Greece: An Unquiet History

In March, the BBC aired a program on 20th century Greek history and memory. It begins with the Nazi occupation of Greece during WWII, which was esp. brutal (see Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece for this). The rest of the program covers the civil war (1946-49), the 50s and early 60s (briefly), then the rise and fall of the junta (1967-74), ending with Andreas Papandreou and PASOK in 1981. Generally speaking, the program focuses on the great left-right political divide in Greece since the mid-twentieth century. It contextualizes this well enough through an analysis of politics and communal memory, and it contends that Greeks have yet to come to terms with the tragedies of the past that they inflicted upon one another (contrasted against external forces/actors), despite (or b/c of) the rise and fall of particular national narratives over this time. Some highlights of the broadcast include old footage from the BBC during the Dekemvriana, interviews with Greeks who were eyewitnesses to events in Athens, Distomo, and elsewhere during the occupation and civil war, and a quick soundbite from Andreas Papandreou, whose legacy hangs so heavily over Greece today. It’s well done and worth listening to, esp. in the context of Greece’s current crisis and the evolving political landscape here.

Greece: An Unquiet History 

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