Britain and the Greek Economic Crisis, 1944-1947 concentrates on Anglo-Greek interactions in economic matters during the period of political and economic turmoil between the Axis occupation of Greece and the Greek civil war. At the end of 1944, the national unity government of newly liberated Greece faced a severe inflationary crisis. Although it could count on considerable assistance and advice from its allies, much depended on Greece's own actions and its determination to restore economic normality. Success was meagre, and by the time the British pulled out of Greece in the spring of 1947, economic stability remained elusive. By analysing the Greek crisis primarily in economic terms, Athanasios Lykogiannis avoids the political partisanship that has coloured much previous writing on the subject and throws light on many issues neglected by earlier authors. Drawing on a range of British, American and Greek archival sources, as well as extensive secondary sources, the author examines the interplay of political and economic factors that aggravated and prolonged the crisis: the polarization of Greek society and the weakness and timidity of the country's governments. Lykogiannis critically examines Greece's policies, and the actors behind these policies, and assesses the British involvement in the episode: the quality of the measures recommended to the Greeks, the constraints facing British advisers in the country, and the reasons for the ultimate failure of British intervention. He also compares the two periods of western tutelage of Greece: the British and the American, form the announcement of the Truman Doctrine to the inauguration of the European Recovery Programme. The book argues that even if hyperinflation was initiated by the external factor of Axis occupation, the mediocre results of successive attempts to stabilize the economy were the result of internal factors such as the fiscal ineptitude of the government and its ignorance of, and hostility toward, any form of economic management. Whereas many have blamed foreign intervention for prolonging the crisis, Lykogiannis makes clear that the decisions of successive Greek governments were far more significant. His book demonstrates how firmly the crisis of post-liberation Greece was rooted in the country's political, economic and social past.
Athanasios Lykogiannis is Special Adviser on Historical Issues and Archives at the Bank of Greece in Athens. He has a standing interest in Greek economic affairs and is currently conducting research on the history of the Bank of Greece.