Georgios Hatzianestis

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Georgios Hatzianestis
Chatzanestis Georgios.JPG
Georgios Hatzianestis
Born 1863
Athens
Died November 1922 (aged 58–59)
Goudi
Allegiance Greece Kingdom of Greece
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1897–1922
Rank Lt General
Battles/wars Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922)
Battle of Sakarya

Georgios Hatzianestis (Greek: Γεώργιος Χατζηανέστης, 1863 – 28 November 1922[1]) was a Greek artillery and general staff officer who rose to the rank of General. He was born in Athens, to a prominent family. His father was Nikolaos Hatzianestis, the Prefect of Attica and Boeotia, and his mother was Maria Pitsipios, daughter of the scholar Iakovos Pitsipios.

He graduated from the Hellenic Military Academy and continued his military studies in Imperial Germany. He enjoyed the patronage of the Royal Family and of powerful politicians, and as a result was not popular with his peers. In 1904, he was one of the founders of the Staff Officers Corps (Soma Genikon Epitelon). Following the Goudi coup in 1909, he was forced to resign from the Army because of his ties to the old political class, but was soon readmitted. In the First Balkan War (1912–1913), he was chief of staff in the 6th Division and won victories against the Turks; in the Second Balkan War (1913), he was chief of staff in the 5th Division, again winning victories, this time against the Bulgarians. Hatzianestis then became Director of the Hellenic Military Academy. As a royalist, he was dismissed from the army by the Venizelists in 1917–1920, but was recommissioned following the Venzelist electoral defeat in November 1920.

Although he had not held any command larger than a division and not seen combat since 1913, in May 1922, he was named Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Asia Minor during the last months of the Greco-Turkish War, replacing Lt. Gen. Anastasios Papoulas. When the Turkish offensive began in August, he proved himself utterly incapable of handling the situation, and was ordered replaced, first by Nikolaos Trikoupis, who had already been captured by the advancing Turks, and then by Georgios Polymenakos.

He was the only military leader to be prosecuted during the Trial of the Six for his role in the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Found guilty, Hatzianestis was executed for high treason, along with five politicians. Hatzianestis himself said "my only shame is that I commanded an army of deserters" ("Η μόνη εντροπή μου είναι ότι υπήρξα αρχιστράτηγος φυγάδων") implying that the soldiers under his command were cowards. By the last stages of the trial, he had developed serious mental problems and depression.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Geoffrey Cox, J. Solman, Greece, a portrait, "Research and Publicity Center" KEDE, 1979 p. 24.