Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hitler invades Yugoslavia and bombs Belgrade 70 years ago today, April 6, 1941



Yad Vashem:
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority

On April 6, 1941, Hitler’s forces, in alliance with the Hungarians and the Bulgarians, invaded Yugoslavia and Greece. Hitler intervened in the war in this fashion to secure his southern flank in anticipation of the imminent invasion of the Soviet Union.

Yugoslavia—Yugoslavia refrained from joining the Axis until March 25, 1941, when it made this move under duress. Two days later, a pro-Western military coup took place in Belgrade and Yugoslavia’s alliance with the Axis was aborted. The invasion of Yugoslavia by German, Hungarian and Bulgarian forces began a week and a half later (April 6), and the Yugoslav army lay down its arms on April 18.

Greece—The Prime Minister of Greece, General Ioannis Metaxas, attempted to maintain neutrality until the war began. On October 28, 1940, however, the Italians invaded his country. Metaxas died in January 1941. When the Germans invaded Greece on April 6, 1941, the Greek army, despite valiant resistance aided by a small British force, could not arrest the onslaught. On April 18, 1941, Greek Prime Minister Alexandros Koryzis committed suicide, the Greek army and king fled to Crete, and the Germans closed in on Athens. Most of the British forces were evacuated.


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