Sofoklis Venizelos

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Sofoklis Venizelos
Sophoklis Venizelos, 1921.png
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
21 August 1950 27 October 1951
Monarch Paul
Preceded by Nikolaos Plastiras
Succeeded by Nikolaos Plastiras
In office
23 March 1950 15 April 1950
Monarch Paul
Preceded by Ioannis Theotokis
Succeeded by Nikolaos Plastiras
In office
14 April 1944 26 April 1944
Monarch George II
Preceded by Emmanouil Tsouderos
Succeeded by Georgios Papandreou
Personal details
Born3 November 1894
Chania, Ottoman Crete
(Now Greece)
Died7 February 1964 (aged 69)
Aegean Sea
Political party Liberal Party
Venizelos (standing right) with his father and Ms. Kathleen Zervudachi, 1921 Eleftherios Venizelos with his son, 1921.jpeg
Venizelos (standing right) with his father and Ms. Kathleen Zervudachi, 1921

Sofoklis Venizelos (Greek : Σοφοκλής Βενιζέλος, also transliterated as Sophocles Venizelos) (3 November 1894 – 7 February 1964) was a Greek politician, who three times served as Prime Minister of Greece – in 1944 (in exile), 1950 and 1950–1951.

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.

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

Prime Minister of Greece head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet

The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister of Greece, is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek Cabinet. The incumbent Prime Minister is Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office on 8 July 2019.


Life and career

Venizelos was born on 3 November 1894 in Chania, in Crete (then a part of the Ottoman Empire; became an autonomous state under Ottoman suzerainty and the protection of Russia, Britain, France and Italy in 1898). He was the second-born son of the politician Eleftherios Venizelos.

Chania City in Western Crete, Greece

Chania is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania regional unit. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km (43 mi) west of Rethymno and 145 km (90 mi) west of Heraklion.

Ottoman Crete

The island of Crete was declared an Ottoman province (eyalet) in 1646, after the Ottomans managed to conquer the western part of the island as part of the Cretan War, but the Venetians maintained their hold on the capital Candia until 1669, when Francesco Morosini surrendered the keys of the town. The offshore island fortresses of Souda, Granbousa, and Spinalonga would remain under Venetian rule until in 1715, when they too were captured by the Ottomans.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa

The Ottoman Empire, historically known to its inhabitants and the Eastern world as Rome (Rûm), and known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. Although initially the dynasty was of Turkic origin, it was thoroughly Persianised in terms of language, culture, literature and habits. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

During World War I he served with distinction in the Greek Army and in the initial phases of the Asia Minor campaign, reaching the rank of Captain of Infantry.

Hellenic Army land warfare branch of Greeces military

The Hellenic Army, formed in 1828, is the land force of Greece. Along with the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) and the Hellenic Navy (HN), it makes up the Hellenic Armed Forces. It is currently the largest branch of the three. The army is headed by the chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff (HAGS), which in turn is under the command of Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS).

Infantry military personnel who travel and fight on foot

Infantry is a military specialization that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers or infanteers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

He resigned from the Army and was elected as a MP with his father's Liberal Party in the 1920 elections.

The Liberal Party, also the National Progressive Centre Union since 1952, was a major political party in Greece during the early-to-mid 20th century. It was founded in August 1910 by Eleftherios Venizelos and went on to dominate Greek politics for a considerable number of years until its decline following the Second World War. Among its most well-known members, apart from Venizelos, were Alexandros Papanastasiou, Nikolaos Plastiras, Georgios Papandreou and Konstantinos Mitsotakis.

In 1941, after the Axis occupation of Greece, he became ambassador to the United States, representing the Greek government in exile based in Cairo. He became a minister of that government in 1943 under Prime Minister Emmanuel Tsuderos, and briefly its Prime Minister in 1944 (April 13–26).

Axis occupation of Greece Military occupation

The occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers began in April 1941 after Nazi Germany invaded Greece to assist its ally, Fascist Italy, which had been at war with Allied Greece since October 1940. Following the conquest of Crete, all of Greece was occupied by June 1941. The occupation in the mainland lasted until Germany and its ally Bulgaria were forced to withdraw under Allied pressure in early October 1944. However, German garrisons remained in control of Crete and some other Aegean islands until after the end of World War II in Europe, surrendering these islands in May and June 1945.

Cairo Capital and largest city of Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East and 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 AD by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.

After the end of the war, he returned to Greece; where he became Vice President of the Liberal Party (led by Themistoklis Sofoulis) and a minister in the first post-war government led by Georgios Papandreou.

Themistoklis Sofoulis Prime Minister of Greece

Themistoklis Sofoulis or Sophoulis was a prominent centrist Greek politician from Samos Island, who served three times as Prime Minister of Greece, belonging to the centre-left wing of the Liberal Party, which he led for many years.

In 1948 he assumed the leadership of the party and became a minister in a number of short-lived liberal governments led by Papandreou and Nikolaos Plastiras; he was also the Prime Minister of two such governments.

In 1954 his longtime friendship with Georgios Papandreou was shaken, and he formed the rival Liberal Democratic Union coalition.

The rift was bridged in 1958, and in 1961 he became a founding member of Papandreou's Center Union party, which he served until his death in 1964.

Venizelos died on the passenger ship Hellas in the Aegean Sea, en route from Chania to Piraeus. His grave lies next to his father's on the island of Crete. [1] His wife Kathleen died in 1983 aged 86.


Venizelos was a contract bridge player "of international stature" during the 1930s, as a voluntary exile in France. [2] He played for France in the European IBL Championships (later incorporated in the history of present-day European Bridge League championships). [3] France won the 1935 tournament and a version of the team [lower-alpha 1] traveled to New York City late that year for a match against the Four Aces, "an unofficial world championship match" that the Aces won. [2]

Venizelos was second in skill to Pierre Albarran among contemporary French players, according to Alan Truscott. Beside the national teams at contract bridge, they both played on a 1933 team that hosted an American foursome led by Ely Culbertson in a long match at "plafond, the French parent of contract bridge, which differed only in the scoring details." [2] The two teams played 102 deals to a draw; [2] Albarran and Venizelos cooperated on a book reporting and analysing the match:

Albarran, Aron, and Venizelos were three of six players on the 1935 European champion team. [4] [lower-alpha 1]

Venizelos/Mitsotakis family tree


  1. 1 2 Aron and Joseph Broutin did not make the trip to New York, and only one substitute replaced them: "Emanuel Tulmaris, retired Trieste banker and a bobsled enthusiast". The American star Oswald Jacoby missed at least the opening night. [5]

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  1. Sophocles Venizelos at Find a Grave
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Bridge: Venizelos's Death Recalls Prowess as Bridge Player". Alan Truscott. The New York Times. 26 February 1964. Page 32.
  3. "European National Teams Championships" Archived 2014-05-02 at the Wayback Machine . European Bridge League ( [EBL]. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  4. "Team Members" (France open team). 4th European Team Championships: Brussels, Belgium, 1935. EBL. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  5. "Jacoby too Ill to Play". The New York Times. 12 December 1935. Page 33.
  6. Constantine Mitsotakis institute. "Biography – Roots" . Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  7. Stavroula Ploumidaki is also a first cousin, once removed, of Eleftherios Venizelos
Political offices
Preceded by
Emmanouil Tsouderos
Prime Minister of Greece
April 13, 1944 – April 26, 1944 (in exile in Cairo)
Succeeded by
Georgios Papandreou
Preceded by
Ioannis Theotokis
Prime Minister of Greece
March 23, 1950 – April 15, 1950
Succeeded by
Nikolaos Plastiras
Preceded by
Nikolaos Plastiras
Prime Minister of Greece
August 21, 1950 – November 1, 1951
Succeeded by
Nikolaos Plastiras
Preceded by
Philippos Manouilides
Minister for National Defence of Greece
21 August – 9 September 1950
Succeeded by
Konstantinos Rendis
Preceded by
Alexandros Sakellariou
Minister for National Defence of Greece
10 April – 24 July 1952
Succeeded by
Georgios Mavros