Greece is officially known as the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία) and was known as Hellas (Ελλάς) in ancient times. Much of classical European tradition can be traced to the Republic and the ancient city states that made up this southern region. Greek culture also heavily influenced the Roman Empire. Long after the decline of her empire, most of Greece fell under the control of the Byzantines from the 8th until the 14th centuries, when control was wrested from them first by the Serbs and then by the Ottomans. The Turks retained control of this region until the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832), a long, drawn-out campaign that was ultimately resolved after the intervention of Russia, the United Kingdom and France. The First Hellenic Republic was officially recognized in 1830.
In the late 19th century, following years of unrest and minor revolts, Greece declared war on the Ottomans in order to liberate the Greek-speaking provinces still under its control. This ill-fated campaign, the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, ended in defeat. Greece fought with the Triple Entente during the First World War and later attempted to wrest control of parts of Asia Minor from what remained of the Turkish empire in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922. This again ended in defeat for the Greeks. This war coincided with a period known as the "Greek genocide," during which several hundred thousand Greek-speaking residents of Asia minor were killed. A subsequent mass exodus of remaining Greeks from Asia minor brought an end to the long-term dispute over who should control those regions.
Although technically a dictatorship at the time of the Second World War, Greece remained on favorable terms with the United Kingdom and resisted attempts by the Axis to control her territory. The Greco-Italian War (1940-41) pitted fascist Italian forces against the Hellenic Armed Forces, who defeated and drove them into neighboring Albania. Although its territory was ultimately occupied by the Nazis, the Greek National Resistance movement continued to operate throughout the Mediterranean for the remainder of the conflict, waging unconventional war against the Axis and earning a reputation as one of the most effective resistance movements in the war. Greek forces in exile also fought alongside Allied forces. This campaign, among other things, gave birth to the Sacred Band (Ιερός Λόχος) or "Sacred Squadron," a special forces unit trained in the manner of the British Special Air Service, and the precursor to the modern Greek Army Special Forces.
Following the end of the war, Greece was ravaged by civil war between communist and anti-communist forces for thirty years. A coup d'etat in 1967 established a military junta (the Regime of Colonels) which remained in power until 1974. When the fragile regime collapsed, the Greek-controlled island of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish forces, a move that ultimately established the Turkish sector in the north part of the island (today the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey). Relations with Turkey have remained strained.
Greece is a member of NATO and the European Union. The Hellenic Armed Forces (Eλληνικές Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις) consists of the Hellenic Army (Ελληνικός Στρατός), Hellenic Navy (Πολεμικό Ναυτικό) and Hellenic Air Force (Πολεμική Αεροπορία), each of which maintains a comprehensive range of conventional and unconventional (special operations) forces.
The Hellenic Armed Forces have largely been influenced by the camouflage developments of other nations, namely France, Portugal and the United States. Yet most of the camouflage clothing adopted by the Greek military is stamped with a particularly indigenous style of its own. Both the French tenue leopard pattern developed in the 1950s, and the Portuguese M1963 "vertical lizard" patterns have influenced Greek designs, and in recent years elite units of the Greek Army and Navy have also adopted copies of pixelated camouflage patterns developed by the United States.