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Title: Greece and the Allies 1914-1922
Author: Abbott, G. F.
Language: English
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Libraries.)



GREECE AND THE ALLIES

1914-1922



BY

G. F. ABBOTT



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

  SONGS OF MODERN GREECE
  MACEDONIAN FOLKLORE
  THE TALE OF A TOUR IN MACEDONIA
  GREECE IN EVOLUTION (ED.)
  TURKEY IN TRANSITION
  TURKEY, GREECE, AND THE GREAT POWERS
  UNDER THE TURK IN CONSTANTINOPLE



WITH A PREFACE BY

ADMIRAL MARK KERR, C.B., M.V.O.

  LATE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ROYAL HELLENIC NAVY
  AND HEAD OF THE BRITISH NAVAL MISSION TO GREECE



METHUEN & CO. LTD.

36 ESSEX STREET W.C.

LONDON



First published in 1922



{v}

PREFACE

The late convulsions in Greece and Turkey, and the consequent revival
of all the mis-statements which, during the War, flowed from ignorance
or malice, render the publication of this book particularly opportune.

Mr. Abbott deals with his subject in all its aspects, and presents for
the first time to the British public a complete and coherent view of
the complicated circumstances that made Greece, during the War, the
battle-ground of rival interests and intrigues, from which have grown
the present troubles.

In this book we get a clear account of the little-understood relations
between the Greek and the Serb; of the attitude of Greece towards the
Central Powers and the Entente; of the dealings between Greece and the
Entente and the complications that ensued therefrom.  Mr. Abbott traces
the evil to its source--the hidden pull of British versus French
interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the open antagonism between
M. Venizelos and King Constantine.

All these subjects are of acute interest, and not the least interesting
is the last.

The persecution of King Constantine by the Press of the Allied
countries, with some few good exceptions, has been one of the most
tragic affairs since the Dreyfus case.  Its effect on the state of
Europe during and since the War is remarkable.  If King Constantine's
advice had been followed, and the Greek plan for the taking of the
Dardanelles had been carried out, the war would probably have been
shortened by a very considerable period, Bulgaria and Rumania could
have been kept out of the War, and probably the Russian Revolution and
collapse would not have taken place; for, instead of having Turkey to
assist Bulgaria, the Allied forces would have been between and
separating these two countries.  {vi}

In this case King Constantine would not have been exiled from his
country, and consequently he would not have permitted the Greek Army to
be sent to Asia Minor, which he always stated would ruin Greece, as the
country was not rich enough or strong enough to maintain an overseas
colony next to an hereditary enemy like the Turk.

It is illuminating to remember that the Greek King's policy was fully
endorsed by the only competent authorities who had a full knowledge of
the subject, which was a purely military one.  These were the late
Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, the British Admiral at the
head of the Naval Mission in Greece, and Colonel Sir Thomas Cuninghame,
British Military Attaché in Athens; but the advice tendered by these
three officers was disregarded in favour of that given by the
civilians, M. Venizelos and the Allied Ministers.

Mr. Abbott's book will do much to enlighten a misled public as to the
history of Greece during the last nine years, and many documents which
have not hitherto been before the public are quoted by him from the
official originals, to prove the case.

For the sake of truth and justice, which used to flourish in Great
Britain, I hope that this book will be read by everyone who has the
welfare of the British Empire at heart.


MARK KERR

4 _October_, 1922



{vii}

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

As this work goes to press, the British Empire finds itself forced to
vindicate its position in the East: a position purchased at the cost of
much blood and treasure during the war, to be jeopardized after the
conclusion of peace by the defeat of Greece and the defection of France.

In the following pages the reader will find the sequence of events
which have inevitably led up to this crisis: an account of transactions
hitherto obscured and distorted by every species of misrepresentation
and every known artifice for manipulating public opinion.

The volume is not a hasty essay produced to exploit an ephemeral
situation.  It embodies the fruit of investigations laboriously carried
on through six years.  A slight account of the earlier events appeared
as far back as the winter of 1916 in a book entitled, _Turkey, Greece,
and the Great Powers_: that was my first effort to place the subject in
its true perspective.  The results were interesting.  I was honoured by
the reproaches of several private and by the reprobation of several
public critics; some correspondents favoured me with their anonymous
scurrility, and some bigots relieved me of their acquaintance.  On the
other hand, there were people who, in the midst of a maelstrom of
passion, retained their respect for facts.

I pursued the subject further in a weekly journal.  Two of my
contributions saw the light; the third was suppressed by the
Authorities.  Its suppression furnished material for a debate in
Parliament: "This is a cleverly written article," said Mr. John Dillon,
"and I cannot find in it a single word which justifies suppression.
All that one can find in it is that it states certain facts which the
Government do not like to be known, not that they injure the military
situation in the least, but that they show that the Government, in the
opinion of the writer, made certain very bad blunders."  The Home
Secretary's answer was {viii} typical of departmental dialectics: "It
is inconceivable to me," he declared, "that the Government would
venture to say to the Press, or indicate to it in any way, 'This is our
view.  Publish it.  If you do not, you will suffer.'"  What the
Government did, in effect, say to the Editor of the _National Weekly_
was: "This is not our view.  Publish it not.  If you do, you will
suffer."

With an innocence perhaps pardonable in one who was too intent on the
evolution of the world drama to follow the daily development of
war-time prohibitions, I next essayed to present to the public through
the medium of a book the truth which had been banned from the columns
of a magazine.  The manuscript of that work, much fingered by the
printer, now lies before me, and together with it a letter from the
publisher stating that the Authorities had forbidden its publication on
pain of proceedings "under 27 (b) of the Defence of the Realm
Regulations."

And so it came about that not until now has it been possible for the
voice of facts to refute the fables dictated by interest and accepted
by credulity.  The delay had its advantages: it gave the story, through
the natural progress of events, a completeness which otherwise it would
have lacked, and enabled me to test its accuracy on every point by a
fresh visit to Greece and by reference to sources previously
inaccessible, such as the Greek State Papers and the self-revealing
publications of persons directly concerned in the transactions here
related.

I venture to hope that so thorough an inquiry will convey some new
information respecting these transactions even to those who are best
acquainted with their general course.  If they find nothing attractive
in the style of the book, they may find perhaps something useful,
something that will deserve their serious reflection, in the matter of
it.  For let it not be said that a story starting in 1914 is ancient
history.  Unless one studies the record of Allied action in Greece from
the very beginning, he cannot approach with any clear understanding the
present crisis--a struggle between Greeks and Turks on the surface, but
at bottom a conflict between French and British policies affecting the
vital interests of the British Empire.

G. F. A.

5 _October_, 1922



{ix}

_Besides information acquired at first hand, my material is mainly
drawn from the following sources_:

Greek State Papers now utilized for the first time.

_White Book_, published by the Government of M. Venizelos under the
title, "_Diplomatika Engrapha_, 1913-1917," 2nd edition, Athens, 1920.

_Orations_, delivered in the Greek Chamber in August, 1917, by M.
Venizelos, his followers, MM. Repoulis, Politis, and Kafandaris, and
his opponents, MM. Stratos and Rallis.  The Greek text ("_Agoreuseis,
etc._," Athens, 1917) and the English translation ("_A Report of
Speeches, etc.,_" London, 1918), give them all, though the speech of M.
Stratos only in summary.  The French translation ("_Discours, etc.,
Traduction de M. Léon Maccas, autorisée par le Gouvernement Grec,_"
Paris, 1917) curiously omits both the Opposition speeches.

Skouloudis's _Apantesis_, 1917; _Apologia_, 1919; _Semeioseis_, 1921.
The first of these publications is the ex-Premier's Reply to statements
made in the Greek Chamber by M. Venizelos and others in August, 1917;
the second is his Defence; the third is a collection of Notes
concerning transactions in which he took part.  All three are of the
highest value for the eventful period of the Skouloudis Administration
from November, 1915, to June, 1916.

_Journal Officiel_, 24-30 October, 1919, containing a full report of
the Secret Committee of the French Chamber which sat from 16 June to 22
June, 1916.

Next in importance, though not inferior in historic interest, come some
personal narratives, of which I have also availed myself, by leading
French actors in the drama:

_Du Fournet_: "Souvenirs de Guerre d'un Amiral, 1914-1916."  By
Vice-Admiral Dartige du Fournet, Paris, 1920.

_Sarrail_: "Mon Commandement en Orient, 1916-1918."  By General
Sarrail, Paris, 1920.

_Regnault_:  "La Conquête d'Athènes, Juin-Juillet, 1917."  By General
Regnault, Paris, 1920.

{x}

_Deville_: "L'Entente, la Grèce et la Bulgarie.  Notes d'histoire et
souvenirs."  By Gabriel Deville, Paris, 1919.  The author was French
Minister at Athens till August, 1915, and the portions of his work
which deal with his own experiences are worth consulting.

_Jonnart_:  "M. Jonnart en Grèce et l'abdication de Constantin."  By
Raymond Recouly, Paris, 1918.  Though not written by the High
Commissioner himself, this account may be regarded as a semi-official
record of his mission.

The only English publications of equal value, though of much more
limited bearing upon the subject of this work, which have appeared so
far are:

The Dardanelles Commission _Reports_ (Cd. 8490; Cd. 8502; Cmd. 371),
and the _Life of Lord Kitchener_, by Sir George Arthur, Vol. III,
London, 1920.

Some trustworthy contributions to the study of these events have also
been made by several unofficial narratives, to which the reader is
referred for details on particular episodes.  The absence of reference
to certain other narratives is deliberate.



{xi}

CONTENTS

                                             PAGE
  INTRODUCTION      -    -    -    -    -       1
  CHAPTER     I.    -    -    -    -    -       7
  CHAPTER    II.    -    -    -    -    -      17
  CHAPTER   III.    -    -    -    -    -      21
  CHAPTER    IV.    -    -    -    -    -      33
  CHAPTER     V.    -    -    -    -    -      50
  CHAPTER    VI.    -    -    -    -    -      65
  CHAPTER   VII.    -    -    -    -    -      76
  CHAPTER  VIII.    -    -    -    -    -      85
  CHAPTER    IX.    -    -    -    -    -      95
  CHAPTER     X.    -    -    -    -    -     105
  CHAPTER    XI.    -    -    -    -    -     114
  CHAPTER   XII.    -    -    -    -    -     123
  CHAPTER  XIII.    -    -    -    -    -     139
  CHAPTER   XIV.    -    -    -    -    -     152
  CHAPTER    XV.    -    -    -    -    -     162
  CHAPTER   XVI.    -    -    -    -    -     172
  CHAPTER  XVII.    -    -    -    -    -     177
  CHAPTER XVIII.    -    -    -    -    -     186
  CHAPTER   XIX.    -    -    -    -    -     200
  CHAPTER    XX.    -    -    -    -    -     207
  CHAPTER   XXI.    -    -    -    -    -     217
  AFTERWORD    -    -    -    -    -    -     230
  INDEX        -    -    -    -    -    -     239



{1}

GREECE AND THE ALLIES

1914-1922


INTRODUCTION

Ingenious scholars, surveying life from afar, are apt to interpret
historical events as the outcome of impersonal forces which shape the
course of nations unknown to themselves.  This is an impressive theory,
but it will not bear close scrutiny.  Human nature everywhere responds
to the influence of personality.  In Greece this response is more
marked than anywhere else.  No people in the world has been so
completely dominated by personal figures and suffered so grievously
from their feuds, ever since the day when strife first parted Atreides,
king of men, and god-like Achilles.

The outbreak of the European War found Greece under the sway of King
Constantine and his Premier Eleutherios Venizelos; and her history
during that troubled era inevitably centres round these two
personalities.

By the triumphant conduct of the campaigns of 1912 and 1913, King
Constantine had more than effaced the memory of his defeat in 1897.
His victories ministered to the national lust for power and formed an
earnest of the glory that was yet to come to Greece.  Henceforth a halo
of military romance--a thing especially dear to the hearts of
men--shone about the head of Constantine; and his grateful country
bestowed upon him the title of {2} _Stratelates_.  In town mansions and
village huts men's mouths were filled with his praise: one dwelt on his
dauntless courage, another on his strategic genius, a third on his
sympathetic recognition of the claims of the common soldier, whose
hardships he shared, and for whose life he evinced a far greater
solicitude than for his own.

But it was not only as a leader of armies that King Constantine
appealed to the hearts of his countrymen.  They loved to explain to
strangers the reason of the name _Koumbaros_ or "Gossip," by which they
commonly called him.  It was not so much, they would say, that he had
stood godfather to the children born to his soldiers during the
campaigns, but rather that his relations with the rank and file of the
people at large were marked by the intimate interest of a personal
companion.

In peace, as in war, he seemed a prince born to lead a democratic
people.  With his tall, virile figure, and a handsome face in which
strength and dignity were happily blended with simplicity, he had a
manner of address which was very engaging: his words, few, simple,
soldier-like, produced a wonderful effect; they were the words of one
who meant and felt what he said: they went straight to the hearer's
heart because they came straight from the speaker's.

Qualities of a very different sort had enabled M. Venizelos to impose
himself upon the mind of the Greek nation, and to make his name current
in the Chancelleries of the world.

Having begun life as an obscure lawyer in Crete, he had risen through a
series of political convulsions to high notability in his native
island; and in 1909 a similar convulsion in Greece--brought about not
without his collaboration--opened to him a wider sphere of activity.
The moment was singularly opportune.

The discontent of the Greek people at the chronic mismanagement of
their affairs had been quickened by the Turkish Revolution into
something like despair.  Bulgaria had exploited that upheaval by
annexing Eastern Rumelia: Greece had failed to annex Crete, and ran the
risk, if the Young Turks' experiment succeeded, of seeing the {3}
fulfilment of all her national aspirations frustrated for ever.  A
group of military malcontents in touch with the Cretan leader
translated the popular feeling into action: a revolt against the reign
of venality and futility which had for so many years paralyzed every
effort, which had sometimes sacrificed and always subordinated the
interests of the nation to the interests of faction, and now left
Greece a prey to Bulgarian and Ottoman ambition.  The old politicians
who were the cause of the ill obviously could not effect a cure.  A new
man was needed--a man free from the deadening influences of a corrupt
past--a man daring enough to initiate a new course and tenacious enough
to push on with inexorable purpose to the goal.

During the first period of his career, M. Venizelos had been a capable
organizer of administrative departments no less than a clever
manipulator of seditious movements.  But he had mainly distinguished
himself as a rebel against authority.  And it was in the temper of a
rebel that he came to Athens.  Obstacles, however, external as well as
internal, made a subversive enterprise impossible.  With the quick
adaptability of his nature, he turned into a guardian of established
institutions: the foe of revolution and friend of reform.  Supported by
the Crown, he was able to lift his voice for a "Revisionist" above the
angry sea of a multitude clamouring for a "Constituent Assembly."

All that was healthy in the political world rallied to the new man; and
the new man did not disappoint the faith placed in him.  Through the
next two years he stood in every eye as the embodiment of constructive
statesmanship.  His Government had strength enough in the country to
dispense with "graft."  The result was a thorough overhauling of the
State machinery.  Self-distrust founded on past failures vanished.
Greece seemed like an invalid healed and ready to face the future.  It
was a miraculous change for a nation whose political life hitherto had
exhibited two traits seldom found combined: the levity of childhood and
the indolence of age.

For this miracle the chief credit undoubtedly belonged {4} to M.
Venizelos.  He had brought to the task a brain better endowed than any
associated with it.  His initiative was indefatigable; his decision
quick.  Unlike most of his countrymen, he did not content himself with
ideas without works.  His subtlety in thinking did not serve him as a
substitute for action.  To these talents he added an eloquence of the
kind which, to a Greek multitude, is irresistible, and a certain gift
which does not always go with high intelligence, but, when it does, is
worth all the arts of the most profound politician and accomplished
orator put together.  He understood, as it were instinctively, the
character of every man he met, and dealt with him accordingly.  This
tact, coupled with a smile full of sweetness and apparent frankness,
gave to his vivid personality a charm which only those could appraise
who experienced it.

Abroad the progress of M. Venizelos excited almost as much interest as
it did in Greece.  The Greeks are extraordinarily sensitive to foreign
opinion: a single good word in a Western newspaper raises a politician
in public esteem more than a whole volume of home-made panegyric.  M.
Venizelos had not neglected this branch of his business; and from the
outset every foreign journalist and diplomatist who came his way was
made to feel his fascination: so that, even before leaving his native
shores, the Cretan had become in the European firmament a star of the
third or fourth magnitude.  Reasons other than personal contributed to
enlist Western opinion in his favour.  Owing to her geographical
situation, Greece depends for the fulfilment of her national
aspirations and for her very existence on the Powers which command the
Mediterranean.  A fact so patent had never escaped the perception of
any Greek politician.  But no Greek politician had ever kept this fact
more steadily in view, or put this obvious truth into more vehement
language than M. Venizelos: "To tie Greece to the apron-strings of the
Sea Powers," was his maxim.  And the times were such that those Powers
needed a Greek statesman whom they could trust to apply that maxim
unflinchingly.

{5}

With the recovery of Greece synchronized, not by chance, the doom of
Turkey: a sentence in which all the members of the Entente, starting
from different points and pursuing different objects, concurred.  The
executioners were, naturally, the Balkan States.  Russia began the work
by bringing about an agreement between Bulgaria and Servia; England
completed it by bringing Greece into the League.  There ensued a local,
which, in accordance with the old diplomatic prophecy, was soon to lead
to the universal conflagration.  Organized as she was, Greece succeeded
better than anyone expected; and the national gratitude--the exuberant
gratitude of a Southern people--went out to the two men directly
responsible for that success: to King Constantine, whose brilliant
generalship beat the enemy hosts; and to M. Venizelos, whose able
statesmanship had prepared the field.  Poets and pamphleteers vied with
each other in expatiating on the wonders they had performed, to the
honour and advantage of their country.  In this ecstasy of popular
adoration the spirit of the soldier and the spirit of the lawyer seemed
to have met.

But the union was illusive and transient.  Between these two men, so
strangely flung together by destiny, there existed no link of sympathy;
and propinquity only forced the growth of their mutual antagonism.  The
seeds of discord had already borne fruit upon the common ground of
their Balkan exploits.  Immediately after the defeat of Turkey a
quarrel over the spoils arose among the victors.  King Constantine,
bearing in mind Bulgaria's long-cherished dream of hegemony, and
persuaded that no sacrifices made by Greece and Servia could do more
than defer a rupture, urged a Graeco-Servian alliance against their
truculent partner.  He looked at the matter from a purely Greek
standpoint and was anxious to secure the maximum of profit for his
country.  M. Venizelos, on the other hand, aware that the Western
Powers, and particularly England, wanted a permanent Balkan coalition
as a barrier against Germany in the East, and anxious to retain those
Powers' favour, was prepared to concede {6} much for the sake of
averting a rupture.  Not until the Bulgars betrayed their intentions by
actual aggressions in Macedonia did he withdraw his opposition to the
alliance with Servia, which ushered in the Second Balkan War and led to
the Peace of Bucharest.  He yielded to the pressure of the
circumstances brought to bear upon him; but the encounter represented
no more than the preliminary crossing of swords between two strong
antagonists.



{7}

CHAPTER I

From the moment when the rupture between Austria and Servia, in July,
1914, came to disturb the peace, Greece deliberately adopted an
attitude of neutrality, with the proviso that she would go to Servia's
assistance in case of a Bulgarian attack upon the latter.  Such an
attitude was considered to be in accordance with the Graeco-Servian
Alliance.  For, although the Military Convention accompanying the
Treaty contained a vague stipulation for mutual support in case of war
between one of the allied States and "a third Power," the Treaty itself
had as its sole object mutual defence against Bulgaria.[1]

In the opinion of M. Venizelos, her pact did not oblige Greece to go to
Servia's assistance against Austria, but at most to mobilize 40,000
men.[2]  Treaty obligations apart, neutrality was also imposed by
practical considerations.  It was to the interest of Greece--a matter
of self-preservation--not to tolerate a Bulgarian attack on Servia
calculated to upset the Balkan balance of power established by the
Peace of Bucharest, and she was firmly determined, in concert with
Rumania, to oppose such an attack with all her might.  But as to
Austria, M. Venizelos had to consider whether Greece could or could not
offer her ally effective aid, and after consideration he decided that
she {8} should not proceed even to the mobilization of 40,000 men, for
such a measure might provoke a Bulgarian mobilization and precipitate
complications.  For the rest, the attitude of Greece in face of
Servia's war with Austria, M. Venizelos pointed out, corresponded
absolutely with the attitude which Servia had taken up in face of
Greece's recent crisis with Turkey.[3]  On that occasion Greece had
obtained from her ally merely moral support, the view taken being that
the _casus faederis_ would arise only in the event of Bulgarian
intervention.[4]

Accordingly, when the Servian Government asked if it could count on
armed assistance from Greece, M. Streit, Minister for Foreign Affairs
under M. Venizelos, answered that the Greek Government was convinced
that it fully performed its duty as a friend and ally by adopting,
until Bulgaria moved, a policy of most benevolent neutrality.  The
co-operation of Greece in the war with Austria, far from helping, would
harm Servia; by becoming a belligerent Greece could only offer her ally
forces negligible compared with the enemy's, while she would inevitably
expose Salonica, the only port through which Servia could obtain war
material, to an Austrian attack; and, moreover, she would weaken her
army which, in the common interest, ought to be kept intact as a check
on Bulgaria.[5]

A similar communication, emphasizing the decision to keep out of the
conflict, and to intervene in concert with Rumania only should Bulgaria
by intervening against Servia jeopardize the _status quo_ established
by the Bucharest Treaty--in which case the action of Greece would have
a purely Balkan character--was made to the Greek Ministers abroad after
a Council held in the Royal Palace under the presidency of the King.[6]

This policy brought King Constantine into sharp collision with one of
the Central Powers, whose conceptions in regard to the Balkans had not
yet been harmonized.  Vienna readily acquiesced in the Greek
Government's declaration that it could not permit Bulgaria to
compromise {9} the Bucharest Treaty, and since by an eventual action
against Bulgaria Greece would not quarrel with Austria, the Austrian
Government, on its part, promised to abstain from manifesting any
solidarity with Bulgaria in the event of a Graeco-Bulgarian war.[7]
Not so Berlin.

The German Emperor egotistically presumed to dictate the course which
Greece should pursue, and on 31 July he invited King Constantine to
join Germany, backing the invitation with every appeal to sentiment and
interest he could think of.  The memory of his father, who had been
assassinated, made it impossible for Constantine to favour the Servian
assassins; never would Greece have a better opportunity of emancipating
herself, under the protection of the Central Powers, from the tutelage
which Russia aimed at exercising over the Balkan Peninsula; if,
contrary to the Kaiser's expectations, Greece took the other side, she
would be exposed to a simultaneous attack from Italy, Bulgaria and
Turkey, and by the same token all personal relations between him and
Constantine would be broken for ever.  He ended with the words: "I have
spoken frankly, and I beg you to let me know your decision without
delay and with the same absolute frankness."

He had nothing to complain of on that score.  King Constantine on 2
August replied that, while it was not the policy of Greece to take an
active part in the Austro-Servian conflict, it was equally impossible
for her "to make common cause with the enemies of the Serbs and to fall
upon them, since they are our allies.  It seems to me that the
interests of Greece demand an absolute neutrality and the maintenance
of the _status quo_ in the Balkans such as it has been created by the
Treaty of Bucharest."  He went on to add that Greece was determined, in
concert with Rumania, to prevent Bulgaria from aggrandizing herself at
the expense of Servia; if that happened, the balance in the Balkans
would be upset and it would bring about the very Russian tutelage which
the Kaiser feared.  "This way of thinking," he concluded, "is shared by
the whole of my people."

What the Kaiser thought of these opinions was summed up in one word on
the margin, "Rubbish."  This, however, was not meant for his
brother-in-law's ears.  To him he {10} used less terse language.  On 4
August he informed King Constantine through the Greek Minister in
Berlin that an alliance had that day been concluded between Germany and
Turkey, that Bulgaria and Rumania were similarly ranging themselves on
Germany's side, and that the German men-of-war in the Mediterranean
were going to join the Turkish fleet in order to act together.  Thus
all the Balkan States were siding with Germany in the struggle against
Slavism.  Would Greece alone stand out?  His Imperial Majesty appealed
to King Constantine as a comrade, as a German Field Marshal of whom the
German Army was proud, as a brother-in-law; he reminded him that it was
thanks to his support that Greece was allowed to retain Cavalla; he
begged him to mobilize his army, place himself by the Kaiser's side and
march hand in hand against the common enemy--Slavism.  He made this
urgent appeal for the last time, convinced that the King of Greece
would respond to it.  If not, all would be over between the two
countries--this being a slightly attenuated version of another marginal
note: "I will treat Greece as an enemy if she does not adhere at once."

King Constantine's answer was tactful but final: His personal
sympathies and his political opinions, he said, were on the Kaiser's
side.  But alas! that which the Kaiser asked him to do was completely
out of the question.  Greece could not under any conceivable
circumstances side against the Entente: the Mediterranean was at the
mercy of the united French and British fleets, which could destroy the
Greek marine, both royal and mercantile, take the Greek islands, and
wipe Greece off the map.  Things being so, neutrality, he declared, was
the only policy for Greece, and he ended up by meeting the Kaiser's
threat with a counter-threat, none the less pointed for being veiled
under the guise of an "assurance not to touch his friends among my
neighbours (i.e. Bulgaria and Turkey) as long as they do not touch our
local Balkan interests." [8]

{11}

Germany did not immediately resign herself to this rebuff.  The
Kaiser's Government thought King Constantine's attachment to neutrality
reasonable--for the present; but at the same time urged Greece to enter
as soon as possible into a secret understanding with Bulgaria and
Turkey for eventual action against Servia, describing the latter
country as the bear's skin of which it would be a good stroke of
business for Greece to secure a share.  The German Minister at Athens,
better acquainted with Greek views and feelings, took a less naïve
line.  He did not want Greece to attack her ally, but was content to
advise that she should free herself from the ties that bound her to
Servia, and in the event of Bulgarian aggression just leave her ally in
the lurch.  But, if he went less far than his chief in one direction,
he went farther in another, threatening, should Greece move on Servia's
behalf, to ask for his passport.  This threat, like all the others,
failed to move the Athens Government;[9] and, unable to gain Greece as
an ally, Germany was henceforth glad enough not to have her as an enemy.

So far all those responsible for the policy of Greece appeared to be
unanimous in the decision not to be drawn prematurely into the European
cataclysm, but to reserve her forces for the defence of the Balkan
equilibrium.  Under this apparent unanimity, however, lay divergent
tendencies.

King Constantine, a practical soldier, estimated that the European War
would be of long duration and doubtful issue: in this battle of giants
he saw no profit for pygmies, but only perils.  At the same time, he
did not forget that Greece had in Bulgaria and Turkey two embittered
enemies {12} who would most probably try to fish in the troubled
waters.  If they did so, he was prepared to fight; but to fight with a
definite objective and on a definite military plan which took into
account the elements of time, place, and resources.

The King's standpoint was shared by most Greek statesmen and soldiers
of note: they all, in varying degrees, stood for neutrality, with
possible intervention on the side of the Entente at some favourable
moment.  But it did not commend itself to his Premier.  Caution was
foreign to M. Venizelos's ambitious and adventurous temperament.
Military considerations had little meaning for his civilian mind.
Taking the speedy victory of the Entente as a foregone conclusion, and
imbued with a sort of mystical faith in his own prophetic insight and
star, he looked upon the European War as an occasion for Imperialist
aggrandizement which he felt that Greece ought to grasp without an
instant's delay.

It was not long before the underlying divergence came to the surface.

In the morning of 18 August, at a full Cabinet Meeting, M. Streit
mentioned that the Russian Minister had privately referred to the
possibility of Greece sending 150,000 men to fight with Servia against
the Austrians on the Danube--far away from the Greek Army's natural
base in Macedonia.  On hearing this M. Venizelos impulsively declared
that he was ready to place all the Greek forces at the disposal of the
Entente Powers in accordance with their invitation.  M. Streit
remonstrated that there had been no "invitation," but at most a
sounding from one of the Entente Ministers, which Greece should meet
with a counter-sounding, in order to learn to what extent the
suggestion was serious.  Further, he objected that, before Greece
committed herself, it was necessary to find out where she would be
expected to fight, the conditions under which she would fight, and the
compensations which she would receive in the event of victory.  As a
last resort he proposed to adjourn the discussion until the afternoon.
But M. Venizelos answered that there was no time to lose: the War would
be over in three weeks.[10]  Whereupon {13} M. Streit resigned, and M.
Venizelos offered to the Entente Ministers the adhesion of Greece
forthwith.

The terms in which this offer was couched have never been divulged; but
from the French Minister's descriptions of it as made "_à titre
gracieux_" and "_sans conditions,_" [11] it seems to have been
unconditional and unqualified.  On the other hand, M. Venizelos at a
later period explained that he had offered to place Greece at the
disposal of the Entente Powers, if Turkey went to war with them.[12]
And it is not improbable that the primary objective in his mind was
Turkey, who still refused to relinquish her claims to the islands
conquered by the Greeks in 1912, and had just strengthened her navy
with two German units, the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_.  However that
may be, King Constantine seconded the offer, expressing himself quite
willing to join the Entente there and then with the whole of his army,
but stipulating, on the advice of the General Staff, that the Greek
forces should not be moved to any place where they could not, if need
arose, operate against Bulgaria.

The King of England telegraphed to the King of Greece, thanking him for
the proposal, which, he said, his Government would consider.  The
French and Russian Governments expressed lively satisfaction, France,
however, adding: "For the moment we judge that Greece must use all her
efforts to make Turkey observe her promised neutrality, and to avoid
anything that might lead the Turkish Government to abandon its
neutrality."  The British answer, when it came at last, was to the same
effect: England wished by all means to avoid a collision with Turkey
and advised that Greece also should avoid a collision.  She only
suggested for the present an understanding between the Staffs with a
view to eventual action.

This suggestion was apparently a concession to Mr. Winston Churchill,
who just then had formed the opinion that Turkey would join the Central
Powers, and had arranged with Lord Kitchener that two officers of the
Admiralty should meet two officers of the War Office to work out a plan
for the seizure, by means of a Greek army, of the {14} Gallipoli
Peninsula, with a view to admitting a British fleet to the Sea of
Marmara.[13] But it no way affected the British Government's policy.
The utmost that England and France were prepared to do in order to meet
the offer of Greece, and that only if she were attacked, was to prevent
the Turkish fleet from coming out of the Dardanelles; France also
holding out some hope of financial assistance, but none of war material
on an adequate scale.[14]

Such a reception of his advances was not very flattering to M.
Venizelos--it made him look foolish in the eyes of those who had
pleaded against precipitancy; and he took the earliest opportunity to
vent his ill-humour.  King Constantine, in a reply to the British
Admiralty drafted with Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, stated that he would not
fight Turkey unless attacked by her--a statement in strict consonance
with the wishes of the Entente Powers at the time.  But M. Venizelos
objected.  After his own declarations to the Entente Ministers, and
after the exchange of telegrams with the King of England, he told his
sovereign he did not consider this reply possible.  Turkey was their
enemy, and was it wise for them to reject a chance of fighting her with
many and powerful allies, so that they might eventually have to fight
her single-handed?[15]

Thus M. Venizelos argued, in the face of express evidence that those
allies did not desire the immediate participation of Greece in a war
against Turkey--because, anxious above all things to establish close
contact with them, he wanted the offer to remain open: "a promise that,
should at any time the Powers consider us useful in a war against
Turkey . . . we would be at their disposal." [16]  And he professed
himself unable to understand how a course which appeared so clear to
him could possibly be obscure to others.  But he had a theory--a theory
which served him henceforward as a stock explanation of every
difference of opinion, and in which the political was skilfully mixed
{15} with the personal factor.  According to this theory, when face to
face with M. Venizelos, the King seldom failed to be convinced; but as
soon as M. Venizelos withdrew, he changed his mind.  This happened not
once, but many times.[17]  We have here a question of psychology which
cannot be casually dismissed.  M. Venizelos's persuasive powers are
notorious, and it is highly probable that King Constantine underwent
the fascination which this man had for others.  But behind it all,
according to the Venizelist theory, lurked another element:

"What, I think, confuses things and begets in the mind of your Majesty
and of M. Streit tendencies opposed to those supported by me, is the
wish not to displease Germany by undertaking a war against Turkey in
co-operation with Powers hostile to her."  Although M. Streit had laid
down his portfolio, he continued to be consulted by the King, with the
result, M. Venizelos complained, that the difference of opinions
between the ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs and himself was fast
developing into a divergence of courses between the Crown and the
Cabinet: such a state of things was obviously undesirable, and M.
Venizelos, "in order to facilitate the restoration of full harmony
between the Crown and its responsible advisers," offered his
resignation.[18]

M. Venizelos did not resign after all.  But his letter marks an epoch
none the less.  At first, as we have seen, the avowed policy of the
Premier, of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and of the King was the
same.  The difference which now emerges is that M. Venizelos desired to
throw Greece into the War immediately, without conditions and without
any invitation from the Entente, while the King and M. Streit were more
circumspect.  M. Venizelos chose to interpret their circumspection as
prompted by regard for Germany, and did not hesitate to convey this
view to Entente quarters.  It was, perhaps, a plausible insinuation,
since the King had a German wife and M. Streit was of German descent.
But, as a matter of fact, at the moment when it was made, King
Constantine voluntarily presented to the British Admiralty through
Admiral Kerr the plans for the taking of the Dardanelles which his
Staff had {16} elaborated, and for a long time afterwards continued to
supply the British Government, through the same channel, with
information from his secret service.[19]



[1] See Art. 1 of the Military Convention.  As this article originally
stood, the promise of mutual support was expressly limited to the "case
of war between Greece and Bulgaria or between Servia and Bulgaria."  It
was altered at the eleventh hour at Servia's request, and not without
objections on the part of Greek military men, into a "case of war
between one of the allied States and a third Power breaking out under
the circumstances foreseen by the Graeco-Servian Treaty of Alliance."
But the only circumstances foreseen and provided for by that Treaty
relate to war with Bulgaria, and it is a question whether any other
interpretation would stand before a court of International Law, despite
the "third Power" phrase in the Military Convention.  All the documents
are to be found in the _White Book_, Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6.

[2] See Art. 5 of the Military Convention.

[3] _White Book_, Nos. 19, 20, 22.

[4] _White Book_, Nos. 11, 13, 14.

[5] _White Book_, No. 23.

[6] Streit to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petersburg, Berlin,
Vienna, Rome, Constantinople, Bucharest, Sofia, Nish.  (No. 23,800.)

[7] _Ibid._

[8] Part of the correspondence is to be found in _Die deutschen
Dokumente zum Kriegsausbruch_, by Count Mongelas and Prof. Walter
Schuking; part in the _White Book_, Nos. 24 and 26.  As much
acrimonious discussion has arisen over King Constantine's last
dispatch, it is worth while noting the circumstances under which it was
sent.  Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, Chief of the British Naval Mission in
Greece, relates how the King brought the Kaiser's telegram and read it
to him: "He was indignant at the interference in his country's affairs.
However, to stop such telegrams coming in daily, he determined to send
on this occasion a sympathetic answer."  (See _The Times_, 9 Dec.,
1920.)  The communication, therefore, was no secret from the British
Government.  Nor was it from M. Venizelos; for the King's dispatch is
but a summary of an identical declaration made by M. Venizelos's
Government itself to the German Government: Streit to Greek Legation,
Berlin, 26 July/8 Aug., 1914.  Though omitted from the _White Book_,
this document may now be read in the _Balkan Review_, Dec., 1920, pp.
381-3.

[9] _White Book_, Nos. 28, 29, 30.

[10] My authority for this glimpse behind the scenes is M. Streit
himself.

[11] Deville, pp. 119, 128.

[12] _Orations_, pp. 93-4.

[13] _Dardanelles Commission_.  _Supplement to First Report_, par. 45.

[14] Gennadius, London, 20 Aug./2 Sept.; 21 Aug./3 Sept.; 23 Aug./5
Sept.; Romanos, Paris, 16/29 Aug., 1914.

[15] _White Book_, No. 31.

[16] See _Orations_, p. 103.

[17] _Ibid_, pp. 41-2, 98.

[18] _White Book_, No. 31.

[19] See the Admiral's statements in the _Weekly Dispatch_, 21 Nov.,
and in _The Times_, 9 Dec., 1920.  Though the plans in question were
not used, they were among the very few sources of reliable information
with which Sir Ian Hamilton left England to take up the command of the
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.--_Dardanelles Commission, Final
Report_, par. 17.



{17}

CHAPTER II

Before proceeding any further with the development of the position in
Greece, it will be well to cast a glance on the attitudes maintained by
the other Balkan States and the views entertained towards them by the
Entente Powers.  One must know all the possible combinations on the
Balkan chess-board before one can profitably study or estimate the real
place of the Greek pawn.

Bulgaria proclaimed her firm intention to remain neutral; but, to judge
from the Greek diplomatic representatives' reports, there was every
indication that she only awaited a favourable opportunity, such as some
brilliant military success of the Central Powers, in order to invade
Servia without risk.  Meanwhile, well-armed irregular bands, equipped by
the Bulgarian Government and commanded by Bulgarian officers "on
furlough," made their appearance on the Servian frontier, and the
Bulgarian Press daily grew more hostile in its tone.[1]

Alarmed by these symptoms, the Greek General Staff renewed the efforts
which it had been making since the beginning of 1914, to concert plans
with the Servian military authorities for common action in accordance
with their alliance, and asked the Servian Minister of War if, in case
Bulgaria ordered a general mobilization, Servia would be disposed to
bring part of her forces against her, so as to prevent the concentration
of the Bulgarian army and give the Greek army time to mobilize.  The
reply was that, if Bulgaria did order mobilization, the Serbs were
obliged to turn against her with all their available forces.  Only, as
Austria had just started an offensive, nobody could know how many forces
they would have available--perhaps they could face the situation with the
25,000 or 30,000 men in the new provinces; but, in {18} any case, it did
not seem that Bulgaria meant to mobilize, or, if she did, it would be
against Turkey.  A little later, in answer to another Greek step, M.
Passitch, the Servian Premier, after a conference with the military
chiefs, stated that, as long as there was no imminent danger from
Bulgaria, Servia could not draw troops from the Austrian frontier,
because of her engagements towards the Entente, and that, should the
danger become imminent, Servia would have to consult first the
Entente.[2]  By Entente, he meant especially Russia, for M.  Sazonow had
already told the Greek Minister at Petrograd that it was all-important
that the Servian army should be left free to devote its whole strength
against the Austrians.[3]

Rumania, on whose co-operation Greece counted for restraining Bulgaria
and preserving the balance established by the Treaty of Bucharest,
maintained an equivocal attitude: both belligerent groups courted her,
and it was as yet uncertain which would prevail.[4]  For the present
Rumanian diplomacy was directed to the formation of a Balkan _bloc_ of
neutrality--between Rumania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece--which might
enable those four States to remain at peace with each other and the whole
world, exempt from outside interference.  The first step to the
realization of this idea, the Rumanian Government considered, was a
settlement of the differences between Greece and Turkey; and, in
compliance with its invitation, both States sent their plenipotentiaries
to Bucharest.

The only result of this mission was to enlighten the Hellenic Government
on Turkey's real attitude.  At the very first sitting, the Turkish
delegate, Talaat Bey, in answer to a remark that the best thing for the
Balkan States would be to keep out of the general conflagration, blurted
out: "But Turkey is no longer free as to her movements"--an avowal of the
Germano-Turkish alliance which the Greeks already knew from the Kaiser's
own indiscretions.  After that meeting, in a conversation with the
Rumanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, which that gentleman reported to
the Greeks, Talaat said that, in his opinion, Greece could ignore her
Servian alliance, for, {19} as things stood, she might find herself at
war, not only with Bulgaria, but also with Turkey--a contingency not
foreseen when that alliance was made.  From these utterances the Greeks
derived a clear impression that Talaat acted on a plan drawn up in
Berlin.[5]  For the rest, the despatch of the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_
to Constantinople, followed by the continued arrival of German officers
and sailors for the Ottoman Navy, spoke for themselves.  M. Sazonow
shared the Greek conviction that Turkey had made up her mind, and that no
amount of concessions would avail: "It is," he said to the Greek Minister
at Petrograd, "an abscess which must burst." [6]  The Greeks had even
reason to suspect that Turkey was secretly negotiating an agreement with
Bulgaria, and on this point also the information of the Russian
Government confirmed theirs.[7]

It was his intimate knowledge of the Balkan situation that had inspired
King Constantine's proposal to the Entente Powers in August for common
action against Turkey, qualified with the stipulation of holding Bulgaria
in check.  The proposal took cognizance of Balkan difficulties and might
perhaps have solved them, had it been accepted: an advance of the Greek
army on Thrace, combined with a naval attack by the British Fleet, early
in September, might have settled Turkey, secured Bulgaria's neutrality,
if not indeed her co-operation, or forced her into a premature
declaration of hostility, and decided Rumania to throw in her lot with us.

But the Entente Powers were not yet ripe for action against Turkey: they
were still playing--with what degree of seriousness is a delicate
question--for the neutrality of Turkey, and for that Greek neutrality was
necessary.  As to Bulgaria, our diplomacy harboured a different project:
the reconstruction of the Balkan League of 1912 in our favour, on the
basis of territorial concessions to be made to Bulgaria by Servia and
Greece, who were to be compensated by dividing Albania between them.
Greece also had from England an alternative suggestion--expansion in Asia
Minor: a vague and {20} unofficial hint, destined to assume imposing
dimensions later on.  At this stage, however, the whole project lacked
precise outline.  One plan of the reconstructed League included
Rumania--who also was to make concessions to Bulgaria and to receive
compensations at the expense of Austria; and the League was to be brought
into the field on the side of the Entente.  Another plan had less
ambitious aims: Servia and Greece by conciliating Bulgaria were to
prevent a combination of Rumania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, or of Bulgaria
and Turkey, on the side of the Central Powers.  The more sanguine plan
was especially cherished by Great Britain; the other by Russia, who
feared a Rumano-Bulgaro-Turkish combination against her.  But the
key-stone in both was Bulgaria, whose co-operation, or at least
neutrality, was to be purchased at the cost of Servia and Greece.[8]
Meanwhile, the less serious the Entente Powers' hopes for Turkey's
neutrality, the more lively their anxiety must have been about Bulgaria's
attitude; and it is not improbable that in repelling King Constantine's
offer, they were actuated not so much by the wish to avoid Turkish
hostility--the reason given--as by the fear lest the stipulation which
accompanied his offer, if accepted, should provoke Bulgaria.

Highly speculative as this project was, it might have materialized if
Serbs and Greeks were willing to pay the price.  But neither Serbs nor
Greeks would think of such a thing.  At the mere report that they were
about to be asked to cede Cavalla, the Greeks went mad, and M.  Venizelos
himself, though he favoured the reconstruction of the Balkan League,
loudly threatened, if the demand was formulated, to resign.  Whereupon,
his consternation having been transmitted to the Entente capitals, he
received an assurance that no demand of the sort would be made[9]--for
the present.



[1] Naoum, Sofia, 11, 20 Aug. (O.S.); Alexandropoulos, Nish, 19 July, 19
Aug. (O.S.), 1914.

[2] Alexandropoulos, Nish, 31 July, 19, 26 Aug. (O.S.) 1914.

[3] Dragoumis, Petersburg, 20 Aug. (O.S.), 1914.

[4] Politis, Bucharest, 27 Aug. (O.S.), 1914.

[5] Politis, Bucharest, 15 Aug. (O.S.), 1914.

[6] Dragoumis, Petersburg, 17 Aug. (O.S.), 1914.

[7] Dragoumis, _ibid._

[8] Gennadius, London, 8, 10, 15, 23 Aug.; Romanos, Paris, 31 July, 16
Aug.; Dragoumis, Petersburg, 31 July, 12, 20 Aug.; Naoum, Sofia, 31 July,
11, 20, 23 Aug.; Alexandropoulos, Nish, 18 Aug.; Papadiamantopoulos,
Bucharest, 25 July (O.S.), 1914.

[9] Venizelos to Greek Legations, Petersburg, Bordeaux, London, 2 Sept.
(O.S.), 1914.



{21}

CHAPTER III

Two tasks now lay before the Allies in the East: to help Servia, and to
attack Turkey, who had entered the War on 31 October.  Both enterprises
were "under consideration"--which means that the Entente Cabinets were
busy discussing both and unable to decide on either.  Distracted by
conflicting aims and hampered by inadequate resources, they could not act
except tentatively and in an experimental fashion.

At the beginning of November the representatives of France, England, and
Russia at Athens collectively seconded a Servian appeal for assistance to
M. Venizelos, which the Greek Premier met with a flat refusal.  He gave
his reasons: such action, he said, would infallibly expose Greece to
aggression from Bulgaria, and it was more than probable that an automatic
agreement between Bulgaria and Turkey might engage the Greek army in a
struggle with the forces of three Powers at once.  Even if the attack
came from Bulgaria alone, he added, the Greek army needed three weeks to
concentrate at Salonica and another month to reach the theatre of the
Austro-Servian conflict, and in that interval the Bulgarian army,
invading Servia, would render impossible all contact between the Greek
and Servian armies.  The Entente Ministers endeavoured to overcome these
objections by assuring M. Venizelos that Bulgaria could not possibly
range herself against Russia, France, and England; and besides, they
said, their Governments could ask Rumania to guarantee Bulgarian
neutrality.  M. Venizelos replied that, if the co-operation of Bulgaria
with Rumania and Greece were secured, then the Greeks could safely assist
Servia in an effective manner; or the next best thing might be an
undertaking by Rumania to guarantee the neutrality of Bulgaria; and he
proceeded to ascertain the Rumanian Government's views on the subject.
He learnt that, in {22} answer to a question put to the Rumanian Premier
by the Entente Ministers at Bucharest, "whether he would undertake to
guarantee the neutrality of Bulgaria towards Greece if the latter Power
sent succour to the Serbs," M. Bratiano, while professing the greatest
goodwill towards Greece and the Entente, declined to give any such
undertaking.[1]  Add another important fact to which the Greek Government
had its attention very earnestly drawn about this time--that not only
Servia, but even Belgium, experienced the greatest difficulty in
procuring from France the munitions and money necessary for continuing
the struggle.[2]

In the circumstances, there was no alternative for M. Venizelos but to
adopt the prudent attitude which on other occasions he was pleased to
stigmatize as "pro-German."  True, his refusal to move in November was
hardly consistent with his eagerness to do so in August; but, taking into
account his temperament, we must assume that he had made that rash _à
titre gracieux_ offer blindfold.  Events had not borne out his
predictions of a speedy victory, and, though his faith in the ultimate
triumph of the Entente remained unshaken, he had come to realize that,
for the present at any rate, it behoved Hellas to walk warily.[3]

Some ten weeks passed, and then (23 January, 1915) Sir Edward Grey again
asked M. Venizelos for assistance to Servia in the common interest; as
Austria and Germany seemed bent on crushing her, it was essential that
all who could should lend her their support.  If Greece ranged herself by
Servia's side as her ally, the Entente Powers would willingly accord her
very important territorial concessions on the Asia Minor Coast.  The
matter was {23} urgent, for, were Servia crushed, though the ultimate
defeat of Austria and Germany would not be thereby affected, there would
during the War come about in the Balkans accomplished facts which would
make it difficult or even impossible for either Servia or Greece to
obtain afterwards arrangements as favourable as those actually in view.
Conversely, the immediate participation of Greece and Rumania in the War
would, by bringing about the defeat of Austria, secure the realization of
Greek, Rumanian and Servian aspirations.  To render such participation
effective, it was desirable that Bulgaria should be assured that, if
Servian and Greek aspirations elsewhere were realized, she would obtain
satisfactory compensations in Macedonia, on condition that she came in or
at least maintained a not malevolent neutrality.  But the question of
compensations affected chiefly Servia: all he asked of M. Venizelos on
that point was not to oppose any concessions that Servia might be
inclined to make to Bulgaria.

Whether this semi-official request amounted to a proposal or was merely
in the nature of a suggestion is hard to determine.  But M. Venizelos
seems to have understood it in the latter sense, for in speaking of it he
made use of the very informal adjective "absurd."  No one, indeed, could
seriously believe that Bulgaria would be induced to co-operate, or even
to remain neutral, by the hypothetical and partial promises which Sir
Edward Grey indicated; and with a potentially hostile Bulgaria in her
flank Greece could not march to Servia's aid.  So M. Venizelos, under the
impulse of ambition, set his energetic brain to work, and within a few
hours produced a scheme calculated to correct the "absurdity" of the
British notion, to earn the gratitude of the Entente to himself, and an
Asiatic Empire for his country.  It was nothing less than a complete
reversal of his former attitude: that Greece should not only withdraw her
opposition to concessions on the part of Servia, but should voluntarily
sacrifice Cavalla to the Bulgars, provided they joined the Allies
forthwith.  This scheme he embodied in a lengthy memorandum which he
submitted to the King.

M. Venizelos recognized how painful a sacrifice the cession of Cavalla
would be, and therefore he had to use very strong arguments to commend it
to his Majesty.  In the {24} first place, he emphasized the imperative
need of helping Servia, since, should Servia be crushed, the
Austro-German armies might be tempted to advance on Salonica, or Bulgaria
might be invited to take possession of Servian Macedonia, in which case
Greece would have either to let the Balkan balance of power go by the
board, or, in accordance with her Treaty, go to Servia's assistance under
much more disadvantageous conditions.  In the second place, he argued
that the sacrifice of Cavalla was well worth making, since Greece would
eventually receive in Asia Minor compensations which would render her
greater and more powerful than the most sanguine Greek could even have
dreamt a few years before; and in Macedonia itself the loss of Cavalla
could be partially compensated for by a rectification of frontiers
involving the acquisition from Servia of the Doiran-Ghevgheli district.

In the event of Bulgaria accepting Cavalla and the Servian concessions as
the price of her alliance, M. Venizelos argued that the outcome would be
a reconstructed League of the Balkan States which would not only ensure
them against defeat, but would materially contribute to the victory of
the Entente Powers: even the ideal of a lasting Balkan Federation might
be realized by a racial readjustment through an interchange of
populations.  Should Bulgarian greed prove impervious, Greece must secure
the co-operation of Rumania, without which it would be too risky for her
to move.[4]

Sacrifices of territory, in King Constantine's opinion, were out of the
question; but he thought that, if Rumania agreed to co-operate, it might
be possible for Greece to go to Servia's assistance, as in that case
Bulgaria could perhaps be held in check by Rumanian and Greek forces left
along her northern and southern frontiers.  The Bucharest Government was
accordingly sounded, and returned an answer too evasive to justify
reliance on its co-operation.  So M. Venizelos fell back on the scheme of
buying Bulgarian co-operation by the cession of Cavalla, and submitted a
second memorandum to the King.

If the first of these documents was remarkable for its optimism, the
second might justly be described as a {25} masterpiece of faith pure and
undefiled by any contact with sordid facts.  Its theme is the magnitude
of the compensations which Greece might expect in return for her entry
into the War: "I have a feeling," says the author, "that the concessions
in Asia Minor suggested by Sir Edward Grey can, especially if we submit
to sacrifices to the Bulgars, assume such dimensions as to double the
size of Greece.  I believe that if we demanded"--he specifies in detail a
vast portion of Western Asia Minor--"our demand would probably be
granted."  He calculated that the surface of this territory exceeds
125,000 (the figure was soon raised to 140,000) square kilometres, while
the area to be ceded in Macedonia did not exceed 2,000 square kilometres,
and that loss would be further halved by the acquisition from Servia of
the Doiran-Ghevgheli district, which covered some 1,000 square
kilometres.  Thus, in point of territory, Greece would be giving up a
hundred and fortieth part of what she would be getting.  In point of
population also Greece would be receiving twenty-five times as much as
she would be sacrificing--an accretion of 800,000 as against a loss of
30,000 souls; and that loss could be obviated by obliging Bulgaria to buy
up the property of the Cavalla Greeks, who, he had no doubt, would gladly
emigrate _en masse_ to Asia Minor, to reinforce the Greek element there.
How was it possible to hesitate about seizing such an opportunity--an
opportunity for the creation of a Greece powerful on land and supreme in
the Aegean Sea--"an opportunity verily presented to us by Divine
Providence for the realization of our most audacious national
ideals"--presented to-day and never likely to occur again?

M. Venizelos did not doubt but that a transaction which appeared so
desirable and feasible to him must appear equally desirable and feasible
to others: and great was his surprise to find that such was by no means
the case.  The General Staff, he complained, "seem, strangely, not
attracted strongly by these views."  And the same might be said of
everyone who judged, not by the glow of prophetic insight, but by a cold
examination of facts.  When Asia Minor was first mentioned to the Greek
Minister in London, that shrewd diplomat answered:  "Greece would not
commit such a folly, for the day she set foot in {26} Asia Minor she
would find herself up against Great Powers as well as against Turkey."
[5]  At Athens to this objection were added others not less weighty.  The
General Staff pointed out that Greece had neither the men nor the money
required for the permanent occupation and efficient administration of
that distant region.  They feared both the difficulties of defending
those Turkish territories in Asia and the danger of future attack from
Bulgaria in Europe.  In short, they held that Greece by embarking on what
they aptly termed a Colonial policy would be undertaking responsibilities
wholly incommensurate with her resources.[6]

Dangers and difficulties! cried M. Venizelos: can you allow such things
to stand in the way of national ideals?  And he proceeded to demolish the
obstructions: the administrative success achieved in Macedonia proved
that the resources of Greece were equal to fresh responsibilities; the
Turks of Asia Minor--after the total disappearance of the Ottoman Empire,
which he deemed inevitable--would become contented and law-abiding Greek
subjects, and at all events the local Greek population would in a very
short space of time supply all the forces needed to maintain order in
Asia, leaving the main Greek army free for the defence of the European
frontiers.  During that brief period of transition, he thought it easy to
form an agreement with the Entente Powers for military assistance against
a Bulgarian attack, or, even without the Entente, "should the Bulgars be
so demented by the Lord as to attempt aggression, I have not the
slightest doubt that Servia, moved by her treaty obligations, her
interests, and her gratitude for our present aid, would again co-operate
with us to humble Bulgarian insolence." [7]

Thus at a moment's notice M. Venizelos became an impassioned advocate of
the policy of which he had hitherto been an impassioned opponent, and he
would have us believe that the King, persuaded by his eloquence,
authorised him to carry out his new plan.  Be that as it may, M.
Venizelos did not avail himself of this permission.  {27} For almost
simultaneously came the news of a Bulgarian loan contracted in the
Austro-German market--an event which made him abandon all hopes of
conciliating Bulgaria and profiting by the British overture.  During the
months when the revival of the Balkan League was perhaps still
practicable, he had combated the only expedient which might have given it
a chance of realization: by the time he became a convert, it was too late.

The Balkan situation remained as it was before Sir Edward Grey's
suggestion: so much so that, when a few days later the Entente Powers
again asked Greece to go to Servia's relief, offering her as security
against the Bulgarian danger to transport to Macedonia a French and a
British division, M. Venizelos, considering such security insufficient,
again refused;[8] a refusal which, justified though it was, gave great
umbrage.[9]

While the Greek Premier was going through these mental evolutions, the
scene of Entente activity shifted: and his flexible mind perforce veered
in a new direction.

As far back as 3 November, the outer forts of the Dardanelles had been
subjected to a brief bombardment with the object of testing the range of
their guns; and by 25 November the idea of a serious attack on the
Straits had engaged the attention of the British War Council.  But no
decision was arrived at until January, when Russia, hard pressed by the
Turks on the Caucasus, begged for a demonstration against them in some
other quarter.  In compliance with this appeal, the British War Council
then decided to attempt to force the Dardanelles by means of the Navy
alone.  After the failure of the naval attack of 19 February, however, it
was realized that the operations would have to be supplemented by
military action;[10] and as the magnitude of the enterprise became
clearer and the troops at the disposal of England and France were very
limited, the need of securing Balkan allies became more obvious.

From the first greater importance was attached to Bulgarian co-operation
than to Greek.  Even the grant of {28} a loan to Sofia by the Central
Powers appears to have produced little or no impression upon those
concerned.  Long afterwards it was admitted as a self-evident proposition
that belligerents do not lend to neutrals without being satisfied that
their money will not be used against themselves.  But at the time, after
a momentary shock, the Entente Governments were deluded, either by
Bulgarian diplomacy or by their own wishes, into the belief that
"Bulgaria would not commit the stupidity to refuse the advantages
offered." [11]  Nor, in thus reckoning on enlightened bad faith, were
they alone.  M. Venizelos, who a moment before had declared that the loan
had opened his eyes to the fact "that Bulgaria was definitely committed
to the Central Powers," now felt quite sure that, "notwithstanding the
loan, Bulgaria was capable of betraying her then friends and turning
towards those who promised her greater profits." [12]  Anxious,
therefore, to forestall the Bulgars, and concerned by the thought that he
had been obliged on three occasions to decline requests from the Entente,
he spontaneously proposed, on 1 March, to offer three Greek divisions for
the Dardanelles expedition, stating that this proposal was made with King
Constantine's assent.[13]

As a matter of fact, neither the King nor his General Staff approved of
M. Venizelos's strategy.  Having made a systematic study of the
Dardanelles problem, they judged that the Allies' enterprise, even under
the most skilful handling, presented but few chances, and those chances
had been discounted in advance by utter want of skilful handling: the
bombardment of the Straits in the previous November had given the Turks
warning of the blow and ample time to prepare against it--and the Turks
were no longer the happy-go-lucky fellows upon whose inefficiency one
might formerly have counted; they now mounted guard over the gates of
their capital equipped with German guns and commanded by German officers.
The enterprise was likely to become more hazardous still by arousing the
jealousy of the Bulgars.  If, therefore, Greece did join in, besides all
the other risks, she would expose herself to a {29} Bulgarian assault;
and with a considerable portion of her forces engaged in Gallipoli, and
no prospect either of Servian or of Rumanian assistance, how was she to
face that assault?

The King's disapproval was known to no one better than to M. Venizelos
himself.  But, for all that, he felt entitled to tell the British
Minister at Athens that he had the King's assent.  Here is his own
explanation: "The King was opposed to the enterprise.  I sought another
interview in order to speak to him again on the subject, and took with me
a third memorandum"--which has never been published, and cannot yet be
published.  "I asked him to let me read it to him, for in it were set
forth fully all the arguments which, in my opinion, imposed co-operation.
I read it.  I saw that the King became agitated.  For--I must do him that
justice--he rarely remained unconvinced when face to face with me.  So
profound was the emotion with which I spoke, so powerful were the
arguments which I used that the King, greatly moved, said to me: 'Well,
then, in the name of God.'  That is, he assented." [14]

However, the General Staff remained unconvinced; and Colonel Metaxas, a
brilliant soldier, then Acting-Chief of the Staff, resigned as a protest
against military proposals being made by a Greek minister to other
countries without previous consultation with the military experts of his
own.  M. Venizelos, on his part, was indignant that mere soldiers should
presume to meddle with the plans of statesmen; his view being that the
Staff's business was simply to carry out the policy of the Government.
Nevertheless, impressed by this resignation, he suggested the meeting of
a Crown Council composed of all the ex-Premiers, that their opinions
might be heard.  The Council met on 3 March and again on 5 March.  At the
first sitting M. Venizelos admitted that the objections of the military
experts, without altering his own convictions, might still inspire doubt
as to which policy was preferable: neutrality or intervention.  Should
the policy of neutrality be adopted, it must be carried on by a new
Cabinet, to which he would accord his parliamentary support.  At the
second sitting he endeavoured to remove the objections of the military
experts by reducing his proposed contribution to the {30} Gallipoli
expedition from three divisions to one, which should be replaced in the
existing cadres by a division of reserves, so as to leave the Greek Army
practically intact against a possible attack from Bulgaria.  And having
thus modified the conditions of intervention, he refused to entertain any
other policy or to support a Cabinet pledged to neutrality.[15]

Momentarily infected by the Cretan's enthusiasm, nearly all present urged
upon the King the acceptance of his proposal; one of them, M. Rallis,
even going so far as to say: "Sire, pray consider that you have a
Government clothed with the full confidence of the nation.  Let it carry
out its policy.  Else, you will incur undue responsibility."  The King's
answer was: "If you wish it, I will abdicate." [16]  He would rather give
up his crown than assume the responsibility of sanctioning a policy which
his whole military training and experience told him was insane and
suicidal: how justly, the event soon showed.  The losses of men and ships
which Gallipoli cost far exceeded the whole of Greece's military and
naval resources; and if that cost proved more than embarrassing to
England and France, it would have literally ruined Greece.  M. Rallis and
the other ex-Premiers in less than a fortnight gratefully recognised the
justness of the King's opposition to their views,[17] and thenceforth
parted company with M. Venizelos.

Meanwhile M. Venizelos hastened from the Palace to the British Legation,
and, "in order to save time till he could make an official _démarche_,"
he made to the Entente Ministers there assembled a semi-official
communication to this effect: "Following the natural evolution of its
policy of solidarity with the Entente Powers, the Royal Government has
judged that the Dardanelles operations afford it a favourable occasion to
translate its sentiments into deeds by abandoning its neutrality and
offering its co-operation in that enterprise with the whole of its Fleet
and one division of its army."  All this, "though the King {31} has not
yet given his adhesion." [18]  His hurry arose from the belief that the
Allies would reach Constantinople in a few days.

But the General Staff still remained unconvinced.  Yes, they said, one
division to begin with; but what if the Allies get stuck in the Straits,
as we believe they will be, and call upon us for more?  And, once we join
them, how can we refuse to supply their needs?  We shall be incurring
unlimited liabilities.  So the King, who had full confidence in his
military advisers, and who could not bring himself to look upon the
Gallipoli adventure as a "serious enterprise," [19] declined his adhesion
to M. Venizelos's plan; and M. Venizelos resigned in wrath (6 March).

Then came the Entente replies to his communication; from which it
appeared that, as in August, 1914, so now the impetuous Cretan ran ahead
of the Powers: that, whilst he was inveighing against everyone who would
not let Greece co-operate with them, they had not yet even agreed as to
whether they desired her co-operation.

England regarded the communication as a merely preliminary and
preparatory step, and waited for a definite proposal after the King's
decision, when she would consult with her allies.  France and Russia
insisted on the impossibility of Greece limiting her participation to a
war against Turkey alone: to be an effective partner of the Entente,
Greece must be prepared to fight Austria and Germany also.  France added
that the question of the participation of Greece in the Dardanelles
enterprise could not be a useful subject of discussion between the Allies
until a definite decision by the Greek Government was taken.  Russia did
not even envisage the usefulness of such a discussion.  M. Sazonow
pointedly declared that he did not consider Greek co-operation in the
Dardanelles at all necessary, that the question of the Straits and of
Constantinople ought to be settled by the Entente Powers alone without
the intervention of third parties, and that Russia did not desire the
entry of a Greek army into Constantinople, though she had no objection to
its operating against Smyrna or elsewhere.[20]

{32}

Some days later, it is true, M. Delcassé affirmed that he had overcome
Russia's repugnance;[21] but, though it is probable that Russia, yielding
to pressure, would have accepted the participation of Greek troops, she
made no secret of her satisfaction at not having had to do so: "We
heartily consent to your receiving large compensations in Asia Minor,"
said the Russian Minister at Athens, in the presence of his British
colleague, to a high official of the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
"But as to Constantinople, we prefer that you should not come there; it
would afterwards be painful for you and disagreeable for everybody to
turn you out." [22]

M. Venizelos knew these views perfectly well, and did not covet
Constantinople: what he coveted, so far as material gains went, were the
large compensations in Asia Minor.[23]  There lay the chief objective of
his strategy, and its net outcome was to widen the breach between him and
those elements in the country which still believed that the policy of
Greece must be governed by the solid necessities of the Balkan situation,
not by nebulous visions of Imperialist expansion.



[1] Psycha to Venizelos, Bucharest, 23 Oct./6 Nov.; Venizelos to Greek
Legations, London, Bordeaux, Petersburg, 24 Oct./7 Nov., 1914.

[2] Romanos, Bordeaux, 19 Nov., 1914.

[3] He explained, three years afterwards, that at the time of making his
offer of 18 Aug., 1914, he bore in mind "the impossibility of going to
Servia's assistance on account of the danger from Bulgaria."--_Orations_,
p. 93.  But precisely similar was the objection to going against Turkey
without a guarantee of Bulgarian neutrality: only the Bulgars, in the one
case, would have been on Greece's left flank and in the other on the
right.  The truth seems to be that the vision of M. Venizelos lacked the
penetration which, in matters of this sort, can only come from long study
and reflection.

[4] First Memorandum, 11/24 Jan., in the _Nea Hellas_, 21 March (O.S.),
1915.

[5] Gennadius, London, 10 Aug. (O.S.), 1914.

[6] _Orations_, p. 43.

[7] Second Memorandum, 17/30 Jan., in the _Nea Hellas_, 22 March (O.S.),
1915.

[8] See his own statement in the _Nea Hellas_, 22 March (O.S.), 1915.

[9] Dragoumis, Petrograd, 16 Feb., 1915.

[10] Dardanelles Commission, First Report, pp. 14-5, 31-3; Final Report,
pp. 6-8.

[11] Deville, pp. 163, 215.

[12] _Orations_, pp. 103, 104.

[13] Dardanelles Commission, Supplement to First Report, p. 3.

[14] _Orations_, pp. 105-6.

[15] See Extracts from the Crown Council Minutes, in the _Balkan Review_,
Dec., 1920, pp. 384-5, which supplement M. Venizelos's very meagre
account of these proceedings in _Orations_, pp. 107-8.

[16] _Orations_, pp. 266-7.

[17] _Ibid_, pp. 267-8.

[18] Venizelos to Greek Legations, London, Paris, Petrograd, 20 Feb./5
March, 1915.

[19] _Orations_, p. 267.

[20] Gennadius, London, 21 Feb.; Sicilianos, Paris, 22 Feb.; Dragoumis,
Petrograd, 22 Feb. (O.S.), 1915.

[21] _White Book_, No. 37.

[22] "Conversation with M. Demidoff," Politis, Athens.  25 Feb./10 March,
1915.

[23] _Orations_, pp. 108, 113-14.



{33}

CHAPTER IV

Immediately after the resignation of M. Venizelos it was decided to
dissolve the Chamber and to have General Elections, in which for the
first time the territories conquered in 1912-13 would participate.
Meanwhile, the King called upon M. Gounaris, a statesman of
considerable ability, though with none of the versatility of mind and
audacity of character which distinguished his predecessor, to carry on
the Government and to preside over the elections.  Under ordinary
circumstances these would have taken place at once.  But owing to the
need of preparing electoral lists for the new provinces, they were
delayed till 13 June, and owing to a serious illness of King
Constantine which supervened--causing intense anxiety throughout the
nation and bringing political life to a standstill--two more months
passed before the new Parliament met.  The interval proved fruitful in
developments of far-reaching importance.

On its accession to power, the new Government issued a _communiqué_,
announcing that it would pursue the policy adopted at the beginning of
the War: a policy of neutrality qualified by a recognition of the
obligations imposed by the Servian Alliance, and a determination to
serve the interests of Greece without endangering her territorial
integrity.[1] And as the Entente representatives at Athens expressed a
certain disappointment at not finding in the _communiqué_ any allusion
to the Entente Powers,[2] M. Zographos, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
in order to remove all uneasiness on that score, instructed the Greek
representatives in London, Paris, and Petrograd to assure the
respective Governments categorically that the new Ministry did not
intend to depart in any way from the pro-Entente attitude dictated by
hereditary sentiments and interests alike.  The only {34} difference
between the Venizelos and the Gounaris Cabinets--the difference which
brought about the recent crisis and the change of Government--was one
regarding the danger of immediate action, but did not affect the basis
of Greek policy.[3]

That, by all the evidence available, was the truth.  M. Gounaris
thought as M. Venizelos thought, as King Constantine thought, as,
indeed, every Greek capable of forming an opinion on international
affairs thought--namely that, if Greece were to fight at all, interest
and sentiment alike impelled her to fight on the side of the
Entente.[4]  The only question was whether she should enter the field
then, and if so, on what conditions.

M. Venizelos persisted in declaring that the Dardanelles expedition
presented "a great, a unique opportunity," which he prayed, "God grant
that Greece may not miss." [5]  His successors had no wish to miss the
opportunity--if such it was.  But neither had they any wish to leap in
the dark.  M. Gounaris and his colleagues lacked the Cretan's infinite
capacity for taking chances.  Even in war, where chance plays so great
a part, little is gained except by calculation: the enterprise which is
not carefully meditated upon in all its details is rarely crowned with
success.

And so when, on 12 April, the representatives of the Entente signified
to M. Gounaris their readiness to give Greece, in return for her
co-operation against Turkey, the "territorial acquisitions in the
vilayet of Aidin," suggested {35} to his predecessor, M. Gounaris tried
to ascertain exactly the form of the co-operation demanded and the
extent of the "territorial acquisitions in the vilayet of Aidin"
offered.  The British Minister replied as to the first point that,
having no instructions, he was unable to give any details; and as for
the second, that it referred to the "very important concessions on the
Asia Minor coast" mentioned in Sir Edward Grey's communication of
January.  On being further pressed, he said it meant "Smyrna and a
substantial portion of the hinterland"--a definition with which his
Russian and French colleagues were inclined to concur, though both said
that they had no instructions on the subject.  Then M. Gounaris asked
whether their Excellencies had transmitted to their respective
Governments M.  Venizelos's interpretation of Sir Edward Grey's offer
regarding its geographical limits.  The British Minister replied that
he had no official knowledge of that interpretation; he had only heard
of it semi-officially and had transmitted it to his Government, but had
received no answer.  The Russian Minister replied that he had
transmitted nothing on the subject to his Government, as he had been
informed of it in but a vague way by the late Cabinet.  The French
Minister stated that the subject had never been mentioned to him, and
consequently he had not been in a position to make any communication to
his Government.[6]  Thus the grandiose Asiatic dominion of which M.
Venizelos spoke so eloquently dwindled to "Smyrna and a substantial
portion of the hinterland."

However, the King, the General Staff, and the Cabinet went on with
their work, and were joined by Prince George, King Constantine's
brother, who had come from Paris to Athens for the express purpose of
discussing with the Government the question of entering the war against
Turkey on the basis of guarantees to be determined by negotiations of
which Paris might be the centre.  In that order of ideas, they had
already indicated as the best guarantee the simultaneous entry of
Bulgaria, who, according to news from the Entente capitals, was on the
point of joining.  But this condition having proved {36}
unrealisable--Bulgaria refusing to be bought except, if at all, at a
price of Greek territory which Greece would on no account pay--they
dropped it and set about considering by what other combinations they
could come in without compromising their country's vital interests.
The upshot of their deliberations was a proposal, dated 14 April, to
the following effect:

If the Allies would give a formal undertaking to guarantee during the
War, and for a certain period after its termination, the integrity of
her territories, Greece would join them with all her military and naval
forces in a war against Turkey, the definite objective of which would
be the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire; for, unless the Ottoman
Empire disappeared, the Greek hold on Smyrna would not be very firm.
It was further stipulated that the Allies should define the territorial
compensations as well as the facilities regarding money and war
material which they would accord Greece in order to enable her to do
her part of belligerent efficiently.  On these conditions Greece would
assume the obligation to enter the field as soon as the Allies were
ready to combine their forces with hers.  All military details were to
be settled between the respective Staffs and embodied in a joint
Military Convention, with this sole reservation that, if Bulgaria
continued to stand out, the Greek Army's sphere of action could not be
placed outside European Turkey.  In an explanatory Note added a few
days later, at the instance of the General Staff, stress was laid upon
the ambiguous attitude of Bulgaria, on account of which the opinion was
expressed that the Allies should be prepared to contribute forces
which, combined with the Greek, would equal the united Turkish and
Bulgarian forces, and that the sphere of Greek action should be limited
to the west of the Gallipoli Peninsula; but it was agreed that, if the
Allies wished it, they should have the military assistance of Greece on
the Gallipoli Peninsula too, provided that they landed their own troops
first.[7]

Of these proposals, which were not put forward as final, but rather as
a basis of discussion, the Entente Powers did not condescend to take
any notice.  Only unofficially {37} the Greek Minister in Paris, on
approaching M. Delcassé, was told that, since the Hellenic Government
viewed the Dardanelles enterprise in a different light from them, an
understanding seemed impossible and discussion useless; for the rest,
that enterprise, for which England had desired the co-operation of the
Greeks, was now carried on without them, and the situation was no
longer the same as it was some days before.  Alarmed by this snub, and
anxious to dissipate any misunderstandings and doubts as to its
dispositions towards the Entente, the Hellenic Government assured M.
Delcassé that it continued always animated by the same desire to
co-operate and would like to make new proposals, but before doing so it
wished to know what proposals would be acceptable.  M. Delcassé replied
that he could not even semi-officially say what proposals would be
acceptable.[8]  But M.  Guillemin, his former collaborator and later
French Minister at Athens, then on a flying visit there, advised M.
Zographos to abandon all conditions and take pot luck with the Allies.

This notion succeeded to the extent that Greece proposed to offer to
enter the war against Turkey with her naval forces only, reserving her
army for her own protection against Bulgaria.[9]  The Entente Powers
intimated through M. Delcassé that they would accept such an offer,
provided it was made without any conditions.[10]  Before deciding,
Greece wanted to be assured that the integrity of her territory during
the War and in the treaty of peace would be respected, that all the
necessary money and material would be forthcoming, and that the
compensations in Asia Minor allotted to her would represent
approximately the area indicated by M. Venizelos.  If it was found that
on these three points the Hellenic Government interpreted the
intentions of the Entente Powers correctly, it would immediately submit
a Note in which the three points would be mentioned as going of their
own accord, so that the official reply of the Entente might cover, not
only the offer, but also its interpretation thus formulated.[11] {38}
M. Delcassé refused to listen to any points: Greece, he insisted
irritably, should enter the alliance without conditions, coupling her
offer simply with "hopes to have the benefit of full solidarity with
her allies, whence results a guarantee of her territorial integrity,"
and "entrusting the full protection of her vital interests to the three
Entente Powers."  The formula was not incompatible with the best
construction which one chose to put upon it; and Prince George--who had
returned to Paris directly after the first offer and acted as a
personal representative of King Constantine, together with the official
representative of the Hellenic Government--warmly advocated its
adoption, pleading that, if Greece did come in without delay and
without conditions, she might safely trust the Allies.[12]

Whether Prince George's plea sprang from blind faith or from
far-sighted fear, is a question upon which the sequel may throw some
light; for the present enough to state that it produced no effect.  In
a matter concerning the integrity of national territory acquired so
dearly, King Constantine felt that he could not afford to allow any
ambiguity or uncertainty: he was willing to waive the other two points,
but not that.  He therefore begged his brother to see M. Poincaré and
solicit in his name the President's help to secure that indispensable
assurance.  "The essential thing," he said, "is that the Entente Powers
should give us a solemn promise that they will respect and make others
respect, until the re-establishment of peace, our territorial
integrity, and that they will not permit any damage to it by the future
Peace Treaty.  Remark to him that Greece has the right to be astonished
that friendly Powers ready to accept her as an ally decline to explain
themselves clearly with her." [13]  What was in the King's mind may be
seen from the President's answer: The Powers did not wish to give a
formal pledge in as many words lest the Bulgars should be stirred to
{39} hostile action on realizing that Cavalla was lost to them.[14]

Prince George, in reporting M. Poincaré's reply, added that the fear of
any damage being inflicted on Greek territorial integrity by the future
Peace Treaty was completely devoid of foundation; that, having himself
expressed this fear, he had been answered: "How can you imagine that we
could dispose of any part whatever of the territory of an allied State
without its consent?" [15]

These fair words failed to reassure the Hellenic Government, which,
after mature reflection, concluded that the formula suggested by M.
Delcassé did not sufficiently safeguard Greece against combinations
likely to affect her territorial integrity.  Its misgivings, which
sprang in the first instance from the refusal of an explicit promise,
were strengthened by the reason given by M. Poincaré for that refusal.
Consequently, it regretted that the Entente Powers did not see their
way to come to an understanding for a collaboration which both sides
desired, and repeated the assurance of a most benevolent neutrality
towards them.[16]

The Greek position was plain: Greece made proposals which constituted a
break with the policy pursued deliberately since the beginning of the
War--proposals for an active partnership, and in return put forward
conditions which ultimately narrowed down to a mere pledge that she
should not, as the end of it all, find herself robbed of Cavalla.
There were certain things she could do and, therefore, wished to do.
There were certain things she could not do, and must be assured that
she would not be made to do them.  The Entente Powers, on the other
hand, would bind themselves to nothing: which is preferable, they said
in effect, the elaborate letter of a bargaining bond, or the spirit of
spontaneous co-operation; a legal obligation or the natural union of
hearts?  What Greece needs, rather than rigid clauses with a seal and a
signature, is the steady, unwavering sympathy of her friends.  If you
come with us in a courageous forward campaign for the {40} liberation
of the world and righteousness, how could we fail to be with you in
every single question affecting compensations or the integrity of your
territories?  That's all very fine, said the Greeks.  But----

The mistrust of the Greeks was only too well founded.  Although
Bulgaria received arms from Austria and allowed the free passage of
German munitions which enabled Turkey to carry on the defence of
Gallipoli, the Entente Powers, satisfied with her Premier's
explanations and professions of sympathy, would not give up the hope of
seeing her on their side.  Indeed, they were more hopeful than ever; M.
Poincaré told Prince George he would not be surprised to see that
happen "in two or three days," [17] and the British Minister at Sofia,
being less hopeful and giving proofs of perspicacity, was replaced.

About the same time it came to the knowledge of the Entente Governments
that the Greek General Staff had resumed its efforts to induce the
Servian military authorities to concert measures for their mutual
safety, pointing out that, the moment Bulgarian troops crossed the
Servian frontier, it would be too late.  Whereupon both Servia and
Greece were sternly warned against wounding Bulgarian
susceptibilities--and threatened with the displeasure of the Powers,
who wanted to maintain between the Balkan States good fellowship--by
the unhappy project which was once more to the fore.  And ere the end
of May both States learnt that their territories were actually on offer
to Bulgaria.

They received the intelligence as might have been expected.  The
Servian Premier, after consulting with the King, the Crown Prince, the
Cabinet, and all prominent statesmen, informed the representatives of
the Entente that Servia, in spite of her desire to meet the wishes of
her friends and allies, could not agree to put herself in their hands:
the Constitution forbade the cession of territory without the sanction
of the National Assembly.  He asked them to understand that this
decision was final, and that no future Servian Government could be
counted upon to {41} give a different answer, seeing that the present
Government embraced every political party.[18]

Not less uncompromising was the attitude of Greece.  When the news
reached Athens from Paris, the Hellenic Government could hardly believe
it: "It is so contrary to the principles of justice and liberty
proclaimed by the Entente Powers--it seems to us absolutely impossible
to despoil a neutral State, and one, too, whose friendly neutrality has
been so consistently useful to the Allies, in order to buy with its
territories the help of a people which has hitherto done all it could
to help the enemies of the Entente.  By what right, and on what ground
could they mutilate our country?  The opinions once expressed by M.
Venizelos, and since abandoned even by their author, do not constitute
a sufficient ground for spoliation.  The whole thing is an unthinkable
outrage: it shows that our fears were justified and our demand for a
guarantee was absolutely indispensable." [19]

France, through M. Delcassé, and England, through Lord Crewe, sought to
dispel these fears by formally disclaiming any intention to press upon
Greece a mutilation to which she objected, and explaining that the
eventual cession of Cavalla was only envisaged on condition that she
should consent of her own accord.  M. Zographos, however, who had done
his best to bring Greece in on reasonable terms, convinced of his
failure, resigned; and after his departure the Gounaris Government
would permit itself no further discussion upon the subject of
intervention.

During the lull that ensued, the Greek General Staff once more, in
June, approached the Servian Government with detailed suggestions for a
common plan against Bulgaria, dwelling on the necessity of a
preliminary concentration of sufficient Servian troops along the
Graeco-Serbo-Bulgarian frontier to counterbalance the Bulgarian
advantage in rapidity of mobilization.  These steps proved as barren as
all the preceding: while Servia would not try to conjure the Bulgarian
peril by the sacrifices which the Entente recommended, she could not
provide against it by entering into arrangements with Greece which the
Entente disapproved.

{42}

Matters came to a head on 3 August, when the British Minister at Sofia
made to the Bulgarian Government a formal offer of Cavalla and an
undefined portion of its hinterland, as well as of Servian territory in
Macedonia, stating that Great Britain would bring pressure to bear on
those countries, and make the cession to them of any compensations
elsewhere conditional on their consent to this transaction.

The shock lost nothing of its intensity by being long anticipated.  M.
Passitch, the Servian Premier, in an interview with the Greek Minister
at Nish, expressed his profound dismay at the corner into which Servia
was driven; much as she resented this proposal, the fact that she was
entirely dependent on the Entente--whose high-handed methods he did not
fail to criticize--forced her to give it consideration.

If Servia had been dismayed, Greece was enraged.  M. Gounaris addressed
a strongly-worded remonstrance to the British Minister at Athens,
reminding him that in May his Government had protested against the
offer of Greek territory to Bulgaria, and that both Lord Crewe and M.
Delcassé had disavowed any intention to bring the least pressure to
bear upon Greece, who had thus the right to count on her independence
being respected.  The Entente Powers, he went on, thought they could
promise Bulgaria an agreement in which their own will took the place of
Greece's consent, with the idea of exacting her acceptance afterwards.
But they were greatly mistaken.  The Hellenic Government, voicing the
unanimous sentiments of the people as well as its own judgment,
repelled with indignation the idea of making the national heritage an
object of a bargain; and while thanking the Entente Powers for the
courtesy which inspired their notification, it protested in the most
energetic and solemn manner against the injury which they proposed to
inflict upon the independence and integrity of Greece in defiance of
international law.

In reply, the British Government quietly informed the Hellenic
Government that the Entente Powers still hoped that Greece would come
into line with their policy, and that, as soon as Bulgaria had accepted
their offer, they would submit a concrete proposal dealing in detail
with {43} the surrender of Cavalla and defining precisely the Asiatic
concessions which Greece would receive in exchange.[20]

This brings the relations of the Entente Powers with M. Gounaris's
Government to an end.  It is a strange record.  We have, to begin with,
the curious reception of his first offer--the whole Greek Army, the
intervention of which might have turned the Gallipoli tragedy into a
victory.  Doubtless, there were reasons for declining so considerable a
reinforcement.  We know that, although Russia had modified her
objection to Greek participation, she still regarded the presence of a
large Greek force in European Turkey with disfavour; that the
dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire was not agreeable to France; that
the Allies could not at that time afford the military contingents
stipulated by the Greek General Staff.  There will be no disposition to
underrate the complexities of the situation, or want of sympathy for
those upon whom fell the task of finding a solution satisfactory to all
the Powers concerned.  But, though these complexities might be good
reasons for not accepting the Gounaris offer, they were hardly reasons
for not acknowledging it, even in the interest of ordinary courtesy.

Then came the sterile pourparlers through Paris.  Here, again,
political difficulties explain without justifying the attitude of the
Entente Powers.  Their refusal of the guarantee demanded by Greece as
an essential condition of her entry into the war was, of course, a
natural result of their Bulgarian policy--a policy for which very
little could be said.  Time perhaps was, at the beginning of the War,
when Bulgaria might have been won; for it is not necessary to adopt the
Graeco-Servian view that she had from the first decided to join the
enemies of the Entente and that no amount of reasonable concessions
would have satisfied her ambition; the Bulgars are a practical people,
and there was at Sofia a pro-Entente party which might have prevailed,
if the Entente Powers had, without delay, defined the proposed
concessions and proceeded to press Greece and Servia to make them--to
expect from either {44} State a voluntary self-mutilation was to expect
a miracle.  By not doing so, by shilly-shallying at Athens, Nish, and
Sofia, they only lost the confidence of Greeks and Serbs without
gaining the confidence of the Bulgars, who could hardly take seriously
proposals so vague in their formulation and so uncertain of their
fulfilment.  If, on the other hand, the Allies were unable to define
the concessions or afraid to shock public opinion by forcing them upon
Greece and Servia, then they ought to have dropped their hopeless
scheme, without wasting valuable time, and worked on the lines of
Graeco-Servian co-operation against Bulgaria.  Instead, they squashed,
as we saw, every attempt which the Greek General Staff made to that end.

But it is not the only aberration with which history will charge our
statesmen and diplomats.

Greece was going through an internal crisis; and those who know Greece
will know what that means.  In private life no people is more
temperate, more moderate, than the Greek: a sense of measure always
seasons its pleasures, and even the warmest passions of the heart seem
to obey the cool reflections of the brain.  In public life, by way of
compensation, the opposite qualities prevail; and as citizens the
Greeks display an astonishing lack of the very virtues which
distinguish them as men.  The spirit of party burns so hot in them that
it needs but a breath to kindle a conflagration.  That spirit, whose
excesses had, several times in the past, brought the fundamental
principles of the Constitution into question, and the country itself to
the brink of ruin, was once again at work.  Former friends had become
deadly enemies: the community was rent with dissensions and poisoned
with suspicions.  Preposterous falsehoods were freely scattered and
readily snatched at on both sides: the side of M. Venizelos and the
side of M. Gounaris.  Politicians who had been eclipsed by the Cretan's
brilliance, came forth now to regain their lustre at his expense.  For
like all men who have played leading parts on the world's stage, M.
Venizelos had gathered about him as much animosity as admiration; and
hate is more enterprising than love.

M. Venizelos and his partisans were at least as resourceful as their
opponents.  The Cretan had never been able to bear contradiction.  If
his greatness had created him {45} many enemies, his pettiness had
created him more.  His tone of prophetic and impeccable omniscience was
vexatious at all times, but particularly galling at this agitated
period.  It was now his constant cry that the situation called for the
work of a statesman and not of an international lawyer or strategist.
There were times when he declaimed this thesis in so violent a fashion
that no self-respecting man could work with him.  He had lost all the
able collaborators of the great Reconstruction era, and nothing could
make him forgive these "apostates."  Everybody who could not see eye to
eye with him was to M. Venizelos a traitor.  It was impossible for M.
Venizelos to admit that others besides himself might be actuated by
patriotic as well as by personal motives; that he did not possess an
exclusive patent of sincerity any more than of vanity.  He found it
easier to believe that the alpha and the omega of their policy was to
undo him.  He would undo them--even at the cost of the cause he had at
heart: to see Greece openly on the side of the Entente.  It is not that
he thought less of the cause, but he thought more of himself.  His
egoism was of that heroic stature which shrinks from nothing.  His
nature impelled him to this labour; his privileged position as the
particular friend of the Entente supplied him with the means.

M. Venizelos had taken a long stride towards that end when he
insinuated that King Constantine's disagreement with him was due to
German influence.  Henceforth this calumny became the cardinal article
of his creed, and the "Court Clique" a society for the promotion of the
Kaiser's interests abroad and the adoption of the Kaiser's methods of
government at home.  M. Streit, though no longer a member of the
Cabinet, was represented as its mainspring: a secret counsellor who
wielded the power, while he avoided the title, of Minister; M.
Gounaris, though in name a Prime Minister, was in reality a mere
instrument of the sovereign's personal policy--so were the members of
the General Staff--so was, in fact, everyone who held opinions at
variance with his own: they all were creatures of the Crown who tried
to hide their pro-Germanism under the mask of anti-Venizelism.  Their
objections to his short-sighted and wrong-headed Asiatic
aspirations--objections the soundness of which has been amply {46}
demonstrated by experience--were dictated by regard for Germany, the
patron of Turkey.  Their offers to fight for the dissolution of
Germany's protégé were not genuine: the conditions which accompanied
them were only designed to make them unacceptable.  The Entente should
beware of their bad faith and learn that M. Venizelos was the only
Greek statesman that could be trusted.[21]

The Powers who had long since adopted M. Venizelos found it convenient
to adopt all his theories.  M. Delcassé, when called upon to explain
why the Greek offer met with such scant ceremony, did so by saying that
it came from M. Gounaris, who was the instrument of the personal policy
of the sovereign, and who combated among the electors M. Venizelos, the
champion of rapprochement with the Entente; that the proposal for the
dispatch of large contingents to the East, involving as it did a
depletion of the Western Front, was calculated to please the imperial
brother-in-law of King Constantine; that the territorial guarantee
demanded by Greece would have become known to Bulgaria, thrown her into
the arms of Germany, and precipitated her against Servia, whom King
Constantine intended to leave to her fate; the trick was too gross to
deceive the Allies, and they gave it the reception it deserved.
Likewise in squashing the Greek efforts to concert with Servia measures
for mutual safety against Bulgaria, while there was yet time, the
Allies, said M. Delcassé, acted on the advice of M. Venizelos, who told
them that the Graeco-Servian Treaty was purely defensive: that it did
not provide for action unless Bulgaria attacked; and what a misfortune
if Servia, by such measures, should appear to take an initiative which
would give Bulgaria an excuse for the aggression she meditated.
Therefore, they bade Servia devote her whole attention to the security
of her Austrian frontier and not play Bulgaria's game by furnishing her
with a pretext for attack.[22]

{47}

On this side of the Channel the inventions of M. Venizelos, it would
seem, were accepted as discoveries with equal solemnity.  During the
Paris pourparlers, according to the French Ambassador in London at all
events, England was much annoyed by the Greek Government's hesitations,
which she attributed to King Constantine's opposition, and asked
herself whether she could either then or in the future treat with a
country governed autocratically.  She was persuaded that Greece lay
under the influence of Germany, and asked herself whether she could in
future support a country which let itself be guided by Powers whose
interests were absolutely contrary to her own.[23]

The Entente Ministers at Athens, as was natural, had greater
opportunities of displaying their solidarity with M. Venizelos.  They
would perhaps have been better advised had they followed the example of
their colleagues at Rome.  It can hardly be questioned that the
discreet and decorous aloofness of the Entente diplomats from the
long-protracted struggle between the Italian advocates of war and
neutrality, assisted by Prince von Bülow's indiscreet and indecorous
participation in that struggle, facilitated a decision in our favour:
nothing does so much to alienate a high-spirited nation as an attempt
on the part of outsiders to direct its internal affairs.  In Greece the
need for discretion was even more imperative.  All controversy at such
a juncture was injudicious.  But if preference had to be shown, it
would have been better to have taken the King's side, for all that was
valuable to us from the military point of view rallied round him; and,
in any case, since the hopes of the Venizelists for oversea expansion
depended on the goodwill of the Sea Powers, {48} they were tied to us
securely enough: so if the land school represented by the General Staff
could have been satisfied, the country would have remained united and
on our side.  Instead of adopting this sane attitude, the local agents
of the Entente ostentatiously associated themselves with the
Venizelists and boycotted the others, thus gratuitously contributing to
a cleavage from which only our enemies could profit.

And that was not all.  Having begun by endeavouring to influence the
Greeks, they ended by being entirely influenced by them.  Forgetting
that no correct perception of facts or estimate of motives is possible
without a certain mental detachment, they allowed themselves to be
swallowed up, as it were, in the atmosphere of suspicion and slander
generated by party friction: they ceased to have any eyes, ears, or
minds of their own; they saw and heard just what M. Venizelos willed
them to see and hear, and thought just as M. Venizelos willed them to
think.  If the King refused to enter the War, his refusal was inspired
by the desire to serve the Kaiser; if he offered to do so, his offers
were prompted by the desire to dish M. Venizelos.[24]

Hence, every proposal made to the Entente by M. Venizelos's successors
was rejected.  Greece was kept out of the Allies' camp, and Servia was
sacrificed.  For it should be clearly understood that the fate of
Servia was decided in the months of June and July, 1915, not only by
the development of the Germano-Bulgarian plan, but also by the failure
of all co-operative counter-measures on the part of the Serbs, Greeks,
and Entente Powers while time was still available.  If only there had
been anyone of sufficient authority and independence of view to
correlate and compose the clashing interests of the moment, a gallant
ally might have been saved from destruction.  But those best qualified
to judge of what was coming, and in a position to frame the
corresponding policy, had been driven into reserve by the storm of
calumny, whereby their motives were misconstrued, their counsels
derided, and their authority undermined; so that in the general uproar
their voices were scarcely heard.  And there were none--or {49} very
few--to act as intermediaries; for the personnel of the Entente
Legations, "wholly believing a lie," had withdrawn in a body from all
intercourse with them, had nicknamed them "Boches," and were accustomed
to assess as concocted in Berlin every notion that emanated from them.
Even the few members of those Legations who had the moral courage to
walk the streets without blinkers were subjected to every form of
odious insinuation and attack.  Venizelos in office, out of office, on
matters technical or lay, to him and to him only would anyone listen,
and as he knew rather less about the rudiments of the military art than
most people, and refrained from consulting those that did, the results
were not difficult to predict.

Yet, as late as June, the elements of a good plan were ready to hand in
abundance.  The General Staff was, as stated, continuing its efforts
for co-operation with the Serbs.  The King, though too ill to conduct
business, would have assented to any military proposal put forward by
the General Staff.  The people would have followed the King as one man.
And the enemy were not ready.  All that was necessary was to study with
attention and sympathy the advice of the experts: to call the soldiers
of the countries concerned to council, and to inaugurate a joint
campaign.  It was not done--and it is difficult to say now to whom the
failure proved most disastrous--to Servia, to Greece, or to the Entente
Powers.  But for this failure a proportionate share of blame must be
laid upon those who, instead of striving to heal divisions in Greece,
did everything they could to foment them.



[1] _White Book_, No. 34.

[2] "Conversation with M. Demidoff," Politis, 25 Feb./10 March, 1915.

[3] _White Book_, No. 35.

[4] The best proof is to be found in the Venizelist _White Book_, No.
36,--an exhaustive memorandum by M. Streit on the probabilities of the
War, dated 13/26 March, 1915.  It is both striking and illuminating
that, while in dealing with the attitude of Bulgaria, the author
considers three alternatives: (1) Bulgaria in alliance with the
Entente.  (2) Bulgaria as neutral.  (3) Bulgaria as an enemy of the
Entente.  In dealing with the attitude of Greece he does not for a
single moment contemplate more than two alternatives: (1) Greece as an
ally of the Entente.  (2) Greece as neutral.  Further, in the course of
the argument which follows, M. Streit discusses a possible
understanding between Greece on the one part and Rumania and Bulgaria
on the other, with the object either of a common neutrality or, failing
that, of a simultaneous entry into war in favour of the Entente, "on
whose side alone we can range ourselves."

[5] See the _Nea Hellas_, 22 March (O.S.), 1915.

[6] _Conversation entre le Président du Conseil et les Ministres des
Puissances de la Triple Entente, 30 mars/12 avril, 1915_.

[7] Zographos to Greek Minister, Paris, 1/14 April, with the Proposal
of same date; _Orations_, pp. 67-9.

[8] Romanos, Paris, 17/30 April, 1915.

[9] Zographos to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petrograd, 18 April/1
May, 1915.

[10] Romanos, Paris, 4 May (N.S.), 1915.

[11] Zographos to Greek Legation, Paris, 22 April/5 May, 1915.

[12] Prince George to Zographos, Paris, 24 April/7 May, 1915.

[13] King Constantine to Prince George, 27 April/10 May, 1915.  From
this document we also learn that on 7/20 April, M. Poincaré had assured
the Prince that such a guarantee would certainly be given to Greece,
"_pour la période de la guerre et durant la période des négociations de
la paix_."

[14] Prince George to King Constantine, 28 April/11 May, 1915.

[15] _Ibid._

[16] Zographos to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petrograd, 30
April/13 May, 1915.

[17] Prince George to King Constantine, Paris, 28 April/11 May, 1915.
M.  Delcassé, then and for months afterwards, strove to gain over
Bulgaria _coûte que coûte_, deploring the possession of Cavalla by
Greece.  See Deville, pp. 163, 218.

[18] Alexandropoulos, Nish, 15/28 May, 1915.

[19] Zographos to Greek Legation, Paris, 15/28 May, 1915.

[20] Communication of Entente Powers to Greek Premier, 21 July/3 Aug.;
Greek Premier's reply (No. 8118); Alexandropoulos, Nish, 23 July/5
Aug.; 25 July/7 Aug.; Communication by British Minister at Athens, 23
July/5 Aug., 1915.

[21] See the _Nea Hellas_, 20, 21 March (O.S.), 1915; _Orations,
passim_.

[22] _Journal Officiel_, p. 76.  To appreciate the community of
sentiments between M. Venizelos and M. Delcassé fully, one must compare
the above statement with that in _Orations_, pp. 68-9.  The differences
are equally instructive.  The Venizelist orator, prudently suppresses
from a Greek audience the fact that his Chief frustrated the General
Staff's efforts to co-operate with Servia; he boldly surmises, on the
other hand, that behind the General Staff's stipulations as to the
sphere of Greek military action lurked the _arrière pensée_ to confront
the Allies with the risk of provoking Bulgaria, whom they still
regarded as a potential friend: so the stipulations were, as they were
intended to be, unacceptable.  Again, while M. Delcassé, addressing a
French audience nervous about the Western Front, reckoned that the
Entente contingents demanded by the Greek General Staff would amount to
at least 600,000 or 800,000 men, M. Politis, less fantastically,
estimates them at 450,000 men: this force, which Greece deemed
necessary for success, it will be seen, was not far removed from that
which France and England eventually wasted in failure.

[23]Prince George to King Constantine, Paris, 28 April/11 May, 1915.

[24] See M. Poincaré's statement to the _Matin_, reproduced in the
_Balkan Review_, Dec., 1920, p. 386; Deville, pp. 161, 168-9.



{50}

CHAPTER V

On 23 August, M. Venizelos returned to power as a result of the General
Elections held on June 13.  The outcome of those elections proved how
great his popularity still was.  True, in 1910 he had obtained 146
seats out of 182, and now only 185 out of 314.  But the majority,
though diminished, remained substantial enough to show that he still
was, for most people, the man who had cleansed Greece.  Nor did M.
Venizelos imperil his popularity by revealing his differences with the
King.  On the contrary, in his own country, his attacks were carefully
confined to the statesmen and soldiers opposed to him: the King, M.
Venizelos proclaimed, far from sharing their narrow, unpatriotic,
pro-German views, "did not exclude exit from neutrality under given
conditions, but accepted it in principle as imposed for the serving of
the national rights." [1]  By his organs, too, the King was described
as "a worthy successor of the Constantines who created the mighty
Byzantine Empire--imbued with a sense of his great national
mission--Greek in heart and mind." [2]  So anxious, indeed, was M.
Venizelos not to lose votes by any display of ill-feeling against the
popular sovereign that he even took some pains to have himself
photographed calling at the Palace to inquire after the King's health.

As to policy, it is difficult to determine the part which it played in
the contest.  M. Venizelos refrained from publishing any sort of
programme.  His opponents asserted that a vote for Venizelos meant a
vote for war.  But his most prominent supporters declared that such was
by no means the case: although, at a certain moment, he was ready to
participate in the Gallipoli enterprise, circumstances had changed, and
his future course would depend on the situation which he would find on
returning to {51} power.  This vagueness, though not very helpful to
the voters, doubtless helped the voting; for there was hardly any
pro-war feeling among the masses.  The noble ideals emblazoned upon the
Entente banners produced little impression on their minds.  The
experience of two thousand years has taught the Greeks that Governments
never fight for noble ideals, and, if they relieve a small nation from
a foreign yoke, it is, as often as not, in order to impose a new one.
To them the War was a struggle for power and plunder between two
European groups.  It was matter of common knowledge that Constantinople
had been allotted to the Russians, and the Greeks were not particularly
keen on shedding their blood in order to place a Tsar on the Byzantine
throne.  Nor did the Smyrna bait attract them greatly, since it
involved parting with Cavalla.  At the same time, the lurid accounts of
German frightfulness disseminated by the Entente propaganda, instead of
inflaming, damped still further their enthusiasm.[3]  The Venizelist
candidates were, therefore, wise in repudiating the allegation that
their victory would inevitably mean intervention in the conflict; and,
on the whole, the people who voted for the Cretan statesman seem to
have paid a tribute to his personality rather than to his policy.

Meanwhile, Servia, under pressure from the Entente, had decided to
promise Bulgaria territorial concessions, and the communication of this
decision to the Hellenic Government formed the occasion of M.
Venizelos's first official act.  Greece, he wrote in reply, not wishing
to embarrass her friend and ally at a moment when imperative necessity
forced the latter to submit to painful sacrifices, abandoned her
objections.  But she would be lacking in sincerity if she failed to
tell Servia straightway that "the _raison d'être_ of the
Alliance--namely, the territorial equilibrium and the mutual guarantee
of their respective possessions--being profoundly affected by the
contemplated changes, the reciprocal obligations of the Alliance could
not survive except by virtue of a renewal."  M. Passitch replied
verbally that he thought like M. Venizelos.  But, as it happened, the
question did not arise; Servia's promise was coupled with so many
stipulations and reservations, that, in the opinion of the Entente
Powers, {52} it amounted almost to a refusal;[4] and the thread of the
negotiations was very soon broken by events.  Destiny moved too fast
for diplomacy.

Hardly had these dispatches been exchanged, when Colonel Vlachopoulos,
the emissary of the Greek General Staff to Servia, arrived in Athens,
bringing a report of the gravest nature.  After twelve months'
evasions, the Servian Minister of War had at last mentioned to him the
need for an understanding between the two Staffs, and the Servian
Director of Military Operations stated that Servia, far from being able
to contribute to a common struggle against Bulgaria the 150,000
combatants stipulated by the Graeco-Servian Convention, could not at
the moment transport to the northern parts of the Bulgarian frontier
more than one or two divisions, while as to the southern parts, which
most immediately concerned Greece, they would have to be left with the
eight regiments of 1915 conscripts--that is, raw recruits.
Simultaneously, the fear which the Greek military authorities had
expressed to their Servian colleagues in the previous spring--that
delay might prove fatal--was being realized: from all sides came
intelligence of the concentration of large Austro-German forces towards
the Danube.

In the circumstances, after studying Colonel Vlachopoulos's report, the
Greek General Staff submitted to the Government (14 September) the
opinion that for Greece to embark on a war against Bulgaria, so long as
she was not assured of the co-operation of adequate Servian forces, was
tantamount to courting annihilation; and of such co-operation there was
no prospect: the moment the Serbs found themselves faced by a superior
Austro-German army, the Greeks would have to fight the Bulgars as well
as, in all probability, the Turks alone.

As if in confirmation of this forecast, a week later (21 September),
the Hellenic Government received from Sofia the official announcement
of the conclusion of a Turco-Bulgarian agreement and of Bulgarian
mobilization; the latter measure being, according to the Bulgarian
Premier, purely precautionary: as the Austro-German {53} armies had
just begun an attack on Servia, and the theatre of war approached the
Bulgarian frontiers, his country was obliged to take up an attitude of
armed neutrality.[5]

The news threw M. Venizelos into a fever of excitement.  He had,
meanwhile, become most solicitous about Greece-Servian co-operation,
and had not permitted his mind to be impressed by Colonel
Vlachopoulos's report.  When Austria and Germany had their hands full
elsewhere, Servia's peril had left him cold; it set him on fire now
when they were ready to hurl their legions into the Balkan
Peninsula--when it was no longer for Greece a question of fighting
Bulgaria only, but Bulgaria and Turkey and the Central Empires.  M.
Venizelos was a statesman of broad ideas, a hater of dry facts, and an
impenitent believer in his own star.  For the matter of time he cared
very little; considerations of odds did not weigh with him unduly; and
he cherished a sovereign contempt for the cautious attitude of
professional soldiers and other uninspired persons.  Never did these
qualities appear more vividly than on this 21st of September.

At 5 p.m. M. Venizelos went to Tatoi, the King's country residence, to
confer with him, having previously arranged that a mobilization Order
should be drawn up and presented to his Majesty for signature at 6.30
p.m., by which time he expected to have finished his conversation.  The
following is a synopsis of that memorable interview based on a report
from M. Venizelos's own lips.[6]

The King readily agreed to mobilize, but firmly resisted the proposal
to enter the war, on the ground that the odds were too heavy.  M.
Venizelos argued that, even if Germany had five million men available
on other fronts, she could not bring them to the Balkans, and
consequently there was no cause for fear: he spoke learnedly and at
enormous length of geographical conditions and means of transport, of
victualling, of guns and bayonets, of _morale_--he had allowed himself
an hour and a half.  How the King must have felt under this harangue,
any expert who has had to listen to an amateur laying down the law to
him on his own subject may imagine.  On finding his military arguments
fruitless, M. Venizelos shifted his ground; though, the military habit
being too strong, he {54} could not get away from military phraseology:
"I was then obliged," he tells us, "to bring forward my heavy
artillery."

"Majesty," I said, "I have not succeeded in persuading you.  I am very
sorry; but it is my duty, as representing at this moment the
Sovereignty of the People, to tell you that you have no right to
disagree with me this time.  The people by the last elections has
approved my policy and given me its confidence.  It knew that the basis
of my policy was not to let Bulgaria, by crushing Servia, become too
big and crush us to-morrow.  You cannot therefore at this moment depart
from this policy--unless you decide to set aside the Constitution; in
which case you must say so clearly, abrogating the Constitution by a
Decree and assuming the responsibility."

The King replied: "You know I recognize that I am bound to obey the
popular verdict when it is a question of the internal affairs of the
country; but when it is a question of foreign affairs--the great
national questions--my view is that, so long as I consider a thing
right or wrong, I must insist that it shall or shall not be done,
because I feel responsible before God."

At this utterance, M. Venizelos narrates, "I remember that a feeling of
distress came over me, and with clasped hands, I shook my head in a
melancholy manner, saying: 'Alas! we are before the theory of kingship
by the grace of God: poor Greece!'" [7]  After a little, he told the
King that, in the actual circumstances, he could not undertake a
struggle for the Constitution; he could only tender his resignation.

The King expostulated: "How can you resign in the face of a Bulgarian
mobilization?  In these circumstances, as you know, we must not delay
even twenty-four hours.  After all, who assures us that Bulgaria will
attack Servia?  It is possible that she may maintain an armed
neutrality; in which case our disagreement vanishes, and you can stay
in power and carry on your policy."  Whereupon M. Venizelos withdrew
his resignation.

Of course, he was not deluded by the Sofia Government's {55}
announcement of "armed neutrality," and he was determined to go for
Bulgaria at once.  But how?  In his own mind, as he had already
demonstrated to the King, no doubt existed that, if the Greeks attacked
the Bulgars, they had every chance of crushing them and even of taking
their capital.  But there was that General Staff by whose opinions the
King set such store.  They objected Servia's inability to contribute,
as she was bound by her Military Convention to do, 150,000 combatants.
Therefore, in order to meet this objection, he said: "Don't you think
we might ask the English and the French whether they could not furnish
150,000 combatants of their own?"

"Certainly," replied the King; "but they must send Metropolitan
(European) troops, not Colonials."

By his own account, M. Venizelos did not take this as meaning that the
King had agreed, if the English and the French supplied these
reinforcements, to depart from neutrality.  He left Tatoi with a clear
perception of the divergence between their respective points of view:
while they both concurred in the need of instant mobilization, one was
for a defensive and the other for an offensive policy; but, as soon
appeared, not without hopes of converting his sovereign by some means
or other.

A busy, ambitious child of fortune never lets the grass grow under his
feet:

"I returned to the Ministry at 7 p.m.," goes on the curious record,
"and telephoned to the Entente Ministers to come and see me quickly.
When they came, I informed them that a mobilization Order was being
signed at that very moment and would be published that evening; but for
our further course I needed to know if the Powers were disposed to make
good the 150,000 combatants whom Servia was obliged by our Treaty to
contribute for joint action against Bulgaria.  They promised to
telegraph, and immediately dispatched an extra urgent telegram, adding
that they would let me know the answer.  This happened at about 8 p.m.,
and at 8.15 there arrived M. Mercati (the Marshal of the Court) with a
message from the King, asking me not to make this _démarche_ to the
Entente.  I replied that the _démarche_ had already been made." [8]

{56}

Forty-eight hours later arrived the Entente Powers' answer, that they
would send to Salonica the 150,000 men asked for.  M. Venizelos, on
communicating this answer to the King, was requested by him to tell the
Entente Ministers that, so long as Bulgaria did not attack Servia, and
consequently the question of Greece going to Servia's assistance did
not arise, no troops should be sent, as their landing on Greek soil
would constitute a violation of Greek neutrality.  M. Venizelos tells
us that he communicated the King's wish to the Entente Ministers, who
telegraphed it to their Governments.

King Constantine, it would seem, was left under the impression that the
affair had ended; and the general belief was that the policy of
neutrality still held good; when suddenly the report came that Allied
troops were on their way to Salonica and that Greece was expected to
assist in their landing.

The news would have astonished the Greeks in any circumstances; but the
circumstances in which it reached them were of a nature to heighten
astonishment into alarm.  Just then (28 September) Sir Edward Grey
stated in the House of Commons, amid loud applause, "Not only is there
no hostility in this country to Bulgaria, but there is traditionally a
warm feeling of sympathy;" and he reiterated the Balkan policy of the
Entente--a Balkan {57} agreement on the basis of territorial
concessions.  The inference which the Greeks drew from this coincidence
was that the Entente Powers were sending troops to despoil them on
behalf of the Bulgars--that they intended to bid for Bulgaria's
friendship at the twelfth hour by forcibly seizing the parts of
Macedonia which they had endeavoured in vain to persuade Greece to
yield.[9]

M. Venizelos himself carried the report to the King, inveighing, it is
said, intemperately against the Allies: "I will protest with the
greatest energy," he cried, trembling with anger.  "I will protest
against this unqualifiable violation of our soil."

"Certainly," replied the King, "you must protest very energetically."
[10]

{58}

And M. Venizelos hurried off to his office and drew up the following
telegram, which, now printed for the first time, reveals many things:

"A grave misunderstanding threatens to develop between Greece and the
Entente Powers on the subject of the despatch of international troops
through Salonica to Servia.  When I suggested the dispatch of 150,000
men destined to complete the Servian contingents in case of a common
struggle against Bulgaria, I did not ask this succour for Greece, but
for Servia in order to remove the objection raised against our
Alliance, said to have become null by Servia's inability to fulfil her
engagement.  By accepting in principle to proceed to such dispatch the
Powers rendered above all a service to Servia and to their own cause in
the East.  Likewise, I had clearly specified that, so long as Greece
was neutral, the landing of international troops at Salonica could not
have our official adhesion.  Our neutrality imposed upon us to protest
for form's sake; after which matters would go on as at Moudros." [11]

{59}

"It remained for us to take all the necessary measures for facilitating
the landing and the direct passage to Servia of the international
troops, combining these operations with the needs of our own
mobilization.  The Minister of Communications was to go at once to
Salonica with a number of engineers to arrange on the spot these
technical matters, very complicated from the paucity of means of
transport in Macedonia.  It was understood that, before any dispatch of
troops to Salonica, we should have twenty-four hours' notice.

"Things were at this point, when the Military Governor of Salonica--on
Wednesday--received a visit from the French Consul, the Commander of a
French man-of-war, and two French officers from the Dardanelles, who
told him that, in pursuance of a pretended understanding between the
Premier and the French Minister, they were going to start
reconnaissance work for the landing of French troops and the defence of
Salonica against enemy submarines.  Furthermore, on Thursday there
arrived at Salonica General Hamilton with his Staff and notified the
Governor that the Allies were going to occupy part of the town and
port, and put them in a state of defence with a view to a landing of
troops.  General Moschopoulos, very firmly though very politely,
declared to them that, without orders from his Government, it would be
his painful duty to oppose any seizure of national territory.

"Such a misunderstanding inspires us with the liveliest alarm, for the
contemplated landing has not yet been definitely accepted, and after
being accepted it cannot be carried out, (1) without a preliminary
protest for form's sake, which the British Government has informed us
it does not want;[12] (2) without the absolute maintenance of the
powers of our authorities, who alone would decide the measures for the
use of the port and railways in such a manner as not to compromise the
transport and concentration of our own armies."

{60}

"Moreover, the great emotion caused in the public by the recent speech
of Sir Edward Grey compels the Royal Government to demand from the
Entente Powers certain preliminary assurances.  While people here
expected to see the Powers, after the Bulgarian mobilization, proceed
to decisive acts, and at the very least to a declaration that the
territorial promises made to Bulgaria in August would be cancelled if
within a very short time she did not agree to co-operate with the
Entente, they were stupefied to see that to the most evident proof of
Bulgarian duplicity and disloyalty they replied by redoubling their
solicitude and goodwill.  Sir Edward Grey's speech, followed closely by
the visits made without notice at Salonica by the representatives of
the French and British Staffs, gives birth to the fear that certain
Entente Powers may harbour the design of using the troops which would
be sent to Servia as the fittest instrument for giving practical effect
to the territorial ambitions of the Bulgars in Macedonia.  Well or ill
founded, this fear exercises over people in Greece, and we have reason
to believe in Servia also, a demoralizing effect and threatens to
compromise the success of our mobilization.

"The Royal Government finds itself confronted with a situation created
much against its will, which imposes upon it the duty, in order to calm
as soon as possible the alarms of the people now in arms, of asking the
Powers to dispel the fears inspired by their attitude towards Bulgaria
by declaring, if possible, that the offers made to her are henceforth
null, and that the eventual dispatch of international troops to Servia
would in no case be turned to the detriment of the territorial
integrity of Greece and Servia.  Only formal assurances in this sense
could justify in the eyes of Greek public opinion the Government which,
while protesting for form's sake, would agree to facilitate the landing
at Salonica and the passage across its territory of international
troops destined for Servia.

"Please speak to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the sense of this
telegram." [13]

From the tenor of this interesting document we gather that, while fully
aware of the King's attitude, M. Venizelos {61} went on negotiating
with the Allies for immediate action; and that the Allies proceeded to
act before any agreement had been reached.  To judge by its tone, M.
Venizelos seems to have been annoyed at the Allies' haste as at an
unwarrantable attempt to commit him irretrievably without heeding his
conditions or waiting for his definite consent: so grave a breach of
propriety could not but pain him.  But, however annoyed he might be on
the surface, at bottom he was doubtless pleased: the move supplied the
best means for the conversion of his Sovereign--no argument is so
persuasive as an accomplished fact.  That was what really mattered--the
manner was a detail; and it is impossible to suppose that he meant to
let his annoyance stand in the way of his high purpose.[14]
Themistocles, to whom the Cretan statesman bears some affinity, it will
be remembered, forced the Greeks to fight at Salamis by a similar
stratagem.

This, of course, does not exculpate the Allies.  Their conduct merits
at least the appellation of irregular.  But when foreign diplomats and
native politicians become fused into a happy family, it would be
strange, indeed, if irregularities did not occur.  The whole of the
Greek story is so thoroughly permeated with the spirit of old-fashioned
melodrama that no incident, however startling, seems out of place.

What follows is something of an anticlimax.  Next day, the French
Minister--from this point onwards France takes the lead and England
recedes into the second place--had the honour to announce to his
Excellency the Greek Premier the arrival at Salonica of a first
detachment of troops, declaring at the same time that the Entente
Powers sent it to assist their ally Servia, and that they counted on
Greece, who had already given them so many proofs of friendship, not to
oppose measures taken in the interest of a country to which she also
was allied.[15]

{62}

In reply, the Greek Premier had the honour to declare to his Excellency
the French Minister that, being neutral, Greece could not authorize
measures which violated her neutrality.  The Hellenic Government was
therefore obliged to protest against the passage of foreign troops
through Greek territory.  The circumstance that those troops were
destined solely to the assistance of Servia, who was Greece's ally,
nowise altered the case; for, before the _casus faederis_ was realized,
the neutrality of Greece could not be affected by the danger which
menaced Servia.[16]

To return from formalities to realities.  On the same day (2 Oct.), the
Bulgarian forces began to mass on the Servian frontier, while the
Austro-German battalions were fighting their way across the Danube; and
on the 4th Russia launched her ultimatum on Bulgaria.  This rapid
fulfilment of their own prognostications roused the Greeks to the
highest pitch of excitement.  But all faith in the Entente had not yet
been extinguished.  On the very day on which the Petrograd Government
delivered its tardy and ineffectual ultimatum at Sofia, at Athens the
Chamber held a historic debate, in which M. Venizelos for the first
time proclaimed that the Graeco-Servian Treaty imposed an absolute
obligation upon Greece to make war on Bulgaria and Turkey; adding--in
answer to a question, what he would do if on going to Servia's
assistance he met the German and Austrian armies--that Germany and
Austria must be fought as well, if necessary, and backing his thesis
with those appeals to honour which, whether pertinent or not, seldom
fail to move a popular audience.  The debate lasted till four o'clock
in the morning and ended with a vote of confidence in M. Venizelos's
military policy--a policy which M. Venizelos, a civilian, expounded to
an assembly of civilians as a settled plan, without waiting for the
consent of the King and in defiance of the technical advice of the
General Staff.  In fairness to the Chamber, it should be added that the
motion was carried on the assumption that the King was in agreement.[17]

{63}

But we know King Constantine's attitude; and if M. Venizelos hoped by
these tactics to force his hand, he was speedily undeceived.  No sooner
was the debate over than the King summoned his Prime Minister and asked
him to modify his policy or to resign.  Faced by such a dilemma, M.
Venizelos did the only thing he could do--he resigned; and his country
shrank back on to the solid ground of neutrality.

It was a narrow escape--how narrow became evident a few hours later.
The Allies had promised to send 150,000 combatants.  Even if this
promise had been kept, the Allied force would not have been, in any
strategical sense, an adequate substitute for the Servian contingent.
For it was not in place for covering purposes or subsequent offensive
action; it was not trained to Balkan fighting; it was not equipped for
mountain warfare; and, coming to the same ports as the Greeks, it would
have delayed the process of concentration.  But, be that as it may, the
promise was not kept.  What is more, it could not possibly have been
kept.  Politicians casting about for arguments wherewith to back their
views may leave their hearers to imagine that Great Powers keep armies
ready to be planked down at any point at a moment's notice; but the
fact is that an army, even if it can be spared from other tasks, is a
cumbrous affair to move about, requiring all sorts of tiresome
things--food, arms, ammunition--the provision of which requires, in its
turn, complicated processes, before the army is potentially effective
for the role assigned to it in the creative mind of an excited orator.
Something of the sort had, indeed, been intimated to the Hellenic
Government by the Entente Powers themselves when they wished both
Greeks and Serbs to avert Bulgarian hostility by territorial
concessions--namely, that, as after the commitment of troops to
Gallipoli, none remained to rescue Servia, there was nothing for it but
to conciliate Bulgaria.  Of course, it may be asked, such being the
facts, what value had the promise of 150,000 men?  This {64} is a
question which M. Venizelos would have done well to ponder, as King
Constantine and his military advisers pondered it.  As it was, when
that afternoon the Allied forces turned up at Salonica, the Greek
people had the mortification to find that they amounted to 20,000.  Nor
did they approach the stipulated figure for months after.

The arguments which had prevailed with many some hours before were
suddenly exploded, and to the feeling of confidence which had prompted
the Chamber's vote immediately succeeded a feeling of panic.  What!
cried everybody at Athens, are we to stake our liberty--our national
existence--on such a chance: 150,000 Greeks, _plus_ 200,000
half-exhausted Serbs, _plus_ 20,000 Allies, against 200,000
Austro-Germans, _plus_ 300,000 Bulgars, _plus_ 100,000 Turks?  Nay, if
the French and the English love gambling, we don't: we cannot afford
the luxury.  Venizelos has allowed himself to be duped, said some;
others, Venizelos has tried to dupe us.

Such were the circumstances under which the Allies landed at Salonica.
Their action has been pronounced immoral and perfidious by some English
and even by some French critics; and as it was attended with ill
success, it brought double shame upon the contrivers.[18]  Certainly,
it will not bear investigation from the standpoint of political tact:
it was the first of the many performances which little by little
alienated a friendly nation from them and discredited M. Venizelos with
his countrymen.



[1] M. Venizelos in the _Nea Hellas_, 22 March (O.S.), 1915.

[2] _Ibid._

[3] Deville, p. 174.

[4] Venizelos to Greek Legation, Nish, 18/31 Aug.; Alexandropoulos,
Nish, 19 Aug./1 Sept.; 20 Aug./2 Sept.; 22 Aug./4 Sept., 1915.

[5] _White Book_, No. 41.

[6] _Orations_, pp. 131-8.

[7] This utterance, for the exactness of which we have to rely entirely
on M. Venizelos's memory, was the origin of the charge henceforth
brought against King Constantine that he claimed to reign by Divine
Right.

[8] According to another and ampler version of these events, it had
been agreed between the King and M. Venizelos that, while the latter
opened conversations with the British and French Ministers about the
possibility of sending 150,000 combatants, the former should
simultaneously open conversations with the German Emperor relating the
steps taken in regard to the Entente, and asking what Germany would
give for Greek neutrality.  But when M. Venizelos returned to Athens,
he sent a letter to the King informing him that he had changed his mind
and that, as a responsible Minister, he could not sanction the
projected negotiations with Germany.  Whereupon the King forwarded by
M. Mercati a reply that, in such a case, he retracted the permission to
approach the Entente with regard to reinforcements.  See the _Balkan
Review_, Dec., 1920, pp. 387-8.  Yet another version supplies some
additional details: M. Venizelos assured M. Mercati that his _démarche_
was of a strictly personal character and did not commit the State in
the least; next day he repeated this assurance to the King himself and,
at the King's instance, promised to cancel the _démarche_; and two days
afterwards the French Minister, M. Guillemin, formally declared to the
King that M. Venizelos's _démarche_ was considered as null and
void--_nulle et non avenue_.--See S. Cosmin's _Diplomatic et Presse
dans l'Affaire Grecque_ (Paris, 1921), pp. 123-4.

[9] The Greek Ministers abroad had for some time been informing their
Government of a contemplated occupation by Allied troops of the
territories which were to be ceded to Bulgaria; and the suspicion that
a dispatch of Entente Forces to Salonica might have for its object
"really to occupy for Bulgaria, until the conclusion of peace, the
territories coveted by her," has been expressed even by a French
diplomat.--See Deville, p. 129, n. 1.

[10] I venture to borrow this little scene from S. Cosmin, p. 125.  M.
Venizelos at this stage of the proceedings is more eloquent than
coherent.  He tells us (_Orations_, p. 139), that on informing the King
that the Allied troops were on their way to Salonica, his Majesty said:
"That's all right.  Only please let your protest be in any case,
emphatic," and that he replied: "Emphatic--yes, but only up to a
certain point, considering what lies beneath."  Now, as on M.
Venizelos's own showing, the King was no party to the Allies' step, it
is not very easy to see how he could have spoken to him as if the King
had a secret understanding with them.  The episode is one on which more
light could be shed with advantage.  The same may be said of an
allegation that King Constantine secretly informed Bulgaria that, even
in the event of an attack on Servia, she would meet with no opposition
from Greece.  This allegation is supported chiefly by a telegraphic
dispatch from the Bulgarian Minister at Athens to Sofia (_White Book_,
No. 43), which somehow (it is not stated how) fell into the hands of M.
Venizelos's friends and was produced by them in the Skouloudis Inquiry.
The authenticity of this document was publicly denied by its alleged
author, and its portentous length (three large pages of close print),
as well as its unusual style render it very suspicious: it begins:
"To-day, 9th instant," and it is dated "23"--as if the author did not
know that the difference between the Old and New Calendar was 13 days.
In face of these difficulties, strong evidence would be required to
establish its genuineness: the more because that Inquiry witnessed a
number of similar curiosities--among them an alleged dispatch from the
Turkish Minister at Athens to the Grand Vizier, regarding the
conclusion of a secret Graeco-Turkish treaty.  When challenged, M.
Skouloudis declared that such treaty never was even thought of and
denounced the dispatch as "from beginning to end a forgery," whereupon
nothing more was said.  (See Skouloudis's _Apologia_, pp. 85-8).  These
matters are of interest as illustrating the atmosphere of mistrust that
poisoned Greek politics at this period, and particularly the relations
between the King of Greece and her leading politician.

[11] In pursuance of a decision taken by the War Council on 16 Feb., a
British force was sent to Lemnos to support the naval attack on the
Dardanelles, landing at Moudros on 6 March.  Greece told the British
Government that she considered the action irreconcilable with her
position as a neutral.  The British Government justified it by saying
that, as Turkey had not accepted the verdict of the Powers whereby
Lemnos and the other islands conquered in 1912 were assigned to Greece,
England had the right to treat them as Turkish territory: at the same
time declaring that this did not entail any diminution of Greek
sovereignty.  Thus, whilst Turkey was a friend, the British Government
had decided that these islands did not belong to her; it recognized her
claim to them when she became an enemy; but not altogether--only for
the duration of the War: it was merely a temporary expedient to meet a
temporary exigency.  By the same line of reasoning, England in the
following July justified the occupation of Mytilene.  The Greek answer
was that "without consenting to the occupation of part of her territory
or admitting the arguments put forward by the British Government to
justify its action from the standpoint of International Law, Greece had
to bow before an accomplished fact."--Elliot to Greek Premier, Athens,
9 March, 25 July; Minister for Foreign Affairs to Greek Legations,
London and Paris, 16/29 July, 1915.

[12] Sir Edward Grey objected to a protest because it would enable
Germany to say that we had violated Greek neutrality.--Gennadius,
London, 29 Sept., 1915.

[13] Venizelos to Greek Legations, London, Paris, Petrograd, Rome, 18
Sept./1 Oct. 1915.  (Confidential.)

[14] "For my policy the arrival of the Anglo-French was a most material
asset.  I went for war against Bulgaria and had made up my mind, if
Bulgaria attacked Servia, to fight.  It was in my interest, besides the
150,000 Greek and the 200,000 Servian bayonets, to have 150,000
Anglo-French, consequently it was a political move absolutely necessary
for the prosecution of my own policy."--_Orations_, p. 140.

[15] Guillemin to Venizelos, Athens, 19 Sept./2 Oct., 1915.

[17] Venizelos to Guillemin, Athens, 19 Sept./2 Oct., 1915.  This
merely formal protest--quite distinct from the confidential dispatch
given above--is the only one of which the world has hitherto been
allowed to hear.

[17] M. Venizelos had insisted that the reports spread through the
Press concerning the divergence of views between him and the Crown
should be contradicted, and, by telling the King that otherwise the
mobilization would have no effect on Bulgaria, had obtained the King's
permission to publish a _communiqué_ in which he stated that "the Crown
is in accord with the responsible Government not only as regards
mobilization but also as regards future policy."--_Orations_, p. 136.

[18] See House of Commons Debate, in _The Times_, 19 April, 1916;
Chambre des Deputés, secret debate of 20 June, 1916, in the _Journal
Officiel_, p. 77.



{65}

CHAPTER VI

M. Zaimis formed a Government pledged to the policy which Greece had
pursued since the beginning of the European War: her future course
would be guided by the course of events: meanwhile, she would seek to
safeguard her vital interests by remaining armed.[1]

As regards Servia, the new Premier had an opportunity of expressing his
views at length soon after his accession to office.  The Servian
Government, judging that the imminent attack from Bulgaria realized the
_casus faederis_, asked him if, in conformity with her alliance, Greece
would be ready to take the field.  M. Zaimis answered that the Hellenic
Government was very sorry not to be able to comply with the Servian
demand so formulated.  It did not judge that in the present conjuncture
the _casus faederis_ came into play.  The Alliance, concluded in 1913,
for the purpose of establishing an equilibrium of forces between the
Balkan States, had a purely Balkan character and nowise applied to a
general conflagration.  Both the Treaty and the Military Convention
accompanying it showed that the contracting parties had in view only
the case of an isolated attack by Bulgaria against one of them.
Nowhere was there any allusion to a concerted attack by two or more
Powers.  Nor could it be otherwise: it would have been an act of mad
presumption for either of the contracting parties to offer the other
the manifestly powerless and ridiculous assistance of its armed forces
in the case of a war with several States at once.  And such was the
present case.  If the Bulgarian attack apprehended by the Servian
Government took place, it would be in concert with Germany, Austria,
and Turkey: it would be combined with the attack already carried on by
the two Central Empires: it would be an episode of the European War.
{66} The Servian Government itself had recognized this in advance by
breaking off diplomatic relations with Bulgaria in imitation of the
Entente Powers, her European Allies, without a previous understanding
with Greece, her Balkan ally.  In these circumstances, the Hellenic
Government was convinced that no obligation weighed upon it.

Further, Greece was persuaded that her armed assistance freely offered
at such a moment would ill serve the common interest of the two
countries.  Greece had remained neutral in the European War, judging
that the best service she could render Servia was to hold in check
Bulgaria by keeping her forces intact and her communications open.  The
common interest demanded that the Greek forces should continue in
reserve for better use later on: that Greece should remain neutral and
armed, watching the course of events carefully with the resolution to
guard in the best possible way, not only her own vital interests, but
also those which she had in common with Servia.

The Hellenic Government, while deeply and sincerely regretting that it
was materially impossible for it to do at present more for Servia,
wished to assure her that, faithful to their friendship, it would
continue to accord her every assistance and facility consistent with
its international position.[2]

The Entente Powers took no exception to this attitude; which is not to
be wondered at, seeing that they had hitherto uniformly ignored the
Graeco-Servian Treaty, and, by their project of territorial concessions
to Bulgaria, had laboured, as much as in them lay, to annul a pact made
for the defence of the territorial _status quo_ against Bulgaria: not
until Bulgaria had been at open war with Servia for some days (14
Oct.), could they bring themselves to declare that the promises of
Servian and Greek territory which they had made to her no longer held.
Unable, therefore, to tell Greece that she was under any obligation to
enter the War on Servia's behalf, Sir Edward Grey attempted to induce
her to do so for her own benefit by offering her the island of Cyprus.
This offer, made on 17 October, Greece felt compelled to decline: what
would it have profited her to gain Cyprus and lose Athens?  And what
could an acceptance have profited Servia either?  As {67} M. Zaimis
said, by intervening at that moment Greece would perish without saving
Servia.

Servia could have been saved had an Anglo-French expedition on an
adequate scale taken place at any of the times which the Greek General
Staff proposed for Graeco-Servian co-operation--indeed, at any time
except only the particular time chosen by the Entente.  When their
troops arrived at Salonica, the Servian army--what had been left of it
after fourteen months' fighting and typhus--was already falling back
before the Austro-Germans, who swarmed across the Drina, the Save, and
the Danube, occupied Belgrade and pushed south (6-10 Oct.), while the
Bulgars pressed towards Nish (11-12 Oct.).  On the day on which the
English offer was made (17 Oct.), the Austro-Germans were fifteen miles
south of Belgrade, and by the 2nd of November there was no longer any
Servia to save, the Bulgars having on that day entered Monastir.

The co-operation of Greece might still have been obtained if the Allies
could even then have sent to Salonica forces large enough to assure her
that the struggle would be waged on more equal terms.[3]  There had
always been an influential group among the principal military leaders
at Athens who held that it was to the vital interest of their country
that Bulgaria should be attacked, and who, to secure the help of the
Entente Powers against Bulgarian pretensions in the future, were
prepared to run great immediate risks.  As it was, the dilatoriness of
the Allies imposed upon M. Zaimis a policy of inaction.

This policy, besides being imposed by circumstances, also accorded with
the new Premier's character.

M. Zaimis stands out in the political world of Greece as a singular
anomaly: a politician who never made speeches and never gave
interviews: a silent man in a country where every citizen is a born
orator: an unambitious man in a country where ambition is an endemic
disease.  To find a parallel to his position, one must go back to the
days when nations, in need of wise guidance, implored reluctant sages
to undertake the task of guiding them.  This thankless task M. Zaimis
performed several times to everybody's temporary satisfaction.  On the
present, as on other occasions, he enjoyed the confidence of the
Entente Powers, {68} as well as the confidence of the King and the
people of Greece.  Even the journals of M. Venizelos, and the
Anglo-French Press which M. Venizelos inspired, paid the customary
tribute to M. Zaimis's integrity and sagacity.  The homage was due to
the fact that M. Zaimis was neither a Venizelist nor an
anti-Venizelist, but simply a Zaimist.  In domestic affairs he belonged
to no party; in foreign affairs to no school: he neither sought nor
shunned a change of course.

That explains why he succeeded in ruling Greece for four weeks, and
also why he failed to rule her longer.

M. Venizelos had not abandoned his standpoint.  Of M. Zaimis's person
he spoke with much respect; but of his policy he spoke just as one
might have expected M. Venizelos to speak: M. Zaimis had broken the
Servian Treaty and would go down to history as a man who had
dishonoured the signature of Greece.  With regard to the Entente
Powers, M. Venizelos thought that M. Zaimis meant honestly--the fact
that he was as well known to them as M. Venizelos himself, having
served as their High Commissioner in Crete for two years (1906-08),
exempted him from the imputation of duplicity--and since the Entente
Powers tolerated him, he would do likewise.  He only taunted the Zaimis
Government in Parliament for not obtaining for its policy a price from
those whom that policy unintentionally helped: Greece, to be sure, did
not remain neutral to serve Germany's but her own interests,
nevertheless, as Germany benefited by that neutrality, she should be
asked to give a _quid pro quo_.[4]

It was not the first time that M. Venizelos expressed this idea.  At
the Crown Council of 3 March he had suggested, if his own policy of
intervention was not adopted, to ask from Germany compensations for the
continuance of neutrality; and he urged that the King should personally
bargain with the Kaiser's Minister.  Again on 21 September, when
sounding the Entente Powers on the {69} possibility of sending troops
to Salonica, he advised the King simultaneously to sound the German
Emperor on the price of neutrality.[5]  King Constantine had always
shrunk from entering into any understanding whatever with Germany.
And, although the advice may have been given in good faith, it is easy
to guess the use to which its acceptance might be turned by M.
Venizelos, who, even as it was, did not hesitate to whisper of
"pledges" given to Germany.  So M. Zaimis endured the taunt and avoided
the trap.

This state of truce lasted for a month.  Then strife broke out afresh.
Early in November a member of the Government insulted the Opposition.
The Opposition demanded his dismissal.  This was refused and matters
were pushed to a crisis--whether by the adversaries of M. Venizelos,
anxious to get rid of a Chamber with a hostile majority, or by M.
Venizelos himself, anxious to get rid of a Cabinet that had succeeded
in establishing friendly relations with the Entente, it is impossible
to say.  Both conjectures found favour at the time, and both seem
probable.[6]  In any case, M. Venizelos made of that incident an
occasion for an attack on the Government's foreign policy, which,
ending in an adverse vote, led to the resignation of M. Zaimis and the
formation of a new Ministry under M. Skouloudis (7 November).

There ensued a dissolution of the Chamber (11 November) and a fresh
appeal to the people; the King, on the advice of M. Skouloudis,
inviting M. Venizelos to the polls, as who should say: When you got
your majority in June, the nation was with you; many things of the
gravest national concern have happened since; let us see if the nation
is with you now.  M. Venizelos declined the invitation: "The
elections," he said, "will be a farce.  All my supporters are detained
voteless under arms, and the only votes cast will be those of the older
and more timid men."  How many supporters he had under arms the near
future was to show.  Meanwhile, he and his partizans reinforced this
reason for abstention from the polls with other arguments.

{70} King Constantine, they alleged, was guilty of unconstitutional
behaviour.  He had twice disagreed with a Government supported by a
majority of the representatives of the people, and twice within a few
months had dissolved a Parliament duly chosen by the people.  Was such
a thing ever heard in a constitutional State?  The Constitution had
been violated: openly, insolently violated.

In Greece this cry has always been among the Opposition's common
stock-in-trade: it is enough for a Minister to misapply fifty drachmas
to acquire the title of a violator of the Constitution, and nobody ever
is the wiser or the worse for it.  M. Venizelos himself had often been
accused by his opponents of aiming at the subversion of Parliamentary
Government.  But in this instance the cry was destined to have, as we
shall see, epoch-making results, and for this reason it merits serious
examination.

The King's supporters denied that any violation of the Constitution had
taken place.  The Constitution of Greece, they pointed out, gives the
Crown explicitly the right to dismiss Ministers and to dissolve
Chambers.[7]  M. Venizelos himself had, no longer ago than 5 March, at
the second sitting of the Crown Council, declared himself an adversary
of the doctrine that the Parliamentary majority is absolute, and
recognized the right of the Crown to choose another Government; "On the
other hand," he said, "the necessary consequence of the formation of a
Cabinet not enjoying a majority in the Chamber is the dissolution of
the Chamber." [8]  It was in pursuance {71} of this advice that the
King, who, as M. Venizelos on that occasion emphatically stated, "has
always absolutely respected the Constitution," [9] dissolved the
Chamber.

The only question, therefore, is about the dissolution of the Chamber
elected on 13 June, 1915, which gave M. Venizelos a majority of 56.
This action, it was alleged, violated the spirit, though not the
letter, of Constitutional Law, because the dissolved Chamber
represented the will of the people.  But, the other side retorted, it
was precisely because there was ground for believing that the
Parliamentary majority had ceased to represent the will of the people
that the King proceeded to a dissolution; and in so doing he had
excellent precedent.  His father had dissolved several Chambers
(specifically in 1902 and 1910) on the same ground, not only without
incurring any censure, but earning much applause from the Venizelist
Party.[10]  In fact, the last of those dissolutions had been carried
out by M. Venizelos himself under the following circumstances: The
General Elections of August, 1910, had given a majority to the old
parties: King George, however, in the belief that public opinion really
favoured M. Venizelos, called him to power, though he was only the
leader of a Parliamentary minority.  M. Venizelos formed a Government,
but, as the majority in Parliament obstructed his policy, he persuaded
the Sovereign to dissolve it,[11] declaring in the House (11/24
October, 1910): that "it is impossible to limit the prerogative of the
Crown to dissolve any Chamber."  Obviously, what was {72} lawful for
King George could not be unlawful for King Constantine; and the fact
that M. Venizelos's majority of 56 had since the recent elections
dwindled to 16, was reason sufficient for the belief that he no longer
represented the will of the people, even if it were conceded that the
issue of war had been clearly put before the electors who had voted for
him in June, and that, at best, a majority of 56 in an assembly of 314
was an adequate expression of the will of the people on so grave an
issue.  Events had moved so fast in those months and the situation
changed so abruptly that King Constantine would have been guilty of a
dereliction of duty had he not, by exercising his indisputable
prerogative, given the nation an opportunity to reconsider its opinion.

Sophisms suited to the fury of the times apart, the whole case of M.
Venizelos against his Sovereign rested, avowedly, on the theory,
improvised for the nonce, that the Greek Constitution is a replica of
the British--a monarchical democracy in which the monarch is nothing
more than a passive instrument in the hands of a Government with a
Parliamentary majority.[12]  It is not so, and it was never meant to be
so.  The Greek Constitution does invest the monarch with rights which
our Constitution, or rather the manner in which we have for a long time
chosen to interpret it, does not.  Among these is the right to make, or
to refrain from making war.  That was why M. Venizelos in March, 1915,
could not offer the co-operation of Greece in the Dardanelles
enterprise officially without the King's approval, and why the British
Government declined to consider his semi-official communication until
after the King's decision.  Similarly M. Venizelos's proposals for the
dispatch of Entente troops to Salonica in September, so far as that
transaction was carried on above-board, were made subject to the King's
consent.  Of course, if the King exercised this right without advice,
he would be playing the part of an autocrat; but King Constantine
always acted by the advice of the competent authority--namely, the
Chief of the General Staff.  In truth, if anyone tried to play the part
of an autocrat, it was not the King, but M. Venizelos.  His argument
seemed to be that the King should acquiesce in the view {73} which a
lay Minister took of matters military and in decisions which he arrived
at without or in defiance of technical advice.

In this again, M. Venizelos appears to have been inspired by British
example.  We saw during the War the responsibility for its conduct
scattered over twenty-three civil and semi-civil individuals who
consulted the naval and military staffs more or less as and when they
choose, and the result of it in the Gallipoli tragedy.  We saw, too, as
a by-product of this system, experts holding back advice of immense
importance because they knew it would not be well received.  The
Reports of the Dardanelles Commission condemned this method.  But it is
to a precisely similar method that the Greek General Staff objected
with such determination.  "Venizelos," they said, "does not know
anything about war.  He approaches the King with proposals containing
in them the seeds of national disaster without consulting us, or in
defiance of our advice.  Greece cannot afford to run the risk of
military annihilation; her resources are small, and, once exhausted,
cannot be replaced."  The King, relying on the right unquestionably
given to him under the terms of the Constitution, demanded from his
chief military adviser such information as would enable him to judge
wisely from the military point of view any proposal involving
hostilities made by his Premier.  It was this attitude that saved
Greece from the Gallipoli grave in March, and it was the same attitude
that saved her a second time at the present juncture.

But, in fact, at the present juncture the King acted not so much on his
prerogative of deciding about war as on the extreme democratic
principle that such decision belongs to the people, and, finding that
the Party which pushed the country towards war had only a weak
majority, he preferred to place the question before the electorate, to
test beyond the possibility of doubt the attitude of public opinion
towards this new departure.

From whatever point of view we may examine Constantine's behaviour, we
find that nothing could be more unfair than the charge of
unconstitutionalism brought against it.  M. Venizelos himself a little
later, by declaring that he aimed at the "definite elucidation of the
obligations and rights of the royal authority," through a "new {74}
Constitution," [13] unwittingly confessed that the actual Constitution
could not bear his interpretation.  As things stood, the charge might
with a better show of justice be brought against M. Venizelos, who, it
was pointed out, had violated the Constitution by inviting foreign
troops into Greek territory without the necessary Act of Parliament.[14]

Nor should it be forgotten that King Constantine had suffered
grievously both as a Greek and as a general from too punctilious an
observance of parliamentary etiquette by his father in 1897.  At that
date the policy of M. Delyannis was supported by the whole Chamber.  It
was a policy which the late Lord Salisbury very aptly summed up at the
time in the one word, "strait-waistcoat."  But, for lack of a man at
the top strong enough and courageous enough to take the responsibility
of opposing it, it was carried out: Greece rushed headlong into war
with a superior power and was smashed.  Upon King Constantine, then
Crown Prince, had devolved the tragic duty of leading the Greek army to
self-destruction, and it was upon his devoted head that afterwards the
nation visited the criminal levity of M. Delyannis.  Was he to suffer
calmly a repetition of the same catastrophe on an infinitely larger
scale--to see his country trampled under German and Bulgarian
heels--for M. Venizelos's sake?

The practical wisdom and patriotism of the King's conduct cannot be
questioned; but we should guard ourselves against exaggerating its
moral courage.  King Constantine, in turning an inattentive ear to the
warlike outpourings of the People's Chosen, knew perfectly well that he
ran no risk of wounding the people's conscience--just {75} as in
offering to lay the question before the tribunal of public opinion he
knew that he ran no risk of finding it at variance with his own.  He
could afford to act as he did, because the country trusted him
implicitly.  Writing about the middle of November, an English observer
described the situation as follows: "The people generally are afraid,
waiting and leaving everything to the King. . . .  No one now counts in
Greece but the King." [15]  And the absence of any popular murmur at
the rejection of the offer of Cyprus, to anyone who knows how deeply
popular feeling is committed to the ultimate union of that Greek island
with the mother country, speaks for itself.

This does not mean that M. Venizelos had as yet lost caste altogether.
On that fateful 5th of October his reputation as a serious statesman
among his countrymen had received a severe blow.  The idolatrous
admiration with which he had been surrounded until then gave way to
disenchantment, disenchantment to bewilderment, and bewilderment to
dismay: the national prophet from whom fresh miracles had been
expected, was no prophet at all, but a mere mortal--and an uncommonly
fallible mortal at that.  Nevertheless, while many Greeks found it hard
to pardon the Cretan politician for the ruin into which he had so very
nearly precipitated them, there were many others who still remained
under the spell of his personality.  Yet it may well be doubted
whether, had a plebiscite been taken at that moment, he would have got
anything more than a substantial minority.  Fully conscious of the
position, M. Venizelos, in spite of advice from his Entente friends to
stand his ground, boycotted the polls, and the new Parliament, returned
by the elections of 19 December, was a Parliament without an
Opposition.  M. Skouloudis remained at the helm.



[1] _White Book_, No. 45.

[2] _White Book_, No. 46.

[3] See _The Times_, 1 Nov., 1915.

[4] _Orations_, pp. 143-50.  It would hardly be credited, did it not
come out of his own mouth, that the compensations and guarantees which
M. Venizelos thought, or at least said, that Greece could obtain from
Germany in return for her neutrality (a neutrality always benevolent
towards Germany's enemies) exceeded those which the Entente had refused
to grant Greece for her active alliance!

[5] _The Balkan Review_, Dec., 1920, pp. 384, 387; _Orations_, p. 266.

[6] It may not be irrelevant to note that the end of the truce
coincided with the end of the Allies' uncertainty as to whether they
would persist in the Salonica enterprise or give it up.

[7] Art. 31, 37.

[8] Extracts from Minutes in _The Balkan Review_, Dec., 1920, p. 385.
Not for the first time had M. Venizelos expounded that thesis.  Here is
a speech of his on 2/15 May, 1911.

"We are accused of seeking the destruction of Parliamentary Government,
because we conceive that one of the foundations of the Government is
that those who represent the majority do everything, that it is enough
for them that they represent the majority to impose their will.  But
we, the Liberal Party, entertain an entirely opposite conception both
of the State and the Laws and of the powers of majorities, because
modern progress has proved that humanity cannot prosper so long as the
action of those in authority is not subjected to rules and restrictions
preventing every transgression or violation of justice.  We shall make
the Greeks truly free citizens, enjoying not only the rights which
emanate from the Constitutional ordinances, but also those which
emanate from all the laws.  _We shall defend them against every
tyrannical exercise of Government power derived from a majority._"

This report is taken from a panegyric on the speaker: _Eleutherios
Venizelos_, by K. K. Kosmides, D.Ph., Athens, 1915, pp. 56-7.  On p. 58
of the same work, occurs another reply by M. Venizelos to a charge of
anti-Parliamentarism, dated 14/27 Nov., 1913.

[9] _The Balkan Review, loc. cit_.  Cp. _The New Europe_, 29 March,
1917, where M. Venizelos expressly admits that "in February, 1915, the
King's action might be regarded as constitutional."

[10] _Orations_, pp. 17-8.  Cp. p. 217.

[11] His opponents then acted as he did now: to avoid exposing their
weakness, they pronounced the dissolution unconstitutional and
boycotted the new elections.  For a full account of these events see
another panegyric: _E. Venizelos: his life--his work_.  By Costa
Kairophyla, Athens, 1915, pp. 73-82.

[12] _Orations_, pp. 12-15.

[13] _Eleutheros Typos_, 23 Oct./5 Nov., 1916; _Orations_, p. 102.

[14] See Art. 90 of the Constitution.

It was in order to defend himself against this grave charge that M.
Venizelos denied in the Chamber and out of it, that he had "invited"
the Allies to Salonica.  Just as it was in order to avoid the charge of
violating International Law that Sir Edward Grey in the House of
Commons (18 April, 1916) and M. Briand in the Chamber of Deputies (20
June, 1916), affirmed that the Allies had been "invited."  From the
account of that affair already given, the reader will easily see that,
for forensic purposes, both the denial and the affirmation rest on
sufficient grounds.  The discrepancy might be removed by the
substitution of "instigated" for "invited."

[15] J. M. N. Jefferies, in the _Daily Mail_, 23 Nov., 1915.  The
testimony is all the more notable because it comes from an avowed
partisan of M. Venizelos: "the only man in Greece with a policy."



{76}

CHAPTER VII

A momentous question--upon the answer to which depended, among other
things, the fate of Greece during the War--confronted the Allies as
soon as they realized that their Balkan campaign had come to an
untimely beginning.

The dispatch of troops to Macedonia originally was based on the
agreement that M. Venizelos would get Greece to join.  Once M.
Venizelos failed to do so, the plan fell to the ground.  Again, the
object of the expedition was to rescue Servia; and Servia being already
conquered, the expedition had no longer any purpose.  Such were the
views of the British Government, and similar views were held in France
by many, including M. Delcassé, who resigned when Bulgaria's
"defection" sounded the knell of his Balkan policy.  But other French
statesmen, with M. Briand at their head, saw in Macedonia a field which
promised great glory and gain, if only the noble British nation could
be brought to understand that there were interests and sentiments at
stake higher than agreements.[1]

The process involved some talking: "I have had my interview with Briand
and Gallieni," wrote Lord Kitchener to the Prime Minister.  "As regards
Salonica it is very difficult to get in a word; they were both full of
the necessity of pushing in troops, and would not think of coming out.
They simply sweep all military difficulties and dangers aside, and go
on political lines--such as saving a remnant of Serbs, bringing Greece
in, and inducing Rumania to join." [2]

Other conferences followed, at all of which the French spoke so loudly
that the noble British nation could not possibly help hearing--_la
noble nation britannique n'est pas restée sourde_.  The truth is,
France was set on what {77} M. Delcassé now called the _mirage
balkanique_, partly from considerations of a domestic nature, chiefly
for reasons connected with the future balance of power in the Near
East--and England could not leave her there alone.  So the "_nous
resterons_" policy prevailed; and the continued presence of
Franco-British forces on Greek soil led, as it was bound to do, to
abnormal relations with the Greek Government.

The wish of the Allies was to obtain from Greece full licence for the
safe accommodation and the operations of their troops; while it was the
earnest endeavour of Greece not to let her complaisance towards one
group of belligerents compromise her in the eyes of the other.  The
little kingdom found itself between two clashing forces: the one
triumphant on land, the other dominating the sea.  But of the two the
German peril was the more imminent.  The Kaiser's legions were at
Monastir--any act that might be construed as a breach of neutrality
would bring them in a month to Athens.

M. Skouloudis--a stately octogenarian who, after refusing three times
the Premiership, had assumed power in this crisis at the King's
insistent desire because, as he said, he considered it his duty so to
do--took up the only attitude that could have been expected in the
circumstances: the attitude that was dictated by the instinct of
self-preservation.

Unlike M. Venizelos, whose mind revolved constantly about war at all
hazards: unlike other statesmen who regarded war as an eventuality to
be accepted or declined according as conditions might be favourable or
unfavourable, M. Skouloudis seemed resolutely to eliminate war from his
thoughts.

On taking office he gave the Entente Powers "most categorical
assurances of a steady determination to carry on the policy of
neutrality in the form of most sincere benevolence towards them.  The
new Ministry," he added, "adopts M. Zaimis's repeated declarations of
Greece's friendly attitude towards the Allied armies at Salonica, and
is sufficiently sensible of her true interests and of her debt to them
not to deviate for the whole world from this course, and hopes that the
friendly sentiments of those Powers towards Greece will never be
influenced by false {78} and malicious rumours deliberately put into
circulation with the object of cooling the good relations between
them."  To Servia also he expressed "in the most categorical terms
sentiments of sincere friendship and a steady determination to continue
affording her every facility and support consistent with our vital
interests." [3]

But at the same time, when told by the Servian Minister that a Servian
army might probably, pressed by the enemy, enter Greek territory, he
replied that he wished and hoped such a thing would not happen--that
Greece might not find herself under the very unpleasant necessity of
applying the Hague Rules regarding the disarmament of a belligerent
taking refuge in neutral territory.  And he repeated this statement to
the French Minister, adding, in answer to a question.  What would
Greece do if the Allied forces retired into Greek territory? that it
would be necessary to apply the Hague Rules, but that he hoped very
much the contingency would not present itself.  On being reminded of
the assurances given by his predecessor that no material pressure would
ever be exerted on the Allied forces, he replied that the Hellenic
Government nowise proposed to go back on those assurances, and hoped
that the Powers, taking into consideration the irreproachable attitude
of Greece, would be pleased to relieve her of complications and find a
solution safeguarding all interests concerned.[4]

The solution he hinted at was that the Allies should re-embark; in
which case Greece was prepared to protect the parting guests "even by
her own forces, so as to afford them the most absolute security." [5]

But, as nothing was farther from their thoughts, his explanation did
not satisfy the Allies.  M. Skouloudis was therefore obliged to give
their representatives again and again to understand that in no case
would the Hellenic Government think of exerting the least pressure, and
that, if he had alluded to the Rules regarding neutrality, he had done
so because such ought to be the official language of a State which was
and wished to remain neutral.  But from the very first he had clearly
indicated that Greece did not mean to apply those Rules: she would
confine {79} herself to a mere reminder of international principles
without in any way seeking to enforce respect for them.  Greece being
and wishing to remain neutral, could not speak officially as if she
were not, nor trumpet abroad the assurances which she had not ceased
giving the Entente Powers.  Surely they must perceive the most delicate
position in which Greece stood between the two belligerent groups, and,
given that they did not dispute, nor could dispute, her right to remain
neutral, it was reasonable and just that they should accept the natural
consequences and not demand from her impossibilities.[6]

The Entente Powers could not, of course, deny the reasonableness of
this plea; but neither could they ignore the inconveniences to
themselves that would arise from its frank recognition.  Between their
base at Salonica and the troops which had advanced to Krivolak
interposed several Greek army corps; at Salonica also Greek camps lay
among the Franco-British camps scattered round the town: these
conditions impeded organized operations.  General Sarrail, the
Commander-in-Chief of the Allies, had nothing but praise for the
courtesy of the Greek authorities, both civil and military.  Yet not a
day passed without incidents.  He complained that obstacles were placed
in his action through a multitude of secondary details: the
Municipality claimed duties; the Railway Service did not assist as
liberally as could be wished in the work of getting off the stores
which arrived at the port.  It was necessary that the Greek troops
should be moved out of the Allies' way and leave them in full control:
privileges which no State could voluntarily grant and remain neutral;
which no army could forgo and work efficiently.  So the General, while
confessing that "we often place them in a difficult position by
demanding permissions which their virtual neutrality cannot allow them
to give," impressed on the Entente Governments the need of taking
strong measures with the Greeks.[6]

Germany would have proceeded to deeds without wasting words--beyond a
casual "Necessity knows no law."  But nations fighting for noble ideals
could not imitate Germany's cynicism.  A case had to be made out to
{80} justify coercion.  It was.  Greece did not really wish to remain
neutral.  Misled by a Germanophile Court, she only waited for a chance
of joining the enemy--of stabbing the Allies in the back.  When this
amazing theory--widely popularized by the French and English Press--was
hinted to M. Rallis by "Our Special Correspondent," on 18 November, the
Greek Minister could hardly credit his collocutor's sanity: "It is
mad!" he cried out.  "It is senseless to imagine such a thing--when you
could have the guns of your fleet levelled on our cities!"  The answer,
however--an answer the conclusiveness of which a glance at the map is
enough to demonstrate to the dimmest intelligence--fell upon
deliberately deaf ears.  The very journal which in one page recorded
it, in another wrote: "Bulgaria has gone; Greece is trembling in the
balance.  Only a display of overwhelming force on our part can hold her
steady and prevent the accession of another 500,000 men to the enemy's
strength."

That the publicists who argued thus and who, to give to their argument
greater cogency, generously added to the Greek army some 200,000 men,
were persuaded by their own reasoning, it is hard to believe without
libelling human sense.  Apart from the ocular refutation supplied by
the map, what had Greece to gain by siding with the enemies of the
Entente?  That she would lose all her islands, have her coast towns
pulverized and her population starved, was certain.  What she could get
in return, it needed a very robust imagination to suggest.  The only
countries at whose cost the Hellenic Kingdom could possibly compensate
itself for these inevitable sacrifices were Turkey and Bulgaria; and
those countries were Germany's allies.  A moment's reflection raises a
number of equally unanswerable questions: If the Greeks wanted to join
Germany, why did they not do so when the Kaiser invited them at the
very beginning of the War?  Why did they not resist the landing of the
Allies?  Why did they not attack them when they had them at their
mercy: 60,000 French and British, with the Germans and the Bulgars in
front of them, and 150,000 Greeks between them and Salonica?[8]

{81}

In this connexion the evidence of an eminent English soldier and an
eminent French statesman who visited Athens at that time to study the
situation on the spot may be cited.  To each King Constantine and M.
Skouloudis, in the course of lengthy interviews, declared that the
Allied forces had nothing to fear in Greece.  Each was convinced of
their sincerity, and of the true motives of their attitude: "They
both," reported Lord Kitchener, "seem very determined to stick to their
neutrality."  Likewise General Dousmanis, Chief of the General Staff,
and Colonel Metaxas, who were represented to the Entente publics as
Germanophile pedants, satisfied Lord Kitchener of their genuine concern
about the British sphere in the East, and startled him by pressing upon
him a plan of action "almost exactly the same as detailed in my
telegrams, and based their conclusions on the same argument almost word
for word.  They emphatically stated that there was no other way of
preventing the accomplishment of the German project." [9]  M. Denys
Cochin even went so far as to publish to the whole world that the
suspicions entertained against King Constantine had no other source
than party rancour.[10]

For the rest, a striking proof that the Entente Powers themselves did
not believe the story of the Greek Government's hostile intentions is
afforded by the fact that, instead of demanding, they deprecated the
disbandment of the Greek army.  When Lord Kitchener saw M. Skouloudis,
the latter said that the Allies' mistrust might well force Greece to
consider whether it would not be better for her to demobilize, leaving
to them all responsibility for the consequences.  Lord Kitchener, in
the presence of the British Minister, replied that, "as to some partial
demobilization, it was for Greece to decide according to her interests,
but he did not think a general demobilization advisable."  And again, a
little later on, when {82} M. Skouloudis, irritated by a fresh
exhibition of mistrust, told the French Minister that, in face of such
a state of things, nothing was left for his unhappy country but to
order at once a general demobilization, and let the Entente Powers do
what they liked to her, M. Guillemin cried out, "Ah, no.  I am
decidedly against demobilization."  Naturally: "the Greek Army," said
Sir Thomas Cuninghame, the British Military Attaché, to General
Moschopoulos.  Military Governor of Salonica, "saves and secures the
flanks and rear of the Allies." [11]

However, the story served the purpose of supplying a pretext for
pressure.  All ships carrying foodstuffs and other commodities were
held up.  In addition, Milo--an island not far from Athens--was
occupied, and the Allied Fleet was ordered to be ready, in case things
should be pushed to extremes, to open war on Greek commerce, to destroy
the Greek Fleet, and to bombard Athens, _en respectant les monuments
anciens_.[12]

Fortunately, the occasion for extreme measures, by which even the
ancient ruins might have suffered, did not arise.  General Sarrail, who
at first urged that the naval demonstration against Athens should be
proceeded with immediately, on second thoughts, prompted by nervousness
as to the safety of his troops, deprecated such action.  At the same
time, M. Skouloudis, alarmed by the blockade--Greece never has more
than a very limited food reserve--invited the Allies to state their
demands, saying that he would accede to them if it was possible to do
so.[13]

Whereupon the Allies, "ever animated by the most benevolent intentions
towards Greece, and anxious that the equivocal situation in which
events had placed her towards them should come to an end and their
relations be re-established on a basis of mutual and lasting
confidence," demanded first of all a formal assurance that in no
circumstances would the Greek troops attempt to disarm or intern the
retiring Allied troops, but that the policy of benevolent neutrality
promised would be maintained with all its consequences.  They disavowed
any wish or intention to compel the Hellenic Government to {83}
participate in the European War from which it had declared that it
meant to hold aloof.  But it was a vital necessity for them not to let
it in any way hinder the freedom of their movements on land or sea, or
compromise the security of their troops throughout the field of their
operations.  They therefore must be assured that they will obtain,
according to the promise already given by M. Zaimis, all the facilities
which they might require, notably in the port of Salonica and on the
roads and railways.  It was understood that the Entente Powers would
restore in full at the end of the War all the parts of Greek territory
which they might be obliged to occupy during the hostilities, and that
they would duly pay indemnities for all damage caused by the
occupation.[14]

M. Skouloudis, after thanking the Entente Powers for the benevolent
intentions with which they declared themselves to be animated towards
Greece, willingly repeated the assurances he had so many times already
given, that the Greek troops would in no circumstances seek to disarm
or intern the Allied troops, and that the Greek Government in its
relations with the Entente Powers would in everything hold fast to its
policy of benevolent neutrality.  He once more noted the reiterated
disavowal by the Allied Governments of any wish or intention to force
Greece into the War, and on his part disavowed any wish or intention to
hinder in any way the freedom of their movements on land or sea, or to
compromise in any way the security of their troops.  The Hellenic
Government had always kept the promises made by M. Zaimis to the very
utmost of its ability, and had no difficulty in renewing the assurance
that the Allied Governments would continue to receive all the
facilities their troops might require in the port of Salonica, and on
the roads and railways.[15]

These prefatory amenities led on 10 December to a detailed Agreement,
the Greek Government promising to move its troops out of the way and
"not to oppose by force the construction of defensive works or the
occupation of fortified points," but reserving to itself the right to
protest {84} against such operations "energetically and seriously, not
as a mere form"--a right which the Allies easily conceded[16]--and
emphatically declaring that "should the Allied troops by their
movements bring the war into Greek territory, the Greek troops would
withdraw so as to leave the field free to the two parties to settle
their differences."

The Entente Ministers expressed their satisfaction, and M. Skouloudis
expressed the hope that their Governments, convinced at last of the
Greek Government's sincerity, would not only drop coercion, but comply
with its request for financial and commercial facilities.  They
promised that all difficulties would disappear as soon as the military
authorities on the spot had given effect to the agreement; and the
French Minister repeated his Government's declaration that it would be
happy to accord Greece all financial and commercial facilities as soon
as the situation cleared.[17]



[1] _Journal Officiel_, pp. 61, 70, 75-8.

[2] Sir George Arthur's _Life of Lord Kitchener_.  Vol. III. p. 261.

[3] _White Book_, Nos. 47, 48, 49.

[4] Skouloudis's _Apantesis_, pp. 43-5.

[5] _White Book_, No. 52.

[6] _White Book_, No. 51.

[7] Sarrail, pp. 311-12; _Life of Kitchener_, Vol. III, p. 198.

[8] Those were the figures on 17 Nov.--_Life of Kitchener_, Vol. III,
p. 199.  I have only seen an answer to the second of the above
questions: it is from M. Venizelos, and it is: "absent-mindedness":
"Why did not the General Staff do this, since it was to Germany's
interest that the Anglo-French should not land?  Because, immersed in
politics, it no longer took account of military matters!"--Orations, p.
140.

[9] _Life of Kitchener_, Vol. III, pp. 202-3.

[10] See interview with M. Denys Cochin at Messina, in the _Daily
Mail_, 29 Nov., 1915.  Cp. _Le Temps_, 25 Nov.

[11] Skouloudis, _Apantesis_, pp. 4-5; _Semeioseis_, p. 46.

[12] _Journal Officiel_, pp. 71-2.

[13] _Life of Kitchener_, Vol. III, p. 199-203.

[14] Communication by the Entente Ministers, Athens, 10/23 Nov., 1915.

[15] Skouloudis to Entente Ministers, Athens, 11/24 Nov., 1915.

[16] "_Le Gouvernement Grec se réservait de protester; nous nous
réservions de ne pas répondre_.  (_Rires_)."  M. Briand in the _Journal
Officiel_, p. 72.

[17] _White Book_, No. 54.



{85}

CHAPTER VIII

The situation did not clear--how could it?  Of all diplomatic fictions
that of "benevolence" is perhaps the most incompatible with the grim
realities of war.

General Sarrail had from the outset been empowered to take any measures
which he might judge necessary at his discretion.  But fear of the
Greek army for a time compelled him to temper vigour with caution.
That fear decreased in proportion as the Allied contingents in
Macedonia increased; and hence a series of acts which show how the
General used his discretion.

First, he judged it necessary to blow up the bridge of Demir-Hissar.
He blew it up--thus completely cutting off the Greek forces in Eastern
Macedonia, and, incidentally, letting the enemy know that no offensive
across the Struma was contemplated by the Allies.  Next, he judged it
necessary to seize the Fort of Kara-Burnu which commands the entrance
to Salonica Harbour.  He seized it--despite a solemn engagement to the
contrary.[1]  Then he judged it necessary to occupy the town of
Florina.  He occupied it.  An appreciation of the efficacy or
expediency of these measures--beyond a passing allusion to the obvious
blunder committed by the destruction of the Demir-Hissar bridge--would
be out of place here.  For our present purpose their interest lies in
the light they throw upon the conditions, apart from the purely
military difficulties, created by the intrusion of foreign troops on
neutral soil.

Afloat the Allies were not less vigorous than ashore.  They judged it
necessary to occupy Corfu, in order to accommodate the remnants of the
Servian army that had escaped across Albania.  They occupied Corfu.
They judged it necessary to occupy Castellorizo, an islet off the coast
of Asia Minor.  They occupied Castellorizo.  They {86} judged it
necessary to occupy Suda Bay in Crete and Argostoli Bay in Cephalonia.
They occupied them.

It is worthy of note that the occupation of Castellorizo was prepared
by a local revolt stirred up by the French Consular and Naval
authorities,[2] and that the occupation of Corfu constituted a flagrant
violation of international pacts (Treaties of London, 14 Nov., 1863,
and 29 March, 1864) to which the Entente Powers were signatories, and
by virtue of which the perpetual neutrality of the island was
guaranteed as strictly as that of Belgium--a circumstance that afforded
the Central Powers an opportunity to protest against Anglo-French
contempt for the sanctity of treaties.[3]

Among other arbitrary proceedings may be mentioned numerous arrests and
deportations of enemy subjects and Consuls, and even the execution of
some Greek subjects, by the Allied military and naval authorities.[4]

Against each of these encroachments upon its sovereignty the Greek
Government protested with ever-deepening bitterness.  The Entente
Governments accepted its protests and disregarded them: International
Law is the will of the stronger.  Besides, says M. Briand, "we were
there in a country where force is more effective than anywhere else."
[5]  From this utterance, which was received by the French Chamber with
applause, we get a glimpse into the workings of the official Entente
mind, and more than a glimpse of the guiding principles of Entente
policy in Greece during that period.

The reason for that policy publicly alleged was, as we have seen, the
Allies' need to do their own fighting in {87} peace and security.
Their real aim, M. Skouloudis believed, was to draw Greece gradually
into the War.  In so believing he interpreted correctly the French
Government's views as the French Government itself had expounded them
to the British Government: "To bring Greece in." [6]  With that as one
of its objects the Salonica expedition had been persisted in; and as
Greece persisted in standing out, the question resolved itself into one
of continuous pressure.

M. Skouloudis was confirmed in his belief by the fact that the Allies
would not allow demobilization, and at the same time would not lend
Greece the 150 million francs which had been promised: they knew,
through the International Financial Commission, that the mobilized army
swallowed up every available resource, and they calculated that, when
the strain reached the breaking point, Greece would fall at their feet
and beg for relief at any price: the Ministry would have either to give
way or make place for one which favoured war.  The Ministry, determined
to do neither, cast about for some means of making ends meet, when
Germany came forward with an offer to lend temporarily a portion of the
sum promised by France.  This offer, though, of course, prompted by the
desire to enable Greece to maintain her neutrality, was free from any
political conditions, and M. Skouloudis accepted it thankfully.
Negotiations began on 20 November, 1915, and by 7 March, 1916, an
instalment of 40 million francs was actually paid.  For obvious reasons
the transaction was carried through without the knowledge of the
Allies, from whom the Greek Premier still cherished some faint hopes of
receiving the 150 millions.[7]

Whether he had any right to cherish such hopes, after accepting
financial assistance from their enemies, is a very nice ethical point;
but a nicer point still is, whether the Allies had any right left to
question the ethics of others.  M. Skouloudis doubtless could plead in
self-justification that his remaining armed was admittedly a boon to
them, as much as his remaining neutral was a boon to their enemies; and
that both sides should therefore help to defray the cost.  He was
impartial.  However, his hopes were dashed to the ground.

{88}

On 5 April the French and British Ministers called on the Premier and
informed him that the Servian army at Corfu, having sufficiently rested
and recovered, the Entente proposed to transport it to Salonica through
Greece, and they had no doubt that Greece would readily consent.  M.
Skouloudis replied that Greece could not possibly consent.  The
transport of over 100,000 men across the country would mean
interruption of railway traffic and suspension of all economic life for
at least two months; it would expose the population to the danger of
infection by the epidemic diseases from which the Serbs had been
suffering; above all, it would be regarded by the Central Powers as a
breach of neutrality and might force Greece into the War against her
will.  M. Skouloudis urged these reasons with all the firmness, and
more than all the plainness, that diplomacy allowed, ending up with an
emphatic: "No, gentlemen, such a thing we will not permit.  I declare
this to you officially."

"Our Governments," retorted the French Minister, "have not instructed
us to ask for your permission, but to notify to you their decision."

M. Skouloudis was a proud old man, fiercely jealous of his country's
independence and inflexible in his defence of it.  Of his iron
determination he had already given the Allies ample proof.  But
hitherto he had kept his gathering indignation under control.  He could
do so no longer: the Frenchman's speech and, more than the speech, the
manner in which it had been delivered, were too much for his feelings.

"And I," he repeated, "declare to you that my Government's decision is
not to permit this overland passage--further, I declare to you that, in
the contrary event, I shall find myself under the necessity of blowing
up the railway,"--then, in a crescendo of rage, he went on: "You have
left us nothing sound in this country--neither self-respect, nor
dignity, nor liberty, nor the right to live as free men.  But do not
forget that there is a limit to the most benevolent patience and to the
most willing compliance, that one last drop makes the cup
overflow. . . ."

The British Minister, seeing that the conversation with his colleague
grew every moment more tempestuous, interposed by asking if Greece
would equally object to a {89} sea-passage of the Serbs by the Canal of
Corinth; and, the Cabinet having been consulted, a favourable answer
was given.  But meanwhile the demand for an overland passage was
pressed by the Servian Minister, and was supported by all the Entente
representatives.  Again M. Skouloudis gave a categorical refusal, and
in a telegraphic circular to the Greek Ministers in London, Rome, and
Petrograd--experience had taught him that it was worse than useless to
argue with Paris--he reiterated the reasons why Greece could not
consent, laying special stress on the now inflamed state of public
opinion, and pointing out that the dangers of the sea route were
greatly exaggerated since most of the journey would be through close
waters.  He added that, in view of the absence of any real military
necessity for an overland transport, and of the international
consequences which compliance involved, the whole civilized world would
justify Greece in her refusal and condemn any coercion on the part of
the Entente as an outrage.  He concluded by requesting the Greek
Ministers to place all these reasons before the respective Governments
in order that, on realizing the iniquity of the project, they might use
all their influence to dissuade the French Government from it.  England
appreciated the force of M. Skouloudis's arguments and, thanks to her,
diplomatic pressure ceased.  But there remained another form of
pressure, from which France would not desist.

M. Briand angrily declared that, under the circumstances, there could
be no talk of a loan.  M. Skouloudis pleaded that Greece had not asked
the loan as a price for the violation of her neutrality; she had asked
it on the supposition that the Entente Powers could not see with
indifference her military and economic paralysis.[8]

The plea made no impression; and, rebuffed by Paris, M. Skouloudis's
Government once more turned to Berlin.  It received another credit of
forty million marks; but, notwithstanding this supply, day by day it
saw its expenses increasing and its revenues diminishing.  Besides the
men under arms, there were crowds of destitute refugees from Turkey,
Bulgaria and Servia to be provided for, and the native population,
owing to the rise in the cost of living {90} and to unemployment, also
stood in urgent need of relief.  At the same time, customs and other
receipts became more and more precarious owing to the Allies' constant
interference with the freedom of commerce.[9]

Truly, after the Allies' landing on her soil, the neutrality of Greece
became something unique in the annals of international jurisprudence: a
case defying all known maxims, except Machiavelli's maxim, that, when
placed between two warring powers, it is better for a state to join
even the losing side than try to remain neutral.  By trying to do so,
Greece could not avoid, even with the utmost circumspection, exposing
herself to insult and injury.

One more corollary of the Salonica Expedition deserves to be noted.
Since the beginning of the War, Athens, like other neutral capitals,
had become the centre of international intrigue and espionage; each
belligerent group establishing, beside their officially accredited
diplomatic missions, secret services and propagandas.  In aim, both
establishments were alike.  But their opportunities were not equal.
The Germans had to rely for procuring information and influencing
public opinion on the usual methods.  The French and the British added
to those methods others of a more unusual character.

From the riffraff of the Levant they had recruited a large detective
force which operated under the sanctuary of their Legations.[10]  The
primary function of these gentry was to discover attempts at the
fuelling and victualling of German submarines; and, stimulated by a
permanent offer of a reward of 2,000 pounds from the British Minister,
they did their best to discharge this necessary function.  Hardly a day
passed without their supplying information which, transmitted to the
Fleets, led to raids at all points of the Greek coasts and isles.  Let
one or two examples suffice for many.

{91}

The French Intelligence Service reported that the Achilleion--the
Kaiser's summer palace at Corfu--was a thoroughly organized submarine
base, with a wharf, stores of petrol, and pipes for carrying it down to
the water's edge.  On investigation, the wharf turned out to be an
ordinary landing stage for the palace, the stores a few tins of petrol
for the imperial motor cars, and the pipes water-closet drains.[11]

In consequence of similar "information received from a trustworthy
source"--that a Greek steamer had by order of the Greek Government
transported to Gerakini and handed over to the Custom House authorities
for the use of German submarines a quantity of benzine--a French
detachment of marines landed, forced its way into the Custom House, and
proceeded to a minute perquisition, even digging up the ground.  The
result was negative, and the officer commanding the detachment had to
apologize to the Chief of the Custom House.  Whereupon the Greek
Government asked the French Minister for the source of the information,
adding that it was time the Allies ceased from putting faith in the
words of unscrupulous agents and proceeding to acts both fruitless and
insulting.[12]

Were the Allies in the mood to use ordinary intelligence, they would
have seen the truth themselves; for not one discovery, after the most
rigorous search, was ever made anywhere to confirm the reports of the
Secret Services.[13]  As it was, the spies were able to justify their
existence by continuing to create work for their employers; and the
{92} lengths to which they were prepared to go are well illustrated by
a case that formed the subject of some questions in the House of
Commons.  M. Callimassiotis, a well-known Greek Deputy, was denounced
by the French Secret Service as directing an organization for the
supply of fuel and information about the movements of Allied shipping
to German submarines.  A burglarious visit to his house at the Piraeus
yielded a rich harvest of compromising documents.  The British Secret
Service joined in following up the clues, and two Mohammedan merchants
of Canea were arrested and deported to Malta on unimpeachable evidence
of complicity.  Closer investigation proved the whole affair from
beginning to end a web of forgery and fraud.  The hoax ended in the
British Minister at Athens apologizing to the Greek Deputy, and in the
Mohammedan merchants being brought back home as guests aboard a British
destroyer.[14]

Thus a new field was opened up to those who wished to ruin business
competitors, to revenge themselves on personal enemies, or, above all,
to compromise political opponents.  From the words of Admiral Dartige:
"The revelations of the Venizelist Press concerning the revictualling
of German submarines in Greece are a tissue of absurd legends," [15] we
learn the main source of these myths and also the principal motive.
For if M. Venizelos and his party had, by their voluntary abstention,
deprived themselves of a voice inside the Chamber, they more than made
amends by their agitation out of doors.  The coercion of Greece came as
grist to their mill.  The Liberal newspapers triumphantly pointed to it
as concrete proof of the wisdom of their Leader's policy, and held up
the names of the men who had thwarted him to obloquy and scorn.  M.
Skouloudis and his colleagues were abused for drawing down upon the
country through their duplicity the wrath of the Powers which could
best help or harm it.  The "revelations" served a twofold purpose: to
foster the belief that they promoted secretly the interests of Germany,
and to furnish the Allies with fresh excuses for coercion.  And in the
Franco-British Intelligence organization the scheming brain of M.
Venizelos found a {93} ready-fashioned tool: men willingly shut their
eyes to the most evident truths that hinder their designs, and readily
accept any myth that furthers them.

Nor did that organization assist M. Venizelos merely by traducing his
opponents' characters and wounding their _amour-propre_.  In March,
1916, the Chief of the French Secret Service, at a conference of the
Allied admirals, proposed that they should lay hands on the internal
affairs of Greece: that they should stick at nothing--_qu' on devait
tout oser_.  The motion was rejected with disgust by the honest
sailors.  But the mover was in direct communication with political
headquarters in Paris; and his plan was only deferred.  Meanwhile he
and his associates with the rogues in their pay made themselves useful
by collaborating in the Venizelist agitation, mixing themselves up in
party disturbances, carrying out open perquisitions and clandestine
arrests, and preparing the ground for graver troubles in the future.[16]

The representatives of the Entente at Athens pursued these unedifying
tactics in the firm conviction that the cause of M. Venizelos was their
cause; which was true enough in the sense that on him alone they could
count to bring Greece into the War without conditions.  As to the
Entente publics, M. Venizelos was their man in a less sober sense: he
kept repeating to them that his opponents under the guise of neutrality
followed a hostile policy, and that his own party's whole activity was
directed to preventing the King from ranging himself openly on the side
of the Central Powers.  The Entente Governments, whatever they may have
thought of these tactics and slanders, did not dream of forbidding the
one or of contradicting the other, since the former aided their client
and the latter created an atmosphere which relieved them from all moral
restraints.

They only upbraided M. Venizelos gently for keeping out of Parliament.
So M. Venizelos, seeing that he had gained nothing by abstention and
forgetting that he had {94} pronounced the Chamber unconstitutional,
obeyed.  Early in May, two of his partisans carried two bye-elections
in Eastern Macedonia, and the leader himself was returned by the island
of Mytilene.  Three seats in Parliament could not overturn M.
Skouloudis; and it cannot be said that his re-appearance on the scene
enhanced the credit of M. Venizelos with the nation.  Ever since the
landing of the Allies, and largely through their own actions, his
prestige in Greece declined progressively.  He was reproached more and
more bitterly for his "invitation" to them; and these reproaches grew
the louder, the closer he drew to the foreigners and the farther he
diverged from his own King.  In a letter from Athens, dated 24 May,
occurs the following passage: "Venizelos becomes every day more and
more of a red republican.  How that man has duped everybody!  We all
thought him a genius, and he simply is an ambitious maniac."

Later on M. Venizelos explained why he had not already revolted.  A
revolution there and then, no doubt, would have saved a lot of trouble;
"But before the idea of revolution matures in the mind and soul of a
statesman, there is need for some evolution, which cannot be
accomplished in a few moments," he said.  Since October, this idea had
had time to evolve in his mind and soul.  But his hate of "tyranny" was
not blind.  It was peculiarly clear-sighted, and he judged the
difficulties with precision: "Such a step would not have been favoured
by the Entente Powers, whose support would have been indispensable for
its success."  Then again: "If before the Bulgarian invasion of
Macedonia I had kindled a civil war, public opinion would have held me
responsible for the invasion, and that would certainly have arrested my
movement." [17]

It so chanced that, scarcely had a fortnight passed since his
reappearance in the Chamber, when the Bulgars provided M. Venizelos and
at least one of the Entente Powers with this requisite for their
evolution.



[1] See the Agreement of 10 Dec., 1915 (Art. 5), _White Book_, No. 54;
Sarrail, pp. 94-6, 322-30.

[2] Skouloudis to Greek Legation, Paris, 12, 14, 16 Dec. (O.S.);
Guillemin to Skouloudis, 16/29 Dec.; Skouloudis to Guillemin, 17/30
Dec., 1915.

[3] Skouloudis to Entente Ministers, Athens, 31 Dec., 1915/13 Jan.,
1916; Gryparis, Vienna, 4/17 Jan., 1916.

[4] Among the Greek State Papers there is a voluminous file labelled
"Violations of Hellenic Neutrality by the Entente Allies."  It contains
a mass of complaints by the Central Powers to the Greek Government and
by the Greek Government to the Entente Governments.  Special attention
is drawn to the case of two Greeks put to death by the French military
authorities in Macedonia for having been found in possession of German
proclamations dropped from aeroplanes: See Skouloudis to French
Legation, Athens, 13/26 April, 1916.

[5] _Journal Officiel_, p. 70.

[6] _Life of Kitchener_, Vol. III, p. 261.

[7] Skouloudis, _Apantesis_, pp. 3-11; _White Book_, Nos. 75-8, 82-3,
88, 91.

[8] Skouloudis, _Semeioseis_, pp. 33-6; _White Book_, Nos. 57-63.

[9] Skouloudis, _Apantesis_, pp. 12-14.

[10] Of the 162 individuals who, by the end of 1916, composed the
personnel of the Franco-British Secret Police at Athens, only about 60
were natives of Old Greece; the rest came from Crete, Constantinople,
Smyrna, etc.  An analysis of the official List, signed by the Prefect
of the Greek Police, reveals among them: 7 pickpockets, 8 murderers, 9
ex-brigands, 10 smugglers, 11 thieves, 21 gamblers, 20 White Slave
traffickers.  The balance is made up of men with no visible means of
subsistence.

[11] Du Fournet, pp. 115-17; Skouloudis to Greek Legation, Paris, 19
Feb./4 March, 1916.

[12] Politis to Guillemin, 9/22 Feb., 1916.

[13] Considering the extent of the coast-line of Greece and the poverty
of her inhabitants, this would be incredible, were it not attested by
the Allies' Naval Commander-in-Chief, whose task it was to verify every
report transmitted to him: "_Jamais un seul de ses avis n'a été reconnu
exact; la plupart étaient visiblement absurdes._"  "_Malgré les
vérifications les plus répétées jamais un seul de ces avis n'a été
reconnu exact.  Un certain nombre de coquins, incompétents mais malins,
vivaient du commerce de ces fausses nouvelles._"--Du Fournet, pp. 115,
304.  Cp. also pp. 85, 270.  The French Admiral of Patrols, Faton, and
the British Admiral Kerr, are equally emphatic in testifying "that all
these stories about supplying the submarines were fabrications."--See
Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, in the _Morning Post_, 13 Dec., 1920.

[14] J. C. Lawson, _Tales of Aegean Intrigue_, pp. 93-143.

[15] Du Fournet, p. 304.

[16] Du Fournet, pp. 112-16.  In this work we find a full picture of
the French Secret Service.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, no
authoritative record has been published of its British counterpart.
Mr. Lawson's account deals only with a provincial branch of the
establishment.

[17] _The New Europe_, 29 March, 1917; _Orations_, pp. 142-3.



{95}

CHAPTER IX

When M. Venizelos taunted M. Skouloudis with forgetting that he had
promised the Allies "not only simple neutrality, nor simply benevolent
neutrality, but most sincerely benevolent neutrality," the aged Prime
Minister, who apparently had a sense of humour, replied: "I do not know
how there can be such a thing as benevolent neutrality.  A neutrality
really benevolent towards one of the belligerents is really malevolent
towards the other, consequently it is more or less undisguised
partiality.  Between benevolence and malevolence there is no room for
neutrality."  He only knew, he said, one kind of neutrality--the
absolute neutrality towards both belligerents.[1]  And he lived up to
his knowledge so conscientiously that he earned the gratitude of
neither, but saw himself the sport of both.

No sooner had the Allies begun to fall back from Krivolak, than the
German Military Attaché at Athens presented to King Constantine a
telegram from General von Falkenhayn, dated 29 November, 1915, in which
the Chief of the German General Staff intimated that, if Greece failed
to disarm the retreating Entente forces or to obtain their immediate
re-embarkation, the development of hostilities might very probably
compel the Germans and the Bulgars to cross her frontiers.  After a
consultation, the Skouloudis Cabinet replied through the King that
Greece did not consent to a violation of her soil; but if the violation
bore no hostile character towards herself, she would refrain from
opposing it by force of arms on certain guarantees: that the Bulgars
should categorically renounce every claim to territories now in Greek
possession, that simultaneously with their entry into Macedonia Greece
should be allowed to occupy Monastir as a pledge for their exit, that
in no circumstance whatever should the King of Bulgaria or his sons
enter Salonica, {96} that all commands should be exclusively in German
hands, and so forth--altogether nineteen conditions, the principal
object of which was to ward off the danger of a permanent occupation,
but the effect of which would have been to hamper military operations
most seriously.

The German Government, perturbed by the extent and nature of the
guarantees demanded, referred the matter to Falkenhayn, who would only
grant three comprehensive assurances: to respect the integrity of
Greece, to restore the occupied territories at the end of the campaign,
and to pay an indemnity for all damage caused.  On those terms, he
invited Greece to remove her army from Macedonia so as to avoid the
possibility of an accidental collision.  The King refused, giving among
other reasons that such a concession had been denied to the Entente.
Thereupon Falkenhayn asked, as an alternative to a total evacuation,
that Greece should pledge herself to resist Entente landings in the
Gulfs of Cavalla and Katerini.  Again Greece refused, on the ground
that this would involve the use of force against the Entente, whereas
she was determined not to abandon her neutrality as long as her
interests, in her own opinion, did not compel her so to do.[2]

After this answer, given on 27 January, 1916, conversations on the
subject ceased for about six weeks.

Thus it appears that during the period when the Allies were, or
professed to be, most nervous about the intentions of Greece, it was
the fear of Greek hostility, carefully nursed by Greek diplomacy, that
checked the Germans and the Bulgars from following up their advantage
and sweeping the Franco-British troops into the sea.  It was the same
attitude of Greece that made the enemy hesitate to break into Macedonia
during the following months, and gave the Allies time to fortify
themselves.

On 14 March, Falkenhayn returned to the charge, and was once more met
with a list of exorbitant conditions.  This time the conversations
assumed the character of recriminations; the Greek Government
complaining of Bulgarian encroachments on the neutral zone fixed along
the frontier, Falkenhayn retorting that the provocative movements of
the Entente Forces obliged the Central Powers to fortify their
positions and threatening a rupture {97} if the Greek soldiers
continued to hinder the Bulgars.[3]  Then, after another interval, he
announced (7 May) that, owing to an English advance across the Struma,
he found it absolutely necessary to secure in self-defence the Rupel
Pass--key of the Struma Valley.[4]

M. Skouloudis endeavoured to make the German Government dissuade the
General Staff from its project.  Falkenhayn, he said, was misinformed
as to an English advance--only small mounted patrols had crossed the
Struma.  He suspected that he was deceived and instigated by the
Bulgars who, under cover of military exigencies, sought to realize
their well-known ambitions at the expense of Greece.  Their frequent
misdeeds had already irritated Greek public opinion to such a degree
that he could not answer for the consequences, should the project be
carried out.  The appearance of Bulgarian troops in Macedonia would
create a national ferment of which Venizelos and the Entente Powers
would take advantage in order to overthrow the present Ministry and
force Greece into war.[5]

Impressed by these arguments, the German Government did its utmost to
induce Falkenhayn to abandon his scheme; von Jagow even going so far as
to draw up, with the assistance of the Greek Minister at Berlin, a
remonstrance to the Chief of the General Staff.  But it was all to no
purpose.  The political department had very little influence over the
High Command.  Falkenhayn insisted on the accuracy of his information,
and adhered to his own point of view.  He could not understand, he
said, why a German move should cause any special excitement in Greece,
seeing that it was directed against the French and the English, who
paid no heed to Greek susceptibilities, and he irritably complained
that, while Greece allowed the Entente full liberty to improve its
position day by day, she raised the greatest obstacles to Germany's
least demand.[6]  In brief, from being more or less pliant, the Chief
of the General Staff became rigid: he would no longer submit to rebuffs
and denials.  Strategic reasons, perhaps, had brought about this
change; perhaps the Bulgars were the instigators.  It is impossible to
say, {98} and it does not much matter.  The essential fact is that the
man had power and meant to use it.

There followed a formal communication from the German and Bulgarian
Ministers at Athens to M. Skouloudis, stating that their troops were
compelled in self-defence to push into Greek territory, and assuring
him that neither the integrity and sovereignty of Greece nor the
persons and property of the inhabitants would in any way suffer by this
temporary occupation.  M. Skouloudis took note of this decision without
assenting to it, but also without protesting: he felt, he said, that a
premature protest could only lose Greece the guarantees of restoration
and reparation offered.  Sufficient unto the day the evil thereof:
confronted with powerful Empires in the height of their military
strength, he had done all that was humanly possible to ward off their
advance, and, though unsuccessful in the end, he had at least obtained
a solemn pledge of their ultimate retreat.  The protest came a few days
later, when the invasion actually took place.[7]

On 26 May, a Germano-Bulgarian force appeared at Rupel.  The garrison,
in accordance with its instructions of 27 April (O.S.) to resist any
advance beyond 500 metres from the frontier line, fired upon the
invaders and drove them back.  But on fresh orders reaching it to
follow the instructions of 9 March (O.S.)--which prescribed that, in
the event of a foreign invasion, the Greek troops should withdraw--it
surrendered the fort.[8]

In Entente circles it had long been assumed that, let the King and his
Government do what they liked, the instant a Bulgarian foot stepped
over the border, soldiers and civilians would fly to arms.  Nothing of
the sort happened.  However painful to their feelings their orders
might be, the soldiers obeyed them.  Among the civilians also the
shock, severe as it was, produced no demoralization.  The Greek people
generally understood that the surrender of Rupel was an inevitable
consequence of the landing at Salonica.  Nevertheless, the fears of M.
Skouloudis that {99} a Bulgarian invasion would place a powerful weapon
in the hands of his opponents were abundantly fulfilled.

By representing the event as the result of a treacherous collusion
between Athens and the Central Powers,[9] M. Venizelos roused the
Allied nations to fury.  Their Governments, of course, knew better.
Even in France official persons recognized that the occupation of Rupel
was a defensive operation which Greece could not oppose by force.  Yet
they had hoped that she would have averted it by diplomatic action.  As
it was, they concluded that she must have received from the Central
Powers very strong assurances that the occupied territories would be
restored to her.  In any case, they said, the Skouloudis Cabinet's
passivity in face of a move calculated to prejudice the Allies'
military position contradicted its oft-repeated protestations of a
benevolent neutrality towards them.[10]

M. Skouloudis hastened to vindicate his conduct.  He did not tell the
Entente Powers, as he might have done, that he had by diplomatic action
put off an invasion for six months, and thus enabled them to increase
their forces and consolidate their position.  Neither did he tell them
another thing which in itself formed an ample refutation of the charge
of collusion--that on 27 April (10 May) General Sarrail had occupied
the frontier fort Dova-tépé with the tacit consent of the Hellenic
Government, which had deliberately excluded that fort from the
instructions of resistance issued that day to its troops, and that
Greek officers urged him at the same time to occupy Rupel, dwelling on
the military importance of the fort for the defence of Eastern
Macedonia; an advice which the French General had ignored on the ground
that Rupel lay altogether outside the Allies' zone of action, and he
could not spare the troops necessary for its occupation.[11]

{100}

The Greek Premier simply said that his Government's passivity was in
strict accord with the explicit declarations of its policy and
intentions, enunciated at the very outset, ratified by the Agreement of
10 December, 1915, and reiterated _ad nauseam_ to the Entente
Ministers--viz., that "should the Allied troops by their movements
bring the war into Greek territory, the Greek troops would withdraw so
as to leave the field free to the two parties to settle their
differences."  Far from changing his attitude, he once more, in reply
to M. Briand's threat that, "if the Bulgarian advance continued without
resistance there might ensue the most serious consequences for the
Hellenic Government," emphatically declared: "Resistance is only
possible if we abandon our neutrality, and the demand that we should
resist is therefore in flagrant contradiction to the oft-repeated
protestations of the Entente Powers that they have neither the wish nor
the intention to force us into the War."  Nor could he understand how
they could think of blaming Greece for receiving from the Central
Powers the same assurances of eventual restoration as those given by
themselves.[11]

M. Skouloudis spoke in vain.  Paris had made up its mind to treat the
incident as indicating a new and malevolent orientation against which
it behoved the Allies to protect themselves.  Accordingly, on 1 June,
M. Briand authorized General Sarrail to proclaim a state of siege at
Salonica.

General Sarrail, who had long sought to be freed from the trammels of
Greek sovereignty--"_et à être maître chez moi_"--but had hitherto been
denied his wish by the British Government, jumped at the permission,
and he improved upon it with a personal touch, trivial yet
characteristic.  So far back as 27 April he had recommended that "we
must strike at the head, attack frankly and squarely the one enemy--the
King."  Pending an opportunity to strike, he seized the occasion to
slight.  He fixed the proclamation for 3 June, King Constantine's name
day, which was to be celebrated at Salonica as in every other town of
the kingdom with a solemn _Te Deum_.  {101} The British General, Milne,
who had arranged to assist at the _Te Deum_, after vainly trying to
obtain at least a postponement of the date out of respect for the King,
found himself obliged to yield.  And so on that festal morning martial
law was proclaimed.  Allied detachments with machine guns occupied
various strategic points, the public offices were taken possession of,
the chiefs of the Macedonian gendarmerie and police were expelled, and
the local press was placed under a French censor.  All this, without
any preliminary notification to the Hellenic Government, which
expressed its indignation that a French General, forgetting the most
elementary rules of courtesy and hospitality, thought fit to choose
such a moment for inaugurating a state of things that formed at once a
gratuitous affront to the sovereign of the country and a breach of the
terms of the Agreement of 10 December.[13]

But this was only a prelude, followed on 6 June by a blockade of the
Greek coasts, established in pursuance of orders from Paris and
London--_pourpeser sur la Grèce et lui montrer qu'elle était à notre
merci_.[14]  Even this measure, however, did not seem to M. Briand
sufficient.  He advocated intervention of a nature calculated to disarm
our enemies and to encourage our friends.  His views did not meet with
approval in London: Sir Edward Grey had "_des scrupules honorables_,"
which M. Briand set himself to overcome by pen and tongue.  The Entente
Powers, he argued, were protectors of Greece--guarantors of her
external independence and internal liberty.  The Greek Government was
bound to defend its territories with them against all invaders, and it
had broken that obligation.  Further, it had sinned by violating the
Constitution.  On both counts the Entente Powers had not only the right
but the duty to intervene.  Thus only could they justify, in the eyes
of the Greek people, the blockade by which the whole population
suffered, and which it would otherwise not understand.  There was no
time to lose: the dignity of France demanded swift and drastic action:
the Athenians had gone so far as to ridicule in a cinema the {102}
uniform of the heroes of Verdun.  If England would not join her, she
must act alone.[15]

These arguments--particularly, one may surmise, the last--overcame Sir
Edward Grey's honourable scruples; and on 16 June a squadron was
ordered to be ready to bombard Athens, while a brigade was embarked at
Salonica for the same destination.  Before the guns opened fire,
hydroplanes would drop bombs on the royal palace; then the troops would
land, occupy the town, and proceed to arrest, among others, the royal
family.  Such were the plans elaborated under the direction of the
French Minister at Athens, much to the joy of General Sarrail, who had
said and written again and again that "nothing could be done unless the
King was put down." [16]

All arrangements for this "demonstration" completed, on 21 June the
Entente Powers, "ever animated by the most benevolent and amicable
spirit towards Greece"--it is wonderful to what acts these words often
form the accompaniment--had the honour to deliver to her Government a
Note by which they demanded:

1. The immediate and total demobilization of the Army.

2. The immediate replacement of the present Cabinet by a business
Ministry.

3. The immediate dissolution of the Chamber and fresh elections.

4. The discharge of police officers obnoxious to them.

They admitted neither discussion nor delay, but left to the Hellenic
Government the entire responsibility for the events that would ensue if
their just demands were not complied with at once.

As M. Briand had anticipated, the sight of our warships' smoke
quickened the Greek Government's sense of justice.  King Constantine
promptly complied, the "demonstration," to the intense disappointment
of M. Guillemin and General Sarrail, was adjourned, and a Ministry of a
non-political character, under the leadership of M. Zaimis, was
appointed to carry on the administration of the country until the
election of a new Chamber.[17]

The event marked a new phase in the relations between {103} Greece and
the Entente Powers.  Henceforth they appear not as trespassers on
neutral territory, but as protectors installed there, according to M.
Briand, by right--a right derived from treaties and confirmed by
precedents.[18]  Concerning the treaties all comment must be postponed
till the question comes up in a final form.  But as to the precedents,
it may be observed that the most pertinent and helpful of all was one
which M. Briand did not cite.

At the time of the Crimean War, Greece, under King Otho, wanted to
fight Turkey, and realize some of her national aspirations with the
assistance of Russia.  But France and England, who were in alliance
with Turkey against Russia, would not allow such a thing.  Their
Ministers at Athens told King Otho that strict neutrality was the only
policy consonant with the honour and the interest of Greece: while
hostilities lasted her commerce, as a neutral nation, would flourish,
and by earning their goodwill she could, at the conclusion of peace,
hope not to be forgotten in the re-making of the map of Eastern Europe.
For refusing to listen to these admonitions King Otho was denounced as
a pro-Russian autocrat, and the Allies landed troops at the Piraeus to
compel obedience to their will.

Once more a Greek sovereign had drawn down upon himself the wrath of
the Protecting Powers, with the traditional charges of hostile
tendencies in his foreign and autocratic tendencies in his domestic
conduct, for daring to adopt an independent Greek policy.

This time the three Powers were united in a common cause, which
necessitated unity of action on all fronts.  But it would be an error
to imagine that this unity of action rested everywhere upon a community
of views or of ulterior aims.  Certainly such was not the case in
Greece.  France had her own views and aims in that part of the world.
M. Briand was bent on bringing Greece into the War, not because he
thought her help could exercise a decisive influence over its course,
but because he wanted her to share in the spoils under French auspices:
he considered it France's interest to have in the Eastern Mediterranean
a strong Greece closely tied to her.[19]

{104}

That programme France intended to carry through at all costs and by all
means.  England and Russia, for the sake of the paramount object of the
War, acquiesced and co-operated.  But the acquiescence was compulsory
and the co-operation reluctant.  The underlying disaccord between the
three Allies reflected itself in the demeanour of their representatives
at Athens.

M. Guillemin, the French Minister, stood before the Greek Government
violently belligerent.  Brute force, accentuated rather than concealed
by a certain irritating finesse, seemed to be his one idea of
diplomacy, and he missed no conceivable opportunity for giving it
expression: so much so that after a time the King found it impossible
to receive him.  Sir Francis Elliot, the British Minister, formed a
pleasing contrast to his French colleague: a scrupulous and courteous
gentleman, he did not disguise his repugnance to a policy involving at
every step a fresh infringement of a neutral nation's rights.  As it
was, he endeavoured to moderate proceedings which he could neither
approve nor prevent.  Prince Demidoff, a Russian diplomat of amiable
manners, seconded Sir Francis Elliot's counsels of moderation and
yielded to M. Guillemin's clamours for coercion.[20]

It is important to bear this disaccord in mind in order to understand
what went before and what comes hereafter: for, though for the most
part latent, it was always present; and if it did not avert, it
retarded the climax.



[1] _Orations_, p. 155; Skouloudis's _Semeioseis_, p. 36.

[2] _White Book_, Nos. 70-4, 79, 81, 84, 86-90.

[3] _White Book_, Nos. 92, 93, 96-102.

[4] _White Book_, No. 104.

[5] _White Book_, Nos. 106, 111, 113.

[6] _White Book_, Nos. 110, 112, 116.

[7] _White Book_, Nos. 117-20, 134, 135; Skouloudis's _Apantesis_, pp.
25-6.

[8] _White Book_, Nos. 95, 105, 126, 130-33, 137.  The instructions of
27 April had been issued chiefly in consequence of information that
bands of Bulgarian irregulars (_Comitadjis_) were at that moment
preparing to cross the frontier.  Skouloudis's _Apantesis_, p. 23.

[9] The charge was supported by garbled "extracts" from the
instructions to the Greek troops (the full texts of which may now be
read in the _White Book_), published in Paris.  See the _Saturday
Review_, 10 Sept., 1921, pp. 321-2, citing the _Petit Parisien_ of
Dec., 1916.

[10] _White Book_, Nos. 140, 146.

[11] _Sarrail_, p. 104.  Anyone familiar with the political and
psychological atmosphere would have seen that the Greeks were anxious
to keep the Bulgars out by inducing the French to forestall them.  But
Sarrail detected in their advice a subtle contrivance either to find
out his plans, or to cast the blame for the loss of Rupel on him!

[12] _White Book_, No. 142.

[13] _Journal Officiel_, p. 72; Sarrail, pp. 105-8, 112, 355-7; _White
Book_, Nos. 142, 145.

[14] _Sarrail_, p. 113.

[15] _Journal Officiel_, pp. 72-3.

[16] Sarrail, pp. 115-24; Du Fournet, pp. 91-3.

[17] _Journal Officiel_, p. 99; Sarrail, pp. 125-7; Du Fournet, p. 93.

[18] _Journal Officiel_, pp. 72, 73.

[19] Romanos to Zaimis, Paris, 26 Aug./8 Sept., 1916.

[20] See Du Fournet, pp. 110-11.



{105}

CHAPTER X

In their Note of 21 June the Allies assured the Greek people that they
acted for its sake as much as for their own.  One half of the preamble
was taken up by their grievances against the Skouloudis Government--its
toleration of foreign propagandists and its connivance at the entry of
enemies, which formed a fresh menace for their armies.  The other half
was devoted to the violation of the Constitution by the dissolution of
two Chambers within less than a year and the subjection of the country
to a regime of tyranny.  Their aim, they said, was to safeguard the
Greek people in the enjoyment of its rights and liberties.[1]

These generous sentiments left the Greek people strangely cold.
Indeed, the absence of any manifestations of popular joy at the Allies'
success was as striking as had been the manifestations of resentment at
the means employed.  The only persons who did applaud the action were
the persons whose party interests it served.  The Venizelist Press
hailed the triumph of violence as a victory for legality.  M. Venizelos
addressed to M. Briand his felicitations, and gave public utterance to
his gratitude as follows: "The Note solved a situation from which there
was no other issue.  The just severity of its tone, the sincerity of
its motives, its expressly drawn distinction between the Greek people
and the ex-Government, give it more than anything else a paternal
character towards the people of this country.  The Protecting Powers
have acted only like parents reclaiming a son's birthright." [2]

Pared down to realities, the aim of the Protecting Powers was to bring
their protégé to power and Greece into the War.  The demobilization of
the army, which stood first on their list, was the first step to that
end.  M. Venizelos {106} had been asserting that the people were still
with him, and, given a chance, would uphold his policy, but that chance
was denied them by the mobilization.  With a pardonable ignorance of
the people's feelings, and also, it must be owned, with a too naïve
confidence in the accuracy of the People's Chosen, the Allies had
decided to act on this assumption: an assumption on which M. Venizelos
himself was most reluctant to act.

We have it on his own evidence that he looked for a solution of his
difficulties, not to an election, but to a revolution.  Further, he has
told us that, eager as he might be for a revolutionary stroke, he could
not lose sight of the obstacles.  To those who held up French
revolutions as a model, he pointed out that the analogy was fallacious:
in France "long years of tyranny had exasperated the people to its very
depths.  In Greece the people had a king who, only two years earlier,
had headed his armies in two victorious campaigns." [3]  So he scouted
the idea of intervention at Athens, convinced that any attack on the
Crown would spell destruction to himself.[4]  His project was to steal
to Salonica and there, under General Sarrail's shield, to start a
separatist movement "directed against the Bulgars, but not against the
king," apparently hoping that the Greek troops in Macedonia, among whom
his apostles had been busy, fired by anti-Bulgar hate, would join him
and drag king and country after them.  This project had been
communicated by the French Minister at Athens to General Sarrail on 31
May:[5] but, as the British Government was not yet sufficiently
advanced to countenance sedition,[6] M. Venizelos and his French
confederate saw reason to abandon it for the present.

Thus all concerned were committed to a test of the real desires of the
Greek people by a General Election, which they declared themselves
anxious to bring off without delay--early in August.  This time there
would be no ambiguity about the issue: although the Allies in their
Note, as was proper and politic, had again disclaimed any {107} wish or
intention to make Greece depart from her neutrality, M. Venizelos
proclaimed that he still adhered to his bellicose programme, and that
he was more confident of victory than ever[7]: had not the Reservists
been set free to vote, and were not those ardent warriors his
enthusiastic supporters?  With this cry--perhaps in this belief--he
entered the arena.

It was a lively contest--rhetoric and corruption on both sides
reinforced by terrorism, to which the Allies' military authorities in
Macedonia, and their Secret Service at Athens, whose efficiency had
been greatly increased by the dismissal of many policemen obnoxious to
them, and by other changes brought about through the Note of 21 June,
contributed of their best.

But even veteran politicians are liable to error.  The Reservists left
their billets in Macedonia burning with anger and shame at the
indignities and hardships which they had endured.  The Allies might
have had among those men as many friends as they pleased, and could
have no enemies unless they created them by treating them as such.  And
this is just what they did: from first to last, the spirit displayed by
General Sarrail towards the Greek army was a spirit of insulting
distrust and utterly unscrupulous callousness.

Unable to revenge themselves on the foreign trespasser, the Reservists
vowed to wreak their vengeance on his native abettor.  They travelled
back to their villages shouting: "A black vote for Venizelos!" and
immediately formed leagues in the constituencies with a view to
combating his candidates.  The latter did all they could to exploit the
national hate for the Bulgars and the alarm caused by their invasion.
But fresh animosities had blunted the edge of old feelings: besides,
had not the Bulgarian invasion been provoked by the Allies' occupation,
and who was responsible for that occupation?  For the rest, the
question, as it presented itself to the masses, was no longer simply
one of neutrality or war.  Despite M. Venizelos's efforts, and thanks
to the efforts of his adversaries, his breach with the King had become
public, and {108} the division of the nation had now attained to the
dimensions of a schism--Royalists against Venizelists.  Nor could there
be any doubt as to the relative strength of the rival camps.

Thus, by a sort of irony, the action which was designed to clothe
Venizelos with new power threatened to strip him of the last rags of
prestige that still clung to his name.  Therefore, the elections
originally fixed for early in August were postponed by the Entente to
September.

Such was the internal situation, when external events brought the
struggle to a head.

With the accession of 120,000 Serbs, 23,000 Italians, and a Russian
brigade, the Allied army in Macedonia had reached a total of about
350,000 men, of whom, owing to the summer heats and the Vardar marshes,
some 210,000 were down with malaria.[8]  Nevertheless, under pressure
from home and against his own better judgment,[9] General Sarrail began
an offensive (10 August).  As might have been foreseen, this display of
energy afforded the Bulgars an excuse, and the demobilization of the
Greek forces an opportunity, for a fresh invasion.  M. Zaimis, in view
of the contingency, imparted to General Sarrail his Government's
intention to disarm the forts in Eastern Macedonia, so that he might
forestall the Bulgars by occupying them.  But again, as in May, the
Frenchman treated the friendly hint with scornful suspicion.[10]  There
followed a formal notice from the German and Bulgarian Ministers at
Athens to the Premier, stating that their troops were compelled, by
military exigencies, to push further into Greek territory, and
repeating the assurances given to his predecessor on the occupation of
Fort Rupel.[11]

The operation was conducted in a manner which belied these assurances.
Colonel Hatzopoulos, acting Commandant of the Fourth Army Corps,
reported from his headquarters at Cavalla that the Bulgarian troops
were accompanied by irregular bands which indulged in murder {109} and
pillage; that the inhabitants of the Serres and Drama districts were
fleeing panic-stricken; and that the object of the invaders clearly
was, after isolating the various Greek divisions, to occupy the whole
of Eastern Macedonia.  He begged for permission to call up the
disbanded reservists, and for the immediate dispatch of the Greek
Fleet.  But the Athens Government vetoed all resistance, and the
invasion went on unopposed.[12]  By 24 August the Bulgars were on the
outskirts of Cavalla.

Truth to tell, the real authors of the invasion were the Allies and M.
Venizelos, who, by forcing Greece to disarm before the assembled enemy,
practically invited him.  But it was not to be expected that they
should see things in this light.  They, as usual, saw in them a new
"felony"--yet another proof of King Constantine's desire to assist the
Kaiser and defeat M. Venizelos[13]--and acted accordingly.

M. Venizelos opened the proceedings with a meeting outside his house on
Sunday, 27 August, when he delivered from his balcony a direct
apostrophe to the King--an oration which may have lost some of its
dramatic effect by being read out of a carefully prepared manuscript,
but which on that account possesses greater documentary value:

"Thou, O King, hast become the victim of conscienceless counsellors who
have tried to destroy the work accomplished by the Revolution of 1909,
to bring back the previous maladministration, and to satisfy their
passionate hate for the People's Chosen Leader.  Thou art the victim of
military advisers of limited perceptions and of oligarchic principles.
Thou hast become the victim of thy admiration for Germany, in whose
victory thou hast believed, hoping through that victory to elbow aside
our {110} free Constitution and to centre in thy hands the whole
authority of the State."  After enumerating the disastrous results of
these errors--"instead of expansion in Asia Minor, Thrace, and Cyprus,
a Bulgarian invasion in Macedonia and the loss of valuable war
material"--the orator referred to the elections and warned the King
that persistence in his present attitude would involve danger to the
throne: "The use of the august name of Your Majesty in the contest
against the Liberal Party introduces the danger of an internal
revolution."  The discourse ended with another scarcely veiled menace
to the King: "If we are not listened to, then we shall take counsel as
to what must be done to rescue all that can be rescued out of the
catastrophe which has overtaken us." [14]

It was not an empty threat.  The Chief spoke on Sunday, and on
Wednesday his followers at Salonica rose up in revolt and, supported by
General Sarrail, took possession of the public offices, set up a
revolutionary committee under a Cretan, and launched a war proclamation
for Macedonia on the side of the Entente.  The Royalist troops, after
some fighting, were besieged in their barracks, starved into surrender,
and finally shipped off to the Piraeus, while many civil and
ecclesiastical personages were thrown into prison.  The French General
received notice that M. Venizelos himself would arrive on 9 September
to take command of the movement.[15]

Concurrently with this first product of the plot hatched between M.
Venizelos and M. Guillemin in May, was carried on the more orthodox
mode of action inaugurated by the Allied Governments in June.  At the
news of the Bulgarian invasion, the French Minister at Athens felt or
feigned unbounded fear--_tout était à redoubter_: even a raid by Uhlans
to the very gates of the capital--and asked Paris for a squadron to be
placed at his disposal.  Paris did what it could.  On 26 August Admiral
Dartige du Fournet was ordered to form a special squadron and proceed
against Athens according to the plans drawn up {111} in June.  He
immediately left Malta at the head of thirty-four ships, and on the
28th arrived at Milo, where he found a British contingent of
thirty-nine ships awaiting him.  The joint armada thus formed was
believed to be strong enough to preclude all danger of resistance.  For
all that, every precaution was taken to secure to it the advantage of a
surprise, though in vain: its size and the proximity of its objective
rendered secrecy impossible.

Four days were wasted in idleness--a delay due to England's scruples.
But at last all was ready; and on the morning of 1 September the Allied
Fleet stood out to sea: seventy-three units of every description, the
big ships in single file, flanked by torpedo-boats, steaming bravely at
the rate of fifteen knots, and leaving behind them a track of
white-crested waves that stretched to the very edge of the horizon: _le
coup d'oeil est impressionant_.

All arrangements for battle had been made, and each contingent had its
special role assigned to it: only the Intelligence Services, being
otherwise occupied, had failed to furnish any information about Greek
mines and submarines.  It was therefore necessary to be more than ever
careful.  But the six hours' voyage was accomplished safely, and not
until the armada cast anchor at the mouth of the Salamis Strait did it
meet with a tangible token of hostility.  The Greek Admiral commanding
the Royal Fleet before the arsenal of Salamis--a force composed of two
ironclads, one armoured cruiser, eighteen torpedo-boats and two
submarines--failed to bid the Allies welcome: a breach of international
rules which was duly resented and remedied.

The expedition had for its objects: (1) To seize a dozen enemy
merchantmen which had taken refuge since the beginning of the War in
the harbours of Eleusis and the Piraeus; (2) to obtain the control of
Greek posts and telegraphs; (3) to procure the expulsion of enemy
propagandists, and the prosecution of such Greek subjects as had
rendered themselves guilty of complicity in corruption and espionage on
the wrong side.

Of the first operation, which was conducted to a successful issue that
same evening "with remarkable activity" by one of Admiral Dartige's
subordinates, no justification was attempted: we needed tonnage and
took it.  The {112} pretext for the second was that the Allies had
heard "from a sure source" that their enemies were furnished by the
Hellenic Government with military information.  So serious a charge, if
made in good faith, should have been supported by the clearest proofs.
Yet even Admiral Dartige, whose disagreeable duty it was to prefer it,
bitterly complained that "he never received from Paris a single proof
which could enlighten him."  On the other hand, he did receive abundant
enlightenment about the "sure source": the Russian Minister needed to
send a cipher message to the American Embassy at Constantinople which
was entrusted with Russian interests, and, the Hellenic Government
readily agreeing to transmit it through its Legation at Pera, Prince
Demidoff, with the consent of his Entente colleagues, proceeded to make
use of the Athens wireless for that purpose.  Within forty-eight hours
the Admiral received from Paris an excited telegram asking him what
measures he had taken to prevent the Hellenic Government from
"violating its engagements."  The rebuke, explains the Admiral, was the
result of a sensational report from the head of the French Secret
Intelligence at Athens, denouncing the above transaction as an example
of "the bad faith of the Greeks."  On this pretext all the means by
which the Hellenic Government could communicate with its
representatives abroad and reply to the attacks of its enemies passed
under the Allies' control.

Somewhat less neat were the methods adopted to secure the third object
of the expedition.  The Secret Services had compiled a voluminous
register of undesirable persons out of which they drew up a select list
of candidates for expulsion and prosecution.  Unfortunately, despite
their industry, it teemed with embarrassing errors: individuals put
down as Germans turned out to be Greeks; and the suspects of Greek
nationality included high personages, such as M. Streit, ex-Minister
for Foreign Affairs, General Dousmanis and Colonel Metaxas, ex-Chiefs
of the General Staff, and so on.  At last an expurgated list was
approved and carried out summarily.[16]  Some of the criminals escaped
punishment by transferring their services from the German to the French
and British propagandas; for, {113} while to intrigue with the former
was to commit a crime, to intrigue with the latter was to perform a
meritorious deed.

There the Allies and M. Venizelos stopped for the moment, hoping that
Rumania's entry into the War, which had just taken place, would induce
Greece to do likewise.



[1] _Journal Officiel_, p. 99.

[2] The _Daily Mail_, 24 June, 1916.

[3] _The New Europe_, 29 March, 1917.

[4] Du Fournet, p. 91.

[5] Sarrail, pp. 107, 354-5.

[6] "_L'Angleterre avait mis son veto._"--Sarrail, p. 153.

[7] See his statement to the Correspondent of the Paris _Journal_, in
the _Hesperia_, of London, 7 July, 1916.

[8] Du Fournet, p. 99.

[9] Caclamanos, Paris, 1/14 June, 1916.

[10] M. Zaimis's deposition on oath at the judicial investigation
instituted by the Venizelos Government in 1919.  Cp. Sarrail, p. 152.

[11] _White Book_, Nos. 158-60.

[12] _White Book_, Nos. 161-5.

[13] "The King, having no illusions as to the result of an election,"
says M. Venizelos, in the _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917, "organized, in
connivance with the Germans and Bulgarians, the invasion of Western and
Eastern Macedonia.  As the Liberals thus lost about sixty seats, the
King might hope . . . to secure at least some semblance of success at
the coming elections."  On the first opportunity that the people of
Macedonia, Eastern and Western alike, had of expressing their
opinion--at the elections of 14 Nov., 1920--they did not return a
single Venizelist.--See Reuter, Athens, 15 Nov., 1920.

[14] For the Greek original, see the _Hesperia_, 1 Sept., 1916.  A much
longer text, apparently elaborated at leisure, with a colourless
English translation, was published by the Anglo-Hellenic League.

[15] Sarrail, pp. 152-4; Official statement by the Revolutionary
Committee, Reuter, Salonica, 31 Aug., 1916.

[16] Du Fournet, pp. 99-104, 122-4, 127, 129.



{114}

CHAPTER XI

Rumania's policy had always been regarded by the Greeks as of capital
importance for their own; and as soon as she took the field, King
Constantine, though suffering from a recrudescence of the malady that had
nearly killed him in the previous year, set to work to consider whether
her adhesion did not make such a difference in the military situation as
to enable him to abandon neutrality.  Two or three days before the
arrival of the Allied Fleet he had initiated conversations in that sense
with the Allied Ministers.[1]

Simultaneously the question of a war Government came up for discussion;
the actual Cabinet being, by order of the Allies, a mere business
Ministry charged only to carry on the administration until the election
of a new Parliament.

Two alternatives were suggested.  The first, which found warm favour in
Entente circles, was that M. Zaimis should lay down the cares of office
and make place for M. Venizelos.  Constantine was advised to "bend his
stubborn will to the inevitable and remain King of the Hellenes"--that
is, to become an ornamental captain--by abandoning the ship of State to
the management of the wise Cretan.  "It is now possible," the homily ran,
"that the precipitation of events will prevent the return of M.
Venizelos by the voice of the electorate."  But that did not signify: "M.
Venizelos can count on the backing of nine-tenths of the nation, given a
semblance of Royal support." [1]  In less trenchant language, the British
Minister at Athens expounded the same thesis.

But Constantine showed little inclination to perform this noble act of
self-effacement.  On no account would {115} he have a dictator imposed
upon him to shape the fortunes of Greece according to his caprice,
unfettered by "military advisers of limited perceptions."  If Greece was
to have a dictator, the King had said long ago, he would rather be that
dictator; though he had no objection to a Cabinet with a Venizelist
admixture.  In fact, he insisted on M. Venizelos accepting a share in the
responsibility of war, either by himself sitting in the Cabinet or by
permitting three of his friends to represent him in it.  "It will not
do," he said frankly, "to have his crowd standing out, trying to break up
the army and making things difficult by criticizing the Government." [3]

The other alternative was that M. Zaimis should be invested with
political functions; but for this the consent of the Allies and of their
protégé was needed.  The latter, in his oration of 27 August, had
magnanimously declared himself willing, provided his policy were adopted,
to leave the execution of it in the hands of M. Zaimis, whose honesty and
sincerity remained above all suspicion: "the Liberal Party," he had said,
"are prepared to back this Cabinet of Affairs with their political
authority."  On being asked by M. Zaimis to explain precisely what he
meant, M. Venizelos broached the subject of elections.  As already seen,
he and the Allies had reason to regret and to elude the test which they
had exacted.  It was, therefore, not surprising that M. Venizelos should
stipulate, with the concurrence of the Entente Ministers, that the
elections now imminent be postponed to the Greek Kalends.[4]  By
accepting this condition, M. Zaimis obtained a promise of support; and
straightway (2 Sept.) proceeded to sound London and Paris.

Before making any formal proposal, he wanted to know if the Western
Powers would at least afford Greece the money and equipment which she
required in order to prepare with a view to eventual action.  England
welcomed these overtures, convinced that thus all misunderstandings
between Greece and the Allies would vanish; {116} but, before giving a
definite reply, she had to communicate with France.  France manifested
the greatest satisfaction; but M. Briand urged that there was no time for
negotiations: the vital interests of Greece demanded immediate action:
she should hasten to make a formal declaration without delay; after which
he would do all that was necessary to provide her, as soon as possible,
with money and material.  M. Zaimis in his very first dispatch had said:
"Unfortunately the state of our finances and of our military organization
does not permit us to think of immediate action: we need a certain delay
for preparation"; and all the exhortations of M. Briand to leap first and
look afterwards failed to move him.  Besides the matter of equipment--a
matter in which the Entente Powers, owing to their own necessities, had
been the reverse of liberal to their small allies, as Belgium and Servia
had already found, and Rumania was about to find to her cost--there was
another point Greek statesmen and strategists had to weigh very carefully
before committing themselves: would Rumania co-ordinate her military
action with theirs?  Unless she were inclined and able to divert enough
forces from the Austro-Hungarian to the Bulgarian frontier, her entry
into the War could not be of any help to them.  So, after nine days'
correspondence, we find M. Zaimis still writing: "When the English answer
arrives, the Royal Government will take account of it in the examination
in which it will engage before taking a definite decision--a decision
which will be subordinated to its military preparations and to the course
of war operations in the East." [5]

Directly afterwards (11 Sept.) M. Zaimis resigned "for reasons of
health."  These reasons convinced no one: everyone agreed in ascribing
his withdrawal to his discovery that he was the victim of duplicity; but
as to whose duplicity, opinions differed.  According to M.  Venizelos,
while the conversations about entering the War went on, King Constantine,
in consequence of a telegram from the {117} Kaiser assuring him that
within a month the Germans would have overrun Rumania and flung Sarrail's
army into the sea, and asking him to hold out, reverted to the policy of
neutrality; and M. Zaimis, realizing that he was being fooled, refused to
play the King's game and resigned.[6]  For this statement we have M.
Venizelos's authority; and against it that of M. Zaimis, who, on hearing
from Paris that his resignation gave rise to the supposition that the old
policy had prevailed, replied: "My impression is that the Cabinet which
will succeed me will not quit the line of policy which I have pursued."
[7]

Another account connected the fall of the Cabinet with an incident which
occurred at that critical moment and strained the situation to the
utmost.  In the evening of 9 September, as the Entente Ministers held a
conference in the French Legation, a score of scallywags rushed into the
courtyard, shouting "Long live the King!  Down with France and England!"
fired a few revolver shots in the air, and bolted.  Immediately M. Zaimis
hastened to the Legation and expressed his regrets.  But that did not
suffice to placate the outraged honour of the French Republic.  Despite
the objections of his colleagues, M.  Guillemin had a detachment of
bluejackets landed to guard the Legation; and next day a Note was
presented to the Greek Premier demanding that the perpetrators of this
grave breach of International Law should be discovered and punished, and
that all Reservists' leagues should instantly be broken up.  It was even
proposed that the King should be asked to issue a Proclamation disavowing
and condemning the demonstration.  Inquiry proved that the demonstration
was the work of _agents provocateurs_ in the pay of the French Secret
Service which acted in the interest of M. Venizelos.

Whereupon, M. Zaimis, realizing that the negotiations he was trying to
conduct could not be sincere on the part of the French, begged to be
relieved of his mandate.  The King was loth to let him go.  The British
Minister was equally upset, and added his plea to that of the Sovereign.
M. Zaimis said that, if M. Guillemin disavowed {118} the intrigue and
displayed a willingness to continue the negotiations in a spirit of
candour, he would remain; but M. Guillemin could not bring himself to go
so far.[8]

Whatever may be the truth in this matter--for, owing to lack of
documentary evidence, it is impossible fully to ascertain the truth--the
whole position, for a man of M. Zaimis's character, was untenable: if
sense of duty had prompted him to take up the burden, common-sense
counselled him to lay it down.  So he resigned; and the fat was once more
in the fire--and the blaze and the stench were greater than ever; for his
resignation synchronized with another untoward event.

Colonel Hatzopoulos with his own and the Serres Division had for some
time past been isolated at Cavalla--the Bulgars occupying the forts on
one side, while the British blockaded the harbour on the other.
Suddenly, upon a false report that King Constantine had fled to Larissa
and Venizelos was master at Athens, the demeanour of the Bulgars, which
had always been harsh, became thoroughly hostile.  They strengthened
their outposts, cut off the food supplies that came from Drama and
Serres, and, on 6 September, demanded that the heights immediately above
the town still held by the Greeks should be abandoned to them, on the
plea that otherwise they would be unable to defend themselves in case of
an Entente landing: refusal would be considered an unfriendly act.  As
his orders forbade resistance, Colonel Hatzopoulos had no choice but to
yield.  Thus the Greeks were reduced to absolute helplessness; and their
isolation was completed on 9 September, when British sailors landed and
destroyed the wireless station.

The worst was yet to come.  Next morning (10 Sept.) a German officer
peremptorily notified Colonel Hatzopoulos on the part of Marshal von
Hindenburg that, as the Greek troops scattered over Eastern Macedonia
obstructed the operations of the Bulgarian army, they should all be
concentrated at Drama.  Colonel Hatzopoulos, perceiving that compliance
meant captivity in the hands of the Bulgars, asked that, as his
instructions were that all the troops should concentrate at Cavalla, and
as he could not act otherwise without orders from the King, he might be
{119} allowed to send a messenger to Athens via Monastir.  This being
refused on the ground that the journey would take too long, he pleaded
his inability to decide about so grave a matter on his own initiative,
but must call a council of the principal officers.  Meanwhile, in order
to avoid capture by the Bulgars, he asked if, should they decide to
surrender, Hindenburg would guarantee their transportation to Germany
with their arms.  The German promised to communicate with headquarters
and to let him know the answer on the following morning.

Evidently the invaders, who would formerly have been more than content
with the withdrawal of the Greek forces, were now--in violation of the
pledges given to Athens by the German and Bulgarian Governments--resolved
on making such withdrawal impossible.  It is not hard to account for this
change.  The pledges were given in the belief that Greece would continue
neutral.  This belief had been shaken not only by the Venizelist
movement, but more severely still by M. Zaimis's soundings of the Entente
Powders.  The Greek Premier had from the first insisted on secrecy,
stating among the main reasons which rendered absolute discretion
imperative, "the presence in part of our territory of the eventual
adversary," and "the need to extricate two divisions and a large quantity
of material" from their grip.[9]  Nevertheless, the Entente Press gloried
in the hope that the Allies would soon have the only non-belligerent
Balkan State fighting on their side, and the principal Entente news
agency trumpeted abroad M. Zaimis's confidential conversations.[10]
Hence the desire of the Germano-Bulgars to prevent the escape of men and
material that might at any moment be used against them.

On the other hand, the Greek officers' council decided {120} to try first
every means of escape, and only if that proved impossible to comply with
the German demand on condition that they should be taken to Germany and
not be left in the hands of the Bulgars.  Accordingly, Colonel
Hatzopoulos addressed a most earnest appeal to the British for vessels to
get his men away to Volo or the Piraeus, and, having received a promise
to that effect, he secretly arranged for flight.  In the night of 10
September all the men with their belongings gathered on the sea-front
ready to leave.  But they reckoned without the partisans of M. Venizelos
in their midst.  One of them, the Commandant of the Serres Division, a
month ago had informed General Sarrail that he would fight on the side of
the Allies,[11] and another on 5 September, in a nocturnal meeting on
board a British man-of-war, had proposed to kidnap Colonel Hatzopoulos,
arm volunteers, and attack the Bulgars with the aid of Allied detachments
landed at Cavalla.  His proposal having been rejected, it was agreed that
all "patriotic" elements should be transported to Salonica.  In pursuance
of this agreement, only those were allowed to embark who were willing to
rebel.  Those who refused to break their oath of allegiance to their King
were turned adrift.  Some tried to gain the island of Thasos, but their
boats were carried to the open sea and capsized, drowning many, the rest
got back to the shore in despair.

As a last hope of escape, Colonel Hatzopoulos begged the British naval
authorities, who controlled all means of communication between Cavalla
and Athens, to transmit to his Government a message asking if he might
surrender to the British and be interned in the isle of Thasos.  The
message was duly transmitted through the British Legation on 11
September, and in reply the Greek Minister of War, after an understanding
with the British authorities, ordered him through the same channel to
embark at once with all his men and, if possible, material for Volo, on
Greek ships by preference, but if such were not available, on any other
ships.  Whether these orders were never forwarded, or whether they
reached their destination too late, is not quite clear.  It is certain,
however, that during the critical hours when the fate of the unhappy
soldiers hung in the balance, the British Fleet did not permit
embarkation {121} except to the few who joined the Rebellion.[12]  For
the loyal majority there was nothing left but the way to Drama.

Nor was any time allowed for vacillation.  When, in the morning of 11
September, Colonel Hatzopoulos met the German officer, the latter handed
to him a telegram from Hindenburg, guaranteeing the transport of the
Greeks to Germany with their arms, where they would be treated as guests.
He added that the departure from Cavalla would not be enforced for the
present.  But in the afternoon he intimated that this was due to a
misunderstanding, and that they should leave the same night.  Their
efforts to escape had obviously become known to the Germans, who, taking
no chances, imposed immediate departure under threat to cancel
Hindenburg's guarantee.  Thus, the two Greek divisions were under
compulsion huddled off to Drama, whence, joined by the division stationed
there, they were taken to Germany and interned at Goerlitz.[13]

Nothing that had hitherto happened served so well to blacken the rulers
of Greece in the eyes of the Entente publics, and the mystery which
enveloped the affair facilitated the propagation of fiction.  It was
asserted that the surrendered troops amounted to 25,000--even to 40,000:
figures which were presently reduced to "some 8,000: three divisions,
each composed of three regiments of 800 men each."  The surrender was
represented as made by order of the Athens Government: King Constantine,
out of affection for Germany and Bulgaria, and hate of {122} France and
England, had given up, not only rich territories he himself had
conquered, but also the soldiers he had twice led to victory.

In point of fact, as soon as the Athens Government heard of the
catastrophe--and it did not hear of it until after the arrival of the
first detachment in Germany--it addressed to Berlin a remonstrance,
disavowing the step of Colonel Hatzopoulos as contrary to his orders, and
denying Germany's right to keep him as contrary to International Law:
"for Greece being in peaceful and friendly relations with Germany, the
Greek troops can neither be treated as prisoners of war nor be interned,
internment being only possible in a neutral country, and only with regard
to belligerent troops--not vice versa."  The dispatch ended with a
request that "our troops with their arms and baggage be transported to
the Swiss frontier, whence they may go to some Mediterranean port and
return to Greece on ships which we shall send for the purpose." [14]

Berlin answered that she "was ready to meet the desire of the Greek
Government, but actual and effective guarantees would have to be given
that the troops under German protection would not be prevented by the
Entente Powers from returning to their fatherland, and would not be
punished for their loyal and neutral feeling and action." [15]  This
because the Entente press was angrily denouncing the step as a
"disgraceful desertion" and asking "with what ignominious penalty their
War Lord has visited so signal and so heinous an act of mutiny, perjury,
and treason on the part of his soldiers" [16]--the soldiers who went to
Germany precisely in order to avoid committing an act of mutiny, perjury,
and treason.  Truly, in time of war words change their meaning.



[1] See _Constantine I and the Greek People_.  By Paxton Hibben, an
American journalist who took part in these diplomatic transactions, pp.
281-90.

[2] See Crawfurd Price, Athens, 1 Sept., in the _Pall Mall Gazette_, 15
Sept., 1916.

[3] Paxton Hibben, p. 289.

[4] "_La question de la dissolution de la Chambre fut écartée. . . .  De
plus tout faisait supposer que de nouvelles élections ne seraient pas
favorables an parti venizéliste, dont la cause était si intimement liée à
la nôtre._"--Du Fournet, pp. 121-2; Paxton Hibben, pp. 278-9, 306-7.

[5] Zaimis to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 20 Aug./2 Sept.; Rome,
Bucharest, Petrograd, 29 Aug./11 Sept.  Romanos, Paris, 20 Aug./2 Sept.,
22 Aug./4 Sept., 25 Aug./7 Sept., 26 Aug./8 Sept.  Gennadius, London, 22
Aug./4 Sept., 25 Aug./7 Sept., 1916.

[6] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917.

[7] Romanos, Paris, 31 Aug./13 Sept.; Zaimis, Athens, 1/14 Sept., 1916.

[8] Paxton Hibben, pp. 313-19; Du Fournet, pp. 119-21, 129.

[9] Zaimis to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 20 Aug./2 Sept., 1916.
All his dispatches are marked "strictly confidential and to be deciphered
by the Minister himself."  The replies are to be addressed to him
personally, and for greater security, must be prefaced by some
meaningless groups of figures.

[10] See messages from the Athens Correspondents of _The Times_ and the
_Daily Chronicle_, 3 Sept.; Reuter, Athens, 9 Sept., 1916.  In view of
the strict censorship exercised during the war and in view of the
Franco-Venizelist anxiety to rush Greece into a rupture these
indiscretions can hardly be considered accidental.

[11] Sarrail, p. 152.

[12] King Constantine has publicly taxed the Allies with not forwarding
the orders (see _The Times_, 8 Nov., 1920).  On the other hand, there is
on record a statement by Vice-Consul Knox that the orders were forwarded
from Athens and that he himself delivered them at Cavalla.  Cp. Admiral
Dartige du Fournet: "_Au moment ou les Grecs virent les Bulgares en
marche sur Cavalla, Us voulurent embarquer lews troupes et leur matériel.
L'amiral anglais qui commandait en mer Egée leur refusa son concours,
espérant sans doute les déeterminer à se défendre.  Quand, se rendant un
compte plus exact de la situation, il donna son assentiment à cette
évacuation, il étaii trop tard: les Bulgares entraient à Cavalla le jour
même._"--Du Fournet, p. 151.

[13] My chief sources of information concerning this event are a Report
by Col. Hatzopoulos to Marshal von Hindenburg, dated "Goerlitz, 13/26
Oct., 1916," and another report drawn up at Athens in July, 1921, from
the records of the judicial investigation instituted by the Venizelos
Government in 1919, including the evidence of the British Vice-Consul G.
G. Knox.

[14] _White Book_, No. 173.

[15] Telegram from Berlin reported by Renter's Amsterdam Correspondent,
23 Sept., 1916.  I find this confirmed by a dispatch from the Greek
Minister at Berlin (Theotokis, Berlin, 18/31 Oct., 1916), in which he
gives an account of his efforts to obtain from the German Government the
return of the troops and restitution of the war material, as well as the
Greek officers' protests to Hindenburg and Ludendorff against the
pressure under which they had been hurried from Cavalla.  It is to be
regretted that M. Venizelos did not find room for this document and for
Col. Hatzopoulos's illuminating Report in his _White Book_.

[16] Leading article in _The Times_, 19 Sept., 1916.



{123}

CHAPTER XII

Meanwhile the unfortunate King of Greece was faced by a state of things
which he himself describes with admirable lucidity in a dispatch to his
brother Andrew, then in London, labouring, vainly enough, to obtain a
fair hearing for the Royalist side, while another brother, Prince
Nicholas, was engaged on a similar mission at Petrograd.  The document is
dated 3/16 September, 1916, and runs thus:

"The resignation of the Cabinet of M. Zaimis, who enjoyed my absolute
confidence, as well as the unanimous confidence of the country, and whom
the Entente Governments declared to me that they surrounded with their
entire sympathy, has rendered the situation very difficult.

"I charged M. Dimitracopoulos to form a new Cabinet.  He declared himself
ready to continue the conversations opened recently by M.  Zaimis in the
hope of bringing them to a happy conclusion.  Before accepting
definitely, he thought it necessary to sound the views of the Powers on
important questions of an internal order, and went to the _doyen_ of the
Diplomatic Corps, the British Minister, whence he carried away a very
clear impression that, not only the coercive measures would not be raised
before mobilization, but that they might be intensified, notably by
direct interference in personal domestic questions, and that, even after
mobilization, the measures would be only relaxed.  As to the question of
elections, after having demanded by the Note of 8 (21) June the
dissolution of the Chamber and new elections, which we accepted, now they
demand that the elections shall not take place, without, at the same
time, allowing the existing Chamber to meet.  M. Dimitracopoulos has laid
down his mandate.

"Under these conditions the situation becomes inextricable.  The military
and naval authorities of the Entente foment and encourage in the country
a revolution and armed sedition, and they favour by every means the {124}
Salonica movement by continuing the vexatious measures and restricting
all freedom of thought and action.  The Entente Ministers paralyze all
Government.  Thus the country is pushed towards anarchy.

"Such conduct not only conflicts with the assurances which they have
given us, but excludes all practical possibility of reconsidering our
policy freely to the end of taking a decision in a favourable direction.
For the rest, Greece divided would not be of any use as an ally.  It is
necessary that there should return in the country comparative calm and
the feeling of independence, indispensable for taking extreme
resolutions.  It is necessary that confidence in the sympathy of the
Entente should be restored.  A resolution to participate in the war taken
under present circumstances would run the risk of being attributed to
violence and of being received with mistrust.  More, that resolutions may
be taken without danger of disaster, there is need of circumspection and
discretion, so as not to provoke an attack from the Germano-Bulgars who
are in our territory, before we are ready to lend real assistance to the
Entente.  A more definite declaration of principle, which would have to
be kept secret in the common interest, would be of no practical value.

"Under certain circumstances, rendering the participation of Greece
useful and conformable to our interests, I have already declared that I
am ready to enter into the war on the side of the Entente.  I am ready to
envisage negotiations in this sense.  But, before all, I need, that I may
be able to occupy myself usefully and with a certain mental calmness with
foreign questions, to see comparative quiet restored at home, and so to
save the appearances of liberty of action.  In this I ask, for the sake
of the common interest, the Powers to give me their help.

"I have charged M. Calogeropoulos to form a Ministry: he is equally
animated by the best intentions towards the Entente."

The new Premier, who had already held office with distinction as Minister
of the Interior and as Minister of Finance, possessed every qualification
for the delicate task entrusted to him.  On the day of his accession _The
Times_ Correspondent wrote of him: "In the Chamber he is highly esteemed.
Although he is a Theotokist, and {125} therefore anti-Venizelist, M.
Calogeropoulos, who studied in France, declared to me that all his
personal sympathies are with the Entente.  He is likewise a member of the
Franco-Greek League." [1]  In harmony with this character was his
programme: "The new Cabinet, inspired by the same policy as M. Zaimis, is
resolved to pursue it with the sincere desire to tighten the bonds
between Greece and the Entente Powers." This declaration, made in every
Allied capital, was supplemented by a more intimate announcement in Paris
and London: "Sharing the views which inspired the negotiations opened by
its predecessor, the Royal Government is resolved to pursue them in the
same spirit." [2]

No sooner had M. Calogeropoulos spoken than M. Venizelos set to work to
cast doubts on his sincerity, with remarkable success: "M. Venizelos does
not believe that the composition of the new Ministry permits of the hope
that a national policy will be adopted, since it springs from a party of
pro-German traditions," [3]--this ominous paragraph was added by the
_Times_ Correspondent to his report the same day.  And next day the
British Minister, in an interview with the editor of a Venizelist
journal, said: "The situation is certainly not an agreeable one.  I have
read in the papers the declaration of the new Premier.  What has
surprised me is to find that M. Calogeropoulos characterized his Ministry
as a political one, whereas in their last Note the Allies required that
Greece should be governed by a business Cabinet.  This, as you see, makes
a distinct difference." [4]  Simultaneously, the Entente Press, under
similar inspiration, reviled the new Cabinet as pro-German, clamoured for
M. Venizelos, whom they still represented as the true exponent of the
national will, threatened King Constantine with the fate of King Otho,
and his country with "terrible and desperate things." [5]

{126}

It was in such an atmosphere that M. Calogeropoulos and his colleagues
attempted to resume the conversations which M. Zaimis had opened.  They
realized that, since elections and like legal methods no longer commended
themselves to the Allies, since they menaced the country with "terrible
and desperate things," Greece might drift into chaos at any moment.  They
were anxious to avoid chaos.  But how?  A blind acceptance of the
Venizelist policy of an immediate rush into the War, without regard to
ways and means, might prove tantamount to burning one's blanket in order
to get rid of the fleas: while saving Greece from the coercion of the
French and the British, it might expose her to subjugation by the Germans
and the Bulgars: the plight of Rumania afforded a fresh warning.  They
therefore adopted the only course open to sane men.

On 19 September Greece formally offered to the Entente Powers "to come in
as soon as by their help she had accomplished the repair of her military
forces, within a period fixed by common accord."  But, "as her armed
intervention could not, obviously, be in the interest of anyone
concerned, unless it took place with chances of success, the Royal
Government thinks that Greece should not be held to her engagement, if at
the time fixed the Balkan theatre of war presented, in the opinion of the
Allies' General Staffs themselves, such a disequilibrium of forces as the
military weight of Greece would be insufficient to redress." [6]

Russia received these advances with cordiality, her Premier declaring to
the Greek Minister at Petrograd that she would be happy to have Greece
for an ally, and that the Tsar had full confidence in the sentiments of
King Constantine.  He added that he would immediately communicate with
Paris and London.[7]  There was the rub.  French and British statesmen
affected to regard the offer as a ruse for gaining time: they could not
trust a Cabinet three members of which they considered to be ill-disposed
towards the Entente: a "national policy" {127} should be carried out by a
"national Cabinet"--that is, by M.  Venizelos.[8]

While frustrating his country's efforts to find a way out of the pass
into which he had intrigued it, the Cretan and his partisans did not
neglect other forms of activity.  We have seen that rebellion had already
broken out at Salonica.  In Athens itself the walls were pasted with
Venizelist newspapers in the form of placards displaying headlines such
as these: "A LAST APPEAL TO THE KING!"  "DRAW THE SWORD, O KING, OR
ABDICATE!"  It was no secret that arms and ammunition were stored in
private houses, that the French Intelligence Service had a depot of
explosives in a ship moored at the Piraeus, and a magazine of rifles and
grenades in its headquarters at the French School of Athens.[9] The
Royalist journals threatened the Venizelists with condign punishment for
their treasonable designs.  The Venizelist journals, far from denying the
charge, replied that they would be fully justified in arming themselves
against the hostile Reservist Leagues.  In short, the capital swarmed
with conspirators, but the guardians of public order were powerless,
owing to the proximity of the Allied naval guns, ready to enforce respect
for the Allied flags under whose protection the conspiracy was carried
on.  By this time the French and British detectives had usurped the
powers and inverted the functions of the police organs;[10] and the
French and {128} British agents, after fomenting those fatal differences
which divide and degrade a people, had developed into directors of plots
and organizers of sedition.

But, in spite of such encouragement, the capital--or, indeed, any part of
Old Greece--had never appealed to M. Venizelos as a starting-point of
sedition.  He knew that only in the recently acquired and as yet
imperfectly assimilated regions--regions under the direct influence of
the Allies--he could hope to rebel with safety.  His plan embraced,
besides Salonica, the islands conquered in 1912, particularly his native
Crete.  In that home of immemorial turbulence his friends, seconded by
British Secret Service and Naval officers, had found many retired bandits
eager to resume work.  Even there, it is true, public opinion was not
strikingly favourable to disloyalty; but the presence of the British
Fleet in Suda Bay had much of persuasion in it.[11]

Our diplomacy did not openly commit itself.  Sir Francis Elliot still
nursed the hope of effecting a reconciliation between the ex-Premier and
his King.  When, in August, a conference was secretly held at Athens
between M. Venizelos and a number of Cretan conspirators, the latter
carried back the depressing intelligence that British official sympathy
with their project lacked the necessary degree of warmth.  And again, on
11 September, when the British Consul of Canea went over to Athens with
some of those conspirators, he was ordered by the British Legation to
stay there, so as to avoid any suspicion of complicity.  This attitude of
correct reserve on the part of the British Foreign Office, however, did
not prevent the British naval authorities on the spot from working out,
in concert with the insurgents, a plan of operations under which some
chieftains were to invest the coast towns on the land side, while our
men-of-war patrolled the sea in their interest.[12]

{129}

France, on the other hand, made no distinction between diplomatic and
naval action.  On 18 September M. Guillemin informed Admiral Dartige du
Fournet that M. Venizelos was sailing for the islands, and orders were
given for a French escort.  But at the last moment M. Venizelos did not
sail.  He hesitated.  The French Secret Service urged the National Leader
to lead, instead of being prodded from behind; but he resisted their
pressure and their plain speaking.[13]  When questioned by the Associated
Press Correspondent if there was any truth in the reports that he was
going to put himself at the head of the revolutionary forces, he replied:
"I cannot answer now.  I must wait a little while yet and see what the
Government propose to do."

It is possible that this was the reason why M. Venizelos paused
irresolute on the brink.  It is possible that he suffered, as the
disrespectful Frenchmen hinted, from one of those attacks of timidity to
which he was subject in a crisis.  It is possible that the ambiguous
attitude of England damped his martial spirit.  For the rest, to make a
revolution is a matter that may well give the strongest-minded pause.
What wonder if, reckless, obstinate, and unscrupulous as he was, M.
Venizelos, when faced with the irrevocable, felt the need to weigh his
position, to reconsider whether the momentous step he was taking was
necessary, was right, was prudent?

However, events soon put an end to his hesitation.  The decisive
event--the hair which turned the scale--according to M. Venizelos
himself, was supplied, appropriately enough, by a barber.  One day,
whilst the Leader of the Liberals wrestled with his soul, a friend called
and reported to him a talk he had just had with his hairdresser, "a
terrible Venizelist, who spoke thus: 'We here, simple folk, say that
Venizelos bears a heavy responsibility: he tells us we are going to the
dogs.  Eh, well then, why doesn't he stop us?'  This conversation shook
me deeply.  My friend gone, I said to myself: 'Indeed, this barber speaks
wisely, and my hesitations to discharge my duty to the end must vanish,
because they may possibly spring from purely egotistical motives.  Sir, I
said to myself, having laid up from many struggles and many successes
{130} a capital above the average, you don't wish to risk it and think it
better to sit quiet, choosing to enjoy the moral satisfaction of seeing
the fulfilment of your prophecies rather than make an effort to prevent
it.'" [14]  It is always interesting to trace mighty events to trifling
causes; and it would have been particularly pleasant to believe that the
destinies of Greece for once literally stood "on a razor's edge." [15]
But we will do M. Venizelos the credit of believing him less childish
than he represents himself.  There were weightier things "to shake" him
into a decision.

On 20 September, when, according to plan, he was due in Crete, the train
laid there exploded.  His friends had come down from the hills thirsting
for the blood of Greek and Mohammedan victims: should the massacre they
meditated take place, M. Venizelos would never leave Athens alive.[16]
The news was of a nature to compel him at last to take the plunge; and in
the small hours of 25 September, the National Leader stole out of Greece
on a ship escorted by a French torpedo-boat.  His flight had been
organized by the French Secret Service like a carnival masquerade, on the
painful details of which, says Admiral Dartige, it would be better not to
dwell.[17]

His advent in Crete had been so efficiently prepared by the British
Secret Service and naval officers--without whom there would have been
neither mutiny nor insurrection--that, on landing, M. Venizelos had
nothing to do but instal himself in the best hotel at Canea and proclaim
himself with his confederate Admiral Coundouriotis the Provisional
Government.[18]

Under the fostering care of the Allied men-of-war the movement spread to
Samos, Mytilene, Chios, Lemnos, and Thasos, where the constitutional
operations witnessed in Crete were duly repeated.  But all the other
islands and the mainland--that is, the whole of the Hellenic Kingdom,
with the exception of the new territories--adhered {131} steadfastly to
the person and the policy of their King.  As for the armed forces of the
Crown, Admiral Coundouriotis had hoped by his prestige, deservedly high
since the Balkan wars, to bring away with him the whole or a large part
of the Fleet: he brought away only two torpedo-boats and another small
unit, the desertion of which was effected by a trick, "for which," says
the French Admiral, "France would have cause to blush." [19]

In itself the Venizelist movement, as a disruptive force, was
negligible.[20]  But the co-operation of the French Republic and the
British Empire invested it with an alarming significance.

M. Calogeropoulos and his colleagues who watched this rising tempest
anxiously did everything they could to conjure it.  Although to their
offer no reply was given, on hearing informally that the Entente Powers
would not accept the proffered alliance unless Greece declared war on
Bulgaria at once, they signified their willingness so to do, if, content
with that, the Entente would accord Greece adequate military and
financial assistance during the struggle and support her territorial
claims at the conclusion of peace; if, in addition, M.  Briand deemed the
Cabinet question of immediate importance, they were prepared to solve it
definitely for the sake of restoring complete harmony between Greece and
the Entente Powers.[21]

The authors of this message were given to understand that the reply would
be handed to King Constantine himself, the Entente Governments declining
to recognize the actual Cabinet; that it would be in the form of an
ultimatum, demanding that Greece should declare war on Bulgaria within
forty-eight hours unconditionally, after which they promised to supply
her with money and munitions during the struggle and at the conclusion of
peace to take into account her territorial claims as far as {132}
circumstances would permit; meanwhile, they demanded the formation of a
new Ministry, and, failing compliance, they threatened "most energetic
measures."  M. Briand kindly added that he delayed the presentation of
this ultimatum in order to give His Majesty the advantage of making a
spontaneous gesture without the appearance of compulsion.[22]

Whereupon (3 Oct.) M. Venizelos at Canea was sounded whether, if the
Calogeropoulos Cabinet made place for one ready to declare war on
Bulgaria, he would insist on presiding over such a Cabinet or would be
satisfied with being represented in it by some of his partisans.

These overtures may be regarded as a last attempt on the part of Athens
to take the Cretan at his word.  For M. Venizelos had never tired of
professing his willingness to support any Government which would adopt
his policy of prompt action: it was not personal power he hungered after,
but national prosperity.  Even at the moment of going to head a
rebellion, he had not ceased to proclaim his patriotic unselfishness.[23]
We have seen to what extent hitherto his actions had accorded with his
professions: how adroitly he had maintained abroad the reputation,
without incurring the sacrifices, of magnanimity.  Once more he gave
proof of the same adroitness:

"True to his previous declarations, M. Venizelos replied that he was
ready to give his support and that of his party to a Government which
would declare war on Bulgaria, and that he asked neither to preside over
such a Government nor to be represented in it by his partisans.  As a
patriot and a statesman, seeking only his country's welfare," etc., etc.,
etc.  But--"the principal followers of M. Venizelos do not believe that
this new step taken by the authorities at Athens indicates a change in
the right direction in the councils of the Palace.  They maintain that
the idea behind this _démarche_ is simply to gain time.  I have pressed
M. Venizelos on this, and, although he did not wish to appear to be as
emphatic as his followers, he had to admit to me that he had no illusions
and that he remained sceptical.  If King Constantine is really {133}
sincere, he can give a proof which will allay all doubts.  Let him order
a mobilization at once . . . and call in M. Venizelos to form a new
Government." [24]

King Constantine, instead of treating the Cretan as a rebel, still wished
to treat him as a responsible citizen, and by his moderation to give him
an opportunity of a decent return to legal order.  But he could not, even
if he wished, call to power a man in open revolt: by so doing he would
alienate the loyal majority without conciliating the disloyal minority.

After thus burning the last boat that might have carried him back to
legality, M. Venizelos took the first boat that travelled in the opposite
direction.  He left Suda Bay on 5 October, amidst the cheers of the
Allied squadrons, bound for Salonica by way of Samos and Mytilene.  At
Samos he received a fresh token of the approval with which the Entente
viewed his operations: the commander of a British man-of-war, acting on
instructions, officially called on him and paid his respects.[25]

And so he reached Salonica, took up his abode at the royal residence, and
with Admiral Coundouriotis and General Danglis composed a Triumvirate
which, having appointed a Ministry, began to levy taxes and troops, and
to negotiate for a loan.

The metamorphosis of a Prime Minister into an insurgent chief, though a
remarkable phenomenon, is no matter for surprise.  M. Venizelos sprang
from people among whom insurrection formed the traditional method of
asserting political opinions.  His father was a veteran of the Greek
Revolution of 1821, and passed most of his life plotting.  His
grandfather is supposed to have been a refugee of the earlier Greek
revolt of 1770.[26]  He himself had grown up amidst vivid echoes of the
Cretan Rebellion of 1866.  While contact with the frock-coated world of
{134} modern Europe during the latter period of his career had clothed
him with a statesman's proper external circumstance, it had not
eradicated the primitive instincts implanted in him by heredity and
fostered by environment.  Sedition was in his blood, which perhaps
explains the _flair_--the almost uncanny _flair_--he had for the business.

Nor did he lack experience.  After sharing in one Cretan insurrection
against the Sultan in 1896, he led another against Prince George in 1905.
This exploit--known as the Therisos Movement--deserves special notice,
for it bears a curious and most instructive analogy to the enterprise
with which we are now dealing.

In 1899 M. Venizelos became a member of the first Cretan Administration
appointed by the High Commissioner, Prince George--King Constantine's
brother.  The status of the island was provisional, and the fulfilment of
the national desire for union with Greece depended partly on the policy
of the Powers which had combined to act as its Protectors, partly on the
prudence of the islanders themselves and of their continental kinsmen.
Such was the situation when, in 1901, M.  Venizelos suddenly conceived
the idea of turning Crete into an autonomous principality.  Prince George
objected to the proposal, arguing that neither in Crete nor in Greece
would public opinion approve it.  M. Venizelos sounded the Hellenic
Government and the Opposition, and was told by both that, from the
standpoint of national interest and sentiment, his scheme was absolutely
unacceptable.  Nevertheless, he persevered and succeeded in forming a
party to support his views.  It may be, as he affirmed, that his scheme
was a merely temporary expedient intended to pave the way to ultimate
union.  But the Greeks, interpreting it as a proposal for perpetual
separation, remained bitterly hostile, and the fact that autonomy was
known to be favoured in certain foreign quarters deepened their
resentment.  M.  Venizelos was roundly denounced as a tool of foreign
Powers, and Prince George was accused of complicity, and threatened with
the lot of a traitor unless he dismissed him.  The High Commissioner made
use of the right which the Constitution of the island gave him, and M.
Venizelos was dismissed (March, 1901).

A truceless war against the Administration and everyone {135} connected
with it ensued.  Prince George was attacked--not directly, but through
his entourage--as a born autocrat holding in scorn the rights of the
people, tyrannizing over the Press, persecuting all those who refused to
bow to his will, aiming at the subversion of free institutions.  At first
this campaign met with more success abroad than at home.  The Cretan
people expressed its opinion by its vote: among the sixty-four deputies
elected to the Chamber in 1903 there were only four Venizelists.

His defeat did not daunt M. Venizelos, who, after a brief repose, resumed
operations.  He hesitated at no calumny, at no outrageous invention, to
get even with his adversaries.  Charges of all kinds poured in upon the
Prince.  Speeches which he had never made were attributed to him, and
speeches which he did make were systematically misreported and
misinterpreted.  At last, in 1904, when Prince George decided to visit
the Governments of the Protecting Powers in order to beg them to bring
about the union of Crete with Greece by stages, M.  Venizelos, dropping
the scheme which had lost him his popularity, rushed in with an
uncompromising demand for immediate union, though he knew perfectly well
that such a solution was impracticable.  The Cretans knew it, too.  On
finding that they looked upon his change of creed with suspicion, he
resolved to seize by violence what he could not gain by his eloquence.
With some 600 armed partisans (out of a population of 300,000) he took to
the hills (March, 1905), called for the convocation of a National
Assembly to revise the Constitution, and meanwhile urged the people to
boycott the impending elections.  Despite his speeches and his bravoes,
only 9,000 out of the 64,000 electors abstained from voting; and most of
them abstained for other reasons than the wish to show sympathy with the
insurgents.

The High Commissioner wrote to the Powers at the time: "If M. Venizelos
was truly animated by the desire to defend constitutional institutions,
he would have come before the electors with his programme and, whatever
the result, he would certainly have earned more respect as a politician.
But, instead of choosing the legal road to power, he preferred to stir up
an insurrection, disguising his motives under the mask of 'The National
Idea,' but, {136} as is proved by his own declarations, really inspired
by personal animus and party interest.  It mattered little to him how
disastrous an effect this upheaval might have on the national cause by
plunging the country into civil war or into fresh anarchy.  Can anyone
recognize in this way of acting the conduct of a genuine and serious
patriot?"

M. Venizelos repelled these imputations, protesting that his movement was
no way directed against the Prince.  Yet it resulted in the departure of
the Prince: the Powers who went to Crete to restore order entered into
relations with the rebels; the manner in which these intimacies were
carried on and the decisions to which they led made the Prince's position
untenable, and he gave up his Commissionership in 1906.  Likewise M.
Venizelos affirmed that he had not stirred up an insurrection, but only
headed a spontaneous outbreak of popular discontent.  Yet even after his
triumph he failed, in the elections of 1907, to obtain a majority.[27]

The Therisos performance in every point--plot and staging, methods and
motives--was a rehearsal for the Salonica performance.  Would the
denouement be the same?  This question taxed M. Venizelos's dialectical
dexterity very severely.

At the outset he repudiated as a monstrous and malicious calumny the
common view that his programme was to march on Athens and to dethrone the
King.  His movement was directed against the Bulgars, not against the
King or the Dynasty: "We are neither anti-royalist nor anti-dynastic," he
declared, "we are simply patriots."  Only, after the liberation of Greece
from the foreign invaders, her democratic freedom should be assured by a
thorough elucidation of the duties and rights of the Crown--a revision of
the Constitution to be effected through a National Assembly.[28]

So spoke M. Venizelos at the outset, partly because the {137} Allies, who
did not want to have civil war in the rear of their armies, bade him to
speak so,[29] and partly because he wished to give his cause currency by
stamping upon it the legend of loyalty.  He realized that for the present
any suspicion that he wished to embark on a campaign against King
Constantine would be fatal, and by declaring war only against the Bulgars
he hoped to entice patriotic citizens anxious to help their country
without hurting their sovereign.  But when time proved the futility of
these tactics, the same M. Venizelos avowed that his programme was, first
to consolidate his position in Macedonia by breaking down resistance
wherever it might be encountered, and then, "when we had gathered our
forces, we meant to follow up our work, if need be by arms, on the
remainder of Greek territory."  If he had not given an anti-dynastic
character to his enterprise, that, he naïvely explained, was "because the
Entente had been good enough to promise me their indispensable aid under
the express stipulation that the movement should _not_ be anti-dynastic."
However, the error was not irreparable: "After victory, grave internal
questions will have to be solved," he said.  "King Constantine, who has
stepped down from the throne of a constitutional king to become a mere
party chief, must accept the consequences of the defeat of his policy,
just as every other defeated party chief." [30]

In other words, the Salonica sedition, though not solely revolutionary,
involved a revolution within certain limits.  M. Venizelos was far too
astute to countenance the republican chimeras cherished by some of his
followers.  Republicanism, he knew well, found no favour in Greece and
could expect no support from England.  Therefore, with the monarchical
principle he had no quarrel: his hostility was directed wholly against
the person of the reigning monarch.  A prince pliant to his hand would
suit M. Venizelos.  If he got the best of it, his avowed intention was to
treat King Constantine precisely as he had treated King Constantine's
brother in days gone by.

We now understand Prince George's earnestness in urging his brother, as
long ago as May, 1915, to run before {138} the gale: he spoke from bitter
experience of the Protecting Powers and their protégé.

It is seldom that history repeats itself so accurately; and it is more
seldom still that the historian has the means of tracing so surely a
rebel's progress.  In most cases it is hard to decide whether the hero
was guided by events which he could not have foreseen, or whether he had
from the first a clear and definite goal in view.  In the case of M.
Venizelos this difficulty does not exist.  Each of his actions, as
illuminated by his past, was a step to an end; and he has himself defined
that end.



[1] _The Times_, 18 Sept., 1916.

[2] Carapanos to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd, 3/16
Sept., 1916.

[3] _The Times, loc. cit._

[4] Exchange Tel., Athens, 17 Sept., 1916.  Cp. Romanos, Paris, 5/18 Sept.

[5] See leading articles in _The Times_, 19 Sept., and the _Morning
Post_, 20 Sept., 1916.

[6] Carapanos to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 6/19 Sept., 1916.

[7] Panas, Petrograd, 14/27 Sept., 1916.

[8] Romanos, Paris, 10/23 Sept.  Cp. Reuter statement, London, 26 Sept.,
1916.  This view is crystallized in a personal dispatch from the Greek
Minister at Paris to the Director of Political Affairs, at Athens:
"_L'appel au pouvoir par S.M. le Roi de M. Venizélos paraît au
Gouvernement français le seul moyen de dissiper la méfiance que
l'attitude des conseillers de S.M. le Roi ont fait naitre dans l'esprit
des cercles dirigeants à Paris et à Londres. . . .  L'opinion publique en
France n' approuveraii une alliance avec la Grèce et les avantages qui en
découleraient pour nous, que si l'homme politique qui incarne l'idée de
la solidarité des intérêts français et grecs était appelé au
pouvoir._"--Romanos to Politis, Paris, 29 Sept./12 Oct., 1916.

[9] Du Fournet, p. 116.  Small wonder that the honest sailor's gorge rose
at such proceedings: "Could I associate myself with manoeuvres of this
sort?" he asks in disgust.  "When German arms and bombs were seized in
the bag from Berlin to Christiania, when similar things were discovered
at Bucharest, and were detected in the United States under Bernstorf's
protection, the Allies manifested their indignation.  They were a hundred
times right; but what was odious in America, was it not odious in Greece?"

[10] The British Intelligence Service demonstrated its sense of humour
and shame by furnishing its secret agents with a formal certificate of
their identity to be presented at the central office of the Greek Police:
one such patent of British protection was issued to an ex-spy of Sultan
Abdul Hamid who had also spent six months in German pay.  Besides the
certificate, was issued a brassard, which the rogue might wear to protect
him from arrest when breaking the Greek Law on British account.
Incredible, yet true.  See J. C. Lawson's _Tales of Aegean Intrigue_, p.
233.

[11] Lawson, pp. 143-66.

[12] Lawson, pp. 168-78.

[13] Du Fournet, pp. 130-1.

[14] Orations, p. 190.

[15] "Now, to all of us it stands on a razor's edge: either pitiful ruin
for the Achaians or life."  Homer, _Iliad_, X, 173.

[16] Lawson, pp. 180-9.

[17] Du Fournet, p. 131.

[18] Lawson, pp. 198-226.

[19] Du Fournet, p. 136.

[20] A paragraph of the Debierre Report, adopted by the French Senate on
21 Oct., 1916, may be quoted in this connexion: "_La révolution
Salonicienne vue de près, n' est rien.  Elle est sans racine, sans
lendemain probable.  Venizélos est trés amoindri.  La Grèce, dont les
officiers et les soldats ne veulent pas se battre, est avec
Constantin._"--Mermeix, _Le Commandement Unique_, Part II, p. 60.

[21] Romanos, Paris, 14/27, 15/28 Sept.; Carapanos to Greek Legation,
Paris, 15/28 Sept., 1916.

[22] Romanos, Paris, 16/29, 17/30 Sept.; Gennadius, London, 17/30 Sept.,
1916.

[23] See "Message from M. Venizelos," in _The Times_, 27 Sept., 1916.

[24] The _Daily Telegraph_, 5 Oct., 1916.

[25] The _Daily Telegraph_, 7 Oct., 1916.

[26] The authentic history of the Venizelos family begins with our hero's
father; his grandfather is a probable hypothesis: the remoter ancestors
with whom, since his rise to fame, he has been endowed by enthusiastic
admirers in Western Europe, are purely romantic.  In Greece, where nearly
everyone's origin is involved in obscurity, matters of this sort possess
little interest, and M. Venizelos's Greek biographers dwell only on his
ascent.

[27] For one side of this affair see _Memorandum de S.A.R.  Le Prince
Georges de Grèce, Haut Commissaire en Crète, aux Quatre Grandes
Puissances Protectrices de la Crète_, 1905.  The other side has been
expounded in many publications: among them, _E. Venizelos: His Life, His
Work_.  By Costa Kairophyla, pp. 37-65; _Eleutherios Venizelos_.  By K.
K. Kosmides, pp. 14-16.

[28] See _The Times_, 27 Sept.; _The Eleutheros Typos_, 23 Oct. (O.S.),
1916.

[29] Du Fournet, p. 176.

[30] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917.



{139}

CHAPTER XIII

M. Venizelos had unfurled the standard of rebellion in the true spirit
of his temperament and traditions.  To him civil war had nothing
repulsive about it: it was a normal procedure--a ladder to power.
Naturally, he persuaded others, and perhaps himself, that he acted
purely with the patriotic intention of devoting to the public benefit
the power which, for that purpose only, it became his duty to usurp.
Moved by the ambition to aggrandize Greece, he felt at liberty to use
whatever means might conduce to so desirable an end.  The sole question
that troubled him was, whether this old ladder would serve him as
faithfully as in the past.  And once again the answer depended on the
attitude of the "Protecting Powers."

Those Powers had hitherto blundered in all their Balkan dealings with
depressing uniformity.  First came the mistake about Bulgaria.  The
hate of the Greeks for the Bulgars was a psychological force which,
properly estimated and utilized, could without any difficulty have been
made to do our work for us.  But that force was never properly
estimated by our diplomacy.  The Entente Governments, instead of
enlisting it on their side, ranged it against them; thereby sacrificing
Servia and estranging Greece.  To that initial error was added a
second.  Until the truth could no longer be ignored, the Allies
persisted in the egregrious [Transcriber's note: egregious?] fallacy
that the popularity of King Constantine was as nothing compared with
the popularity of M. Venizelos--to our detriment.  "Two years before,"
observes Admiral Dartige du Fournet, "all the Greeks were the friends
of France; in October, 1916, two-thirds of them were her enemies."
That was the fact; and, according to the same witness--who described
himself, not without reason, as "a Venizelist by profession"--the cause
was this: "The mass of the people of continental {140} Greece was
hostile to the Chief of the Liberals.  When that mass saw that M.
Venizelos started a sedition and that we supported him, it became
plainly hostile to us." [1]

The Admiral mentions also German pressure, but he rightly regards it as
a subsidiary cause.  The Germans did little more than "blow on the fire
kindled by our own clumsiness and violences."  Baron Schenck, the
director of the German propaganda at Athens, watched our coercion of
King Constantine with that apparent indignation and secret joy which
the faults of an enemy inspire, and when expelled by the Allies, said
that he did not mind going: the Allies could be trusted to carry on his
mission.  They did.

What their plan was will appear from their actions.  We cannot
penetrate into the minds of men, and we cannot always believe their
words; but their actions are open to observation and speak more truly
than their lips.

As soon as he settled at Salonica, M. Venizelos applied to the Entente
Powers for official recognition of his Provisional Government.  They
refused him this recognition: but instructed their Consuls to treat
with the Provisional Government "on a _de facto_ footing";[2] and,
while pouring cold water upon him with one hand, with the other they
gave him money.  This mode of action was the result of a compromise,
achieved at the Boulogne Conference, between France and her partners.
A feeble and inconsequent way of doing things, no doubt.  But to be
consequent and powerful, a partnership must be bottomed on some common
interest or sentiment; and such in the Greek question, as already
explained, did not exist.

At Athens the action of the Allies was less open to the criticism of
tameness.

After a life of three weeks passed in fruitless efforts to enter into
relations with the Entente Powers, even by proposing to discard the
Ministers obnoxious to them, the Calogeropoulos Cabinet resigned (4
Oct.), and King Constantine, having exhausted his stock of politicians,
sought a candidate for the Premiership in circles which, remote from
party intrigue, might have been thought immune from suspicion.
Professor Lambros, who accepted the {141} mandate (8 Oct.), was known
as a grave savant, generally esteemed for his kindly nature as much as
for his intellectual eminence and administrative capacity.  But
Professor Lambros laboured under the universal disability of not being
a Venizelist.  Therefore, he was "believed to be Germanophile," and it
was "questionable whether his Cabinet will be recognized by the Entente
Powers." [3]  However, in less than a week, he "established contact"
with their representatives.  It was "contact" in a sense of the term
more familiar to soldiers than to statesmen.

On 10 October Admiral Dartige de Fournet resumed his activities by
launching on the Hellenic Government an Ultimatum.  Greece was
summoned, within twenty-four hours, to disarm her big ships, to hand
over to him all her light ships intact, and to disarm all her coast
batteries, except three which were to be occupied by the Allies.  In
addition, the port of the Piraeus, the railways, and the police were to
be placed under Allied control.

The demand for her Fleet, Greece was told, arose from uneasiness about
the safety of the Allied armada--a pretext that exposed itself: the
Greek Fleet consisted of only five battleships dating from 1891-2,
except one whose date was 1908; two cruisers, dating from 1911 and
1914; and a microscopic light flotilla.  "To see there a serious
danger, it would be puerile," says Admiral Dartige himself; and far
from feeling elated at the success of the operation, he tells us that
he "suffered at being constrained by events to use force against a
neutral and weak nation."  But he had to do it: though not a matter to
be proud of, it was a precaution not altogether unjustifiable.  He
could, however, neither justify nor qualify the other measures.  They
involved, he says, a high-handed encroachment on the internal affairs
of the country--an abuse of power pure and simple: "We admitted
officially the right of Greece to neutrality, and yet we laid hands
upon part of her national life, even upon the secrets of the private
life of every Greek.  It was the execution of the plan which the
admirals assembled at Malta had repelled in March, 1916.  Well might
the Germanophiles point out that Germany did not act thus in Denmark,
in Sweden, in Holland; that a victor would not have imposed {142}
harder terms of armistice."  These measures were entirely the work of
the French Government: the French Admiral himself disapproved of them
as much as did the Ministers of England and Russia.[4]

The Hellenic Government could not be deceived by pretexts which their
very authors despised.  But neither could it argue with persons
accustomed to

  "Decide all controversies by
  Infallible artillery,
  And prove their doctrine orthodox
  By apostolic blows and knocks."

It could only protest and submit.

The Hellenic people proved less discreet.  What could be the motive of
such measures? they asked.  Were they intended to prevent or to provoke
troubles?  The answer lay under their very eyes.  From the moment when
M. Venizelos left Athens, the Allies did everything they could to
assist his partisans in following the Leader to Salonica.  Their
warships patrolled the coast picking up rebels, and giving them a free
passage: even entertaining the more important among them as the
personal guests of the Commander-in-Chief on his flagship.  But now
they took the movement openly under their direction.  With an excess of
zeal which the British Minister deplored and the French Admiral himself
condemned, the French Secret Service at Athens organized convoys of
insurgents which defiled through the streets of the capital escorted by
French marines under French officers in uniform.[5]

The resentment of the Greeks was intense; but the consciousness of
impotence served as a curb on their emotions.  It is true that one day,
as Allied aeroplanes flew over Athens, they were greeted with derisive
shouts: "Not here; to Berlin!" another day, as a band of rebels were
convoyed through the principal streets by the French, the crowds gave
vent to lively protests; and every day the newspapers told the
champions of Liberty and Justice what they thought of them so frankly
that the French Chief of the Police Control had to warn their editors
to desist on pain of suspension.  But of active hostility, such as any
western capital would have manifested in similar circumstances, there
was no sign at Athens.  The only impressive manifestations were
manifestations of {143} loyalty to the King, who set his subjects the
example of self-restraint.  At a review of the crews of the warships
taken by the French, he thanked them for their fidelity and expressed
the hope that they would soon be able to return to their vessels.
After this quiet ceremony, bodies of citizens paraded the streets
carrying portraits of their sovereign.[6]

Had there been no popular demonstrations at all, one can fancy M.
Venizelos and the Allies pointing to that fact as proof of their
contention that the great majority of the people remained Venizelist.
As it was, they derived what profit they could from the opposite fact.
The various incidents were attributed by the Anglo-French and
Venizelist journals to German intrigue.  The consolation which the King
administered to his sailors--men who had so brilliantly disappointed
the rebels' expectations by not deserting--was twisted into a defiance
of the Entente.  The bodies of peaceful demonstrators were exaggerated
into crowds of rioters.  And so, "in the interests of public order,"
Admiral Dartige proceeded to land reinforcements for the police: 1,200
bluejackets.  Some occupied the town hall at the Piraeus and the
railway stations; some went to the forts on the heights; others were
posted about the harbour, or were told off to patrol the streets (16
Oct.), while a detachment was quartered at Athens itself, in the
Zappeion--a large exhibition building within a few hundred yards of the
Royal Palace.[7]

Under such circumstances the diplomatic intercourse between the Entente
and the new Greek Government went on.  M. Lambros declared that he
intended to continue his predecessor's policy of friendly relations
with all the belligerents and of benevolent neutrality towards the
Allies, dwelling on the fact that nearly everyone of his predecessors
had plainly stated Greece's willingness to co-operate with the Entente
on terms not contrary to her own interests, and recalling that the
Calogeropoulos Ministry had set forth the conditions of co-operation,
but the Entente Governments had given no reply.  So the Premier spoke
to the Entente representatives and asked that the coercive measures
might be brought to an end, {144} expressing the fear lest, should
these measures go beyond a certain limit, their acceptance by Greece
might become very difficult, and emphasizing the sorrow which the Greek
people felt at seeing its independence fettered.[8]

England found this declaration satisfactory; but before answering it
definitely, she must take counsel with her allies.[9]  France, by the
mouth of M. Briand, pronounced the allusion to friendly relations with
all the belligerents unfortunate: she was unable to understand how
Greece could maintain friendly relations with Germany and even with
Bulgaria after the occupation of Eastern Macedonia.[10]  And so, having
taken counsel together, the Allies set forth their views in a tardy
reply to King Constantine's last offer.  The gist of it was contained
in this phrase: "The Greek Government has several times since the
beginning of the War offered to come in on our side; but its offers,
and particularly the last one, were accompanied by conditions which
rendered them unacceptable."  The Entente Powers added that they did
not want Greece, unless she declared, on her own initiative, war
against Bulgaria.  It was the only way to gain their confidence.[11]

In other words, Greece should take the field without any agreement, so
that she should have no claims either to adequate support during the
war or to compensations at the conclusion of peace: nay, it was even
hoped in Paris and London that Bulgaria might yet be seduced from the
Central Powers, and in that case not only would Greece gain nothing in
Thrace, but might very likely lose a portion of Macedonia.[12]  It was
the old story--to which King Constantine could never listen.  He would
suffer anything rather than plunge his country into war without even an
assurance of its territorial integrity.  When at this juncture a
well-intentioned adviser warned him that his policy might cost him his
throne, he answered promptly: "I do not care about my throne.  I only
think of Greece." [13]

{145}

At the same time, there was little he would not do to remove those
fears and suspicions which were perpetually pleaded as reasons for
coercion.  The surrender of the Fleet had allayed once for all the
Allies' uneasiness about their forces at sea.  There remained their
uneasiness about their forces on land.  In spite of his repeated
declarations that under no circumstances would Greece take up a hostile
attitude, the King was credited with a treacherous design--to mass in
Thessaly 80,000 men, lay up munitions and provisions, wait until the
Allied Army should march on Monastir, and then attack it from
behind.[14]  After reading M. Venizelos's own avowal of his intention
to follow up the conversion of Macedonia with an attack on the rest of
Greece, particularly Thessaly,[15] one hardly needs to be told at whom
King Constantine's precautions were aimed.

Yet, wishing to prove his good faith in a practical manner, the King
called the British Minister and offered to reduce his army to less than
half by disbanding about 35,000 men and to withdraw certain units from
Thessaly.  The British Minister, delighted by this spontaneous offer,
thanked the King, expressing the hope that his action would be greatly
appreciated, that all mistrust would vanish, and that the Powers would
moderate their coercions.  With a remark from the King, that the one
thing he would not tolerate was a descent of rebels on Thessaly and the
rest of Old Greece, and that he would attack them if they appeared, Sir
Francis Elliot fully concurred.

Instead of the return which the King expected to this spontaneous proof
of his sincerity, he received (20 October) an intimation that the
Powers not only demanded what he had already granted, but in addition
things which he could not possibly grant--the internment of the small
remnant of his army in the Peloponnesus and a surrender of arms and war
material equivalent to a complete disarmament.  These measures, while
exceeding all requirements for the security of the Allies, put the
security of Greece in danger by leaving her a prey to revolutionary
agitation.  The King, therefore, begged the Powers not {146} to insist
on concessions which neither could he make nor would his people let him
make.[16]

Nothing, indeed, was better calculated to excite to the highest degree
the passions fermenting against the Allies than an insistence on total
disarmament at a moment when M. Venizelos at Salonica and his partisans
at Athens were arming.  Fortunately a mediator appeared in the person
of M. Benazet, a French Deputy and Reporter of the War Budget, who was
passing through Athens on his way to Salonica to inspect the sanitary
condition of the Army.  His connexions had brought him into touch with
the most influential leaders of both Greek parties; and with the
sanction of M. Briand, procured through M. Guillemin, who, himself no
longer received at Court, saw an advantage in reaching it by proxy, he
undertook to negotiate an amicable arrangement between King Constantine
and the Entente.

M. Benazet's idea was to obtain from the King not only tangible pledges
which would eliminate all possibility of danger from the Allies' path,
but also positive reinforcements for them in arms and men; and as a
price he was prepared to guarantee to Old Greece her neutrality, her
liberty in the management of her internal affairs, and her immunity
from aggression on the part of M. Venizelos.  Young, eloquent, and
refined, the spokesman brought into an environment corrupted by
diplomatic chicanery a breath of candour.  His manner inspired and
evoked confidence.  The King readily agreed, besides the reduction
which he had already offered, to transfer the remainder of his army to
the Peloponnesus, to hand over to the Allies a considerable stock of
guns, rifles, and other war material, and to allow all men who were
released from their military obligations, and all officers who first
resigned their commissions, to volunteer for service in Macedonia.  M.
Benazet, on his part, made himself guarantor for the French Government
as to the pledges which the King required in exchange.[17]

This agreement met, at least in appearance, with the approval of M.
Briand, who sent a telegram of congratulations {127} to M. Benazet,[18]
and with that of M. Guillemin, who was at last received by the King.
Both the French Premier and his representative at Athens expressed
themselves enchanted with the new turn of affairs, and even the
fire-breathing Head of the French Secret Service declared that the
result of the negotiation surpassed all hopes.  As to Admiral Dartige,
he could not but rejoice at an arrangement so consonant with his own
ideas.[19]  Thus all outstanding differences seemed happily settled,
and the removal of mutual misunderstandings was celebrated by inspired
pens in Paris and London.[20]

The only discordant note was struck by the Venizelist Press, which made
no attempt to conceal its disappointment.  And suddenly, just as the
withdrawal of the royal troops from the north was about to begin, the
troops of the Provisional Government attacked Katerini on the southern
frontier of Macedonia.  M. Venizelos had dropped the pose that his
movement was directed solely against the Bulgars: he marched on Old
Greece.  Did he by this move try to force the hand of the Allies, as
formerly by bringing them to Salonica he had tried to force the hand of
the King?   And was he encouraged in this move by those who were
secretly opposed to an accommodation with the King?  Admiral Dartige
did not know.  What he did know was that this _coup de force_ was
designed to compromise the arrangement with Athens; and as he could
neither play nor appear to play a double game, he immediately
telegraphed to Salonica demanding the retreat of the Venizelists.  At
the same time the King informed the French and British Ministers that
he could not withdraw his troops from Thessaly until all danger was
removed, and asked them to do everything that depended on them to
remedy this state of things.  Whereupon General Roques, the French
Minister of War then at Salonica, disavowed the Venizelist action, and
to prevent similar exploits in future decided to create a neutral zone
under French occupation and administration.  The Athens Government was
not pleased to see part of its territory passing into French hands;
but, after some demur, bowed to the decision.[21]

{148}

Not so the Salonica Government.  M. Venizelos keenly resented this
barrier to his impetuosity.  The neutral zone, he complained, by
blocking off his access to Thessaly, forbade all extension of his
movement and prevented him from "carrying with him three-fifths of
Greece and levying important contingents such as would have made him
the absolute master of the country." [22]  But the Allies were no
longer to be deluded.  They had discovered that "the mass of the people
of continental Greece was hostile to the Chief of the Liberals."  An
extension of his movement could only be effected by overwhelming force,
and as M. Venizelos had neither the men nor the arms required for the
enterprise, the Allies would have to provide both.  In other words,
civil war in the rear of their armies would not only jeopardise their
security but entangle them in a campaign for the conquest of Greece: a
thing which they could not afford to do even to oblige M. Venizelos.
They preferred a subtler and safer, if slower, way to the success of
their common cause.

Baulked in his design on continental Greece, M. Venizelos demanded from
Admiral Dartige the light flotilla in order to promote his cause in the
islands.  But here, also, he met with a check.  The Admiral had a
different use for those vessels in view.  Many months back he felt the
want of patrol and torpedo-boats to cope with the growing submarine
peril, and had suggested asking Greece for the cession of her light
flotilla.  The matter was postponed in the expectation that the vessels
would go over to the Allies spontaneously as a result of the Venizelist
movement, and on this expectation being disappointed they were, as we
have seen, sequestered under the pretence of security for the Allied
armada.  Another excuse was needed for their appropriation; and it came
in the nick of time: two Greek steamers at that moment struck mines,
presumably sown by an enemy submarine, in the Gulf of Athens.  With the
promptitude that comes of practice, Admiral Dartige announced to the
Hellenic Government his decision to employ, at a valuation, its light
flotilla in the submarine {149} warfare, and to use the Salamis arsenal
for repairs (3 November.)[23]

M. Lambros replied that compliance with the Admiral's request involved
a breach of International Law, which forbade the sale of naval units by
a neutral State to a belligerent, as well as a breach of a Greek law
which forbade the alienation of ships possessing military value.
Besides, public opinion would never endure to see the country stripped
of its naval means of defence and exposed to possible aggression.  He
was, therefore, regretfully obliged to refuse the Hellenic Government's
consent.[24]

The Admiral could not let a refusal stand in his way: "It would be
unpardonable," he wrote in answer, "to leave these vessels unutilized
whilst German submarines, heedless of the neutrality of Greece, came
and sank her merchant ships in her waters, thus stopping maritime
traffic and seriously prejudicing the life of the country." [25]

Having got over these little formalities, he hoisted the French flag on
the vessels and seized the arsenal (7 November).  The Hellenic
Government's protest against this fresh outrage,[26] naturally, had no
effect.  Only the British Minister made it clear that the act was
exclusively the work of France.[27]

Nothing done by one group of belligerents, needless to say, escaped the
attention of the other; and the representatives of the enemy Powers,
besides fulminating against a step which, "in flagrant contravention of
the principles of neutrality came to augment the armed forces of their
adversaries," improved the occasion by reciting all the proofs of "a
benevolent neutrality without parallel," which Greece had been giving
those adversaries since the beginning of the War: the free passage of
munitions and provisions for Servia; the facilities accorded to Entente
shipping; the toleration of recruiting bureaux and wireless stations in
Greek territory; the use of isles and ports as naval bases.  Then the
landing of the Allies in Macedonia {150} had inaugurated a period of
continuous violations of neutrality and the establishment of a regime
of terror towards them: their Consuls were arrested, members of their
Legations were assaulted, great numbers of their nationals were led
into captivity or driven into exile, their merchant ships were seized,
and the Ministers themselves were deprived of all means of
communicating with their Governments.  Last of all came the
installation of Allied troops in Athens itself and the sequestration of
the Greek navy, now transformed into a definite cession;  and,
according to trustworthy intelligence, the Entente Powers meant to
exact shortly the disarmament of the Greek army also.  They ended with
a hint that the indulgence of their Governments might reach its
limit.[28]

A more painful position for a free people and its rulers could not be
imagined.  But King Constantine comforted himself with the thought that
the "pledges of friendship" exacted from him by the Allies would be
followed by corresponding pledges from them.  His negotiation with M.
Benazet had received its finishing touches in the evening of 7
November: the Entente Powers would present to the Greek Government a
Note setting forth their demands in the form of a "Summons," the terms
of which were, word for word, agreed upon between the two parties.  By
this document the Allies bound themselves "to repeal the coercive
measures taken up to now and never to tolerate that armed Greek bodies
which had declared to have as their sole aim a struggle for the
vindication of national ideas should turn aside from that aim in order
to engage in acts of sedition." [29]

This clause formed the corner-stone of the whole pact.  "It is clear,"
telegraphs M. Benazet to Paris, "that some sort of compensation is
admitted in principle,"--for very good reasons: "The King's sole
fear--and a very intelligible one--is lest his own arms should be
handed over to Greeks who would use them to march on Athens and
overthrow his dynasty."  Moreover, without such guarantees it will be
impossible for the King and his Premier "to make disarmament acceptable
by the Royalist Party, {151} which constitutes the great majority of
the nation."  He added that neither the King nor his Premier was
unaware of the hostility with which these efforts for conciliation were
viewed by certain personalities: but both were resolved to show the
greatest patience until the agreement had produced all its effects.
The negotiator himself, equally aware of the hostile forces at work,
left Athens with a heart full of misgivings.[30]



[1] Du Fournet, pp. 132, 171.

[2] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917; _The Times_, 17 Oct., 1916.

[3] _The Times_, dispatch from Athens, 8 Oct., 1916.

[4] Du Fournet, pp. 138-9, 141-3.

[5] Du Fournet, pp. 133-5, 146.

[6] _The Times_, dispatch from Athens, 16 Oct., 1916.

[7] Du Fournet, pp. 146-8.

[8] Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd, 3/16
Oct., 1916.

[9] Gennadius, London, 6/19 Oct., 1916.

[10] Romanos, Paris, 7/20 Oct., 1916.

[11] Gennadius, London, 10/23 Oct., 1916.

[12] Romanos, Paris, 26 Aug./8 Sept., 1916; Cp. Deville, pp. 221.
foll.; Du Fournet, p. 171.

[13] P. E. Drakoulis, in _The Times_, 30 Nov., 1920.

[14] Du Fournet, p. 149.

[15] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917.

[16] Zalocostas to Greek Legations.  Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd,
7/20 Oct., 1916.  Cp. Du Fournet, pp. 149-50.

[17] Du Fournet, pp. 152-4, and Appendix 5.

[18] Du Fournet, p. 316.

[19] Du Fournet, pp. 155-6.

[20] _The Times_, 28 Oct., 1 Nov., 1916.

[21] Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 12 Oct./3 Nov.;
General Roques to Greek Premier, Athens, 2/15 Nov.; Zalocostas to Greek
Legation, Paris, 4/17 Nov., 1916.  Cp. Du Fournet, pp. 169-70, 182.

[22] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917.

[23] Du Fournet, pp. 135-6, 165, 167, 183.

[24] Lambros to Dartige du Fournet, Athens, 23 Oct./5 Nov., 1916.

[25] Dartige du Fournet to Lambros, on board the _Provence_, 7 Nov.,
1916.

[26] Zalocostas to the Entente Legations, Athens, 25 Oct./7 Nov., 1916.

[27] Du Fournet, p. 168.

[28] Mirbach, Szilassy, Passaroff, Ghalib Kemaly, Athens, 26 Oct./8
Nov., 1916.

[29] Du Fournet, p. 177.

[30] Du Fournet, pp. 174-8.



{152}

CHAPTER XIV

A week had hardly elapsed since the conclusion of the agreement between
the King of Greece and the French Deputy, when (16 November) Admiral
Dartige du Fournet addressed to the Hellenic Premier a letter, claiming
18 batteries of field and 16 of mountain artillery with 1,000 shells for
each gun; 40,000 rifles with 220 cartridges for each rifle; 140
machine-guns with ammunition; and 50 motor-vans.  The claim was presented
as "compensation" for the war material abandoned to the Germano-Bulgars
in Cavalla: about guarantees not a word.[1]

The King called the Admiral (19 November) and, with perfect courtesy, yet
with a visible change in his attitude, expressed his astonishment at so
unexpected a version of the "Summons" agreed upon.  The Admiral had no
explanation to give to the King.  But to us he explains everything.  The
French Minister at Athens was hostile to M. Benazet's amicable
arrangement, and repudiated his pledges, notably the one concerning the
spread of sedition.  "We are not made to defend kings against their
peoples," he said.  The French Government likewise completely ignored the
agreement, and the French Minister of War had dictated the lines on which
the claim was drafted.  Admiral Dartige's comments on this volte-face are
interesting: "Without wanting to give the Greek Government the two
guarantees which it demanded, they claimed from it the fulfilment of the
engagements of which those guarantees were the counter-part.  It was a
truly draconian and unexpected pretension," he says, and to base that
pretension on the Cavalla affair was "to misconstrue in part the reality
of facts." [2]

Why, then, was M. Benazet encouraged to negotiate?  Probably there were
in France moderate elements strong enough to make it necessary to throw a
sop to them.  But the extremists were the stronger party; and when it
came {153} to a decision they carried the day.  However, be the motive of
the mission what it may, its repudiation meant that the old policy still
held the field.  It was an essential part of that policy not to allow
Greece any attitude other than that of a belligerent.  So, while the
Entente Cabinets continued disclaiming all desire to drag an unwilling
country into war and declaring that the only thing they asked for was the
observance of a benevolent neutrality, the practical exponents of their
policy on the spot continued to take steps in which Greece could
acquiesce only if she contemplated a rupture with the Central Powers.

In the evening of the same day (19 November) Admiral Dartige, at the
instance of the Entente Ministers, ordered their German, Austrian,
Turkish, and Bulgarian colleagues to quit the country in three days.[3]
The Hellenic Government, to whom the Admiral communicated his decree,
protested against this blow at the representatives of Powers with whom
Greece, in virtue of her neutrality recognized by the Entente, was on
terms of friendship and peace; pointing out that the step was a breach
not only of the inviolability assured to diplomats by International Law,
but also of a formal promise given by the French and British Ministers to
Premier Zaimis when the Allied Fleet arrived at the Piraeus--viz. that
the missions of the Powers at war with the Entente had absolutely nothing
to fear.  It asked that the decision might be revoked.[4]

Our representatives experienced no difficulty in disposing of this
protest.  The promise given was merely "an act of spontaneous
courtesy"--it had not "any character of a definite, irrevocable
engagement"--"and could not, in any case, have for effect to guarantee
the Ministers of countries at war with the Entente against the
consequences of hostile acts foreign to their diplomatic functions and
contrary to the neutrality of Greece"--acts of espionage and intrigue
which, as a matter of fact, form an integral part of a diplomat's
functions.  They did not, therefore, "deem it possible to ask Admiral
Dartige du Fournet to revoke the decision taken by him in virtue of the
powers with which he was invested." [5]

{154}

Thus the Ministers of Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria were bundled
off (22 November), protesting vigorously "against the outrages committed
on four diplomatic representatives in neutral territory," characterising
the things which took place at Athens as "beyond all comment," and
wondering "whether a firmer attitude would not have spared the country
these affronts on its sovereignty." [6]

This unprecedented measure added still further to the irritation of the
Greeks, and the manner in which it was executed--without even a show of
the courtesies prescribed between diplomats by the tradition of
centuries--shocked the very man who acted as the executioner.  Not for
the first time had Admiral Dartige been made to serve ends which he did
not understand, by means which he did not approve, in association with
persons whom he could not respect.  But the worst was yet to come.

The Greek Premier delivered his answer to the Admiral's claim on 22
November.  In that answer M. Lambros showed that the Allies had already
"compensated themselves" amply: the war material which they had
appropriated--not to mention the light flotilla--being superior both in
quantity and in quality to anything that had been abandoned to their
enemies.  Then he went on to state that the surrender of any more
material would be equivalent to a departure from neutrality; and the
Central Powers, which had already protested against the light flotilla's
passing into the hands of the Entente, would so regard it.  Lastly,
public opinion would never tolerate that Greece should so denude herself
of arms as to be unable to defend herself in case of need.  For all these
reasons, the Hellenic Government categorically refused the Admiral's
claim.[7]

The Admiral felt keenly the iniquity of compelling a neutral country to
give up, without conditions, the arms which constituted its safeguard at
once against invasion and against insurrection.  But what could he do?
He had his orders, and it was his duty to carry them out as soon as
possible.[8]  So, making use of the plenary authority {155} thrust upon
him, he retorted (24 Nov.) with an Ultimatum: ten mountain batteries
should be handed over to him by 1 December at the latest, and the
remainder by 15 December.  Failing obedience to his command, suitable
steps would be taken on 1 December to enforce it.  He declined to believe
that "the public opinion of a country so enlightened as Greece could
regard as intolerable the idea of handing over to Powers towards whom it
professed a benevolent neutrality a stock of arms and munitions destined
for the liberation of territory saturated with the noblest Greek blood:
their place was, not at the bottom of magazines, but at the front." [9]

There is always a limit beyond which human intelligence cannot be
insulted with success, or human patience tried with impunity.  France had
long since overstepped that limit.  Across all the self-contradictory
subtleties of her statesmen, the Greeks, thanks to the self-revealing
acts of her soldiers, sailors, and agents, had discerned the real object
of her diplomacy: to force upon them M.  Venizelos and to rule them
through him: she had already helped M.  Venizelos to establish his sway
over New Greece, and was now attempting to extend it over Old Greece.
The creation of a "neutral zone" did not blind them: they had only too
much reason to know what neutrality meant in the vocabulary of the
Allies: they had taken the King's ships: all that remained was to take
his arms and to hand them over to their protégé.  Such was the true
significance of the fresh "pledges of friendship" claimed from them; and
the claim aroused unanimous indignation: we will not submit to any
further robbery, they cried.  What have we gained by submission so far?
Our conciliatory attitude towards the Allies and our efforts for a
friendly settlement of the questions daily raised by them are regarded as
signs of fear and rewarded accordingly: their arrogance increases with
our compliance.  No more compliance.  The indignation was, naturally,
most pronounced in military circles, and the officers of the Athens
garrison took a vow to lay down their lives in defence of the King's and
country's honour.

Before pushing matters to extremes, Admiral Dartige called on the King
(27 Nov.) and tried to intimidate him {156} by telling him that the
Allied armada had Greece at its mercy, and that by simply cutting off the
supplies of corn and coal it could break all resistance.  The King agreed
that the Allies possessed all-powerful means of persuasion, but did not
seem as much impressed as was expected.  He reminded the Admiral that he
had done everything possible to prove his goodwill by spontaneously
reducing his active army.  He could do no more: the people and the army
were so excited over this last demand that to make them accept it was
beyond his power.  The measure might be accepted, if the quantity claimed
was lessened: he would take steps in that sense with the French
Government through his brother, Prince George.  It was clear that the
King's change of tone arose from the absence of the guarantees which he
had asked and hoped for: not having received those guarantees he
considered himself released from the promises he had given.  The Admiral
understood the position perfectly, and in his heart did not blame the
King for rejecting the "draconian pretension" that he should disarm while
not secure that his arms would not be used against himself.  But he had
his orders and could only say that he meant to carry them out: on Friday
morning, 1 December, he would impose the will of the Entente Governments.
He still thought that the King would not resist "energetic pressure." [10]

Proportionate to their loyalty was the Athenians' animosity against the
Venizelists in their midst, who had long been plotting and arming in
conjunction with the French, and preparing for one of those _coups_ for
which Paris had set the fashion during a hundred years.  Admiral Dartige
had expressed his concern for these unhappy patriots to the King at his
last interview, and on going from the Palace to the French Legation he
found there the British Minister greatly alarmed because several
important Venizelists had prayed him to obtain for them the Admiral's
protection; but no sooner had the Admiral acted on their prayer, than the
panic-stricken patriots implored him not to protect them, lest the
measures taken for their safety should cause their destruction.[11]
However, next day, the King assured the Admiral through his Marshal of
the Court, that neither the persons nor the {157} property of the
Venizelists should suffer, on condition that neither the Entente Powers'
detectives nor the detachments he was going to land indulged in arrests,
deportations, or disappearances of Greek subjects, and that the
Venizelists themselves abstained from acts calculated to provoke
reprisals.[12]

Such was the state of things created by the Admiral's Ultimatum.  What
would happen when the time-limit expired?  The inhabitants of Athens
debated this question anxiously, and their anxiety was deepened by the
sight of many disquieting symptoms: day after day Allied aeroplanes and
automobiles carried out reconnaissances over the capital, paying special
attention to the Royal Palace, intensifying the irritation of civilians
and soldiers, and stiffening their resolution to resist, come what might.

The Hellenic Government endeavoured to ward off the storm by
remonstrating with the Governments of the Entente direct.  As the
Admiral's claim was presented exclusively in the name of France, it began
with Paris.  The answer was that King Constantine had promised to the
French Government the war material demanded, and the French Government
had promised in exchange to relax the coercive measures: since the Greek
Government declared that it could not fulfil this promise, it must suffer
the consequences.  Paris, in Admiral Dartige's words, "wanted to reap the
fruit of the Benazet negotiation without paying the price agreed to."
[13]  Whatever London may have thought of this manoeuvre, it said that
the British Government was in full knowledge of the French Admiral's
steps and supported them.  Petrograd was equally cognizant of the affair,
and, as it was a question of military measures with which Russia could
not interfere, advised Greece to comply, assuring her that "what was done
was for her good." [14]

As a last resource, Greece appealed to neutral countries, describing the
condition in which she had long found herself, because she was not strong
enough to impose respect for her neutrality, and protesting against this
latest demand as most injurious to her honour and {158} subversive of all
her rights.[15]  The solicitation remained fruitless.  The great American
Republic was too intimately connected with France and England to
intervene on behalf of Greece.  The small states knew too well from their
own experience how frail are the foundations upon which rest the honour
and the rights of weak neutrals in a world war.

Nevertheless, firm in the knowledge that he had the vast majority of the
nation behind him, M. Lambros, on 30 November, by a final letter,
declared to the French Admiral that his claim was utterly unacceptable.
"I do not wish to believe," he concluded, "that, after examining in a
spirit of goodwill and equity the reasons which render it impossible for
the Greek people and its Government to give you satisfaction, you will
proceed to measures which would be incompatible with the traditional
friendship between France and Greece, and which the people would justly
regard as hostile acts." [16]

In face of Greece's unequivocal determination not to yield, the Admiral
would have been well advised to insist with his Government on an amicable
accommodation.  He had not the means of carrying out his threats.  It is
true, his ships dominated the sea and their guns the capital; but, since
the Greeks were determined to stand another blockade and to risk the
bombardment of their capital rather than surrender their arms, how could
he take them without an army?  The problem had not escaped the worthy
sailor.  So grave a claim, he tells us, could not be enforced without
war; and the Entente Powers were not thinking of going to war with
Greece.  Therefore, he had hit on the expedient of giving to his action
the name and, so far as the nature of the thing permitted, the character
of a "pacific demonstration."  Not one shot would be fired except in
self-defence: the troops would not seek to seize the material by
violence: they would simply occupy certain points of vantage until they
received satisfaction.  He admits that his confidence in the success of
these tactics, since his last interview with the King, had suffered some
diminution.  But he still {159} nourished a hope--based on the fact "that
the Athens Government had always hitherto ended by bowing to our will."
[17]  He overlooked the inflamed minds of the people.

Before break of day, on 1 December, a body of marines some 3,000 weak
landed at the Piraeus with machine-guns and marched on Athens in three
columns, driving back the Greek patrols, which retired at their approach,
and occupied some of the strategic positions aimed at without
encountering any resistance.  So far the pacific demonstration lived up
to its name.  Both sides conformed to their respective orders, which were
to avoid all provocation, and on no account to fire first.  But for all
that the situation teemed with the elements of an explosion.  Admiral
Dartige, on landing, had noted the faces of the people: sullen and
defiant, they faithfully reflected the anger which seethed in their
hearts.  And, about 11 o'clock, at one point the smouldering embers burst
into flame.  How, it is not known: as usually happens in such cases, each
side accused the other of beginning.  Once begun, the fight spread along
the whole line to the French headquarters in the Zappeion.

At the sound of shots, King Constantine caused a telephone message to be
sent through the French Legation to the French flagship, asking for
Admiral Dartige, to beg him to stop the bloodshed.  The officer at the
other end of the wire hesitated to disclose the Admiral's whereabouts,
fearing a trap; but at last he replied that his Chief had gone to the
Zappeion, where indeed he was found shut up.  A parley between that
building and the Palace led to an armistice, during which negotiations
for a peace were initiated by the Entente Ministers.  In the middle of
these, fighting broke out afresh; according to the Royalists, through the
action of the Venizelists who, desirous to profit by the foreign invasion
in order to promote a domestic revolution, opened rifle fire from the
windows, balconies, and roofs of certain houses upon the royal troops
patrolling the streets: a statement more than probable, seeing that arms
had long been stored in Venizelist houses with a view to such an
enterprise.  At the same time, Admiral Dartige, who seems to have
completely lost his head, {160} considering the armistice at an end,
ordered the warships to start a bombardment.

While shells fell upon the outlying quarters of the town, and even into
the courtyard of the Royal Palace itself, forcing the Queen to put her
children in the cellar, the Entente Ministers arrived to conclude the
treaty:

"Are these your arguments, gentlemen?" asked the King, as he received
them.  Amid the general consternation, he alone maintained his calmness.

The conference went on to the accompaniment of whistling and bursting
shells, and at 7 o'clock ended in an agreement, whereby Admiral Dartige
consented to stop hostilities and accept the King's offer of six mountain
batteries, in lieu of the ten he had demanded; the Entente Ministers
undertaking to recommend to their Governments the abandonment of his
other demands.

There ensued an exchange of prisoners, and the retreat of the Allies to
their ships during the night, followed next day by the detachment
quartered at the Zappeion, and all the controllers of police, posts,
telegraphs, telephones, and railways.  Many of the ruffians in the pay of
the Franco-British Secret Services anticipated this evacuation by
slipping out of the capital which they had terrorized for nearly a year.

And so the pacific demonstration was over, having cost the Greeks 4
officers and 26 men killed, and 4 officers and 51 men wounded.  The
Allied casualties were 60 killed, including 6 officers, and 167 wounded.

For the rest, no epithet was less applicable to the affair than that of
"Athenian Vespers," with which the Parisian press christened it.  Admiral
Dartige protests indignantly against the grotesque exaggerations of his
imaginative compatriots.  Apart from the tragic features natural to a
pacific demonstration, he declares that the whole drama passed off as
pleasantly as a drama could.  Not a single Allied subject was
ill-treated.  Not one shot was fired on the Legations of the Entente
Powers, whose Ministers and nationals, in the midst of it all, incurred
only such danger as came from their own shells--shells showered upon an
open town.  Even the French bluejackets, who had long been a thorn in the
very heart of Athens, were conducted back to their proper place under a
Greek escort, ingloriously {161} but safely.  A like spirit, to a still
higher degree, marked the treatment in Greek hospitals of the Allies'
wounded, whose rapid recovery, says the Admiral, testified to the care
which they received.  "We assisted in a civil war: the Royalists struck
in our marines the protectors of their political enemies." [18]

It was upon those enemies that Royalist wrath satiated itself.  On 2
December, veritable battles took place in many parts of Athens; suspect
houses, hotels, offices, and shops being assailed and defended with
murderous fury.  The house of M. Venizelos, as was fitting, formed the
centre of the conflict.  Twenty Cretan stalwarts had barricaded
themselves in it and held out until machine-guns persuaded them to
surrender.  Within was discovered a small arsenal of rifles, revolvers,
hand-grenades, dynamite cartridges, fuses: among them a bundle of weapons
still wrapped in the French canvas in which it had arrived.  Tell-tale
articles of a similar nature were discovered on the premises of other
conspirators, who were led off to prison, pursued by crowds hooting,
cursing, spitting at them, so that their escorts had the greatest
difficulty in saving them from being lynched.  Although not comparable to
parallel scenes witnessed by many a Western city under analogous
circumstances, the event was an exhibition of human savagery sufficiently
ugly in itself: it did not require the legends of massacre and torture
with which it was embellished by pious journalists anxious to excite in
the Allied publics sympathy for persons whom the Allies' own advance had
instigated to violence and their precipitate retreat had exposed to a not
unmerited vengeance.[19]



[1] Du Fournet, pp. 188-9.

[2] Du Fournet, pp. 151, 179-80, 182-3, 190-1.

[3] Du Fournet, pp. 195-7.

[4] Zalocostas to the Entente Legations, Athens, 7/20 Nov, 1916.

[5] Guillemin, Elliot, Bosdani, Demidoff, Athens, 8/21 Nov., 1916.

[6] Mirbach, Szilassy, Passaroff, Ghalib Kemaly, Athens, 8/21 Nov., 1916.

[7] Lambros to Dartige du Fournet, Athens, 9/22 Nov., 1916.  Cp. Du
Fournet, pp. 192-4.

[8] Du Fournet, p. 187.

[9] Du Fournet, pp. 197-9.

[10] Du Fournet, pp. 201-4.

[11] Du Fournet, pp. 202-3.

[12] Du Fournet, pp. 208-9.

[13] Du Fournet, p. 205.

[14] Romanos, Paris, 15/28, 16/29 Nov.; Gennadius, London, 16/29 Nov.;
Panas, Petrograd, 17/30 Nov., 1916.

[15] Zalocostas to Ministers of the United States, etc., Athens, 14/27
Nov.

[16] Lambros to Dartige du Fournet, Athens, 17/30 Nov., 1916.

[17] Du Fournet, p. 204.

[18] Du Fournet, pp. 210-51; Paxton Hibben, pp. 440-80; _Resumé du
Rapport Official sur les Evenements du 18 novembre/1 decembre_, 1916.

[19] According to the Hellenic Government, the losses of the Royalists in
this civil strife amounted to 13 soldiers killed and 24 wounded, 6
civilians killed and 6 wounded, besides 5 killed (including 3 women) and
6 wounded (including 4 women) by the insurgents accidentally;  the
Venizelist losses were limited to 3 killed and 2 wounded.--Zalocostas to
Greek Legations abroad, Athens, 27 Nov./10 Dec. 1916.



{162}

CHAPTER XV

By 3 December calm had descended on Athens.  But echoes of the storm
continued reverberating in Paris and London.  In Paris it was asserted,
and in London repeated, that the French Admiral had fallen into a
cunningly laid trap: King Constantine had promised to hand over his war
material; but when the Allies landed to receive it, he caused them to
be treacherously attacked and murdered.[1]  On the strength of this
assertion, the Entente newspapers demanded punishment swift and
drastic: a prince who broke faith deserved no pity.  His offer of six
batteries was "an atonement" both cynical and inadequate for the
"ambush" by which French and English blood had been spilt.  Similarly
the internecine strife of 2 December and the subsequent proceedings
against the Venizelists were depicted as a wanton hunt of harmless and
law-abiding citizens.  Day by day the stream of calumny, assiduously
fed from the fountain-head at Salonica, grew in volume and virulence;
and King Constantine was branded with every opprobrious epithet of
liar, traitor, and assassin.

These were weapons against which the King of Greece and his Government
had nothing to oppose.  They tried to explain the true nature of the
abortive Benazet negotiation, showing that, if there was any breach of
faith, it was not on their part; they denounced the falsehoods and the
exaggerations relating to the suppression of the seditious outbreak;
they asked that a mixed Commission should be appointed to conduct an
impartial inquiry on the spot while the events were still fresh and
evidence abundant.  The French and British Press Censors took care that
not a whisper of their defence should reach the French and British
publics.[2]  Frenchmen and Englishmen {163} might hear of M.
Venizelos's deeds through his friends.  They were allowed to hear of
the King's only through his enemies.  It was clear that the policy
which had prompted the disastrous enterprise of 1 December had not yet
worked itself out to its full issue.

Admiral Dartige could not very well endorse the breach of faith legend.
He knew that the engagement about the delivery of arms was reciprocal,
and that, as France had failed to ratify it on her part, King
Constantine rightly considered himself free from all obligations on his
part.  He also knew that, far from being lured into landing by false
assurances of surrender, he had been emphatically warned against it by
categorical refusals and intimations of resistance.  Yet, human nature
being what it is, the honest sailor, maddened by his discomfiture,
called the inevitable collision a "_guet-apens_" and, even whilst
negotiating for release, he meditated revenge.

To him the peace arranged through the instrumentality of the Entente
Ministers was but a "_sorte d'armistice_."  He had agreed to it only in
order to extricate himself from his present difficulties and to gain
time for resuming hostilities under more favourable conditions.  He and
his men, he tells us with an engaging candour, were at the mercy of the
Greeks: had he not accepted the King's offer--outnumbered, surrounded,
and without food or water for more than twenty-four hours--they would
have been ignominiously arrested.  Besides, the configuration of the
ground sheltered the Greek troops from the naval fire, while the
Legations both of the Entente and of neutral Powers lay exposed to it.
Lastly, a continued bombardment might have driven the Greeks to
exasperation and perhaps to a massacre of Entente Ministers and
subjects.  It was imperative to give the Allies and neutrals time for
flight and himself for serious war preparations.  The delivery of the
whole stock of arms had been fixed by his Ultimatum for 15 December.
In that fortnight he proposed to obtain from his Government the forces
necessary {164} for a battle, and permission to bombard Athens in
earnest--with or without notice to its inhabitants, but, of course,
always with due regard for its _monuments historiques_.

Such was his plan.  General Sarrail embraced it with ardour; the Paris
Government sanctioned it; troops began to arrive and French and British
residents to flee (3-5 Dec.).  But very soon difficulties became
manifest.  The transports had brought men and mules, but no provisions
for either.  Greek volunteers and regulars mustered in defence of their
capital.  The British Admiral declined to take part in any war
operations.  The French Minister dreaded open hostilities.  In the
circumstances, Admiral Dartige found it expedient to "give proof of his
spirit of self-denial," by renouncing his heroic dream of vengeance
"_immédiate, retentissante,_" and by advising Paris not to set up a new
front at Athens: after all, the matter was not really worth a war.  He
now proposed, instead, a pacific blockade; and, Paris assenting, he
proclaimed the blockade as from 8 December.[3]

With this act Admiral Dartige du Fournet's career came to a sudden end.
A few days later the French Government deprived him of his command and
placed him on the retired list.  After a decent interval, the British
Government decorated him with the Grand Cross of the Bath.[4]  Whether
his conduct entitled him to a decoration, his character should
certainly have saved him from disgrace; for of all the men engaged in
these transactions, he seems to have been the most respectable.  No
impartial reader of his book can fail to see that he blundered because
he moved in the dark: it was never explained to him what political
designs lay beneath the pretended military necessities; and the
constant incongruity between the avowed aims of his employers and the
steps dictated by his instructions tended to bewilder a mind devoid of
all aptitude or appetite for diplomacy.

Admiral Dartige gone, the blockade was carried on by his successor,
Admiral Gauchet.  The Greeks took it as an accustomed evil.  "This
measure," wrote one of their {165} leading journals, "cannot terrify a
population which has faced with serenity and fortitude much greater
dangers.  The Hellenic people did not hesitate, when the need arose, to
come into collision with four Great Powers in defence of its
independence and honour.  It did so without hate, without perturbation,
but calmly, as one performs an imposed and unavoidable duty.  It
deliberately chose to risk annihilation rather than see its fatherland
disarmed and enslaved.  It preferred a hopeless struggle to
degradation.  To-day it is threatened with the spectre of famine.  It
will face that spectre with serenity and fortitude.  The menace is
aimed at its stomach: very well, the people will tighten its belt." [5]

At the same time, Paris, London, and Petrograd were vigorously
discussing the demands which were to be enforced by the blockade; but,
owing to the wide divergences of opinion existing between the various
Cabinets, decisions could only be reached by degrees and dealt out by
doses.  Not until 14 December did the Entente Governments deliver
themselves of the first-fruit of their travail: Greece was to keep the
arms of which she could not be despoiled, but she should remove them,
as well as her army, from the northern regions bordering on Macedonia.
The Hellenic Government was given twenty-four hours in which to comply;
refusal would constitute an act of hostility, and the Allied Ministers
would forthwith leave Athens.[6]

To show that they were in earnest, the French and British Ministers
embarked on two ships moored at the Piraeus, where they awaited the
Hellenic Government's reply; and, before the time-limit expired, the
French Admiral, by a notice put up at the Piraeus town-hall, warned the
inhabitants to close their shops and retire to their homes by 4 p.m. in
view of an impending bombardment of Athens.

The Hellenic Government acceded to the contents of the Ultimatum, and
immediately gave orders for the removal of troops and war material.[7]
This prompt compliance was received by the people of Greece with {166}
loud disapproval.  They criticized vehemently their rulers' readiness
to yield as pusillanimous and injudicious.  The Government, they said,
instead of profiting by the events of 1 December to clear up the
situation, drifts back into the path of concessions which led to those
fatal events: it encourages the Entente Powers to put forward
increasingly exorbitant pretensions, and, forgetting that it is for us
to complain and claim better treatment, it creates the impression that
they are in the right and we in the wrong.  For some time past such had
been the tone even of moderate critics; and upon this fresh submission
there was a general outcry of alarm.  It is true, the Allies in their
Note averred that they demanded the removal of troops and guns simply
and solely "in order to secure their forces against an attack."  But
the Greeks were less inclined than ever to treat the alleged danger to
the Allied army in Macedonia as anything more than a pretext: the true
object, they maintained, was to secure M. Venizelos's return and the
expulsion of King Constantine.

The conduct of the Entente representatives hitherto had given only too
much ground for such bitter suspicions, and the search of Venizelist
houses had recently produced concrete evidence, in the form of a letter
from the Leader to one of his adherents stating, among other things,
that a definite agreement concluded between him and the representatives
of the Entente Powers assured his speedy domination of Athens through
the whole strength of the Entente.  The publication of this document,
with a photographic facsimile,[8] had confirmed the apprehensions which
had long haunted the popular mind.  Nor did M. Venizelos's indignant
denial of its authenticity, or the Entente Ministers' emphatic
protestation that never, since the Cretan's departure from Athens, had
they done anything to facilitate his return, shake the conviction that
the big coup was planned for 1 December.

If any doubts as to the Allies' ulterior aims still lingered, they were
dispelled by their Press, the most serious organs of which, on the eve
of Admiral Dartige's landing, pointedly referred to the great error
committed by the Powers in allowing King Constantine to dismiss M.
Venizelos in September, 1915, and urged that the time had come to {167}
remedy that error, informing their readers that England, France and
Russia were not bound to guarantee the possession of the Greek throne
to any individual sovereign, irrespective of his constitutional
behaviour.  The coup having failed, the same organs, in commenting on
the Allies' present Ultimatum, still declared that the true remedy for
Greece was to place her under the control of M. Venizelos; but, as such
a course was not possible in the presence of a hostile King and an
over-excited army, the first necessity was to eliminate the Greek
army.[9]

However, the Greeks submitted to it all with sullen resignation: they
had learned that the wisest thing for the weak is to control themselves.

The next step remained with the Entente Governments, who were exhorted
by their Press organs not to be deluded by King Constantine's
concessions.  For it was one of the ironies of the situation that,
while his own subjects blamed the King for his conciliatory attitude,
that attitude was denounced by his enemies as a fresh instance of
duplicity.  They affirmed--with what amount of accuracy will appear in
the sequel--that this great deceiver was making, in concert with the
Kaiser, stealthy preparations for war against the Allies, and that
meanwhile he intended by a semblance of submission to lull them into a
false security.  Extreme measures were, therefore, needed, not only to
punish him for his past crimes, but also to prevent Greece from
becoming a base of hostile operations in the near future.

Thus certain in advance of public support, the Allies, on 31 December,
served upon the Hellenic Government a series of demands divided into
guarantees and reparations.  Under the first heading, Greece was
required to transfer all her arms and munitions to the Peloponnesus,
which, being practically an island, could be guarded by the Allied
Fleet; to forbid all Reservist meetings north of the Peloponnesus; to
enforce rigorously the law prohibiting civilians from carrying arms; to
admit the re-establishment of the foreign controls over her police,
telegraphs, telephones, and railways.  Under the second, all persons
detained on charges of high-treason, conspiracy, and sedition, should
be immediately released, and those who {168} had suffered indemnified;
the General commanding the Athens garrison on 1 December should be
cashiered; formal apologies should be tendered to the Allied Ministers
and their flags publicly saluted in the presence of the assembled
garrison.  On their part, the Powers gave Greece a formal undertaking
that they would not allow the forces of the Salonica Government to take
advantage of the withdrawal of the Royal troops from Thessaly in order
to cross the neutral zone.  They ended with the announcement that the
blockade would be maintained until satisfaction had been accorded on
all the above points, and that they reserved to themselves full liberty
of further action should the attitude of the King's Government give
them fresh cause for complaint.[10]

Before returning a definite answer to this Note, the Hellenic
Government submitted a Memorandum by which it promised forthwith the
reparations demanded, except the wholesale release without trial of
political prisoners; and accepted in principle the demand for
guarantees on condition that the Powers, on their part, should give an
absolute and irrevocable guarantee against the extension of the
revolutionary movement, not only across the neutral zone, but over any
territories which had not been annexed by the Salonica Committee before
1 December, pointing out that this was an indispensable requisite to
reassure the nation and induce it to acquiesce in total disarmament.
In conclusion, the Hellenic Government expressed the hope that, as
total disarmament would put Greece out of all possibility of hurting
the Allies, they would renounce the liberty of further action which
they had reserved to themselves, and that they would, in justice to the
people, raise the blockade.[11]

In reply, the Allies launched another Ultimatum: insisting upon the
definite acceptance of their demands.  If such acceptance were not
forthcoming within forty-eight hours, or if, after an undertaking was
given, any obstacles were wilfully placed in its execution, they
threatened to have recourse to their military and naval weapons.  On
the other hand, they promised to respect Greece's resolution {169} to
keep out of the War, and pledged themselves not to allow the adherents
of the Salonica Government to take advantage of the withdrawal of the
Greek troops into the Peloponnesus in order to invade by land or by sea
any part whatever of Greek territory thus left defenceless, or to
permit the installation of Venizelist authorities in any territories
actually in the possession of the Royal Government which they might see
fit to occupy hereafter for military reasons.  Lastly, they signified
their readiness to raise the blockade as soon as special delegates
should judge that the evacuation of troops and material had been partly
carried out, and that its completion was assured.[12]

These pledges, which had been the subject of acute discussion between
the Allies at the Rome Conference, and were carried in face of strong
opposition from France, marked another victory of moderation over
consistency.  That they lessened the alarm of the Greek people may be
doubted; but the Greek people had by this time found that if it wanted,
not only to live at peace, but to exist at all, it had to accept the
situation on the Allies' own terms.

As to the rulers, they understood the popular feeling, sympathized with
it, shared it.  But their powerlessness prevented them from refusing
terms which their pride compelled them to resent.  They could not
entertain seriously thoughts of active resistance, unless the Allies
were attacked by the Germans; but how little prospect of this there was
has been revealed by a number of messages exchanged at that period
between Athens and Berlin.  From these documents it appears that on 6
December the Queen, whose indignation at the long-sustained persecution
had been brought to a head by the bombardment of her home and the
narrow escape of her children, telegraphed to her brother, anxiously
inquiring when the Germans would be ready for a decisive offensive in
Macedonia.  On 16 December the Kaiser replied to his sister, condoling
with her on the ordeal she and her husband had gone through,
congratulating them on the courage they had displayed, pointing out
that the Entente had once more {170} shown clearly what its real aims
were, and expressing the opinion that no other course was left to King
Constantine but "to turn openly on his executioners: Tino's
intervention with his main forces against Sarrail's left wing would be
decisive," he said.  The Queen answered, on 26 December, that the
solution the Kaiser advised would be possible only if Sarrail, attacked
by the Germans, were forced to retire into the parts of Greece occupied
by the Royalists: as it was, the distance which separated his left wing
from them was too great and their lines of communication would be too
much exposed: besides, their provisions and munitions were not
sufficient for a prolonged struggle.  Under these conditions, she
added, only a speedy attack by the Germans could afford Greece the
opportunity of fighting for deliverance from a frightful situation.
But Von Hindenburg did not see his way to promise an attack.
Meanwhile, the pressure of the blockade increased.  By 2 January, the
Queen, as her indignation cooled, prepared to resign herself to the
situation: "We have bread only for a few days more, other provisions
are also running short," she telegraphed, "consequently war against the
Entente is out of the question now.  I consider the game lost."  Her
husband concurred.[13]

The King and his Ministers also knew that, unless they accepted the
Allies' terms, worse would be forced upon them by starvation.  Clearly,
the first thing to be done was to have the blockade raised.  So far the
little ship had contended with the gale hardily--in fact,
foolhardily--coming out of the contest with scarce a sail.  Captain and
crew at last decided to give up the unequal struggle: the gale appeared
to have almost spent itself: conversations for peace were at that
moment in progress between the belligerents: at the worst, things would
go on much as they had been going on, until the end of the War put an
end to the sorry drama.  So, on 10 January, after an all-night sitting
of the Crown Council, Greece made her {171} unconditional surrender:
she would drain the cup of humiliation to its bitterest dregs.[14]

To all seeming, the pledges given by both sides formed a solid basis
for a _modus vivendi_: the King gave guarantees thoroughly safeguarding
the Allies against any danger, real or imaginary; and the Allies gave
guarantees equally safeguarding the King against seditious intrigues.
All that remained was that the Allies should exact from the King a
fulfilment of his engagements, and fulfil their own.  They did not fail
in the first part of the programme.  The transfer of troops and
armaments to the Peloponnesus was scrupulously carried out under the
supervision of an Allied Military Commission, which counted and
examined every man, every gun, every rifle and cartridge both at the
point of departure and at the point of arrival.  The Reservists'
leagues were dissolved, and the people, in so far as such a measure is
possible, were compelled to give up the firearms, mostly obsolete, in
their possession.  The foreign Controls, so far as the Hellenic
Government was concerned, might be re-established at the Allies'
discretion.  The Venizelist prisoners were set free, and a mixed
Commission was in due course appointed to deal with the question of
indemnities.  The General commanding the Athens garrison was cashiered.
Formal apologies were tendered to the Allies' Ministers, and their
flags were saluted with all the solemnities prescribed by themselves.
In brief, on the unanimous testimony of Entente diplomatists and
publicists, Greece loyally fulfilled every one of her obligations,
serious and frivolous.[15]  Yet, despite her Government's reiterated
prayers that the blockade should in accordance with the promise given,
be raised, the blockade was not only continued, but, as the months
dragged on, was intensified.



[1] See _Le Temps_ and _The Times_, 4 Dec., 1916.

[2] Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petrograd, Rome, 24
Nov./7 Dec.; 25 Nov./8 Dec.; 26 Nov./9 Dec. 28 Nov./11 Dec.; Metaxas,
Paris, 24 Nov./7 Dec; 2/15 Dec.  Delyannis, London, 3/16 Dec., 1916.
The documents containing the King's promises to M. Benazet were not
published until 1918 (see _The Times_, April 22, 1918); while those
containing M. Benazet's promises to the King became known only through
the publication of Admiral Dartige du Fournet's book in 1920.

[3] Du Fournet, pp. 226-9, 234, 256-7, 260-2, 266, 269-72.

[4] Du Fournet, pp. 272-4, 284-5.  He complains bitterly of the
injustice of his treatment: he was condemned unheard--like King
Constantine; and for a similar reason: "_un débat large et public await
établi toutes les responsabilités_."

[5] The _Nea Himera_, 25 Nov./8 Dec., 1916.

[6] Guillemin, Elliot, Bosdari, Demidoff, Athens, 1/14 Dec., 1916.

[7] Zalocostas to the Legations of France, England, Italy, and Russia.
Athens, 2/15 Dec., 1916.

[8] The _Nea Himera_, 21 Nov./4 Dec., 1916.

[9] See leading articles in _The Times_, 30 Nov., 16 Dec., 1916.

[10] Guillemin, Elliot, Demidoff, Piraeus, 18/31 Dec., 1916.

[11] Zalocostas to Legations of France, England and Russia, Athens, 23
Dec,/5 Jan., 1917.

[12] Guillemin, Bosdani, Demidoff, Erskine, Salamis Strait, 26 Dec./8
Jan., 1917.

[13] In his one message (6 January) he dwelt on Greece's critical
condition, asking if a German attack was intended, and when it would
probably take place.  Such is the gist of these famous telegrams.  For
the rest, they consist of allusions by the Queen to her sufferings and
appropriate epithets applied to the authors of them.  See _White Book_,
Nos. 177 foll.

[14] Zalocostas to Legations of France, England, Italy and Russia, 28
Dec./10 Jan., 1917.

[15] See _The Times_, 20, 23, 24, 30 Jan., 1917.



{172}

CHAPTER XVI

Among the acts sanctioned by International Law, none is more worthy of
a philosopher's or a philanthropist's attention than the "pacific
blockade."  The credit for the institution belongs to all the great
civilised communities, but for its pleasant designation the world is
indebted to the eminent jurist M. Hautefeuille--a countryman of the
ingenious Dr. Guillotin.  It denotes "a blockade exercised by a great
Power for the purpose of bringing pressure to bear on a weaker State,
without actual war.  That it is an act of violence, and therefore in
the nature of war, is undeniable";[1] but, besides its name, it
possesses certain features which distinguish it advantageously from
ordinary war.

First, instead of the barbarous effusion of blood and swift destruction
which open hostilities entail, the pacific blockade achieves its ends
by more refined and leisurely means: one is not shocked by the unseemly
sights of a battlefield, and the wielder of the weapon has time to
watch its effects as they develop: he can see the victim going through
the successive stages of misery--debility, languor, exhaustion--until
the final point is reached; and as his scientific curiosity is
gratified by the gradual manifestation of the various symptoms, so his
moral sense is fortified by the struggle between a proud spirit and an
empty stomach--than which life can offer no more ennobling spectacle.
Then, unlike crude war, the pacific blockade automatically strikes the
nation at which it is aimed on its weakest side first: instead of
having to begin with its manhood, one begins with its old men, its
women, and its infants.  The merits of this form of attack are evident:
many a man who would boldly face starvation himself, may be reasonably
expected to flinch at the prospect of a starving mother, {173} wife, or
child.  Lastly, whilst in war the assailant must inevitably suffer as
well as inflict losses, the pacific blockade renders him absolutely
exempt from all risk.  For "it can only be employed as a measure of
coercion by maritime Powers able to bring into action such vastly
superior forces to those the resisting State can dispose of, that
resistance is out of the question." [2]

In brief, the pacific blockade is not war, but a kind of sport, as safe
as coursing, and to the educated mind much more interesting.  The
interest largely depends on the duration of the blockade, and its
duration on the victims' physical and moral resources.

When the blockade was proclaimed on the 8th of December, Allied
journalists predicted that its persuasive force would be felt very
soon.  The country, they reasoned, owing to the manifold restrictions
imposed upon its overseas trade by the Anglo-French Fleet, had been on
short commons for some time past.  The total stoppage of maritime
traffic would bring it to the verge of famine within a week.  And, in
fact, before the end of the month Greece was feeling the pinch.[3]  As
might have been expected, the first to feel it were the poor.  Both the
authorities and private societies did their utmost to protect them by
keeping prices down, and to relieve them by the free distribution of
food and other necessaries.[4]  But, although the achievement was
great, it could not prove equal to the dimensions of the need.  The
stoppage of all maritime traffic caused a cessation of industry and
threw out of employment thousands of working-people.  As the factories
grew empty of labourers, the streets grew full of beggars.  The
necessary adulteration of the flour produced epidemics of dysentery and
poisoning, especially among children and old people, while numerous
deaths among infants were attributed by the doctors to want of milk in
their mothers' breasts.  Presently bread, the staple food of the
Greeks, disappeared, and all classes took {174} to carob-beans and
herbs.[5]  On 23 February a lady of the highest Athenian society wrote
to a friend in London: "If we were in England, we should all be fined
for cruelty to animals.  As there is no flour, our tiny portions of
bread are made of oats, and rather rotten ones, that had been reserved
for the cab-horses.  Now the poor things have nothing to eat and have
become a collection of Apocalyptic beasts.  We go on foot as much as we
can, as they really could not carry us."

Next to bread, the most prominent article of Greek diet is fish.  The
French, who in their treatment of this neutral nation gave evidence of
a thoroughness and efficiency such as they did not always display in
their operations against the enemy, saw to it that this source of
subsistence also should, within the measure of their ability, fail
their victims.  French cruisers stopped the fishing-smacks and asked if
their community had joined the Rebellion.  When the answer was in the
negative, they sank the vessel and confiscated the tackle, often
accompanying the robbery of property with violence on the persons of
the owners and abuse of their sovereign.  To the wretched fishermen's
protests, the French commanders replied: "If you want to be left alone,
you have only to drive out your King." [6]

These speeches confirmed the general suspicion that the ultimate object
of the blockade was to propagate rebellion.  Other things spoke even
more eloquently.  The few cargoes of flour that arrived in Greece now
and then were sequestered by the Allies and sent to the Salonica
Government, which used them as a bait, inviting the King's subjects
through its agents to sell their allegiance for a loaf of bread.
Generally the reply was: "We prefer to die." [7]  Of this stubborn
endurance, the women of modern Greece gave instances that recall the
days of ancient Sparta.  In a village near Eleusis, on the Sunday
preceding Lent, the matrons and maidens set up a dance, and while
dancing they improvised songs in praise of Hunger.  At the end, {175}
the men who stood round listening with tears in their eyes, burst into
frenetic cheers for the King.[8]

Never, indeed, in the hour of his triumphs had King Constantine been so
near the hearts of his people as he was in this period of their common
affliction.  Although the operation-wounds in his ribs were still open,
he met the emergency with dauntless fortitude, and never for a moment
forgot his part, either as a prince or as a man.  "The King is
wonderful," wrote the correspondent already quoted.  "He never
complains, and gives us all courage."  Many a time, as the weary months
dragged on, he went over his past course, asking himself: "Could he
have been mistaken, after all?"  No; the more he pondered, the more
convinced he felt that what he had done was the best for Greece.  Now,
if the worst came to the worst, his sincerity at least could not be
questioned.  When his friends ventured to express their admiration of
his stoicism, he answered simply: "I know that I am doing right."  The
great source whence he derived consolation amidst all his calamities
was undoubtedly this consciousness of rectitude: a sense which in him
seems to have been as free from arrogance as it was from rancour.

The people who had formerly admired their sovereign as a hero, now
revered him as a martyr; and the man upon whom they visited their anger
was he whom they regarded as the true cause of their misery.  After his
flight to Salonica M. Venizelos was never mentioned except by the name
of The Traitor; after the events of 1 December he was formally
impeached as one; and after the blockade had been in force for some
weeks, he was solemnly anathematized: on 26 December, the Archbishop of
Athens, from a cairn of stones in the midst of a great multitude,
pronounced the curse of the Church upon "the traitor, Venizelos."  The
Government had forbidden the demonstration, but that did not prevent
myriads of people from going to add their own stone to the monument.[9]
One old woman was heard, as she cast her contribution, crying: "We made
him Premier; but he was not content.  He would make himself king.
Anathema!"  Subsequently, every village and hamlet repeated the
ceremony.  "These {176} spontaneous ceremonies," observes an
eye-witness, "were vastly more indicative than any elections could ever
have been of the place to which the great Cretan had fallen in the
esteem of his countrymen." [10]

Appeals from the Holy Synod of the Greek Church to the Pope and the
heads of other Christian Churches availed as little as the appeals of
the Greek Government to Allied and neutral Governments.  Month after
month the blockade went on, and each month produced its own tale of
suffering:  deaths due directly to starvation; diseases due to the
indirect effects of inanition; a whole nation wasting for want of food;
horses starved to provide it; mothers praying to God for their daily
bread with babes drooping at their desiccated bosoms.[11]  Yet of
yielding there was no sign: "Give in?" said a woman outside a
soup-kitchen at the Piraeus, in March.  "We will eat our children
first!"

In such a manner this ancient race, which has lived so long, done so
much, and suffered so much, bore its martyrdom.  By such an exercise of
self-discipline it defied the Powers of Civilisation to do their worst.
In spite of the licence given to brute force, in spite of the removal
of the machinery of civil control, in spite of the internment of the
army and its arms, in spite of the ostentatiously paraded support to
the Rebel, in spite of actual famine and the threat of imminent ruin,
the people held to the institutions of their country, rallied to their
King; and expressed their scorn for the usurper of his authority by
inscribing over the graves of their babies: "Here lies my child,
starved to death by Venizelos."



[1] See the article on "Pacific Blockade" in the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_ (10th Ed.), Vol. XXXI, p. 401.

[2] _Ibid._

[3] _The Times_, 9, 19, 21, 30 Dec., 1916.

[4] Among these charitable organizations the foremost place belongs to
the "Patriotic League of Greek Women," which, under the competent
management of the Queen, was able to distribute 10,000 meals a day, as
well as clothes, blankets, medicine, milk for infants, etc.

[5] Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 25 Jan./7 Feb.; 3/16 Feb.;
12/25 March, 1917.

[6] Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 3/16 Feb.; to French Minister
at Athens, 16/29 March, 1917.

[7] Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 25 Jan./7 Feb.; 15/28 Feb.;
12/25 March.

[8] The _Nea Himera_, 15/28 Feb., 1917.

[9] Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 14/27 Dec., 1916.

[10] Paxton Hibben, p. 522.

[11] The Censorship succeeded in keeping these facts, as it kept many
others, from the British public; they were not suitable subjects for
war propaganda.



{177}

CHAPTER XVII

It seems now proper to return to M. Venizelos and to consider in some
detail the other measures which he and his patrons at this time adopted
for the purpose of consolidating and extending his dominion.

As we have seen, shortly after the Cretan's installation at Salonica,
the Entente Powers, by a diplomatic fiction, decided to treat his
Committee as a _de facto_ Government.  It was not until his countrymen
impeached him as a traitor that the recognition assumed a _de jure_
character, by the appointment of duly accredited diplomatic agents to
his capital.  These steps were accompanied by other marks of sympathy.
While the Allies negotiated with the King, their naval commanders
canvassed for M. Venizelos--sweeping islands under his sway: Syra was
first shepherded into the fold, and a little later the rest of the
Cyclades.

A brief suspension of operations supervened as a result of the solemn
promise given to Athens that the Allies would neither by land nor by
sea allow the extension of the revolutionary movement.  For an instant
the Entente respected its own pledges.  Just before the surrender of
the Lambros Cabinet, on 10 January, the Cretan had rushed to establish
another accomplished fact by liberating the island of Cerigo; but, on
the Government's protest, the Allies obliged him to undo his
accomplishment; though, on the plea that the island would resent being
replaced under King Constantine's yoke, it was made temporarily
autonomous.[1]

Soon, however, these pledges went the way of all words.  Between
February and May, Cephalonia, Zante, and Corfu {178} were converted one
by one: everywhere the apostles from Salonica preaching, "Be our
brethren or die of hunger"; and everywhere having behind them the guns
of France and England to enforce respect for their gospel.  The
instance of Leucas, the last of the Ionian Isles to be gathered into
the fold, will suffice as an illustration.  In the middle of March a
French vessel, carrying a consignment of maize, rice, and Venizelist
missionaries, called at the island and invited the inhabitants to come,
buy, and be saved: they answered that they would never touch food
brought by traitors.  Towards the end of May, the French Admiral
commanding the Ionian Reserve was able to announce that the Leucadian
population had joined the National Movement.[2]

To secure his authority over these maritime possessions, the Cretan
obtained from his patrons some of the warships of which they had robbed
the King.

A similar propaganda was simultaneously going on in the "neutral zone"
and in the lands to the south of it--particularly Thessaly--whose
immunity from emancipation the Allies had also guaranteed.  Only, as
this region lay nearer to the base of the Franco-Venizelist Mission, it
benefited more severely from its influence.  General Sarrail's patrols
raided the villages, harrying the peasants and sparing not even the
honour of their women.  Anyone who knows the Greek peasant's fierce
views on feminine chastity can imagine the indignation which such an
outrage would have aroused in any case; but in this case their horror
was deepened by the circumstance that the assailants sometimes were
African semi-savages--the Senegalese whom France brought to Greece, as
to other parts of Europe, oblivious of the most rudimentary dictates of
decency and sound policy.  On one occasion (22 Feb.) the coloured
libertines paid for their lust with their lives: a patrol of a dozen of
them was surprised and massacred.[3]

Summary executions were among the methods of {179} military tyranny in
which General Sarrail rejoiced without scruple and with a certain
brutal pride.  When once he found himself obliged to justify his
conduct, he wrote: "The six inhabitants of Dianitza, who were shot,
were _Comitadjis_.  There is no doubt in that respect.  Doubt still
exists about eight others.  If they are proved to be in the same case
as the former, they will be shot in the same way.  The two men shot at
Lourani were put to death because they were known to be _Comitadjis_.
The other two, whose houses were burnt down, are likewise _Comitadjis_:
they would have been shot, if they were not away: they shall be, if
they are caught.  If a church has been burnt down, it was because it
had been transformed into a magazine for arms.  If barley has been
carried away, it has been paid for or requisitioned."  After some more
statements of the same enlightening kind, the gallant soldier
concludes: "To sum up, the Greek Government organizes bands and
maintains them.  The security of our Army in the Orient exacts their
suppression.  I have given orders to put to death all irregulars.
These orders have been carried out: they shall continue to be carried
out." [4]

It was by precisely similar arguments that General von Bissing
justified his severities in Belgium: with this difference, that in
Greece the danger never existed.  Comitadjis--bands of irregulars--did
exist; it would have been strange if the adherents of the King had not
done everything to counter the efforts of his enemies.  Long before
this period the French Secret Service, Admiral Dartige du Fournet tells
us, had been busy equipping guerillas on the frontier.[5]  Further, in
the mainland, as in the islands, the Venizelist recruiting sergeants
sought "volunteers" by force: "How many villages had to be surrounded
by constabulary. . . .  How much shooting had to be done to keep the
men of military age from escaping. . . .  How many deserters or those
unwilling to serve had to be rounded up from hiding places!" exclaims
General Sarrail.[6]  Some of the recruits thus enlisted snatched at the
earliest opportunity of regaining {180} their freedom: they fell in
during the day, and at night they fled with their arms.

The assertion that these bands were organized and maintained by the
Greek Government to harass the Allies and keep the line of
communication with Albania open, with a view to an eventual junction
between the forces of King Constantine and those of the German Emperor,
rested on evidence which, for some obscure reason, was not produced.[7]
But it supplied pretexts for action the true objects of which were not
obscure.

Despite his press-gangs, in six months M. Venizelos had only succeeded
in sending to the front some 10,000 men.  He explained to his Western
friends that he had failed to fulfil their expectations better because
the neutral zone barred the extension of his movement into Thessaly.[8]
He had respected that zone until now; but now that the Allies gave him
a free hand over the sea, he saw no longer any reason why they should
restrain him on land.  Therefore, while the agents from Macedonia
goaded the inhabitants to seek rest in apostacy and provoked incidents
supplying an excuse for intervention, the advocates of M. Venizelos in
Paris and London laboured to clear his way by publishing reports which
told how the people of Thessaly prayed for liberation from the yoke of
King Constantine,[9] and exhausted their ingenuity in endeavours to
show the Entente publics how to break faith with honour and decency, as
well as with advantage.

The victualling of the Allied army in Macedonia, always difficult, had
become distressingly precarious with its own growth and the growth of
the enemy's submarine activity.  Were the Allies to go on transporting
food and fodder from distant lands across dangerous seas, with the rich
cornfields of Thessaly within short and safe reach of their trenches?
The seizure of the Thessalian granary, besides {181} helping to keep
the Allies in plenty, would help to reduce the Royalists to despair by
robbing them of the harvest to which they looked forward with strained
eyes and tightened belts.  In this wise both military and political
problems could be solved by one masterly stroke.

In April, General Sarrail obtained from his Government the orders he
had been soliciting since January, to go to Thessaly and seize the
crops; only, as the offensive against the Bulgars deprived him of
adequate means for the moment, he decided to put off the stroke until
the middle of May.[10]

Alarmed by these sudden, though not wholly unexpected, developments,
King Constantine dismissed Professor Lambros, and had once more
recourse to M. Zaimis; hoping that this statesman, the only
non-Venizelist Greek whom the slander of Germanophilism had left
untouched, might prove able to placate the Allies.  M. Zaimis, as in
all previous crises, so now obeyed the call and set himself to discover
some path out of the wood (2 May).  On the one hand, he opened
negotiations with the Entente Ministers; on the other, he tried to
bring about a reconciliation with M. Venizelos--the King being
understood to be willing to meet the Cretan half-way.

M. Venizelos, on his part, alarmed by the prospect of a _rapprochement_
between Athens and the Entente Powers, set himself, as on all similar
occasions, to impugn the Hellenic Government's sincerity.  At a signal
from the Conductor, all the instruments of the orchestra broke into the
familiar chorus.  The whole Press of France and England rang again with
calumny and fairy-tale.  Out they came again in regular sequence and
with unvarying monotony: plots and secret letters, weird stories of
German intrigue, constant repetition of names compromised or
compromising; all ready, cut and dried, for burking any attempt at
accommodation that did not include the return and domination of the
Great Cretan.

It was maintained that the formation of a Government under M. Zaimis
was but a new artifice of King Constantine, adopted at the Kaiser's
suggestion, to temporize by ostensibly throwing over a few of his
Germanophile favourites.  During more than five months he had contrived
{182} to checkmate the blockade by drawing on the reserves of food he
had laid up at his depots.  Now those reserves were exhausted: he
needed the Thessalian corn to replenish his magazines, to feed and
increase his army, so that in the fullness of time he might bring it
out of the Peloponnesus against the Allies.[11]

Even more sinister were the motives which prompted the King's advances
to the Cretan.  While holding out the right hand to M. Venizelos,
Constantine with the left aimed a dagger at his heart: a band of eleven
assassins had just been arrested at Salonica on a charge of conspiring
to murder him--to murder him in the very midst of his own and his
allies' military forces, and under circumstances which made detection
certain and escape impossible.  Even thus: "their plan was to arrange a
banquet to which M. Venizelos would have been invited.  _They are said_
to have confessed that they were sent from Athens to kill the Head of
the National Government and were promised 4,000 pounds for the murder."
[12]

Day by day it became increasingly clear that the question of Thessaly
formed only part of the larger question of Greece; that behind the
campaign for the crops lurked the conspiracy against the King.  A
"radical solution" was demanded, on the ground that so long as he
reigned at Athens we could not consider Greece a friendly neutral.  The
Greek organ of M. Venizelos in London now openly described the Cretan
as a man sent to heal Hellas of the "dynastic canker," and expressed
the opinion that the healing could only be effected by "Prussian
methods." [13]

During the whole of May this concert of sophistry and calumny went on:
now sinking into low, deadly whispers; now swelling into an uproar that
rolled like a mighty, muddy river in flood through every Allied
capital, ministering to the inarticulate craving of the public for
fresh sensations, thrilling its nerves, and feeding its hate and fear
of King Constantine.  At the end of the month the curtain went up, and
M. Venizelos stepped forward to {188} make the declaration for which
his instrumental music had prepared our minds: "I reject all idea of
reconciliation firmly, flatly, and finally!"

His confederates and subordinates, as usual, went further: Admiral
Coundouriotis: "Neither in this world nor in the next will I have
anything to do with King Constantine or his dynasty."

Minister Politis: "No compromise is possible between Liberal Greece and
the reigning dynasty."

Minister Averoff: "The one and most important thing is that the dynasty
of Constantine should, like the Turks, be turned bag and baggage out of
Greece." [14]

So the Great Cretan and his company had given up at last pretending
that their plot was not directed against their King, or that they
intended to postpone the settlement of their accounts with him till
after the War.  Their relief must have been proportionate to the
strain: it is not hypocrisy, but the need of consistency that harasses
a hypocrite.  But their outburst of candour was chiefly interesting as
an index to the attitude of the Powers from whom they derived their
significance.

France had long since made up her mind on the deposition of
Constantine, if not indeed on the subversion of the Greek throne.
Apart from the hold upon Greece which they would gain by placing her
under a ruler created by and consequently dependent on them, French
politicians did not lose sight of the popularity which the sacrifice of
a king--and that king, too, the Kaiser's brother-in-law--would earn
them among their own compatriots.  Further, a triumph of French policy
over Greece was calculated to obscure in the eyes of the French public
the failure of French strategy against Bulgaria: "For me the
destruction of Athens the Germanic came second to the struggle against
Sofia," wrote General Sarrail[15]; and there were those who believed
that his expedition had for its primary objective Athens rather than
Sofia.

For a time French politicians had flattered themselves that their aim
would be attained by an explosion from within.  But it was gradually
borne in upon them that the National Movement represented but a small
minority {184} of the nation.  That truth first became manifest in the
summer of 1916, when the demobilization set the Reservists loose--the
Reservists upon whom M. Venizelos had miscounted: their verdict was
conclusive; for they were drawn from all districts and all classes of
the community: the tillers of the plains, the shepherds of the hills,
the fishermen who lived by the sea, the traders, the teachers, the
lawyers--they represented, in one word, the whole population of
military age.  The disillusion was furthered by the swift suppression
of the seditious attempt on 1 December, and was completed by the
Blockade, which demonstrated the solidarity of the nation in a manner
that utterly upset the calculations and disconcerted the plans of its
authors.  Instead of a people ready, after a week or two of privation,
to sue for mercy--to revolt against their sovereign and succumb to his
rival--the French found in every bit of Old Greece--from Mount Pindus
to Cape Malea--a nation nerved to the highest pitch of endurance:
prepared to suffer hunger and disease without a murmur, and when the
hour should come, to die as those die who possess things they value
more than life.  This was not what the inventors of the Pacific
Blockade contemplated: this was not sport: this was strife--strife of
strength with strength.

There was nothing left but force--the danger of creating a new front
had been eliminated by the internment of the army, and by the blockade
which had succeeded, if not in breaking the spirit of the people, in
reducing it to such a state of misery that it now offered a safe
subject for attack.  M. Ribot, who had replaced M. Briand as Premier
and Minister for Foreign Affairs, adopted this "radical solution."  He
proposed to dispatch to Athens a plenipotentiary charged with the
mission of deposing King Constantine, raising M. Venizelos to
dictatorial power, and thus establishing the influence of France
throughout Greece.

There remained some difficulties of a diplomatic character.  Russia had
never viewed her ally's uncompromising hostility to King Constantine
with enthusiasm.  But the French thought that this attitude was due to
dynastic ties and monarchic sympathies, and expected the downfall of
the Tsar to change it: they could hardly {185} imagine that the Russian
Republic would withdraw even that reluctant co-operation in the
coercion of Greece which the Russian Empire had accorded; and, at any
rate, the voice of a country in the throes of internal disintegration
could have little effect upon the march of external events.

The decision really lay between France and England.  England's, like
Russia's, co-operation hitherto had been but a concession to France.
Neither the Foreign Office nor the War Office had ever taken the
Salonica Expedition seriously; and both departments would gladly have
washed their hands of a business barren of profit and credit alike.
But the motives which had impelled London to keep Paris company so far
were as potent as ever, and English politicians had hitherto proved
themselves so pliant that, provided French pressure continued, the
utmost which could be apprehended from them was a feeble show of
resistance followed by abject acquiescence.  Notwithstanding the
moderation England had insisted upon at the Boulogne and Rome
Conferences, France had managed to lead her from violence to violence,
till this last iniquity, to the logical French mind, seemed inevitable.



[1] Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd, 30
Dec./12 Jan.; to Entente Legations, Athens, 19 Jan./1 Feb.; 8/21 March,
1917.  For a full and intimate account of this intrigue, somewhat
ambitiously styled "The Conquest of Cerigo," see Lawson, pp. 241 foll.

[2] Zalocostas to Greek Ministers abroad, 12/25 March; The _Nea
Himera_, 8/21 March; Exchange Tel., Athens, 16 April, 28 May, 1917.

[3] General Sarrail mentions the punishment (Sarrail, p. 235), but not
the provocation.  This, together with other atrocities, is the subject
of a Note from M. Zalocostas to the French Minister at Athens, 9/22
March, 1917.

[4] Le Temps, 11 April, 1917; Sarrail, pp. 236-7.

[5] Du Fournet, p. 116.

[6] "La Grèce Vénizeliste," in the _Revue de Paris_, 15 Dec., 1919.

[7] Such a project is only discussed in some of the messages exchanged
between Athens and Berlin in December, 1916 (_White Book_, Nos. 177,
183, 186)--before the definite acceptance of the Allies' terms by the
Lambros Cabinet.  But there is absolutely nothing to show that the idea
ever materialised.

[8] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917.

[9] See telegrams, dated Salonica, 29 March, published in the London
Press by the Anglo-Hellenic League; letter from _The Times_
correspondent, dated Syra, 23 April, 1917, etc., etc.

[10] Sarrail, p. 238.

[11] For details of this apocryphal scheme see a report from Salonica,
dated 16 May, disseminated by the Anglo-Hellenic League; _The Times_, 8
and 30 May; the _Daily Mail_, 9 and 30 May, 1917.

[12] _The Times_, 14 May, 1917, dispatch dated Salonica 11 May.

[13] _The Hesperia_, 11, 18, 25 May, 1917.

[14] _The Times_, 30 May, 1917.

[15] Sarrail, p. 234.



{186}

CHAPTER XVIII

At the end of May, M. Ribot, accompanied by M. Painlevé, Minister of
War, came to London and laid before the British Government his
solution.  Again our allies found on this side of the Channel "_des
scrupules_"; and again they set themselves to demonstrate that "_des
scrupules, si légitimes soient-ils_," weigh light against interests.
Even when the principle was conceded, there still lingered some
disquietude regarding the practicability of bringing about the King's
dethronement without bloodshed.  But the French did not share this
disquietude, and, after three days' hard talking, they converted the
English Ministers to their point of view.  It was agreed that the
operation should be carried out without war.  The only measures of a
military nature to which the British Government consented were the
establishment in Thessaly of outposts for the control of the crops, and
the occupation of the Isthmus of Corinth, should King Constantine
attempt to move his army out of the Peloponnesus: unless the King
committed acts of hostility, no violence should be used.  Having thus
satisfied their conscience, the British Ministers abstained from any
closer scrutiny.[1]

The task was entrusted to M. Jonnart, a Senator of large African
experience, who, armed with the title of High Commissioner of the
Protecting Powers of Greece, set out at once "to re-establish the
constitutional verity"--such was the formula.  "His Majesty King
Constantine, having manifestly violated, on his own initiative, the
Constitution of which France, Great Britain, and Russia are the
guarantors, has lost the confidence of the Protecting Powers, and they
consider themselves released from the obligations to him resulting from
their rights of protection." [2]

With the violation of the Constitution by King Constantine we have
already dealt exhaustively.  We must here {187} deal as exhaustively
with the three Powers' claim to act as its "guarantors" and their
"rights of protection."

The claim rested on a phrase in the Treaty of 13 July, 1863, between
them and Denmark, concerning the accession to the Hellenic throne of
the late King: "Greece, under the sovereignty of Prince William of
Denmark and the guarantee of the three Courts, forms a monarchical,
independent, and constitutional State." [3]  That guarantee was no
innovation, and had no reference to the Constitution.  The Protocol of
the Conference held on 26 June, 1863, explains that "as regards the
guarantee of the political existence of the Kingdom of Greece, the
three Protecting Powers maintain simply the terms in which it is
enunciated in Article IV of the Convention of 7 May, 1832," [4]--that
is, the Convention between the three Powers and Bavaria concerning the
accession to the Hellenic throne of her first King.  Turning to that
document, we find Article IV running as follows: "Greece, under the
sovereignty of the Prince Otho of Bavaria, and under the guarantee of
the three Courts, shall form a monarchical and independent State,
according to the terms of the Protocol signed between the said Courts
on the 3rd of February, 1830, and accepted both by Greece and by the
Ottoman Porte."  And above it, in Article I, we read: "The Courts of
Great Britain, France and Russia, duly authorized for the purpose by
the Greek Nation, offer the hereditary sovereignty of Greece to the
Prince Frederick Otho of Bavaria." [5]  Nothing could be plainer than
that the guarantee referred to the "political existence of Greece," not
to her constitutional form of government, and that the three Powers in
disposing of her throne acted, not by their own authority, but by the
authority of the Greek Nation, which alone had the right to do so, and
which exercised that right directly in choosing its last king.  But
this is not all.  Turning to the Protocol of the 3rd of February, 1830,
we read in its very first article: "Greece shall form an independent
State, and shall enjoy all the rights, political, administrative and
commercial, pertaining to complete independence." [6]

{188}

As to the term "protection" occasionally employed by the three Powers,
and by the Greeks themselves, its true sense can be shown beyond
ambiguity.  "Greece," wrote the Duke of Wellington, "once established
and her boundaries guaranteed as proposed, she will have the same right
to assistance and protection against foreign aggression as any other
State in Europe, of which there are many, which exercise an independent
action in all their concerns, external as well as internal."  Far from
claiming to limit her independence in any way, the British Foreign
Secretary emphatically declared "that the permanent policy of this
country towards Greece must be friendly, if Greece should be really
independent and conduct herself as an independent Power." [7]

Likewise, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, tracing the history
of events and negotiations which culminated in the establishment of
Greek freedom, dwelt on France's successful desire "not only to
liberate Greece from the Ottoman yoke, but to make of Greece a real
State, a State independent in right and in fact, a State that should
not be put officially under the tutelage of anyone, a State that should
not need any perpetual semi-official intervention."  By thus making
Greece "free to choose her friends and allies," and "not under anyone's
protection," the French expected that she would "look towards France,
who can promise her, in need, her assistance without menacing her with
her protection."  The Minister concluded by boasting that "the success
is complete.  Greece exists, she is independent.  All Europe recognizes
her: she depends on no Power either as sovereign or as guarantor." [8]

Since the date of these documents and statements, practice had
confirmed the principles enunciated in them.  As a completely
independent Power Greece had waged wars and concluded treaties with
other Powers.  It is true that on certain occasions she was prevented
from fighting by coercive measures; but these measures were not taken
by the three Powers--sometimes they were {189} taken by two alone;
sometimes by the whole Concert of Europe--nor were they taken in virtue
of any right other than the right of the stronger.  Likewise, Greece
had framed and revised her Constitution, dethroned and enthroned Kings
without asking anyone's permission or sanction.  It is true that in her
domestic revolutions the influence of the three Powers could be plainly
detected, but it was wholly in the nature of backstairs
intrigue--carried on by each against the others--such as even the
greatest Empires experience on the part of interested outsiders.  In
short, since its birth until 1916, no one had dreamt of questioning the
status of the Hellenic Kingdom as a completely independent Power, or
attempted to give to "the guarantee of the political existence of
Greece," which aimed at securing her against external aggression, the
interpretation that it referred to her form of government and conferred
a right of interference in her internal affairs.

The present interference, clearly, had no more legal basis than all the
other invasions to which Greece had submitted during the War under
protest.  Casuistry was merely called in to cloak the exigencies of
policy: King Constantine's dethronement was decreed, not because it was
lawful, but because France required it, and England, for good reasons,
could not let France bring it about alone: what Russia thought of the
transaction, she soon let the whole world know with disconcerting
bluntness.  Petrograd not only withdrew her troops from the
performance, but made short work of the "guarantee" and "protection"
quibbles by roundly declaring that "the choice of the form of
government in Greece, as well as its administrative organization,
appertains exclusively to the Greek people." [9]

Meanwhile M. Jonnart sped eastward, eager and determined to serve the
Imperialist ambitions of the French Republic in the Orient.  His
mandate gave him unlimited choice of means, diplomatic and military,
and he fully justified the trust placed in his tact.  On the maxim
that, the more prompt the display of force, the less likely the
occasion to use it, he decided, contrary to the instructions he had
received in London, not to wait and see whether {190} King Constantine
meditated hostile acts or not;  he arranged for the necessary naval
measures with Admiral Gauchet, whom he met off Corfu, and, after a
brief stop in the Road of Salamis, he hastened to Salonica, where he
arranged with General Sarrail for the military measures: a simultaneous
invasion of Thessaly, occupation of the Isthmus of Corinth, and a
landing at Athens.  At the same time he conferred with M. Venizelos,
who pronounced all these arrangements excellent, and suggested that,
after the removal of the King, he must give the public mind time to
calm down before returning to Athens: in the interval M. Zaimis might
be left in power.  The period of transition should perhaps last several
months: a prudent counsel with which M. Jonnart fully concurred: both
he and M. Ribot recognized the danger of hurrying the return of the
Cretan to a city which he had been describing as ready to embrace him.
The programme settled in all its details, M. Jonnart left Salonica with
General Regnault, who was put in command of the divisions told off for
Corinth and Athens, and in the evening of 9 June arrived in the Road of
Salamis, where he took up his abode on board the ironclad _Justice_.[19]

Here the most delicate part of his mission, and the one in which he
displayed most of his tact, commenced.  On the following evening (10
June) he met M. Zaimis on board the _Bruix_ at the Piraeus.  It was, as
we know, essential that M. Zaimis should be induced to remain in power
for a while, to bridge over the gap between the deposition of the King
and the elevation of M. Venizelos.  But it was most unlikely that M.
Zaimis would consent to play the part assigned to him, if he knew what
he was doing.  Therefore, at this first interview M. Jonnart did not
think fit to demand anything more than the control of the Thessalian
crops and the occupation of the Isthmus of Corinth.  Agreeably
surprised at demands which fell so far short of the objects with which
rumour had credited the High Commissioner, the Premier raised no
difficulties; and M. Jonnart, in order "to gain his confidence," spoke
to him with his usual "accent of loyalty and frankness" about the
magnificent future the Protecting Powers had in store for Greece.
Then, under the pretence that he was awaiting {191} fresh instructions
that night, he made another appointment for the following morning.[11]

The Greek left, and next morning (11 June) returned to hear more.  At
this second interview M. Jonnart handed to him an Ultimatum with a
twenty-four hours' limit, demanding that the King should abdicate and
go, after naming as his successor, not the legitimate Heir, but his
second son--a young man who, having no will of his own, was highly
recommended by M. Venizelos.  Thus the re-establishment of
constitutional verity was to begin with the violation of a fundamental
article of the Constitution--the succession by order of
primogeniture.[12]  M. Zaimis stood aghast--"wrung with emotion."  M.
Jonnart spoke eloquently and urgently: the Powers only sought the unity
and liberty of Greece--the greatness of Greece, now divided, partly
dismembered, in a state of anarchy, on the eve of civil war.  The High
Commissioner would do all that in him lay that the change of reign
might be accomplished in the most pacific manner.  He appealed warmly
to the Premier's patriotism.[13]

According to some accounts, he added two more instances of his "loyalty
and frankness" by stating that, when the War was over, the Powers would
have no objection to the restoration of King Constantine, if such
should be the wish of the Greek people--a statement which he authorized
M. Zaimis to publish;[14] and that they had no intention to bring M.
Venizelos back: as soon as the unity of Greece was achieved, the
Salonica Government would disappear; only later on M. Venizelos might
return to office by the legal way and after new elections.  On the
other hand, if the Ultimatum was not executed, he threatened the
downfall of the whole dynasty, the forcible establishment of a
Republic, and the immediate return of M. Venizelos.[15]

The interview ended with a grim declaration by M. Jonnart that, unless
his decree was obeyed to the letter, he would do to Athens what the
Germans had done to his native Arras--reduce it to a heap of ruins.[16]

{192}

There could be no doubt that M. Jonnart meant business: he was an
ex-Governor of Algeria; his mentality and his methods had been formed
in the African school of International Law.  Remonstrance was futile
and resistance would be fatal: a column was already marching into
Thessaly; part of an army corps had landed at Corinth; a powerful
squadron rode off Salamis with its guns trained on Athens; troops were
in the ports of Piraeus and Phaleron ready at a signal to land and
march on the capital.  Confronted with the choice either to help in the
pacific liberation of his country or to witness its devastation, M.
Zaimis chose the lesser evil; and M. Jonnart was able to report, with
pardonable complacency: "I persuaded him to continue in office, to take
the message demanding his abdication to the King, and to advise the
King to accept." [17]

With this message the Premier hurried off to Athens and straightway
communicated it to his sovereign.  Immediately a Crown Council was
called at the Palace.  Besides M. Zaimis, all the ex-Premiers and
leaders of parties were present:  Rallis, Dragoumis, Skouloudis,
Gounaris, Lambros, Calogeropoulos, Dimitracopoulos, Stratos.  From the
first the King announced that he had decided to accept the Ultimatum
and leave Greece with the Crown Prince, in order to spare her greater
calamities, such as would result from a conflict with the Entente
Powers.

Whether Constantine would not have been better advised to have opposed
the landing of the Allies at Salonica; or interned their army when he
had it at his mercy; or arrested Admiral Dartige du Fournet and his
marines and held them, together with the Entente Ministers and
subjects, as hostages: whether by any of those acts he might not have
escaped this final blow, was now of small account:  though the point
provides matter for very interesting speculation.  Now, with his troops
and arms bottled up in the Peloponnesus and his people reduced by
starvation to helplessness, all chance of escape was cut off.  A
pitiful situation, no doubt, but more pitiful had he attempted
resistance.  In such event, the Powers would immediately declare that a
state of war existed {193} and France might acquire a permanent footing
by right of conquest.[18]

Nevertheless, two only of the statesmen assembled, M. Zaimis and M.
Stratos, pronounced in favour of submission.  The rest were against it.
True, they argued, Greece completely disarmed could offer no effective
resistance to the armies and fleets which hemmed her in on every side.
Yet it were better that the King should let violence be used against
him, better that he should be made the Powers' prisoner, than yield.
His hopes of sparing Greece greater calamities by his abnegation were
vain.  No calamity could be greater than that which would be produced
by an acceptance of M. Jonnart's Ultimatum.  They recalled all the
encroachments upon her neutrality, all the infringements of her
sovereignty, to which Greece had submitted unresistingly, trusting to
the Allies' solemn promises.  And how had they kept those promises?
After the violation of so many pledges, how was it possible to put
faith in M. Jonnart's assurances?  If the French troops pursued their
march into the country, imposed upon it Venizelos by force, dragged it
into the war, who could stop them?  Better perish without dishonour.

Such, in substance, were the arguments used.  The King remained
unshaken.  "We have no right to doubt the good faith of M. Jonnart," he
said.  Despite past experience, the man who was perpetually accused of
having no scruple about breaking his word, was still slow to believe
that others could break theirs.  He made all present promise that they
would use their utmost endeavours to have his decision accepted by the
people, so that no disturbance might aggravate a situation already
sufficiently menacing.  They all left the Council Chamber in tears.[19]

In the afternoon a Cabinet meeting took place under the presidency of
the King, who, quite unmoved by the objections and entreaties of his
Ministers, persisted in his resolution.  It was then decided that M.
Zaimis should draw up the reply, and that the draft, after receiving
the {194} King's approval, should be communicated to M. Jonnart.  This
was done, and M. Jonnart having declared himself satisfied, the
document was handed to him next morning.  By that reply the Greek
Premier, after noting the three Powers' demand for the abdication of
King Constantine and the designation of his successor, briefly stated
that "His Majesty, solicitous as always only for the interest of
Greece, has decided to quit the country" (_not_ to abdicate) "with the
Crown Prince, and designates as his successor Prince Alexander." [10]

Thus far the High Commissioner's enterprise had prospered beyond the
anticipations of the most sanguine.  And now his anxieties began.  From
the moment of his arrival the populace, which two years of contact with
the Allies had made suspicious, became very uneasy and excited.
Throughout the night of 10 June rumours circulated that an ultimatum of
an extreme nature had been presented to the Government.  Groups were
formed in the streets and squares, discussing the situation,
criticizing the Government bitterly, and inveighing against M. Zaimis,
who, it was said, was ready to accept still more rigorous demands.  The
crowds grew in numbers and vehemence as the night advanced; and, in the
morning of the 11th, while M. Zaimis was still with M. Jonnart, the
Government, to avert disturbances, issued a _communiqué_, stating that
all the rumours of fresh demands were devoid of foundation.  The
Premier in his first conversation with the representative of the three
Powers had not detected any danger whatever either to the independence
of the country or to the dynasty or to the regime.  On the contrary, M.
Jonnart had expressed the will of the Powers to see Greece great,
strong, and absolutely independent.  Consequently the Greek people
ought to remain quiet, certain that by its peaceful conduct it would
contribute to the success of the King's and the Government's
efforts.[21]

This declaration had calmed the public for a few hours.  But after the
return of M. Zaimis from his second interview with the High
Commissioner, the object of M. Jonnart's mission began to leak out: the
whisper went round that the King's abdication was demanded.  The hasty
{195} convocation of a Crown Council intensified the public uneasiness.
The special measures for the maintenance of order taken by the
authorities, the advice to keep calm whatever happened, which emanated
from every influential quarter, the haggard faces of all those who came
out of the Palace, left no doubt that something very serious was afoot.
More, it became known that during the night the Isthmus of Corinth had
been occupied by large numbers of French troops which had taken up the
rails of the line joining the Peloponnesus to the capital, that the
French fleet in Salamis Strait had been reinforced, that the three
Powers' Ministers had quitted their Legations and nobody knew where
they had slept.  Hour by hour the popular distress increased, until
late in the afternoon the news spread through the town that the King
had decided to go; and as it spread, the shops closed, the church bells
began to toll as for a funeral, and masses of people rushed from every
side towards the Palace, to prevent the King from going.  Soon all
approaches to the Palace were blocked and the building itself was
completely besieged by a crowd of agitated men and sobbing women, all
demanding to see their sovereign, and shouting: "Don't go!  Don't go!"

Numerous deputations appeared before the King and implored him to
change his mind--in vain.  To one of them, sent by the officers of the
Athens garrison, he spoke as follows: "You know my decision.  The
interest of our country demands that all, be they civilians or
soldiers, should submit to discipline.  Keep calm and preserve your
prudence."  To a delegation composed of the heads of the city guilds he
replied: "In the interests of the State, gentlemen, I am obliged to
leave the country.  The people must have confidence in my advisers.
God will always be with us, and Greece will become happy again.  I
adjure you, gentlemen, in the name of the Almighty, to offer no
opposition.  Any reaction would be in the highest degree dangerous to
the State.  If I, born and bred in Athens and Greek to the marrow of my
bones, decide to go, I don't do so, you understand well, except in
order to save my people and my country.  Pray go to your corporations
and our fellow-citizens and tell them to cease from gathering: to be
calm and sensible, {196} because the King, at this moment, is
performing a sacred duty." [22]

The same delegation succeeded in reaching M. Zaimis, and on coming out
it published through a special edition of a journal the result: "The
Premier, with tears in his eyes, and the other three Ministers present
at the audience, after relating the sequence of political events which
have led to this cruel decision about our beloved King, begged us to
advise the people in his name to face the crisis with sang-froid, and
to assure it that the abdication of the King is but temporary, since,
according to M. Jonnart's declaration, it rests with the people to call
him back after the War; that all resistance on the part of the people
will result in the abolition of the dynasty and the establishment of a
Republic under Venizelos; that the Allies would not recoil from a
bombardment of the capital and a military occupation; but if the people
keep quiet, there will be no military occupation of Athens, only some
soldiers may land at the Piraeus to stretch their legs--and so on." [23]

Nothing, however, could allay the popular agony.  As darkness fell,
Athens presented a strange sight--silent figures marching, one after
another, towards where King Constantine was spending his last night in
his capital.  They made their forlorn pilgrimage without the least
noise, and as they went they passed other groups returning with equal
noiselessness.  "It was," says an eye-witness, "as if the people of
Athens were visiting a tomb or a lying-in-state." [24]

A crowd remained on guard all night long.  About 4.30 a.m. a motor car
was seen drawing up at a side entrance of the Palace.  The crowd
recognized the King's chauffeur and guessed that he had come for the
King and the royal family, who presently appeared at the door.  The
guardsmen threw themselves on the ground as much as to say that the
vehicle must pass over their bodies.  The King and royal family
withdrew, and the car went away empty.  Two other attempts to leave the
Palace proved equally unsuccessful.  The crowd would not let any door
be opened.  Compact and silent, it mounted guard.

{197}

So passed the night; and the morning (12 June) dawned on the faithful
men and women who watched by the Palace.  The churches again began to
toll funeral peals, and again thousands began flowing in the same
direction: the whole town through all its streets--mournful groups,
soon waxing to mournful multitudes, and other multitudes, streamed on.
From an early hour the Palace was again entirely surrounded:

"We will not let you go," they shouted.  "We want our King!"

This was the answer the people made to the farewell message which the
King had caused to be posted at the street corners: "Obeying necessity,
and performing my duty towards Greece, I am departing from my beloved
country with my heir, leaving my son Alexander on the throne.  I beg
you to accept my decision with serenity, trusting to God, whose
blessing I invoke on the nation.  And that this sacrifice may not be in
vain, I adjure all of you, if you love God, if you love your country,
if, lastly, you love me, not to make any disturbance, but to remain
submissive.  The least disorder, even if prompted by a lofty sentiment,
may to-day lead to the most terrible disasters.  At this moment the
greatest solace for the Queen and myself lies in the affection and
devotion which you have always shown to us, in the happy days as in the
unhappy.  May God protect Greece.--Constantine R." [25]  Motionless and
silent groups read this message; but the crowd outside the Palace went
on crying, monotonously: "No!  No!" and "He mustn't go!"

These things began to fill the emissary of the Protecting Powers with
uneasiness.  He felt that a clear manifestation of the fact that the
King had been superseded must be given to the populace.[26]  A
proclamation in King Alexander's name was accordingly issued.
Simultaneously, a notice, the text of which, it is affirmed, had been
settled between the Government and M. Jonnart, was published.  It ran:
"To-day at noon, after the administration of the oath to King
Alexander, M. Jonnart by a special messenger announced to the Greek
Government that it could send at once authorities to Salonica, since
the Provisional {198} Government is henceforward dissolved.  It is
equally well-known that M. Venizelos shall not by any means come to
Athens, and that the Powers have no ulterior design to establish him in
power.  Greece is nowise bound to pursue the policy of the Triumvirate,
but is free to adhere to her neutrality." [27]

For all that, the people continued restive.  The King's departure had
been fixed for noon; but in face of the popular unwillingness to let
him go, the departure seemed impossible.  It became evident that the
methods of persuasion which sufficed for the Premier did not suffice
for the people.  Something more effective than the march into distant
Thessaly and the landing at remote Corinth was needed.  Accordingly,
the destroyers came into Phaleron Bay, and French troops began to
disembark.[28]  The Athenians, however, did not seem to be cowed even
when they saw that the French troops advanced close to Athens.  What
was to be done?  Was M. Jonnart, after all, to succeed no better than
Admiral Dartige du Fournet?  The ex-Governor of Algeria, put on his
mettle, acted promptly.  He sent word to M. Zaimis that the King's
departure should not be any longer delayed: if the Greek police were
unable to disperse the crowd, the High Commissioner was ready to send
from the Piraeus some companies of machine-guns.[29]

Then, at 5 p.m., a last attempt was made by the royal family to leave
the Palace.  It succeeded, thanks to a feint which decoyed the crowd to
a side door, while the fugitives escaped by the main entrance.

The day, in spite of all forebodings, ended without a disturbance.  The
parade of overwhelming force by M. Jonnart and his unmistakable
determination to use it mercilessly had, no doubt, convinced a populace
quick to grasp a situation that opposition spelt suicide.  But it was
mainly the example and exhortations of their King that compelled them
to suppress their rage and resign themselves to the inevitable.
For--Greece is a land of paradoxes--no full-blooded Greek, whether
statesman or soldier, was ever clothed with the same amplitude of
authority over his countrymen as this simple, upright, {199} kindly son
of a Danish father and a Russian mother, in whom the subtle Hellenes
found their ideal _Basileus_.

And so the drama which had been staged for more than a year by French
diplomacy was satisfactorily wound up; and the curtain fell, amid the
applause of the spectators.[30]



[1] Jonnart, pp. 60-67.

[2] _Ibid_, pp. 109-10.

[3] Nouveau Recueil Général des Traités.  By Ch. Samwer, Vol. XVII,
Part ii.

[4] _Ibid._

[5] _Papers re Affairs of Greece_, 1830-32.

[6] _Papers re Affairs of Greece_, 1826-30.

[7] Wellington to Prince Leopold, 10 Feb., 1830.  _State Papers_,
1820-30.

[8] Duc de Broglie's Speech, 18 May, 1833.  _Écrits et Discours_, Vol.
II, pp. 415 foll.

[9] Communiqué of the Russian Government, Reuter, Petrograd, 7 July,
1917.

[10] Jonnart, pp. 70-95.

[11] Jonnart, pp. 102-4.

[12] See Art. 45.

[13] Jonnart, pp. 109-12.

[14] When the Greek Premier did so, M. Jonnart repudiated it as "a
mistake of M. Zaimis."--See _The Times_, 11 July, 1917.

[15] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, Geneva, 1917, pp. 13, 14.

[16] Jonnart, p. 113.

[17] _The Times_, 11 July, 1917.

[18] Even as it was, General Sarrail lamented the advent of M.
Venizelos at Salonica as "a Greek master-stroke" calculated "to keep
'the coveted city' Greek."--Sarrail, pp. 153, 154.  He evidently
preferred not to have even a portion of Greece as an ally, that he
might treat the whole of it as an enemy.

[19] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, pp. 14-18.

[20] Jonnart, pp. 116-7.

[21] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, p. 11.

[22] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, pp. 28-9.

[23] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, pp. 26-7.

[24] _The Weekly Dispatch_, 17 June, 1917.

[25] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, pp. 30-1.

[26] M. Jonnart, in _The Times_, 11 July, 1917.

[27] _Le Départ du Roi Constantin_, p. 34.

[28] _The Weekly Dispatch_, 17 June, 1917.

[29] Jonnart, p. 128.

[30] Of all English newspapers the _Weekly Dispatch_ (17 June, 1917)
alone gave some account of this last scene of the drama.  The rest
atoned for their self-denial in narrative by proportionate
self-indulgence in comment.  One of them described the _coup_ as "a
distinct gain both to _our_ interests in the East and to our _moral_
position in the world."  British agents on the spot must have been
strangely blind to this aspect of the business; for General Sarrail
complains that the _coup_ succeeded in spite of the obstacles raised
"by our allies, the English.  It was _à contre-coeur_ that 500 of their
men were furnished me for the descent on Thessaly.  The Chief of the
British Staff, no doubt by order, sought to learn my plans that he
might telegraph them and ruin our action, etc."--Sarrail, p. 242.
Without for a moment accepting the French General's suggestions of
British double-dealing, we have every reason to believe that he was
right in the view that the disgraceful affair did not enjoy British
official sympathy.



{200}

CHAPTER XIX

M. Jonnart celebrated his triumph with yet another proclamation by
which he assured the Greek people that the "guaranteeing" Powers were
there to restore Constitutional Verity and the regular working of
constitutional institutions; that all reprisals against Greeks, to
whatever party they might belong, would be ruthlessly repressed; that
the liberty of everybody would be safeguarded; that the "protecting"
Powers, respectful of the people's sovereignty, had no intention of
imposing a mobilization upon it.[1]

The sincerity of these professions was soon brought to the test.  While
penning them, M. Jonnart had before him two lists of persons marked
down for reprisals.  The first contained thirty victims, foremost among
them M. Gounaris, General Dousmanis, and Colonel Metaxas--M. Streit had
anticipated his doom by accompanying his sovereign into exile; these
were deported to Corsica.  The second list comprised one hundred and
thirty persons--two ex-Premiers, MM. Skouloudis and Lambros, six
ex-Ministers of State, one General, one Admiral, other officers of high
rank, lawyers, publicists--who were to be placed under surveillance.
The King's three brothers--Princes Nicholas, Andrew, and
Christopher--were banished with their families to Switzerland.  In
addition, certain individuals of lower class who had participated in
the events of 1 and 2 December, and whose culpability was vouched for
by the French Secret Service, were to be arrested and brought to
book.[2]

M. Jonnart, forbidden by his diplomatic art from meddling openly in the
internal affairs of the country, caused this _épuration_ to be carried
out through M. Zaimis.  It was hard for the poor Premier to expel
fellow-citizens {201} who had occupied eminent positions and with whom
he had been in close relations--not to mention the flagrant illegality
of such a proceeding.[3]  But how could he hope to argue successfully
against a man who, under the appearances of a scrupulous conscience,
recognized no law?  So it came that, after a long interview on board
the _Justice_ (16 June), M. Zaimis fell in with M. Jonnart's wish.[4]

This rapid fulfilment of the "no reprisals" pledge was declared
necessary to make Athens safe for the Allies.[5]  It certainly was
indispensable to make it safe for M. Venizelos, whose immediate return,
by a modification of the original plan, had been resolved upon.  The
French, finding things composed into tranquility much sooner than they
anticipated, saw no cause for delay.  Was it not a fact that whenever
the High Commissioner visited the capital, he met with nothing but
respect, sympathy, and cries of "_Vive la France_"?[6]  It was: in all
ages, from the time of the Roman Consul Flamininus onwards, there have
been found Greeks loving liberators more than liberty.

But M. Venizelos knew better.  Whilst at Salonica, he used to assure
his Western friends that "the great majority at Athens remained
Venizelist.  If proof be desired, it is only necessary to organize a
referendum, subject, of course, to guarantees of impartiality.  Let the
King and his satellites be put aside for the moment, let controllers be
appointed from all countries . . . and let the people be asked to vote
freely. . . .  I am sure of a great majority.  Let them take me at my
word!" [7]  When, however, the King and his satellites were about to be
put aside, M. Venizelos, as we have seen, had stipulated for some
months of delay; and now that they had been put aside, he still felt
that the partial _épuration_ did not suffice for his safety.  No doubt,
the bayonets which had pulled the King down were able to set him up.
But M. Venizelos, for reasons both personal and patriotic, shrank from
leaning on foreign bayonets more than was unavoidable.  He had no
desire to justify the nickname, bestowed upon him months ago, {202} of
"Archisenegalesos" ("Chief of the Senegalese")--an epithet conveying
the suggestion that he aimed at turning Greece into a dependency of
France.  M. Jonnart seemed to share this laudable delicacy.[8]

General Sarrail, however, cared nothing for appearances, but itched to
get M. Venizelos out of Salonica at the earliest possible moment.  His
first favourable impression of the Cretan as "somebody" had not
survived closer acquaintance.  He considered him wanting in courage.
He had no patience with his hesitations.  He felt, in short, no more
respect for him than men usually feel for their tools; and since he had
never learned to put any restraint on his tongue, he expressed his
opinion of this "ex-revolutionary transformed into a Government man"
freely.  The Greek was too discreet to say what he thought of the
Frenchman; but as he was not less vain and domineering, their
intercourse at Salonica had been the reverse of harmonious.[9]  Thus
the Leader of the Liberals found himself prodded back to the city from
which he had been prodded nine months before.

He arrived on board a French warship off the Piraeus on 21 June.  But
he gave out that he did not intend to come to Athens, or to call
himself to power.  An agreement, he said, had been reached between M.
Jonnart and M. Zaimis to the effect that a mixed Ministerial Commission
should be formed to negotiate the unification of the country.[10]  That
was true.  With his usual sense of propriety, the High Commissioner
would not dream of usurping the place of the acknowledged chiefs of the
Greek people.  It was for them to take the initiative.  The
"guaranteeing" Powers which he represented respected the national will
too much to dictate the terms of the fusion between the two sections
into which Greece had been so unfortunately divided.  Therefore, he
invited the heads of the two Governments, M. Zaimis and M. Venizelos,
to enter into direct conversations: he offering to act as a simple
{203} adviser, mediator, at most arbitrator.  Both seized on the
invitation.[11]

The main question had already been settled between M. Jonnart and M.
Venizelos: the latter should return to power at once.  But, legally he
could only return by a parliamentary election, and, as he could not
hope for a majority, neither he nor M. Jonnart wanted an election.  It
was accordingly decided that, since no reliance could be placed on the
popular will of the present, an appeal should be made to the popular
will of the past: the Chamber of 13 June, 1915, in which M. Venizelos
had a majority, should be recalled to life, on the ground that its
dissolution, in their opinion, was illegal.  This decision--so well
calculated to preserve externals with all the reverence which
expediency permitted--was, on 24 June, formally conveyed by the High
Commissioner to M. Zaimis, who, doing what was expected of him,
tendered his resignation.  The High Commissioner thanked him and
promptly obtained from King Alexander a declaration that he was ready
to entrust the Government to M. Venizelos, who only asked for a delay
of two days to fetch his Cabinet from Salonica.[12]

Meanwhile, the news that M. Venizelos was coming had spread, and the
return at that delicate moment of the yacht _Sphacteria_ which had
carried King Constantine away added fuel to the flame.  In the evening
(24 June), the crew of the boat, joined by students and reservists,
paraded the streets with a portrait of the King and cried "Long live
Constantine!"  The column of demonstrators grew as it went along--the
police being unable or unwilling to check it.  Without a doubt, M.
Venizelos was right: the _épuration_ of the capital had not gone far
enough.  To prevent surprises, General Regnault, commander of the
landing forces, immediately took the measures which he had carefully
planned in advance.  By dawn of 25 June, French troops with artillery
had occupied all the heights round the town: they were to stay there as
long as M. Venizelos wanted them--and, perhaps, even longer.[13]

{204}

Under such conditions the People's Chosen formed his Ministry (26
June), and nerved himself to face the people.  Every preparation for
his entry into the capital had been made.  Nothing remained but to fix
the hour.  But this he evaded doing in a manner which puzzled and
exasperated the French General.  It was the goal towards which they had
moved steadily and methodically, step tracing step, through so many
weary months--the crown of their joint adventure.  Why, then, did he
not seize it?  Why did he shrink from possession?  What did he mean by
it?  The General did not know.  But he felt that it would not do.  "M.
le President," he said to him, incisively, "Here you are in power; it
is up to you to assume the responsibility.  I have the force in my
hands, and it is my business to secure your installation in Athens.
But I must have your instructions.  Tell me what measures you want me
to take."  The request was a command.  M. Venizelos thanked the General
effusively, pressing his hands.  "After all," he said, "it is certain
that people will always say that I did not return to Athens but with
the support of the Allies."  Finally it was arranged that he should
land in the forenoon of 27 June.  An ordeal which could not be avoided
ought not to be postponed.

At the appointed hour the French troops entered Athens with their
machine-guns and occupied the principal points along the route by which
M. Venizelos was to proceed, while the vicinity of the Royal Palace
where he was to take the oath of office and the interior of it were
watched by 400 Cretan gendarmes, his faithful bodyguard, come from
Salonica.  Notwithstanding all these precautions, M. Venizelos and his
Ministers, modestly averse from exposing themselves to the enthusiasm
of their fellow-citizens, motored at top speed straight to the Palace,
eschewing the central thoroughfares, and thence to the Hotel Grande
Bretagne, in the corridors of which also Cretan stalwarts mounted
guard.  Thanks to this vigilance, as General Regnault observes, the
assassins whom the Premier and his friends feared to see rise from
every street corner, and even in the passages of the Palace and hotel,
had not materialized.  But M. Venizelos, where his own life was
concerned, took no chances: a Cretan regiment {205} from Salonica
landed that afternoon to replace the foreign battalions.[14]

Towards evening a demonstration organized in the square before the
hotel gave M. Venizelos an opportunity of appearing on the balcony and
making an eloquent speech.  He reminded his hearers how the last
warning he had addressed to King Constantine from the balcony of his
house ten months ago had been disregarded, and how, in consequence, the
part of the nation still healthy had risen to save the rest.  The cure
thus begun would go on until it had wrought out its accomplishment.  In
due time a Constituent Assembly would be elected to revise the
Constitution so as to place beyond peradventure the sovereignty of the
people.  Meanwhile, the national system had been singularly enfeebled
and corrupted by the late autocratic regime: the public services did
not do their work as they ought; impurities had crept into the blood;
the body politic needed purging.  He would put all this right.  He
would restore the system to vigorous activity.  Every impurity would be
cleansed from it, and pure, refreshed blood would circulate all over
the body politic, giving health to every fibre of the State.  As to
matters external, he thought it needless to say that the place of
Greece was by the side of the Powers who fought for democracy.[15]

The next two days saw this programme at work.

A rupture of relations with the Central Empires, to be followed by a
mobilization, marked the end of Greek neutrality.  King Alexander, as
yet a novice in statecraft, expressed surprise at the inconsistency
between these acts and the repeated assurances given to the Greek
people.  He was told that the accession of M. Venizelos could mean
nothing else but war: his Majesty knew it: having accepted Venizelos,
he must accept his foreign policy.[16]

Not less was the young king's shock at another act of the new
Government--the suspension, by a Royal Decree, of the irremovability of
judges which is expressly guaranteed by the Constitution.  "They
accused my father of {206} violating the Constitution," he said to M.
Jonnart, "and the first thing they ask me to do is to violate it."  So
acute an interpreter of Constitutional Law could have small difficulty
in disposing of these scruples.  He explained to the young monarch that
he could sign the decree without any compunction: the Constituent
Assembly which would be elected by and by to revise the Constitution
would legitimatize everything.  He went on to give him a little, simple
lecture on the elements of Constitutional Verity, its theory and its
practice: "In a short time," he concluded suavely, "Your Majesty will
know on this subject as much as any of your Ministers,"--whenever he
experienced the need of further instruction, he only had to call the
High Commissioner, who promised to come and solve his perplexities in a
trice.[17]

The soundness of the instruction might be questionable.  But the source
from which it came gave it unquestionable weight.

By the time M. Jonnart left Athens (7 July), he had every reason to
feel gratified at the complete success of his efforts.  France's
protégé was installed at the head of the Hellenic Nation, ready to lead
it forth by her side; the regular working of Constitutional
institutions was assured; and the foundations of a democratic
government were well and truly laid.  In all history it would be
difficult to find a more signal instance of brute force and bad faith
triumphing in the name of Law and Verity.



[1] Reuter, Athens, 16 June, 1917; Jonnart, pp. 137-40.

[2] Jonnart, pp. 147-51, 179-80.

[3] See Art. 4 of the Greek Constitution.

[4] Jonnart, p. 147.

[5] _Ibid_, p. 160.

[6] _Ibid_, p. 170.

[7] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917, p. 327.

[8] Jonnart, p. 159.

[9] Sarrail, pp. 102, 153, 234-5.  One of their quarrels arose from the
fact that General Sarrail claimed entire jurisdiction over the
inhabitants of the country, many of whom he had deported to France as
suspects and refused to give them up to the courts competent to deal
with them.

[10] Reuter, Athens, 21 June, 1917.

[11] Jonnart, p. 161.

[12] Jonnart, pp. 162-73, 180-1.

[13] Jonnart, pp. 176-8, 199-201.  The Italians, who had stepped into
Epirus, only evacuated it when they made sure that their allies were
quitting Thessaly and Attica.

[14] Regnault, pp. 100-2; Jonnart, p. 184; The _Morning Post_, 29 June,
1917.

[15] Jonnart, pp. 185-90.

[16] _Ibid_, pp.191-3, 195-6.

[17] Jonnart, pp. 194-5.



{207}

CHAPTER XX

It is not my intention to give a minute and consecutive account of the
abnormal state which prevailed in Greece during a period of more than
three years.  I will, for once, flatter its authors by imitating their
summary methods.

M. Venizelos, hating monarchy, yet unable to dispense with it;
despising democracy, yet obliged to render it lip-homage; maintained
his own unlimited power by the same system of apparent liberty and real
violence by which he had attained it.  The semblance of a free
Constitution was preserved in all its forms: Crown, Parliament, Press,
continued to figure as heretofore.  But each only served to clothe the
skeleton of a dictatorship as absolute as that of any Caesar.  King
Alexander, without experience or character, weak, frivolous and
plastic, obediently signed every decree presented to him.  When
recourse to the Legislature was thought necessary, the Chamber
perfunctorily passed every Bill submitted to it.  The newspapers were
tolerated as long as they refrained from touching on essentials.

At the very opening of Parliament, for so we must call this
illegitimate assembly, the King, in a Speech from the Throne written by
M. Venizelos, expounded his master's policy, external and internal.
Externally, Greece had "spontaneously offered her feeble forces to that
belligerent group whose war aims were to defend the rights of
nationalities and the liberties of peoples." [1]  Internally, she would
have to be purified by the removal of the staunchest adherents of the
old regime from positions of trust and influence.  But neither of these
operations could be carried out save under the reign of terror known as
martial law.  Parliament, therefore, voted martial law;  and M.
Venizelos, "irritated by the arbitrary proceedings" {208} of the
Opposition, which protested against the restrictions on public opinion,
"emphasised the fact that the Government was determined to act with an
iron hand and to crush any attempt at reaction." [2]

Never was promise more faithfully kept.  Within the Chamber it soon
became a parliamentary custom to refute by main force.  Sometimes
Liberal Deputies volunteered for this service; sometimes it was
performed by the Captain of the Premier's Cretan Guard, who of course
had no seat in the House, but who held a revolver in his hand.

Out of Parliament the iron hand made itself felt through the length and
breadth of the country.

With a view to "purging and uplifting the judiciary body" and "securing
Justice from political interference," [3] all the courts were swept
clean of Royalist magistrates, whose places were filled with members of
the Liberal Party.  In this way the pernicious connexion between the
judicial and political powers, abolished in 1909--perhaps the most
beneficial achievement of the Reconstruction era--was re-established,
and Venizelism became an indispensable qualification for going to law
with any chance of obtaining justice.

An equally violent passion for purity led at the same time, and by a
process as unconstitutional as it was uncanonical, to ecclesiastical
reforms, whereby the Holy Synod was deposed and an extraordinary
disciplinary court was erected to deal with the clerical enemies of the
new regime, especially with the prelates who took part in the
anathematization of M. Venizelos.  Only five bishops were found in Old
Greece competent or compliant enough to sit on this tribunal; the other
seven came from Macedonia, Crete, and Mytilene, though those dioceses
were under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, whose
sanction was neither asked nor given.  With the exception of six, five
of whom belonged to the disciplinary court, all the prelates of the
Kingdom were struck by it: some were degraded and turned out to subsist
as they might, on charity or by the sale of their holy vestments;
others were sentenced to humiliating punishments; and {209} where no
plausible excuse for a trial could be discovered, exile or confinement
was inflicted arbitrarily.  On the other hand, as many as repented
received plenary absolution.  For instance, the Bishops of Demetrias
and Gytheion were deprived for having cursed M. Venizelos; but on
promising in future to preach the gospel according to him, they were
not only pardoned, but nominated members of the second disciplinary
court created to continue the purification of the Church.  Even more
instructive was the case of the Metropolitan of Castoria who was tried,
convicted, and confined in a monastery, but after recanting his
political heresies was retried, unanimously acquitted, and reinstated.
All this, in the words of the Speech from the Throne, "to restore the
prestige of the Church."

Side by side went on the reform of every branch of the Administration.
All the Prefects, and many lesser functionaries, were discharged.
Schoolmasters and schoolmistresses were dismissed by the hundred.  The
National University, the National Library, the National Museum, the
National Bank, underwent a careful disinfection.  In every Department
the worst traditions of the spoils system prevalent before 1909 were
revived and reinvigorated.  Other measures marked an improvement on
tradition.  Some two thousand Army and Navy officers, from generals and
admirals downwards, were put on the retired list or under arrest.  And
an almost hysterical desire manifested itself to strike terror into
every civilian whom his opinions rendered objectionable and his
position dangerous to the new order: tactics the full brutality of
which was revealed in the treatment of M. Venizelos's principal
adversaries.

M. Rufos, a former Cabinet Minister, languished in the Averoff gaol
from 1917 until the spring of 1920, when the Athenian newspapers
announced his release.  About the same time M. Esslin, an ex-President
of the Chamber, who had been imprisoned at the age of seventy-eight in
the Syngros gaol, was released by death.

All the members of the Skouloudis Cabinet, with the exception of
Admiral Coundouriotis, Minister of Marine who had afterwards proved his
patriotism by enlisting under the Cretan's banner, were arraigned for
high treason, {210} referring mainly to the surrender of Fort Rupel.
The preliminary examination dragged on from year to year and produced
only evidence which established the innocence of the accused.[4]  One
of them, ex-Premier Rallis, in April 1920, after being for years
libelled as a traitor, suddenly found himself exempted by Royal Decree
from further persecution, because at that time M. Venizelos conceived
the hope that this statesman might be induced to undertake the
leadership of an Opposition accepting his regime.  The rest,
particularly M. Skouloudis and M. Dragoumis, one aged eighty-two and
the other seventy-seven, after a long confinement in the Evangelismos
Hospital, remained to the end under strict surveillance, with gendarmes
guarding their houses and dogging their footsteps.

The Lambros Cabinet was similarly harassed, until one of its members
turned Venizelist and three others died; among the latter M. Lambros
himself and his Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Zalocostas.  Both
these gentlemen, though in poor health, had been confined on desolate
islets of the Archipelago, where they were kept without proper medical
attendance or any of the comforts which their condition required, and
were only brought home to expire.

In each case--as also in that of the soldiers responsible for the
surrender of the Cavalla garrison, whose "treasonable" conduct became
likewise the subject of judicial investigation--trial was sedulously
deferred by a variety of ingenious contrivances; nothing being more
remote from the Government's mind than an intention to draw the truth
into the light.  The motive of these proceedings doubtless was one of
policy chiefly--to ruin the enemies of the regime in public esteem by
branding them as traitors, even if no conviction could be obtained.
But policy was not the only element.  To judge by the harshness
displayed, there was the personal factor, too.  M. Venizelos had had a
feud with these men and had vanquished them.  They were men whom, all
things considered, it was more a shame to fight than an honour to
vanquish--and they were humbled: they were in his power.  For a proud
spirit that would have been enough; it was not enough for {211} M.
Venizelos.  He acted as if he wanted to enjoy their humiliation, and
because he had them down to profit by their helplessness.

Identical treatment could not be meted out to those in Corsica and
Switzerland, though some of them were sentenced to death by default for
conspiring against M. Venizelos.  But all that could be done from a
distance to embitter their lot was done.  Whilst at home the blackest
calumnies were thrown upon them: in exile they were pursued by the same
blight.  Special attention was directed to the "arch-traitor."  He had
been dethroned and expatriated; but this was not enough.  His pension
was cut off.  He and all the members of his family, with the exception
of Prince George, who stayed in Paris, were forbidden to visit Entente
countries, even for the purpose of attending the death-bed of a
relative.  Entente subjects visiting Switzerland were forbidden to go
near them: lest any particle of the truth should percolate.  Until the
end of the War they lived segregated, shunned, and spied upon like
malefactors.  During the Liberal regime in Greece, while Italian and
Swiss hotels flourished all the year round on Royalist refugees,
Royalist exiles populated the semi-desert islands of the Archipelago:
they were gathered in batches and shipped off--persons of every degree,
from general officers whose guilt was attachment to their King, down to
poor people convicted of owning the King's portrait.  For the
possession of a portrait of Constantine supplied one of the most common
proofs of "ill-will towards the established order" (_dysmeneia kafa tou
kathestotos_)--a new crime invented to meet a new constitutional
situation.  It extended to the utmost confines of the kingdom.  As the
farmers were at work in the fields, gendarmes raided and ransacked
their cottages for such portraits; butchers and fishmongers were haled
before courts-martial for like indications of ill-will; and--matter for
laughter and matter for tears are inseparable in modern Greek history
(perhaps in all history)--one met a cabman beaten again and again for
calling his horse "Cotso" (diminutive of "Constantine"), or a woman
dragged to the police-station because her parrot was heard whistling
the Constantine March.  Volumes would be needed to record the petty
persecutions which arose from {212} the use of that popular name:
suffice it to say that prudent parents refrained from giving it to
their children.

If enemies had to be frightened by every exhibition of severity, it was
not less imperative to gratify friends by every mark of generosity.  As
already noted, a Mixed Commission had been appointed under the old
regime to indemnify out of the public purse the Venizelists who
suffered during the Athens disturbances of 1 and 2 December, 1916.
This body, after the expulsion of the King, was remodelled by the
substitution of a Venizelist for the Royalist Greek member; was
authorized to enlarge its purview so as to cover all losses occasioned,
directly or indirectly, by Royalist resentment throughout the Kingdom
throughout the six months' blockade--including even the cases of
persons who, compelled to flee the country, were torpedoed in the
course of their voyage; and was invested with powers of deciding
unfettered by any legislation or by any obligation to give reasons for
its decisions.  Thanks to their unlimited scope and discretion, the
Commissioners, after rejecting some 2,500 claims as fraudulent, were
still able to admit 3,350 claims and to allot damages representing a
total sum of just under seven million drachmas.[5]

The number of old adherents confirmed in the faith through this
expedient, however, was as nothing to the legions of proselytes won by
the creation of new Government posts of every grade in every part of
the Kingdom, by the facilities afforded in the transaction of all
business over which the State had any control--which under existing
conditions meant all important business--and by the favours of various
sorts that were certain to reward devotion to the cause.  Beside the
steadily growing swarm of native parasites, profiteers, jobbers and
adventurers who throve on the spoils of the public, marched a less
numerous, but not less ravenous, host of foreign financiers, concession
and contract hunters, to whom the interests of the State were freely
bartered for support to the party in the Entente capitals.

The economic exhaustion caused by this reckless waste of national
wealth, in addition to the necessary war {213} expenditure, was
concealed at the time partly by credits furnished to M. Venizelos in
Paris and London, and partly by an artificial manipulation of the
exchange for his sake.  It became apparent when these political
influences ceased to interfere with the normal working of financial
laws.  Then the Greek exchange, which at the outbreak of the European
War stood at 26 or 27 drachmas to the pound sterling, and later was
actually against London, dropped to 65, and by a rapid descent reached
the level of 155.  Thus in the domain of finance, as in every other,
the valuable reconstructive achievement of 1909--which had led to the
transformation of a deficit of from ten to twelve millions into a
surplus of fifteen millions and to the accumulation of deposits that
enabled the Greek exchange to withstand the shock of several
conflicts--was demolished by its own architect.

The illusion that M. Venizelos had the nation behind him was diligently
kept up by periodical demonstrations organized on his behalf: joy bells
announced to the Athenians his home-comings from abroad, the destitute
refugees harboured at the Piraeus were given some pocket money and a
free ticket to attend him up to the capital, the cafés at the bidding
of the police disgorged their loafers into the streets, and the army of
genuine partisans thus augmented with auxiliaries, accorded their Chief
a reception calculated to impress newspaper readers in France and
England.  But observers on the spot knew that the "national enthusiasm"
was as hollow as a drum, which under the manipulation of an energetic
minority could be made to emit a considerable amount of noise; that the
demonstrators to a large extent were a stage crowd which could be moved
rapidly from place to place and round the same place repeatedly; that
since the schism the great Cretan had loomed small in his own country
and that he had grown less by his elevation.

Such terrorism of opponents and favouritism of adherents; such
encouragement of oppression and connivance at corruption; such a
prostitution of justice; such a cynical indifference to all moral
principle--unparalleled even in the history of Greece--could not but
make the Cretan's rule both odious and despicable.  What made it more
hateful still in the eyes of the people was the fact {214} that it had
been imposed upon them by foreign arms, and what made it more
contemptible still was the fact that it functioned under false
pretences.  As free men, the Greeks resented the violence done to their
liberty; but as intelligent men they would have resented open violence
less than a profanation of the name of liberty that added mockery to
injury and administered a daily affront to their intelligence.  There
was yet a spirit of resistance in the country which would not be
crushed, and a fund of good sense which could not be deceived.  If they
formerly anathematized M. Venizelos as a traitor, the masses now
execrated him as a tyrant: a mean and crafty bully without bowels of
mercy who gave licence to his followers to commit every species of
oppression and exploitation in the interest of party.

Such were the feelings with which the very name of Venizelos inspired
the mass of the people.  And that the mass of the people was in the
main right can scarcely be contested.  It would, of course, be absurd
to hold M. Venizelos directly responsible for every individual act of
oppression and corruption, most of which occurred during his absences
from the country and of which he was not cognizant.  But it was he who
had initiated both oppression and corruption.  M. Jonnart's
prescriptive lists were really M. Venizelos's, who had long since made
his own enemies pass for enemies to the Entente.  The "purification" of
the public services, as well as the prosecutions, the imprisonments and
deportations of eminent personages, some of whom died of the hardships
and privations they underwent, were his own doing.  The multiplication
of offices and officials began with his creation, at the very outset,
of two new Ministries; a measure to which even King Alexander demurred
when the list of M. Venizelos's Cabinet was presented to him.[6]  Nor
is there upon record a single case in which the Chief seriously
attempted either to restrain or to punish his subordinates.  In truth,
he was not free to do so.  He was bound to the system he had brought
into being and was irretrievably committed to all its works.

A man who gains supreme power against the wishes of {215} the majority,
and only with the consent of a faction, cannot maintain himself in it
except by force and bribery.  He must coerce and corrupt.  Moreover, to
rule without a rival, he must surround himself with men vastly inferior
to him both in talent and in virtue: men who, in return for their
obsequious servility, must be humoured and satisfied.  Whenever such a
usurpation occurs, all the maxims upon which the welfare and freedom of
a community normally rest are annihilated, and the reign of profligacy
and of tyranny inevitably supervenes: a regime born in party passion
must live for purely party ends.

We may break or circumvent all laws, save the eternal and immutable law
of cause and effect.[7]

The best of M. Venizelos's followers sincerely regretted the unceasing
persecution of their adversaries: they saw that stability could not be
attained without conciliation and co-operation; but they did not see
how clemency could be combined with safety.  The thousands of officers
and officials who had been turned out of their posts, and the
politicians who were kept out of office found employment, and the
private individuals who had suffered for their "ill-will towards the
established order" relief in plotting and intriguing: there was so much
unrest that the authorities had to use severe measures.

M. Venizelos himself wished to make his administration milder and
cleaner and to broaden its basis--he was even credited with the one
joke of his life in this connexion: "I will yet head anti-Venizelism."
But the thing was beyond his power: he had not a sufficient following
in the country to replace armed force; and he dared not trust the
Royalists with a share in the government for fear lest they should use
it against him.  None, indeed, was more painfully conscious of the hate
for him which every month increased in the breasts of his countrymen
than M. Venizelos himself.  From the very beginning of the schism he
had assumed a prophylactic in the form of a cuirass;[8] and since his
installation he neglected none of {216} the precautions requisite for
his personal security.  During his rare sojourns in Athens he always
went about escorted by his Cretan guards; while on the roof of a
building facing his house stood two machine-guns, "for," as a witty
Athenian informed an inquisitive stranger, "the protection of
minorities."

In general, it is true, the plotting and intriguing which permeated the
country were too fatuous to be dangerous.  But every now and then they
took on formidable shape.  In November, 1919, a carefully organized
military conspiracy at Athens only miscarried through the indiscretion
of a trusty but tipsy sergeant.  Among the letters intercepted and
produced at the trial was one from a Royalist exile in Italy to another
at home.  The writer, a lady, reported her brother as wondering how
anybody in Greece could fail to understand that there no longer existed
such things as a Government and an Opposition, but only tyrants and
tyrannized over, who worked, the former to maintain their arbitrary
authority, the latter to shake it off and recover their liberty.  The
work of neither could, in the nature of things, be carried on according
to any constitutional rule or law.  He went on to argue that, under
such conditions, deeds which would otherwise be crimes were justified
and even glorified by history as unavoidable fulfilments of a patriotic
duty: force must be met by force.[9]

So the national demoralization inaugurated by foreign pressure went on
being promoted by domestic tyranny; and of cure there was no hope.
Good men would not associate themselves with the Venizelist regime,
because it was bad; and even men by no means notorious for goodness
shunned it, not because it was bad, but because they were shrewd enough
to perceive it was too bad to last.



[1] For the full text of the Speech, see _The Hesperia_, 10 Aug., 1917.

[2] The _Morning Post_, 9 Aug., 1917.

[3] Speech from the Throne.

[4] It also brought to light documents of real historic value, such as
the dispatches included in the _White Book_ (Nos. 70 foll.).

[5] _Rapport officiel de la Commission mixte des indemnités_, Paris,
1919.

[6] Jonnart, p. 183: "A clean sweep in Greece."--The _Daily Chronicle_,
2 July, 1917--an outline of M. Venizelos's programme.

[7] There have been usurpers, like Oliver Cromwell, who managed to
temper tyranny with probity; but their cases are exceptional and their
success only a matter of degree.

[8] An article of this kind was found in his house after the fighting
of 2 Dec., 1916.

[9] _The Hestia_, 27 Dec. (O.S.), 1919.



{217}

CHAPTER XXI

The Liberal regime, having few roots in the soil and those rotten, could
not but be ephemeral, unless the external force that had planted
continued to uphold it: in which case M. Venizelos might have lived to
weep over the triumph of his cause and the ruin of his country.  This
contingency, however, was eliminated in advance by the clashing ambitions
of the Allies--the real guarantee of Greek independence.  Foreign
interference, made possible by the War, had to cease with it.  And that
was not all.  M. Ribot, on 16 July, 1917, had declared in the French
Senate that the changes brought about in Greece would have to be ratified
by a Greek National Assembly.  M. Venizelos also had, as we saw, stated
on his advent that the 1915 Chamber was but a temporary solution: that in
due time a Constituent Assembly would be elected to settle matters--a
statement which he repeated shortly afterwards in Parliament: "The
representatives of the Nation," he said, "watch with perfect calmness the
internal evolution of the political life of the country and wait for the
removal of the obstacles which do not permit the immediate convocation of
the National Assembly that will lay definitely the basis of the State."

After nearly three years of "internal evolution," the time for the
redemption of these pledges seemed to the people overdue.  In vain did M.
Venizelos endeavour to put off the day of trial by arguing that it was
advisable to avoid the agitation inseparable from an election whilst
Greece was still at war with Turkey, and by promising that the elections
would follow close upon the signature of peace.  It was natural that he
should adopt this course: he could not but hope that the fruits of his
foreign policy--fruits never even dreamt of a few years before--would
reconcile the people to his domestic administration.  It was equally
natural that the people should be impatient: {218} Turkey may not sign
peace for ages, they protested; meanwhile are we to go on living under
martial law?  They demanded the dissolution of the illegal and, at best,
long superannuated Chamber, and fresh elections.  The call for freedom
grew louder, more insistent, more imperious and dangerous, until M.
Venizelos took a first tentative step towards a return to normality.

On 6 May, 1920--the day of the publication of the Turkish Peace terms
granted by the Allies at San Remo--a Royal Decree was issued at Athens
abolishing martial law.  As at a signal, the Press turned its
search-lights on the inroads made into the Constitution.  Abuses and
excesses hitherto held back by the Censorship gained publicity.
Political groups started organizing themselves for the electoral contest,
with every grievance of the past as an incitement to action in the
future.  Most disturbing manifestation of all--though one that might have
been foretold--streets and taverns resounded again with the song in which
King Constantine was referred to as "The Son of the Eagle" leading his
army to glory.  Evidently the efforts to root up loyalism had not
succeeded: far from it.

While M. Venizelos grew less by his elevation, King Constantine was
raised by his humiliation to a condition, if not actually divine,
half-way towards divinity.  In many a house his portrait stood among the
holy icons, with a light burning before it, and the peasants worshipped
it much as their pagan ancestors would have done.  It was but the
culmination of a process long at work--a process in which the historical
element was strangely mingled with the mythical.[1]  Since the Balkan
Wars, King Constantine had been identified in the peasant mind with the
last Byzantine _Basileus_--his namesake, Constantine Palaeologus, slain
by the Turks in 1453; who, according to a widely believed legend, lay in
an enchanted sleep waiting for the hour when he should wake, break with
his sword the chains of slavery, and replant the cross {219} on the dome
of Saint Sophia.  This singular fancy--whether a case of resurrection or
of reincarnation, is not clear--was strengthened by the fact that his
fall occurred on the very anniversary (29 May/11 June) of the day on
which that unfortunate Emperor fell in the ramparts of Constantinople.
The coincidence completed the association between the monarch who
sacrificed his life to save his people from subjection and the monarch
who, after leading his army in two victorious campaigns and doubling the
extent of his country, did not hesitate to sacrifice his crown to save
his people from disaster.  Henceforth, even in minds not prone to
superstition, the two events were linked by the same date, the mourning
for the one rekindled the memory of the other, and King Constantine
acquired a new and imperishable title to the gratitude of the nation.  If
all the efforts made in the past to blast his glory or to belittle his
services had only heightened his popularity, all the efforts made since
to blot out his image could only engrave it still deeper on the hearts of
the people.  His very exile was interpreted, symbolically, as the
enchanted sleep whence he would arise to fulfil the ancient prophecies.

Mysticism apart, during the sad period preceding his departure, the
affection of the masses for their sovereign, intensified by compassion,
had assumed the quality of veneration.  Now that he was gone, they
brooded over the wrongs which had driven him, a lawful and popular king,
into exile: wrongs which suffered for their sakes enhanced his claims on
their loyalty.  They remembered wistfully the splendour of his victories,
his manly courage, his saintly patience, and perhaps most of all his
unfailing kindness to the humble and the weak.  This was the quality
which drew men most strongly to Constantine, and the absence of which
repelled them most from M. Venizelos.[2]  The experience of the last
three years had helped to emphasize the contrast: when the Eagle's Son
was up above, there were few vultures in the land; now there were
vultures only.  So the name of Constantine became a synonym for orderly
government, loyalty to his person was identified with the principle of
liberty, and the people who had never regarded Alexander as anything more
than {220} a regent, who cried after the departing monarch from the shore
at Oropus: "You shall come back to us soon," hailed the return to
normality as presaging the return of the legitimate sovereign as well as
of a legal Constitution.

This, however, was the very last thing the powers that were contemplated
even as a remote potentiality.  For them the monarch in exile was dead;
and the sooner his memory was buried the better.  Accordingly, a police
circular, issued on 26 May, prohibited conversations favourable to the
ex-king, pictures of the ex-king, songs in honour of the ex-king, cheers
for the ex-king.  And, these regulations having been found insufficient
to curb royalist fervour, five days later M. Venizelos demanded and
obtained from Parliament the re-establishment of martial law, on the
ground that "talk about the return of the ex-king was calculated to
excite public feeling; and then the Opposition might have cause to blame
the Government for not respecting the freedom of elections."  The
question of the ex-king, he argued, was utterly irrelevant to the
forthcoming contest: the people would not be called upon to elect a
Constituent, but merely a Revisionist Assembly: "Who has said there is to
be a Constituent Assembly?" he asked.

The answer, of course, was easy: he himself had said so, on his
installation in 1917.  But lapses of memory are permissible to statesmen
who mean business.  M. Venizelos wanted a National Assembly which would
have powers to ratify the dethronement of the King, the suspension of the
irremovability of judges, and all other revolutionary illegalities,
besides perhaps altering fundamental articles of the Constitution--such
as the right of the Crown to appoint and dismiss Ministers and to
dissolve Parliaments--powers which essentially belong to a Constituent
Assembly.  But he wanted it to be merely Revisionist.  The paradox made
havoc of his logic; but it no way affected his purpose; which was that,
while as Constituent in its nature the Assembly should effect any
alterations in the government of the country that he desired, as
Revisionist in name it would not be competent to discuss the restoration
of the King, and, if it proved recalcitrant, would be subject to
dissolution by the {221} executive.  Consistency and M. Venizelos had
been divorced long ago, and the decree was now to be made absolute.

While these eccentricities prevailed at home, abroad the gamester-spirit
of the Cretan scored its crowning triumph.  By the Treaty of Sèvres (10
Aug., 1920), which embodied the territorial arrangements already made at
San Remo, Greece obtained practically the whole of Thrace outside the
enclave of Constantinople, and a mandate over Smyrna and its hinterland.
No doubt, this enormous extension of the kingdom, though still largely
problematical, appealed to that compound of idealism and greed (mostly
greed) which constitutes Hellenic, as it does all other, Imperialism.
But it did not fully compensate for the suppression of popular liberties
within its frontiers.  Except among the followers of M. Venizelos the
national aggrandisement evoked but little enthusiasm: "What is a man
profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" wrote
one of the Opposition leaders, voicing a widespread sentiment--a
sentiment which, only two days after the publication of the Treaty (12
Aug.), found sinister expression.  As he was about to leave Paris, M.
Venizelos was shot at and slightly wounded by two Greek ex-officers.  The
assailants, on being arrested, declared that their object had been "to
free Greece from its oppressor and to ensure freedom for their
fellow-citizens." [3]

The Paris outrage had a sequel at Athens, as significant and more tragic.
The followers of M. Venizelos, like those of King Constantine, included a
set of fanatics who preached that the salvation of the country demanded
the extirpation of their adversaries.  To these zealots the moment seemed
propitious for putting their doctrine into practice.  "Hellenes!" cried
one of their journals, "our great Chief, our great patriot, the man who
has made Greece great and prosperous, the man who has made us proud to be
called Greeks, has been murdered by the instruments of the ex-King.
Hellenes, rise up all of you, and drive the murderers out of the
fatherland."  The Hellenes in general remained unmoved.  But some gangs
of hooligans did rise up (13 Aug.) and, under the eyes of the police and
the _gendarmerie_, wrecked a number of Royalist newspaper {222} offices,
clubs, cafés, and sacked the houses of four prominent anti-Venizelist
statesmen.  The authorities, on their side, had a dozen leaders of
Opposition groups thrown into prison and, pending their conviction, M.
Repoulis, a Minister who in the absence of M. Venizelos acted as his
Deputy, declared that the attempt on the Premier formed part of a plot
long-planned for the overthrow of the regime: it had failed, but the
heads of the culprits would fall without fail.  In fact, one of the
Opposition leaders--Ion Dragoumis, son of the ex-Premier of that
name--was assassinated by the Cretan guards who had arrested him.  The
others, after being kept in solitary confinement for twenty-four days,
had to be released for want of any incriminating evidence.

M. Venizelos in Paris, when he heard of the riots, was reported as being
beside himself with righteous indignation; and he sent a strongly-worded
telegram to the Government, expressing the fear that part of the
responsibility for the disorders rested upon its organs, and assuring it
that he should exact full account from everyone concerned.[4]  But when
he returned home he publicly embraced M.  Repoulis, who explained in the
Chamber to the entire satisfaction of his Chief that the Government had
been overawed and very nearly overthrown by the extremists in its own
ranks (8 Sept.).

Everything that could be done--short of a massacre--to disorganize and to
intimidate the Opposition having been done, martial law was suspended (7
Sept.), and the question of Elections began to engage M.  Venizelos's
attention seriously.  It was a trial which involved his political life or
death, and therefore required the utmost care and vigilance: one
ill-considered step, one omission on his part might send him to his doom.

He began with the enfranchisement of Thrace (9 Sept.).  This province,
still under military occupation and martial law, was to vote: further, a
political frontier was erected between it and the rest of Greece, which
only those possessing a special pass could cross, whilst a rigorous
censorship kept all anti-Venizelist newspapers out of it; and, lastly, it
was enacted, for the benefit of an electorate alien in its majority and
unable to read or write Greek, that the {223} Thracian votes, contrary to
the general rule, should be polled by ballot paper, instead of by a ball.

Another Bill enabled the army on active service, for the first time in
the history of Greece, to participate in elections, the assumption being
that among the soldiers Venizelist feeling predominated, or that, at all
events, they would be controlled by their officers.

As exceptional importance has always attached to the district and city of
Athens--"which," M. Venizelos said, "symbolizes the very soul of the
country," [5]--it was incumbent upon him to pay special attention to this
area.  The difficulty was that the actual population was notoriously
unsympathetic.  M. Venizelos hastened to overcome this difficulty by
three strokes of the pen: 18,000 refugees from all parts who lived on the
Ministry of Public Relief were enrolled as Athenian citizens; to these
were added some 6,000 Cretan gendarmes and policemen; and, to make up the
deficiency, 15,000 natives of Smyrna, supposed to have earned Greek
citizenship by volunteering in the war, had their names inscribed on the
electoral lists of Attica.

There followed promises and warnings.  On the one hand, the people were
promised fresh labour legislation, the conversion of the great landed
estates into small holdings, and public works on a large scale.  On the
other hand, they were warned that an adverse vote from them would have
disastrous consequences for the country: Greece had been aggrandized by
the Allies for the sake of M. Venizelos; if she discarded him, she would
forfeit their goodwill and her territorial acquisitions.  But M.
Venizelos and his partisans did not trust altogether to the practical
sense and the Imperialist sensibilities of the people.

For months past the extremists among his followers openly threatened
that, if by any mishap Venizelos did not win the day after all, they
would make a _coup d'état_ and strike terror into the hearts of their
adversaries.  This threat, which primarily presented itself as an
extravagance of irresponsible fanaticism, was on 7 September officially
espoused by M. Venizelos, who declared in Parliament that, should
perchance his adversaries obtain a majority in the new Assembly, and
should that Assembly decide {224} to convoke a Constituent Assembly, and
should this Constituent Assembly invite King Constantine back, the
"Reaction" would find itself confronted with the hostility of a large
political party which had become the mortal enemy of the ex-king; and he
went on to foreshadow a fresh schism in the army: that is, civil war.
Encouraged by so solemn a sanction, Venizelist candidates--notably at
Tyrnavo in Thessaly and Dervenion in Argolis--told their constituents
without any circumlocution that, in the event of a defeat at the polls,
the Government would not surrender its power, but would maintain it
through the Army of National Defence, which was pledged to a new
Revolution: the Parliamentary system would cease to function even in
name, and many a malignant would swing.

These appeals to the sovereign people, published in the Royalist and not
contradicted by the Venizelist Press, will doubtless seem startling for a
Government whose mission was to establish democratic liberties.  But they
were justified by necessity.  M. Venizelos and his partisans could not
afford to be very fastidious: their political existence was at stake:
they must make every effort, and summon every resource at their command.
Anyone who was in Athens at that time and saw the Cretan guards, often
with the Premier's photograph pinned on their breasts, assault such
citizens as displayed the olive-twig (emblem of the Opposition), or saw
the gendarmes, who patrolled the streets with fixed bayonets, protect the
excesses of Venizelist bravoes, would appreciate how far the Government
was prepared to stoop in order to survive.

In the midst of these electoral activities, King Alexander died--of blood
poisoning caused by the bite of a pet monkey.  Alive he had neither
exercised nor been wanted to exercise any influence over the destinies of
his country: he had simply played the part required by the cast in which
a whimsical fortune had placed him.  His death proved of more importance,
inasmuch as it forced the question of the throne upon M. Venizelos
irresistibly: the vacancy had to be filled.  Anxious to perpetuate the
comedy, M. Venizelos sought a successor in a still younger and
less-experienced scion of the dynasty: Prince Paul, a lad in his teens,
who refused the offer on the ground that, until his father and his eldest
brother renounced their rights, {225} he could not lawfully ascend the
throne.  After threatening to change the dynasty rather than admit any
discussion on the restoration of King Constantine, M. Venizelos, by one
of those swift turns characteristic of him, suddenly made that
restoration the main issue of the Elections.  He challenged the
Opposition to this test of the real wishes of the Greek people.  The
Greek people, he said, should be given the chance of deciding whether it
will have Constantine back; and if it so decided, he himself would go.

The Opposition, which consisted of no fewer than sixteen different groups
united only by a common desire to get rid of the Cretan Dictator, would
fain decline the challenge.  Some of the leaders were ardent Royalists;
others were very lukewarm ones; and others still could hardly be
described as Royalists at all.  Generally speaking, the politicians out
of office had found in the cause of Constantine a national badge for a
party feud.  Moreover, they realized that the question of Constantine
possessed an international as well as a national aspect, and they did not
wish to compromise the future of Greece and their own; which would have
been nothing else than stepping into the very pit M. Venizelos had dug
for them.  But neither could they repudiate Constantine without losing
popular support: to the Greek people the main issue of the fight was
indeed what M. Venizelos made it.

At length the day of trial arrived: a Sunday (14 Nov.)--a day of leisure
in a land of universal suffrage.  From an early hour people of all
classes thronged the polling-stations quietly.  They had clamoured for a
chance of expressing their sentiments; yet now that the chance had come,
they took it with an extraordinary composure.  Even to the most expert
eye the electors' demeanour gave no indication of their sentiments: the
olive-twig had very curiously withered out of sight.  Nor did the
behaviour of the voters in the last three years afford any clue to the
use they would make of their present opportunity.  Greeks are past
masters of simulation and dissimulation.  Openly some might have
pretended friendship to the Venizelist regime from hopes of favour,
others again dissembled hostility through fear; but the voting was secret.

Both Government and Opposition shared the suspense, {226} though the
Government anticipated an overwhelming majority;[6] which was natural
enough, since all the advantage seemed on its side.

Presently the votes were counted--and "it was officially announced that
the Government had been mistaken in its anticipations."  The magnitude of
the mistake appeared on the publication of the figures: 250 seats to 118:
the Royalists had swept the polls, to the astonishment of all parties,
including their own.[7]  The very men who had fought at the bidding of M.
Venizelos had pronounced themselves against him: having fulfilled their
duty as soldiers, they vindicated their right to live as free citizens.
His own constituency had rejected him.  And would the rout stop there?
Among the millions who had submitted to his rule with sullen irritation
there were many whose hearts swelled with rage, in whom old wounds
rankled and festered: might not these men now have recourse to other
weapons than the vote in order to get even with the bully?

For a moment M. Venizelos felt stupefied: the edifice that had seemed so
solid was collapsing about him, and he was in danger of being buried
under the ruins.  Then he wisely stole out of the country he had done his
best to aggrandize and to disintegrate.[8]

The result of the elections was virtually an invitation to King
Constantine to return and resume his crown.  But the King, not content
with an indirect verdict, wanted an explicit plebiscite _ad hoc_, clear
of all other issues.  The Allies, after a conference in London,
telegraphed (2 Dec.) {227} to M. Rallis, the new Greek Premier, that they
"had no wish to interfere in the internal affairs of Greece, but they
felt bound to declare publicly that the restoration of the throne to a
king whose disloyal attitude and conduct towards the Allies during the
War caused them great embarrassment and loss could only be regarded by
them as a ratification by Greece of his hostile acts." [9]  This
message--yet another fruit of Franco-British compromise--was followed up
(6 Dec.) by a second Note, enumerating the consequences, political and
financial, of the Powers' displeasure.  But it produced little effect:
out of the 1,013,724 electors who took part in the plebiscite (7 Dec.),
only 10,383 voted against the King.[10]  M. Rallis, in acquainting him
with the result, stated that he considered it tantamount to a formal
request from the country to the Sovereign to come into his own again, and
invited him to respond to the clearly expressed wish of the nation.
Which King Constantine did, nothing loth.

Few of those who witnessed the event will ever forget it.  On the eve of
the King's return (18 Dec.) Athens could scarcely contain her emotion.
All day long her beflagged streets rang with the cry: "_Erchetai!
Erchetai!_" ("He is coming!  He is coming!")--hardly anybody failed to
utter it, and nobody dared to say "_Then erchetai_" ("He is not coming"),
even if referring to an unpunctual friend.  At night the song in which
Constantine was alluded to as "The Son of the Eagle" echoed from one end
of the illuminated city to the other.  But this was only a preparation
for next morning's welcome.

Owing to stress of weather the cruiser carrying the King and Queen of the
Hellenes was compelled to put in at Corinth, where the exiles landed.
From that point to the capital their journey was a triumphal progress.
The train moved slowly between lines of peasants who, their hands linked,
accompanied it, shouting: "We have wanted him!  We have brought him
back!" [3]  When {228} the King stepped out at the station, officers
fought a way to the carriage with blue and silver dressed postillions
which waited for him and the Queen.  He had to keep tossing from one hand
to the other his baton, as men and women pressed upon him for a
handshake.  The carriage struggled forward, men and women clinging to its
steps and running with it, trying to kiss the hands and feet of the royal
pair, and baulked of this, kissing even the horses and the carriage
itself.  All the way dense masses of people pressed round the carriage,
shouting: "He has come!" or singing the chorus, "Again our King will draw
the sword."  An eye-witness had a vision of a soldier who, amid cries of
"We will die for you, Godfather!" clambered into the carriage head first
and fell to kissing the knees of the King and Queen, while around people
fainted and stretchers pressed through the crowd.[12]

And so the fight for the soul of Greece ended in a victory for
Constantine.

The character of this prince has been painted in the most opposite
colours, as must always be the case when a man becomes the object of
fervent worship and bitter enmity.  But the bare record of what he did
and endured reveals him sufficiently.  His qualities speak through his
actions, so that he who runs may read.  His most conspicuous defect was a
want of suppleness--a certain rigidity of spirit which, when he
succeeded, was called firmness, and when he failed, obstinacy.  Yet the
charge so often brought against him, that he allowed himself to be misled
by evil counsellors, shows that this persistence in his own opinion did
not spring from egoism nor was incompatible with deference to the
opinions of others.  It arose from a deep sense of responsibility: he
stubbornly refused to deviate from his course when he believed that his
duty to his country forbade deviation, and he readily laid down his crown
when duty to his country dictated renunciation.  For the rest, a man who
never posed to his contemporaries may confidently leave his character to
the judgment of posterity.

As for M. Venizelos, history will probably say of him {229} what it has
said of Themistocles: Though he sincerely aimed at the aggrandizement of
his country, and proved on some most critical occasions of great value to
it, yet on the whole his intelligence was higher than his morality--a man
of many talents and few principles, ready to employ the most tortuous and
unscrupulous means, sometimes indeed for ends in themselves patriotic,
but often merely for aggrandizing himself.  By nature he was more fitted
to rule in a despotic than to lead in a constitutional State.  Had he
been born an emperor, his fertile genius might, unless betrayed by his
restless ambition, have rendered his reign prosperous and his memory
precious.  As it is, in his career, with all its brilliance, posterity
will find not so much a pattern to imitate as an example to deter.



[1] There is always so much of mystery surrounding the peasant mind, that
its workings must often be accepted rather than understood.  But those
who wish to understand somewhat the psychological process which led in
antiquity to the deification of kings during their life-time could not do
better than study the cult of Constantine among the modern Greek
peasantry.

[2] See Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, in the _Morning Post_, 13 Dec., 1920.

[3] The _Daily Mail_, Aug. 13, 1920.

[4] _Eleutheros Typos_, 5/18 Aug., 1920.

[5] The _New Europe_, 29 March, 1917, p. 327.

[6] "Even if the Opposition sweeps the Peloponnese and gains a majority
in Acarnania and Corfu, it is still doubtful whether it will have 120
seats in the new Chamber, which will contain 369 Deputies; and the
Venizelists anticipate that their opponents will emerge from the struggle
with less than 100 Deputies."--_The Times_, 15 Nov., 1920.

[7] The _Daily Mail_; The _Evening News_, 16 Nov, 1920; Reuter, Athens,
15 Nov.: "Not a single Venizelist was returned for Macedonia and Old
Greece, except in Epirus and Aegean Islands."

[8] We learn that his followers "urged upon him the advisability of a
_coup d'état_.  It would have been the easiest thing in the world to
carry out, and with so much at stake for Greece and for democratic
principles generally, it seemed justifiable."--"M. Venizelos at Nice," in
_The Times_, 29 Nov., 1920.  But, "fears are entertained, it is said,
that the regular Army--which is strongly anti-Venizelist--may get out of
hand."--The _Daily Mail_, 17 Nov.

[9] The terms of the Note were communicated to the House of Commons by
Mr. Bonar Law the same night.

[10] Reuter, Athens, 9 Dec., 1920.

[11] Another version of this refrain, which might be seen in crude
lettering over a café at Phaleron, is: "So we willed it, and we brought
him back" (_Etsi to ethelame, kai ton epherame_)--a distinct expression
of the feeling that the people, by bringing back its sovereign in the
face of foreign opposition, asserted its own sovereignty.

[12] See _The Times_, 20 Dec.; The _Daily Mail_, 21 Dec., 1920.



{230}

AFTERWORD

In default of a Providence whose intervention in human affairs is no
longer recognized, there still is a Nemesis of history whose operations
can scarcely be denied.  International morality, strange as the
juxtaposition of the two words may seem, exists no less than the law of
gravity; and a statesman who offends against the one must expect much
the same catastrophe as an engineer who ignores the other.  But it is
not often that this law of retribution asserts itself so swiftly as it
has done in the drama for which Greece supplied the stage to French
statesmen during the last few years; for it is not often that a
Government in the pursuit of practical interests overlooks so
completely moral principles, flouts so openly national sentiments, and,
while priding itself on realism, shuts its eyes so consistently to
realities.

The logic of French action is as above reproach, as its motives are
beyond dispute.

Nine decades ago the Duc de Broglie clearly explained that the aim of
France in assisting to liberate Greece from the Turkish yoke was to
have in the Eastern Mediterranean an instrument of her own ambition: "a
State disposed to turn her eyes constantly towards that Power who has
made her free--to watch for us over the ports of the Levant, to guard
with us the mouth of the Black Sea and the keys of the Bosphorus
[Transcriber's note: Bosporus?]";--it followed that the greater the
client, the better for the patron's purpose.  After undergoing many
fluctuations and modifications, this idea was revived at the time of
the Balkan wars, when France, together with Germany, supported the
Greek claim to Cavalla, and it was fostered to an unhealthy growth
during the European War.  Hence the identification of France with M.
Venizelos, who stood for a policy of expansion at all hazards, and her
hostility to King Constantine who, preferring safety to hazardous
ventures, stood for Greece's right to shape her course without
dictation from Paris any more than from Berlin.

{231}

By the methods which she employed, France succeeded in gaining Greece
and losing the Greeks.  Nothing else could have been expected: friends
are sometimes to be won by good offices; sometimes by the promise of
good offices; and sometimes by good words.  They are seldom won by
injuries, and by insults never.  It is curious that so elementary a
lesson in human nature should have been unknown to the able men who
guided the policy and diplomacy of France during the War, who raised
her military prestige and re-established her position in the first rank
of the European Powers.  Yet it is a fact--a fact which can be easily
verified by a reference to their utterances: they are upon record.
Brute force, and brute force, and again brute force: such is the burden
that runs through them all; and it embodies a doctrine: the Greeks are
Orientals and must be wooed with terror: on the notion, enunciated by
an English humorist as a paradox, and adopted by French statesmen as an
axiom, that terror sown in the Oriental heart will yield a harvest of
esteem--even of affection.  With this mad dogma nailed to her mast,
France set out upon her voyage for the conquest of the Hellenic heart.
It was the first of her mistakes--and it was accompanied by another.

Even if Greece were willing to play the part of a French satellite, she
could not do so; for her geographical situation exposes her to the
influence of more than one Power.  Italy, who has her own ambitions in
the Eastern Mediterranean, opposed during the War a policy the object
of which was Greek expansion over territories coveted by herself and a
readjustment of the balance of forces in favour of France; and it was
partly in order not to alienate Italy during the War that French
statesmen wanted Greece to come in without any specified conditions,
leaving the matter of territorial compensations for the time of
settlement.  Russia showed herself not less suspicious of French
diplomacy for similar reasons.  But it was with England chiefly that
France had to reckon.  In the past the rivalry between France and
England in the Eastern Mediterranean, though often overshadowed by
their common antagonism, first to Russia and subsequently to Germany,
was a perennial cause of discord which kept Greece oscillating between
the two Powers.

{232}

During the War England, of necessity, lent France her acquiescence and
even assistance in a work which she would rather not have seen done.
But, once done, she endeavoured to secure such profit as was to be
derived therefrom.  The Greeks in Asia Minor--it was thought--could
serve to check the Turks from troubling us in Mesopotamia and other
parts of the Near and Middle East.  Hence the Treaty of Sèvres, which
provided for the aggrandizement of Greece at the expense of the Ottoman
Empire in Asia as well as in Europe, to the seeming satisfaction of
both French and British interests.  But the adjustment--even if it had
been forced upon Turkey--could, by the nature of things, be only
temporary.  Owing to her geographical situation, Greece must inevitably
move within the orbit of the Power who dominates the sea.

Psychology accelerated a movement imposed by geography.  While France
based her action upon an English humorist's paradox, England based hers
upon a French thinker's maxim:  _Lorsqu'on veut redoubler de force, il
faut redoubles de grâce_.  Although her diplomatic, military, and naval
representatives did participate in every measure of coercion and
intimidation as a matter of policy, they (if we except the Secret
Service gentry) never forgot the dictates of decency: they never,
figuratively, kicked the person whom they deemed it necessary to knock
down.  The ordinary British soldiers, too, for all the relaxation of
moral rules natural in war, maintained throughout the campaign a
standard of behaviour which contrasted so favourably with their
comrades' that it earned them among the inhabitants of Macedonia the
honourable nickname of "the maids."  It was particularly noted during
the fire which devastated Salonica that, while others took advantage of
the turmoil to loot, the British soldier devoted himself wholly to
rescuing.  Some of these things were perhaps resented by our allies as
weak, and some were ridiculed as naïve; but they must be judged by
their effect.  At the end of the War one nation was respected by the
Greeks as much as the other was hated and despised.  British prestige
rose exactly in proportion as French prestige sank.  And the object
which France elected to seek, and sought in vain, by {233} means of
violence and terror, England attained by a conduct which, if not more
lawful, was much more graceful.

Still, French statesmen counted on M. Venizelos--"_l'homme politique
qui incarne l'idée de la solidarité des intérêts français et
grecs_"--to keep his country on their side.  And as in the first
instance they had made the alliance conditional on his being placed in
control, so now they made the benefits accruing from it to Greece
dependent on his remaining in control.  That M. Venizelos could not
always remain in control does not seem to have occurred to them.  Nor
that he might not always be content to be a mere puppet in their hands.
Murmurs at his pro-British leanings were indeed heard occasionally.
But on the whole the Cretan possessed in an adequate measure the
faculty of adapting himself to rival points of view, of making each
Power feel that her interests were supreme in his regard, and of using
the ambitions of both to promote his own.  As long as he remained in
control, France, with whatever reservations, felt sure of her share of
influence.

The collapse of M. Venizelos and the demand of the Greek people for
King Constantine's return, came to French statesmen as a painful
surprise.  That they had for several years been laboriously building on
illusions could not be disguised, and being made to look absurd before
those of their own compatriots who had all along advocated a policy
based on the preservation and exploitation of Turkey, rendered the
situation doubly awkward.  Unable to rise above personal pique, they
would fain veto the return of a prince whom they hated and whom they
had wronged beyond hope of conciliation.  England, however, free from
petty animosities, and sensible that, under whatever ruler, Greece
would be with her, refused to sanction lawlessness in the midst of
peace; and her view that, if the Greeks wanted Constantine, it was
their business and not ours, prevailed.  But, on the other hand, by way
of compromise, France obtained that he should return to an empty
treasury, with foreign credits cut off, and the loans made by the
Allies to the Venizelist Government, to facilitate the waging of a
common war against Turkey, revoked.

It was an impossible position which King Constantine was called upon to
face: a position none of his own making, {234} yet one from which there
was no retreat.  The Greek people's imperialism had been roused.  The
leaders who once criticized M. Venizelos's Asiatic policy as a
dangerous dream, opposed to economic, strategic, and ethnic realities,
might still hold those views and mutter in secret that Smyrna would
prove the grave of Greece; but they no longer dared express them, out
of deference to public opinion.  To the masses M. Venizelos's wild game
of chance seemed vindicated by its results, and while they rejected the
man they clung to his work.

The Greek Government had no choice but to carry on the conflict under
enormous disadvantages.  As France anticipated, with foreign credits
cut off and a progressive fall in the exchange, the expense of
maintaining a large army on a war footing proved too heavy for the
National Exchequer.  And that was not the worst.  France, who since the
Armistice had betrayed a keen jealousy of England's place in a part of
the world in which she claims special rights, presently concluded a
separate agreement with Turkey--an example in which she was followed by
Italy--and gave the Turks her moral and material support in their
struggle with the Greeks; while England, though refusing to reverse her
policy in favour of their enemies, contented herself with giving the
Greeks only a platonic encouragement, which they were unwise enough to
take for more than it was worth.

Everyone knows the melancholy sequel: our unhappy "allies," left to
their own exhausted resources, were driven from the Asiatic territories
which in common prudence they should never have entered; and the
overseas Empire which M. Venizelos had conjured up vanished in smoke.

The rout in Asia Minor had its repercussion in Greece.  For nearly two
years the people, though war-worn and on the edge of bankruptcy, bore
the financial as they had borne the famine blockade, trusting that
England would at any moment come forth to counter the vindictiveness of
France, and sturdily resisted all the efforts of the Venizelist party
to shake the stability of the Royalist regime: Constantine again
appeared in their eyes as a victim of the Cretan's intrigues.  But the
loss of Ionia and the danger of the loss of Thrace; the horror and
{235} despair arising from the sack of Smyrna, whence shiploads of
broken refugees fled to the Greek ports; all this, reinforced by an
idea that the maintenance of the King on the throne prevented the
effective expression of British friendship and his fall would remove
French hostility, created conditions before which questions of
personalities for once faded into insignificance, and put into the
hands of M. Venizelos's partisans an irresistible lever.

On 26 September an army of 15,000 insurgent soldiers landed near Athens
and demanded the abdication of the King.  The loyal troops were ready
to meet force by force.  But the King, in order to avert a fratricidal
struggle which would have dealt Greece the finishing stroke, forbade
opposition and immediately abdicated, "happy," as he said, "that
another opportunity has been given me to sacrifice myself once more for
Greece."  In fact, once more Constantine was made the scape-goat for
disasters for which he was in no way responsible--disasters from which
he would undoubtedly have saved his country, had he been allowed to
pursue his own sober course.

M. Venizelos would not go back to Athens until the excitement subsided,
lest people should think, he said, that he had had any part in the
revolution: but undertook the defence of the national interests in the
Entente capitals.  His mission was to obtain such support as would
enable him to save Greece something out of the ruin which his insane
imperialism had brought upon her, so that he might be in a position to
point out to his countrymen that he alone, after the disastrous failure
of Constantine, had been able to secure their partial rehabilitation.
That accomplished, he might then hope to become a perpetual Prime
Minister or President.

France made it quite clear that no changes in Greece could alter her
policy: however satisfied she might be at the second disappearance of
the antipathetic monarch, it should not be supposed that, even were a
Republic to be set up, presided over by the Great Cretan, her attitude
on territorial questions would be transformed: Thrace, after Ionia,
must revert to Turkey.  French statesmen longed for the complete
demolition of their own handiwork.  M. Poincaré, in 1922, was proud to
do what the Duc de Broglie ninety years before scoffed at as an {236}
unthinkable folly: "_Abandonner la Grèce aujourd'hui, détruire de nos
propres mains l'ouvrage que nos propres mains ont presque achevé!_"

England's expressed attitude was not characterized by a like precision.
It is true that after the Greek debacle she dispatched ships and troops
to prevent the Straits from falling into the hands of the Turks; but in
the matter of Thrace she had already yielded to France: and how the
restoration of Turkish rule in Europe can be reconciled with the
freedom of the Straits remains to be seen.

What the future may have in store for Greece and Turkey is a matter of
comparatively small account.  What is of great and permanent importance
is the divergence between the paths of France and England revealed by
the preceding analysis of events.

From this analysis have been carefully excluded such superficial
dissensions as always arise between allies after a war, and were
especially to be expected after a war in which every national
susceptibility was quickened to a morbid degree: they belong to a
different category from the profound antagonisms under consideration.
These--whatever the philosopher may think of a struggle for
domination--present a problem which British statesmen must face
frankly.  It is not a new problem; but it now appears under a new form
and in a more acute phase than it has ever possessed in the
past--thanks to the success of the "knock-out blow" policy which
governed the latter stages of the War.

With the German power replaced by the French, the Russian for the
moment in abeyance, French and Italian influences competing in Turkey,
French and British aims clashing in the Arab regions wrested from
Turkey--while indignation at Occidental interference surges in the
minds of all the peoples of the Orient--the Eastern Mediterranean
offers a situation which tempts one to ask whether the authors of that
policy have not succeeded too well?  Whether in pursuing the success of
the day--to which their personal reputations were attached--they did
not lose sight of the morrow?  Whether they have not scattered the seed
without sufficiently heeding the crop?  However that may be, unless
this situation was clearly foreseen by its creators and provided for--a
hypothesis {237} which, with the utmost goodwill towards them, does not
appear very probable--they have an anxious task--a task that, under
these conditions, demands from British statesmanship more thinking
about the Near Eastern question and the Greek factor in it than was
necessary before 1914.

As a first aid to an appreciation of the problem by the public--which
the present crisis found utterly unprepared--it would have been well if
the fundamental differences between the respective attitudes of France
and England towards each other and towards the peoples concerned had
been candidly acknowledged, and all pretence of Franco-British
co-operation in the Near East abandoned.  Lasting co-operation cannot
be where there is neither community of interests nor consonance of
ideas: where the loss of one party is welcomed as gain by the other,
and the wisdom of the one in the eyes of the other is folly.  Pious
talk of a common Allied mission in the Near East has only served to
obscure issues and to render confusion in the public mind worse
confounded.  It was idle to make a mystery of the support given by
France to the Turks and of her insistence on the revision of the Sèvres
Treaty--preliminary steps to her demand for the evacuation of Chanak
and the consequent elimination of British sea-power.  The object of
these tactics was evident to every serious student of history: France
pursues now the plan laid down by Louis XIV, continued by Napoleon,
fitfully carried on throughout the nineteenth century, and facilitated
by her installation in Syria--the equivalent of the German _Drang nach
Osten_: a plan incompatible with the safety of the British Empire in
the East.  This is the truth of the matter, and nothing has been gained
by hiding it.

The people who fought a ruinous war without quite knowing the ends
aimed at, had a right to know at least the results obtained; and after
France's separate agreement with Turkey, the denial to them of any part
of that knowledge could not be justified on any principle of honour or
plea of expediency.



{239}

  INDEX


  Achilleion, 92
  Albania, Suggested partition of, 19
  Alexander, King, 197, 203, 205-7, 219, 224
  Andrew, Prince, 123, 200
  Asia Minor, Concessions to Greece in, 19, 22-26, 32, 34, 35, 37,
    221, 232.
  ---- ----, Greeks driven from, 234
  Athens, Naval demonstrations against, 82, 102, 110, 111
  ----, Fighting at, 159-161
  ----, Bombardment of, 160
  ----, Occupation of, 204
  ----, Conspiracy at, 216
  ----, Riots at, 221, 222
  ---- electorate, 223
  Austria and Greece, 9
  ---- and Servia, 7, 17, 22
  Averoff, M., 183
  ---- gaol, 209

  Balkan League, 4, 19, 20, 24, 27
  Benazet, M., Negotiation of, 146, 147, 150-152
  Blockades, 82, 101, 164, 172-176, 184
  Boulogne, Conference at, 140, 185
  Bratiano, M., 22
  Briand, M., 76, 86, 89, 100-103, 105, 116, 131, 132, 146
  Broglie, Due de, 188, 230, 235
  Bucharest Treaty, 7-9, 18
  ----, Conference at, 18
  Bulgaria and Greece, 7, 8, 21, 23, 67
  ---- ---- Servia, 7, 17, 21, 62
  ---- ---- Turkey, 21, 52
  ---- ---- Central Powers, 27, 40
  ---- ---- Entente, 21, 28, 38, 40, 43, 57, 60, 66, 144
  Bülow, Prince von, 47

  Callimassiotis, M., 92
  Calogeropoulos, M., Premier, 124-132, 140, 192
  Canea, 92, 128, 130, 132
  Castellorizo, 85, 86
  Castoria, Metropolitan of, 209
  Cavalla allotted to Greece, 10, 230
  ----, Proposed cession of, to   Bulgaria.  20, 23-25, 39, 41-42
  ---- surrendered to Germano-Bulgars, 118-21
  Cephalonia, 86, 177
  Cerigo, 177
  Chanak, 237
  Chios, 130
  Church, Greek, 175, 176, 208, 209
  Churchill, Mr. Winston, 13
  Cochin, M. Denys, 81
  Constantine, King: his popularity, 1, 2, 75, 131, 175, 198, 218-220
  ----, ----; policy, 5, 8-12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 34, 35, 38, 55, 81,
    114, 124, 144, 146, 150, 156, 181, 230
  ----, ----: defeat in 1897, 1, 74
  ----, ----, and M. Venizelos, 5, 14, 15, 53-57, 115, 133, 145, 181
  ----, ----, and the Kaiser, 9, 10, 56, 69, 95, 96, 170
  ----, ----, Agitation against, 70, 121, 127, 143, 145, 167, 181, 182
  ----, ----: dethronement, 186, 191-199
  ----, ----: restoration, 227, 228
  ----, ----: character, 198, 199, 228
  ----, ----: abdication, 235
  Constantinople, Russia and, 31, 32
  Constitution, Greek, 70-74, 191, 201, 205, 220
  Corfu, 85, 86, 91, 177
  Corinth, 186, 190, 192, 195, 227
  Coundouriotis, Admiral, 103, 131, 133, 183, 209
{240}

  Crete, 2, 86, 128, 130, 133-136, 208
  Crewe, Lord, 41, 42
  Crimean War, 103
  Crown Councils, 29, 68, 170, 192
  Cuninghame, Sir Thomas, 82
  Cyprus, 66, 75

  Danglis, General, 133
  Dardanelles, 14, 15, 27-31, 34, 59, 72.  _See also_ "Gallipoli"
  Dartige du Fournet, Admiral, 91, 92, 110, 112, 129, 130,
    131, 139, 141, 143, 147, 148, 149, 152, 153-160, 163-164
  Delcassé, M., 32, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 46, 76
  Delyannis, M., 74
  Demidoff, Prince, Russian Minister at Athens, 32, 35, 104, 112
  Demir-Hissar, Bridge of, 85
  Deville, M., quoted, 13, 28, 40, 51, 57
  Dimitracopoulos, M., 123, 192
  Dousmanis, General, 81, 112, 200
  Dova-tépé, Fort, 99
  Dragoumis, Ex-Premier, 192, 210
  ----, Ion, 222
  Drama, 109, 118, 121

  Elections of June, 1915, 33, 50
  ---- ---- December, 1915, 75
  ---- demanded and eluded (June-September, 1916), 102, 106-108,
    114, 115, 123
  ---- of November, 1920, 222-226
  Eleusis, 111, 174
  Elliot, Sir Francis, British Minister at Athens, 35, 88, 104,
    114, 117, 123, 125, 128, 142, 145, 149, 156, 165
  England, Policy of, 13, 20, 22, 31, 42, 56, 77, 102, 104, 106,
    128, 144, 185, 186, 232-234, 236
  Esslin, M., 209
  Evangelismos hospital, 210

  Falkenhayn, General von, 95-97
  Fleet, Greek, 131, 141, 148, 149
  Florina, 85
  France, Policy of, 13, 31, 46, 77, 87, 103, 129, 144, 153, 155,
    183-185, 230, 231, 233-235, 237

  Gallipoli, 14, 30, 31, 36, 43, 50, 63, 73.  _See also_
    "Dardanelles"
  Gauchet, Admiral, 164, 190
  George, King of Greece, 71
  ----, Prince, 35, 38-40, 134-137, 156, 211
  Gerakini, 91
  Germany and Greece, 11, 87, 89, 95-98, 121, 122
  Goerlitz, Greek troops interned at, 121
  Gounaris, M., Premier, 33-46, 200
  Grey, Sir Edward, 22, 23, 25, 35, 56, 59, 60, 66, 101, 102
  "Guarantee" of Greek constitution, 187-189
  Guillemin, M., French Minister at Athens, 37, 56, 61, 82, 88,
    102, 104, 106, 110, 117, 118, 129, 146, 152, 164

  Hamilton, General, 59
  Hatzopoulos, Colonel, 108, 118-121
  Hautefeuille, M., 172
  Hindenburg, Field-Marshal von,  118, 119, 121, 170
  Holy Synod, Appeals from, 176
  ---- ---- deposed, 208

  Ionia, 234, 235
  Italian troops in Macedonia, 108
  ---- ---- ---- Epirus, 203
  ---- policy, 231, 234

  Jagow, Von, 97
  Jonnart, M., his mission to Greece, 186, 189-206

  Kaiser, The, and King Constantine, 9, 10, 117, 180, 181
  ----, ----, ---- Queen Sophie, 169, 170
  Kara-Burnu, 85
{241}

  Katerini, 96, 147
  Kerr, Admiral Mark, 10, 14, 15, 219
  Kitchener, Lord, 13
  ----, ----, on French policy, 76
  ----, ----, in Greece, 81
  Krivolak, 79, 95

  Lambros, Prof., Premier, 141, 143, 149, 154, 158, 181, 200, 210
  Larissa, 118
  Lemnos, 58, 130
  Leucas, 178
  London, Treaties of (1863 and 1864), 86
  ----, Conference in, 186

  Macedonia, Allies in, 76-80, 82-85, 108
  ----, Germano-Bulgarian invasion of, 94, 97, 98, 108, 109
  ----, Elections in, 94, 109
  ----, British soldiers' conduct in, 232
  Mercati, M., 55, 56
  Metaxas, Colonel, 29, 8l, 112, 200
  Milne, General, 101
  Milo, 82, 111
  Monastir, 67, 77, 95, 145
  Moschopoulos, General, 59, 82
  Moudros, 58
  Mytilene, 58, 94, 130, 133, 208

  Near East, Franco-British rivalry in, 231, 237
  Neutral zone, 147, 148, 168, 178, 180
  Nicholas, Prince, 123, 200

  Oropus, 220
  Otho, King, 103, 125, 187

  Painlevé, M., 186
  Palaeologus, Emperor Constantine, Legend of, 218
  Passitch, M., 18, 40, 42, 51
  Paul, Prince, 224
  Peloponnesus, 146, 167, 169, 171, 192, 195
  Phaleron, 198
  Piraeus, 103, 110, 120, 127, 141, 143, 159, 165, 176, 190, 202, 213
  Poincaré, M., 38, 40, 235
  Politis, M., 47, 183

  Rallis, M., 30, 80, 210, 227
  Regnault, General, 190, 203, 204
  Repoulis, M., 222
  Reservists, 107, 117, 127, 171, 184, 203
  Ribot, M., 184, 186, 190, 217
  Rome, Conference at, 169, 185
  Roques, General, 147, 152
  Rufos, M., 209
  Rumania, 9, 10, 18, 21-24, 113, 116
  Rupel, 97, 98, 99, 210
  Russia and Greece, 31, 32, 43, 104, 126, 157, 184, 185, 189
  ---- ---- Bulgaria, 62
  ---- ---- Servia, 18
  ---- ---- Turkey, 19, 27

  Salamis, 111, 149, 190, 195
  Salisbury, Lord, on Greek policy in 1897, 74
  Salonica, Allies' landing at, 56, 58-62, 64, 74
  ---- in state of siege, 100
  ----, Revolt at, 110
  ----, Fire at, 232
  Samos, 130, 133
  San Remo, 218
  Sarrail, General, 79, 82, 99, 100, 102, 106, 107, 108, 110, 164,
    178, 179, 181, 183, 202
  Sazonow, M., 18, 19, 31
  Schenck, Baron, 140
  Secret Services, French and British, 90-93, 107, 112, 117,
    127-130, 179
  Serres, 109, 118, 120
  Servia, Greek alliance with, 7, 8, 17, 33, 51, 52, 55, 58, 65, 66
  ----, Entente and, 18, 22, 23, 40, 41, 42, 51
  Sèvres, Treaty of, 221, 232, 237
  Skouloudis, M., Premier, 69
  ---- and Entente, 77-79, 8l-84, 88, 89, 99, 100
  ---- ---- Germany, 87, 89, 95-98
{242}

  Skouloudis, M., Premier, placed under surveillance, 200
  ---- impeached, 209, 210
  Smyrna, 35, 36, 221, 223, 234, 235
  Sophie, Queen, 160, 169, 170, 173
  Staff, Greek General: Dardanelles, Plans of, 15, 16
  ----, ---- ----, and Servia, 17, 40, 41, 49, 52
  ----, ---- ----, ---- King Constantine, 13, 31, 35, 72, 73
  ----, ---- ----, ---- M. Venizelos, 25, 28, 29, 45, 55, 62, 73, 81
  ----, ---- ----, ---- Lord Kitchener, 81
  ----, ---- ----, on Gallipoli enterprise, 28, 29, 31, 36, 47
  ----, ---- ----, opposed to Asiatic expansion, 25, 26
  Straits, Russia and the, 31
  ----, France and the, 230
  ----, England and the, 236
  Stratos, M., 192, 193
  Streit, M., 8, 12, 13, 15, 34, 45, 112, 200
  Struma, 85, 97
  Submarines, German, Alleged fuelling of, 90-92
  Suda Bay, 86, 128, 133
  Syngros gaol, 209
  Syra, 177
  Syria, 237

  Talaat Bey, 18
  Tatoi, 53, 55
  Thasos, 120, 130
  Therisos movement, 134, 136
  Thessaly, 145, 147, 168, 178, 180, 181, 186, 190, 192
  Thrace, 19, 221, 222, 234, 235, 236
  Turkey and Entente, 4, 13, 19, 232, 233, 235, 236
  Turkey and Germany, 10, 13, 18, 19
  ---- ---- Bulgaria, 19, 52
  ---- ---- Greece, 13, 18, 19, 217, 218, 232, 233, 234

  Venizelos, Eleutherios: early career, 2-5, 133-136
  ----, and King Constantine, 5, 14, 15, 29, 50, 53-57, 109, 110,
    136, 137, 183, 220, 225.
  ----: policy, 7, 8, 12-14, 20, 21-27, 28-32, 51, 53, 55, 61, 68,
    127, 205, 207, 221, 230
  ----: first resignation, 31
  ----: return to power, 50
  ----: popularity, 5, 50
  ----: second resignation, 63
  ----: unpopularity, 75, 94, 107, 108, 175, 176
  ----: agitation, 44-48, 70-74, 92-94, 99, 127
  ----: rebellion, 106, 110, 128-131, 133, 136-138
  ----: Salonica  Government, 133, 140, 147, 148, 168, 169, 174,
    177, 178
  ----: anathematization, 175
  ----: elevation, 202-206
  ----: rule, 207-216
  ----: attempt on his life, 221
  ----: fall, 226
  ----: character, 229
  ----: representative of Greece in Entente capitals, 235
  Vlachopoulos, Colonel, 52, 53
  Volo, 120

  Wellington, Duke of, 188

  Zaimis, M., Premier, 65-69, 102, 108, 114-119, 181, 190-203
  Zalocostas, M., 210
  Zante, 177
  Zappeion, 143, 159, 160
  Zographos, M., 33, 37, 41





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