raided the island constantly, dropping more bombs than fell on London in the Blitz. But in the face of starvation, the local population stood firm.


Historian James Holland analyses the Second World War battle for the strategically important Mediterranean island, which was under siege by Axis forces for more than two years. Between 1940 and 1942 more bombs fell on Malta than on Britain during the Blitz and the islanders were forced to endure a sustained attack from the air and came desperately close to starving. In this documentary, Holland argues that the real importance of Malta's position was its offensive role, which has been largely undervalued, and that it held the key to the entire war in the Mediterranean and North Africa.