George II, 1890–1947, king of the Hellenes (1922–23, 1935–47), successor and eldest son of King Constantine I. When Constantine I was forced by the Allies to abdicate in 1917, George, also suspected of being pro-German, was passed over in favor of his younger brother Alexander, who succeeded to the Greek throne. Later, however, George succeeded Constantine I, who had been restored (1920) and again deposed (1922). Hostility to the dynasty was such, however, that George was compelled to leave Greece in 1923; a plebiscite shortly afterward established a republic. George spent his exile in Romania and later in London. Restored to his throne in 1935, King George allowed his premier, John Metaxas, to set up (1936) a dictatorship. After the conquest of Greece by Germany and Italy in World War II, George fled (1941) his country. He spent most of his exile in London. When Greece was liberated (1944) the question of the king's return was a major issue in the Greek civil war that began in Dec., 1944. George returned only in 1946, after a plebiscite had decided in favor of the monarchy. Although strongly backed by Great Britain and the United States, King George's government and army failed to defeat the rebels, and civil war continued after George's death, when his brother Paul succeeded him.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.