October 12, 1944, German forces withdraw from Athens

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On the 12th of October 1944, the Nazi forces in Greece vacated Athens and began their withdrawal north, to avoid being cut off by the advancing Soviets.

The fast advance of the Soviet army towards the Balkans, threatening to cut off the German forces in Greece, forced the Germans to withdraw very soon from Greece.

Their withdraw began from the Peloponnese and the islands, while on 12 October, 1944 Athens and Piraeus were liberated.

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Greek flags and bell ringing overflowed the capital, while crowds of people flooded the streets and the squares celebrating- as the last German soldiers took the swastika down from the Acropolis and began to drive through the city towards the road north they passed through crowds of Athenians in a state of joy, waving the blue and white Greek flags, embracing, while bells were ringing all over the city.

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It was a happy time for those in Athens who had survived the occupation, but their joy was not destined to last. They are about to enter the most divisive period of modern Greek history.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.