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Britain and the Greek Colonels: accommodating the Junta in the Cold War

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Alexandros Nafpliotis
I.B.Tauris (December 2012)

At the apex of international Cold War tension, an alliance of Greek military leaders seized power in Athens. Seven years of violent political repression followed in Greece, yet, as Cold War allies, the Greek colonels had continued international support - especially from Britain. Why did the Wilson and Heath governments choose to pursue an alliance with these military dictators?

Alexandros Nafpliotis' book examines British foreign policy towards Greece, exposing a guiding principle of pragmatism above all else. This is the first systematic study of Britain and the Junta to be based on newly-released National Archive documents, US and Greek sources and personal interviews with leading actors. Britain and the Greek Colonels is a comprehensive history of international diplomacy and realpolitik in the Cold War period.

  • Dr Alexandros Nafpliotis is a visiting fellow in the Hellenic Observatory at LSE.

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Review

‘Britain and the Greek Colonels is a lucid and detailed account of the relations between Britain and the first military regime established in Europe after World War II. Nafpliotis’ thorough research of the pertinent British, US and Greek archival records and his cogent analysis provide us with a clear understanding of the factors that influenced the formulation of British policy towards the dictatorship in Greece. London’s stance resembled that of the US and the major Western European, and eventually European Community, partners of Britain. With the exception of the policy followed by the Labour government that succeeded the Conservatives in 1974, Cold War considerations and commercial interests took precedence over political liberties and human rights and provided the background of what the author correctly identifies as the accommodation of the Greek dictatorship in the Cold War context.’
Dr Sotiris Rizas, director of research, Research Centre for the Study of Modern Greek History, Academy of Athens

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Britain and the Greek Colonels