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Enlarged Photograph (68kB)

Relations between Greece and Britain

The liberation of occupied EuropeThe new actualities
The political conjuncture in the autumn of 1944
The rift between the two sides
The Varkiza Peace Agreement

The liberation of occupied Europe

Within a few weeks of the Allied forces' landing on Sicily in the summer of 1943, Italy was forced to conclude an armistice with her enemies. Also, a second successful landing took place in northern France, in Normandy, in 1944. With these developments, Nazi Germany was forced to bear the burden of a massive war effort alone, without her previous ally. The demands of the war with the Soviet Union had dramatically increased during 1942-43, as a large-scale Russian counteroffensive had started and the Wehrmacht had been forced to retreat with heavy human and material losses. Germany was forced to keep the eastern front stable, to control the northern part of Italy (where Mussolini had been artificially restore as head of a pseudo-state/protectorate of Nazi Germany), to fight against the Allied forces in western Europe and to maintain significant forces for the control of the Balkans. These forces had a very difficult task against the much more flexible and effective tactics of the resistance organisations in Yugoslavia and Greece.

As the German economy reached a point of terminal disintegration in 1944, difficult decisions had to be taken in order to rescue the German military effort in Europe. From the summer of 1944, the Wehrmacht planning gave priority to the protection of the Reich's national territory against a now possible invasion from both the western and the eastern fronts. This meant that the withdrawal of the German forces from the Balkan peninsula was a matter of time.

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