The War Museum is located in one of the most central locations of Athens, and more specifically, at the intersection of Vasilissis Sofias and Rizari streets. The wider area of its location had been selected since 1959 to be the so-called “Cultural Center of Athens”, a large public area, capable to create a hub of cultural activities to include libraries, museums, galleries, theaters, concert buildings, a conservatory, educational institutions and much more. The initial suggested plan did not go ahead as has been scheduled, due to the political facts and juncture of that period.
In March 1969, before the physical existence of a specific space, the War Museum was founded by the greek legislation (132/1969). At the same time, it was decided that the museum building would be erected on the site of an old artillery campsite. The financing, supervision and construction of the building was undertaken exclusively by the Ministry of National Defense, which was assigned the project to the well-known architect and professor of the National Technical University of Athens, Thucydides Valentis.
Valentis designed the building with the modern international standards of that period, provided for museums, beginning subsequently the construction of the building in 1972. Its design followed modern architectural standards and its shape is clearly influenced by the German school of Bauhaus. The inauguration (grand opening) of the War Museum took place on July 18, 1975, by the former President of the Hellenic Republic, Konstantinos Tsatsos, and the Minister of National Defense, Evangelos Averoff.
The initial core of the museum exhibits, was part of the objects of the great exhibition on the War History of the Greeks, held in Zappeion in 1968, as well as the precious collection of Petros Saroglou, which consisted of thousands of rare weapons and weapons’ components from various historical periods. In the following years, the War Museum proceeded with the purchase, by individuals and by various institutions, of a number of works of art, archival material or relics related to the object of its exhibition spaces.