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Greek: Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος
|President of the Hellenic Republic|
1 June 1973 – 25 November 1973
|Preceded by||Constantine II of Greece (as King of the Hellenes)|
|Succeeded by||Phaedon Gizikis|
|169th Prime Minister of Greece|
13 December 1967 – 8 October 1973
|Preceded by||Konstantinos Kollias|
|Succeeded by||Spiros Markezinis|
|Regent of Greece|
21 March 1972 – 31 May 1973
|Preceded by||Georgios Zoitakis|
|Succeeded by||None (monarchy abolished)|
5 May 1919|
|Died||27 June 1999
|Resting place||First Cemetery of Athens|
|Political party||None (military)|
|Alma mater||Hellenic Military Academy|
|Years of service||1940 - 1941, 1944 - 1973|
Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos (Greek: Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος) (5 May 1919 – 27 June 1999) was the head of the military coup d'état that took place in Greece on 21 April 1967 and leader of the junta that ruled the country from 1967 to 1974. Papadopoulos was a Colonel of Artillery. During World War II, he had initially fought against the Italian 1940 invasion and then he became a German collaborator in the Security Battalions, and in the postwar years he received intelligence training in the United States and became a CIA agent. He held dictatorial power in Greece from 1967–1973, until he was himself overthrown by his co-conspirator Dimitrios Ioannidis. It has been claimed that Papadopoulos was the first CIA agent to govern a Western European country.
- 1 Early life and military career
- 2 Post-World War II career
- 3 21 April 1967: Coup d'état
- 4 Legacy
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Early life and military career
Papadopoulos was born in Elaiohori, a small village in the Prefecture of Achaea in Peloponnese to local schoolteacher Christos Papadopoulos and his wife Chrysoula. He was the eldest son and had two brothers, Konstantinos and Haralambos. After finishing high school in 1937 he enrolled in the Scholi Evelpidon Officer Academy (Σχολή Ευελπίδων), completing its three-year program in 1940.
Resistance and Acquiescence
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During World War II. Papadopoulos saw field action as an artillery second lieutenant against both Italian and Nazi German forces which attacked Greece on 6 April 1941. During the subsequent occupation of Greece by Nazi Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, he worked in the Greek administration's "Patras Food Supply Office" under the command of Colonel Kourkoulakos, who was responsible for the formation of the "Security Battalions" in Patras. These were collaborationist military units created by the Greek puppet government of Ioannis Rallis in 1943 to support the German occupation troops. They were supported by the extreme right and pro-Nazi elements, but also by some centrist politicians who were concerned about the dominance of ELAS (the military arm of the communist-dominated National Liberation Front EAM) as the leading group in the Greek resistance. Among the members of the Security Battalions one could find ex-army officers, violently conscripted soldiers, ultra-right fanatics and social outcasts, as well as common opportunists who believed the Axis would win the war.
At the beginning of 1944, Papadopoulos left Greece with the help of British intelligence agents and went to Egypt, where the Greek government-in-exile was based, and was promoted to lieutenant. Along with other right-wing military officers, he participated in the creation of the nationalist right-wing secret IDEA organization in the fall of 1944, shortly after the country's liberation. Those 1940B officers who took refuge in Egypt with the king immediately after the German invasion had become generals when their still-colonel classmates undertook the coup of 1967.
Divorce by Decree
Papadopoulos married his first wife, Niki Vasileiadi, in 1941. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The marriage, however, ran into difficulty later and they eventually separated. The separation, however lengthy, could not lead to divorce at first because, under Greece's restrictive divorce laws of that era, spousal consent was required. To remedy this, in 1970, as Prime Minister of the dictatorship he decreed a custom-made divorce law with a strict time limit and a (built-in sunset clause) that enabled him to get the divorce. After having served its purpose, the law eventually expired automatically. After the divorce, Papadopoulos married his long-time paramour Despina Gaspari in 1970, with whom he had a daughter.
Post-World War II career
He was promoted to captain in 1946; and in 1949, during the Greek Civil War, to major. (See also Greek military ranks.) He served in the KYP Intelligence Service from 1959 to 1964 as the main contact between the KYP and the top CIA operative in Greece, John Fatseas, after training at the CIA in 1953.
Trials and tribulations: The Beloyannis affair
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Papadopoulos was also a member of the court-martial in the first trial of the well-known Greek communist leader Nikos Beloyannis, in 1951. At that trial, Beloyannis was sentenced to death for the crime of being a member of the Communist Party, which was banned at that time in Greece following the Greek Civil War. The death sentence pronounced after this trial (Papadopoulos had voted against it) was not carried out, but Beloyannis was put on trial again in early 1952, this time for alleged espionage, following the discovery of radio transmitters used by undercover Greek communists to communicate with the exiled leadership of the Party in the Soviet Union. At the end of this trial, he was sentenced to death and immediately taken out and shot. Papadopoulos was not involved in this second trial. The Beloyannis trials were highly controversial in Greece, and many Greeks consider that, like many Greek communists at the time, Beloyannis was shot for his political beliefs, rather than any real crimes. The trial was by court-martial under Greek anti-insurgency legislation enacted at the time of the Greek Civil War which remained in force even though the war had ended.
Rise to colonel in the 1960s
In 1956, Papadopoulos took part in a failed coup attempt against King Paul of Greece. In 1958, he helped create the Office of Military Studies, a surveillance authority, under General Gogousis. It was from this same office that the subsequently successful coup of 21 April 1967 emanated.[this quote needs a citation]
In 1964, Papadopoulos was transferred to an artillery division in Thrace by decree of Center Union Defense Minister Garoufalias. In June 1965, days before the onset of the major political turmoil known as Apostasia, he made national headlines after arresting two soldiers under his command and eight leftist civilians from settlements near his military camp, on charges that they had conspired to sabotage army vehicles by pouring sugar into the vehicles' gas tanks. The ten were imprisoned and tortured, but it was eventually proven that Papadopoulos himself had sabotaged the vehicles. Andreas Papandreou wrote in his memoirs that Papadopoulos wanted to prove that under the Center Union government, the communists had been left free to undermine national security. Even after this scandal, Papadopoulos was not discharged from the army since prime minister Georgios Papandreou forgave him as a compatriot of his father. In 1967, Papadopoulos was promoted to colonel.
21 April 1967: Coup d'état
That same year, on 21 April, a month before the general elections, Papadopoulos, along with fellow middle-ranking Army officers, led a successful coup, taking advantage of the volatile political situation that had arisen from a conflict between King Constantine II and the aging former prime minister, Georgios Papandreou. Papadopoulos used his power gained from the coup to try to re-engineer the Greek political landscape. In Greece even today, the words "21η Απριλίου 1967" (translation: "21 April 1967") are still synonymous with the word "πραξικόπημα" (translation: "coup d'état").
Regime of the Colonels
From the early stages, Papadopoulos emerged as the strongman of the new regime. He was appointed Minister of National Defense and Minister of the Presidency in the first government, and his position was further enhanced when after the king's abortive counter-coup on 13 December he became Prime Minister. Not content with that, on 21 March 1972, he nominated himself Regent of Greece, succeeding Georgios Zoitakis.
Papadopoulos' regime imposed martial law, censorship, mass arrests, beatings and torture. Thousands of the regime's political opponents were thrown into prison or exiled ("forced into vacation", as the friends of the junta cynically put it) on small Aegean islands. Amnesty International issued a report detailing numerous instances of torture under the regime. Papadopoulos excused these actions as necessary to save the nation from a "communist takeover." The regime was supported by the United States because of its staunchly anti-communist stance.
The military government dissolved political parties, clamped down on left-wing organizations and labor unions, and promoted traditionalist Greco-Christian culture. At the same time, however, the economy, mostly due to the political stability brought by the regime, improved greatly and extensive public projects, such as highway-building, agricultural reform and electrification, were carried out all over Greece but especially in the most backward rural areas.
Torture of political prisoners in general, and communists in particular, was not out of the question. Examples included beatings, isolation and, according to some sources, pulling out fingernails.
"Patient in a cast" and other metaphors
Throughout his tenure as the junta strongman, Papadopoulos often employed what have been described by the BBC as gory medical metaphors, where he or the junta assumed the role of the "medical doctor". The "patient" was Greece. Typically Papadopoulos or the junta portrayed themselves as the "doctor" who operated on the "patient" by putting the patient's "foot" in an orthopedic cast and applying restraints on the "patient", tying him on a surgical bed and putting him under anesthesia to perform the "operation" so that the life of the "patient" would not be "endangered" during the operation. In one of his famous speeches Papadopoulos mentioned:
“ευρισκόμεθα προ ενός ασθενούς, τον οποίον έχομεν επί χειρουργικής κλίνης, και τον οποίον εάν ο χειρουργός δεν προσδέση κατά την διάρκειαν της εγχειρήσεως και της ναρκώσεως επί της χειρουργικής κλίνης, υπαρχει πιθανότης αντί δια της εγχειρήσεως να του χαρίσει την αποκατάστασιν της υγείας, να τον οδηγήσει εις θάνατον. [...] Οι περιορισμοί είναι η πρόσδεσις του ασθενούς επί κλίνης δια να υποστή ακινδύνως την εγχείρισιν
“...We are in front of a patient, whom we have on a surgical bed, and whom if the surgeon does not strap on the surgical bed during the time of the surgery and the anesthesia, there is a chance instead of the surgery granting him the restoration of his health, to lead him to his death [...] The restrictions are the straps, keeping the patient tied to the surgical bed so that he will undergo the surgery without danger.
"Ασθενή έχομεν. Εις τον γύψον τον εβάλαμεν. Τον δοκιμάζομεν εάν ημπορεί να περπατάει χωρίς τον γύψον. Σπάζομεν τον αρχικόν γύψον και ξαναβάζομεν ενδεχομένως τον καινούργιο εκεί όπου χρειάζεται Το Δημοψήφισμα θα είναι μία γενική θεώρησις των ικανοτήτων του ασθενούς. Ας προσευχηθώμεν να μη χρειάζεται ξανά γύψον. Εάν χρειάζεται, θα του τον βάλομεν. Και το μόνον που ημπορώ να σας υποσχεθώ, είναι να σας καλέσω να ειδήτε και σεις το πόδι χωρίς γύψον!
which translates as follows:
"We have a patient. We test him if he can walk without a plaster cast. We break the initial cast and, if warranted, we put another cast where is needed. The referendum will be a general overview of the capabilities of the patient. Let us pray that he may not need a cast again. If he needs one, we will put one on him. And the only thing I can promise you, is to invite you to see the foot without a cast!
Other metaphors contained religious imagery related to the resurrection of Christ at Easter: “Χριστός Ανέστη – Ελλάς Ανέστη” translating as "Christ has risen – Greece has risen", alluding that the junta would "save" Greece and resurrect her into a greater, new Land. The theme of rebirth was used many times as a standard reply to avoid answering any questions as to how long the dictatorship would last:
Διότι αυτό το τελευταίον είναι υπόθεσις άλλων. Είναι υποθέσεις εκείνων, οι οποίοι έθεσαν την θρυαλλίδα εις την δυναμίτιδα δια την έκρηξιν προς αναγέννησιν της Πολιτείας την νύκτα της 21 Απριλίου.
Because the latter is someone else's concern. They are the concerns of those, who lit the fuse of the dynamite for the explosion which led to the rebirth of the State the night of 21 April 1967.
The religious themes and rebirth metaphors are also seen in the following:
Αι υποχρεώσεις μας περιγράφονται και από την θρησκείαν και από την ιστορίαν μας. Ομόνοιαν και αγάπην διδάσκει ο Χριστός. Πίστιν εις την Πατρίδα επιτάσσει η Ιστορία μας. [...] η Ελλάς αναγεννάται, η Ελλάς θα μεγαλουργήσει, η Ελλάς πάντα θα ζει.
Our obligations are described by both out history and our religion. Christ teaches Harmony and Love. Our history demands faith in our country. [...] Greece is being reborn, Greece will accomplish great things, Greece will live forever.
A failed assassination attempt against Papadopoulos was perpetrated by Alexandros Panagoulis in the morning of 13 August 1968, when Papadopoulos was driven from his summer residence in Lagonisi to Athens, escorted by his personal security motorcycles and cars. Panagoulis ignited a bomb at a point of the coastal road where the limousine carrying Papadopoulos would have to slow down, but the bomb failed to harm Papadopoulos. Panagoulis was captured a few hours later in a nearby sea cave, since the boat sent to help him escape was instructed to leave at a specific time and he couldn't swim there on time due to strong sea currents. After his arrest, he was taken to the Greek Military Police (EAT-ESA) offices where he was questioned, beaten and tortured. On 17 November 1968, Panagoulis was sentenced to death but was personally pardoned by Papadopoulos, served only five years in prison, and after democracy was restored was elected a member of Parliament. He was regarded as an emblematic figure of the struggle to restore democracy, and as such has often been paralleled to Harmodius and Aristogeiton, two ancient Athenians known for their assassination tyrannicide of Hipparchus.
Normalization and attempts at liberalization
Papadopoulos had indicated as early as 1968 that he was eager for a reform process, and even tried to contact Spiros Markezinis at that time. He had declared at the time that he did not want the Revolution to become a 'regime'. He then repeatedly attempted to initiate reforms in 1969 and 1970, only to be thwarted by the hardliners including Ioannides. In fact, subsequent to his 1970 failed attempt at reform, he threatened to resign and was dissuaded only after the hardliners renewed their personal allegiance to him.
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As internal dissatisfaction grew in the early 1970s, and especially after an abortive coup by the Navy in early 1973, Papadopoulos attempted to legitimize the regime by beginning a gradual "democratization" (See also the article on Metapolitefsi). On 1 June 1973, he abolished the monarchy and declared himself President of the Republic after a controversial referendum. He furthermore sought the support of the old political establishment, but secured only the cooperation of Spiros Markezinis, who became Prime Minister. Concurrently, many restrictions were lifted and the army's role significantly reduced. Papadopoulos intended to establish a presidential republic with extensive powers vested in the office of President, which he held. The decision to return to political rule and the restriction of their role was resented by many of the regime's supporters in the Army, whose dissatisfaction with Papadopoulos would become evident a few months later.
Fall of the Papadopoulos regime
After the events of the student uprising of 17 November at the National Technical University of Athens (see Athens Polytechnic uprising), the dictatorship was overthrown on 25 November 1973 by hardline elements in the Army. The outcry over Papadopoulos's extensive reliance on the army to quell the student uprising gave Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides a pretext to oust him and replace him as the new strongman of the regime. Papadopoulos was put under house arrest at his villa, while Greece returned to an "orthodox" military dictatorship.
After democracy was restored in 1974, during the period of metapolitefsi ("regime change"), Papadopoulos and his cohorts were tried for high treason, mutiny, torture, and other crimes and misdemeanors. On 23 August 1975, he and several others were found guilty and were sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. Papadopoulos remained in prison, rejecting an amnesty offer that required that he acknowledge his past record and express remorse, until his death on 27 June 1999 at age 80 in a hospital in Athens, where he had been treated for cancer since 1996.
Today, Papadopoulos is a symbol of authoritarianism and xenophobia. The far right praises him for promoting Greek culture, imposing a strong hand and fighting communism. After the restoration of democracy, some support for his type of politics remained which was, for a time, bolstered by the National Political Union (EPEN), a small political party that declared him its honorary leader. EPEN eventually dissolved, with supporters scattering to various other political parties such as the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS).
- History of Modern Greece
- Military history of Greece during World War II
- Greek Civil War
- Greek military junta of 1967-1974
- Giannis Katris, The Birth of Neo-fascism in Greece, 1971
- Thomas Bodenheimer, Robert Gould, Rollback!: right-wing power in US foreign policy, 1989
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, 2003
- Georgios Papadopoulos: Report to the Court and Declaration to the Greek People. (Αναφορά προς το Δικαστήριον και Δήλωσις προς τον Ελληνικόν λαόν). Greek Canadian Patriotic League. Horizons Press, Toronto, Ontario 1980, (Ελληνικός Πατριωτικός Σύνδεσμος. Τυπογραφείον Ορίζοντες Τορόντο, Οντάριο).
- Papadopoulos' biographical notes from Ohio State University
- San simera.gr (In Greek) Quote: "In 1970 Papadopoulos obtained a divorce from his wife Niki with a legal decree of one use..." (Translated from Greek)
- TV documentary "ΤΑ ΔΙΚΑ ΜΑΣ 60's – Μέρος 3ο: ΧΑΜΕΝΗ ΑΝΟΙΞΗ" by Stelios Kouloglu via Internet Archive
- 28 June 1999 obituary of Papadopoulos, published the day after his death in newspaper Eleftherotypia
- Papandreou, Andreas. Democracy before the Firing Squad (in Greek). Athens: Livanis Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 960-14-1237-9.
- Blum, William (1995). Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. p. 219. ISBN 1-56751-052-3.
- The Listener 79. British Broadcasting Corporation. January 1968. p. 561. Retrieved 25 March 2013. "It's no secret that Mr George Papadopoulos, the top man of the bunch, with his gory surgical metaphors, his flinty eyes, his flood of garbled messianic language, was for years under psychiatric treatment. Mr Pattakos, the strutting, bullet-headed ..."
- Robert McDonald (1983). Pillar & Tinderbox: The Greek Press Under Dictatorship. New York : Marion Boyars. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7145-2781-9. Retrieved 24 March 2013. "Papadopoulos, returning to his metaphor of Greece as a patient in plaster, described this legal construct as 'a light walking cast.' The Law on the State of Siege, he said, was 'striving for breath, dying, trying in vain to stand on its feet."
- Current Biography Yearbook 31. H. W. Wilson Company. 1971. p. 342. Retrieved 24 March 2013. "Clinging to his predilection for medical analogies, Papadopoulos declared after the referendum: "The country is still in a plaster cast and the fractures have not healed. The cast will be kept on even after the referendum so that it should not ..."
- Greek Report. 1969. p. 24. Retrieved 24 March 2013. ""We have a patient. We have placed him in a plaster cast. We keep him there until the wound heals," said Premier George Papadopoulos, the colonel who is strongman of the current Greek military regime. He was only trying to explain why ..."
- Peter Green (2004). From Ikaria to the Stars: Classical Mythification, Ancient and Modern. University of Texas Press. pp. 228–. ISBN 978-0-292-70230-1. Retrieved 24 March 2013. "Papadopoulos made great play during the Junta years in Greece): something in it for everybody. ... For every philosophical sect, as Nussbaum emphasizes, "the medical analogy is not simply a decorative metaphor; it is an important tool both of discovery and of justification""
- Karen Van Dyck (1998). Kassandra and the Censors: Greek Poetry Since 1967. Cornell University Press. pp. 16–19. ISBN 978-0-8014-9993-7. Retrieved 24 March 2013. "And yet metaphor was a necessary part of his persuasive rhetoric; he described Greece as a patient to convince journalists ... Papadopoulos's desire for a mimetic relationship between what one said and what one meant is evident in his press law, which ... doses; that the "cast" would be constantly replaced "where it [was] needed"; and that language and literature would be "cleansed."
- Willis Barnstone (1 January 1972). Eighteen texts. Harvard University Press. p. xxi. Retrieved 24 March 2013. "Thanasis Valtinos' story, "The Plaster Cast," is based entirely on a metaphor frequently used by Colonel Papadopoulos to justify the military coup and later the prolongation of martial law. Greece, he would say, was in grave danger. We had to ..."
- Emmi Mikedakis. "Manipulating Language: Metaphors in the Political Discourse of Georgios Papadopoulos (1967–1973)". Flinders University: dspace.flinders.edu.au. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Άννα- Μαρία Σιχάνη Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών. "Θρυμματίζοντας το γύψο της Χούντας: ο λόγος κι η σιωπή στα Δεκαοχτώ Κείμενα (1970)/Shattering the junta's plaster: the discourse and the silence in Eighteen Texts (1970)". Athens Academy. Retrieved 25 March 2013. "Η μεταφορά ωστόσο, είναι ο κυρίαρχος ρητορικός τρόπος που χρησιμοποιεί οΠαπαδόπουλος στους λόγους του. Θυμίζω το περίφημο διάγγελμά του: “ευρισκόμεθα προενός ασθενούς, τον οποίον έχομεν επί χειρουργικής κλίνης…οι περιορισμοί είναι ηπρόσδεσις του ασθενούς επί κλίνης δια να υποστή ακινδύνως την εγχείρισιν"
- Ioannis Tzortzis, "The Metapolitefsi that never was" quote:The Americans asked the Greek government to allow the use of their bases in Greek territory and air space to supply Israel; Markezinis, backed by Papadopoulos, denied on the grounds of maintaining good relations with the Arab countries. This denial is said to have turned the U.S. against Papadopoulos and Markezinis. quote#2:Thus the students ‘had played straight into the hands of Ioannidis, who looked upon the coming elections with a jaundiced eye.. quote3: The latter (editor's note: i.e. Markezinis) would insist until the end of his life that subversion on behalf..... ..Markezinis was known for his independence [from] U.S. interests quote 4: In that situation Ioannidis was emerging as a solution for the officers in sharp contrast to Papadopoulos, whose accumulation ‘of so many offices and titles' (President of Republic, Prime Minister, Minister of Defence) was harming the seriousness of the regime and giving it an unacceptable image, which was not left unexploited by its opponents. quote 5: The first attempt of Papadopoulos to start a process of reform occurred in the spring of 1968. He was claiming that if the ‘Revolution’ stayed more than a certain time in power, it would lose its dynamics and transform into a ‘regime,’ which was not in his intentions. He tried to implicate Markezinis in the attempt; however, he met the stiff resistance of the hardliners. Another attempt was again frustrated in the end of 1969 and the beginning of 1970; Papadopoulos was then disappointed and complaining, 'I am being subverted by my fellow Evelpides cadets!' As a result of this second failure, he considered resigning in the summer of 1970, complaining that he lacked any support from other leading figures, his own closest followers included. But the rest of the faction leaders renewed their trust [in] him
- Richard Clogg; George N. Yannopoulos (24 April 1972). Greece under military rule. Basic Books. Retrieved 27 March 2013. "... Their intense nationalism - by its very nature - contains within it submerged elements of xenophobia that might very easily surface ..." Unknown parameter
- Peter Davies; Derek Lynch (29 August 2002). The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right. Taylor & Francis. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-203-99472-6. Retrieved 27 March 2013. "GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS ... His ideology was a mixture of anti-Marxism, nationalism and xenophobia. Most observers view Papadopoulos as a paternalistic military man rather than any kind of radical political figure."
- The New Yorker. F-R Publishing Corporation. 1975. p. 229. Retrieved 27 March 2013. "Out of that experience there came a literal xenophobia. ... Colonel George Papadopoulos, who became Prime Minister and later President under the junta, said his purpose was to recreate the Greece of the Christian Greeks — "Ellas Elllnon ..."
|Prime Minister of Greece
13 December 1967 – 8 October 1973
|Minister for National Defence of Greece
13 December 1967 – 8 October 1973
|Regent of Greece
|President of Greece