Metaxas, John(mĭtăk`səs, Gr. mā`täksäs'), 1871–1941, Greek general and statesman. A career soldier, he served in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, in which he was assistant chief of staff. He was later chief of staff, but was exiled (1917), along with most other prominent figures of Constantine I's government, as pro-German when Greece joined the Allies in World War I. He returned in 1920 and became prominent as a royalist politician during the Republic of 1924–35. After the monarchy had been reestablished in Greece, Metaxas became premier in Apr., 1936. With the support of King George II, Metaxas dissolved parliament on Aug. 4, 1936, and established a dictatorship that increasingly took on many Fascist trappings. Nevertheless, the fundamental ideology remained conservative, and Metaxas was clearly aware that the greatest threat to Greece came from the Fascist powers. He was thus prepared to resist Mussolini's attach on Greece (Oct. 28, 1940) and, prior to his death three months later, organized the successful Greek operations against Italy in Albania. His diaries are available in Greek.
(loannis Metaxas). Born Apr. 12, 1871, on the island of Ithaca; died Jan. 29, 1941, in Athens. Greek state and political figure.
Metaxas received a higher military education in Germany. After returning to Greece in 1903, he served for many years as an officer on the General Staff. In 1921 he founded the monarchist Party of Freethinkers. After the establishment of a republic in Greece in 1924, Metaxas vigorously fought for the restoration of the monarchy. Metaxas was minister of war from January to April 1935, vice prime minister from April to October 1935, and prime minister from April to August 1936. On Aug. 4, 1936, under the pretext of the alleged danger of a “Communist plot,” Metaxas carried out a fascist coup d’etat, disbanded all political parties, and arrested their leaders. In foreign politics the government of Metaxas, who remained prime minister until his death, steered a course toward economic and political rapprochement between Greece and fascist Germany.