Oxi Day, Okhi Day, Ohi Day, or Ochi Day In Greek: Επέτειος του «'Οχι », Anniversary of the "No"
October 28 is a very big holiday in Greece and is celebrated by the Greek people all over the world. The events in 1940, where Greece said NO to Mussolini, are commemorated every year with military and student parades. On every anniversary, most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags. The pictures are from the celebration on Samos. (Photo: JB)
At October 28 in 1940 during World War 2 the Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas refused a ultimatum made by the Italian dictator Mussolini.
When King George II in 1935 was restored to the Greek throne, general Ioannis Metaxas became prime minister, and shortly after the King accepted, that Metaxas got dictatorial power in order to prevent a communist inspired republican coup.
The Italian ultimatum, which was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi at dawn (04:00 AM, Oct. 28, 1940), after a party in the German embassy in Athens, demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war.
The ultimatum was answered with a single word: Οχι or no.
In response to Metaxas's refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania (at that time an Italian protectorate), attacked the Greek border at 05:30 AM. Metaxas's reply marked the beginning of Greece's participation in World War II.
Mussolini’s divisions were pushed back to Albania by the Greeks. By mid-December, the Greeks occupied a quarter of Albania, tying down 530,000 Italian troops, and for 6 months the Italians were fighting to keep a passage to the seacoast, and desperately calling for help. Hitler send his troops to help. The Greeks continued to fight both of these great empires, although their position was hopeless. Greece lost, but it had cost Hitler enormous loss and delayed his attack against Russia by months, so the German troops ran into the dreadful Russian winter and the Russians gave them so heavy losses that it contributed to the ultimate defeat of Germany.
The Greece lost about 12% of the population, which means about one million people.
The world leaders of that time were impressed of the Greeks.
Winston Churchill said: "Today we say that the Greeks fight like heroes, but from now on we shall say that heroes fight like Greeks."