The dominant figure between 1910 and 1935 was Eleftherios Venizelos, a Cretan politician, who was prime minister several times. He helped Greece regain Macedonia and many of the Aegean islands, including his homeland of Crete. Venizelos was in power during the epic population exchange with Turkey (1923), under which almost one million repatriated Greeks flooded Athens. The desperate effort to accommodate them pushed back the city's boundaries and accounts for the oldest of the suburban eyesores in the capital. Between 1936 and 1940 Greece was under the military dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, remembered for the resounding "ochi" ("no"), he gave in reply to Mussolini's ultimatum to surrender in 1940.Greece commemorates the day, 28 October, as a national holiday. Greece was invaded by Nazi Germany in April 1941 and, by June, the Germans controlled the entire country, with Italian
forces placed in Athens. The people suffered greatly, but the city's monuments escaped serious damage. In October 1944, the Allied forces moved into Athens and rest of Greece, encountering

opposition from the retreating Germans, but the war left Greece utterly devastated. Communist and royalist partisans moved steadily toward a military confrontation and two years of savage civil war ended in
late 1949 but political instability persisted. In 1967 a military dictatorship seized power in Greece. During the seven-year "reign of the colonels," as the succeeding
years are known, political parties were dissolved, the press was censored, and left-wing sympathisers were exiled, tortured and imprisoned. In November 1973 a student protest at the
Athens Polytechnic was brutally crushed. This action spelled the end of public tolerance of the regime, which collapsed eight months later when the junta attempted to overthrow the Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios, provoking the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Constantinos Karamanlis, the former conservative premier, was recalled from exile in Paris to restore democracy and a new constitution for a republican government was drawn up in 1975. With its entry into the European Community in 1981, Greece's economic prospects strengthened. That same

year, the first socialist government swept to victory under the leadership of Andreas Papandreou and the PASOK party. He espoused the desires of a post-war generation to maintain peace and stability, and to secure a better future for their children. By 1990 PASOK was defeated at the polls, after three rounds of voting, by the conservative New Democracy Party and Constantine Mitsotakis became the new prime minister. Andreas Papandreou was re-elected
in 1994. He died in office in 1996 and was succeeded by Kostas Simitis. In March 2004 the conservative New
Democracy Party won the elections and Kostas Karamanlis became the youngest prime-minister in the history of Greece. On 5th September 1997, at the 106th IOC Session in Lausanne, Athens was elected as the host city for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in 2004. This important fact and Greece's adoption of the Euro currency in 2002, has resulted in a great deal of infrastructure and economic development. The history of Athens reflects the ingenuity and vigor of the Greek spirit that will, no doubt, meet whatever
challenges the modern world has in store for it.
Back to the top