The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and its activities in Greek Macedonia during the Interwar (1919-1928)

by Vlasis Vlasidis

Doctoral Dissertation submitted to the Division of Modern and Contemporary History of the School of Philosophy of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1997).

The emergence and activities of Bulgarian revolutionary committees in the beginning of the 20th century in Macedonia and especially of IMRO have become the objects of long and extensive research of history. In contrast, significantly less attention has been paid to the re-forming of IMRO after the end of World War I and its operations in Macedonia. Especially in the case of Greek Macedonia there is a lack of not only monographs and papers, but of any information regarding the activities of the comitatjis.

Objective of the present dissertation is filling the above void. The author selected 1919 as the starting point of the study, a year during which IMRO reappeared in the foreground; 1928 was selected as the end of the time period considered because it coincides with a turning point in IMRO's history after which its operations were transferred entirely inside Bulgaria. The material used in the study came mostly from unpublished archives, primarily from the Central State Historical Archive of Bulgaria, the Historical Archive of the Foreign Ministry of Greece, the archive of the General Command of Macedonia, whereas many small Greek archived collections were consulted, as well as the Interwar archives of the British and French Foreign Ministries.

In particular, the dissertation examines the structure of IMRO in a central, regional and local level and its relationship with the Bulgarian political parties and the Macedonian refugee organizations. All in all it argues that during the Interwar IMRO was primarily interested in the developments in Bulgaria and only secondarily outside the Bulgarian kingdom.

However, the main emphasis is placed on the analysis of the presence and influence affected by IMRO on Greek Macedonia. Great weight was placed on the substantiation of the influence exerted by IMRO on the Slavophones within the Greek state, either by their participation in local councils or by their political instruction, or simply by the preservation of emotional ties. Moreover, there was an attempt to document in the most comprehensive way possible the armed operations of IMRO on Greek land, as well as the effort of the Greek authorities to successfully ward off the Bulgarian comitatjis.

The analysis of the historical archives of Bulgaria and Greece amply explains why the operations of IMRO in Greek Macedonia were limited, almost nil in comparison to its operations in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia: after the withdrawal of the overwhelming majority of the Slavophones of Greek Macedonia and Thrace and the installation of Greek refugees in the same areas, there existed no foundations for the establishment of clauses which would favor such activity.

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