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‘Out with the bases of death’: Andreas Papandreou, Greece and the peace movement during the Euromissile Crisis

King's Building, Strand Campus, London

18 Mar
18 Mar Karamouzi
18 Mar Karamouzi

The anti-nuclear protests of the late 1970s and 1980s were ‘a stunning expression of public protest’ that activated civil society, renegotiated the parameters of political participation and redefined the understanding of (international and domestic) security. The contours and implications of the 1980s anti-nuclear protests have been fairly well researched for key western European countries over the past decade. Developments in Southern Europe, however, have not yet been substantially studied.

The key objective of the paper is to shed light on peace protests in southern European countries during the late 1970s and 1980s, and especially Greece. While the wave of protests for peace in Greece were part and parcel of the pan-European cycle of transnational mobilisation against nuclear proliferation, their trajectory differed from other European peace movements and displayed national and cultural specificities as well as a form of politicization unknown elsewhere. Greece was not one of the countries that had been chosen for the deployment of the Euromissiles. Thus, the protest for peace acquired mostly a vibrant anti-NATO and anti-American character in the aftermath of the fall of the dictatorship, that was aggravated by the election of Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1981.

There was a deep popular frustration at what had been seen as their countries’ subservience to the West, and particularly the United States, a perceived failure to curb foreign influence and make these countries’ voice heard properly on the world stage. During these peace protests, people in Southern Europe like in the rest of the continent sought to come to terms with their own past, present, and future.

Eirini Karamouzi (University of Sheffield and British School at Athens) is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History at the University of Sheffield. She is the author of Greece, the EEC and the Cold War, 1974-1979. The Second Enlargement and co-editor of the volume Balkans in the Cold War. She is co-director of the Cultures of the Cold War network and Book Review Editor for the Journal of Contemporary History. She works on the history of European integration, the Balkans, Modern Greece and currently is Principal Investigator on a Max Batley Peace Studies funded project on peace movements in Southern Europe during the Euromissile crisis. She tweets @EiriniKaramouzi

Part of the Modern Greek Studies seminar series.

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