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THE BATTLE OF CRETE 20th of May st of June 1941

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1 THE BATTLE OF CRETE 20th of May 1941 -1st of June 1941
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE BATTLE OF CRETE May 20th: The attack starts. At 6:30 a.m. the aeroplanes arrive. The bomb drop begins in Khania. At 7.30 a.m. the paratroopers are falling from the air. May 21st: The German soldiers are focusing on the airport of Maleme. The British Navy attacks to the German one. Fifteen different German battleships get sunk and 4000 German soldiers are killed. May 22nd: The airport is being occupied by the German army. May 23rd: The king of Greece and his followers flee. May 24th: Kandanos is being occupied. May 26th: The occupation of Galatas. May 27th: 750 soldiers arrive at Souda Bay. After the battle, Khania, the city is being occupied.

2 The battle of Crete is over. Crete is conquered by Germans
The battle of Crete is over. Crete is conquered by Germans. The city of Chania is ruined by the bomb attack. The number of killed people is unknown. Life is changing

3 The occupation The German invasion of Crete in May 1941 stands as a landmark in the history of airborne warfare. Life is changing. According to testimonies of people who lived during the occupation, during the spring of 1941 German soldiers did not stay in the villages for a long time but they were detecting the area for resistance troops. They took the locals’ animals making the local people’s life harder. However, even there were many rebels in the area, local residents were not disturbed by the occupants. In many cases, working for Germans in the fields was compulsory whose only reward for his work was a plate of porridge during the break. We observe the beginning of labour recruitment, retaliations, arrests and executions against Cretan habitants who have fought bravely during the battle of Crete. For example at the Prison of Agia group executions take place. The people from the surrounding villages were hearing the number of shots and so they knew how many people were executed each time, a gunshot per person. The Greeks were ordered to carry the executed people in garbage carts and bury them into group tombs. On the same ground, above the dead bodies, they planted corn Many people died from hunger as a loaf of bread cost 1,000,000 drachmas.In addition, because many Germans were killed in the battle of Crete, the Germans tortured and killed many people. The investigated prisoners were even skinned. On the contrary the cretan resistance was becoming stronger and wider. War is cruel for everyone. Even German soldiers who refused to take part in executions or to fight against the local people were even punished to death. There were German soldiers who behaved well to local people. According to a testimony: “once my father had gone to find hares, he was caught to be executed with other Greeks. Luckily, a German who knew my father saw them and told them to leave the poor man and take him instead of my father”.

4 The German oppression makes life hard for everyone
The German oppression makes life hard for everyone. The revenge measures are decided by the Germans and those disobeying them are immediately imprisoned and executed. Traffic is restricted. People’s meetings are prohibited. Radio and any means of communication are banned. Any transactions of food and other necessary goods are not allowed. For example, on may 7th the village of Kambi Kydonia at Chania is attacked by German troops, who seek men of Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS). Thirty six residents are arrested and executed. On the contrary, the local authorities of Chania cooperate with the occupants and declare their obedience by calling people to accept the new situation and surrender.

5 Resistance against the occupants
After the battle of Crete is over the first resistance organizations appear: ΕΑΜ(National Liberation Front) Νationwide organization of socialist left wing beliefs. ΕΛΑΣ(Greek Peoples Liberation Army) ΕΟΚ(National Organization of Crete) local resistance organization involving Cretan and English(allies) people.

6 Here are some of their actions:
In 1942 the hard winter and the hunger are unbearable problems, but the resistance organizes food distribution for supporting and helping people to survive. Even young children resist: "aetopoula“(“little eagles”), kids from 8-12 years old, who transfer messages and write political slogans on the walls. "saltadoroi" who jump on the German's tipper trunks and steal food supplies. In August 1942 the compulsory labour for the German army is used and punishment is inflicted on everyone who denies to obey: prison and death penalty. Cretan people fight against the Germans. The first resistant groups appear in the neighborhoods of Chania and in many villages around. ( ) ΠΟΕΝ (Panhellenic Organization of Free Youth) is founded in Chania, they start action, young people’s voices are heard protesting at nights, calling people to resist against the occupants. ΠΟΕΝ is attached to ΕΠΟΝ (Panhellenic Youth Organisation of ΕΑΜ), which is founded on February 23rd, 1943. In their proclamations, the young men and women of ΕΠΟΝ urge Cretans to resist against the occupants. The resistance makes demonstrations against people’s recruitment. They protest against Germans decision to get transferred in Germany for work at war industry. Their achievement is very important: Greece is the only country where the recruitment is revoked. On November 7th, 1943: In the village Therissos of Chania, ΕΑΜ and ΕΟΚ sign a cooperation agreement against German conquerors. Acording to an extract from the programme of EAM ( ) "The purpose of the National Liberation Front is: The liberation of our nation from its current foreign yoke and the acquisition of full independence of our country ... "

7 With full independence ΕΑΜ means independence from any foreign power, by both the German occupants or their "allies" the British, that displeases the second. The English policy seeks the stifling control of the situation in Greece after the war. For this purpose, equips and supports financial groups friendly to British: EDES in central Greece and EOK in Crete, in order to limit the power of EAM-ELAS, as - after the successive victories against the invaders - these organizations have gained strong popular support. And what about the Agreement of the Therisso-Tromarissas in Chania? Was it a success, as marked, or failure of foresight on the part of EAM-ELAS, for the actual role of the British and their friends (EOK); After the agreement,it is typical the requirement which some executives of EOK (K. Mitsotakis) made: ELAS not to attack German forces, but only after approval by the Joint Committee on Administration of EOK and ΕΑΜ!! In conclusion, the greek national resistance during the second world war is one of the greatest and brightest achievements of all over Europe. The sublime heroism of the Greeks constitutes for us a source of hope and ispiration.

8 Holocaust of Kandanos, Kampoi, Kampanos and other villages.
The Holocaust of Kandanos refers to the complete destruction of the village of Kandanos in Western Crete (Greece) and the killing of about 180 inhabitants on June 3rd of 1941 by German occupying forces. It was in reprisal for the participation of the local population in the Battle of Crete that had held advancing German soldiers for two days. The destruction constituted one of the most atrocious war crimes committed during the occupation of Crete by Axis forces in World War II. On February , the villages of Kampanos, Panichori, Rodovani, Sougia, Selino in Chania region, conduct large blocks at the Germans troops. 100 members of EAM are arrested and sent to Agia’s prison and from there to several concentration camps in Germany (Mauthausen). On May , the village of Kambi Cydonia at Chania is attacked by German troops, who seek men of ELAS. 36 residents are arrested and executed.

9 In the morning of 20th May 1944, in every Jewish home in Khania, a special order is delivered written in Greek: "For your transportation you must,with all your Jewish relatives, be prepared to depart immediately. You have 45 minutes ... ". Nominal lists of Jewish residents had been prepared from the appointed by German local authorities since 1941 and had been delivered to the German Administration The Jewish community of Chania was a collateral loss because of the kidnapping of General Kraipe. On the afternoon of June 7, 1944, 269 Jews, 600 Greek and Italian partisans are violently embarked on a cargo steamer, "Tanais", and are locked in the hold. On June 9, the steamer is attacked by the British submarine'' Vivid'' and sunk, by mistake as claimed by the Foreign Office.  None of the captives survived.

10 THE LIBERATION On October , the Germans evacuate Heraklion and are headed to Chania. The next day they withdraw their troops from Athens. The conquerors gradually leave Greece, apart from Chania, where they gather their forces from all over Crete. So, Greece is celebrating the liberation (October 1944)

11 But on the same time (October 1944) Chania mourn new dead citizens

12 The German army is defeated in all the European war fronts
The German army is defeated in all the European war fronts. But in Chania the German conquerors continue the attacks and violence against the residents. In Agia’s jail the moribund agonists head to the firing squad until the Spring of 1945.

13 HOWEVER In the middle of October 1944 the soviet army arrives to Belgrade. Thus, the air transfer of the german army stops and about german troops remain in Chania. Exactly this days of December 1944 in <<free>> Athens, the English army and Papandreou’s government act like the new conquerors of Greece. They shot peaceful demonstrations of ΕΑΜ and kill hundreds of demonstrators.



16 The German army is defeated in all the European war fronts
The German army is defeated in all the European war fronts. But in Chania the German conquerors continue the attacks and violence against the residents. In Agia’s jail the moribund agonists head to the firing squad until the Spring of 1945. Early May 1945 Hitler suicides and defeated Germany signs capitulation. So, the way for the release of Chania opens. 04 May 1945 The people’s army of EΛΑΣ announces it’s disintegration, since it believes that it’s mission is completed. ALTHOUGH The German army in Chania remains fully armed, obviously not wanting to hand over the guns. Parts of the English army, on the other side, seem also not to be in the ‘‘mood’’ of asking the resignation of the German

17 23 Μay 1945 In Chania the liberation is celebrated with parade of the government army and also of the rebel ‘‘groups’’, who acted little or not at all against the Germans. Greek Government and British alleged rebels did everything in order to obstract the participation of real rebels of ELAS in the celebration of the liberation

18 However, the German army still retains his weapons and areas of responsibility in Saint John and Halepa. The German general Bentak still resides in the house of Venizelos. The rest areas of Khania are controlled by the British. In this way, the German and the English army have split Chania into two zones. The former enemies maintain the order in the town and in the villages and together control the lives of the people of Crete. May 25, 1945 Vatolakkos village is bombarded by the Germans army

19 How could we explain all this?

20 The answer is given by a secret order of the Military Administration of Crete, dictated by the British and dated on May 5, 1945 M.A.C., AP 240 \ 05/05/1945 “ …The German army divisions located in ALIKIANOU-FOYRNE-SKINE will remain in the positions of rebel divisions (ELAS) in order to prohibit the entrance in Khania from the public road ALIKIANOS…” THEN… German, British and Greek state army alliance against the Greek Liberation Army

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