- October 28th 1940: Greece rejects Mussolini’s ultimatium
- November 6th, 2014
On this day in 1940 during World War Two, the Greek government rejected Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s demand that the Greeks allow the Italian army to enter and occupy the country. At 3 a.m. the Italian ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, delivered Mussolini’s ultimatum to Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas. The Prime Minister replied with "Alors, c’est la guerre" (“Then, it is war”). The people of Greece celebrated Metaxas’s defiant “Oxi” (Greek for ‘no’) and resisted when the Italian army crossed the Greek border. The Greeks fought valiantly in the subsequent Greco-Italian War, successfully pushing the Italian army back into Albania. Greece ultimately fell to the Axis powers, with Nazi Germany assisting Italy in Greece and eventually occupying the country. It has been suggested that had Greece surrendered, the Nazis would have made greater strides across Europe and t hus Mataxas’s ‘No’ prevented the war from lasting longer. By having to detour through Greece, Hitler’s Germany lost valuable time in the spring and had to delay the invasion of Russia until the winter, a decision that proved disastrous for the Axis war effort. This day is celebrated in Greece as ‘No Day’, and is marked with military parades and displays of patriotism.