The political Centre in Greece (1950-1961)

Doctoral Dissertation uoadl:2932677 323 Read counter

Department of History and Archaeology
Library of the School of Philosophy
Deposit date:
Sarlamis Emmanouil
Dissertation committee:
Επιβλέπων: Καθηγητής Ευάνθης Χατζηβασιλείου
Μέλος: Ομότιμος Καθηγητής Ηλίας Νικολακόπουλος
Μέλος: Διευθυντής Ερευνών Ακαδημίας Αθηνών Σωτήρης Ριζάς

Επταμελής Εξεταστική Επιτροπή

Μέλος: Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής Ευάγγελος Καραμανωλάκης
Μέλος: Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής Σπυρίδων Πλουμίδης
Μέλος: Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής Γρηγόριος Ψαλλίδας
Μέλος: Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια Δήμητρα Λαμπροπούλου
Original Title:
Ο κεντρώος πολιτικός χώρος 1950-61
Translated title:
The political Centre in Greece (1950-1961)
Emmanouil Sarlamis "The political Centre in Greece (1950-1961)"

The purpose of this dissertation is to answer questions that arise through the study of the political Centre during the period 1950-1961. In particular, the main research axis is the analysis of the stages of the formation of the political Center as an autonomous political faction and at the same time its establishment as one of the two dominant pillars of the domestic post-war political system, starting from its emersion during the first post-war era until the establishment of the political coalition of the ‘’Enosis Kentrou’’ in 1961. An additional research axis is the analysis of the Center’s main ideological pillars, through the examination of the program texts of the political parties, as well as the views of the leading representatives on various fields of policy.
In addition, the dissertation is aiming at covering the gap in relation to the study of the other two domestic post-war political factions, as the Center in particular does not have a comprehensive study, regarding the era before 1961. This dissertation is based on extensive research, in addition to the available literature, from various sources, such as historical domestic and foreign archives, the Official Minutes of the Greek Parliament, as well as newspapers of that period.

In the introduction of the dissertation, a brief review of the years 1945-49 takes place, a period in which the political Center was formed through the evolution of the old Venizelist fraction. As it is the case from the study by modern research of other cases, respectively in the Greek case, the political Center was initially formed as a double contrast between the Left and the Right. As a border with the former, it was used the dividing line from the civil strife of that period, while with the latter the historical divisions of the era of ‘’Ethnikos Dichasmos’’, thought the latter in a latent form after the 1946 referendum. At the same time, the emergence of the political Centre, was decisively influenced by the experience of the Civil War.

In the first chapter of this dissertation, is presented the period 1950-52, when the Center’s political formations have assumed the governance. However, the unity of the political Center, even in those circumstances, is particularly problematic due to the frequent intergovernmental and interparty controversies, a factor that has been reflected in both public discourse and the general ineffectiveness of these governments in implementing long-term political initiatives.

In the second chapter, the political Centre is examined from the position of the opposition during the period of the governments by Alexandros Papagos (1952-1955). The dominant image of the political Centre is the continuation of the intense fragmentation and the failure to dispute the Right, especially during the crisis of September-October 1955, and consequently its weakness to be a positive alternative from the wider bourgeois block in order to replace the vacuum left by Papago's death.

In the third chapter, is analyzed the political Centre during the period of the governments by Konstantinos Karamanlis, from October 1955 to October 1961 elections, when it was again in opposition. It is pointed out that the problem of the intense fragmentation and discord has created significant problems, until the unification of the Centre’s political parties, under George Papandreou after the formation of the ‘’Enosi Kentrou’’, during the elections of October of 1961.

Within the framework of three chapters, as well as in the conclusions of the dissertation, the failure of the political Center is analyzed, focusing on endogenous causes and especially on its ideological and personal discords as well as the lack of a clear political progressive agenda capable of addressing the multifaceted problems. However, it should be noted, that given the anti-communist domestic and international framework, this aforementioned failure of the political Centre was only relevant and not decisive, despite its contradictions and setbacks. The political Centre constituted the unique alternative within the bourgeois block that could claim progressive ideological pillars and especially the establishment of the political liberalization, the promotion of the economic development in combination with the adoption of pro-popular socio-economic measures and the of a more independent foreign policy, within the pro-Western context with the main goal to ameliorate the political and economic status of wider social groups.
Main subject category:
political Centre, postwar era
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