Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page



tHE COLLAPSE OF GREECE. 1 eLT'srress BEHIND THE ECENES. Greece haa a surprising number of candid friends t present. In the new number -of The Contemporary Review, Mr. E. J. Dillon begins an article on the fata of that country with much sarcasm at the expense of the Powers. The reader naturally expects a warm eulogy of Greece; but never in all the storm of tn" dignation that has recently broken over that ■ait- fortunate little nation has there been anything more cutting than Mr. Dillon's biting Must. Mr. Dillon ash whether the Greek Ministry's light-hearted abaclonment of the policy of non. interference in Crete was moonstruck mad- ness or a mere ssiscalculation ? There is% grave d is- cuasion of the question, but the reader is not left in any doubt as to Mr. Dillon's own opinion. Even the theory of secret foreign encouragement, which he says even the most credulous will reject as false unless the most irrefragable proofs are brought for- ward, go but a very little way in Mr. Dillon's opinion towards justifying the wild policy struck out by the Delyannis Ministry. With a practicable plan put into execution more skilfully and at an earlier and propitious moment Greece could have practically had possession of the whole island. The indecision of the Government put that out of the question, and says Mr. Dillon: "The next step was to alienate the sympathies of the Great Powers by a high-handed act, for which- speaking in the light of subsequent facts—there was not the ghost of a pretext. All the ciphered despatches sent by the foieign diplomatic representa- tives at Athens were, by order of the Government, kept back for a day, in order to hinder the Powers from forwarding instructions to the admirals in Cretan waters." Mr. Dillon goes on to comment on the folly of the Greek Government in providing for itself no bridge for retreat in case of failure. An attempt was made to build one for it. Oa March 22 it was suggested that the Minister for Foreign Affairs should send a despatch to the Hellenic Minister in Turkey pro- posing to the Forte thesimultaneoua withdrawal from Crete of the Ottoman and Hellenic forces, and also the demobilisation of the troops then massed upon the frontiers. The Porte was to be informed that this was, in the opinion of Greece, the only means of en- abling the Great Powers to compass the speedy paci- fication of Crete, while giving due weight to the wishes of the Cretan population, which could then be expressed without let or hindrance. The proposi- tion wan to be made under threat of withdrawal of the Greek representatives from Ottoman territory. In this way Greece was to clear herself of the charges of wantonly distui bing the peace of Europe, and of exerting undue influence over the Cietans, and to have scored a splendid diplomatic victory, whatever hap- pened. But, says Mr. Dillon The Government, as usual, hesitated. The matter was 'carefully considered,' discussed, now approved, now criticised, and finally adjourned until the oppor- tunity bad passed and events imposed a very different and utterly calamitious line of action. Thus was the last chance of •* peace with honour' thrown away, and the war, which the Government never intended formally to declare, was virtually provoked." This, Mr. Dillon says, was one of the most mis- chievious mistakes ever made by the Greek or any other Government. The Greek Government is accused of" drifting listlessly on towards the seething whirlpool, and the nearer they came, the more closely they hugged the fond delusion that all would end some strange right way at last.' In a word, Micaw- herism was raised to the dignity of a political system." The Greek Government knew that the Hellenio army was utterly untrained for active service. Many of the superior officers had been appointed and pro- moted for qualities usually more appreciated at courts and in salons or picnics than in camps and on battle- fields. The army and navy had always been regarded -as integral portions of the electoral machine by means of which Ministers kept their respective parties in power. Such are Mr. Dillon's plain asser- tions, and they go further still. For example: Thsre were not rifles enough for the would-be soldiers; tLo cartouches for the rifles which were available were to a considerable extent old and almost useless; the navy was unprepared to play the part for which it was destined, and was actually in want of vulgar coal." Colonel Limbritis, the intimate friend and sup- porter of M. Delyannis, told him in the presence of 10 other political friends that the occupation of Crete would blast the hopes of the Cretans, ruin Greece and consign Delyannis himself to private life for the remainder of his days. M. Delyannis is accused of having obstinately refused to call from Crete men like Colonel Limbritis and Major Constantinados, the former of whom was one of the most competent military men in the kingdom, and had made the defence of Thessaly his special study. Here is a story of Velestino: A curious detail, which, so far as I know, has not yet been revealed to the public, was discovered after the fight at Valestino. There, as is well known, the Greeks behaved like men. They advanced to within 300 metres of their enemies and de<ùt death and destruction around them. Yet so defective were tho old cartridges with which they were supplied that at that distance of 300 metres their bullets failed to pierce the bodies of the Turks On the authority of Col. Limbritis. Mr. Dillon says the Greek forces displayed utter ignorance of tactics. He says: In all Thessaly, therefore, not one real battle was fought. There were several chance rencontres of armed men and a goodly number of hasty retreats, but not a single battle. Such is the deliberate Opinion of one of the first military men of Greece and it is nob likely to be gainsaid by any of his foreign colleagues. Could anything be more cha- racteristic of the light-heartedness with which the war was carried on than the letter written to the War Minister by one of the chiefs of the army, to the effect that be needed no commissariat; he had signed a contract with a purveyor for the delivery of bread, and everything else could be obtained with- out difficulty therefore a commissariat was super- fluous. As for the navy, it was the sport of contradictory instructions which, Mr. Dillon says (and rightly, if his stories are correct) would delight the writer (,f opera bouffe. This telegram of the Marine Minister to Admiral Sakhtouris is quoted: Mark you this I allow nobody among you to put off the execution of my orders or to seek for approval of them from any quarter whatever, as you did, when you were told to bombard Kara Burnoo. Do not forget, sir, the circumstances attending your muni- cipal election at Poros, where you ran a great risk and were saved by me. You have now to obey me blindly." It is also stated that at the height of the war M. Ralli was casually informed that. warships had e- hausted their supplies of coal, and had to go about himself seeking to borrow coal wherever he could find people willing and able to lend it. The rotten po',i- tical state of Greece is treated in this remarkable Contemporary article in much the same vein; and I there is only one bright passage in the melancholy story. It is that in which the virtues of the present ¡' Prime Minister of Greece are set forth. He may fail, eays Mr. Dillon, in the task of what can still be I done to save Greece from irreparable ruin, but no or, o else is likely to succeed. I


[No title]



[No title]


[No title]


[No title]





[No title]