Year
1941
Month Day
March 07

British forces arrive in Greece

On March 7, 1941, a British expeditionary force from North Africa lands in Greece.

In October 1940, Mussolini’s army, already occupying Albania, invaded Greece in what proved to be a disastrous military campaign for the Duce’s forces. Mussolini surprised everyone with this move against Greece, but he was not to be upstaged by recent Nazi conquests. According to Hitler, who was stunned by a move that he knew would be a strategic blunder, Mussolini should have concentrated on North Africa by continuing the advance into Egypt. The Italians paid for Mussolini’s hubris, as the Greeks succeeded in pushing the Italian invaders back into Albania after just one week, and the Axis power spent the next three months fighting for its life in a series of defensive battles.

Mussolini’s precipitate maneuver frustrated Hitler because it opened an opportunity for the British to enter Greece and establish an airbase in Athens, putting the Brits within striking distance of valuable oil reserves in Romania, which Hitler relied upon for his war machine. It also meant that Hitler would have to divert forces from North Africa, a high strategic priority, to bail Mussolini out of Greece-and postpone Hitler’s planned invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Brits indeed saw an opening in Greece, and on March 7, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill diverted troops from Egypt and sent 58,000 British and Aussie troops to occupy the Olympus-Vermion line. But the Brits would be blown out of the Pelopponesus Peninsula when Hitler’s forces invaded on the ground and from the air in April. Thousands of British and Australian forces were captured there and on Crete, where German paratroopers landed in May.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

John Lewis at Selma

Civil rights protesters beaten in “Bloody Sunday” attack

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, a 600-person civil rights demonstration ends in violence when marchers are attacked and beaten by white state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. The day's events became known as "Bloody Sunday." The demonstrators—led by civil rights activists ...read more

Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female director to win an Oscar

On March 7, 2010, Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, for her movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004. Prior to Bigelow, only three women had been nominated for a best director ...read more

Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas

On March 7, 1862, Union forces under General Samuel Curtis clash with the army of General Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Pea Ridge (also called the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern),in northwest Arkansas. The following day, the battle ended in defeat for the Confederates. Pea Ridge was ...read more

Stanley Kubrick dies

On March 7, 1999, American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick dies in Hertfordshire, England, at the age of 70. One of the most acclaimed film directors of the 20th century, Kubrick’s 13 feature films explored the dark side of human nature. Born in New York City in 1928, Kubrick took up ...read more

Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland, violating the Treaty of Versailles

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the Rhine River in western Germany. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in July 1919—eight months after the guns fell ...read more

Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone

On March 7, 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention: the telephone. The Scottish-born Bell worked in London with his father, Melville Bell, who developed Visible Speech, a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf. In ...read more

U.S. jets launch heaviest air raids of the war

In the heaviest air raids since the bombing began in February 1965, U.S. Air Force and Navy planes fly an estimated 200 sorties against North Vietnam. The objectives of the raids included an oil storage area 60 miles southeast of Dien Bien Phu and a staging area 60 miles ...read more

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is published

The New Republic publishes Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The poem, beginning with the famous line “Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though,” has introduced millions of American students to poetry. Like most of ...read more

Writers Guild of America strike begins

After rejecting what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said was a final offer, representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called a strike for all the union’s members to begin at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on March 7, 1988. The origins of the ...read more

Defense rests in Andrea Yates trial

The defense rests in the trial of Andrea Yates, a 37-year-old Texas woman who confessed to killing her five young children by drowning them in a bathtub. Less than a week later, on March 13, Yates was convicted and sentenced to life in prison; however, her conviction was later ...read more

Five letters pass between Abigail and John Adams

On March 7, 1777, Continental Congressman John Adams writes three letters to and receives two letters from his wife, Abigail. He is with Congress in Philadelphia, while she maintains their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts. The remarkable correspondence between Abigail and John ...read more