In the village of Feneos, OPLA turned a nearby monastery into a concentration camp and killing ground for those they deemed "reactionaries". From 1944 each side targeted the power vacuum resulting from the end of Axis occupation (1941–1944) during World War II. Only three days later, Ioannidis resigned, finally opening the way for Constantine Karamanlis to return to Greece and form a democratic government. In certain cases, such as Volos, some RAF units even surrendered equipment to ELAS fighters. The junta suspended 11 articles of Greece’s Constitution to establish the regime. [39], Rural peasants were caught in the crossfire. In general, army morale was low, and it would be some time before the support of the United States became apparent. In summer 1948, DSE Division III in the Peloponnese suffered a huge defeat. For most Greeks, however, it is a date they would like to be able to forget. Lacking ammunition support from DSE headquarters and having failed to capture government ammunition depots at Zacharo in the western Peloponnese, its 20,000 fighters were doomed. It failed because the EAM/ELAS demands were considered excessive and so rejected. The new King reigned from the time of Greek civil war until his death in 1964, and was succeeded by his son, Constantine II. The Greek Civil War started shortly after World War II, lasting from March 1946 to October 1949. The soon-to-be military leader of ELAS sought to join the noncommunist resistance group commanded by Kostopoulos in Thessaly, along with other former officers. Yugoslavia had been the Greek Communists' main supporter from the years of the occupation. After an order to disarm, leftists resigned from the government and called for resistance. The Civil War left Greece in ruins and in even greater economic distress than it had been following the end of German occupation. On the morning of April 21st, 1967, Greeks woke up to a nightmare: the ominous rumble of tanks, occasional rifle shots and military hymns playing on the radio. The excuse of “the colonels” as the junta was described by many – was that Greece was in grave danger of falling into the hands of the communists. The Civil war is another catastrophe for Greece, for many worse than the Nazi occupation. The leader of the coup, George Papadopoulos, was a member of the right-wing military organization IDEA ("Sacred Bond of Greek Officers"), and the subsequent military regime (later referred to as the Regime of the Colonels) lasted until 1974. It provided for the complete demobilisation of the ELAS and all other paramilitary groups, amnesty for only political offenses, a referendum on the monarchy and a general election to be held as soon as possible. More people are killed during the Civil war than during the occupation. The KKE thus had to choose between its loyalty to the Soviet Union and its relations with its closest ally. When asked "which side they would have supported had they lived in that era", 39% responded "neither side", 14% responded "the right wing", 23% "the left wing" ; while 24% did not respond.[69]. On December 1, 1944, the Greek government of "National Unity" under Papandreou and Scobie (the British head of the Allied forces in Greece) announced an ultimatum for the general disarmament of all guerrilla forces by 10 December excluding the tactical forces (the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade and the Sacred Squadron);[27] and also a part of EDES and ELAS that would be used, if it was necessary, in Allied operations in Crete and Dodecanese against the remaining German army. The demonstration involved at least 200,000 people[28] marching in Athens on Panepistimiou Street towards the Syntagma Square. Colonel Papadopoulos leading a folk dance. The turmoil gave an opportunity to hardliner Colonel Dimitrios Ioannidis to topple Papadopoulos on November 25 — with yet another coup. The EAM called for a general strike and announced the reorganization of the Central Committee of ELAS, its military wing. The civil war resulted from a highly polarized struggle between left and right ideologies that started in 1943. With the German withdrawal, ELAS units had taken control of the countryside and of most cities. Three Greek army divisions began the attack at the town of Vitsi on August 10. On December 4, Papandreou gave his resignation to the Scobie, who rejected it. Aris Velouchiotis, a member of KKE's Central Committee, was nominated Chief (Kapetanios) of the ELAS High Command. Then came the sinister announcement on the radio: “The Hellenic Armed Forces undertake the governance of the country”. For the ELAS, the British represented their major problem, even while for the majority of Greeks, the British were their major hope for an end to the war. The agreement was made possible by Soviet directives to KKE to avoid harming Allied unity but did not resolve the problem of disarmament of resistance groups. That deprived the DSE of the principal force still able to support its fight. On their way, they were captured by an ELAS group, with Sarafis agreeing to join ELAS at gunpoint when all other officers who refused were killed. The removal of children by both sides was another highly emotive and contentious issue. The power vacuum that the occupation created was filled by several resistance movements that ranged from royalist to communist ideologies. In one of the meetings held in the Kremlin with Yugoslav representatives, during the Soviet-Yugoslav crisis,[64] Stalin stated his unqualified opposition to the "Greek uprising". [54] After 50 years, more information regarding the children gradually emerged. [29] The shootings began when the marchers had arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, above the Syntagma Square. At the beginning the government had only a few policemen and gendarmes, some militia units, the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade, distinguished at the Gothic Line offensive in Italy, which, however, lacked heavy weapons, and the royalist group Organization X, also known as "Chites", which was accused by EAM of collaborating with the Nazis. Third phase (1946–1949) Despite setbacks, such as the fighting at Konitsa, the DSE reached the height of its power in 1948, extending its operations to Attica, within 20 km of Athens. ", Nachmani, Amikam. In the early morning hours of 4 December, ELAS reservists began operations in the Athens–Piraeus area, attacking Grivas' X forces. ", Goulter-Zervoudakis, Christina. [25], By the summer of 1944, it was obvious that the Germans would soon withdraw from Greece, as Soviet forces were advancing into Romania and towards Yugoslavia, with the retreating Germans at risk of being cut off. (Makarezos, Pattakos, Papadopoulos) For the army colonels who overthrew the government and established a seven-year long cruel dictatorship, April 21, 1967 was the day of the Revolution and the rebirth of the Greek nation. Since its formation in 1918, the Communist Party had more than doubled, with an industrial base of more than 60,000. In April 1944 the Greek armed forces in Egypt, many of them well-disposed towards EAM, demanded for a government of national unity to be established, based on PEEA principles, to replace the government-in-exile, as it had no political or other link with the occupied home country and that any pro-fascist elements in the Army be removed. A small Greek People's Liberation Navy (ELAN) was created, operating mostly around the Ionian Islands and some other coastal areas. Two main groups remained within the borders, trying to reconnect with scattered DSE fighters largely in Central Greece. [43] The alliance of the Democratic army with the Slav Macedonians, caused the official Greek state propaganda to call the communist guerillas Eamovulgari (from EAM plus Bulgarians) while the communists were calling their opponents Monarchofasistes (Monarch fascists). Open Letter of the General Secretary of the KKE Nikos Zachariadis (October 31, 1940) The KKE had been banned in 1936 by the Metaxas regime. Also, KKE's leadership, was supporting a doctrine of "national unity" while eminent members, such as Leonidas Stringos, Theodoros Makridis and even Georgios Siantos were creating revolutionary plans. Under the aforementioned law, the term "communist bandits" (Κομμουνιστοσυμμορίτες Kommounistosymmorites, ΚΣ), wherever it had occurred in Greek law, was replaced by the term "Fighters of the DSE". Advised by British ambassador Reginald Leeper, Papandreou demanded the disarmament of all armed forces apart from the Sacred Band and the III Mountain Brigade, which were formed following the suppression of the April 1944 Egypt mutiny, and the constitution of a National Guard under government control. They held huge public celebrations on the April 21st anniversary and other feasts attended by thousands of Greeks. Within the Greek Communist Party, the split with Tito also sparked a witch hunt for "Titoites" that demoralised and disorganised the ranks of the DSE and sapped support for the KKE in urban areas. On October 16, Zachariadis announced a "temporary ceasefire to prevent the complete annihilation of Greece"; the ceasefire marked the end of the Greek Civil War. At the same time, the National Army found a talented commander in General Alexander Papagos, commander of the Greek army during the Greco-Italian War. In September 1947, however, the KKE's leadership decided to move from guerrilla tactics to fullscale conventional war despite the opposition of Vafiadis. [41][better source needed] Expanding their reasoning, they conclude that given their important role in the battle,[42] KKE changed its policy towards them. (1945–1967) The first Greek elections after the war were held in March 1946 and resulted in a victory for the royalist right. These were flawed and, with the far left abstaining, resulted in a sweeping victory for the royalist right. With the onset of the Cold War, Communist parties everywhere moved to more militant positions. "On the Social Construction of Hellenism Cold War Narratives of Modernity, Development and Democracy for Greece. The KKE kept an open line of communication with the Soviet Communist Party, and its leader, Nikos Zachariadis, had visited Moscow on more than one occasion. Andrew Rossos", History of National Resistance 1941–1944, v1, The Greek Civil War 1944–1949, Edgar O'Ballance, 1966 p.105, The Greek Civil War 1944–1949, Edgar O'Ballance, 1966 p.65, Ksiarchos S., The truth regarding Meligala, History of the National Resistance 1941–1944, v2. A demonstration, forbidden by the government, was organised by EAM on December 3. These groups, numbering 1,000 fighters, left Greece by the end of September 1949. [68], In a 2008 Gallup poll, Greeks were asked "whether it was better that the right wing won the Civil War". [65][66][67] Under the terms of this law, the war of 1946–1949 was recognized as a Greek Civil War between the National Army and the Democratic Army of Greece, for the first time in Greek postwar history. The conference took place in the Hotel Grande Bretagne. In 1981, in a major turning point in Greek history, the centre-left government of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) allowed a number of DSE veterans who had taken refuge in communist countries to return to Greece and reestablish their former estates, which greatly helped to diminish the consequences of the Civil War in Greek society. The DSE army was now no longer able to sustain resistance in pitched battles. The delegation's chief gained the nickname "sphinx" among local Communist officers for not giving any clues about Soviet intentions. [citation needed] After 50 years, some of these children, given up for adoption to American families, were retracing their family background in Greece. On October 13, British troops entered Athens, the only area still occupied by the Germans, and Papandreou and his ministers followed six days later. The following are available only in Greek: This article is about the conflict between royalist and communist factions. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union remained passive about developments in Greece. [citation needed] The reign of "White Terror" led many ex-ELAS members to form self-defense troops, without any KKE approval.[38]. Stalin explained to the Yugoslav delegation that the situation in Greece has always been different from the one in Yugoslavia because the US and Britain would "never permit [Greece] to break off their lines of communication in the Mediterranean". [48], The communist leadership claimed that children were being gathered to be evacuated from Greece at the request of "popular organizations and parents". The Big Dilemma: Should COVID-19 Vaccines be Mandatory? Under the Caserta Agreement of September 1944, all resistance forces in Greece were placed under the command of a British officer, General Ronald Scobie. EAM-ELAS, EDES and EKKA were mutually suspicious and tensions were exacerbated as the end of the war became nearer and the question of the country's political future arose. The communists, believing that it would leave the ELAS defenseless against its opponents, submitted an alternative plan of total and simultaneous disarmament, but Papandreou rejected the plan, causing EAM ministers to resign from the government on December 2. [14] Greece in the end was funded by the US (through the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan) and joined NATO (1952), while the insurgents were demoralized by the bitter split between the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin, who wanted the war ended, and Yugoslavia's Josip Broz Tito, who wanted it to continue. This page was last edited on 8 December 2020, at 00:19. [16][17] The two other large resistance movements were the National Republican Greek League (EDES), led by republican former army officer Col. Napoleon Zervas, and the social-liberal EKKA, led by Col. Dimitrios Psarros. The king stayed in Cairo because Papandreou had promised that the future of the monarchy would be decided by referendum.[26]. Rural areas also suffered as a result of tactics dictated to the National Army by US advisers; as admitted by high-ranking Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials in the documentary Nam: the True Story of Vietnam, a very efficient strategy applied during the Greek Civil War, and in the Vietnam and Korean Wars, was the evacuation of villages under the pretext that they were under direct threat of communist attack. The Greek Civil War started shortly after World War II, lasting from March 1946 to October 1949. Starting in autumn 1943, friction between the EAM and the other resistance groups resulted in scattered clashes, which continued until spring 1944, when an agreement was reached forming a national unity government that included six EAM-affiliated ministers. The political chief of EAM was Vasilis Samariniotis (nom de guerre of Andreas Tzimas). Proclaiming that it followed the Soviet policy of creating a broad united front against fascism, EAM won the support of many noncommunist patriots. During the winter of 1943–44, civil war broke out in the mountains of Greece between EAM-ELAS and the much smaller British-backed EDES, which had become increasingly alarmed at the prospect of a postliberation seizure of power by the communists. After the September 8, 1943, Armistice with Italy, ELAS seized control of Italian garrison weapons in the country. The events of November 17, when the premises of the university were brutally cleared out by the military, left several dead. Read More on This Topic Greece: Civil war and its legacy The first elections since the … The task of re-equipping and training the army had been carried out by its fellow Western Allies. [citation needed] However, the units of the ELAS in Central Greece and Epirus attacked Napoleon Zervas's units of the EDES forcing them to flee to the Ionian islands. Forgotten by whom? Communist Party of Greece, The Greek Civil War (Greek: ο Eμφύλιος [Πόλεμος], o Emfýlios [Pólemos], "the Civil War") was fought between the Greek government army (supported by the United Kingdom and the United States) and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) — the military branch of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) (supported by Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, and covertly by the Soviet Union via their Eastern European proxies) from 1946 to 1949. The struggle was one of the first conflicts of the Cold War (c. 1947 to 1989) and represents the first example of Cold War postwar involvement on the part of the Allies in the internal affairs of a foreign country. The war erupted in 1946, when former ELAS partisans, who had found shelter in their hideouts and were controlled by the KKE, organized the DSE and its High Command headquarters. Three Dead as Car Plunges into the Water at Greece’s Antiparos. 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