Little is known about the real reasons that Australia committed troops to Greece. Australian historians have, for too long, neglected the Greek and Crete campaigns and what has been written until now, has ignored the Greek side of the story. Never before has the impact of fifth-column activity on Australia’s military relationship with Greece been investigated.
There’s a compelling book by Maria Hill titled “Diggers and Greeks” which combines details of the campaigns with an account of the response of Greeks and Cretans to the Allied forces on their soil. It reveals the personal relations that developed between Australian soldiers and Greek civilians and soldiers; these were sometimes hostile but in other cases developed into friendships that lasted decades after the war had finished.–
Maria Hill has trawled through archives in Athens and Canberra to show that while miscommunication between the Greek General Staff and the allied forces was frequent, the situation on the ground was far more complex. Her book also shows why the campaigns on mainland Greece and Crete compelled people to behave in altruistic ways, even when it meant placing themselves in danger. It proves that it is possible to form successful relations with people of a completely different culture in conflict situations, and that those relationships are important and should be nurtured, as they are vital to the wellbeing of all involved.
These videos, text and audio material depict World War II situations where Australians and Greeks fought side by side or helped each other to survive and defeat the Nazi invaders in World War II.
Students at Zenon Education Centre can use these videos as additional material in order to learn about WWII and the effects it has had in cementing close relations between Greeks and Australians who were fighting for freedom and justice.
Invasion of Crete
The Battle of Greece and Crete
Australians remembering our war dead
More information links on the Internet
- History of Australia’s involvement in World War 2
- The Geoff Edwards Story in World War 2 in Greece and Crete
- Diggers and Greeks by Maria Hill
- The Australians at War
- Wikipaedia “Battle of Greece”
- Australian War Memorial
- Battle of Greece – history – maps
- Competition pamphlet at the Greek Education Office (.pdf)
- ABC Radio audio below