Hellenic State

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Hellenic State
Hellenic State.gif
Fullname: Hellenic State
Alias: Greek State
Origin: Greece
Foundation: 1941
Headquarters: Athens, Greece
Commanders: Georgios Tsolakoglou (1941 - 1942)
Konstantinos Logothetopoulos (1942 - 1943)
Ioannis Rallis (1943 - 1944)
Goals: Allow Nazi rule to remain in place in Greece (failed)

The Hellenic State was a client state of Nazi Party that existed during the Axis Powers' occupation of Greece during World War II. It was formed in 1941 and remained in existence until October 1944 after German forces withdrew from the country.

History

After the fall of Greece, General Georgios Tsolakoglou was appointed as Prime minister of the new Greek government on April 30, 1941. As King George II had left the country with the legitimate Greek government-in-exile, the new regime avoided all reference to the Greek monarchy and used Hellenic State as the country's official, generic, name. The collaborationist regime lacked a precise political definition, although Tsolakoglou, a republican officer, considered the Axis occupation as an opportunity to abolish the monarchy, and announced its end upon taking office.

The existence of a native Greek government was considered necessary by the Axis powers, in order to give some appearance of legitimacy to their occupation, although it was never given more than an ancillary role. The country's infrastructures had been ruined by the war. Raw materials and foodstuffs were requisitioned, and the government was forced to pay the cost of the occupation, giving rise to inflation, further exacerbated by a "war loan" Greece was forced to grant to Nazi Germany. Requisitions, together with the Allied blockade of Greece, resulted during the winter of 1941-42 in the Great Famine (Greek: Μεγάλος Λιμός), which caused the deaths of an estimated 300,000 people.

The Hellenic State lacked the infrastructures and latitude for action to face the great difficulties of the Occupation period; it was also devoid of any political legitimacy, and was widely considered a puppet government. Tsolakoglou demanded greater political rights for his government, and soon threatened to resign. The proclamation of a mandatory work service in Germany for Greek citizens proved widely unpopular and hastened the fall of Tsolakoglou: on 17 November 1942, he was sacked and replaced by his deputy, Konstantinos Logothetopoulos.

The new government announced that 80,000 Greek citizens were to be sent to Germany. This led to widespread demonstrations and strikes, and the decision was eventually revoked. Logothetopoulos, who had protested against the measures taken by the Axis occupation authorities, was himself sacked on 6 April 1943. Against the wishes of the Italians, who favored Finance Minister Sotirios Gotzamanis, he was replaced by Ioannis Rallis, a monarchist politician. Rallis, who was looking beyond the German withdrawal from Greece to the restoration of the post-war political order, and who was alarmed by the growth of the mostly Communist-dominated Greek resistance, obtained German consent for the creation of the Security Battalions, armed formations that were used in anti-partisan offensives.

The collaborationist Greek government ceased to exist after the withdrawal of German forces and the liberation of the country in October 1944. Tsolakoglou, Logothetopoulos (in Germany, where he had escaped to) and Rallis were all arrested, along with hundreds of collaborationists. The restored government set up the so-called Trials of Collaborationists to judge collaborators, but it made not the major efforts it had announced to punish collaborators: this contributed to the escalation of political enmities in Greece, which in turn played a part in the outbreak of the Greek Civil War.

The Hellenic State regime is admired by the modern far-right Golden Dawn organization, much like the later Regime of the Colonels that existed during the 1960's and 1970's.