Fighting the communism in Greece

Sep 2019
In Greece the fight not only against axis powers but also fight against totalitarian communism was necessary to liberate the country. Communist party of Greece organized its resistance movement called EAM or ELAS after the German attack against Soviet union. At first they were fighting the axis forces in Greece but when they became stronger they turned on other resistance movements which were not led by communists. Already in spring of 1943 ELAS attacked liberal EKKA resistance movement and in April 1944 they managed to kill their leader colonel Dimitrios Psaross. It is clear that communists in Greece were following a plan to impose totalitarian communism on the country.

In autumn 1943 ELAS attacked also monarhists of EDES and tried hard to destroy their resistance movement. But communist plans were hindered by the British which landed in Greece in autumn of 1944 after German retreat. ELAS red partisans used the power vacuum for extrajudicial killings of people who were considered by them collaborators. Members of former security battalions formed by Greek collaboracionist Ioannis Rallis were killed in large numbers even many of them were conscripted by force.

ELAS did not want to disarm when the British came and did not support the plan for making a new unified army of Greece and a new democratical governament of national unity. Churchill is saying in his memoirs of second world war that the communists organized illegal demonstrations in Athens in December 1944 in hope that they will be able to gain power. When police shot some demonstrators ELAS stormed police stations in Athens and start to execute policemen on great scale accusing them of being collaboratos with Germans. But many of them were in fact secretly working for Greek governament in exile. Seeing the massacre of policemen Churchill ordered British troops to crush the communist rebellion in Athens.

By December 12, ΕΑΜ was in control of most of Athens, Piraeus and the suburbs. The government and British forces were confined only in the centre of Athens. The British, alarmed by the initial successes of EAM/ELAS and outnumbered, flew in the 4th Indian Infantry Division from Italy as emergency reinforcements.

By early January, EAM forces had lost the battle. On 15 January 1945, British general Scobie agreed to a ceasefire in exchange for the ELAS's withdrawal from its positions at Patras and Thessaloniki and its demobilization in the Peloponnese. The communist guerillas, led by Siantos, evacuated the capital taking thousands of hostages.

Apparently communists did not decide to attack the British and non-communist Greeks on full scale yet during the war was still going on. The fighting was limited only to Athens yet ELAS was making political purges on the territory of the rest of the country which they controlled to. Communists started to hide their weapons for future red revolution which they planned for the time after the WW2.

Churchill Second world war 1954, pages 957-967. ... Liberation

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Mar 2018
Communist guerrillas accused for "traitors of working class" and killed even children. We were lucky that communists did not dominate the country, but unlucky in the sense that we never experienced what communism really is, so we didn't reject it to the degree that nations of the former soviet bloc have rejected it. It's the leftist socialistic governments of 1980's which took one of the healthiest-till then-economies of the world and turned it to the shame that Greek economy is right now
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Nov 2014
@ AnonymousProfesor

Pretty accurate the description you put up. I would point out however some things about it.

EDES originally was also a liberal organization (antimonarchist) although less so than EKKA; later on they accepted monarchism as the lesser of two evils.
There were dozens of nationalist organizations spread around the country, but their forces were usually around 100 men each which were all attacked separately and eliminated one by one by the procommunist EAM/ELAS as possible adversaries, which would have been an obstacle for them to establish a Stalinist regime in Greece after liberation, like they did in the rest of Eastern Europe.
ELAS could field out up to 60,000 men, EDES up to 15,000 men and EKA 1,000; there was also another 0rganization (4,000) formed from refugees in Western Trace and Eastern Macedonia that ELAS was unable to eliminate like they did with EKKA.
The civil war started in the autumn of 1943 while the country was still occupied by the Germans and it continued after they left in the autumn of 1944, until the beginning of 1945.
It did not end though at that time; in March of 1946 a guerilla war started in Northern Greece that lasted until the summer of 1949.
In the meantime the British in 1947 declared that they could not continue to support the Greek cause (economically), and asked the Americans to take over, which they did with the Truman doctrine and the Marshal plan.
It should be kept in mind though that the Greek army which had retreated to Egypt together with the British after the German occupation of the country, started coming back having fought also at Rimini in Italy with the allied forces against the Nazis. By this time (1945), the terrorism and intimidation from EAM/ELAS was inflicted during the occupation to their fellow Greeks was not possible any more, in fact the opposite was true now, and that was the reason the guerrilla war started the next year.

I'll stop here and I won't continue with the consequences from this dreadful decade in later years.
Nov 2014
@ Giannis

I very much agree with what you are saying!
We should however look why Greece ended up the way it is today.
I think it has to do with the ideological predominance of the left that prevailed in Greece after the fall of the dictatorship (1967-1974).
At that time the people in order to show that they were open minded, liberal and tolerant they would accept leftist or communist or socialist ideas; it was all right to be a leftist, a socialist or a communist, which wasn't the case before that, but it was the whole situation all one sided. If anyone dared to say something against communists, socialists or leftists he was immediately branded as a fascist, juntist or reactionary.
Who were responsible for this kind of thing? certainly to begin with the supposedly right wing politicians of ND (New Democracy), who in reality were not and had become at best center-right with Karamanlis, Sr., called as ethnarch, who really was not.
Then you had the demagogue A. Papandreou, a former Trotskyist back in the '30s and '40s and an opportunist thereafter, who was exploiting the complexes of the people and inflaming anti-Americanism due to their positions in the Cyprus issue, something that we see even today with the Trump administration bypassing even laws of the US, by not taking any action for the illegalities of Turkey in Cyprus.
There is no need to explain how the communists were taking advantage to the full extent for this situation.

I could go in detail for all the politicians that ruled Greece after 1974, but at the moment let's leave it at that!
May 2017
And what about the responsabilities of the kings of Greece ?
-Unable to declare the war to Wilhelm II,
-Unable to beat the Turks,
-Unable to beat Mussolini,
-Unable to prevent the civil war,
-But big capacities to ask for the British help and the money of the Orleans.....
Nov 2014
And what about the responsabilities of the kings of Greece ?.
What specifically you are referring to?
There are specific answers for anything you might have in mind!

-Unable to declare the war to Wilhelm II,.
Unless you are joking, I think you are mixed up with the chronology of events. Here we are talking about events during and after WWII and you are referring to WWI.

-Unable to beat the Turks,.
Again you are probably confused, because the Turks were not involved with the subject for this thread!

-Unable to beat Mussolini,.
Again you are wrong because Greece did beat Mussolini in 1940 under the overall direction of King George II in 1940, when they tried to invade through Albania.

-Unable to prevent the civil war,.
Wrong again, when the civil war started King George II was already in exile with his legal government in Egypt being an ally of Great Britain and its allies.

-But big capacities to ask for the British help and the money of the Orleans.....
That doesn't make much sense either, because I don't know what specifically you are referring to!

I suggest you get your facts straight, before you make any questions or wrong misconcepted statements.
May 2017
The greek dynasty is the worse of Europe.Do you know the number of CW s soldiers and french + colonial empire KIA in this theater from 1915 to 1944 ? As the Bourbon of Spain are responsive-after the defeats of Marocco-of the civil war (1936-1939) the kings of Greece are responsive-after the desastrous wars against Turky (1919-1922) and the Axis (1940-1944)-of the civil war (1944-1949) and of a very late entrance in the democracy,which is very surprising,for the land of the filosofy.


Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
Again you are wrong because Greece did beat Mussolini in 1940 under the overall direction of King George II in 1940, when they tried to invade through Albania.
Yeah it was really only once the Germans got involved that the Greeks started to get pushed back. If I recall correctly, although the Italians invaded, didn't the Greeks push them back 100 or so miles?
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