Greece, also known as the Hellenic Republic, has been a valuable member of the NATO alliance since 1952. A nation whose people are descendants of a long lineage of warriors and empires, Athens has long been a shield of the defense pact along the Mediterranean Sea.

Over the past year, due to Russian threats, various NATO members have pledged remilitarization and increased their military’s GDP spending. While most of Europe was caught off guard and realized they needed to progress towards a comprehensive security apparatus, Greece has remained one step ahead.

President Joe Biden greets Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the Oval Office on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

From Disorganized to Professional

Before NATO’s existence in the early 20th century, Greece went through various unstable governments. The perpetual conflicts inside the Hellenic Kingdom and Republic would affect their military negatively, as various juntas and power plays would ensue throughout the century.

Initially having the most professional army in the Balkans pre-WWI, when the British and French forced Greece to join the Great War, the nation suffered a humiliating setback against the Kemalists in the Greco-Turkish War.