Ochi Day, 2012

Cartoon showing Mussolini asking Hitler for help in the war with Greece

The 28th of October is a public holiday in Greece, known as Ochi Day. It commemorates the day in 1940 when Mussolini’s ambassador gave an ultimatum to Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas: allow Italian troops to occupy regions of Greece or face war. The reply was, “Alors, c’est la guerre” or, in the popular version, “Ochi” (No) — a reply which brought Greece into the Second World War on the side of the Allies.

The following Greco-Italian war lasted five months and did not go as Mussolini planned. The Hellenic Army repelled the invasion and went on the offensive, occupying large areas of Albania (then under Italian control) and tying down hundreds of thousands of Italian troops. The stalemate forced Hitler to intervene, diverting large numbers of troops to the invasion of Greece. British troops came to Greeceā€™s aid, but the Allied forces were massively outnumbered and outgunned, and mainland […]

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