German Occupation

(1941–1945)

In May 1941, Crete was involved in the Second World War when the "Battle of Crete" was launched. The first major airborne assault in history. Fierce fightings between Nazi Germany, Cretan guerrilla groups and the Allied forces followed before the island after ten bloody days fell to the Germans. The war brought numerous brutal attacks against Cretan civilians.
The Germans were forced to evacuate mainland Greece in October 1944, but garrisons remained in Crete, and various other Greek islands until the end of the war in May 1945. Soon after the war Greece descended into chaos and civil war.

German paratroopers land in Crete and are immediately engaged in battle. Bundesarchiv Bld 183-L23914 (Creative commons)

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Life on Crete in the period

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Sights from the period in modern Crete

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Back to Cretan history.