Oxi Day , Greek: Επέτειος του «’Οχι», Anniversary of the “No” – is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world on 28 October each year.
Ohi Day commemorates the rejection by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 October 1940, the Hellenic counterattack against the invading Italian forces at the mountains of Pindus during the Greco-Italian War, and the Greek Resistance during the Axis occupation.
Ioannis Metaxas (Greek: Ιωάννης Μεταξάς; 12 April 1871 – 29 January 1941) was a Greek general and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. He governed constitutionally for the first four months of his tenure, and thereafter as the strongman of the 4th of August Regime.
- Cultural references
- Forgotton Facts about Greece in WWII
This ultimatum, which was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, shortly after 03:00 am on 28 October 1940, who had just come from a party in the German embassy in Athens, demanded Greece to allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified “strategic locations” or otherwise face war. It was allegedly answered with a single laconic word: όχι (No!). However, his actual reply was, “Alors, c’est la guerre!” (Then it is war!).
In response to Metaxas’s refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, then an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border at 05:30 am—the beginning of Greece’s participation in World War II (see Greco-Italian War and theBattle of Greece).
On the morning of 28 October, the Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting ‘ohi’. From 1942, it was celebrated as Ohi Day.
During the war, 28 October was commemorated yearly by Greek communities around the world and in Greece and Cyprus, and after World War II it became a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus. The events of 1940 are commemorated every year with military and student parades. On every anniversary, most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags.
Forgotten Facts About Greece in WWII
More of Hitler’s Troops Died in One Day on Crete, Greece than in Any Single Day in the 15 Months Prior in 11 Other Countries
Hitler’s troops lost more lives in one day in Crete, Greece than died in any single day in the 15 months prior of conquering 15 other countries. Overall, one out of ten Greeks gave their lives during WWII. Adolf Hitler said, “The Greek soldier, above all, fought with the most courage,” and Winston Churchill said, “Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks.”
Greece Only Non-Big Three (US, Great Britain & Russia) Country Credited with Nazi Defeat
Greece’s disruption of Hitler’s war timetable forced him into the debilitating Russian winter where he met defeat. Leaders like Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, America’s Sumner Welles and even Adolph Hitler’s Chief of Staff, Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, credit Greece with bringing about Hitler’s defeat. Keitel said, “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.” Greece was the only “David” in WWII able to inflict a fatal wound that eventually brought down the Nazi “Goliath.”
Greece’s Defeat of the Seemingly Undefeatable Axis Forces Inspired the World
President Franklin Roosevelt said, “When the entire world had lost all hope, the Greek people dared to question the invincibility of the German monster raising against it the proud spirit of freedom,” following the Greeks handing the seemingly invincible Axis Forces their first defeat in WWII. Hitler had previously soundly defeated France and routed the army of Great Britain, two of the world’s great powers. Life Magazine and publications around the world featured Greece on their covers.
Greek Women Play Prominent Role in First Significant Civilian Counter-Attack Seen by German Forces
Women and old men en masse gathered farm implements and whatever weapons they could find to attack Hitler’s elite paratroopers invading Crete. Over four thousand German soldiers lost their lives on Crete but so did 1,000 women. Cretan military personnel had gone to mainland Greece to fight the Axis Forces.
Greek Archbishop’s Document Only One to Protest Holocaust Effort during Nazi Occupation
Only the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Damaskinos, among all top religious leaders in occupied countries publicly challenged in writing the occupying Nazis’ Holocaust plans, according to the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. The Archbishop showed great courage in his response to the threat of death by Nazi firing squad. He told the Nazis that Greek clerics are not shot, but hanged, and he requested that they respect this custom. Time Magazine featured him on its cover.
Greece and the Big Three (US, Great Britain & Russia) Enabled the World We Live in Today
Without Greece or the Big Three countries, Hitler’s unprecedentedly powerful war-machine probably would have won the war. In light of the enormity of Hitler’s capacity to implement his monstrous policies wherever he was in control, our world today would have been a very different place had the Axis forces won. Imagine a world without the many people Hitler wanted exterminated, people who were Jewish, gay or institutionalized, and those he wanted sterilized like non-Aryans and people with physical or mental differences.
Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas
A company of men has set up its office between the columns (Doric) of an ancient Greek temple of Neptune, built about 700 B.C.