Primary Documents - Abdication Proclamation of King Constantine I, 14 June 1917
Reproduced below is the text of King Constantine I's abdication proclamation of 14 June 1917.
This followed an earlier ultimatum issued by the Allies on 11 June which demanded the abdication of the pro-German Constantine.
In so doing 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 (click here to read Alexander's inaugural proclamation). 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.
Abdication Proclamation of King Constantine I
Yielding to necessity, accomplishing my duty towards Greece, and having in view only the interests of the country, I am leaving my dear country with the Crown Prince, leaving my son Alexander on the throne.
Still, when far from Greece, the queen and I will always preserve the same love for the Hellenic people. I beg all to accept my decision calmly and quietly, trusting in God, whose protection I invoke for the nation.
In order that my bitter sacrifice for my country may not be in vain, I exhort you, for the love of God, for the love of our country, if you love me, to maintain perfect order and quiet discipline, the slightest lapse from which, even though well-intentioned, might be enough to cause a great catastrophe.
The love and devotion which you have always manifested for the queen and myself, in days of happiness and sorrow alike, are a great consolation to us at the present, time. May God protect Greece.
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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