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Enlarged Photograph (57kB)

The war of the Axis against Greece

The German strategy: Plan 'Marita'

The war with Germany
The occupation of the Greek mainland
The Battle of Crete
Greece in the fascist 'New Order'
The exiled Greek government
The German 'Pyrrhic victory'

The German "Pyrrhic victory"

As for the eventual success of Operation Marita, it was a Pyrrhic victory for the future of the fascist war. Although in May 1941 the victory was greeted as the prelude to the successful execution of Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union, the long-term implications of the attack on the Balkans proved to be significant.

Apart from the delay which Marita necessitated for the launching of Barbarossa, the Balkan front remained a source of problems, especially due to the mobilisation of local resistance organisations in many Balkan countries. As a result, the occupying powers were forced to retain a large number of military forces for the supervision of order in Greece and elsewhere - forces which were missed in many other crucial fronts, especially in North Africa, during the remaining two years of the war. At the same time, the procrastination tactics of the Greek-British forces against the German advance during April and May 1941 delayed the occupation of Greece and permitted the orderly retreat of the Greek and British troops to Egypt, as well as the rescue of a big part of the country's military apparatus.

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