Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos

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Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos
Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos.jpg
General Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos, c. 1950
Born 3 April 1897
Preveza, Greece (then Janina Vilayet, Ottoman Empire)
Died 15 August 1989(1989-08-15) (aged 92)
Athens, Greece
Allegiance  Greece
Service/branch Hellenic Army
Years of service 1913–1952
Rank GR-Army-OF8-1937.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held 3/40 Evzone Regiment (1940–41)
3rd Greek Mountain Brigade (1944–45)
I Army Corps (1948)
II Army Corps (1948–49)
Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff (1951–52)
Battles/wars World War I (Macedonian Front), Asia Minor Campaign, Greco-Italian War, Battle of Rimini, Dekemvriana, Greek Civil War
Awards Cross of Valour in Gold
Other work Greece Ambassador to Yugoslavia

Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos (Greek: Θρασύβουλος Τσακαλώτος; 3 April 1897 – 15 August 1989) was a distinguished Greek army Lieutenant General who served in World War I, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, World War II and the Greek Civil War, rising to become Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff. He also served as Greece's Ambassador to Yugoslavia.

Early life[edit]

Tsakalotos was born in Preveza in 1897, at a time when it was still a province of the Ottoman Empire. At the age of thirteen, he went to Alexandria, to make the acquaintance of a cousin who lived there. A few years later, he entered the Hellenic Army Academy in 1913 and graduated from it as an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant in 1916.

Military career[edit]

He fought at the Macedonian Front of World War I as well as in Anatolia against the Turks, being promoted to Lieutenant in 1917 and Captain in 1920. In the interwar period he held various staff appointments and commands, as well as a teaching post in the War Academy. He was promoted to Major in 1924, Lt Colonel in 1930 and Colonel in 1938.

During the Greco-Italian War, he commanded the 3/40 Evzone Regiment, until he was appointed Chief of Staff of II Army Corps on 22 March 1941, shortly before the German attack and occupation of Greece. In 1942, he managed to escape the country and reach Egypt, where the Greek government in exile resided. There he was placed in charge of the Ismaïlia training centre, before assuming command of the newly formed 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade in April 1944. He led his brigade during the Gothic Line offensive in Italy, including the Battle of Rimini, and then in the Dekemvriana clashes with the pro-Communist EAM-ELAS in Athens in December 1944.

In March 1945 he was appointed CO of the 2nd Infantry Division. In the next year he was placed as the head of the Supreme War Academy and promoted to Major General. In 1947, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff. In 1948 he was promoted to Lt General and given command of I Army Corps and then II Army Corps, from which position he contributed to the victory of the Hellenic Army in the Greek Civil War. From 31 May 1951 he served as Chief of the Army General Staff. Shortly before, the former Chief of the Army General Staff had announced that he was resigning to pursue politics after a clash with King Paul. The king directed Tsakalotos to arrest field marshall Alexandros Papagos, but Tsakalotos refused to carry out the order.[1]

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 1957–1960, Tsakalotos also served as Greece's ambassador to Yugoslavia. In April 1967, following the fall of Ioannis Paraskevopoulos' government, Tsakalotos was suggested to Andreas Papandreou as the possible head of a national unity government. Papandreou suspected the proposal had come from the King, but he dismissed the idea as Tsakalotos did not have the support of the "democratic camp" and because he believed a national unity government at that time was unacceptable.[2] Following the Metapolitefsi of 1974, Tsakalotos became a supporter of Andreas Papandreou and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK); in the elections of 1985 he published a statement encouraging people to vote for PASOK and saying that he felt Andreas was like a brother to him.[3]

On 23 March 1984, as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation and healing of the divisions caused by the Civil War, Tsakalotos publicly met and shook hands with his erstwhile adversary, Markos Vafiades, the commander of the Communist forces.

Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos died in Athens on 15 August 1989.

Personal life[edit]

Tsakalotos's first cousin's grandson, or first cousin twice-removed, Euclid Tsakalotos, is a Syriza MP and currently serves as Minister of Finance in Alex Tsipras's second cabinet.[4]


  • Tα Γιάννενα ως ακατάβλητος δύναμις εις τρεις ιστορικούς σταθμούς τoυ αγώνος του Ελληνικού 'Eθνους, τυπ. Α. Ι. Βάρτσου, Αθήναι 1956 (από ομιλία για την επέτειο της απελευθέρωσης των Ιωαννίνων; Ioannina as an indomitable power in three historical instances of the struggle of the Greek Nation, from speeches on the anniversary of the liberation of Ioannina).
  • 40 χρονια στρατιώτης της Ελλάδος : πώς εκερδίσαμε τους αγώνας μας 1940-1949, τυπ. Ακροπόλεως, Αθήναι 1960 (Forty years a soldier of Greece: how we won the struggles of 1940-49).
  • Δεκέμβρης 1944 : Η μάχη των Αθηνών, Αθήνα 1969 (December 1944: The Battle of Athens).
  • Γράμμος, Αθήνα 1970 (Grammos).
  • Η μάχη των ολίγων, Αθήνα 1971 (The battle of the few).