Eleftherios Venizelos (1864–1936) was the outstanding Greek statesman of the first half of the twentieth century. Michael Llewellyn-Smith traces his early years, political apprenticeship in Crete, and energetic role in that island’s emancipation from both Ottoman rule and the arbitrary rule of Prince George of Greece.
Summoned to Athens in 1910 by a cabal of officers, Venizelos mastered the Greek political scene, sent the military back to barracks, and led the country through a glorious period of constitutional and political reform, ending in a Balkan alliance waging successful war against Ottoman rule in Europe. By 1914, Greece had doubled in territory and population, and was about to face the challenges of European war. Tensions were rising between the king and the prime minister, foreshadowing political schism.
This book illuminates Venizelos’ political mastery, liberalism and nationalism, and traces his fateful friendship with David Lloyd George. A second volume will complete his story, with the Great War, the post-war peace settlement, Greece’s Asia Minor disaster, and Venizelos’ late years of renewed prime ministerial office, political polarisation and exile in Paris.