Ioannis Metaxas


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(b. 12 Apr. 1871, d. 29 Jan. 1941).

Greek dictator 1936–41 Born on the island of Ithaca, he was commissioned into the Greek army in 1870. As army Chief of Staff since 1913, he supported the King's policy of neutrality in World War I, and was exiled when Greece did enter the war in 1915. Metaxas returned in 1920 and, after leading an unsuccessful coup, was exiled again 1923–4. Despite his monarchist leanings, he recognized the Greek Republic in 1924 and became active in politics, holding several ministerial posts from 1928. In April 1936, he became Prime Minister upon the restoration of the monarchy, and on 4 August 1936 he was given dictatorial powers. Metaxas was appointed head of the government for life in 1938. Corruption was reduced and social services developed, while the armed services were made more efficient. In 1940 he led the Greek victory against the Italian invaders in World War II. He died just before the German occupation of Greece.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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