Primary Documents - King Alexander's Inaugural Proclamation, June 1917
Constantine's abdication came after an earlier ultimatum issued by the Allies on 11 June which demanded his abdication on account of his pro-Germanic stance in guiding Greek policy (at the time supposedly neutral).
In issuing their ultimatum the Allies intended to install in government in Athens the decidedly pro-Allied Eleutherios Venizelos, at present based in exile in Crete, where he had controversially established an alternative Greek government. Venizelos had earlier served as Greek Prime Minister until his overtly pro-Allied sentiments led Constantine to seek his effective dismissal.
At the same time as delivering the ultimatum the Allies simultaneously invaded Thessaly and a French force occupied the Isthmus of Corinth. On 12 June 1917 Constantine duly abdicated in favour of his second son, Alexander. Two weeks after this, on 26 June, Venizelos was installed as Prime Minister, replacing Zaimis.
Click here to read French Minister Auguste Gauvain's memoir of the events which led to Constantine's abdication. Click here to read the Allies' reaction to news of Constantine's abdication. Click here to read Alexander's coronation address to the Greek Parliament on 4 August 1917.
Proclamation by King Alexander
At the moment when my venerated father, making to the Fatherland the supreme sacrifice, entrusts me with the heavy duties of the Hellenic throne, I pray that God, granting his wishes, may protect Greece and permit us to see it once more united and strong.
In the grief of being separated in such painful circumstances from my well-beloved father I have the single consolation of obeying his sacred command. With all my energy I shall try to carry it out by following along the lines which so magnificently marked his reign, with the help of the people on whose love the Greek dynasty rests.
I have the conviction that, in obeying the will of my father, the people by their submission will contribute to our being able together to draw our well-beloved country out of the situation in which it now is.
Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
Around one million Indian troops served in WW1, of which some 100,000 were either killed or wounded.
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