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Greek military junta of 1967–74

Kingdom of Greece (1967-1973)
Hellenic Republic (1973-1974)
Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος (1967-1973)
Ελληνική Δημοκρατία (1973-1974)
Military Junta of the Kingdom of Greece (1967-1973)
Military Junta of the Third Hellenic Republic (1973-1974)

National Flag(1967-1970)

Flag 1967-1970 (top)
Flag 1970-1974 (bottom)
Coat of arms 1967-1973 (Top)
Coat of arms 1973-1974 (bottom)
Capital Athens
Languages Greek
Government Military junta
 -  1967-1973 Constantine II King
 -  1973 Georgios Papadopoulos President
 -  1973-1974 Phaedon Gizikis President
Prime Minister
 -  1967 Konstantinos Kollias
 -  1967-1973 Georgios Papadopoulos
 -  1973 Spyros Markezinis
 -  1973-1974 Adamantios Androutsopoulos
 -  1967-1972 Georgios Zoitakis
 -  1972-1973 Georgios Papadopoulos
Historical era Cold War
 -  1967 Greek coup d'état 21 April 1967
 -  Collapse 24 July 1974
Today part of  Greece
The junta members.
Part of a series on the
Part of a map of the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent regions by William Faden, March 1785
Greece portal

The Greek military junta of 1967–74 (alternatively The Regime of the Colonels (Greek: Το καθεστώς των Συνταγματαρχών, To kathestos ton Syntagmatarhon), or in Greece The Junta ( or ; Greek: Χούντα, ), The Dictatorship (Greek: Η Δικτατορία, I diktatoría) and The Seven Years (Greek: Η Επταετία, I eptaetía) was a series of right-wing military juntas that ruled Greece following the 1967 Greek coup d'état led by a group of colonels on 21 April 1967. The dictatorship ended on 24 July 1974.


  • Background 1
    • American influence in Greece 1.1
    • The Apostasia and political instability 1.2
    • A "Generals' Coup" 1.3
  • The coup d'état of 21 April 2
    • The role of the King 2.1
    • The King's counter-coup 2.2
    • The Regency 2.3
  • Characteristics of the Junta 3
    • Ideology 3.1
    • "Patient in a cast" and other metaphors 3.2
    • Civil rights 3.3
    • External relations 3.4
    • Sociocultural policies 3.5
      • Western music and film 3.5.1
      • Greek rock 3.5.2
      • Tourism 3.5.3
      • Agriculture 3.5.4
      • Urban classes 3.5.5
    • Economic policies 3.6
    • Financial scandals 3.7
  • The Italian connection 4
  • Anti-Junta movement 5
    • Assassination attempt by Panagoulis 5.1
    • Broadening of the movement 5.2
    • International protest 5.3
    • The Velos mutiny 5.4
  • Collapse 6
    • Normalization and attempts at liberalization 6.1
    • The uprising at the Polytechnic 6.2
    • The Ioannidis Regime 6.3
    • Cypriot coup d'état, Turkish invasion and fall of the Junta 6.4
  • The trials of the junta (1975) 7
  • Legacy and Greek public opinion 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Citations and notes 11
  • External links 12


The 1967 coup and the following seven years of military rule were the culmination of 30 years of national division between the forces of the Left and the Right that can be traced to the time of the resistance against Axis occupation of Greece during World War II. After the liberation in 1944, Greece descended into a civil war, fought between the communist forces and the now-returned government-in-exile.

American influence in Greece

The Phoenix rising from its flames and the silhouette of the soldier bearing a rifle with fixed bayonet was the emblem of the Junta. On the header the word Greece (Ελλας) and on the footer 21 April 1967, the date of the coup d'état, can be seen in Greek.

In 1947, the

  • Matt Barrett, "The Rise of the Junta in Greece"
  • Matt Barrett, "November 17, Cyprus and the Fall of the Junta"

External links

  1. ^ Perkins, Bradford; Cohen, Warren; LaFeber, Walter; Iriye, Akira (1995). The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations: Volume 4, America in the Age of Soviet Power, 1945–1991. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b c Charlie Wilson's War, George Crile, 2003, Grove/Atlantic.
  3. ^ Ganser, Daniele (2005). NATO's secret armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Routledge. p. 216.
  4. ^ Moseley, Ray (17 November 1999). Thousands decry U.S. in streets of Athens. The Chicago Tribune.
  5. ^ Kassimeris, Christos (2006). "Causes of the 1967 Greek Coup". Democracy and Security. 2(1), 61–72.
  6. ^ Weiner, Tim (2007), Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, Doubleday, p. 383.
  7. ^ Marios Ploritis, "Διογένης και άνακτες", To Vima, 10 December 2000, (in Greek).
  8. ^ Stilis Alatos, "Tα καμπούρικα", Ta Nea, 15 February 2007, (in Greek).
  9. ^ a b C. L. Sulzberger, An age of mediocrity; memoirs and diaries, 1963–1972, New York: Macmillan, 1973, p. 575.
  10. ^ Alexis Papachelas, "Everything George Rallis recounted to me", To Vima, 19 March 2006
  11. ^ a b TV documentary "ΤΑ ΔΙΚΑ ΜΑΣ 60's — Μέρος 3ο: ΧΑΜΕΝΗ ΑΝΟΙΞΗ" by Stelios Kouloglu
  12. ^ Alexis Papachelas, "Constantine Speaks", To Vima, 29 January 2006.
  13. ^ a b Giannis Politis, "Συνεχίζει τις προκλήσεις Ο Κωνσταντίνος Γλύξμπουργκ", Ta Nea, 10 May 1997.
  14. ^ "American/World History 1967-1968". Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe. By Ganser Daniele (2005). pp. 220–223 ISBN 0-7146-5607-0, ISBN 978-0-7146-5607-6
  16. ^ 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 ... 
  17. ^ Robert McDonald (1983). Pillar & Tinderbox: The Greek Press Under Dictatorship. New York : Marion Boyars. p. 110.  
  18. ^ 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 ... 
  19. ^ 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 ... 
  20. ^ Peter Green (2004). From Ikaria to the Stars: Classical Mythification, Ancient and Modern. University of Texas Press. pp. 228–.  
  21. ^ a b c Karen Van Dyck (1998). Kassandra and the Censors: Greek Poetry Since 1967. Cornell University Press. pp. 16–19.  
  22. ^ 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 ... 
  23. ^ a b c d e Emmi Mikedakis. "Manipulating Language: Metaphors in the Political Discourse of Georgios Papadopoulos (1967–1973)". Flinders University: Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  24. ^ 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)".  
  25. ^ Obituary: George Papadopoulos Independent, The (London), 28 June 1999 by Robert Shannan Peckham Quote: "Greeks woke up on the morning of Friday 21 April 1967 with military marches and national folk music broadcast on the radio, and with the dictatorship a fait accompli."
  26. ^ Graham Swift (4 May 2010). Making an Elephant: Writing from Within. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 44–.  
  27. ^ The Spectator 219 (2). F.C. Westley. 1967. p. 772. Retrieved 25 March 2013. ... People went about their business in the usual way, undisturbed by the armoured cars and the martial music churned out by the radio. 
  28. ^ To Dentro. 161-162. K. Mauroudēs. 2008. p. 13. Retrieved 25 March 2013. Έγινε Χούντα. Ανοίξτε αμέσως το ραδιόφωνο. Το ραδιόφωνο: διάγγελμα Παπαδόπουλου, τσάμικα και καλαματιανά, «αποφασίζομεν και διατάσσομεν». Ό,τι συζητούσαμε ... 
  29. ^ Trial of the Junta Korydallos documentary
  30. ^ Greek Constitution (Syntagma). Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  31. ^ a b c d Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, revised edition (Common Courage Press) ISBN 1-56751-252-6 by William Blum
  32. ^ a b c Time Magazine archives Answering to History Quote, "Witness after witness testified that within a week of Papadopoulos' April 21, 1967, coup more than 8,000 had been arrested. Of these, 6,188 were banished into exile. Another 3,500 were subsequently sent to ESA torture centers. One prosecution witness, former Colonel Spyridon Moustaklis, 49, was unable to answer questions because brain damage caused by beatings had left him mute and semiparalyzed. Communicating by groans and gestures, glaring at the defendants, Moustaklis clumsily tore his shirt open to reveal the scars that marked his body. Said his wife: "We have a little girl who has never heard her father's voice." Verdicts on the 31 accused, which could lead to maximum sentences of 25 years, are due next month." Monday, 1 September 1975. Retrieved 7 July 2008
  33. ^ Lawrence Van Gelder "Din nabos soen." The NY Times.
  34. ^ Lawrence Van Gelder (29 August 1984). "DANISH 'PHOENIX' AND 'NEIGHBOR'S SON'." The NY Times.
  35. ^ Blum, William (1995). Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. p. 219.  
  36. ^ Papaeti, Anna (2013). "Music, Torture, Testimony: Reopening the Case of the Greek Military Junta (1967–74)." the world of music (special issue): Music and Torture | Music and Punishment 2:1(2013), guest edited by M. J. Grant and Anna Papaeti, pp. 73–80.
  37. ^ UN Committee Against Torture 1997 "Concluding observations: Israel. 09/05/1997."
  38. ^ "James Becket bio from". IMDB. 6 August 1997. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  39. ^ Strand Bookstore Barbarism In Greece: A Young American Lawyer's Inquiry Into the Use of Torture In Contemporary Greece, with Case Histories and Documents by James Becket; (Foreword) Claiborne Pell PUBLISHER WALKER AND COMPANY ©1970 ISBN 1-399-77872-2 ISBN 09781399778725 ASIN B000MT61XO FORMAT Hardcover
  40. ^ Background to Contemporary Greece By Marion Sarafis, Marion Saraphē, Martin Eve p. 143 ISBN 0-85036-393-4
  41. ^ The Psychological Origins of Institutionalized Torture By Mika Haritos-Fatouros Published by Routledge, 2003 ISBN 0-415-28276-4, ISBN 978-0-415-28276-5 270 pages p. 28, Quote: "The country became a true military police state" By Google Books
  42. ^ The Poly-Papadopoulos Time Magazine archives Quote: "Many democratic-minded Greeks resent the open U.S. support of the Papadopoulos dictatorship. Last month Washington gave further evidence of its acceptance of his regime by negotiating for home-port rights in the bays near Athens for the Mediterranean-based Sixth Fleet. In addition, the Nixon Administration is trying to persuade Congress to up military aid to Greece from about $90 million to $118 million." Monday, 3 April 1972. Retrieved 6 July 2008
  43. ^ Nafpliotis, Alexandros (2012). Britain and the Greek Colonels: Accommodating the Junta in the Cold War. London: I.B. Tauris.  
  44. ^ "Helga on IMDB". Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  45. ^ Summarised by the Horror Film Archive thus: "A young man finds himself turning into a bloodsucking monster. Set on the Greek island of Hydra. A must for all Cushing fans
  46. ^ Incense for the Damned on IMDB, which summarises the film as "A group of friends search for a young English Oxford student who has disappeared whilst researching in Greece...."
  47. ^ Review of "Bloodsuckers", New York Times
  48. ^ Woodstock, Greek blog site. Translation:... The beatings and arrests during the Woodstock showing in 1970....
  49. ^ a b Matt Barrett, The Rise of the Junta in Greece Quote1: In 1971 the movie Woodstock is shown in Athens, causing near riots. For young people it is one of the most exciting events of the period and when Jimi Hendrix appears on the screen the glow of a thousand bic-lighters and candles fills the theater. Quote2:Savopoulos becomes a hero of the youth. His album Vromeko Psomi (Dirty Bread) is a classic, a thinly veiled attack on the dictatorship, that if they heard it, must have had the colonels wringing their hands wondering what to do with this guy
  50. ^ a b Matt Barrett, "November 17th, Cyprus and the Fall of the Junta" Quote1: Because tourism is such an important part of the Greek economy, the bans on mini-skirts, long hair and other symbols of decadence are not enforced Quote2: Places like Paradise Beach in Mykonos and Matala, Crete become hippy colonies, made up mostly of foreigners and a handful of adventurous young Greeks
  51. ^ Nikos Mastorakis Museum of Broadcast communications: "Nikos Mastorakis was the TV personality sine qua non of the dictatorship years"
  52. ^ Nostradamos: Dos mou to heri sou on YouTube (Give me your hand) on Youtube
  53. ^ Athens Guide on Socrates rock group "Socrates will probably never get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But while other groups were becoming well known in the free world, this Hendrix-style blues band was playing to standing-room-only crowds in a small club in Athens, during Greece's military dictatorship, a period when even Rolling Stone albums were hard to find, and for a time illegal"
  54. ^ "Millennium Top-1000: NOSTRADAMOS TA PARAMYTHIA THS GIAGIAS and DWS'MOY TO XERI SOY". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  55. ^ Nostradamos Ta Paramythia tis yayas on YouTube
  56. ^ Poll on YouTube
  57. ^ Greek forum for Kostas Tounas fans
  58. ^ "Kostas Tournas official website". Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  59. ^ Poll Ela Ilie mou on YouTube
  60. ^ Kostas Tournas article on Greek WorldHeritage. "(The song) "Anthrope agapa" was motivated by an anti-war film"
  61. ^ Paul Williams: Anthrope Agapa on YouTube
  62. ^ a b Lost in Tyme. "After the split of "Poll", Kostas Tournas went on to record a great progressive-psychedelic concept solo album."
  63. ^ Greek WorldHeritage article on Απέραντα Χωράφια
  64. ^ NME online music magazine
  65. ^ O Archon Nous (The Ruling Mind on YouTube) from Astroneira
  66. ^ Recent Social Trends in France, 1960–1990 Michel Forsé Quote: "In addition the writing-off of agricultural debts, the gradual abolition of hard monetary policy and the supply of loans for opportunist investments created a climate of economic euphoria (mainly in 1970–1973). Although the way in which loans were being provided and their uncontrollable use constituted the introduction to the process of de-industrialization which begins with the Ioannidis period. The collapse of the dictatorship, due to the nationalist fury of the last period, the Ioannidis period, led to the collapse of the compulsive interconnections of power that the civil war and its consequences had shaped." p. 12 ISBN 0-7735-0887-2
    also Recent Social Trends in Greece, 1960–2000 By Dimitris Charalambis, Laura Maratou-Alipranti, Andromachi Hadjiyanni Translated by Dimitris Charalambis, Laura Maratou-Alipranti, Andromachi Hadjiyanni Contributor Dimitris Charalambis, Laura Maratou-Alipranti, Andromachi Hadjiyanni Published by McGill-Queen's Press — MQUP, 2004 ISBN 0-7735-2202-6, ISBN 978-0-7735-2202-2 701 pages. Retrieved 15 August 2008
  67. ^ a b c d Ioannis Tzortzis, "The Metapolitefsi that never was" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 10, 2007) 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 US against Papadopoulos and Markezinis." Quote: "Thus the students had been played straight into the hands of Ioannidis, who looked upon the coming elections with a jaundiced eye." Quote: "The latter [i.e. Markezinis] would insist until the end of his life that subversion on behalf… Markezinis was known for his independence to the US interests." Quote: "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 un-exploited by its opponents". Quote:"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 hard-liners. 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 to him." Quote: "The 1973 oil crisis finally dealt a real financial shock to the Greek economy, as it did to all non-oil producing countries, and marked the end of inflation-free growth in Greece for more than two decades."
  68. ^ KATHIMERINI. "Remember Pattakos, the striking baldie superstar of the junta, who never missed a chance to pose with a trowel at hand and never missed a documentary of Epikaira"
  69. ^ Elefthero Vima Quote: "Αλλά, για να έρθει και η ψυχική κάθαρση να βγουν τα κιτάπια των τραπεζών για τα θαλασσοδάνεια που πήραν επί χούντας οι ευυπόληπτοι πολίτες και αγόρασαν γη και οικόπεδα για να κτίσουν." Translation: ".....for the loans of the sea which were received, during the junta years, by respected citizens and bought land and properties to build on"
  70. ^ John Karavidas, George Seferis and the BBC, BBC Greek service, translation by Google. Retrieved 6 July 2008
  71. ^ Nafpliotis, Alexandros (2012). Britain and the Greek Colonels: Accommodating the Junta in the Cold War. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 276–277. 
  72. ^ "Biography of Günther Wallraff". 9 December 1969. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  73. ^ Nafpliotis, Alexandros (2012). Britain and the Greek Colonels: Accommodating the Junta in the Cold War. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 183–184. 
  74. ^ Το (πολιτικό) παρασκήνιο του τελικού στο Γουέμπλεϊ Ιούνιος 1971 Quote: "Δύο μεγάλα αθλητικά γεγονότα μέσα στην ίδια χρονιά, το 1971, έφεραν την Ελλάδα ξανά στο προσκήνιο μετά τη διεθνή απομόνωσή της για τρία χρόνια εξαιτίας του θλιβερού πραξικοπήματος του 1967. Θέλοντας να δημιουργήσει την εντύπωση μιας δήθεν φιλελευθεροποίησης στη λειτουργία του πολιτεύματος, ο Παπαδόπουλος «προκηρύσσει» μέσα στην ίδια χρονιά «εκλογές» για την ανάδειξη Συμβουλευτικής Επιτροπής, ενός είδους υβριδικής, μικρής Βουλής, και αδειάζει τα ξερονήσια και τις φυλακές από κάμποσους πολιτικούς κρατουμένους, μερικοί από τους οποίους παίρνουν διαβατήριο και αναχωρούν για το εξωτερικό. " ΦΩΤΕΙΝΗ ΤΟΜΑΗ | Κυριακή 20 Απριλίου 2008 Article: To Vima By Fotini Tomai 20 April 2008 (In Greek)
  75. ^ a b Ο κ. πρόεδρος και η χούντα from isopress "Mr President and the Junta" Ελευθεροτυπία, 30 September 2007 Eleftherotypia 30 September 2007 Quote: "Τη δημιουργία της «Επιτροπής» εξήγγειλε στις 10.4.70 ο δικτάτορας Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος σε συνέντευξη Τύπου, ως μέτρο φιλελευθεροποίησης του καθεστώτος. Οπως εξήγησε στους ξένους και Ελληνες δημοσιογράφους, ο Παπαδόπουλος χρησιμοποίησε τον όρο «Συμβουλευτική Επιτροπή», γιατί θεωρούσε τη λέξη Βουλή «ολίγον κακόηχον»."
  76. ^ Kostis Kornetis (2013). Children of the Dictatorship. Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the "Long 1960s" in Greece. New York : Berghahn Books.
  77. ^ Tsevas report Quote: "Οι Ιωαννίδης και Ρουφογάλης, δια των εις αυτούς πιστών Αξιωματικών και πρακτόρων, επηρεάζουν σοβαρώς και σαφώς την όλην επιχείρησιν, εξαπολύοντες κύμα βιαιοτήτων και πυροβολισμών, επί τω τέλει της δημιουργίας ευνοϊκών δια την προαποφασισθείσαν κίνησιν συνθηκών ασφαλείας, αναταραχής και συγκρούσεων."
  78. ^ Eleftherotypia Unrepentant for the Dictatorship. Retrieved 15 August 2008 (In Greek)
    English translation by Google
  79. ^ a b BBC: On this day quote:A military communiqué announced the overthrow of the government was supported by the army, navy and air force and said it was a "continuation of the revolution of 1967", when the Greek colonels, headed by Mr Papadopoulos, seized control. The statement went on to accuse Mr Papadopoulos of "straying from the ideals of the 1967 revolution" and "pushing the country towards parliamentary rule too quickly".
  80. ^ "Greece marks '73 student uprising", and:the notorious Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis now serving a life sentence for his part in the 1967 seizure of power — immediately scrapped a programme of liberalisation introduced earlier and: His was but to do the bidding of a junta strongman who had never made a secret of his belief that Greeks were not ready for democracy. Athens News, 17 November 1999
  81. ^ Mario Modiano The Times correspondent in Athens, "A long, happy summer night 30 years ago", Athens News, 23 July 2004 quote1: My friend had been sworn in as a minister by mistake. After his coup, Ioannidis dispatched military policemen in jeeps to round up the people he needed to man a puppet government. When they turned up at my friend's home and ordered him to follow them, he was convinced that the soldiers intended to shoot him. quote 2: The meeting lasted five hours. Then there was a break, and by the time the meeting resumed, Evangelos Averoff, the former foreign minister, who was there, had already telephoned Constantine Karamanlis in Paris to urge him to return immediately and assume the reins of power.
  82. ^ "1974: Greek military rule gives in to democracy".  
  83. ^ a b c d The Colonels on Trial Time Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2008
  84. ^ "Answering to History". 1 September 1975. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  85. ^ Greece Cancels Plan to Pardon Ex-Junta Members Time Magazine 31 December 1990. Retrieved 15 August 2008
  86. ^ a b Time magazine archives "I Am with You, Democracy Is with You" Quote: "Denied Benefits. When the Council of Europe tried to investigate charges that the regime was torturing prisoners, Athens quit the respected if powerless body rather than risk the inquiry. The Common Market was so repelled by the actions of the junta that it expelled Greece from associate membership in the EEC, thus denying the Greek economy some $300 million annually in agricultural benefits." and "Caramanlis called the crisis "a national tragedy" and appealed to Greece's armed forces to bring about a "political change" in a liberal and democratic direction." Monday, 5 August 1974. Retrieved 6 July 2008
  87. ^ JSTOR Bitter Lessons: How We Failed in Cyprus Laurence Stern Foreign Policy, No. 19 (Summer, 1975), pp. 34–78 doi:10.2307/1147991 Quote: to crystallize as the Cyprus tragedy was enlarged by the Turkish invasion. ...
  88. ^ Coufoudakis, Van Recent Perspectives on Cyprus Journal of Modern Greek Studies — Volume 20, Number 1, May 2002, pp. 143–146 Quote: problem of Cyprus and might have spared the island from the tragedy of 1974.
  89. ^ Athens news online Quote: It was clear that this was a critical day for the future of Greece. Turkey had invaded Cyprus on 20 July while the general mobilisation ordered by the Greek regime turned out to be a major fiasco. The civilian government of Adamantios Androutsopoulos, appointed by the second junta under Military Police Brigadier Demetrios Ioannidis, had suddenly vanished from public sight
  90. ^ Models of Transitional Justice — A Comparative Analysis Stephen A. Garrett International Studies Association 41st Annual Convention Los Angeles, CA 14–18 March 2000 Quote: Perhaps as important as anything else in establishing the vulnerability of that regime to prosecution was its total discreditation as an institution. Certainly the Cyprus fiasco played a key role here, but also important was the failure of the Papadopolous/Ioannidis government ever "to consolidate, to institutionalize and to legitimate itself.
  91. ^ 20.7% of Electoral Body Sees 21/4 Dictatorship Positively, 21 April 2002
  92. ^ "One in three Greeks yearns for junta years: Poll - The Economic Times". The Times Of India. 
  93. ^ "Clinton lamenta el apoyo de EU a Junta Griega," La Opinión de Los Angeles, 21 November 1999, page A1.
  94. ^ Clinton concedes regret for U.S. support of Greek junta Topeka Capital-Journal, The, 21 November 1999 by TERENCE HUNT AP. Retrieved 18 August 2008
  95. ^ Are Greek Policemen Really Voting in Droves for Greece's Neo-Nazi Party?, The Atlantic, 22 June 2012

Citations and notes

  • Woodhouse, C.M. (1998). Modern Greece a Short History. London: Faber & Faber.  
  • Woodhouse, C.M. (1985). The Rise and Fall of the Greek Colonels. London. 
  • Nafpliotis, Alexandros (2012). Britain and the Greek Colonels: Accommodating the Junta in the Cold War. London: I.B. Tauris.  


See also

There has been speculation that lingering social effects of the junta played a role in the rise of Golden Dawn, an extreme right-wing party which gained eighteen seats in parliament in two successive elections in 2012, in the midst of Greece's ongoing debt crisis. Golden Dawn's leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, met the leaders of the junta while in prison and was inspired to lay the foundations for the party. Some have linked alleged support of Golden Dawn by Hellenic Police officers to the party's statements sympathizing with the junta, which commentators note would appeal to policemen whose livelihoods are threatened by harsh austerity measures.[95]

The experiences in Greece were formative for several CIA officers, including Richard Welch in 1975. Many of his junta-connected associates were also assassinated in this time period. Gust himself had his cover blown by the media and his life became endangered.[2] In 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton apologised on the behalf of the U.S. government for supporting the military junta in the name of Cold War tactics.[93][94]

The 21 April regime remains highly controversial to this day, with most Greeks holding very strong and polarized views in regards to it. According to a survey by Kapa Research published in the center-left newspaper To Vima in 2002, the majority of the electoral body (54.7%) consider the regime to have been bad or harmful for Greece while 20.7% consider it to have been good for Greece and 19.8% believe that it was neither good nor harmful.[91] In April 2013, the Metron Analysis Poll, found that 30% of Greeks yearned for the ´better´days of the Junta.[92]

While the Cyprus fiasco was due to the actions of Ioannidis,[90] it was Papadopoulos who started the cycle of coups. Externally the absence of human rights in a country belonging to the Western Bloc during the Cold War was a continuous source of embarrassment for the free world (considering Greece is seen as the inventor of democracy) and this and other reasons made Greece an international pariah abroad and interrupted her process of integration with the European Union with incalculable opportunity costs.[86]

The historical repercussions of the junta were profound and are still felt to this day in Greece. Internally the absence of civil rights and the oppression that followed created a sense of fear and persecution among many in the population creating trauma and division that persisted long after the fall of the junta. The Cyprus debacle created a tragedy that is still unfolding.[86][87][88][89]

Legacy and Greek public opinion

Papadopoulos died in the hospital in 1999 after being transferred from Korydallos while Ioannidis remained incarcerated until his death in 2010. This trial was followed by a second trial which centered on the events of the Athens Polytechnic uprising and a third called "The trial of the torturers".

Papadopoulos, Pattakos, Makarezos and Ioannidis were sentenced to death for high treason.[84] These sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment by the Karamanlis government. A plan to grant amnesty to the junta principals by the Konstantinos Mitsotakis government in 1990 was cancelled after protests from conservatives, socialists and communists.[85]

[83] The roads leading to the jail were patrolled by tanks.[83] provided security.submachine guns One thousand soldiers armed with [83]".Nuremberg. The trial was described as "Greece's Korydallos Prison The mass trial was staged at the [83] In January 1975 the junta members were arrested and in early August of the same year the government of Konstantinos Karamanlis brought charges of

The Junta on trial. Front row (from left): Papadopoulos, Makarezos, Pattakos. Ioannidis can be seen on the second row, just behind Pattakos.

The trials of the junta (1975)

While the physical collapse of the junta as a government was immediately caused by the Cyprus debacle, its ideological collapse was triggered by the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising. The uprising at the Polytechneion was the event that discredited the military government most and acted as a key catalyst for its eventual demise by exposing the internal contradictions and stresses of the regime thus destroying the myth of the political cohesion of the junta and, therefore, irreparably damaging the political credibility of the "Ethnosotirios Epanastasis" and its message.

Parliamentary democracy was thus restored, and the Greek legislative elections of 1974 were the first free elections held in a decade.

The agenda was to appoint a national unity government that would lead the country to elections. Although former Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos was originally backed, on 23 July, Gizikis finally invited former Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis, who had resided in Paris since 1963, to assume the role.[82] Karamanlis returned to Athens on a French Presidency Lear Jet made available to him by President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, a close personal friend, and was sworn-in as Prime Minister under President Phaedon Gizikis. Karamanlis' new party, New Democracy, won the November 1974 general election, and he remained prime minister.

The Cyprus fiasco led to senior Greek military officers withdrawing their support for Junta strongman Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis. Junta-appointed President Phaedon Gizikis called a meeting of old guard politicians, including Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Spiros Markezinis, Stephanos Stephanopoulos, Evangelos Averoff, and others.

Sponsored by Ioannidis, on 15 July 1974 a coup d'état on the island of Cyprus overthrew Archbishop Makarios III, the Cypriot president. Turkey replied to this intervention by invading Cyprus and occupying, after heavy fighting with the Cypriot and Greek ELDYK Forces (Greek: ΕΛΔΥΚ, Ελληνική Δύναμη Κύπρου, Greek Force for Cyprus), the northern part of the island. There was a well-founded fear that an all out war with Turkey was imminent.

Cypriot coup d'état, Turkish invasion and fall of the Junta

The new junta, despite its rather inauspicious origins, pursued an aggressive internal crackdown and an expansionist foreign policy.

Previous to seizing power, Ioannidis preferred to work in the background and he never held any formal office in the junta. Now he was the de facto leader of a puppet regime composed by members some of whom were rounded up by Greek Military Police (ESA) soldiers in roving jeeps to serve and others that were simply chosen by mistake.[80][81] The Ioannidis method of forming a government dealt yet another blow to the rapidly diminishing credibility of the regime both at home and abroad.

At the same time they announced that the new coup was a "continuation of the revolution of 1967" and accused Papadopoulos with "straying from the ideals of the 1967 revolution" and "pushing the country towards parliamentary rule too quickly".[79]

Papadopoulos and his junta always claimed that the 21 April 1967 "revolution" saved Greece from the old party system. Now Ioannidis was, in effect, claiming that his coup saved the revolution from the Papadopoulos faction. The dysfunction as well as the ideological fragmentation and fractionalisation of the junta was finally out in the open. Ioannidis, however, did not make these accusations personally as he always tried to avoid unnecessary publicity. The radio broadcasts, following the now familiar coup in progress scenario featuring martial music interspersed with military orders and curfew announcements, kept repeating that the army was taking back the reins of power in order to save the principles of the revolution and that the overthrow of the Papadopoulos-Markezinis government was supported by the army, navy and air force.[79]

Ioannidis's heavy-handed and opportunistic intervention had the effect of destroying the myth that the junta was an idealistic group of army officers with exactly the same ideals who came to save Greece by using their collective wisdom. The main tenet of the junta ideology (and mythology) was gone and so was the collective. By default, he remained the only man at the top after toppling the other three principals of the junta. Characteristically, he cited ideological reasons for ousting the Papadopoulos faction, accusing them with straying from the principles of the Revolution, especially of being corrupt and misusing their privileges as army officers for financial gains.

Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis, a disgruntled junta hardliner and long-time protege of Papadopoulos as head of the feared Military Police, used the uprising as a pretext to reestablish public order, and staged a counter-coup that overthrew Papadopoulos and Spyros Markezinis on 25 November. Military law was reinstated, and the new Junta appointed General Phaedon Gizikis as President and economist Adamantios Androutsopoulos as Prime Minister, although Ioannidis remained the behind-the-scenes strongman.

The uprising triggered a series of events that put an abrupt end to Papadopoulos' attempts at "liberalisation".

The Ioannidis Regime

Ioannidis' involvement in inciting unit commanders to commit criminal acts during the uprising, so that he could facilitate his own upcoming coup, was noted in the indictment presented to the court by the prosecutor during the Greek junta trials, and in his subsequent conviction in the Polytechneion trial where he was found to have been morally responsible for the events.[77][78]

On the early hours of Saturday, 17 November 1973, Papadopoulos sent the army to suppress the student strike and sit-in of the "Free Besieged" (Ελεύθεροι Πολιορκημένοι), as the students called themselves, at the Athens Polytechnic which had commenced on 14 November. Shortly after 03:00 a.m. EET, under almost complete cover of darkness, an AMX 30 tank crashed through the rail gate of the Athens Polytechnic with subsequent loss of life. The army also occupied Syntagma Square for at least the following day. Even the sidewalk cafes were closed.

[76] The tradition of

Papadopoulos' heavy-handed attempt at liberalisation did not find favour among many in Greece. The stilted democratisation process he proposed was constrained by multiple factors. His inexperience at carrying out an unprecedented political experiment of democratisation was burdened by his tendency to concentrate as much power in his hands as possible, a weakness he exhibited during the junta years when he would sometimes hold multiple high-echelon government portfolios. This especially antagonised the intelligentsia, whose primary exponents were the students. The students at the Law School in Athens, for example, demonstrated multiple times against the dictatorship prior to the events at the Polytechneion.

The uprising at the Polytechnic

On 1 June 1973, he abolished the monarchy and declared himself President of the Republic after a controversial referendum, the results of which were not recognised by the political parties. 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.

The council was dissolved just prior to Papadopoulos' failed attempt to liberalise his regime with Markezinis. As internal dissatisfaction grew in the early 1970s, and especially after an abortive coup by the Navy in early 1973,[67] Papadopoulos attempted to legitimize the regime by beginning a gradual "democratization" (See also the article on Metapolitefsi).

On 10 April 1970 Papadopoulos announced the formation of the Simvouleftiki Epitropi (Συμβουλευτική Επιτροπή) translated as the Advisory Council (Committee) otherwise known as Papadopoulos' (pseudo) Parliament.[74][75] Composed of members elected through an electoral type process but limited to ethnikofrones only, it was bicameral, composed of the Central Advisory Council and the Provincial Advisory Council. The Central Council met in Athens in the Parliament Building. Both councils had the purpose to advise the dictator. At the time of the announcement of the formation of the council, Papadopoulos explained that he wanted to avoid using the term "Vouli" (Parliament) for the Committee because it sounded bad.[75]

Papadopoulos had indicated as early as 1968 that he was eager for a reform process and even tried to contact Markezinis at the time. He had declared at the time that he did not want the "Revolution", (junta speak for the "dictatorship"), to become a "regime". He then repeatedly attempted to initiate reforms in 1969 and 1970, only to be thwarted by the hardliners including Ioannidis. 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.[67]

Standard of the President (1973–74)

Normalization and attempts at liberalization

This had the effect of seriously weakening the coherence of the political message and, consequently, the credibility of the regime, a fatal blow from which, as later events would show, it never recovered. At the same time, during Papadopoulos' attempt at liberalisation, some of the junta constraints were removed from the body politic of Greece and that led to demands for more freedoms, and political unrest, in a society well used to democratic action prior to the dictatorship.

The collapse of the junta both ideologically and politically was triggered by a series of events which unfolded soon after Papadopoulos' attempt at liberalisation, with ideological collapse preceding its eventual political collapse. During and following this ill-fated process the internal political strains of the junta came to the fore and pitted the junta factions against each other, thus destroying the seemingly monolithic cohesion of the dictatorship.


This action increased international interest in the situation in Greece. The captain, six officers, and twenty five petty officers requested and remained abroad as political refugees. Indeed, the whole crew wished to follow their captain but were advised by its officers to remain onboard and return to Greece to inform families and friends about what happened. Velos returned to Greece after a month with a replacement crew. After the fall of junta all officers and petty officers returned to the Navy.

Pappas signaled his intentions to the squadron commander and NATO headquarters, quoting the preamble of the North Atlantic Treaty, which declares that "all governments ... are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law", and, leaving formation, sailed for Rome. There, anchored about 3.5 nautical miles (6 km) away from the coast of Fiumicino, three ensigns sailed ashore with a whaleboat, went to Fiumicino Airport and telephoned the international press agencies, notifying them of the situation in Greece, the presence of the destroyer, and that the captain would hold a press conference the next day.

Pappas believed that since his fellow anti-junta officers had been arrested, there was no more hope for a movement inside Greece. He therefore decided to act alone in order to motivate global public opinion. He mustered all the crew to the stern and announced his decision, which was received with enthusiasm by the crew.

In an anti-junta protest, on 23 May 1973, HNS Velos, under the command of Commander Nikolaos Pappas, refused to return to Greece after participating in a NATO exercise and remained anchored at Fiumicino, Italy. During a patrol with other NATO vessels between continental Italy and Sardinia, the captain and the officers heard over the radio that a number of fellow naval officers had been arrested in Greece. Cdr Pappas was involved in a group of democratic officers who remained loyal to their oath to obey the Constitution and planned to act against the junta. Evangelos Averoff also participated in the Velos mutiny, for which he was later arrested as an "instigator".[73]

VELOS D16 (Greek: ΒΕΛΟΣ, "ARROW"), now a museum in the Gulf of Faliron in Athens.

The Velos mutiny

The German writer, investigative reporter and journalist Günter Wallraff traveled to Greece in May 1974. While in Syntagma Square, he protested against human right violations. He was arrested and tortured by the police, as he did not carry, on purpose, any papers on him that could identify him as a foreigner. After his identity was revealed, Wallraff was convicted and sentenced to 14 months in jail. He was released in August, after the end of the dictatorship.[72]

In the early hours of 19 September 1970 in Matteotti square in Corfu for four months, fearing public reaction and protests. At the time his death caused a sensation in Greece and abroad as it was the first tangible manifestation of the depth of resistance against the junta. He is the only known anti-junta resistance activist to have sacrificed himself and he is considered the precursor of later student protest, such as the Athens Polytechnic uprising. The Municipality of Corfu has dedicated a memorial in his honour near his home in Corfu city.

These included: Melina Mercouri, actor, singer (and, after 1981 Minister for Culture); Mikis Theodorakis, composer of resistance songs; Costas Simitis, (prime minister from 1996 to 2004); Andreas Papandreou, (prime minister from 1981 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1996); and Lady Amalia Fleming, (wife of Sir Alexander Fleming, philanthropist, political activist).[71] Some chose exile, unable to stand life under the junta. For example Melina Mercouri was allowed to enter Greece, but stayed away on her own accord.

The junta exiled thousands on the grounds that they were communists and/or "enemies of the country". Most of them were subjected to internal exile on Greek deserted islands, such as Makronisos, Gyaros, Gioura, or inhabited islands such as Leros, Agios Eustratios or Trikeri. The most famous were in external exile, most of whom were substantially involved in the resistance, organising protests in European capital cities, or helping and hiding refugees from Greece.

International protest

A lesser known Danish film, in Greek, Your Neighbor's Son, detailed the subordination and training of simple youths to become torturers for the junta.

Also in 1969, Costa-Gavras released the film Z, based on a book by celebrated left-wing writer Vassilis Vassilikos. The film, banned in Greece, presented a lightly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of United Democratic Left MP Gregoris Lambrakis in 1963. The film captured the sense of outrage about the junta. The soundtrack of the film was written by Mikis Theodorakis, who was imprisoned by the junta and later went into exile, and the music was smuggled into the country to be added to the other inspirational, underground Theodorakis tracks.

Georgios Papandreou was arrested after a nighttime raid at his villa in The funeral of

Broadening of the movement

Panagoulis was transferred to the Greek Military Police (EAT-ESA) offices, where he was questioned, beaten and tortured (see the proceedings of Theofiloyiannakos's trial). On 17 November 1968 he was sentenced to death, and remained in prison for five years. After the restoration of democracy, Panagoulis was elected a Member of Parliament. Panagoulis is regarded as an emblematic figure for the struggle to restore democracy.

The assassination attempt took place on the morning of 13 August, when Papadopoulos went from his summer residence in Lagonisi to Athens, escorted by his personal security motorcycles and cars. Alexandros 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, as the boat that would let him escape the scene of the attack had not shown up.

Assassination attempt by Panagoulis

The democratic elements of the Greek society were opposed to the junta from the start. In 1968 many militant groups promoting democratic rule were formed, both in exile and in Greece. These included, among others, Alexandros Panagoulis, on 13 August 1968.

Alexandros Panagoulis on trial in front of the junta justice system.

Anti-Junta movement

At the time, the Italian far right was very impressed with the methods of Papadopoulos and his junta. In April 1968 Papadopoulos invited fifty Italian members of the far right including Stefano Delle Chiaie on a Greek tour with the purpose of demonstrating to the Italians the methods of the junta. The Italians were sufficiently impressed that upon return to their country, the operatives of the Italian far right escalated the political violence in their country to a new level embarking on a terror campaign of bombings and other violence which killed and injured hundreds. Afterwards, the right-wing instigators of this violence blamed the communists. The Greek junta was so impressed with the manner their Italian counterparts were paving the way toward an Italian coup d'état that on 15 May 1969 Papadopoulos sent them a congratulatory message stating that "His Excellency the Prime Minister notes that the efforts that have been undertaken by the Greek National government in Italy for some time start to have some impact".[15]

The Italian connection

Another contested policy of the regime was the writing-off of agricultural loans, up to a value of 100,000 drachmas, to farmers. This has been attributed to an attempt by Papadopoulos to gain public support for his regime.

Cases of non-transparent public deals and corruption allegedly occurred at the time, given the lack of democratic checks and balances and the absence of a free press. One such event is associated with the regime's tourism minister, Ioannis Ladas (Greek: Ιωάννης Λαδάς). During his administration, several low-interest loans, amortized over a twenty-year period, were issued for tourist development. This fostered the erection of a multitude of hotels, sometimes in non-tourist areas, and with no underlying business rationale. Several such hotels were abandoned unfinished as soon as the loans were secured, and their remains still dot the Greek countryside. These questionable loans are referred to as Thalassodaneia (Greek: θαλασσοδάνεια), or "loans of the sea", to indicate the loose terms under which they were granted.[69]

Financial scandals

In addition, large scale construction of hydroelectric dam projects, such as in Aliakmon, Kastrakion, Polyphytos, the expansion of Thermoelectric generation units and other significant infrastructure development, took place. The junta used to proudly announce these projects with the slogan: "Greece is a construction zone" (Η Ελλάς είναι ένα εργοτάξιον). The always smiling Stylianos Pattakos, also known as the "first trowel of Greece", (Το πρώτο μυστρί της Ελλάδας), since he frequently appeared at project inaugurations with a trowel in hand, starred in many of the Epikaira propaganda documentaries that were screened before feature film presentation in Greek cinemas.[68]

The 1967–73 period was marked by high rates of economic growth coupled with low inflation and low unemployment. Economic growth was driven by investment in the tourism industry, loose emigration policies, public spending, and pro-business incentives that fostered both domestic and foreign capital spending. Several international companies invested in Greece at the time, including the Coca-Cola Corporation. Economic growth started losing steam by 1972.[67]

Economic policies

Papadopoulos was less likely to appeal to the largely civilian and city-oriented middle class, since he was a military man from a rural background. In addition, he had promised from the beginning that the dictatorship would not be permanent, and that when political order was established democratic rule would return.[67] On top of that, his promotion of tourism and other beneficial economic measures and the fact that, with the notable exceptions of political freedoms and press censorship, he did not otherwise substantially restrict the middle class, had the effect of assisting the junta in establishing its control over the country by gaining, at least initially, the reluctant acquiescence of some key segments of the population.

Urban classes

The farmers were Papadopoulos' natural constituency and were more likely to support him, seeing him, because of his rural roots, as one of their own. He cultivated this relationship by appealing to them, calling them "the backbone of the people" (Greek: η ραχοκοκαλιά του λαού) and cancelling all agricultural loans.[66] By further insisting on promoting, but not really enforcing for fear of middle-class backlash, religion and patriotism, he further appealed to the simpler ideals of rural Greece and strengthened his image as people's champion among farmers, who tended to ridicule the middle class. Furthermore, the regime promoted a policy of economic development in rural areas, which were mostly neglected by the previous governments, that had focused largely on urban industrial development.


Concurrently, tourism was actively encouraged by Papadopoulos' government and, funding scandals notwithstanding, there was great development of the tourist sector. With tourism came nightlife. However, under Papadopoulos, in the absence of any civil rights these sociocultural freedoms existed in a legal vacuum that meant they were not guaranteed, but rather dispensed at the whim of the junta. In addition any transgressing into political matters during social or cultural activities usually meant arrest and punishment. Although discos and nightclubs were, initially, subjected to a curfew, partially due to an energy crisis, this was eventually extended from 1.00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. as the energy crisis eased.[50] These freedoms were later reversed by Dimitrios Ioannidis after his coup.


Songwriter and troubadour Dionysis Savvopoulos, who was initially imprisoned by the regime, nevertheless rose to great popularity and produced a number of influential and highly politically allegorical, especially against the junta, albums during the period, including To Perivoli tou Trellou (Greek: Το Περιβόλι του Τρελλού, The Madman's Orchard), Ballos (Greek: Μπάλλος, Name of Greek folk dance) and Vromiko Psomi (Greek: Βρώμικο Ψωμί, Dirty Bread).[49]

While the lyrics of "Poll" were composed exclusively in Greek, the band's name was an English word rendered in Greek characters, Πολλ. The dictionary definition of poll, "a sampling or collection of opinions on a subject" or "the voting at an election", apparently did not register with the Greek military junta censors.

Another pop group "Poll" was a pioneer of Greek pop music in the late 1960s.[56] Its lead singer and composer was Robert Williams, who was later joined, in 1971, by Kostas Tournas.[57][58] Poll enjoyed a number of nationwide hits, such as "Anthrope Agapa (Mankind Love One Another)", an anti-war song, composed by Tournas and "Ela Ilie Mou (Come, My Sun)",[59] composed by Tournas, Williams),[60][61] Tournas later pursued a solo career and in 1972 produced the progressive psychedelic hit solo album Aperanta Chorafia (Greek: Απέραντα Χωράφια, Infinite Fields).[62] He wrote and arranged the album using an orchestra and a rock group ("Ruth") combination.[62][63] In 1973 Kostas Tournas created the album Astroneira (Stardreams) influenced by David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust.[64][65]

Western music broadcasts were limited from the airwaves in favour of martial music, but this was eventually relaxed. In addition, pop/rock music programmes such as the one hosted by famous Greek music/radio/television personality and promoter Nico Mastorakis were very popular throughout the dictatorship years both on radio and television.[51] Most Western record sales were similarly not restricted. In fact, even rock concerts and tours were allowed such as by the then popular rock groups Socrates Drank the Conium and Nostradamos.[52][53][54][55]

Greek rock

Meanwhile at Matala, Crete, a hippie colony which had been living in the caves since the 1960s, was never disturbed. Singer songwriter Joni Mitchell was inspired to write the song "Carey" after staying in the Matala caves with the hippie community in 1971. Hippie colonies also existed in other popular tourist spots such as "Paradise Beach" in Mykonos.[50]

Remarkably, after some initial hesitation and as long as they were not deemed to be politically damaging to the junta, junta censors allowed wide access to Western music and films. Even the then racy West German film Helga (German: Helga. Vom Werden des menschlichen Lebens, Greek: Helga, η ιστορία μίας γυναίκας), a 1967 sex education documentary featuring a live birth scene, had no trouble making its debut in Greece just like in any other Western country.[44] Moreover, the film was only restricted for those under 13 years of age. In 1971 Robert Hartford-Davis was allowed by the junta to film the classic horror film Incense for the Damned, starring Peter Cushing and Patrick Macnee and suitably featuring Chryseis (Χρυσηίς), a beguiling Greek siren with vampire tendencies, on the Greek island of Hydra.[45][46][47] In 1970 the film Woodstock was shown all over Greece, with reports of arrests and disturbances especially in Athens as many youths flocked to see the film and filled theatres to capacity, while many others were left outside.[48][49]

Western music and film

To gain support for his rule, Papadopoulos projected an image that appealed to some key segments of Greek society. The son of a poor but educated rural family, he was educated at the prestigious Hellenic Military Academy. Papadopoulos allowed substantial social and cultural freedoms to all social classes, but political oppression and censorship were at times heavy-handed, especially in areas deemed sensitive by the junta, such as political activities, and politically related art, literature, film and music. Kostas Gavras's film Z and Mikis Theodorakis's music, among others, were never allowed even during the most relaxed times of the dictatorship, and an index of prohibited songs, literature and art was kept.

Sociocultural policies

Countries such as the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany on the other hand were voicing criticism about Greece's human rights record but supported the country's continued membership in the Council of Europe and NATO because of the country's strategic value for the western alliance.[43]

Greece's allies in Western Europe were split in their attitudes toward the Junta. The Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands took a very hostile stance towards the Junta and filed a complaint before the Human Rights Commission of the Council of Europe in September 1967. Greece however opted to leave the Council of Europe voluntarily in December 1969 before a verdict was handed down.

The military government was given support by the United States as a Cold War ally, due to its proximity to the Eastern European Soviet bloc, and the fact that the previous Truman administration had given the country millions of dollars in economic aid to discourage communism. U.S. support for the junta, which was violently anti-communist, is claimed to be the cause of rising anti-Americanism in Greece during and following the junta's undemocratic rule.[42]

External relations

Complete lack of press freedom coupled with nonexistent civil rights meant that continuous cases of civil rights abuses could neither be reported nor investigated by an independent press or any other reputable authority. This led to a psychology of fear among the citizens during the Papadopoulos dictatorship, which became worse under Ioannidis.

Following the junta's logic, one was allowed to participate in a rock concert, as an example, but if any misbehaviour occurred during that activity that was not up to junta's standards, the resulting arrest, coupled with the complete absence of any civil rights, could easily lead to beatings and labelling of the individual as an anarchist, communist, a combination of these terms, or worse. The absence of a valid code of jurisprudence led to the unequal application of the law among the citizens and to rampant favouritism and nepotism. Absence of elected representation meant that the citizens' stark and only choice was to submit to these arbitrary measures exactly as dictated by the junta. The country had become a true police state.[41]

The citizens' right of assembly was revoked and no political demonstrations were allowed. Surveillance on citizens was a fact of life, even during permitted social activities. That had a continuously chilling effect on the population who realised that, even though they were allowed certain social activities, they could not overstep the boundaries and delve into or discuss forbidden subjects. This realisation including the absence of any civil rights as well as maltreatment during police arrest, ranging from threats to beatings or worse, made life under the junta a difficult proposition for many ordinary citizens.

According to a human rights report by Amnesty International, in the first month of the 21 April coup an estimated 8,000 people were arrested.[31][32] James Becket,[38] an American attorney and author of Barbarism in Greece,[39][40] was sent to Greece by Amnesty International and wrote in December 1969 that "a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand" the number of people tortured.[31]

According to recent research based on new interviews with survivors, in the period from May to November 1973 this combination of interrogation techniques also included the repetition of songs that were popular hits of the time.[36] These were played loudly and repeatedly from loudspeakers. Attacking all senses without leaving any visible traces, this combination has been today understood as amounting to torture by international bodies.[37]

  • continuous standing in an empty room
  • sleep deprivation
  • food deprivation
  • drink deprivation
  • brutal beatings
  • loud sounds

Furthermore, the Special Interrogation Unit of Greek Military Police (EAT/ESA) used a combination of techniques that included:

  • Beating the soles of people's feet with sticks and pieces of metal pipe
  • Sexual torture such as shoving objects into people's vagina/anus and twisting them violently, or hoses shoved into the anus and forcing water in at high pressure
  • Choking people and shoving rags soaked in urine and excrement down their throats
  • Ripping out hair from the head and pubic regions
  • Jumping on people's stomachs
  • Pulling out toenails and fingernails

Under the junta, torture became a deliberate practice carried out both by the Security Police and the Greek Military Police,[33][34] with an estimated 3,500 people detained in torture centres run by ESA.[31][32] Examples of the types of torture commonly used include (amongst others):[35]

In fact, the junta crackdown was so fast that by September 1967, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands went before the European Commission of Human Rights to accuse Greece of violating most of the human rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.[31] Following the coup, 6,188 suspected communists and political opponents were imprisoned or exiled to remote Greek islands.[32]

As soon as the coup d'état was announced over Greek radio, martial music was continuously broadcast over the airwaves.[25][26][27] This was interrupted from time to time with announcements of the junta issuing orders, which always started with the introduction, "We decide and we order" (Greek: Αποφασίζομεν και διατάσσομεν).[28] Long-standing political freedoms and civil liberties, that had been taken for granted and enjoyed by the Greek people for decades, were instantly suppressed. Article 14 of the Greek Constitution, which protected freedom of thought and freedom of the press, was immediately suspended.[29][30] Military courts were established, and political parties were dissolved. Legislation that took decades to fine tune and multiple parliaments to enact was thus erased in a matter of days. The rapid devolution of Greek democracy had begun.

Civil rights

translated as:

The religious themes and rebirth metaphors are also seen in the following:[23]

Translating as:

[23] 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:[23] – Greece has risen", alluding that the junta would save Greece and resurrect her into a greater, new Land.Christ has risen: "Χριστός Ανέστη – Ελλάς Ανέστη" translating as "Easter at resurrection of Christ Other metaphors contained religious imagery related to the

which translates as follows:

[23][21] Translating as: In the same speech Papadopoulos continued:[24][23][21] 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:anesthesia and applying restraints on the "patient", tying him on a surgical bed and putting him under orthopedic cast on the "patient" by putting the patient's "foot" in an operated. Typically Papadopoulos or the junta portrayed themselves as the "doctor" who Greece" was patient The supposed "[22][21][20][19][18][17]".medical doctor where he or the junta assumed the role of the "[16] medical metaphors,gory as BBCThroughout his tenure as the junta strongman, Papadopoulos often employed what have been described by the

"Patient in a cast" and other metaphors

The colonels preferred to call the coup a "revolution to save the nation" ("Ethnosotirios Epanastasis"). Their official justification was that a "communist conspiracy" had infiltrated Greece's bureaucracy, academia, press, and military, to such an extent that drastic action was needed to protect the country from communist takeover. Thus, the defining characteristic of the Junta was its staunch Savvas Konstantopoulos, both former Marxists.

National flag adopted by the colonels (1970-74). It featured a darker shade of blue


Characteristics of the Junta

During this period, resistance against the colonels' rule became better organized among exiles in Europe and the United States. In addition to the expected opposition from the left, the colonels found themselves under attack by constituencies that had traditionally supported past right-wing regimes — pro-monarchists supporting Constantine, businessmen concerned about international isolation, and a middle class facing an economic downturn after 1971. There was also considerable political infighting within the junta. Still, up until 1973, the junta appeared in firm control of Greece, and not likely to be ousted by violent means.

In a legally controversial move, even under the junta's own Constitution, the Cabinet voted on 21 March 1972 to oust Zoitakis and replace him with Papadopoulos, thus combining the offices of Regent and Prime Minister. It was thought Zoitakis was problematic and interfered too much with the military. The King's portrait remained on coins, in public buildings, etc., but slowly, the military chipped away at the institution of the monarchy: the royal family's tax immunity was abolished, the complex network of royal charities was brought under direct state control, the royal arms were removed from coins, the Navy and Air Force dropped their "Royal" names, and newspapers were prohibited from publishing the King's photo or any interviews.

The flight of Constantine and Kollias left Greece with no legal government or head of state. This did not concern the military junta. Instead the Revolutionary Council, composed of Pattakos, Papadopoulos, and Makarezos, appointed another member to the military administration, Major General Regent. Zoitakis then appointed Papadopoulos as prime minister. This became the only government of Greece following the failure of the King's attempted counter-coup, as Constantine was unwilling to set up an alternative administration in exile. The Regent's position was later confirmed under the 1968 Constitution, although the exiled King never officially recognised, or acknowledged, the Regency.

The Regency

In the circumstances, middle-ranking pro-junta officers neutralised and arrested Constantine's royalist generals and took command of their units, and subsequently put together a force to advance on Kavala to arrest the King. The junta, not at all shaken by the loss of their figurehead premier, ridiculed Constantine by announcing that he was hiding "from village to village". Realising that the counter-coup had failed, Constantine fled Greece on board the royal plane, taking his family and the helpless Kollias with him. They landed in Rome early in the morning of 14 December. Constantine remained in exile all through the rest of military rule. Even though he would return to Greece, the country's abolition of the monarchy in 1973 stripped him of his status as King.

However, Constantine's plans were overly bureaucratic, naïvely supposing that orders from a commanding general would automatically be obeyed. Further, Constantine was obsessive about avoiding "bloodshed", even where the junta would most likely respond with violence. Instead of attempting to drum up the widest popular support, hoping for spontaneous pro-democracy risings in most towns, Constantine preferred to let his generals put together the necessary force for advancing on Thessaloniki in strict compliance with military bureaucracy. The King made no attempt to contact politicians, even local ones, and even took care to include in his proclamation a paragraph condemning communism, lest anyone would get the wrong idea.

In the early morning hours of 13 December, the King boarded the royal plane, together with Queen Anne-Marie, their two baby children Princess Alexia and Crown Prince Pavlos, his mother Frederika, and his sister, Princess Irene. Constantine also took with him Prime Minister Kollias. At first, things seemed to be going according to plan. Constantine was well received in Kavala, which was under the command of a general loyal to him. The Hellenic Air Force and Navy, both strongly royalist and not involved in the junta, immediately declared for him and mobilised. Another of Constantine's generals effectively cut all communication between Athens and northern Greece.

The King finally decided to launch his counter-coup on 13 December 1967. Since Athens was militarily in the hands of the colonels, Constantine decided to fly to the small northern city of Kavala, where he hoped to be among troops loyal only to him. The vague plan that Constantine and his advisors had conceived was to form a unit that would invade and take control over Thessaloniki, where an alternative administration would be installed. Constantine hoped that international recognition and internal pressure between the two governments would force the junta to resign, leaving the field clear for him to return triumphant to Athens.

From the outset, the relationship between Constantine and the colonels was an uneasy one. The colonels were not willing to share power, whereas the young king, like his father before him, was used to playing an active role in politics and would never consent to being a mere figurehead, especially in a military administration. Although the colonels' strong anti-communist, pro-NATO, and pro-Western views appealed to the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson — in an attempt to avoid an international backlash — told Constantine that it would be best to replace the junta with a new government. Constantine took that as an encouragement to organize a counter-coup, although no direct help or involvement of the U.S. was forthcoming.

The King's counter-coup

In the meantime, the government was to rule by decree. Since traditionally such Constituent Acts did not need to be signed by the Crown, the King never signed it, permitting him to claim, years later, that he had never signed any document instituting the junta. Critics claim that Constantine II did nothing to prevent the government (and especially his chosen prime minister, Kollias) from legally instituting the authoritarian government to come. This same government published and enforced a decree, already proclaimed on radio as the coup was in progress, instituting military law. Constantine claimed he never signed that decree either.

Up until then constitutional legitimacy had been preserved, since under the then Greek Constitution the King could appoint whoever he wanted as prime minister, as long as Parliament endorsed the appointment with a vote of confidence or a general election was called. It was this government, sworn-in during the early evening hours of 21 April, that formalised the coup. It adopted a "Constituent Act", an amendment tantamount to a revolution, cancelling the elections and effectively abolishing the constitution, which would be replaced later.

The only concession the King could achieve was to appoint a civilian as prime minister, rather than Spandidakis. Konstantinos Kollias, a former Attorney General of the Areios Pagos (supreme court), was chosen. He was a well-known royalist and had even been disciplined under the Papandreou government for meddling in the investigation on the murder of MP Gregoris Lambrakis. Kollias was little more than a figurehead and real power rested with the army, and especially Papadopoulos, who emerged as the coup's strong man and became Minister to the Presidency of the Government. Other coup members occupied key posts.

The King finally relented and decided to co-operate, claiming to this day that he was isolated and did not know what else to do. He has since claimed that he was trying to gain time to organise a counter-coup and oust the Junta. He did organise such a counter-coup; however, the fact that the new government had a legal sanction, in that it had been appointed by the legitimate head of state, played an important role in the coup's success. The King was later to regret his decision bitterly. For many Greeks, it served to identify him indelibly with the coup and certainly played an important role in the final decision to abolish the monarchy, sanctioned by the 1974 referendum.

The three plot leaders visited Constantine in his residence in Tatoi, which they circled with tanks, effectively preventing any form of resistance. The King wrangled with the colonels and initially dismissed them, ordering them to return with Spandidakis. Later in the day he took it upon himself to go to the Ministry of National Defence, located north of Athens city centre, where all the coup leaders were gathered. The King had a discussion with Kanellopoulos, who was detained there, and with leading generals. This was a pointless exercise, since Kanellopoulos was a prisoner whilst the generals had no real power, as was evident from the shouting of lower and middle-ranking officers, refusing to obey orders and clamouring for a new government under Spandidakis.

When the tanks rolled on to Athens streets on 21 April, the legitimate National Radical Union government, of which Rallis was a member, asked King Constantine to immediately mobilise the state against the coup; he declined to do so, and swore in the dictators as the legitimate government of Greece, while asserting that he was "certain they had acted in order to save the country".

The role of the King

U.S. critics of the coup included then-Senator Lee Metcalf, who criticised the Johnson Administration for providing aid to a "military regime of collaborators and Nazi sympathisers." Phillips Talbot, the U.S. ambassador in Athens, disapproved of the coup, complaining that it represented "a rape of democracy", to which Jack Maury, the CIA station chief in Athens, answered, "How can you rape a whore?"[15] Papadopoulos' junta attempted to re-engineer the Greek political landscape by coup.

[2], a high-ranking CIA officer in Greece who was close with the colonels, advised them to "shoot the motherfucker because he's going to come back to haunt you".Gust Avrakotos [15], recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963, took a stand against the junta. He made a statement on the BBC World Service,[70] with copies simultaneously distributed to every newspaper in Athens. Attacking the colonels, he passionately demanded that "This anomaly must end". Seferis did not live to see the end of the junta. His funeral, though, on 20 September 1972, turned into a massive demonstration against the military government.

By the early morning hours, the whole of Greece was in the hands of the colonels. All leading politicians, including acting Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, had been arrested and were held incommunicado by the conspirators. At 6:00 a.m. EET, Papadopoulos announced that eleven articles of the Greek constitution were suspended.[15] One of the consequences of these suspensions was that anyone could be arrested without warrant at any time and brought before a military court to be tried. Yannis Ladas, then the director of ESA, recounted in a later interview that, "Within twenty minutes every politician, every man, every anarchist who was listed could be rounded up...It was a simple, diabolical plan".[15]

The coup leaders placed tanks in strategic positions in Athens, effectively gaining complete control of the city. At the same time, a large number of small mobile units were dispatched to arrest leading politicians, authority figures, and ordinary citizens suspected of left-wing sympathies, according to lists prepared in advance. One of the first to be arrested was Lieutenant General Grigorios Spandidakis, Commander-in-Chief of the Greek Army. The colonels persuaded Spandidakis to join them, having him activate a previously-drafted action plan to move the coup forward. Under the command of paratrooper Lieutenant Colonel Kostas Aslanides, the LOK took over the Greek Defence Ministry while Pattakos gained control of communication centers, the parliament, the royal palace, and — according to detailed lists — arrested over 10,000 people.[15]

On 21 April 1967, just weeks before the scheduled elections, a group of right-wing army officers led by Nikolaos Makarezos seized power in a coup d'etat.[14] The colonels were able to seize power quickly by using elements of surprise and confusion. Pattakos was the commander of the Armour Training Centre (Greek: Κέντρο Εκπαίδευσης Τεθωρακισμένων, ΚΕΤΘ), based in Athens.

The coup d'état of 21 April

As it turned out, the constitutional crisis did not originate either from the political parties, or from the Palace, but from middle-rank army putschists.

The deposed King's adoption of Sulzberger's claims against Karamanlis was castigated by Greece's left-leaning media, which denounced Karamanlis as "shameless" and "brazen".[13] It bears noting that, at the time, Constantine referred exclusively to Sulzberger's account to support the theory of a planned coup by Karamanlis, and made no mention of the alleged 1966 meeting with Bitsios, which he would refer to only after both participants had died and could not respond.

In 1966, Constantine sent his envoy, Demetrios Bitsios, to Paris on a mission to persuade former prime minister Constantine Karamanlis to return to Greece and resume his prior role in politics. According to uncorroborated claims made by the former monarch, Karamanlis replied to Bitsios that he would only return if the King imposed martial law, as was his constitutional prerogative.[12] According to New York Times correspondent Cyrus L. Sulzberger, Karamanlis flew to New York City to meet with USAF General Lauris Norstad to lobby for a conservative coup that would establish himself as Greece's leader; Sulzberger alleges that Norstad declined to involve himself in such affairs.[9] Sulzberger's account rests solely on the authority of his and Norstad's word. When, in 1997, the former King reiterated Sulzberger's allegations, Karamanlis stated that he "will not deal with the former king's statements because both their content and attitude are unworthy of comment".[13]

According to U.S. diplomat John Day, Washington also worried that Andreas Papandreou would have a very powerful role in the next government, because of his father's old age. According to Robert Keely and John Owens, American diplomats present in Athens at the time, Constantine asked U.S. Ambassador Philip Talbot what the American attitude would be to an extra-parliamentary solution to the problem. To this the embassy responded negatively in principle — adding, however, that, "U.S. reaction to such move cannot be determined in advance but would depend on circumstances at time." Constantine denies this.[11] According to Talbot, Constantine met the army generals, who promised him that they would not take any action before the coming elections. However, the proclamations of Andreas Papandreou made them nervous, and they resolved to re-examine their decision after seeing the results of the elections.[11]

Before the elections that were scheduled for 28 May 1967, with expectations of a wide Center Union victory, a number of conservative martial law as the monarchist constitution permitted him. According to Rallis, Constantine was receptive to the idea.[10]

Greek historiography and journalists have hypothesized about a "Generals' Coup",[7] a coup that would have been deployed at Constantine's behest under the pretext of combating communist subversion.[8][9]

A "Generals' Coup"

After making several attempts to form governments, relying on dissident Centre Union and conservative MPs, Constantine II appointed an interim government under Ioannis Paraskevopoulos, and new elections were called for 28 May 1967. There were many indications that Papandreou's Centre Union would emerge as the largest party, but would not be able to form a single-party government and would be forced into an alliance with the United Democratic Left, which was suspected by conservatives of being a proxy for the banned KKE. This possibility was used as a pretext for the coup.

After many years of conservative rule, the election of the Prime Minister was a sign of change. In a bid to gain more control over the country's government than his limited constitutional powers allowed, the young and inexperienced King Constantine II clashed with liberal reformers, dismissing Papandreou in 1965 and causing a constitutional crisis known as the "Apostasia of 1965".

The Apostasia and political instability

Greece was a vital link in the NATO defense arc which extended from the eastern border of Iran to the northernmost point in Norway. Greece in particular was seen as being at risk, having experienced a communist insurgency. In particular, the newly founded Hellenic National Intelligence Service (EYP) and the Mountain Raiding Companies (LOK) maintained a very close liaison with their American counterparts. In addition to preparing for a Soviet invasion, they agreed to guard against a left-wing coup. The LOK in particular were integrated into the Gladio European stay-behind network.[3] Although there have been persistent rumors about an active support of the coup by the U.S. government, there is no evidence to support such claims.[4][5] The timing of the coup apparently caught the CIA by surprise.[6]


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