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Imperfect philhellenism and the incomplete revolution



Imperfect philhellenism and the incomplete revolution


5 February 2021


"The change in the role of the European Powers from supporters of the struggle and guarantors of Independence into that of strict supervisors of the irredentist policy of the newly founded Greek state disappointed the Greeks. The belief that after the battle of Navarino they took on “responsibilities” towards the Greeks went hand in hand with the perception that they had to continue to support Greek state policy, thereby redeeming their intellectual debt to ancient Greece. The Greeks considered that their dependence on the “benefactor” Powers, while recognising that they owed their existence to them, also meant support in their subsequent course towards national integration. For Europe, on the other hand, the Greek national idea had ceased to have the same substance as it had during the revolution; it was no longer about a national liberation movement that inspired the liberal peoples, but about the policy of a state that opposed the national interests of its “protectors”. The aim of this paper is to trace, based on the press of the time, the transitions, ambiguities and contradictions of the “public opinion” towards the politics of the Guaranteeing Powers, which was interpreted as either “philhellenic” or “anti-Hellenic”, and to highlight the use of philhellenism in the framework of the irredentist movements after the formation of the Greek state."

(Slightly modified abstract from the Initiative 1821-2021 website)

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