Book Review: Swastika Over the Acropolis: Re-Interpreting the Nazi Invasion of Greece in World War II


by Craig Stockings and Eleanor Hancock

Leiden / Boston: E.J. Brill, 2013. Leiden / Boston: E. Pp. xviii, 646. $249.00. ISBN: 9004254579

Commonwealth Operations during the German Invasion of Greece

Profs. Stockings (Australian Defence Force Academy) and Hancock (New South Wales)  give us a very detailed, thought -provoking , and rather revisionist account of Commonwealth operations during the Greek Campaign of April 1941. 

Stockings and Hancock open with a critical looking at earlier works on the campaign and particularly British official accounts. They argue that the British intervention was never intended to “save” Greece, but rather to make diplomatic and political points, and was essentially a fighting withdrawal rather than a retreat under pressure.  Stockings and Hancock present evidence that the defending forces were by no means outnumbered by the Germans and that the role of German armor and air power has been much overrated. They also note that the Greeks performed much better than generally been claimed, particularly given that most of their best troops forces were in Albania, holding back a renewed Italian offensive.  

Despite this, since their account is largely about Commonwealth forces fighting Germans, the operations of the Greek Army are only covered as they affect those actions, and there is little about the Italian or Bulgarian Fronts (which together get just two of 25 chapters), and oddly not much about naval operations There is, however, a useful chapter on the influence, real or perceived, of the German campaign in Greece on preparations for Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of Russia.

Despite this Swastika Over the Acropolis, a volume in the Brill series “History of Warfare,” is a good account of the campaign in Greece, given the limitations of earlier ones.

Note: Swastika Over the Acropolis is also available as an e-Book, ISBN 978-9-0042-5459-6.

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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