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Enlarged Photograph (59kB)

International developments

The laxity of the inter-Balkan cooperation

The collapse of the Balkan security system

The foreign policy of Ioannis Metaxas

Greek foreign policy in the 1936-39 period endeavoured to maintain the two main political directions which had underpinned the Greek foreign policy in the first half of the 1930s: strengthening of the inter-Balkan cooperation and policy of neutrality towards the Great Powers.

However, the growing expansionist attitude of the Axis countries - especially of Italy in the Balkan region - forced Greece (along with the other Balkan states) to seek refuge in the Great Powers in order to strengthen their defensive position. It is difficult to determine to what extent the weakening of the inter-Balkan cooperation was the cause or the result of this policy.

It is a truism that, in spite of the progress in institutional, political and economic issues of the Balkan Entente until 1936, the Balkan cooperation remained in an embryonic state, especially on the military level. On the other hand, however, the shift of Greek foreign policy (and of that of other European countries) to bilateral agreements with and the adherence to the Great Powers undermined the collective nature of the Balkan Treaty and contributed to the de facto relegation of the Treaty's strategic significance for the foreign policies of the Balkan states.

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