The overall negative climate of 1909 caused discontent among the majority of Greeks.

The general crisis was the result of serious problems in the economy and society, due to the failure of national policy and the irresponsibility of the traditional political world and the monarchy.
The Cretan declaration regarding Union with Greece in 1908, its continuing acceptance of Turkish sovereignty, its concern to avoid, at all costs, involvement in a Greco-Turkish war and its wish to support the intervention of the Great Powers, was one more severe blow to the prestige of the King and his entourage, as concerned their capacity in managing national issues.

A sense of humiliation and inferiority prevailed especially among Greek army officers. This originated in the 1897 defeat and was perpetuated by the 'irreproachable' (as it was ironically called) attitude of Greece in her relations with Turkey, especially in relation to the declaration of the Union of Crete with Greece. At the same time, there was a general discontent against the political world, which was held to blame for insufficient army equipment and the overall bad state of the army. To this climate of unease were added complaints about favouritism and also some German-inspired regulations hindering promotions and threatening to bring stagnation to the careers of many officers. Both these issues were reported to Prince Constantine, the commander-in-chief of the army.
Additionally, the economic crisis of 1908, the result of failure to dispose of agricultural products abroad, and the international depression that had decreased the remittances of Greeks from Egypt and the USA, had hit the income of officers, who, as other professsional social groups, were being supported (in addition to their salaries) by family, chiefly agricultural, resources.

To the turmoil prevailing in the army, the effect that the Young Turk revolution, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), had on the Greek officers must also be taken into account, in that it reinforced the existing feeling of inferiority, juxtaposing the revival effort of the Turks with the stagnancy of Grece. Thus, several lower ranking officers founded a secret society, the Military League. Its members increased and it was finally headed by Colonel Nikolaos Zorbas.

The military coup or 'pronunciamento' of Goudi took place on 15 August 1909. Initially declaring professional claims, such as the reconstruction of the army and the improvement of the fighting readiness of the country in general, the officers eventually put forward wider reform demands concerning the radical purging of the state administration. The government of Dimitrios Rallis, failing to manage the situation, resigned and the King appointed Kyriakos Mavromichalis to form a new government, which gave way to several of the League's demands. The officers were practically in control both of Parliament and the executive authority. The officers' actions was warmly received by the populace, as can be shown in the huge demonstration in Athens at the end of September.

The following period, until the end of 1909, has also been characterized as a period of uncertainty and clashes. Despite the initial success of officers and the promotion of several of their reform claims by voting relevant enactments, these had to confront the reaction of the old political world. Besides, the League did not have a clear political and ideological character, its intervention was more related to the manifestation of a discontent towards the old parties and the palace. The situation was leading to an impasse and the League inclined to finding a political councillor, which it recognized in the person of the Cretan statesman, Eleftherios Venizelos.

The military coup of Goudi has for long preoccupied historians and researchers. It has been interpreted as a reaction of the army to being an autonomous political factor - not a paradox if we take into account the social structures of Greece at the time - and as an example of 'incompetent' leadership being replaced by a 'more competent' one, without aiming, however, at any institutional overthrow. It has also been termed a bourgeois revolution (which in the Greece of 1909 does not match the economic and social character of the country), as a clash between the bourgeoisie and the rising entrepreneurial class, who were trying to supplant the former. It remains incontestable though, that the coup was supported mostly by the lower social strata, the petit bourgeoisie, workers and would-be immigrants who found themselves in Athens, under-employed or unemployed and looking forward to their departure. These constituted the great crowds of the September demonstration, people who turned against the upper social strata, the bourgeoisie included. Very soon, however, the radicality of the lower strata was extinguished due to lack of any vitality and ideological maturity, and Eleftherios Venizelos promoted an urban modernization that represented the pursuits of the ascending middle class.

At all events, the military coup of Goudi paved the way for the modernization of the economy and the consolidation of the status of the bourgeoisie. It was, undoubtedly, a turning point in Greek history.