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17 March 2007



There is no Soviet Union anymore, but everybody remember those great victories and defeats. We trusted in idea and we made our history through great losses...

Vasos Panagiotopoulos

Plastiras was the bloody communist who started the Greek
Civil War of 1909-1998. The 1967 Junta never killed
ANYOBODY, but Plastiras executed PLENTY of Greeks.



Plastiras was an ardent Venizelist who believed in establishing a republic to replace the monarchy. He was not a Communist. After the remnants of the Greek Army made their way to the islands of the Eastern Aegean,the Army's resentment at the political leadership in Athens resulted in the outbreak of the 1922 Revolution on September 11, led by Plastiras, Colonel Stylianos Gonatas and Commander Phokas.

Having the support of the Army, the (mostly Venizelist) Navy, and the people, the Revolution quickly assumed control of the country. Plastiras forced King Constantine to resign, called upon the exiled Venizelos to lead the negotiations with Turkey which culminated in the Treaty of Lausanne, and set about to reorganize the Army to protect the Evros line against any Turkish advance into Western Thrace. One of the most controversial acts of the revolutionary government was the trial and execution of five royalist politicians, including former PM Dimitrios Gounaris and the former Commander-in-Chief, General Hatzianestis, on November 28, 1922 as those mainly responsible for the Asia Minor Disaster, in the infamous "Trial of the Six". Certainly this trial was controversial but keep in mind the political climate at the time. I agree that it probably helped sow the seeds of future conflict.

Plastiras faced multiple challenges in governing Greece. The 1,3 million refugees from the population exchange had to be catered for in a country with a ruined economy, internationally isolated and internally divided. The Corfu incident, and a botched Royalist coup in October 1923 were evidence of this. After the failed royalist coup, King George II was forced to leave the country. Nonetheless, he managed to restore some order to the state and to lay the groundwork for the Second Hellenic Republic. After the elections of December 1923 for the new National Assembly, he resigned from the Army on January 2, 1924, retiring to private life. In recognition of his services to the country, the National Assembly declared him "worthy of the fatherland" and conferred to him the rank of Lieutenant General in retirement.
Plastiras was even admired by his greatest enemy, Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk). At the end of the war, during the negotiations that took place regarding the exchange of populations between Greece and the newly formed Republic of Turkey, Ataturk is quoted telling Plastiras, "I gave gold and you gave me copper."
The Republic that he had helped found proved an unstable one. Coups, counter-coups, the conflict between Venizelists/Republicans and Royalists, and constant economic problems plagued Greece. Plastiras, persecuted during the Pangalos dictatorship, attempted to lead a coup in March 1933, after the anti-Venizelists won the elections, but facing universal reaction (even from Venizelos himself), he was forced to flee abroad. Finally, after the failed Venizelist revolt of 1935, although still abroad, he was condemned in absentia to death. Nonetheless he maintained a high prestige as a war hero and because of his integrity and staunch Republicanism. From his French exile, he watched the Germans overrun Greece, and played a role in the creation of the EDES resistance group, whose titular leadership he had.

He returned to Greece in 1945, after his selection as prime minister following the December events of 1944, primarily because he was a commonly accepted personality. Plastiras attempted to tread a middle path between the British, who were supporting the returned government-in-exile and the return of King George II, and the democratic-leftist guerilla of the EAM/ELAS. During his premiership, the Varkiza Agreement was signed. His moderate policies and republican sympathies earned the distrust of the British, and he was dismissed after only three months in office.
In 1949, after the end of the Greek Civil War, Plastiras founded a new party, the National Progressive Centre Union (ΕΠΕΚ, Εθνική Προοδευτική Ένωση Κέντρου), forming a following of disappointed Liberals and left-leaning democrats. He preached a message of national conciliation, which put him in conflict with the rightist estabishment. Together with Sophoklis Venizelos and George Papandreou he formed a coalition government in 1950, which fell, however, when his partners retired. In the September 1951 elections, EPEK emerged as the strongest of the centrist parties. Plastiras formed a coalition government with Sophoklis Venizelos' Liberals, and attempted to address the great problems of the country.
His government initiated the economic recovery and the reconstruction of Greece. A monument to this is the construction of the dam at the Tavropos (Megdovas) River to form a lake, a program that he iniciated. The lake and dam, both formerly named Tavropos, now bear his name. His policy of conciliation, however, was bitterly assailed from the right, distrusted from the left, and undermined even by members of his own cabinet. A defining moment of his failure was the conviction and execution of Nikos Beloyiannis in March 1952. After losing the elections of November 1952, his political career, and with it the liberal 'Centrist Intermission', came to an end. He died in poverty in 1953 in Athens and was mourned deeply by the Greek people.

As for the 1967 Junta, the history of their regime, like that of Metaxas, has undergone a good deal of revisionism thanks to the Greek Left. All that aside, I believe that their biggest failure was their inability to stand up to Turkish aggression in Cyprus.


Stavros, sorry to be pedantic but this statement: the junta’s ‘biggest failure was their inability to stand up to Turkish aggression in Cyprus’ is misleading, since the junta was complicit in the Turkish aggression against Cyprus, not simply because of the coup against Makarios but because the junta knew that the coup was to be followed by the Turkish invasion and partition.

In a remarkable speech in August 2004 – remarkable for its patriotism in these times when patriotism is unfashionable – commemorating the hero Lt. General Tassos Markou, Tassos Papadopoulos comments:
‘When the coup d'etat broke out, he [Markou] left with permission from his unit in Kythraia, anxiously seeking support to avoid the worse that was to follow, as he correctly predicted and foresaw the Turkish invasion.

‘It was a concise and correct judgment that the invasion was previously agreed on and what Cyprus was facing was a predetermined scenario for the partition of Cyprus.’

It was the returning Karamanlis who failed to stand up to the Turks in 1974, the consequences of which have been not only the Turkish occupation of Cyprus but the reassertion of Turkey as a regional power and the open threats to Greek sovereignty in Thrace and the Aegean, which Greek politicians and the Greek media are in total denial about.


Hi Demo,

Good to hear from you.

First, I do not claim any particular expertise regarding the history of the invasion of Cyprus or the events surrounding it. Perhaps it should be the subject of a future long post. What I have read,depending on who is writing, makes it difficult to ascertain what really transpired with 100% accuracy.

I read Tassos' speech but did not come to the same conclusions as you did. I believe it is safe to say that the Junta conspired with EOKA-B to overthrow Makarios in order to achieve enosis and thus bolster their regime. Why anyone would think they would allow the Turks to occupy half the island is beyond me. I could understand the accusation if it was made against the Americans, they certainly had reasons for wanting partition. The junta was misguided, even stupid, incompetent or heavy handed, but I refuse to believe that they were traitors. If they were traitors then so were the leaders of EOKA-B.

It seems Makarios was worried about what was going on within the military:

Maybe I'm out in left field on this whole subject. I'm willing to read anything you recommend or consider additional information. There are many subjects that I think are worth writing about. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in each day and my wife, kids and job lay claim to a good portion of it. The truth about Cyprus needs to be told.


I appreciate that you are ‘tired’ of Cyprus and perhaps I should not have brought it up, but you mentioned the island in your original comment, so this

‘I believe it is safe to say that the Junta conspired with EOKA-B to overthrow Makarios in order to achieve enosis and thus bolster their regime’

is not quite right.

The point, as Papadopoulos clearly states in his speech, is that the junta along with EOKA-B conspired to overthrow Makarios in order to achieve 'double' enosis, i.e. the partition of Cyprus into Greek and Turkish sectors, which would then unite with their respective motherlands.
As Papadopoulos says:
‘The invasion was previously agreed on and what Cyprus was facing was a predetermined scenario for the partition of Cyprus.’

Double enosis, as you imply, was an American idea, and expressed itself in the 1964 Acheson Plan.
The Acheson plan envisioned:

1. Most of Cyprus united with Greece.
2. Karpasia, Cyprus’s northern peninsular – about 20% of the island – awarded to Turkey, with other autonomous Turkish cantons to be set up in the Greek area.
3. Kastellorizon ceded to Turkey.

For the Americans, the Acheson plan satisfied both what they perceived to be Greek and Turkish national feeling and, more importantly, brought the island into the NATO orbit. Both Turkey and Greece – including George Papandreou – were prepared to discuss the plan, but Makarios and the vast majority of Greek Cypriots opposed the abolition of the Republic of Cyprus and the partition of the island. It is from this point on that the US began to conspire to overthrow Makarios and to implement Acheson by other means. The Acheson plan – double enosis – had many supporters in Greece – it still does – and was the basis of the Cyprus policy of the junta, both the 1967 and 1973 versions, and their and the Americans’ agents in Cyprus, EOKA-B, including Grivas.

‘I refuse to believe that they [the junta] were traitors. If they were traitors then so were the leaders of EOKA-B.’

Why do refuse to believe the junta and EOKA-B were traitors?
They are the definition of traitors. That is why they are all in jail.
I don’t know if you have read Chris Hitchens’ book on Cyprus – Cyprus: Hostage to Cyprus – or if you are interested in reading it, but it is the standard work on the US-UK-Greece-Turkey conspiracy to abolish the Republic of Cyprus and partition the island.


I made myself laugh by my Freudian reference to Hitchens’ book as: Cyprus: Hostage to Cyprus – because Cyprus is indeed, in many ways, hostage to itself, trapped by injustice and sense of grievance. Nevertheless, Hitchens’ book is Cyprus: Hostage to History.



Who said I was tired of Cyprus? I am not tired of Cyprus anymore than I am tired of Northern Epirus. I was just expressing my frustration at not being able to spend as much time writing about these subjects and others that not only interest me but that I feel a duty to write accurately about. I want to do this for my sake and the sake of others like me that need to know more about our collective history.

Papadopoulos, Ioannides, Grivas, and the rest did what they thought they had to do to achieve what they perceived to be national goals. That they failed miserably and completely is readily apparent. If incompetence or poor decisionmaking are treasonous offenses, then perhaps they were traitors. Personally I don't consider them as such any more than I consider Gounaris and Hatzianestis as traitors for the 1922 debacle. They gambled and lost. Problem is the stakes and cost for the Greek nation were extremely high. Then again hindsight is always 20/20.

I respect Chris Hitchens, I will read his book as you suggest, however I don't consider him the ultimate word on the history of what happened in 1974. I came across this scholarly paper:

which I found fascinating and indicative of how complex/convoluted this history is. I am not holding it up as the last word on the subject, just as an examination of the possibilities that we can lend credence to.I do intend to write more about Cyprus, keeping in mind that I too come to the subject with some preconceived notions. I plan to study this and let the chips fall where they may.


I just realized my link above doesn't work,

Try this: then type "cyprus"

Go to the Paper entitled:Uncomfortable Questions by Vassilis Fouskas

Click the PDF version under the title

Sorry this is so difficult


'I am tired of getting Cyprus thrown repeatedly in my face.'

The link you gave didn't work, but I think you are referring to the article by V. Fouskas, which by and large supports the double enosis theory I articulated (i.e. that the coup was conducted not to unite Cyprus with Greece but to partition the island between Greece and Turkey) and emphasises the alliance of Andreas Papandreou and Makarios in opposing US-inspired designs for the abolition of the Republic of Cyprus.

Let's not get into semantics as to what constitutes 'treason', but I would have thought overthrowing two legitimate Greek governments, subordinating your country's interests to that of a foreign power and conspiring to hand over parts of your country to the enemy, must come close to defining what it is to be a traitor. Your depiction of G. Papadopoulos, Ioannidis and Grivas as misguided or tragic patriots is wide of the mark and in no way can they be compared to Gounaris, Hatzianestis and so on, legitimate exponents of the national will.

Hitchens’ book is more than 20 years old, but I still regard it as the definitive version – in English – of the conspiracy to partition Cyprus, and more significantly for Greek Americans, perhaps, who by and large were sympathetic to the junta, an important account of the malign influence of the US government in undermining Greek democracy and subverting Greek national interests.


Why are you quoting something I said in a completely different conversation and applying it to this one?

Your correct about the Fouskas paper. The way I read it, the author is discussing a number of different plausibile scenarios based on the available evidence, indicating to me that there is still a lot that is open to interpretation given that many of the official papers have not been declassified. I don't discount the double enosis explanation. What I don't understand is why the Greek Right would settle for partition and why Makarios/Papandreou would oppose enosis?

I don't consider any of the Greek leaders of the Right or Left who have dealt with the Cyprus in the last fifty years as traitors. I also don't think any of them are without blemish. Did they make major strategic and tactical mistakes, mishandle alliances, fail to negotiate effectively. Absolutely, it's about time we accept that fact and move on to achieve an acceptable solution by learning from the mistakes of the past. The tragedy of Cyprus includes a number of different actors with more than just bit roles.


I’m no expert on the Greek right and its attitude to Cyprus; but I think its advocacy of double enosis/partition would have been informed by some of the following factors: a) anti-communism, which defined/obsessed the Greek right, and convinced it, like the US, that an independent, non-aligned Cyprus – with ties to the Soviet bloc – was unacceptable and that the island had to be brought into NATO’s orbit; b) Cyprus under Makarios had become a centre of opposition to the junta. Getting rid of Makarios was a shared objective of the junta and the US. Makarios’s authority was dependent on the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus; c) Since the civil war, the Greek right had been aligned– or subservient– to the US and was amenable to pressure to accept US policies in the region, which aimed at the partition of Cyprus; d) no doubt, the Greek right also thought that partition and double enosis was an honourable outcome for Hellenism.

Makarios (and Papandreou) didn’t oppose enosis, but double enosis/partition. Makarios (and Papandreou) understood that double enosis/partition would amount to a terrible defeat for Hellenism and cause much human misery and hardship. Makarios’s strategy was to strengthen the independence of the Republic of Cyprus until such time as enosis was feasible – which is how Crete achieved union with Greece. This is what Makarios said in March 1971 in a speech in the village of Yialousa in Karpasia – the region of Cyprus that would have become part of Turkey according to the US Acheson plan:

‘Cyprus is Greek. Cyprus has been Greek since the dawn of her history, and will remain Greek; Greek and undivided we have taken her over; Greek and undivided we shall preserve her; Greek and undivided we shall deliver her to Greece...’

I think the operative words are ‘Greek and undivided’.


"Greek and undivided." I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. Nor can I disagree with anything in your comments. I believe they are spot on.

Vassilis Fouskas

Dear friends,

My piece you're referring to is trying to open a discussion about the significance of Cyprus in Middle Eastern security and, in particular, the defence and security of Israel. No definitive conclusion can be drawn as most files on the Yom Kippur war are withheld. Many thanks,




This is a rather old thread. Thanks for taking the time to clarify things.

Vassilis K. Fouskas

Yes, Stavro, I agree it's an old thread. But no-one has elaborated on it in academia, as if it's an untouchable subject. I've received a lot of unfounded criticism and even threats because of this scholarly hypothesis which i'm trying to set out as a promising research agenda.


Hi Vassili,

I think that this subject is definitely worth pursuing further and discussing at length. Would you be open to the idea of making your paper, which I cannot find on the Internet, available to MGO readers? If so please contact me via email.

Vassilis K. Fouskas

Stavro, you're most welcome, I have no objection whatsoever making my piece available to MGO readers. I think it can be accessed via internet JSTOR. Get in touch directly with me either on or I must have a PDF version of it somewhere, which I cannot access now because I'm in London

Best, Vassilis



Many thanks. I'll be in touch via email.

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