Monday, March 22, 2010

Ethnic New York: 1921

The article mentions the 4th Ward Greeks discussing Venizelos and the political situation in Greece. It appears the consensus in the Madison Street coffee houses was anti-Venizelos. I thought he was a "good guy"
an excerpt about Eleutherios Venizelos from a history of Greece:
In 1910 Eleftherios Venizelos, born in Ottoman ruled Crete, and founder of the liberal party, becomes the prime-minister. Venizelos is the kind of leader that comes around once in a generation and it is not a coincidence that this is the period of the greatest growth for Greece. In October of 1912 the first Balkan War breaks out with Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria attacking Turkey. A month later Thessaloniki is captured and becomes part of Greece. In March of 1913 King George is assassinated in Thessaloniki and is succeeded by Constantine I. In July during Balkan Wars 2, Bulgaria attacks Greece and Serbia and is beaten. The two victors split Macedonia. Venizelos is hailed as Europe's most charismatic statesman but in Greece he has his passionate followers and there are those who just as passionately hate him, including King Constantine whose sympathies are undoubtedly with the Kaiser and the Germans, though he claims to wish Greece to remain neutral in the war. Venizelos resigns and then in June is re-elected, returns to power only to be forced to resign again in October. In the December elections his followers abstain and Venizelos establishes a provisional government of the New Hellas in Thessaloniki. The Royalists in Old Hellas are attacked and then blockaded by the French and British who want Greece to enter the war with Germany on their side. In the end King Constantine escapes from Greece, though he does not abdicate the throne, and is replaced by George's second son Alexander who is more acceptable to the French and British. The Venizelist Parliament of June 1915 is recalled and dubbed 'The Lazarus Chamber' because it has been awakened from the dead.
At the start of the 20th century Greece's navy is obsolete, consisting of three old battleships and some torpedo boats. In the shipyards at Livorno, Italy is a battleship which has been ordered by the Italian Navy and then cancelled. The Greek government buys the ship and it is christened the Averoff after the wealthy benefactor George Averoff. The ship rules the northeast Aegean during the Balkan wars and is an important part in the liberation of Mount Athos and the islands of Limnos, Thassos, Samothraki, Tenedos, Aghios Efstratios, Mitilini, and Chios. The power of this ship and the success at sea keeps the Sultan from challenging the Greek Navy and keeps the Turkish fleet out of the Aegean. The Jewel of the Hellenic fleet was destined to sail through history, through the two world wars with greater glory than any other Naval vessel in the history of the Hellenic Navy. For more on the Battleship Averoff click here
On Tuesday November 21 1916, the HMS Britannic, larger and considered even more unsinkable than her famous sister ship the Titanic, explodes and sinks in just 55 minutes outside the harbor of the island of Kea while doing service as a British hospital ship in the Gallipoli campaign.

No comments: