28 October 1940: Greece enters World War II

National Celebration of the “NO” (OXI) to the occupation

#OXIday

 

Hitler’s Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel admitted during the Nuremberg Trials: “…the unbelievably strong resistance of 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 in the Eastern Front and the war in general.”

 

 

Background

(Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allies_of_World_War_II)

 

The Allies of World War II (called the United Nations from the 1st January 1942 declaration) were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan, during the Second World War (1939–1945).

 

The term "axis" was first applied to the Italo-German relationship by the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini in September 1923.

 

At the start of the war, on 1st September 1939, the Allies consisted of France, Poland and the United Kingdom (…) Greece joined the Allies in 1940, after Italy's failed invasion, which triggered the intervention of Germany. (…) The Soviet Union perforce joined the Allies in June 1941 after being invaded by Germany. The United States provided war materiel and money all along, and officially joined in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

 

 

28th October 1940

On 28th October 1940 at 3.00 am, Italian ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi presented ultimatum to Greek Prime Minister Metaxas, demanding Greece to allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war.

 

The Greek Prime Minister responded in French, official diplomatic language of the kingdom of Greece: “Alors, c’est la guerre” meaning “then it is war”. The media relayed the response as a heroic “NO” to the occupation, and the day of 28th October is celebrated as the national anniversary of “NO” (“OXI”).

 

Before the expiry of the ultimatum, the Italian army attacked Greece at the border. There it met fierce and unexpected resistance.

 

 

 

Excerpts from http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/oxi-day.html

 

‘Mussolini’s advisors had assured him that the invasion of Greece would take no more than two weeks.  The Italian experience in Albania must have made this seem very plausible:  like Albania, Greece was a small country with a correspondingly small army.”

 

“Within three weeks, Greece was completely free of the invading forces and began a counterattack, driving deep into Italian-held Albania.” 

 

“Mussolini was humiliated and enraged.  Hitler was also furious at what he viewed as Mussolini’s blunder.”

 

“In March of 1941 Mussolini personally supervised a ferocious counterattack designed to drive the Greeks from Southern Albania.  Despite his leadership, the attack failed, further humiliating the Italian leader.”

 

“By April, the small Greek army had been fighting for six months.  Exhausted, they now faced a new threat.  Bulgaria had joined the Axis powers and the German army advanced toward the Greek-Bulgarian border.  Here, the Greeks had been well prepared for an invasion:  Metaxas had built fortifications all along this border.

 

Unfortunately, the Germans also poured over the undefended border with Yugoslavia.  Initially repulsed at the Metaxas line, the Germans quickly overcame the Greeks.”

 

“Despite their ultimate defeat, the Greeks had fought long and hard.  For six months they occupied the Italian army, preventing them from advancing.  In the end, the Germans were forced to delay the invasion of Russia in order to subdue the Greeks when the Italians failed in their efforts.  This delay proved fatal for the Germans, extending their campaign against the USSR into the brutal winter. 

 

Hitler’s Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel admitted during the Nuremberg Trials:

“…the unbelievably strong resistance of 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 in the Eastern Front and the war in general.”

 

Churchill paid homage to the Greek resistance by claiming,  “…until now we would say that the Greeks fight like heroes. From now on we will say that heroes fight like Greeks.” 

 

Greek video cited by the above page

 

 

The Ultimatum 

 

The novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin features a fictionalised account of the meeting between Metaxas and Grazzi, written from Grazzi's point of view. (wikipedia

 

 

Excerpt from wikipedia

 

Μετά την παραλαβή και την ανάγνωση του τελεσίγραφου του Γκράτσι, έλαβε χώρα ο εξής διάλογος:[7]

ΓΚΡΑΤΣΙ: «κ. Πρόεδρε, είμαι επιφορτισμένος να σας ανακοινώσω ότι, εις περίπτωσιν μη αποδοχής των όρων, τα ιταλικά στρατεύματα θα εισβάλουν εις το ελληνικόν έδαφος την 6ην πρωινήν.»
ΜΕΤΑΞΑΣ: «Ποια στρατηγικά σημεία θέλει να καταλάβει η Ιταλία;»
ΓΚΡΑΤΣΙ: «Δεν γνωρίζω, κ. Πρόεδρε.»
ΜΕΤΑΞΑΣ: «κ. Πρεσβευτά, το περιεχόμενον του τελεσιγράφου και ο τρόπος καθ’ον μοι επεδόθη σημαίνουν πόλεμον εκ μέρους της Ιταλίας. (Alors c’ est la Guerre!).»

 

 

Tweets:

https://twitter.com/infobookcom/status/792148607826796545

https://twitter.com/GreekAnalyst/status/792038219793727492

https://twitter.com/infobookcom/status/792142176293625857

https://twitter.com/HellenicMuseum/status/792123941691199488

https://twitter.com/GreeceinNewYork/status/791783803236806656

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https://twitter.com/infobookcom/status/792135204190158848

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