Greece's Golden Dawn: Fascists at the Gate
The party is deeply rooted in the political culture of Greece.
Hallinan, Conn; Foreign Policy in Focus
Date Written: 2015-03-25
Publisher: The Nation
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21332
While Golden Dawn -- with its Holocaust denial, its swastikas and its Hitler salutes—looks like it might inhabit the fringe, in fact the organization has roots deep in the heart of Greece's political culture.
It should hardly come as a surprise that there are close ties between the extreme right and Greek security forces. The current left-right split goes back to 1944, when the British tried to drive out the Communist Party—the backbone of the Greek resistance movement against the Nazi occupation. The split eventually led to the 1946-49 civil war, when Communists and leftists fought royalists and former German collaborationists for power. However, the West saw the civil war through the eyes of the then-budding Cold War, and, at Britain’s request, the United States pitched in on the side of the right to defeat the left. In the process of that intervention—then called the Truman Doctrine—US intelligence services established close ties with the Greek military.
Those ties continued over the years that followed and were tightened once Greece joined NATO in 1952. The charge that the United States encouraged the 1967 fascist coup against the Greek government has never been proven, but many of the colonels who initiated the overthrow had close ties to the CIA and the US military.
Golden Dawn was founded by some of the key people who ruled during the 1967-74 junta, and Greek dictator Georgios Papadopoulos, the leader of the colonels who led the 1967 coup, groomed the party’s founder and current leader, Nikos Michaloliakos. Papadopoulos was a Nazi collaborator and served with the German “security battalions” that executed 130,000 Greek civilians during World War II. Papadopoulos was trained by the US Army and recruited by the CIA. Indeed, he was the first CIA asset to govern a European country.