Since 1952 the CIA provided a subsidy to George Papadopoulos, the Greek colonel who later led the military coup in Greece in 1967. The CIA also gave subsidies to many Greek military and political figures for years after 1952. The subsidies apparently ended in 1972.
Greece became a member of NATO in 1952. From 1952 to late 1963, Greece was governed by conservative parties--the Greek Rally of Marshal Alexandros Papagos and its successor, the National Radical Union (ERE) of Constantine Karamanlis. In 1963, the Center Union Party of George Papandreou was elected and governed until July 1965. It was followed by a succession of unstable coalition governments.
On April 21, 1967, just before scheduled elections, a group of colonels led by Col. George Papadopoulos seized power in a coup d'etat. Civil liberties were suppressed, special military courts were established, and political parties were dissolved. The political leaders of the conservative, liberal and leftist parties were arrested and thousands of party members and followers were jailed or exiled. Several thousand political opponents were imprisoned or exiled to remote Greek islands.
A new, popular resistance movement was born which culminated in student uprisings in the Law School of Athens University and In the Polytechnic. In November 1973, following an uprising of students at the Athens Polytechnic University, Gen. Dimitrios Ioannides replaced Papadopoulos and tried to continue the dictatorship. Gen. Ioannides' attempt in July 1974 to overthrow Archbishop Makarios, the President of Cyprus, brought Greece to the brink of war with Turkey, which invaded Cyprus and occupied part of the island. Senior Greek military officers withdrew their support from the junta, which toppled in July 1974. The dictatorship of the colonels collapsed, but not before it had delivered about half the territory of Cyprus to the Turks.
Leading citizens persuaded Karamanlis to return from exile in France to establish a government of national unity until elections could be held. Karamanlis' newly organized party, New Democracy (ND), won elections held in November 1974, and he became Prime Minister. Free elections were held and Michael Stassinopoulos, an academician and president of the Council of State, was appointed President of the Republic. A plebiscite was held by which the Greek people chose the regime of a Presidential Republic and the first elected president was Constantine Tsatsos, a university professor and academician.
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