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MD11Engineer
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Questions About Greek History

Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:15 am

Trying to understand the issues facing Greece (and the EURO), I stumbled upon and article on the BBC site, in which the bloated public sector was explained. There it said that after the toppling of the military government back in 1974 the that time leader of the socialist PASOK party used the public sector to get the impoverished people into welpaid jobs to get a middle class started.
Following governments (both PASOK and the conservative ND) used the public sector to reward political loyalty.

My questions are:

Before the Greek civil war and later the military government, how was the nation´s wealth distributed?
The farmers, where they just landless peasants working for feudal landlords (one of the causes for the Spanish civil war), or were they independent owning their own land?

I understand that the sudden immigration of hundredthousands of ethnic Greeks from Turkey following the treaty of Lausanne in the 1920s greatly increased urban poverty.
Who was supporting the Greek communists from the 1930s through the civil war? What was their base within the population? Urban or rural poor?

Jan
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jwenting
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:35 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Thread starter):
Who was supporting the Greek communists from the 1930s through the civil war?

the USSR, mostly.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Thread starter):
What was their base within the population? Urban or rural poor?

communist groups are almost universally urban middle class and rich people (and don't forget students and university staff, iow the "intelligentsia which most communist revolutions end up slaughtering afterwards, they're the useful fools who spread the poison before becoming too dangerous to the revolution because they can think for themselves even if they don't). People who have to work for a living understand full well that it can't ever work, besides which they are too busy to go organise revolutions.
There's factories to man, fields to farm, fish to be caught.

I'm not sure how Greek society was before the communist takeover. What is certain is that it was pretty much in chaos after the German occupation in WW2.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Quoting jwenting (Reply 1):
Quoting MD11Engineer (Thread starter):
Who was supporting the Greek communists from the 1930s through the civil war?

the USSR, mostly.

Great. I didn´t know that Greece belonged to the USSR back then.
Quoting jwenting (Reply 1):
communist groups are almost universally urban middle class and rich people (and don't forget students and university staff, iow the "intelligentsia which most communist revolutions end up slaughtering afterwards, they're the useful fools who spread the poison before becoming too dangerous to the revolution because they can think for themselves even if they don't). People who have to work for a living understand full well that it can't ever work, besides which they are too busy to go organise revolutions.
There's factories to man, fields to farm, fish to be caught.

I'm not sure how Greek society was before the communist takeover. What is certain is that it was pretty much in chaos after the German occupation in WW2.

Very simplicistic attitude. I´d suggest that you´ll read a few history books, especially those which go deeper into the subjects. Suddenly everything isn´t that black and white.

What e.g. about the rural poverty in southern Spain, where most of the land was owned by a few feudal families and the farm labourers slaved for starvation wages? These people were the main suppporters of the anarcho-syndicalist revolutionaries back in the 1930s.
What about the sugar cane cutters on the Filipino island of Negros? There are no other jobs (especially for those who couldn´t afford more than minimum education) and sugar cane is seasonal work, lots of manpower needed during the planting and harvesting period (just a few weeks a year) and no job outside this time. The landowners make sure that there is in alternative, so that they´ll have a handy reservoir of desperate workers ready when they need them. After the harvest they´ll all get laid off again. No wonder that this island is a center of activity of the Maoist NPA guerilla.

Jan
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lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:06 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):

Great. I didn´t know that Greece belonged to the USSR back then.

Umm, after WWII, Greece was a battlefield between Communist and Capitalist influence, it was on the brink of being torn apart, North and South. Of course the USSR was involved, as were most neighboring and communist governments in the north (Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria) who used their Communist influence to try and break N. Greece in pieces that they would absorb in their territory. On the other hand, the Right-Wing government was supported by the Western powers and mainly the US, do not forget than one of the first "testing" applications of the Napalm bomb were done in the mountains of Greece, targeting Communist rebels. Just because Greece was never part of the USSR does not mean that the main curlpit, KKE, was not being infuenced by Moscow (although as far as I know, direct help was never provided by Moscow, only by the communist regimes in the north).

As for distribution of wealth, that aspect of the time is a bit unknown to me. I do know that land was re-distributed after the formation of the Greek state, so even if life for rural Greeks was not very rosy, there wasn't a situation of "peasants" working for landlords, a situation that existed during the Ottoman rule.

The problem with the public sector in Greece is not necessarily its size (although you could cut a bit here and there), but its inability to do what it is supposed to do, which is provide for the rest of the population and take care of the state's administration. It lacks productivity, it is badly structured, it is full of corruption and nepotism and unnecessary bureaucracy. Size-wise, as a percentage of the country's population, it is fully in line with other countries in the EU.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:44 pm

Not to detract, but while jellied fuels have been used as incendaries for a long time (e.g. the British used an incendary bomb in WW2, which splashed a burning mix of petrol, latex and white phosphorus from a pressurized container), the original napalm mixture was first used by aircraft (not as flamethrower fuel) by the USAAF in the bombing of a German fuel depot near St. Lo, France, in 1944. During the final year of WW2 it was extensively used against both the Germans as well as the Japanese.

You are correct that an improved napalm mix called Napalm B was first used during the Greek civil war.

Jan
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iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:07 pm

Quoting jwenting (Reply 1):
the USSR, mostly.

No beste vriend, while the communist party (KKE) and later Communist-led EAM movement (Nat'l Liberation Movement) where happy to participate in the communists congresses and plenums and hear what komrad Joe had to say, very few instructions came out of there.
The logistics and rear bases were in Albania, supplies came mostly from Yugoslavia.

In 1944, Churchill and Stalin divided E and SE Europe as can be seen here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percentages_agreement
Greece was (to come) totally in the British sphere of influence.

Quoting jwenting (Reply 1):

I'm not sure how Greek society was before the communist takeover.

What takeover ?

Mark Mazower is an expert historian on the subject and I recommend his "Inside Hitler's Greece".
http://www.mazower.com/books/greece2.html

Another book (also a movie) that sheds a dramatic light on the civil war from the inside as well as depicts rural life in the East of Greece.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Gage
 
iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:42 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Thread starter):
Before the Greek civil war and later the military government, how was the nation´s wealth distributed?

For many years, Greece has been harbouring the Megale Idea, the Great Idea, a certain vision of a new Byzantine Empire.

At the conclusion of the Balkan wars (1912-1913), a confrontation between the Balkan League (Serbia-Bulgaria-Montenegro-Greece) and the Ottoman Empire, Greece more than doubled its territory by occupying Epirus, Thessaly, (most of) Macedonia, several islands and the Western part of Thrace.

At the outbreak of WW1, the King was married to the Kaiser's sister...and obviously favoured the German camp, while his Prime Minister Venizelos was willing to join the "Allies", eyeing further territory expansion to the East (he had been promised Asia Minor...). Greece was split between Royalists and Venizelists.
French and British forces landed in Salonica/Thessaloniki in 1915 without the King's consent, basically in order to help the Serbian army against the Bulgarians. The King refused to provide supplies and armament, and again French and British forces landed in Athens. After much more tumblings, the King abdicated and Greece joined the allies in 1917.
We know the outcome of WW1 in the West, but here, according to agreements, Greece had free rein to step in and conquer Asia Minor. They did....until 1921 and a defeat that is known here as the big catastrophe, the defeat of the army, its withdrawing of Asia Minor and the forced mutual population expulsion.

Contrary to popular belief, the 1923 population "exchange" did not involve millions of people, as wars and forced or unforced displacements of people had taken place for a decade.

One remark, but is is important, what is referred as Greeks and Turks in the early 20th century are not nationalities or ethnies, but show an appartenance to a religion (in the broad sense), Orthodox or Muslim.
Vlachs, Albanians, Bulgarians, Macedonian Slavs, and others are understood as "Greeks".
Converted (Ma'min), Bosniaks, etc are deemed "Turks".

The 1914 census of the Ottoman Empire shows 21 million inhabitants, including 1.8 million "Greeks".
Greece in 1900 has 6 million and, though with much more territory and the influx of officially 1.5 million expelled from Asia Minor, only 6.2 in 1928. Sounds Greek to me...unless something like 3-4 million went abroad.

Anyway, that leaves the country with a rather small population density, plenty of arable land for farmers (500,000 Muslims left), many new villages and suburbs created at once (eg. every city starting by NEA was born at that period).
The successive governments have also heavily borrowed for many years, which led to the State finances, for the second time, being directly controlled by the foreign lenders....history repeats itself.
 
jwenting
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:17 am

Quoting lewis (Reply 3):
The problem with the public sector in Greece is not necessarily its size (although you could cut a bit here and there), but its inability to do what it is supposed to do, which is provide for the rest of the population and take care of the state's administration. It lacks productivity, it is badly structured, it is full of corruption and nepotism and unnecessary bureaucracy

Which is standard for any government bureaucracy (and to an extent any bureaucracy whatsoever).

Quoting iakobos (Reply 5):
The logistics and rear bases were in Albania, supplies came mostly from Yugoslavia.

And where do you think the money came from?
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:37 am

Quoting iakobos (Reply 6):
They did....until 1921 and a defeat that is known here as the big catastrophe, the defeat of the army, its withdrawing of Asia Minor and the forced mutual population expulsion.

You are talking about General Kemal Pasha aka Atatürk and his successful campaign to stop mainland Turkey from being split up into several colonies?

Jan
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iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:27 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 8):
You are talking about General Kemal Pasha aka Atatürk and his successful campaign to stop mainland Turkey from being split up into several colonies?

Yes, Mustafa Kemal (a Salonica citizen) and general Ismet Pasha. The battle of the Sakarya river in Aug-Sep 1921, barely 80km from Ankara, eventhough it ended in a draw, marked the strategic defeat of the Greek Army and led to their retreat to Smyrna (Izmir) and then to Greece's mainland. Movements from both armies were accompanied by large scale atrocities.

The Greek big dream was to restore the Byzantine Empire almost 5 centuries after the fall of Byzance-Constantinople-Istambul.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Thread starter):
What was their base within the population?

Greece was a very poor country, if you happen to find "Eleni" (Nicholas Gage aka Nikolaos Gatzoyannis) you will see what poor means in the 40's in rural Greece.

The KKE party (originally SEKE) was founded very early, in 1918, by a another guy from here, a Sephardic Jew called Abraham Benaroya. (Selanik-Salonica-Thessaloniki was mostly a Jewish city)

Proportionally, the communists never had a very significant representation however their propaganda, their actions and generally speaking their militantism and good organisation were disproportionately powerful.
Things changed with the founding of EAM in '41and the military branch ELAS in '42.
The communists were joined by other leftist parties and even some Republicans, they took control of large areas of the mainland and even held "national" elections in '44.

For Jwenting: they were controlling - in a really authoritarian way - almost half of Greece, including all trades and raising taxes of course.

http://inter.kke.gr/about/history/briefhistory/
If you are not afraid of blatant lies, deliberate omissions and typical party propaganda...
Note: the (Jewish) party founder is not even mentioned in the party's history, except once as a member of the committee of the 1st congress and his name Greeklishly changed to Benaroyias, nor is the contribution of Macedonians (Slavs) who were the majority of the fighters during the civil war. (they had been promised their independence)

I quote from Wikipedia though I have serious paper sources:
In 1949, during the Fifth Congress of the Central Committee of KKE, it was stated that "...The Greek and the Macedonian people will win this struggle only united..."
Macedonian people ??
Note: the 5th congress was in 1934, the 6th in '35 and the 7th in '45; so this WP entry is wrong, except for the sentence from Nikos Zachariadis, the party's SG.

Much more victims fell during the internal war than from the hands of Germans, Italians or Bulgarians during WW2.
And then there was the pedomazoma, the forced abduction of tens of thousands of children by the communists, that were relocated in camps in Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany and Albania. Some of those run down villages still exist today.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:56 pm

Thanks for the information.
Now what about the Greek right? I´ve read that while the economy was prospering and there were jobs under the Colonels, they also introduced a massive element of cronyism, corruption and intransparency into Greek economics and politics.

On the other hand, this week´s edition of the Spiegel has a long article (which I havent finished reading yet) about the three powerful Greek political family clans, the Papandreous (PASOK, socialists); the Karamanlis (ND, conservative) and Mitsotakis (also conservative), which apparently saw the country as their personal property in perfect feudal fashion. Political positions and high level positions in state owned companies were occupied in pure nepotism. Votes were bought to keep the political dynasties in power. Since this costs money, more and more debts were taken.

Any more information about this?

Jan
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iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:30 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 10):
I´ve read that while the economy was prospering and there were jobs under the Colonels, they also introduced a massive element of cronyism, corruption and intransparency into Greek economics and politics.

The Colonels did not invent nor reintroduce those very old customs.
A lot can be said about the junta but I have also heard locals saying that some basic things were changing for the better during their tenure.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 10):
the three powerful Greek political family clans, the Papandreous (PASOK, socialists); the Karamanlis (ND, conservative) and Mitsotakis (also conservative),

Two dynasties only, the Papandreou who navigate left of center and the Karamanlis right of center.
Appointments are passed on from father to son or daughter or from uncle to nephew, so the "knowledge" conveniently stay in the families.
They are all US educated lawyers by diploma and Greek politicians by genetics, a mix that is undeniably meant for success.
They know how to master the packs of followers, how to call on the masses when votes are required and how to protect their asses under all circumstances. Real craftsmen.

Funny that the present Papandreou is demolishing what his father and his grandfather built.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:49 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 11):
Funny that the present Papandreou is demolishing what his father and his grandfather built.


Does he have a choice?
I understand that the present Papandreou and the opposition leader know each other since many years and were in fact roommates back during their university days in the US.

Jan
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iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:51 pm

No, he has no choice but to shoot the bubbles, well, some at least, until the corporations, unions and parties of the extremes decide that time has come for total chaos.

Both dynasties are very happily living with the situation, please your turn, my turn next.

Wonder why the Republic has an amplified majority electoral system...?
 
lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:12 am

Quoting iakobos (Reply 6):
The 1914 census of the Ottoman Empire shows 21 million inhabitants, including 1.8 million "Greeks".
Greece in 1900 has 6 million and, though with much more territory and the influx of officially 1.5 million expelled from Asia Minor, only 6.2 in 1928. Sounds Greek to me...unless something like 3-4 million went abroad.

1. Not all Greeks left Turkey and headed to the Greek mainland. Many stayed in Turkey (mainly Istanbul - until the Pogrom of Istanbul), some left for other countries, while many Pontiac and Anatolian Greeks were "moved" to eastern Turkey to live and die in labour camps. Yes, many of them "disappeared" in thin air.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 12):
Does he have a choice?

Going back to where he came from could be a start.

Quoting iakobos (Reply 9):
Much more victims fell during the internal war than from the hands of Germans, Italians or Bulgarians during WW2.

Not a very accurate account. Civil and military casualties in the Civil war did not exceed 70-80,000, in WWII, just the famine killed around 300,000 Greeks in the Athens area...
 
iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:04 am

Quoting lewis (Reply 14):
1. Not all Greeks left Turkey and headed to the Greek mainland. Many stayed in Turkey (mainly Istanbul - until the Pogrom of Istanbul), some left for other countries, while many Pontiac and Anatolian Greeks were "moved" to eastern Turkey to live and die in labour camps. Yes, many of them "disappeared" in thin air.

"Greek", in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century, is not a national identity as it is understood today.
I mentioned it before, what made the distinction between "Turks" and "Greeks" are religious and (though not always) linguistic differences.

Under "Greeks" you will find SlavMacedonians (plenty in the hinterland of Macedonia), Bulgarians (many in the North, Serres, Kilkis,...), Vlachs (linguistically akin to Romanians), Albanians, Montenegrins, Turkish speaking Greeks, Gypsies, a few others ...and Greeks.

The leadership/responsibility of this "mixed community" fell in the hands of the Patriarch of the Orthodox church, not only for religious matters but eg.as tax collector. His Highness had a rather large power and autonomy, he had to take care of his flock, including in the education sector.
The Patriarch had the rank of Pasha (the ruler) with three tails, the highest rank of Pashas in fact, two tails were provincial governors, one tail sanjak rulers.

Among the "Turks" are Bosniaks, converts from various ethnies including Greeks, the Donmeh (crypto-Jews).

...and then they are the Jews, Sephardic (many, and the largest share of Salonica's population) and Ashkenaze (few).

Have you ever seen this in print in a history book as teached in Greece Lewis ? I have not, unfortunately.
It would not fit the story of the oh so powerful church who prefers to instill the (mis)representation of the heroic priests teaching young Greeks in a cave at the great risk of their lives. It's all down to the good Greeks and the evil Turks.

Back to your sentence, true that a good pack of "Greeks" remained in Istanbul, true that quite a few Pontics went abroad (from Samsun to Romania in the case of my step family), labour camps in the East: I have no information.
If you can provide some non-propagandist sources, I am genuinely interested.

Quoting lewis (Reply 14):
Not a very accurate account. Civil and military casualties in the Civil war did not exceed 70-80,000, in WWII, just the famine killed around 300,000 Greeks in the Athens area...

The causes of the great famine is a subject that perhaps could be better kept in hiding...
Just to suggest a few others than German requisitions: there was a blocus by the Allies until the summer of '42, the country was economically in ruins before the Germans came, the control of some areas by EAM, and the most important factor: the extravagant black market organized by Greek authorities and "traders".
Civil and combattants' casualties are around the 100,000 mark, add somewhere between 700,000 and 1,000,000 refugees, and I stand by my account..
 
lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:32 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 15):
The causes of the great famine is a subject that perhaps could be better kept in hiding...
Just to suggest a few others than German requisitions: there was a blocus by the Allies until the summer of '42, the country was economically in ruins before the Germans came, the control of some areas by EAM, and the most important factor: the extravagant black market organized by Greek authorities and "traders".
Civil and combattants' casualties are around the 100,000 mark, add somewhere between 700,000 and 1,000,000 refugees, and I stand by my account..

True, it was more of a result of the Allied blockade that was put in place because....? Yep, Nazi occupation and WWII. And yes, the idiotic military campaigns of Greece before WWII had run Greece dry but there weren't scenes of people dying on the streets from famine. Whatever the previous situation was, there is still no reason to deflect from the main cause of those casualties. By the way, refugees do not usually count as casualties, "refugee" does not equal loss of life, you can call a refugee a victim of war but not a casualty.
 
iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:52 pm

Jan,

As points in case of today's (far to the) right political party and movement:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Orthodox_Rally
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Dawn_%28Greece%29 here you will surely recognize some logos...

Collusion between a part of the police force and Golden Dawn is a probability, as pictures during last weeks' clashes seem to show once again.

Quoting lewis (Reply 16):
Whatever the previous situation was, there is still no reason to deflect from the main cause of those casualties.

Everything was available for the rich, enough was available for the middle class, almost everything was out of price for the low income and nothing was available for the poor but the occasional communal soup.
Think about it, who obtained and gathered the goods and who sold and made the prices ?

It is not as the Germans took everything and left nothing for the inhabitants, I know that this is the main way of "thinking" here, but it is plainly wrong.
They took foodstuffs but no more that what they could eat and store, and there where not that many Germans, nor were shipments to Rommel substantial.

To underline what I wrote, I propose you read the following:

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v09/v09p-71_Lang.html related to the Red Cross aid to Greece, and especially this one

http://www.cambridge.org/servlet/fil...7&ITEM_VERSION=1&COLLSPEC_ENT_ID=6
Extracts from "Famine and Death in occupied Greece 1941-1944" by Mrs Hionidou.
 
iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:02 pm

Quoting lewis (Reply 16):
Yep, Nazi occupation and WWII.

Akin to say that if the planet stops turning we wont see the sun tomorrow...

If you took the time to read Dr Hionidou's, whom is a Greek I presume, you could be more attentive to what she studied than to what I, a bloody foreigner, wrote.

The famine of the winter of '41 in Athens and on a smaller scale in other areas, has several causes but the main ones are not the Germans, it starts at the roots of food production: the farmers, then shifts to the government as well as prefectoral and municipal authorities, black market traders and resellers, resistance groups requisitions, German/Italian/Bulgarian requisitions, the Allied blocus, the ineptitude or absence of adequate health services...and the very cold winter.

But I agree, it is a lot easier to believe that 250,000 (Red Cross data) to 300,000 died from starvation or disease caused or aggravated by starvation, because of the German Army massive plundering of foodstuffs.
That is what people have been taught and that is what will remain in the collective memory until more educated generations will gain analyzing skills and stop swallowing propaganda.
 
lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:48 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 18):

But I agree, it is a lot easier to believe that 250,000 (Red Cross data) to 300,000 died from starvation or disease caused or aggravated by starvation, because of the German Army massive plundering of foodstuffs.

No, I never said that, the German Army did not DIRECTLY do any of that stuff but all this wouldn't have happened if there was no Nazi occupation in Greece (with the aid of Italy, Bulgaria etc etc). Do you deny my last sentence? Why was the blockade in place? To punish Greeks? No, to cut supplies to the Germans. And no, it is not propaganda and I do not need a bloody foreigner as you put it to teach me history. Apart from the "very cold winter", everything else roots on the Nazi occupation, does it not? I am not talking about propaganda, details, etc, I am talking about common sense.
 
lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:56 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 17):
It is not as the Germans took everything and left nothing for the inhabitants, I know that this is the main way of "thinking" here, but it is plainly wrong.

Again, never said that, but these "behaviours" gone wild were a direct result of a state of war and occupation. Yes, many people who have the means to do so will take advantage of the situation to benefit during a war. In other news the sky is blue. Again, all this caused by war/occupation. But you are right, we as a nation should have probably sent a thank you note to our ex-occupiers back then, they left so much behind...
 
lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:57 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 17):
I know that this is the main way of "thinking" here,

By the way, curious to know how Belgians felt and feel about the Nazi occupation, maybe (according to you), discontent is a Greek thing and everyone else lived happily during the war and sang Kumbaya holding hands with the SS.....
 
Confuscius
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:02 am

Quoting lewis (Reply 14):
1. Not all Greeks left Turkey and headed to the Greek mainland. Many stayed in Turkey (mainly Istanbul - until the Pogrom of Istanbul), some left for other countries,...Yes, many of them "disappeared" in thin air.

Did the women go to the island of Lesbos?
Ain't I a stinker?
 
lewis
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:22 am

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 22):

Did the women go to the island of Lesbos?

Lol! Some of them did for sure, and many Turkish families left Lesbos for mainland Turkey.
 
iakobos
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RE: Questions About Greek History

Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:10 am

Quoting iakobos (Reply 9):
Much more victims fell during the internal war than from the hands of Germans, Italians or Bulgarians during WW2.

To entertain your rearguard action I will change the sentence to:

Many more Greeks died at the hands of Greeks and/or because of other Greeks than from the hands of Germans, Italians and Bulgarians.
Though, if there had been no war or if the German Army did not intervene in April '40, the previous sentence would, in all likelyhood, not stand.

Quoting lewis (Reply 20):
But you are right, we as a nation should have probably sent a thank you note to our ex-occupiers back then, they left so much behind...

A little bit over the top you wouldn't think ?

Quoting lewis (Reply 21):

By the way, curious to know how Belgians felt and feel about the Nazi occupation, maybe (according to you), discontent is a Greek thing and everyone else lived happily during the war and sang Kumbaya holding hands with the SS.....

I am afraid you failed the doping test. Where is the referee ?

If you wish to open a thread on Belgium under German occupation I will be happy to contribute since it is a subject I have studied at length for something like 40+ years, and as you might discover, I will not miss an opportunity to pinpoint Belgian faults and weaknesses.

A main difference in the contents, presentation and discussion/analyses/critic of national histories between W Europe and countries which have a so-called strong national identity is that no subject is off limits, everything can and is dissected, nothing is shoved under the carpet or hidden behind the flag, and the final product, history as teached in school (including primary) is pretty close to History, ie. the historical truth.
Ask a German or an Italian (but not a Bulgarian or a SlavMacedonian or a Serb or a Turk, etc...).

But don't jump, the church will not allow this any time soon and present generations are not ripe yet, but eventually it will come.
The days of irrendentist nationalism, not only in Greece obviously, are not over yet but there is hope at the horizon.

If I wrote a book on some hidden sides of Greece's actual history, eg. the exactions and massacres committed by Greeks between the mid 19th and mid 20th century, do you think Lewis that I could feel physically safe here ?
(change Greece for Turkey or some other places in the region and my health would be similarly compromised)
 
iakobos
Posts: 3255
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 6:22 pm

RE: Questions About Greek History

Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:36 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 9):
Note: the (Jewish) party founder is not even mentioned in the party's history, except once as a member of the committee of the 1st congress and his name Greeklishly changed to Benaroyias

Perhaps interesting...as it shows that sometimes History, not unlike Archeology, deserves some digging.

Mr Avraam Benaroia was not only a sephardic Jew, he was a Bulgarian, schoolmaster and printer.
He founded the Sephardic Circle of Social Studies which was closely connected to Bulgarian socialists, both ardent internationalists opposed to the principle of nationality among the workers.
He could write: "the Ottoman nation is composed of different nationalities living in the same territory and each having its own language, culture, literature, habits and character. For these ethnic and philological reasons we believed it best to form an organization to which all the nationalities can adhere without having to abandon their language or culture."
It became the Workers' Solidarity Foundation, staunchly pro-Ottoman, campaigned against the Balkan wars and wanted to remain neutral in WW1.
It is no surprise that the Greek Communist party has erased the name of its primary founder from their tablets.


The Selanik (Salonica) in the 18th, 19th and beginning of the 20th century was a predominantly Jewish city.
Greeks (that is the mix of ethnies mainly grouped under the authority of the Orthodox church, administratively, socially and spiritually) formed less than 1/3 of the population.
After the Greek Army conquered the northern regions, the new administration under Constantin Raktivan held a thorough census in 1913...which was never published, but quietly takes dust in the archives.
Out of 158,000 inhabitants, 61k were Jews, 46k "Muslims", 39k "Greeks", 6k Bulgarians and some others.
This was however consecutive to a campaign of forced Hellenization targeted mainly at the Bulgarians and to the flock of the Bulgarian Exarchate.
Note: the (Greek) Orthodox hierarchy in Istanbul was firmly opposed to the Balkan wars and the idea that they might loose the power and privileges under Ottoman rule was nothing less than scary.


Zionist promoters visited the Jewish community several times and tried to plant the seeds of a "return to Palestine".
Not only were they rebuked but Salonica's Jews viewed a confederation within the Ottoman Empire as their ideal.
Even a certain David Ben Gurion (later head of the Jewish Agency and first PM of Israel) came to study in Selanik, he left a few months later utterly disappointed at the local Jews anti-Zionist stance.


As Symboulio tis Epikrateias (Council of State) says: "for people whose memory is not renown for its strength and its historical consciousness but feeds more on shallow ancestor's worship than on historical knowledge..."
I could not say it better.
 
iakobos
Posts: 3255
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 6:22 pm

RE: Questions About Greek History

Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:33 pm

The History of the Balkans from 1820 to 1950 is a fascinating piece of the European puzzle.

Everyone from London to Moscow has stuck a hand in the region: British, French, Germans, Austro-Hungarians, Russians, Italians, Ottomans, and the multiple local ethnies.
Macedonia (from Ohrid to Kavala) has been the center of gravity of events that have shaped SE Europe.

The French language smartly adopted a new word, Macédoine, which means a mixed salad of ...whatever mixes.

Greece (Epirus, most of Thessaly, most of Macedonia, W Thrace and islands) and Serbia (Kosovo, Bosnia, Montenegro, W Macedonia) were the winners, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire the loosers.

One could think that it can be buried in the past and rest now in history books, not so, events which are a consequence of those "identity" struggles are still unfolding today, fueled by irresponsibly truncated history.

Some ethnies have disappeared through blending or expulsion, eg. in Greece: Vlachs, Aromanians, Chams, Pomaks, Vallahades, officially there are no minorities in Greece...but the European Court of Human Rights is kept busy
.
Macedonia-FYROM, Bosnia, Kosovo, Greek islands off the Turkish coast, perhaps soon Montenegro, are still unfinished products of History.

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