Theodoros Pangalos (general)

Last updated
Theodoros Pangalos
Theodoros Pangalos.jpg
President of Greece
In office
19 July 1926 22 August 1926
Prime Minister Athanasios Eftaxias
Preceded by Pavlos Kountouriotis
Succeeded byPavlos Kountouriotis
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
26 June 1925 19 July 1926
Preceded by Andreas Michalakopoulos
Succeeded by Athanasios Eftaxias
Personal details
Born(1878-01-11)January 11, 1878
Salamis, Greece
DiedFebruary 26, 1952(1952-02-26) (aged 74)
Athens, Greece
Political party Independent (Venizelist)
Arianna Slias-Sachtouris
(m. 1901;his d. 1952)
Alma mater Hellenic Military Academy
Profession Military officer
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Kingdom of Greece
Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Second Hellenic Republic
Branch/service Hellenic Army
Years of service1900–1926
Rank GR-Army-OF8-1912.svg Lieutenant General
Battles/wars World War I
Asia Minor Campaign

Lieutenant General Theodoros Pangalos (Greek : Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος; 11 January 1878 – 26 February 1952) was a Greek general, politician and dictator. A distinguished staff officer and an ardent Venizelist and anti-royalist, Pangalos played a leading role in the September 1922 revolt that deposed King Constantine I and in the establishment of the Second Hellenic Republic. In June 1925 Pangalos staged a bloodless coup, and his assumption of power was recognized by the National Assembly which named him Prime Minister. As a "constitutional dictator" he ruled the country until his overthrow in August 1926. From April 1926 until his deposition, he also occupied the office of President of the Republic.

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.

Greece republic in Southeast Europe

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2016. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.

Constantine I of Greece Former King of Greece

Constantine I was King of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. He was commander-in-chief of the Hellenic Army during the unsuccessful Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and led the Greek forces during the successful Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, in which Greece expanded to include Thessaloniki, doubling in area and population. He succeeded to the throne of Greece on 18 March 1913, following his father's assassination.


Pangalos withdrew from public life for a while, but remained active in the Venizelist military circles. During the Axis Occupation of Greece, Pangalos and military officers close to him played a role in the establishment of the Security Battalions [ citation needed ] and was widely suspected of collaboration with the Germans [ citation needed ]. Cleared by a postwar court, he ran unsuccessfully for political office and died in 1952.

Security Battalions

The Security Battalions (Greek: Τάγματα Ασφαλείας, romanized: Tagmata Asfaleias, derisively known as Germanotsoliades or Tagmatasfalites were Greek collaborationist military groups, formed during the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II in order to support the German occupation troops.

Early career

Pangalos with Konstantinos Nider, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, at the Macedonian Front during World War I. Nider and Pangalos, 1917.jpg
Pangalos with Konstantinos Nider, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, at the Macedonian Front during World War I.

Pangalos was born on the island of Salamis on 11/23 January 1878. [1] His mother was descendant of the local Arvanite fighter of the Greek Revolution, Giannakis Meletis (Hatzimeletis), while his paternal side came from an aristocratic family of Kea island.

Salamis Island Place in Greece

Salamis, is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile (2 km) off-coast from Piraeus and about 16 kilometres west of central Athens. The chief city, Salamina, lies in the west-facing core of the crescent on Salamis Bay, which opens into the Saronic Gulf. On the Eastern side of the island is its main port, Paloukia, in size second in Greece only to Piraeus, the port of Athens.

Kea (island) Place in Greece

Kea, also known as Tzia and in antiquity Keos, is a Greek island in the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. Kea is part of the Kea-Kythnos regional unit.

He graduated from the Greek Army Academy on 16/29 July 1900 as an Infantry Second Lieutenant, [1] and continued his studies in Paris, France.

Paris Capital city of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

During the Balkan Wars of 1912–13 he served as a staff officer in the 6th Infantry Division. [1] He was head of the forces that entered Sidirokastro (Demir Hisar) during the second Balkan war.

Balkan Wars Two wars on Balkan Peninsula 1912-1913, leading to the Balkan Crisis of 1914 and start of WWI

The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war. The main victor of the four, Bulgaria, fought and pushed back all four original combatants of the first war along with halting a surprise attack from Romania from the north in the second war. The conflicts ended catastrophically for the Ottoman Empire, which lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".

6th Infantry Division (Greece) combat formation of the Hellenic Army

The 6th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the Hellenic Army.

Sidirokastro Place in Greece

Sidirokastro is a town and a former municipality in the Serres regional unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Sintiki, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It is built near the fertile valley of the river Strymonas, on the bank of the Krousovitis River. Sidirokastro is situated on the European route E79 and the main road from northern Greece (Thessaloniki) to Bulgaria. It has a number of tourist sights, such as the medieval stone castle, Byzantine ruins, and natural spas.

In 1916 he joined Eleftherios Venizelos' Provisional Government of National Defence against King Constantine I, and was tasked with recruiting the 9th Cretan Regiment for the new government. He did not have a chance to lead it to battle though, because when King Constantine abdicated and Venizelos took over the governance of all of Greece in June 1917, he was appointed chief of the personnel department in the Ministry of Military Affairs. [1] In early 1918 he went to the front as Chief of Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division in the Strymon sector of the Macedonian Front. In late 1918 he was appointed chief of staff of the General Headquarters, holding the post until the electoral victory of the pro-royalist and anti-Venizelist United Opposition in November 1920, when he was dismissed from the army. [1]

Eleftherios Venizelos Greek politician

Eleftherios Kyriakou Venizelos was a Greek statesman and a prominent leader of the Greek national liberation movement. He is noted for his contribution in the expansion of Greece and promotion of liberal-democratic policies. As leader of the Liberal Party, he was elected eight times as Prime Minister of Greece, serving from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1933. Venizelos had such profound influence on the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is credited with being "the maker of modern Greece", and is still widely known as the "Ethnarch".

Provisional Government of National Defence Rival government under Eleftherios Venizelos in World War I

The Provisional Government of National Defence, or the Movement of National Defence, was a parallel administration set up in the city of Thessaloniki by former Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and his supporters during World War I, in opposition and rivalry to the official royal government in Athens.

1st Infantry Division (Greece) Hellenic Army combat formation

The 1st Infantry Division "Smyrni" is a historic and elite division of the Hellenic Army. It was founded in 1897 as an infantry division and has fought in all major conflicts in which Greece has been involved. During the Balkan Wars, it acquired the sobriquet "Iron Division".

In 1922, Pangalos supported the 11 September 1922 Revolution, led by Nikolaos Plastiras, which abolished the monarchy and declared the Second Hellenic Republic, and played a major role in the rapid establishment of the regime in Athens, while Plastiras and the army were still sailing from Chios. [1] His first job was to prosecute a number of prominent pro-monarchist government leaders by military court in what became known as the Trial of the Six. [1] On 14/27 November he was named Minister for Military Affairs and tasked with reorganizing the Greek army in Macedonia and Thrace, as the war with Turkey was not over, and an attack in the region was feared to be imminent. The reorganization of the "Army of Evros", which he commanded from mid-December, was so successful that the Greek High Command prepared for a possible advance into Eastern Thrace in the face of the Turkish demands in the Lausanne peace talks. The military threat posed by Pangalos' army helped the Turks back down, and the Treaty of Lausanne was signed. [1]

A staunch nationalist, Pangalos objected to the terms of the treaty, and declared that his troops would attack Turkey nonetheless in order to block the deal. He was forced to resign, but his stance made him popular with the many segments of Greek society that objected to the treaty. During the period of political instability that followed, Pangalos jumped into the fray, gaining and losing a number of ministerial positions as governments came and went.

He assisted in the suppression of the failed Leonardopoulos–Gargalidis coup d'état attempt in October 1923, and was elected to Parliament for Thessaloniki in December. [1] He was appointed Minister for Public Order in the cabinet of Alexandros Papanastasiou on 31 March 1924, holding the post until 18 June, when he became once more Minister for Military Affairs, retaining the post until the cabinet's resignation on 25 July 1924. [2]

In power

Soldiers on the streets of Athens during Pangalos' 1925 coup d'etat. Greek troops on the streets during the 1925 coup by Pangalos.jpg
Soldiers on the streets of Athens during Pangalos' 1925 coup d'état.
Pangalos shortly after his successful coup Le General Pangalos, President du Conseil grec.jpg
Pangalos shortly after his successful coup

On June 24, 1925, officers loyal to Pangalos, fearing that the political instability was putting the country at risk, overthrew the government in a coup and forced President Pavlos Kountouriotis to appoint Pangalos as Prime Minister. Pangalos immediately abolished the young republic and began to prosecute anyone who could possibly challenge his authority, including his old chief, Plastiras. Freedom of the press was abolished, and a number of repressive laws were enacted (including a law dictating the length of women's skirts - no more than 30 cm above the ground), while Pangalos awarded himself the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer. Pangalos declared a state of emergency on 3 January 1926 and assumed dictatorial powers. In April 1926, he had himself elected president as well in a rigged election. On the economic front Pangalos attempted to devalue the currency by ordering paper notes cut in half.

His political and diplomatic inability however became soon apparent. He conceded too many rights to Yugoslav commerce in Thessaloniki, but worst of all, he embroiled Greece in the so-called War of the Stray Dog, harming Greece's already strained international relations. Soon, many of the officers that had helped him come to power decided that he had to be removed. Regarding relations with Turkey, he still was not agreed with the treaty of Lausanne and tried to form an alliance with fascist Italy in a war against Turkey, with no success.

On 29 August 1926, a counter-coup led by General Georgios Kondylis deposed him, and Kountouriotis returned as president, while Pangalos was imprisoned for two years in the Izzeddin Fortress. [1]

After his rule

In 1930, Pangalos was sent to prison for a building scandal. He remained in prison for two years and was released during a period when a number of amnesties were given by Venizélos. He never regained the popular support he had before the coup, and never again played a role in Greek politics. After Greece fell to the Germans in 1941, Pangalos and other Venizelist officers moved to support the new collaborationist regime [ citation needed ]. He also played an important role, albeit from behind the stage, in the establishment of the Security Battalions, which he hoped to use against both the Communist-dominated National Liberation Front and against a possible return of King George II and the royal government from exile [ citation needed ]. He was accused of collaboration, but was cleared of all charges in September 1945. He unsuccessfully ran for parliament in 1950 and died in Kifissia two years later.

His grandson, also named Theodoros Pangalos, served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece. He is a member of the PASOK socialist party.

Theodoros Pangalos is mentioned in the song Stin epohi tou Pangalou (In the times of Pangalos, Greek : Στην εποχή του Πάγκαλου) by Giorgos Mitsakis, originally sung by George Dalaras.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Μεγάλη Στρατιωτικὴ καὶ Ναυτικὴ Ἐγκυκλοπαιδεία. Tόμος Πέμπτος: Νάβα–Σαρακηνοί[Great Military and Naval Encyclopaedia. Volume V: Nave–Saracens] (in Greek). 5. Athens: Ἔκδοσις Μεγάλης Στρατιωτικῆς καὶ Ναυτικῆς Ἐγκυκλοπαιδείας. 1930. pp. 214–215. OCLC   31255024.
  2. "Κυβέρνησις ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ ΠΑΠΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΥ - Από 12.3.1924 έως 25.7.1924" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Andreas Michalakopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece
June 25, 1925 – July 19, 1926
Succeeded by
Athanasios Eftaxias
Preceded by
Pavlos Kountouriotis
President of Greece
March 15, 1926 – August 24, 1926
Succeeded by
Pavlos Kountouriotis