Greece enters the war

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Greece enters the war

1917: July 2

On July 2, 1917 Greece declared war on the Central Powers. The move came just weeks after Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos took control of the country following the Allied-forced abidcation of King Constantine I.

Despite pressue from his own pro-Allied government, King Constantine – married to a sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II – had kept the country neutral since the outbreak of war. By the end of 1915, with Allied operations going poorly in Salonika and in the Dardanelles, King Constantine believed Germany had the upper hand. He dismissed Prime Minister Venizelos in October 1915. However, civil war threatened in Greece, as Constantine desperately sought military and financial support from Germany, which he did not receive.

On June 11, 1917, the Allies sent an ultimatum demanding the King’s abdication. On the same day French forces landed troops at Piraeus, disregarding Greek neutrality. The following day, Constantine abdicated in favour of his second son, Alexander, who immediately reinstated Venizelos.

During the war Greece was able to raise ten divisions for the Allies and the Royal Hellenic navy. Over the following 18 months around 5,000 Greek soldiers would go on to die in the conflict.