Warriors and Politicians in Modern Greece (review)
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Reviews Constantine P. Danopoulos, Warriors and Politicians in Modern Greece. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Documentary Publications. 1984. Pp. χ + 225. $24.95. Greece's military dictatorship, which strapped the nation from April 1967 until it fell more than seven years later in July 1974, stimulated a massive outpouring of literature. Ranging from emotional commentaries to serious political analyses, these publications sought to satisfy the curiosity of the world community and to provide arguments for or against the regime (far more of the latter). It is indeed ironic, then, that despite the passing of time and its accompanying benefits for the serious research scholar, the number of academic studies on the colonels in the dictatorship's aftermath is relatively small. The reasons for this situation are not obvious. Perhaps scholars of contemporary Greece are now too preoccupied with Greece's entanglements with Turkey in the Aegean and on Cyprus and with Andreas Papandreou's socialist government to look backward a few years. With his book Constantine P. Danopoulos has tried to fill this scholarly void. Throughout his study Danopoulos applies generally accepted theories and models of recognized analysts such as Max Weber, Eric Nordlinger, Samuel Huntington, and W. W. Rostow. For all historical periods Danopoulos utilizes the concept of military professionalism as a method for analyzing the role of the Greek military, concluding that the development of Greece's armed forces paralleled the country's economic development. Thus, the large amounts of foreign economic and military aid after World War II not only brought Greece into the economic "takeoff stage" but also stimulated developing professionalism in the Greek armed forces. Greece's membership in NATO and the training of its officers abroad reinforced the already conservative, anti-communist orientation of the armed forces. The most extreme form of these positions found expressions in the conspiratorial mission of the officers professing allegiance to IDEA ("Holy Bond of Greek Officers"). Concern over cuts in the defense budget and over Centrist attempts to purge the armed forces 67 68 Reviews of IDEAists spurred these officers to intervene in politics. Danopoulos argues that the April 21, 1967 takeover of the military was perpetrated to protect its professional concerns. Subsequently, the decision to yield power in the immediate aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus can be seen as an effort on the military's part to safeguard its professional interests. To describe the junta's attempts to attain regime legitimacy, Danopoulos refers to Weber's three-fold approach: 1) charismatic leadership, 2) the appeal to traditional beliefs and practices, and 3) the rational-legal formula (i.e., based on the creation of constitutional structures). His investigation determines that the military dictators failed to legitimize their rule in all categories. They also blundered in their attempts to stimulate economic development and to bring about bureaucratic reorganization, as well as social, educational and political reform. After covering events since 1974, Danopoulos concludes that despite the military's retreat from politics, "the coals of interventionism have not yet cooled" (p. 166). The intentions of this book are good, but the results are mixed. The historian conversant in Greek affairs will be concerned by the sections on political developments in modern Greece and on the military 's involvement in politics from 1821 until World War II: they regrettably include a number of misstatements, oversimplifications and sweeping generalizations with flimsy substantiation. The political scientist, in turn, will question, among other points, the solidity of some of his conclusions for the post-1967 period. For example, some conclusions are based on interviews covering military rule with only 25 Greek civil servants. Danopoulos also administered a questionnaire to 34 Greek officers attending the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and only 18 returned it. Nonetheless , despite this and other criticisms, Danopoulos' book is still the only recent study that tries to cover the important subject of Greek military interventionism in the historical and contemporary context. It therefore merits reading. S. Victor Papacosma Kent State University ...