The birth of thenew modern Greek state after the Greek  revolution is a period of difficult reconstruction of Greece but well won.

The new Greek state. The victory of the united fleet of the English, Russians and French against that of the Turks and Egyptians led to the Treaty of London in 1830 and then we can speak of the beginning of contemporary Greek history. The new Greek state is very small and is limited to the Peloponnese region, to the northern edge of the central region of Stèrèa Ellada, and to a few islands (photo below left). The capital of the new Greek state is Nafplio. The first governor of this state is Ioannis Kapodistrias (pictured below right). The latter tried to turn revolutionary Greece into a state with the aim of expanding its borders. However, Kapodistrias was assassinated by his opponents in 1831.

The New Greek State was initiated by President Jean Capo of Istria, the first governor of the independent GREECE. He died murdered in Nauplie in 1831.

Two years later, the reign of Othon of Bavaria began. The political life of the country remained influenced by the great powers, which created discontent and led to the removal of Othon in 1862. His successor was George I, Prince of Denmark. After his election, England gave Greece the Ionian Islands.

The Constitution of 1843. The revolution  prompted the king to give a Constitution on September 3, 1843. This event gives the name of constitution square in Athens. This city became, in 1834, the capital of the Greek state. Nevertheless, following the proclaimed Constitution, Othon still does not please the Greek people who shipped the country in 1862. The Great Powers  brought to the governance of Greece Prince William Glucksburg of Denmark who became  George 1st of Greece.

The Great   Idea The free Greeks know that the vast majority of their compatriots are still enslaved to the TURCS.

The borders drawn by the Europeans are not enough for them. They are willing to liberate the other Greeks to the north. They want Greece’s borders to be on the territories where all Greeks are located. Despite the diplomatic efforts and armed fighting of the Greeks in this direction, there is no result at the end. The only territories acquiredby the Greeks  were the Ionian Islands (Western Islands of Greece) in 1861, the Region of Thessaly and a small part of the Epirus region in 1881.

In 1878, the Treaty of Santo Stefano returned Thessaly and part of The Epirus to Greece.

Greece, an independent and free state.Similar ideologies with that of the Great Greek Idea also exist in other European nations  that are either demantelated in several regions or subject to various monarchs, thus creating endless revolts. Most European states today  are formed in this way. At the beginning of the 19th century, the only Balkan nation that generated a free and independent state was Greece. The Serbs only gained autonomy (1815) while Albanians, Bulgarians and Romanians are still under Turkish rule.

The Macedonian battle of the Greeks. Although the Balkan peoples were united together during the liberalisation movements against the Ottoman Turks, in the late 19th and early 20th century, they were faced with tolerance and sometimes in the face of the Turkish incitement with regard to space FYRO Macedonian. Although still under Turkish occupation, all the Balkan peoples want edit in the Greek space. This is how the conflict between Bulgaria and Greece begins. Bulgarians are trying, in many ways, to change the religious faith and national identity of the Greek people. Greek officers, initially alone, and then guided by the state , formed armed groups, the Makedonomachons,who began to defend themselves against the Bulgarians. The Macedonian struggle against the Bulgarians continued with many casualties among the civilian population and the Makedonomachons until 1908.

The modernization of Greece. The country has managed to modernize thanks to the visionary politician, the Prime Minister of Greece, Charilaos Trikoupis (1832-1896). It puts  an end to the political imbalance, in other words the many changes of governments in a short period of time. C.Trikoupis lays the foundations for industrial development and public administration in the country. The major infrastructure known under his mandate is the ferrovier network (1882) and the Corinthian isthmus Canal (1893). That said, Trikoupis did notbalance the coffers  of the small state that is Greece well and in 1893 he was forced to declare the country bankrupt. That’s how the 19th sc ends; Greece  appearsto be economically weakened  and isolated internationally.

The spiritual creation of Greece. With the political and social organization of the new Greek state throughout the 19th and early 20th century, the spiritual creation of Greece is progressing. The pure language or Katharevoussa in Greek  is declared the official language taught in schools and used in administration. With new ways of literary expression, similar to those we know in Europe elsewhere, we observe a deviation from literature towards “a language of the people” called Demotic Language. It is in this language that two great poets create superb works. Kostis Palamas (1859-1942) and Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857, photo below right) wrote a poem that became Greek National Anthem.



Making all of Greece free in the 20th century during the Balkan wars was the goal of Eleftherios Venizelos, one of Greece’s greatest politicians . In 1911, Venizelos, a man with a strong personality who would mark the history of the country and be adored by his supporters, was appointed Prime Minister.


It was not until the very beginning of the 20th century that Greece slowly liberated itself from the 400-year-old Turkish Ottoman yoke. Above the Prevèza-Volos line (the second half of Greece to the north), however, things are much more difficult. Just after 1910, Greece and the other states of the southern peninsular region of the Balkans (Bulgaria, FYROM, and Albania) understood that, once and for all, Turkey had to be rid of Turkey together, since turkey did not recognise their national rights. This alliance was successful, thanks to the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Vènizèlos. Following the two Balkan wars of 1911-1912 and 1912-1913, Greece managed to expand its borders. It took over the islands of Crete, Chios, Lesvos, Samos and Lemnos and western Macedonia. During the partisan war, was appointed Prime Minister. During the Balkan War (1912-1913), the Greek army commanded by Venizelos liberated Macedonia and Epirus, Crete and the islands of the Aegean Sea… except the islands of DODEKANISOS.

These were occupied in 1912 by the Italian kingdom, which became the Fascist ITALIANS ten years later.

During the First World War (1914-1918), Greece was not immediately engaged in the war, following a political conflict between E.Venizelos and the King of Greece Constantinos I. This disagreement divided the Greeks into two camps, but in the end, it was the opinion of the Prime Minister that took over, following elections. Greece went to war with the Agreement and King Constantinos had to leave the country (1917). After the  victory of the Agreement and the end of the 1st World War (1918), Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace (1919) were liberated. The greatest diplomatic success of Vènizèlos is that the Allies have agreed that he will let go of the Greek army in Smyrne and Asia Minor (map below left and photo below right). The aim was to retake Asia Minor where the Greeks had been very present since antiquity.


Asia Minor lost. At the end of the First World War, GREECE,which was on the side of the Agreement, received Thrace and Smyrne. In 1922, the Greek forces were defeated by the Turkish army in AsiaMinor, and this event took on catastrophic dimensions: the Turks forced floods of refugees to return to the continent, slaughtering all the inhabitants of Greek origin of Smyrne. Following the Treaty of Sevres (1920), it was expected that this great region of Asia Minor would be annexed to Greece five years later. According to the same Treaty, Eastern Thrace (except Constantinople, now Istanbul), the DODEKANISOS Island complex (except RODOS and KASTELORIZO)and the East Aegean islands (with Imbros and Tendos) would return to Greece. This is the largest territory ever found in the contemporary history of Greece. The problem is that the Treaty of Sevres for Greece has never been recognized by Turkey. The nationalist Mustafa Kemal Ataturk led the Turkish army in pursuit of the Greeks who were still gaining ground in Asia Minor. We are talking about the Asia Minor War, which ended abruptly and violently with the CATASTROPHE OF SMYRNE (1922) where a million Greek refugees  were ejected to Greece. Some generals who waged war in Asia Minor revolted, punished those responsible and denied for a second time the king of Greece Constantinos.

The LAUSANNE TRAITE (1923, map higher to the left) allows Greece to keep the current borders you know, except the Northern Epirus and the Dodecanese Islands, which were guarded by Italy until 1947. Until the dawn of the Second World War in 1939, Greece focused on rebuilding the country. It had to mobilize to integrate and live decently the refugees of the 1920s on the whole east coast of Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki and its region, Volos etc). It then tackled the recovery of its economy, education, social assistance and the military. To succeed in this last task, it took care to resolve its problems peacefully with the neighbouring countries of the Balkans (1930-1940). She even signed a Friendship Agreement with her former enemy, Turkey (1930).

The fall of ELEFTHERIOS VENIZELOS. The political situation in the country was not stable, however, as political forces could not agree on who might be the country’s leader. A referendum in 1924 took place because on the one hand there were those who supported a democracy without a king (including the supporters of Venitilos) and on the other hand, there were those who wanted the king to return and the situation in Greece to change (no more wars restrictions that exhaust the Greek people). It was in 1935 that the GREECE KINGDOM reappeared.

The dictatorship of IORANIS METAXAS. It was through this period of political conflict that General Ioannis Metaxas appeared to impose a dictatorial regime, having on his side King George II (son of King Constantinos). It was helped by the international political situation, since most European countries at the time had a dictatorial regime. During this period of dictatorship, all those who were against the party of Metaxas and especially against those who were communists were prosecuted. The political freedoms of the people were also limited. At this time between the two wars, Greece was strongly influenced by Europe through the literary and artistic initiatives of the great Greek intellectuals who set out  to renew Greek spiritual life. Georges Sèfèris (1900-1972) and Odyssèas Elytis (1911-1996) are distinguished. They both won the Nobel Prize for Literature (G.Sefèris in 1963 and O.Elytis in 1979).

NO DAY IN   1940

It was on October 28, 1940 that Italy declared war on Greece. The Greek army on the Albanian border, despite meagre military forces and a harsh winter with snow, managed to push Italian forces far behind its border. The support of the Greek people is moving. The war was successful but the German invader with Hitler entered the country in April 1941…

In 1940, Italian troops advanced in the region of Epirus. GREECE resisted and, after a heroic battle, repelled the fascist forces in Albania. Under german occupation, resistance was organized.



Greece’s involvement in world war II cost the Greek army and people dearly. Memories are still vivid among the Greek people.

The “No” event to Italians. On October 28, 1940, Italy declared war on Greece. Despite its meagre military forces and bad weather (snow in the Pinde mountains on the Greek-Albanian border), the Greek army managed to keep the Italian fascist forces away from its northwestern borders. The support of the Greek people towards the back front has an exemplary strength even moving (photos below). Greek intellectuals and artists are helping the Fight in many ways. The women of The Island, a region in rebellion, voluntarily carried weapons, food and clothing (including the famous big socks) to the combatants on the hostile war front. Following a series of victories, the Greek soldiers entered Albanian soil on which the Greeks were welcomed as true liberators. The second operation of aggression on the Greek army of the Italian dictator MUSSOLINI which took place in March 1941 (attacks of his air force) did not even succeed.

The Germans then took Greece. After Italy’s failure, Greece was subjected to an invasion, but this time by Nazi Germany. The Greek political and strategic command then decides to confront the invader, even if the forces of the Greek nation are exhausted. In April 1941, Greece collapsed. The fight continues however with what remains of the Greek army in the island of Crete(The Battle of Malémé May 1941, with the help of the English and allies, photo below left) and in the Middle East.

The importance of the Battle of Crete. Greece is one of the few European countries that has resisted the Axis the most for a long time (8 months). This allowed the Allies to better organize their defence and delayed Hitler’s military campaign against the Soviet Union.

The German occupation (1941-1944) of Greece. A long period of four years of occupation was led by the German armies. Far from being a just war, the Germans wanted to live from the economic sources of the Greek nation. The Greek population is thus decimated for four years: Greek civilians are subjected to hunger  for deprivation and ill-treatment. There are dozens and dozens of Ouradour-sur-Glane in Greece and hundreds of churches burned. Greece’s national morale does not fall. The act of bravery of two young Greek patriots, which was to bring down the Greek Flag of the Acropolis of Athens on 30 May 1941 is a good proof of this.

The Greek guerrillas take place with cruel repercussions on the Greek population. The Greeks quickly organized themselves into rebel groups (in Greek, called Antartès)and a “mercenary” army in the high Greek mountains was formed. Anti-fascist slogans can be seen on the walls of Athens and major cities, illegal distributions of calls, demonstrations and strikes. We are talking about the first resistance movements of the Greeks that the German occupier punished by carrying out mass arrests and executions. It is this struggle described by the Greek poet Odysséas Elytis (who received the Nobel Prize) in his work“Axion Esti”

The Greek Resistance of 1942. A little later, in agreement with the Allied General Quarters in the Middle East and with the great material assistance of its headquarters in Cairo, the Greek guerrillas began to fight against the fascist armies and to prepare sabotages on their Facilities. One of the great successes of the Greek National Resistance was the explosion of the Georgopotamos Bridge in the Phtiotide region on 25 November 1942 (pictured above left). Indeed, the Resisters were hindering the reviviceing of Axis forces fighting in the Middle East.

The liberation of Athens on 12 October 1944. The occupation with so much destruction and casualties ended in the autumn of 1944 and the arrival of the exiled Greek government in the Middle East was hailed in Athens. Georges Papandreou is the new Prime Minister of Greece.

In 1947, the Treaty of Paris returned to Greece RODOS and DODEKANISOS. The country is not at the end of its sufferingsince since immediately begins the civil war between liberals and communists whose consequences will be tragic for the country. This civil war lasted two years (1947-1949). With the help of the British, the Greek army defeated the communist army, the ELAS. His supporters are exiled or imprisoned. The division of the country will leave a legacy that will greatly influence the political life of the country until recently.

The Dictatorship of the Colonels (1967-1974). Not only did Greece’s four-year war  (1940-1944) but there were still five years of civil war. That said, after that, it is trying to make its way among other European countries. This march towards political and economic progress is once again hampered by seven years of military dictatorship. Following the fall of the dictatorship on 17 November 1974, Greece continued its path with stable steps towards deepening democracy and towards economic development, modernization and social coherence.

Every year, on November 17, Greece commemorates the end of the dictatorship of Greek colonels generated by the revolt of students of  the Polytechnic . On November 17, 1973 Greece brought down the dictatorship of the Colonels (1967-1974).  This day is symbolic of the Greekstruggle for democracy. The resistance did not stop in these 7 years  of  military juntabut it all started at the University  of Athens. Students gathered, protested and gathered  the crowd. The protests ended with the tanks intervention on November 17: the death toll  is  already growing to about ten.

Among the anti-fascist slogans, many were anti-American since the Greeks have always accused the Americans of supporting an anti-communist dictatorial regime.  This dictatorship is a coupled by the military junta led  by Yorgos Papadopoulos. He took advantageof political instability  to win on 21 July 1967.

Unrest had developed when the young King Constantine II refused to hand over power to the left. It tries (despite the 1952 constitution, according to critics) to form other governments that fail one after the other. Among the many troubles is the death of the left-wing MP Gregoris Lambrakis. The Lambrakis case was then the subject of a book, followed by the film Z by Costas Gavras.