Are Years 2012-2025 going to be history stuttering from Years 1912-1945? Hope Not! — Written 05/13/2012

“Some of the most important long term or structural causes are:

  • The growth of nationalism across Europe
  • Unresolved territorial disputes
  • Intricate system of alliances
  • The perceived breakdown of the balance of power in Europe
  • Misperceptions of intent – e.g., the German belief that the United Kingdom would remain neutral
  • Convoluted and fragmented governance
  • Delays and misunderstandings in diplomatic communications
  • Arms races of the previous decades
  • Previous military planning
  • Imperial and colonial rivalry for wealth, power and prestige
  • Economic and military rivalry in industry and trade “


“One of the common misconceptions about the Yugoslav Wars is that they were the result of centuries of ethnic conflict. In fact, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the ethnically mixed region of Dalmatia held close and amicable relations between the Croats and Serbs who lived there, and many early proponents of a united Yugoslavia came from this region, such as Dalmatian Croat Ante Trumbić. However by the time of the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars the historical hospitable relations between Croats and Serbs in Dalmatia had broken down, with Dalmatian Serbs fighting on the side of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Clear ethnic conflict between the Yugoslav peoples only became prominent in the 20th century, beginning with tensions over the constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in the early 1920s and escalating into violence between Serbs and Croats in the late 1920s after the assassination of Croatian nationalist Stjepan Radić. Severe ethnic conflict occurred during World War II during which the Croatian Ustase movement committed genocide against Serbs, while the Serbian Chetnik movement responded with reprisals against Croats as well as murdering Bosniaks. However the Yugoslav Partisan movement was able to mobilize large numbers of Yugoslavs from the multiple Yugoslav ethnicities, to fight against the Axis Powers, the Ustase, and the Chetniks.

In Serbia and Serb territories, violent confrontations occurred particularly between nationalist Serbs towards non-nationalist Serbs who had criticized the Serbian government and the Serb political entities in Bosnia and Croatia. Serbs who publicly opposed the nationalist political climate during the Yugoslav wars were reported to have been harassed, threatened, or killed.”

“While most of mainland Greece and the Aegean islands were under Ottoman control by the end of the 15th century, Cyprus and Crete did not fall to them until 1571 and 1670 respectively. The only part of Greece that managed to escape long-term Ottoman rule were the Ionian Islands, which remained under the sovereignty of the Republic of Venice until their capture by the First French Republic in 1797, then the United Kingdom in 1809 and finally their union with Greece in 1864.

While Greeks in Constantinople and the Ionian Islands lived in prosperity, much of the population of mainland Greece suffered the economic consequences of the Ottoman conquest. Heavy taxes were enforced, and in later years the Ottoman Empire enacted a policy of creation of hereditary estates, effectively turning the rural Greek populations into a serfdom.

The Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople were considered by the Ottoman governments as the ruling authorities of the entire Christian population of the Ottoman Empire, Greek or not. Although the Ottoman state did not force non-Muslims to convert to Islam, many did so superficially as they received tax benefits from the authorities.

The Ottoman administration of Greece varied. Some cities had governors appointed by the Sultan, while others, (like Athens), were self-governed municipalities. Some regions of Greece, like Crete and Epirus, remained effectively autonomous from the central Ottoman state for many centuries.

When military conflicts broke out between the Ottoman Empire and other states, Greeks usually took arms against the Empire, with few exceptions. Prior to the Greek revolution, there had been a number of wars which saw Greeks fight against the Ottomans, such as the Greek participation in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the Epirus peasants’ revolts of 1600-1601, the Morean War of 1684-1699 and the Russian-instigated Orlov Revolt in 1770 which aimed at breaking up the Ottoman Empire in favor of Russian interests.”

“After liberation, Greece experienced a bitter civil war between communist and anticommunist forces, which led to economic devastation and severe social tensions between rightists and largely communist leftists for the next thirty years. The next twenty years were characterized by marginalisation of the left in the political and social spheres but also by rapid economic growth, propelled in part by the Marshall Plan.

King Constantine II’s dismissal of George Papandreou’s centrist government in July 1965 prompted a prolonged period of political turbulence which culminated in a coup d’état on 21 April 1967 by the United States-backed Regime of the Colonels. The brutal suppression of the Athens Polytechnic uprising on 17 November 1973 sent shockwaves through the regime, and a counter-coup established Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis as dictator. On 20 July 1974, as Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus, the regime collapsed.

Former prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era. On 14 August 1974 Greek forces withdrew from the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. The first multiparty elections since 1964 were held on the first anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising. A democratic and republican constitution was promulgated on 11 June 1975 following a referendum which chose to not restore the monarchy.”

“Meanwhile, Andreas Papandreou founded the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in response to Karamanlis’s conservative New Democracy party, with the two political formations alternating in government ever since. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. Traditionally strained relations with neighbouring Turkey improved when successive earthquakes hit both nations in 1999, leading to the lifting of the Greek veto against Turkey’s bid for EU membership.

Greece became the tenth member of the European Communities (subsequently subsumed by the European Union) on 1 January 1981, ushering in a period of remarkable and sustained economic growth. Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping and a fast-growing service sector have raised the country’s standard of living to unprecedented levels. The country adopted the euro in 2001 and successfully hosted the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.

More recently, Greece has been hit hard by the late-2000s recession and central to the related European sovereign debt crisis. The Greek government debt crisis, subsequent economic crisis and resultant, sometimes violent protests have roiled domestic politics and regularly threatened European and world financial-market stability in 2010-11.”

“Pasok, having been the second-largest party in the outgoing coalition government, only achieved third place with 13 per cent, and retained just 41 seats.[29]

After the elections (6 May 2012), Karolos Papoulias, the President of Greece, mandated Antonis Samaras (ND) to form a coalition government. 7 May 2012, Samaras gave up this try. 8 May 2012, Papoulias mandated Alexis Tsipras president of the Synaspismos political party and head of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group with the same. Each one mandated for that in Greece gets 72 hours for his try.”

“The regions that consistently support PASOK are Crete, West Greece, the Ionian Islands, the vast majority of the Aegean Islands and, in recent years, Thrace. In Crete there is a long tradition of republicanism, liberalism and progressivism from the tradition of Eleftherios Venizelos. West Greece is the birthplace and powerbase of the Papandreou family. The Ionian Islands, partly because they escaped the ravages of Ottoman rule, have always been the most politically progressive Greek regions and it was in these islands that the Greek socialist movement first developed. The Aegean Islands have benefited from various welfare measures implemented by successive PASOK governments, while in Thrace, the local Muslim minority consistently prefers PASOK over the right-wing New Democracy. On the other hand, PASOK usually comes second to the conservative ND party in the Peloponnese, in Central Macedonia and in West Macedonia. Other regions such as Thessaly and Central Greece do not have a very strong political identity.”

“The Panhellenic Socialist Movement began as a democratic socialist party and is a member of the Socialist International.[11] During Andreas Papandreou’s leadership, wages were substantially boosted and capital gains were progressively taxed. At the very beginning, the members and the leadership of the party, were very critical of NATO and the European Economic Community. This attitude was soon abandoned and the Greek participation in EEC was enforced. Papandreou wished to create a world where wealth and power would be shared by more countries than just the United States.

After Papandreou’s death, Kostas Simitis was elected president of PASOK. Simitis represented the centre-left and centrist factions of the Movement and he moved to modernize PASOK, making it a purely social democratic party. Tight fiscal policies, privatization of state enterprises and a broadening of the tax base (by shifting the tax burden to the lower quintiles) were implemented. As a result of these policies, PASOK was defeated at the polls in the election of 2004. The strictly neoliberal New Democracy policies adopted by the new government, forced PASOK to turn left under the promising leadership of George Papandreou. Five years later, PASOK triumphed in 2009 elections. After the 2009 electoral sweep, expectations ran high. However, it very quickly emerged that the deficit that had run up in the years leading to 2010 was of an enormous, unmanageable scope. Greece was faced with imminent insolvency – would be unable to either make current debt payments or borrow to fund government obligations unless it received urgent large loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). In exchange for further loans, the European Union required, and the PASOK government adopted, neoliberal austerity policies. Such austerity measure included further privatization of state enterprises, further salary cuts, and heavier taxation of working and middle class citizens. Unemployment soared.

However necessary to maintain solvency, PASOK’s abandonment of its original principles and ideas and the resulting economic disintegration, disenchanted many party members. The social disruption flowing from the austerity policies sparked major demonstrations against the government, with the participation of more populist factions of the PASOK party itself. Though restructuring of private bonds and new support from the (IMF) and the (ECB), were secured as a result of the austerity, in the May 2012 elections that followed, PASOK placed only third.

Against this backdrop, during the in September 2012 assembly of the National Council in memory of the foundation of the party, an ideological debate is scheduled.”





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