Second Hellenic Republic

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Hellenic Republic
Ἑλληνικὴ Δημοκρατία
Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía

1924–1935
Flag Coat of arms
Motto
"Eleftheria i Thanatos"
Ελευθερία ή θάνατος
"Freedom or Death"
Anthem
Ýmnos is tin Eleftherían
Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν
Hymn to Freedom
Location of the Hellenic Republic (1935) in Europe.
Capital Athens
Languages Greek
Religion Greek Orthodoxy
Government Parliamentary republic
President
 -  1924–1926 Pavlos Kountouriotis
 -  1926 Theodoros Pangalos
 -  1926–1929 Pavlos Kountouriotis
 -  1929–1935 Alexandros Zaimis
Prime Minister
 -  1924 (first) A. Papanastasiou
 -  1933–1935 (last) Panagis Tsaldaris
Legislature Parliament
 -  Upper Chamber Senate
 -  Lower Chamber Chamber of Deputies
Historical era Interwar period
 -  Republic proclaimed 25 March 1924
 -  Referendum (republic) 13 April 1924
 -  Pangalos dictatorship 24 June 1925
 -  Venizelos election victory 5 July 1928
 -  Venizelist coup attempt March 1935
 -  Referendum (monarchy) 11 November 1935
 -  4th of August Regime 4 August 1936
Currency Drachma
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Part of a map of the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent regions by William Faden, March 1785
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The Second Hellenic Republic (Ancient Greek: Ἑλληνικὴ Δημοκρατία Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía) was the political regime of Greece between 1924 and 1935. It followed from the period of the constitutional monarchy under the monarchs of the House of Glücksburg, and lasted until its overthrow in a military coup d'état which restored the monarchy. The Second Republic marks the second period in modern Greek history where Greece was not headed by a king, with the assemblies and provisional governments of the Greek Revolution being regarded as the First Republic.

The Second Republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924, in the aftermath of Greece's defeat by Turkey in the Asia Minor Campaign, which was widely blamed on the royalist government. During its brief existence, the Second Republic proved unstable. Greek society continued to be divided, as it was since the National Schism, between the pro-Republican Venizelists and the monarchists represented by the People's Party, who refused to acknowledge even the legitimacy of the Republic.

The cleavage in society extended to cultural and social issues such as differences over the use of Greek language to architectural styles. To this polarization was added the destabilizing involvement of the military in politics which resulted in several coups and attempted coups. The economy was in ruins following a decade of warfare and was unable to support the 1.5 million refugees from the population exchange with Turkey.

Despite the efforts of the reformist government of Eleftherios Venizelos in 1928-1932, the Great Depression had disastrous impact on Greece's economy. The electoral victory of the People's Party in 1933, and two failed Venizelist coups, paved the way to the restoration of the reign of King George II.

History[edit]

After the defeat of Greece by the Turkish National Movement (the "Asia Minor Disaster") of 1922, the defeated army revolted against the royal government. Under Venizelist officers like Nikolaos Plastiras and Stylianos Gonatas, King Constantine I was again forced to abdicate, and died in exile in 1923. His eldest son and successor, King George II, was soon after asked by the parliament to leave Greece so the nation could decide what form of government it should adopt. In a 1924 plebiscite, Greeks voted to create a republic. These events marked the culmination of a process that had begun in 1915 between King Constantine and his political nemesis, Eleftherios Venizelos.

The first President of the Hellenic Republic was Pavlos Kountouriotis, an Admiral and supporter of Venizelos who resigned after a coup d'etat in 1925. He was succeeded by the coup's leader General Theodoros Pangalos, who was likewise deposed by the military five months later after embroiling Greece in the War of the Stray Dog. Kountouriotis was reinstated and reelected to the office in 1929, but was forced to resign for health reasons later that year. He was succeeded by Alexandros Zaimis, who served until the restoration of monarchy in 1935.

Despite a period of stability and sense of well-being under the last government of Eleftherios Venizelos in 1928-1932, the effects of the Great Depression were severely felt, and political instability returned. As the prospect of the return of the monarchy became evident, Venizelist officers launched a coup in March 1935, which was suppressed by General Georgios Kondylis. On October 10, 1935, the chiefs of the Armed Forces overthrew the government of Panagis Tsaldaris, and Kondylis declared himself regent. He abolished the republic and conducted a plebiscite on 3 November which resulted in return of the monarchy, in the person of King George II.

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