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King Constantine of Greece

King Constantine of Greece in military uniform.
Text:
König Konstantin von Griechenland
(König der Hellenen).
King Constantine of Greece
(King of the Hellenes).
4710
Logo: NPG
Orig.-Augn. von E. Bieber
Hofphot., Berlin V.
Original photo by E. Bieber
Hofphot., Berlin W.

King Constantine of Greece in military uniform.

Image text

König Konstantin von Griechenland

(König der Hellenen).



King Constantine of Greece

(King of the Hellenes).



4710

Logo: NPG



Orig.-Augn. von E. Bieber

Hofphot., Berlin V.



Original photo by E. Bieber

Hofphot., Berlin W.

Other views: Larger

Constantine became King of Greece in 1913 on the assassination of his father. Educated in Germany, and married to the sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Constantine was pro-German and at odds with his Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos.

With the failure of the Allied invasion of Gallipoli, Easterners sought another front from which to attack Turkey, and were drawn to the Greek port of Salonica. Their interest spiked when Bulgaria mobilized. Claiming to have been invited by Venezelos, Britain and France each rushed one division from Gallipoli. These 13,000 troops landed at Salonica on October 5, 1915.

On October 7, Constantine refused to assist Serbia leading Venizelos to resign.

Greece became divided between royalist and revolutionary groups, the former more heavily represented in mainland Greece, the latter in the lands conquered in the Balkan Wars. In late September, 1916, Venizelos proclaimed a Provisional Government of Macedonia.

The two sides clashed in November in Katerina, where revolutionary troops drove a royalist garrison from the city.

One month later, the Allies demanded Constantine turn over war materiel to prevent it falling into the hands of the Central Powers. When Greece failed to comply, Allied forces advanced on Athens where they were fired upon before returning fire. In the exchange, 47 Allied soldiers and 27 Greeks were killed.

The idea of removing a monarch was abhorrent to the autocrat Tsar Nicholas of Russia, but with his compelled abdication in the Russian Revolution, Constantine lost much of his protection.

With the threats of civil war and further Allied action, and with French troops holding Athens, Constantine was forced to abdicate on June 11, 1917. He went into exile in Switzerland three days later.

Greece

Roles held by King Constantine of Greece

Role Start Date End Date
Head of State