By the eve of the Greco-Turkish War of 1922, every Greek in the world understood and felt what the Megali Idea' meant. Under the leadership of Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece was on the verge of fulfilling Megali Idea in recreating a modern Byzantine Empire. But what exactly does Megali Idea mean? Megali Idea translates literally as the Great Idea.'(Glenny, 45). It is a term that scholars use to encompass all Greek irridentist claims to expand in order to incorporate all ethnic Greeks within her boundaries. It is a vision of an expanded Greek state with Greek Orthodoxy as its official religion, which aspired to the unification of all areas of Greek settlement in the Near East within the bounds of a single state, with its capital in Constantinople, dominated the independent state during the first century of its existence.(Gerolymatos, 59). This irridentist claim was so influential in the late 19th century-early 20th century contemporary Greek society, that when ethnic Greeks immigrated to the United States in search of work, they kept this sentiment with them. Because of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, they were able to preserve the ideals of Megali Idea even in the United States. The preservation of Megali Idea among Greek immigrants felt was illustrated by the fact that many Greek-Americans returned to their homeland to fight for Greece in 1912. The main focus of this paper will be on George Dilboy, the main character of the biography Georgie! My Georgie!. Dilboy was a Greek-American who felt the calling of Megali Idea and returned to Greece to fight in the Balkan Wars. After describing the rise and fall of the concept of Megali Idea, we will thus conclude that Megali Idea not only stayed with Greeks when they immigrated to the United States, but is still echoed in conversations today.
[...] George and his family remained in Alatsata until 1908, when they decided to immigrate to the United States of America. Antonio's brother, Kostas, had immigrated the year before and sent letters home to Antonios and his family. They had heard of great opportunities that awaited them in the United States, with “wages up to 4 times that they would receive in Athens.”(Brady, 74). Since the Dilboy's had eight children, it would be too expensive for the whole family to move to the United States. [...]
[...] His legacy remains as one of the greatest American soldiers to ever serve the army and he is regarded by Greek- Americans as who risked it all for both Greece and for the United States of America.(Brady, 502). Due to George and the rest of the Greek army, the kingdom of Greece was able to expand immensely. Within a month, Greek forces were able to capture Thessaloniki, the port city of Macedonia, and were able to liberate the Aegean islands of Chios, Mytilini and Samos. [...]
[...] Her family was not deported to Greece, as the Greek population of Constantinople was protected under a certain provision of the Treaty of Lausanne, which did not call for their deportation to Greece. However, she did not escape the discrimination that followed her throughout her life in Turkey. As a young women growing up, she went to school in Turkey with Turkish classmates. She was singled out for being Greek and reprimanded harsher than her other classmates. She grew up in a society that detested her people's presence in the city, as they were seen as being more economically prosperous as opposed to the Turkish majority. [...]
[...] Since there were Greek uprisings throughout the southern part of the Balkan peninsula, Greeks throughout the Ottoman Empire thought that with the culmination of the Greek War of Independence, a new modern Greek state would emerge to encompass all ethnic Greeks. The Great Powers, however, were not so keen in granting Greece with such a huge land mass and being that Greece was their dependency, they did not want the obligation to help quell rebellions and civil unrest that might erupt in such a large territory. [...]
[...] Upon enlisting in the Greek army, the enlistment officers asked the potential soldiers what their place of origin and 3,500 soldiers listed the United States as their place of origin.(Tavuchis, 104). We can deduce from these statistics that many more Greek-Americans did indeed fight for Greece. However, many of them preferred to name their ancestral place of origin as opposed to telling the enlistment officers that they were from the United States. The remigration to Greece is considered to be of the greatest remigration trends in American immigration history.”(Tavuchis, 103). [...]
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