World War 2 in Greece


Hey! Thats not until 1941. Spoiler warning please!


(because tone cannot be deciphered over text, this is a joke btw)


Interview of German historian Karl Heinz Roth in the Bremen based newspaper “Weser Kurier”, about the ongoing debate of WW2 German reparations to Greece (in German)


August 15, 1940: The sinking of cruiser Elli

On August 15, 1940, 8:25 am, the Italian submarine Delfino, sank the Greek cruiser Elli, while she rode at anchor in the island of Tinos. Tinos has the major shrine of Virgin Mary in Greece, and August 15 is the feast day. Elli was transporting pilgrims to the island, and was representing the Navy in the celebrations. The Delfino shot three torpedoes; one of them hit the cruiser’s boiler and she caught fire and sank. Nine petty officers and sailors were killed and 24 were wounded. Delfino attempted, without success, to sink two other civilian transport ships.
The Italian government officials claim ignorance, Ciano in his memoirs wrote that the attack was a result of De Vecchi’s belligerence. In 1972, Italian journalist Mario Cervi revealed that Mussolini was influenced by De Vecchi’s false reports about the presence of English warships in the Aegean (as De Vecchi was the governor of the Italian Islands of the Aegean). Thus, Mussolini instructed the chief of Italian Navy Domenico Cavagnari to choose a reliable submarine commander from the Italian forces of Dodecanese in order to hinder commercial traffic in the Aegean Sea and to sink any ship suspected of smuggling. Cavagnari transmitted Mussolini’s order to the Naval Force Commander of the Dodecanese and, on August 14th, he presented it to De Vecchi. The latter chose Sub-lieutenant Giuseppe Aicardi, who had his submarine in Leros, for the mission. He instructed him to depart immediately for the area between Tinos and Syros. Aicardi, arriving at Tinos’ harbor chose the most important target of anchored warship, in hopes of a promotion.
The Greek investigation found the torpedo that sank Elli and identified it as Italian. Nevertheless, the Greek government chose to keep the fact confidential, and announced that Elli was sank “by an unknown submarine”, as prime-minister/dictator Metaxas did not wish to provoke Italy. Nevertheless, the Italian culpability was obvious to the Greek populace.
From that day on, the entire Greek state machinery started to prepare for war; on August 23 the units stationed on the Greco-Albanian border began their mobilization in full secrecy and the Greek public opinion united against the Italian threat, giving a morale boost to the dictatorial regime which had, for the first time since 1936, the public support.

The moment of the explosion of one of the torpedoes at the jetty of Tinos’ port, on August 15, 1940. The cruiser Elli is on the right side of the pole, seconds before its sinking.

In 1985, Greek divers discovered on the bottom of Tinos port remnants of the Italian torpedo that sank Elli. The torpedo is exhibited at the Maritime Museum of Piraeus.


Congrats, you are doing a great job in covering WW2 in Greece!
I am writing a brief article on why Italy decided to invade war and on how the invasion was doomed to fail already before starting.


The consequences of the Greco-Italian War to the overall Italian war effort, and Mussolini’s prestige are often overlooked


Italian top court opens way for Distomo compensation


Italy’s Supreme Court this week recognized the right of the Greek victims of a Nazi atrocity to confiscate German property in another European country as compensation.

Based on the ruling, the 296 plaintiffs – survivors and relatives of the victims of the WWII massacre in the village of Distomo in central Greece – are claiming at least 25 million euros, an amount that could be paid out of the revenues of an Italian rail cargo company which is majority owned by German railway operator Deutsche Bahn.

Dr Joachim Lau, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told Kathimerini that the main question of whether “we could seize German acquisitions on Italian territory has been answered.”

The victims have been awarded compensation in Greek courts but justice ministers have refused to sign off on the required confiscation order.

On June 10, 1944, a German SS infantry division slaughtered over 200 villagers, most of whom were women, children and elderly residents of Distomo.