Thursday, October 29, 2015

This Day in European History: October 29th, 1864

This Day in European History: October 29th, 1864
The Greek Constitution of 1864

By Sarah Adler

As the social environment shifted towards more liberal ideals, a revolt in 1862 against the Greek King Otto marked the end of the constitutional monarchy for Greece. The Second National Assembly drafted a new constitution two years later that transitioned Greece from a constitutional monarchy to a crowned republic - with newly crowned George I as monarch.  It was the first Constitution of Democracy with a King as head of State. For the first time in the world, It also established the principle of universal (direct and secret) ballot and restored popular sovereignty. The people were the driving force of state power, but the King reserved the right to dissolve Parliament at his discretion as long as the Cabinet signed and endorsed the dissolution decree.

George I

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This Day in European History: October 28th, 1940
Oxi Day: The Day of No

By Shaila Kavrakova

On October 28, 1940, Greek Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas, firmly rejected an ultimatum from Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini. The ultimatum was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador, Emanuele Grazzi, to surrender in order for Italian forces to strategically occupy areas in Greece. Metaxas apparently responded by saying “Oxi!” which translates to “no” in Greek.

That same morning, Italian troops attacked the Grecian-Albanian border, which was the beginning of Greece’s involvement in World War II. This invasion became known as the Greco-Italian War and lasted until April 23, 1941, much longer than Mussolini had anticipated. The Italians faced heavy resistance and were eventually pushed back in to Albania, causing the German army to take over. This delayed Germany from entering Russia and ultimately altered the fate of the axis powers.

October 28th would later become a national holiday known as Oxi Day (pronounced O-hee), celebrating the anniversary of courage and honoring those that defended the country. Greeks all over the world recognize today by proudly waving their flag and hosting parades involving the entire Greek community.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This Day in European History: October 27th, 1885
The Birth of Swedish Fauvist Sigrid Hjertén

By Aylin Kavrakov

Sigrid Hjertén, born October 27, 1885, was a Swedish modern expressionist painter. Color was a powerful aesthetic force in Hjertén’s work, as she heavily used color and shapes to express her emotions. She was inspired by color and simplified form while studying under French artist Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse in Paris. After studying, she returned to Sweden and it was in 1912 when she first debuted her work. Matisse’s influence is evident in Hjertén’s art during the 1910s; however, her later work began to reveal intimate aspects of her life, from her husband and her son to her own personal struggles.

Hjertén expressed herself predominately through colors. During the 1920s when living in Paris, she suffered from many psychosomatic disorders and feelings of isolation that were reflected in her art by her use of darker and colder colors. In 1932, just as she was preparing to return to Stockholm, Hjertén fell ill and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hjertén’s later work expressed extreme emotions, from horror to euphoria and she began to create more, painting a picture every day.

By 1938, her mental illness worsened. She created less while under permanent hospitalization. In 1948 Hjertén passed away from a botched lobotomy. Hjertén’s personal and expressive use of color and shape to illustrate powerful emotions have made her one of the most influential modernist painters during the Swedish modernism movement.

Monday, October 26, 2015

This Day in European History: October 26th, 1863

- The Creation of the Football Association -
By Ena Barisic

Ebenezer Morley, a London solicitor, formed Barnes FC in 1862 and could thus be considered the ‘father’ of the modern English Football Association (FA). Morley wrote to Bell’s Life, a popular newspaper, arguing that football should have a set of rules in the same way that other sports, like cricket, have. His letter led to a first historic meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, regarding the establishment of The Association.

The Football Association was formed at the Freemason’s Tavern on October 26th, 1863. Captains, secretaries and other representatives of other London and suburban clubs playing their own versions of football met “for the purpose of forming an Association with the object of establishing a definite code of rules for the regulation of the game”.

A new FA National Football Center was recently opened in St. George’s Park in 2012. It is now, a leading center of sports medicine and science, the center for coach education and a training home for Club England and its 24 representative sides.