Georgios Zoitakis

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Georgios Zoitakis (1910 - October 21, 1996) was a Greek General, member of the Military Junta of 1967 - 1974 and Regent for King Constantine II.

Zoitakis was born in Nafpaktos in March 1910 and graduated Greek military school (Scholi Evelpidon) in 1932. He was an infantry officer and took part in all military operations between 1940 - 1949 in Greece ( Greek-Italian War, Greek Partisan War against the German and Italian troops, Greek Civil War) recognized for his heroic actions and decorated with many medals. During the 1950s, he continued his studies in the Superior School Of War (Anotati Scholi Polemou) and the National Defense School (Scholi Ethnikis Aminis) and also he participated in various NATO seminars in West Germany and in the U.S.A. After serving in various posts of high importance, he eventually rose to the rank of general, chief in command of the 3rd Army Corps. On April 21, 1967, Colonel George Papadopoulos launched a nearly bloodless military coup in Greece. Zoitakis was part of his clique and was named Deputy Minister of National Defence. On December 13, of that same year, King Constantine II of Greece launched a countercoup. After this failed, King Constantine II went into exile. General Zoitakis acted as Regent for the absent King. On March 21, 1972, Col. Papadopoulos dismissed Zoitakis after long disagreements with him taking over the post of Regent for himself. On June 1, 1972, Greece was declared a republic with Papadopoulos as president.

After Greece's return to democracy in July 1974, Zoitakis was condemned by a court of justice, in August 1975, for high treason because he allowed the military coup of April 21st 1967 to happen in the 3rd Army Corps area of responsibility and was given a life sentence. He stayed in prison for 13 years (1975 - 1988) and the remaining 8 years of his life at home without any pension or health-care from the Greek State. He appealed for clemency in 1992 but it was refused to him and his other political co-prisoners .

Zoitakis was married to Sofia Vouranzeri and they had a daughter Vasiliki (Vicky). During 1968 - 1972, as a regent, he supported the development of his home prefecture of Aitoloakarnania mostly around the cities of Mesolongi and Nafpaktos. On behalf of Greece, he signed the goodwill message left by the NASA astronauts on the moon. Many of the hundreds of laws that Zoitakis signed as regent for the absent King, are still in force today in the Greek Republic.

Zoitakis died on October 21, 1996. rd