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Katoxi - The Axis occupation of Greece

The Axis occupation of Greece lasted from April 1941 to October 1944.  Greece was occupied at the time by the combined forces of the Italians the Germans, and the Bulgarians.  The occupation was unbelievably cruel to the Greek people and tens of thousands died during this period.

The worst period of the occupation was clearly the winter of 1941.  The German army wishing to supply their armies with food withdrew a very large portion of the food supply from Greece, the result was massive starvation throughout Greece.  This period remains crystal clear in the minds of those who lived it.  A period when people died in the hundreds in the streets of Athens, and other major cities.  Those who managed to survive were all but skeletons.

However, under the cruel occupation the Greek spirit could not be subjugated as it could not under the Turkish occupation.  The Greek people quickly formed one of the strongest resistance movements throughout Europe, E.A.M and ELLAS.  The resistance movement forced the Germans alone to maintain approximately 15 divisions in Greece. 

Many Greeks not willing to be humiliated in subjugation to the Axis fled to Egypt.  In Egypt they joined the ranks of the allied armies to fight against the Axis.  The Greeks were notable in their courage against the Axis at El Alamein, the invasion of Italy, and in many sea battles.

The strongest resistance in all of Greece occurred on the island of Crete.  The people of Crete were unwilling in no manner to accept the subjugation to the Germans who occupied the island.  The Cretans resisted stubbornly both man and woman.  The Germans would carry on retributions openly in public against a killing of a German soldier often killing one hundred Greeks for one German.  The end result was to make the people of the island even more bitter and widen the resistance movement further.  Every time someone's brother, mother or father would be killed the Germans would then have another Guerilla to face!  The brutal actions of the Germans in Crete in fact strengthened the resistance movement.  Even in the attempt to capture Crete the Germans lost ten thousand soldiers!

The resistance movement formed bands of guerillas which would hide in the mountains.  They were supplied with food and shelter by the villagers of the villages that dot the mountains of Greece.  They even managed to form secret societies against the Axis occupation even within the major cities, and would do all in their power to bring difficulties to the occupying forces.

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Other Greek Historic Events:  

  • The Balkan Wars During these wars that occurred in the early 20th century Greece managed to double its' territory and population.
  • Oxi "No" - Greece's response to an ultimatum by Italy  in the second world war which would have resulted in the subjugation of Greece to the Axis. Greece enters the war against the Axis powers.
  • Article on the Asia Minor Disaster (by the New York Times) A great disaster for Hellenism, the forced expulsion and murder of millions of Greeks in Turkey in the early 20th century.

 

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