Tuesday, 28 October 2014

OXI Day ...

Is a national holiday here in Greece ...

Sadly it started raining at 8am, and looks like it will rain on the planned parade, which is a great shame. I know junior and the school children taking part, are all very eager to wave their flags today down on the Paralia.

The church bells are very busy, as the commemorative service, progresses at Tries Hieraches this morning.

At 3 a.m. on the morning of October 28th, 1940, Emanuele Grazzi, the Italian ambassador to Greece, delivered an ultimatum from Benito Mussolini to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas.  Il Duce demanded that Metaxas allow the Italian army free passage to enter and occupy strategic sites in Greece unopposed.

Faced with this demand, Metaxas delivered an unequivocal response in French, the diplomatic language of the day, “Alors, c’est la guerre.”  This brief phrase, “Then, it is war,” was quickly transmuted into the laconic “Oxi,” the Greek for no, by the citizens of Athens. 

The Ultimate history project website gives an excellent explanation here

SWMBO and I did enjoy seeing Junior and classmates show, at the school yesterday. Junior reciting on stage, and clearly enjoying singing the Greek National anthem, along with very enthusiastic waving of the Greek flag on stage ...

Now me not ever having been taught European History at school. 

'History - I am almost word perfect on the Stuarts, Tudors and Plantagenets. This being rolled out every year, until I gave it up for European studies and Geography - much more interesting'

I have read over the years, that the actions of the Greek forces, pushing the Italians back into Albania, and continuing the battle in the mountains, disrupted the war to such an effect that German troops were sent to the Balklans. This ensuring that the Eastern front campaign slowed, then stopped and froze.

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.”

However the German troops invaded Greece through the border with Yugoslavia, Greece endured three years of occupation - We cannot imagine what it would have been like to hear a broadcast like this ...

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