May 27, 2024

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Georgios Tsolakoglou Governmet – From Wikipedia

Georgios Tsolakoglou (Greek: Γεώργιος Τσολάκογλου; Rentina, Karditsa, April 1886 – Athens, May 22, 1948) was a Greek military officer who became the first Prime Minister of theGreek collaborationist government during the Axis Occupation in 1941-1942.

[edit]Military career

As an officer in the Greek Army, he participated in the Balkan Wars, the First World War, the 1919 Allied expedition to the Ukraine and the Asia Minor Campaign. With the rank of Lt. General, he led III Army Corps in the Greco-Italian War. After the German invasion and capture of Thessaloniki on April 9, 1941, the withdrawal of the Greek Army from Northern Epiruswas belatedly ordered on April 12. The German motorized units, however, succeeded in reaching the vital Metsovon Pass on April 18, overcame local Greek resistance and capturedIoannina on the following day, thereby effectively cutting off the Greek Army.

When the hopelessness of resistance became apparent, Tsolakoglou, along with several other senior generals began considering surrendering to the Germans. Thus, on April 20, with the cooperation of the commanders of I Corps, Lt. Gen. Panagiotis Demestichas and II Corps, Lt. Gen. Georgios Bakos, and the metropolitan of Ioannina, Spyridon, he relieved and replaced Lt. Gen. Ioanis Pitsikas, the commander of the Army of Epirus. He immediately sent messengers to the Germans proposing surrender, and on the same day signed a surrender protocol with the commander of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler brigade, Sepp Dietrich.

Despite urgent orders by Greek Commander-in-chief Alexandros Papagos, that he be relieved and resistance continued to the last, the next day, at Larissa, the surrender was formalized, with Tsolakolglou signing the unconditional surrender of the Greek Army to the Germans. The protocol made – deliberately – no reference to the other invading Axis partner, Italy, whom the Greeks considered to have defeated and wished to, in the words of John Keegan, “…deny the Italians the satisfaction of a victory they had not earned…”.[1] However, at Benito Mussolini‘s insistence, the surrender ceremony was repeated a third time to include Italian representatives on April 23.

Tsolakoglou himself wrote in his memoirs: “I found myself before a historic dilemma: To allow the fight to continue and have a holocaust or, obeying the pleas of the Army’s commanders, to assume the initiative of surrendering…. Having made my decision to dare, I did not consider responsibilities…. Until today I have not regretted my actions. On the contrary, I feel proud.”[2]

[edit]Prime Minister in the collaborationist government

On April 30, 1941, Tsolakoglou was appointed Prime Minister of a collaborationist government by the Axis Occupation authorities. Several other generals who had served in the Albanian campaign became members of the Tsolakoglou government, such as Generals Panagiotis Demestichas and Georgios Bakos. Tsolakoglou remained as head of the government until December 2, 1942, when he was dismissed and replaced by Konstantinos Logothetopoulos.

After Greece was liberated, Tsolakoglou was arrested, tried by a Special Collaborators Court in 1945 and sentenced to death. His death penalty was ultimately commuted to life imprisonment, and he died of leukaemia in prison in 1948.

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