21 April 1967 – How to avoid a radical left government without the help of the markets and the ECB

48 years ago democracy was abolished in Greece because of American fears that a radical left government would win the general election. Before the elections that were scheduled for 28 May 1967, with expectations of a wide Centre Union victory, a radical left party, a number of Greek established politicians feared that the policies of left-wing Centrists, including Andreas Papandreou (the father of former prime minister George Papandreou ), would lead to a constitutional crisis.

One such politician, George Rallis, proposed that, in case of such an “anomaly”, king Constantine II of Greece should declare martial law as the monarchist constitution permitted him. According to Rallis, the king was receptive to the idea.

Washington also worried that the radical Andreas Papandreou would have a very powerful role in the next government, due to his father’s old age. According to Robert Keely and John Owens, American diplomats present in Athens at the time, the King asked U.S. Ambassador Philip Talbot what the American attitude would be to an extra-parliamentary solution to the problem. To this the embassy responded negatively in principle — adding, however, that, “U.S. reaction to such move cannot be determined in advance but would depend on circumstances at time.” According to Talbot, King Constantine met the army generals, who promised him that they would not take any action before the coming elections. However, the proclamations of Andreas Papandreou made them nervous, and they re-examined their decision.

So on 21 April 1967, just weeks before the scheduled elections, a group of right-wing army officers led by Brigadier General Stylianos Pattakos and Colonels George Papadopoulos and Nikolaos Makarezos seized power in a coup d’etat. The colonels were able to seize power quickly by using elements of surprise and confusion

Georgios Papandreou Senior was arrested after a nighttime raid at his villa in Kastri. Andreas was arrested at around the same time, after seven soldiers armed with fixed bayonets and a machine gun forcibly entered his home. Andreas Papandreou escaped to the roof of his house, but surrendered after one of the soldiers held a gun to the head of his then-fourteen-year-old son George Papandreou. Gust Avrakotos, a high-ranking CIA officer in Greece who was close with the colonels, advised them to “shoot the motherf***r because he’s going to come back to haunt you”.

U.S. critics of the coup included then-Senator Lee Metcalf, who criticised the Johnson Administration for providing aid to a “military regime of collaborators and Nazi sympathisers.” Phillips Talbot, the U.S. ambassador in Athens, disapproved of the coup, complaining that it represented “a rape of democracy”, to which Jack Maury, the CIA station chief in Athens, answered, “How can you rape a whore?”

Source: Wikipedia 1967 Greek coup d’état