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Politics

American Tributes to the Greek Heroic Resistance of 1940-42  

October 28, 2017
Eleftherios Pissalidis

NEW YORK – It was 3AM on the morning of Monday Oct. 28, 1940, when Italian Ambassador to Greece Emanuele Grazzi delivered an ultimatum to Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas in his house in Kiffisia, directly from the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, “Il Duce,” demanded totally free passage with no resistance, military or otherwise, of the whole Italian Army into Greece from the country’s borders with Albania.
Metaxas responded his refusal in French, “Alors, c’est la guerre,” translating “Then, it is war.” A few hours later, history wrote one of its most glorious chapters in the Greek nation’s history and the word “Oxi,” Greek for “No”, was heard throughout the world. Greece was the first nation in Europe to resist against one of the strongest Axis powers.

The Italians couldn’t wait though. A half hour before the expiration of the ultimatum, at 5:30AM, its forces entered Greece from the Greek-Albanian border. But they got by a surprise: while they thought it would be an easy task to overcome – as Mussolini had stated, “in three days we will be in Athens,” suddenly they met fierce resistance.
Grazzi had received the ultimatum at the Italian Embassy in Athens on October 26, but because it contained many pages it took some time to be deciphered and translated.
Grazzi was accompanied by two officials, Colonel Luigi Mondini, a military attache to Greece, and an interpreter, De Salvo.
For the record, when Italy invaded Greece its army received a-four-day ration and five- day ammunition reserve. They believed their Duce that it would be an easy task to conquer Greece. Lt General Sebastiano Visconti Prasca was convinced that nine army divisions were enough to fight, siege any resistance, and conquer the country. They thought their march to Athens would prove very successful in a matter of few days after a sudden attack and massive invasion from the Greek-Albanian borderline. Their plan was set into motion just a couple of months earlier, on August 15, when one of their submarines hit and sunk the Greek cruiser Elli, docked in Tinos Island observing the Feast Day of the Dormition of Theotokos.

But the Italian hopes were based on wrong and maybe false information; Metaxas was preparing the entire time and the Greek army was mobilized in secrecy covering the possible points of entry.

The rest is history: Greece held back the Italian forces, entered Albania, and surrendered when Nazi Germany declared war on April, 1941.
We have read numerous accounts and statements of notable persons about the spirit and moral of the Greek fighters. It is interesting to observe the meaning of the Greek resistance in the mainstream America at the time. United States officially was a neutral power; it hadn’t entered the war yet, and did so after December 7, 1941 when Japan, the third Axis power, hit Pearl Harbor.

Below are some editorials of the day from various newspapers around the country.

FROM THE NY TIMES

The New York Times’ editorial titled “The Fighting Greeks” stated that:

“Military experts point to the mountainous and impassable nature of the terrain as one of the chief causes. For the difficulties which the Italians are having in invading Greece through Albania and the west coast of the Grecian mainland. This is unquestionably the case. But New Yorkers who know the Greeks in New York will bear witness to the fact that the Grecian people have qualities of toughness and endurance, of the will to survive, which unquestionably have contributed to the persistence of their defenses to date.
“The Greeks were not fortunate in the war against Turkey which began in 1921. But this was not so much the fault of the Greek soldiers as of the Greek high command and the Greek political leadership, which at the time left much to be desired. Furthermore, the Greeks were not then engaged in defending their homeland against invasion.

“Since that time the training of the Greek Army has improved, and Greek morale is reported to be high. This, in the final analysis, draws its strength from the national character. No people that have had to fight as persistently for mere survival as have the Greeks could fail to have acquired tenacity of purpose and strength of will. Theirs is a beautiful land-a supremely beautiful land. But it is not now, and never has been, fruitful. “A few regions like the fields of Argos, which were cultivated even in the days of Agamemnon, are still fertile and grow rich grain. Other river bottoms and lands adjacent to the sea are planted to crops and vineyards. But much of the land is stony. Some of it is fit only for the cultivation of the olive. Almost none of it yields more than a scant and simple living. Yet on this soil the successive waves of invaders that came into Greece from the North during the last two thousand years to mingle with the remnants of the older Greek settlements, managed to produce enough to survive, and to transmit to their children unto distant generations the energy, the sharp intelligence and the unyielding courage which characterized the Greeks of old.
“We have seen those same qualities among the Greeks in this country. Amazing industry, great resourcefulness, untiring cheerfulness even in the face of depression and disaster, and, above all, vitality and endurance these are the qualities which we have come to associate with our Hellenic-Americans.
“It is true, of course, that not even these fine qualities of racial character can avail much if pitted against vastly- superior equipment of an invader.

“But it is also true that the kind of mechanized tactics which enabled. The Germans to achieve such astoundingly rapid advances into Poland, and France, have little place in attacking a mountainous region which never had roads of any value or importance. Let no man think that the Greeks of today are any less brave than the Greeks of old, that because Greece never regained the glories of its golden age, her people have degenerated. They have lost a part of the traditions of ancient Greece, but their pride in being Hellenes is still great-which is yet another reason why they are putting up such a good fight.”

FROM THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL

The Providence Journal editorial “What Greece Has Accomplished” stated:

“As the Italian armies in Albania continue to retreat before relentless attacks, we begin to get a fuller measure of Greece’s enormous contribution to the war for democracy.
It is not merely that Mussolini’s troops have been hurled back from the soil of Greece and prevented from making a quick march along the ancient road of the Caesars to keep a rendezvous, perhaps, with Hitler’s army at the Dardanelles. It is not written alone in Greece’s mighty victories.
“The immeasurable value of Greece’s remarkable light is the opportunity it has given England for an offensive in the Mediterranean. It has given Britain, first of all, a foothold on the Continent, which she desperately needed.
“It has given her new bases-Crete, the most important-for making more effective her blockade of Italy and of the Dodecanese and for cutting Italy’s lines of communications to Albania across the Adriatic and to Africa, where General Graziani’s army is bogged down.

“Let us see what Greece’s successes have accomplished. To begin with, they gave Great Britain a chance to take the initiative in the Mediterranean, first, by supporting the Greek Army in the air; second, by occupying Crete; third, by landing troops and equipment in Greece, a movement which has continued with increased pace as the Greeks pushed forward Great Britain’s activities, combined with Greek successes, have impressed both Spain and Turkey, as was demonstrated when Spain concluded a new financial treaty with England, under which Spain will have the use of her blocked funds in London for the purchase of badly-needed food supplies.
“The treaty is significant only insofar as it guarantees that Spain will not adhere to the Rome-Berlin “new order” for the present. An attack on Gibraltar through Spain is thus delayed, perhaps long enough to give Great Britain time for the offensive she has promised.
“Great Britain is preparing for vital action in the Mediterranean. It is known that she has transferred some ships from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean for troop transports. She also has been active in transporting men and equipment from Australia to Red Sea ports, through which her forces have been pouring for the defense of the Suez against the Italians in Libya.”
FROM THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

The Philadelphia Inquirer in “The Glory That Is Greece” wrote:

“The epic valor of the Greeks in driving back the Italian invaders, together with Britain’s stalwart resistance to Hitler’s crushing blows, has given new meaning to human courage in war.
“The heroes of ancient Greece live again, awaiting only a new Homer to sing of gallant deeds, on mountain ranges and in snowstorms, in repulsing a foe from beyond a historic stretch of sea.
“The glory that was Greece” has been reborn by the embattled Evzones who forced the enemy from Greek territory and pushed deep into Italy-dominated
Albania.

“But ‘the grandeur that was Rome’ has not been recreated in a modern version. The entire Italian thrust against Greece, its preparation, organization, staff work and military effectiveness summon no vision of Rome’s war- like past, except by invidious comparison.
“The Greece of the Golden Age, the Greece of Pericles, of Thucydides, of Demosthenes, of Plato, Aristotle, Leonidas and all the other giants-in peace or war- of earlier epochs, are recalled by the amazing events of the last few weeks.
“A Greece that in recent years had ranked as an important but highly vulnerable member of the uneasy Balkan family has suddenly blossomed forth as a Power in its own right, with military strategy so skillful as to confound and overwhelm large numbers of Mussolini’s best troops. The wonder, it must be admitted, may not last. The deeper the Greeks push into Albania the farther they are from their own bases. 1 There is danger of traps and of a shortage of supplies. There is danger from Italian reinforcements in superior numbers.
“Even Homer could not overestimate the great deeds of this new Greece as chronicled in matter-of-fact language in the daily newspapers. But the potentialities of the modern Greeks’ achievements vastly exceed the storied victories of the ancients.
“It is by no means beyond the bounds of probability that the Greeks, fighting in the rugged mountain passes, have accomplished more than they now dream. By showing conclusively that the Axis is not invincible throughout, they have caused hope to spring where little but hopeless resignation had existed.
“’Earth! Render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grants but three,
To make a new Thermopylae!’
“Too bad Lord Byron doesn’t live today. He might find his prayer answered.”

FROM THE ST. LOUIS DISPATCH

The St. Louis Dispatch in “Gloomy Days for the Duce” wrote:

“On Mussolini, swaggering imitator of the Caesars, humiliations rain thick and fast. The attack on Greece, planned as a cheap and easy victory, is turned into defeat by the intended victim’s astounding resistance. The hard-won gains of the campaign in Northern Africa are being wrested away by the new British drive. Grecian islands have become advanced British bases for tightening the blockade in the Mediterranean, boastfully termed ‘Our Sea’ by the Duce, and possibly for attacks upon Italy itself. “Three high-ranking commanders have retired as a result of all these reverses. Reports of discontent in Italy are verified by Popoto di Roma’s front-page blast yesterday against ‘defeatists, alarmists, pessimists and rumor mongers.’

“Nazi aid could perhaps turn the tide, but if Mussolini calls for it, his humiliation is complete and the heel of the senior Axis partner upon his neck becomes firmer than ever. His dream of glory and loot for little effort, when he took Italy into war at its apparent eleventh hour last June, has been rudely shattered. Italian Fascism and its bullying chief face their gloomiest hour since the march on Rome 18 years ago.”
FROM THE GALVESTON DAILY NEWS

The Galveston Daily News in “For Freedom and Decency” wrote:

“From time to time while Greece remained in the war for freedom and decency, the editorial columns of The Galveston News expressed the admiration Americans felt for that gallant nation. To many of us it is a matter of profound regret that America did not enter the war in time to be of direct military assistance to Greece.
“Now that America’s strength has been dedicated to overthrow of the Axis tyrants, one of our inflexible war aims must be the restoration of Greece to full national sovereignty. “It will be impossible to compensate the people of Greece in full for the sufferings they have endured. But the United Nations are bound by the principles they profess to accord immortal Greece the fullest possible measure of restitution.

“No act of aggression in the long series committed by the Axis powers was more devoid of moral justification than the attack on Greece. And  no nation has excelled Greece in the valor of its defense against aggression.
“Greece set the world an example of courage and integrity. It must not and will not be forgotten when the time comes to restore a sane international order.”
THE INQUIRER, AGAIN

A few weeks later, the Inquirer wrote in “Greece at Another Thermopylae”:

“In the long light of history what is happening in Europe today unquestionably will appear as fantastic to future generations as tales of ancient wonders are to us. This new age of barbarism, with Adolf Hitler its high priest, relegates even farther into the shades the lawless eras of Attila, Genseric and Genghis Khan.
“But for Greece the drums of valor beat again, long after Lord Byron sang, “‘T1s Greece, but living Greece no more!” Greece has had an amazing renaissance. Having driven an aggressor from her soil, the Greece of the heroic legends lives again the Greece of Leonidas and Thermopylae.
“What the blundering Mussolini mistook for a land whose sun had set long ago arose in new strength to repulse the invader and send him staggering back into the mountains of an Albania he had stolen from its own people.

“It was an epic deed of courage that gave hope and faith to the British and to distraught nations everywhere.
“Greece now stands at another Thermopylae. The marauding giant of the North aims his destroying tanks and planes at the hills and vales where centuries ago, great philosophers taught men to think in terms of a democratic way of life. Not in the Odyssey, not in the literature of any country, is there recounted a more stirring crisis than is bravely confronted by Greece today.
“It is as if Thomas Campbell, in his “Song of the Greeks,” had written of this very moment:

“’Again, to the battle, Achaians!
Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance;
Our land, the first garden of Liberty’s tree,
It has been, and shall yet be, the land of the free.’
“Conquerors come and go, but the battle for human liberty goes on forever.
Whether or not the Greeks are forced to yield to brute might, the courage they have displayed will shine on, a beacon to other imperiled nations.”

THE JOURNAL, AGAIN

In “the Greeks Go On,” the Journal stated that:

“Once again the Greeks are living the real life of history. Pressed, as only Germany can press a small nation, to abandon at a peace conference all they have won on the battlefield, they have chosen to stand their ground, courageously and determinedly. Greece will fight on, not alone against Italy, tottering now on the brink in Albania, but, if need be, against the mighty machine of destruction which Hitler has geared for action against her eastern flank. She will fight them both, Germany and Italy, with such help as she can secure from Britain, because the glory of Greece today is the glory of freedom and courage. If na6onal immolation is the price to be paid for national honor and national liberty, the Greeks will pay it without delay, without doubts, without fear.

“The Greeks are spiritually strong, as the Finns were, and hence they do not dread the appalling realities of the tragedy which confronts them.
“They know it would be a coward’s security to yield to Germany’s demands, so they will have none of it, even though Hitler’s hordes are ready to pour over their border with all their engines of destruction. They refuse to rationalize the “new order” as the sum and substance of peace and security and of future gain, as Rumania and Bulgaria did, and they will fight for their own order, their own integrity, their own freedom, their own honor.
“They will fight in the light of historical experience and under the compulsion
of ancient traditions which have had a new birth on the grim and terrible
battlefields of the Albanian mountains.
“It is a courageous decision, and it will give the British new courage and the world new hope.”

WAR SECRETARY STIMSON

Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War stated:

“The valiant struggle of Greece against aggression and the triumphs of her defenders in the face of enormous odds have thrilled the friends of democracy throughout the world. “It is appropriate that Greece, of all nations, should point the way to victory over tyranny. “In ancient Greece democracy was born. On this small peninsula a classic culture flourished that is a treasured heritage of modern civilization. In her mountain passes a few ancient heroes turned back the conquering hordes of a strong invader. Today modern Greeks on crags and peaks amid mountain grandeur stand firm against oppression. Again the aggressor is routed by valiant sons of Greece who have proved their right to a place beside the heroes of antiquity. Friends of Greece are proud to add a laurel to her crown of victory and to render such material and moral assistance as shall insure the final triumph of her struggle for democracy.”

FROM THE NY HERALD TRIBUNE

A few weeks later and upon the news of Ioannis Metaxas’ death, the New York Herald Tribune wrote:

“An inescapable irony hung about the small, stocky and capable figure of Gen. John Metaxas, the permanent Premier of Greece. The leader of the bravest, boldest and most brilliant resistance to the advance of totalitarian dictatorship put up anywhere on the Continent of Europe, he was himself a dictator who had copied many of his methods directly from the totalitarians.
“The winner of the first land victories for the democratic cause in the whole course of the war, he was a Prussian-trained soldier, the onetime star pupil of the Potsdam War College. It was an irony of fate; and now the Great Ironist, who has passed over so many other dictators, has dealt unkindly with the democratic cause in suddenly taking this one, who rendered democracy so great a service at a time when it was badly needed.
“But these are the surface accidents of life which only children can expect to follow exact and perfect patterns. If he was an unexpected fighter for democracy, Gen. Metaxas was also an unusual dictator. He abolished Parliament, had himself made Premier for life, ruled by decree, by a powerful police organization, by censorship and suppression. On the other hand, he fomented no wars, he rarely made speeches, he indulged in no pageantry or drama, he maintained no sycophants to deify him, he was content if the populace referred to him, not as Leader or Duce or Chieftain, but as ‘Uncle Johnny.’ He was a hard-headed, hard-working, unpretentious administrator, who rested his claim to authority on the fact that he got things done. He supported his King and he believed in Greek independence. Taking power at a time when Greece was in a state of near chaos, he unified his country, armed it, and gave it the will and nerve which were to enable it to rise, when the crisis came, and fight for its life and its essential liberties with a heroism and a success that have been the envy of every other European people.

“This was a great work; it has probably saved Greece; it has doubtless had a great part in the saving of Europe and the Western World from the hopeless blight of totalitarian despotism. The patterns are never perfect. But the democratic cause need feel no shame in taking help from the qualities which Metaxas brought to his times.

FROM THE NY EVENING SUN

The New York Evening Sun, in its editorial titled “In Parallel Columns” wrote:

“History, which has its own ironies, will not fail to place side by side certain passages from the week’s proclamations by the Greek and Italian Premiers. In one column it will place these words which Premier Mussolini addressed to his army:  after six months of most sharp fighting, the enemy has laid down his arms. The victory consecrates your bloody sacrifices, especially severe for the land forces, and illuminates your flags with new glory. The fatherland is proud of you as never before.
“In a parallel column history will place this extract from the words addressed by Premier Tsouderos to the Greek people: We are defending ourselves against an unfair aggression, but also against the unprecedented infamy on the part of an empire of 100,000,000 that struck us from the back in order to say its cowardly colleague and partner, whom we had defeated. From the endurances of this hard struggle against our race, which is disapproved by all those who are morally superior and by free peoples of the world, who have expressed their disgust, we shall come out victorious, glorious and great. Nor will history fail to draw further contrasts. It will observe that at the outset of this struggle Germany had some 80,000,000 of people of German language and blood; that Italy had well over 40,000,000 people of Italian language and blood; that Greece l1ad only a little more than 6,000,000 people of Greek language and blood. It may be a bit difficult for history to see just where in a struggle in which one side could put twenty armed men into the field for each soldier the other could muster-glory for the conqueror came in. It will not have any such difficulty, however, in appraising the words of the Greek King who, in the darkest hour of defeat, was telling his people to fight on, faithful to tl1e ideal of an undivided free country.”

FROM THE RICHMOND DISPATCH

The Richmond Dispatch wrote in its editorial titled “For the Heirs of Leonidas”:

“Virginians will be given an opportunity, beginning today, the 120th anniversary of Greek independence, to contribute to the relief of the bravely battling little nation which already has performed such prodigies of valor, and whose hard-pressed soldiers and civilians sorely need blankets, medicines, disinfectants, bandages and food.
“History has few parallels for the valiant, almost incredible exploits performed by the Greek soldiery in the war now raging in the Balkans. Seemingly outnumbered and outgunned by a margin of two or three to one, practically without warplanes and expected to collapse in tl1e face of the Italian offensive, the Greeks hurled back the invaders and drove them all the way to the Adriatic. For months they have kept the initiative, and even today, with adjacent Yugoslavia apparently about to fall into the clutches of the Axis, the Greeks show no signs of wavering.
“How can Virginians fail to respond to the appeal of such a people?
“How can they decline to aid this little nation which is battling for its life, and evidencing un1linching courage, in the face of the mighty Axis war machine poised on its frontiers?
“Today, in all the Richmond motion picture theatres, appeals for Greek war relief will be flashed on the screen, and Greek boys, in the costume of the redoubtable Evzones, and Greek girls dressed as shepherdesses, will be on hand. The brave heirs of Epaminondas and Leonidas will know that Virginia wishes to give tangible expression to her admiration of the stand they are making against the would-be conquerors of the world.”

GOV. THOMAS DEWEY
New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey said the Greek struggle against the Axis powers: “The whole world rightly admires the heroism with which the Greek nation defended their soil against the Axis hordes sent by the Fascist government to loot the peaceful and beautiful land of Greece. “This great struggle of the Greek people, which gave an inspiring example to the world, is comparable with the glorious battle of Thermopylae. Although Greece has been beaten and occupied by the invaders, she has not ceased fighting. Thousands of Greeks who succeeded in escaping the Fascist yoke are now in the forces of the United Nations in all parts of the world.
“In occupied Greece the spirit of freedom is, even today, struggling fiercely against the invader. Americans of Greek descent should be proud of the heroism of their blood brothers in Greece proper who are fighting against bestial oppression.
“They should also be proud of the fact that over 100,000 men of Greek descent are in the ranks of the American Army and are participating on all fronts in the struggle for the preservation of American ideals and institutions.
“My admiration for my compatriots of Greek descent is great indeed. During my tenure of office I knew them closely, having worked with them for nobler aims. Their devotion to the United States of America and their patriotism has always been to me a source of inspiration.”

FROM THE PROVIDENCE EVENING BULLETIN

The Providence Evening Bulletin wrote in its editorial titled “Why They Chose Battle”: “Greece is a nation of 7,000,000, yet it chose to beat back an attack by Italy-a nation of 40,000,000. And in so doing, it dared to defy Italy’s boss-ally- a nation of 80,000,000.
Similarly Yugoslavia, a nation of 15,000,000, chose to fight rather than surrender. And in so doing, it knew it would bring down upon its head the same force that Greece challenged-the regimented might of two nations with a combined population of 120,000,000.
“Why did 7,000,000 Greeks and 15,000,000 Yugoslavs thus make up their minds to stand up against these tremendous odds? And what has it profited them to do so? As Hitler drives triumphantly through the Balkans, such questions naturally suggest themselves, and they merit answers-if only to rebut a few of the superficial remarks now being made about the ‘futility’ of Greek and Yugoslav resistance.

“In some quarters, for example, it is suggested that Greece and Yugoslavia would have yielded submissively if Britain and the United States had not stepped in with a promise of aid. Unquestionably this promise was encouraging, but we do the Greeks, and the Yugoslavs small honor if we suppose that they decided to fight only because of it.
The Greeks and the Yugoslavs are intelligent peoples, and in taking their stand against Nazi Germany, they knew that American aid could reach them in quantity only if the enemy were held back for a considerable period of time. Moreover, they knew the size of the British expeditionary force in the Balkans, and they knew they were undertaking great risks. Their eyes were wide open, and they went into the battle with complete realization of the dangers they faced. To this extent they gambled, but their gamble was the gamble of heroes.
“And who can say that they have lost? Who can say that their courage and sacrifice have profited them nothing? Who can say anything of that sort when the decision of this war has yet to be reached? Not until the final battle is won, not until this great world conflict is at an end, will it be possible to talk authoritatively about Greek gains or Greek losses and Yugoslav gains or Yugoslav losses. ‘For the war is still far from being over, and the long-time gamble of heroic Greece and heroic Yugoslavia continues to be
sound. If Hitler is crushed-and it is the firm faith of Britain and America that he will be crushed-then the Greeks and the Yugoslavs will have won.

“Meanwhile, even though Hitler may soon control all the Balkans, Greece and Yugoslavia can credit themselves with having caused him heavy losses in men and materials and with having upset his timetable in a way which history may describe as decisive. Their honor and their heroism bade them to choose battle instead of shameful surrender, and if the forces of evil are not to inherit the earth, their choice will be well’ rewarded when the peace is made.”

HARRISON COFFIN
Harrison C. Coffin, Chairman of the Division of Literature, at Union College in Schenectady, NY wrote a hymn to the fighting Greeks titled “Lest We Forget”:

“Greece has been the teacher of the world. The Greek thinkers and writers, the philosophers, historians and dramatists have left an immortal legacy. In many real ways our world, of whose modernity we are inclined to boast, would be very different without those majestic contributions of the Greek genius which still stir our admiration and excite our envy. It is impossible to overestimate the civilizing force of the Greek genius, and we might even say with Georg Brandes, that Greece, not Palestine, is the Holy Land.

“But there was a sterner side to the Greek character. The Greeks produced great poets, inspired artists, subtle thinkers, but they also produced fighting men whose achievements we.re the wonder of the world. Dr. Johnson once said: “That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Ionia.” Indeed, those men of Marathon, those men who saved Athens from the Persians when Greece “stood upon a razor’s edge,” seemed to their own descendants to be more than human, just as Leonidas and his desperate band, by holding the pass at Thermopylae, have left a name that will endure as long as men remember courage or admire devotion. Even the supposedly invincible Roman had reason to respect the valor of the Greek fighting man, and that valor has been proved on many fields and in many ages.
“This war has once more put the Greeks to the test, just as it has put to the test most of the world. Once again the Greek stood up to defend his native soil, and it was not until the Greek army had been crushed by the overpowering might of the Germans that they yielded, defeated but unconquered.

“It is only right that men in other lands should be reminded of the Greek people, of the contribution that Greek civilization has made to the modern world, and of the stubborn courage and fighting spirit that the Greeks of today have shown. Greece is one of the United Nations, and to the limit of their ability those Greeks who are not under the Nazi yoke are supporting our combined effort to defeat the aggressor and to restore to the oppressed people of Europe their rightful freedom. We should be proud to hail the Greeks as partners in a great cause, and we should always keep before us the example they have set.
“On the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Athens is carved a line from the great historian Thucydides: ‘The whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men.’ Many Greeks have fallen in defense of their native land, and their example may well serve to encourage the determined armies that are now in process of bringing the Axis to defeat. As long as men cherish the memory of great thoughts and high deeds, the Greeks can never be forgotten.”

FDR
On the occasion of the second year from Greece’s resistance against Italy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wrote a “Message to Greece”:
“October 28, 1942.
“My Dear Mr. Ambassador:
“On the early morning of October 28, 1940, the Fascist aggressors handed an ultimatum to Greece. The challenge was hurled back without a moment’s hesitation. This was what might have been expected from a gallant and courageous people devoted to their homeland. You commemorate tonight the second anniversary of the beginning of the total resistance of the Greek people to totalitarian warfare.

“More significant, even, than the initial reply to the challenge is the fact that Greece has continued to fight, with every means at its command. When the Greek mainland was overrun, the resistance was carried on from the islands. When the islands fell, resistance continued from Africa, from the seas, from anywhere the aggressor could be met.
“To those who prefer to compromise, to follow a course of expediency or to appease, or to count the cost, I say that Greece has set the example which every one of us must follow until the despoilers of freedom everywhere have been brought to their just doom”

AMBASSDOR’S REPLY

The Greek Ambassador in Washington, Cimon Diamantopoulos, replied :
“October 29, 1942.
“My dear Mr. President:

“I wish to convey to you my heartfelt gratitude for the letter of October 28th, which was handed to me on your behalf by the Honorable Sumner Welles, Under Secretary of State, at the meeting held yesterday evening in commemoration of Greece’s gallant stand against the Italian aggression.

“Your inspiring words express an invaluable appreciation of the effort of the Greek people who, throughout their centuries old history, underwent many sacrifices in order to defend and preserve their most cherished tradition for independence, and your high appraisal of their example in the present struggle against the despoilers of freedom will be a precious encouragement to the fighting Greek forces and to the whole Greek nation. Be assured that all free peoples look with fervent hope to this great
country and its illustrious leader for the prevalence of liberty and justice for which we are fighting.
“Please accept, my dear Mr. President, the expression of my deep respect.”

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