Georgios Papadopoulos (15/05/1919 - 27/06/1999)

Georgios Papadopoulos Georgios Papadopoulos was a Greek army official and leader in the coup that dissolved Greek democracy and established the Regime of the Colonels in 1967.

He was born in the town of Elaiochori in Achaia. His father was a close friend and fierce supporter of Georgios Papandreou and rallied support in the surrounding area. Papadopoulos completed his secondary education in 1937, and enrolled at Evelpides Military School. He graduated at the rank of Artillery Second Lieutenant in 1940. Two years later, he married Nike Vasiliadi and had two children.

In 1940, after Metaxas said “No” to the Italians in their demand to surrender Greece to Mussolini, Papadopoulos participated in the Greco-Italian War, and later in the Greco-German War in 1941. At the start of the German Occupation in 1941, he enrolled at Civil Engineer School of the Athens Polytechnic, but never graduated. In 1943, he started collaborating with the Nazis, participating in the Security Battalions in Patra. In 1944, helped by the British Intelligence Agency, he fled to Middle East, where he received the rank of lieutenant. At this time, he probably enlisted in the antidemocratic and anticommunist group ENA. After returning to Greece in 1945, he participated in the Greek Civil War, and received an award for bravery and a military cross. During the 50s, he went to the USA and served in various military units. According to an American reporter, Papadopoulos had been a CIA agent since 1952, something that the officials of the Regime of the Colonels never denied.

In 1959, he became a member of the Greek Intelligence Agency. In June 1965, the scandal of the “Evros sabotage” broke out. An army unit was located near Orestiada, Evros, and was immobilized due to technical malfunction. Papadopoulos said that this was due to subpar maintenance, and maybe because of sabotage, and he would have it investigated. In collaboration with the unit, he staged the sabotage, and soldiers were caught red-handed while cause short-circuits in vehicles. The soldiers were arrested and after a series of tortures, Papadopoulos blamed the Communist Party for this outrage. Eventually, the confessions of the soldiers were considered to be the result of torturing, and most were left free. Charges were pressed against the officials that tortured the soldiers, as well as against Papadopoulos. He was eventually acquitted of the charges two days before his trial.

In 1967, he organized the coup. In 1968, there was a murder attempt against him by Alexandros Panagoulis, who was sentenced to death. The penalty was not carried out due to international outrage. In November 1973, the “Polytechnic Revolt” took place, followed by a coup, during which Papadopoulos was sentenced to house arrest. Throughout his dictatorship, he lived luxuriously in a mansion owned by Onassis. After the restoration of Democracy, Papadopoulos was initially sentenced to death, but this later changed to life imprisonment. Papadopoulos died in June 1999, due to cancer in the urinary tract, still defending the coup and the dictatorship.

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