In April 1941, Germany turned its firepower on Southern Europe after its Axis ally Italy was repulsed by the Greek army. There was a blitzkrieg (called Operation Barbarossa) and a three year occupation along with some major league violence between the Germans and Greeks. This was no quiet submission.
The aftermath of Nazi occupation was complicated – a civil war in which Greek communists lost to Greeks who were German sympathizers and collaborators during the war. What was very uncomplicated was the fact that over 300,000 citizens of Athens died of starvation under the German regime. This while tens of thousands of other Greeks died in the course of reprisals and uprisings around the country.
It’s an ugly chapter from an ugly century and when wounds so severe have been inflicted, they can easily be reopened – even after the passage of decades.
And so against this backdrop I ask you to consider the latest “idea” coming from German parliament to impose their will on Greece and its citizenry…
Greece must surrender control of its budget policy to outside institutions if it cannot implement reforms attached to euro zone rescue measures, the German economy minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Philipp Roesler became the first German cabinet member to openly endorse a proposal for Greece to surrender budget control after Reuters quoted a European source on Friday as saying Berlin wants Athens to give up budget control.
Right now we’re operating under the assumption that the worst case is a Greek exit from the Euro along with the attendant defaults and devaluations that could level the country’s already flailing economy. But there is also the possibility of an insult being taken the wrong way between two nations who had no business sharing a common currency to begin with.
Is this the opening of a heretofore unforseen dimension in the Euro Crisis? Let’s hope not. German politicians would be advised to tread lightly here.