Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Balkans and Greece

The Italians invaded Greece in October 1940, and although the Greeks repelled the attack, the Germans concentrated in Romania for an assault of their own. Churchill, insistent that "the cradle of democracy" should be defended, ordered Wavell, Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East, to send troops from North Africa to Greece. More than 50,000 British, Australian, New Zealand and Polish troops were sent, gravely weakening Britain's grip on the Western Desert at just the time that Rommel was making his presence felt. On April 6, the Germans attacked Yugoslavia and Greece: the Yugoslavs surrendered on April 17 and the Greeks on April 24.

On March 1, Bulgaria joined the Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy and Japan. The caption to this German photograph of the march through Bulgaria (above) recalls “the armed brotherhood of the First World War,” when Bulgaria was a German ally.

Below, German tanks advancing through Greece in April circumvent a destroyed road by using railway tracks.

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