Skip to comments.Analysis: Greek anti-Americanism
Posted on 01/12/2007 12:32:04 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
|Many Greeks will have reacted with satisfaction to the dawn rocket attack on the US embassy in Athens.
There is an undercurrent of anti-Americanism in Greece, which began after the Great Powers carved up Europe at Yalta towards the end of World War II. It has been perpetuated every generation since, by some aspect of US foreign policy.
Revolutionary Struggle, the left-wing guerrilla group which claims to have fired the Russian-made rocket, is continuing the tradition of its predecessor November 17, of attacking targets which have - in its view - populist appeal.
November 17 began its long terror campaign in December 1975 by murdering Richard Welch, the CIA station chief, outside his Athens home.
It went on to murder three other American diplomats.
Welch's assassination was part of an attempt to avenge American support of the right-wing military dictatorship which ruled Greece with an iron fist from 1967 to 1974.
The colonels' regime began to falter after a student uprising in 1973.
The rebellion was centred on Athens Polytechnic, and on November 17 that year the colonels sent in tanks to crush the revolt.
The true casualty figure has never been confirmed, but it is thought as many as two dozen students were killed.
Greece has never forgotten nor forgiven.
That day in November is regarded as a defining anniversary of Greece's modern democracy and, because of its backing of the colonels, the United States is inextricably connected in a very poor light.
Each year, on that date, tens of thousands of trade unionists, left-wingers and ordinary people march from the Polytechnic to the heavily fortified US embassy.
Invariably the demonstration disintegrates into a ritual battle between riot police and anarchists.
The march is also an opportunity for Greece's grandparents to vent their anger over US interference in their domestic politics.
After Stalin, Truman and Churchill divided Europe at the Yalta summit, Greece slid into civil war, fought between communists and nationalists.
During the five-year conflict, America supported the nationalists, because they were desperate to make sure that the Soviet bloc did not have an outlet to the Mediterranean.
It took a full 25 years after the end of the civil war for communists and their supporters to be fully rehabilitated into Greek society.
Resentment over their treatment has continued to this day.
Unpopular US moves
The playstation generation's disdain of America has been fuelled not just by stories told on the knees of parents and grandparents, but also by President George Bush's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The wars in both countries are widely opposed in Greece and are regarded as despicable acts of folly.
America's reputation in Greece is also not helped by the perception that it usually takes Turkey's side during disputes between Athens and Ankara.
Disdain for American values is, however, not universal in Greece.
There is a large expatriate Greek community living in the US and many people here admire and imitate the American entrepreneurial spirit.
But most Greeks believe American foreign policy is both malevolent and disastrous. So there will not be much sympathy for Ambassador Charles Ries, as he surveys the damage done to his fortress on Vassilis Sofias Avenue.
On the BBC's "Have Your Say" forums, the Greeks there consistently have an anti-American view. Whether this is the case for the vast majority of Greeks....
It was quiet in Athens in 1963. Aside from street demonstrations and anti-American, anti-British, and anti-Turkey signs and chants it was perfectly peaceful and no danger at all. They had actual military in battle dress posted at various places in the city, especially near American Express, the American embassy, and other obvious points of interest.
These days, most of the anger at the US is generated by our support of Turkey, who is their ancient enemy.
They really hate the Turks, and they are locked in a cold war with them
The Greeks are pretty socialist, we visited family there, both the husband and wife are doctors, they live in a tiny apartment and drive a wreck of a car.
My middle name is Speros, my mothers maiden name is Metaxas, my grandfathers cousin was the Prime Minister of Greece, my grandfather remained a communist in NYC and read the Pravda every day until the day he died. Quite a bit of political fights when we went to visit grandma and grandpa, I was too young to participate.
Here is PM Metaxas in Wikipedia:
Trust me on this one because I'm experienced it first hand.
Greece is one of the worst anti-american countries in Europe. In some ways, even worse than France or Spain.
Filled with miserable lazy racist communists.
Yes, the article mentions their conflict with Turkey. Do they still have the objective of getting Constantinople back? And weren't they in support of Turkish membership into the EU?
Greece actually gained territory after WWII. Whay are they pissed at the US? We even helped the pro-western faction in their civil war that followed.
I don't know about those two things, but I do know there is still a lot of tension over Cyprus and several islands in the Aegean
plus, many Greeks were ethnically cleansed from areas in present day turkey in the earlier parts of the 20th century
they have been at war off and on for a long, long time
So let's break off relations with Greece, give ALL of Cyprus to the Turks, and suspend participation in any NATO exercise Greece participates in.
"But most Greeks believe American foreign policy is both malevolent and disastrous."
Kind of a sweeping statement, but if true, not unusual for Euroweenies.
My guess is any anti-Americanism is more related to perceived perference for the Turk than any aspects of political philosophy. And I can't think of one single reason to like the Turk.
The article basically says that Greek anti Americanism is based on Greek leftism. Well, leftists always hate America, so if Greeks are leftists or sympathize with leftist thought, of course there will be anti Americanism.
OTOH, friends of mind from Miami recently toured Greece and reported being treated nicely wherever they went. I myself would love to see the Greek islands one day, or at least some of them.
The article suggests that that "pro-western faction" was a dictatorship, so sort of akin to the various cases in Latin America where a dictatorship was picked over a Communist [dictatorship].
Yes, Greece gained the Dodecanese Islands (which had been under Italian control) after WWII. It would make more sense to focus their anger on Britain--it was the Brits who intervened at the end of WWII to prevent a Communist victory in the civil war (eventually Truman came to Britain's aid). During the Cold War Turkey seemed to be a more dependable ally for the US--Turkey had its own reason to be anti-Russian, whereas Greece shares an Orthodox heritage with the Russians.
Cyprus was a bone of contention long before 1974 (when the Greek dictatorship had hopes of annexing Cyprus to Greece, foiled by the Turkish invasion). In a sense it goes back to the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus in 1571 (from Venice). During WWI apparently Greece had a chance to get Cyprus from Britain by joining the Allies, but at the time the Greek government under King Constantine refused (Greece finally joined the Allies in 1917 after King Constantine abdicated in favor of his son).
And just what has Greece done to help the world in the last two thousand years or so? Without the U.S., Greece would just be another commie or fascist country.
When I was in the navy, I went to Greece several times and each time I found the Greeks to be very friendly.
Weren't the Greeks (as well as the Bulgarians, Macedonians, Serbs, etc.) under the heel of the Muslims for hundreds of years? Wasn't it the "evil" western powers who freed them from their yoke of oppression during WWI?
How quickly they forget.
Yes, they will smile as they take your money.
They were under control of the Ottomans from around 1452 (when Constantinople fell) to 1829. As far as Muslim rulers go, the Ottomans were pretty lenient. Also of note is the fact that the [heavily Muslim] Arabs are also strongly anti-Turkish/anti-Ottoman. Greece largely won its independence by itself.
Yeah, I guess they will smile when you are buying from them, but there have been places where they would sullenly take your money too. I think Paris had that reputation once, but I think things have changed there.
I'm starting to get the impression that this article is somewhat uninformed.
In contrast, fellow EU member, Sweden:
Surprisingly, the UK entry on Wikipedia also shows the UK as a subset of the EU--same with Germany, but Germany is supposed to be the most federal Europe friendly country on the subcontinent.
A Euro-promoter could have simply gone on an editing spree.
Isn't the BBC "Liberal Press"?
Have you read what the BBC says about our President?
Uninformed in what way?
I'm not sure that makes any sense. The whole reason Greece joined the EU was to get the value of the euro. Given their economy was far more deficit-driven than the average existing EU country, they could only gain.
If you have experiences suggesting otherwise--as several freepers here have posted--then do state them. They will be helpful in elucidating the situation.
I'm starting to get the idea that, although some reasoning is put forth, the author doesn't really understand exactly where Greek anti Americanism comes from. 'Course, I personally am ignorant on the subject, so perhaps I shouldn't be giving an opinion. I am starting to get that impression, though.
And while the BBC is predominantly liberal, they do on occasion have balanced pieces on the United States, including about President Bush.
However, also have relatively little information about this topic.
Almost 99% on have your say are anti-US socialist eurotrash,with a mix of their muslim immigrants. Lovely place...not.Europe is finished as a world power.
On the other hand, the current top HYS is about sending more American troops to Iraq, and currently that HYS is rife with liberalism and anti-Americanism.
Also, the BBC is the most popular news media globally and on the internet. Many of the posters aren't European (or Muslim).
BBC is marxist dhimmi garbage friend. They were for the soviets in the cold war as well.
I was interested in the article since I've seen past accounts, like the soccer game a while back, of Greek anti Americanism and wondered where it all came from.
If socialism and communism are strong in Greece, that explains it to my satisfaction. And of course if they see us as favoring the Turkish side on the Cyprus issue, all the more reason.
I was friends with a Greek-American fella from Astoria years ago. During election 1992, he told me that he liked Clinton because he had some very good ideas about Greece and Macedonia.
I asked him what those ideas were and what a US president could do towards those ends.
After some delaying, he said he didn't know what the ideas were and what a US president could do, anyway.
He practices law now.
The Greeks had the aid of western philhellenes, notably Lord Byron. The western governments were reluctant to get involved, but finally did. One key event was the battle of Navarino on Oct. 20, 1827, when the British, French, and Russian fleets destroyed the Turkish (Egyptian) fleet in the Bay of Navarino (SW Peloponnesus). In 1829 the Turks agrreed to complete independence for Greece, under very restricted borders (the Peloponnesus, some of central Greece, and the Cyclades). I don't know if the Greeks would have managed to achieve independence without outside help, but I'm not an expert on the subject.
He says everything is more expensive.
Has Greece seen high levels of inflation since converting to the Euro? Or could it have happened in the conversion time process?
According to this OFFICIAL statment by a governing body of the United States of America:
"Whereas, Greece is now one of only three nations in the world, beyond the former British Empire, that has been allied with the United States in every major international conflict in the twentieth century, including World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the Balkans;"
"Whereas, Greece played a major role in the World War II struggle to protect freedom and democracy through such bravery as was shown in the historic Battle of Crete and in Greece, presenting the Axis land war with its first major setback; and,
"Whereas, The author of a military history said, The campaign in Greece and in Crete forced Hitler to postpone the invasion of Russia and to fight a winter campaign which brought Hitlers war machine to a standstill; and,
"Whereas, The government of Greece has declared its solidarity with the American people and has pledged to back efforts to combat and eradicate terrorism in the aftermath of terror attacks on the United States of America; and,
"Whereas, Greece and the United States are at the forefront of the effort for freedom, democracy, peace, stability and human rights; forging a close bond between our two nations and their peoples; and,
"Whereas, March 25th, 2003, marks the 182nd Anniversary of the beginning of the revolution that freed the Greek people from the Ottoman Empire; and now therefore be it
"Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor of the State of Michigan do hereby proclaim March 25, 2003, Greek Independence Day in Michigan in honor of the democratic principles from which our two great nations were born.
~Office of the Governer of Michigan
For those who need a history lesson Greece was fighting in WWII and setting up strong residence against the Axis LONG before the US even got involved. Last time I checked Turkey "wiped her hands" and played the "neutral" game during WWII...until they saw how the wind blew and all of the sudden took the Allies side. How pathetic and Greeks are suppose to be the "cowards" right? YEah right, history has proven unother wise and I will be more then happy to provide proof of this. Greece was pulled into the war in October 28, 1940; the US didn't get involved until the attack on Peril Harbor December 7, 1941...that's over a year after Greece was fighting on the side of the Allies. OR need I remind everyone that it was little Greece who showed the world that the Axis were not as unbeatable as everyone thought they were.
"The unbelievable strong resistance of the Greeks delayed by two or more vital months the German attack against Russia; if we did not have this long delay, the outcome of the war would have been different in the eastern front and in the war in general, and others would have been accused and would be occupying this seat as defendants today". ~ Adolf Hitler's Chief of Staff Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel
"Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks". ~ Winston Churchill
"In the name of the captured yet still alive French people, France wants to send her greetings to the Greek people who are fighting for their freedom. The 25th of March, 1941 finds Greece in the peak of their heroic struggle and in the top of their glory. Since the battle of Salamis Greece had not achieved the greatness and the glory which today holds". ~ French general Charles de Gaulle
Oh and lets NOT forget that GREECE was the ONLY country to officially protest to Hilter the deportation of Jews from and the first to start doing something about it.
Ah and some want to talk about the liberation of Greece from the Ottomans well here you go:
""Whereas, Greek Commander in Chief Petros Mavromichalis, a founder of the modern Greek state, said to the citizens of the United States in 1821, It is in your land that liberty has fixed her abode in imitating you, we shall imitate our ancestors and be thought worthy of them if we succeed in resembling you;"
Oh and lets not forget it was JUST a few years ago where they turned American troops back from crossing over Turkish Airspace during the most recent conflict with Iraq. Guess to which closest ports most American warships are located at this moment:
"The US Navy and Greece in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: ~ The suppression of Greek piracy and the achievement of Greek independence in 1830 did not, however, mean the end of Greek-American naval relations, nor of US Navy operations to suppress global piracy. While the frigate Hellas was blown up in 1831 during an internal Greek revolt, in 1914 the United States sold to the Greek government the US Navy battleships Mississippi and Idaho, which became Kilkis and Lemnos. US Navy ships helped evacuate Greek refugees from Smyrna in 1922.19 From 1945 through 1949, US Navy warship visits and naval advisory assistance helped keep Greece free from Communism during the Greek Civil War.20 Since Greece joined NATO in 1951, US Navy and Greek Navy warships have participated together in numerous bi-lateral and multilateral allied exercises over the decades, as well as serving together since 1992 (STANAVFORMED). US Navy warships provided humanitarian relief to Greek citizens following the earthquakes of 1953 and 1955, and have routinely assisted the crews of Greek-owned merchant ships during disasters at sea.21 Also, during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Greek Navy warships operated in the strait of Tiran alongside ships of the US, French, and Spanish navies, to enforce the United Nations embargo of Iraq.22 A decade later, the Greek Navy participated in the international war on terrorism by providing logistic support at Souda Bay and by helping to patrol the Eastern Mediterranean and Arabian seas following the Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.23 Thus, the US Navy and the Greek Navy have continued to operate together, carrying out the policies of their governments and demonstrating the congruence of those policies on many occasions."
And don't forget it was for Greek war hero, who was also a recepient of Americas highest military award, the Metal of Honor, yes he served not only in the Greek Army but the American Army too, that an outraged President Warren G. Harding sent the warship USS Litchfield half way across the world to Turkey in September 1922 to recover the bodily remains of George Dilboy. Harding also demanded an apology and the American flag from the Turkish government over their marauding attacks of the WWI hero. He got both. Dilboy wasn't born in the United States but fought for BOTH the USA and Greece in every major conflict war from the First Balkan War of 1912; to the Second Balkan War of 1913 on the side of Greece; on the side of the USA during the Mexican Border War in 1916-1917 and during World War I were he was killed.
Don't believe that "anti-Americansim" is the norm in Greece with the majority of the population, unlike what that misinformed article says, its not and people should not forget that in the last elections the general population DID NOT elect a socialist party into office but a conservetive one with strong ties to the USA even when Greece DOES get shafted at times, and Greece has gotten shafted by the States MANY OF TIMES since the early 1900's, by various American Presidential Administrations, the last two comes to mind with the whole FYROMian issue, Greece STILL supports and has supported USA in global causes no matter what. The emphasis in that article about should be pointed out is on "backed by leftist groups" in other words commies, local anti-globalization groups", that's what one calls the local SOCIALIST aka left-wing groups aka Commies in Greece and those "youths" are the same bunch of hooligans one would find at ANY ralley that is against anything that has to do with the establishment PERIOD, in other words you can have the World Pet Beauty Competition in Athens and these idiots would be out there protesting. Oh and to the individual who made the connection by commies and the Orthodos church...do you even realize how illogical that comments sounds? First off communism has NOTHING to do with the Orthodox roots be it Greek or Russian for the simple reason that COMMUNISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN RELIGION AND VIEW RELIGION AS THE ENEMY. Do you know how many Orthodox priests were hung and killed by the commies? You might as well claim the Nazis had strong connection with the Jews in their causes. What people seem to fail to understand is the Greek "Anti-Americanism" which some like to label the majority of Greeks having is nothing but BS, and I can't believe someone actually used the Ekathimerini as their supposed "source" in another thread ~ THE EKATHIMERINI who are the equivalent to what CNN is in their "unbias" reporting. Yeah there is "anti-Americanism" in certain elements of the Greek public, mostly towards the back stabbing that certain American Administrations have given to one of the THREE countries in this world who has supported American causes through out every single major conflict in the 20th centuries AND CONTINUES to support it.
Last time I checked it was Turkey which did not allow American troops in its country for the attack against Iraq, trying to derail US military strategy in Iraq, not Greece. The following quote was made by an American political counselor of the US embassy in Athens:"Greeks like inflammatory rhetoric from their politicians but responsible behavior from their governments.", speaks to the heart of the matter as to why the Greek government has been a strong allie of US in every modern conflict. Despite the myths some like to spin on here, Greece, in the present war against Iraq, proved a loyal US ally. Thanks to the Greek government's blanket flight clearances and concessions on security issues, the crucial Mediterranean port and airfield of Souda Bay in Crete quietly handled thousands of US military flights and hundreds of ships en route to the Gulf. Greek military officers, eager to offer their support to the US since the start of the war in the campaign against terrorism, were cool but correct in maintaining the flow of troops and equipment. Ankara on the other hand denied for US armored division to move through Turkey to northern Iraq. BTW, all this can be found under the public information act if you search any diclassfied American government & military files.
You see talk, which SOME like to do around here, is cheap, actions that we have seen Greece do, i.e. Greece being one of few countries that has actively supported the US in every single modern conflict there has been including Afgan and Iraq wars, speak louder then words. ;p
Greece has never forgotten the help she got from the USA, who unlike most of her European brethren when they learned of American help, they demanded that USA 'butt out' from the Greek War of Independance and as Petros Mavromichalis, on May 25, 1821, put it very well:"Your virtues, Americans, are close to ours, although a broad sea separates us. We feel you closer than our neighboring countries and we consider you as friends, co-patriots and brothers, because yon are fair, philanthropic and brave."
So before people go on believing every single bull posted by certain outlets some research on a subject matter such as this should done because as it has been proven just because its written in the BBC or CNN does not mean is what actually takes place on the groung. ;)
Ah and for anyone of you who would like to see how comical the majority of the Greek population views Greek leftist groups such as the KKE and Socialist goups check out the following clip from a comedy show in Greece; the guy in the red bathing is carrying the commie flag, I forgot what the actor's name is but he always impersonates the leader of KKE, Aleka Papariga, dressed in some sort red outfit often seeing walking around with the microphone and the commie flag, calling out dumb things for Greeks to join "the party" but is usally ignorant or made fun of by the general Greek population not only in the comic clip but in real life too. ;)
But getting back to my previous post....Oh yes here we go I found what I was looking for OXI DAY; the day on October 28, 1940 when Greece told the Axis Powers "no". To the misinformed individual who actually claimed Greece was "under Mousolini rule for hunderds of years", aside from the fact that if Mousolini found a way to "live" a hundered years it would have been the discovery of the CENTURIES, Mousolini got his butt handed to him by the Greeks. These events are what led to that Winston Churchill quote: "the world will no longer say that Greeks fight as heroes, but heroes fight as Greeks".
"All free peoples are deeply impressed by the courage and steadfastness of the Greek nation. ...which is defending itself so valiantly." ~Franklin Roosevelt
"The Russian people will always be grateful to the Greeks for delaying the German army long enough for winter to set in, thereby giving us the precious time we needed to prepare. We will never forget." ~Joseph Stalin, in an open letter read over the air on Radio Moscow
"Armies Cannot Slay the Spirit of Greece: The Italian attack on Greece has aroused the old Greek spirit of national pride, freedom and personal courage. This spirit expressed itself in Greek philosophy, literature and arts that have been the basis of European culture. All European nations have gone to the school of ancient Greek artists and philosophers. Roman art and literature as well as philosophy started flourishing after the Roman armies had defeated the Greek Empire, rival of ancient Rome. Greek artists, poets and philosophers were taken to Rome as teachers. Now, 2000 years later, the Roman armies are on the march against Greek independence. Modern Italy, with her German ally, may defeat the Greek army, but the Greek spirit is deathless." ~ The Boston Sunday Globe. 1 Dec. 1940
"I feel honored to join the vast army of admirers of courageous Greece. The Greeks are an old people, and their ancient annals are replete with tales of amazing valor. ... Although a people small in numbers, they have exemplified the great ideals of civilization which will live forever in the hearts of men. To the everlasting glory of Greece, the spirit and will to defend the honor of country and home will continue so long as men are free. Greece, the Gallant, in the name of Democracy and Civilization, a righteous world salutes you!" ~ Samuel Kalesky: President of the American Jewish Congress, New England Division
"The fierce residence of Greece has also been documented by German sources of the era. Hitler's Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel stated during the Nuremberg Trials, "the unbelievably strong resistance of the Greeks delayed by two or more vital months the German attack against Russia; if we did not have this long delay, the outcome of the war would have been different in the eastern front and in the war in general." In Riefenstahl's memoires Adolf Hitler is quoted bitterly saying that "if the Italians hadn't attacked Greece and needed our help, the war would have taken a different course. We could have anticipated the Russian cold by weeks and conquered Leningrad and Moscow. There would have been no Stalingrad". And in the Address to the Reichstag, a speech given by Hitler to the Reichstag on 4 May 1941 he ordered no Greek soldier shall be taken prisoner and that those who were, were to be released immediately out of respect of their bravery: "It must be said, for the sake of historical truth, that amongst all our opponents, only the Greeks fought with such endless courage and defiance of death." And in Joseph Goebbels The Goebbels Diaries,1939-1941 one of the cruelest German Nazi Party members is quoted in saying: " "I forbid the Press to underestimate the Greeks, to defame them.... The Führer admires the bravery of Greeks." Greek residence during the occupation was one of the fierciest during WWII.
BTW, by some strange coincidence on that same day October 28, in the year 1886 another important event that stood for liberty and freedom took place, namely, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, a safe harbor for hundreds of thousands of immigrants to America.
O X I D A Y
28 OCTOBER, 1940
LEST WE FORGET THE 28th OF OCTOBER, 1940!
THE FIRST ALLIED VICTORY IN WWII
The magnificent Greek holiday Oxi Day is celebrated every year in Greece on October 28th and mostly remembered for General Ioannis Metaxas' strong reply of 'OXI' (no) to Mussolini's request to allow Italian troops to come into Greece at the beginning of WWII. The result of this stern message was powerful, and in the end, helped to maintain Greece's course of neutrality for generations to come. Nevertheless, the Italians did invade Greece, but were subsequently driven back into Albania. On that cherished day in Greek history, Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas not only rejected Italy's ultimatum, he chose the road of resistance, and thus saved his reputation as a dictator. Cypriot countrymen also drew inspiration from Greece's refusal to let Italian troops invade in 1940. In 1940 when most countries of Europe had surrendered, Hitler had the continent of Europe in his grip and the democracies were at the lowest point, Mussolini decided to take over Greece anticipating an easy victory based on his superior numbers and mechanized forces. He attacked Greece from Albania. The Greeks stood up and said "OXI!!!" (No, you shall not pass) and fought fiercely, hurling back the stunned aggressors. Mussolinis divisions were soon back in Albania and for six months were fighting to maintain a hold on the seacoast, desperately calling for help. When Germany entered the war against Greece with the most powerful army in Europe, the Greeks continued to fight both of these great empires, although reason must have told them that their position was hopeless. Alongside their British comrades they continued to resist stubbornly on the island of Crete. Greece had fallen, but it had cost Hitler thousands of his finest youth and delayed his attack against Russia by months. German troops ran into the dreadful Russian winter and the Russians imposed such appalling losses that it contributed to the ultimate defeat of Germany. The occupation, Great Famine, resistance and subsequent liberation of Greece followed, and then came "December Movement" in which Greeks fought brother Greeks. Greece, with the help of England first and, later, of the United States, remained in the Western Alliance. The essence of Greece's contribution to the allied victory is due to Mussolini's defeat by the Greeks in Albania. Hitler was compelled to capture the Balkans, mainly Yugoslavia and Greece, thusly, delaying his Barbarossa plan to invade and capture the Soviet Union before the winter of 1941. The Greek resistance, both in Albania and in the other famous battle in Crete altered, favorably for the allies, his Barbarossa time table by at least three months (and possibly six). Having at least half of his 9000 outstandingly-trained paratroopers destroyed in Crete was another fatal blow for Hitler; with a decision never to use the paratrooper approach again in the war, for this element of surprise he had hoped to use in the USSR. These elite paratroopers were eliminated by the defending Cretan peasants who showed no mercy on them during and after landing to the point that the exasperated Führer said that it is illegal for civilians to fight our soldiers ... only to receive the Cretan commentary of "Who says so? This is our country and we have no room for the invaders!" http://www.ahistoryofgreece.com/worldwarII.htm
And don't believe that Cretan saying is just "folk lore", Greeks have since ancient times been known for given out such statements the most famous being the Laconian Spartan ones but another famous one is by a Greek Orthodox Clergy man, who in contrast to many other religious leaders in Europe that did nothing to stop Nazi policy of extermination of Jews, Archbishop Damaskenos of Greece, a tall/big commanding figure of a man, formally protested the deportation of the Jews to Hilter's Party. Archbishop Damaskinos spearheaded a movement to save as many Jews as possible giving the order to all Greek clergy and Greek authorities to save as many Greek Jews as possible by making fake documents, fake baptisms and safe passages out of occupied lands for Jews. He spearheaded a direct appeal to Hilter's Nazi members in a letter which was written by the famous Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos and signed by many prominent Greek citizens, in an attempt to appeal to the hearts and minds of the German authorities. This letter is unique because no other similar document of protest to the Nazi Party of how wrong it was of what the Germans were doing to the Jewish communities of Europe has ever come to light from any other Allied country. The letter incited the rage of S.S. General Jurgen Stroop and he threaten Archbishop Damaskinos with death by a firing squad, to which Archbishop Damaskinos responsed with a quote that even Churchill talked about years later:"According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hung and not shot! Please respect out traditions!" The simple courage of the religious leader's reply caught the Nazi commander so totally off guard that he spared his life!! And that story is true ladies and gents recorded by several Jewish, American, German and other scholars and leaders of that era.
And Archbishop Damaskenos was not the only Greek Orthodox clergy to risk his life protecing the Greek Jewish population. Many Greek Orthodox priests were themselves killed by the Nazis for this. Bishop Chrysostomos and the mayor of Zakynthos issued orders all the Zakynthos residence:"Tell all Jews to leave their homes and flee into the hills, where we will hide them." In October 1944, the Germans withdrew from the island, Zakynthos was the only community in Greece with the same number of Jews after the war as at the beginning of the German occupation. After the 1953 earthquake which hit the island the first boat to arrive with aid to the victims was from Israel, with a message which read:"The Jews of Zakynthos have never forgotten their Mayor or their beloved Bishop and what they did for us."
Oh and ofcourse there also was this "little" battle known as Battle of the Forts aka Roupel Battle in northern Greece. There where twenty-four forts that made up the Metaxa Line of Northern Greece. According to historian Christopher Buckley the initial German attacks against the Metaxa Line was met with extremely tough resistance and hardly any success on the German side. WWII historian Antony Beevor writes that a German report at the end of the first day states that the German 5th Mountain Division "was repulsed in the Rupel Pass despite strongest air support and sustained considerable casualties."; and Buckley writes,"Heavy assaults against the Metaxas Line were hurled back with the courage of despair.... The defenders were attacked by wave after wave of infantry, bombed by Stukas, shelled without respite by light and heavy artillery.... Assault teams with flame-throwers, hand grenades and explosive charges were engaged and worsted in close quarters fighting." After just one day of fighting only two of the forts out of the twenty-four that made up the Metaxas Line have fallen and that was only after they were totally destroyed. Even after the Metaxas Line was taken over by Germans the remaining Greek soldiers who manned the frontier forts continued to fight on and resist which help with the safe evacuation of more then half of their fellow soldiers. A few stayed behind to fight on and try to stop the advancement of a huge invading army.
On the morning of April 8, 1941 the Hellenic flag, which beyond any reasoning was still hoisted, was de-hoisted. At the same time the German General shook the hand of the fort Commander and stated: "On behalf of the German Nation, I congratulate the heroic defenders of this fort, who shadowed the glory of Leonidas and Themistocles. Please pass these words to the officers and soldiers of the fort. Last night the Berlin and London radio stations chanted hymns for you." Then, the fort Greek Commander proudly answered:"General, we did nothing but our duty as defenders of the motherland". Note that during the "battle of the forts" (MAXH TWN OXYRWN) 6-11 April 1941 caused the largest number of casualties for the Germans during the "Marita" operation. The stronghold at Roupel successfully resisted the large number of German troops and their modern weaponry, preventing them from using the Strymon valley for their further advance in Greece. Honouring the anniversary of the Roupel battle on 6 April as well as those heroically fallen and sacrificed for the freedom of their country, the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive published the album Roupel, April 1941. The heroic resistance at the strongholds of the Siderokastron complex. The chronicle of a great epopee. The album was published following a generous grant by the "Stavros S. Niarchos" Foundation. The texts are written by George Charonitis and the book is design by Frederick Carabott.
Oh and to the individual who made that hilariously funny claim that Greece was liberated by "Romance Non Greeks" HA! If Greeks waited for the powers of Western Europeans to help "liberate" them, Greece would have still been under Ottoman rule. Or have we forgotten how Greeces' European neighbors told the USA to "butt out" when Greece turned to America for help after such "great" European "allies" of Greece's like the Brits and the Russians, of whom Catherine the Great TWICE promised help and in the end gave NOTHING, as I stated in my above post Petros Mavromichalis, on May 25, 1821, put it very well on the amount of NO HELP which Greece got from her European neighbors:"Your virtues, Americans, are close to ours, although a broad sea separates us. We feel you closer than our neighboring countries and we consider you as friends, co-patriots and brothers, because yon are fair, philanthropic and brave." Granted there were a few such a Lord Byron(who many of Greek male child bares his name in honor of Byron to this day believe it or not) and Richard Church who came and fought on the side of Greece but trust me such men were NOT many and they were FAR in between. Its mostly thanks to Greek War heroes such as Greek admiral, freedom fighter and politician Constantine Kanaris whom German admiral Wilhelm Franz Canaris claimed his family descent from, which influenced his decision to join the Navy and of who's portrait he always kept in his office; and Petros Mavromichalis who's family had a long history of fighting against the Ottomans; and the Ypsilanti family yes Ypsilanti, MI is named after them; Kitsos Tzavelas who was responsible for liberating a large part of Central Greece; and Markos Botsaris led the celebrated attack at Karpenisi of 350 Souliots(reminisce of the 300 Spartans) on 4000 Muslim Albanians who formed the vanguard of the army with which Mustai Pasha was advancing to reinforce the besiegers. American poet Fitzgreene Halleck and Juste Olivier both wrote award-winning poems for Markos Botzaris; and Nikitaras who after the siege of Messolonghi when he arrived in the city with supplies, soldiers, who had not been paid in months, asked him if he had brought any money. Nikitaras, angry, flung down his sword, a magnificent weapon and replied:"I have only my sword, and that I gladly give for my country." The famous poem "The Knight and Death" is about Nikitaras who's name by the way translates to "Winner"; or Odysseas Androutsos(and he lived up to our ancient hero who's name he carried) with a band of 100 or so men took up a defensive position at an inn and managed to repulse the enemy attack with heavy casualties on the other side when finally the enemy was forced to ask for reinforcements and artillery but the Greeks managed to slip out before the reinforcements arrived while Androutsos lost two men in the battle and earned the title of commander in chief of the Greek forces in Rumeli (Central Greece); and Theodoros Kolokotronis who was part of a corps of Greek infantry in English service and was awarded the brevet rank of brigadier for his service against the French, Kolokotronis's service in the regular Russian and British forces, land and sea, would provide valuable insights to be used later in the War of Independence.
So the person who asked "what did the Greeks do in recent times?" obviously s/he is not familiar with Greek history be it ancient, medieval or modern but there are PLENTY historical scholars, military and world leaders who have recorded QUITE well what Greeks have done through out the centuries and for such a small country to have accomplised what she has and with the influence over the centuries is quite amazing.
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