Democratic Defense

Democratic Defense (Greek: Δημοκρατική Άμυνα) was one of the many anti-dictatorial struggle groups that fought against the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. It evolved from the "Alexandros Papanastasiou" political research group in 1967, as a response to the regime.

Democratic Defense
Δημοκρατική Άμυνα
LeaderGeorgios Mylonas, Sakis Karagiorgas [el]
FoundedMay 1967
Merged intoPanhellenic Socialist Movement
IdeologyGreek nationalism, Democratic socialism, Social democracy, Progressivism, Antifascism, Antiauthoritarianism, Opposition to Greek military junta
Political positionLeft-wing

In reality, there was no leader, but after arrest, the members nominated as leader a prominent retired general, general George Iordanides, because he was the best-known personality among all the participants as he had held high ranking positions in the NATO during the 1950s. The organisation responded to the brutal regime with bombings to some targets that represented the financial supporters of the junta (like the Esso-PAPPAS gas station blowing in 1969).

Among its most widely known members were film director Jules Dassin, Costas Simitis, subsequently Prime Minister of Greece, Nikos Konstantopoulos, subsequently president of the Synaspismos party, professor of economics in Panteion University Sakis Karagiorgas [el], Georgios-Alexandros Mangakis [el], professor of criminal law in the University of Athens, Pavlos Zannas,a writer and film critic, general Georgios Iordanides, a well known military analyst and a national security advisor of Georgios Papandreou during his administration [el], Vasilis Filias, professor of sociology in Panteion University, lawyer Dimosthenis Konaris, John Starakis, a journalist, Christos Rokofyllos, subsequently minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitrios Kotsakis [el], a trade union member, Athanasios Filias, a mechanical engineer, Georgios Kouvelakis, subsequent minister of Justice, brothers Antonios Michalakeas (later on a judge of the Supreme Court of Greece) and Athanassios Michalakeas (later on a president of the court of Appeal), Georgios Kosmas (later on also a member of the supreme court of Greece), Spyros Plaskovitis [el] (later on also a judge of the Supreme Court of Greece and a member of the European Parliament elected with PASOK), Ioannis Papadopoulos, a well known plastic surgeon (later on a minister of Health during the first government [fr] formed by PASOK in 1981) etc.

The trial began in March 1970, and most of the members were condemned to heavy sentences after months of trial. The trial attracted the attention of the press, and it was considered as a major act of resistance against the regime of the colonels because many of the accused persons held important positions in the public life of Greece and they represented an intellectual elite with center/center left views of governance. Many people who belonged to different political camps like Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, an ex prime minister, or Georgios Rallis and Panagis Papaligouras [el], both significant ministers in the ERE government, stood up as witnesses of defence, while it was known that they did not share the same convictions with the accused, giving the idea to the people of a solid front against the junta. Thus this organisation achieved to shake the impression that people who belonged to the establishment were continuing to support the junta, especially when it was revealed to the eyes of the public that generals, lawyers or active judges, who were amongst them, had developed a dynamic form of resistance against the military regime. With the collapse of the junta in 1974 most of the members of the group aligned with Andreas Papandreou and they were integrated in the PASOK political party, even though their views were not absolutely similar to the political beliefs of the party leader,

Andreas Papandreou

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