The land reclamation projects in the marshes greatly improved public health, mainly by curtailing malaria. Despite the rapid economic growth, however, the holdings were small and the earnings limited.
Thus, the Great Depression of 1929, which particularly hurt the tobacco exports upon which a large segment of the Greek-Macedonian population depended, and the resulting growing unemployment among tobacco workers gave rise to social tensions.
During the 1935 Venizelist coup, Macedonia, with its large pro-Venizelist refugee population, became the scene of many clashes between Venizelos' and the King's supporters. After that, in May 1936, there was unrest during strikes of tobacco workers -- whose unions were controlled by the Communist Party -- in Thessaloniki and Kavala. This was used as one of the pretexts for the imposition of the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas.