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The morals of "Oikade"

By Demosthenes Kyriazis


"Oikade" (Οίκαδε, Greek word that means back to home) was the slogan of the royalist party, the United Opposition party, which won the elections of November 1st 1920 in Greece. Bear in mind that in these elections the Liberal Party was defeated and the party chairman Eleftherios Venizelos was not elected.


The story of Oikade

The Balkan wars of 1912- 1913 almost doubled the geographical area and the population of Greece and upgraded the organization and the morale of the Greeks, who had been severely affected by the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. The 1912-1913 is a shining example of what the Greeks can succeed, when they have common goals; whenever they are ALL TOGETHER.

The following years 1914-1917 were the black pages of Greek history due to the National division, titled as National Schism. The cause of this division lied in the different appreciation on what was the interest for Greece during World War II (1914-1918); That is, to be ally with the Entente (Britain, France, Russia and others) as Venizelos supported, or with the Central Powers (Germany, Austria and others) as advocated by King Constantine. It is true that at the beginning of the war, both supported the neutrality of the country, but soon became clear that neutrality could not be maintained. So had Greece to predict and urgently decide on, what allies will better serve the interests of the Greeks. But provision with absolute certainty (100% probability) there is not. There is a provision that has the highest probability of the other provisions. As it was proved from the evolution of the war, such a provision was made from Venizelos.

As in any war, so in World War I, sometimes was defeated the Entente and sometimes the opponents, either in the western or in the eastern (Balkan) front. In 1916 the neutral Greece was forced from the Central Powers (Germany-Bulgaria), to deliver them, without war, Kavala, Rupel forts and the weapons of D Army Corps, which was based in Kavala. D Army Corps of the neutral Greece was transferred to Germany Klairlits to be hosted ... (!!). The countries of Entente neither were bothered nor responded despite that Greece had informally facilitated the Entente.

The events of Kavala and Ruppel and the intention of the French (the Entente) to deliver Thessaloniki to Serbs, (through the promoted replacement of the Greek prefect to a Serbian one in Thessaloniki), led those who fought to liberate Macedonia to dynamically react to the choices of the government of Athens and to create the Movement of National Defense and in 1917 the Government of Thessaloniki. Then the government of "National Defense" was, strengthened by the accession and transition in Thessaloniki of Venizelos, and of several military and especially of many warriors of 1912-1913.

 The country was divided. The destruction of Greece and all gains won in 1912-1913 had begun.

In June 1917, King Constantine in the sight of the risk of bloodshed, and of the pressure exerted by the governments of the Entente, resigned leaving in his place his second son Alexander, who enjoyed the confidence of the Entente. In the same month, Venizelos comes from Thessaloniki to Athens, revokes the decree of dissolution of the 1915 parliament and forms the Government by reinstating the 1915 House. This House was ironically named "House of Lazarus”. On 15 June 1917 Greece entered in the war as an ally of the Entente and formalizes the declaration of war made from the revolutionary and provisional government of Thessaloniki.

After about 17 months, in November 1918, the I World War ended with the Entente, the US and the other countries’ victory. Among the winners, almost the last moment was also Greece and was entitled to the "winners' spoils”. This happened with the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. With this treaty, Greece, took the Western and Eastern Thrace, the islands of Imvros and Tenedos, sanctioned the domination of the other islands held since 1913 and assumed the role of deputy to Izmir and in a relatively small area of Ionia

The events that followed remind the maxim of popular wisdom: The greatest enemy of good is the best. So we did not try to ensure the certain gains (Western, Eastern Thrace, etc.), but our interest was concentrated on controversial profits; the role of Greece as a deputy in the Smyrna (Izmir) region, with a view to the future annexation to Greece (after five years and by referendum). This option, while satisfying their emotional cravings of the Greeks, it had obvious and great difficulties, that were highlighted by civil and military personalities, the most known of them Metaxas.

In detail the events were as follows: In May 1919, following a decision of the Allies (Britain, France, Italy, USA), which was part of Treaty of Sevres signed in August 1920, Greece sent an army in Smyrna, in order and according to the command of allies, to police Smyrna and a relatively small area around it, until its final fate.

The Greek army was warm and enthusiastic welcomed from the Greeks who lived in the Smyrna area for three thousand years. This enthusiasm gave birth to early aspirations to the Government, as reflected in its decision to establish a University in Izmir, entrusting the organization of the establishment, to the famous Greek mathematician Caratheodoris. Recall that the University of Thessaloniki was founded later, in 1925.

Repercussions: The parties and the citizens instead of, competing together for the final acceptance and securing the profits of the war, they began to quarrel about whether the acceptance and safeguarding of the profits were to the interest of Greece!!! Politicians and citizens were divided into two groups; the Venizelists who wanted the great Greece and the Loyalists who wanted a small and honorable Greece; something similar to what happens today; the division of Greece in memorandum followers and opponents.

The argument that the Loyalists used to get the vote of the citizens and be in the government was the need of the soldiers fighting beyond the borders of the Greek state to return home. This argument is summarized in the slogan of the royalists: OIKADE (back to home).

With OIKADE vehicle the opposition of Venizelos won the election on November 1, 1920 and took over the government. But the new Government, instead of realizing the promised Oikade, did the following, which were diametrically opposite of the election promises: (1) Increase the army, about the doubled, that was in Smyrna and (2) With a unilateral decision (without agreement with allies) marched far beyond the area the allies stated in the Treaty; marched up the Sakarios River, 40 km away from Ankara.

The events that followed are known and have been titled: Catastrophe, disaster. The term catastrophe is used for the first time in three thousand years of history of the Greeks.


The Determinism of History and the lessons of Oikade

The view, that the knowledge of the facts of the past (of true history), leads to reliable projections of future events, is known as the “Doctrine of determinism of History”. In This doctrine, the logic of determinism, is the obvious conclusion that "same causes generate the same results".  Bear in mind that one of the major proponents of this doctrine is Thucydides, who declared that "The first task of an historian is to seek the truth with stubborn persistence." Obviously,    the doctrine of History’s determinism applies only to the True History.

With the capabilities of a citizen whose the knowledge and experience does not belong in the "substantive competent sciences", we tried to localize the facts, the real actions and not the hidden aim of these actions. This was because we believe in Kazantzakis’ maxim: “people are judged only from their actions, while gods from the hidden purpose of their actions”. This essentially means, that the Gods would not be judged. Today people / fans of a party, judge from the “hidden purpose of their actions”, not the Gods, but of the politicians of whom are followers!!.

With such believes and possibilities, we concluded that the dominant causes of the Asia Minor Catastrophe was: (1) The contradiction between the promise of Oikade and the actions which followed, because this contradiction destroyed the cohesion of citizens and their trust to their leaders  and (2) The unilateral acts (acts contrary to the allies decisions), which  the allies faced with selfishness, rigor and arrogance; the arrogance of big and strong.


 Logical consequences - conclusion

Today we experience situations like those mentioned above as dominant causes of the disaster. We experience: (1) The discrepancy between election promises – actions, which have greater intensity and range than the Oikade because they include elimination of memoranda, repealing of ENFIA, increasing of the basic salary increase ... (2) The consideration of unilateral acts as bravery and national dignity. Fortunately today, unilateral acts have been confined to rhetoric and so the "determinism of history", although it is within reach, did not act.

May politicians and citizens believe in the determinism of history, learn from the history of Oikade and prevent a second disaster.

May the Citizens believe that deterministic result of populism is a catastrophe, independently if populism is right, as happened with the government of "Oikade”,   or is left, as with the present government of  " With one Law and one article we shall eliminate memos”



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