The Military as a Sociopolitical Force in Greece, 1940-1949




by Thanos Veremis[1]
and Andre Gerolymatos[2]

Before an attempt to examine the nature of civil-militaryrelations in Greece between 1940-49 is made, a rephrasing of this essay's title is necessary. "The military as a sociopolitical force," we feel, reverses the appropriate order of approaching our subject. The impact of political and social change on institutions hould have priority over the effect of transformed institutions on society and politics.
The officer corps began to deviate systematically from its expected function only after certain important social changes began to occur in Greece. Whereas throughout the nineteenth century the military never acted as an autonomous corporate body, the period between the world wars was marked by military interventions. Although the scope of most interwar coups was limited to redressing grievances, promoting professional interests, or replacing one civilian order with another, officers became for a while the ever-present arbiters of the struggles between the Conservative and Liberal parties, while at the same time being controlled by them to a large degree. […]

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[1] THANOS VEREMIS, Professor of History at the University of Athens, is the author of several books and articles on the history of the Greek army. He is currently working on security and strategic issues in the Eastern Mediterranean.
[2] ANDRE GEROLYMATOS, Director of Modern Greek Studies at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada, is a specialist on the history of the Greek officer corps and on the "Security Battalions" during the 1940s.