Pressure upon the Greek defensive positions started once more as another Ottoman assault commenced after the end of winter. As the Greek positions had been further reinforced over the last few months, the Ottoman attacks were unable to penetrate the Greek defences to any great extent. Facing deadlock once more, Mahmud II had no choice but to call upon Egypt for aid. Mahmud had tried to avoid asking the wayward vassal in order to prove his own power over the Empire. But with the stalemate proving to be almost unbreakable, the Sultan had no choice.
Muhammad Ali, the ruler of Egypt, had been looking on with some apprehension regarding the Greek Revolution. While he was reluctant to go against the Sultan, he was by no means eager to go up against a country who was receiving constant blank checks from the powers of Europe. The choice was between going up against the Western Powers and getting a very sound thrashing or breaking from the Ottoman Empire and hoping the Greeks would buy enough time for Ali to defend Egypt against any Ottoman attack.
In the end, Ali decided the second option, while painful, was a lot less limiting on his own personal power than the first. He refused the request from the Sultan on the grounds Egypt lacked the troops to support the Ottoman Empire in the War. Mahmud was furious at the betrayal of one of his own vassal states but with most Ottoman forces in Greece, he was unable to respond. Mahmud had also realised the general futility of this war. The European Powers were not going to let Greece collapse completely and allow the Ottomans to take revenge. Mahmud was forced into a decision of either trying to enforce his will upon an unruly vassal or a budding nation. Finally, not wanting to appear weak in front of anyone, Mahmud risked it on a final assault upon the Greeks. If it succeeded, he’d call a truce and negotiate on a position of strength. If it failed, he’d cut his losses and leave Greece to its own devices. The assault was planned to take place in early May.
On the 4th May, a general bombardment upon Greek positions near Lamia signalled the beginning of the Ottoman assault. All across the front, Ottoman forces attempted to break the Greek lines and defences with their utmost efforts. The assault began as most others had done before it but with one major difference, this time the Greeks had the ability and resources to launch a counter attack. The plan was made to use their budding Navy to go behind the Ottoman lines with an Army and strike at the rear, causing mass havoc. The target of the attack was decided as being near the city of Preveza due to it being easily accessible by the Navy and the fact that the Ottoman forces were weakest in the west of Greece.
The Naval assault took place on the 18th May, six ships travelled up the coast carrying the Greek assault force. The attack took place at dawn with the Greeks landing on the shore before moving south to strike the Ottoman positions. The assault actually worked almost perfectly. The Ottoman Army had failed to station a guard point in view of the sea and the surprise was complete. The several thousand numbered contingent had managed to overwhelm the Ottoman forces and drove them east, allowing Greek reserves in the area to link up and carry on with the assault.
Over the following week, the Ottoman forces were rolled back as the Greeks managed to drive them further east gaining victory after victory. The Ottoman flight was finally stopped just miles before Thessaloniki where the Ottomans had managed to place a substantive garrison. While both sides tried to consolidate their Armies, word from Istanbul was sent to the Greeks; the Sultan was willing to negotiate. The news was greeted with euphoria throughout Greece and preparations were made to send a delegation to Paris where negotiations were to take place.
The Liberal factions of the Greek Revolutionaries instantly began to debate on a Constitution for the new country. Damocles invited all parties concerned to Athens to discuss the provisions of the Constitution.
What followed has been called the ‘Μεγάλη προδοσία’ (Great Betrayal) ever since.
When the Liberal representatives arrived in Athens, Damocles had them all arrested on grounds of treason against the new Greek state. Only the prominent foreign representatives, such as Lord Byron, were allowed to leave Athens under exile to avoid trouble with other nations. Backed to the hilt by the Conservative factions and the Greek Army, Damocles proclaimed himself King Peter of Greece and was to be crowned by an Orthodox Priest.
When the news spread across Europe at the end of the month, the reaction was both shock and some condemnation by various Liberals while the actual Conservative Governments made very little noise. Austria was happy to hear that a Conservative Government had sprung up in Greece rather than a radical one, Britain wasn’t really bothered what Government Greece had as long as they were pro-Britain while being anti-Russia and France found itself in a very awkward position in condemning a man who had effectively pulled a Napoleon. The most outspoken critic of the new regime was Lord Byron who began denouncing the new Government as soon he reached Britain. From being the darling of the Liberal cause, Greek Independence was now denounced by all.
In other events, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna to almighty acclaim. The Symphony was praised by all… apart from the Austrian Government. Beethoven was seen as a beacon for the Liberal cause in the Austrian Empire and he enjoyed mass popularity throughout the Empire. There was a feeling amongst the higher ups in Austria that the high tensions within the Empire could reach even higher with a Symphony declaring the Brotherhood of All Man. Pressure began to build up against the composer to curb his ideals and criticisms. Beethoven’s reaction to those who tried to dissuade him from his beliefs was quite forceful, he allegedly screamed the Austrian officials who pressured him out onto the street.
The Peace of Paris was hammered out on the 14th June. Mahmud II, eager to exit from Greece and descend upon Egypt with a vengeance, wanted the War to finish as quickly as possible. The line of the Ottoman representatives was to be tough, but ready to make compromises should the going get tough. A week of negotiations was all that it took for a Treaty to be hammered out. The Powers of Europe, not wanting the Greek Revolution to destabilise the Ottoman Empire, told the Greeks to moderate their land claims.
The final Treaty of Paris included the following clauses:
1: Greece was too recognised by all countries as an independent Kingdom.
2: The Ottoman Empire was to recognise a border running from the north of the Thermaic Gulf in the East to Epirus in the West.
3: Austria was to become the official protector of the Greek Kingdom (The Austrian Empire would later use this as an excuse to stir up trouble in the Balkans in order to strengthen its own position in the region).
4: Both Greece and the Ottoman Empire were to sign a non-aggression pact that (Surprisingly) both were honestly willing to keep to.
With his Northern border secure, Mahmud II began to shift troops south towards Egypt. Muhammad Ali had kept up a purely defensive strategy at this point, unwilling to even strike beyond Egypt’s borders for fear of overextending his Armies. The time for a reckoning in Egypt had come.
For Greece however, the nation was ecstatic that it had achieved its independence while being under the control of a true Greek King. While the Liberal elements had been quashed in the coup, Damocles still faced opposition in the question of how much power he’d be allowed to yield with both the Army and the Church wanting a say in how Greece was to be governed. While Damocles could count upon the Army to believe that he had their interests at heart, the Orthodox Church was a different kettle of fish. They wanted a Theocratic Orthodox State and they wanted a degree of control of it.
Damocles had no choice but to give the Church a say in matters, appointing the Archbishop of Athens as his Prime Minister. Luckily for Damocles, the Archbishop was fairly relaxed in terms of secular affairs, preferring to take care of Greece’s spiritual well being. While this was well suited for the moment, the tradition of having the Orthodox Priest in a high position of Government would prove to be a highly problematic issue.
In Europe, the constant pressure upon Beethoven forced him to except an invitation to go to Britain for a private concert. The Austrian Government, glad to see the back of the notorious radical, then refused to offer Beethoven passage back into the country upon his return. Incensed, Beethoven had no choice but to remain in London composing his music. One affect of this was a change of doctors for Beethoven, his previous treatment of lead was curtailed in preference of other methods.
President Jackson had enjoyed the first several months in power with little real opposition. It became clear however that the constant expansion of the military was untenable in the long term. It was costing too much and it was severely limiting the efficiency of the Army. But because of the War of 1812 had made limiting the Army a politically divisive issue, Jackson was loath to voice his opinions out loud. There was also the issue of Florida to consider. The Spanish Federacion, having banned slavery some time ago was letting escaped slaves settle into its Florida territory.
Not wanting to appear weak on foreign policy of all things, Jackson began to look south and to put pressure on the Federacion to expel any escaped slaves. The Federacion refused and pressure began to build up on both sides as relations worsened.