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Why did not UK assist Greece in 1919 war?


Why did not UK assist Greece against Turks in 1919 war?

Greece had historical ties with UK. But no significant assistance by UK was provided to Greece during the war. As far as I know British Armies had already taken Istanbul and were close to the battle front.

It seems UK deliberately and indirectly left the country for Turks. What might be the reason behind this decision? Why did not UK help its Christian ally to obtain the West Anatolia?


Is the question: "Why did the Great Britain not assist Greek expansionism in the Aegean (specifically Asia Minor/Anatolia) at the expense of the Turks?"

Well Jon Custer's comment that war-weariness on the part of the Allies played a role is true. None of the nations in the Entente had appetite for continuing a costly war.

The Treaty of Sevres outlined the partition of Turkey which was concluded in 1920 The Treaty of Sevres

However the Allied powers had begun secretly partioning the Ottoman Empire as per the Sykes-Picot agreement as early as 1915. Sykes Picot Agreement

It would seem that Great Britain was also fully aware of the atrocities taking place in Anatolia by the Greek forces there as well.

The British definitely felt that the Greeks had overstepped their mark in Turkey violating the concessions given to them at the conclusion of World War I. It is quite possible given that in 1919 the Ottoman government in Constantinople was under British control; the British wished to preserve the partition of the Ottoman Empire as per the terms agreed in both the yYkes Picot Agreement and Sevres Treaty

The British notified the Greeks that they were in violation of the agreement sometime around June 1919 (see Title: Eastern Report No. 124 Author: Foreign Office Date: 12 June 1919 )

The Greeks had been notified by the commodore of the British Aegean Squadron that they should obey the strict orders of the peace conference.

Admiral Calthorpe also complains later that

The Greek troops have also crossed the river south of Aidin, in spite of my orders to the contrary., and were near Giovval on 8th of July, 20 miles southward of the river. Shells fired by the Greek artillery fell inside Italian lines An Italian general commanding officer has formally protested to me against both occurrences. An order from M. Venizelos is presumably responsible for the contravention of my orders. I have written to the Greek High Commissioner insisting that orders should be given that the Greek troops be immediately withdrawn to north of the Aidin railway.

Title: Eastern Report No. 129 Author: Foreign Office 17 July 1919

So it seems clear that the British felt the Greeks had overstepped the mark, and they wholly intended to keep to the terms of the peace conference. It's quite possible as well that the British may have felt that the Greek acquisitions may have ended up conflicting with the Italian concessions in Anatolia. So the "why" is quite simply because the Greeks were already acting in contravention to the orders handed down by the Paris peace conference.

That's just my overview of the situation. I'm sure there's more to be dug around once I can dig up the relevant Foreign Office and Cabinet Papers - of which getting the specific volumes is taking a tad more time than I have available.


5 of the worst atrocities carried out by the British Empire

A new YouGov poll has found the British public are generally proud of the British Empire and its colonial past.

YouGov found 44 per cent were proud of Britain's history of colonialism, with 21 per cent regretting it happened and 23 per cent holding neither view.

The same poll also found 43 per cent believed the British Empire was a good thing, 19 per cent said it was bad and 25 per cent said it was "neither".

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At its height in 1922, the British empire governed a fifth of the world's population and a quarter of the world's total land area.

Although the proponents of Empire say it brought various economic developments to parts of the world it controlled, critics point to massacres, famines and the use of concentration camps by the British Empire.


Greco-Turkish wars

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Greco-Turkish wars, (1897 and 1921–22), two military conflicts between the Greeks and the Turks.

The first war, also called the Thirty Days’ War, took place against a background of growing Greek concern over conditions in Crete, which was under Turkish domination and where relations between the Christians and their Muslim rulers had been deteriorating steadily. The outbreak in 1896 of rebellion on Crete, fomented in part by the secret Greek nationalistic society called Ethniki Etairia, appeared to present Greece with an opportunity to annex the island. By the beginning of 1897, large consignments of arms had been sent to Crete from Greece. On January 21 the Greek fleet was mobilized, and in early February Greek troops landed on the island, and union with Greece was proclaimed. The following month, however, the European powers imposed a blockade upon Greece to prevent assistance being sent from the mainland to the island. They took this step to prevent the disturbance from spreading to the Balkans. Thwarted in their attempt to assist their compatriots in Crete, the Greeks sent a force, commanded by Prince Constantine, to attack the Turks in Thessaly (April). By the end of April, however, the Greeks, who were inadequately prepared for war, had been overwhelmed by the Turkish army, which had recently been reorganized under German supervision. The Greeks then yielded to pressure from the European powers, withdrew their troops from Crete, and accepted an armistice on the mainland (May 20, 1897). A peace treaty, concluded on December 4, compelled Greece to pay the Turks an indemnity, to accept an international financial commission that would control Greek finances, and to yield some territory in Thessaly to Turkey. Subsequently, the Turkish troops also left Crete, which had been made an international protectorate, and an autonomous government under Prince George, the second son of the Greek king, was formed there (1898). Crete was finally ceded to Greece by the Treaty of London (1913), which ended the First Balkan War.

The second war occurred after World War I, when the Greeks attempted to extend their territory beyond eastern Thrace (in Europe) and the district of Smyrna (İzmir in Anatolia). These territories had been assigned to them by the Treaty of Sèvres, August 10, 1920, which was imposed upon the weak Ottoman government. In January 1921 the Greek army, despite its lack of equipment and its unprotected supply lines, launched an offensive in Anatolia against the nationalist Turks, who had defied the Ottoman government and would not recognize its treaty. Although repulsed in April, the Greeks renewed their attack in July and advanced beyond the Afyonkarahisar-Eskişehir railway line toward Ankara. The Turks, however, commanded by the nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal (Kemal Atatürk), defeated them at the Sakarya River (August 24–September 16, 1921). A year later the Turks assumed control of Smyrna (September 1922) and drove the Greeks out of Anatolia. In Greece the war was followed by a successful military coup against the monarchy.

The Treaty of Lausanne, concluded on July 24, 1923, obliged Greece to return eastern Thrace and the islands of Imbros and Tenedos to Turkey, as well as to give up its claim to Smyrna. The two belligerents also agreed to exchange their Greek and Turkish minority populations.


A Murder in Chicago Ignites a City

Crowds gathered by the 29th Street Beach in Chicago after the drowning death of Eugene Williams, an African American teenager who had crossed an imaginary boundary in the water separating blacks from whites, on July 27, 1919.

Jun Fujita/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

Just two days after federal troops withdrew from Washington D.C., a black teenager was killed by a white man in Chicago, lighting the match that would kick off a week of violent riots. By the end, 15 white people and 23 black people would be dead, over 500 people would be injured, and over 1,000 black families would be homeless after their homes were burned down.

The teenager, 17-year-old Eugene Williams, was floating on a homemade raft off the shores of Lake Michigan, trying to escape the city’s oppressive summer heat, when a white man named George Stauber started pelting him with rocks. Williams had unwittingly drifted past the line that divided the white beach from the black beach.

A rock hit Williams in the head, knocking him unconscious. His body went limp and slipped into the lake. No one got to Williams in time to save him.

A white police officer refused to arrest Stauber, despite a growing crowd of angry witnesses to the murder. By the time Williams’ lifeless body had been removed from the lake, a crowd of around a thousand black people had gathered, demanding action. For many, Williams’ death was a microcosm of the longstanding violence perpetrated against black people without consequence.

In response to the protest, armed white men jumped in cars and tore through the city streets, firing into black homes and businesses. A white mob marched down the street, assaulting black pedestrians and torching black homes. Still, police refused to act.

A mob carrying bricks and stones chase a black man through the streets and alleyways of Chicago, 1919.

Jun Fujita/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

“When the riot explodes it’s not so much some kind of a spontaneous event as it is a culmination,” Balto explains. In the two previous years, white supremacists had bombed over 25 black homes in an effort to keep black people out of the city. The police never intervened.

Veterans in Chicago formed militias to defend black homes, neighborhoods, and families when the police and government refused. In the time following Williams’ death, one group of black veterans broke into an armory and stole weapons they then used to beat back a white mob. �use many of them have actually seen battlefield combat, they are willing and capable of using violence for the purpose of self-defense,” says Balto.

Throughout the summer, black veterans around the country took inspiration from the actions of their brethren in Washington D.C. and Chicago and followed suit. In a riot in South Carolina, one preacher reportedly said of the black self-defense units: “The males carried their guns with as much calmness as if they were going to shoot a rabbit in a hunt, or getting ready to shoot the Kaiser’s soldiers.”


Continuing Conflict: Europe after the First World War

In many parts of Europe and beyond, the end of the First World War did not mean an end to the fighting.

The spread of radical political ideas inspired by the Russian Revolution led to a series of civil wars and clashes between communist and anti-communist forces. Several new nations were established after the war in the wake of the Russian Revolution and the collapse of the defeated empires. Where the territorial claims of these new nations overlapped, they fought to establish their borders.

Within the British Empire too, disaffected nations fought for independence.

Peace did not return to Europe until 1923, five years after the end of the First World War.

Russian Civil War 1917-1923

Russian Civil War 1917-1923

The Russian Revolutions of 1917 sparked a complex struggle between the Red Army of the Bolsheviks and the White Army, a union of Russian anti-communist forces.

In addition, groups of armed peasants known as Green Armies defended their communities from the plundering of both sides.

The White Army was supported by a number of foreign nations including the new republics that formed after the revolution, the Allied Powers and Germany.

Bitter fighting occurred on three fronts and atrocities were committed by both sides.

Despite some early successes, the White Army were eventually defeated. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was created in December 1922.

Finnish Civil War 1918

Finnish Civil War 1918

Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire when the First World War broke out.

The Russian Revolution in 1917 left a power vacuum in Finland and a struggle ensued between the conservative Whites who wanted independence from Soviet Russia and the socialist Reds who opposed the separation.

The Whites, mainly from the rural north, were supported by Germany while the Reds, mainly from the industrial south, were supported by Russia.

Many thousands of Finns died in the fighting, prison camps and terror attacks.

By May 1918, the Whites had defeated the Reds. Finland became a republic in 1919.

GERMAN REVOLUTION 1918-1919

GERMAN REVOLUTION 1918-1919

Angry at being ordered to fight a desperate last battle against the British Navy, German sailors revolted in October 1918. The civil unrest spread throughout Germany as people blamed their leaders for Germany’s defeat and the suffering they had endured during the war.

The German Republic was proclaimed in November the Kaiser abdicated and went into exile in the Netherlands.

Uprisings by radical communist groups such as the Spartacist League were suppressed by the army and the Freikorps, a pro-government paramilitary militia consisting mainly of former soldiers.

By late 1919, most opposition to the new German Republic had been defeated.

ESTONIAN-SOVIET 1918-1920

ESTONIAN-SOVIET 1918-1920

Estonia was part of the Russian Empire when the First World War began. It was occupied by Germany in the final year of the war.

Estonia became an independent state following the Russian Revolution and the defeat of Germany.

Soviet Russia attacked Estonia as part of their large westward offensive in November 1918, taking advantage of the withdrawal of German troops.

Estonia was supported by Latvia, Britain, White Russian forces and volunteers from Scandinavia.

This helped them to reverse the Russian advance from early 1919.

Eventually, in February 1920, Soviet Russia agreed to acknowledge Estonian independence.

LATVIAN-SOVIET WAR 1918-1920

LATVIAN-SOVIET WAR 1918-1920

Like Estonia, Latvia gained independence from Russia shortly after the First World War. It too was quickly invaded by Soviet Russia.

Latvian and German troops were forced to retreat and the Soviets proclaimed the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic in January 1919.

The Latvian army, supported by German and Estonian troops, counterattacked and retook most of their land by June.

Shortly afterwards, it became clear that the German troops were trying to dominate the region. Latvian and Estonian forces had to fight a series of battles against them until the Allies intervened.

Soviet Russia acknowledged Latvian independence in August 1920.

POLISH-SOVIET WAR 1919-1921

POLISH-SOVIET WAR 1919-1921

Poland re-established itself as an independent state at the end the First World War, encompassing parts of the former German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires.

The Polish-Soviet War began as a border dispute with Soviet Russia. Russia later saw the war as an opportunity to expand to the west, supporting communist movements in eastern and central Europe.

After some early successes, Poland suffered a series of defeats in 1920, retreating nearly as far as Warsaw. Here they stopped the Russian advance and won a decisive victory.

An armistice was agreed soon afterwards and a peace treaty was signed in March 1921.

POLISH-UKRAINIAN WAR 1918-1919

POLISH-UKRAINIAN WAR 1918-1919

Soon after the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed in October 1918, the Ukrainian population, wanting independence, proclaimed the West Ukrainian People’s Republic.

Some of the territory that they claimed was also claimed by Poland and a border war began.

The fighting was centred on the West Ukrainian capital Lviv, which fell to the Poles in November 1918.

Ukrainian troops made several unsuccessful attempts to retake the city. By July 1919, with the help of Polish reinforcements from the Western Front, the Poles had defeated the Ukrainians, who lacked sufficient arms and ammunition.

The disputed West Ukrainian lands became part of Poland.

POLISH–LITHUANIAN WAR 1920

POLISH–LITHUANIAN WAR 1920

Part of the Russian Empire before the First World War, Lithuania was occupied by Germany from 1915.

It became an independent state following the Russian Revolution and the defeat of Germany.

It first fought against Soviet Russia and this war ended in a peace treaty in July 1920.

Lithuania then took advantage of the Polish retreats during the Polish-Soviet War to seize the lands they had claimed in their treaty with Soviet Russia.

When the Poles advanced again, Lithuania defended its new borders against them.

The fighting was eventually stopped in November 1920 with the help of the League of Nations.

GRECO-TURKISH WAR 1919-1922

GRECO-TURKISH WAR 1919-1922

The Allies promised Greece that it would receive territory when the defeated Ottoman Empire was broken up after the First World War.

Greek forces duly landed in Smyrna (Izmir), in May 1919 and seized parts of Anatolia.

Turkish nationalists objected to the partitioning of Turkish lands and the presence of occupying forces soon, their movement gained strength.

Nationalist forces stopped the Greek advance and drove them back to Smyrna, which they recaptured in September 1922.

Many civilians were killed and settlements destroyed by both sides during the conflict.

The boundaries of modern Turkey were established through victory in this conflict.

EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION 1919

EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION 1919

Britain effectively ruled Egypt since British forces occupied the country in 1882.

When the First World War broke out, Britain declared Egypt to be a British protectorate.

Unhappy about the way they were treated by the British during the war, the Egyptians began pushing for independence as soon as the fighting ceased.

A series of demonstrations, strikes and uprisings occurred in 1919. During them, around 800 Egyptians were killed.

It soon became clear that the protectorate could not be made to work.

Britain declared Egyptian independence in February 1922 although the British presence in Egypt continued.

IRISH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE 1919-1921

IRISH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE 1919-1921

Ireland became part of the United Kingdom at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The failed Easter Rising in 1916 and the strong British response to it increased sympathy for the independence movement.

Sinn Féin gained much support in the 1918 General Election and declared an Irish Republic the following year.

A guerrilla war ensued between the Irish Republican Army and British forces in which ambushes played a large part.

The result was the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty which confirmed the partitioning of Ireland, the south becoming an autonomous Dominion of the British Empire and the north remaining in the United Kingdom.

The treaty did not bring peace to Ireland but sparked a civil war between the pro-treaty Nationalists and the anti-treaty Republicans, which was eventually won by the Nationalists.


Why did not UK assist Greece in 1919 war? - History

IRA flying columns used guerrilla tactics against the numerically superior British army ©

The Anglo-Irish war, 21st January 1919–11th July 1921 was initiated by a small number of young, determined Irish Volunteers, known from August 1919 as the Irish Republican Army (IRA). They were convinced that a republic could only be gained by force. Some had been preparing for action since shortly after the Easter Rising. From necessity, they adopted a guerrilla campaign. A conventional war of large-scale open conflict was not feasible, given their lack of men, training and arms. They were organised initially into numerous small, fragmented, fiercely independent units who, acting on their own initiative, launched frequent low-level surprise attacks. They then melted back into the civilian population.

The Proclamation expressed the hopes and plans of the revolutionaries. Its primary purpose was to declare that an independent Irish Republic had been established and that a provisional government had been appointed - i.e., the seven members of the Council - to administer temporarily its affairs. Ireland’s ‘national right to freedom and sovereignty’ was powerfully asserted. Though a tiny minority, the rebels claimed: ‘Ireland through us summons her children to her flag’ and could thus ‘prove itself worthy of [its] august destiny’. This appeal for support sprang from their conviction that they were acting in the country’s best interests.

The volunteers attacked government property, carried out raids for desperately needed weapons and funds and, to disrupt the British administration, assassinated prominent individuals. Their most significant single target was the Royal Irish Constabulary. The force was the eyes and ears of Dublin Castle and had the prime responsibility for maintaining law and order. Its members were vulnerable, increasingly unpopular in Ireland, and the best available source of arms. The civilian population was at first shocked by the IRA`s actions but rapidly came to support them out of patriotic sentiment and because of the repressive nature of the British government’s response.

The Sinn Féin government backed the IRA campaign. Michael Collins, a leading figure in both, played a pivotal, co-ordination role. He provided the volunteers with funds, arms and equipment and appointed their officers. He encouraged them to act – identifying targets, issuing instructions and offering advice. His most critical contribution lay in the provision of intelligence, using as sources his network of informers it penetrated even Dublin Castle and the police forces. During 1919, his ‘squad’, a group of hand picked agents, eliminated Dublin’s detective constables, the ‘G men’. But given the nature of guerrilla warfare, it was the individual volunteer units and their commanders who held the real initiative.

In the course of the Anglo-Irish War, 15,000 volunteers were actively involved, with around 3,000 in service at any given time – sufficient to wage a potent campaign. From the autumn of 1919, the force had sufficient strength to attempt more spectacular actions. Their main purpose was to provoke Westminster into a brutal and repressive retaliatory response. This then served to guarantee popular support in Ireland for the continuing IRA campaign. It was also exploited by Sinn Féin propaganda relating to police atrocities. As these were broadly confirmed by independent journalists, they contributed to a mounting chorus of criticism in Britain and America of the government’s actions.

The violence in Ireland peaked in late 1920. Collins` most celebrated action of the war occurred on 21st November, ‘Bloody Sunday’. On that day his ‘squad’ gunned down 19 suspected British Army intelligence officers living as civilians in Dublin houses and hotels. The incident illustrated the quality of his informants and the continuing devastating capability of the IRA. It immediately stung the security forces into brutal retaliation hours later, newly recruited members of the police force fired indiscriminately into the crowd at a football match in Dublin, killing 12 people.

A cyclist being searched by a British soldier, Dublin 1921 ©

By late 1920, IRA strategy had been modified further. In August, the British Army was given powers to intern persons on suspicion without trial. A consequence of the arrests which followed - 4,500 by August 1921 - was that large numbers of volunteers went ‘on the run’. They became in effect professional revolutionaries, differentiated from their part-time colleagues, and with no prospect of normal life until British rule was ended. In Munster especially, these organised themselves into ‘flying columns’ – mobile units of about 100 men, based in remote camps or safe houses - ideally suited to guerrilla warfare.

Throughout the war, the IRA sustained an effective, calculated and flexible campaign. Nonetheless, by mid-1921 the Sinn Féin leadership favoured negotiations with Britain. They considered then that continued violence would break the volunteers, given their lack of men, arms and funds and the steady build-up of troops in Ireland. Moreover, they doubted the capacity of the Irish people to endure more fighting. Also, they were convinced that there was nothing to be gained by it as they were anticipating a generous political settlement. The British government’s offer of negotiations was not conditional on the handover of arms or formal surrender and suggested a real desire for peace.


Why has the Queen never visited Greece?

The Queen has travelled from the tiny island nation of Tuvalu in the Pacific, to Russia, China, Chile, Ghana, Australia and almost everywhere in between .

So it may seem surprising that she has never made the relatively short hop over to the birthplace of her husband, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip is a "Greek prince," says royal historian Hugo Vickers, so it is an "interesting" omission.

The reason, he believes, is because of the fraught history of the monarchy in Greece, which affected Prince Philip's immediate family.

"Prince Philip doesn't like Greece, because they put his father [Prince Andrew] on trial, and he might have been executed," says Vickers.

"In 1922, they all had to flee." Prince Philip was a baby at the time and rarely returned.

It is not completely true that the Queen has never been to Greece - she did go there at the invitation of King Paul, Prince Philip's cousin, in 1950, but that was before she became Queen.

In 1963 King Paul also came to Britain on a state visit but it was "hugely controversial" says Vickers, because Greece held a number of political prisoners at the time.

Soon after that visit, King Paul died. His successor, King Constantine - Prince Philip's first cousin once removed - was ousted when the monarchy was abolished in 1973.

He lives in London, still considers himself king, and has a close personal relationship with the Queen, according to Michael Binyon, foreign affairs specialist at The Times newspaper.

All of this has "made things difficult" says Vickers. But he also suspects the Queen may have never been invited by the Greek president to make a state visit.

Prince Philip did go to Athens to visit his mother before she moved to London in the 1960s - but he would travel on his own, says Vickers.

Israel is another notable omission from the Queen's list of state visits.

Security is a major factor in this case, but, says Binyon, the biggest problem is diplomatic sensitivity over visiting Jerusalem. Israel regards Jerusalem as the capital, but it is not recognised as such by Western nations, who base their embassies in Tel Aviv instead.

"It would create tremendous, intractable problems and the Queen doesn't want to be included in those," he says.

Egypt is a surprise omission from the Queen's travel itinerary, he adds, given its influence in the region, and its potential for business with Britain.

As things stand, Latin America is something of a black spot. The Queen has only been to three countries there - Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

But the British government has made it clear it wants to boost ties in the region, so that number may go up, with Peru one possible candidate for a future visit, believes Binyon.

Argentina, on the other hand, would be "out of the question" because of the tensions created by the Falklands War 30 years ago, says Binyon.

Prince Philip has, however, visited the country (in 1962). He has also been, without the Queen, to countless other nations around the world, often in his work for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Prince Philip also often attends foreign funerals on the Queen's behalf.

In many ways, the map of the Queen's state visits reflects the state of British diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.

"They [state visits] are always done on government advice. They are always done for a reason," says Hugo Vickers.

Indeed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a panel which approves all state visits, called the Royal Visits Committee.

"There are always more requests for visits than can be accommodated," says a spokesperson at the FCO, and a trip's foreign policy benefit is a key factor when choosing a location.

A state visit by the Queen can sometimes pave the way for politicians and business to move in afterwards. In the 1970s, she went to countries like Saudi Arabia and Brunei. At that time "it was all about oil, money and investments," says Vickers.

But more often it works the other way around, with a state visit by the Queen acting as a kind of marker that things have reached a more stable point - for example the Queen's trip to Ireland last year.

The Queen has made it to every single nation in the Commonwealth, except two of the more recent entrants, Rwanda and Cameroon.

When she had the Royal Yacht Britannia, it was easier for her to get around, especially to far-flung places like the Pacific Islands. Its decommissioning in 1997 has made a tangible difference, says Vickers.

Age will surely become an increasing consideration. The Queen, though going strong, is 86 years old.

But aside from her state visits, does the Queen ever travel somewhere just on holiday - just to relax?

"The Queen doesn't really do that sort of thing. She doesn't have holidays - she goes to Balmoral," says Vickers.

But, he says, there is one exception. She loves horses, and has been known to travel to France and the US for the races.


Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess

Greece heads to the polls tomorrow in essence to decide whether or not to stay in the Eurozone or follow charismatic Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras out of the EU.

But what got the country into the mess in the first place?

The last 100 years

Some newspapers have pointed to Greece’s history as a cause for alarm. The country endured an awful occupation under German troops during WWII. This was nothing to the civil war that erupted following the end of the occupation, as communists and government troops tore the country apart. A government victory in 1949 left Greece economically wrecked scarred and politically deeply polarised. These divisions have lingered on with a formal accord over the civil war only reached in the 1980s when many exiled communists returned home.

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The recent history

Greece has had a tricky time with its finances. In the 1990s it consistently ran significant budget deficits while using the Drachma. As a result of this economic mismanagement it joined the Euro in 2001, rather than 1999 like many other EU nations.

The boom years

Shortly after joining the single currency, Greece enjoyed a period of growth (2001-2007). However, economist and analysts have retrospectively labelled this boom as “unsustainable,” pointing out that Greece (very broadly speaking) profited off the cheap loans available from the EU.

This house of cards came tumbling down with the financial crash of 2008. Like many other countries in the EU Greece was seriously affected, but it was unable to climb out of the hole as it had in the past by printing more currency (thus boosting the economy) as the Euro was controlled by the European Central Bank (ECB). Unemployment spiralled to 28 per cent.

The first bailout

In 2010, the Troika (ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission) started handing Greece loans in exchange for spending cuts and tax hikes. This did not go down well in Greece although the economy did pick up. A second later bailout brought the total amount given to Greece roughly £169 billion.

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Up to the present

Mr Tsipras’s meteoric rise came on the back of increasing Greek dissatisfaction with the status quo as dictated by the Troika. Already disliked in Greece (where anger over Germany’s behaviour in WWII is a cause of lingering resentment) the demands only exacerbated tensions as unemployment remained at 25 per cent and debt at 18 per cent of the nation’s GDP.

Current negotiations

Following the election of Mr Tsipras’s party Syrizia, the Greek government has been engaged in torturous talks with EU leaders over a number of issues, including: pensions, labour market reforms, the civil service and the budget surplus.

Tsipras and his bullish finance minister Yannis Varoufakis are engaged in a terrifying game of chicken with EU leaders. Both men hope European leaders will capitulate to their demands out of fear of losing Greece from the EU.

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However, after the 2008 and 2010 bailout, many international corporations pulled their money from the country with debt now held by rich EU nations and not private banks.

Although it is impossible to predict what will happen should a Grexit occur, some believe that even German chancellor Angela Merkel, and Spanish and Irish leaders, are ready to walk away from Greece unless they are prepared to enact serious reforms.

Where is all the debt relief and bailout money going?

Although it sounds as if Greece has done well out of the Troika (and in many respects it has) much of the emergency funding from the IMF et al ending up paying off Greece’s international loans, rather than being routed back into the still beleaguered economy.

Added to this, Greek taxation is a mess (there are six different bands and the wealthiest band of shipping is often referred to as a “tax-free zone”) and over 133 separate pension funds. Syrizia also promised to rehire more than 13,000 civil servants (cut by past governments) and 15,000 state broadcast workers.

The other problem is that when Greece did cut some of its spending, the EU and ECB asked for a reduction in wages rather than a cut in spending. So – for example – while the military budget remains intact, soldiers have seen their wages fall by 40 per cent. Their experience is replicated across other public sector fields – notably in nurses and doctors.

Why is the referendum so important?

It is the first one since 1974, when the ruling military junta collapsed. The Greek people will decide whether to stay or leave the Eurozone – and no one is quite sure what the effect of that decision may be.


8. After the Second World War

Search the catalogue using keywords and specifying a post-war date range. To narrow your results search within specific departments or topics such as those mentioned below.

  • Mineral Development Committee &ndash set up in 1946 to investigate mineral resources in the United Kingdom and to recommend how they might be exploited
  • Town and Country Planning Act 1947 &ndash introduced new controls over the extraction of minerals. Existing workings were subject to review and planning and permission was made compulsory for new workings
  • Housing and Local Government (HLG) &ndash in particular HLG 71 correspondence and papers, HLG 79 files documenting dealings with local authorities, HLG 89 Minerals Divisions, HLG 98 Central Land Board, HLG 104 planning and redevelopment, HLG 107 regional office files, HLG 132 records relating to applications for payments from the Ironstone Restoration Fund
  • Cabinet Office (CAB) &ndash in particular CAB 129/36, CAB 128/16 and CAB 134/498
  • Ministry of Power (POWE) &ndash records of the Coal Division in POWE 16 may be particularly useful
  • Board of Trade &ndash in particular record series BT 177 which contains records on mineral workings in development areas

Why can’t I find what I’m looking for?

Occasionally there is no regimental number recorded on the card, which may be the case if the person was an officer. In this case try searching by name and regiment only.

If members of the Royal Flying Corps did not see service overseas until 1916 or later, you will not find a medal card here. The Air Ministry maintained these medal records and they have not been transferred to The National Archives.

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