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172 Reviews Είκος 'Αλιβιζάτος, oÃ- πολοτικοί θεσμοί σε κϕίσης, 1922-1974: Οψεις τής Ελληνικής Εμπειϕίας. 'Αθήνα: θεμÎ-λιο. 1983. Pp. 728. Nikos Alivizatos' outstanding book Political Institutions in Crisis, 1922-1974, Aspects of the Greek Experience is a major contribution to the study of 20th century constitutional developments in Greece and to the general understanding of contemporary Greek politics. This meticulously documented, comprehensive, lucidly written, and effectively synthesized interdisciplinary work was originally submitted as Alivizatos' doctoral dissertation at the University of Paris II and was published in French in 1979. It was subsequently very competently translated into Greek by Venetia Stavropoulou and published by Themelio in 1983. The value of this study is of such magnitude that it would be well worth the time and expense to have it translated and reprinted in English as well. Alivizatos' book focuses on political and legal developments in Greece from 1915 to 1974, an era that can clearly be classified as turbulent. This period involved protracted crises, political and legal instability, civil war, war, foreign occupation and interference, and intermittent imposition of blunt and unimaginative dictatorships. The volume is divided into two major parts. Part I, chapters 1-5, analyzes the impact of crises on the substance and formalities of governance. Part II, chapters 6-10, examines in depth the continuously low status of civil rights and freedoms in Greece during the same time periods. Alivizatos has managed to present a whole complex of materials within a compact and well organized conceptual framework. Fundamentally , he considers the 50 years under study as a period of continuous crisis. It is marked by two major divisive conflicts (διχασμοϕς) which separated Greeks into Royalists and Republicans and after World War II into Nationalists and Communists. At the bottom of these schisms, in Alivizatos' view, were deep structural causes which could be referred to as "the special characteristics of the country:" 1) Foreign interference and manipulation in a country whose considerable strategic importance invited the competitive presence of major powers such as Britain, France and Germany in the pre-World War II period, and the US and the USSR in the post World War II years; 2) A backward economy, peripheral to the developed capitalist states of Northern Europe and North America, which permitted a high level ol external economic, and by extension political dependence; 3) Continuous internal and external conflict beginning with the Balkan Wars, World War I, the Greek-Turkish War of 1921-2, a Reviews 173 whole series of military interventions in the interwar years, the Metaxas dictatorship, occupation with resistance, civil war and then, after a brief period of economic and political development, the political crisis of the mid 1960's which culminated in the seven year Papadopoulos/ Ioannidis dictatorship; and 4) The great social and economic distortions caused by the influx of 1.5 million refugees from Asia Minor in the post-World War I period and by the convulsive socio-economic effects of World War II, occupation and civil war. In a period of major troubles it is not surprising, according to the author, that attitudes of doubt and insecurity regarding the viability of democratic institutions became deeply ingrained in the Greek public mind. In a situation of protracted economic inbalance, external dependence, foreign penetration, and institutional transcience , Greek politics became a virtual laboratory of constitutional manipulations and anomalies. Even in periods when constitutional democracy was fully at work—and this is a major point the author stresses—Greek political leaders of all colorations sought to strengthen the hand of the Executive so as to facilitate decisive governance . As a result, the authority of parliament was weakened and the constitutional freedoms of the Greek people were considerably narrowed. Alivizatos systematically documents how entire sectors of governmental activity involving foreign and defense policy were kept literally outside the scope of parliamentary review and how measures were authorized which in effect introduced a "para-constitution." It operated in tandem with the formal constitution permitting a hybrid state of affairs where Greek citizens were classified as "first" and "second" classas "Venizelists," "Royalists," "ethnikophrones" (nationalists ), and "communists" depending on who had the controls of power. The concept of "internal enemy" gradually permitted the armed forces to develop a savior/praetor mentality. This gradual erosion process culminated with the military...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 172-175
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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