Updated:
Original:
Year
1941
Month Day
June 01

Crete falls to German forces

During World War II, Crete, the last Allied stronghold in Greece, is captured by German forces at high cost to both sides.

In late 1940, the Greek army, reinforced by the British air force, decisively repulsed an Italian invasion of their nation. In April 1941, these triumphs turned to defeat when Nazi leader Adolf Hitler turned his undefeated German Wehrmacht against the country. The German army advanced so quickly in Greece that the British were forced to cancel plans to send reinforcements to the country. On April 23, the Greek king and his government evacuated to Crete, an island south of the Greek mainland, and on April 24 a general Allied evacuation to the island began. For the next six days, the Germans bombarded the Allied ships streaming to Crete, killing some 15,000 Allied sailors and troops. By April 29, however, almost 50,000 British, Greek, Australian, and New Zealand troops had reached the safety of the heavily fortified island.

Three weeks later, the German invasion of Crete began, and more than 20,000 German parachute troops landed on the island within a few days. Under heavy resistance from the Allies, the Germans succeeded in gaining control of an airfield and were thus able to fly in a steady number of reinforcements. On May 26, the Allies began to move to the southern coast of Crete, where an evacuation to British-controlled Egypt began. By June 1, the last of some 20,000 surviving Allied troops had escaped, and Crete fell to the Axis.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Writer and lecturer Helen Keller dies

On June 1, 1968, Helen Keller dies in Easton, Connecticut, at the age of 87. Blind and deaf from infancy, Keller circumvented her disabilities to become a world-renowned writer and lecturer. Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880, on a farm near Tuscumbia, Alabama. A normal ...read more

Nissan Motor Company founded

On this day in 1934, the Tokyo-based Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha (Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in English) takes on a new name: Nissan Motor Company. Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha had been established in December 1933. The company’s new name, adopted in June 1934, was ...read more

CNN launches

On this day in 1980, CNN (Cable News Network), the world’s first 24-hour television news network, makes its debut. The network signed on at 6 p.m. EST from its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with a lead story about the attempted assassination of civil rights leader Vernon ...read more

Marilyn Monroe born

Norma Jeane Mortenson–who will become better known around the world as the glamorous actress and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe–is born on this day in 1926, in Los Angeles, California. She was later given her mother’s name, and baptized Norma Jeane Baker. After a tumultuous ...read more

Benedict Arnold is court-martialed

The court-martial of Benedict Arnold convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After a relatively clean record in the early days of the American Revolution, Arnold was charged with 13 counts of misbehavior, including misusing government wagons and illegally buying and selling ...read more