During the Italian attack on Greece on 28 October 1940, Papagos's troops managed to repulse the invasion and drive the Italian forces back to Albania. Papagos was appointed commander in chief of the army during the German offensive. However, he was taken prisoner in April 1941. From 1943 he was held in German POW camps until he was liberated in 1945. In January 1949, during the final stages of the Greek Civil War, he was appointed commander in chief of the government army, fighting against the communist guerrillas. After the defeat of the communists in the summer of 1949, he was promoted to marshal, the first Greek officer to hold that rank.
In May 1951 Papagos retired from the army and promptly formed a new political party, the Greek Rally, that became a powerful force in Greek politics. After electoral changes that dispensed with proportional voting in favor of majority voting, his party won the November 1952 elections with 49 percent of the vote, and he became prime minister. He immediately set about the process of reconstructing Greece after years of war and civil strife. After Greece joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952, he agreed in 1953 to a treaty permitting U.S. military bases in Greece. Papagos died in office on 4 October 1955 in Athens.
Lucian N. Leustean
Close, David H. Greece since 1945: Politics, Economy and Society. Edinburgh and London: Pearson Education, 2002.; Papagos, Alexandros. The Battle of Greece, 1940–1941. Translated by Pat Eliascos. Athens: J. M. Scazikis "Alpha" Editions, 1949.; Veremis, Thanos. The Military in Greek Politics: From Independence to Democracy. London: Hurst, 1997.