October 28 1940 year has gone down in the history of the national liberation movement in Greece. On this day, her freedom-loving people replied proudly "OHI" - "NO" to fascist Italy ultimatum to surrender. This decisive answer plunged the country into World War II, which was raging for a year in Europe.
Alignment of political forces in the world and the lack of security in Greece, did not contribute to this small, economically weak country to face the invaders. But she was able not only to withstand the onslaught, but also cause serious defeat this powerful enemy, which at the time was Italy. To understand how this could happen, it is necessary to make a brief excursion into the period prior to the Italian fascists attacked Greece.
4 1936 August in Greece came to power a fascist government Metaxas imposed on the people of the reactionary forces and the royal court with the support of foreign capital, mainly English.
The new government objective was to stop booming anti-fascist, democratic movement. The country was canceled Constitution abolished democratic freedoms declared outlawed political parties, the persecution and repression of pro-democracy citizens, especially the Communists.
Economic policy has been an undue burden on the masses were introduced new taxes provodilispostoyannye forced requisitions, which were spent mainly on Nazi propaganda needs of the secret police, or simply stolen.
In 1939, Italy occupied the territory of neighboring Albania. Given the current situation, the Greek government was forced to assess its strengths and capabilities. It turned out that at a time when the Italian fascists were already at the borders of the country, the Greek armed forces were in the most deplorable state: military equipment was at the level of the First World War, there were no supplies of supplies and uniforms, radio communications were lacking, and ammunition would be enough for several months of military action. In essence, the political and economic situation in Greece on the threshold of war was critical
28 October 1940 at 3 in the morning of the ambassador of Italy came to the house of Prime Minister I. Metaxas and handed him an ultimatum in which the Mussolini government demanded an unconditional consent to the occupation of the most important strategic points of the country by the Italian army. The Greek government rejected the ultimatum. The announcement of the declaration of war caused a powerful patriotic impulse, throughout the country thousands of demonstrations were held, the participants chanted: "Death to fascism!". According to one of the leaders of the Greek Resistance, S.Sarafis, something happened that no one expected, the whole nation rose to fight.
He describes these events: "At that moment, something unexpected happened. We are not talking about a sudden Italian invasion, but about what you do not expect anybody, except those who believe in the soul and power of the Greek people. Were all dumbfounded: Italians, Germans, and the government and the General Staff, and even allies, the reason for that was the Greek people. "
In the first days of the war, the Italians, who had numerical superiority, achieved some success, advanced on all sectors of the front. The Greek units in the defensive battles harassed the enemy, causing him serious losses and gaining the time necessary for the arrival of reinforcements. Already 8 November, the Italian offensive drowned, and the Greek army, despite the lack of vehicles, provisions and a minimum amount of ammunition, managed to almost completely destroy the division of the Alpine shooters "Julia". The defeat of the Italians in the Pinda mountains allowed the Greek army to take the initiative into its own hands so much that from 8 on November 13 the Greek troops, pursuing the retreating enemy, crossed the border in some sectors. But the incompetent leadership of the General Staff prevented the troops from moving into a widespread offensive and missed the chance to take advantage of the superiority of the Greek army. The political and military leadership of the country never believed in victory, and the Metaxas government was going to "give only a few rifle shots to maintain the honor of weapons."
Hostilities ended in the spring of the year 1941 victory of the Greek army, which was the result of popular struggle and general advancement, whose roots go back to the depths of the history of the national liberation war.
Since the beginning of Italian aggression many Cypriots were recorded by volunteers to fight "for freedom and Greece." Six thousand Cypriot regiment fought with the British against the Italian army in Greece.
But the country has long celebrated the victory over Italy, 6 1941 year started April Hitlerite aggression. The Greek people as bravely tried to resist the new occupiers, but the forces were unequal, and on the orders of their commanders Greek army surrendered. Signing Greece surrender did not mean the end of the war, the struggle of the Greek people for their independence is entering a new stage, associated with the history and activities of the Greek Resistance.
Lyudmila Papaconstantinou - historian, editor of "The Cyprus Kaleidoscope", published by the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) in Russian, as well as pages for Russian readers in the newspaper "Vima Ergatiko."