Then the financial crisis stroke in 2008. Suddenly it turned out there was no more room for both government and private credit growth. The rest is the most recent history of failure and helplessness.
While the 1980's government debt spree is a relatively well known phenomenon (though I suspect that most Greeks and Paul Krugman conveniently forget that part of modern history), the 1998-2008 bank credit boom has been largely neglected.
Did I forget something important? Oh, yes. The huge inflow of financial transfers that formed the culture of dependency in Greece. If there's something more destructive than tanks or carpet bombing, financial transfers come to mind.