Venizelos, Eleutherios

Venizelos, Eleutherios

(ĕlĕfthâr`yôs vĕnēzĕ`lôs), 1864–1936, Greek statesman, b. Crete. After studying at the Univ. of Athens, he returned to CreteCrete
, Gr. Kríti, island (1991 pop. 539,938), c.3,235 sq mi (8,380 sq km), SE Greece, in the E Mediterranean Sea, c.60 mi (100 km) from the Greek mainland. The largest of the Greek islands, it extends c.
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 and played a prominent part in the Cretan insurrection of 1896–97. In 1905 he led the Cretan assembly to declare the union of Crete with Greece; this union actually was not completed until 1913. In 1909 he was called to Athens by the members of the so-called Military League, who wanted political reform, and immediately won an extraordinary popular following. During his first term as Greek premier (1910–15), Venizelos completed the revision of the constitution (1911), undertook military and financial reform, and led Greece through the Balkan WarsBalkan Wars,
1912–13, two short wars, fought for the possession of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. The outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War for the possession of Tripoli (1911) encouraged the Balkan states to increase their territory at Turkish expense.
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 (1912–13), in which its territory and population were approximately doubled. After the outbreak of World War I he strongly favored the Allied cause, and pro-German King Constantine IConstantine I,
1868–1923, king of the Hellenes, eldest son of George I, whom he succeeded in 1913. Married to Sophia, sister of the German emperor William II, he opposed the pro-Allied policy of the Greek premier, Eleutherios Venizelos, and was forced to abdicate in 1917
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 forced him to resign (Mar., 1915). An electoral victory made Venizelos premier again in August, but when the Allies landed forces at Thessaloníki (see Salonica campaignsSalonica campaigns.
In the summer of 1915, Bulgaria entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers; in September, Bulgaria attacked Serbia. An Allied expeditionary force that landed at Salonica in an effort to aid Serbia attempted to join forces with the Serbians but was
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), Constantine again compelled his resignation (Oct., 1915). In 1916 Venizelos established a provisional government at Thessaloníki, which declared war on Germany and Bulgaria, and in 1917, on Constantine's abdication, he became premier for the third time. Greece fully entered the war on the Allied side, and Venizelos won major territorial concessions for it (in Thrace and Asia Minor) at the Paris Peace Conference. A war-weary population rejected his party in the Nov., 1920, elections, and King Constantine was restored. The catastrophic Greek defeat in the war with Turkey (Sept., 1922) caused Constantine to abdicate, and Venizelos became (1924) premier after an overwhelming electoral victory. Soon afterward a plebiscite declared Greece a republic. Having fallen out with the military leaders, Venizelos retired from office even before the plebiscite took place. After several years of political chaos, he was recalled (1928) to the premiership. Venizelos, now elderly, tended to govern less effectively and idealistically than before. Nevertheless, he carried out a major program of economic modernization and educational reform between 1928 and 1932. He also completed the settlement of the 1.2 million refugees who had inundated Greece after the 1922 Asia Minor disaster. His foreign policy was also notable; he secured rapprochements with Italy (1928), Yugoslavia (1929), and Turkey (1930). Growing royalist opposition forced his resignation in 1932; he returned to power briefly in 1933. Fearing the restoration of the monarchy, Venizelos joined a last desperate attempt at stemming the royalist tide by armed uprisings (1935) in Athens, Macedonia, and Crete. Crete held out longest against the government forces, but the rebellion was soon put down by General KondylisKondylis, George
, 1879–1936, Greek general and statesman. He fought in the Balkan Wars and at Salonica in World War I. Entering politics in the turbulent postwar years, he served (1924–25) as minister of war and of the interior in the republican government.
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. Venizelos fled to France, where he died. He is generally regarded as the greatest Greek statesman of modern times.

Venizelos, Eleutherios

 

Born Aug. 23, 1864; died Mar. 18, 1936, in Paris. Greek statesman and politician.

In 1910, Venizelos founded and became the leader of the bourgeois Liberal Party of Greece. He was premier from 1910 to 1915, 1917 to 1920, in 1924, from 1928 to 1932 and in 1933. He participated in the creation of the Balkan League of 1912. As the result of the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, he was able to unite to Greece the island of Crete, Aegean Macedonia, Western Thrace, and other territories. On June 29, 1917, he announced that Greece was entering the war on the side of the Entente. He involved Greece in anti-Soviet intervention from January to April 1919 and in predatory war against Turkey from 1919 to 1922. In view of the growing authority of the USSR and in order to strengthen his position in the country, he concluded a Soviet-Greek agreement on trade and navigation on June 11, 1929, and opposed attempts to restore the monarchy, which had been abolished in 1924. He inspired an antimonarchist uprising in Crete in March 1935, which was put down by the promonarchist government. Sentenced to exile, he escaped abroad.

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