Second Hellenic Republic

Hellenic Republic
Ἑλληνικὴ Δημοκρατία
State flag
Locator map of the Hellenic Republic
Capital Athens
Common languages Greek (Katharevousa had official status, while Demotic was popular)
Government Parliamentary republic[1]
Pavlos Kountouriotis
Alexandros Zaimis
Prime Minister  
Alexandros Papanastasiou
Panagis Tsaldaris
Legislature Parliament
 Upper house
 Lower house
Chamber of Deputies
Historical era Interwar period
 Republic proclaimed
25 March 1924
13 April 1924
 Monarchist coup
10 October 1935
3 November 1935
130,199 km2 (50,270 sq mi)
 1928 (census)
Currency Greek drachma
ISO 3166 code GR
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
Today part of

The Second Hellenic Republic is a modern historiographical term used to refer to the Greek state during a period of republican governance between 1924 and 1935. To its contemporaries it was known as the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Ἑλληνικὴ Δημοκρατία, Greek pronunciation: [eliniˈci ðimokraˈtia]). It was a small country in the Balkans comprising the approximate territory of what is modern-day Greece (with the exception of the Dodecanese) and bordered with Albania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Italian Aegean Islands.

The Republic was proclaimed by the country's parliament on 25 March 1924.[1] A relatively small country with a population of 6.2 million in 1928, it covered a total area of 130,199 km², almost all of modern-day Greece. Over its eleven-year history, the Second Republic saw some of the most important historical events in modern Greek history emerge; from Greece's first military dictatorship, to the short-lived democratic form of governance, the normalisation of Greco-Turkish relations which lasted until the 1950s, and to the first real efforts to industrialise the nation, with considerable progress made.

It was abolised on 10 October 1935,[3] and its abolition was confirmed by referendum on 3 November of the same year which is widely accepted as having been rigged. The fall of the Second Republic eventually paved the way for Greece to become a totalitarian single-party state, the 4th of August Regime of Ioannis Metaxas, which lasted from 1936 until the Axis occupation of Greece in 1941.

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When the Republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924, the official name adopted for the country was Hellenic State (Greek: Ἑλληνικὴ Πολιτεία).[1] However, the name was changed to Hellenic Republic (Greek: Ἑλληνικὴ Δημοκρατία) on 24 May 1924 by vote of the Parliament.[4] Accordingly, the title of the country's head of state was changed from Governor (Greek: Κυβερνήτης) to President of the Republic (Greek: Πρόεδρος της Δημοκρατίας).[4]


National Schism and the republican question

The collapse of the Hellenic Army in Asia Minor was quickly followed by the collapse of the government. Public outrage at the Asia Minor disaster, as Greece's defeat in the war became known, was partially reflected in the military coup which followed it. The coup, orchestrated by army officers, took the name The Revolution. Although The Revolution itself did not abolish the monarchy, one of its first acts was to shut down all the royalist newspapers as well as use the Armed Forces to prosecute known royalists (including Ioannis Metaxas, who was forced to flee abroad).[5] The decision whether or not to abolish the monarchy is one which divided Greek society, as even some Liberal Party supporters, including the Party's founder, Eleftherios Venizelos, spoke out in favour of retaining the monarchy as a safety net against instability.[6]

Greek republic referendum, 1924[7]

Do you approve of the National Assembly's decision that Greece be reorganised into a Republic on the parliamentary model?[8]

After the defeat of Greece by the Turkish National Movement (the "Asia Minor Catastrophe") of 1922, the defeated army revolted against the royal government. Under Venizelist officers like Nikolaos Plastiras and Stylianos Gonatas, King Constantine I was again forced to abdicate, and died in exile in 1923. His eldest son and successor, King George II, was soon after asked by the parliament to leave Greece so the nation could decide what form of government it should adopt. In a 1924 plebiscite, Greeks voted to create a republic. These events marked the culmination of a process that had begun in 1915 between King Constantine and his political nemesis, Eleftherios Venizelos.

First years

The Republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924 by the Parliament;[1] the chosen date was very significant as the Greek War of Independence is traditionally celebrated on 25 March. Following the proclamation of the change in form of government from constitutional monarchy (βασιλευομένη δημοκρατία, literally crowned republic) to republic (αβασίλευτη δημοκρατία, literally uncrowned republic), a referendum was held proclaimed for 13 April 1924.[8] Voters were asked whether they "approve of the decision of the National Assembly that Greece be reorganised into a Republic on the parliamentary model".[8] Voting was to be secret, although the requirement that "yes" votes be cast with white ballots and "no" votes with yellow ones[8] defeated the purpose of secrecy.

The results of the referendum were a clear victory for the Republican campaign: 69.9% in favour of a republic and 30.1% in favour of the monarchy;[7] these results were almost identical to the results of the 1974 referendum (69.2% in favour, 30.8% against) which finally abolished the monarchy.[7] Newspapers from a wide range of the political spectrum noted a lack of violence, implying a lack of electoral intimidation in favour of one side or another. The newspaper Forward wrote that the vote was "historic for the order which prevailed during the voting time",[9] Skrip commented that people refrained from "any action which could be seen as a provocation" and that "the military measures [taken] made this easier",[10] while the Communist Party's Rizospastis commented on the "relative calm" that prevailed in the electoral district of Athens.[11] Makedonia added that so many people disregarded the yellow "no" ballots, that the floors inside the electoral centers and the streets around were littered with them.[12] Meanwhile, the decree of 1924 "on the safeguard of the of the republican regime" introduced the jail sentence for a minimum of six months for advocating in public the return of the monarchy, disputing the results of the referendum or publishing slander against the founders of the republic.[13] In an interview following the referendum, then-Prime Minister Alexandros Papanastasiou defended government plans to pass such a decree, saying that the government must be allowed to move forward with its reforms without any sort of hindrance for a limited amount of time.[10]

The fragile nature of the young Greek republic became evident from the first year of its existence. While the Parliament was still debating the new constitution (see bellow), General Theodoros Pangalos organised a coup. When asked by the Minister of the Military whether he was planning to overthrow the government, Pangalos replied "of course I will carry out a coup".[14] His plot was set to motion on 24 June 1925, and soon prevailed throughout the country with little or no resistance from government forces.[14]

Following his coup, Pangalos was sworn in as Prime Minister by the acting Governor of Greece (Pavlos Kountouriotis) and demanded that the Parliament give him a vote of confidence. Surprisingly, he received the vote of confidence with 185 of the 208 Members of Parliament present voting in favour, including Alexandros Papanastasiou (the Prime Minister before Pangalos' coup) and Georgios Kondylis.[14]

Meanwhile, relations between Bulgaria and Greece were cold, and this escalated into a full-blown conflict by October 1925. A clash along the Greco-Bulgarian border on 18 October lead to the Pangalos dictatorship ordering the III Army Corps to invade Bulgaria.[14] Bulgaria, being unable to defend itself sufficiently, and with the Greek army on the outskirts of Petrich, turned to the League of Nations.[14] Eventually, the League of Nations condemned the Greek invasion and ordered Greece to pay £47,000 (£2.7 million in 2017)[15] to Bulgaria as compensation.[16] Greece complied with the ruling and withdraw from Bulgaria, but not before 50 people had lost their lives in the short conflict. Further, Greece protested at the double standards that existed for dealing with such incidents, ones for small countries and ones for Great Powers like Italy, which occupied Corfu in the Corfu Incident just two years prior.[17]

Later years and collapse

Kountouriotis was reinstated and reelected to the office in 1929, but was forced to resign for health reasons later that year. He was succeeded by Alexandros Zaimis, who served until the restoration of the monarchy in 1935.

Despite a period of stability and sense of well-being under the government of Eleftherios Venizelos in 4 July 1928 – 6 March 1933, the effects of the Great Depression were severely felt, and political instability returned. As the prospect of the return of the monarchy became more likely, Venizelist officers launched a coup in March 1935, which was suppressed by General Georgios Kondylis. On October 10, 1935, the chiefs of the Armed Forces overthrew the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and forced President Zaimis to appoint Kondylis prime minister in his place. Later that day, Kondylis forced Zaimis himself to resign, declared himself regent and abolished the republic. A heavily rigged plebiscite occurred on 3 November which resulted in an implausible 98% supporting the return of the monarchy. King George II returned to Athens on 23 November, with Kondylis as prime minister.


Law and order

The first and last page of the Constitution of 3 June 1927

The Constitution of 1927 is considered a progressive one for its time. Written to replace the Constitution of 1926, which was never implemented, it was passed in the parliament on 3 June 1927. The most profound change brought upon the country by the passing of the new constitution was the overthrow of the monarchy on a de jure level (the monarchy had been de facto abolished in the referendum of 1924). Article 2 established a republic (the word used in the constitution is "Δημοκρατία", which can mean both democracy and republic).[18]

Various other civil and political rights were established in the Constitution. Article 6 established complete equality of Greek citizens before the law and abolished titles of nobility.[18] Article 7 guaranteed the "absolute protection of the life and freedom" of all persons in Greece regardless of nationality, religion or language.[18] Article 8 forbade the creation of ex post facto laws.[18] Article 10 established personal freedom as "absolutely inviolable".[18] Article 11 forbade arrest without a warrant.[18] Articles 13 and 14 established freedom of assembly and freedom of association respectively.[18] Article 15 established the sanctity of a person's house and forbade entry or search within a person's house without a warrant.[18] Article 16 established freedom of the press.[18] Article 17 forbade torture and public execution, and forbade executions for civil or political crimes.[18] Article 18 established the privacy of letters, telegrams and telephone conversations as "absolutely inviolable".[18] Article 19 established the right to property.[18] Further, Articles 21 and 22 established artistic, academic and educational freedom and the right to intellectual property respectively.[18] Finally, Article 25 established the right to petition.[18]

Overall, the constitution included 127 articles which outlined the various organs of the state and how these functioned. Article 125 forbade the amendment of the constitution for the first 5 years of its implementation, and further forbade the amendment of the "fundamental" articles of the constitution thereafter.[18] Article 127 made the Greek nation responsible for the implementation of the constitution.[18] In effect, this gave "the Nation" supremacy over the country's politicians and/or parliament with regards to constitutionality and gave "the Nation" power to overturn laws deemed unconstitutional.


The constitution of 1927 established a bicameral legislature. The two houses were the Vouli (Greek: Βουλή, [vuˈli]) and the Senate (Greek: Γερουσία, [ʝeruˈsia]).[18] Further, the constitution outlines the duties of the two houses and the number of parliamentarians. The lower house was to be made up of between 200 and 250 members elected in their constituency for four-year terms.[18] The Senate had a more complex composition; Article 58 states that it is made up of 120 senators of which 92 were directly or indirectly elected by the people, 10 were elected by a joint session of the Vouli and the Senate and 18 were elected by 8 unions representing various vocations including merchants (1), industrialists (3), workers (5) and academics (1).[18][19] Of the 92 senators directly or indirectly elected by the people, 90 were allocated to parliamentary constituencies of varying size for direct election and two were given to ethnic minorities for election through an electoral college: 1 for the Turks of Western Thrace and 1 for the Jews of Thessaloniki.[19] Each senator served a nine-year term, while the composition of the Senate was renewed by 1/3 every three years.[18] The salaries of members of parliament in both houses were the same.[18]

Between 1924 and 1935, a total of six elections took place. The politics of the Second Republic were dominated by the republican Liberal Party, under the leadership of Eleftherios Venizelos, and the moderately conservative-monarchist People's Party under Panagis Tsaldaris. The table below illustrates the performance of the two major political parties in the parliamentary and senate elections that took place under the Second Republic.

Parliamentary elections
Election Lower house (Vouli) Upper house (Senate)
Liberal Party People's Party Others Liberal Party People's Party Others
% Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats

Foreign relations

The Republic's foreign policy was largely shaped by the Premiership of Eleftherios Venizelos. Before his re-ascention to power in the 1928 legislative elections, Greece was faced with significant obstacles in its foreign policy: growing claims by Yugoslavia on Thessaloniki, bad relations with Bulgaria and Turkey, while relations with the Great Powers were at their lowest point since Greece was established in 1832.[21] In co-operation with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as well as İsmet İnönü's government, a series of treaties were signed between Greece and Turkey in 1930 which, in effect, restored Greek-Turkish relations and established a de facto alliance between the two countries.[22] As part of these treaties, Greece and Turkey agreed that the Treaty of Lausanne would be the final settlement of their respective borders, while they also pledged that they would not join opposing military or economic alliances and to stop immediately their naval arms race.[22] The good relations established by the Republic would last until the 1950s.

In 1934, the government of Panagis Tsaldaris signed, in Athens, the Balkan Pact (or Balkan Entente), a military alliance between Greece, Romania, Turkey and Yugoslavia, which further improved the Republic's relations with its Balkan neighbours, although the exclusion of Bulgaria and Albania left some matters unsettled.[23] Eventually, however, Great Power politics derailed the Pact, which never brought the desired results.[23]

Apart from an interest in regional stability and friendship, the Second Republic, through Venizelos, supported early initiatives for the creation of a European Union. In October 1929, as Prime Minister, Venizelos gave a speech outlining his government's support for Aristide Briand's efforts on the matter, saying that "the United States of Europe will represent, even without Russia, a power strong enough to advance, up to a satisfactory point, the prosperity of the other continents as well".[21]


Regions of the Second Republic in order of population (census 1928)[24]
Region Capital Population Area (km2) Density (/km2)
1Central Greece and EuboeaAthens1,592,84224,995.863.72
7Aegean IslandsMytilene307,7343,847.979.97
8Western ThraceKomotini303,1718,706.347.66
9Ionian IslandsCorfu213,1571,921.5110.93

Flags and symbols

With the collapse of the monarchy, all national symbols of Greece were modified. The flags saw the removal of the crowns, which had been placed in the middle of the white cross since 1863, while the national emblem was stripped of its mantle and pavilion, as well as its supporters, down to a simple escutcheon.

The coat of arms
State flag (2:3)
Civil flag and national ensign (2:3)
war flag (1.05:1)


According to renowned British economic historian Angus Maddison, Greece's GDP in 1924 stood at $12.34 billion (in 1990 value).[25] Economic growth between 1924 and 1935 stood at an average of 3%.[25] Broken down, between 1924 and 1929 growth stood at 2%, during the Great Depression at –3%, and between 1932 and 1935 at an average of 5%.[25]

In terms of GDP per capita, Greece lagged behind the western European average. In 1924 Greece's figure stood at $1,988 or only 56.5% of the Western average ($3,517).[25] At the fall of the republic the figures were not much changed, with Greece's per capita being $2,480 or 57.1% of the Western average.[25] However, Greece had the highest GDP per capita in the Balkans and the Near East.[25]

When the Republic was established, more than two thirds of the country's wheat requirement had to be imported from abroad; by the fall of the Republic this had reverted and Greece was practically self-sustaining in terms of wheat thanks to tariffs established by the government and incentives given for the cultivation of wheat.[26]

Public finances

Public Finances the Second Republic (1924-1935)[2][27]
1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930† 1931† 1932 1933 1934 1935
Revenue (in millions)3,9845,7237,9229,5088,99610,55118,72911,39411,0769,1448,4689,23710,647
Expenses (in millions)5,0005,4986,8418,6877,7709,44618,35511,17611,0999,1177,7068,74610,049
Surplus or deficit (in millions)-1,016+225+1,081+821+1,226+1,105+374+217-22+27+762+491+597
Public debt (in millions)[28][24][29][30][27]35,76238,16938,55941,27942,96743,14342,96544,985
† The Great Depression

Trade and commerce

Top 10 trade partners of Greece 1935 by import value (in thousands)[2]
Country Imports (₯) Exports (₯) Balance (₯)
1 Germany1,996,6272,109,368+112,741
- Great Britain (inc. Canada and India)1,957,369901,906-1,055,463
2 Great Britain (without colonies)1,657,897897,999-759,898
3 Argentina1,056,37160,107-996,264
4 Romania795,903230,764-565,139
5 United States667,3321,202,475+535,143
6 Soviet Union486,92170,952-415,971
7 Czechoslovakia413,087188,046-225,041
8 Yugoslavia409,013153,733-255,280
9 Italy393,981422,555+28,574
10 Sweden312,897292,518-20,379
Total trade10,681,3887,101,289-3,580,099

Bank reforms and industrialisation

In the early years of the Republic, the government of Alexandros Zaimis took a loan from British banks that totalled £9 million intended for land reclamation and improvement (primarily in the northern regions).[26] The conditions for this loan, however, stipulated that Greece had to stabilise its currency (the Greek drachma) by adopting the gold standard and by establishing a central bank to oversee economic policy.[26] In May 1928 the Bank of Greece was established, revoking the National Bank of Greece's rights to print currency much to the dissatisfaction of the NBG.[26] A similar dispute erupted again in 1929, when the Greek government decided to establish the Agricultural Bank of Greece and revoke the NBG's rights to give out agricultural loans.[26]

The reforms brought about by the government changed the face of the Greek banking sector, and although the Agricultural Bank sustained the Greek rural economy through two years of hardship between 1931 and 1932 by issuing loans totalling 1.3 billion, the National Bank of Greece dominated the industrial and manufacturing sectors.[26]

One of the main electoral promises made by Venizelos during his campaign for the Premiership in 1928 was to change the face of Greece in four years by funding large-scale infrastructure projects aimed at increasing production.[26] This was largely achieved by his government, and between 1929 and 1938 Greece had industrial growth rates that averaged between 5.11% and 5.73%, ranking the country third in the world behind Japan and the Soviet Union.[26] By 1926, Greece's light industry supplied 76.4% of the country's demand, while heavy industry was almost non-existent.[31] Between 1923 and 1932 the Greek government borrowed 950 million which was channelled to infrustructural projects, while another 600 million was lent to private enterprises.[26]

Industrial production in the Second Republic (1924-1934)[24][27]
1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930† 1931† 1932 1933 1934
Trademark registrations8096556026861,0501,0601,1919601,0182,3261,565
New factories opened107132124214192634593503767
Electricity production (kW h)40,00040,00050,00060,00070,000100,000115,000120,000125,000140,000
Total industrial production (in millions)3,8834,9785,4736,6557,1157,1586,6316,0526,7498,5489,913
Yearly industrial growth+21.7%+28.2%+9.9%+21.6%+6.9%+0.6%-7.4%-8.7%+11.5%+26.7%+16.0%
† The Great Depression

Greece during the Great Depression

Gentlemen deputies, since the month of October of the year 1929 [...] the whole world has been beset by an economic crisis, the extent and intensity of which has perhaps never been seen before. Until the month of September 1931, Greece, without anyone of course being able to claim that she did not feel the repercussion of this crisis at all, was going ahead with the task of its economic reconstruction with a firm step [...]

Eleftherios Venizelos in the Hellenic Parliament, March 1932[32]

In 1928 the Venizelos government had a number of economic concerns to worry about, however the government budget and general economic situation gave some hope. Between 1928 and 1931 three consecutive budgets had shown a surplus, unemployment was kept at a safe level and the national debt was reduced by 11%.[26] On 21 September 1931 however the United Kingdom abandoned the gold standard and the crisis hit Greece. By 27 September 1931 the ran on the banks had caused the Bank of Greece to lose $3.6 million of its foreign reserves (~$55.6 million in 2012 value).[26]

The following couple of years were grim for the Greek economy as it entered recession along with the rest of the global economy. In early 1932 Venizelos asked the League of Nations for a loan of $50 million (~$770 million in 2012 value) in order to help the Greek economy, but the loan was denied. Faced with insolvency, Greece abandoned the gold standard and defaulted on its debts on 25 April 1932. The Greek drachma was devalued by 62% against the dollar, foreign trade contracted by 61.5% compared to 1929 and tobacco production was reduced by 81.0%.[26] However, the Venizelos government's policies secured a steady flow of credit for the Bank of Greece and thus averted a collapse of the banking system, which had occured in most other European countries as well as the United States.[26]

Currency and circulation

Under the Second Republic, the Greek drachma (sign: ₯, Δρ or Δρχ) continued to exist as the national currency. As part of the government's efforts to reform the banking system (see above), the Bank of Greece was established in 1928. Following this move, Greece's largest commercial bank, the National Bank of Greece, could no longer print currency. In addition, Greece joined the gold standard on 14 May 1928 and the Drachma was de facto stabilised at an exchange rate of £1 to ₯375 ±₯2.5.[33] This put an end to the spiralling devaluation of the Drachma, whose exchange rate to the Pound had dropped from ₯25 per £1 in 1919 to ₯309/£1 in 1924 and back down to ₯247/£1 in 1927.[34]

When Britain abandoned the Gold Standard on 21 September 1931, Greece did not follow suit. Instead, the Drachma remained in the Gold Standard but switched pegging from the Pound to the US dollar.[33] Despite this move, the Drachma had already been under pressure and the convertibility was suspended in April 1932, when the Drachma was devalued and Greece left the Gold Standard.[33] For the rest of the Second Republic, Greece showed interest in joining the Gold bloc.[33]


Total arrivals
 British Empire
Greeks abroad
 United States
All others
Tourist arrivals in Greece, 1935[2]

The systematic development of the Greek tourism industry began under the Second Republic, with the establishment of the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) and the Tourist Police in 1929.[35] The creation of a national statistics agency also aided in the organised collection of reliable tourist information, while efforts by the government to regulate the quality of hotels saw an increase in accommodation standards.[36] The EOT also created the notion of the Greek 'summer season' by offering discounts and allowances to boat, train, and air tickets.[36] A hospitality school was founded, with staff educated in Switzerland, as well as a school for interpreters and tour guides.[36]

Data from the year 1932 indicates that 72,102 tourists visited the country, of which approximately 18,000 were Greek nationals, who were living permanently in another country.[37] The number continued to rise, and in 1935, the last year of the republic, tourist arrivals stood at 126,218.[2] Data from the same year indicated that, on average, foreign nationals stayed in Greece for 18 days, compared with 101 days for Greek nationals living permanently abroad, for a total average of 31 days stay.[2] Greeks went abroad as tourists at a much lesser frequency, with 15,562 Greeks exiting the country for tourism elsewhere, of which only a third were going abroad primarily for leisure.[2] This was due to the devaluation of the Drachma in 1932.[37]

The Statistical Yearbook of 1936 also gives information as to the type of tourism that the Second Republic was experiencing. Of all tourist arrivals in 1935, 61,855 (49%) were there mainly for leisure, 31,690 (25%) were tourists visiting Greek ports, 16,481 (13%) were tourists in transit, 7,124 (6%) were business tourists, 4,591 (4%) were visiting for family reasons, 1,180 (1%) were visiting students, and 887 (0.7%) for other purposes.[2]



The total number of people in Greece numbered 6,204,684 people according to the census of 1928.[38] This was an increase from the census of 1920 (5,536,000 people) despite the fact that Greece lost territories with an area of approximately 20,000 square kilometers with a population of over half a million people in the Treaty of Lausanne.[38] Additionally, the census of the same year indicates that 1.2 million people (19% of the population of the country) registered as refugees.[38] The census revealed that there were 3.13 million women and 3.08 million men in the country.[38]

Urban life increased following the exchange of population. In 1920 26% of people lived in urban centers and 74% in rural areas.[38] In 1928 the figures had changed to 33% and 67% respectively, primarily due to the influx of refugees.[38] Due to immigration, some cities saw tremendous growth between the censuses of 1920 and 1928, including Kavala (118%), Piraeus (85%) and Athens (54%).[38] The country's principal urban centers in 1928 were:

Ethnic groups and migration

Jews of Salonica
Ethnic groups in Greece (Census 1928)[38]

Like present-day Greece, the second Republic was a relatively homogenous country, with almost 94% of the population being ethnically Greek according to the census of 1928.[38] The census of 1928 showed that the percentage of Greeks in the country rose from 80.53% in the census of 1920 to 93.75% in the census of 1928.[38] In the meantime the populations of the Turkish and Bulgarian communities dropped from 13.90% and 2.51% to 1.66% and 1.32%.[38] This was because of the exchange of populations that took place in 1923 between Greece and Turkey and Bulgaria.[38]

During the years of the Republic, no significant minorities existed in the country. The largest, the Turks of Western Thrace, was the only officially recognised minority in the country and numbered approximately 103,000 people or 1.66% of the population of the country.[38] Other ethnic groups with over 1.00% of the population were the Bulgars (1.33%) and the Jews of Salonica (1.13%).[38] Foreign citizens accounted for an additional 1.18% of the population, while Armenians and Albanians for 0.56% and 0.40% respectively.[38]

Migration was a big issue in Greece in the late 19th and early 20th century, with 485,936 people leaving the country for the New World between 1821 and 1932.[37] During the Second Republic yearly transatlantic migration numbers dropped considerably, from 8,152 in 1924 to 2,821 in 1932.[37] Overall migration figures for 1931 show net migration to the country, with 17,384 people relocating to Greece and 15,060 migrating abroad; in 1932 there net migration from the country, with 17,245 arrivals and 19,712 departures.[37] Migration figures from that year show that the lion's share of migrants departed for the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (5,407), followed by Egypt (2,825), Romania (2,352), and the United States (2,281).[37]


Government-approved alphabet books in Greek (left) and Macedonian (right).

The homogeneity of the Second Republic in terms of ethnic composition was also reflected in its languages. In the 1928 Census, 92.8% of the population listed Greek as their primary language, followed by Turkish (3.1%), and Macedonian (1.3%, listed in the Census as Slav Macedonian).[2] The degree to which the Census of 1928 reflected the actual linguistic situation in Greece is debated, as internal government documents from 1932 put the number of Slavic speakers in the Florina prefecture alone at 80,000 (61%), as opposed to 81,984 for the entire country in the Census.[39][2]

Beginning in 1925 the government introduced an alphabet book, called the Abecedar, for the country's slavic-speaking minority as part of its obligations towards Bulgaria from the Treaty of Sèvres. The book was based on the dialect of Florina (Lerin in the Slavic tongues), and used the Latin rather than the Cyrillic alphabet.[39] The Ministry of Education described it as a textbook for "the children of Slav speakers in Greece [...] printed in the Latin script and compiled in the Macedonian dialect".[39] This proved controversial not only in Greece, but also in Serbia and Bulgaria.[39] The Abecedar was eventually withdrawn, and never reached classrooms.


Literacy of persons aged 8+ in Greece stood at 59% in 1928, with a sharp contrast between men (77%) and women (42%).[2] Literacy rates also varied widely between regions, ranging from 66% for Central Greece & Euboea and 63% for the Aegean islands, to 50% for Epirus and 39% for Thrace.[2]

To remedy this, the government of Eleftherios Venizelos began an ambitious school-building program spanning 1928 to 1932. Twice as many schools were built in four years than had been built between 1828 and 1928; 3,167 schools with 8,200 classrooms were constructed at a cost of 1.5 billion.[40] The investment was financed in part by a £1 million loan from a Swedish bank, and through the country's budget surplus.[40] A welcome side effect of the building program were the more hygienic conditions in schools, which contributed to the decline of ill students as a percentage of the total student population from 24.5% in 1926/1927 to 18.2% in 1931/1932.[40] The number of students in public primary education, meanwhile, grew from 655,839 in 1928 to 864,401 in 1934.[2]

By the end of the Republic, Greece's public educational infrastructure included 545 nurseries, 7,764 primary schools, 399 secondary schools, and 7 institutions of higher education (including 3 universities: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and the National Technical University of Athens).[2]



  • Karolidis, Pavlos (1930), Moschopoulos, Th.Th., ed., translated by Moschopoulos, P., "Από τον Α' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο μέχρι το 1930" [From World War 1 to 1930], Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους στη Σημερινή Γλώσσα (in Greek) (1993 ed.), Athens: Cactus Editions, 20, pp. 266–353, ISBN 978-960-382-818-1 
  • Mavrogordatos, George Themistocles (1983), Stillborn Republic: Social Coalitions and Party Strategies in Greece, 1922-1936, Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-04358-8 
  • Tzokas, Spyros (2002), Ο Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος και το Εγχείρημα του Αστικού Εκσυχρονισμού 1928–1932 [Eleftherios Venizelos and the Attempt at Urban Modernisation 1928–1932], Athens: Themelio, ISBN 960-310-286-5 

Statistical Yearbooks used as primary sources

The following Statistical Yearbooks were used as primary sources in this article, to compile information for the years 1924-1935. Of these, the yearbooks of 1930, 1931 and 1934 were published under the Second Republic while the yearbook of 1936 was published after the restoration of the monarchy.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Newspaper of the Government - Issue 64". Government Newspaper of the Hellenic State. 25 March 1924. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 "Yearly Statistics of Greece" (PDF). National Printing House. 1936. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  3. "Newspaper of the Government - Issue 456". Government Newspaper of the Kingdom of Greece. 10 October 1935. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Newspaper of the Government - Issue 120". Government Newspaper of the Hellenic Republic. 28 May 1924. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  5. Karolidis, Pavlos (1993). Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους [History of the Greek Nation]. 20. Cactus Publishing Enterprises. p. 276.
  6. Karolidis, Pavlos (1993). Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους [History of the Greek Nation]. 20. Cactus Publishing Enterprises. p. 289.
  7. 1 2 3 100+1 Χρόνια Ελλάδα [100+1 Years of Greece]. A. I Maniateas Publishing Enterprises. 1999. pp. 182–183.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "Newspaper of the Government - Issue 70". Government Newspaper of the Hellenic State. 29 March 1924. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  9. "Empros". National Library of Greece. 14 April 1924. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Skrip". National Library of Greece. 14 April 1924. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  11. "Rizospastis". National Library of Greece. 14 April 1924. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  12. "Makedonia". National Library of Greece. 14 April 1924. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  13. "Newspaper of the Government - Issue 93". Government Newspaper of the Kingdom of Greece. 23 April 1924. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 100+1 Χρόνια Ελλάδα [100+1 Years of Greece]. A. I Maniateas Publishing Enterprises. 1999. p. 189.
  15. "Inflation calculator". Bank of England.
  16. United Nations for the Classroom. p. 15.
  17. Fellows, Nick (September 2012). History for the IB Diploma: Peacemaking, Peacekeeping: International Relations 1918-36. Cambridge University Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-1107613911.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 "Constitution of the Hellenic Republic" (PDF). 3 June 1927. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  19. 1 2 3 4 "Register of Senators and Deputies" (PDF). National Printing House, Hellenic Parliament. 1977. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  20. 1 2 3 4 "Register of Senators and Deputies" (PDF). National Printing House, Hellenic Parliament. 1977. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  21. 1 2 Emm. Papadakis, Nikolaos (2006). Eleftherios K. Venizelos - A Biography. National Research Foundation "Eleftherios K. Venizelos". pp. 48–50.
  22. 1 2 100+2 Χρόνια Ελλάδα [100+2 Years of Greece]. A. I Maniateas Publishing Enterprises. 2002. pp. 208–209.
  23. 1 2 100+2 Χρόνια Ελλάδα [100+2 Years of Greece]. A. I Maniateas Publishing Enterprises. 2002. pp. 230–231.
  24. 1 2 3 "Yearly Statistics of Greece" (PDF). National Printing House. 1931. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Angus Maddison (2008). "Historical Statistics of the World Economy: 1-2008 AD" (XLS). Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Ioannis D. Stefanidis (2006). "6". Reconstructing Greece as a European State: Venizelos' Last Premiership 1928-1932. Eleftherios Venizelos - The Trials of Statemanship. Edinburgh University Press. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  27. 1 2 3 "Yearly Statistics of Greece" (PDF). National Printing House. 1935. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  28. "Yearly Statistics of Greece" (PDF). National Printing House. 1930. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  29. "Yearly Statistics of Greece" (PDF). National Printing House. 1931. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  30. "Yearly Statistics of Greece" (PDF). National Printing House. 1934. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  31. Tzokas, Spyros (2002). Το αναπτυξιακό έργο της κυβέρνησης Βενιζέλου [The investment programme of the Venizelos government]. Ο Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος και το Εγχείρημα του Αστικού Εκσυχρονισμού 1928–1932 [Eleftherios Venizelos and the Attempt at Urban Modernisation 1928–1932]. Athens: Themelio. p. 130. ISBN 960-310-286-5.
  32. Christine Agriantoni (2006). "10". Venizelos and Economic Policy. Eleftherios Venizelos - The Trials of Statemanship. Edinburgh University Press. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  33. 1 2 3 4 Sophia Lazaretou (2003). "Greek Monetary Economics in Retrospect: The Adventures of the Drachma" (PDF). National Bank of Greece. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  34. Michalis M. Psalidopoulos (2011). "Monetary Management and Economic Crisis: The Policy of the Bank of Greece, 1929-1941" (PDF). National Bank of Greece. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  35. Greek National Tourism Organization. "Ιστορία" [History]. (in Greek). Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  36. 1 2 3 Tzokas, Spyros (2002). Το αναπτυξιακό έργο της κυβέρνησης Βενιζέλου [The investment programme of the Venizelos government]. Ο Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος και το Εγχείρημα του Αστικού Εκσυχρονισμού 1928–1932 [Eleftherios Venizelos and the Attempt at Urban Modernisation 1928–1932]. Athens: Themelio. pp. 146–149. ISBN 960-310-286-5.
  37. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Papadakis, V. P.; Svoronos, N. I.; P., K. M. (1934). Πολιτική Γεωγραφία [Political Geography]. Μεγάλη Ελληνική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια. 10. Athens: Pyrsos Co. Ltd. pp. 223–237.
  38. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 A. A. Pallis (1929). "The Greek Census of 1928". The Geographical Journal. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  39. 1 2 3 4 Danforth, Loring M. (1997-04-06). The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World. Princeton University Press. pp. 69–72. ISBN 069-104-356-6.
  40. 1 2 3 Tzokas, Spyros (2002). Τα δημόσια και παραγωγικά έργα της τετραετίας [The public and productive works of the four-year government]. Ο Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος και το Εγχείρημα του Αστικού Εκσυχρονισμού 1928–1932 [Eleftherios Venizelos and the Attempt at Urban Modernisation 1928–1932]. Athens: Themelio. pp. 159–161. ISBN 960-310-286-5.

See also

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