28 October 1940
Celebration commemorating 28th October 1940, when Greece flatly refused to yield to the Axis powers request for "free passage" through Greece, which brought Greece into war and on Britain's side as her only ally against Hitler at the time...
Long Live the 28th October 1940
At 2:50 am on Sunday, 28 October 1940, Ioannis Metaxas, Prime Minister of Greece , was awoken in his Athens home. At the door was the Italian Ambassador, Count Emanuele Grazzi, with a written ultimatum to the Greek government demanding that Italian forces be given free passage into Greece from Albania and that they be allowed to garrison certain unspecified "strategic points of Greek territory". Italy claimed that its request for this "temporary" occupation was the result of British attempts to involve more and
more countries in the war. If Greece refused to comply then resistance would be "broken by force of arms". A reply was demanded by 6.00 am, but Metaxas gave it at once — "Alors c'est la guerre" (well, this means War, in French). At 5.30 am Italian troops crossed the Greek–Albanian border and Greece was at war with Fascist Italy.
The Italian Ultimatum to Greece:
"The Italian Government has repeatedly noted how, in the course of the present conflict, the Greek Government assumed & maintained an attitude which was contrary not only with that of formal, peaceful, good neighborly relations between two nations, but also with the precise duties which were incumbent on the Greek Government in view of its status as a neutral country. On various occasions the Italian Government has found it necessary to urge the Greek Government to observe these duties and to protest against their systematic violation, particularly serious since the Greek Government permitted its territorial water, its coasts and its ports to be used by the British fleet in the course of its war operations, aided in supplying the British air forces and permitted organization of a military information service in the Greek archipelago to Italy's damage.
The Greek Government was perfectly aware of these facts which several times formed the basis of diplomatic representations on the part of Italy to which the Greek Government, which should have taken consideration of the grave consequences of its attitude, failed to respond with any measure for the protection of its own neutrality, but, instead, intensified its activities favoring the British armed forces and its cooperating with Italy's enemies.
The Italian Government has proof that this co-operation was foreseen by the Greek Government and was regulated by understandings of a military, naval and aeronautical character.
The Italian Government does not refer only to the British guarantee accepted by Greece as a part of the program of action against Italy's security but also to explicit, precise engagements undertaken by the Greek Government to put at the disposal of powers at war with Italy important strategic positions on Greek territory, including air bases in Thessaly and Macedonia, designed for attack on Albanian territory.
In this connection the Italian Government must remind the Greek Government of the provocative activities carried out against the Albanian nation, together with the terrorist policy it has adopted toward the people of Tsamouria and the persistent efforts to create disorders beyond its frontiers.
For these reasons, also, the Italian Government has accepted the necessity, even though futilely, of calling the attention of the Greek Government to the inevitable consequences of its policy toward Italy. This no longer can be tolerated by Italy.
Greek neutrality has been tending continuously toward a mere shadow. Responsibility for this situation lies primarily on the shoulders of Great Britain and its aim to involve ever more countries in war.
But now it is obvious that the policy of the Greek Government has been and is directed toward transforming Greek territory, or, at least permitting Greek territory to be transformed, into a base for war operations against Italy.
This could only lead to armed conflict between Italy and Greece, which the Italian Government has every intention of avoiding.
The Italian Government, therefore, has reached the decision to ask the Greek Government, as a guaranty of Greek neutrality and as a guaranty of Italian security, for permission to occupy with its own armed forces several strategic points in Greek territory for the duration of the present conflict with Great Britain.
The Italian Government asks the Greek Government not to oppose this occupation and not to obstruct the free passage of the troops carrying it out.
These troops do not come as enemies of the Greek people and the Italian Government does rot in any way intend that the temporary occupation of several strategic points, dictated by special necessities of a purely defensive character, should compromise Greek sovereignty and independence.
The Italian Government asks that the Greek Government give immediate orders to military authorities that this occupation may take place in a peaceful manner. Wherever the Italian troops may meet resistance this resistance will be broken by armed force, and the Greek Government would have the responsibility for the resulting consequences."
One more time..
One more war starts..
At 5:30 am, on October 28, 1940 , according to the Italian plan, the 3rd Alpini Division "JULIA" invaded Greece, towards the Greek town of Metsovon. The Italian objective was to cut off the Greek VIII Infantry Division from the rest of the Greek forces, in order to split the Greek units deployed in Epirus, W. Macedonia & Thessaly. The Pindus Sector (i.e. the central sector of the front) was vital for the Greek defence. The Pindus Mountain range, extending across Greece (150 Km/93 miles), contains high, steep peaks, dissected by many deep canyons and other karstic landscapes... (The article continues here: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=122512)
EUROPE'S RESISTANCE DAYS AGAINST AXIS FORCES:
- Greece: 219
- Norway: 61
- France: 43 (a superpower by the time's standards)
- Poland: 30
- Belgium: 18
- Netherlands: 4
- Yugoslavia 3
- Denmark 0*
- Czechoslovakia 0
- Luxembourg 0
* The Danes surrendered to a German Motorcyclist who was carrying Hitler's message to the Danish king asking for the passing of Nazi troops through Danish soil. The Danish king handed his crown over to the cyclist as a sign of submission who later carried it at Berlin.
Charles de Gaul (1890-1970 - Chairman of French Democracy 1958-1969, head of French Resistance at the WWII)
- "I am unable to give the awe breadth of gratitude where I feel for the Heroic' resistance of the Population and leaders of Greece."
(From speech to' French Parliament afterwards the end of World War II.)
Maurice Schumann (1911-1992 - Minister of foreign affairs of France 1969-1973, Member of French Academy 1974)
- "Greece is the symbol the martyred enslaved, bleeding, but live Europe. There was never exist a defeat that was so much honorary for the ones they suffered it" (From his message from the BBC of London to the enslaved populations of Europe in 28 April 1941,the day where Hitler occupied Athens. Greece Resisted Mussolini for 6 Months, and Hitler for 6 Weeks)
Joseph Vissarionovich Tzougasvili Stalin (1879-1953 - Head of Soviet Union from the 1924 until 1953)
- "I feel Sorry because I am old and will not live for a long time to be Gratefully to the Greek people , Their resistance judged the World War II. " (From speech where transmitted the radio station Moscow of 31 January 1943 afterwards the victory of Stalingrad and the capitulation of General Paulus.)
Moscow, Radio Station:
- "You (Greeks) fought unarmed and you Win, small against big. We own you gratitude, because we earned time for to defend ourselves. As Russians and as persons we thank you " (When Hitler attacked against USSR)
Georgy Constantinovich Joucov (1896-1974 - Chief of the Soviet Army)
- "If the Russian population achieved erects resistance in front of the doors of Moscow, to retains and to reverse the German torrent, it owes that to the Greek Population, who delayed the German divisions all the time where they could kneel us. The war of giants of Crete was the Greatest Greek offer." (Extract from his memoirs for the WWII)
Benito Mussolini 1833-1945 - Prime Minister of Italy 1922-1945
- "The war with Greece proved that nothing is certain in the military things and that surprises can happen." (From a speech in 10/5/1941.)
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945 - Head of German state 1889-1945)
- "Thanks to the historical truth I owe to realise that only the Greeks, from all opponents that we faced, Fought with daring courage and contempt to the Death" (From speech of 4 May 1941 in Reichstag's)
Sir Robert Antony Eden (1897-1977 - Minister of War and Foreign affairs of Great Britain 1940-1945 - Prime Minister of Great Britain 1955-1957)
- "Irrelevantly to what the History Writers will tell in the future, that what we can say now is that Greece gave a good Lesson to Mussolini, and that Lesson (the Greek Resistance) was the reason of revolution in Yugoslavia, and Hold the Germans in continental territory and in Crete for six weeks, that this (the Greek Resistance) reversed the chronological line of all drawings of the German Military Staff and thus brought general change in all course of the war and we won the World War II." (From speech in' British parliament in 24/09/1942.)
Winston Churchill (1874-1965 - Prime Minister of Great Britain at the WWII)
- "The word heroism I am afraid that it does not attribute minimal those action of self-sacrifice of Greeks, where was decisive producing the Victorious result of the common fight of nations, at the World War II, for the human freedom and dignity."
- "If did not exist the bravery Greek and or their brave Souls, the Result of World War II, would be indefinable." (From speech to the British parliament in 24 April 1941.)
- "Up to now we said that the Greeks fight as heroes. Now we will say: The heroes fight as Greeks." (From speech that he pronounced from the BBC the first days of Greek-Italian war.)
- "Fighting the Greeks against to the common enemy they will be shared with us the goods of peace." (From his speech of 28 October 1940, when the Italians attacked Greece.)
Sir Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander (1891-1969 - British Marshal at the WWII)
- "It would not be exaggeration to say that Greece reversed the total of drawings of Germany Forcing them to postpone for six weeks the attack at Russia. We wonder who it would be the status of Soviet Union without Greece." (From speech in British Parliament in 28 October 1941.)
George VI (1898-1952 - King of Great Britain 1936-1952)
- "The glorious fight of Greece, was the first big turning-point of World War II." (From his speech in the parliament May 1945.)
Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945 - President of the USA 1932-1945)
- "To Greece it was provided the 28in October 1940 time of three hours to Decide war or peace, but even if three days or three weeks or even three years deadline provided , the answer would have been the same."
- "The Greeks has Teach during the centuries the term ?§dignity?¨. When all the world had lost each hope, the Greek population disputes the invincible of the German beast opposing the proud spirit of freedom." (From radio speech in 10/6/1943.)
- "The heroic fight of the Greek people Against the attack of Germany, after they Totally Won the Italians in their attempt invading in' Greek territory, filled with enthusiasm the hearts of the American population and earned his sympathy. Per one and henceforth century, at the war of Greek independence, our nation expressed his fervid sympathy for the Greeks and wished for Greek win." (Statement to the Supreme Council of AHEPA in 25/04/1941, where broadcasts radio from the White House.)
- "10 April 1941, afterwards the Capitulation with Germany d the fortresses Palioyriotes and Roupel are surrender. The Germans express their admiration to the Greek soldiers, declare that it constitutes price and pride that they had as opponent a such army and they ask from Greek Commander the inspection of the German army as clue of price and credit! The German Flag is raised only afterwards the complete retirement of it Greek Army.
- "A German officer of Luftwaffe (Air Force) said to the commander of team of divisions of Eastern Macedonia lieutenant-general Dedes that the Greek Army was the only army that the stukas airplanes did not cause panic. Your Soldiers he said, didn't leave in panic , as the soldiers of France and Poland did, but they were shooting at us from their positions.