Hellenic State (1941–44)

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Not to be confused with the Hellenic Republic.
Hellenic State
Ελληνική Πολιτεία
Elliniki Politeia
Puppet state of Germany and Italy

1941–1944
Flag Coat of arms
Motto
"Eleftheria i Thanatos"
Ελευθερία ή θάνατος
"Freedom or Death"
Anthem
Ýmnos is tin Eleftherían
Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν
"Hymn to Freedom"
Hellenic state during Axis occupation 1942
Capital Athens
Languages Greek
German
Italian
Religion Greek Orthodox
Political structure Caretaker government
Plenipotentiary
 -  1941–1943 Günther Altenburg
 -  1943–1944 Hermann Neubacher
Prime Minister
 -  1941–1942 Georgios Tsolakoglou
 -  1942–1943 Konstantinos Logothetopoulos
 -  1943–1944 Ioannis Rallis
Historical era World War II
 -  Battle of Greece 6 April 1941
 -  Battle of Crete 20 May 1941
 -  German withdrawal 12 October 1944
Currency Greek drachma (₯)
Part of a series on the
History of Greece
Part of a map of the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent regions by William Faden, March 1785
Portal icon Greece portal
Map shows the prefectures of Greece and the Bulgarian annexation of Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace.

The Hellenic State (Greek: Ελληνική Πολιτεία, Elliniki Politeia, also translated as Greek State[1]) was the collaborationist government of Greece during the country's occupation by the Axis powers in the Second World War.

History[edit]

After the fall of Greece, General Georgios Tsolakoglou was appointed as Prime minister of the new Greek government on April 30, 1941. As King George II had left the country with the legitimate Greek government in exile, the new regime avoided all reference to the Greek monarchy and used Hellenic State as the country's official, generic, name. The collaborationist regime lacked a precise political definition, although Tsolakoglou, a republican officer, considered the Axis occupation as an opportunity to abolish the monarchy, and announced its end upon taking office.[2] The existence of a native Greek government was considered necessary by the Axis powers, in order to give some appearance of legitimacy to their occupation, although it was never given more than an ancillary role. The country's infrastructures had been ruined by the war. Raw materials and foodstuffs were requisitioned, and the government was forced to pay the cost of the occupation, giving rise to inflation, further exacerbated by a "war loan" Greece was forced to grant to Nazi Germany. Requisitions, together with the Allied blockade of Greece, resulted during the winter of 1941-42 in the Great Famine (Greek: Μεγάλος Λιμός), which caused the deaths of an estimated 300,000 people.

The Hellenic State lacked the infrastructures and latitude for action to face the great difficulties of the Occupation period; it was also devoid of any political legitimacy, and was widely considered a puppet government. Tsolakoglou demanded greater political rights for his government, and soon threatened to resign.[2] The proclamation of a mandatory work service in Germany for Greek citizens proved widely unpopular and hastened the fall of Tsolakoglou: on 17 November 1942, he was sacked and replaced by his deputy, Konstantinos Logothetopoulos. The new government announced that 80,000 Greek citizens were to be sent to Germany. This led to widespread demonstrations and strikes, and the decision was eventually revoked.[citation needed] Logothetopoulos, who had protested against the measures taken by the Axis occupation authorities, was himself sacked on 6 April 1943. Against the wishes of the Italians, who favored Finance Minister Sotirios Gotzamanis, he was replaced by Ioannis Rallis, a monarchist politician. Rallis, who was looking beyond the German withdrawal from Greece to the restoration of the post-war political order, and who was alarmed by the growth of the mostly Communist-dominated Greek resistance, obtained German consent for the creation of the Security Battalions, armed formations that were used in anti-partisan offensives.

The collaborationist Greek government ceased to exist after the withdrawal of German forces and the liberation of the country in October 1944. Tsolakoglou, Logothetopoulos (in Germany, where he had escaped to) and Rallis were all arrested, along with hundreds of collaborationists. The restored government set up the so-called Trials of Collaborationists (I Diki ton Dosilogon) to judge collaborators,[3] but it made not the major efforts it had announced to punish collaborators: this contributed to the escalation of political enmities in Greece, which in turn played a part in the outbreak of the Greek civil war.[4]

Government and politics[edit]

Military[edit]

Main article: Security Battalions

The collaborationist regime under Rallis set up Security Battalions, units of soldiers that took part in aiding the Germany Army in fighting the resistance. However, they are known for committing atrocities against the civilian population.

Administrative divisions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yves Durand, Le Nouvel ordre européen nazi, Complexe, Paris, 1990, p. 44)
  2. ^ a b Bernhard R. Kroener, Germany and the Second World War Volume V/II, Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 44
  3. ^ Markos Vallianatos, The untold history of Greek collaboration with Nazi Germany (1941-1944)
  4. ^ Charles R. Schrader, The withered vine: logistics and the communist insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949, Greenwood Press, 1999, p. 38

External links[edit]