Georgios Grivas is arguably the most influential character in the political Cyprus events of the last century. His undying passion for Cypriot Enosis and leadership through the conception of EOKA, was crucial to the Greek Cypriot movements towards independence and unity. A natural leader and man of action, Grivas founded several organizations, such as Organization X, EOKA, and EOKA B, and orchestrated countless resistance movements and attacks to fulfill his vision of a Greek Cyprus.
Grivas had military ambitions from a young age. He first attended the Athens Military Academy at the age of eighteen and finished his studies at the Ecole Militaire in Paris1. As a sub-lieutenant he went directly to the Asia Minor front, beginning his life-long military career in the region. There he served in the 10th Division of the Greek Army, but after defeat and withdrawal from Asia Minor in 1922, he was relocated to Redestos, Thrace. Bravery exhibited during this time lead to his promotion to lieutenant and when Grivas returned to Greece he lectured at the Military School of Greece1. This early military talent was apparent in Grivas’ early twenties and would continue to be seen throughout his life. Promotion to captain soon followed and by 1935 Grivas had reached the rank of major in the Greek Army.
As World War II commenced, Grivas began working in the operations department at the central headquarters of the Greek Army, specializing in northern Greece’s strategic defense plans. When Metaxas, the Greek dictator during 1940, rejected the Italian ultimatum demanding the occupation of Greek territory, Italy invaded. This gave Grivas an opportunity to exercise his military talents and join the attacks in Albania. Grivas served as chief of staff of the 2nd Division in Albania after the Italian attack on Greece. The Italians quickly began to look humiliated as their attacks failed, but in April, 1941 Nazi Germany aided Italy which quickly lead to an German-Italian-Bulgarian occupation of Greece. However, before the entrance of the German aid, Grivas’ leadership in Albania nearly expelled the Italian forces. It was only after the Nazi intervention that his troops were defeated.
During the German-Italian-Bulgarian occupation of Greece, Grivas founded the Grivas Military Organization which was soon renamed Organization X, or simply X (Chi)2. Marking the first of many organizations founded by Grivas throughout his military career, this extreme right and anti-communist militia persecuted non-monarchists throughout and after the occupation. Resistance activities included spying for the Allies, small anti-German attacks and transport to the Middle East. X was first concentrated in the wealthy districts of Athens, expanding to approximately 2,500 men in 19443. Its main goal was to eradicate communist party members and support British and Greek government forces against the EAM, ELAS, and KKE groups in Greece.
Following his retirement from the Greek army,...