“Duty? Ambition? Mistake?”: A Greek Diplomat’s Politics Under Authoritarian Rule

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Going beyond the external functions of a diplomat this article places itself within the New Diplomatic History field and engages with an intricate aspect of the diplomatic self, that of duty. By telling the story of Christos Xanthopoulos-Palamas, one of the most prominent Greek diplomats, it examines how diplomatic duty is rationalised and imported in the realm of politics under authoritarian rule. Based on memoires, archival material, published diaries and the press of the time, this study follows Xanthopoulos-Palamas’ career and examines how the experienced diplomat justified his cooperation with the regime of the colonels despite his distaste for their antidemocratic practices. The belief in a concept of duty to the nation that surpasses the ephemeral existence of political structures and thus compelling him to strive to keep the ‘national aircraft’ afloat is at the core of his rationalisation behind his decision to get involved in domestic politics during the dictatorship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-324
Number of pages29
JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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