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International developments

The laxity of the inter-Balkan cooperation

The collapse of the Balkan security system
The Greek-Turkish relations
The developments of 1939
Orientation towards BritainDilemmas and choices

Orientation towards Britain

When the 1928 Greek-Italian Treaty expired, the Italian Fascist government approached the Greek government with the intention to achieve the renewal of the Treaty. The Italian proposal contained official reassurances that the Italian troops in Albania would be removed from the Greek-Albanian frontier as proof of Italy's peaceful intentions towards Greece. In parallel, Italy promised to contribute to the reorganisation and modernisation of the Greek armed forces through the provision of military equipment.

In spite of the generally favourable contents of the Italian proposal to Greece, Metaxas considered imperative to consult with the British government before granting his government's formal reply to the Italian regime. The tepid reactions from London, stopping short of rejecting the Italian proposals but at the same time advising Metaxas to ask for a series of alterations and counterproposals, gave the stimulus for Greece's official negative reply to the Italian plan for the renewal of the 1928 Treaty.

Although the official "no" was accompanied by reassurances for Greece's neutrality towards all Great Powers and for the maintenance of good neighbourly relations between the two countries, the count down had already started: in August 1939 Mussolini asked from the Chief of Staff of the Italian armed forces, Marshal Pietro Badoglio, to draft a military plan for a future attack on Greece.

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