Greek foreign policy, 1923-1940

After 1923, and throughout the inter-war period, Greek foreign policy entered a new phase. Irredentism and territorial integration, which for a whole century had formed the basis of the country's aspirations, were replaced by different objectives. The maintenance of security and the territorial integrity of the country became the exclusive aim of Greek diplomacy. At the same time, the country took an active part in the matter of international legitimacy as represented by the League of Nations, displaying dedication to the importance of international treaties. The promotion of national claims (the Dodecanese islands, North Epirus, Cyprus), subject to these new imperatives, was virtually suspended.

The course of development showed that the system of collective security to which Greece - along with other small countries - was oriented proved weak in practice, both in defending its vital interests and in ensuring a more general peace. Through disillusionment, and various diplomatic initiatives, Greek diplomacy harnessed itself to the Great Powers. In the period 1928-32 the country's foreign relations were re-established on a new basis. Balkan co-operation was boosted and corroborated through a series of treaties. In the second half of the 1930s, the Regime of the Fourth of August, even if ideologically closer to the countries of the Axis, systematically strove to preserve the country's strong ties with England. Thus when the Second World War broke out, Greece sided with the Allies.