Greece 1940

The Greco-Italian War, also known as the Italo-Greek War’, was a conflict between Italy and Greece, which lasted from 28 October, 1940 to 23 April, 1941. The conflict marked the beginning of the Balkan campaign of World War II and the initial Greek counter offensive, the first successful land campaign against the Axis in the war.

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Italian Fiasco: The Attack on Greece

In June 1940 Germany concentrated her efforts on the war in Europe while secretly preparing to attack the USSR. Not wanting a conflict on his southern flank in the Balkans, Hitler had restrained his Axis partner Mussolini on several occasions during the spring and summer from putting into operation plans for an Italian invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. Mussolini, dependent on Germany for the raw materials needed for armaments, had reluctantly accepted Hitler’s decision.

Yet on the morning of October 28, 1940, Italian forces based in Albania crossed the frontier into Greece to initiate one of the most surprising campaigns of the Second World War.

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Edwin Packer
taken from History of the Second World War
[Phoebus Publishing Ltd in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum]