Ioannis Rallis


Ioannis Rallis

Ioannis Rallis (Ιωάννης Δ. Ράλλης) (1878, Athens - 26 October 1946) was the third and last collaborationist prime minister of Greece during the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II, holding office from 7 April 1943 to 12 October 1944, succeeding Konstantinos Logothetopoulos in the Nazi-controlled puppet government in Athens.

Early life

Rallis was son of the former Greek Prime Minister, Dimitrios Rallis and he came of a family with a long tradition in political leadership.

He studied law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, as well as in France and Germany. Upon his return to Greece he became a lawyer.

In 1905, he was elected as an MP for the first time; he remained in parliament until 1936, when democracy was abolished in Greece by the 4th of August Regime under Ioannis Metaxas.

Political career

Rallis originally belonged to the Greek conservative, monarchist People's Party. As a member of this party he served in various administrations as:

*Minister of Navy (4 November 1920 to 24 January 1921). Under Prime Minister Dimitrios Rallis, his father.
*Minister of Economics (August 26, 1921 to March 2, 1922). Under Prime Minister Dimitrios Gounaris.
*Minister of Foreign Affairs (November 4, 1932 to January 16, 1933). Under Prime Minister Panagis Tsaldaris.

After the victory of the People's Party in Greek legislative election, 1933, he served the new government under Tsaldaris from various posts. In 1935, he had a disagreement with the Prime Minister Panagis Tsaldaris, the leader of the People's Party, and at the ensuing Greek legislative election, 1935 he campaigned with Ioannis Metaxas and Georgios Stratos on the Freethinker's Party ticket, but he failed to get elected.

Greece was in a time of great political instability and new elections were held, the Greek legislative election, 1936. This time Rallis joined with Georgios Kondylis and Ioannis Theotokis and he was elected. Parliament was fractured with the Liberal Party under Themistoklis Sophoulis having a one seat majority and the opposition divided between monarchists and Communists and every philosophy in between.

When the Metaxas dictatorship was declared later that year, and parliament was dissolved on August 4, 1936, Rallis expressed disapproval of this political coup, despite 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. [ Mark Mazower, "Inside Hitler's Greece. The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44."(Greek translation), Athens: Αλεξάνδρεια, 1994(1993),125.] The Germans hoped that Rallis would gain some support from the pre-war Greek political elites, that he might be able to restore order to the country and that he could manage to form an anticommunist front against the Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (EAM) and the Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (ELAS).

EAM was the main movement of the Greek Resistance and had been initially formed by an alliance of Communist Party of Greece, the Socialist Party of Greece, the Greek Popular Republic and the Agricultural Party of Greece. ELAS was its military arm. Since anti-communism served as a common ground between the Liberal Party and the People's Party, the idea of a united front seemed plausible.

Rallis changed the ministry council and was instrumental in creating the so-called "Security Battalions" - collaborationist paramilitary groups equipped by the Wehrmacht and dedicated to the persecution of resistance groups (mainly ELAS) .Being more experienced in politics than his predecessors, he was more respected by the Germans and proved more effective against the resistance movements. [ "Ibid"., 146 ]

Greek collaborators

All three administrators during the occupation (Georgios Tsolakoglou, Konstantinos Logothetopoulos and Ioannis Rallis) presided over what was in effect a puppet government (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 life of about 250,000 people (mainly in the urban areas of the country). ["Ibid".,67] They also did not react to the annexation of the northern territories of Thrace and Eastern Macedonia to the Axis partner Bulgaria.

Life sentence for treason

After the liberation of Greece, Rallis was sentenced to life imprisonment for collaboration. He died in jail, in 1946.

Ioannis Rallis's 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 a remorseful 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).

ee also

* Axis Occupation of Greece during WWII
* Greek Resistance
* Security Battalions
* History of Germany during World War II
* Military history of Italy during World War II
* Military history of Bulgaria during World War II
* Military history of Greece during World War II
* Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II

Notes

see List of foreign ministers of Greece


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