Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Contemporary World

1945 to the present


After World War II, a new world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the developing nations of the Third World.

The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.



Greece and Turkey

SINCE 1945


see also: United Nations member states -
Greece, Turkey, Cyprus


Before the two neighboring states Greece and Turkey became democracies, both countries suffered under dictatorial regimes. After World War II, both countries became industrial and trading nations. Conflict-laden contentious issues between them have included the mineral resources of the Aegean Sea in the territory that lies between them, which is claimed by both countries, and claims to the island of Cyprus. While Greece had been part of the European Union since the 1980s, Turkey remains a candidate for membership.


Greece: Kingdom and Dictatorship 1945-1974

After World War II and a civil war, Greece stabilized under conservative governments. The military carried out a coup against the first center-left government.


The Nazi army occupied Greece in 1943 after Greek forces had defeated Hitler's Italian allies. Various partisan movements, though also fighting among themselves, opposed the German occupation.

After the war, the radical left boycotted the 2 elections of 1946, allowing the conservative Alliance to win.

This led to three years of civil war.

In the 1947 peace treaty with Italy, Greece gained the 4 Dodecanese Islands.

Greece became a NATO member in 1952. By 1952, 20 right-wing governments had ruled in succession. They were all rigidly anticommunist. The first stable government was formed bv Field Marshal Alexandras Papagos with his Greek Rally party.

In 1956, it became the National Radical Union, led bv 5 Konstantinos G. Karamanlis.

2 Greek soldiers marching to a polling station in Athens, 1946

4 The monastery of St. John on the Dodecanese island Patmos, one of the holiest places in Greece

5 Konstantinos Karamanlis (right)
with US President Jimmy Carter, 1978

After 20 years of a police state, the Greeks in 1963 voted into office the leftist Center Union Party led by Georgios Papan-dreou, who promised welfare reform in the country.

However, in April 1967 conservative officers led by Colonel 3 Georgios Papadopoulos organized a military coup and set up a dictatorial regime.

A countercoup by King Constantine II in December 1967 failed. On June 1,1973, a republic was proclaimed in Greece. Arrests, deportation, torture, and enforcement of the party line followed.

Phaidon Gisikis became the new president in 1973 after a bloodless coup led by General Demetrios Ioannides. However, he soon came into conflict with the Turkish government over deposits in the Aegean Sea.

A failed overthrow attempt against 1 President Makarios of Cyprus, directed from Athens in 1974, eventually led to the downfall of the unpopular Greek military regime.

3 King Konstantinos II (center) with members of the government; to the far left: Georgios Papadopoulos, 1967

1 A wall separates the Greek and the Turkish
parts of the Cypriot capital Nicosia, 1999



The Independence of Cyprus

In order to bring about the annexation of the British colony of Cyprus to Greece, the underground movement EOKA led by General Georgios Grivas began a war against the colonial power in J955. This was accompanied by fighting against the Turkish minority.

 However, the island was granted independence on August 16,1960, which was guaranteed by Great Britain, Greece, and Turkey. The first president. Archbishop Makarios III, altered the system of government to favor the Greeks. After a bloody conflict, the Turks withdrew from the government and set up a provisional administration. In 1964, the United Nations sent in peacekeeping troops.

Archbishop Makarios III,
bronze monument




The Greek Republic since 1974

Democracy was reestablished in Greece after the end of the dictatorship. The relationship with Turkey continued to dominate foreign affairs.


In 1974, 7 General Gisikis was forced to turn over power to Karamanlis, who became prime minister.

Greece returned to a parliamentary democratic form of government. Karamanlis and his New Democracy Party applied for membership in the European Community, and Greece's application was approved in 1981. In the same year. New Democracy lost its majority to the social-democratic PASOK, which appointed Andreas Papandreou as prime minister. His economic policies ignited severe social unrest in 198s, and an accusation of corruption forced him to resign in 1989.

After a close election victory in 1990. New Democracy under Konstantinos Mitsotakis carried out a reform program, and Karamanlis was elected president. The trade unions called a general strike in 1992 in protest over social problems.

In 1993, PASOK won again with Papandreou, who had been found not guilty of the corruption charges. For health reasons, however, he stepped down in 1996 in favor of 8 Konstantinos Simitis, serving until 2004.

7 Phaedon Gisikis (at the head of the table) with political leaders prior to the military rebellion, 1967

8 Konstantinos Simitis, 2002

The postwar political history of Greece has been varied and eventful, but the country's economic growth has been consistent. Marshall Plan funds played a large part in this, as did membership in the European Community. Moreover, a cultural shift was running through Greece. Guest workers returning home from abroad brought not only technical know-how with them but also other concepts of living.

A prolonged migration to the cities resulted in a third of all Greeks living today in the 9, 11 Athens area.

Through mass 10 tourism, the Western lifestyle has come to have a permanent presence.

9 Opening of the 28th Olympic Games in Athens, 2004

11 Main road through central Athens, 2004

10 Tourists visit the Acropolis, 2001

Animosity toward Turkey has remained the dominating foreign policy issue in the democratic republic. Disputes have arisen over rights to mineral reserves in the Aegean, issues of maritime traffic, and the rights to oil extraction. Even the NATO partnership of both states could not prevent military conflict within the context of the 6 Cyprus issue.

6 Protected border crossing in Cyprus



The Two States of Cyprus

A provisional administration founded by Turkish Cypriots in 1961 was meant to facilitate the realization of a federal form of government for the island. The attempted coup by Greeks in 1974 and the subsequent invasion by Turkish armed forces interrupted this development, however. Two settlement areas emerged, from which the respective minorities were expelled.

The Turks established a federal state in 1975 under Rauf Denktasch, who proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983. ft was recognized only by Turkey, in contrast to the Greek-Cypriot government of Glafcos Clerides: The Greek Republic of Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004.

Glafcos Clerides (right) and
Rauf Denktasch shake hands, 2001


see also: United Nations member states -
Greece, Turkey, Cyprus



Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy