Stylianos Gonatas
Stylianos Gonatas is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

1966, Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

) was a Greek
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 military officer and Venizelist politician and Prime Minister of Greece between 1922 and 1924.

Early life and military career

Gonatas was born on August 15, 1876 in Patras. He entered the Military Academy in 1892 and graduated in 1897. As a Lieutenant, he participated in the Macedonian Struggle
Macedonian Struggle
The Macedonian Struggle was a series of social, political, cultural and military conflicts between Greeks and Bulgarians in the region of Ottoman Macedonia between 1904 and 1908...

 (1907–1909), and became aide-de-camp to Colonel Nikolaos Zorbas
Nikolaos Zorbas
Nikolaos Zorbas , was a Greek soldier, most notable as the nominal leader of the Military League which organized the Goudi coup in 1909.- Life :...

 immediately following the 1909 Goudi Revolt. He also participated in the 1912-13 Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.By the early 20th century, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, the countries of the Balkan League, had achieved their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large parts of their ethnic...

 and in the Allied Expedition to the Ukraine in 1919. Subsequently, he was took part in the Asia Minor Campaign
Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922)
The Greco–Turkish War of 1919–1922, known as the Western Front of the Turkish War of Independence in Turkey and the Asia Minor Campaign or the Asia Minor Catastrophe in Greece, was a series of military events occurring during the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after World War I between May...

 with the rank of Colonel, first as a staff officer and later as divisional commander.

The September 1922 Revolt

In August 1922, the Greek Army suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of the Turks, which forced it to evacuate Anatolia in great haste. In Greece, this disaster led to a political crisis, and military revolts broke out in September amongst the evacuated troops in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

, Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

 and Lesbos, headed primarily by Venizelist
Venizelism was one of the major political movements in Greece from the 1900s until the mid 1970s.- Ideology :Named after Eleftherios Venizelos, the key characteristics of Venizelism were:*Opposition to Monarchy...


The army contingents in Lesbos formed a Revolutionary Committee headed by Colonel Gonatas, which dispatched by airplane the following demands to Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

: the dismissal of the government, the dissolution of Parliament, the holding of new elections, and the abdication of King Constantine
Constantine I of Greece
Constantine I was King of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. He was commander-in-chief of the Hellenic Army during the unsuccessful Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and led the Greek forces during the successful Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, in which Greece won Thessaloniki and doubled in...

 in favour of the Diadoch, Prince George
George II of Greece
George II reigned as King of Greece from 1922 to 1924 and from 1935 to 1947.-Early life, first period of kingship and exile:George was born at the royal villa at Tatoi, near Athens, the eldest son of King Constantine I of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia...

. The revolutionary movement swiftly spread to other centres of old and new Greece, aided by the Fleet, which had joined their cause. The cabinet immediately resigned, and on September 27 King Constantine abdicated for the second time in the course of his career, and the Diadoch succeeded to the throne of Greece as King George II.

On September 28 the revolutionary troops, headed by their leaders, Colonels Nikolaos Plastiras
Nikolaos Plastiras
Nikolaos Plastiras was a Greek general and politician, who served thrice as Prime Minister of Greece. A distinguished soldier and known for his personal bravery, he was known as "O Mavros Kavalaris" during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922...

 and Gonatas, entered Athens amidst wild scenes of enthusiasm. The revolutionary committee which took charge selected Alexandros Zaimis
Alexandros Zaimis
Alexandros Zaimis was a former Greek Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Justice, and High Commissioner of Crete. He served as Prime Minister six times.-Early Life and Family:...

 as Prime Minister, but as he was out of the country, Sotirios Krokidas
Sotirios Krokidas
Sotirios G. Krokidas was an interim Prime Minister of Greece in 1922. He was a law professor in Athens.When the Greek army was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War and the government of Petros Protopapadakis fell, Greece was plunged into a political crisis. In September, 1922, Nikolaos...

 was appointed as interim Prime Minister.

As prime minister

The first cabinet formed under the regime of the Revolutionary Committee (which had established itself as the real master of Greece with King George II merely as a figurehead) underwent several slight changes, the chief of which was caused by the refusal of Zaimis to retain the premiership (which remained vacant, with Sotirios Krokidas as acting premier), and after having been in power for less than two months resigned on November 24, chiefly owing to internal differences arising from the Trial of the Six
Trial of the Six
The Trial of the Six or the Execution of the Six was the trial for treason, in late 1922, of the officials held responsible for the Greek military defeat in Asia Minor...

 (ex-ministers, statesmen, and military leaders tried by a revolutionary tribunal on the charges of high treason). The British government, through its minister in Athens, Lindley, urged that the accused should be treated leniently. While certain members of the cabinet were prepared to accept the British suggestion, the more irreconcilable elements refused to submit to what they considered as foreign intervention in Greek internal affairs, and the cabinet accordingly resigned. On November 27, 1922, a new cabinet, composed exclusively of members of the Revolutionary Committee and of the republican group which formed the committee's most active supporters, was appointed. Colonel Gonatas was appointed premier, and Konstantinos Rentis, one of the leaders of the republican group, as acting minister for foreign affairs (see 1922 Government Crisis).

The Gonatas government served until 11 January 1924, when it resigned in favor of fellow-liberal
Liberal Party (Greece)
The Liberal Party was one of the major Greek political parties of the early 20th century.- History :Founded as the Xipoliton party in Crete , its early leaders were Kostis Mitsotakis and Eleftherios Venizelos...

 Eleftherios Venizelos
Eleftherios Venizelos
Eleftherios Venizelos was an eminent Greek revolutionary, a prominent and illustrious statesman as well as a charismatic leader in the early 20th century. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece and served from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932...

, who had returned from exile in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. For his service, Gonatas was given the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
Order of the Redeemer
The Order of the Redeemer , also known as the Order of the Savior, is an order of Greece. The Order of the Redeemer is the oldest and highest decoration awarded by the modern Greek state.- History :...

. On 31 May 1924, the National Assembly promoted him and Plastiras to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Later political career

After his service as Prime Minister, Gonatas resigned his commission in the army. In the same year, a Republic
Second Hellenic Republic
The Second Hellenic Republic is the term used to describe the political regime of Greece from 1924 to 1935. It followed from the period of the constitutional monarchy under the monarchs of the House of Glücksburg, and lasted until its overthrow in a military coup d'état which restored the monarchy...

 was proclaimed and the legislature expanded to include a second house: the Senate
Greek Senate
The Greek Senate was the upper chamber of the parliament in Greece, extant several times in the country's history.-Local senates during the War of Independence:...

. Gonatas ran for and was elected to the Senate as a Liberal in the 1929 election
Greek Senate election, 1929
The Senate was a new institution introduced with the Greek Constitution of 1927. In 1929 the first elections for the Senate took place and resulted in a triumph for the Liberal Party, Eleftherios Venizelos and the other venizelist parties....

 representing Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 and Beotia. He was re-elected and later served as President of the Senate from 1932 to its dissolution in 1935.

During the Nazi Occupation of Greece, Gonatas was imprisoned in the Haidari concentration camp
Haidari concentration camp
The Haidari concentration camp was a concentration camp operated by the German Schutzstaffel at the Athens suburb of Haidari during the Axis Occupation of Greece in World War II...

 for four months. After the German withdrawal, Gonatas was freed and re-entered political life. When he quarrelled with Themistoklis Sophoulis
Themistoklis Sophoulis
Themistoklis Sofoulis or Sophoulis was a prominent centrist Greek politician from Samos Island, belonging to the centre-left wing of the Liberal Party, which he led for many years.-Early life:...

, the leader of the Liberal Party, he formed his own party, the Party of National Liberals (Κόμμα Εθνικών Φιλελευθέρων) which contested the 1946 general election
Greek legislative election, 1946
These elections were marked by:* The marked abstention of voters, caused by the abstention of Communist Party of Greece, and the effects of the civil war , because of which many citizens either could not or chose not to vote....

 in coalition with the conservative People's Party
People's Party (Greece)
The People's Party of Greece was a conservative and pro-monarchist political party founded by Dimitrios Gounaris, the main political rival of Eleftherios Venizelos and his Liberal Party. The party existed from 1920 until 1958....

. Gonatas' party elected 30 members of Parliament. Having joined forces with the monarchist party, Gonatas committed himself to support the restoration of the monarchy in the 1946 plebiscite
Greek plebiscite, 1946
In 1946, a new plebiscite took place regarding the form of Greece's regime and whether the Greek people would once again decide upon a king or not. For the third time the royal position of George II was at stake. Nonetheless, the final result constituted an expected triumph that cannot be analyzed...

, which restored King George II to the throne.

In the Konstantinos Tsaldaris
Konstantinos Tsaldaris
Konstantinos Tsaldaris was a Greek politician and twice Prime Minister of Greece.Tsaldaris was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He studied law at the University of Athens as well as Berlin, London and Florence...

 government from 1946–1947, he served as Minister for Public Works
Minister for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works (Greece)
The Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works of Greece . Following the electoral victory of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement on 4 October 2009, the ministry was split up into a Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, while its Public Works sector was...

. In the 1950 general election
Greek legislative election, 1950
The 1950 Greek legislative election was held on 5 March 1950.A total of 44 parties contested 250 seats. rowspan=2 colspan=3 valign=top|Summary of the 5 March 1950 Greek Parliament election results...

, Gonatas' party first allied with Napoleon Zervas
Napoleon Zervas
Napoleon Zervas was a Greek general and resistance leader during World War II. He organized and led the National Republican Greek League , the second most significant , in terms of size and activity, resistance organization against the Axis Occupation of Greece.-Early life and army career:Zervas...

' National Party of Greece but when he was discredited for his collaboration with the Nazis, Gonatas decided to run in coalition with the Liberal Party. In this election, for the first time in his political career, Gonatas was not elected. He never sought public office again; continuing only to serve as former Prime Ministers did on the Crown Council advising the King until his death on March 29, 1966.
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