Theodorakis - Chronology (VI)

Cultural Revolution in Greece 1960-1967

 by Guy Wagner and Asteris Koutoulas

Based on Ole Wahl Olsen
Structure and pictures: Guy Wagner


While Theodorakis is not satisfied with the »Epitaphios«-record by Hadjidakis, he starts his own orchestra, featuring the bouzouki and Grigoris Bithikotsis as soloist: his interpretation is based wholly on popular tradition of Rebetiko.

This is the beginning of a national polemic: people are either pro-Hadjidakis or pro-Theodorakis. Behind the musical exterior there are hidden the deep political conflicts of the thirties and forties.

Theodorakis decides to return to Greece. By continually bringing out new songs and music plays for the stage, Theodorakis becomes a representative of the youth in Greece: »My people have been told that they are nothing. Through my music I tell them that our country is great and beautiful, and that we can do anything. Greece can live happily.«

During a performance of »Antigone« at the Stuttgart Opera Theodorakis speaks out against the use of terror in Greece. He is threatened: »If you come back to Greece, you'll be killed!« He replies by giving the date and the time of his arrival at Athens airport.



First Prize. Mikis with Mary Linda, Hadjidakis, Mouscouri

Theodorakis wins the First Prize in a national song contest.

29.10. Due to the most scandalous cases of election rigging in the history of modern Greece, Karamanlis wins the elections. George Papandreou brings the opposition together for its »unrelenting struggle« against the government.



March: During a student demonstration to get more money for education, Theodorakis throws himself between the students and the police and is beaten.

Summer: Theodorakis' tuberculosis breaks out and he spends two months in London and another two months in a sanatorium near Athens. On leaving hospital he forms the thirty-man Athens Little Symphony Orchestra, MOA.


 Grigoris Lambrakis alone on his way

21.04. The peace movement initiates the first Marathon march which is banned by the authorities. Several thousand people are arrested, including Theodorakis. The EDA deputy, Grigoris Lambrakis, protected by his parliamentary immunity goes on alone marching to the end. Lambrakis is a well-known sportsman, having been champion at the Balkan Games several times; he is also a doctor and professor at Athens University.


22.05. After a peace meeting in Thessalonika, Grigoris Lambrakis is knocked down in the middle of the street and fatally wounded. Another EDA deputy, George Tsaroukhas, is hit and his skull is fractured.

 27.05. Lambrakis dies at dawn. Consternation and despair, especially among the young, who had already guessed what was to be discovered: the regime was behind the assassination.

 28.05. Half a million people accompany Lambrakis in Athens to his grave, crying: »Lambrakis lives! (Lambrakis zi! = »Z«), »Democracy!«, »Every young person must become a Lambrakis!«

31.05. Article by Theodorakis in the daily Athinaïki: »It's a law that assassins drown in the blood of their victims. The Mafia who are behind this syndicate of crime and who are drinking the blood of our people have made a fatal mistake. By picking on Lambrakis as their victim they have chosen their judge and their avenger. A single Lambrakis is more than enough to send them all to their graves. Lambrakis is lost but thousands of Lambrakides have been won-thousands of suns which will keep him alive and illuminate his memory.«

01.06. Konstantin Karamanlis resigns and goes to Paris in exile.

The president of the »Lambrakides«

08 06. Twenty Greek scientists, artists, workers, students and journalists meet to set up the »Lambrakis Youth« (»Lambrakides«). Theodorakis is later elected president.

03.11. George Papandreou's Centre Unions emerges in Parliamentary elections as the strongest party, but Papandreou refuses the support of EDA.


16. 02. Second Parliamentary elections. Theodorakis is elected in Piraeus. The Centre Union gets 53 per cent of the vote and forms a government. Soon after the elections, King Paul dies; his son, Constantine, succeeds him (08.03.).

»Zorba«:The unforgettable dance

Summer-Autumn: Theodorakis writes the score for »Zorba the Greek« by Cacoyannis, and his grand oratorio »Axion Esti« (Dignum est) has is successful première. Theodorakis divides his time between his artistic and political activities.


15.07. When Papandreou tries to take control of the Army and become the real head of the government in Greece, the young King Constantine dismisses him. Huge demonstrations.

19.07.The Greek Army is put on alert.

 Résultat de recherche d'images pour "sotiris petroulas"Sotiris Petroulas

21.07. Theodorakis is to make a speech. He is carried through the crowd by a Lambrakides, Sotiris Petroulas, a 23-year-old economics student, who is later killed by a tear gas grenade.

22.07. In the morning Theodorakis is told by some Lambrakides that they had catched a group of agents burying Petroulas secretly. With their help, he is made to hand over the body, and next day hundreds of thousands of people accompany it from Athens Cathedral to the cemetery. Theodorakis has written a song to the memory of his dead friend; it is sung by the cortege.

The Lambrakis Youth grows enormously in strength, and Theodorakis suddenly finds himself the president of the biggest political organisation in Greece. The Lambrakides undertake political and social work; they plant trees, restore churches, give their blood, open houses of culture and libraries, and organise concerts.



01.01. King Constantine gives his New Year address and says the communists are responsible for the political agitation. As a direct consequence of the king's speech Theodorakis' music is banned on Greek radio. Theodorakis publishes the »Manifesto of the Lambrakides«: »Who are we? What do we want? Why do they fight us?«. He makes a violent attack on the royal family. »The main target is the administration of the queen's funds; there is no obligation to publish the accounts. The queen's funds come from a number of indirect taxes and are a hangover from the period of reconstruction after the civil war. In order to make the royal family popular it was given the role of 'social ministry' to hand out alms'. Now it was being asked whether all the funds had been handed out«. (Olsen)

At the Marathon peace march

 22.05. Thousands of Greeks and foreigners take part in the peace march from Marathon to Athens to commemorate the third anniversary of the assassination of Lambrakis.

The anti-parliamentary demonstrations against the actions of the king and the governments become more and more frequent over the next eight months. In the end the king bows to the pressure of the opposition and promises new parliamentary elections for 28 May 1967.



19.04. Theodorakis approaches Andreas Papandreou with a view to forming a united patriotic front against the fascist threat.

20.04. Theodorakis spends the day at home in Nea Smyrni. Myrto is preparing for her husband's trip to Holland, where Philips, the recording company, has invited him.

 Résultat de recherche d'images pour "junta 1967"Tanks in the streets of Athens

21.04. A friend telephones Theodorakis at four in the morning to tell him that the military coup d'état which had been feared for a long time, has taken place.



© Guy Wagner & Asteris Koutoulas. All rights reserved