This post is in memory of my late father Ioannis Haritos.
He was a World War II hero that fought in those epic battles against Axis ( Italians -Germans) in 1940. He was 20 years old at the time,a sergeant and received a medal for his bravery at war. When I was a kid, old people would stop me in the street and tell me how he saved one's life by carrying him in his shoulders when wounded or how he would urge everyone to sing uplifting songs during a gruelling march....He himself told me of deathcold and of frostbite,of hunger and of non-existent supplies,of the indomitable of the human spirit,of companionship, of never-EVER giving up..He was also up in the mountains afterwards,during the German occupation,doing guerilla warfare till the very end...I only had my father with me for 15 years, ( he had me when he was 50) but I consider it the greatest of honors to be the daughter of a real hero. May he rest in peace.
I am proud to be Greek and will always be so!
TAKE HEART MY GREECE, for you are now fighting another,more cruel and infernal battle!
28th Octomber 1940. Greece said"NO" to Axis!(Germans- Italians) The national holiday of Oct 28 is almost here. We Greeks celebrate the beginning of this war. Let us remember why:
France: 43 (a superpower by the time's standards)
Greece became the breakwater against the horror and the general belief of the European peoples, that the victory of the iron-clad and armed to the teeth nazis and fascist armies was certain and that the isolated England was not able to stop the terrific German military mechanism.
The successful outcome of this daring decision and the psychic force that Greece sustained for a long time, contributed to refuting the legend about "the invincible of the Axis", and at the same time a change of estimations took place concerning the evolution of the war, positively affecting the diplomatic field. Countries which were assumed to participate in the war at the side of the Axis, started to show hesitancy as to their participation or not, or even denial. In the edition of 28th November the "Times" wrote: "The Greek victories had a tremendous impact at the Near East... The concerns about an Italian invasion in Egypt were removed whereas Mussolini,(the Italian fascist leader) considered as something significant in the popular imagination, because a comic figure
The Germans attacked on April 6 1941 after having rushed down through Yugoslavia (3 days). The Greek army at the time was way up into Albania chasing the Italians.
The forts along the northern borders fought the Germans until they received msg that Athens had fallen and the government had fled to Egypt. They were ordered to surrender.
During the German occupation that followed (41-44) 350,000 Greeks lost their lives to hunger, famine, executions.
The remnants of the Greek army joined the Allied forces at Cairo and regrouped. They fought bravely in north Africa (El Alamein, Tobruk, to name a few) till the end. In the fatherland many took to the mountains and fought as guerillas against the nazis. In essence, 219 days only refers to the days Greece lasted as a sovereign country. The fight was continued till the very end.
It is true that the nation feels exceptional pride for the great "NO" on the 28th of October 1940, said by the Hellenic people at the very early dawn of that historic day.
The generation of the '40s proved, once more, that the sacred passion for the freedom of the country is the ultimate duty for all Greeks, who have repeatedly proved it during their age-long existence, and they will not cease to do the same, as long as they live in this beautiful country.
Quotes:Adolf Hitler 1889-1945
Head of German state 1889-1945
"Thanks to historical truth I owe it to admit that only the Greeks, from all opponents that we faced, fought with daring courage and contempt for Death''
Winston Churchil 1874-1965
Prime Minister of Great Britain at the World WarII
"Up to now we said that the Greeks fight as heroes. Now we will say: The heroes fight as Greeks."