Alexandros Papagos

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Marshal Alexandros Papagos, leader of the Greek Rally (Hellenikos Synagermos). Pre-election period 1952.

Alexandros Papagos (Greek Αλέξανδρος Παπάγος) was a Greek military figure and politician of the first half of the 20th Century.

He was born on December 9, 1883 in Athens and studied in military schools in Belgium. In 1909, he was appointed an officer in the Greek Cavalry.

He saw action in the First Balkan War and the Greco-Turkish War of 1922. Being a staunch monarchist, he resigned from the military during the periods when the Venizelist governments were in power only to be recalled when the monarchists regained office.

He nonetheless won appointment, in 1931, by Eleftherios Venizelos himself, as second in command of the Greek High Command.

Under Ioannis Metaxas he became chief in command of the Greek Armed Forces organising the Army as war threatened throughout the continent of Europe. When war finally came, on October 28, 1940, Papagos led the Greek forces to victory over a superior, mechanised Italian invading force, however, in 1941 the Germans came to the aid of their Italian allies and Greece capitulated. Papagos organised a resistance movement named "Military Hierarchy" but was captured in 1943 and sent to prison camp in Germany.

After the liberation, Papagos returned to Greece and was promoted to full General. With the outbreak of the Greek Civil War, Papagos was once again given command of the national forces, leading them to victory over the Communist insurgents. For his contribution in the two war efforts, King Paul of Greece promoted him to the rank of Field Marshall, the only one in modern Greek history.

Papagos retired from military life in 1951 to seek political office. That same year, his Greek Rally party won the most votes in the elections but was unable to form a government, however, in the 1952 elections the Greek Rally won 240 seats (of 300) in Parliament and formed a government with Alexandros Papagos as Prime Minister. It was during his term of office that the Cyprus issue arose, the EOKA campaign began (April 1, 1955) and the pogroms against the Greeks of Istanbul took place.

Papagos died in office on October 4, 1955.


Preceded by:
Dimitrios Kiousopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece
November 19, 1952 - October 4, 1955
Succeeded by:
Constantine Karamanlis