Greece, Part 3

The ‘exchange’, as it came to be called, was a consequential moment for both nations as it eliminated the last vestiges of Turkish involvement in Greece. There would remain much animus on both sides for generations.  

The new nation of Greece soon experienced its first major existential threat post-indepence when Italian fascists invaded in 1940. While that invasion was repelled, Greece couldn’t hold off Nazi Germany when they invaded a year later in 1941. The occupation lasted until 1944 and the Greeks suffered immensely. 

Post-war Greece soon found itself caught up in the political realignments of the burgeoning Cold War. The country became embroiled in a civil war when communists sought to take control of the government in the power vacuum left when the Nazis were defeated. The combatants coalesced into opposing sides reflecting the new Cold War realities, with one side supported by the US and the UK, and the other supported by the communist regimes in Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria.  

The war lasted until 1949 when NATO forces stepped in with a bombing campaign that broke the will of the communists. Despite the communists’ defeat, the underlying divisions smoldered between left and right in Greece, culminating in a coup d’état by the military in 1967. The generals remained in power until 1974.