From 1939 to 1941, the Axis unquestionably had the upper hand in the conflict. During the first part of this period, nicknamed "the Phony War," hardly a shot was fired in western Europe. Only in the spring of 1940 did Hitler's forces resume action, conquering Denmark , Norway, the Low Countries , and France. The French, who relied on the defenses of the Maginot Line (designed to fight a World War I – style conflict of limited movement), surrendered after a nominal resistance effort. Most of the country fell under direct Nazi control, which a small portion to the southeast, with the town of Vichy as its capital, formed a pro-Axis government.
As Hitler saw increasing danger from the western Allies, he relied more on Admiral Karl D[odie]nitz to hold them off by submarine warfare. When that effort was blunted in 1943, he both supported the building of new types of submarines and geared strategy on the northern portion of the Eastern Front to protection of the Baltic area, where new submarines and crews could be run in. Enormous resources were also allocated to new weapons designed to destroy London. It was Hitler’s hope that the Germans could drive any Allied troops who landed in the west into the sea and then move substantial forces east in the interval before any second invasion. When this plan failed, Hitler turned to holding all ports as long as possible, to hamper Allied supply lines and to prepare for a counterstroke that would defeat the western Allies. This counterstroke, the Battle of the Bulge , would then provide the opportunity to move forces east after all.
In the Italo-Turkish War or Turco-Italian War Italy defeated the Ottoman Empire in North Africa in 1911-12.  Italy easily captured the important coastal cities but its army failed to advance far into the interior. Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet (province), of which the most notable sub-provinces (sanjaks) were Fezzan , Cyrenaica , and Tripoli itself. These territories together formed what became known as Italian Libya . The main significance for the First World War was that this war made it clear that no Great Power appeared to wish to support the Ottoman Empire any longer and this paved the way for the Balkan Wars . Christopher Clark stated: "Italy launched a war of conquest on an African province of the Ottoman Empire, triggering a chain of opportunistic assaults on Ottoman territories across the Balkans. The system of geographical balances that had enabled local conflicts to be contained was swept away."