Georgios Papandreou
Some attributes
First Name: Georgios Papandreou
Second Political party: Center Union
Third Nationality: Greek
Other attributes
Fourth Religion Greek Orthodox
Fifth Birth: 13 February 1888
Sixth Died: 1 November 1968 (aged 80)

Georgios Papandreou (Greek: Γεώργιος Παπανδρέου Geórgios Papandréou; 13 February 1888 in Kalentzi – 1 November 1968 in Athens) was a Greek politician. He served three terms as Prime Minister of Greece (1944–1945, 1963, 1964–1966).

He was also Deputy Prime Minister from 1950–1952, in the governments of Nikolaos Plastiras and Sofoklis Venizelos and served numerous times as a Cabinet Minister, starting in 1923, in a political career that spanned more than five decades.

Early lifeEdit

He was born at Kalentzi, in Achaea in West Greece. He was the son of Father Andreas, an Orthodox archpriest (protopresvyteros). He studied Law in Athens and Political Science in Berlin. His political philosophy was heavily influenced by German social democracy. As a result, he was adamantly opposed to the monarchy and supported generous social policies, but he was also extremely anti-communist (and specifically against the KKE's policies in Greece). As a young man, he became involved in politics as a supporter of the Liberal leader Eleftherios Venizelos, who made him Governor of Chios after the Balkan War of 1912. He married twice. His first wife was Sofia Mineyko, a Polish national, and their son Andreas Papandreou was born in Chios in 1919. The second wife was the actress Cybele Andrianou. They had a son, Georgios Papandreou (junior).

Rise to PowerEdit

During the political crisis surrounding Greece's entry into World War I, Papandreou was one of Venizelos' closest supporters against the pro-German King Constantine I. When Venizelos was forced to flee Athens, Papandreou accompanied him to Crete, and then went to Lesbos, where he mobilised anti-monarchist supporters in the islands and rallied support for Venizelos' insurgent pro-British government in Thessaloniki. In 1921 he narrowly escaped assassination from royalist extremists.

Papandreou served as a Venizelist Member of Parliament beginning in 1920, as Interior Minister in 1923, Finance Minister in 1924–1925, Education Minister in 1929–1932, and Transport Minister in 1933. As Minister of Education he reformed the Greek school system and built many schools for the children of refugees of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22). In 1935, he set up the Democratic Socialist Party of Greece. A lifelong opponent of the Greek monarchy, he was exiled in 1936 by the Greek royalist dictator Ioannis Metaxas. Following the Axis occupation of Greece in World War II, he joined the predominantly Venizelist government-in-exile based in Egypt. With the British support, King George II appointed him as PM and under his premiership took place the Lebanon conference (May 1944) and later the Caserta agreement (September 1944), in an attempt to stop the crisis in Greece and the conflicts between EAM and non-EAM forces, a prelude of the civil war. After the liberation of Greece, he entered Athens (October 1944) as PM of the Greek government-in-exile. Although he resigned in 1945, after the Dekemvriana events, he continued to hold high office. From 1946–1952 he served as Labor Minister, Supplies Minister, Education Minister, Finance Minister and Public Order Minister. In 1950–1952, he was also Deputy Prime Minister.

The 1952–1961 period was a very difficult one for Papandreou. The liberal political forces in Greece were gravely weakened by internal disputes and suffered electoral defeat from the conservatives. Papandreou continuously accused Sofoklis Venizelos for these maladies, considering his leadership dour and uninspiring. In 1961, Papandreou revived Greek liberalism by founding the Center Union Party, a confederation of old liberal Venizelists and dissatisfied conservatives. After the elections of "violence and fraud" of 1961, Papandreou declared a "Relentless Struggle" against the right-wing ERE. His party won the elections of November 1963 and those of 1964, the second with a landslide majority.

Prime MinisterEdit

Papandreou's progressive policies as premier aroused much opposition in conservative circles, and he was forced to sleep aboard a yacht watched over by a destroyer for the fear of a coup. During this transition period, Papandreou legalized the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The legalization of the communist party was considered by many as a gesture of political inclusionism and rapprochement. At the same time he also freed all political prisoners and pardoned all political crimes.

Under Papandreou's premiership, his government undertook numerous nationalizations in several sectors, including banking and transportation. Papandreou's policies of economic statism, which fostered a large state-run sector, have been described by many as socialmania.

During its time in office, Papandreou's government carried through sweeping reforms of social policy by introducing a welfare state, significantly expanding welfare measures, expanding health care coverage (the "National Health System" was instituted, which made modern medical procedures available in rural areas for the first time,) promoting state-subsidized tourism for lower-income families, index-linking pensions, and funding social establishments for the elderly. Rural areas benefited from improved state services, the rights and income of low paid workers were considerably improved, and refugees from the Civil War living in exile were allowed to return with impunity.

A more progressive taxation scheme was introduced and budgetary support for artistic and cultural programmes was increased. The government also introduced a wage indexation system which helped to close the gap modestly between the highest and lowest paid workers, while the share of GNP devoted to social welfare, social insurance, and health was significantly increased. Other major policy changes included the establishment of parental leave for both parents and child care centres, maternity allowances, community health centres, and the encouragement of women to join agricultural cooperatives as full members, an option which previously had not been open to women.


King Constantine II openly opposed Papandreou's government and there were frequent ultra-rightist plots in the Army which destabilised the government. Finally the King engineered a split in the Centre Union and in July 1966, known as apostasia or Iouliana he dismissed the government following a dispute over control of the Ministry of Defence. After the April 1967 military coup by the Colonels' junta led by George Papadopoulos, Papandreou was arrested. Papandreou died under house arrest in November 1968. His funeral became the occasion for a massive anti-dictatorship demonstration. He is interred at the First Cemetery of Athens, alongside his son Andreas.

During the Junta and after his death he was often referred to affectionately as "ο Γέρος της δημοκρατίας" (o Géros tis dimokratías—the old man of democracy).