|President of Greece|
1 June 1973 – 25 November 1973
|Vice President||Odysseas Angelis|
|Preceded by||Constantine II |
(as King of the Hellenes)
|Succeeded by||Phaedon Gizikis|
|Prime Minister of Greece|
13 December 1967 – 8 October 1973
|Monarch||Constantine II (until 1973)|
|President||Himself (from 1973)|
|Preceded by||Konstantinos Kollias|
|Succeeded by||Spyros Markezinis|
|Regent of Greece|
21 March 1972 – 31 May 1973
|Preceded by||General Geórgios Zoitakis|
|Succeeded by||None (monarchy abolished)|
(Odysseas Angelis as Vice-President of Greece)
|Born||5 May 1919|
Elaiohori, Kingdom of Greece
|Died||27 June 1999 (aged 80)|
|Resting place||First Cemetery of Athens|
|Political party||National Political Union|
|Alma mater||Hellenic Military Academy|
|Years of service||1940–1973|
|Battles/wars||Second World War Greek Civil War|
Geórgios Papadopoulos (//; Greek: Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος [ʝeˈorʝi.os papaˈðopulos]; 5 May 1919 – 27 June 1999) was a Greek military officer and dictator who ruled Greece from 1967 to 1973, following a coup. He joined the Royal Hellenic Army during the Second World War and resisted the 1940 Italian invasion; in so doing he obtained honors and became a hero. He remained in the army after the war and rose to the rank of colonel. In April 1967, Papadopoulos and a group of other mid-level army officers overthrew the democratic government and established a military junta that lasted until 1974. Assuming dictatorial powers, he led an authoritarian, anti-communist and ultranationalist regime which eventually ended the Greek monarchy and established a republic, with himself as president. In 1973, he was overthrown and arrested by his co-conspirator Brigadier General Dimitrios Ioannidis. After the Metapolitefsi which restored democracy in 1974, Papadopoulos was tried for his part in the crimes of the junta and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Refusing several offers of clemency in exchange for admitting guilt for the crimes of the junta, he spent the remainder of his life in prison.
Papadopoulos was born in Elaiohori, a small village in the Prefecture of Achaea in the 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 Royal Hellenic Military Academy, completing its three-year programme in 1940.
His biographical notes, published as a booklet by his supporters in 1980, mention that he took a civil engineering course at the Polytechneion but did not graduate.
During the Second World War, Papadopoulos saw field action as an artillery second lieutenant against both Italian and Nazi German forces which attacked Greece on 6 April 1941.
It has been argued by various authors that Papadopoulos was a member of the Security Battalions under the command of Colonel Kourkoulakos, who was responsible for the formation of the "Security Battalions" in Patras which "hunted down" Greek resistance fighters. However, Evanthis Hatzivassiliou and Leonidas F. Kallivretakis disagree with this claim. It has also been argued that Papadopoulos, at the end of the Axis occupation of Greece, entered the Organisation X, but Calivratakis considers that this information has not been proven. According to Kallivretakis and Grigoriadis, during the Axis occupation of Greece, Papadopoulos worked in the Greek administration’s Patras.
Along with other right-wing military officers, he participated in the creation of the nationalist right-wing secret IDEA organisation in the autumn of 1944, shortly after the country's liberation. Those 1940 officers who took refuge in the Kingdom of Egypt along with King Geórgios II immediately after the German invasion, had become generals when their still-colonel former classmates undertook the coup of 1967.
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.
Major Papadopoulos, as he then was, 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 of Greece (KKE), which was banned at that time in Greece following the Greek Civil War. The death sentence pronounced after this trial 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 military 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.
In 1956, Papadopoulos took part in a failed coup attempt against King Pávlos. 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 Western Thrace by a decree of Defense Minister Garoufalias, a member of the Centre Union (EK). 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' petrol 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 Centre Union (EK) government, the Communists had been left free to undermine national security. Even after this scandal, Papadopoulos was not discharged from the army since the Prime Minister, Geórgios Papandreou, forgave him as a compatriot of his father. In 1967, Papadopoulos was promoted to colonel.
That same year, on 21 April, a month before the general elections, Colonel 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 the young King Constantine II and the popular former Prime Minister, Geórgios Papandreou. Papadopoulos used his power gained from the coup to try to place Papandreou under house arrest and re-engineer the Greek political landscape rightward. Papadopoulos, along with the other junta members, are known in Greece by the term Aprilianoi ('Aprilians'), denoting the month of the coup. The term Aprilianoi has become synonymous with the term "dictators of 1967 – 1974".
Main article: Greek military junta of 1967–1974
King Constantine appointed a new government nominally headed by Konstantinos Kollias. However, from the early stages, Papadopoulos was the strongman of the new regime. He was appointed Minister of National Defense and Minister of the Presidency in the Kollias government, and his position was further enhanced after the King's abortive counter-coup on 13 December, when Papadopoulos replaced Kollias as Prime Minister. Not content with that, on 21 March 1972, he nominated himself Regent of Greece, succeeding General Geórgios Zoitakis.
Torture of political prisoners in general, and communists in particular, was not out of the question. Examples included severe beatings, isolation and, according to some sources, pulling out fingernails.
Throughout his tenure as the junta strongman, Papadopoulos often employed what have been described by the BBC as gory surgical 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.
In the same speech Papadopoulos continued:
"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 our 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 of Hipparchus, brother of the tyrant Hippias.
Main article: Metapolitefsi
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 of 21 April to become a 'regime'. Several attempts to liberalise the regime during 1969 and 1970 were thwarted by the hardliners on the junta, 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 legitimise the regime by beginning a gradual "democratisation" (see also the article on the Metapolitefsi). On 1 June 1973, he abolished the monarchy and declared Greece a republic with himself as president. He was confirmed in office via 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. An interim constitution created a presidential republic, which vested sweeping—almost dictatorial—powers in the hands of the president. The decision to return to (at least nominal) civilian rule and the restriction of the army's role was resented by many of the regime's supporters, whose dissatisfaction with Papadopoulos would become evident a few months later.
Papadopoulos is widely reported to have had certain ties to the Central Intelligence Agency,[note 1] and has also been reported to have underwent military and intelligence training in the United States during the 1950s.
On 1 July 1973, The Observer published an investigative journalism article that accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of engineering the 1967 coup, further writing that Papadopoulos was known among senior officials in the Joint United States Military Aid Assistance Group in Athens as "the first CIA agent to become Premier of a European country". The following day, during CIA agent William Colby's confirmation hearings to be Director of Central Intelligence, Colby was asked in response to the article if there was any justification for the assertions. Colby denied that the CIA had engineered the coup or that Papadopoulos was either a CIA agent or otherwise paid by the CIA, adding that "[Papadopoulos] has been an official of the Greek Government at various times, and in those periods from time to time we worked with him in his official capacity.".[non-primary source needed]
In 1977, John M. Maury, a CIA agent who was Chief of Station in Athens during the coup, wrote in an article in The Washington Post that the CIA had considered swaying the elections to prevent Papandreou from winning by promoting moderate candidates. The agency ultimately decided against the plan. As the election drew near, CIA agents were vaguely prodded by their Greek contacts about the possibility of a coup. Maury argues that the CIA's choice to officially condemn suggestions of a military takeover and remain uninvolved led to the agency being taken by surprise by the events of April 21, 1967. He concludes: "That we seriously attempted neither to influence nor to injure them is still taken by Greeks of all kinds as proof of U.S. complicity, or at least acquiescence, in the excesses of the dictatorship. And when the dictatorship eventually fell, to the shame of its perceived U.S. support was added the humiliation of perceived U.S. defeat."[relevant?]
A detailed study by Alexis Papachelas argues that Andreas Papandreou's claim of U.S. involvement "is wildly at variance with the facts": according to the study, U.S. officials had contemplated but rejected using the CIA to weaken the leftist flank of the Centre Union Party associated with Andreas, eventually determining that a prospective Centre Union government under Geórgios Papandreou would not pave the way for a takeover by Greek communists. As late as 20 April 1967, the U.S. embassy was instructed to pressure King Constantine II "to accept the popular will and keep the army in its barracks." U.S. officials were reportedly stunned by the coup on 21 April because, while aware of coup plotting within Greek military circles, they never expected Greek officers to act independently of the monarchy.[verification needed][relevant?]
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.
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 Ioannidis 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 arrested and were eventually put on trial 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, arresting political enemies, and fighting democracy. 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. The EPEN eventually dissolved, with supporters scattering to various other political parties such as the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and criminal organisations like Golden Dawn (XA).
was Georgios Papadopoulos, a former Nazi collaborator during World War II, ...
The coup of April 1967, 'Operation Prometheus', was executed by a group from the KYP led by Georgios Papadopoulos, a former Nazi collaborator and subsequent head of the military junta, on the basis of a NATO emergency procedure ...
The CIA hand-picked as leader of the new military junta Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos who was selected for two key ... an important collaborator with the Nazis, knowledge which guaranteed that he would remain subject to CIA control.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) by Stelios Kouloglu via Internet Archive
βραχυκυκλωθή άπό άτομα τά όποία έχουν λιβανίσει μέχρι άηδίας τό έπάρατο καθεστώς τής 7ετίας μέ τά άλλεπάλληλα τηλεγραφήματα, τά όποία έχουν στείλει στούς " Απριλιανούς" δηλώνοντας πίστη, άφοσίωσι, υπακοή κ.τ.λ.
Τέλος ένοχοι είναι καί Ιδιώτες πού χρησιμοποιώντας τίς προσωπικές τους σχέσεις μέ τούς Απριλιανούς, έθη- σαύρισαν σέ βάρος τοϋ έλληνικοϋ λαοϋ. Ό Ελληνικός λαός δέν ξεχνά πώς, άν είχαν τιμωρηθή οί δοσίλογοι τής Γερμανικής κατοχής, δέν .
με αυξημένη βαρβαρότητα απ' ό,τι στους υπόλοιπους καταδικους. Και δεν εννοούμε, φυσικά, τους ελάχιστους Απριλιανούς, που έχουν απομείνει στον Κορυδαλλό, με τους κλιματισμούς, τα ψυγεία και την ασυδοσία των επισκεπτηρίων.
Τό δημοσιευόμενο τώρα σκεπτικό τής απόφασης τοΰ δμελοΰς Έφετείου πού δίκασε τούς πρωταίτιους Απριλιανούς, δικαιώνει τήν άποψη τούτη καί λέγει: "... Έπέφερε άποδυνάμωσιν τής έν τώ στρατώ άντιθέτου ιδεολογικής μερίδος, τής έντόνως ...
Επρεπε έτσι νά διαβρωθούν οι πολιτικοι θεσμοι της χώρας και νά διογκωθή ό κομμουνιστικός κίνδυνος. "Ολα τούτα οΐ Απριλιανοί τά προπαρασκεύασαν και τά επέτυχαν έντεχνα αλλα "νόμιμα" κάτω άπό τις ευλογίες ενός συντεταγμένου κράτους.
απριλιανοί: οι δικτατορες του 1974
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 ...
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.
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 ...
"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 ...
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"
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.
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 ...
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
((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
... Their intense nationalism – by its very nature – contains within it submerged elements of xenophobia that might very easily surface ...
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.
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 ...