Venizelos, Eleutherios


Venizelos, Eleutherios
(1864–1936)
   A dynamic Greek statesman who presided over transformation of Greece from a tiny and poor kingdom to a modern and enlarged state in a matter of years. Divisions between himself and the monarch, King Constantine, over the participation of Greece in World War I undid much of his major achievements. After studying law in Athens, Venizelos founded the Liberal Party in Crete and in 1896 led the movement against Ottoman rule. In 1909, Venizelos decided to enter the Greek parliament, but in August a group of disgruntled Greek military officers presented an ultimatum to the Athens government demanding military and political reorganization that precipitated the government’s collapse. The Military League was inexperienced and called on Venizelos. He established a National Assembly that revised the constitution and led the league to dissolve. Elected to parliament in August 1910, within two months he became the prime minister. When the old leaders obstructed him, Venizelos coolly called an election in which his Liberal Party won 300 of the 364 seats. He then instituted reforms. In 1911, the British were contracted to reorganize the navy, the French the army, and the Italians the gendarmerie.
   Venizelos’s ambition to see a modern, liberal Greece take its place alongside other Mediterranean powers gathered pace. Because of his prudence in shaking-up the army and fleet, the country was prepared for the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and was able to seize parts of Epirus, Macedonia, and some of the Aegean Islands. Prince Constantine became king after the assassination of his father, King George I, in 1913. Although in 1914 Venizelos supported an alliance with the Entente, believing that Britain and France would win the war, Constantine wanted to remain neutral. Venizelos resigned in February 1915.
   Venizelos’s party again won the elections and formed a government, although he promised to remain neutral. Bulgaria’s attack on Serbia, with which Greece had an alliance treaty, obliged him to abandon that policy. Again the king disagreed, and again Venizelos resigned. He did not take part in the next election, as he considered parliament’s dissolution unconstitutional.
   In 1916, Venizelos’s supporters organized a military movement in Thessaloniki, called the Temporary Government of National Defense. There they founded a new state including northern Greece and Aegean Islands. On May 1917, after the exile of Constantine, Venizelos returned to Athens and allied with the Entente. After the war he took part in Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and signed, as Greece’s representative, the Treaty of Neuilly in November 1919 and the Treaty of Sèvres in August 1920.
   FURTHER READING:
    Dakin, D. The Unification of Greece, 1770-1923. London: Benn, 1972;
    Forster, Edward Seymour. A Short History of Modern Greece. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1977.
   ANDREKOS VARNAVA

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Venizélos, Eleuthérios — ▪ prime minister of Greece Introduction in full  Eleuthérios Kyriakos Venizélos  born Aug. 23, 1864, Mourniés, Crete, Ottoman Empire [now in Greece] died March 18, 1936, Paris, France  prime minister of Greece (1910–15, 1917–20, 1924, 1928–32,… …   Universalium

  • Venizélos, Eleuthérios — ► (1864 1936) Político liberal griego. Fue primer ministro en 1910 15, 1924, 1928 32, 1932 y 1933. Dirigió con acierto la guerra de los Balcanes (1912 13) y apostó por los aliados en la Primera Guerra Mundial …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Venizélos, Eleuthérios (Kyriakos) — born Aug. 23, 1864, Mourniés, Crete, Ottoman Empire died March 18, 1936, Paris, France Greek revolutionary leader. Son of a Cretan revolutionary, he served in the government of autonomous Crete as minister of justice (1899–1901), then led an… …   Universalium

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  • Venizélos — (Eleuthérios) (1864 1936) homme politique grec. Crétois, il émancipa la Crète (1898). Président du Conseil à Athènes (1910 1915), il engagea la Grèce dans les guerres balkaniques (1912 1913) et réunit la Crète à la Grèce. Rappelé en 1917, il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Venizelos — Venizélos (izg. venizelòs) DEFINICIJA 1. Eleuthérios (1864 1936), vodeći grčki političar i državnik prvih desetljeća 20. st.; osnivač Liberalne stranke (1910), u devet duljih i kraćih mandata predsjednik vlade (1910 1932); inicijator ustavnih… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Eleutherios — ( el. Ελευθέριος, the liberator ) is an epithet of: *Dionysus *Eros First name It is also used as a first name in modern Greek (alternatively transliterated as Eleftherios, in the short form Lefteris):*Eleftherios Venizelos, Greek prime minister… …   Wikipedia

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  • Venizélos — biographical name Eleuthérios 1864 1936 Greek statesman …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Venizelos — /ve nee ze laws/, n. Eleutherios /e lef the rddyaws/, 1864 1936, prime minister of Greece 1910 15, 1917 20, 1928 33. * * * …   Universalium


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