The Corfu Incident, 1923

What was the Corfu dispute?
The dispute over the Greek island of Corfu in 1923, between Italy and Greece, was one of the most important disputes of the 1920s.
Where is Corfu?
Corfu is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and part of Greece.
Who was involved in the Corfu dispute?
The Corfu incident was part of a larger dispute between Italy and Greece.
Why did Italy and Greece argue over Corfu?
The invasion of Corfu was the result of an ongoing argument between Greece and Italy.
  • Following the First World War, the border was redrawn between Greece and Albania. The Italian general, Tellini, had the job of patrolling it.
  • In 1923, Tellini and some Italian soldiers were murdered on the border.
  • In response the Italian fascist leader, Mussolini, demanded 50 million lira in compensation and the execution of those responsible. Greece refused.
  • In retaliation, Italy invaded the Greek island of Corfu. Greece appealed to the League for help.
How did the League react to the Corfu dispute?
There were 4 important actions over Corfu:
  • Italy did not accept action by the League in Corfu.
  • The League responded quickly and ordered Italy to leave Corfu.
  • Italy refused and demanded the question be passed to the Conference of Ambassadors, which was responsible for overseeing the peace settlement.
  • The Conference of Ambassadors also ordered Italy to leave Corfu, but agreed that Greece should pay compensation.
What was the result of the Corfu dispute?
The Corfu dispute had a number of results.
  • It revealed the League would give preferential treatment to powerful and aggressive members, like Italy.
  • It led to the Geneva Protocol, which was an attempt to make the League of Nations fairer.
  • It also highlighted that when Britain and France did not stand united, they showed weakness.
What was significant about the dispute in Corfu between Italy and Greece?
The Corfu dispute was a significant case study of failure for the League for the following reasons:
  • The incident showed the League was powerless against a bigger country which threatened a smaller country.
  • It proved the League could be ignored and overruled by other international groups.
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