The "soft underbelly of Europe" was a phrase used by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to describe the country of Italy during World War II. Popular support for the war was decreasing in Italy, so Churchill advocated an invasion of the region to curb axis influence.
An invasion of Italy had the potential to remove that country from the war and ease Allied supply concerns in the region. However, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin wanted the Allies to attack from the east to relieve his forces from the attacking Germans. Churchill predicted that if Italy could be taken quickly, then the Allied troops there could aid in the Normandy invasion. Operation Husky began on July 10, 1943, and the country fell quickly, just as Allied forces hoped.