Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-568f69f84b-5zgkz Total loading time: 0.226 Render date: 2021-09-19T22:36:06.797Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

The debt crisis and Greece's changing political discourse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2016

Spyros Plakoudas*
University of Macedonia and Hellenic National Defence College


The debt crisis in Greece since 2010 has triggered seismic changes in the political attitudes of the society and, above all, the political identity and discourse of the country. The extremely unpopular austerity policies caused a severe internal polarization which quickly translated into anti-German mass hysteria, vitriolic anti-EU rhetoric and sharp anti-austerity populism. This paper will endeavour to identify the origins, course and outcome of this dramatic shift in the political attitudes and identity in Greece and analyse them with the benefit of hindsight – almost six years after the eruption of the crisis.

Short Notes
Copyright © Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Indicatively, Erdoğan and Putin were catapulted to power after the previous political order in Turkey and Russia respectively had appealed to the IMF for a costly bailout.

2 Fianna Fáil in Ireland and the Socialists in Spain and Portugal.

3 The Left Bloc in Portugal, the Labour Party in Ireland or the Podemos in Spain. Bosco, A. and Verney, S., ‘Electoral epidemic: the political cost of economic crisis in southern Europe, 2010–11’, South European Society and Politics 17.2 (2012) 129–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kriesi, H., ‘The political consequences of the economic crisis in Europe: electoral punishment and popular protest’, in Bemeo, N. and Bartels, L. (eds), Mass Politics in Rough Times: Opinions, Votes and Protests in the Great Recession (Oxford 2014) 297334 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Kalyvas, S., Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs to Know (New York 2015) 185–90Google Scholar. For an up-to-date review of the political situation by the same author, see ‘Έξι χρόνια, πέντε σφάλματα, τέσσερα συμπεράσματα’, Καθημερινή, 11 October 2015.

5 In November 2011, PASOK succumbed to the pressure of the EU and agreed to establish a coalition government with Nea Dimokratia and LAOS with an extra-parliamentary personality, Loukas Papadimos, as prime minister. After the double elections in 2012 (May and June), a new coalition government was established among the Nea Dimokratia, Pasok and Dimokratiki Aristera with the leader of the Nea Dimokratia, Antonis Samaras, as prime minister.

6 Diamandouros, N. P., ‘Postscript: Cultural dualism revisited’, in Triandafyllidou, A. et al., The Greek Crisis and European Modernity (London 2014) 208–32Google Scholar.

7 Tsoukalas, C., ‘Free riders in wonderland; or of Greeks in Greece’, in Konstas, D. and Stavrou, T. (eds), Greece Prepares for the Twenty-First Century (Washington, DC 1995) 191219 Google Scholar.

8 Christodoulakis, N., Greek Endgame: From Austerity to Growth or Grexit (London 2015) 41104 Google Scholar.

9 Demertzis, N., ‘Greece’, in Eatwell, R. (ed.), European Political Cultures: Conflict or Convergence? (London 1997) 118–19Google Scholar; Mitsopoulos, M. and Pelagidis, T., Understanding the Crisis in Greece: From Boom to Bust (Basingstoke 2012) 1015 Google Scholar; G. Eptakoili, ‘Κατασκευάζοντας τον εχθρό’, Καθημερινή, 19 September 2015. For conspiracy theory works, see Manolopoulos, J.: Greece's ‘Odious’ Debt: The Looting of the Hellenic Republic by the Euro, the Political Elite and the Investment Community (London 2011)Google Scholar.

10 Rüdig, W. and Karyotis, G., ‘Who protests in Greece? Mass opposition to austerity’, British Journal of Political Science 44.3 (2014) 487513 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For articles in Greek about the rise and fall of this movement, see P. Mandravelis, ‘Η άνοδος και η εξαφάνιση των Αγανακτισμένων’, Καθημερινή, 25 November 2012; Μ. Demertzian, ‘Αναζητώντας τους Αγανακτισμένους της πλατείας σήμερα’, Huffington Post (Greece), 19 November 2014.

11 See, for instance, D. Ε. Moustakakos, ‘Τα μνημόνια είναι εθνική προδοσία’, Ελευθεροτυπία, 10 August 2013; G. Kasimatis, ‘Χωρίς αιδώ οι παραβιάσεις του Συντάγματος και της κοινοβουλευτικής δημοκρατίας’, Κουτί της Πανδώρας, 4 October 2013.

12 G. Siakantaris, ‘Η βία στην κοινωνία της αγένειας’, Athens Voice, 6 March 2013; P. Papasarantopoulos, ‘Εξτρεμισμός και πολιτική βία στην Ελλάδα’, Μεταρρυθμιστές, 5 November 2014.

13 Although the various conspiracy theories and smear campaigns proved eventually to be baseless, the popularity of the anonymous blogs (and the conspiracy theories which some of them disseminated) did not recede.

14 Α. Pantazopoulos, Ο αριστερός εθνικολαϊκισμός 2008-2013: Από την “Εξέγερση” του Δεκέμβρη, τους “Αγανακτισμένους” και τις εκλογές του 2012 μέχρι το νέο κυπριακό ζήτημα (Thessaloniki 2013); Τ. Theodoropoulos, ‘Οι Αγανακτισμένοι στην εξουσία’, Καθημερινή, 27 January 2015; ‘Έρευνα για τους Αγανακτισμένους: Αποσταθεροποίησαν το σύστημα ΠΑΣΟΚ-ΝΔ και ψήφισαν ΣΥΡΙΖΑ-ΑΝΕΛ’, Πρώτο Θέμα, 30 October 2015.

15 S. Plakoudas, ‘Η στρατηγική κουλτούρα της Ελλάδας: 1831-1974’, Foreign Affairs (Greek edition) 38 (2016) 167-8.

16 Ι. Photiadi, ‘Έλληνες, καχύποπτοι, φτιάχνουν νέους μύθους’, Καθημερινή, 18 July 2014; L. Giannarou, ‘Πάρτι για συνωμοσιολόγους στο διαδίκτυο’, Καθημερινή, 30 September 2015.

17 S. Vletsas, ‘Ο Αντιγερμανισμός και η μύθοι που τον τροφοδοτούν’ TVXS, 17 March 2012; U. Bech, ‘The power of Machiavelli: Angela Merkel's hesitation in the Euro-crisis’, Open Democracy, 5 November 2012.

18 The historiography of World War II remains a contentious issue in Greece. After the rise of PASOK in power in 1981, a new official ‘narrative’ was constructed that idealized the resistance of the population against the Axis Powers and overlooked the civil conflicts during and after World War II. Marantzidis, N. and Antoniou, G., ‘The Axis occupation and civil war: changing trends in Greek historiography, 1941-2001’, Journal of Peace Research 41.2 (2004) 224 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 Capelos, T. and Exadaktylos, T., ‘“The Good, the Bad the Ugly”: Stereotypes, prejudices and emotions on Greek media representation of the EU financial crisis”, in Karyotis, G. and Gerodimos, R. (eds), The Politics of Extreme Austerity: Greece in the Eurozone Crisis (London 2015) 4668 Google Scholar.

20 Τ. Michas, ‘Η Αριστερά και οι πολεμικές αποζημιώσεις’, Protagon, 5 May 2014; H. Smith, ‘German anger over Greek demand for Greek reparations’, Guardian, 12 March 2015; P. Mandravelis, ‘Το “πειραματόζωο” Ελλάδα’, Καθημερινή, 27 September 2015.

21 For articles representative of this school of thought, see D. Psychogios, ‘Φωτιά και τσεκούρι για κάθε αντίπαλο’, Athens Voice, 20 November 2013; A. Chatzistephanou, ‘Φωτιά και τσεκούρι στους προσκυνημένους’, Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών, 20 June 2015.

22 M. Glezos, Και ένα μάρκο να ήταν: Οι οφειλές της Γερμανίας στην Ελλάδα (Athens 2012); K. Xiradaki, Κατάλογοι εκτελεσθέντων, ομαδικά σφαγιασθέντων αμάχων, πεσόντων της Αντίστασης, 3 vols (Athens 2012); D. Koukounas, Η Ελληνική oικονομία κατά την Κατοχή και η aλήθεια για τα Κατοχικά δάνεια (Athens 2012).

23 S. Lygeros, Από την κλεπτοκρατία στην χρεοκοπία (Athens 2011); Ν. Bogiopoulos, Είναι ο καπιταλισμός ηλίθιε! (Athens 2011).

24 For an analysis of this phenomenon see A. Pappas, Στις ρίζες του εθνολαϊκισμού (Thessaloniki 2015).

25 Teperoglou, E. and Tsatsanis, Ε., ‘Dealignment, de-legitimation and the implosion of the two-party system in Greece: the earthquake election of 6 May 2012’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 24.2 (2012) 222–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

26 G. Karyotis and W. Rüdig, ‘Protest participation, electoral choices and public attitudes towards austerity in Greece’, in Karyotis and Gerodimos (eds), Politics, 123-41. See also Α. Spanou, ‘Ποὐ είναι οι Αγανακτισμένοι;’, Athens Voice, 14 December 2015.

27 N. Papadogiannis, “SYRIZA'S German fixation?’, Project Syndicate, 8 July 2015; ‘Greece and the Euro: A third bail-out’, Economist, 15 August 2015.

28 Mudde, C., ΣΥΡΙΖΑ: H διάψευση της λαϊκιστικής υπόσχεσης (Thessaloniki 2015)Google Scholar.

29 For an analysis of why the Greek political system cannot be stabilized after the eruption of the debt crisis, see Verney, S., ‘“Broken and can't be fixed”: the impact of the economic crisis on the Greek party system’, The International Spectator, 49.1 (2014) 1835 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The debt crisis and Greece's changing political discourse
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The debt crisis and Greece's changing political discourse
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The debt crisis and Greece's changing political discourse
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *