Georgios Tsolakoglou

Georgios Tsolakoglou (Greek: , Agrafa, April 1886 - Athens, May 1948) was a Greek military officer who became the country's first quisling Prime Minister during the Axis Occupation in 1941-1942.

Military career

As an officer in the Greek Army, he participated in the Balkan Wars, the First World War, the 1919 Allied expedition to the Ukraine and the Asia Minor Campaign. With the rank of Lt. General, he led III Army Corps in the Greco-Italian War. After the German invasion and capture of Thessaloniki on April 9, 1941, the withdrawal of the Greek Army from Northern Epirus was belatedly ordered on April 12. The German motorized units, however, succeeded in reaching the vital Metsovon Pass on April 18, overcame local Greek resistance and captured Ioannina on the following day, thereby effectively cutting off the Greek Army.

When the hopelessness of resistance became apparent, Tsolakoglou, along with several other senior generals began considering surrendering to the Germans. Thus, on April 20, with the cooperation of the commanders of I Corps, Lt. Gen. Panagiotis Demestichas and II Corps, Lt. Gen. Georgios Bakos, and the metropolitan of Ioannina, Spyridon, he relieved and replaced Gen. Ioanis Pitsikas, the commander of the Army of Epirus. He immediately sent messengers to the Germans proposing surrender, and on the same day signed a surrender protocol with the commander of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler brigade, Sepp Dietrich.

Despite urgent orders by Greek Commander-in-chief Alexandros Papagos, that he be relieved and resistance continued to the last, the next day, at Larissa, the surrender was formalized, with Tsolakolglou signing the unconditional surrender of the Greek Army to the Germans. The protocol made - deliberately - no reference to the other invading Axis partner, Italy, whom the Greeks considered as having defeated and wished to, in the words of John Keegan, "...deny the Italians the satisfaction of a victory they had not earned...".[1] However, at Mussolini's insistence, the surrender ceremony was repeated a third time to inlude Italian representatives on April 23.

Tsolakoglou himself wrote in his memoirs: "I found myself before a historic dilemma: To allow the fight to continue and have a holocaust or, obeying the pleas of the Army's commanders, to assume the initiative of surrendering... Having made my decision to dare, I did not consider responsibilities... Until today I have not regretted my actions. On the contrary, I feel proud."[2]

Tsolakoglou discusses the third and final protocol of surrender of the Greek Army of Epirus with German General Alfred Jodl and Italian General Ferrero. Thessaloniki, 23 April 1941.

Occupation Prime Minister

On April 30, 1941, Tsolakoglou was appointed Prime Minister by the Axis Occupation authorities. His war-time Greek government is generally agreed to have been a "collaborationist" goverment. Tsolakoglou is often referred to as a "quisling". He retained his position as Prime Minister of the Greek "collaborationist" goverment until December 2, 1942. Several other "Albanian" Generals were members of the Tsolakoglou government. Included in this group were Generals Panaghiotis Demestichas and Georgios Bakos. Also included is Tsolakoglou's successor, Konstantinos Logothetopoulos. Logothetopoulos was Prime Minister of the Greek "collaborationist" goverment from December 2, 1942, to April 7, 1943.

Tsolakoglou was arrested after Greece was liberated. He was tried by a Special Collaborators Court in 1945 and sentenced to death. His death penalty was was ultimately commuted to life imprisonment. Tsolakoglou died of leukaemia in prison in 1948.


  1. ^ Keegan, John, The Second World War, Penguin (Non-Classics) 2005 Reprint edition, p. 157
  2. ^ Tsolakoglou, G.K.S, Memoirs, Akropolis Editions, Athens 1959. The quote used here comes from the Rizospastis newspaper, April 8, 2001

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