Reassessing the Greek National Schism of World War I: The Ideological Parameters

Published: Jul 4, 2019
Basil C. Gounaris
Marianna D. Christopoulos

The National Schism that erupted in Greece during World War I has already been thoroughly analysed in the bibliography as a crisis of national unification, defined by geographical, political and socio economic criteria. The aim of this article is to move a step forward, to support that the National Schism might also be considered as an act in the broader and much older Greek ideological drama, that of the tantalising and incomplete “return” to the East via the European West. It is argued that the Schism, far from being a bipolar confrontation between supporters and opponents of Europe, did select from the East–West debate whatever arguments were necessary to invest military and political choices with a “deeper” meaning. Our approach focuses mostly on the rhetoric produced by the two opposing camps, the Venizelists and the anti-Venizelist block, from 1914 to 1922. It is, however, complemented by a retrospective presentation of the nineteenth-century debate
over the Enlightenment and liberalism, on the one hand, and German idealism, on the other.

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