1924-1935 World War II

Greece 1935 - 1940

In 1935 political sentiment in Greece tended toward a restoration of the monarchy. Prime Minister Panavis Tsaldaris resigned; he was succeeded by Venizelist Georgios Kondylis. A plebiscite was held which resulted in a convincing majority in favour of recalling King George II. The country was paralysed by elections results which created two blocks of equal strength, both just short of the majority - the People's Party (Tsaldaris) and the Liberals (Sophoulis). King George appointed a caretaker government; in April 1936, General Ioannis Metaxas was appointed caretaker prime minister.
Metaxas, an admirer of National Socialism, in August suspended parts of the constitution and established a dictatorship. Metaxas propagated a Third Hellenic Civilization (Ancient Greece and Byzantium being the first two).
Metaxas' admiration for the fascist regimes did not influence his foreign policy. In 1938, concerned by the Italian annexion of Albania, he proposed an alliance with Britain, an alliance Britain did not want to commit to at that time. When World War II broke out in 1939, Metaxas, aware of Greece's military an economic weakness, pursued a policy of neutrality. When Metaxas rejected an Italian ultimatum in October 1940, war was no longer avoidable; Italian forces invaded.
Radio broadcasting began in 1938.

Elliniki Radiofonia Tileorasi, from Wikipedia
DOCUMENTS List of Greek Prime Ministers etc., from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics : Greece, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
President Roosevelt to King George of Greece, December 5, 1940, from V. Ferraro, Mt.Holyoke
REFERENCE Richard Clogg, A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge : UP 1992, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.5 C643a
Article Greece, in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, 15th edition, vol.20 pp.178-205, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.20
Chapter XXXII : Balkan Kings, pp.468-476 in : John Gunther, Inside Europe, 1940 War Edition, NY : Harper % Bros. 1940 [G]
Article : Greece, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1937 pp.1005-1017 (data of 1935-1937) [G]
Article : Greece, in : Americana Annual 1936 pp.332-333, 1937 pp.327-328, 1938 pp.316-317, 1939 pp.347-348, 1940 pp.351-352 [G]
Article : Greece, in : New International Year Book 1938 pp.306-308, 1939 pp.333-335, 1940 pp.327-328 [G]
Article : Greece, in : Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1936 pp.232-234, 1937 pp.234-236, 1938 pp.244-247, 1939 pp.269-271, 1940 pp.282-283 [G]
Time/Life : Time Capsule for 1940, A History of the Year Condensed from the Pages of Time, NY : Time 1967, p.91 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on February 27th 2007

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