The crisis of 1936 and the advent of dictatorship

At the beginning of 1936, social developments as a result of the restoration and internal instability were unfolding swiftly. The attempt to organize a broad anti-fascist movement, the 'Popular Front', consisting of wider social alliances (democrats, socialists, communists etc.) along the lines of similar models in the countries of western Europe and aimed at preventing the rise of dictatorship, proved fruitless. The unfavourable political situation, and the more general contempt that most older political leaders demonstrated towards parliamenatry legality, paved the way for the gradual overthrow of parliamentarism. Popular reaction to this was strong and manifested itself through strikes and clashes with the police. In northern Greece, the mass labour demonstration of Thessaloniki in May 1936 and the bloody incidents that accompanied it, furnished the pretext - but not the cause - for Ioannis Metaxas' authoritarian design on 4 August 1936.