National Youth Organisation (Greece)
|National Youth Organization|
The National Youth Organisation (Greek: Εθνική Οργάνωσις Νεολαίας, Ethnikí Orgánosis Neoléas, EON) was a fascist youth organization in the Kingdom of Greece during the years of the Metaxas Regime (1936–1941). It was established some time in 1937 and was disbanded with the start of the German occupation of Greece. It differed from its Nazi and Fascist Italian counterparts in that it never managed to turn its members into blind followers of the regime.
The goal of the organization was: for the "productive spending of the free time of the youth, the promotion of physical and psychological wellbeing thereof, the cultivation of the national values and the faith, the creation of a cooperative and communal spirit...".
The emblem of the organization was a Minoan labrys surrounded by laurel wreaths, topped with a royal crown. It was similar to the emblem of Fascist Italy at the time, which featured an ancient Roman fasces surrounded by laurel wreaths, from which fascism got its name. The emblem was used on the flag, as well as on the caps of the members of the organization. The flag of the organization, used on parades, was similar to the flag of Greece. It featured a white cross on a blue fiend, with the emblem of EON charged in the center in gold, and the royal crown moved to the upper hoist side quadrant. The motto of the organization was "One Nation, One King, One Leader, One Youth".
Within two years from the first march of EON in Athens in 1937, the organization numbered a million members in 1939. Some of the most prominent members of the organization were crown prince Paul, who also served as the titular head of the organization for a short time, as well as other members of the Greek royal family. The organization was also open for the Greek Jews.
Membership to the Organization was not mandatory, but there was widespread successful campaigning by the Metaxas regime to include the largest part of the youth to EON. In the founding document of the Organization, it is mentioned that "the inclusion of the entire Greek youth to EON is everyone's responsibility". The organization later took over the scouts and other such organizations, although typically membership still remained strictly voluntary. It has been said that "school teachers were ordered to bring the youth to EON en masse, as well as the workers in the public sector, who were forced to enlist their children to the National Youth Organization".
Unlike most contemporary political youth organizations in Europe, EON was not affiliated with a political party, as the Metaxas Regime was not supported by a mass political movement. Metaxas' dictatorial power relied chiefly on the King and the army, and no political parties were active during his leadership.
- "100+1 Years of Greece", Volume I, Maniateas publishing, Athens, 1999. pp 254-255. (in Greek)
- THE "NATIONAL YOUTH ORGANISATION" OF THE REGIME OF THE 4TH OF AUGUST 1936 (in Greek)
- Photograph of the official emblem and motto
- Roussos, Georgios, Modern History of the Greek Nation, 1826-1974, Volume VII, page 137, Elliniki Morfotiki Estia, 1975
- Archives of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation
- Proud march on our schools (in Greek)
- The 4th of August and the Youth of an Era (in Greek)
- EON magazine (in Greek)
E.O.N. magazine the 133 copies from the "Ioannis Metaxas" official family site at http://ioannismetaxas.gr/Periodiko_Neolaia.html