VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > K. World War II, 1939–1945 > 5. The Balkan Campaigns, 1940–1941
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
5. The Balkan Campaigns, 1940–1941
1940, June
 
The fall of France and the desperate position of Great Britain in the summer of 1940 caused a shift in the European balance. In the Balkans Romania, which had won territory from all its neighbors in the 20th century, was particularly menaced. By September the Romanian government had ceded territory to the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Bulgaria, yielding to threats and Axis pressure. In all, Romania lost about 40,000 square miles and a population of 5 million (See 1940, June 26).  1
 
Oct. 4
 
Hitler and Mussolini conferred at the Brenner Pass. The failure to break British resistance and increasing activity in the Balkan and Mediterranean areas forecast a shift in Axis strategy. Hitler also conferred with the French vice premier, Pierre Laval (Oct. 22), with Gen. Francisco Franco of Spain (Oct. 23), with Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain, head of the Vichy French government (Oct. 24), and again with Mussolini, in Florence (Oct. 28).  2
 
Oct. 8
 
German troops entered Romania to “protect” the oil fields.  3
 
Oct. 28
 
Greece rejected a demand of the Italian government for the use of Greek bases. Thereupon the Italians invaded Greece from Albania.  4
 
Oct. 30
 
British reinforcements were landed on Crete and other Greek islands. The Russian government delivered 134 fighter planes to Greece in accord with existing agreements.  5
 
Nov. 12
 
Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet commissar for foreign affairs, conferred with Hitler in Berlin. Soviet troops were massed on the Romanian border.  6
 
Nov. 13
 
British bombing planes destroyed or damaged half of the Italian fleet anchored in the inner harbor at Taranto. At the same time Churchill announced the addition of five 35,000-ton battleships to the British navy.  7
 
Nov. 20
 
Hungary joined the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo pact.  8
 
Nov. 23
 
Romania joined the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo pact.  9
 
Dec. 3
 
The Greeks broke through the Italian defenses in Albania, captured Porto Edda, and claimed a total of 28,000 prisoners. Agyrokastron was likewise captured five days later, and the Greeks overran one-fourth of Albania. The Germans dispatched 50,000 troops to reinforce the Italian armies. Combined with temporary successes of the British against the Italians in Africa, the Greek victories marked a blow to Axis prestige.  10
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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