Upheaval in the Balkans: Venizelos and Politics, 1888-1920

Scientific Study, 2014

137 Pages







CHAPTER ONE The Cretan Prelude

CHAPTER TWO The Maturation of the Wars


CHAPTER FOUR The National Divide of the Greeks




Greek words such as names, book and newspaper titles are transliterated into Roman letters according to the Library of Congress Romanization table. Regarding, nonetheless, Greek terms already existing in English, such as person names, toponyms etc.), there is observed the established form. Athens and not Athēna for instance, Crete and not Krētē, Salonika and not Thessalonikē. The result is somewhat complicated, yet it is the only reasonable one.

Dates are given according to the Calendar in use in every country. It is noteworthy that the Julian one (Old Style) was used in Greece till 1923. The gap between the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian one (New Style) was twelve days in the nineteenth century and increases by one day every hundred years from then on.

It noteworthy that “Sublime Porte”, “Ottoman Porte” or simply “Porte” means either the central government of the Ottoman Empire (the Sultan included) or the Ottoman Empire itself. The exact meaning depends on the sources used in this book.


illustration not visible in this excerpt


Many grateful thanks are due to Prof. Michael Lumley, Dr Kerry R. Bolton, Thomas Theologis and John Phillipson. For they have proof-read my work in manuscript form and made exceedingly helpful suggestions.

I am indebted to Alex Synodinos for many stimulating conversations.

Needless to say that without my wife’s patience this book would not have come into being.


Eleutherios Venizelos (1864-1936), an emblematic figure in the recent History of Greece, is considered to have been the champion of parliamentary democracy and of Greek irredentism. People in Crete still see in him the flower of their island; and throughout Europe an astute diplomat, a sharp mind and, above all, a great statesman. His memory is credited with the re-organization of the Greek Army and Navy at the beginning of the twentieth century and, subsequently, with the happy outcome for Greece of the Balkan and Great Wars. In stark contrast to these, the 1922 Greek Catastrophe in Asia Minor is ascribed to his political foes (shot on November 15, 1922). The 1928-1932 partial industrialization of Greece is considered to be one more of his great achievements; and his death in Paris the end of a “Hellene worthy of his Fatherland”. In short, to sort out the truth from the myth is a hard and perilous job.

Little wonder at that; for whenever politics and History are intermixed, History suffers at the hands of politics and not vice versa. Unveiling the truth, therefore, means that the past should be reconsidered - and the future remodeled as well. Still, as a rule, very few people are prepared to put up with such intellectual and psychological matters.

Needless to say, Venizelos was by no means what is generally termed a “common individual”. He was a remorseless lawyer, a consummate gambler and, consequently, a pitiless politician. Still, he was soft-mannered, obliging and always a good friend. The great give-away was his eyes: bright, peering through gold-rimmed spectacles and making him look like an intellectual. Yet intellectual he was not. He was a rootless individual, with a wrecked family-life and, practically, no ties beyond the ones that eventually linked him with factors and powers capable of assuring him of his ascendancy. Nonetheless, it was thanks to these characteristics that he became the most noted Greek statesman of his time; and, of course, it is because of his uncommonness that his hagiography is skewed today. Evidence of his celebrity is provided by the opinions of him, published at the end of the present volume. It is quite unlikely, therefore, that the origins of the Great War in the Balkans can be fathomed without first understanding his personality and actions. These are the very tasks of this book.

CHAPTER ONE The Cretan Prelude

At the end of the 1821 Revolution -and the subsequent foundation of the Kingdom of Greece- Crete remained part of the Ottoman Empire. The key point of the “Cretan Issue” was the strategic importance of Suda Bay, whence almost the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean could be controlled. As a result the Great Powers tried to maintain the rule of the island, since Turkey was then the “Sick Man of Europe”. In 1897, a Greco-Turkish war started. The Greek Army suffered a quick –and somewhat ridiculous- defeat at the hands of the Ottomans. The Sublime Porte, nonetheless, was not allowed to annex Greek territories. On the contrary: thanks to secret discussions between George I, King of the Hellenes, and the Austro-Hungarian government, Crete was proclaimed autonomous. The island was administered as a collective protectorate of the Mediterranean Big Four, namely Great Britain, France, Italy - and Russia as well.

It was then and there that Venizelos emerged.


Eleutherios Venizelos is an enigmatic character in the Contemporary Greek Drama. Up to now nothing as far as his parents are concerned can be taken for granted. According to established scholarship, he was born in August 1864[1] to Kyriakos Venizelos and his wife, Stylianē.[2] His birthplace was Mournies, a village near Canea (Chania in Greek), at that time the small capital of the island of Crete. The island was then Ottoman territory. The point is therefore, when and why Kyriakos Venizelos settled there.

A certain Kyriakēs Venizelos reached Crete on May 20, 1834, at the age of 26.[3] Eight years later, he was a poor pedlar, with no property on the island, unmarried - but with his mother and a sister depending upon him.[4] He claimed that he was Cretan by descent, but he refused to mention either his father’s name, allegedly dead, or his mother’s one.[5] Nevertheless, he was a Greek subject and stated to the Greek consular authority at Canea that he had the intention of going back to Greece within the year 1843.[6]

If Kyriakēs Venizelos were indeed the father of Eleutherios, he was an individual more obscure than his son. It should be noted that Kyriakēs is a variant of the baptismal name Kyriakos, and quite popular as a name among the Diaspora Greek Orthodox people thoughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However that may be, Kyriakēs/Kyriakos Venizelos, albeit pretending to have Cretan ancestry, had his Greek passport under number 324, issued by the Prefecture of Nauplia.[7] He was allegedly registered in the Syra municipality,[8] Syros island, Cyclades, but was not able to produce any formal evidence.[9]

The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that almost everything Eleutherios Venizelos and his followers stated about Kyriakos Venizelos’ ancestry and achievements cannot be verified. In a letter that allegedly Eleutherios himself wrote in 1899 to his friend, Kōnstantinos Digenakēs, he told of his ancestry and father as follows:

“The genealogical tree of Venizelos family is rooted in Mystras, near Sparta.[10] For as early as the seventeenth century the Krevvatas family, one of the most distinguished in the Peloponnese, was established there. Panagiōtēs Krevvatas, a member of that family, renowned for wisdom and bravery, took part in the 1770 uprising against the Turks; [that uprising] was engineered by the Admiral Orlov, envoy of the Empress of Russia Catherine II. After the failure of the uprising, Turkish authorities kept watch on Panagiōtēs Krevvatas. As a result the latter, following the advice of an Ottoman friend, fled to the Ionian Islands, in order to avoid being put to death. Another member of the Krevvatas family was christened Benizelos, left his home as well and settled on Cythera (Cerigo Island).[11] It is there that he married and became a tradesman. After having spent some time on Cerigo [nonetheless], he moved to Canea, Crete, wherein he kept doing commerce. One of Benizelos Krevvatas’ siblings, Kyriakos, was the father of Eleutherios Venizelos. He was a tradesman as well, and highly regarded by everyone in Canea. He was educated by the standards of his time and also an ardent nationalist. When still very young he [Kyriakos] took part in the 1821 great [Revolutionary] Struggle : he was secretary to Koumēs, the [Cretan] chieftain from Selinon,[12] at the siege of Monemvasia [in the Peloponnese]. He was awarded the bronze medal of the Uprising. Three of his brothers fell in that “holy war” [as the Greeks of the time used call the uprising]; another [brother of him], Hadji-Nikolos Benizelos, was one of the three Cretans who were sent to confer with the Greek leaders [in the Peloponnese], when the Revolution broke out. Exiled in 1843 by the Turkish government, which confiscated his property and business assets, he remained an outlaw for a full 19 years”.[13]

Amazing is such a string of absurdities. First of all, and as aforementioned, it is dubious that Venizelos himself wrote this letter;[14] for it is not a family’s account but a boasting of illustrious ancestry. The effort made by the author to connect Eleutherios’ father and his lineage with noted events in the History of Modern Greece is more than obvious. Eleutherios himself, due to his irritable and cynical nature, would have unlikely written such pompous lines. Secondly, with regard to famous Kyriakos’ connection with the Mystras Krevvatas family, harped on by several Eleutherios’ biographers,[15] evidence was never produced;[16] for it is an utter myth.[17] Third, Monemvasia, in the southeastern Peloponnese, fell to the Greeks in 1821.[18] It is highly improbable, therefore, that Kyriakos, then a child merely five years old, was secretary to a chieftain in war turmoil.[19] Fourthly, if Kyriakos were member of such an illustrious family, with brothers actively involved and perished in the 1821-1829 Greek War of Independence, he would be known and honoured by the consular authorities of Greece in Crete. Not only was not professed such an esteem for him, but he systematically avoided to his death to mention the name of his parents, sister, and brothers. They are actually unknown up to our days. And last but not least, it is quite improbable that in 1843 Kyriakos “was exiled by the Turkish government, which confiscated his property and business assets”, and that “he remained an outlaw for a full 19 years”. For according to the Greek consul at Canea, in December, 1842, he had no property, and, if truth be told, he was not entitled to have. For Greeks subjects were granted the right to acquire property in Ottoman territory no sooner than the 1860s.[20] Moreover, if he really left Crete in 1843, did so not as “exiled” by the Turks, but because, according to his statement to the Greek consular authority, “he wished to repatriate”.

The point is, however, that in 1846 Kyriakos Venizelos was back in Crete – as poor as ever. He had but one precious piece of luggage with him, namely his Greek citizenship; and he was wise enough to keep it for life. For contrary to a widespread opinion, he did so not for patriotic reasons but rather for practical ones. Thanks to the Capitulations system,[21] being a Greek citizen in an Ottoman province meant that the jurisdiction and, often, arbitrariness of the local Ottoman authorities and bureaucracy did not affect him[22]. As a matter of fact, he had neither to pay the famous harac,[23] i.e. the head tax that the Sublime Porte collected from non-Moslems,[24] nor to perform unpaid labour (corvée)[25]. He was a protégé of the relevant Greek consul, who was entitled to judge all civil and criminal cases arising between Greek subjects in Ottoman territory.[26]

So, Kyriakos Venizelos was a pedlar, as every “tradesman” in Crete with money-capital no larger than the equivalent of 20,000 Greek drachmae.[27] His ambition was to be a “true merchant”, i.e to acquire fixed asset equivalent to 50-60,000 drachmae.[28] During his wanderings, nonetheless, he met in Therison,[29] a village about 15 km. southward from Canea, in the foothills of the White Mountains, the aforementioned Stylianē, then in her mid-twenties,[30] and fell in love with her. Stylianē was member of the Ploumidakēs family; and Giannēs[31] Ploumidakēs, i.e. the future Kyriakos’ father-in-law, used to pride himself on his relationship with the chieftain Vasileios Chalēs, a remarkable character of the 1821 Revolution in Crete. If truth be told, this relationship was only a very distant one.[32] Yet the point is that Giannēs Ploumidakēs, head of a respectable Cretan family, did not wish his daughter to be married to a “social climber” such as Kyriakos was. The result was easy to foresee: a quarrel arose between the two men and a stormy period followed, embellished with nearly all the relevant spicy happenings of Cretan folklore. The conclusion was going to prove the astuteness of Kyriakos; for Ploumidakēs had managed to rally even the local Pasha’s interest in his family affairs. Mustafa Pasha, Governor-General of Crete, seized the opportunity and reduced Kyriakos to the following dilemma: If Kyriakos wanted to marry Stylianē, he had to settle permanently in Crete and consequently acquire Ottoman citizenship. Otherwise he would be expelled back to Greece.

There is no doubt that the Ottoman Porte did not welcome people having foreign citizenship to her territory – especially if they had the Greek one. For, as aforesaid, such people were not, in practice, subject to the Ottoman law.[33] Nevertheless, in all likelihood, Mustafa Pasha would not have paid attention to Kyriakos Venizelos, unless prompted by Giannēs Ploumidakēs. In point of fact, such was the case.[34] For the latter disliked very much his son-in-law in prospect. Kyriakos, on the other hand, could not abandon his Greek citizenship for the Ottoman one: being subject of King Otho of Greece in Sublime Porte’s territory was somewhat a shield against the Ottoman authorities. Therefore, straightaway he married Stylianē in early1846,[35] placed her under the protection of the Greek consul at Canea and fled to Greece. There he awaited the fitting moment for going back to Crete. Yet, the hate of his father-in-law was so strong that he realized that only in the far future he would be able to join his wife.[36] He opted therefore for a civil service career, and he became an employee of the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs,[37] namely secretary of the Missolonghi Sanitary Authority.[38] He understood, however, that he could not become rich by merely working for the Greek Civil Service. As a result, he abandoned his post in 1858,[39] and soon after, he returned to Crete. He could do so now, because the Reform Decree issued by the Porte in 1856[40] enabled him to have a marital life in Crete. But he never reconciled with his family-in-law.[41] In any case, the path to prosperity was open to him from then on.


Was not Kyriakos Venizelos Greek by birth? Abundant literature was produced with the intention of proving that he was. The point is that he never mentioned the names of his father and mother, viz. the name of Eleutherios’ grandfather and grandmother. As a result, his ancestry remains shrouded in mystery – and this very fact constitutes a strong indication that his parents were not Greek. Most likely he was an Armenian,[42] who came to Southern Greece from Ayvalık, a seaside town in Asia Minor, after the end of the 1821 Revolution and, as a Christian, became naturalized Greek.[43]

Thanks to his early wanderings throughout the Kingdom of Greece, Kyriakos gained not only a convenient citizenship but a surname as well. In fact, Venizelos is the scholarly variant of the name Benizelos,[44] still existing in the Peloponnese. He added, nonetheless, this surname only after his ambition to be ‘someone’ had been satisfied. A respectable merchant might not be known even in an Ottoman province merely as “Kyriakos from Ayvalık”, as he used to be called during the early stages of his trade activity.[45] Now, being someone and having a surname, he was ready to produce a prolific progeny. Eleutherios was his second son, i.e. the sixth surviving child of the couple.

The birth of Eleutherios, in August, 1864, was a strange one; and the copious literature covering his early life obscures things. Nonetheless, there are some irrefutable details, such as: a) The delivery was by no means an ‘easy’ one; b) Kyriakos, providing evidence of his indifference to religious matters, invited not only the available Christian Orthodox priest but even a hoca and a rabbi to assist Stylianē spiritually;[46] and c) after the baby was born, it was ‘abandoned’ by an olive tree, near the house. In doing so, Kyriakos and Stylianē[47] were emphasizing their loyalty to a tradition common in Greek lands. For, if the life of a newborn child is judged to be in danger due to the family’s misfortune, the baby is –supposedly- “dropped off”; and a passer-by (of course alerted by the family) “finds” the baby and “offers” it to its natural parents – as if the child were one of ‘unknown origin’.

So it was with Eleutherios[48] and, accordingly, his birthday was celebrated on August 24, 1864 (NS).[49] But if one has this story in mind, there are some other facts in the future prime minister of Greece’s life to be taken into account. Eleutherios Venizelos was actually never ever dressed in the Cretan traditional dress.[50] In this respect, he was in ‘flagrant’ contrast to his mother, a woman who was dressed all her life with in the typical clothes of the Cretan peasantry.[51] But though she was of a strong character,[52] she remained a shadowy figure in Eleutherios’ life. She had nothing of the well-known maternal influence on her illustrious son’s life. Nothing that could remotely smack of a Freudian case study, of an Oedipal nature. On the contrary, Kyriakos’ -i.e. his father’s- presence in his life was strong and vivid.[53]

These are in keeping with the fact that merely in the early 1920s the names of Eleutherios’ father and mother were established with some certainty.[54] As a result, trustworthiness should be given to a curious statement that an Athens columnist made on March 20, 1936, i.e. a couple of days after Eleutherios had died: “We do not know yet who his mother and father were; we know nothing about his ancestry”.[55] If the very fact that those male babies born to Stylianē, Kyriakos’ wife were moribund or seriously ill is taken into consideration,[56] the above statement should be regarded as reliable. And it was a member of the Greek Royal House that shot a Parthian shaft to the reputation of Venizelos a couple of years after the latter’s death: “Venizelos was of mixed parentage, Turkish, Jewish and Armenian…He had [in fact] the characteristics of all three races: the ruthlessness of the Turk, the Armenian’s love of intrigue and the keen brain of the Jew.”[57] In short, was Venizelos apparently “adopted” or actually adopted by Kyriakos and Stylianē? Up until now, nobody has been able to provide us with an answer to that crucial question.


In 1866 an uprising of the Christian element of the Cretan population against the Porte’s sovereignty occurred. Kyriakos’ position was peculiar. He was a Greek citizen in Ottoman territory; and to be a Cretan-style “hero” was hardly the height of his ambition. He tried to appeal, therefore, to Greek public opinion for appeasement.[58] It was in vain… and he left Crete for Syros, an island in the Cyclades group, in the Aegean. He settled there with his family most likely in October, 1866; and he went back to Crete only in 1872.[59]

Strangely enough, although the Venizelos family were only refugees, they led a luxurious life. Kyriakos opened a general store in Hermoupolis, the Syros’ capital, and his business flourished so much that he had means to hire a villa for his family’s summer vacations.[60] In early 1869, the uprising in Crete was over, but the Venizelos were uncertain of their repatriation. Life in Syros was easy going and the father had ample chance of making money. As a result, they returned to Canea in the summer of 1872.[61] Kyriakos had by now a well-lined purse and, subsequently, was a prosperous tradesman. But he never forgot Syros, where he had become rich. He maintained all his life the profitable Hermoupolis connections.[62] In fact, he was such a Syros enthusiast that, when the young Eleutherios had finished his elementary studies in Canea schools and begun his secondary ones in Athens, he suddenly made up his mind for his son to finish his schooling in Hermoupolis.

And so was done. Eleutherios actually completed his secondary studies on Syros island on June 28, 1880. His grades were “very good” but his conduct left something to be desired.[63] In the meantime the prosperous general store of his father was transferred –as aforementioned- from Syros island to Crete. As with nearly all traders, Kyriakos did not trust university studies; for he destined Eleutherios to become his successor in business. His opinion was justified by the very fact that Agathocles, his elder son, was a clinically certified idiot who was not able even to stand up.[64] After Kyriakos’ death who would run his business? Eleutherios, of course, who was already serving his apprenticeship in his father’s shop, learning the trade. If truth be told, he made an excellent merchant, never letting clients go without a purchase, cheerful and affable as he was.[65]

Given nevertheless that Eleutherios was entitled by the Education Certificate obtained at Hermoupolis to pursue university studies, he managed to overcome paternal objections and enrolled in the Law School of the University of Athens on October 8, 1880.[66] According to a legend cultivated later by Greek Liberals, it was thanks to the pressure exerted by the Greek Consulate at Canea that Kyriakos finally sent his son to Athens.[67] Se non è vero, è ben trovato. Being a Greek citizen, Kyriakos needed the protection of Greek consular authority – and the latter was interested in the family affairs of its prot é gés in the Canea microcosm.

However that may be, Eleutherios had the firm intention of studying Law most likely no later than in his last Syros days. He was clear-sighted enough to understand that the antagonism between the Great Powers over Crete led the way for ambitious young men able to grasp the opportunities offered. British interest for control over Crete was all but an open secret. The island was regarded by the Foreign Office as the “key of the Greek Archipelago”[68] and “one of Egypt’s keys” (the other one being Cyprus) in the early 1860s.[69] The United Kingdom’s main concern over the island’s fate, moreover, was obvious already in 1806. For the Foreign Secretary then made it clear that British occupation of Crete should take place in case Russia attempted annexation of Ottoman territory.[70] The Suda Bay was of outstanding strategic importance, because it was the “best natural harbour in the Levant”.[71]

Of course, things were getting complicated by the fact that Crete had been administratively annexed to Egypt in 1830.[72] The subsequent occupation of the island by troops of Muhammad Ali, then Viceroy in Cairo, was to finish only in 1840.[73] The unrest provoked by the end of the island’s Egyptian administration fuelled hopes for Crete to be united with the Kingdom of Greece. At the same time, British consular authorities were actively –but unofficially- stirring up sentiment for Crete to be made a British protectorate.[74] They failed in that, but not so much because the feelings in favour of the island’s union with Greece were so strong among the Christians of Crete. For, even though the latter were more numerous than the Moslems,[75] a large number among them had blood ties with the autochthonous Moslems and, as such, were unwilling to remove the Sublime Porte’s rule.[76] The Ottoman administration, subsequently, was re-established. That was by common agreement of the Powers, namely the United Kingdom, Russia, Austria and Prussia – but the main Power to take advantage of such a development was Britain. Whilst an “English” protectorate over Crete was not feasible, direct Ottoman sovereignty over it was the best solution for the British. For if the island were annexed to Greece, the corollary would be the strengthening of Russia.[77] As a matter of fact, Otho, the first King of Greece, was considered to be Russophile; while George I, whose Queen Consort, Olga, was née a Grand Duchess of Russia, was Anglophile (by necessity, not by sentiment).[78]

That was the background of Venizelos’ ascendancy. The crux, however, was the marriage of a sister of him, Katinkō,[79] to Kōnstantinos Mētsotakēs (fifteen years her senior), a wealthy Canean lawyer and politician – and Greek subject as well.[80] Mētsotakēs was an active anglophile and, since by the end of the 1866-1869 revolution had been created the framework for an embryonic political life in Crete, there were plenty of opportunities to be grasped by astute persons like him. If the story of the Greek Consulate at Canea having intervened on behalf of Eleutherios’ university studies is true, the authentic deus ex machina is to be found in the Mētsotakēs family. They had recognized the young man’s potential and had subsequently informed the Greek Consulate. Due to their wealth, high status and Greek citizenship they had been able to convince the Greek consul at Canea to talk with Eleutherios’ father.


Eleutherios’ university studies were finished only in 1887.[81] But he was unlikely to have done otherwise. For his father had died in 1883 and Eleutherios was forced to look after his family affairs. He, therefore, liquidated Kyriakos’ general store at Canea and finally obtained his university degree, though studying for the most part at home. As a result, his grade was “Very Good” instead of “With Honours” which had hoped for. This fact had no practical importance. But it proved to be catalytic as far as his psyche was concerned; for it left him with a complex of “not-being-intellectual”, that tormented him for the rest of his life. And it is noteworthy that this complex grew because of the frustration he felt at not having the means to pursue further studies in Germany.[82]

In late 1887, however, he was appointed a Canean lawyer[83] - though he had been practicing as a “solicitor” from 1884 onwards.[84] As aforementioned, Canea, where Moslems were the overwhelming majority, was then the capital of Crete. It was an “ugly, little town, with nothing attractive in it”.[85] Thanks, nonetheless, to the special administrative régime (in actual fact an semi-autonomous one) that Crete enjoyed after the Ottomans were defeated by the Russians in 1878 and the subsequent conclusion of the Chalepa Convention, a large field of activity was already open to lawyers educated in “Europe”, viz. Greece. Still, Eleutherios’ professional beginnings were not promising,[86] which was why he tried to make a career as a judge.[87] But suddenly things changed for the better and he proved to be a very successful lawyer. Undoubtedly the deus ex machina was again K. Mētsotakēs, his brother-in-law. Not only was he a wealthy individual, but also the very founder and leader of the Liberal party of Crete,[88] the editor of the weekly newspaper Leuka Orē,[89] i.e. the Liberals’ mouthpiece - and a successful lawyer as well. But in 1888 K. Mētsotakēs retired from all his posts, appointing Eleutherios Venizelos his successor in everything.[90] Thanks to K. Mētsotakēs, therefore, Venizelos came to be the leader of a strong political party (he literally inherited it from his brother-in-law), a member of the local Parliament, the editor of an influential newspaper, and a successful lawyer.[91] In practice he was the leader of the anglophile party in Crete.

This was made apparent as early as the following year, 1889. Thanks to K. Mētsotakēs’ retirement and financial aid,[92] Venizelos was elected to the local Parliament, in the ranks of the Liberals. Liberals then held a majority in Parliament thanks to universal suffrage, for the first time exercised in Crete.[93] On the other hand the Conservatives i.e. the other strong Cretan political party, judged the time ripe for Crete to be united with Greece. The Russian Consulate at Canea openly encouraged them to do so;[94] but the Greek Government’s attitude was faltering.[95] Anglophile Charilaos Trikoupēs was then in power in Athens and was setting in motion an economic development policy, which implied a pacifist one towards the Ottoman Empire. Venizelos, therefore, was against the “Conservative Uprising” that took place in Crete. And anxious not to be regarded as a “revolutionary” by the Ottoman authorities he voted against the union-with-Greece motion in the local Parliament. But he was almost alone in doing so;[96] subsequently, he fled secretly to Athens in October 1889.[97] He was not to return to Crete until mid-April 1890.[98]

It was then and in the Greek capital that Eleutherios Venizelos publicly emerged as the Cretan anglophile champion. First of all, it was the British Consul at Canea, Alfred Biliotti, his friend,[99] who had arranged his flight to Athens;[100] and it was in Athens that he became an adherent of Trikoupēs’ policy of internal development.[101] Since, moreover, he had left behind, at Canea, Maria Katelouzou, i.e. his wife-to-be, he regarded the Russians as responsible for the turmoil in his life:[102] he was separated from his fiancée and had lost of his seat in the Cretan Parliament. Needless to say, these ideas soon proved to be catalytic as far as the political and international life in South-Eastern Europe was concerned.

Upon his coming back to Canea, therefore, his ideas were evident: no more unrest against the Porte. His father acted as a precedent; for as early as 1877 he had demanded that uprisings against the Ottoman rule be stopped in Crete.[103] In short, the Porte’s sovereignty was to be continued – at least for the moment.

Venizelos, therefore, tried to prove again his loyalty to the Ottoman authorities; and he took a step that could have been fatal to his career. In December 1892 a Moslem, Tevfik Bedri Bey, was murdered in the Canea district, and four Christians were jailed as suspected of homicide. The four were taken to court and two of them, namely Geōrgios Papadakēs and Antōnios Larentzakēs, were sentenced to death and executed on January 8, 1894. Nonetheless, they were not guilty: the victim’s murder was the result of a family dispute. This was a widely-held opinion in the Canea social microcosm – and proved to be true.[104] The consequence was that no lawyer had been willing to prosecute the alleged murderers other than Venizelos and his friends, who managed to send two innocent people to the gallows.[105] The protests of the Canea Christians, actually the entire Cretan Christian community, were so vehement that Venizelos feared for his life.[106] And he was going to live in constant fear of assassination till he died in Paris in 1936: he was actually assassinated, but not by Cretans.

The 1893 trial, nevertheless, had been his cause c élèbre,[107] but it was a factitious one. In point of fact, it was fraudulently and cynically gained by him against innocent Christians -most likely for the considerable pecuniary advantage he derived from it.[108]


He could not live in Crete anymore, unless constantly protected by the Ottoman authorities. So he kept his head down for a couple of years.[109] It was not until 1895 that he tried to re-enter the political scene of his native island by editing another weekly newspaper, the Augē (= Dawn). But in 1895 a fresh Christian uprising took place in Crete. Unlike the 1889 one, it was incited not by Russians but by the British; and its aim was the island’s autonomy and by no means union with Greece. The main character in this new drama was Manousos Koundouros, a magistrate with an Athens University degree, like Venizelos, but a bellicose chieftain as well.

The Koundouros uprising for autonomy was successful. For now it was the turn of the British to trip up the Russians. It was thanks to the 1878 Russian victory against the Porte that the Chalepa Convention was concluded in that same year; and it was thanks to the Russian consular authorities’ activity that the 1889 uprising for union with Greece was launched. The British answer was most effective: they managed to have the semi-autonomy granted to the Christians of Crete by the Porte (thanks to the Russians) developed into a parliamentary system based on universal suffrage.

As aforementioned, the 1895 insurrection had no “unionist” character. What is more, the Ottoman troops after the defeats they had suffered at the hands of the insurgents, abandoned the countryside and entrenched themselves in the island’s cities.[110] The time was, therefore, ripe for essential changes in the political scene of Crete. In July, 1896, the Great Powers jointly decided to provide the populations of the island with the appropriate political régime. In other words, the Porte’s sovereignty over the island was to become shadowy.[111]

In the meanwhile, a Revolutionary Assembly was convened and a plan for Crete’s future drafted as an autonomous state: the island would be under the Porte’s suzerainty with a Christian governor, and a European police force.[112] Venizelos had taken a seat in the Assembly. Nonetheless, his situation was tricky. He was regarded as an avowed pro-Turkish – and he was. The memory, moreover, of his 1894 innocent victims was still alive. As a result, he was very nearly murdered as soon as he first attended the Revolutionary Assembly. He escaped thanks only to Koundouros’ intervention, who had already been elected President of the Revolutionary Assembly.[113]

Koundouros was now the seeming star of Anglophilia in Crete. Venizelos’ political career was all but doomed; for the Cretan Christians merely put up with him. Koundouros, being confident of his success, rescued unhesitatingly Venizelos’ life. Yet in doing so he committed a fatal error. The British did not want so much to rely upon Koundouros, because he was married to the daughter of the Russian consular agent at Rethymnon.[114] It made no difference whether Koundouros openly criticized Russia and the Russians. Venizelos was more trustworthy to the British; for his obscure ancestry, his ill reputation and, above all, his wretched family life made him a docile instrument in British hands.

Stylianē, his mother, and Agathocles, his idiot brother, died almost to the day in 1896.[115] Two years later K. Mētsotakēs, his brother-in-law and political mentor, passed away as well. But the most severe blow had been inflicted on him as early as 1894. His young and beautiful wife, Maria, whom he married in 1890, died while delivering Sophocles, their younger son. The cause of death is usually imputed to puerperal fever. But further investigation has now established that Maria died of an infection attributed to squalor.[116] As a sign of perpetual mourning, Venizelos was bearded for the rest of his life.

As a consequence, he was bound to take on a quasi-maternal role to his siblings. There were two: Kyriakos and the aforementioned Sophocles, a future prime minister of Greece. The point is that in 1896 Venizelos was an afflicted widower in charge of two little boys. What is more, his compliant attitude towards the Ottoman authorities had alienated the Cretan Christians from him. Actually, the most important clients of his law office were Turks;[117] for there was no sympathy for him among the Christians in Canea.


The British opened all doors to him. Cretan Moslems put obstacles in the way of the island’s autonomy. This is why Timoleon Vasos, colonel of the Greek Army and aide-de-camp to King George I of the Hellenes, landed on Cretan soil on the 3rd of February, 1897 and declared “he was occupying the island” in the name of his Sovereign.[118] Christian irregulars hoisted the Greek flag on a hill close to Canea, and European men-of-war shelled them. An –unavoidable- imbroglio ensued, and Venizelos appeared as the odd-job man: he hastened to the spot of the bombardment and thanks to his legal experience undertook the task of talking with the Powers’ representatives. His main contacts were with the British; and the fact that the latter acceded to his suggestions convinced the Christian Cretans that he was the persona grata of the new order being created in their island.[119] For the moment he was not the target of his Christian compatriots’ hatred. But anxious about his questionable political past, he addressed a circular letter to his friends advocating instant “Union with Greece” as the “best remedy for the island’s pains”.[120]

That famous “Union with Greece” would be in the years to come the main political instrument in Venizelos’ hands. Now, having autonomy in their grasp, liberal politicians in Crete were going to use the unionist slogan as a cover for their own goals and ambitions. Such goals and ambitions were readily foreseeable; for “goals” meant the ‘duties’ assigned to them thanks to Great Britain, and “ambitions” signified Crete’s political arena about to be dominated by them.

The role of the Conservatives, on the other hand, was apparently easier: they were constantly advocating “Union with Greece”. As a result, they were more trustworthy than the Liberals in the eyes of the local Christian population. They were backed, nonetheless, by Russia; and in the last analysis their success depended on whether the Tsar Nicholas II would effectively support them.

For the time being, the game was being played in Athens. As already mentioned, Olga, Queen Consort of Greece, was of Russian stock: she was the daughter of the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, brother of the Tsar Alexander II. Her husband, King George I of the Hellenes,[121] was the second son of King Christian IX of Denmark. According to the secret shared with the French minister at Athens, Joseph Arthur Count de Gobineau, in the autumn of 1864, he “was sold to England”. He knew nothing about Greece, and was not willing to know.[122] But he was driven to accept the Greek Crown, after the fall of King Otho, by his father, because Lord John Russell, then Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, had promised the Danes British support in the Schleswig-Holstein issue.[123] But the British policy towards his sibling in Athens was dishonest. According to secrets that he, George I, divulged to Gobineau with bated breath, the British, after “having dragged him to Greece”, deserted him and re-appeared only in order to cause problems for him.[124]

It was natural, notwithstanding, for the young sovereign[125] to be obedient to British dictates; for Britain had been the victorious Power in the Greek ‘battleground’ since King Otho’s removal in 1862.[126] This was why, in 1875, King George I accepted the parliamentary system to be established in Greece. As a matter of fact, he was by no means persuaded to take such a step, and he had tried to rule his adoptive country in an authoritarian manner.[127] But he failed. Therefore, he unwillingly agreed to have a fully-fledged Parliament functioning in Athens.

Scholars discovered only in the 1980s the impact of the feelings of rancour he harboured against Britain throughout his life. Evidently, his frequent visits to the Viennese Court and his talks with the old Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary, Franz Joseph, were no secret[128]. But very few realized that he had achieved a secret rapprochement with Austro-Hungary and regarded –secretly as well- the old Emperor and King as his personal mentor;[129] and strangely enough, he had the support of Ch. Trikoupēs, the well-known Statesman, whose obvious anglophilia had resulted in deep disappointment as well.[130] The point of all this has been that in the last years of the nineteenth century Venizelos was, in British eyes, the only reliable person in Greek lands. King George was pro-Austrian, the Cretan Koundouros had pro-Russian family connections, and K. Mētsotakēs, the old, assured pro-British champion was dead. Under these circumstances, the Venizelos ascendancy was no laughing matter: either Venizelos in power or the British influence would be lost. And so a tragicomedy was played out, the main stages of which were the following:

1. T. Vasos’ landing in Crete -and his subsequent declaration that he was occupying the island in the name of King George I of the Hellenes- was an open provocation against the Sublime Porte. As a result, the beginning of a Greco-Turkish war was easily foreseeable.
2. Before the Vasos landing took place, Theodōros Delēgiannēs, then prime minister of Greece was asked by members of his cabinet whether the Greek Army was able to combat the Ottoman one. The only reasonable answer was that it was not. Nonetheless, T.Vasos arrived in Crete – and, of course, hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and Greece broke out in early April, 1897.
3. Within thirty days the Greek Army was defeated by the Ottomans, and put to flight. The Ottoman troops occupied the whole of Thessaly and their entry into Athens was prevented thanks to the European Powers’ mediation.
4. It was an ignominious defeat. But the island of Crete was declared autonomous under the Sultan’s suzerainty and the collective protection of four European Powers, namely Great Britain, France, Italy, and Russia. (Germany and Austro-Hungary were with them only till April, 1898.[131] ) Prince George of Greece, second son of the King George I, was accordingly appointed High Commissioner of the Powers in Crete. He arrived there in early December 1898 and was given a frenzied reception by the island’s Christian population.
5. The conclusion is that Greece was militarily humiliated in 1897 but diplomatically triumphant. For Crete was dynastically associated with the Kingdom of Greece, whilst the Ottoman rule there was in practice over.

The key person in this very matter was King George I of the Hellenes. In actual fact, of fact, it was he who urged the Greek government into war against the Porte, though everybody knew that the Greek Army was not yet fit for warfare. He was sure, nevertheless, that the war’s outcome would be advantageous for his House.

Why was he so sure? The mystery was disclosed only in 1910. Before the war began, King George was staying in Vienna and having secret talks with the Emperor and the latter’s Foreign Minister, Count Gołuchowski. They guaranteed that despite the defeat the Greek Army was to suffer at the hands of the Ottomans, Greece would not endure territorial losses. On the contrary, Crete was to be put under the rule of the Greek Royal House.[132]

Now all was light. Greece was defeated, but Crete was gained for the Royal Family of Greece. There emerged, nevertheless, a new problem: Prince George, the High Commissioner, was an open Russophile. Not only was he the cousin of Tsar Nicholas II, but he had saved the latter’s life in Japan in 1891, when both of them were on official visit to that country.[133] His appointment, moreover, was the effect of Saint Petersburg’s cabinet manipulation and pressure.[134] The point, however, is that Germany and Austria objected to him as High Commissioner; and though Emperor Wilhelm II had understood that the Cretan issue would be, in long run, of great benefit to Britain, he withdrew Germany from the Powers involved in Crete. Austro-Hungary copied Germany, but Italy did not. This was the first fissure within the Concert of Powers – and the Triple Alliance as well.[135] Prince George, therefore, reached Canea on board a French man-of-war.[136]

Be that as it may, his popularity among the Christian peasantry of Crete was enormous;[137] and he did his utmost for island’s overall development.[138] At the same time, a constitution was drawn up by a committee, the most active member of which was Venizelos. The draft was submitted in March, 1899 to the Four Powers’ representatives[139] and was promptly approved: it came into force in April of that same year.[140] This very Constitution, almost entirely the personal achievement of Venizelos, proved to be a fatal trap set for Prince George. For it was pervaded by a blatantly authoritarian spirit.[141] If the High Commissioner submitted to the dictates of the British policy-makers, he would be given the freedom to govern as he desired; otherwise he would be removed. In other words, it was a duel between Venizelos and Prince George that was already underway: it was to finish in September 1906. For Venizelos was arguing for the independence of the island, whilst Prince George was advocating the latter’s union with Greece.


The High Commissioner began skirmishing with Venizelos by the time the latter was drafting the Constitution. A debate on Prince George’s title was opened - and Venizelos jumped at the chance to declare that “Crete was entitled to her own ideas about her future”. Prince George riposted that “foreign policy” either of Greece or of Crete “was not everyone’s business, but that of the King of the Hellenes and his government”.[142] The gaps between the two men’s views were now obvious. The High Commissioner had of course the support of almost all the Cretan Christians; Venizelos, on the other hand, was backed by the British Consul and his allies at that time, namely the Italian and the French ones. Who was to gain the upper hand?

The Prince acted with moderation. After the Constitution came into force, he appointed Venizelos his “Councillor”, i.e. Minister, of Justice[143] - his Council (Cabinet) being five-strong. Koundouros, the ex-anglophile champion and Venizelos’ future bitter foe, was given the portfolio of Home Affairs. Things went well for a while. But in September 1900, the High Commissioner embarked on a tour of Europe. His purpose was to sound out the Powers’ intentions as far as Crete’s future was concerned. To his mind, the only good perspective was island’s union with Greece. If such a union were not feasible in the short run, only the strengthening of Crete’s ties with the Kingdom of Greece would assure the Christian population of the island that the future would be better for them than the past. Four out of his five Councillors concurred with his point of view; but Venizelos kept aloof. According to him Crete, already a “semi-independent” state, should aim to become a “really autonomous”, viz. an independent country.[144]

The crux was not only independence or union with Greece: the matter was also whether the “Head of the Executive” would be an elective one – in other words whether Crete would be a republic or not. For if the island became a “totally autonomous” statehood, i.e. an independent republic,[145] Venizelos would most likely be her President. Backed by the British as he was, and identifying with republican/democratic ideas and ideals, he would have- sooner or later- the whole island in his grasp. The key was now the attitude of Tsar Nicholas II.

The latter was the first to talk with the High Commissioner about the island’s future. They met each other in the Crimea, in the imperial residence. He was “very sympathetic” with the people who wished Crete to be united with Greece; yet he was not prepared to go ahead with this solution.[146] Prince George and his Cretan subjects would have to wait.

The Tsar, however, had miscalculated. Russia being one of Crete’s Protective Powers, Russian men-of-war had now obtained a long-wanted naval base of theirs in the “heart” of the Eastern Mediterranean. The upshot was that the Tsar was not inclined to give up this palpable, substantial gain for a beau geste in favour of the King of the Hellenes. Were Crete to be united with Greece, certain would be the loss of the Russian naval “facilities” in the island and questionable the attitude of King George in a major European crisis to ensue.

All this was true; but there was another side to the “Cretan Question”, which was overlooked by the Tsar. And this side was the delicate position of the High Commissioner, the Tsar’s protégé. For Prince George’s insular throne was already tottering. The British were by no means disposed to tolerate a Russophile ruler in Crete, and their acolyte, Venizelos, had personal ambitions to gratify, if Prince George were removed. British diplomacy and Venizelos’ ruthlessness were fearsome weapons against the High Commissioner and mutatis mutandis against Russia. But Nicholas II did not grasp the situation.[147]

After the Crimea, Prince George visited England, where he talked with Edward, Prince of Wales, Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace, foreign editor of the London Times and the Marquess of Salisbury, then prime minister of the United Kingdom. All of them turned down the idea of Crete’s annexation to Greece, but approved of the proposition that the ties between the former and the latter be reinforced.[148] The same feelings were expressed to the High Commissioner in Paris, by the President of the French Republic Émile Loubet and the Foreign Minister Théophile Delcassé; and Rome as well, by the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III and Emilio Visconti-Venosta, his minister of Foreign Affairs.[149]

Critical confabulations took place subsequently. But while Prince George, after having talked with the rulers of Europe, hoped that Crete would be annexed at least de facto by Greece, a joint note of the Four Powers was issued on 23 February, 1901 (NS). According to the note, the Prince was “warmly invited” to stay on in his office as High Commissioner,[150] but neither union with Greece nor the strengthening of the ties between Crete and the Kingdom of Greece would be tolerated.

This response to the steps the Prince had taken, in order to meet the desire of him and his Christian subjects, provoked bewilderment on the part of Crete’s Christian population except for Venizelos. He likely expected such a Four Powers’ answer; and, what is more, he termed the regrettable outcome of Prince George’s tour of Europe as the intercession “of the finger of Destiny”.[151]

Why was the sad result of the High Commissioner’s steps regarded by his Councillor for Justice as Destiny’s intervention? Because the island’s union with of Greece, whether formal or de facto, would put the island under the rule of the King of the Hellenes; but, as aforementioned, he was an adherent of the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austro-Hungary. The British, therefore, were by no means ready to replace the Russophile ruler of Crete by his father, supporter of the Habsburgs. And the tool, of course, of such a policy against King George and his namesake son, Powers’ High Commissioner in Crete, would be “democracy”. Venizelos now undertook the task of saving from the “Russian styled” autocracy of the High Commissioner, “in whose veins the blood of Peter the Great run”, the parliamentary system in Crete.[152] Little wonder, therefore, that similar arguments, namely the defense of democracy and the indictment of the Royal House of Greece being prone to authoritarian methods of rule, were to be used again by Venizelos during the First World War.

The gap then between Prince George and his Justice Councillor was obvious and deep. And Venizelos gave publicity to his point of view by means of an interview with the influential Athens paper Acropolis.[153] He did not mince his words: he wanted Crete to be a fully autonomous (i.e. independent) state because in that way the Head of the Executive would be elective.[154] It was obvious that he was aspiring to a régime change in Crete.


Venizelos, nevertheless, was then a member of the administration he wished to abolish. Prince George pretended at first to know nothing of his Councillor’s seditious activity. But finally, most likely on his father’s advice,[155] he dismissed Venizelos on March 18, 1901.[156] Immediately afterwards came the elections for the Cretan Assembly, in which Venizelos did badly. For he was now anathematized by nearly the whole of Crete’s Christian population as the only leading opponent of the island’s union with Greece. The High Commissioner, on the other hand, was justly regarded as the pro-Union champion. As a result, he was idolized by the populace and it was thanks to him that the unionist movement grew to such an extent as to jeopardize the authority of the Four Powers’ Consuls in Crete.

In other words, because of Venizelos’ seditious activity the national sentiment of the island’s Christians was being strengthened more and more – and soon would be out of control. Venizelos was isolated, and trying to make his living once more as a lawyer.[157] For the British to rescue his political career was now of vital importance. Accordingly a new British Consul-General, Esme Howard, arrived at Canea in July,1903. His instructions were clear: Prince George should be removed, but with honour; for he was the “beloved nephew” of the King of England Edward VII.[158] Of course, these instructions were to be meticulously observed.

The new Consul-General of the United Kingdom paved the way for Venizelos and his friends with the assistance of his French and Italian colleagues[159]. On the March 10, 1905, therefore, the leader of the “Cretan liberals” left the Italian Consulate at Canea[160] for Therison, where his followers had gathered.[161] The slogan of the rebellion was well calculated: “Union with Greece” – and, if it were not feasible, the abolition of the autocracy of Prince George.[162] Of course, since union with the Greek Kingdom was for the time being ruled out by Crete’s Four Protective Powers, it was obvious that the rebels’ sole target was Prince George.[163]

The latter was again in a delicate position. The Cretan populace had no sympathy with the rebels;[164] and Koundouros, protagonist of the 1895 revolution, threatened to take his followers into the mountains, in competition with Venizelos.[165] But the latter was well financed[166] and in constant contact with the Consuls of the Four Powers. The very presence of his armed bands near Canea, the island’s capital, was a challenge to High Commissioner’s prestige; for the problem was that Prince George had no means with which to face them. The Cretan Gendarmerie, modeled on the Italian Carabinieri, was still in embryo.[167] What is more, Prince George was forbidden by the Powers’ Consuls at Canea to have a militia formed against the Therison rebels.[168] As a result, only the British, Italian, French, and Russian troops camped out in the island could have scattered the rebellious Therison gathering. The High Commissioner asked, therefore, to “be lent a hand”, but when everything was ready for the Powers’ troops to crush the rebels, the British suddenly declared themselves unwilling to do so. For they did not want the 1900 Peking precedent to be repeated.[169]

In point of fact, the 1900 events in the Chinese capital, viz. the Boxer rebellion, had nothing in common with the 1905 liberals’ gathering at Therison. The argument, nonetheless, was so absurd that no reply could be given. As a result, only Russian troops, in the Rethymnon district, marched with success against the rebels, who were making raids into villages for food;[170] but in other regions of the island, rural economic life was being gravely disturbed because of the impunity the rebels enjoyed.[171]

It was in that way that the summer of 1905 was spent on the island of Crete: the economic ruin of the island in practice was guaranteed. Yet in October, Venizelos, sensitive to cold weather, arranged to be granted an amnesty.[172] For winter is harsh in the Cretan mountains. The Powers’ Consuls subsequently exerted pressure on the High Commissioner, and the latter nolens volens acquiesced. The amnesty was granted and the Therison camp was disbanded in November, 1905. The “comedy”[173] was over.

Henceforth everything would happen contrary to what Prince George hoped. The Consuls grasped the opportunity to have the control over Crete shifted from him to themselves; and accordingly, the Four Protective Powers imposed over Crete an economic control régime.[174] Within the framework of this régime the Consuls were entitled to contact the Councillors of the High Commissioner - thus circumventing him.[175] It was the parliamentary system imposed on Crete; and only humiliations were in store for the Prince.

Be that as it may, the 1906 elections gave Venizelos a minority in the Assembly of Crete. That meant the populace kept regarding him as the foe par excellence of the pro-Union movement and Prince George as its beloved leader. But the latter had had enough. Though the Therison rebellion had met neither military nor political success, Britain’s support which Venizelos enjoyed enabled him to present everything in a light most favourable to him. Prince George, moreover, was having a love affair with the French Princess Marie de Bonaparte, who disliked life in Crete.[176] So, he resigned in September, 1906,[177] and a year later he married Marie. He was to spend the rest of his life in France.[178] As for Venizelos, he posed now as the parliamentary dictator of Crete.

* * *

The outcome of the 1901-1906 turmoil in Crete was a heavy diplomatic defeat that the Russians suffered at the hands of the British. The Russians preferred the short-term advantages given to them thanks to their position as one of the Four of Crete’s Protective Powers. As a result, they only half-heartedly supported Prince George, their tried friend, and finally let him be removed. The British, on the other hand, surmounted everything. They proved to be able to impose Venizelos, their acolyte, as Crete’s strongman – and managed to do so against the manifest feelings of the Christian population of Crete. After Prince George abdicated, they took a step further: they confirmed that the Powers’ High Commissioner in Crete would henceforth be appointed by the King of the Hellenes.[179] Given the fact that King George’s throne had been jeopardized owing to the 1897 Greek defeat by the Ottomans, the British were now able to handle him effectively. For if he proved to be ‘loyal’ to them and prompt to disregard his friendship with the Emperor of Austro-Hungary, they would likely accept Crete’s annexation to Greece as “forthcoming”; if he would not, Cretan affairs would be in a stalemate once more. At the same time, they would be able to open the road for turning Crete into an exclusively British protectorate.

The issue, nonetheless, was to be clouded by the 1909 military coup in Athens and, furthermore, by the beginning of the First Balkan War. Radical changes in the Balkans were in store.

CHAPTER TWO The Maturation of the Wars

An axiom of the British Naval leadership read as follows: “All war is a question of communications. The Power controlling communications holds in the hollow of his hand the Power to whom communications are denied”.[180] It is noteworthy, moreover, that World War I was foreseeable as early as 1900; for the preamble of the German Navy Law, promulgated that very year, was regarded as a declaration of war against Great Britain.[181] It was quite natural, therefore, that, in the framework of the Royal Navy’s planning, only oil-burning ships would be built from 1912 on;[182] and the origin of the First Balkan War is to be found in Britain’s rush for oil.

In 1911, when Winston S. Churchill was appointed to the office of First Lord of the Admiralty, the Royal Navy had already built or was in the process of building 56 destroyers dependent exclusively on oil and 74 submarines powered only by oil. What is more, a proportion of oil was used to spray the coal furnaces of almost all the other ships.[183] Why so? Because immense were the advantages conferred by “liquid fuel” on ships: speed first of all, and capability of being easily re-fueled at sea as well.[184] Oil, nevertheless, was not found in considerable quantities in the British Isles, even though the British had at their disposal the “best steam coil of the world”, safe in the substratum of their own country.[185] In other words, if Britain kept building oil-consuming ships, her naval supremacy would depend on oil.[186] Little wonder therefore that the very beginning of the twentieth century witnessed the commencement of Britain’s rush for petroleum; and the first steps aimed to control the relevant deposits of the Near East.[187]

Thus, on May 28, 1901, the British concluded an agreement with the Shah of Persia, Mozzafar-al-Din Shah Qajar.[188] In point of fact, it was a concession encompassing the whole extent of the Persian Empire. As a result the “Anglo-Persian Oil Company” began to exploit the Iranian substratum. Afterwards, it was the turn of Mesopotamia’s petroleum wealth to be exploited. It is noteworthy that the first oil well was drilled there by the “Turkish Oil Company”: the drilling started as early as 1902.[189] The rich Caucasus deposits were exploited by famous oil-dynasties such as the Rothschild and the Nobel families.[190] As a corollary, only the petroleum in Ottoman territory was ‘available’. Thus, in the first ten years of the twentieth century the Persian Gulf was actually under British control:[191] the disintegration, therefore, of the Ottoman Empire was in sight, and in fact the main British desideratum with regard to the 1914-1918 fighting between Britain and Turkey was the “final recognition and consolidation of… [the British] position in the Persian Gulf”;[192] that meant, first of all, “security…for oil production”.[193]

The decision, of course, of the Ottoman Empire’s dismemberment was taken after the end of the 1877-1878 war between Russia and the Porte; yet the definite resolution was not made until February 1897.[194] The Great European Powers, namely Britain, France, Russia, Austro-Hungary, Germany, and Italy, were in perfect agreement on that.[195] Italy’s share was Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, today’s Libya. Little wonder at that, since Italians were interested in exploiting Libya’s substratum,[196] wherein, in Ancient Times, the existence of oil had been witnessed[197]. The 1911-1912 Italo-Turkish War, nevertheless, proved that Arabs were not impatient to have the Sultan’s rule replaced by one of a European Sovereign[198]. The Balkan Peninsula, therefore -Europe’s powder keg thanks to the irredentist dreams “breaking the hearts” of the Christian populations- was the likeliest place for a new conflict to break out.


In the night of August 14/15, 1909, a military coup was triggered in Athens. It was a peculiar one; for, contrary to the ‘conventional’ way a putsch occurs, no ‘sensitive spots’ of the Greek capital were seized by troops. The garrison of Athens (and some naval officers as well) simply gathered in Goudi, a plain outside Athens,[199] and demanded that reforms be instigated in the machinery of the State.

The coup was organized by the Military League, founded on July 4, 1909.[200] The League was doubtlessly inspired by the Young Turks revolution that took place in Salonika in 1908;[201] yet no ideological affinity is to be found between the two revolts. The Young Turks, in fact, aimed at abolishing the Sultan’s autocracy and radically changing the ethos pervading the Ottoman Empire. The Greek Military League’s target, on the other hand, was the strengthening of the King’s authority; for the Crown’s indifference was regarded as being responsible for parliamentary inertia and apathy. Indeed the “Royal Republic”, viz. the parliamentary system established in Greece in 1875 had stripped the Crown of nearly all of its privileges in the domain of domestic politics. Little wonder, therefore, that the 1897 defeat of the Greek Army by the Ottomans was imputed to the incompetence of the ruling stratum of Greek society that cared solely about its privileges being upheld through the operating of the parliamentary government. The King had to intervene between Parliament, the Armed Forces and the populace, for a national consensus to be achieved. It was more than ever necessary for revenge to be taken on the Turks; or else there would be no room for Greek national self-respect.


[1] Most likely on the 11th of that month and year – according to the Old Style, i.e. the 24th in the Gregorian. See A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete” in Paschalis M. Kitromilidis (ed.), Eleftherios Venizelos. The Trials of Statemanship (Edinburgh University Press, 20082 ), p. 39.

[2] There are people in Crete who still remember her as Maria.

[3] AYE, 1843, 49/1, “Greek Subjects in Canea”; annex to the despatch No. 53 of Stylianos Peroglou, Greek consul at Canea, to Iakōvos Rhizos-Neroulos, Foreign Minister of Greece, Canea, 15/27 December, 1842.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Syra is a municipality on Syros island, dwelled chiefly by autochthonous people of Roman Catholic faith. Hermoupolis, on the other hand, the capital of island, has a population of immigrants, originated from the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea, who are members of the Greek Orthodox Church. With regard to Hermoupolis (= the city of Hermes), see D. Michalopoulos, Vie politique en Grèce pendant les années 1862-1869 (University of Athens/Saripoleion, 1981), p. 32ff. passim.

[9] AYE, 1843, 49/1, “Greek Subjects in Canea”; annex to the despatch No. 53 of S. Peroglou, Greek consul at Canea, to the Foreign Minister of Greece, Canea, 15/27 December 1842.

[10] In the southern Peloponnese.

[11] One of the Ionian Islands, offshore the southern Peloponnese.

[12] Selinon is an area in south-western Crete.

[13] The letter was published in toto by Nik. V. Tōmadakēs, Ho Venizelos ephēvos (= The Puberty of Venizelos), Athens: Kydōnia, 1964, pp. 22 and partially by Lilē Makrakē, in Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910. Hē diaplasē henos ethnikou hēgetē (=Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910). The Forming of a National Leader), Athens: Educational Foundation of the National Bank of Greece, 1992, p. 100. A –partial- English translation is to be found in A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete…”, p. 37; and also in Andrew Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos. The Peace Conferences of 1919-1923 and their Aftermath (London: Haus Publishing, 2010), p. 4.

[14] Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910…, p. 101.

[15] Some typical cases: C. Kerofilas, Eleftherios Venizelos. His Life and Work (London: John Murray, 1915), p. 4; N. V. Tōmadakēs, Ho Venizelos ephēvos, p. 27; Sp. V. Markezinēs, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados, 1828-1964 (= Political History of Modern Greece, 1828-1864), vol. II (Athens: Papyros, 1966), pp. 286-286; Constantin Iordan, Venizelos şi Românii (Bucharest: Omonia, 20102), p. 11; Charles Personnaz, Venizélos, le fondateur de la Grèce moderne (Paris: Bernard Giovangeli, 2008), p. 35.

[16] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos, p. 4; Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos, plastourgos Historias (= Eleutherios Venizelos, Maker of History), Athens, 19772, p. 5.

[17] Lilē Makrakē, Eleftherios Venizelos, 1864-1910…, p. 101.

[18] Kōnstantinos Paparrhēgopoulos, Historia tou Hellēnikou Ethnous (= A History of the Hellenic Nation), book XV (Athens: Galaxias, 1971 [first edition in 1860-1874]), p. 71.

[19] No wonder that the “bronze medal” was never found. Only the wording of the diploma –allegedly- accompanying the medal was published in a pro-government Athens newspaper in 1912, i.e. when Eleutherios Venizelos was an all-powerful Prime Minister. (Lilē Makrakē, Eleftherios Venizelos, 1864-1910…, p. 106 [note 6].) Still, the mere wording of such a document cannot be regarded as “evidence”.

[20] AYE, 1843. 49/1, S. Peroglou to the Foreign Minister of Greece, No. 53, Canea, 15/27 December 1842; Sinan Kuneralp [ed.], Ottoman Diplomatic Documents on the Eastern Question. The Cretan Uprising, 1866-1869, Part 1 (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2010), doc. 383 Fuad Pasha, Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Ottoman representatives abroad, Constantinople, March 20, 1867, p. 335.

[21] That means the network of privileges that citizens of Christian countries enjoyed in Turkey. Greece was involved in the Capitulations system. See S. Kuneralp (ed.), Ottoman Diplomatic Documents on the Origins of World War One. The Turco-Italian War, 1911-1912 (Istanbul : The Isis Press, 2011), doc. 1593: Osman Nizami Pasha, Ottoman Ambassador in Berlin, to Assim Bey, Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, June 17, 1912, p. 272.

[22] According to Ottoman authorities, by 1866 40,000 Greek citizens were established in Ottoman territory. (S. Kuneralp, The Cretan Uprising, 1866-1869, 1, doc. 129: Photiades Bey, Ottoman minister at Athens, to Aali Pasha, Grand Vizier and Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, Athens, October 17 , 1866, p. 123.)

[23] AYE, 1839, 49 (2-3), the Greek consul at Salonika to the Foreign Ministry of Greece, No. 91, Salonika, March 30, 1839; M. Soutsos, Greek consul in Epirus and Albania, to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 237, Preveza, September 20, 1839.

[24] See Stanford J. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol. I (Oxford University Press, 1978 [reprinted]), p. 120.

[25] AYE, 1865, 49/2b, the Secretary of the Greek Consulate at Canea to the Greek Legation at Constantinople, No. 290, Canea, May 20, 1965.

[26] AYE, 1865, 98/5b, the Foreign Minister of Greece to P. Delēgiannēs, Greek minister at Constantinople, No. 2837, Athens, June 9, 1865. See also Sinan Kuneralp (ed.), Ottoman Diplomatic Documents on “the Eastern Question”. The Cretan Uprising, 1866-1869, Part 2 (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2010), doc. 1360: Safvet Pasha, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Ottoman representatives abroad, Constantinople, January 5, 1869, p. 509.

[27] AYE, 1865, 49/2b, the Secretary of the Greek Consulate at Canea to the Greek Legation at Constantinople, No. 290, Canea, May 20, 1865.

[28] Ibid.

[29] It is not yet sure whether he met Stylianē in Therison or (according to a local tradition) in Mournies, a village on the edge of Canea. See A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career…”, p. 37.

[30] Ibid., pp. 37-38.

[31] Vernacular variant of the Christian name Ioannēs (= John).

[32] A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete”, p. 38; Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 8.

[33] S. Kuneralp, The Cretan Uprising, 1866-1869, 2, doc. 1533: Hayder Effendi, Ottoman Ambassador in Vienna, to Aali Pasha, Vienna, March 25, 1869, p. 630. With regard to the Greek subjects in Crete: ibid., doc. 1377: Conemenos Bey, Ottoman chargé d’affaires at Saint Petersburg, to Safvet Pasha, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saint Petersburg, 26 December/7 January 1869, p. 521. Especially as far as Greek subjects in Ottoman territory were concerned, see doc. 1360, Safvet Pasha to the Ottoman representatives abroad, Constantinople, January 5, 1869, p. 509, which, among others, reads as follows: Sont considérés de vrais sujets hellènes ceux qui sont issus de parents sujets hellènes ou ceux qui ont acquis cette nationalité en vertu du protocole de Londres. Pour les individus de cette [dernière] catégorie, le Gouvernement Impérial avisera à l’expulsion de ceux qu’il voudrait plus permettre le séjour dans l’Empire.

[34] Odyseas Dēmētrakopoulos, “Dyo Othomanika Engrapha gia ton Patera tou Venizelou” (= Two ottoman documents concerning Venizelos’ father”, Meletēmata gyrō apo ton Venizelo kai tēn epochē tou (= Essays on Venizelos and his Era). Edited by Thanos Veremēs and Odyseas Dēmētrakopoulos (Athens : Philippotēs, 1980), p. 705.

[35] A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete”, p. 37.

[36] O. Dēmētrakopoulos, “Dyo othōmanika engrapha gia ton patera tou Venizelou”, pp. 704, 706

[37] EVP, Ι/2/1, Kyriakos Venizelos to Markos Rhenierēs, Canea, November 27th, 1877; Manousos Koundouros, Historikai kai diplōmatikai apokalypseis,1890-1923. (= Historical and Diplomatic Disclosures. Historical Events, 1890-1923). Edited by Charikleia G. Dēmakopoulou and Eleutherios Skiadas (Athens: ELIA, 19972) , p. 329.

[38] Ephēmeris tēs Kyvernēseos tou Vasileiou tēs Hellados (= Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Greece], No. 44 [September 24,1858), p. 288.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Stanford J. Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol. II (Cambridge University Press, 1978), p. 87ff.

[41] Giannēs Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos. Hē agnōstē zōē tou (= The Unknown Life of Eleutherios Venizelos), Athens: Gnōsē, 1985), p. 52.

[42] M. Koundouros, Historikai kai diplōmatikai apokalypseis. Historika gegonota…, pp. 329-330.

[43] The case of people coming into Greece and opting for Greek citizenship was foreseen by the Greek government as early as the 1st of January, 1822. (Prosōrinon Politeuma tēs Hellados [= Provisional Constitution of Greece], First Chapter, art. 5; in Archeia tēs Hellēnikēs Palingenesias [= The Archives of the Regeneration of Greece], vol. I [Athens: The Parliament of Greece, 1971], p. 26.)

[44] Most likely from the words : Beni+Zelis (= Zelis’ son). See Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910 (in Greek), Athens: Educational Foundation of the National Bank of Greece, 1992 , p. 101 (note 8).

[45] M. Koundouros , Historikai kai diplōmatikai apokalypseis …, p. 330.

[46] Memoirs of H.R.H. Prince Christopher of Greece (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1938 [ninth impression]), p. 104; cf. A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career…”, p. 39.

[47] Dēmētrēs Pournaras, Eleutherios Venizelos (= Eleutherios Venizelos), Athens: Eleutheros (no date given), p. 17.

[48] Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 9.

[49] Andrew Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 5.

[50] Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, p. 243.

[51] A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career…”, p. 38.

[52] Lilē Makrakē , Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, p. 110.

[53] Steph. I. Stephanou , Eleutherios Venizelos …, p. 12.

[54] In 1920 his father’s name was “Geōrgios” and that of his mother “Despoina”. See Herbert Adams Gibbons, Venizelos (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920), p. 1.

[55] Daily paper Hē Kathēmerinē (= The Daily [Athens]), March 19, 1936. (In Ho thanatos tou Venizelou ston athēnaïko typo [= Venizelos’ Death in the newspapers of Athens]. Edited by Helenē Gardika-Katsiadakē (Canea: “Eleutherios Venizelos” National Foundation, 2004), p. 472.

[56] G. Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos..., pp. 54-55.

[57] Memoirs of… Prince Christopher of Greece, p. 104; cf. Thomas Ath. Vaïdēs , Eleutherios Venizelos (in Greek), Athens: Patris, 1934, p. 60.

[58] Andreas Th. Drakakēs, T’agnōsta chronia. Ho Eleutherios Venizelos stē Syro (= The Obscure Years. Eleutherios Venizelos on Syros Island), Athens, 1985, p. 15.

[59] Ibid. , p. 9.

[60] Ibid. , p. 41.

[61] Ibid. , p. 45.

[62] Ibid.

[63] EVP, I/3/1: His certificate from the Royal “Gymnasium” at Hermoupolis.

[64] He died in 1896 on Melos island almost simultaneously with his mother. (Helenē Dalampira, Ho tafos tēs Stylianēs Venizelou stē Mēlo (= The grave of Stylianē Venizelos on Melos island), Athens 1992, pp. 12, 16.

[65] A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete…”, p. 42.

[66] EVP, I/3/ 2: Receipt of payment of his enrollment fees.

[67] Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos …, p. 13.

[68] Archipelago= The Aegean Sea.

[69] Miranta Staurinou, Hē anglikē politikē kai to Krētiko zētēma, 1839-1841 (= British Policy and the Cretan Issue, 1839-1841), Athens: Domos, 1986, pp. 47-48.

[70] And French occupation of Egypt. (Ibid. , p. 47.)

[71] Ibid. , p. 49.

[72] Athanase G. Politis, Les rapports de la Grèce et de l’Égypte pendant le règne de Mohamed Aly (1833-1849), Rome : Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato per la Reale Società di Geografia d’Egitto, 1935, p.XVff.

[73] Thanks to the 1840 London Treaty (Ibid. , p. XCI).

[74] Athanase G. Politis, Le conflit turco-égyptien de 1838-1841 et les dernières années du règne de Mohamed Aly d’après les documents diplomatiques grecs (Cairo: Société royale de géographie d’Égypte, 1931), doc.83, S. Peroglou, Greek consul at Canea, to the Foreign Ministry, Athens, Canea, 6/18 April 1840, p. 100.

[75] Ibid. , doc. 13, S. Peroglou to C. Zographos, Foreign Minister, Canea, April 25/May 7, 1838, p. 16 ; cf. idem, Les rapports de la Grèce et de l’Égypte…, p. LXVI. During the 1866-1869 uprising in Crete, the Moslems numbered 90,000 according to the Sublime Porte but only 40,000 according to the Russian Chancellery. (S. Kuneralp, The Cretan Uprising, 1866-1869, 1, doc. 239: Aali Pasha to Musurus Bey, Ottoman Ambassador in London, Constantinople, January 16,1867, p. 201; doc. 258 : Conemenos Bey to Fuad Pasha, Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saint Petersburg, February 14, 1867 p. 254.)

[76] See Athanasios Th. Phōtopoulos (ed.), Theodōrou Rhigopoulou, grammateōs tōn Kolokotrōnaiōn, Apomnēmoneumata (= The Memoirs of Theodōros Rhigopoulos, Secretary of Kolokotrōnēs family), Athens, 1979, p. 196. It was a very peculiar situation, literally unique in the Balkans. The Cretan Orthodox Christians had invited the Turks to occupy Crete in 1645 and after the Ottoman occupation of the island was confirmed, they tolerated the famous “temporary marriages”. Ipso facto, Moslems were entitled to have sexual relations with Christian women for a determined period of time. Thereafter these Christian women were free to marry (permanently) their fellow Christians. Nonetheless, the children of those mixed, temporary connexions remained in the family of their Moslem father; and of course the offspring of the women’s second marriage were the uterine brothers and sisters of the siblings their mother had with her first –Moslem- husband. (V. Bérard, Krē ti kes Hypotheseis [=Cretan Affairs) . Translated into Greek by G. Moraglēs [Athens: Trochalia, no date given] , pp. 79, 84.)

[77] Miranta Staurinou, Hē anglikē politikē kai to Krētiko zētēma, 1839-1841…, p. 13

[78] D. Michalopoulos, Vie politique en Gr èce pendant les années 1862-1869 (Athens : Saripoleion/University of Athens), pp. 163-165, 197.

[79] Variant of the Christian name Aikaterinē (=Catherine).

[80] On the Mētsotakēs family: AYE, 1843, 49/1, “Greek Subjects in Canea” annex to the despatch No. 53 of S. Peroglou to I. Rhizos-Neroulos, Canea, 15/27 December, 1842. Also: G. Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 58; A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete…”, p. 49.

[81] Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos …, op. cit., p. 14. In the meantime he met at Athens, in November 1886, the British liberal politician Joseph Chamberlain. It was in his capacity as a member of a Cretan students’ delegation. (See A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, pp. 9-11.)

[82] G. Manōlikakēs , Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 61.

[83] Ibid. , pp. 61-62.

[84] EVP, I/4/1-9; I/5/1; I/6/1-2.

[85] Panagiōtēs Danklēs, Anamnēseis-Engrapha-Allēlographia-To archeio tou (= Memoirs-Documents-Correspondence-his Archives). Edited by X. Leukoparidēs, vol. I (Athens: Vagiōnakēs, 1965), p. 217.

[86] G. Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos…, pp. 62-63.

[87] Ibid. , p. 62.

[88] Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, pp.460-461.

[89] Leuka Orē = White Mountains.

[90] G. Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos…, pp. 77-78; Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, pp. 194-195.

[91] As far as his post-1888 legal activities are concerned : EVP, I/8/1-16; I/9/1-17.

[92] Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, p. 229.

[93] Eleutherios K. Venizelos, Hē Krētikē Epanastasē tou 1889 (= The 1889 Revolution in Crete). Edited by Giannēs G. Manōlikakēs, Athens, 1971, p. 50.

[94] Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, p. 247.

[95] Ibid., 246.

[96] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p.13.

[97] AYE, 1889, A/12, the Greek Consul General at Canea, to Stephanos Dragoumēs, Foreign Minister of Greece, Canea, October 9th, 1889.

[98] G. Manōlikakēs , Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 82ff.

[99] Lilē Makrakē, Eleutherios Venizelos, 1864-1910, p. 175.

[100] Ibid. , p. 85.

[101] E. Venizelos, Hē Krētikē Epanastasē tou 1889, p. 48.

[102] Ibid. , p. 58ff.

[103] EVP, Ι/2/1, Kyriakos Venizelos to Markos Rhenierēs, Canea, November 27, 1877.

[104] G. Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 102.

[105] Ibid., p. 103-105.

[106] Cf. Ibid., pp. 121-123.

[107] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 14,

[108] Cf. A. Lilly Macrakis, “Venizelos’ Early Life and Political Career in Crete”, p. 79 (note 46).

[109] Ibid. .

[110] M. Koundouros, Historikai kai diplōmatikai apokalypseis…, pp. 63-65.

[111] Ibid. , p. 91.

[112] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 14.

[113] M. Koundouros, Historikai kai diplōmatikai apokalypseis…, op. cit., pp. 94-95; cf. A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 15.

[114] Maria Tsirimonakē, En Rethymnō ( = In Rethymnon), Rethymnon, 19982 , σ. 32.

[115] Helenē Dalampira, Ho tafos tēs Stylianēs Venizelou stē Mēlo, pp. 12, 16.

[116] G. Manōlikakēs, Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 106.

[117] EVP, I/12/1-55; I/14/3-18; I/15/1-31; I/16/1-4.

[118] Édouard Driault and Michel Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce de 1821 à nos jours, vol. IV (Paris : Les Presses Universitaires de France, 1926), p. 345.

[119] Dr. C. Kerofilas, Eleftherios Vénselos, pp. 18-19.

[120] EVP, I/17/1. The letter (better: a declaration) was signed, on the 28th of January, 1897, by his new and old political friends as well.

[121] King Otho was “King of Greece”.

[122] Cf. Prince Nicholas of Greece, Ta penēnta chronia tēs zōēs mou (= The fifty years of my life), Athens: Greca, 1926, p. 25.

[123] D. Michalopoulos, Vie politique en Grèce…, p. 165.

[124] Ibid.,

[125] He was merely 17 years old, when arrived in Athens, in October 1863.

[126] D. Michalopoulos, Vie politique en Grèce…, p. 73ff.

[127] Ibid. , p. 166ff.

[128] Prince Nicholas of Greece, Ta penēnta chronia tēs zōēs mou, pp. 96-98.

[129] Paulos V. Petridēs, Xenikē exartēsē kai ethnikē politikē, 1910-1918 (= Greece’s dependence on foreign Powers and [her] national policy, 1910-1918), Salonika: Paratērētēs, 1981, p.286ff. passim.

[130] Ibid. , p. 286.

[131] Sp. V. Markezinēs, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados…, II, p. 351.

[132] Daily paper Patris (= Fatherland), No. 6008 (September 15, 1910); cf. É. Driault and M. Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce de 1821 à nos jours, vol. V (Paris : Presses Universitaires de France, 1926) , p. 332.

[133] Prince Nicholas of Greece, Ta penēnta chronia tēs zōēs mou, pp. 123-125.

[134] Geōrgios Aspreas, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados (= Political History of Modern Greece) , vol. I, part II (Athens: Chrēsima Vivlia, no date given [second edition] , pp. 243, 283; É. Driault and M. Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce…, IV, pp. 442-466.

[135] É. Driault and M. Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce…, IV, pp. 450ff.

[136] Ibid., p. 466.

[137] Cf. P. Danklēs, Anamnēseis-Engrapha-Allēlographia-To archeio tou, I, p. 221.

[138] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos, p. 22.

[139] Ibid. , p. 21.

[140] Episēmos Ephēmeris tēs Krētikēs Politeias (= Official Gazette of the State of Crete), First Year, I, No. 24 ( April 16, 1899), pp. 41-46.

[141] Sp. V. Markezinēs, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados…, II, p. 353.

[142] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 21. According to certain sources, nonetheless, this verbal conflict took place somewhat later, when the High Commissioner was about to start his tour to the Powers’ capitals. See Sp. V. Markezinēs, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados…, II, p. 29.

[143] Episēmos Ephēmeris tēs Krētikēs Politeias, First Year, No. 28 (April 28, 1899), p. 48. The jurisdiction of this very portfolio encompassed foreign affairs as well.

[144] Sp. V. Markezinēs, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados, 1828-1964, vol. III (Athens: Papyros, 1966) , p. 29ff.

[145] Ibid. , p. 38 (note 3).

[146] Ibid. , p. 29.

[147] É. Driault and M. Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce…, IV, pp. 494-495.

[148] Ibid. , pp. 30-31.

[149] Ibid. , p. 31.

[150] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 22.

[151] Sp. V. Markezinēs, Politikē Historia tēs Neōteras Hellados…, III, p. 32.

[152] Ibid. , p. 20.

[153] To be found in toto in the book by I. Ēliakēs, Ho Eleutherios Venizelos ōs dēmosiographos (= Eleutherios Venizelos as journalist), Athens: Dēmētrakos, 1932, p. 18ff.

[154] Ibid. , pp. 22-23.

[155] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 23.

[156] EVP, I/21/1.

[157] EVP, I/22/1-195; I/23/1-95.

[158] Lord Howard of Penrith, Theatre of life: Life seen from the stalls, 1905-1936 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1936), p. 18.

[159] With regard especially to the French and Italian Consuls see Sinan Kuneralp [ed.], Ottoman Diplomatic Documents on the Origins of World War One.The Final Stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913 (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2009), doc. 289: Sadreddin Bey, Ottoman chargé d’affaires at Athens, to Tevfik Pasha, Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, Athens, July 12, 1906, p. 157.

[160] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 26.

[161] Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos…, p. 38.

[162] Ibid. , pp. 38-39.

[163] Les chefs des insurgés ont répondu aux Consuls qu’ils se réservaient de leur faire connaître, dans le délai convenu, leur résolution tout en faisant comprendre que tant que le Prince Georges restera dans l’Île, les insurgés ne déposeront pas les armes. (S. Kuneralp, The Final Stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913, doc. 266: Sadreddin Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, July 16, 1905, p. 143.)

[164] Ibid., doc. 276: Sadreddin Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, September 16, 1905, p. 148.

[165] A. Dalby, Eleftherios Venizelos…, p. 27.

[166] Ibid. , p. 26.

[167] Episēmos Ephēmeris tēs Krētikēs Politeias , I, Eighth Year, No. 51 (16 September, 1906).

[168] S. Kuneralp, The Final Stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913, doc. 278: Sadreddin Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, October 14, 1905, p. 150.

[169] Lord Howard of Penrith, Theatre of life: Life seen from the stalls, 1905-1936 , pp. 24, 35. Cf. S. Kuneralp, The Final Stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913, doc. 226: Musurus Pasha, Ottoman Ambassador in London, to Tevfik Pasha, London, April 2, 1905, p. 126: … les troupes anglaises avaient reçu pour instructions d’assister la gendarmerie de l’Île au rétablissement de l’ordre, tout en s’abstenant d’attaquer les rebelles sur les hauteurs où ils se trouvaient.

[170] S. Kuneralp, The final stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913, doc. 250: Rifaat Bey, Ottoman minister at Athens, to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, June 6, 1905, p. 135; doc. 269: Sadreddin Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, August 9, 1905, p. 144; doc. 271: Sadreddin Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, August 19,1905, p. 145. See also M. Koundouros, Historikai kai diplomatikai apokalypseis…, p. 190.

[171] As far as the impunity is concerned, the Ottoman minister at Athens wrote to the Foreign Minister of the Sublime Porte as follows: Je crains que le retard mis par les troupes internationals à… étouffer [the Therison insurrection] lui donne une plus grande extension tout en créant des sympathies en Europe. (S. Kuneralp, The final stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913, doc. 250: Rifaat Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, April 5, 1905, p. 128.)

[172] Ibid., doc. 282: Sadreddin Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, November 10, 1905, p. 152; Steph. I. Stephanou, Eleutherios Venizelos , p. 39.

[173] S. Kuneralp, The final stage of the Cretan Question, 1899-1913, doc. 251: Rifaat Bey to Tevfik Pasha, Athens, June 20, 1905.

[174] Ibid., doc. 287: Naby Bey, Ottoman minister at Athens, to Tevfik Pasha, Paris, December 21, 1905, p. 156.

[175] Episēmos Ephēmeris tēs Krētikēs Politeias, Eighth Year, I, No. 32 (July 12, 1906), pp. 201-203.

[176] Μ. Koundouros, Historikai kai diplōmatikai apokalypseis…, p. 190.

[177] Episēmos Ephēmeris tēs Krētikēs Politeias , Eighth Year, I, No. 45 (September 2, 1906).

[178] He and his wife became intimate friends of Aristide Briand, who sold to them his house in country. (PA, LG/F/3/14/21.)

[179] Episēmos Ephēmeris tēs Krētikēs Politeias, Eighth Year, I, No. 44 (September 2, 1906).

[180] PA, BL/53/4/3.

[181] “Since the preamble of the German Navy Law of 1900 gave… [to the British] deliberate notice of the intention of Germany to attack England with the object of destroying British Sea Power”. (Ibid.)

[182] W. S. Churchill, The World Crisis, 1911-1918, vol. I (London: Odhams Press [no date given]), p. 102.

[183] Ibid., p. 101.

[184] Ibid., p. 100.

[185] Ibid., p. 101.

[186] Ibid.

[187] Iraq and the Persian Gulf (B.R. 524. Naval Intelligence Division, September 1944), pp. 269-280, 493.

[188] Alain Duret, Moyen-Orient. Crises et enjeux (Paris : Le Monde-Éditions, 1994), p. 192.

[189] Abdul-Mutalib Hasson Al-Marsoumi, “Petroleum Geology of Mesopotamia (general review)”. (Retrieved in http://www.geologyofmesopotamia.com/p57.htm on April 30, 2011.)

[190] Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin (London: Phoenix, 2008), p. 92; Vanessa Martin and Morteza Nouraei, “Foreign Land Holdings in Iran 1828 to 1911”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (April 2011), p.143.

[191] Édouard Driault, La Question d’Orient depuis ses origines jusqu’à la paix de Sèvres (1920), Paris : Félix Alcan, 19218, p. 461.

[192] PA, BL/63/2.

[193] Ibid. Cf. Vanessa Martin and M. Nouraei, “Foreign Land Holdings in Iran 1828 to 1911”, p. 145.

[194] É. Driault, La Question d’Orient…, p. 449ff.

[195] Sinan Kuneralp (ed.), Ottoman Diplomatic Documents on the Origins of World War One. The Turkish-Italian War, 1911-1912, Part 1 (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2011), doc. 115: Tevfik Pasha, Ottoman Ambassador in London, to Hakki Pasha, Grand Vizier and acting Foreign Minister, London, September 22, 1911, p. 112; doc. 119: Reshad Hikmet Bey, Ottoman chargé d’affaires at Vienna, to Hakki Pasha, Vienna, September 23, 1911, p. 114; doc. 211: Seifeddin Bey, Ottoman chargé d’affaires at Rome, to Hakki Pasha, Rome, September 29th, 1911, p. 156; doc. 493: Tevfik Pasha to Assim Bey, Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, London, October 27, 1911, p. 284. And also Part 2 (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2011), doc. 1467: Mavroyeni Bey, Ottoman Ambassador in Vienna, to Assim Bey, Vienna, May 2, 1912, p. 200; doc. 1599: the same to the same, June 22, 1912, p. 276; doc. 1632: Tevfik Pasha to Gabriel Effendi Noradounghian, Ottoman Minister for Foreign Affairs, London, August 1, 1912, p. 302; doc. 837: Tevfik Pasha to Assim Bey, London, November 30, 1911, p. 428; and mainly the doc. 1835: Naby Bey, Ottoman Ambassador in Rome, to Gabriel Effendi Noradounghian, Rome, November 29, 1912, p. 415, where it was mentioned the following: Tout d’abord, il y a lieu de rappeler que la première idée de s’accaparer de nos deux provinces africaines [Tripolitania and Cyrenaica] fut suggérée à l’Italie dès 1882 par l’Angleterre…

[196] Ibid., 1, doc. 266: Saïd Pasha, Grand Vizier and acting Foreign Minister, to Tevfik Pasha, Constantinople, October 2, 1911, p. 178: Affaires d’une mission minéralogique [italienne] envoyée Tripoli. Sur démarche Ambassade [italienne] Sublime Porte [a donné] à Vali ordre autoriser voyage mission qui, ayant déjà terminé ses études, est sur le point de rentrer à Benghazi. And also doc. 109 : Seifeddin Bey to Hakki Pasha, Rome, September 22, p. 108: Je crois inutile de répéter que cette campagne est l’œuvre des journalistes et des politiciens encouragés par quelques institutions financières, le Banco di Roma en tête, et les brasseurs d’affaires. As a matter of fact, Italians had taken interest mainly in Libya’s phosphate deposits ; see doc. 5: Kiazim Bey, Ottoman Ambassador in Rome, to Rifaat Pasha, Ottoman Foreign Minister, Rome, February 17, 1911, p. 27; doc. 14: the same to the same, Rome, March 25, 1911, p. 37.

[197] Herodotus IV, 195. Paradoxical as it may appear, Italians did not exploit Libya’s oil. See Angelo Iachino, Tramonto di una grande Marina (Milano: Mondadori, 19664), p. 41.

[198] T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A Triumph (New York: Doubleday, Doran and Co, 1936), p. 47; S. Kuneralp, The Turkish-Italian War, 1911-1912, 1, doc. 485: Fuad Simavi Bey, Ottoman acting chargé d’affaires at Vienna, to Assim Bey, Vienna, October 26, 1911, p. 280; Turkhan Pasha, Ottoman Ambassador in St Petersburg, to Assim Bey, St Petersburg, October 27, 1911, p. 285; doc. 498: Nihad Raif Bey, Ottoman Consul General at Malta, to Assim Bey, Malta, October 27, 1911. And also Part 2, doc. 1557: Rifaat Pasha, Ottoman Ambassador in Paris, to Assim Bey, Paris, June 6, 1912, p. 252; doc. 1599: Mavroyeni Bey to Assim Bey, Vienna, June 22, 1912, p. 276.

[199] Today incorporated into the major Athens area.

[200] Nikolaos Zormpas, Apomnēmoneumata. Hē epanastasē tou Goudi,1909 (= Memoirs. The Goudi Revolution, 1909), Athens: Metron, 20052, p. 19. Colonel N. Zormpas was the leader of the Military League. See also Pericles I. Argyropoulos, Anamnēseis. To zētēma tou Nautikou, hē exegersē sto Goudi, ho Dichasmos (= Memoirs. The question of the Greek Navy, the Goudi uprising, the [Greek National] Divide). Edited by Dēmētrēs Michalopoulos, Athens: Arsenidēs, 1996, p. 34.

[201] Sir Basil Thomson, The Allied Secret Service in Greece. Translated into Greek by Kōstas Barbēs (Athens: Logothetēs [no date given]), p. 36.

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Upheaval in the Balkans: Venizelos and Politics, 1888-1920
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