Thoughts, comments pictures and illustrations relating to the ‘intervention’ of the forces of the Concert of Europe in Crete between 1896 and 1913.

Between 1896 and 1913, European forces occupied Crete, arriving there ostensibly to keep the peace between Cretan Muslims and Cretan Christians, but in reality to prevent the potentially catastrophic effects of the premature breakup of the Ottoman Empire threatened by the Cretan rebellion of 1896 and the landing of Greek forces on the island the following year. The Concert of Europe was not prepared to allow Greece to annex Crete because of the knock-on effect that would have on the Ottoman and former Ottoman territories within Europe and threat that the scramble to occupy and control those lands would have on European stability, and accordingly sending troops to the island to keep the peace and prevent a Greek takeover.

Though granting Crete autonomy within the Ottoman Empire in 1898, and incidentally appointing the son of the Greek King as the first High Commissioner of the island, the Concert troops remained on Crete for some considerable time. European ground forces withdrew finally in 1909, naval forces in 1913, as Crete achieved enosis, union, with Greece in the aftermath of the second Balkan War.

This blog will concentrate on the role played by French, Italian, Russian and, in the early stages of the ‘Intervention’, Austro-Hungarian and German, troops. Its partner blog, The British Intervention in Crete looks in some detail at the role of British troops.

Information on the role of the French forces during the Intervention can be found in the diaries of Colonel Emile-Honore Destelle, commander the French forces in Crete.

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