Alexander Papagos was born in 1883. He became an officer in the Greek army in 1906, and rose rapidly through the ranks. In 1935 he became minister of war, and the following year he was made army chief of staff. He was commander in chief of the Greek army in World War II and gained great prestige, particularly for the Albanian campaign when the Italian's under Mussolini invaded and were repelled by the inspired Greek army . In 1949 he led the army in the final stages of the war against the Communist rebels, and by 1950 he had become field marshal and head of the armed forces. He resigned in May, 1950, and formed the conservative Greek Rally party with the help of the Americans who viewed him as the alternative to the right-wing which was riddled with fascists and Nazi collaborators. In 1952 he became prime minister, serving until his death in Oct.1955. He strengthened Greek ties with the West and developed the country's economy. He concluded the 1954 alliance with Yugoslavia and Turkey and improved Greek relations with Bulgaria and Albania. Whether he was a great general depends on your viewpoint. True he defeated the communists but really he was in the right place at the right time. The communists were pretty much defeated and the Americans had just given the Greeks millions in military equipment. Though he got some credit for his leadership in the Albania campaign it has been written that he fought the war from the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens and it was the individual valor of the Greek troops that defeated the Italians. As for his years as the Prime Minister it was the Americans who got him elected and it was the Americans who he answered to, and their money made his job a lot easier. Certainly he was a better choice for the country than the extreme right. Whether he was a better choice than the parties of the center I suppose we will never know.
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