7/12/1916 Greece: the royalists’ revenge

Greece now has two governments. Eleftherios Venizelos leads a pro-Allied government in Salonika. Venizelos wants to bring Greece into the war on the Allied side. As Salonika is now under French and British occupation, many see Venizelos as little more than their puppet. Meanwhile in Athens another government is loyal to Greece’s King Constantine, who is determined to keep the country out of the war.

The recent French attempt to occupy Athens and force a change in Constantine’s line has been a fiasco, with royalist forces obliging French to beat a hasty retreat. Since then Athens has seen a brutal purge of Venizelos’ supporters. Many of his partisans have been arrested and their homes or businesses ransacked. There are reports of some Venizelists being roughly mistreated or even murdered. The Archbishop of Athens excommunicates Venizelos, with Constantine issuing a royal warrant for his arrest.

In Salonika meanwhile Venizelos formally declares war on the Central Powers. This however is an empty gesture as he lacks any serious military force of his own.

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