Ioannis Metaxas (/ˈmɛtəkˌsæs/; Greek: Ιωάννης Μεταξάς; 12 April 1871 – 29 January 1941) was a Greek military officer and politician, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. He governed constitutionally for the first four months of his tenure, and thereafter as the strongman of the authoritarian 4th of August Regime. On 28 October 1940, he denied an ultimatum imposed by the Italians to surrender Greece to the Axis powers, thus bringing Greece into World War II.
|Prime Minister of Greece|
13 April 1936 – 29 January 1941
|Preceded by||Konstantinos Demertzis|
|Succeeded by||Alexandros Koryzis|
|Born||12 April 1871|
|Died||29 January 1941 (aged 69)|
|Political party||Freethinkers' Party (1922–1936)|
|Years of service||1890–1920|
|Battles/wars||Greco-Turkish War (1897), Balkan Wars, Noemvriana|
Ioannis Metaxas was born in Ithaca in 1871. His family was inscribed in the Libro d'Oro of the Ionian islands, previously a Venetian possession, while its roots originated in the Byzantine nobility.
Following studies at the Hellenic Military Academy, he became a career military officer, being sworn as an Engineers 2nd Lieutenant on 10 August 1890. He first saw action in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 attached to the staff of the Greek commander-in-chief, Crown Prince Constantine.
After the war he continued his military studies in the Berlin War Academy in 1899–1903. On his return in 1904 he joined the newly formed General Staff Corps. He was part of the modernizing process of the Greek Army before the Balkan Wars (1912-13). However he opposed the Goudi coup.
In 1910 he was appointed by Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, who had also assumed the post of Minister of Military Affairs, as his adjutant. In 1912, just before the Balkan Wars, Venizelos appointed Metaxas to negotiate the military treaty between Greece and Bulgaria, sending him to Sofia. He participated in the First Balkan War as a Captain in the operations staff of the Army of Thessaly, before joining Venizelos as a military expert in the London Conference of 1912–13 in December 1912. In May 1913, as military plenipotentiary, he negotiated the military terms of the Greek–Serbian Alliance. He took part in the Second Balkan War when he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
After the end of the Balkan Wars, he was appointed director of the 1st (Operations) Directorate of the Army Staff Service, and became deputy head of the Staff Service in January 1915. In October 1913, he was awarded by the King with the Golden Cross of the Redeemer.
In the spring and summer of 1914, Greece found itself in a confrontation with the Ottoman Empire over the status of the eastern Aegean islands, which had been occupied by Greece in the First Balkan War, and were finally awarded to Greece on 31 January 1914 by the Great Powers. The Ottomans refused to accept this, leading to a naval arms race broke out between the two countries and persecutions of the Greeks in Asia Minor. On 29 May, the Greek government issued an official protest to the Sublime Porte, threatening a breach of relations and even war, if the persecutions were not stopped. On 6 June 1914, Metaxas, as the de facto head of the Staff Service, presented a study on the military options against Turkey: the only truly decisive manoeuvre, a landing of the entire Greek army in Asia Minor, was impossible due to the hostility of Bulgaria; instead, Metaxas proposed the sudden occupation of the Gallipoli Peninsula, without a prior declaration of war, the clearing of the Dardanelles, and the occupation of Constantinople so as to force the Ottomans to negotiate. However, on the previous day, the Ottoman government had suggested mutual talks, and the tension eased enough for Prime Minister Venizelos and the Ottoman Grand Vizier, Said Halim Pasha, to meet in Brussels in July.
Following the outbreak of World War I, the prospect of Greece's possible entry into the war emerged, especially given the obligation to provide military assistance to Serbia based on the Greek–Serbian Alliance. Already on 12 July 1914, the Serbian government had requested Greece's aid by the terms of the alliance, in the case of an Austrian and Bulgarian attack. Greece rejected the request on the grounds that Serbia had undertaken to provide 150,000 troops in the area of Gevgelija to guard against a Bulgarian attack; in addition, if Greece sent her army to fight the Austrians along the Danube, this would only incite a Bulgarian attack against both countries, with insufficient forces left to oppose it.
A German request on 14 July to join the Central Powers was rejected by both Venizelos and King Constantine, but on 1 August, Venizelos sounded out the Allied Powers, Britain, France, and Russia. The Allied governments were lukewarm to Venizelos' proposals, since they hoped to entice Bulgaria on their side, even offering territorial concessions at the expense of Serbia, Greece, and Romania. Russia in particular considered her interests best served if Greece remained neutral. On 19 November, Serbia repeated its request for Greek assistance, supported by the Allies. Venizelos asked Metaxas for an evaluation of the situation; the opinion of the latter was that without a simultaneous entry of Romania into the war on the side of the Allies, Greece's position was too risky. Following the firm refusal of Romania to be drawn into the conflict at this time, the proposal was scuttled.
On 11 January 1915, the British offered Greece "significant territorial concessions in Asia Minor" if it would enter the war to support Serbia, and in exchange for satisfying some of the Bulgarian territorial demands in Macedonia (Kavala, Drama, and Chrysoupolis) in exchange for Bulgarian entry into the war on the side of the Entente. Venizelos argued in favour of the proposal, but again the opinion of Metaxas was negative, for reasons which he laid down in a memorandum on 20 January: the Austrians were likely to defeat the Serbian army before a Greek mobilization could be completed, Bulgaria was likely to flank any Greek forces fighting against the Austrians, while a Romanian intervention would not be decisive. Metaxas judged that even if Bulgaria joined the Allies, it still would not suffice to shift the balance in Central Europe, and recommended the presence of four Allied army corps in Macedonia as the minimum necessary force for any substantial aid to the Greeks and Serbs. Furthermore, Metaxas argued that a Greek entry into the war would once again expose the Greeks of Asia Minor to Turkish reprisals. Venizelos rejected this report, and recommended entry into the war in a memorandum to the King, provided that Bulgaria and Romania also joined the Entente. By that time, however, it was clear that Bulgaria was edging towards the Central Powers, and Romania's determination to remain neutral led the Greek government to again refuse.
However, in February 1915, the Allied attack on Gallipoli began. Venizelos decided to offer an army corps and the entire Greek fleet to assist the Allies, making an official offer on 16 February, despite the King's reservations. This caused Metaxas to resign on the next day in protest, basing his argument on the loss of the element of surprise, the fortification of the straits, the fact that a single army corps was insufficient to alter the balance of forces, and the uncertain and opportunistic stance of Bulgaria. Metaxas insisted that the campaign had been mishandled thus far, and that even if the Allies captured Gallipoli, the Ottomans still fielded 12 divisions in Eastern Thrace. Shaken by Metaxas' resignation, Venizelos convened meetings of the Crown Council (the King, Venizelos, and the living former prime ministers) on 18 and 20 February, but they proved indecisive. King Constantine decided to keep the country neutral, whereupon Venizelos submitted his resignation on 21 February 1915.
Venizelos won the May 1915 elections, and formed a new government on 17 August. When Bulgaria signed a treaty of alliance with Germany and mobilized against Serbia, Venizelos ordered a Greek counter-mobilization (10 September 1916). As part of the mobilization, Metaxas was recalled to active duty as deputy chief of staff. After Venizelos condoned the landing of British and French troops in Thessaloniki to aid the collapsing Serbian army, Venizelos presented his case for participation in the war to Parliament, securing 152 votes in favour to 102 against in a dramatic vote in the early hours 22 September. On the next day, however, King Constantine dismissed Venizelos, and called upon Alexandros Zaimis to form a government.
This dismissal solidified the rift between monarchists and Venizelists, creating the "National Schism" or National Divide that would plague Greek politics for decades. During the National Schism, Metaxas clearly advocated the preservation of neutrality, believing also that the Central Powers would win the war.
In May and August 1916, Constantine and the General Staff allowed the Fort Roupel and parts of eastern Macedonia to be occupied, without opposition, by the Central Powers (Germany and Bulgaria), as a counterbalance to the Allied presence in Thessaloniki. This caused popular anger, especially in Greek Macedonia, and among Venizelist officers. In August 1916, Venizelist officers launched a revolt in Greece's northern city of Thessaloniki, which resulted in the establishment of a separate "Government of National Defence" under Venizelos. The new government, with the Allied support, expanded its control over half the country and entered the war on the Allies' side.
Meanwhile, the official Greek state and the royal government remained neutral. King Constantine and Metaxas were accused as pro-German by their Venizelist opponents. Metaxas was later head of the pro-royal forces and creator of the paramilitary "Reservists" forces during the Noemvriana events in Athens.
In June 1917, under Allied pressure, King Constantine finally was deposed, Alexander became King and Venizelos came to power, declaring war officially on behalf of the whole country on 29 June 1917.
He returned to Greece in November 1920, after the electoral defeat of Eleftherios Venizelos. He was reinstated in the army with the rank of Major General, but as he opposed the continued Greek campaign in Asia Minor, he resigned and went into retirement on 28 December 1920. He subsequently repeatedly rejected the military leadership of the Greek army. Following the defeat of Greek forces in Asia Minor, King Constantine was again forced into exile by the 11 September 1922 Revolution, this time led by Col. Nikolaos Plastiras. Metaxas moved into politics and founded the Freethinkers' Party on 12 October 1922.
However, his association with the failed royalist Leonardopoulos-Gargalidis coup attempt in October 1923 forced him to flee again the country. Soon after, King George II (son of Constantine I) was also forced into exile. The monarchy was abolished, and the Second Hellenic Republic was proclaimed, in March 1924.
Metaxas returned to Greece soon after, publicly stating his acceptance of the Republic regime. Despite a promising start, and his status as one of the most prominent royalist politicians, Metaxas' foray into politics was not very successful. In the 1926 elections, his Freethinkers' Party claimed 15.78% of the vote and 52 seats in Parliament, putting it almost on a par with the other main royalist party, the People's Party. As a result, Metaxas became Communications Minister in the "ecumenical government" formed under Alexandros Zaimis.
However, infighting within the party and the departure of many members plunged the party to 5.3% and a single seat in the 1928 elections. The 1932 and 1933 elections saw the percentage drop to 1.59%, although the party still returned three MPs, and Metaxas became Interior Minister in the Panagis Tsaldaris cabinet. Metaxas was regarded as the most intransigent and extreme of all the royalist politicians and his open hostility to parliamentary government as useless might perhaps explain the relative failure of his parliamentary career. By 1933, even the officially monarchist Populist Party had tacitly came to accept the republic as much as the Liberals as both the Populist and Liberal leaders wanted a system that guaranteed the possibility of orderly change and the rule of law, and Metaxas's call for something resembling an absolute monarchy put him out of the mainstream of Greek politics. In 1933, there was a failed assassination attempt against Venizelos, which Metaxas praised in his newspaper Hellenki, expressing regret only that the attempt failed. The would-be assassins were never arrested, but Metaxas's editorial stance led to widespread suspicions both at the time and since that he was involved, through no definitive evidence has ever emerged.
On 1 March 1935, in Thessaloniki there was an attempted coup'd etat by Venizelist officers ostensibly over the slow pace of the investigation into the attempted assassination, which almost succeeded. Thessaloniki together with the rest of Greek Macedonia had taken in the bulk of the about 1, 300, 000 Greeks expelled from Turkey in the compulsory population exchange of 1922-23, and the majority of the refugees lived in extreme poverty with those living in rural areas making their living picking tobacco. The collapse of international tobacco prices in the Great Depression lowered living conditions even more and Macedonia was the region of Greece hit worse by the Depression. As it was under the leadership of King Constantine that Greece was defeated in 1922, the refugees tended to be very hostile towards the House of Glücksburg and Thessaloniki was known as a "hotbed of republicanism".
The failed coup with its connotations of social unrest and protest alarmed the Greek elite and led to a swing towards the right among the elite, through not the Greek people. As a result of the failed coup, the Liberals came to be viewed within the elite as the party of insurgency and chaos while many Populists frightened by the prospect of a revolution swung behind Metaxas's viewpoint. In response to the fears of the impoverished Greek people rising up in a revolution, Metaxas called for a fascist "new order" in Greece, arguing that the Great Depression proved the failure of democracy and fascism was the solution. Under pressure from the newly empowered and more extreme royalists like Metaxas, Tsaldaris announced for the first time his intention to hold a referendum on restoring the monarchy. When General Georgios Kondylis, until then a republican and one of the founders of the First Hellenic Republic in 1924, pronounced himself in favor of restoring the monarchy in the summer of 1935, he demoralised the republicans and the more opportunistic republicans started to defect over to the monarchist camp, through Metaxas drew little benefit electorally. In the 1935 elections, he cooperated in a union with other small royalist parties, returning seven MPs, repeating the performance in the 1936 elections. In the Peloponnese region, which was the traditional center of Greek royalism, Metaxas's party had fared poorly, but he won 20% of the vote in Athens, mostly in middle class and upper class neighborhoods as the well off looked towards Metaxas as the best man to "impose order" on Greece.
After a heavily rigged plebiscite, George II returned to take the throne in 1935. On 11 December 1935, the king met with Ernst Eisenlohr, the German minister in Athens, who in his account of the conversation reminded him that Germany was Greece's largest trading partner and that:
"...the fact of a constant active balance in Greece's favour arising from the exchange of goods made it possible for Greece to obtain commodities from Germany which she could not purchase from other countries for lack of sufficient supplies of foreign exchange. In discussing economic changes, I endeavored to make clear to the King that Greece could not live without her German customers and that, in particular, a reduction or cessation of our purchases of tobacco must lead to the impoverishment of the Macedonian peasants and thus to grave disturbances in Greek domestic politics [emphasis in the original]. Careful fostering of these relationships (between Germany and Greece) was therefore as much a political as an economic imperative."
To stay in the good graces of the Reich, Eisenlohr told the king that he must "bind the armed forces to his person and thus provide himself with a reliable bulwark for his throne in the ever-changing currents of internal politics"; through Eisenlohr did not mention Metaxas by name, it is clear that he was the "reliable bulwark" that he wanted the king to rely upon. At the time, the Romanian foreign minister Nicolae Titulescu was seeking to link the Little Entente of Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia together with the Balkan Pact of Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece and Turkey, which Eisenlohr vehemently objected to, saying he wanted the king to appoint as prime minister someone who was friendly towards Germany who would veto Titulescu's plan, which was aimed at building an alliance against Germany.
After the elections on 26 January 1936, Venizelists and anti-Venizelists could not form a government mainly on the question of the return of the democratic officers of the 1935 movement to the army.
In a series of initiatives, King George II was able to play a decisive role in shaping the political scene. On 5 March, George II appointed Metaxas the Minister of Defence, a post in which he would remain until his death in 1941. The political significance of this appointment was great since Metaxas was not only a dedicated royalist but one of the few politicians who had supported openly the imposition of an authoritarian, non-parliamentary regime in Greece.
On 14 March, the Demertzis government was sworn in, and Ioannis Metaxas was appointed Vice-President of the government and Minister of Defence. Demetzis died suddenly on 13 April. That same day, the king appointed Metaxas Prime Minister. The very first action of Metaxas was to announce his opposition to Titulescu's plan, saying he was opposed to Greece being allied with any non-Balkan power, which killed Titulescu's plan which required the unanimous approval of all the Balkan Pact states. Following a failure by the Liberals (Venizelists) to come to an agreement with the anti-Venizelist parties, the Metaxas government secured a vote of confidence from the House of Parliament on 27 April with 241 votes in favour, 4 abstentions and 16 against. Three days later, the House of Parliament resolved and suspended its work for five months, authorizing the government to issue legislative decrees on all matters, with the agreement of a parliamentary committee which never operated. The appointment of Metaxas as prime minister caused a strike wave all across the country with Macedonia being the center of the protests and strikes. On 29 April 1936, the tobacco farmers of Macedonia went on a strike to protest his appointment and on 9 May a general strike began in Thessaloniki.
Widespread industrial unrest gave Metaxas justification to declare a state of emergency on 4 August 1936 with the excuse of the "communist danger". With the King's support, he adjourned parliament indefinitely and suspended various articles of the constitution guaranteeing civil liberties. In a national radio address, Metaxas declared that for the duration of the state of emergency, he would hold "all the power I need for saving Greece from the catastrophes which threaten her." The regime created as a result of this self-coup became known as the "4th of August Regime" after the date of its proclamation.
Greece since the 4th of August became an anticommunist State, an antiparliamentary State, a totalitarian State. A State based on its farmers and workers, and so antiplutocratic. There is not, of course, a particular party to govern. This party is all the People, except of the incorrigible communists and the reactionary old parties politicians.— Ioannis Metaxas, 
The regime's propaganda presented Metaxas as "the First Peasant", "the First Worker" and "the National Father" of the Greeks. Metaxas adopted the title of Arkhigos, Greek for "leader" or "chieftain", and claimed a "Third Hellenic Civilization", following ancient Greece and the Christian Byzantine Empire of the Middle Ages. State propaganda portrayed Metaxas as a "Saviour of the Nation", bringing unity to a divided country.
Patterning his regime on other authoritarian European governments of the day (most notably Fascist Italy), Metaxas banned political parties (including his own), prohibited strikes and introduced widespread censorship of the media. National unity was to be achieved by the abolition of the previous political parliamentary system, which was seen as having left the country in chaos (see National Schism). Metaxas disliked the old parties of the political landscape, including traditional conservatives.
Along with anti-parliamentarism, anti-communism formed the second major political agenda of the 4th of August regime. Minister of Security Konstantinos Maniadakis quickly infiltrated and practically dissolved the Communist Party of Greece by seizing its archives and arresting Communist leader Nikos Zachariadis. Metaxas himself became Minister of Education in 1938 and had all school texts re-written to fit the regime's ideology.
Suppressing Communism was followed by a campaign against "anti-Greek" literature viewed as dangerous to the national interest. Book burnings targeted authors such as Goethe, Shaw and Freud, and several Greek writers.
Arthur Koestler, who visited Athens in 1938, noted that even Plato's "Republic" was on Metaxas' list of prohibited books--which in Koestler's view made the Metaxas dictatorship "stupid as well as vicious". At that time Koestler met secretly with members of the underground opposition, hearing from them "horrifying stories of police brutality, especially the case of unspeakable torture inflicted on a young girl who was communist". There had been rumors about the use of castor oil to political prisoners, just like in fascist Italy.
Trying to build a corporatist state and secure popular support, Metaxas adopted or adapted many of Fascist Italy's institutions: a National Labor Service, the eight-hour workday, mandatory improvements to working conditions, and the Social Insurance Institute (Greek: Ίδρυμα Κοινωνικών Ασφαλίσεων, IKA), still the biggest social security institution in Greece.
In terms of symbolism, the Roman salute and the Minoan double-axe, the labrys, were introduced. Unlike Mussolini, however, Metaxas lacked the support provided by a mass political party; indeed, he deliberately positioned himself as being above politics. The regime's only mass organization was the National Organisation of Youth (EON), whose literature and magazines were promoted in schools. Throughout his rule, Metaxas' power rested primarily upon the army and the support of King George II.
In foreign policy Metaxas followed a neutral stance, trying to balance between the UK and Germany. Ever since the Corfu incident of 1923, the Greeks had regarded Italy as the principle enemy, and as long as Italy and Germany were divided by the "Austrian Question", Metaxas saw Germany as a counterweight to Italy. The British historian D.C. Watt described Metaxas as living "in a paranoiac world" as he was convinced that Britain was seeking his overthrow, seeing plots against him everywhere. The emergence of the "Rome-Berlin Axis" in 1936 greatly upset Metaxas's calculations and forced him to reevaluate Greece's foreign policy alignments, through he continued to hope for a long time that Germany would restrain Italy in the Balkans. In the late 1930s, as with the other Balkan countries, Germany became Greece's largest trading partner. To break the German dominance of the Balkans, the British agreed to launch an "economic offensive" into the Balkans in November 1938, through the question of whatever Britain should buy the Greek tobacco crop led to much debate within the British government as objections were made that British smokers, accustomed to Canadian and American tobacco, should not have to smoke Greek tobacco. Metaxas himself had a reputation as a Germanophile dating back to his studies in Germany and his role in the National Schism. The regime's literature gave praise to fellow European authoritarian states, especially those of Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. In October 1938, Metaxas asked Michael Palairet, the British minister in Athens, for an alliance out of the hope that the British would turn him down (as they did), thereby justifying Greek neutrality if another world war should break out.
However, events gradually drove Metaxas to lean toward France and Britain. King George and most of the country's elites were staunchly anglophile, and the predominance of the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean could not be ignored by a maritime country such as Greece. Furthermore, the expansionist goals of Mussolini's Italy pushed Greece to lean towards the Franco-British alliance. On 4 April 1939, Italy annexed Albania and as Mussolini had committed 20 divisions to occupy Albania, which was far more men than was necessary to occupy a small, backward nation like Albania, Metaxas become convinced that an Italian invasion of Greece was imminent. On 8 April 1939, Metaxas summoned Palairet for a meeting at midnight to tell him that Greece would fight to the death if Italy should invade and asked for British assistance. The fact that Germany had supported Italy's annexation of Albania showed Hitler was supporting Italian ambitions in the Balkans, leaving Metaxas with no choice, but to turn to Britain as a counterweight to Italy. On 13 April 1939, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain speaking in the House of Commons and Édouard Daladier speaking in the Chamber of Deputies announced a joint Anglo-French guarantee of Romania and Greece. On the same day, Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the British ambassador in Turkey, asked the Turks to open staff talks with the Greeks so that the Turks could come to Greece's aid in the event of an Italian invasion. Through Greece declared neutrality in September 1939, Mataxas's acceptance of the Anglo-French "guarantee" in April 1939 associated Greece with the Allied side.
Metaxas' efforts to keep Greece out of World War II came undone when Mussolini demanded occupation rights to strategic Greek sites. When the Italian ambassador Emanuele Grazzi visited Metaxas' residence and presented these demands on the night of 28 October 1940, Metaxas curtly replied in French, "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then it is war"). A few hours later, Italy invaded Greece from Albania and started the Greco-Italian War. The Greek Army was able to mount a successful defence and counteroffensive, forcing the Italians back and occupying large parts of southern Albania, usually called by the Greeks "Northern Epirus". In April 1941 Germany invaded Greece.
Metaxas never saw the joint Fascist-Nazi invasion of Greece during the Battle of Greece because he died in Athens on 29 January 1941 of a phlegmon of the pharynx, which subsequently led to incurable toxaemia. He was succeeded by Alexandros Koryzis. After the death of Metaxas, the invading forces had to take into account the fortifications constructed by Metaxas in Northern Greece. These fortifications were constructed along the Bulgarian border and were known as the Metaxas Line.
To this day Metaxas remains a highly controversial figure in Greek history. He is reviled by some for his dictatorial rule and admired by others for his patriotism and defiance to aggression.
Until the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Metaxas was honoured as the leader of the War against Italy. During the junta, with the exception of a small number of supporters of his regime (namely the banned “4th of August” organization) and few members of the government, no major projects honouring Metaxas were undertaken. Some busts of Metaxas were put up in small towns and the periphery of Athens, mostly after local initiatives. An idea of erecting a Metaxas statue in central Athens was not accepted by the government and Georgios Papadopoulos, who preferred to identify with Eleftherios Venizelos instead, inaugurated in Athens a big statue of the latter. In the last years of junta, some minor local officials of the regime, disappointed by the liberalization steps planned by Papadopoulos, erected busts of Metaxas in some towns, in order to upset Papadopoulos. In the meantime, during and shortly after the dictatorship, an imagined ideological connection between the 1967 junta, and the Metaxas regime and fascism was constructed, by means of books and works of art, such as the books of Spyros Linardatos on the 4th of August regime (1965 and 1966) and the film Days of '36 by Theo Angelopoulos. This concept was adopted by the antidictatorial struggle and had a profound impact on subsequent historical production. A resistance group blew up a bust of Metaxas in a Piraeus suburb in 1972. The concept became mainstream after 1974. After 1980’s it was not considered proper to claim that the “NO” was said by Metaxas, but rather that it was articulated by the people.
The microhistory of Metaxas’ statues is examined by Kouki K. and Antoniou D. in a study on the construction of an ideological commonality between Metaxas, the 1967 junta and fascism in modern Greek history.
| Prime Minister of Greece
13 April 1936 – 29 January 1941
The Coup d'état attempt of 1938 or coup d'état of Chania was a short-lived coup attempt in Chania, Greece, aimed at overthrowing the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas in 1938. Due to poor organization, the coup collapsed within a few hours and never seriously threatened the dictatorial regime.4th of August Party
The 4th of August Party (K4A; Greek: Κόμμα 4ης Αυγούστου, Komma 4is Avgoustou (Κ4Α)) was a radical Greek Metaxist political party, founded in July 1965 by a group of young nationalists and led by Konstantinos Plevris, a self-confessed fascist. It was named after and inspired by the 4th of August Regime of Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas.4th of August Regime
The 4th of August Regime (Greek: Καθεστώς της 4ης Αυγούστου, Kathestós tis tetártis Avgoústou), commonly also known as the Metaxas regime (Greek: Καθεστώς Μεταξά, Kathestós Metaxá), was a totalitarian regime under the leadership of General Ioannis Metaxas that ruled the Kingdom of Greece from 1936 to 1941. On 4 August 1936, Metaxas, with the support of King George II, suspended the Greek parliament and went on to preside over a conservative, staunchly anti-communist government. The regime took inspiration in its symbolism and rhetoric from Fascist Italy, but never developed into a fully-fledged fascist dictatorship, and retained close links to Britain and the French Third Republic, rather than the Axis powers. Lacking a popular base, after Metaxas' death in January 1941 the regime hinged entirely on the King. Although Greece was occupied following the German invasion of Greece in April 1941 and the Greek government was forced into exile in the Middle East, several prominent figures and features of the regime, notably the notorious security chief Konstantinos Maniadakis, survived for several months in cabinet until the King was forced to dismiss them in a compromise with the representatives of the old democratic political establishment.Alexandros Koryzis
Alexandros Koryzis (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Κορυζής, 1885 – April 18, 1941) was the Prime Minister of Greece briefly in 1941.
He assumed this role on January 29, 1941, when his predecessor, the dictator Ioannis Metaxas died, during the Greco-Italian War. Prior to this, he was governor of the Bank of Greece. Although largely powerless, as the government was effectively controlled by King George II, he still bore the burden of the German invasion which commenced on April 6 of the same year. Less than two weeks later, on April 18, as German troops marched towards Athens and the city was placed under martial law, he committed suicide by shooting himself. The cause of his death was initially reported to be a heart attack, probably to avoid causing mass panic in Athens.
He was originally from the small island of Poros in Greece, where a museum dedicated to his life and contribution exists today.Andreas Michalakopoulos
Andreas Michalakopoulos (Greek: Ανδρέας Μιχαλακόπουλος; 17 May 1876, Patras – 7 March 1938, Athens) was an important liberal politician in the inter-war period who served as Prime Minister of Greece from 7 October 1924 to 26 June 1925.
He was a senior member of the Liberal Party and a close associate of its founder, the Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, for more than 20 years. With Venizelos he participated in the negotiations for the international treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne, and co-signed as Foreign Minister the Greek-Turkish Friendship Convention (also known as the Treaty of Ankara) on 30 October 1930.
He held important posts in several governments led by Eleftherios Venizelos, Alexandros Zaimis and Konstantinos Tsaldaris; Foreign Minister (1928–33), Minister for Economy (1912–916), Minister for Agriculture (1917–1918, 1920), Minister for Military Affairs (1918).
Opposed to the military dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, he was sent to political exile on Paros in 1936, which resulted in his death in 1938.He was buried in the First Cemetery of Athens.Epistratoi
The Epistratoi (Greek: Επίστρατοι, "Reservists") were a royalist paramilitary organization in Greece during World War I, in the context of the National Schism. They played a major role in the Noemvriana of 1916.
They are considered the first mass political organization in the country, directed against the liberal bourgeoisie and foreign intervention, and are considered part of the wider European precursor movements to Fascism.Freethinkers' Party
The Freethinkers' Party (Greek: Κόμμα των Ελευθεροφρόνων) was a Greek nationalist and monarchist party founded and led by Ioannis Metaxas who was the Prime Minister and dictator of Greece from 1936 to 1941. It was formally founded in November 1922 after the adoption of the party's manifesto that was unveiled on 13 October 1922. Metaxas had the party and all other parties dissolved following the establishment of the 4th of August Regime, in which he ruled as an official independent.The first programmatic declaration of the party was published in the daily Nea Imera on 13 October 1922.Georgi Kyoseivanov
Georgi Ivanov Kyoseivanov (Bulgarian: Георги Иванов Кьосеиванов) (19 January 1884, Peshtera – 27 July 1960) was a Bulgarian politician who went on to serve as Prime Minister.
Kyoseivanov came to power on 23 November 1935 after a period in which the country had had three Prime Ministers in quick succession. He went on to become the longest-serving PM since Andrey Lyapchev and throughout the period of his administration he also held the post of Foreign Minister. The government oversaw the trials of the instigators of the 1934 military coup and also concluded pacts with Yugoslavia and Greece as Nazi Germany undertook a policy of economic isolation of the Balkans. His government also oversaw a policy of rearmament after a treaty concluded with Ioannis Metaxas overturned the military clauses of the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine and the Treaty of Lausanne. Despite this Kyoseivanov's government was seen as little more than a puppet of Tsar Boris and, although it lasted until 1940, achieved little other than allowing the Tsar to effectively govern as a dictator.
In 1940 he became ambassador to Switzerland where he remained after the 1944 coup in Bulgaria.Greek nationalism
Greek nationalism (or Hellenic nationalism) refers to the nationalism of Greeks and Greek culture. As an ideology, Greek nationalism originated and evolved in pre-modern times. It became a major political movement beginning in the 18th century, which culminated in the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) against the Ottoman Empire. It became a potent movement in Greece shortly prior to, and during World War I under the leadership of nationalist figure Eleftherios Venizelos who pursued the Megali Idea and managed to liberate Greece in the Balkan Wars and after World War I, briefly annexed the region of İzmir before it was retaken by Turkey. Today Greek nationalism remains important in the Greco-Turkish dispute over Cyprus.Ioannis
Ioannis or Ioannes (Greek: Ιωάννης), shortened to Giannis or Yannis (Γιάννης) is a Greek given name cognate with Johannes and John. Notable people with the name include:
Ioannis Alevras, Greek politician
Ioannis Amanatidis, Greek footballer
Ioannis Antetokounmpo, commonly known as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greek basketball player
Ioannis Bourousis, Greek basketball player
Ioannis Drymonakos, Greek swimmer
Ioannis Gagaloudis, Greek basketball player
Ioannis Kakridis (1901–1992), Greek classical scholar
Ioannis Kalitzakis, Greek footballer
Ioannis Kapodistrias (John Capodistrias), Greek politician in Russia
Ioannis Kasoulidis, Cypriot politician
Ioannis Kolettis (1773–1847), Greek politician who served as Prime Minister of Greece
Ioannis Limnios-Sekeris, Greek historian and humanitarian
Ioannis Metaxas, Greek general and politician
Ioannis Okkas, Cypriot football playerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioannis
Ioannis Paraskevopoulos, Greek banker and politician
Ioannis Plagis (John Plagis), Southern Rhodesian flying ace during World War II
Ioannis Rallis, Greek politician
Ioannis Samaras, Greek footballer
Ioannis Tamouridis, Greek cyclist
Ioannis Theofilakis, Greek shooter
Ioannis Theotokis (1880–1961), Greek politician who became Prime Minister of Greece
Ioannis Leobrera - commonly known as Yanis Lumban, Lagunaeke bungeKonstantinos Kotzias
Konstantinos "Kostas" Kotzias (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος (Κώστας) Κοτζιάς; 17 May 1892 – 8 December 1951) was a Greek fencer. He competed at the 1912 and 1924 Summer Olympics.In 1934 he was elected Mayor of Athens. In the dictatorial Metaxas Regime, he served as Minister for the Capital District. Following the death of dictator Ioannis Metaxas in January 1941, he was sounded out by King George II of Greece to head a new cabinet, but refused. During the Axis Occupation of Greece, he lived in the United States. He was elected an MP for Athens in 1950 and was re-elected as the city's mayor in 1951, shortly before his death. Kotzia Square in Athens is named after him.
One of his sons was George Cotzias, a well known physician that pioneered the L-dopa treatment for Parkinson's disease.Konstantinos Maniadakis
Konstantinos Maniadakis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Μανιαδάκης; July 25, 1893 in Sofiko, Corinthia – February 28, 1972 in Athens) was a Greek Army officer and politician who became notorious as head of the internal security services of the dictatorial 4th of August Regime (1936–1941). A career engineers officer, Maniadakis resigned from the army in 1929. In 1936, dictator Ioannis Metaxas appointed him to head the Under-Ministry of Public Security. During his tenure, he managed to almost completely suppress and disorganize the Communist Party of Greece, imprisoning hundreds of its members and even publishing a government-controlled rival version of the party's newspaper, Rizospastis. Maniadakis as a Security Minister was regarded to be highly efficient against Communist policies in Greece. Following the German invasion of Greece, he continued in office in the early months of the Greek government in exile as Interior Minister, but was soon forced to resign. After World War II, he was elected several times to the Hellenic Parliament.Metaxas Line
The Metaxas Line (Greek: Γραμμή Μεταξά, Grammi Metaxa) was a chain of fortifications constructed along the line of the Greco-Bulgarian border, designed to protect Greece in case of a Bulgarian invasion after the rearmament of Bulgaria. It was named after Ioannis Metaxas, then Prime Minister of Greece, and chiefly consists of tunnels that led to observatories, emplacements and machine-gun nests. The constructions are so sturdy that they survive to this day, some of which are still in active service. Some of them are open to the public.
The Metaxas Line consists of 21 independent fortification complexes, the largest of which is Fort Roupel as it covers 6.1 out of the 155 km of the full line and had been constructed at a height of 322 m. Illumination was initially mostly provided by oil-lamps, although generators were also installed. Currently, the fortifications are supplied with public electricity, but they are also equipped with generators. Ventilation was achieved both naturally and artificially. Water was supplied via water-mains. The fortification works lasted four years and their cost at the time reached 100,400,000 drachmas.Metaxism
Metaxism (Greek: Μεταξισμός) is a totalitarian nationalist ideology associated with Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas. It called for the regeneration of the Greek nation and the establishment of a modern, culturally homogenous Greece. Metaxism disparaged liberalism, and held individual interests to be subordinate to those of the nation, seeking to mobilize the Greek people as a disciplined mass in service to the creation of a "new Greece."Metaxas declared that his 4th of August Regime (1936–1941) represented a "Third Greek Civilization" which was committed to the creation of a culturally purified Greek nation based upon the militarist societies of ancient Macedonia and Sparta, which he held to constitute the "First Greek Civilization"; and the Orthodox Christian ethic of the Byzantine Empire, which he considered to represent the "Second Greek Civilization." The Metaxas regime asserted that true Greeks were ethnically Greek and Orthodox Christian, intending to deliberately exclude Albanians, Slavs, and Turks residing in Greece from Greek citizenship.Although the Metaxas government and its official doctrines are often described as Fascist, academically it is considered to have been a conventional totalitarian-conservative dictatorship akin to Francisco Franco's Spain or António de Oliveira Salazar's Portugal. The Metaxist government derived its authority from the conservative establishment and its doctrines strongly supported traditional institutions such as the Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek Monarchy; essentially reactionary, it lacked the radical theoretical dimensions of ideologies such as Italian Fascism and German Nazism.The ideology of Metaxism was associated with Metaxas' political party, the Freethinkers' Party and the 4th of August Regime. In the post-war period it has been advocated by the 4th of August Party and the Golden Dawn party.National Schism
The National Schism (Greek: Εθνικός Διχασμός, Ethnikos Dikhasmos, sometimes called The Great Division) was a series of disagreements between King Constantine I and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos regarding the foreign policy of Greece in the period of 1910–1922 of which the tipping point was whether Greece should enter World War I. Venizelos was in support of the Allies and wanted Greece to join the war on their side, while the pro-German King wanted Greece to remain neutral, which would favor the plans of the Central Powers.
The disagreement had wider implications, since it would also affect the character and role of the king in the state. The dismissal of Venizelos by the King resulted in a deep personal rift between the two and in subsequent events their followers divided into two radically opposed political camps affecting the wider Greek society.
With the contrary actions of Venizelos permitting the landing of Allied forces in Thessaloniki and the unconditional surrender of a military fort in Macedonia to German-Bulgarian forces by the king, the disagreements of the two men started to take the form of civil war. In August 1916, followers of Venizelos set up a provisional state in Northern Greece, with Entente support, with the aim of reclaiming the lost regions in Macedonia, effectively splitting Greece into two entities. After intense diplomatic negotiations and an armed confrontation in Athens between Allied and royalist forces the king abdicated on 11 June 1917, and his second son Alexander took his place.
Venizelos returned to Athens on 29 May 1917 and Greece, now unified, officially joined the war on the side of the Allies, emerging victorious and securing new territory by the Treaty of Sèvres. The bitter effects of this division were the main features of Greek political life until the 1940s, and contributed to Greece's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, the collapse of the Second Hellenic Republic and the establishment of the dictatorial Metaxas Regime.National Youth Organisation (Greece)
The National Youth Organisation (Greek: Εθνική Οργάνωσις Νεολαίας, Ethnikí Orgánosis Neoléas, EON) was a youth organization in Greece during the years of the Metaxas Regime (1936–1941), established by the regime with the stated goals of helping the youth in the productive spending of their free time and cultivating their national values and cooperative spirit.
Membership was not mandatory, and—unlike most contemporary political youth organizations in Europe—EON was not affiliated with a political party, but there was widespread successful campaigning by the regime to include the largest part of the youth to EON, and later took over the scouts and other such organizations, although typically membership still remained strictly voluntary. However, only Christians could enroll and Muslims and Jews could not become EON members. There were some exceptions on Jews though.Some of the activities that EON members were involved in included athletics events, parades and marches, military training, reforestations, recycling.
The official -monthly- magazine of EON was The Youth (Greek: Η Νεολαία).
The emblem of EON was a labrys surrounded by laurel wreaths and topped with a royal crown, while the flag of EON was similar to the flag of Greece—featuring a white cross on a blue fiend—with the emblem of EON charged in the center in gold and the royal crown moved to the upper hoist side quadrant. The motto of EON was "One Nation, One King, One Leader, One Youth".The EON disbanded in late April 1941 with the start of the German occupation of Greece when some of its former members created the secret occupation resistance/liberation organizations "National Youth Commity" and—the strictly female—"SPITHA" under the leadership of Metaxas' daughter Loukia Metaxa.Ohi Day
Ohi Day or Oxi Day (Greek: Επέτειος του Όχι, Epéteios tou Óchi [eˈpetios tu ˈoçi]; "Anniversary of the No") is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world on 28 October each year. Ohi Day commemorates the rejection by Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 October 1940, the Hellenic counterattack against the invading Italian forces at the mountains of Pindus during the Greco-Italian War, and the Greek Resistance during the Axis occupation.Politically Independent Alignment
The Politically Independent Alignment, alternatively translated as Politically Independent Camp or Front (Greek: Πολιτική Ανεξάρτητη Παράταξη or Πολιτική Ανεξάρτητος Παράταξις, Politikí Anexártiti Parátaxi or Politikí Anexártitos Parátaxis, PAP) was a Greek electoral alliance that ran in the 1950 legislative election and represented loyalists of the former dicator Ioannis Metaxas.It was established in 1949 as an alliance of the Greek Renaissance Party of Konstantinos Maniadakis, former Minister of Public Order during the 4th of August Regime, and the Nationalist Party of Theodoros Tourkovasilis, a former Governor of the Bank of Greece.
In the Greek legislative election, 1950 the party gained 8,15% of the votes and 16 seats in the Hellenic Parliament.Social Insurance Institute
The Social Insurance Institute (Greek: Ίδρυμα Κοινωνικών Ασφαλίσεων, IKA) is the largest, state based, social security organization in Greece: its beneficiaries are 5,530,000 members of the Greek employed population and 830,000 pensioners.
|First Hellenic Republic|
|Kingdom of Greece (Wittelsbach)|
|Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg)|
|Second Hellenic Republic|
|Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg)|
|Third Hellenic Republic|
|First Hellenic Republic|
|Kingdom of Greece (Wittelsbach)|
|Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg)|
|Second Hellenic Republic|
|Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg)|
|Third Hellenic Republic|
§ variously as Chief Secretary/General Secretary of State
† officially considered the first foreign minister of independent Greece
|First Hellenic Republic|
|Kingdom of Greece (Wittelsbach)|
|Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg)|
|Second Hellenic Republic|
|Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg)|
|Third Hellenic Republic|
In italics are denoted the Interior Ministers of parallel or non-recognized governments
Chiefs of the Hellenic Army General Staff
§ Substitute Chiefs of the General Staff for the Rear Areas/Interior (as opposed to the Field Staff)
† Deputy Chiefs substituting during vacancies ‡ Under the title "Chief of the Army"