Thus in less than twenty-four hours one passed, by vote of the Assembly, from the republic to the monarchy, as eleven years earlier, by the vote of another assembly, one had passed from the monarchy to the republic. The next day, 11 October, President Zaimis resigned; on 3 November, with 1,491,992 in favor, 32,452 against and 2268 null, the people ratified the resolution of the National Assembly and on 25 November George II entered Athens, welcomed triumphantly by the people and the army.

Returning to power, George II was animated by the desire to restore order, discipline and peace in the country, while maintaining the parliamentary regime. He expounded this program of his in a noble message addressed to the people; and his first acts corresponded to these purposes. Resisting the pressure of those who pushed him into revenge and reprisals against Republican opponents, he granted a large amnesty to political convicts, including Venizelos, who had always been a bitter enemy of his family but who, since his exile, had now approved the monarchical restoration also arranging, it seems, to return to Greece. He then resigned the Condylis cabinet because he was contrary to the granting of an amnesty, he entrusted power to a man admired by all for his moderation and honesty, K. Demertzis, and, having dissolved the National Assembly, re-established the normal functioning of the constitution by calling elections. But he soon realized that, following the path of constitutional freedom, he would lead the country back to the chaos from which he had decided and it was necessary to draw him. In reality, despite the outcome of the plebiscite, spirits were divided and partisan hatreds were brewing, ready to erupt with new violence. The political elections, which took place on January 26, 1936 with the proportional system, revealed a disturbing situation. The new Chamber was made up of 143 deputies from the government coalition, 142 from the Venizelist demo-liberal coalition and 15 communists. Demertzis tried to conclude an agreement with the Venizelists; but the agreement was not possible. These, led after the death of Venizelos (March 18) by Th. Sofulis, in order to seize power, they approached the communists, who therefore became the arbiter of the situation and took advantage of this to intensify their deleterious propaganda. Was it possible in such conditions to maintain the constitutional regime? This was the problem that faced the king. To stop Bolshevism, which was already infiltrating the army, where subversive pamphlets were secretly distributed, and to prevent the return to the civil war, a scourge of Hellenic public life since the beginning of its resurgence, there was no other way than that of establishing a regime of authority.

This was the way in which, following the example of other nations, George II resolutely set out. On April 13, 1936, when Demertzis died, he, without taking into account the parliamentary calculations, entrusted the power to General Metaxas, head of a small group but a man of considerable energy. According to the liberal-communist opposition, that of General Metaxas was to be nothing more than a transitional cabinet; and for this, having presented himself to the chamber, he was granted full powers until October. But the new prime minister, from his very first acts, demonstrated his firm will and ability to govern the country by drawing inspiration only from the interests of the nation and not, as the ministries that preceded him had almost always done, to those of a match. He immediately embarked on the implementation of a social reform program based on the principle of state intervention in relations between employers and workers. To hinder or prevent his work, the Communists promoted a series of strikes, especially in Macedonia, while the Venizelist demo-liberals threatened to overthrow him when parliamentary work resumed. But these were not taken up. On 4 August, having heard that a riot was being prepared in Athens, which would have triggered the civil war, Metaxas, with the approval of the king, decreed a state of siege and the dissolution of the Chamber without calling new elections. The party leaders presented the sovereign with a siege and the dissolution of the Chamber without calling new elections. The party leaders presented the sovereign with a siege and the dissolution of the Chamber without calling new elections. The party leaders presented the sovereign with a memorandum against the suspension of the constitution. But George II rejected the memorandum, confirming his confidence in Metaxas.

He used dictatorial powers to restore order and discipline. Work has succeeded the strikes; to free bargaining between industrialists and workers, the obligation of the national contract; unemployment has almost completely disappeared; the army, removed from the deleterious influence of politics, has been returned to its true function of defense and protection of the nation. Celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of the new regime, gen. Metaxas, in a proclamation to the Hellenic people, was able to make a very flattering balance of the work done for the good of the country and in a great speech delivered in Patras he confirmed his intention to reorganize the Hellenic state on a corporate basis by ensuring all professions proportional representation, according to the principles of fascist organization. The program enunciated provides for the reorganization of the state administration according to the criterion of strong centralization, the reform of teaching, the corporate organization of work; in short, the transformation of the state from parliamentary into corporative.

Greece thus came to align itself among the authoritarian states, also assuming its part in the task of stemming Bolshevik propaganda in the Near East.

Greece Between 1928 and 1936 2

Greece Between 1928 and 1936 Part II
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