On December 16, 1940, at the height of the Greco Italian War, Life placed an Evzone with a backdrop of the Temple of Olympian Zeus on the front cover of its magazine.
At the time, Life was one of the most influential American photography magazines since its inception in 1936 and right up until its final publication in 2000. Life was well and truly an established American magazine due to its innovative ways to tell a story through photos instead of text.
At the time of the photo, dictator Benito Mussolini demanded that Greece surrender to Fascist Italy. The Italian army invaded Greece on October 28. The invasion was a disaster and the 140,000 troops of the Italian Army in Albania encountered an entrenched and determined Greek Army.
The Greek resistance was the first piece of heroism that the Americans had heard about during the war.
The Americans had not entered the war yet, believing it to be a pointless European conflict.
They believed that by placing an Evzone on the cover they could pay homage to the brave Greek soldiers that turned the tide of the war in the Allies favour The photo became an iconic symbol for the Greek nation – a country that never compromised with fear and repression, fighting against all odds to retain its most valuable possession, its freedom.