Metaxas, John

Metaxas, John mĭtăkˈsəs, Gr. māˈtäksäsˌ [key], 1871–1941, Greek general and statesman. A career soldier, he served in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, in which he was assistant chief of staff. He was later chief of staff, but was exiled (1917), along with most other prominent figures of Constantine I's government, as pro-German when Greece joined the Allies in World War I. He returned in 1920 and became prominent as a royalist politician during the Republic of 1924–35. After the monarchy had been reestablished in Greece, Metaxas became premier in Apr., 1936. With the support of King George II, Metaxas dissolved parliament on Aug. 4, 1936, and established a dictatorship that increasingly took on many Fascist trappings. Nevertheless, the fundamental ideology remained conservative, and Metaxas was clearly aware that the greatest threat to Greece came from the Fascist powers. He was thus prepared to resist Mussolini's attach on Greece (Oct. 28, 1940) and, prior to his death three months later, organized the successful Greek operations against Italy in Albania. His diaries are available in Greek.

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