WW2 – Invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia

Balkans Campaign The entry of Greece into the war was assured by Mussolini on May 5th 1940, when Italian troops garrisoned in Albania launched an invasion through the mountains of North-western Greece. Though small and inadequately equipped, the Greek army inflicted a series of crushing defeats on the Italians driving them back through the mountains and over the border into Albania. By mid January 1941, after a series of stunning counteroffensives, the Greeks had crossed the Albanian frontier and driven the Italians from the southernmost quarter of the country. The humiliation of Italy infuriated Hitler who had long opposed Mussolini’s Balkan ambitions, and had planned to secure peace in the region through diplomacy. These plans had now become untenable. The attack on Greece had driven that country into the arms of Britain, and brought British troops back onto the continent of Europe. The security of Greece and the Balkans had become a priority for Hitler. Since the Autumn of 1940 he had been preparing in secret for an invasion of the Soviet Union in the Spring of 1941. To secure the flank of his offensive a German conquest of Greece had now become inevitable. A coup in Yugoslavia on March 26th and the subsequent defection of that country from the axis required that it too be conquered. On April 6th the campaign began with attacks on Greece and Yugoslavia from Austria, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria. Code-named ‘Operation Punishment’ , the invasion of Yugoslavia was
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