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The Greek government-in-exile was the government in exile of Greece formed in the aftermath of the Battle of Greece, and the subsequent occupation of Greece by Nazi Germany and the Fascist Italy. Due to the occupation of Greece by hostile powers and Resistance opposition, the government-in-exile exerted minimal influence inside Greece. The government-in-exile was based in Cairo, Egypt. Hence it is also commonly referred to as the "Cairo Government" (Greek: Κυβέρνηση του Καΐρου).

Greek government-in-exile
Κυβέρνησις τοῦ Καΐρου
Flag of Greece
State flag
Motto: «Ἐλευθερία ἢ Θάνατος»
"Freedom or Death"
Status Government in exile
Capital Athens
Common languages Greek
Religion Eastern Orthodox Church
Government Constitutional monarchy
• 1941–1944
George II
Prime Minister  
• 1941–1944
Emmanouil Tsouderos
• 1944–1944
Sofoklis Venizelos
• 1944–1945
Georgios Papandreou
Historical era World War II
28 October 1940
20 May 1941
• Arrival at Cairo
24 May 1941
• Liberation of Greece
October 1944
ISO 3166 code GR
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
Members of the Greek government in exile, including George II, on a visit to Greek units of the RAF.

It was headed by King George II, which evacuated from Athens in April 1941, after the German invasion of the country, first to the island of Crete and then to Cairo in Egypt. It remained there until the German occupying forces withdrew from the country on 17 October 1944.

Closely controlled by the British, it was the internationally recognised Greek government, although its authority inside the country itself was minimal. There, alongside the Axis-controlled collaborationist governments, a vigorous Resistance movement developed, spearheaded by the communist-controlled EAM/ELAS, which established a de facto separate administration, formalised in March 1944 after elections in both occupied and liberated territories, as the Political Committee of National Liberation (PEEA).



On 25 April 1941, with the onset of the Battle of Greece, King George II and his government left the Greek mainland for Crete, which was attacked by Nazi forces on 20 May 1941. The Germans employed parachute forces in a massive airborne invasion and attacked the three main airfields of the island. After seven days of fighting and tough resistance, Allied commanders decided that the cause was hopeless and ordered a withdrawal from Sfakia.

During the night of May 24, George II and his government were evacuated from Crete to Cairo. The government remained in Egypt until the withdrawal of German forces from Greece on October 17, 1944.[1] The Greek government returned from exile accompanied by a group of British forces in October.[2]



Portrait Name
Start End
  King George II
3 November
1 April

Prime MinistersEdit

Portrait Name
Term of office Party Cabinet
Start End
1   Emmanouil Tsouderos
29 April
13 April
Independent Tsouderos
2   Sofoklis Venizelos
13 April
26 April
Liberal Party Venizelos
3   Georgios Papandreou
26 April
3 January
Democratic Socialist Party Papandreou (National unity cabinet)

Armed forcesEdit