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.