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Second World War and German occupation

The Cretan people’s desire for independence and their martial tradition came back to the surface in 1940. Crete took part in the war to repel the Italian forces of Mussolini. After Mussolini’s failure, Crete became a target for Hitler’s forces.

When Cretan troops were absent, the Germans launched their attack on Crete. The elite German air forces landed using parachutes on 2 May 1941. Only about 30,000 poorly equipped troops of the British army and 22,000 Greek soldiers supported the struggle of the local people to defend their island.

The Battle of Crete lasted only ten days, but it caused great damage on both sides. The German occupation lasted about four years, and was characterised by the resistance of the locals. Remnants from the German occupation in Minoan Plain are located in various sites. The most important ones are: The electricity factory of Archangel, the German well in Arkalohori and the German inscriptions at the basilica of St. George at the settlement of Liliano.

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