George Theodorus Grivas
(1898—1974) Greek Cypriot patriot and soldier
Greek-Cypriot patriot. He was proclaimed a national hero by the Greeks after the Cyprus settlement and promoted to lieutenant-general, the highest rank in the Greek army.
Born in Trikomo, Cyprus (then part of the Ottoman Turkish empire), the son of a grain merchant, Grivas was educated at schools in Nicosia and Athens. In 1919 he entered the Royal Hellenic military academy as a cadet, joining a Greek nationalist group that favoured union of Cyprus with Greece (‘enosis’). He adopted Greek nationality in 1919 and fought with the Greek army in the Asia Minor campaign, during which he was decorated for bravery. Between 1925 and 1933 he studied military techniques in France, returning to Greece to lecture at the Salonika training school.
At the outbreak of World War II Grivas joined the general staff of the Greek army. He commanded a division in the Albanian campaign (1940–41) and established an underground resistance group called X, which developed into an extreme anticommunist nationalist movement in 1945. During the 1950s Grivas led an underground campaign against British rule in Cyprus, forming the guerrilla army EOKA (National Organization for Cyprus Struggle) in 1954 and calling himself ‘Dighenis Akritas’ after the legendary Greek hero. He left Cyprus in 1959 after the agreement for independence was reached but returned in 1964 to command (until 1967) the Cypriot National Guard. In 1971 he returned secretly to Cyprus to organize supporters against President Makarios, whom he regarded as a traitor for accepting Commonwealth membership rather than enosis. He died in hiding in 1974.