28th of October 1940: The day when Greece shouted NO-How the war began

Ohi Day’‘, also known as the ”Day of No” is one of the most important parts of modern Greek history, as it commemorates the moment when the former general of the army and Greek prime minister, Ioannis Metaxas rejected the ultimatum made by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, on the 28th of October 1940. Moreover, it is a day to remember Greek values and the courageous words and deeds of our ancestors, who fought for our country, giving their lives.

The Ultimatum

Shortly after 3am in the morning of the same day, the then Italian government through the Italian ambassador to Athens, Emmanoule Gracci, sent an ultimatum to Greece to Ioannis Metaxas in his house in Kifissia, region of Greece. In this ultimatum the Italian government was demanding the free passage of the Italian army from the Greek-Albanian borders, in order to occupy some strategic points of Greece including ports and airports among others, for refueling needs and other facilities. In this way the Axis Powers would be able to enter the country and help further its overall war strategy during World War II.

After reading the ultimatum, Metaxas stared Emmanoule Gracci and said in French, which in the period was the official diplomatic language, the historical phrase: “Alors, c’est la guerre”, refusing to submit to the demands of the Italians.

At 5 pm and half in the morning, the Greek-Italian War began with the sudden invasion of the Italian forces in Epirus, at the mountains of Pindus.

The war officially began on the 28th of October, 1940, and ended in the 23rd of April 1941.

It is noted that the word “NO” was presented for the first time as a title in the main article of the newspaper “Ελληνικό Μέλλον (Hellenic Future)” by N.P. Efstratiou on the 30th of October, 1940.

How the ”Ohi Day” is commemorated today?

Today, ”Ohi Day” is celebrated on the 28th of October every year and special events, including parades occur throughout Greece. This date is celebrated in both Greece and Cyprus as an official national holiday. Also, in many countries of the world, Greek communities are celebrating their Anniversary.

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