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Modernism: The Creation of Nation-States

Ahmet Ersoy
Maciej Górny
Vangelis Kechriotis

Chapter II. Self-determination, democratization, and the homogenizing state

The Republican manifesto

Alexandros Papanastasiou
Traduction de Mary Kitroeff

Texte intégral

1Title: Tó Δημoкρατιкó μαvιφέoτo (The republican manifesto)

2Originally published: in the newspapers ’Eλεύθερoς Tύπoς and Пατρίς, 12 February 1922

3Language: Greek
The excerpts used are from ‘Aλέξανδρoυ Пαπανστασίoυ, Пoλιτιкά Кείμενα μελέτες-λóуoι-άρθρα (’Aθήνα: Mπάυoυ, 1976), pp. 297–299.

About the author

4Alexandras Papanastasiou [1876, Tripoli (the Peloponnese) – 1936, Athens]: politician and political theorist. He studied law in Athens and political economy and philosophy in Berlin. There, he was influenced by the concept of the protectionist state elaborated by German political scientists. When he returned to Athens, in 1907, he became involved in politics. In 1908, together with his colleagues Constantinos Triantafyllopoulos, Alexandras Mylonas and Panagiotis Aravantinos founded the KoιvcovιoλoyιКή ‘Eταιρείa (Sociological society). He was in favor of the expropriation of large land properties in Thessaly, much of which belonged to wealthy Ottoman Greeks, and the distribution of the land to the peasantry. In 1910, he was elected deputy on the ticket of Eleftherios Venizelos’s Liberal Party. In Parliament he founded a group called Koιvωvιoλóyoι (Sociologists) which became the left wing of the party and which soon founded its own party, the ; Λαϊκό Κόμμα (People’s party). In 1911, he co-founded the ‘Eταιρεία Koιvωvιкῶv кαι ПoλιτιКῶv ‘Eπιστημῶv (Social and political sciences association). In 1916, following the National Schism between Venizelists and Royalists, he left Athens to escape persecution by the royalist government and joined the revolutionary regime set up by Venizelos in Salonica (Gr. Thessaloniki, Tur. Selanik, Bg. Solun). After Venizelos’s return to Athens in 1917, he was offered significant government posts. It was also through his initiative that the University of Thessaloniki was founded in 1925. This university, which was to be renamed the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, was intended to be a liberal institution, an alternative to the conservative University of Athens. In February 1922, Papanastasiou published, together with his comrades, ‘The republican manifesto.’ Following the publication, he was persecuted and jailed on the island of Aigina. He was released immediately after the collapse of the war front in Western Asia Minor and the departure of King Constantine following the turmoil ensuing from the defeat. Papanastasiou aimed at the abolition of the monarchical regime and the establishmerit of a republic in Greece. Thus, he reorganized the People’s Party, which had been renamed ΔημoкρατιкήEvωσις (Republican union). After the 1923 elections and the removal of King George II, the successor of King Constantine, he became prime minister. In 1924, the first Hellenic Republic was promulgated. In 1928, Papanastasiou declined Venizelos’s proposal to participate in his new cabinet. Instead, he initiated a project for collaboration between the Balkan nations. In 1929, he chaired the first conference of the Balkan Union, created through his own initiative. Papanastasiou’s heritage flourished and his own contribution was acknowledged especially among the adherents of social democracy. In 1965, a foundation with his name was created with the aim of becoming a center for political debate. Among its founders, there were prominent members of the socialist PASOK government, which has ruled the country for extended periods over the last thirty years.

5Main works: ‘H ToυρКιКήEπαvάσταις [The Turkish revolution] (1908); ‘O ὲθvιкισμóς. Koιvωvιoλoyιкή μελέτη [Nationalism. A sociological study] (1916); Δημoкρατία кαί ὲкλoyιкóv σύστημα [Democracy and the lectoral system] (1923); La politique sociale de la Grèce (1932); Vers l’union balkanique. Les Conférences balkaniques. Athènes 5–12 octobre 1930. Istanbul et Ankara 19–26 octobre 1931. Bucorest 22–27 octobre 1932. Salonique 5–11 novembre 1933 (1934); ‘H άyρoτιКή άπoкατάσταση τῶv πρoσφύyωv [The agrarian rehabilitation of the refugees] (with M. N.Notaras) (1934).


6Monarchy was introduced to Greece as soon as it was declared an independent state. The arrival of King Otto (1815–1867) in Greece in 1832 and the establishment of an absolutist monarchic regime, relying on political and military figures from Bavaria, marked the beginning of a period called BαυαρoКρατία (Bavarian domination). The demand was widespread for the introduction of a representative regime which would balance royal authority. In 1840, Otto’s refusal to respond to the conditions set by the liberal anglo-phile politician Alexandros Mavrokordatos (1791–1865) led to a military uprising on 3 September 1843, the summoning of a National Assembly in 1844 and the proclamation of the first Constitution, which was expected to provide the basis for reconciliation between the King on the one hand and provincial landlords and military leaders on the other. Otto, however, maintained his ambiguous and erratic stance, which led to his dethronement in 1862. The following two years are known as a period of μεταπoλίτση (change of polity), when a National Assembly, summoned in 1863, drafted a new more liberal constitution. Eventually the throne was offered to the Danish prince George of Glücksburg. The young prince was nominated King of Hellenes, with the demand that the constitution should be suspended. Moreover, the King always reserved the right, after the elections, to offer the mandate for the formation of a government to anyone he deemed appropriate, whether he had achieved majority in the Parliament or not. George I’s favoritism often caused parliamentary crisis since appointed governments could not be sure that a vote of confidence would pass. Finally, in 1874, two anonymous articles entitled ς πταίει (Who is to blame) and Пαρελθóv Кαί ένεστὠς (Past and present), published in the newspaper Kαιρoί (Times), declared that the principle of δεδηλωμέvη (parliamentary majority) should be implemented in Greek politics. The articles provoked a fierce reaction. The author Harilaos Trikoupis (1832–1896) was immediately jailed, but soon released by a royal edict. A year later, Trikoupis was given by George I the mandate to form a government and lead the country to the first free elections ever.

7The political heritage of Mavrokordatos and Trikoupis was taken up by Eleftherios Venizelos, who clashed with King Constantine I, George I’s son. The issue at stake now regarded the involvement of the throne in international affairs. In November 1920, under the circumstances of the prolonged Asia Minor Campaign and the social crisis the ‘national schism’ had instigated, Venizelos was defeated in the elections and Constantine returned from his exile. Despite the fact that the royalists had criticized the prolonged military involvement of the nation, they resumed the military operations. However, the Great Powers had begun to change sides and offered their support to the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement, Mustafa Kemal. Despite the atmosphere of optimism the government wished to cultivate, fear had replaced enthusiasm and the catastrophe was imminent.

8Within these circumstances, together with a group of supporters, Alexandros Papanastasiou published ‘The republican manifesto.’ The title of the text is ambiguous, since in Greek, the term δημoКρατία is used to translate both ‘democracy’ and ‘republic.’ Yet, the content of the text leaves no doubt. According to the author, the Greek army liberated the enslaved brothers as well as the Muslims themselves from tyrannical Sultanic rule. After centuries of slavery, the light of freedom and civilization was again spread all over the region. If Turkish rule were to return, this would mean the annihilation of the national rights of Hellenism in the area. However, he argued that it was the Greek domestic policy which had generated such a negative outcome. He claimed that all Great Powers had supported Greece’s efforts while Venizelos governed the country. Ever since the return of Constantine, though, Greece was abandoned by the Allies and sunk into isolation. According to Papanastasiou, this proved that the Monarchy had always pursued its royal agendas even when they were detrimental to the national interest. This could change only with the abolishment of the Monarchy and the implementation of “people’s will.”

9This was the first time that a republican claim was so openly pronounced in Greece. Indeed, two years later, in 1924, following the trauma of defeat and the deportation of more than one million Greek-Orthodox from Asia Minor and Thrace, the Monarchy was abolished and a Republic was proclaimed. The first Hellenic Republic survived through a period of turmoil until 1935, when again a royalist government conducted a manipulated plebiscite, which opened the way for the return of George II, Constantine’s eldest son and the establishment a year later of a dictatorial regime led by Ioannis Metaxas.

10The period which followed was marked by anti-communist and anti-republican regimes, which suppressed democratic rights on many occasions. It was only in 1963 that a party with a more democratic agenda, the ‘Evωσις Kέvτρoυ (Union of the centre) managed to win the elections. Although the ‘Union of the centre’ did not abandon the anticommunist discourse altogether, it took very serious steps towards the democratization of Greek society. It was now the turn of Georgios Papandreou (1888–1968), an old and experienced politician, to clash with the royal house. The young Constantine II, who became king after his father Paul’s death, did not allow the elected government to have power over the army. In 1964, faced with the King’s firm attitude, prime minister Papandreou resigned. This development brought the country to a period of political instability and social unrest, which eventually resulted in the abolishment of democracy and the establishment of the colonels’junta in 1967.

11However, the royal house did not survive the junta either. The royal family left the country after the King tried to regain power through an abortive counter-coup. Democracy was restored in Greece in 1974, but the Monarchy was not. Instead, a Republic was declared once again. Constantinos Kara-manlis (1907–1998), a leader of the right wing much inspired by French Republicanism in his self-exile in Paris, returned to Greece in glory and carried out a new plebiscite for the regime. This time, a clear 70 % voted in favor of the republic, signaling the end of the regime question in Greece and the beginning of the second Hellenic Republic, which has proved to be the calmest and most prosperous period in the history of the modern Greek state.


The republican manifesto

13[…] But things changed radically after 22 November, 1920.

14The allied Great Powers, seeing the way in which the ruling parties were aiming to resolve the issue of the king, officially declared that:

  • 1 The term throughout the text refers to the Entente coalition.

15“They do not wish to intervene in Greece’s internal matters, but they are forced to declare publicly that the restitution to the throne of Greece of a ruler whose non law-abiding attitude and behaviour towards the Allies1 during the war became, for them, a source of difficulties and serious losses, could not be viewed by them but as a sanction by Greece of the hostile acts of King Constantine. This fact would create a new situation; unpropitious to the relations between Greece and the Allies, and in this event the three Governments declare that they reserve for themselves full freedom of action in order to regulate this situation.”

16The extreme seriousness of such a declaration, regardless of whether the Allies’ claims against the King were groundless or not, was concealed from the people by the ruling parties and, through the staging of the referendum of 22 November, 1920, shifted to the entire Greek nation the responsibility for King Constantine’s reinstatement, with which no politician who cares about his country should have allowed himself to side, following the Allied victory against Germany.

17Thus, a regime was created in our land which did not enjoy the trust of the Allies, especially since the parties themselves, by virtue of their servile behaviour since 1915, succeeded in portraying King Constantine as amassing the most powerful and stable political force in the land, a force which imposed itself even on the clearly-expressed popular will which differed so much from his.

  • 2 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938): leader of the Turkish nationalist movement and first president (...)

18Since then, national disasters have been accumulating. Greece fell from the envious position it held at the side of the Allies. Any economic aid on their part was cut off. The King, having returned, was not recognized. However, Kemal2 was recognized as legal and the Government of Ankara as representing Turkey. The Sèvres Treaty was abandoned, and not only were we left all alone to impose peace on the Turks, but we have been limited by the Allies in our military action.

19The Allied Forces are concluding agreements with the Turks, facilitating their military reinforcement and supporting their most absurd demands.

  • 3 The term, used as such even today, signifies the historic Hellenic right on the region.

20In addition, though having been adjudicated to Greece through an international enactment, Northern Epirus3 has been ceded by the same Allied Powers to Albania. The obligation undertaken to restore the Dodecanese has been breached without protest. Finally, even after bloody but successful struggles by our army, not only is no mention any longer made of respecting the treaty with Turkey, but the aim on all sides is our removal from Asia Minor, while at the same time there is support among the Allies, in violation of the principle which has been in force for a century concerning the lands liberated from Turkey, for the full restoration of Turkish domination and administration in the liberated sections of Asia Minor and recently also of Eastern Thrace, which will lead next to the loss of Macedonia as well. Today, our national claims which have been ratified by treaties are portrayed as irredentist by the same allied mouths which formerly proclaimed that the preservation of the Turkish conquest in Thrace and Western Asia Minor goes against the law, the idea of national freedom and humanitarianism. In every place, where we once received a warm and friendly welcome and undivided support, now, regarding all our issues, we meet with disfavor and enmity.

21Things have reached such a point, that, while for four months the Government has been begging for the intervention of the Allies towards peace, a treaty which, albeit from afar, satisfies our demands and which could at the same time be imposed upon the Turks by the Allies proved impossible.

22Only by the utter destruction of our national rights does it appear that an allied agreement would be achievable.

23In consequence, we are inevitably led to perpetuate the military situation, in total isolation and with the indirect and even direct support of the Turks by the old friends and protectors of Greece, our erstwhile fellow warriors and allies.

24This disaster came about and is being perpetuated because the governors responsible concealed the truth from the people, placing above national salvation the personal interests of the Monarchy, behind which there hides base partisan self-interest.

25But it is time, even at this last moment, for us to recover, for the lies to be abandoned, for the true interest of the Nation to assert itself. It is time for us all to rise above any partisan malice, any partisan ambitions.

26It is of the utmost importance for any personal interest of the Monarchy’s to submit resignedly to the national interest. Demagogic idolatry and byzantinism must end. The issue here is the existence of the Nation, of our army, sacrificed so heroically for the life of the working people, whose burdens are ever increasing. Greece is the creation of the spirit, of the toil and struggles of its children. It is not a royal fiefdom and it can never be tolerated for even its smallest part to be sacrificed for the personal interests of the Monarchy.

27Despite the yearning to return to a peaceful life, it is not possible for Greece to accept that Turkish administration be imposed anew on the sections of Asia Minor annexed by virtue of the Sevres Treaty. Out of the ashes of the Turkish conquest, Hellenic life has sprouted and flowered, producing wealth, building cities, disseminating education, creating civilization; it is a life which is incarnated in a million human beings, which possess the most powerful national conscience and will, and all this under the cruel pressure and persecution by the most barbarous of conquerors. By this it is rendered clear to which ethnicity these places necessarily belong, for reasons both geographical and racial, and as it is attested by history, while [the existence of] small local majorities of other ethnicities, which were born of the most destructive conquest and thanks to which they are preserved, proves nothing.

28This Hellenic life, therefore, we cannot hand back to the Turks, after three years of living free, even for reasons merely of philanthropy.

29The Turks proved themselves incapable of creating their own superior civilization or to accept the civilization of the nations which they conquered. Their domination was always supported by the most savage violence and by the hampering of progress of the enslaved, whose economic, moral and spiritual elevation has always been and continues to be drowned in blood and plundering. Therefore, we know very well what is in store for the Hellenism of Asia Minor should it be surrendered back to the Turks. And if the list of martyrs of our Race’s past lies in our distant memory, the clamour can still be heard of the persecution, the slaughter, the torture and the plundering which have been systematically committed since 1913 against our fellow nationals in Asia Minor and Thrace at the command of this State, as always, as well as of the tragic fate of the Armenians. We are not so naive as to believe in the protection of minorities entrusted to whatever authorities in the environment of a Turkish administration. For the same reasons, to which must be added an increase of the dangers to the security of the State and the preservation of peace, which are more directly threatened by a greater expansion once again of the Turks in Thrace, it is not possible for Greece to accept even the slightest discussion of any concessions on our part in Thrace.

30In order to guard these legal national demands of ours, we require the undivided contribution of the old protectors, friends and allies of Greece.

31There is nothing dividing the Nation from them. Even though Governments, imposed on the land against the popular will, happened, in the past, to impede Greece for some time from continuing its time-honoured policy, [the fact remains that], after two wars and an exhausting mobilization, Hellenism carried out a revolution in order to become involved in the war on the side of its old friends and put all its forces behind the common struggle for justice, which it continues to this day with supreme sacrifices.

32And since on the part of the Allies there is mistrust expressed towards us because of the way in which the issue of the Monarchy was resolved, and the reinstatement of Greece to its position of an ally by any other way has proved glaringly impossible, it is imperative to fashion the Monarchy in such a way, that the trust of the Allies will be immediately regained.

33It is a lie that this necessarily constitutes an intervention in the governing of this land or a reduction of its independence. Since the Nation is in need of the aid of the Allied forces and it is determined to march into the future at their side as in the past, this same Nation, driven by the awareness of its supreme interests, freely and voluntarily will express, in a manner excluding all contest and hesitation, its sincere intention in this regard.

34However, should the Government, despite all the accumulating disasters and not caring about the fall of Greece from its allied position, continue to place the personal interest of the Monarchy above general salvation, there will follow a prevalence of the belief that the institution of the Monarchy, which the Greek people have accepted and preserved as a champion of its national rights, and a national binding tie and symbol, is an agent of national disasters, contributing not to the cohesiveness but to the fragmentation of the Nation. This is a belief which began to take root a few years ago, when the will of the Nation towards the regulation of its external policy according to its traditions, feelings and interests was thwarted. According to this belief, we can clearly see that the Nation will naturally regulate its own actions, being worthy both of greater respect and a better fate.”

35In the name of the Republican Liberals.


1 The term throughout the text refers to the Entente coalition.

2 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938): leader of the Turkish nationalist movement and first president of the Turkish Republic.

3 The term, used as such even today, signifies the historic Hellenic right on the region.


Mary Kitroeff (Traducteur)

© Central European University Press, 2010

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