What was the Contribution of Greece in WWII? In short, my history teacher says that Greece holded back the Germans from reinforcing the Africa Corp for weeks. He also mentioned that Hitler delaid...

What was the Contribution of Greece in WWII?

In short, my history teacher says that Greece holded back the Germans from reinforcing the Africa Corp for weeks. He also mentioned that Hitler delaid his attack on the Soviet Union for a couple of months beceause he didn't want any trouble that could backfire at his expedition in Russia. So Hitler made his attack on soviet ground on November instead of May. As a result his troops were caught in the heavy winter of Russia and because of the strong soviet offencive, especially in Stalingrat, he was forced to retreat (Just to be clear, I wouldn't call it offencive throughing your men, one with a gun and the other with bullets, to the deadly german machin guns). Anyway I want others opinion on how crucial was the stand the Greeks made.

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catd1115's profile pic

catd1115 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

In 1939 Italy issued an order for Greece to allow its troops to enter and occupy the country. Greece refuses the ultimatum and fights back against Mussolini and the Italians. It takes six weeks but they push them back to Albania. As mentioned above, this causes Hitler to have to delay his Russian attack to commit troops to Greece. This certainly was a piece of the puzzle that ultimately defeated the Nazi's.

It is interesting to note that the rejection of the Italian ultimatum is celebrated as a national holiday in Greece.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Not to discount the role of Greece in World War II, but I think the six weeks figure is perhaps a bit overstated.  Hitler's decision to invade Yugoslavia (Operation Punishment) coincided with his decision to bail out Mussolini's disastrous effort to invade Greece.  Both countries fell in a matter of days and Greece's British Allied troops in country were driven into a hasty evacuation.  I suspect the six weeks figure comes from the total amount of time Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union (originally scheduled for early May) was delayed by the invasion, repositioning of forces on the Soviet border, and their resupply.  The invasion of the USSR then took place on June 22, 1941, six weeks later than planned.

Greece did, however, have partisan fighters that tied down German divisions for the rest of the war, rescued downed Allied pilots and gave valuable intel to the Allied High Command.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Military histories here in the US say that the Greeks held the Germans up for 6 weeks.  You are right to say that that delay was very important in causing the Germans to bog down in the Russian winter.

The casualties inflicted on the German paratroops when they invaded Crete is also seen as important.  It prevented the use of large numbers of German paratroops elsewhere (like in Russia or to take the Suez Canal).

So Greek resistance, though short-lived, ended up being important because of the delays and casualties it caused the Germans.

arisps's profile pic

arisps | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

It s mostly as Brettd said...The time german troops delayed in Greece was too short to play any part in the eastern front.The Greek army couldn t possibly hold for much because it was allready engaged in warfare, advancing in Albania versus Italian retreating army. The Germans took Greece by surprise invading from Bulgaria.Of course the greek army couldn t hold both invading armies. However Greece contribution was great for the country s resources and strengths, because:

It scored the first allied victory of the war versus Axis armies in Albania. Italy s elite alpine troops and Italy s military pride were anhilated and never posed a threat anywhere else. At that time especially Btitain s (unprepared) troops were fleeing from the Italians both in Ethiopia some years earlier and in Egypt. Greek victory inspired the battered english troopers.

Hitler wasn t delayed in Greece he was late allready, operation barbarossa was the bigest military blunder in the history of armed warfare

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