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This historic film "Zero Hour in Greece" shows the German invasion of Greece, part of the WWII Balkan Campaign, and the resistance by Greek guerrilla forces. Zero Hour took place on April 6th 1941 (:12). Germany's Wehrmacht invaded in support of their Italian allies were already fighting the Greeks (:29). The German Blitzkrieg crushed Greece forcing British forces to retreat and Greek King George II to flee (:45). Hitler’s ‘master race’ excluded the Greek and an extermination by starvation campaign began (1:30). The starving citizens scoured through trash for food (1:32) as Nazi’s had captured the country’s wealth, machines and food and decimated their sources of transportation (1:41). 450,000 perished from famine (1:44). The footage provided is from this period in Athens (1:51). When the body is completely lacking vitamins, it swells and civilians began to drop dead in the street (2:55). Photos follow of children with bloated stomachs and bony limbs (2:50). The Greeks began forming a resistance (4:04). Aris Velochiotis was leader of one of the largest groups of resistance; ELAS (4:09). Stefanos Sarafis (4:15) was the leader of the Hellenic Army and Major General of EAM-ELAS. The British sent arms to these resisting groups including EDES headed by Napolean Zervas (4:42). They in turn, supported the Allies as guerrillas were able to pin down the Germans (5:01). Military installations were hit and bridges were destroyed (5:12). The Germans had to divert troops to Greece (5:21). This prevented them from fully occupying North Africa and to delay the assault on Russia (5:36). Two Allied armies landed in Sicily and a year after, a German soldier removed the Nazi flag from the Acropolis (6:05). Russians arrived in Bulgaria (6:13) and the Germans retreated (6:22). In October of 1944, British paratroopers dropped into Greece (6:29) and bells were rung in celebration of liberation (6:43). Greece was left in social, economic and political discourse (6:49). Guerrilla groups fought one another (6:56) with EAM-ELAS particularly guilty of this (7:02). Violence erupted between Nazi collaborators and their accusers (7:07). Nazi forces in retreat pushed rail cars into Corinth Canal which was vital to Greece’s recovery (7:45). The British return to Greece; Operation Mana -- a relief mission (8:30). The black market flourished and inflation spread (8:53). EAM-ELAS returned from the mountains while British pledged support of a provincial government to hold power until a plebiscite was held (9:12). EAM-ELAS refused to disband (9:22). On December 2nd 1944, in Athens, authorities banned left wing parties from demonstrating and police forces open fire on demonstrators (10:13). General Kirby; British Commander in Chief stated no British troops had taken part (10:53). Field Marshall Sir Harold Alexander (11:31) arrived in Greece as the Commander. Footage follows of the suburbs of Athens aflame (11:53), Spitfires attack rebels (11:56) and EAM headquarters taking fire (12:40). In Athens in 1944, Winston Churchill arranged for Harold Macmillan and Anthony Eden (13:10) to meet with American, French and Soviet allies to negotiate with the rebels and the Premier George Papandreou (13:20). John Nixon, a reporter for BBC news describes Winston Churchill’s arrival (13:37) and of ¾ tons of dynamite found outside the hotel (13:57). General Georgios Rallis replaced Papandreou as premier (14:14). In spring of 1946, political campaigns were under way (14:36) and the right won the election as many Greeks no longer trusted EAM-ELAS (14:55). King George II was recalled (15:07). EAM-ELAS, with General Markos as field leader (15:48) received support from Soviet satellites in Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria (16:07). Fighting continued through the winter of 1946-47 (17:03). UNRA which was providing aide and relief for the Greek civilians, dissolved in 1947 (18:38) and Britain ended aid to Greece. On March 12th, 1947, the stepped in, enacting the Truman Doctrine (18:51). In July, Dwight Griswold headed the mission (18:58). Reconstruction of the country began under the Marshall Plan (19:14). US General James Van Fleet arrived in Greece in February of 1948 (19:40) and in April he launched an attack on Gramos causing the rebels to fall back (20:56). Yugoslavia split with Russia in 1948, closing it’s borders to the rebels in 1949 (21:04). EAM-ELAS had abducted about 30,000 children during the conflict and sent them behind the Iron Curtain, and by the end of the civil war, only 3,000 had been returned (22:05). The civil war is over, and the last free nation in the Balkans is saved by a hair's breadth.

This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit

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