Since 1896, after the massacres of Arkadi, Crete has become autonomous under the protection of the Ottoman Empire and is officially named the Cretan State. In 1898, after the slaughters of the Ottomans against the Christians in Heraklion, all muslims are forced to leave Crete and the island returns to pure Christian population after 2.5 centuries of Ottoman rule.
On December 1st, 1913, Crete officially united with Greece, fulfilling the century-long dream of Cretans. The political personality of Eleftherios Venizelos from Chania, who was later to become the Prime Minister of Greece, came to the fore.
However, the struggles of Cretans did not end then, since the Cretans had to fight in the Battle of Crete in 1941, which was one of the most important one of World War II, due to the strategic location of the island in the Mediterranean.
Once again, Crete was reborn from its ashes. Today, there are memorials and monuments scattered all over the island reminding the horror and devastation of war and the great value of peaceful coexistence between nations.
In all places of Crete, the visitor can still see the remains of German military infrastructure. Haunted pillboxes are still hanging on the steep capes of Lithino, Spatha, Aforesmenos, Drapanos, Plakias and many other places. Visitors can visit the Allied War Cemetery at Souda bay and the German War Cemetery at Maleme, at the site of the Battle of Crete.
The Battle of Crete is the first airborne invasion in history.