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Kingdom of Greece (1935-1973)

Last modified: 2002-05-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: state flag | war flag | naval ensign | jack | cross (white) | crown: royal | pilot | axe | metaxas | eon | ethniki organosis neolaeas |
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[Kingdom of Greece]by Ivan Sache

[Greek flag outside the country]by Edward Mooney

Under the monarchy, Greece had two national flags. The plain cross flag was used inside the country and the cross and stripes flag, which today is Greece's only national flag, was used outside.

Roy Stilling, 4 February 1997

The plain cross flag was abolished in 1970 and the canton-and-stripes flag became Greece's national flag and ensign.

Tom Gregg, S February 1997

See also:

All of these different flags were abolished in 1970.

State and war flag

[Royalist State Flag of Greece]by Tom Gregg

Until 1970, the Greek state and war flag was blue with white cross, defaced with a yellow crown. Without the crown, this was the civil flag on land in Greece.

War Ensign

[Royalist War Ensign of Greece]by Tom Gregg

The canton-and-stripes flag, defaced with a yellow crown, was the war ensign.Without the crown, it was the merchant ensign and the "overseas" Greek flag.

The flag of the Minister of the Navy was a square version of the War Ensign.

Source: C.F. Pedersen [ped73]

Marcus Wendel, 15 September 1999


[Jack]by Tom Gregg

The jack was a square version of the state and war flag.

Pilot ensign

[Pilot ensign]by Ivan Sache

Source: Flaggenbuch [neu92]

E.O.N. (Ethniki Organosis Neolaeas - National Youth Organization)

Greece, like all other occupied lands, had, of course, its own home-grown fascists. Before the war an extreme right-wing and 'patriotic' movement, the EON (Ethniki Organosis Neolaeas - National Youth Organization) had been formed by Alexandro Kanellopoulos. It was subdivided into two age groups:

  • Scaponfs (Pioneers): young people of 10 to 13 years
  • Phalangites (Falangists): young people of 14 to 25 years.

The EON wore a blue uniform of forage cao, blouse-type shirt, and ski trousers with a white tie, white spats, and a white belt. The shoulder straps and the flaps of the brest pockets were piped in blue/white.
The EON emblem was a Greek double headed axe not unlike the francisque of Pétain in France within a wreath of laurel leaves surmounted by a crown. Oddly enough, this crown did not disappear with the supposed 'abdication' of the king as id did from army insignia.
The EON flag was a white cross on blue (like the upper left quarter of the Greek national flag) with, in the center, the axe head within a wreath of green laurels.

Source: David Littlejohn. Forgotten Legions of the Third Reich, vol. III.

The cross on the EON flag is wider than the one on the jack and is centered on the flag.

Markus Wendel, 21 September 2000

Free elections in January 1936 produced a deadlock: 15 Communists held the balance between 143 Monarchists and 142 Liberals, Republicans and Agrarians. On the death of prime minister Demertzig in April 1936, General John Metaxas obtained the consent of the Chamber to an adjournment for five months, governing meanwhile by decree. He met with obstruction from the political parties, and the Communist Party became stronger, and threatened a national strike, which was an excuse to convince the king that constitutional monarchy was impossible in Greece and to get his consent to decrees dissolving the Chamber and declaring martial law (4 August 1936). No date for new elections was fixed, and constitutional guarantees of liberty of the subject were suspended.

Source: W. H. Heurtley et al. (1965) A short history of Greece.

Jarig Bakker, 21 September 2000

EON was not a fascist political grouping. The name means National Youth Organisation and it was set up by the Greek government under Gen. I. Metaxas. Metaxas was voted to the premiership by a Greek parliament in 1936 but dissolved that same parliament on 4 August 1936 with the King's consent and from then on ruled by decree. His regime followed a pro-British foreign policy and eventually resisted the Italian attack of 1940.
However, in outlook it was often pro-fascist and that is why it set up a youth organisation on the Italian or German model. Hence the choice of the axe as emblem I suppose, although it is also an ancient Greek emblem.
EON originally came in conflict with the Greek Scouts whose leader was Crown Prince Paul (later King Paul I). Eventually, the scouts were dissolved and Paul become nominal head of the EON. Perhaps that is one reason for the crown over the axe, although I think that was there before Paul became head of EON. EON did not survive the German occupation, so the question of why the crown was not removed after 1941 is mistaken. There was no flag to remove the crown from, after 1941. The government set up by the Germans after they occupied Greece in April 1941, took some controversial measures aimed at boosting its popularity. One was abolishing the monarchy (the King and the royal family had fled abroad anyway). Another was dissolving the EON which had grown a very nasty reputation for swindles etc. since a lot of money had been poured into it by the previous regime. EON's flag died with it.

Yannis Natsinas, 12 November 2000

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