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World War II

63 bytes removed, 12:16, November 16, 2005
Fascist Italy had long-term plans for the establishment of a new Roman Empire, which included Greece. Italy’s immediate reason for seeking war with Greece was a desire to emulate its German ally’s triumphs. Mussolini also wanted to reassert Italy’s interest in the [[Balkans]] (he was piqued that Romania, an Italian client, had accepted German protection for its Ploesti oil fields earlier in October) and secure bases from which the [[United Kingdom|British]] eastern Mediterranean outposts could be attacked. As the [[Kingdom of Yugoslavia|Yugoslav Kingdom]] was perceived as too strong, the obvious victim was Greece, which the Italians thought to be weak and internally divided. Furthermore, Italy had been occupying the predominantly-Greek [[Dodecanese]] islands in the southeastern Aegean since 1911.
After the Greco-Turkish treaty of 1930 and the [[Balkan Pact]] of 1934, the threat from Greece's traditional enemy, Turkey, was no more. Albania was too weak to be a threat and the [[Kingdom of Yugoslavia]] did not seriously press its claims on southern [[Macedonia (Greece)|Macedonia]]. Therefore, during the 1930s, the main threat was perceived to be Bulgaria and her aspirations to reclaim [[Western Thrace]]. Thus, when, in 1936, [[Ioannis Metaxas|Metaxas]] came to power in Greece, plans had been laid down for the reorganization of the country's armed forces and for a fortified defensive line along the Greco-Bulgarian frontier. The line was constructed under Metaxas' regime and named after the dictator: the [[Metaxas Line|Grammi Metaxa]]. During the following years, the Army benefited from great investments aiming at its modernization: it was technologically upgraded, enlarged, largely re-equipped and as a whole dramatically improved from its previous deplorable state. The Greek government purchased new arms for the three Armies, and the Navy was added new ships. However, due to the increasing threat and the eventual outbreak of the war, the most significant purchases from abroad, made during the years 1938–1939, were never or only partially delivered. Also, a massive contingency plan was developed and great amounts of food and utilities were stockpiled by the Army in many parts of Greece for the eventuality of war.
In early 1939, Italian troops occupied Albania, long under Italian influence, thereby gaining an immediate border with Greece. This new development cancelled all previous plans, and hasty preparations started for the event of an Italian attack. As war exploded in Central Europe, Metaxas tried to keep Greece out of the conflict, but as the conflict progressed, Metaxas felt increasingly closer to Great Britain, encouraged by the ardent anglophile [[King George II]], who provided the main support for the regime. This was ironic for Metaxas, who had always been a germanophile and who had built strong ties with Hitler's Germany.

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