In October 1940 Italy attacked Greece but was immediately defeated. It was only when German forces arrived in April-May 1941, through Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria, that the whole country, including Crete, was subjugated. While in Italy the prestige of Fascism was undermined, in Greece national pride for the victories against Italy was counterbalanced by years of military occupation. Studies on Wehrmacht forces and plans prove that the Greek campaign influenced neither the date of the attack against USSR (22 June 1941), nor its disastrous result because Soviet military power had been incredibly underestimated. Greece did not become an important factor even later, although in 1943 Hitler concentrated his air forces in the country, as he feared that the Anglo-Americans would invade the Balkans after the Italian collapse. That would have been Churchill’s will, who also hoped to force Turkey’s intervention. However, Roosevelt decided that the majority of the forces would be employed in the invasion of France (June 1944). Greece was liberated by the British forces in Autumn 1944, without resistance from the German forces, which kept undisturbed control of the Aegen Islands until the epilogue in May 1945.
Keywords: Greek campaign 1940-1941, Italian defeat, German military occupation, Wehrmacht plans, Churchill, Roosevelt