On the early morning of Oct. 28, 1940, Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas faced a grim ultimatum from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini — surrender to Axis Powers, or fight for survival by entering World War II.
Mussolini’s forces had already amassed on Greece’s northern border, where they threatened to invade through Albania.
Metaxas issued a simple yet firm response that would echo for generations to come — “Alors, c’est la guerre,” meaning “Well then, it is war” in French — the widely used diplomatic language of the time.
The national leader’s subsequent message to the people of Greece — to “fight to your death” — was heard loud and clear throughout the world. His iconic response — and the implied “no” — made international headlines as tiny Greece was the latest nation attacked by the mighty Axis powers of Italy and Nazi Germany.
The New York Times’ October 28 front page covered Metaxas’ actions in big, bold print.
As a result of the Greeks’ refusal to surrender, events that ensued during the following months would ultimately change the entire course of the war as well as leave scars in Greece that persist to this day.
Thanks to contributions from our readers, The Pappas Post has compiled a gallery with dozens of photos of WWII monuments in Greece.
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