Greek History: Papadopoulos

This week in history, on May, 5, 1919, Georgios Papadopoulos was born in the village of Elaiohori in Peloponnesos.

After graduating from the Hellenic Military Academy in 1940, Papadopoulos embarked on a long military career that saw him rise to the level of Major during the Greek Civil War, and by the 1960s was promoted to Colonel. Having worked in the Greek intelligence service KYP, and with extensive connections to the CIA, Papadopoulos established the Office of Military Studies surveillance group following his part in a failed attempt (in 1956) to overthrow King Paul.

From that same group, he headed the April 21, 1967 coup d’etat that overthrew the Greek Government, and the military junta ruled until 1974.

Papadopoulos himself was deposed a year earlier, on November 25, 1973 by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis, who criticized Papadopoulos for excessively relying on the Greek Army, particularly for its involvement  a week earlier, on November 17, in student uprising at Athens Polytechnic.

After democracy was restored in Greece in 1974, Papadopoulos was charged with a series of capital crimes, including mutiny and high treason, and was sentenced to death. The sentence was later changed to life imprisonment.
Georgios Papadopoulos died in a hospital in Athens in 1999 at age 80, where he was being treated for cancer.