The abolition of privileges met with strong resistance on the part of the inhabitants. This was particularly intense in Symi and Kalymnos, and resulted in a restricted
participation in the administration. Equally strong and uncompromising was the resistance in
1908-11 against the measures of the Young Turks, who tried to complete the process of abolishing the final privileges, to impose new taxes and to make the Turkish language
and conscription compulsory.
The Greek population of the islands was superior in numbers to the small Muslim minority, which was mostly settled
in Rhodes and Kos, as well as to the small minority of Jews and Europeans in Rhodes.
There were many Greek islanders who emigrated to Greece and Egypt, where they
created prosperous mercantile communities (paroikies), which later contributed to the development
of the islands in the form of donations and other types of patronage.
The inhabitants of the Dodecanese were particularly active in commerce. Sponge-fishing developed in Kalymnos, Symi and Chalki.
Education also developed, thanks to the activity of the Church, the Greeks abroad
and the inhabitants themselves, with the result that many and remarkable schools were established in the islands.
During the Greco-Italian war that broke out in 1911, in which the Italians wished to capture Tripolis and Cyrene, the capture of the Dodecanese
was established by the Italians as a strategy to check the supply of the Turks.
Astypalaia was the first island to be captured in April 1912. At the end of that same
month Rhodes was captured and the other islands followed suit.
Castelorizo was not captured at that point by the Italians, but followed a different
fate. In 1913 a Greek landing took place in the island, without Venizelos' knowledge,
which resulted in the removal of the Turkish garrison and administration.
Venizelos demanded the withdrawal of the Greek force and the notables in charge of
administration. A raid against the island by Turko-cretans from the coast of Asia Minor
compelled Greece to dispatch a naval squadron from the Ionian Sea to protect
the inhabitants. A Greek governor then settled in the island until 1915, when
it was captured by the French, who kept it until 1921, when it was surrendered
to the Italians.
The Italian occupation was presented to the inhabitants as a temporary measure
in the context of the Italo-Turkish war. The occupation was agreed upon after the Treaty of Ouchy in Switzerland in 1912, and thus gained official
status on the eve of the First World War. In the secret negotiations of
between the Entente and Italy (in order for the latter to enter the war on the side of the Entente), the Italian occupation of the island was a means of exerting pressure during negotiations (Secret Treaty of London, 1915).
The Memorandum of Venizelos on 17/30 December 1918 included a clause relating to the Dodecanese
islands. The Italians were opposed, but Venizelos curbed their objections and the
5th article of the Venizelos-Tittoni Agreement (29 July 1919) ceded the islands
to Greece with the exclusion of Rhodes, which acquired autonomy. The
agreement was ratified by the Paris Peace Conference in 1920. Italy tried
to go back on the issue of the Dodecanese, referring to Greek presence
in Asia Minor, but under pressure
from the other Great Powers she once again ceded the Dodecanese
to Greece with a separate Greco-Italian treaty signed along with the Treaty of Sevres.
After the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the imposition of fascism in Italy the tide turned
once more. In September 1922 Mussolini's Italy condemned the agreement,
but with the Treaty of Lausanne Greece's rule over the Dodecanese
was internationally recognized.
This was the first period of Italian occupation of the Dodecanese (1912-23).
The second and harsher followed from 1923 to 1943. The final incorporation of the
Dodecanese into the Greek state occurred as late as 1947.