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Crete between war world 1 and war world 2.

Crete between war world 1 and war world 2

Agrarian reforms and country economic reflation. After the exodus of Asia Minor, the government sets up a big politics of agrarian reform and distributes number of lands to the farmers. The economy of the country boosts.  Greece becomes a republic but is the object of a fight between royalists and republicans. In 1935, the monarchy is proclaimed and king Georges II rises on the throne. In 1936, Greece begins an authoritarian turning point when general Metaxa becomes Prime Minister.

After a heavily rigged plebiscite, George II returned to take the throne in 1935. The elections of 1936 produced a deadlock between a right-wing coalition and a centre-left bloc.  Disliking the Communists and fearing a coup, George II appointed Metaxas, then minister of war, to be interim prime minister on 13 April 1936, and the appointment was confirmed by the Greek parliament.

Widespread industrial unrest gave Metaxas justification to declare a state of emergency on August 4, 1936. With the king’s support, he adjourned parliament indefinitely and suspended various articles of the constitution guaranteeing civil liberties. In a national radio address, Metaxas declared that for the duration of the state of emergency, he would hold “all the power I need for saving Greece from the catastrophes which threaten her.” The regime created as a result of this self-coup became known as “the 4th of August” after the date of its proclamation. Metaxas banned political parties (including his own), prohibited strikes and introduced widespread censorship of the media. Trying to build a corporatist state and secure popular support, Metaxas adopted or adapted many of Fascist Italy’s institutions: a National Labor Service, the eight-hour workday, mandatory improvements to working conditions, and the Social Insurance Institute ( IKA).

General Metaxa world war 2 Crete Greece
Meeting of the Anglo-Greek War Council. Left to right: Major General Gambier-Parry, General Metaxas, George II King of Greece, Air Vice Marshal D’Albiac (RAF) and General Papagos. Australian War Memorial Collection

In foreign policy Metaxas followed a neutral stance, trying to balance between the UK and Germany. Metaxas’ efforts to keep Greece out of World War II  collapsed when Mussolini demanded occupation rights to strategic Greek sites. On 28 October 1940, Metaxas curtly replied this demand “Ohi!” (“No!”). This is the origin of a national day, the Ohi day, celebrated every 28 october in all Greece. That’s how Greece enter in World War 2 against Axis troups. German and Italian armies launched the the invation of Greece

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