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By Renee Hirschon

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Example text

The royalist slogan, 'a small but honourable Greece' expressed the old predilection of the autochtllOnous establishment for the status quo. However, the depth of the 1916 schism was unprecedented, 'as was the task of unifying under a single authority the newly acquired territory. remis Inter-war politics and the refugees The same was true with the 1922 influx of refugees. The threat, real or imaginary, that the dispossessed newcomers from Asia Minor posed to shopkeepers and small property owners all over Greece was linked in the public's mind with the ominous contagion of the Bolshevik revolution that haunted bourgeois Europe.

No one realised of course that most of the era's themes were to reach a grand finale in this 1922 fin de siecle. I say 'most' because one of the more pernicious - the continuing political cleavage between the Venizelists and the royalists - persisted as a sinister leit motif connecting the two eras. In a country without an ancien regime and no landed aristocracy, the existence of a national schism with the appearance of a clash between conservatives and liberals might appear strange. King Constantine's popularity after the Balkan Wars of 1912-1:3 was entirely due to his role as the commander-in-chief of the successful military campaigns which were the natural outcome ofVenizelos's irredentist agenda.

However, notwithstanding such continuity, participation in the nationalist movement could have provided the unifying experience required for allegiance to the new regime, but here too there were problems. Military engagement with Greece had widely been perceived as a war against an outside aggressor rather than a struggle against a colonial presence; it was yet another military campaign to be endured by the already mobilised Anatolian youth. Indeed, for Anatolian peasants, as well as for most of the urban population, the new republic must have looked very much like a truncated version of the Empire, except for the unavoidable fact of the disappearance of the Christian population.

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