Oxi Day Celebration Greece. “OXI”, No, the One Word, Which, on 28th October 1940, Voiced by the Greeks, Changed the Course of World War II

Oxi Day The Greeks said No 28 October 1940
Oxi Day
The Greeks said No
28 October 1940
“Oxi” Day, “No” Day, 28th October, is the day when Greece and Greeks everywhere, remember the courage of the Greeks, who had the strength and determination, to say “OXI”, no, to the Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, known as “Il Duce”.

On 28th October 1940, the Italian ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, at a little after three in the morning, after returning home from a party at the German Embassy, Athens, phoned Ioannis Metaxas, (Greek general and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941), delivering an ultimatum.

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945)

 Mussolini, Italian politician, journalist, and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruled the country as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943, he had ruled constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship.

 Known as Il Duce (The Leader), Mussolini was the founder of Italian Fascism.

The ultimatum, made by Benito Mussolini, demanded that Greece allow the axis forces (Germany, Italy, Japan), to enter and annex key locations in Greece.

The alternative was war!

Metaxas, answered with one word, a resounding “Oxi” (No), and later added, in French,

 “Alors, c’est la guerre!” (Then it is war!)

An unexpected slap in the face for fascist Italy!

Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas   12 April 1871 – 29 January 1941   Greek general and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941.

Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas  12 April 1871 – 29 January 1941
  Greek general and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. 

The comeback of this historic “Oxi” was that the Italian troops, stationed in Albania, which was under Italian protectorate, at five thirty on the morning of 28th October 1940, invaded the Greek border.

So commenced the Greco-Italian war (Oct.1940-April 1941), leading to The Balkan Campaign of WWII, between the axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) and the allies, which later lead to the Battle of Greece, when British and German ground forces intervened in 1941.

Greece had entered World War II.

Greece fights for freedom in WWII
Greece fights for freedom in WWII

Greece managed to stop the initial Italian invasion, pushing the Italian army back into Albania.

This Italian defeat, and Greek counter-attack, was called,

“The First Axis Setback of the Entire War”

The Italians went on to organize a spring offensive in 1941, which, again, failed.

The feisty Greeks had surprised everyone with their courage and determination.

It shouldn’t have been surprise though, the Greeks, since ancient times, have been known for their courage and perseverance, they do not give up!

Mighty Greece
Mighty Greece

The heroic performance of Greece, earned them unprecedented praise and respect, from many great, world leaders;

  Praise and respect for the heroic Greeks from world leaders
Praise and respect for the heroic Greeks from world leaders

“When the entire world has lost all hope, the Greek people dared to question the invincibility of the German monster, raising against it the proud spirit of freedom”

Franklin Roosevelt

“Hence, we shall not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks”

Winston Churchill

“If there had not been the virtue and courage of the Greeks, we do not know which the outcome of World War II would have been”

Winston Churchill

‘’Historic justice forces me to admit, that of all the enemies that stand against us, the Greek soldier, above all, fought with the most courage”

Adolf Hitler

“The Greeks delayed, by two or more vital months, the German attack against Russia;
If we did not have this long delay, the outcome of the war would have been different”

Hitler’s Chief of Staff

“We thank the Greek people whose resistance decided WWII…
You fought unarmed and won, small against big…
You gave us time to defend ourselves”

Joseph Stalin

The Proud Greek Flag,  H Galonoleuki The blue and white
The Proud Greek Flag,
 H Galonoleuki The blue and white

H γαλανόλευκη, 

This atrocious war persisted for four horrific years; Greece was liberated from Nazi occupation on October 12th 1944, but, before it had time to recover, it was once again plunged into war.

 The Greek Civil War, (December 1944–January 1945 and 1946–49), two-stage conflict during which Greek communists unsuccessfully tried to gain control of Greece.

Greece was liberated from Nazi occupation 12 October 1944
Greece was liberated from Nazi occupation 12 October 1944

Every 28th October, Greece celebrates “Oxi” day, a public holiday, and, from the smallest village, to the largest town, proud Greeks, flock to the streets, to admire school children, (patriotically dressed in blue and white, the colours of the Greek flag, “H γαλανόλευκη” “H Galanoleuki”, meaning, the blue and white), local brass bands and the Greek army, parade through the streets.

A day when all Greeks remember the motto of Greece:

“Freedom or Death”

Greek Presidential Guard, flying the Greek flag
Greek Presidential Guard, and, the Greek flag flying.

To some, who are in favour of abolishing this 28th October celebration, with the reason that war should not be celebrated, I ask,

"Is that what you understand, that the Greeks are celebrating war?"

Greece is not celebrating war on 28th October; the proud Greeks are celebrating their courage, their strength, their determination, their love for their country, they are celebrating the fact that that they saved Greece, for you

Greece would undoubtedly say no all over again. 

Greek soldier on front cover of Life magazine When the Greeks said no 1940
Greek soldier on front cover of Life magazine
When the Greeks said no
And to all you “Fat Cats" of the  European Union, who treat Greece as thought it were the underbelly of Europe, you would do well to remember this, remember what the ever-heroic Greeks went through, for Europe, as Stalin said, fighting without weapons, small against big, and even Hitler, who said;

 “The Greek soldier, above all, fought with the most courage”

The Greeks fought, with "Palikaria", not only for Greece, but for Europe, a united, peaceful, free Europe

If it wasn’t for that one Greek word, “Oxi”, who knows, under whose rule Europe would be today?

I have to say, this is one post that I have written from my heart, from my soul, with endless love for the Greeks.

 I wrote this post with absolute MERAKI.

Fight like a Greek: Short video extolling the Courage of the Greeks

And another clip, with Greek subtitles

 To learn more about Greece's heroic role in WWII, what they endured, and how they came out triumphant, to be praised by the whole world, for changing the course of a four year war, with just one word "Oxi", read this interesting and informative book , "Inside Hitler's Greece", written by one on my favourite authors, Mark Mowzer.

Inside Hitler's Greece Mark Mowzer

Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44

"In April 1941 the German army invaded Greece, leading to four years of hideous barbarism and to a civil war that tore the country apart.
 Inside Hitler's Greece explores the impact of the Occupation upon the lives and values of ordinary Greeks
. Drawing on a wealth of first-hand accounts and previously untapped archival sources Mark Mazower offers a vividly human picture of the experiences of resistance fighters and black marketeers, teenage German conscripts and Gestapo officers.
 He shows how war threw traditional family roles into question as women became breadwinners and children took up arms
. The moral complexities of life under foreign rule are linked to the unfolding political tragedy that brought the civil war."

Read about Greece's other Parade Day here:

Greek Independence Day. Freedom or Death.

40 Facts I learned about the Greeks : Celebrating 40 Years of Living in Greece

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