« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
1940, the Italian Minister at Athens presented the Greek Government with a 3 hour ultimatum, upon the expiration of which Italian troops were already invading the soil of Greece.
This event was reported by the British Minister at Athens in these words:
“The president of the council has assured himself an outstanding place in Greek history and, whatever the future may bring, his foresight in quietly preparing his country for war and his courage in rejecting without demur the Italian ultimatum when delivered in the small hours of that October morning, will surely obtain an honorable mention in the story of European statecraft. He means to fight until Italy is completely defeated and this reflects the purpose of the whole
Greek nation." A letter from Hitler to Mussolini, which is undated but which --this is clear from the contents—must have been written shortly after the Italian invasion of Greece on 28 November 1940, contained these sentiments:
"Jugoslavia must become disinterested, if possible however
other means and other ways.” (2762-PS) It was at this time that Hitler was making his plans for the offensive in the Spring of 1941, which included the invasion of Greece from the north. It was an integral part of those plans that Yugoslavia should be induced to cooperate in them or at least to maintain a disinterested attitude towards the liquidation of the other Balkan States. These facts are disclosed in a "Top Secret Directive" issued from the Fuehrer's Headquarters, signed by Hitler, initialed by Jodl, and dated 12 November 1940. This order reads, in part:
"Directive No. 18.
After sections dealing with operations against Gibraltar and an offensive against Egypt, the order continues :
“The morale of the Greek Army throughout has been of the highest, and our own naval and land successes at Tarento and in the Western Desert have done much to maintain it. With relatively poor armaments and the minimum of equipment and modern facilities they have driveno back or captured superior Italian forces more frequently than not at the point of the bayonet. The modern Greeks have thus shown that they are not unworthy of the ancient tradition of their country and that they, like their distant forbears, are prepared to fight against odds to maintain their free
dom.” In fact, the Italians were getting the worst of it, and it was time that Hitler came to the rescue with the order for the German attack on Greece.
This Directive of 13 December 1940, which is Top Secret Directive number 20, dealing with Operation Marita, bears a
LEGAL REFERENCES AND LIST OF DOCUMENTS
THE NETHERLANDS AND LUXEMBOURG
Entries from Jodi's diary, Febru-
distribution list which shows that copies went to the Commander of the Navy (Raeder), to the Commander of the Air Force (Goering), to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (Keitel), and to the Command Staff (Jodl). The first two paragraphs state:
“The result of the battles in Albania is not yet decisive.
The support of Bulgaria is to be expected.” (1541-PS) The next paragraph gives the forces for the operation, and paragraph 4 deals with the operation Marita itself. Paragraph 5 states:
"The Military preparations which will produce exceptional
of scouting missions and advanced parties.” (1541-PS) Another “Top Secret Directive” carries the plan a little farther. It deals with decisive action in support of the Italian forces in Tripoli and in Albania. The first short paragraph reads:
"The situation in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations demands for strategical political and psychological reasons German assistance, due to employment of superior forces by
England against our allies.” (448-PS) Paragraph three, after dealing with the forces to be transferred to Albania, sets out what the duties of the German forces will be:
"a. To serve in Albania for the time being as a reserve for an emergency case, should new crises arise there.