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International developments

The laxity of the inter-Balkan cooperation
In search of international supportThe new problems

The collapse of the Balkan security system

In search of international support

In principle and practices, the political physiognomy of the Metaxas dictatorship was more akin to the totalitarian character of Italian Fascism. Diplomatically, Greece was bound by the 1928 Treaty with Italy, while the Greek government had made abundantly clear that Greece's military obligations stemming from the Balkan Treaty would not be valid against Italy.

At the same time, the Metaxas regime elicited substantial economic benefits from Greece's incorporation in the so-called Reichsmark Blok (Zone of the German Mark), which enabled the country to direct the largest part of her exports to Germany in return for favourable credit agreements with the Nazi regime for the purchase of German products. Given that I. Metaxas gave priority to the speedy rearmament and modernisation of the Greek armed forces, those commercial credit agreements from Germany allowed Greece to buy military materiel from the Third Reich under significantly more favourable terms than those offered by the loans from Britain.

On the other hand, however, the Greek foreign policy of the 4 August dictatorship was not determined from purely ideological or economic parameters. The traditionally pro-British stance of King George II was reciprocated by Metaxas' own conservative, equally traditionalist attitude for foreign policy-making which acknowledged the dominant role and vital interests of Britain in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, Metaxas was alarmed by the escalation of Italian expansionism in the Balkans, and opted for a course of rapprochement with the western powers (Britain, France) in order to elicit guarantees of assistance in the event of a Greek-Italian conflict.

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