The following poem was written in 1941 as a tribute to the heroism of the Greek nation after their defeat by the Germans.
Il Duce with his mighty legions
Knocked at Greece’s ancient gate
He had forty million people
And the Greeks had only eight
With his Fascist banners gleaming
From the high Albanian Peak,
“I am coming,” cried Il Duce.
“Come ahead” replied the Greek.
“Forward!” shouted the commanders
With a good old Roman curse;
And the legions started rolling,
Rolling swiftly – in reverse,
And throughout the startled nation
The news began to leak
That the Duce had been walloped
By the sturdy little Greek.
Then that poor, moth-eaten Caesar,
What a different song he sang!
“This great big bully licked me!
Hey Adolph, get your gang!”
“You’re a dumkopf,” cried the Fuehrer,
As he pulled his trusty gun;
“You don’t know how to murder kids;
“I’ll show you how it’s done.”
And then the tanks began to roll
With clank and roar and groan:
The great planes blacked the sky and filled
The air with ceaseless drone,
In endless ranks with flame and bomb
And gray guns long and sleek;
The mighty German war machine
Moved down upon the Greek.
And still that fellow wouldn’t run –
He didn’t quite know how.
“We’ve got some help,” he said, “and that
just makes it even now.”
“ Bring on your millions, Adolph dear,
We’re neither scared nor meek.
The British, sixty thousand strong,
Are standing with the Greek!”
They fought a fight like Homer’s song
They died, as brave men must
Their ranks, “neath dark odds,
Were beaten to the dust.
And then heroic chivalry
Attained its highest peak
As the victors clasped their bloody hands
Above the fallen Greek.
Someday, beyond this veil of tears,
We’ll all stand on the spot
To tell the Judge of all the world
Just who we were – and what.
I wouldn’t be a Fascist then,
Or Nazi grim and bleak;
But I’d be proud to tell my God
That once I was a Greek!
By John Dennis Mahoney
Part of the address by Chancellor Adolf Hitler to the Reichstag on 4 May 1941
"We know that a large share of this success is due to our Allies. In particular, the fight sustained for six months in the most difficult conditions and with the greatest sacrifices, which Italy waged against Greece, not only engaged the greater part of the Greek Army, but so weakened it that its collapse had already become inevitable. Historical justice obliges me to state that of the enemies who took up positions against us, the Greek soldier particularly fought with the highest courage. He capitulated only when further resistance had become impossible and useless."