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Relief and Politics in Occupied Greece, 1941–1944
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Dr Violetta Hionidou
Journal of Contemporary History
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Occupied Greece suffered a serious famine and food crisis in the years 1941-44. This paper focuses on the relief structures set up in occupied Greece and the political implications of their presence there. It is argued that the relief structures in Athens, where their presence was felt the most, constituted a ‘state within a state’ and that they became extremely powerful bearing little relation to the International Committee of the Red Cross and its principles, which in theory they represented. The paper outlines how all other significant power players – the Greek occupation government, the British and the main resistance group EAM – sought to utilise the relief structures in order to gain power, each to a different degree. Last but not least, it is argued that the Greek Occupation Government of Athens in the final year of the Occupation was the one that used relief food most aggressively and effectively to regain much of its lost power.
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