Selected quotes by Ioannis Metaxas (Part I)

The following are speeches from Ioannis Metaxas, taken from recorded sources:

«May God perserve Greece and guard the Race»


«We must subordinate our appettites, our passions and our egoism to the wholeness of the National interest. This way we will be a really free people, otherwise anarchy and indiscipline will reign over us under the false mask of freedom»

«Heroes never die; instead they fall, and the soil, by drinking their blood borns them again…”»


«The time has come for Greece to fight for her independence. Greeks, we now must prove worthy of our ancestors and the freedom they gave us. Fight for the Fatherland, for your wifes, for your children and for the sacred traditions. Now, above all, FIGHT!»

On February 18, 1927:

“I believe it is impossible to make progress under the parliamentary system” 

In an interesting Epilogue to his series of articles Metaxas wrote on 23 January 1935:

Venizelos and i invited you to look backwards to the past. Now i urge you to look forward to the future; and since you cannot live without ideals, the only suitable ideal is that of the Hellenic Idea. The Great idea (I Megali Idea) itself did not fail; only the attempt at its territorial implementation. The Greco-Byzantine perception of if has failed, but not its ancient classical form of Hellenism. Our [my] disagreement with Venizelos, in the final analysis, is over the understanding, the meaning, significance and form of the Hellenic Idea”


“I am ready for every sacrifice for the honour of Greece”

At a cabinet meeting on 28 October 1940, Metaxas said:

“Gentlemen, I’ve been accused of two things: one, the first, that I am a Germanophile, and two, the second, that I lack the sensitivity and imagination of Venizelos. It is true I was educated in Germany and had many ties with that country. But as one who comes to hate a friend who betrayed the friendship, that is how I hate Germany now.


I am of course a Kefalonian and weigh things carefully. But there are times when after all this one lets the heart dictate the final decision. And my heart tells me I cannot betray a 3,000-year history. He who disagrees with me can resign”

The feelings of Metaxas in November 1940 are reflected in his lament:

“They accused me, exiled me, sentenced me to death, but finally even for me there came in my seventieth year the moment of recognition’”


On his Nameday on 7 January 1941, Metaxas was praised by enemies, political opponents, followers and supporters alike, and he responded:

“All this is not my doing, but that of the Greek people, who always stood up true to their tradition, so long as they were united and disciplined, rather than slavish blind political followers. Under these conditions the divisions of the past- the factionalism- these virtues and attributes disappeared, so that all my efforts from the start -when I assumed power- were directed at recovering these virtues, so that the nation would be psychologically ready for the 28th of October”


“During periods of extreme parliamentarism and party politics we forget we are Hellenes and become Greeks”.

Metaxas to Theologos Nikoloudis, Undersecretary of Press and Tourism:

“So long as I am Prime Minister I do not give away an inch of Greek territory”


Theo Nikoloudis wrote to Metaxas on 13 August 1939 proposing a separate Ministry of Culture. In his reply the following day, Metaxas told him bluntly that:

“Culture is the work of a whole period of a whole people led by an inspirer (empsychoti) in whom it believes an who acts upon and influences all the agencies of state and society; he inspires and guides them directly and personally. Thus an independent ministry of culture cannot exist. Popular enlightenment, the education of the people, is conducted by many, if not all, the departments of the state; it is not the function of a particular or special ministry. The coordination and direction of all these departmental efforts is the responsibility of one individual among them who has the authority by virtue of his position and personality, and that person is the Chief or Head of the Government, the Leader, O Archigos. And this is how it is done now, and fortunately quite successfully. The work and activities of the several government departments are coordinated, and guided by the directions and spirit of the Chief (Kybernitis: Governor)”