Ioannis Metaxas

Ioannis Metaxas (/ˈmɛtəksæs/;[1] Greek: Ιωάννης Μεταξάς; 12 April 1871[2]  29 January 1941) was a Greek military officer and politician, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. He governed constitutionally for the first four months of his tenure, and thereafter as the strongman of the 4th of August Regime.


Ioannis Metaxas
A photo of Ioannis Metaxas.
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
13 April 1936  29 January 1941
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byKonstantinos Demertzis
Succeeded byAlexandros Koryzis
Personal details
Born(1871-04-12)12 April 1871
Ithaca, Greece
Died29 January 1941(1941-01-29) (aged 69)
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Political partyFreethinkers' Party (1922–1936)
Independent (1936–1941)
Alma materHellenic Army Academy
Prussian War College
Awards Gold Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Kingdom of Greece
Branch/service Hellenic Army
Years of service1890–1920
Rank Lieutenant General
UnitArmy of Thessaly
CommandsEpistratoi
Battles/warsGreco-Turkish War (1897)
Balkan Wars

World War I

Born to an aristocratic family in Ithaca, Metaxas took part in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and the Balkan Wars (1912–13), quickly rising through the ranks of the Hellenic Army. A Monarchist during the National Schism, Metaxas unsuccessfully opposed Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and Greece's entry in World War I; as a result, he was exiled to Corsica in 1917. On his return, Metaxas moved into politics and founded the Freethinkers' Party, but had only limited success under the Hellenic Republic. The Greek monarchy was restored in 1935, and Metaxas was appointed Prime Minister in April 1936. On 4 August 1936, with the support of King George II, Metaxas initiated a self-coup and established an authoritarian, nationalist and anti-communist regime.

Metaxas attempted to maintain Greek neutrality early in the Second World War. On 28 October 1940, Metaxas rejected an ultimatum imposed by the Italians to surrender, committing Greece to the Allies and bringing the country into the war. He died in January 1941, before the German invasion and subsequent fall of Greece.