Some interesting pieces (in English) in the current issue of the American Hellenic Institute’s Policy Journal. In particular, there’s a very moving extract from Konstantinos Fotiadis’ book on the Pontian Genocide – the desperate efforts of the Pontic Greeks to impress on Eleftherios Venizelos and other Allied leaders after the defeat of the Ottoman empire not only the depredations the Pontians had suffered from 1914-18 but their continuing vulnerability to Turkey’s extermination campaign.
‘Although it is doubtful that the Greek victory in Albania was important to the ultimate outcome of the German-Soviet conflict, it was crucial to the survival of the British war effort in the Mediterranean. In short, the Greek victory against Italy contributed decisively to the failure of the Axis to vanquish Britain, not the Soviet Union.
‘The Greeks’ victory in Albania diverted crucial Italian, land, air, and sea forces at a time when they were desperately needed in North Africa to defeat the British forces in Egypt.
‘From October to May 1941, the Italians dispatched five times as many troops and supplies to Albania as they did to North Africa. Albania had the first call on armor, motor transports, artillery, and aircraft. As a result of the Greek crisis, the Albanian front monopolized the attention of the Italian High Command and remained Rome’s all-consuming concern at the expense of other operations, especially those in North Africa.
‘Had Rome defeated and occupied Greece, and not been tied down fighting a desperate defensive war in Albania, the Italians would have been able to concentrate an enormous, mobile, and far more lethal force in Libya with which the Axis might well have taken El Alamein and successfully advanced to the Suez in 1941, rather than failing to do so in 1942.
‘In short, the Greeks’ victory against the Italians in 1940 probably saved the not yet firmly organized, poorly led, and still underperforming British forces in Egypt from defeat, a development which would have had disastrous consequences for Britain’s position in the Eastern Mediterranean.
‘Furthermore, it is clear that Italy’s failure in Greece persuaded Franco to remain neutral in the European conflict. Conversely, had the Italians defeated the Greeks, Spain would have likely entered the war on the side of Hitler and Mussolini.
‘With Spain as a member of the Axis camp, Gibraltar would have been easily overrun and the British presence in the Western Mediterranean would have been wiped out. Such simultaneous strategic losses for the British at the opposite ends of the Mediterranean – Gibraltar and Suez – would have been catastrophic for Britain and its ability to continue the war against the Axis.’