The Cyprus issue at the beginning of the1930s

In 1929 Cyprus, which since 1878 had been under English occupation, asked for union with Greece. The English government responded by imposing more drastic control over education and increasing taxation. In October 1931 a brief riot broke out on the island that caused strong emotions. Demonstrations and acts of defiance on the part of the Cypriot people resulted in the imposition of heavy penalties and restrictions. The oppressive measures the English authorities took were mainly directed against the church and education, the forces that principally supported and directed the nationalist movement.
On the whole Greek public opinion (through the press, demonstrations etc.) supported this reaction against British colonialism. Venizelos himself however appeared cool towards the appeals of the island's Greek population to adopt a more active stance. The Greek prime minister, favouring a realistic political approach, felt that the interest of the wider national community was better served by a 'wait-and-see' approach and not with a diplomatic
involvement whose outcome might be doubtful; for this reason he refused to support the Greek Cypriot combattants in their struggle. This attitude, with its inexorable opposition to the stirring of the Cyprus issue, provoked a storm of protest and contributed to the downfall of his governement in 1932.
Inevitably, the orientations and the processes for the resolution of the Cyprus issue were affected by the repercussions of major international changes taking place towards the end of the 1930s. In the light of the rise of Fascist regimes all over the world, and shortly before the declaration of war, significant negotiations on a new approach took place in London.. The idea of local autonomy and self-government, within the framework of the British empire, seemed both realistic and feasible. The radical changes the war brought placed the Cyprus issue on a new footing.