Overview of the Greek Military Junta
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For seven years, starting in 1967, Greece had a military dictatorship, which is referred to as the Greek Military Junta. After Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1800’s, Greece had a somewhat difficult time finding a government that would make all their citizens happy. After the First Hellenic Republic ended with the assassination of Greece’s governor, three prominent world powers, Britain, France, and Russia, decided that Greece would become a kingdom. Until 1967 when military colonels launched a coup, Greece flip-flopped between having a king and having a republic. When the military coup occurred, the Kingdom of Greece had been reestablished. Here’s more information about this time in modern Greek history:
Greece After World War II
At the time when the coup was launched, the country was divided between the Left and the Right political. This particular division began during World War II and essentially began during the German occupation. Although Greece had succumbed to German occupation, the people didn’t tolerate it very well. Through the duration of this occupation, resistance groups formed all over the country with the sole goal of getting the Germans to leave.
After the Germans left Greece and World War II ended, Greece entered into a civil war which caused countries such as the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union to become involved. Essentially, the civil war became a battle between ideologies and pitted democracy against the communism. At the conclusion of the Greek Civil War, the KKE, or the Greek communist party, had been defeated.
In the process of all this, the Kingdom of Greece was restored and in power right up until the Military Junta in 1967. However, the civil war and the period after the civil war were highly unstable, especially economically. This caused the country to become increasingly divided, which led to the eventual coup.
Planning the Coup
On May 28, 1967, Greece was to have elections where the Center Union Party was expected to be victorious. The National Radicals Union were concerned about the policies of the Center Union since they were so far away from their own (the Union party leaned far to the left). It was feared that Andreas Papandreou would cause what opponents describe as a “constitutional crisis”. Those who opposed the Center Union Party’s policy’s, such as George Rallis, encourage the monarchy to declare martial law if the Center Union Party did, in fact, win the election.
So, on April 27, 1967, just under a month before the proposed elections, right-wing army officers who were led by Briadier General Stylianos Pattakos, Colonel George Papdopoulos, and Colonel Nikolaos Makarezos executing their plan to launch their military coup. The quickly gained control of the government, which resulted in a seven-year period where Greece was run by a military dictatorship. Eventually, the king launched a counter-coup, which was unsuccessful. The king left Greece and went into exile, never to return. The military Junta lasted until 1974 when the Republic that is in place today came into being.
Categorized in: Modern Greek History
This post was written by Greek Boston