Between East and West: Reassessing the Greek National Schism in World War I

More than thirty years ago the Greek National Schism was presented as a crisis of  national unification, defined by geographical, political, financial and social criteria.  In this talk it will be argued that this Schism might also be considered as an episode  of the broader and much older Greek ideological drama. The study of the Press,  leaflets and parliamentary debates of the time shows that out of the conflicting  arguments a parallel conversation emerged and must be studied: Given its culture,  which was the real position of Greece between the two European alliances?  Deciding on cultural grounds presupposed definite clear answers to a series of rele- vant questions beyond strategy and the balance of power: Which was the true  cultural identity of Greece? Who were their  “ natural ”  and  “ true ”  allies? What was  its due future course, its mission in the world and the most suitable state model for  excellence? The answers given over a whole decade reintroduced the eternal  question of  “ East or West? ”  adapted to the Great War scheme and necessities.

Basil C. GOUNARIS  is Professor of Modern History at the Department of History &  Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki since 2009. He  is the author of several monographs:  Steam over  Macedonia: Socio - Economic Change and the Railway Factor, 1870 - 1912  (1993);  Family, Economy, and Urban Society in Bitola, 1897 - 1911  (2000 in Greek);  Social  and other Aspects of Anticommunism in Macedonia during the Greek Civil War  (2002 in Greek);  The Balkans of the Hellenes, from Enlightenment to World War I  (2007 in Greek);  The Macedonian Question from the 19th to the 20th century:  Historiographical Approaches  (2010, in Greek);  ‘ See how the Gods Favour Sacrilege ’:  English Views and Politics on Candia under Siege  (1645 - 1669) (2012).