Greece The Military in Politics
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Unlike Greece's weak, politically impregnable civilian interest groups, the military has had a strong presence as an independent player in Greek politics, although traditionally it has been as factionalized as the rest of society. Originally an aristocratic institution, the military eventually grew into a powerful pressure group, based in the lower classes, whose middle-class aspirations and grievances have had critical impact on the course of Greek political history at several junctures.
The military has intervened in politics a number of times, usually to install in power the political party of its choice. More rarely, most recently in 1967, it has seized power for itself. The period of junta rule was a disaster for Greece in both domestic and foreign policy, and it had a terrible effect on the public image of the military as an institution. After the inglorious failure of its coup in Cyprus led to the fall of the junta regime in 1974, many observers believed that the military could only play a political role again to save the country from an imminent catastrophe such as an invasion from Turkey. The end of bipolar geopolitics has eliminated the communist threat, but Greece's eastern neighbor remains a perennial concern that necessitates large military and defense expenditures, affording the opportunity for continued political input by the military establishment. The protracted Balkan crisis of the early to mid-1990s highlighted the military's politically sensitive role. (see Turkey , this ch.; Assessing the Turkish Threat , ch. 5).
Data as of December 1994
NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece The Military in Politics information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece The Military in Politics should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.