Hellenic Republic
Ἑλληνικὴ Δημοκρατία
1924–1935
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto
Ελευθερία ή θάνατος
"Freedom of Death"
Anthem
Ύμνος εις την Ελευθερίαν
"Hymn to Liberty"
Location of the Hellenic Republic (1935) in Europe.
Capital Athens
Languages Greek
Religion Greek Orthodoxy
Government Parliamentary republic
President
 •  1924–1926 Pavlos
Kountouriotis
(first)
 •  1929–1935 Alexandros
Zaimis
(last)
Prime Minister
 •  1924 Alexandros
Papanastasiou
(first)
 •  1933–1935 Panagis Tsaldaris (last)
Legislature Parliament
 •  Upper house Senate
 •  Lower house Chamber of Deputies
History
 •  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
 •  Kondylis coup 10 October 1935
 •  Referendum (monarchy) 3 November 1935
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece

The Second Hellenic Republic (Greek: Βʹ Ελληνική Δημοκρατία) is the modern historiographical term for the political regime of Greece between 24 March 1924 and 10 October 1935, which at the time was simply known as the Hellenic Republic. It followed from the period of the constitutional monarchy under 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.

History[edit | edit source]

File:Demonstration for the declaration of the Greek Republic - 1924.jpg

Proclamation of the Second Hellenic Republic. Crowds holding placards depicting Alexandros Papanastasiou, Georgios Kondylis and Alexandros Hatzikyriakos

In 1922 members of the Entente Powers met with the Turks in Paris, Greece had hoped to join the conference to regain their islands in the Aegean Sea. However the Entente's dislike of the pro-German King Constantine I led to Greece being excluded, the army revolted against the royal government. Under Venizelist officers like Nikolaos Plastiras and Stylianos Gonatas, King Constantine I was forced to abdicate for a second time, 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 Second Republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924. 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 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.

The first President of the Hellenic Republic was Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, a supporter of Venizelos who resigned after a coup d'état 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 the monarchy in 1935.

Despite a period of stability and sense of well-being under the government of Eleftherios Venizelos in 4 July 1928 – 6 March 1933, the effects of the Great Depression were severely felt, and political instability returned. As the prospect of the return of the monarchy became more likely, Venizelist officers launched a coup in March 1935, which was suppressed by General Georgios Kondylis. On 10 October 1935, the chiefs of the Armed Forces overthrew the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and forced President Zaimis to appoint Kondylis prime minister in his place. Later that day, Kondylis forced Zaimis himself to resign, declared himself regent and abolished the republic. A heavily rigged plebiscite occurred on 3 November which resulted in an implausible 98% supporting the return of the monarchy. King George II returned to Athens on 23 November, with Kondylis as prime minister.

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