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The Phoenix and the silhouette of the soldier bearing a bayonet rifle was the emblem of the Junta. On the header the word Greece and on the footer the words 21 April can be seen in Greek




The Greek Military Junta
(Regime of the colonels)


Operation Gladio
LOK commander Field Marshal Alexander Papagos

To prevent the communist-led Greek resistance from taking power, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the creation of a secret army from as early as 1944, known as the Greek Mountain Brigade, the Hellenic Raiding Force or LOK. LOK commander Field Marshal Alexander Papagos excluded "almost all men with views ranging from moderately conservative to left wing".

Greece joined NATO in 1952 and LOK was integrated into the Gladio European stay-behind network. The CIA and the Greek military reconfirmed their mutual cooperation. In addition to preparing for a Soviet invasion, they agreed to guard against a leftist coup.

During the Cold War, Greece was a vital link in the NATO defence which extended from the eastern border of Iran to the north most point of Norway. In 1947, the United States formulated the Truman doctrine and began to actively support a series of authoritarian governments in Greece, Turkey and Iran in order to ensure that these states did not fall under Soviet influence. Having experienced a communist insurgency before, Greece in particular was seen as being in risk. Top

The Coup of 21 April 1967

On 21 April 1967, just weeks before the scheduled elections, a group of right-wing army officers led by Brigadier Stylianos Pattakos and Colonels George Papadopoulos and Nikolaos Makarezos and backed by a shadowy Revolutionary Council, seized power in a coup d'etat following the Prometheus plan which was a Nato plan prepared for the event of serious internal disorders. Their official justification for the coup was that a "communist conspiracy" had infiltrated the bureaucracy, the academia, the press, and even the military, to such an extent that drastic action was needed to protect the country from a takeover.

The main junta leaders: (left to right) Brigadier Pattakos, Colonel Papadopoulos and Colonel MakarezosThe colonels were able to quickly seize power by using surprise and confusion. Pattakos was commander of the Armor Training Centre, based in Athens. Tanks were placed in strategic positions of Athens, effectively gaining complete control of the city. At the same time, a large number of small mobile units were dispatched to arrest leading politicians and authority figures as well as many ordinary citizens suspected of left-wing sympathies. One of the first to be arrested was Lieutenant General George Spantidakis, Commander in Chief of the Greek Army.

A tank in the streets of Athens on 21 April 1967The conspirators were known to Spantidakis as he himself had brought some of them to Athens to use in a coup he and other leading army generals had been planning in an attempt to prevent George Papandreou's victory in the upcoming election and the communist takeover that would, supposedly, follow it.

The colonels succeeded in persuading Spantidakis to join them and he issued orders activating an action plan, the Prometheus plan that had been previously drafted as a response for a hypothetical communist uprising. Under the command of paratrooper Lieutenant Colonel Spantidakis, the LOK took control of the Greek Defence Ministry while Brigadier General Stylianos Pattakos gained control over communication centers, the parliament, the royal palace and, according to detailed Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos also arrested by the Juntalists, arrested over 10.000 people.

Since orders came from a legal source, commanders and units not involved in the conspiracy automatically obeyed them. During the first day, many of the arrested Timelinewere held in the "Ippodromos", a stadium for horse racing in Glyfada. Some of them, Panayotis Elis being one, were executed in cold blood by young army officers. By the early morning hours the whole of Greece was in the hands of the colonels. All leading politicians, including acting Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, had been arrested. Top

Chronicle of Events of Friday 21 April 1967
Brigadier Stylianos Pattakos, Commanding Officer of the Armored Cavalry Training Center, invites Colonel (Armor) Constantinos Mavroidis and Security Officer Major (Armor) Ilias Theodoropoulos in his office and orders them to mobilize the camp according to the Prometheus plan.
Pattakos, announces to his subordinates that: "The Armed Forces of our Fatherland, have decided to put an end to the chaos".
Pattakos returnes to his office where he gives his orders to his subordinate officers.
Colonel Papadopoulos & Lt. Colonel Rouphogalis visit Pattakos.
The tanks leave the camp. Colonel Makarezos, inside the first tank, heads towards the Ministry of Defense. Colonel Ioannis Ladas orders the Military Police to arrest certain politicians and military personnel. All the units of the Athens metropolitan area are mobilized according to the Prometheus plan.
Brigadier Pattakos, Colonel Papadopoulos, Colonel Tsiliopoulos and Lt. Colonel Rouphogalis meet with the Chief of the Army. General Spandidakis announces: "From now on, I take over the leadership of the Revolution". The Palace, the government buildings, the Parliament, the public television and radio building are under the control of the "Revolution". All the telephone lines are off."
The center of Athens is under the control of the military junta.

The Revolutionay Council in 1967
Lt.General Gregorios Spandidakis
Lt.General Georgios Zoitakis
Lt.General Odysseas Angelis
Major Ioannis Palaeologos
Captain Lagonikas
Lt. Colonel Stylianos Iliadis
Colonel Constantinos Karydas
Brigadier Stylianos Pattakos
Lt. Colonel Stephanos Karaberis
Lt. Colonel Michael Balopoulos
Lt. Colonel Stylianos Iliadis
Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos
Colonel Nicholaos Makarezos
Colonel Odysseas Tsiliopoulos
Brigadier Alexandros Hadjipetros
Captain Evangelos Tsakas
Lt. Colonel Constantinos Aslanidis
Lt. Colonel Antonios Lekkas
Lt. Colonel Nicholaos Dertilis
Lt. Colonel Antonios Mexis
Lt. Colonel Constantinos Papadopoulos
Lt. Colonel Michael Rouphogalis
Lt. Colonel Dimitrios Stamatelopoulos
Lt. Colonel Dimitrios Ioannidis
Colonel Ioannis Ladas
Colonel Petros Kotselis
Colonel Nicholaos Gantonas
Colonel Georgios Constantopoulos
Colonel Dimitrios Papapostolou
Major Georgios Constantopoulos
Major Theodoros Theophiloyannakos


   Operation Gladio
   The Coup of 21 April

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