Which countries are ruled by dictatorships?

Spain, Portugal, GreeceEurope's forgotten dictatorships

Only very few countries in Europe remained without dictatorial experience in the 20th century, so under no circumstances could one regard democracy as the normal case and dictatorship as the industrial accident, explained the chairman of the Ettersberg Foundation, Jörg Ganzenmüller, at the beginning of the conference. But one can learn from the transitional experiences of various dictatorships into democracy. Ganzenmüller noticed:

"That we had the impression that in the southern European countries with right-wing dictatorships, Spain, Portugal, Greece, left-wing populism is very strong today, in the former state-socialist dictatorships in Eastern Europe we are dealing with strong right-wing populism. And there we are We asked the question: Is there a connection between experience of dictatorship and coming to terms with dictatorship on the one hand and populist movements, anti-European movements today. "

Greece has done little to reassess its military rule

Greece, for example, has done little to come to terms with its seven-year military rule. His secret service files were burned in 1989 to erase memories of the crimes. From mild judgments against murderers and torturers a murderous left-wing terrorism arose in order to supposedly establish "justice". Left interpretation patterns dominated the representation of Greek history. According to Adamantios Theodor Skordos from the University of Leipzig, conspiracy theories, according to which "abroad" and above all the USA were to blame for all the evils in Greece from 1940 to 1975, still formed the central narrative in the explanation of national problems. Since 1975 there has been the annual "March to the American Embassy" with hundreds of thousands of participants.

"Whereas in the 1970s and 1980s it was the unsolved Cyprus question that fed the anti-Americanism of the demonstrators, in the 1990s Washington's policy during the Yugoslavia crisis became the focus of protests, especially after the bombing of Serbia NATO. "

In Spain they wanted to arrive in a united democracy

In Spain there was no need to come to terms with the Franco dictatorship at first, leaving the old elite largely responsible and even speaking of the collective guilt of the right and left for civil war and dictatorship. One absolutely wanted to fill in the rifts that deeply divided society and arrive in a united democracy. It bought the terror of ETA and other groups and the ultimately failed military coup in 1981. Xosé Núñez Seixas from the University of Munich stated:

"Both socialists and social democrats as well as conservatives preferred to ignore the entire period 1931-1975, viewing it as exceptions on the path to progress and normality in Spanish history. And the resumption in Europe in 1986 as the end of the Spanish special path."

Since the turn of the millennium, however, the next generation has been asking about the Spanish Civil War, about the dictatorship and its victims, trying to exhumate the fallen in mass graves, in short, to regain a historical memory. Initially, the transition from dictatorship in Portugal was very different. The officers' coup against the military dictatorship in 1974 turned into a revolution that drifted so far to the left that US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wanted to give up Portugal, exclude it from NATO and, similarly, point out Cuba as a bad example. Western Europe, especially Willy Brandt's SPD, tied the left forces into democratic structures. The elimination of the Portuguese dictatorship past began stormily, grew almost to a witch hunt against the economic elite, destroyed monuments and changed street names, only to break off after only two years, as Teresa Pinheiro from the TU Chemnitz explained.

No spaces to commemorate the dictatorship

"The need for reconciliation and also the focus on building, the new opportunities that the rapprochement brought to Europe, travel, education, consumption, wealth, all of this made people dream of" blooming landscapes "in the prosperity of Europe and the times of Forget backwardness and privation. They condemned the dictatorship, they replaced the elites, they banished the memory of the Estado Novo from the streets. And ironically, this is where the failure of this phase lies: the politicians failed to find space for it To create commemoration of the dictatorship. "

Citizens' initiatives have only emerged in the last few years, advocating critical reappraisal and remembrance of the Salazar dictatorship. The three young democracies Spain, Portugal and Greece were all equally interested in joining the EC, also as a sign of belonging, modernity and recognition that they had overcome the dictatorship. The new Eastern European members, however, after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc appeared with a different self-confidence, as the Polish publicist Adam Krzeminski explained.

"The Federal Republic, Italy, but also Petain's France wanted to whitewash their past with a united Europe." Adenauer said: "Gaining sovereignty by renouncing sovereignty". This was not a matter of course for the East Central Europeans in a completely different mental condition than the Germans in 1945! They were not defeated who had to wrap themselves in the idea of ​​Europe; they were proud of their contribution to the overthrow of communism. They saw it as a continuation of the resistance in the war and saw no reason for re-education by the EU. "Mia san mia! And we, and not political commissioners, decide about our political culture." I quote the argumentation. "

At the beginning, the European community was an "emergency community of shrunken nations"; The Eastern Europeans, who had only found their way back to their sovereign nation, couldn't do anything with that. The road to a unified Europe was therefore very different in the south from that in the east. The long-term consequences of dictatorships will continue to occupy us, also in populism of the left and right.