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The protagonists of the period 1936-1940, Metaxas and King George II - Photographic Archive of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive in Athens


The Mid-War Period
The dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas

The undisguised consent of the throne but also of the British, allowed the Regime of the Fourth of August to establish itself in power without meeting with serious resistance. Patterning his regime on other authoritarian European governments (most notably Mussolini's fascist regime), Metaxas banned political parties, arrested communists, criminalized strikes and introduced widespread censorship of the media.

Salute imposed during the period of governing by Ioannis Metaxas - Photographic Archive of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive in AthensHis policy was characterized by authoritarianism but also the advancement of personality cult towards himself. The Metaxas dictatorship promoted various popular measures, such as the 8-hour working day and mandatory improvements to the working conditions of workers, established the Greek social security fund (IKA) still the biggest social security institution in Greece and improved the country's defences. For rural areas agricultural prices were raised and farm debts were taken on by the government. Despite these efforts the Greek people generally moved towards the political left, but without actively opposing Metaxas.

Ioannis Metaxas watches a parade of the many taking place, being part of propaganda manifestations of the dictatorial regime - Photographic Archive of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive in AthensThe policy of Metaxas to keep Greece out of WWII was decisively broken by the blunt demands of Mussolini in October 1940. This ultimatum, which was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador in Greece, Grachi, on 28 October 1940, at dawn (04:00 AM), after a party in the German embassy in Athens, demanded of Greece to allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war. It was allegedly answered with a single word: No! (Oxi!). On the morning of the 28 October, the Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting "Oxi!'.Timeline

Most scholars dismiss the political side of 'Oxi' as an urban legend, pointing out that the actual reply was the French phrase "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then we’ll have war"). In response to Metaxas's refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, then an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border at 05:30 AM. Metaxas's reply marked the beginning of Greece's participation in World War. Top



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