Dilemmas and choices
In the second half of the 1930s, Greece sought to reinforce
her defensive position through the guarantees from the Western Powers
for the country's territorial integrity. This strategy was intended not
to provoke Fascist Italy, nor to jettison the policy of neutrality towards
the major European Powers. Given the growing bipolarity of the European
system from 1937 onwards, such a strategy presented multiple problems
and posed a series of dangers for Greece. The more pronounced ties with
Britain, especially after the guarantees of 1939, and the refusal of the
Greek government to renew the treaty of friendship with Italy rendered
the reassurances of the Greek government for the country's neutrality
less and less credible. In this way, Greece was exposed to the expansionist
greed of the Mussolinian regime.
On the other hand, however, neither the collapsing inter-Balkan cooperation nor the limited character of the British-French guarantees could form an effective shield for political and military protection. In these circumstances, Greek foreign policy was confined to a wait-and-see strategy, recognising that the fluid international balance of power was about to be dramatically transformed within a short period of time.