Georgios Kondylis

Georgios Kondylis DSO (Greek: Γεώργιος Κονδύλης; 14 August 1878 – 1 February 1936) was a Greek general, politician and prime minister of Greece. He was nicknamed Keravnos, Greek for "thunder" or "thunderbolt".

Lieutenant general
Georgios Kondylis
Γεώργιος Κονδύλης
Georgios Kondylis.jpg
Georgios Kondylis c. 1919
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
23 August 1926 – 4 December 1926
PresidentPavlos Kountouriotis
Preceded byAthanasios Eftaxias
Succeeded byAlexandros Zaimis
In office
10 October 1935 – 30 November 1935
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byPanagis Tsaldaris
Succeeded byKonstantinos Demertzis
Minister for War of Greece
In office
12 March 1924 – 11 June 1924
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byNikolaos Triantaphyllakos
Succeeded byTheodoros Pangalos
Personal details
Born14 August 1878
Proussos, Evrytania, Kingdom of Greece
Died1 February 1936
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
NationalityGreece Greek
Political partyNational Democratic Party
AwardsGRE Order Redeemer 5Class.png Order of the Redeemer
GRE Order of George I - Member or Silver Cross BAR.png Order of George I
GRE War Cross 1940 ribbon.svg War Cross (1917 variant)
Greek Medal of Military merit ribbon.png Medal of Military Merit
Commemorative Medal for the Macedonian Struggle
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Legion of Honour
Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 ribbon.svg Croix de Guerre
Dso-ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Order
SRB-SHS-YUG Orden Belog Orla sa macevima Kavalir BAR.svg Order of the White Eagle
Bravery Medal Milos Obilic, 1913 rib.png Medal for Bravery
Nickname(s)Thunder (Κεραυνός)
Military service
Years of service1896–1924
RankGR-Army-OF8-1912.svg Lieutenant General
Battles/warsGreco-Turkish War (1897)

Macedonian Struggle
Balkan Wars

World War I

Russian Civil War

Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922)

Military careerEdit

Georgios Kondylis during the Macedonian Struggle

Kondylis was born in Proussós. He enlisted in the army as a volunteer in 1896, and fought with the Greek expeditionary corps in Crete. He was later commissioned and participated in the Macedonian Struggle (1904–1908) leading his own guerrilla band, and was promoted to captain during the Balkan Wars (1912–1913). He supported the Movement of National Defence of Eleftherios Venizelos during the First World War, notorious for his cruel oppression of loyalists revolt in Chalkidiki (Sept 1916),[1] rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. A firm Venizelist, he opposed the restoration of King Constantine I in 1920, fleeing to Constantinople together with other Venizelist officers and organizing there the "Democratic Defence" (Δημοκρατική Άμυνα). He returned after the 1922 Revolution as a major general, suppressed the royalist revolt of 1923, retired from the army, and became involved in politics.

Political careerEdit

He was elected to Parliament at the 1923 elections for the constituency of Rodope, initially for the Democratic Union, and later founded the National Republican Party (Εθνικό Δημοκρατικό Κόμμα), renamed in 1928 National Radical Party (Εθνικό Ριζοσπαστικό Κόμμα). He was war minister from March to June 1924. On 24 August 1926, he overthrew the dictatorship of Theodoros Pangalos in a bloodless coup and formed a government, proclaiming elections for November. Notably, his party did not participate in these. In the elections of August 1928, voters elected nine of his party's candidates as MPs, and he was elected in Kavala.

Kondylis c. 1932

During this time, Kondylis began moving rightward. In 1932 he became war minister again in return for his support of the Populist government, a post he retained after the Populists were reelected in 1933. From this post he was instrumental in crushing the March 1935 Venizelist revolt. In the period immediately following the revolt, Kondylis became the real power in the country. He sacked numerous pro-republican soldiers and civil servants, and condemned Venizelos to death in absentia.

By now, Kondylis was one of the strongest proponents of restoring the monarchy. However, he opposed Prime Minister Panagis Tsaldaris' call for a referendum. On 10 October 1935, Kondylis and several other officers called on Tsaldaris and forced him to resign. Kondylis forced President Alexandros Zaimis to name him the new premier. Later that day, Kondylis forced Zaimis to resign, declared himself Regent, abolished the Republic and staged a plebiscite on 3 November for the return of the monarchy.

The official tally showed that 98 percent of the voters supported the return of George II—an implausibly high total that could have only been obtained through massive fraud. Indeed, the vote took place under less-than-secret conditions. Voters were given the choice of dropping a blue piece of paper in the ballot box if they supported the monarchy, and a red one if they supported the republic. Those who supported the republic risked being beaten up. Under those circumstances, it took a brave Greek to vote "no". By this time, Kondylis had turned so far to the right that he now openly sympathized with fascism. He hoped to echo Benito Mussolini's example in Italy, in which Victor Emmanuel III had been reduced to a puppet.[2]

George returned to Greece on 25 November, and retained Kondylis as prime minister. Kondylis soon quarreled with the king, who was not content to be a mere puppet, and resigned five days later. In the January 1936 elections, he cooperated with Ioannis Rallis and managed to have fifteen MPs elected. Soon after, however, he died of a heart attack on 1 February 1936, in Athens. His nephew, George Kondylis Jr., became a general in the Greek army and later fought against the Axis during the German invasion of Greece.

He was awarded Serbian Order of the White Eagle.[3]


  1. ^ Μαυρογορδάτος, Γεώργιος (2015). 1915, Ο ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΔΙΧΑΣΜΟΣ (in Greek). Αθηνα: Παττάκη. p. 287. ISBN 978-960-16-6498-9.
  2. ^ "By the Grace of God". Time, 18 November 1935.
  3. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 601.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Military Affairs
12 March – 9 June 1924
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for the Interior
7 October 1924 – 15 June 1925
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Greece

26 August – 4 December 1926
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Military Affairs

26 August – 4 December 1926
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Naval Affairs

26 August – 4 December 1926
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Military Affairs
4 November 1932 – 16 January 1933
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Military Affairs
10 March 1933 – 10 October 1935
Succeeded by
Title last held by
Andreas Michalakopoulos
(in the 1929–32 Venizelos cabinet)
Deputy Prime Minister of Greece
5 April – 10 October 1935
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Greece
10 October – 30 November 1935
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Naval Affairs
10–16 October 1935
Succeeded by