Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement recently to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete in Greece during World War II.
The Australian PM addressed his message to the Cretan Association of Sydney and New South Wales, a very active organization of Greek Australians with Cretan roots.
”Australians remember that battle and those times. We too draw strength from the courage, determination, and example of those who have done so much for the cause of freedom,” Premier Morrison noted.
“Today, we reflect on the spirit of sacrifice and shared humanity enacted on Crete in 1941. We rejoice in our enduring friendship, nurtured by ties of blood and fostered by mutual respect. As we stood together in war, so we stand together in peace — our eyes fixed firmly on a future shaped by the valour of the past,” the Prime Minister noted.
Morrison also referred to the deeply rooted friendship between Australia and Greece, and how this friendship grew even stronger after the Battle of Crete, when Greeks and Australians fought shoulder to shoulder the invading nazis.
Why did Australia fight along with Greece on Crete?
The Battle of Crete was fought during the Second World War on the Greek island of Crete.
It began on the morning of May 20, 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion of Crete. Greek, British, Australian, and New Zealand’s troops, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island.
The then British Empire had brought thousands of men from its territories in Oceania to help fight against the Axis powers.
After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered heavy casualties and the Allied troops were confident that they would defeat the invasion.
Crete eventually fell, but the struggle of its people taught the entire world a valuable lesson: That fighting for freedom is never a lost fight.