The role of the army

The army functioned as a catalyst during the inter-war period, and with its systematic interventions often turned the flow of socio-political developments in various ways. However, this extra-institutional intervention occurred with the tolerance, the consent or even at the instigation of the main blocs (Republicans and Royalists), who would seek to take advantage of such agitations that sometimes took the form of a coup and sometimes that of covert pressure. A number of superior army officers played a crucial role in these interventions. Some of them, such as Nikolaos Plastiras, remained constantly on the side of the Venizelists while others, such as Georgios Kondylis, acted in favour of their vested interests, changing blocs with characteristic ease. Meanwhile aspirations to dictatorship were never far from the scene: (Theodoros Pangalos). Characteristic is the example of the dictator Ioannis Metaxas, whose presence (1936-40) marked the end of a tumultuous period. Thanks to the prevailing conditions, which favoured him at the time, and to British support as well, he managed to turn from a 'minor' politician into the First Governor of the country.