Official Surrender of Greek Forces in Albania to Axis Powers

On April 20, the commander of the Greek forces in Albania, General Georgios Tsolakoglou, realized the hopelessness of the situation and offered to surrender his army, which then consisted of fourteen divisions.

World War II historian John Keegan writes that Tsolakoglou "was so determined [...] to deny the Italians the satisfaction of a victory they had not earned that [...] he opened quite unauthorized parley with the commander of the German SS division opposite him, Sepp Dietrich, to arrange a surrender to the Germans alone." On strict orders from Hitler negotiations were kept secret from the Italians, and the surrender was accepted. Outraged by this decision Mussolini ordered counterattacks against the Greek forces, which were repulsed. It took personal representation from Mussolini to Hitler to bring together an armistice in which Italy was included on April 23. Greek soldiers were not treated as prisoners of war, and were allowed instead to go home after the demobilization of their units, while their officers were permitted to retain their side arms.

Nowhere in Europe was resistance as simple as good guys in the hills with rusty rifles, and bad guys wearing swastikas and burning villages, but Greece was particularly complex. Even the Italian decision to invade seems bizarre, motivated by a desire to counter German influence in Rumania. After the Italians were humiliated by the Greek Army and their allies, the Wehrmacht stepped in and broke the stubborn resistance in April 1941. Even that wasn't simple, the old Greek ruling class were never shy in showing their sympathy for Nazism, and defeatists in the army and government tripped over one another in the race to capitulate. One such turncoat – General George Tsolakoglu formed a quisling government, while the Germans turned over most of the occupation to the Italians.