Konstantinos Karamanlis

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Konstantinos Karamanlis
Κωνσταντίνος Καραμανλής
KaramanlisNatsinasAgora crop.jpg
President of Greece
In office
5 May 1990 10 March 1995
Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis
Andreas Papandreou
Preceded by Christos Sartzetakis
Succeeded by Konstantinos Stephanopoulos
In office
10 May 1980 10 March 1985
Prime Minister Georgios Rallis
Andreas Papandreou
Preceded by Konstantinos Tsatsos
Succeeded by Ioannis Alevras (Acting)
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
24 July 1974 10 May 1980
President Phaedon Gizikis
Michail Stasinopoulos
Konstantinos Tsatsos
Preceded by Adamantios Androutsopoulos
Succeeded by Georgios Rallis
In office
4 November 1961 17 June 1963
Monarch Paul
Preceded by Konstantinos Dovas
Succeeded by Panagiotis Pipinelis
In office
17 May 1958 20 September 1961
Monarch Paul
Preceded by Konstantinos Georgakopoulos
Succeeded by Konstantinos Dovas
In office
6 October 1955 5 March 1958
Monarch Paul
Preceded by Alexander Papagos
Succeeded by Konstantinos Georgakopoulos
Personal details
Born(1907-03-08)8 March 1907
Proti, Ottoman Empire
(now Greece)
Died23 April 1998(1998-04-23) (aged 91)
Athens, Greece
Political party People's Party (1936–1951)
Greek Rally (1951–1955)
National Radical Union (1955–1963)
New Democracy (1974–1998)
Spouse(s)Amalia Karamanlis (1951–1972)
Alma mater University of Athens
Signature Konstantinos-g-karamanlis-signature-1975.svg

Konstantinos G. Karamanlis (Greek : Κωνσταντίνος Γ. Καραμανλής, [1] pronounced  [konstaˈdinos karamanˈlis] ; 8 March 1907 – 23 April 1998), commonly anglicised to Constantine Karamanlis or just Caramanlis, was a four-time Prime Minister and twice President of the Third Hellenic Republic, and a towering figure of Greek politics, whose political career spanned much of the latter half of the 20th century. [2]

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Linguistic anglicisation – occasionally anglification, anglifying, Englishing – is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases in order to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understand in English. The term commonly refers to the respelling of foreign words, often to a more drastic degree than that implied in, for example, romanisation. One instance is the word "dandelion", modified from the French dent-de-lion.

President of Greece

The President of the Hellenic Republic, colloquially referred to in English as the President of Greece, is the head of state of Greece. The President is elected by the Hellenic Parliament; the role has been mainly ceremonial since the 1986 constitutional reform. The office was formally established by the Constitution of Greece in 1975, but has antecedents in the Second Hellenic Republic of 1924–1935 and the republic established by the Greek military junta in 1973–1974. The incumbent, since 2015, is Prokopis Pavlopoulos, serving his first term in office.


His is recognised for his successful restoration of Democracy after the Greek military junta and by establishing the Third Hellenic Republic. A devoted pro-Europeanist, he is credited also for the country's accession to the European Communities. In 1978 he was awarded the Charlemagne Prize.

Third Hellenic Republic

The Third Hellenic Republic is the period in modern Greek history that stretches from 1974, with the fall of Greek military junta and the final abolition of the Greek monarchy, to the present day.

Charlemagne Prize

The Charlemagne Prize is a prize awarded for work done in the service of European unification. It has been awarded annually since 1950 by the German city of Aachen. It commemorates Charlemagne, ruler of the Frankish Empire and founder of what became the Holy Roman Empire, who resided and is buried at Aachen. Traditionally the award is given to the recipient on Ascension Day in a ceremony in the town hall of Aachen. In April 2008, the organisers of the Charlemagne Prize and the European Parliament jointly created a new European Charlemagne Youth Prize, which recognises contributions by young people towards the process of European integration. Patrons of the foundation are King Philippe of Belgium, King Felipe VI of Spain, and Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

His supporters still laud him as the charismatic Ethnarches (National Leader). [3]

Early life

Karamanlis was born in the village of Proti, near the city of Serres, [4] [5] Macedonia, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. He became a Greek citizen in 1913, after Macedonia was annexed by Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, in the aftermath of the Second Balkan War. His father was Georgios Karamanlis, a teacher who fought during the Greek Struggle for Macedonia, in 1904–1908. After spending his childhood in Macedonia, he went to Athens to attain his degree in law. He practised law in Serres, entered politics with the conservative People's Party and was elected Member of Parliament for the first time in the 1936 election at the age of 28. Health problems[ citation needed ] made him not participate in the Greco-Italian War.

Proti, Serres Place in Greece

Proti is a village and a former municipality in the Serres regional unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Amphipoli, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 79.241 km2. The population of the municipal unit was 2,044 at the 2011 census.

Serres Place in Greece

Sérres is a city in Macedonia, Greece, capital of the Serres regional unit and second largest city in the region of Central Macedonia, after Thessaloniki. Serres is one of the administrative and economic centers of Northern Greece. The city is situated in a fertile plain at an elevation of about 70 metres, some 24 kilometres northeast of the Strymon river and 69 km (43 mi) north-east of Thessaloniki, respectively. Serres' official municipal population was 76,817 in 2011 with the total number of people living in the city and its immediate surroundings estimated at around 100,000. The city is home to the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Technological Educational Institute of Central Macedonia, composed of the School of Technological Applications, the School of Management and Finance and the School of Graphic Arts and Design, with at least 10,000 Greek and international students.

Macedonia (Greece) Traditional region of Greece

Macedonia is a geographic and administrative region of Greece, in the southern Balkans. Macedonia is the largest and second-most-populous Greek region, with a population of 2.38 million in 2017. The region is highly mountainous, with most major urban centres such as Thessaloniki and Kavala being concentrated on its southern coastline. Together with Thrace, and sometimes also Thessaly and Epirus, it is part of Northern Greece. Greek Macedonia encompasses entirely the southern part of the region of Macedonia, making up 51% of the total area of the region. It also contains Mount Athos, an autonomous monastic region of Greece. Macedonia forms part of Greece's national frontier with three countries: Bulgaria to the northeast, North Macedonia to the north, and Albania to the northwest.

During the Axis occupation, he spent his time between Athens and Serres, while in July 1944, he left to the Middle East to join the Greek government in exile.

First premiership

Karamanlis at an opening of a pipeline at Keratsini. Prime Minister K. Karamanlis and Secretary of Public Works S. Natsinas at Keratsini.jpg
Karamanlis at an opening of a pipeline at Keratsini.

After World War II, Karamanlis quickly rose through the ranks of Greek politics. His rise was strongly supported by fellow party-member and close friend Lambros Eftaxias, who served as Minister for Agriculture under the premiership of Konstantinos Tsaldaris. Karamanlis's first cabinet position was Minister for Labour in 1947 under the same administration. In 1951, along with most prominent members of the People's Party, Karamanlis joined the Greek Rally of Alexandros Papagos. When this party won the Greek legislative election on 9 September 1951, Karamanlis became Minister of Public Works in the Papagos administration. He won the admiration of the US Embassy for the efficiency with which he built road infrastructure and administered American aid programs. [6]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Konstantinos Tsaldaris Prime Minister of Greece

Konstantinos Tsaldaris was a Greek politician and twice Prime Minister of Greece.

Greek Rally was a right-wing political party in Greece.

When Papagos died after a brief illness (October 1955), King Paul of Greece appointed the 48-year-old Karamanlis as Prime Minister. [6] The King's appointment took the Greek political world by surprise, as it bypassed Stephanos Stephanopoulos and Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, two senior Greek Rally politicians who were widely considered as the heavyweights most likely to succeed Papagos. After becoming Prime Minister, Karamanlis reorganized the Greek Rally as the National Radical Union. One of the first bills he promoted as Prime Minister implemented the extension of full voting rights to women, which stood dormant although nominally approved in 1952. Karamanlis won three successive elections (February 1956, May 1958 and October 1961).

In 1959 he announced a five-year plan (1960–64) for the Greek economy, emphasizing improvement of agricultural and industrial production, heavy investment on infrastructure and the promotion of tourism, setting the bases for the so-called Greek economic miracle.

London-Zürich Agreements

Karamanlis with the Turkish delegates in Zurich Cyprusconferentie tussen Griekenland en Turkije.jpeg
Karamanlis with the Turkish delegates in Zurich

On the international front, Karamanlis abandoned the government's previous strategic goal for enosis (the unification of Greece and Cyprus) in favour of independence for Cyprus. In 1958, his government engaged in negotiations with the United Kingdom and Turkey, which culminated in the Zurich Agreement as a basis for a deal on the independence of Cyprus. In February 1959 the plan was ratified in London by the Cypriot leader Makarios III.

Merten affair

Max Merten was Kriegsverwaltungsrat (military administration counselor) of the Nazi German occupation forces in Thessaloniki. He was convicted in Greece and sentenced to a 25-year term as a war criminal in 1959. On 3 November of that year, Merten benefited from an amnesty for war criminals, and was set free and extradited to the Federal Republic of Germany, after political and economic pressure from West Germany (which, at the time, hosted thousands of Greek Gastarbeiter). [7] Merten's arrest also enraged Queen Frederica, a woman with German ties, [8] who wondered whether "this is the way mister district attorney understands the development of German and Greek relations". [9]

In Germany, Merten was eventually acquitted from all charges due to "lack of evidence." On 28 September 1960 German newspapers Hamburger Echo and Der Spiegel published excerpts of Merten's deposition to the German authorities where Merten claimed that Karamanlis, the then Minister for the Interior Takos Makris and his wife Doxoula (whom he described as Karamanlis's niece) along with then Deputy Minister of Defense George Themelis were informers during the Nazi occupation of Greece. Merten alleged that Karamanlis and Makris were rewarded for their services with a business in Thessaloniki which belonged to a Greek Jew sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He also alleged that he had pressured Karamanlis and Makris to grant amnesty and release him from prison.

Karamanlis rejected the claims as unsubstantiated and absurd, and accused Merten of attempting to extort money from him prior to making the statements. The West German government (Third Adenauer cabinet) also decried the accusations as calumniatory and libelous. Karamanlis accused the opposition party of instigating a smear campaign against him. Although Karamanlis never pressed charges against Merten, charges were pressed in Greece against Der Spiegel by Takos and Doxoula Makris and Themelis, and the magazine was found guilty of slander in 1963. Merten did not appear to testify during the Greek court proceedings. The Merten Affair remained at the centre of political discussions until early 1961.

Merten's accusations against Karamanlis were never corroborated in a court of law. Historian Giannis Katris, an ardent critic of Karamanlis, argued in 1971 that Karamanlis should have resigned the premiership and pressed charges against Merten as a private individual in German courts, in order to fully clear his name. Nonetheless, Katris rejects the accusations as "unsubstantiated" and "obviously fallacious". [9]

European vision

Konstantinos Karamanlis, his cabinet with Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos (front left) and German Vice-Chancellor Ludwig Erhard with a German/European delegation during a visit by Erhard to sign the protocols of Greece's Treaty of Association with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1961. Paul-Henri Spaak is second from the right (front row). Greece-EEC Treaty of Association signing ceremonies in 1961.jpg
Konstantinos Karamanlis, his cabinet with Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos (front left) and German Vice-Chancellor Ludwig Erhard with a German/European delegation during a visit by Erhard to sign the protocols of Greece's Treaty of Association with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1961. Paul-Henri Spaak is second from the right (front row).

Karamanlis as early as 1958 pursued an aggressive policy toward Greek membership in the EEC. He considered Greece's entry into the EEC a personal dream because he saw it as the fulfillment of what he called "Greece's European Destiny". [10] He personally lobbied European leaders, such as Germany's Konrad Adenauer and France's Charles de Gaulle followed by two years of intense negotiations with Brussels. [11] [12] His intense lobbying bore fruit and on 9 July 1961 his government and the Europeans signed the protocols of Greece's Treaty of Association with the European Economic Community (EEC). The signing ceremony in Athens was attended by top government delegations from the six-member bloc of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands, a precursor of the European Union. Economy Minister Aristidis Protopapadakis and Foreign Minister Evangelos Averoff were also present. [11] German Vice-Chancellor Ludwig Erhard and Belgian Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak, a European Union pioneer and a Karlspreis winner like Karamanlis, were among the European delegates. [11]

During a visit to the Netherlands, 1963 Griekse Minister-President bezoeken gebracht aan voorzitt Eerste en Tweede Kamer, Bestanddeelnr 914-8832.jpg
During a visit to the Netherlands, 1963

This had the profound effect of ending Greece's economic isolation and breaking its political and economic dependence on US economic and military aid, mainly through NATO. [11] Greece became the first European country to acquire the status of associate member of the EEC outside the six nation EEC group. In November 1962 the association treaty came into effect and envisaged the country's full membership at the EEC by 1984, after the gradual elimination of all Greek tariffs on EEC imports. [11] A financial protocol clause included in the treaty provided for loans to Greece subsidised by the community of about $300 million between 1962 and 1972 to help increase the competitiveness of the Greek economy in anticipation of Greece's full membership. The Community's financial aid package as well as the protocol of accession were suspended during the 1967–74 junta years and Greece was expelled from the EEC. [11] [13] As well, during the dictatorship, Greece resigned its membership in the Council of Europe fearing embarrassing investigations by the Council, following torture allegations. [13]

Soon after returning to Greece during metapolitefsi Karamanlis reactivated his push for the country's full EEC membership in 1975 citing political and economic reasons. [10] [11] Karamanlis was convinced that Greece's membership in the EEC would ensure political stability in a nation having just undergone a transition from dictatorship to Democracy. [10]

Karamanlis inspects the plans for the building of the Eugenides Planetarium (1962) EugenFound-007.jpg
Karamanlis inspects the plans for the building of the Eugenides Planetarium (1962)

In May 1979 he signed the full treaty of accession. Greece became the tenth member of the EEC on 1 January 1981 three years earlier than the original protocol envisioned and despite the freezing of the treaty of accession during the junta (1967–1974). [11]


In the 1961 elections, the National Radical Union won 50.8 percent of the popular vote and 176 seats. [14] The elections were denounced by both main opposition parties, EDA and the Centre Union, who refused to recognise the result based on numerous cases of voter intimidation and irregularities, such as sudden massive increases in support for ERE against historical patterns, or the voting by deceased persons. The Centre Union alleged that the election result had been staged by the shadowy "para-state" (παρακράτος) agents, including the army leadership, the Greek Central Intelligence Service, and the notoriously right-wing National Guard Defence Battalions, according to a prepared emergency plan code-named Pericles. Although irregularities certainly occurred, the existence of Pericles was never proven, nor is it certain that the interference in the elections radically influenced the outcome. Nevertheless, Centre Union leader George Papandreou initiated an "unrelenting struggle" ("ανένδοτος αγών") until new and fair elections were held. [15]

Lambrakis assassination

Karamanlis' position was further undermined, and Papandreou's claims of an independently acting "para-state" given more credence, following the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis, a leftist member of Parliament, by right-wing extremists during a pro-peace demonstration in Thessaloniki in May 1963, who were later revealed to have close links to the local gendarmerie . [16] Karamanlis was shocked by the assassination, was heavily criticized by the opposition of Georgios Papandreou, and he stated:

The final straw for Karamanlis' government was his clash with the Palace in summer 1963, over the projected visit of the royal pair to Britain. Karamanlis opposed the trip, as he feared that it would provide the occasion for demonstrations against the political prisoners still held in Greece since the Civil War. Karamanlis' relations with the Palace had been declining for some time, particularly with Queen Frederika and the Crown Prince, but the Prime Minister also clashed with King Paul over the latter's opposition to proposed constitutional amendments that would empower the government, the extravagant lifestyle of the royal family, and the near-monopoly that the King claimed over control of the armed forces. When the King rejected his advice to postpone the trip to London, Karamanlis resigned and left the country. [17] In his absence, ERE was led by a committee composed of Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Konstantinos Rodopoulos, and Panagis Papaligouras. [18]

In the 1963 election, the National Radical Union, under his leadership, was defeated by the Centre Union under George Papandreou. Disappointed with the result, Karamanlis fled Greece under the name Triantafyllides. He spent the next 11 years in self-imposed exile in Paris, France. Karamanlis was succeeded by Panagiotis Kanellopoulos as the ERE leader.

In 1966, Constantine II of Greece sent his envoy Demetrios Bitsios to Paris on a mission to convince Karamanlis to return to Greece and resume a role in Greek politics. According to uncorroborated claims that were made by the former monarch only after both men had died, in 2006, Karamanlis replied to Bitsios that he would return under the condition that the King were to impose martial law, as was his constitutional prerogative. [19]

U.S. journalist Cyrus L. Sulzberger has separately claimed that Karamanlis flew to New York to visit Lauris Norstad and lobby US support for a coup d'état in Greece that would establish a strong conservative regime under himself; Sulzberger alleges that Norstad declined to involve himself in such affairs. [20]

Sulzberger's account, which unlike that of the former King was delivered during the lifetime of those implicated (Karamanlis and Norstad), rested solely on the authority of his and Norstad's word.

When in 1997, the former King reiterated Sulzberger's allegations, Karamanlis stated that he "will not deal with the former king's statements because both their content and attitude are unworthy of comment." [21] The deposed King's adoption of Sulzberger's claims against Karamanlis was castigated by left-leaning media, typically critical of Karamanlis, as "shameless" and "brazen". [22] It bears noting that, at the time, the former King referred exclusively to Sulzberger's account, to support the theory of a planned coup by Karamanlis, and made no mention of the alleged 1966 meeting with Bitsios, which he would refer to only after both participants had died and could not respond.

On 21 April 1967, constitutional order was usurped by a coup d'état led by officers around Colonel George Papadopoulos. The King accepted to swear in the military-appointed government as the legitimate government of Greece, but launched an abortive counter-coup to overthrow the junta eight months later. Constantine and his family then fled the country.

Stasi smear campaign

In 2001, former agents of the Eastern German secret police, the Stasi, claimed to Greek investigative reporters that during the Cold War, they had orchestrated an operation of evidence falsification, [23] [24] to present Karamanlis as having planned a coup and thus damage his reputation in an apparent disinformation propaganda campaign. [25]

The operation allegedly centered on a falsified conversation between Karamanlis and Strauss, a Bavarian officer of the King. They also alleged that a photograph of the former New Democracy leader Konstantinos Mitsotakis, standing next to a uniformed Nazi officer, repeatedly published by the PASOK-leaning Greek daily Avriani, was really a photomontage that had been fabricated in Bulgaria. Their disclosures have not been challenged to this day.

Second premiership


In 1974, the invasion of Cyprus by the Turks led to the collapse of the military junta. On 23 July 1974, President Phaedon Gizikis called a meeting of old guard politicians, including Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Spiros Markezinis, Stephanos Stephanopoulos, Evangelos Averoff and others. The heads of the armed forces also participated in the meeting. The agenda was to appoint a national unity government that would lead the country to elections. [26]

Karamanlis as Prime Minister Karamanlis-general-state-archives.jpeg
Karamanlis as Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos was originally suggested as the head of the new interim government. He was the interim Prime Minister originally deposed by the dictatorship in 1967 and a distinguished politician who had repeatedly criticized Papadopoulos and his successor. Raging battles were still taking place in Cyprus' north when Greeks took to the streets in all the major cities, celebrating the junta's decision to relinquish power before the war in Cyprus could spill all over the Aegean. [26] But talks in Athens were going nowhere with Gizikis' offer to Panagiotis Kanellopoulos to form a government. [26]

Nonetheless, after all the other politicians departed without reaching a decision, Evangelos Averoff remained in the meeting room and further engaged Gizikis. He insisted that Karamanlis was the only political personality who could lead a successful transition government, taking into consideration the new circumstances and dangers both inside and outside the country. Gizikis and the heads of the armed forces initially expressed reservations, but they finally became convinced by Averoff's arguments. [26] Admiral Arapakis was the first, among the participating military leaders, to express his support for Karamanlis.

After Averoff's decisive intervention, Gizikis decided to invite Karamanlis to assume the premiership. Throughout his stay in France, Karamanlis was a vocal opponent of the Regime of the Colonels, the military junta that seized power in Greece in April 1967. He was now called to end his self-imposed exile and restore democracy to the place that was originally invented. [26] Upon news of his impending arrival cheering Athenian crowds took to the streets chanting: Έρχεται! Έρχεται! He is coming! He is coming! [26] Similar celebrations broke out all over Greece. Athenians in their thousands also went to the airport to greet him. [27] Karamanlis was sworn-in as Prime Minister under President pro tempore Phaedon Gizikis who remained in power in the interim, till December 1974, for legal continuity reasons until a new constitution could be enacted during metapolitefsi and was subsequently replaced by duly elected President Michail Stasinopoulos.

During the inherently unstable first weeks of the metapolitefsi, Karamanlis was forced to sleep aboard a yacht watched over by a destroyer for the fear of a new coup. Karamanlis attempted to defuse the tension between Greece and Turkey, which were on the brink of war over the Cyprus crisis, through the diplomatic route. Two successive conferences in Geneva, where the Greek government was represented by George Mavros, failed to avert a full-scale invasion and occupation of 37 percent of Cyprus by Turkey on 14 August 1974. As a protest, Karamanlis led the country temporarily outside of the military branch of NATO.

The steadfast process of transition from military rule to a pluralist democracy proved successful. During this transition period of the metapolitefsi, Karamanlis legalized the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) that was banned since the civil war. The legalization of the communist party was considered by many as a gesture of political inclusionism and rapprochement. At the same time he also freed all political prisoners and pardoned all political crimes against the junta. [28] Following through with his reconciliation theme he also adopted a measured approach to removing collaborators and appointees of the dictatorship from the positions they held in government bureaucracy, and declared that free elections would be held in November 1974, four months after the collapse of the Regime of the Colonels.

Greek republic referendum

In the 1974 elections, Karamanlis with his newly formed conservative party, named New Democracy obtained a massive parliamentary majority and was elected Prime Minister. The elections were soon followed by the 1974 plebiscite on the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a Hellenic Republic, the televised 1975 trials (Greek Junta Trials) of the former dictators (who received death sentences for high treason and mutiny that were later commuted to life incarceration) and the writing of the new Constitution.

In 1977, New Democracy again won the elections, and Karamanlis continued to serve as Prime Minister until 1980.

The external policy of his governments, for the first time since the war, favoured a multi-polar approach between US, Soviet Union and the Third World; a policy continued also by his successor Andreas Papandreou.

Under Karamanlis's premiership, his government also undertook numerous nationalizations in several sectors, including banking and transportation. Karamanlis's policies of economic statism, which fostered a large state-run sector, have been described by many as socialmania. [29]

First and second Presidency

Accession of Greece to the European Communities

Signing at Zappeion of the documents for the accession of Greece to the European Communities in 1979. Accession of Greece to the European Union.png
Signing at Zappeion of the documents for the accession of Greece to the European Communities in 1979.
Old Karamanlis in Panteion University Metaxopoulos Panteio.jpg
Old Karamanlis in Panteion University

Following his signing of the Accession Treaty with the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1979, Karamanlis relinquished the Premiership and was elected President of the Republic in 1980 by the Parliament, [30] and in 1981 he oversaw Greece's formal entry into the European Economic Community as its tenth member. He served until 1985 then resigned and was succeeded by Christos Sartzetakis.

In 1990 he was re-elected President by a conservative parliamentary majority (under the conservative government of then Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis) and served until 1995, when he was succeeded by Kostis Stephanopoulos.

Later life

Karamanlis retired in 1995, at the age of 88, having won 5 parliamentary elections, and having spent 14 years as Prime Minister, 10 years as President of the Republic, and a total of more than sixty years in active politics. For his long service to democracy and as a pioneer of European integration from the earliest stages of the European Union, Karamanlis was awarded one of the most prestigious European prizes, the Karlspreis, in 1978. He bequeathed his archives to the Konstantinos Karamanlis Foundation, [31] a conservative think tank he had founded and endowed.

Karamanlis died after a short illness in 1998, at the age of 91.


His nephew Kostas Karamanlis later became the leader of the New Democracy party (Nea Demokratia) and Prime Minister of Greece from 2004 to 2009.

Karamanlis has been praised for presiding over an early period of fast economic growth for Greece (1955–63) and for being the primary engineer of Greece's successful bid for membership in the European Union.

His supporters lauded him as the charismatic Ethnarches (National Leader). [3] Some of his left-wing opponents have accused him of condoning rightist "para-statal" groups, whose members undertook Via kai Notheia (Violence and Corruption), i.e., fraud during the electoral contests between ERE and Papandreou's Center Union party, and were responsible for the assassination of Gregoris Lambrakis. Some of Karamanlis's conservative opponents have criticized his socialist economic policies during the 1970s, which included the nationalization of Olympic Airways and Emporiki Bank and the creation of a large public sector. Karamanlis has also been criticized by Ange S. Vlachos for indecisiveness in his management of the Cyprus crisis in 1974 [32] even though it is widely acknowledged that he skillfully avoided an all-out war with Turkey during that time.

Karamanlis is recognised for his successful restoration of Democracy during metapolitefsi and the repair of the two great national schisms by legalising the communist party and by establishing the system of parliamentary democracy in Greece. [33] [34] [35] His successful prosecution of the junta during the junta trials and the heavy sentences imposed on the junta principals also sent a message to the army that the era of immunity from constitutional transgressions by the military was over. [34] Karamanlis' policy of European integration is also acknowledged to have ended the paternalistic relation between Greece and the United States. [34] [36]


On 29 June 2005 an audio-visual tribute celebrating Konstantinos Karamanlis' contribution to Greek culture took place at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. George Remoundos was the stage director and Stavros Xarhakos conducted and selected the music. The event under the title of Cultural Memories was organised by the Konstantinos G. Karamanlis Foundation. [37] In 2007 several events were held to celebrate 100 years since his birth.

See also

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The Greek military junta of 1967–1974, commonly known as the Regime of the Colonels, or in Greece simply The Junta, The Dictatorship and The Seven Years, was a series of far-right military juntas that ruled Greece following the 1967 Greek coup d'état led by a group of colonels on 21 April 1967. The dictatorship ended on 24 July 1974 under the pressure of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The fall of the junta was followed by the Metapolitefsi, and the establishment of the current Third Hellenic Republic.

1974 Greek legislative election general election

Parliamentary elections were held in Greece on 17 November 1974. They were the first after the end of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 and took place during the metapolitefsi era. The winner was Konstantinos Karamanlis and his newly formed conservative party, ND. Karamanlis had already formed a government of national unity just after the fall of the dictatorship. The second biggest party was the centrist Center Union - New Forces. Third power in the Parliament became the newly formed PASOK, a radical socialist party led by Andreas Papandreou, son of the former prime minister Georgios Papandreou.

National Alignment Greek political party

National Alignment was a nationalist-conservative Greek political party that contested only the 1977 legislative election, winning 7% of the vote and five seats. It was founded by conservatives who split from Konstantinos Karamanlis and his New Democracy party, who resented Karamanlis moving towards the center and distancing himself from hard-right elements, and alleged that Karamanlis had given too many concessions to the left, in particular by legalizing the Communist Party of Greece and overseeing the imprisonment of the leaders of the 1967–1974 junta. The EP's leader was Stefanos Stefanopoulos, and its deputy leader was Spyros Theotokis. Although the party was not officially royalist, Theotokis was a noted royalist, giving the party somewhat of an association with the monarchist right.

The National Radical Union was a Greek political party formed in 1956 by Konstantinos Karamanlis, mostly out of the Greek Rally party.

The terms Apostasia or Iouliana or the Royal Coup are used to describe the political crisis in Greece that centred on the resignation, on 15 July 1965, of Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and the appointment, by King Constantine II, of successive prime ministers from Papandreou's own party, the Center Union, to replace him. Those defectors from the Center Union were branded, by Papandreou's sympathisers, as the Apostates ("renegades"). The Apostasia heralded a prolonged period of political instability, which weakened the fragile post-Civil War order and ultimately led to the establishment of a military regime in 1967.

1956 Greek legislative election

Parliamentary elections were held in Greece on 19 February 1956. The result was a victory for Constantine Karamanlis and his National Radical Union party by securing the electoral vote despite trailing in the popular vote. It was the first general election in Greece in which women had the right to vote, although women had first voted in a by-election in Thessaloniki Prefecture in 1953 in which the first female MP was elected.

The Metapolitefsi was a period in modern Greek history after the fall of the military junta of 1967–74 that includes the transitional period from the fall of the dictatorship to the 1974 legislative elections and the democratic period immediately after these elections.

Panagiotis Kanellopoulos Greek politician

Panagiotis Kanellopoulos or Panayotis Kanellopoulos was a Greek author, politician and Prime Minister of Greece. He was the Prime Minister of Greece deposed by the Greek military junta of 1967-1974.

Evangelos Averoff Greek politician and author

Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas son of Anastasios, was a right-wing Greek politician and author of several books on political and historical topics.

Stylianos Pattakos was a Greek military officer and one of the principals of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 that overthrew the government of Panagiotis Kanellopoulos in a coup d'état on 21 April 1967.

1974 Greek republic referendum

A referendum on retaining the republic was held in Greece on 8 December 1974. After the collapse of the military junta that ruled the country from 1967, the issue of the form of government remained unsolved. The Junta had already staged a plebiscite held on 29 July 1973, which resulted in the establishment of the Republic. However, after the fall of the military regime, the new government, under Constantine Karamanlis, decided to hold another one, as Junta legal acts were considered illegal. Constantine II, the former King, was banned by the new government from returning to Greece to campaign in the referendum, but the Karamanlis government allowed him to make a televised address to the nation. The proposal was approved by 69.2% of voters with a turnout of 75.6%.

Greek Junta Trials

The Greek Junta Trials were the trials involving members of the military junta that ruled Greece from 21 April 1967 to 23 July 1974. These trials involved the instigators of the coup as well as other junta members of various ranks who took part in the events of the Athens Polytechnic uprising and in the torture of citizens.

Athens Polytechnic uprising massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974

The Athens Polytechnic uprising occurred in November 1973 as a massive student demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. The uprising began on 14 November 1973, escalated to an open anti-junta revolt, and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of 17 November after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic.

Deputy Prime Minister of Greece

The Deputy Prime Minister of Greece is the second senior-most member of the Greek Cabinet. Despite the English translation of the title, he does not actually deputize for the Prime Minister, rather it is a mostly honorific post for senior ministers, and is usually combined with another senior government portfolio or a coordinating role over several ministries. The post is not permanent, rather it is created on an ad hoc basis, usually for the leaders of junior parties in coalition cabinets, and may be held by more than one person at once.


  1. "Karamanlis Foundation".
  2. David Wilsford, ed. Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) pp 217-223
  3. 1 2 "charismatic patriarch at the helm". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  4. Wilsford, David (1995). Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 217. ISBN   0-313-28623-X. Karamanlis, the first of eight children, was born on 8 March 1907, in the Macedonian village of Proti, in the northern region of Greece
  5. "Konstantinos Karamanlis". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 1 February 2010. Konstantinos Karamanlis Greek statesman also spelled Constantine Caramanlis born 23 February [March 8, New Style], 1907, Próti, near Sérrai, Ottoman Empire [now in Greece] died 23 April 1998, Athens, Greece
  6. 1 2 Laurence Stern, The Wrong Horse, (1977) p. 17.
  7. "Kathimerini on the Merten affair". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2006.
  8. Anagnosis Books: Queen Frederika. An arrogant woman who was a grand-daughter of the Kaiser
  9. 1 2 Giannis Katris (1971), "The Birth of Neofascism in Greece", Papazisis Editions, pp 100–106
  10. 1 2 3 time.com: Greece's Gain Time Magazine Archives Quote: "While it was Rallis who hailed the new membership and its promise, much of the credit belonged to former Prime Minister and now President Constantine Caramanlis. For him, entry into the Community was the fulfillment of a dream, a sealing of what he calls "Greece's European destiny." In his view, being part of the democratic Western European family of nations should help ensure political stability for a country crushed by military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974."
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Athensnews.gr: "Destination Europe". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2006.
  12. "Karamanlis' personal contacts with the German and French leaders (Konrad Adenauer and De Gaulle), to shift Greek foreign policy towards stronger ties with the nascent (EEC)". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  13. 1 2 Time magazine archives "I Am with You, Democracy Is with You" Quote: "Denied Benefits. When the Council of Europe tried to investigate charges that the regime was torturing prisoners, Athens quit the respected if powerless body rather than risk the inquiry. The Common Market was so repelled by the actions of the junta that it expelled Greece from associate membership in the EEC, thus denying the Greek economy some $300 million annually in agricultural benefits." Monday, 5 Aug. 1974 Retrieved 6 July 2008
  14. Clogg 1987, p. 40.
  15. Clogg 1987, pp. 42–43.
  16. Clogg 1987, p. 43.
  17. Clogg 1987, pp. 43–44.
  18. Clogg 1987, p. 44.
  19. Alexis Papachelas, "Constantine Speaks", TO BHMA, 29 January 2006.
  20. C.L. Sulzberger, "Postscript with a Chinese Accent," Publisher MACMILLAN PUBLISHING CO, 1974, p. 277.
  21. Karamanlis reaction from Ta Nea
  22. Reaction from the Left: Ta Nea
  23. Mega channel television, Gkrizes Zwnes, 2001"
  24. Greek press on Stazi falsifications
  25. Greek press on Stazi campaign
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Athens News on Metapolitefsi Archived 6 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  27. Thousands went to the airport to greet him Archived 6 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  28. Rise and decline of Democracy: online article Archived 8 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  29. "Economy and Statism". Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
  30. "Karamanlis was sworn in as the country's first elected president on 6 May". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  31. Konstantinos G. Karamanlis Foundation website Archived 14 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  32. Ange S. Vlachos, Graduation 1974, Oceanis 2001.
  33. Ελληνοαμερικανικές σχέσεις 1974–1999 Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Tου Θεοδωρου Κουλουμπη Article by Theodoros Kouloumbis from ekathimerini
  34. 1 2 3 Hellenic Foundation of European and Foreign Policy Quote: "Quote: "Ο Κωνσταντίνος Καραμανλής, παρά τους δισταγμούς του Χένρι Κίσινγκερ στην Ουάσιγκτον, επέστρεψε από το Παρίσι τα χαράματα της 24ης Ιουλίου του 1974 και ανέλαβε την τεράστια ευθύνη της αυθεντικής εδραίωσης των δημοκρατικών θεσμών στην τόσο ταλαιπωρημένη του χώρα. Η μετάβαση στη δημοκρατία έγινε με τρόπο υποδειγματικό από τον Ελληνα Μακεδόνα ηγέτη. Οι δύο μεγάλοι διχασμοί του 20ού αιώνα γεφυρώθηκαν με τη νομιμοποίηση των κομμουνιστικών κομμάτων και με το δημοψήφισμα για το πολιτειακό που καθιέρωσε το σύστημα της προεδρευόμενης δημοκρατίας. Οι δίκες των πρωταιτίων της χούντας με αυστηρότατες ποινές (ισόβια δεσμά) πέρασαν το μήνυμα στις ένοπλες δυνάμεις ότι η περίοδος της ατιμωρησίας των αντισυνταγματικών παρεμβάσεων του στρατού στην πολιτική είχε περάσει ανεπιστρεπτί. Και χωρίς αμφιβολία, το μεγαλύτερο επίτευγμα του Καραμανλή ήταν η ένταξη της Ελλάδας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Κοινότητα (σήμερα Ευρωπαϊκή Ενωση) την 1η Ιανουαρίου του 1981. Ισως περισσότερο από οποιαδήποτε άλλη εξέλιξη η ένταξη της Ελλάδας στην Ευρώπη άλλαξε τη μορφή και την ποιότητα της ελληνοαμερικανικής δυαδικής σχέσης. Η πατερναλιστική κατατομή προστάτη – προτατευόμενου θα περνούσε έκτοτε μέσα από ένα διαρθρωτικό φίλτρο με το όνομα «Βρυξέλλες».""
  35. Britannica Konstantinos Karamanlis: Greek statesman who was prime minister from 1955 to 1963 and again from 1974 to 1980. He then served as president from 1980 to 1985 and from 1990 to 1995. Karamanlis gave Greece competent government and political stability while his conservative economic policies stimulated economic growth. In 1974–75 he successfully restored democracy and constitutional government in Greece after the rule of a military junta there had collapsed.
  36. "Karamanlis' unflinching political orientation towards the unification of Europe". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  37. "Tribute website". Archived from the original on 8 December 2005. Retrieved 24 March 2007.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Konstantinos Rendis
Minister for National Defence
Succeeded by
Panagiotis Spiliotopoulos
Preceded by
Alexander Papagos
Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by
Konstantinos Georgakopoulos
Preceded by
Panagiotis Kanellopoulos
Minister for National Defence
Succeeded by
Stergios Steriopoulos
Preceded by
Konstantinos Georgakopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by
Konstantinos Dovas
Preceded by
Georgios Sergiopolis
Minister for National Defence
Succeeded by
Charalambos Potamianos
Preceded by
Konstantinos Dovas
Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by
Panagiotis Pipinelis
Preceded by
Adamantios Androutsopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by
George Rallis
Preceded by
Konstantinos Tsatsos
President of Greece
Succeeded by
Ioannis Alevras
Preceded by
Christos Sartzetakis
President of Greece
Succeeded by
Konstantinos Stephanopoulos
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Papagos
Leader of the Greek Rally
Succeeded by
as President of the National Radical Union
Preceded by
as Leader of the Greek Rally
President of the National Radical Union
Succeeded by
Panagiotis Kanellopoulos
New political party President of New Democracy
Succeeded by
Georgios Rallis