The laxity of the inter-Balkan cooperation
Faced with such cataclysmic changes in the European political scenery (Rome-Berlin Axis, incorporation of Austria into the German Reich, conversion of Albania into an Italian protectorate), the Greek government realised that there were few latitudes for manoeuvring in the new reality that was being formed.
More specifically, it realised that the multilateral, collective nature of the Balkan Treaty provided fewer guarantees of security, and at the same time it concealed a series of dangers and disproportionate commitments in case of a Balkan or European conflict. The purely Balkan character of the Treaty appeared incapable to offer an effective formula for dealing with the possibility of an attack by non-Balkan countries. Nazi Germany's policy of territorial expansion towards central and southern Europe (Austria, Czechoslovakia) and Italy's similar ventures in the east (Albania) placed the Balkan peninsula within the so-called living space of the two fascist regimes and introduced a new international factor in the inter-Balkan relations.
The potential internationalisation of the Balkan problems, in conjunction with their conceptualisation in the context of the conflict between the Axis and the West, forced Greece to seek bilateral guarantees outside the collective framework of the Balkan Treaty. The policy of neutrality towards the Great Powers was maintained as the Metaxas regime wished to avoid being implicated in wider conflicts either in the Balkans or in Europe. Such a neutrality in the Greek foreign policy of the 4 August dictatorship was followed under the influence of diplomatic and economic factors.