From Labour to National Ideals: Ending the War in Asia Minor—Controlling Communism in Greece
This paper will try to shed light on a very particular angle of Greek political geography after the end of the Asia Minor War. As a result of this conflict almost 1.3 million refugees fled to Greece and changed dramatically its political space. The traditional view among the scholars of the period promotes an “exceptionalism” of the Greek-Orthodox refugees who fled to Greece after 1922. It is argued that the Asia Minor workers did not largely espouse an a priori notion of class, since they had a bourgeoisie economic and social background. However, in the 1930s there was a sharp increase in the support of the Left. Accordingly, the Communist Party pulled 5.76% of the vote, which was the highest in the inter-war period. Although the percentage of the communist vote was not so high all over Greece, Communism had a real electorate appeal for urban refugees. This study will challenge the exceptionalist perspective and will investigate why the same people who voted for Liberals in the 1920s voted for Communists in the 1930s. It will also examine how the Greek political system managed to incorporate the left-wing vote by transforming the division of society from labour and political demands to national ones in the period under examination. The focus will be also on the interplay between Communism and refugees, which is undervalued by most research on the topic, even though the communist threat was used as a reason or pretext for the abolition of parliamentary democracy and the establishment of Ioannis Metaxas’ dictatorship in 1936.
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