April 27, 1941 – A Sunday, 76 years ago. On this day, news of the German Army successfully occupying Athens, not confirmed in London, but confirmed in Berlin that German troops had taken the Greek Capitol, that Athens was now in German hands and that the German flag was hoisted over The Acropolis earlier that morning.
News of the Greek loss was unnerving because it fueled further speculation that an invasion of Britain was likely to happen sooner rather than later. Some predicted a late-Summer/early Fall invasion. But some, like the German bomber pilot who was shot down and captured during a raid over London said, “the war would be over in three weeks, because Germany would be invading by then”.
Still, it was no done-deal, and the loss of Greece didn’t necessarily mean Britain would be next in line; there was still Egypt to consider and the Eastern front wasn’t falling nearly as quickly as the German high-command had expected. The Royal Air Force was also gaining the upper-hand from the nightly raids over Britain, and since the introduction of a new and faster fighter plane, the likelihood of German domination of the skies was fading quickly. But that didn’t stop the average Berliner from contemplating what a German victory would mean and what a world under Hitler’s control would look like. Some were concerned that reconstruction would be long and costly, with German manpower stretched thin and factory workers being made up of Prisoners of War and labor imported from occupied countries becoming a crucial necessity. How the infrastructure needed to be maintained and how the new “German Colonies” would be run.
It was fanciful daydreaming, because the war was far from over – America wasn’t yet involved in the shooting, but was getting close. And an American entry into the war could spell difficulties for Germany.
And that’s a sample of what was going on; Sunday, April 27, 1941 as reported by NBC’s News From Europe.