Ioannis Rallis

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Ioannis Rallis (1878-1946) was the third Prime Minister of Nazi-occupied Greece, from April 7, 1943 to October 12, 1944, succeeding Konstantinos Logothetopoulos.

Early life

Rallis was son of the Greece Prime Minister, Dimitrios Rallis and he came of a family with a long tradition in political leadership. He studied law at the University of Athens, as well as in France and Germany. Upon his return to Greece he became a lawyer. In 1905, he got elected as an MP for the first; he continued to do so until 1936, when democracy was abolished in Greece by the Ioannis Metaxas regime.

Political career

Rallis belonged to the conservative Popular (Laiko) party. As a member of this party he served in various administrations as Minister of Navy (4.11.1920 - 24.1.1921), Economics (26.8.1921 - 2.3.1922) and Foreign Affairs (4.11.1932-16.1.1933). In 1933, after the electoral victory of the Popular Party,he served the government from various posts. In 1935, he had a disagreement with the Panagis Tsaldaris, the leader of the party, and to the ensuing elections he collaborated with Ioannis Metaxas and Georgios Stratos, but he failed to get elected. As Greece was at the time in a condition of great political instability, new elections were held in 1936; this time Rallis collaborated with Kondylis and Theotokis and he did get elected. When the Metaxas dictatorship was declared on August 4, 1936, Rallis expressed disapproval of this political act, regardless of his personal friendship with Metaxas.

Collaboration with the occupying forces

Rallis was the first eminent Greek political figure to collaborate on a political level with the German occupying forces.[1] The Germans hoped that Rallis would gain some support from the pre-war Greek political elites, that he might control the anarchy that prevailed in the country and that he could manage to form an anticommunist front against EAM and ELAS. Indeed, Rallis changed the ministry council and was instrumental in creating the so-called "Security Batallions" i.e. collaborationist paramilitary groups equipped by the Nazis and dedicated in fighting resistance groups (mainly Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos, or ELAS.) Being more experienced in politics than his predecessors, he was more respected from the Germans and proved more effective against the resistance movements.[2]

Greek collaborators

All three quisling administrators (George Tsolakoglou, Konstantinos Logothetopoulos and I. Rallis) presided over what was in effect a puppet-regime (1941-44) completely subordinate to the Nazi occupation authorities. Thus, they all failed to prevent the Nazis from imposing heavy "reconstruction" fees on Greece, eventually paid by the confiscation of all kinds of crops and precipitating a terrible famine that according to the Red Cross, cost the lives of about 250,000 people (mainly in the urban areas of the country).[3] They also did not react to the annexation of the northern territories of Thrace and Eastern Macedonia to the Axis partner Bulgaria. After the liberation of Greece, Rallis was sentenced to life imprisonment for collaboration and died in the Averoff prison on October 26, 1946.

Ioannis Rallis' son George Rallis became prime-minister during 1980-1981. In 1947, George published a book entitled Ioannis Rallis speaks from the grave, which consisted of an apologetical text written by his father during his imprisonment.

Sources

  • Georgios Ghikas, Encyclopedia Πάπυρος-Larousse-Britannica, vol. 51, entry Ioannis Rallis, Athens: Πάπυρος, 1992.
  • Mark Mazower,Inside Hitler's Greece. The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44.(Greek translation), Athens: Αλεξάνδρεια, 1994(1993).

References

[1] Mark Mazower, Inside Hitler's Greece. The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44.(Greek translation), Athens: Αλεξάνδρεια, 1994(1993),125.
[2] Ibid., 146
[3] Ibid.,67


Preceded by:
Konstantinos Logothetopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece
April 7, 1943 - October 12, 1944
Succeeded by:
Georgios Papandreou


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