National Reconciliation After Civil War: The Case of Greece

This article discusses post-conflict reconciliation in Greece following the divisive civil war of the 1940s. Focusing on the elite political discourse and the relationship between reconciliation and democratization, its chief argument is that in Greece continuing disagreement about the civil war did not inhibit a process of reconciliation because it was voiced within a normative framework in which violence had been repudiated as a political tool. Particularly since the fall of the Colonels’ dictatorship in 1974, reconciliation has been linked to a number of distinct political projects, some of which were as divisive as conciliatory in their effect. In each case, reconciliation meant different things to differing shades of political opinion, but the widespread adoption of the term by both the governing and opposition elites, as well as society as a whole, gradually entrapped politicians of all persuasions into accepting that a process of reconciliation had occurred. Reconciliation in Greece has therefore rested not on the establishment of a single agreed narrative representing the truth about the past, but rather on the righting of perceived injustices and the free articulation of differing interpretations of that past by both left and right within a democratic environment.

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