What is "Before the Firing Squad" by John Chioles about?
During much of Chioles's gripping short story, the narrator describes the circumstances of the German occupation of the Peloponnesus during the Second World War, when the area was used as a point of embarkation for German forces heading south to fight in General Erwin Rommel’s African campaign. The German strategy was to attain control of Egypt and the Suez Canal, and therefore it was vital to keep the conduit of Greece open and clear to permit the movement of German troop replacements “without incident or delay” (paragraph 2). During this period of occupation, many Greek men, like the narrator’s father, carried out guerilla actions against the Germans. The Germans occupied Greece until October 1944, long after Rommel had left Africa, when they were driven out completely. Because the time of the story is mentioned as both spring (paragraph 3) and summer (paragraph 36), we may conclude that the story portrays one of the small retreats leading up to the final German withdrawal.