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Papandreou, Georgios (1888–1968)

Greek politician and prime minister (1944, 1963, 1964–1967). Born in Kalentzi, Achaia, Greece, on 13 February 1888, Georgios Papandreou graduated from the Law Faculty of the University of Athens in 1911 and briefly pursued postgraduate studies in Germany. He became one of the closest supporters of Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos, who appointed him governor of the Aegean Islands during 1917–1920. Papandreou was elected to parliament in 1923 and held various ministerial positions during 1924–1935. After abandoning the Liberal Party, he founded his own small Republican Socialist Party in 1935. He was exiled in 1936 during the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas and was imprisoned by the Germans during 1942–1944.

After his escape, Papandreou joined the royalist government and was appointed prime minister in exile in April 1944. He returned to Athens on 18 October 1944 after the German departure. In December 1944, at the beginning of the Greek Civil War, he resigned and was replaced by General Nikolaos Plastiras. During 1946–1952 Papandreou held ministerial positions in several governments. In 1950 he founded the Georgios Papandreou Party, and after joint leadership of the Liberal Party in the late 1950s, he organized a new center-leftist coalition, the Center Union, in 1961.

Securing a narrow victory in the elections of November 1963 over Konstantinos Karamanlis's National Radical Union, Papandreou was appointed prime minister but immediately resigned in an attempt to achieve an absolute majority in the elections of February 1964. He won these elections with an unprecedented 53 percent of the vote and was appointed prime minister. In 1965 he managed to survive an internal crisis that saw his son Andreas Papandreou, a member of his cabinet, accused of belonging to the left-wing organization Aspida. In July 1965, King Constantine II dismissed Papandreou as prime minister over clashes regarding control of the Ministry of Defense.

In 1967 a group of young officers, in a coup that came to be known as the Revolution of 21 April 1967, overthrew the government. Papandreou was held under house arrest until his death on 1 November 1968 in Athens.

Lucian N. Leustean


Further Reading
Clogg, Richard. A Concise History of Greece. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.; Close, David H. Greece since 1945: Politics, Economy and Society. Edinburgh and London: Pearson Education, 2002.
 

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