The Price of Freedom: Greece in World Affairs, 1939-1953

The Price of Freedom: Greece in World Affairs, 1939-1953

The Price of Freedom: Greece in World Affairs, 1939-1953

The Price of Freedom: Greece in World Affairs, 1939-1953

Excerpt

THE ITALIAN CONQUEST of Albania created extreme anxiety in Yugoslavia and Greece. Yugoslavia faced now Italian troops on both her Albanian and Istrian frontiers with Italy. Both sides of the entrance to the Adriatic were controlled by Italy, while the communications between Yugoslavia and Greece through the Nestos (Vardar) Valley were directly threatened. Greece feared a further Italian coup on the Island of Corfu, while the distance from the Albanian frontier to the port of Salonika is only about 100 miles. The presence of Mussolini's "glorious legions" on the Albanian frontiers was a painful awakening for the Balkan illusionists. The policies of non-provocation and neutrality were bearing their bitter fruits.

POLITICS IN GREECE

Since 1923, Greece had faithfully followed a policy of irreproachable conduct toward Italy. No opportunity to improve the relations between the two nations was overlooked by the successive Greek governments. So strong was the desire of the Greek leaders to avoid any action that might be interpreted by Italy as unfriendly, that Greece expressed specific reservations when she joined the Balkan Entente in 1934. The Greco- Italian Treaty of Friendship, Conciliation and Judicial Settlement signed in Rome on September 23, 1928, was also grounded upon this policy. The sincere hope that, by such tactics, Greece might escape the danger, blurred the appraisal of the international realities by the Greek leaders and replaced the cool-minded approach, which the situation demanded, by wishful thinking. It was forgotten that sentiment plays but a trivial role in international affairs.

With the Fascist armies only one hundred miles from Salonika, the dark cloud of war hung over the Greek nation. But, in those days of agony and distress, the Greeks once again recaptured the forgotten national aim-to defend the national independence at any cost. Beneath the futile partisan dissensions and materialistic cynicism, the deep affection for the beloved fatherland, an affection which was dimly glowing as a spark in the nation's heart, revived and became an immense flame.

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