Stylianos Pattakos

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Stylianos Pattakos

Stylianos Pattakos was a Greek military man, one of the masterminds of the Junta behind the coup d' etat of April 21, 1967 that overthrew the government of Panagiotis Kanellopoulos and ruled Greece until 1974.

He was born on November 8, 1912 in the small village of Agia Paraskevi, Rethymno prefecture, Crete and studied in Greek military school. He was commissioned an officer and saw action in World War II.

Pattakos, Papadopoulos and Makarezos - the three leaders of the 1967-74 Junta

After the war, he eventually rose to the rank of Brigadier General and was assigned to the armoured divisions of the Attica plain. It was then that he met Colonel George Papadopoulos and Brigadier General Nikolaos Makarezos. The threesome planned and executed the coup on the night of April 20 to April 21, 1967, claiming political anomaly had made them to do so. For his trouble, Pattakos was awarded with the Ministry of the Interior. As head of that post, Pattakos stripped Greek actress and political activist, Melina Mercouri, of Greek citizenship. Ms. Mercouri retorted "I was born a Greek and I will die a Greek. Mr. Pattakos was born a fascist and he will die a fascist!"

On November 25, 1973, politically far-right Brigadier General Dimitrios Ioannidis overthrew Papadopoulos and Pattakos found himself sidelined. The following year, the 7-year Junta came to an end in the aftermath of the invasion of Cyprus.

The newly-restored democratic government of Constantine Karamanlis put junta officials on trial for rebellion and treason and Pattakos was sentenced to death. That was later commuted to life imprisonment and Pattakos spent the next 15 years behind bars. He was released in 1990 due to health reasons and was living on the outside on one leave extension after another. He claimed to have found religion but never showed remorse for his actions.

Pattakos died on October 8, 2016, at the age of 103.