|The Corfu incident
The murder of the Italian General Tellini at the Greek-Albanian frontier in the summer of 1923 by unknown murderers gave Rome the pretext to proceed to a rather premeditated demonstration of power, manifested by the occupation of Corfu by a unit of the Italian war navy. The bombardment of the island, a prelude to the foreign policy followed by the dictator Benito Mussolini, was coolly and submissively received by the Greek side. The Greek protests and the invocation of the principles of morality and justice did not ward off the acceptance of the Italian terms for paying reparations of 50,000,000 lira.
The reaction of the League of Nations towards the open and undisguised provocation that constituted the violation of recently instituted processes of peaceful settlement was rather hesitant. Undoubtedly the attitude of the Great Powers was decisive, characterized by lack of determination and cohesion in the matter of defending the status quo, as dictated by international law. England and France, having other priorities, avoided a clash with Italy by any means possible. The institution of collective security received a damaging blow while the Greek reaction, both mild and confused, confirmed the incapacity of the country to act in any way that would oppose the will of the Great Powers. The island was evacuated by Italian troops after several months of occupation, but the Italian Fascist regime had managed to prevail in its first international confrontation.