Greece 1940s-1970s

During the aftermath of World War II, Greece experienced the second immigration wave of its history. The country had been totally ruined by ten years of warfare (WWII 1940-1945 and the Civil War 1946-1949). The countryside could barely support the villagers. The reconstruction effort commenced in 1951, but it had already started earlier elsewhere in the world and opportunities for migrants were becoming available faster. Commonwealth countries, such as Canada and Australia, were in search for “white” manpower and opened their doors to Greeks and Italians. The majority of the 50,000 Greeks, who migrated between 1946 and 1954 went to these two countries. Immigration exploded the following years due to a combination of pull and push factors. The booming postwar economies of the West had already absorbed their war veterans and now needed to supplement their workforce. Germany, in particular which faced an obvious shortage of men, absorbed 600,000 out of the 1.1 million Greeks who migrated between 1954 and 1971. The rest went to Australia, the USA, and Canada. From 1945 to 1971, approximately 108,000 Greeks arrived in Canada. All this was happening because, at the same time, in Greece, rural exodus and significantly lower life standards pushed people to get on the move in search for a better life. The increasing number of youngsters in the postwar baby boom years factored in as well. Fascinated with the American dream popularized through the new media and the emerging consumption culture, while confronted by the conservatism and hierarchical rigidity of the society of their time, they were in quest for an escape route. After 1967 and the establishment of a military dictatorship, political refugees also joined the flight from Greece.