Greek military dictatorship

the expression Greek military dictatorship 1967-1974 (or alternatively „the regiment of the Obristen “), in the Greek linguistic usage also „the junta “, is a collective name for the military regime, which controlled the modern Greece from 1967 to 1974.

In this connection is also the so-called Cyprus crisis of causal importance.

In the morning 21. April 1967 came it to the Putsch of the military into Greece and thus to its seizure of power.

Table of contents


immediately after the end of the German crew in II. World war began the Greek civil war. Communists fought up to the peace treaty to 9. October 1949 against conservative ones and Royalisten. The opposing parties received support on the one hand from the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, on the other hand from England and the USA.

Already 1947 were discharged in the USAthe Truman doctrine “. A goal of this doctrine was it to prevent that further states (in particular Greece and Turkey) turned out under that the influence of the Soviet Union. Greece was regarded because of the civil war between the Royalisten and the communists between 1945 to 1949 of the USA as risk country.

After the end of the arguments Greece under right-conservative government appeared 1949, that had come off under more actively „assistance “of western powers. King was Paul I..
(see Web left: Greek history from 1950 to 1980)

as only „not-communist “state on the Balkans became Greece 1952 member of NATO. And when desired the west should it „absolutely free and west oriented “remain.

King Paul I. died to 6. March 1964, successor became its son Konstantin II. inexperienced as a head of state..

Already in February 1964 the conservative ones became with the elections by a rather left government, suctions. „Center “(under Georgios Papandreou), replaced. Under the new king the fear grew that those would orient themselves linking rather at the model of the USSR as at that of the USA.

Since January 1965 all signs referred to a serious crisis, since the relations between the government Georgios Papandreous and the king house constantly worsened. Of its Kamarilla affected king won more and more the conviction that the center planned the fall of the monarchy.

Papandreou did not do anything, in order to manufacture a bond of trust to the yard. After medialer uncovering „of the Aspida conspiracy “, an alleged union of unpopular left-wing oriented army officers, by conservative newspapers, and due to the exposures over the role of his son Andreas in this affair, he wanted to subordinate the Ministry of Defense of its direct control as prime ministers. This would have ordered opportunity to it to carry out the initially missed cold position „undemocratic elements “within the Greek military. The Secretary of Defense however refused the resignation, and king Konstantin II. white the dismissal of the same required by the prime minister back. However it crossed here it by the condition granted the rights.

Now Papandreou threatened with its resignation, which the king used immediately, in order to appoint a new prime minister. This by parliament was not confirmed, there but the crisis was.

28 army officers were accused of the affiliation to the organization Aspida and a Putschversuches and placed before a court-martial. Also the son of Papandreou SR., Andreas Papandreou, should be originally placed before court, this was however due to his parliamentary immunity not possible. 15 accused was found guilty and received terms of imprisonment.

Between 15. July and the first September days 1965 were Athens and all large Greek cities of scenes of daily demonstrations for Papandreou and the democracy. But the attempt of the demonstrators to prevent the education of a renewed royalist government by the demand after new elections - as Papandreou it required - was futile. Finally it succeeded to the royalistischen clique, by bribery and promises, sufficient delegates „of the center “too „convinces “, on which the third, from the Royalisten suggested, government in the parliament could have a majority of a voice.

Parallel to it the king and him faithful the generals, with knowledge of the Americans, worked on a plan for the establishment of a military dictatorship, if should not have succeeded with „democratic “means to prevent the return Georgios Papandreous to power.

the coup d'etat

the plan

Giorgios Papadopoulos, which had leaders of the Obristen, understood that the fastest, most effective and safest means consisted to arrive at power of it, the apparatus, which the state had created itself to the protection against subversion to use for the own purposes. He knew, like all Greek staff officers, from the existence of the Prometheus plan, on the destabilization more jedweder - all the same in which way - to power coming, a communist government (see Gladio) aiming at measure. Prepared in accordance with in NATO since 1959 specified guidelines, the Prometheus plan was constantly adapted to the newest conditions of the development.

Due to insufficient secrecy lieutenant colonel Papadopoulos could already since 1963, immediately after the fall of the government Karamanlis, which studies documents of the Prometheus plan. At that time Panagiotis Pipinelis led the relatively short interim government (see. Web left List_of_Prime_Ministers). It agreed later than only Greek politician the coup d'etat from April 1967 , which brought in immediately the appointment as the minister of foreign affairs for it. The complete Prometheusakte contained above all the arranged overview departments of the assigned the execution of the plan and in the case of need, under the exclusive responsibility of the prime minister, code which can be used.

Owing to the knowledge it succeeded to this document to Giorgios Papadopoulos and its friends, convinced trailers of their assumption plan „for the rescue of the Greek state and its identity “on strategic positions to platzieren. Thus they were able to experience possible changes of the Prometheus plan. At the moment the Putsches could they thus the operations for seizure of power release, by instructing simply the execution of the plan. While the king and the generals had hesitated in last minute to do this. To notice it is that some months before the coup d'etat had interspersed the Papadopulos friends at the general staff the completion of the list arresting persons, by adding a list B with the names of the most important leaders of the not-communist parliament parliamentary groups, which should become at the same time „neutralized “or „protected “.

„an ingenious coup “

some men of the Papadopulos group - in the first place Colonel Karydas - participated directly in the production of this scenario. The Aspida affair (see above) appeared to each reasonable citizen as improbable, proved however as useful for the junta.

The thesis of a anti-monarchistic Komplotts supported represented by the military hierarchy with eagerness and convinced the king completely of the fact that the democratic camp prepared the establishment of a republic.

Besides uncovering the alleged conspiracy happened in time, when Georgios Papandreou seemed finally decided to remove not right officers from armed forces but exactly at least such, which had compromised themselves during the election fraud of 1961. Just like certain civil servants, whose anti-democratic convicition admits generally was.
This measure demanded by the public opinion for months would have had to be taken immediately after the education of the government Papandreou in February 1964, few days after its triumphalem choice success. But the old leader of the Zentristen had wanted to displease the king in no case. And as it finally understood that the moderate cleaning of the army was only chance of survival for the democracy, the Obristen its plan of action had already prepared.

confusion and fear

everywhere prevailed to confusion, fear and panic. Against evening 21. April 1967 more than 10,000 persons had been arrested of heavily armed soldiers in Athens , jetty from , Patras and Thessaloniki. Under them numerous old and ill veterans of partisan fights at that time against the German crew, hundreds of functionaries and active members of all political parties, the trade unions, the youth organizations, the clubs and most Ministers of the acting government, dozens of delegates, several high civil servants, numerous journalists, attorneys, writers and actors.

Still in the night the message spread in sleeping Athens. Nobody was able to say, who stood behind the enterprise, could understand its sense, measure its extent to react or was able.

After the Putsch of 21. April was imposed immediately the martial law, censorship, arrests, flogs, to torture and murders. One estimates that the number of the victims amounted to approximately 8,000 persons alone in the first month. This was justified by the explanation that everything had to be done, in order to save the nation of one „to communist assumption “.

the impossibility to react

defiance of open brutality of the first repressive measures was it to 21. April 1967 not possibly to foresee that thereby a new regime was established, at which it around excluding military and Diktatori would act.

In addition the personal behavior king restrained constant in the reactions of the forces, which would have had the possibility undertake something effective against the expiration: When it was waked early in the morning of pronouncing Putschisten, the king the disobedience did not want to admit „its army “. Had by the way guessed/advised him generals held by the Obristen in the areas of the Pentagons , the seat of the general staff with Athens, to arrange nothing what can place the praised unit of the army in question. A military dictatorship seemed to the king at this time apparent by far better, than a government of its ore enemy Papandreou.

the first royal decree

„in accordance with kind. we, king of the Greeks, determine 91 of the condition due to that the country threatening dangers for public security and order the abolition kind. 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 20, 95 and 97 of the valid condition for the entire national territory. The Minister of the Interior is assigned to publish and implement available decree. Drawn: Konstantin, king of the Greeks. The Council of Ministers: President, the members. “

the hostages of the regime

Konstantin Kollias, former general attorney of the Areopag, the highest Greek court to appoint than civilian prime minister was the only concession, which the king the Obristen could wring out. Its meaning however was only small, since power remained at the junta, and Kollias thus only as sign functioned.

„The explanation of Kollias “over radio Athens few hours after formation of the Putschistenregierung to 22. April 1967:

„The new government will try to re-establish the unity among the Greeks. The discord, which separated the Greeks so far, and into which the bad Greeks had led the people, must stop. For the re-establishment of this unity the government requests the people to grant it all its support. The government explains that it no more Greek that rights, which will give center or that linking but only simply and simply Greeks. “

The implementation of this program had begun already 24 hours before the medialen transmission of the speech. With release of the coup d'etat the junta walked to more than 10,000 arrests of humans, who were „simple and simply Greeks “, thus different political convictions possessed.

the second royal decree

an anonymous Kommuniqué supplements „the royal decree “and specifies it for practice:

„Immediately up to revocation each motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the city are forbidden. Each civilian, who is on the road, has to go immediately home. After sunset on each person found in the city the fire is opened. Traffic is only physicians and pharmacists in heavy medical cases permitted, and this only after permission of the responsible police authorities.
Immediately up to revocation the stock exchange and the produce market are closed.
Immediately it is forbidden up to revocation making in banks and savings banks removals. From today on, that 21. April, is extended the period for presentation for changes by ten days.
Immediately the purchase of Pound of Sterling and all other foreign foreign exchange is forbidden up to revocation. Each attempt of dealers to put on food camps is regarded as sabotage; Infringers are placed before military special courts.
All citizens are requested to inform the police authorities immediately if they hear of the attempt of a dealer, a food camp to put on.
Immediately up to revocation instruction in the reason, upper and universities is interrupted. “

In this way saw itself to 24. April 1967 each Greek isolates and helplessly a coup d'etat in relation to, of which nobody knew the authors still the real extent, its organization it however, at the time, as the common work of the king palace, traditional rights, which let armed forces and the Americans (here in particular the CIA) appear.

the Repressionen

one of 25. April 1967 dated telegram of the AFP enumerates the measures, which had met together ministry of education and interior concerning future disciplining of the youth “. It means: from this „the young men must pay attention shortcut hair to decent appearance, clean and maintained be and above all carry. The Beatles and Beatniks, these foreign fruits of the American Halbstarkentums, in Greece are not any longer waited “. The girls may not carry short skirts more, but must be schicklich dressed „“. In addition is instructed to all pupils to visit „each Sunday the fair and go during the Karwoche to the communion “.

Meanwhile the universities became the target number one of the military government. Already at the beginning of the school year 1967/68 it revealed itself that the Obristen before a heavy task stood. Despite the arbitrariness measures against the student combinations, despite which dissolution of all federations became resistance in the lecture halls and laboratories noticeably, which resisted transformation of these mechanisms in barracks.
The students boycotted the lectures of the professors kollaborierenden with the regime. Handbills were distributed and regime-hostile notices were put out. The Obristen began to take the problem seriously.
In November 1967 the correspondent of the Le Figaro wrote in Athens: „The problem that, criminal youth ′ places itself presently/immediately in Greece in all its sharpness, and the military government strives for a solution, without having to seize further coercive measures. One estimates the number actual under the recent generation in the last trimester arrested on more than two hundreds. For guiltily holding are hard condemned. “

doubled press censorship

to 29. April 1967 one had defined censorship measures; all newspaper editorships received „a general instruction instruction card “, which enumerated, what not be published could not. This list contained ten points. Here the latter:

„General forbidden is the publication of everything its that is detrimental to working the national government according to opinion of the press inspection department. “

As source of information the editors were allowed to consult only the Athener press agency. The evaluation of the messages of other agencies was forbidden to them. „The Athener agency “however was a state enterprise, whose texts, completely controlled by the dictatorship, such a IPI - report were written, by responsible Unterstaatssekretariats departments for the press and dictated to all newspapers. Sometimes these agency texts had to be put even as of the editorship written.

Deportationen after Gyáros

Of 26. On, while the arrests continue, those of military their prisoners, men and wives, after Gyáros, shifted April also devil island mentioned.

Of Gyaros or Gyoura is more largely, more treelessly, of rats contaminated rock, some miles east the Peloponnes in the Ägäi sea. Its special characteristics: There is no water, over the island sweeps constantly strong hoist, which make often even the entrance impossible for helicopters, and in the Roman realm one already regarded this island as a banishing place as too inhospitable.

The prisoners: „During several days we got only bread to eat. The water, which is brought us on ships of jetty from or to Syros, is not drinkable nearly. We cannot wash ourselves. There is no sewage system. The abandoned place, at which now with a mark 6,500 humans are met, became the infection stove. The only place was original where one its needs perform could, the free field. Then we repaired the old sewers and flow the dirt now into the sea, which became thereby stinking and widerlich. Now we cannot keep ourselves times more clean with the help of the sea water.

Over 35% of the prisoners of Gyaros - men and women - got sick. Nearly a third of the prisoners was years old over fifty. Some found there death to the interned one.

Explanation of Giorgios Papadopulos over radio Luxembourg to 23. January 1968:

„We excluded criminals of terror from the amnesty. For the prisoners on Gyaros this question does not arise simply, because they are neither accused nor at all condemned. With them it concerns persistent communists, who are arrested for reasons of preventing security. “

On the island Leros were likewise made internments.

In reality the mass arrests served at the night 21. April and the following days the purposes:

  • the political parties and unionized organizations to weaken or too smash, in order to make each resistance against the Putsch impossible;
  • to produce in the population a climate of the absolute „Law and order “and associated obedience;
  • to have an order „reserve “from hostages to.


four months fought to Mikis Theodorakis as a founder of the resistance movement „patriotic front “in the underground against the junta. But in August 1967 it was arrested, banished tortured, in the mountain village Zatouna, transferred later in the concentration camp Oropos. It might probably the most well-known all Greek Patrioten, beside Konstantinos Tsatsos and Petros Stangos, its, which fought the Obristen with all them the available means. Theodorakis' music became already starting from that 1. June 1967 forbade; who listened to it, had to count on a detention.

the Gegenputsch king constant in II.

From the beginning was hold back-eat between king and the Obristen tensely.
The junta was not ready to divide achieved power with somebody during the young Konstantin II. an active political role to play wanted. Representation figure - in the special - of this military government to be, was not enough to it.

In the morning 13. December 1967 flew the entire royal family, as well as the Prime Minister Kollias to Kavala, a city east of Thessaloniki. Here the king support hoped to find by friendly generals as well as the royalistischen troops stationed also there. With this assistance he wanted to install a Gegenregierung in Thessaloniki, in order to as it were force by the division of the country the junta to the task.

This plan went however thoroughly beside it. The generals of the king by subordinate, with the Obristen sympatisierenden, officers arrested.
The king, its family and Prime Minister Kollias fled 14 with the royal flier, escaping with scarce emergency of the arrest, in the morning. December, to Rome in the exile.
At the 1. July 1973 was abolished the monarchy in Greece.

the public life organizes

so-called ones „spontante “demonstrations won, particularly in the province, with the attendance of members of the government at meaning. Local one military authorities, the Gendarmerie, the clergymen and the national teachers were mobilized - in the military sense of the word -, in order to fill out arising emptiness, which had created the Indifferenz of the people. Sometimes the situation became tragikomisch.
Down the complete wording of the explanation of the mayor von Agrinion over the receipt of its Excellency of the viceroy (general Zoitakis ) (19, printed in the regional newspaper Panaitolike (western Greece). February 1969):

The mayor von Agrinion:
On instruction we give the arrival of its Excellency of the viceroy on the commercial airport of Agrinion to our set forward service authority on Thursday, that 20. February 1969, 10,30 o'clock admits.
Subsequently, its Excellency on the Landweg goes after January Nina.
We arrange therefore, the entire Kalvionstrasse too attachment lie towards.
Have the receipt to attend and go for 10.00 h on the airport: the battalion commander of the national guard of Agrinion, the president and the public prosecutor of the court of first instance, the personnel of the mayoralty, the commander of the Gendarmerie of Akarnie, the commander of the Gendamerie of Agrinion, the director of the fire-brigade, the president of the local council, the president of the bar association.
Furthermore have to be present:
All employees of the church, court, training and civil authorities with exception of the officials indispensable for the maintenance of the service.
The local council.
The medal carriers and decorated, the pupils, the representatives of the press and the other federations and organizations.

the terror outside of the country

the junta tried pliers-like in two ways the important „free Greece “, which straight Greeks of the Diaspora represented, to bring to the silence: directly by their groups of employments, the official services and by the agents of the secret service KYP and indirectly with the help of obliging/pleasing foreign authorities. Primarily it concerned to them thereby workers, students, intellectual ones, journalists and politicians: Men and women of the postwar emigration and refugees. „The old persons “, the Vorkriegsemigranten, interested the Obristen less. Generally indifferently as well as badly informed, these hardly participated in the fight in democratic organizations.


the number of the Folterer on approximately 200 policemen, officers of the police and Gendarmerie estimates tortures - Chargierte, which participated actively since April 1967 in physical Peinigung the political prisoner. The third army corps of Thessaloniki was the domain of the torture farmhand Kourkoulakos, which belonged at the same time to the intelligence service of Kalamria. Other torture experts of the 3. Army corps were Karamitsos, Mitromaras and Tetradakos.

The Athener region had certainly the largest number of torture specialists and torture centers, if one considers there all police offices, hospitals, military camp, prisons. Main suppression center was the general state police in the Bouboulinasstrasse 21, which remained to July 1969 under the direction of Papaspyropulos and their upper supervisor Basil Lambrou up to the end of the dictatorship in the office. Under its instruction a large number of supervisors, police officers, NCOs and agents stood.

James Becket, an American attorney, who had been sent from Amnesty international to Greece, wrote in December 1969: „according to careful estimation, not less than 2,000 persons were suspended tortures “.


Karamanlis and its government provided within a yearly for free elections, a new condition and the arrest of the junta officers. Prominent heads of the military regime were condemned in the summer 1975 because of high treason to death. The punishments were converted later into life imprisonment.


  • „Z “of Constantin Costa Gavras

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