World War I and Interwar period 1914-1939

October 16, 20194 MinutesIn History

World War I and following peace treaties (1914–21)

Under an October 1914 agreement among the Allies,[40] Greek forces re-entered Northern Epirus and the Italians seized the Vlore region.[37] Greece officially annexed Northern Epirus in March 1916, but was forced to revoke by the Great Powers.[d] During the war the French Army occupied the area around Korçë in 1916, and established the Republic of Korçë. In 1917 Greece lost control of the rest of Northern Epirus to Italy, who by then had taken over most of Albania.[7] The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 awarded the area to Greece after World War I, however, political developments such as the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) and, crucially, Italian, Austrian and German lobbying in favor of Albania resulted in the area being ceded to Albania in November 1921.[8]

Interwar period (1921–39) – Zog’s regime

The Albanian Government, with the country’s entrance to the League of Nations (October 1921), made the commitment to respect the social, educational, religious rights of every minority.[41] Questions arose over the size of the Greek minority, with the Albanian government claiming 16,000, and the League of Nations estimating it at 35,000-40,000.[d] In the event, only a limited area in the Districts of Gjirokastër, Sarandë and four villages in Himarë region consisting of 15,000 inhabitants[42] was recognized as a Greek minority zone.

The following years, measures were taken to suppress[n] the minority’s education. The Albanian state viewed Greek education as a potential threat to its territorial integrity,[42] while most of the teaching staff was considered suspicious and in favour for the Northern Epirus movement.[o] In October 1921, the Albanian government recognised minority rights and legalised Greek schools only in Greek speaking settlements located within the “recognised minority zone”.[p][q] Within the rest of the country, Greek schools were either closed or forcibly converted to Albanian schools and teachers were expelled from the country.[p][q] During the mid 1920s, attempts at opening Greek schools and teacher training colleges in urban areas with sizable Greek populations were meet with difficulties which resulted in an absence of urban Greek schools in coming years.[r][s] With the intervention of the League of Nations in 1935, a limited number of schools, and only of those inside the officially recognized zone, were reopened. The 360 schools of the pre-World War I period were reduced dramatically in the following years and education in Greek was finally eliminated altogether in 1935:[t][48]

1926: 78, 1927: 68, 1928: 66, 1929: 60, 1930: 63, 1931: 64, 1932: 43, 1933: 10, 1934: 0

During this period, the Albanian state led efforts to establish an independent orthodox church (contrary to the Protocol of Corfu), thereby reducing the influence of Greek language in the country’s south. According to a 1923 law, priests who were not Albanian speakers, as well as not of Albanian origin, were excluded from this new autocephalous church.[42]

Source : Wikipedia