In essence,Onassis initiates his shipping activities in the beginning of the 1930s in Argentina,when he buys with his first money 2 old steamboats,which he names them “Socrates” and “Pinnelope” in honour of his parents.We Greeks,are always “first” in these acts of “superficial family sentimentality”!!But Aristotle Onassis soon realises,that the “big money” in the future ,will come from transporting “oil” by the various ocean lanes.As a consequence ,almost all his next moves in the shipping sector would be acquiring oil ship-carriers and transporting oil,especially from the oil producing countries of the Middle East.During this same period(1930s),he bought 10 merchant vessels from a Canadian company for 120,000 american dollars.At the same time,he registers all his ships in Panama(not in Greece),where the tarrifs and taxes are much lower than those of Argentina.In 1938,he builds his own oil carrier at the shipyards of Sweden,the “Ariston”,with a volume capacity of 15,000 tons (p.2.www.onassis.gr/enim_deltio/34_06/special_2.php ).
At the start of World War II,he transfers his business headquarters to London,because he knows very well that there would be a huge demand in transporting basic materials and fuel to the European Continent.Then once again,with the instinct of a “business predator” ,he moves in 1942 his headquarters to New York ,recognising that the greatest quantities of military supplies,fuel and food stuffs going to Europe (through the Atlantic Ocean),were coming from North America (p.1.www.goalday.gr/article.asp?catid=15096&subid=2&tag=810…)After the war, all this vast number of transport vessels which were owned by the governments of the United States and Canada, and were used to transport supplies to Europe during the war, became idle.Aristotle Onassis bought many of these vessels “for peanuts”!!! It is just after the war, that Onassis also begins to construct at a very low cost,his own tankers at the shipyards of an economically dismantled Germany.He knew that Germany΄s heavy industry was “in shambles” and also that the specialized German workers and technicians were out of work and “literally starving”.We can therefore see once again, how Aristotle Onassis could “ruthlessly” exploit an economically devasted nation in order to fill “his purse” with even more “gold coins”!! Onassis during the 1960s,and using the same “business logic” and the same “business morality”,moved the construction of his oil supertankers to Japan΄s shipyards for “very good reasons”.Germany΄s economy was on the rise,while Japan was still lagging “far behind” economically due to the “horrific” destruction it had incurred during World War II and also due to the heavy financial burden from the American Occupying Forces.
In 1953,Aristotle Onassis bought the Company which controlled the Casino of Monte Carlo and most of the best tourist sites of the city,so he was able to dominate financially the small European Principality of Monaco.In 1954,he concludes a historic commercial deal with the government of Saudi Arabia,giving him almost absolute exclusivity in the transportation of this country΄s enormous oil exports to the developed world.To make this deal work,it is said that Onassis bribed the King of Saudi Arabia,Ibn Saud,with millions of american dollars.With the Middle East War of 1956,when the Suez Canal was closed,Onassis once again “came up with an ace”!!Due to his friendly relations with Winston Churchill,the former Prime Minister of Great Britain,Onassis knew months earlier,that there would be an attack on Egypt by Israel,France and Great Britain,resulting in the closing of the Suez Canal.Onassis was able then to move his large oil supertankers full of oil to different strategic locations in the various ocean lanes,eventually selling this oil at “astronomical prices” to all the developed countries which had an “immediate need” of large quantities of oil for their energy requirements(p.2.http: //everything2.com/title/Aristotle%2520Onassis).
The oil tankers built by Aristotle Onassis grew larger and larger,positioning him “justly” as the most important “innovator” in the modern world shipping industry.In 1966,he ordered the first type VLCC(Very Large Crude Carrier) to be built;a type of ship tanker which has a volume capacity of between 160,000 and 319,000 tons.While between 1966 and 1969, he constructed in Japan΄s shipyards,18 supertankers with a capacity of 200,000 tons each.
All this “obligatory” description of the various business ventures and successes by Aristotle Onassis seems to me to be not just boring but also very,very monotonous-that is why I trully believe that this person΄s inner world must have been very,but very “shallow”.I would like to mention here something that Melina Mercouri said about the “human character” of Onassis during the period(the 80s) when she was the Minister of Culture of Greece.On october 15,2008,the T.V. channel of the Parliament of Greece aired a British documentary concerning the life of Aristotle Onassis.The main part of this biography involved various interviews made at different times,of people who had known Onassis and were expressing their opinion about his personality and his philosophy on life.In the 1980s, a British reporter interviewing Melina Mercouri,asked her opinion about Aristotle Onassis,and even though he had already been dead(died in 1975),she just simply said:”He was a pirate”!!! Concerning now,the creation and the operation of “Olympic Airlines” within the enterpreneurial activities of Aristotle Onassis, we shall look into it in our next section of our article, which will also represent the “epilogue” of this famous modern Neanderthal.I am making this distinction in relation to his other business ventures for two specific reasons. The first one is ,because I would like to make a more analytical description concerning the “conditions” and the “criteria” under which the “National Airline of Greece” was founded and functioned,and second, because “Olympic Airlines” is a “family affair”,and more specifically a “greek family affair”.I would like here to take a pause and mention the fact that many times,when Aristotle Onassis talked about “Olympic Airlines”, he would refer to it by the pet name “the girl”,meaning “his girl”(p.1.www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=79444),and we clearly know how he perceived his relations with “his girls”!! “Olympic Airlines” was a purely “greek family affair” because it had a direct relation to the “Greek State” and to the “Greek Peoples”.And as we Greeks know very,very well,in the “showcase” of every greek family there are concepts of human values which dominate.Concepts such as “care”,”unity”,”self-sacrifice”,”sacredness” and especially “love”.At the same time,we Greeks also know very well, that the real “mechanisms” behind this “showcase” are completely different.The real “mechanisms” which control the “greek family” were exposed and analysed in a detailed and precise manner,by our wise ancestors approximately 2,500 years ago,in their theatrical tragedies.If some of you “can΄t comprehend” what I am trying to say,go and read some of these famous theatrical tragedies,or even better, go and see them in the theatre!!!