On October 28, 1940, Greece entered World War II against the Axis powers, by rejecting Italy’s ultimatum to surrender. Every year, customary parades and festivities take place across the country (October 26-28), celebrating Greece’s resistance. The festivities culminate on October 28 with the annual military parade in Thessaloniki, in the presence of the country’s political and military leadership.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the rejection of Italy’s ultimatum that prompted the Italian invasion in the mountains of Epirus. The enthusiasm of the Greek army, the spontaneous, all-embracing popular mobilization in the war effort and the mountainous masses of Epirus made feasible not only the effective routing of the Italian troops but also the spectacular counter-offensive by the Greek side inside Albanian territory.
The Battle of Greece lasted 216 days, marking the first victory for the Allies against the Axis forces. The Greek victory was hailed with enthusiasm by the entire fighting world. The Germans themselves even admired the Greeks’ achievement. Moreover, it had enormous importance as it broke the myth of the omnipotence of the Axis, encouraged many people to resist, and destroyed the prestige of Mussolini while delaying Hitler’s scheduled attack on Russia.
Watch Video: “Greece, the first victory” [National Geographic- English subtitles]