Theodoros Pangalos (Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος) (11 January 1878 – 26 February 1952) was a Greek general who briefly ruled the country in 1925 and 1926.
Pangalos was born on the island of Salamis
. He graduated first in his class from the Hellenic Army Officer Cadet Academy (Scholi Evelpidon
) in 1900 and continued his studies in Paris
. In 1916 he supported Eleftherios Venizelos
in his struggle against King Constantine I
, and was rewarded with a senior position in the War Ministry. He participated in the Asia Minor Campaign
in senior staff positions, but was demoted after Constantine returned to power in 1920. In 1922, Pangalos supported the coup d'etat
by Nikolaos Plastiras
which abolished the monarchy and declared the Second Hellenic Republic
, and was made War Minister. His first job was to prosecute a number of prominent pro-monarchist government leaders by military court in what became known as the Trial of the Six
, which resulted in six executions; he then rushed to Thessaloniki
, from where he successfully reorganized the Greek army in Macedonia
, as the war with Turkey
was not over, and an attack in the region was feared to be imminent. The reorganization was so successful that the Greek High Command prepared for a possible advance into Eastern Thrace in the face of the Turkish demands in the Lausanne
peace talks. A sudden reversal of the Turks in April preempted the new war, and the Treaty of Lausanne
A staunch nationalist, Pangalos objected to the terms of the treaty, and declared that his troops would attack Turkey nonetheless in order to block the deal. He was forced to resign, but his stance made him popular with the many segments of Greek society that objected to the treaty. During the period of political instability that followed, Pangalos jumped into the fray, gaining and losing a number of ministerial positions as governments came and went.
On June 24
, officers loyal to Pangalos, fearing that the political instability was putting the country at risk, overthrew the government in a coup. Pangalos immediately abolished the young republic and began to prosecute anyone who could possibly challenge his authority, including his old chief, Plastiras. Freedom of the press
was abolished, and a number of repressive laws were enacted (including a law dictating the length of women's skirts - no more than 30cm above the ground), while Pangalos awarded himself the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
. Pangalos declared himself dictator
on 3 January 1926
and had himself elected president
in April 1926. On the economic front Pangalos attempted to devalue the currency by ordering paper notes cut in half. His political and diplomatic inability however became soon apparent. He conceded too many rights to Yugoslav commerce in Thessaloniki
, but worst of all, he embroiled Greece in the so-called War of the Stray Dog
, harming Greece's already strained international relations.
Soon, many of the officers that had helped him come to power decided that he had to be removed. On 24 August, 1926, a counter-coup deposed him, and Pavlos Kountouriotis returned as president.
After his rule
In 1930, Pangalos was sent to prison for a building scandal. He remained in prison for two years and was released during a period when a number of amnesties were given by Venizélos. He never regained the popular support he had before the coup, and never again played a role in Greek politics. He was accused of collaboration with the Germans in Italians in World War II
, but these claims were never substantiated. He unsuccessfully ran for parliament in 1950 and died in Athens two years later.
His grandson, also named Theodoros Pangalos, is currently a member of the Greek parliament and a former minister of Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the PASOK socialist party.