The Year of Cautious Examination: Yugoslavia and the
Dictatorship in Greece in 1968 Cover Image
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Година oпрезног испитивања: Југославија и диктатура у Грчкој у 1968. години
The Year of Cautious Examination: Yugoslavia and the Dictatorship in Greece in 1968

Author(s): Milan Ristović
Subject(s): Diplomatic history, Military history, Political history, Post-War period (1950 - 1989), Cold-War History
Published by: Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije
Summary/Abstract: The coup d’etat which was organized and executed with no particular difficulties by a group of army officers in Greece on April 21, 1967, headed by a „triumvirate” comprising two colonels, Georgios Papadopoulos and N. Makarezios, and a brigade general, Stulianos Patakos, was the culmination of a long political crisis, conflicts and enmities of leading political figures and their parties, the court and the Army. The imposition of military dictatorship dramatically contributed to deterioration of Yugoslav-Greek relations which were experiencing upturn until the spring of 1967. Strong anti-Communist orientation of the colonels’ regime and repression of political dissenters, particularly on the left, the use of propaganda slogans from the days of the civil war, coupled with annulment of some bilateral treaties previously concluded with the Yugoslav government, by the end of 1968 caused the relations between Belgrade and Athens to pass from the period of almost total political freeze in the beginning, to gradual, cautious sounding and eventually to the degree when they were brought to a level of restrained normalization. Such state of affairs, with occasional deteriorations and rapprochements, would last until the fall of the junta in 1974. The difficult relations between Belgrade and Athens during 1967–1968 (and later on until the end of the dictatorship) were analyzed in the context of the general deterioration of the international situation (Israeli-Arab war, the military intervention of the Warsaw Pact in Czechoslovakia, beginning of the new phase in the Cyprus-crisis, escalation of the war in Vietnam). They should also be seen as part of the Cold War, in which Yugoslavia played a particular, untypical role. Caution, restraint and careful deliberation about every move which the Yugoslav diplomacy made in connection with the colonels’ regime, were typical both for the beginning of the colonels’ regime in Greece and for the later years. Clear and overt disagreement with the dictatorship was mingled with frequent pointing out at the fact that Greece was a neighbouring country with whose internal affairs one shouldn’t interfere. Such an attitude didn’t mean complete passivity; parallel with significantly reduced relations with the Athens government, the Yugoslav side maintained ties with the Greek opposition, both with its members working in the country under difficult conditions, and with its most prominent leaders and groups of various ideological persuasions who waged their struggle to topple the dictatorship from exile. These relations were also a sign of the understanding that the colonels’ dictatorship was just a transient phase and that the opposition leaders in exile (K. Karamanlis, A. Papandreou) should be considered representatives of continuity, including the full reestablishment of bilateral relations that would be re-established once the dictatorship was brought down.

  • Page Range: 69-96
  • Page Count: 28
  • Publication Year: 2008
  • Language: Serbian