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The Greek dilemma; war and after- 

'9ii9.5 I-E6g 
McNeill 3.^0 

The Greek dilemmaj war and after- 


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War and 

William Hardy McNeill | 



i | 

i I 





To my wife, Elizabeth 


-HE history of Greece during 
the past six years reveals a bitter struggle for power between 
a Left, dominated and led by the Communist Party, and 
a Right, which has rallied around the figure of King 
George II. The struggle between these two extremes has been 
powerfully and decisively influenced by foreign intervention. 
The Russians have supported the Left morally; the British 
have supported the Right by arms, and, in conjunction with 
the United States, economically as well. 

The story, I believe, is interesting in itself. It takes a larger 
interest from the light which events in Greece can throw on 
the pattern of world politics which seems so rapidly to be 
dividing all the nations of the world into two great rival 
camps. Greece has become a bone of contention between 
Russia and Great Britain. The struggle between Left and 
Right which is now going on within the country reflects, and 
adds its part to, the forces which divide Russia from the 
West. Consequently, the fate of Greece is inextricably tangled 
with world politics. It is even possible that the fate of the 
world may take a decisive turn from future events in Greece, 
for the conflict is more naked and direct there than in almost 
any other country. 

This book arises from twenty months' residence in Greece, 
between November 1944 and June 1946. During that time 
I was able to travel through all parts of the country, and was 
witness to many of the scenes here described. The project of 
writing this book formed itself in my mind while I was still in 



Greece, and I was able to interview most of the men who 
have played a leading part in the recent shaping of the coun- 
try's history. 

All opinions and judgments expressed in the book are, of 
course, my own. 

W. H. M. 
15 October 1946 








VII. CmLWAR 161 






INDEX 286 






Athens EDES 





Liberal Party 


Popular Party 


Ethnikon Apeleftherotikon Metopon National Liberation 
Front. Leftist political resistance organization. 

Ellinikos Dimikratikos Ethnikos tfytwteymos Greek Demo- 
cratic National League. Conservative guerilla army in western 

Conservative political resistance organization in Athens; 
started EDES guerillas, but later broke with them. 

Ethniki kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosis National and Social 
Liberation. Socialist resistance group to which a small guerilla 
band attached itself. 

Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos. "National People's 
Liberation Army. By far the largest guerilla force in Greece, 
organized by EAM. 

The Responsible. Chief EAM local official. 
Political commissar with ELAS. 

Kommunistikon Komma Ettados Communist Party of Greece. 
The most influential component of EAM. 

Phileleftheron Komma. The party of Venizelos. Conservative 

Panellinios Apeleftherotiki Organ&sis Panhellenjc Liberating 
Organization. Conservative guerilla organization in Salonika 

Politiki Epitropi Ethntkis Apeleftherosis Political Committee 
of National Liberation. The Provisional Government of the 
Mountains set up by EAM in 1944. 

Laikon Komma. Principal royalist party. 

Rumeli-Avalona-Nisi, that is, a province of southern Bulgaria, 
Valona and Nish. A conservative irridentist organization. 

Chi, a letter of the Greek alphabet. Anti-Communist secret 
society? with, an affiliated political party of the same name. 



Greek Society and Politics 


IREECE is today a small 
country, an unwilling pawn of Great Power politics, dis- 
tressed by poverty and distracted by internal strife that verges 
on chronic civil war. As all Greeks are vividly aware, their 
nation occupied no such subordinate position in times past. 
The ancient Greeks put a stamp on Western civilization that 
has never been erased, and for centuries after the fall of 
Rome, the Greek Empire of Byzantium was perhaps the most 
powerful, and certainly the most civilized, state of Europe. 
The fact that their place in the contemporary world cannot 
compare with past greatness weighs constantly upon the 
national pride of the Greeks. They like to dream of rising 
again to a leading place in the world, and for long hoped to 
rebuild the vanished Empire of Byzantium and make the 
Imperial City of Constantinople once more the capital of the 
Greek state. 

Ever since Greece became independent of the Turks 
(1830), this hope has run through Greek political life like a 
will-o'-the-wisp. But the little kingdom of Greece was weak 
by itself, and speedily fell into bitter quarrels with neighbor- 
ing Christian peoples of the Balkans, so that the coveted 
capital and the hope of territorial expansion at the expense 
of the Turks both remained unattainable. However, at the 
beginning of the twentieth century, events of the Balkan 
Wars and of World War I, coupled with the appearance of 
a catalytic new political personality Eleftherios Venizelos 



breathed new life into the old ambition and brought about 
an entirely new political balance inside Greece itself. 

Venizelos first distinguished himself in 1908 as a leader of 
a revolt against the Turkish rulers of his native island, Crete. 
His fiery eloquence, ardent nationalism, and extraordinary 
personal magnetism won him many followers and admirers, 
so that when a military league staged a successful coup d'etat 
against the Government in Athens, the officers who had led 
the conspiracy fixed upon the young Venizelos as an appro- 
priate leader for their cause. Accordingly, although legally 
a Turkish subject, Venizelos was asked to come to Athens in 
1910, and within a few months he became Prime Minister 
of Greece. 

The new Prime Minister was above all else a Greek na- 
tionalist. He took the dream of a Greater Greece with deadly 
seriousness, and was able to win the support of most Greeks 
for his plans. In 1911 Turkey became embroiled in a war 
with Italy over the province of Tunisia. The time to strike 
against the hereditary enemy seemed ripe. Venizelos hastened 
to join in a league with Bulgaria and Serbia for the purpose 
of attacking the Turks and partitioning the European prov- 
inces of the Ottoman Empire. No definite agreement was 
made as to where the new Greek boundaries should run; 
and in fact there were basic conflicts between the territorial 
ambitions of the three Christian nations. 

Without settling these conflicts by any definite advance 
agreement, the governments of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia 
agreed to co5perate in a war against the Turks. Accordingly, 
in the fall of 1912, the three armies were mobilized, attacked 
the Turks simultaneously, and won immediate success on all 
fronts. The Bulgars defeated a Turkish army in Thrace and 
drove forward toward Constantinople. The Serbs met an- 
other Turkish army in Macedonia and utterly defeated it, 
capturing all the northern part of that province. The Greeks 
pushed northward toward Salonika and captured it in 


October. A second Greek force traversed the wilds of Epirus, 
where it besieged and eventually captured the capital, 

The great successes of the three allies were soon dimmed 
by quarrels over the division of the spoils. Austria and Italy 
were alarmed by Serbia's unexpected victory. They hastened 
to blunt its effect in the Adriatic by diplomatic intervention, 
and succeeded in setting up Albania as an independent state. 
By this means Serbia was shut off from the sea, and the 
Straits of Otranto were secured against any possible penetra- 
tion by Serbia's friends, the Triple Entente. Serbia thereupon 
demanded compensation for her losses in the West; but the 
Bulgars (and the Greeks) were unwilling to concede any of 
their newly won territory. At the same time, the Bulgars 
demanded Salonika, claiming that their greater effort in the 
war entitled them to the lion's share of the spoils. Prolonged 
and acrimonious negotiations ensued which were only broken 
off when the Bulgars made" an unannounced attack on the 
Greek and Serbian armies. 

The Bulgar attack on their former allies did not prosper. 
The Turks promptly renewed hostilities in Thrace; and the 
Rumanians too joined in the fray against Bulgaria. Such an 
encirclement was too much for Bulgar armies. They suffered 
a number of defeats, and in July 1913 the Bulgarian Govern- 
ment was compelled to make peace. In the settlement which 
followed, Greece annexed Crete, the principal Aegean islands, 
Southern Epirus and the southern half of Macedonia. Serbia 
acquired the northern part of Macedonia and the Sanjak 
which had previously separated her from the sister state of 
Montenegro. Bulgaria, although she had borne the main 
brunt of the fighting against the Turks, was forced to content 
herself with the provinces of Western Thrace and Pirim. 
The Bulgars were bitterly disappointed and cherished a burn- 
ing animosity against both Serbia and Greece for wresting 
from them so much of the fruit of victory. 


The next three years were a tangled and disastrous time 
for Greece. Crown Prince Constantine had personally led the 
Greek Army which captured Salonika, and had been able to 
take command o the troops besieging Jannina in time for 
the final assault. King George I was assassinated during the 
war, and Constantine became King while serving in the field. 
He reaped a great popularity from his military successes, and 
formed around himself a group of ardent admirers. Venizelos, 
the other great Greek protagonist of the Balkan Wars, rivaled 
the King's popularity. The two men did not like one another 
personally. Each felt the other claimed more than his share 
of credit for the Greek victories. Furthermore, there were 
differences in the social background of the men who sup- 
ported the two rivals, and this lent edge to their personal 

But what brought all these points of friction into full play 
was a question of high policy raised by the outbreak of World 
War I. King Constantine wanted Greece to cling to neutrality 
and husband her strength against unforeseen contingencies. 
Venizelos, on the contrary, advocated joining the Allied side 
of the conflict. King Constantine had family connections with 
the German Kaiser, and he had a soldier's respect for' the 
might of German arms. Venizelos was influenced above all 
by one consideration: Turkey was belligerent against the 
Allies, and if Greece should join the Allied side she could 
hope to gain Constantinople and make the Aegean a Greek 
lake, in the event of an Allied victory. It was a gamble, of 
course; the Allies might be defeated. But Venizelos was a 
born political gambler and gladly risked what he had already 
won, in hope of winning more. 

A moral issue was also involved, for Greece had been in 
alliance with Serbia, and, depending on how one construed 
the words of the treaty, she was or was not obliged to come 
to Serbia's assistance when the Serbs were attacked by Austria. 
Diplomatic intrigue flourished in Athens as French, Russians, 


British, Germans, and Austrians did all in their power to 
advance the fortunes of the party favorable to their respective 
interests. It was a situation in which honest and patriotic 
Greeks could feel sincere doubt, but the uncertainties of both 
arguments seemed merely to make the two sides more fanatic. 
All Greece came to be torn between the contending factions. 

Bulgarian entry into the war (1916) on the German side 
strengthened the Venizelist party, for victory over Bulgaria 
and Turkey could now open the road to Constantinople, 
which had previously been blocked by a neutral Bulgaria. 
An election in 1916 gave the Venizelists a small majority, 
but Constantine refused to re-appoint Venizelos as Prime 
Minister. The fiery Cretan thereupon decided on insurrec- 
tion. He withdrew from Athens and established a Govern- 
ment in Salonika in open defiance of the King. A French and 
British expeditionary force landed in Macedonia in support 
of the Venizelist Government where it opened the Salonika 
front against the Bulgars. This could plausibly be construed 
as treason; but the King countered in kind, for he sent secret 
instructions to the Greek garrison of Eastern Macedonia to 
allow the Bulgars to pass without opposition, thinking that 
Venizelos would be taken unexpectedly on the flank and 
overthrown by the Bulgar armies. This stratagem failed, and 
Allied diplomacy backed up by Allied guns (warships bom- 
barded the Royal Palace briefly) compelled the Government 
in Athens to come to terms with Venizelos early in 1917. It 
was a victory for the revolutionaries, for Venizelos became 
Prime Minister again, and Constantine was forced to re- 
linquish his throne to his second son, Alexander. Alexander 
was a less stubborn man than his father or his elder brother, 
George, so that the intensity of the struggle between royalists 
and Venizelists died down for a few years. 

The Venizelist Government in Salonika had begun to 
build a volunteer army. After the reconciliation, the regular 
Greek Army was sent to the Salonika front where it combined 


with the Venizelist troops and fought creditably under 
Allied command for the next year. After the Bulgarian sur- 
render and the Turkish collapse (early fall, 1918), Greek 
troops in conjunction with French and British occupied 
Thrace and bivouacked within sight of the long-dreamed-of 
capital, Constantinople. It was a time of high elation for the 
Greeks. Venizelos hastened away to the Peace Conference at 
Paris where he became one of the dominant figures of that 
international gathering. He won great concessions for Greece 
in Asia Minor, but failed to gain the keystone city of Con- 

Greek disappointment over this failure was severe. Simul- 
taneously, the untimely death of King Alexander reopened 
the scarce-healed controversy of the early war years, and a 
corrupt Government at home sullied Venizelos' popularity. 
In 1920 new elections were held and Venizelos was defeated. 
King Constantine returned in triumph, and a group of the 
King's personal friends and supporters took over the Govern- 

The royalists faced a difficult problem in Asia Minor. 
Greek troops had taken up garrison duties in the area assigned 
to Greece by the peace treaty, but the Turkish insurrection- 
ary Government headed by Mustapha Kemal had refused to 
accept any partition of Asia Minor and defied the Greek 
claims to part of the peninsula. Faced with Turkish in- 
transigence, King Constantine and his followers decided to 
overbid Venizelos' patriotic appeal which had won him such 
great political successes in the past. Accordingly, they under- 
took an offensive against the Turks, fondly hoping to annex 
most or all of Asia Minor. Unfortunately for their ambitions, 
imperial interests in Syria persuaded the French to lend sup- 
port to Mustapha Kemal, and Great Britain was unwilling to 
back the Greeks to the bitter end. Using French surplus war 
stocks, the Turks built up an army whose strength became 
superior to that of the Greek forces, and in the spring of 1922 


the Turks were able to inflict a serious defeat on the Greeks. 
Retreat soon turned into a desperate rout. The Greeks were 
unable to hold the Turks anywhere on the mainland, and 
what remained of the beaten Army made its way to safety in 
the islands off the coast or took ship directly to Athens. As 
the Turks advanced they systematically uprooted all the 
Greeks and other Christians who were native to Asia Minor. 
Many thousands were killed, especially at Smyrna when a 
great massacre of the large Greek community signalized the 
final victory of the Turks. Despite the thousands who were 
slaughtered, over a million Greeks and Armenians succeeded 
in escaping by sea to Greece. 

After this disaster the Greeks had no choice but to negotiate 
a peace with Turkey whereby they gave up all their claims in 
Asia Minor. A systematic exchange of populations between 
the two countries was agreed upon. The treaty with Bulgaria, 
concluded some years before, had also provided for a popu- 
lation exchange. Consequently, during the following three 
years, all persons who opted for Turkish or Bulgarian citizen- 
ship were expelled from Greek territory; and about half a 
million more Greeks came to swell the total of refugees who 
had come from Asia Minor in 1922. (One exception was 
made: it was agreed that the Greek population of Constan- 
tinople should not be displaced; and in return the Turkish 
population of Western Thrace was allowed to remain un- 

During the following years the Greeks' dream of a recon- 
stituted Byzantine Empire faded. Nearly all the Greek popu- 
lation which had formerly been scattered over the Balkans 
and Asia Minor, had either been absorbed into the rising 
nationalities or forcibly transferred within the new boun- 
daries of Greece. Turkey had emerged from the war as a 
compact national state, able and willing to protect Con- 
stantinople against attack. It followed, after the bitterness of 
war and defeat, that Greek relations with Turkey grew 


steadily more friendly until in 1931 a treaty of amity was 
concluded between the two ancient enemies. 

Part of the reason for this rapprochement was the fact that 
Greece found herself faced with the implacable enmity of 
Bulgaria. The Bulgars never gave up hope of recovering the 
provinces of Thrace and Macedonia, The Greeks, for their 
part, nourished a deep grievance against the Bulgars who had 
twice fought against them, and who so openly coveted the new 
provinces which Greece had won. 

The negotiation of peace with Turkey did not bring in- 
ternal pacification to Greece. The quarrel between King 
Constantine and Eleftherios Venizelos arose, in part, as we 
have seen, from personal incompatibility between the two 
men. It quickly took on a wider significance, however, when 
rival and hostile political parties formed around the two 
leaders. From 1916, when Venizelos embarked upon his 
Salonika adventure, he became the leader of a sort of dis- 
guised revolution. New men, representing a new class, rose 
to power in his wake and rudely shouldered aside the mem- 
bers of the semi-aristocratic families who had previously 
exercised a near monopoly of political leadership. 

During the nineteenth century the little kingdom of Greece 
had been organized on almost patriarchal lines. The over- 
whelming majority of the population was peasant, and took 
almost no active part in the political rivalries of the capital. 
In the villages the peasant way of life was well consolidated. 
The peasants generally owned the land they cultivated, and 
were able by hard work and frugal living to feed and clothe 
themselves and their families. Lack of education and lack 
of any active discontent united to restrain them from any 
important part in the political quarrels and maneuvers of the 
Athens Governments. 

Many, but not all, villages had traditional associations with 
a particular aristocratic family. Originally, these great 
families had been large landowners, or leaders in the Greek 


War of Independence, but during the nineteenth century 
their estates were nearly all broken up by sale to the peasants, 
and the former landowners moved to Athens, where they 
dabbled in politics. The peasants were generally willing to 
vote for their patron at election time; and in return they 
expected and received his personal intervention on their be- 
half whenever his help was needed in dealing with the Gov- 

In the capital, political faction was chronic and sometimes 
embittered, but it arose solely from personal rivalries and 
jealousies, exacerbated from time to time by foreign en- 
couragement of one or another party. There were no social 
differences between the various political groups, and political 
maneuvers often had the appearance more of a parlor game 
than of anything more serious. By degrees, the widespread 
devastation of the War of Independence was repaired; new 
land was steadily brought under cultivation; and public im- 
provements, such as railroad construction, were carried 
through with the help of foreign loans. 

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, this form of 
social organization began to develop new strains. The basic 
cause was a growing overpopulation. Greek peasant society 
produced a large surplus of children. Marriages normally 
were made at an early age, and large families were both ex- 
pected and desired. In consequence, arable land which had 
been left waste after the War of Independence was rapidly 
repeopled, and fifty years later a surplus rural population 
began to appear. Younger sons could no longer find enough 
unoccupied land on which to make a living, and were forced 
to look outside the village community for means .of liveli- 

Two solutions were found for this problem. By far the 
more important was emigration. A swarm of peasant boys 
began to leave for America (and other parts of the world), 
there to seek their fortune. Very often the emigrant was 


chosen in family conclave as the most likely to succeed in the 
strange outside world, and his passage was financed by the 
pooled resources of the whole family or by a relative who had 
already established himself in America, The Greek peasants 
when they came to America still maintained strong social 
roots in their ancestral villages. Their purpose was to make 
money as quickly as possible in order to send much-needed 
cash back to relatives in Greece. Consequently, despite their 
peasant origin, Greek immigrants seldom if ever took up 
land, but rather sought work in the cities, and faithfully sent 
surplus earnings home to Greece. 

But the journey overseas was long and expensive. Many 
Greeks were loath to separate themselves so far from their 
families or were unable to pay the cost of passage. Migration 
to the towns of Greece itself offered hope of livelihood for 
such persons; and the easy availability of a cheap, hard- 
working labor force, recruited from the surplus peasant popu- 
lation of the villages, helped to make possible a notable 
development of light industry in Greece after 1900. Textile 
manufacture far outstripped other industries. Factory pro- 
duction remained on a relatively small scale, however; and 
before World War I proletarian industrial laborers num- 
bered only a few thousand in all of Greece. Other thousands 
of peasants who could find no land in their villages were 
able to contrive a living in the towns of Greece by pursuing 
various service occupations or by becoming artisans and 
small traders. A few of the more ambitious and intelligent 
men were able to acquire professional training at the Uni- 
versity of Athens but very often discovered that their hard- 
won education failed to assure them an adequate income 
due to serious overcrowding of all the professions. 

The growth of towns meant the development of a group 
in the Greek population which fell outside the traditional 
social organization. To be sure, old attitudes and loyalties 
persisted strongly among the peasants who came to the towns, 


and the townsmen were not numerous enough to challenge, 
by themselves, the traditional political and social leadership 
of the great families, even if they had clearly wished to do 
so. They remained a marginal group. But the social problem 
of Greece in the early years of this century was more than 
the restlessness of the growing group of impoverished towns- 
people, for the great mass of the peasantry was less well 
content than before due to the ever-increasing land shortage. 
Village custom failed to adjust population to the land, and 
the traditional political leaders of Greece proved almost un- 
aware of, and totally unable to cope with, the population 

This was roughly the social situation in Greece when the 
dynamic figure of Eleftherios Venizelos arrived from Crete. 
He proclaimed a fiery nationalism; and his program of terri- 
torial expansion easily appealed to the land hunger of the 
Greek peasantry. More than this, he channelled the restless- 
ness of the townsmen toward a new political expression. 
From the beginning, the marginal group in the towns was the 
most ardent and prominent of Venizelos' supporters. Hun- 
dreds of ambitious and impecunious lawyers, many of whom 
were peasants' sons, flocked to the political party which 
formed around him. The new party was called Phileleftheron 
Komma, that is, Friends of Liberty Party, or, as the name is 
usually translated, the Liberal Party. 

Very few of the old families cared to associate with the 
new political group, finding its members as a rule, poor, 
coarse and uncultured. But Venizelos* great successes in the 
Balkan Wars, and the palpable force of his personality, 
quickly made his party a real power in the land. Thus, for 
the first time since Greece had achieved liberation from the 
Turks, the political and social leadership of the old families 
was seriously questioned. They met the challenge by rec- 
onciling the petty differences that had previously divided 
them. By and large, the old families rallied round the King, 


forming what came to be known as the Laikon Komma, that 
is, the People's, or Popular, Party. King Constantine became 
in fact, though not in name, the party leader. 

The annexation of Macedonia and Thrace, and the influx 
of a million and a half refugees after 1922, worked a funda- 
mental change in the balance of forces in Greek politics. The 
new citizens of the Greek state were generally loyal to 
Venizelos and opposed to the Popular Party and the King. 
In the north, where large numbers of refugees had settled on 
the half-vacant land of Macedonia and Thrace, the popula- 
tion became almost solidly Venizelist; and in the larger towns, 
where other thousands of the refugees found habitation, 
Venizelist influence almost eclipsed that of the Popular 
Party. Only in southern Greece, and especially in the Pelo- 
ponnese, did the conservatives retain their old-time leader- 
ship. In the country as a whole, preponderance passed to the 

Thus, during World War I, the struggle between political 
parties assumed what was for Greece a new character. Instead 
of mere personal rivalries, the quarrels of the politicians 
came to reflect social cleavages and the bitterness of political 
strife increased correspondingly. After 1922 the struggle took 
on a constitutional form: royalist versus republican. This 
development of the controversy arose in large part as a result 
of the personal characters and acts of King Constantine and of 
his son, King George II. Venizelos began his public career as 
an advocate of constitutional monarchy, and perhaps never 
espoused theoretical republicanism with complete enthusi- 
asm. But when King Constantine became the chief of Veni- 
zelos' political opponents, he forfeited the neutrality which 
best becomes a king. It became impossible for the Venizelists 
to feel any real loyalty to a king whom they knew to be 
exerting every effort against them. While Alexander was 
King (1917-20) the Liberals got along well enough under 
the monarchy; but after Alexander's untimely death and 


Constantine's restoration, the Venizelists were driven toward 
republicanism, willy-nilly. 

After the defeat in Asia Minor (1922), King Constantine 
fled from Greece, and his son, George II, succeeded to the 
throne. George was entirely unable to stem the popular re- 
vulsion which arose against the Government that had led 
Greece to such a disaster. Reflecting popular feeling, a tri- 
umvirate of Venizelist officers proclaimed a revolution against 
the royal Government. They met with little resistance. The 
leaders of the revolt, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Plastiras, 
Lieutenant Colonel Stylianos Gonatas and Admiral Hadji- 
kyriakos seized control of the Government, and invited King 
George to leave the country. At the end of 1923, new elections 
were held. The royalists abstained, so that the new Chamber 
of Deputies and Cabinet were solidly against King George, 
and, in the absence of any other candidate for the throne, 
came to favor the establishment of a republican Government. 
Accordingly, in March 1924, George was formally dethroned 
and Greece officially became a republic. 

By this act, the Liberals and associated parties became in- 
delibly stamped as republican; while their major rival for 
political power, the Popular Party, by virtue of its origin and 
composition, favored monarchy. Thus the constitutional 
issue was created which has distracted Greek politics ever 

After 1922 the republicans enjoyed a secure majority. For 
the five years immediately following the end of hostilities 
with the Turks (1923-28), Greece was governed by a 
series of short-lived republican Administrations. A new Con- 
stitution was drawn up and adopted after long discussion, but 
constitutional procedures were by no means always followed. 
Threats of violence were chronic, and in 1926 General 
Theodore Pangalos established a dictatorship, which, how- 
ever, was overthrown a few months later by a palace coup 
d'&at. Gradually the most pressing problems created by the 


war faded away, and more stable government was established. 
In 1928 Venizelos became Prime Minister again, and was 
able to remain continuously in office until 1933. This un- 
wontedly long Administration was able to accomplish much 
for Greece, but proved unable to relieve the suffering and 
discontent brought to Greece by the world depression of the 
early thirties. 

During the postwar period, the principal line of division 
in Greek politics remained royalist versus republican. The 
two main groups were in turn extensively subdivided into a 
large number of small parties. These splinter parties usually 
formed around the figure of some prominent politician, and 
in many cases consisted only of a coterie of personal hangers- 
on. The small parties thrown off by the Liberals were in gen- 
eral rather to the left of the main stem, as for example, the 
Progressive (Proodevtikon) Party led by George Kafandaris 
or the Democratic Socialist (Dimokratikon Koinonikon) 
Party of George Papandreou. These parties remained small, 
and in parliamentary maneuvers usually joined forces with 
the larger Liberal group. 

A similar development took place among the conserva- 
tives. After 1924 the main stem of the Popular Party officially 
accepted republicanism, although many of its members never 
gave up hoping for the return of the good old days, repre- 
sented for them by the vision of the King once more secure 
on his throne. Moderate and royalist wings developed within 
the Popular Party, and an open split between the two seemed 
sometimes to be imminent. No breach ever took place, how- 
ever, and public advocacy of the King's return was left to 
small parties. Of these the only significant one was the party 
of Free Opinion (Eleftherof rones) led by General John 
Metaxas. Metaxas was a brilliant military organizer and 
tactician, a personal friend of King Constantine and a bitter 
enemy of republicans and republicanism. His party, how- 
ever, was very small. 


During these years, Greek political life differed from that 
of other European countries in two respects. No powerful 
peasant party arose to dominate the scene as was the case in 
Bulgaria, Rumania and Croatia. It is difficult to understand 
why an effective agrarian party did not develop in Greece, 
since peasants always constituted the majority of the popula- 
tion. Self-styled peasant parties enjoyed a paper existence 
after 1908, but, perhaps because of the distraction of the con- 
stitutional issue, the main mass of the peasantry was never 
won away from adherence to the Liberal and Popular Parties 
which remained distinctly bourgeois in leadership and 
orientation. Socialism, such as was familiar in Central and 
Western Europe, found equally small success in Greece. A 
Socialist Party was founded in 1908, but its members were 
predominantly intellectuals. Their ideas won little support 
even among the laboring classes of the cities, which, despite 
their changed circumstances, still generally clung to the 
attitudes of their peasant ancestors. 

During the period of republican predominance (1922-33), 
the country made considerable economic progress. Factories 
grew in number and size; roads and other communications 
were improved, and new areas of land were made fit for culti- 
vation by the execution of large-scale drainage and irrigation 
projects. As long as world prosperity was general, the Greeks 
were able to make out satisfactorily enough. After 1924, free 
immigration to America was stopped. The stream was par- 
tially diverted elsewhere, notably to Australia and South 
Africa, while the rising rate of industrial development in 
Greece itself helped to absorb what was left over of the sur- 
plus rural population. 

The Greek economy was, however, exceedingly vulnerable. 
Even after the annexation of the relatively fertile and exten- 
sive fields of Macedonia and Thrace, the country did no't 
raise enough food to feed its population. As much as forty 
per cent of the wheat consumed by the Greek people had to 


be imported from abroad. In addition, essential and expen- 
sive manufactured goods could not be produced locally, and 
had to come from more developed industrial areas. 

The imports of Greece were necessities. They were largely 
paid for by the exports of luxuries: tobacco, olives and olive 
oil, currants, briar and liquorice roots, etc. As long as trade 
was relatively free and other countries prosperous, this was 
an advantage for Greece. Greek tobacco, by far the largest 
export, commanded a high price on the market, being of a 
peculiar type and fineness which could not be produced else- 
where in the world. (The so-called Turkish tobacco in our 
cigarettes is in large part Greek.) Fields devoted to tobacco 
would pay for five to ten times the amount of wheat that 
could have been grown on the same land. Greece enjoyed a 
similar but slighter advantage from raising her other spe- 
cialized agricultural crops. 

But when the depression of the early thirties came to the 
world, the Greek economy was exposed to serious dislocation. 
Other countries could afford to do without fine tobacco or, 
olive oil; Greece could not afford to do without bread. Con- 
sequently, prices for Greek luxury products fell far more than 
did the price of bread, and it. became more and more difficult 
for Greece to buy enough wheat to satisfy the needs of her 
population. Serious hardship resulted, and some land was 
shifted from the raising of specialized crops back to wheat 

On the political scene, the onset of the depression 
sharpened once more the bitterness of party controversy. 
The Popular Party grew in strength; and in 1933, when 
elections were held, the Liberals lost their majority. This 
outcome was a surprise to the republican political leaders. 
A small group of Army officers, believing that a Government 
directed by the Popular Party would surely oust them from 
their positions, tried to organize a coup d'tat. The revolt 
was led by Nicholas Plastiras (now a general), but it did not 


gain the support of the more moderate republican leaders, 
and was speedily put down. Plastiras fled to France, as did 
his chief followers. The net effect of the revolt was to dis- 
credit the republicans and weaken their influence in the 

Sentiment favoring the return of King George undoubtedly 
increased, but the country was by no means of one mind, and 
the cautious leader of the Popular Party declined to bring 
the King back suddenly, or without a plebiscite. Prolonged 
and futile parliamentary maneuvers resulted. The new Gov- 
ernment failed to come to grips with the economic crisis 
which afflicted the country, and popular sentiment tended to 
harden toward extremes. On the one hand, a small Commu- 
nist Party won new support; on the other, a good many Greeks 
began to think that the return of the King would be a good 
thing and relieve the prevailing political instability. But it 
was neither of these groups which precipitated renewed 
violence. In February 1935 several hundred republican Army 
officers attempted a coup d'tat against the Popular Party 
Government. This revolt was better organized and on a much 
larger scale than the revolt of 1933. Venizelos was persuaded 
to give the movement his reluctant blessing, but he himself 
took little or no part in it. After a few days of fighting, the 
revolt was put down in Athens, and an army marched north- 
ward to Macedonia where the republicans had gained con- 
trol. Determined action by the royalist military leaders, and 
the failure of the coup d'etat in the south persuaded the 
republican generals in the north to give up the game after 
only a few skirmishes. The leaders of the uprising fled to 
safety abroad. Venizelos was among the refugees. He died 
in exile the next year. 

The revolt of 1935 provoked a reorganization of the Gov- 
ernment. Out-and-out royalists came to power and set about 
preparing the way for the return of King George II to the 
Greek throne. General John Metaxas was appointed Minister 


of War and purged the Army and police of all republican 
officers who were suspected of complicity in, or sympathy 
with, the revolt. When the Army and police had been purged, 
an election was arranged. The republican parties boycotted 
the election, and consequently an overwhelmingly royalist 
Chamber of Deputies was returned. The new Government 
hastened to organize a plebiscite for the return of King 
George, and, in November, a ninety-seven per cent vote in 
favor of his restoration was announced. The plebiscite was 
extensively falsified and in no sense represented accurately 
the opinions of the electorate. Nevertheless, King George re- 
turned to his throne, arriving in Athens late in November 

The King came back with the hope and intention of ruling 
as a constitutional monarch, more or less on the British pat- 
tern. He declared a general amnesty for all political offenders, 
and insisted that new and honest elections be held. Accord- 
ingly, another election took place in June 1936. All parties 
participated, and there was no systematic falsification of the 
result. The Chamber of Deputies which was so chosen, di- 
vided almost equally between republican and royalist parties. 
The largest single party was the Liberal, with 127 seats. With 
other splinter groups, the total strength of the republican 
bloc amounted to 142. The Popular Party gained only 69 
seats; but other royalist groups swelled the total to 143. Thus 
the two were almost exactly balanced and neither could com- 
mand a majority in the Chamber. 

Such a deadlock was hardly new in Greek politics. What 
was new was the fact that fifteen deputies representing the 
Communist Party of Greece held the balance of power be- 
tween royalist and republican blocs. This fact seemed to 
promise great influence for the Communists in any Govern- 
ment based on the Chamber of Deputies. It marks the arrival 
of a new force on the Greek political scene; a force which has 


played a most important part in the subsequent history of the 

The Communist Party of Greece (Kommunistikon Komma 
ElladoSj or as often abbreviated, KKE) was not a new organi- 
zation in 1936. It had been founded in 1918 by a group of 
intellectuals and labor leaders. It was first called the Socialist- 
Labor Party, but changed its name in 1924 when it became 
formally affiliated with the Third International. 

During the years of prosperity the Communists made little 
headway in Greece. The landowning peasants found nothing 
to attract them in Marxist doctrine, and the workingmen of 
the towns were generally too close to their village origins 
easily to abandon the traditional peasant frame of mind. The 
party did make a number of converts among students and pro- 
fessional classes. Marxist ideas appealed strongly to the numer- 
ous professionally trained men who were unable to earn a 
satisfactory living, since it explained their personal failure on 
"scientific" grounds, and proved it to be not their own fault. 
Another group in the Greek population was likewise touched 
by Communist propaganda, namely the refugees in the larger 
towns. Many of these had enjoyed relatively spacious living 
in Asia Minor, where they had been merchants and artisans. 
In Greece, few were ever able to rise again to the same stand* 
ard of living they had known in their old homes; and most of 
them were reduced to penurious day labor. Among these 
refugees, especially of the younger generation, the doctrines 
of the Communist Party met with considerable success. Ac- 
cordingly, many tobacco workers of Kavalla and other towns 
of northern Greece, and a substantial number of the refugee 
laborers in Athens and Pireus became Communists before 
the war. 

The Communist Party differed from other Greek parties 
in its stronger discipline and centralized control. The party 
was directed by a Political Bureau, headed by a Secretary 


General. He appointed subordinate officials to direct the 
party's activity in all the towns and districts of Greece. In 
theory, the Political Bureau represented a Central Commit- 
tee, elected by the members of the party at periodic con- 
gresses; but, in fact, the membership of the Central Com- 
mittee and of the Political Bureau was determined by cabals 
among the top leaders of the party, and only a single slate of 
candidates was presented for election at the congresses. 

During its early years, the Greek Communist Party was not 
thoroughly subordinated to the Comintern; but in 1931, 
when the party split wide open on a relatively minor question 
of tactics, the Third International intervened, and settled the 
dispute, bringing the Greek Communists thoroughly into 
line. An entirely new Political Bureau was sent to Greece 
from Russia in that year, and all of the former leaders were 
demoted. Nicholas Zachariades became the head of the Greek 
Communist Party; and, despite his youth (he was only twenty- 
nine years of age) , he was quickly able to restore discipline 
among the Greek Communists. 

In the next five years KKE won many new adherents. Its 
propaganda was powerfully aided by the hardships of the 
depression and the apparent inability of the established 
political parties to cope with the worsening economic situa- 
tion. The Communists gained steadily in the elections, but 
the party remained small, and in 1936 was represented by 
only fifteen deputies. But, as we have seen, the deadlock 
between royalists and republicans gave the handful of Com- 
munist deputies an importance out of all proportion to their 
numbers. It seemed that any party Government would be at 
the mercy of the Communist bloc unless a coalition between 
the royalist and republican groups could be arranged. 

By a remarkable coincidence, the Prime Minister and the 
Deputy Prime Minister both died before the Chamber of 
Deputies convened, and General Metaxas, as the senior Cabi- 
net Minister and leader of the tiny Party of Free Opinion 


(seven seats), found himself In control of the Government 
when the Chamber opened Its session in April 1936. By 
agreement of both republicans and royalists, the Chamber 
was immediately prorogued for a period of five months, and 
Metaxas was empowered to govern in the interim. The reason 
for this extraordinary decision was that neither the republican 
nor the royalist party wished to see itself at the mercy of the 
Communist deputies; but neither group could yet bring it- 
self to unite with the other in support of a coalition Gov- 

While the Chamber was prorogued, negotiations between 
the various political parties were carried on, and some sort of 
understanding between the Liberals and Populists was in 
fact arranged during the course of the summer. But Metaxas 
had little faith in the words of professional politicians. More- 
over, he liked the taste of power which the coincidence of the 
deaths of his seniors and the paralysis of the Chamber had 
given him. The Communists, meanwhile, had been active in 
their turn, attempting to negotiate with the republicans and 
persuade them to form a Popular Front on the pattern of 
France. The Communists were rebuffed, however, and rumors 
that they were about to organize a general strike began to 
circulate in Athens. On the strength of these rumors Metaxas 
was able to persuade King George that extraconstitutional 
steps were necessary. Accordingly, on 4 August, the King 
signed a decree conferring dictatorial powers on Prime Min- 
ister John Metaxas. The Chamber was dissolved sine die, and 
the Constitution suspended. Thus fortified, Metaxas called 
out the Army and was easily able to quell all opposition. 

The dictatorial Government proceeded to try to bring 
order, discipline and prosperity to the Greek people. It soon 
proved itself vigorous, and far more effective in carrying out 
policies than any of its predecessors had been, distracted as 
they were by parliamentary insecurity and uncertainty. 
Metaxas modeled his regime more or less consciously on the 


pattern of the Fascist and Nazi dictators, introducing a uni- 
formed youth movement, emphasizing things military, and 
repressing free speech. Politicians of all parties, including the 
Populists, were silenced; and if individuals showed signs of 
refusing to accept the new order, they were exiled to one or 
another of the islands of the Aegean. A far-reaching system 
of secret police was set up to spy on "subversive" elements in 
the population, and incautious conversation in public places 
was likely to land a man in jail or at least bring him up for 
warning from a local police official. 

One of the main aims of Metaxas' rule was to build up 
the Greek Army. The whole economy was organized to 
serve this end. Special subsidies and protective tariffs were 
set up to foster the development of industries which might 
contribute to the military power of the country. A small but 
surprisingly efficient munitions industry was built by such 
methods. Trade was carried on largely through barter agree- 
ments with other countries, and Germany took an ever larger 
proportion of Greek exports, sending in return mostly muni- 
tions and machinery of war. Trade unions were "coordina- 
ted" and made into administrative branches of the central 
Government. At the same time, Metaxas put into effect laws 
protecting the workmen from certain abuses, providing un- 
employment insurance, etc. The Government collected taxes 
from the industrialists and other men of means with an 
efficiency equalled by no previous Greek Government. Using 
these devices, Metaxas brought about a substantial economic 
recovery; but it is also true that the diversion of the national 
wealth to military and other nonproductive expenditures 
made the cost of living rise steadily. Wages were not adjusted 
to rising prices, and real wages decreased slightly. 

A particular target of the regime was the Communist Party. 
Most of the Communist leaders were clapped into jail at the 
very beginning of Metaxas' rule, but KK.E was able to pre- 
serve at least a skeleton of its organization. The number of 


its sympathizers increased during the period of dictatorship 
even though, for the time, no open propaganda or coordi- 
nated action could be undertaken. Other political parties, 
unable or unwilling to go underground after the example of 
the Communists, practically disappeared. Of course, the body 
of former sympathizers remained, and only a few leaders were 
ever exiled or jailed. But the organization and morale of the 
traditional parties almost completely disintegrated under 
governmental repression. 

The dictatorship was never popular. In free elections, 
Metaxas had attracted only a small number of voters, and 
after his accession to undisputed control of the state machine, 
his popularity did not increase. He relied upon the Army and 
the police to maintain himself in power. Both these organiza- 
tions were expanded and pampered as against other branches 
of public service. Army officers and the police consequently 
were generally well content with the Government and ac- 
corded it their passive or active support. Among the popula- 
tion at large, dissatisfaction was almost universal, but there 
was no organization capable of consolidating and leading the 
general discontent to open expression. 

Such a Government, in so small and poor a country, must 
have seemed easy prey to Benito Mussolini when he cast 
his eye around for new glories to win and fresh worlds to 
conquer. Occasion for quarrel was easy to manufacture. Ac- 
cordingly, in 1940, the Italian Government delivered an ulti- 
matum to Metaxas, and without waiting for his reply, invaded 
Greece in the early, morning hours of 28 October. 



War and Occupation 

DELATIONS between 
Greece and Italy had never been especially cordial; and from 
the time of Mussolini's accession to power, Greece figured in 
the Italian landscape chiefly as a candidate for admission to 
the Roman Empire about to be reborn. In 1923 relations 
were severely strained when Mussolini sent warships to bom- 
bard the Greek island of Corfu, but the matter was settled 
peaceably by the League of Nations. Following the collapse 
of Austria in 1918, Italy had taken over sort of unofficial pro- 
tectorate of the little backward state of Albania. In 1938 
Italian control became official. Soldiers were sent from Italy 
and met with little or no resistance as they marched inland 
to "pacify" the wild Albanian mountains. In general the 
Albanians were well enough content with their new rulers. 
A normal amount of brigandage and sheepstealing continued 
within the country and across the borders into Greece and 
Yugoslavia. Such disorders were age old, and were taken 
into small account until one day in 1940 an Albanian brigand 
was killed a few miles inside the Greek border. The Italians 
chose to make his death an international incident. 

The threat which Italian military occupation of Albania 
offered to Greece was certainly not lost on so shrewd a soldier 
as General John Metaxas. He bent every effort to strengthen 
the Greek Army and Navy, and in particular rushed to com- 
pletion the road that now connects Epirus with Thessaly. In 
the spring of 1940 the Greeks had an additional warning of 



Italian intentions, if one were needed. The light cruiser 
Helle, one of the proudest ships of the Greek Navy, lay at 
anchor off the island of Tinos where it had been sent to con- 
vey a sacred icon to Athens for the Easter celebrations. While, 
anchored there, it was sunk without warning by a torpedo. 
Pieces of the torpedo were later recovered and proved to be of 
Italian manufacture. Overt acts were supplemented by a 
systematic barrage of propaganda against the Greek Gov- 
ernment's policy toward the small Albanian minority of 

Italy's aggression against Greece was connected with events 
on the larger European scene. When World War II broke 
out in September 1939, Italy at first remained nonbelligerent. 
In the spring of 1940, however, just as France was reeling to 
collapse under the bombs of German Stukas and the grinding 
tread of German tanks, Mussolini saw fit to enter the fray. In 
North Africa, small British forces succeeded in containing the 
more numerous Italian armies of Libya. Under the circum- 
stances, the Italian Government needed a success to parade 
before the public; furthermore, possession of Greece and 
Crete would provide an easier and more secure supply line to 
the Italian armies of the North African desert, and would 
bring the Fascists one step nearer to the realization of their 
ambition of rebuilding the ancient Empire of Rome. To gain 
these ends, Mussolini decided to occupy part or all of Greece. 

Accordingly, on the evening of 27 October 1940, the 
Fascist Government delivered an ultimatum to the Greeks 
demanding the protective occupation of unspecified zones of 
Greek territory, monetary compensation for the death of the 
Albanian brigand and a number of other concessions. The 
ultimatum had six hours to run. Even before the six hours 
expired, the first Italian troops marched across the Greek 
border in Epirus. Metaxas, for his part, after anxious con- 
sultations, boldly refused the Italian demands. 

It would appear that Italian intelligence reports had grossly 


miscalculated both Greek strength and Greek morale. Mus- 
solini expected to meet with little resistance. He planned to 
be in Salonika within a couple of weeks, and to reach Athens 
a fortnight later. For the first day or two the Italians advanced 
without much trouble. Greek border guards fell back before 
the attackers, but were able to delay the Italian troops by 
repeated skirmishes. Geography narrowly defined the course 
of the invading army* One column tried to penetrate south- 
ward, toward Jannina; while a second set out eastward for 
the plateau of Western Macedonia, Kozani and Salonika. 
The first of these columns succeeded in moving some twenty 
to thirty miles across the Greek frontier during the first two 
weeks of the war, but its rate of progress was much slower 
than expected; and, as the Greeks retreated, their resistance 
steadily intensified. The other column had to climb a moun- 
tain ridge from Koritsa before it could reach the Macedonian 
plateau. This the invading army never succeeded in doing; 
the Greeks were able to stop the Italians at the foothills of the 
mountain only three or four miles inside their border. 

The Greek Army had been partially mobilized when the 
Italian ultimatum came, but it was deployed along the entire 
northern frontier. Immediately following the outbreak of 
war, a great wheeling movement was begun. The Bulgarian 
and Yugoslav frontier was stripped of most of its forces. 
Reservists streamed to call-up centers in obedience to the 
proclamations of the Government. In the course of the next 
seven months a total of twenty-two divisions and over 300,000 
men were mobilized. Equipment was poor, for the Greeks had 
little but infantry weapons with which to oppose Italian tanks 
and airplanes. Ammunition and food both became seriously 
short at the front, and for days on end Greek troops lived 
without warm food or any fire, on snowy mountain slopes in 
the dead of winter. Only a transcendent morale made such 
endurance possible. 

By mid-November the Italian advance had been stopped. A 


few days later the Greek counter-attack began. A whole divi- 
sion succeeded in crossing the Pindus Mountains north of the 
Metsovon road and was able to fall upon the undefended 
flank of the Italian column which had pressed southward 
toward Jannina. The Italians were unprepared for the attack. 
(The Greeks left transport and supply behind them when 
they scaled the mountain range, save for what small trickle of 
food and ammunition mules were able to bring up after 
them.) To cover themselves, the Italians retreated; but the 
retreat turned into a rout as the morale of the Fascist soldiers 
cracked. Precipitous retreat carried them across the border 
into Albania, and victorious Greek troops, coming north from 
Jannina, west over the Pindus Mountains, and plunging 
down from the Fiorina pass were able to capture Koritsa 
(November) and Argyrokastron (December). 

The Greek advance came to a grinding halt some thirty 
miles inside the Albanian border. Greek endurance and sup- 
ply lines were strained to the limit, and while the force of 
their attack weakened, the Italians steadily picked up rein- 
forcements and fresh supplies as they drew back, until they 
were at length able to halt the Greeks and recover something 
of their shaken morale. During the balance of the winter the 
battlefront shifted very little. Both Italians and Greeks en- 
dured great hardships from the severe winter weather. Lack 
of sufficiently warm clothing caused thousands of rf Greek sol- 
diers to lose their hands and feet by freezing. To this day, 
wheel chairs carrying legless men, whose limbs were frozen at 
the Albanian front and had to be amputated, are a common 
sight in Athens. 

In February the Greeks tried to resume their advance, and 
they were able to straighten out the battle line in the center 
by conquering a few square miles. But the attack was costly 
and failed to break through. In the spring, the Italians in 
their turn prepared an assault on the Greek lines, attempting 
to drive southward in the direction of Koritsa. The Greeks 


were able to stem the attack, but had to expend almost their 
last reserves to do so. The Albanian front had seemingly 
settled down to a stalemate. 

The unprovoked Italian aggression created a remarkable 
and seldom-paralleled surge of self-abnegating patriotism that 
ran through the whole Greek nation. All the psychological 
energy of the Greeks, which normally was frittered away in 
striving against one another, suddenly turned against the in- 
vader. The nation united as never before. Fashionable ladies 
of Athens, who had never worked in their lives, volunteered 
as nurses, travelled through the remote and barbarous moun- 
tains of Epirus and did their best to organize hospitals in the 
mountains. Men too old to fight served as muleteers, making 
their way over the precipitous mountain paths. Others helped 
to bring up supplies over the few roads by car or wagon. 
Peasants of the near-by villages gave their labor gladly to clear 
the rdads of snow in order that the precious stream of supplies 
could continue to flow toward the front. The transport system 
of the Greek Army would have amazed an American soldier. 
Civilian vehicles of all descriptions battered themselves to 
pieces on the rough and narrow roads. Wagons and mules 
carried loads where motor vehicles could not go; and not a 
few supplies were carried on human backs often by local 
peasant women. 

In the fervor of the moment, Metaxas found it safe to grant 
pardon to many political offenders. Not all his prisoners were 
released; and in particular he kept the main figures of the 
Communist Party under lock and key. Nevertheless, in the 
early days of the war, the Communist leader, Nicholas Za- 
chariades, wrote a letter from his prison cell in Corfu, in- 
structing all good Communists to join in the fight against 
Fascist aggression and loyally to cooperate with the hated 
Metaxas regime. The general political spirit was well typified 
by the action of Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, who shortly be- 
fore the establishment of dictatorship had organized a party 


of National Unity (Ethnikon Enotikon Komma) and been 
exiled from Athens for his pains. Upon release from deten- 
tion, he volunteered to serve as a private in the Army and 
went to the front in that humble position. 

The enthusiasm of civilians was reflected to the full in the 
ranks of the Greek Army. The original repulse of the Italian 
forces had been possible only through an almost reckless 
daring which risked being cut off from all adequate supplies 
in order to attack on an exposed flank. When the Italian re- 
treat began, a wave of high confidence ran through the entire 
Greek Army. Individual soldiers performed almost incredible 
feats of daring and endurance, marching long miles and at- 
tacking with dash and persistence. The story is told how on 
one occasion a Greek detachment found itself without am- 
munition in the face of an Italian outpost. Nevertheless, the 
Greeks attacked the panicky Italian soldiers with only rocks 
and empty rifles in their hands, drove them from their 
trenches, and captured enough ammunition to continue their 
advance* Even if the story be not exactly true, it was widely 
circulated among the Greek troops and was generally be- 
lieved, as it is still. The spirit of the troops was such that they 
might well have been capable of such heroic rashness. 

It seems probable that the Greek success was due more to 
the amazing morale of the Army than to well-prepared plans 
or skillful generalship. The perennial individualism of the 
Greek showed itself on more than one occasion by dis- 
obedience to orders; and when their officers failed to lead 
satisfactorily, the troops let their displeasure be known, and 
in a few instances took matters into their own hands and shot 
the offending officers. The whole advance must have been 
chaotic and confused. Small units moved forward until they 
met opposition, attacked and overcame it if they could; if not, 
waited until more Greek troops came up and a stronger at- 
tack could be launched. Much of the Greek supply came from 
captured Italian stores. At no time was the supply of am- 


munition and food from the rear adequate to sustain a heavy 

The coming of spring did not dampen civilian ardor for 
the war, but at the front many men must have realized that 
no repetition of the first days of success was possible. The 
Greeks had deployed almost their last reserves to stop the 
Italian offensive of March, and there were no replacements 
for the men who fell sick or suffered wounds. Food was in- 
adequate, ammunition scarce; and the Italians were superior 
in numbers, supply and equipment A small trickle of mili- 
tary supplies from the British and the effective help of a 
squadron of RAF fighters, could not counterbalance the 
Italian superiority. Under the circumstances, no great vic- 
tories could be hoped for by the Greeks; and indeed, had the 
Germans not intervened, it seems probable that Mussolini's 
legions would have been able to hold their line and probably 
even to advance against the Greeks during the summer of 

But it was not destined that the Greek effort should gutter 
out in slow defeat. The Epic of Albania, as the Greeks habit- 
ually now call their war against the Italians, had an epic end- 
ing; the ponderous weight of the German Army came to the 
rescue of Italian arms in April 1941, easily and swiftly crush- 
ing the resistance that stood in its way. 

During the autumn and winter of the Albanian War, 
events had moved rapidly on the European scene. In the fall 
of 1940 Germany toyed with and then abandoned the idea of 
an invasion of England. In North Africa, British troops were 
able to drive back the Italians in Libya, sweeping as far west- 
ward as Bengasi. To counter this success, the Germans had 
begun to organize the Afrika Korps which was to reverse the 
balance and drive the British almost to the gates of Alex- 
andria. But the main attention of the German High Com- 
mand- had shifted from west to east. The German generals 
were busy, in secret, preparing plans for the invasion of 


Russia. To secure the southern flank of the armies in Russia, 
the Germans found it necessary to bring the entire Balkan 
Peninsula within their sphere of influence. To win Bulgaria 
was no problem, for the Bulgars gladly seized what seemed a 
chance to regain territory lost to Greece and Yugoslavia, and 
opened their frontiers secretly to German troops. Rumania 
yielded to force majeure, giving up Transylvania to Hungary 
and admitting the German Army. 

But in Greece and Yugoslavia, the Germans had a more 
difficult problem. Both countries had been traditionally as- 
sociated with the French and British, and a strong current of 
antipathy to the Germans and their Nazi Government ran 
through the people of both nations. Through the winter of 
1940 the Greek public was so engrossed in the war with Italy 
as to spare little attention to the threatening developments to 
the north. The Greek Government was at least partially in- 
formed of German troop movements in Bulgaria, but was 
unable to spare any large number of soldiers from the 
Albanian front to safeguard the Bulgarian frontier. Diploma- 
tic maneuver was equally shut to the Greeks. Since they were 
engaged in a bitter war with Italy, the ally of Germany, the 
Greeks could. scarcely expect to come to satisfactory terms 
with the German end of the Axis without having to yield to 
the utterly unacceptable demands of the Italians. Willy-nilly, 
Metaxas was forced to rely upon the British. He must have 
realized how weak was the British power in the Eastern 
Mediterranean, how inadequate to protect Greece against the 
might of German armies. Nevertheless, Britain was the only 
ally to whom Greece could turn, as Greece was the only ally 
which Britain could find on the whole continent of Europe. 

A few months before the outbreak of World War II, the 
British Government had "guaranteed" the territorial in- 
tegrity of Greece. Accordingly in the first months of 1941, 
when the threat from the north loomed unmistakably, the 
Greek Government asked Great Britain to honor this guar- 


antee by despatching an expeditionary force to help stave off 
the German and Bulgarian danger. Churchill, despite disas- 
trous experiences in France and Norway, was still an optimist. 
He felt the importance of demonstrating before the world 
that Britain still kept her promises even in time of extreme 
emergency. Furthermore, he perhaps welcomed a land front 
in Europe against the Germans, thinking that the rugged 
mountains of Greece might stop German armor, and later 
serve as a convenient bridgehead from which a British attack 
on German-held Europe could be launched. Whatever 
ChurchilFs thoughts, he decided to respond to the Greek 
appeal. The victorious British Army of the Nile was broken 
up, and a total of about sixty thousand men, including the 
best of the British North African divisions, were sent into 
Greece under the command of General Sir Henry Maitland 

The first British troops arrived in Athens, 4 March 1941 
and were received by a wildly enthusiastic populace. They 
were rumored to be but the advance guard of a mighty host, 
and extravagant hopes based upon these rumors no doubt 
helped to bring about the popular revolution that took place 
in Yugoslavia in April when the Government which had 
come to terms with Hitler was overthrown, and another, com- 
mitted to resist the Germans, put in its place. 

The Germans were not unprepared for the Brtish landing 
in Greece, A German army had secretly been concentrated in 
southwest Bulgaria against just such an emergency, and by 
the beginning of April it was ready to advance. Accordingly, 
on 6 April, Germany declared war on both Yugoslavia and 

The lines of the German attack on Greece followed geo- 
graphically determined routes. Starting from western Bul- 
garia the main column cut through the southeast corner of 
Yugoslavia and moved down the rolling plains of the Axios 
Valley toward Salonika. Within three days of the opening of 


hostilities the Germans entered Salonika and cut off the 
Greek garrison in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. A second 
and smaller column swung wide through Yugoslav Mace- 
donia, captured Skoplje, and crossed the Greek frontier at the 
Monastir Gap. Travelling south through open, rolling plateau 
country, this force was able to penetrate to the Aliakmon 
River (Kozani) by 14 April. Meanwhile the Greeks had put 
up a brave but brief battle along the Bulgarian frontier 
(notably in the Kula Pass), but when cut off from the rest of 
Greece by the capture of Salonika, the garrison of Eastern 
Macedonia and Thrace surrendered. 

The British had landed their first troops in Greece a scant 
month before the German attack, and by the beginning of 
April had not succeeded in bringing more than a small part 
of their total force into northern Greece. No serious effort 
was made to hold the Germans north of the Aliakmon River. 
Small British and Greek detachments beyond this line with- 
drew as best they could before the advancing German 
columns. The first battles were fought when the Germans 
reached the precipitous valley of the Aliakmon, with its sea- 
buttress, Mt. Olympus. Together these two geographical 
features formed the so-called Olympus Line. To this day 
shattered tanks can be seen in the Vale of Tempe and along 
the Aliakmon gorge where the two armies fought. But Ger- 
man strength in tanks, airplanes and manpower was far su- 
perior to that of the defenders, and the Germans were able 
to break through the British-Greek line after three or four 
days of hard fighting (17 April). 

The disorganized Allied troops fell back on Mount Oeta 
and the historic pass of Thermopylae, but here too the Ger- 
man superiority quickly told- (24 April) and the British de- 
cided to evacuate the country. Weary troops embarked from 
Pireus and Nauplion, leaving all their heavy equipment be- 
hind them. German airplanes harried the retreat, and many 
ships were sunk in the harbors and in the narrow waters off 


the Greek coast, yet more than half of the British expedition- 
ary force escaped. 

In Albania, meanwhile, the Greek Army had been cut off. 
A fast-moving German column crossed the mountains from 
Thessaly and captured Jannina (23 April). The main body of 
the Greek Army had begun to retreat within a day or two of 
the German attack, but the men were utterly weary and 
dispirited, and equipment and supplies were even shorter 
than usual, so that no effective defense was established in the 
rear against the advancing Germans. On the same day that 
the Germans took Jannina, General George Tsolakoglu, com- 
manding the Greek Army of Epirus, surrendered all the 
forces under his command. With this surrender the main 
body of the Greek Army acknowledged defeat. Tsolakoglu 
had no authority from the Greek Government in Athens for 
his capitulation. He proceeded on his own initiative in the 
face of a desperate situation. 

On 26 April German parachutists landed on the isthmus of 
Corinth and cut off British stragglers. The next day, advance 
columns entered Athens from the north, and the Nazi swas- 
tika was raised high over the Acropolis. 

Less than a month later the indefatigable Germans 
launched their famous airborne invasion of Crete. The island 
was ill defended. Some of the disorganized British troops 
after their evacuation from the mainland had been landed in 
Crete; and there were a few Greek soldiers on the island also. 
The German attack came as a surprise, and after severe losses 
(particularly at sea, where ships of the British Navy braved 
the dangers of the Luftwaffe to destroy convoys of German 
troops attempting to cross into Crete) the Germans were able 
to win control of Malame airdrome near Khania, land their 
airborne infantry, and overpower the defenders. The first 
parachutists landed in Crete, 20 May; by 2 June organized 
resistance to the invaders had ceased. It was a novel campaign, 
very costly to the Germans, but assured them of a valuable 


air base for raids on shipping in the Eastern Mediterranean, 
and also gave them a new and shorter route of supply for 
the Afrika Korps in Libya. 

The dictator, Metaxas, died at the end of January 1941, 
and so did not live to see the conquest of his country. He was 
succeeded by the King's nominee, Alexander Koryzis, a 
former Governor of the Bank of Greece. Koryzis headed the 
Greek Government through the disastrous days of the Ger- 
man attack, but when defeat appeared certain, he committed 
suicide (19 April). In the emergency, King George him- 
self assumed the prime ministership for a few days. Mean- 
while, he cast about for a liberal politician who might prove 
able to reassure the public and willing to take over. Several 
leading republican figures refused the post, but Emmanuel 
Tsouderos, an ex-Venizelist Minister and another former 
Governor of the Bank of Greece, was prevailed upon to 
accept the appointment, 22 April 1941. 

Tsouderos refused to sanction General Tsolakoglu's sur- 
render, and the new Government decided, without trying to 
make terms with the German conquerors, to go to Crete, 
hoping there to set up a free Greece against some future and 
better day. The King and a handful of Ministers and other 
high officials were all who fled from Athens. They had no 
more than established themselves in Crete when the German 
attack began, and the refugee Government fled a scond time, 
to Cairo. 

In Greece itself the conquerors embarked upon a policy of 
conciliation. Greek soldiers were not held as prisoners of war 
but were allowed freely to return to their homes, and the 
entire Greek Army was demobilized. The Germans were 
anxious to reconcile the Greeks to their place in the New 
Order of Europe. They had no wish to keep more than a 
skeleton force of German soldiers in occupation, since all 
available Germans were needed for the great attack on 
Russia which was about to begin. The Germans decided that 


It was necessary to keep their troops at a few key strategic 
points. The rest of the country they handed over to their 
allies, the Italians and Bulgars. Accordingly, Crete remained 
in German hands, as did some of the other Aegean Islands. 
German troops occupied a strip of territory facing on the 
Turkish border in Thrace, and German garrisons were sta- 
tioned in Athens and Salonika. The Bulgars were permitted 
to annex Eastern Macedonia and Thrace; elsewhere the 
Italians were entrusted with responsibility for controlling the 

General Tsolakoglu, after surrendering the Army of 
Epirus, travelled down to Athens, and on 30 April, just a 
week after his surrender, he was installed by the German 
commander as Prime Minister of Greece. (The area of East 
Macedonia and Thrace entrusted to the Bulgars was no 
longer counted as a part of Greece, and the power of the 
Greek administration did not extend there.) Tsolakoglu had 
little difficulty in finding men to obey him. In general the gov- 
ernmental machine which had functioned under Metaxas and 
Koryzis continued to operate. The gendarmery remained 
responsible for ordinary day-to-day police work, and few of 
its members deserted or refused to accept the orders of the 
new Government. The same was true of other branches of the 
state service. The one great difference lay in this, that there 
was no longer any Greek Army. Instead Italian and German 
troops provided the ultimate support for the regime. But 
control of the armed force meant practical control of the Gov- 
ernment. From the beginning, Tsolakoglu's Administration 
had no independence, but obeyed the orders of German and 
Italian military commanders in all things. Nevertheless, for 
the first months of occupation, in ordinary day-to-day adminis- 
tration, the Greek Government functioned much as it had 
done under the dictatorship of Metaxas. Axis control was dis- 
guised, operating only behind the scenes on the level of high 


In spite of these precautions, the quisling Government was 
never able to win the support of any considerable number of 
the Greeks. The Greek people hated and feared the Germans 
and Bulgars; remembering the glories of the Albanian cam- 
paign, they despised the Italians who now strutted as con- 
querors in the streets. Nevertheless, during the first year of 
occupation the spirit of resistance found little expression in 
Greece. The people must have been rather stunned by the 
suddenness of their disaster. From the dizzy excitement in- 
spired by their success against the Italians, they found them- 
selves reduced to what seemed hopeless subjugation. Nearly 
all Greeks turned despairingly to the immediate task of keep- 
ing alive. 

During the ensuing months this was no simple task. Famine 
came to sit at the table. Thousands of Greeks died from lack 
of food or from disease brought on by undernourishment, 
Greece had not been able to raise enough food to feed its 
population before the war, and the Germans were not willing 
to send any surplus grain from their own storehouses to the 
relief of the conquered country. The physical ravages of war 
had not been overly severe in Greece; but some fields had not 
been planted due to the fact that peasant sons were away in 
the army fighting against the Italians, and the harvest was 
mediocre. Serious shortage of transport and steady deteriora- 
tion of the roads further exacerbated food shortages by mak- 
ing distribution more difficult. It is impossible to estimate 
with any exactitude how many Greeks died during the winter 
O f 1941-1942 as a result of the famine. The number runs into 
the thousands, and perhaps into the hundred thousands; but 
it is easy to exaggerate, since reports came chiefly from the 
cities, especially from Athens, where the shortage of food was 
most severe. 

Reports of starvation in Greece quickly spread through the 
world, and a variety of Greek organizations, Including the 
Exile Government, bent every effort to relieve the suffering. 


A remarkable agreement was concluded between the prin- 
cipal belligerent and neutral countries of the world to permit 
famine relief in Greece. Under this agreement an Inter- 
national Red Gross administration was set up in Greece, 
staffed by Swiss and Swedes, which distributed Canadian and 
American wheat, shipped into Greece with safe passage 
guaranteed by all belligerents. Relief brought in by the Red 
Gross under this agreement helped to end the famine; and 
after mid-summer 1942, the food supply became, at least com- 
paratively, adequate. 

With the new year (1942) there came a partial but none the 
less real economic recovery. In the confusion of defeat nearly 
all economic activity had come to a halt, but gradually fac- 
tories resumed operation, and production increased. The 
Germans seized relatively little from the industrial plant of 
Greece, although they did dismantle a part of the munitions 
factories and ship them away to the north. Other machinery- 
was too antiquated or inefficient to justify the trouble of re- 
moving it. Furthermore, the Germans and Italians employed 
large numbers of Greeks as auxiliaries to their armies. Men 
were put to work building defenses against Allied landing; 
others were hired to repair railroads and bridges which had 
been destroyed in the course of the war. The occupying 
armies and the Greek Government paid all these workmen by 
the simple device of printing paper currency. Inflation was 
the natural and inevitable result; but not until late in 1943 
did the depreciation of the currency assume runaway propor- 
tions. Before that, times were relatively good for the Greek 
workmen and businessmen. The shortage of goods which be- 
came so pronounced in 1944 had not yet shown itself seriously. 
Jobs were abundant and profits easy to take. It would be false 
to suppose that the Greeks were as well off economically in 
1942 as they had been before the war; the economic recovery 
existed only by contrast with what preceded and what fol- 
lowed. The Greeks have always been poor, and real and wide- 


spread deprivation undoubtedly continued through the peak 
of occupation prosperity. The fact remains that for most of 
the population times were better in 1942 than they had been 
before or were soon to be again. 

Despite the economic recovery, the summer of 1942 saw the 
beginning of effective resistance to the Axis occupiers in 
Greece. Small bands appeared in the hills, performed various 
acts of sabotage, and attacked isolated Italian and German 
soldiers. As time went on the guerilla forces steadily waxed 
in power and numbers, and the prestige and authority of the 
quisling Government waned in proportion. By degrees many 
of the ordinary state services in the countryside disappeared. 
Schools went first, for the schoolmasters were as a group gen- 
erally sympathetic to the resistance bands. Police power 
weakened more slowly; but by mid-1943 the gendarmery of 
the Greek Government dared not travel over large areas of the 
land, and its members remained in relatively large concentra- 
tions near the towns and along main roads. 

While the provincial administration of the Greek Govern- 
ment thus weakened, an enormous and unhealthy growth 
took place in the capital. Vast numbers of persons were added 
to the civil service lists, many of them possessing no qualifica- 
tion except a crying need for some ready cash or a close rela- 
tive in a position of power. As the strength and prestige of the 
resistance groups grew in the land, the quisling Government 
faced a growing moral crisis. Many of its functionaries felt 
secret sympathy with the guerillas in the hills, and some few 
of them gave up the security and comfort of town living to 
join one or another of the bands. As inflation began to show 
its force, the salaries of civil servants became inadequate to 
sustain life, so that state officials were driven to all sorts of 
devices in order to secure the wherewithal to live. Corruption 
flourished, and whatever efficiency the Greek Government 
had had under Metaxas gradually withered. 

It became increasingly common, as the certainty of German 


victory lessened and eventually disappeared, for officials of 
the Greek Government to come into relation with British or 
Allied secret services. Many a man liked to have a foot in 
both camps, so that no matter who might win the war, he 
would be able to put a bold front forward and claim to have 
been a loyal supporter of the victor from the beginning. An 
amazing and incredibly complicated maze of espionage and 
counterespionage developed from this situation. British 
"agents" were everywhere; and the same man was often both 
a British and a German agent, telling each what he thought it 
well for them to know, and often inventing or embroidering 
the truth of his reports almost past recognition. 

It would slander the Greek nation, however, not to em- 
phasize that the Allies generally got the best of the bargain. 
Nearly all Greeks sincerely hoped for an Allied victory and 
were willing to do what they could to bring the victory about. 
Their reports to the Germans must usually have been system- 
atically falsified; while reports to Allied authorities were for 
the most part innocently, though effectively, exaggerated. 
Very few Allied nationals were ever betrayed by Greeks to 
the German police, even though dozens of Greeks knew the 
whereabouts of each British or American officer in the coun- 
try. Many Greeks underwent personal danger to shelter 
Allied personnel, and hundreds of aviators were able to es- 
cape after losing their planes, thanks to the faithful help of 
Greek peasants. In truth, the company of Greek traitors to 
the Allied cause was very small. Most of the persons who be- 
came collaborators did so reluctantly, driven to it either by 
cupidity, fear or hatred of the Communists in the resistance 

There is no need to follow in detail the vicissitudes of the 
quisling Government. General Tsolakoglu continued to hold 
the post of Prime Minister until December 1942 when he was 
Replaced by Konstantine Logothetopoulos, a distinguished 
doctor and former Rector of the University of Athens. He in 


his turn resigned in April 1943 and was succeeded by John 
Rallis, a professional politician who had held several Cabinet 
posts as a member of the Popular Party. Rallis remained as 
Prime Minister until October 1944 when the Germans finally 
abandoned Athens and their puppet Government dissolved 
of its own accord. 

During the period of occupation, an inoffensive, law-abid- 
ing citizen found Greece a hard place in which to live. From 
1943 onward there were two separate and contradictory laws 
in the land; the law of the Government in Athens, and the 
law upheld by the guerillas of the mountains. The conflict 
between the two was bitter and irreconcilable. Many helpless 
villagers found themselves exposed to the retaliation of one 
or both sides for acts committed under duress. Increasing 
numbers began to flock into the larger towns where security 
was greater. An additional attraction in the towns was the 
easier access to the relief supplies brought in by the Red 
Cross. Difficulties of transport steadily increased as the years 
of occupation passed, and the Red Cross became unable to 
make deliveries of the relief shipments to the remote regions 
of the country. Peasants whose houses had been burnt or 
whose animals had been carried off and other property stolen, 
were all the more ready to come into the towns, knowing that 
food would be available for them there through the Red 
Cross. In consequence, few houses, once destroyed, were re- 
built, and the damage to the country was increased by the 
progressive pauperization of a part of the population. 

When guerilla activity began to show itself in Greece dur- 
ing the summer of 1942, the occupying forces at first took 
little notice. Efforts were made to apprehend the persons who 
committed acts of sabotage or who dared to kill Axis soldiers. 
Even in these early days, when no culprits could be found, 
exemplary punishment was sometimes meted out to a whole 
village. As the scale of guerilla activity increased, the German 
and Italian occupiers began to take systematic counteraction. 


Their effort to win the loyalty of the Greek people was clearly 
a failure. The Greeks had repaid the German overtures by 
supporting the guerillas, passively if not actively. Conse- 
quently the Germans decided to control by terror. Wholesale 
retaliation became a settled policy. In August 1943 the Ger- 
mans officially announced that for every German soldier 
killed in Greece no less than fifty Greeks would be executed. 
The theory behind such a policy was that fear of the con- 
sequences would lead "peasants and townsmen to refuse 
cooperation with the guerillas. In fact, the policy operated to 
ingrain hatred of the Germans into almost every Greek heart. 
Moderate men found themselves torn between two despera- 
tions; they could not easily approve of the guerillas whose 
action against the Germans resulted in wholesale executions; 
and they certainly could not bring themselves to sympathize 
with the Germans who so cruelly were destroying innocent 
lives. The impossibility of such a choice between hammer and 
anvil practically destroyed all middle-of-the-road opinion in 
Greece. Some few extremists chose rather to accept support 
from the Germans than to allow the Communist-led guerillas 
to gain undisputed control of the country. But most men who 
could not bring themselves to join the guerillas in the hills, 
saw no comfort in coming under the German mantle. They 
were confused, disorganized and afraid, and grew ever more 
so until the German withdrawal in 1944. 

German methods in making reprisals were ruthless. On 
more than one occasion in the town of Athens a German pa- 
trol was sent out to the scene of the death of a German soldier, 
and there arrested the first fifty persons who happened to 
walk down the street, lined them against a wall and shot them 
out of hand. In the country retaliation was more sweeping 
still. If the guerillas had ambushed a German patrol, blown 
a bridge or committed some other act of sabotage, the Ger- 
mans made it a practice to go to the nearest village and there 
burn down some or all of the houses. In extreme cases, where 


the offense had been more serious, the Germans made sys- 
tematic attempts to kill all the inhabitants and burn their 
houses to the ground, 

One of the most famous instances of this indiscriminate 
cruelty is the destruction o Kalavryta, a town of sentimental 
interest to every Greek, for there began the War of In-t 
dependence in 1821. In the spring of 1944 a German column 
was waylaid in a gorge some miles to the north of the town, 
and a few prisoners were taken. The captives were brought to 
Kalavryta, kept for a few days and then taken into the hills 
and executed. When news of these happenings came to the 
German Command, an entire battalion was despatched to 
punish the townspeople. When first the German troops ar- 
rived in Kalavryta most of the inhabitants had fled; but the 
Germans remained for several days, professing the intention 
only of punishing the individuals who had harmed German 
soldiers. Believing these assurances, most of the villagers 
filtered back to their homes. Then one morning, the German 
officer in command ordered all the people of the town to re- 
port to the square. When they had all congregated, the men 
were separated from the rest, marched out into a near-by 
field and there mowed down by hidden machine guns. The 
women and children, meanwhile, had been penned into the 
church, and the building set on fire. The rear door of the 
church was opened (in disobedience of orders) by one of the 
German soldiers, and most of the women were able to escape 
with their children; but of the men, only a few who success- 
fully shammed death in the field ever lived to tell the tale. 
Before departing from Kalavryta, the Germans scattered a 
special inflammatory powder through all the peasant homes 
and set them alight. It was by such massacres that the Ger- 
mans hoped to keep the Greeks down. 

It would be false to say that the systematic retaliation and 
terror did not have an effect. It did. Many Greeks became 
almost frantic, seeking a nonexistent peace, hating the Ger- 


mans and hoping that the guerillas would cease to provoke 
them. Others reacted by joining all the more strenuously in 
the resistance movement, doing what they could to revenge 
themselves on the Germans, and recking nought of the addi- 
tional cost their acts might have for fellow Greeks. It is doubt- 
ful whether the German policy of deliberate terror and whole- 
sale retaliation reduced the power or scale of the resistance 
movement; but it is certain that it produced a bitter resent- 
ment against the guerillas in the minds of many who suffered 
unjustly for their acts. Further, the economic cost to Greece 
was heavy. Almost a fourth of all the buildings in Greece 
were damaged in some degree; thousands of Greeks were 
killed; and regular cultivation of considerable areas of land 
was interrupted. 

Most of the systematic destruction was wreaked during the 
last year and a half of occupation. While the Italians were in 
control of Greece, terror was largely confined to individual 
arrest and execution, though cases of mass punishment were 
not unknown. It was not until after the collapse of the Italian 
armies in Greece (Sept.-Nov. 1943), when the Germans were 
compelled to take over responsibility for peace and order in 
the whole country at a time when they needed troops desper- 
ately on the Eastern and Italian fronts, that German wrath 
against the guerillas and anger at the people who sheltered 
them reached such a peak that massacres such as I have 
described were regularly resorted to. 

After the Italian collapse, the Germans were seriously 
pressed for men to hold even the main lines of communica- 
tion through Greece. Many large but relatively remote dis- 
tricts were never reconquered by the Germans, but remained 
from 1943 onward under guerilla control. After the fall of 
1943 the German shortage of men was so great that they or- 
ganized Greeks into the so-called Security (or Police) Bat- 
talions. These battalions were commanded by regular Greek 
Army officers, but each unit had attached to it a German 


liaison officer who in practice acted as the battalion com- 
mander. They were recruited on a semivoluntary basis. Most 
of the battalions originated as volunteer bands eager to fight 
against the Communists. After they had been officially recog- 
nized and equipped by the Germans, the quisling Govern- 
ment made halfhearted attempts to conscript Greek civilians 
into the battalions. But it was always easy for a man to hide 
himself from government officials, if necessary by joining the 
guerillas in the mountains, so that in practice few if any men 
joined the battalions save of their own will. 

The Security Battalions were not organized over all Greece. 
They centered chiefly in the southern part of the country, 
where a predominantly conservative peasantry was easily per- 
suaded that Communist guerillas were worse even than 
German tools. In Athens and Salonika, battalions were also 
raised, for in the last year of occupation the guerillas extended 
the sphere of their operation into the principal cities, where 
they quickly grew too strong for ordinary police to handle. 
Elsewhere in Greece it was difficult or impossible to find per- 
sonnel who were willing to serve under the Germans, and 
Security Battalions were never successfully brought into 
operation. The total force was not large, numbering about 
five thousand men. 

The Security Battalions were organized to fight against the 
guerillas. The combat sometimes took the form of direct en- 
gagement between the rival forces, but usually the weaker 
side was content to retreat without standing pitched battle. 
Instead, it was the villagers who bore the brunt. Peasants were 
penalized for assisting the guerillas, and the Security Bat- 
talions no less than the Germans themselves were guilty of 
wholesale acts of retaliation against helpless populations. The 
guerillas, for their part, undertook to punish anyone who 
ventured to assist the Security Battalions. It followed that the 
net effect of the formation of these battalions was to spread 
still wider the rapine and destruction that had already 


blighted Greece, and to intensify the internal discord which 
had begun to paralyze the whole country and jeopardize its 

Three and a half years of occupation, then, brought un- 
mitigated disaster to Greece. The quisling Government de- 
cayed steadily, losing power and efficiency until it became 
entirely helpless by 1944. Economically, a sort of false pros- 
perity followed the famine of 1941, but after mid-1943 un- 
checked inflation began, prices rose astronomically, and in 
the end the currency became worthless so that economic ex- 
change reverted to a barter, basis. Losses from retaliatory de- 
struction were heavy and grew ever more serious. But perhaps 
the most irreparable damage of all was the hurt done to the 
Greek spirit. The country became hopelessly divided against 
itself. In the mountains one community lived and fought 
under the dominant control of the Communist Party, In the 
towns and villages, moderate men knew not where to turn, 
and came to fix their hopes blindly on an Allied liberation 
which they fondly believed would cure the ills which beset 
their country. On the extreme Right a small number of per- 
sons threw in their lot with the Germans, and lived in fear of 
violent retaliation from the guerillas after the expected de- 
parture of their protectors. It was not an easy thing to be a 
Greek during the years of occupation, nor could any wise man 
see clearly what way his duty lay. What alone was clear in the 
confused situation was that more trouble lay ahead after the 
so-much-hoped-for liberation. 




.FTER the sudden over- 
throw o the Greek state and the precipitous evacuation of 
British troops from Greece, it must have seemed to most 
Greeks that the Germans had every chance of winning the 
war. A sort of stunned paralysis descended on the population. 
There seemed nothing to do to restore the independence of 
the country or win back the severed provinces of Thrace and 
Eastern Macedonia. Within a few months of their defeat, the 
problem of finding enough food distracted attention from 
all other questions, and men began to dispute mournfully in 
the caf s as to which had lost the most weight. Under the cir- 
cumstances there seemed little a man could do save blindly 
wish, hope and hate. 

Despite this initial lethargy Greece was not a country easily 
cowed by a hated and despised conqueror. An age-old tradi- 
tion of guerilla action against the Turkish oppressors was in- 
grained deeply in the sentiments of every Greek. Old ballads, 
familiar to everyone, told of the deeds of daring performed 
by robber klefti of olden time; and the Greek War of In- 
dependence, as all Greeks knew, had been fought out in large 
part by just such irregular bands. Furthermore, the Greeks 
had guns. When the Greek Army retreated in defeat before 
the German invader, many soldiers foresaw the end of or- 
ganized resistance and started on foot for their homes, carry- 
ing their rifles with them. Apart from these weapons, many 



Greek peasants treasured antique firearms, taking an almost 
childlike joy in their possession. 

The country, too, is by nature well suited to guerilla ac- 
tion. All of Greece, one may say, is mountainous. Plains are 
the exception, and are cut off from one another by ranges of 
almost barren hills. The principal mountain mass of Greece 
is the Pindus, a broad, broken range, nowhere more than nine 
thousand feet high, intersected by valleys in which isolated 
villages cluster. Roads and other means of communication 
are few and primitive. Great areas of Greece, particularly in 
the Pindus, can be reached only by foot or on mule back. A 
large proportion of the villages lies away from any road along 
which motor vehicles can pass. Such terrain makes it difficult 
to police the country in times of peace. In a time when the 
Government was almost universally unpopular, the task be- 
came well-nigh impossible. 

A further fact which made the development of guerilla 
bands inevitable was that the Germans saw fit to hand over 
nearly all of Greece to Italian control. Practically every able- 
bodied Greek had taken part in the Albanian War and had 
learned thoroughly to despise the Italian soldiery. Now that 
the self-same Italians strutted through the streets of the towns 
and took up posts along the principal roads, lording it over 
the Greeks as though they had been victors, no Greek could 
but remember what had happened in Epirus and Albania 
when they in their handfuls had put hundreds of Italians to 
flight. It was easy to believe that the same could happen again; 
that a national army could form in the mountains and bring 
discomfiture once more to the haughty Italians. 

By the summer of 1942 dozens of little bands began to form 
in the hills. At first there was no common organization. A 
leader, distinguished for his military experience, courage or 
daring, could easily recruit a few restless young men from 
a village, treat them to some patriotic speeches, and take them 


out on a few adventures: cutting telephone wire, threatening 
Greek collaborators, or perhaps assaulting an isolated Italian 
soldier. Most of these bands were of no permanent impor- 
tance, and many of them enjoyed only an intermittent exist- 
ence, their members going out for a few nights of raiding, 
and returning to peaceful pursuits during the day, 

A few more desperate characters found it wise to remain 
permanently in the hills. These were mostly men who were 
wanted by the Government for one reason or another, but in- 
cluded from the very beginning a few who had been sent as 
emissaries of political organizations for the purpose of form- 
ing permanent guerilla units. Two such men, Napoleon 
Zervas and Ares Velouhiotis, succeeded in forming small 
bands early in the summer of 1942, which were destined to 
play a large part in the subsequent history of Greece. The 
two men had much in common. Both were bold, skillful 
guerilla leaders and cherished vaulting personal ambition. 
But the differences between them were also great Ares 
Velouhiotis was a Communist and a sadist; Zervas, a re- 
publican and an adventurer. 

The Communist guerilla leader was universally known as 
Ares, a name borrowed from the classic Greek god of war. 
Details of his life are uncertain and his real name is disputed. 
According to the version most current in Greece, his name 
was Athanasios Klaras, and he was born into a middle class 
family of Athens. He was well educated, specializing in agri- 
cultural studies. As a young man he is supposed to have 
entered the civil service as an agricultural extension agent. 
While working for the Government he became attracted by 
the Communist movement and joined the party. There are 
reports that he went to Russia for training and that he was 
in Spain in 1936-1938. In any event, he was jailed by Metaxas 
on criminal charges and remained imprisoned until 1941, 
when, in the general confusion of the German invasion, he 


escaped. Once free, he fell in with the Communist leaders, 
and in 1942 was commissioned by them to form a band of 
guerillas in the central Pindus Mountains. 

Ares* character was an extraordinary one. He could exert 
great charm and suavity when he so wished; at other times he 
exhibited the most bestial cruelty, and took such apparent 
delight in torturing and killing his victims as to repel even 
his own followers. He proved himself a capable guerilla 
leader, possessing both courage and resource in sudden 
emergency, and was able to spur his men on by personal ex- 
ample to deeds from which they would otherwise have 
shrunk. When he first formed his band, Ares was between 
thirty and thirty-five years of age, of stalwart build with 
fierce sparkling eyes. As a guerilla, he let his black beard grow 
long, wore a black uniform and a black lambskin cap adorned 
with white skull and crossbones. Around himself he collected 
a special bodyguard of desperadoes who were similarly uni- 
formed. The band gained a reputation for boundless cruelty 
and daring. It often served as a special execution squad which 
tortured and killed men condemned by the "People's Courts." 

Napoleon Zervas 1 career is better known. He was born in 
western Greece near the town of Arta about 1890. He entered 
the military cadet school in Athens, but dropped out after 
two years, being too lazy and undisciplined to study. He 
thereupon joined the Army as a career non-commissioned 
officer. When Venizelos set up his revolutionary Government 
in Salonika (1916) Zervas' hastened to join the new Army, in 
which he was speedily commissioned. He won his way close 
to the center of power in the Venizelist Army, being aide-de- 
camp to one of the chief republican generals, and by 1920 
had risen to the rank of major. In 1922 he joined with 
Plastiras in his revolt against the royal Government; in 1925 
he assisted General Pangalos to seize power, and became, joint 
commander of the dictator's personal bodyguard. The fol- 
lowing year he fell in with the plots against the dictator, and 


used his position as commander of the bodyguard to oust 
Pangalos from power. 

This act did not win Zervas a very savory reputation. As 
a consequence he was forced to retire from the Army, and 
for the next fifteen years lived as a private citizen. During 
this time he established himself as a son of gambling king of 
Athens. He took no part in the Albanian War, but under the 
occupation he became interested in an association of re- 
publican politicians which formed in Athens in the fall of 
1941, under the name of the Greek Democratic National 
League or EDES (Ellinikos Dimokratikos Ethnihos Syndes- 
mos). Zervas had more military experience than most of the 
members of this association, and he was selected as the man 
to lead a guerilla band that, it was hoped, would be able to 
forward the political program of the organization. Accord- 
ingly, in June 1942, Zervas left Athens for his native district 
in western Greece, and there was quickly able to form around 
himself a small group of EDES guerillas. 

Both EDES and the Communist political organization had 
made contact with British agents in the course of 1941. When 
British Headquarters in Cairo decided to try to interrupt the 
German line of supply that ran through Greece to North 
Africa, it was known to them that the two bands led by Ares 
and Zervas were in existence. Consequently when British 
saboteurs were dropped by parachute into Greece in the sum- 
mer of 1942, they had instructions to come into contact with 
both bands and try to gain their assistance. The British plan 
was to blow up the Gorgopotamos Bridge which carried the 
railroad line, connecting Greece with the rest of Europe, 
over a deep gorge in the mountains south of Lamia. The 
operation was timed to coincide with the British offensive at 
El Alamein. It had a considerable importance, for much if 
not most of the German supplies for Rommel's army were 
being delivered through Greece via Crete. If the British could 
interrupt the railroad for two or three weeks, German sup- 


plies could not be delivered, and the hoped-for victory would 
be made the easier. 

The three British officers assigned this hazardous mission 
were Lieutenant Colonel Tom Barnes, a New Zealander and 
the man who actually was to place the charges that destroyed 
the bridge; Lieutenant Colonel Chris Woodhouse, a clever 
young Englishman with high social connections; and Colonel 
Edward Myers, a regular officer of the British Army. With 
them were several sergeants, specially trained in demoli- 
tion. The little group was successfully dropped in the wilds 
of the Pindus Mountains with the necessary radio sets, and 
paraphernalia for blowing up the bridge. During the follow 
ing weeks they were able to make contact with both Zervaj 
and Ares. The two guerilla leaders agreed to assist in de 
stroying the bridge, and a total force of some hundred mer 
set out cross country in the early fall. The bridge was guarded 
by Italian soldiers; and the two Greek bands were assignee 
the task of engaging the guards (one to each end of the bridge 
while the British detachment placed the charges and blew i 
up. All went well for the saboteurs, and on 24 Novembei 
1942 the bridge was destroyed. It was not repaired until abou 
three weeks had passed, and during that time the flow o 
supplies from Europe to the German armies in North Afria 
was interrupted. 

In fact, the saboteurs were late. Three weeks before the 1 ; 
blew the Gorgopotamos Bridge, Montgomery had won th< 
battle of El Alamein. Nevertheless, the secret feat of thi 
handful of British soldiers and Greek guerillas was of grea 
value to the Allied cause, for it helped compel the Germans ii 
Africa to draw back westward until they could reach fresl 
supplies coming through Italy. By the time the bridge ha< 
been repaired, Rommel's army had retreated so faf into Liby; 
that Greece no longer served the Axis as a useful line o 
supply. Thereafter the necessity of garrisoning the countr 


became nothing but a drain on much-needed manpower, 
from which the Germans could reap no military return. 

As soon as the bridge was destroyed, the Greeks and 
British fled for the fastnesses of the Pindus. They were harried 
by pursuing Italian soldiers; and the British officers, at any 
rate, were pushed to the limit of their endurance to keep 
ahead of the pursuit. The original intention of British Head- 
quarters in Cairo had been to carry out this one operation 
and then withdraw the mission. A submarine was supposed to 
pick up the British soldiers in a remote cove off the west 
coast of Greece; and on Christmas Day 1942 the weary group 
arrived at the shore to wait for the submarine. For several 
days it did not show up; and at length a radio signal from 
Cairo came telling the Britishers that they had done well, 
and would remain in Greece to carry out further operations 
as directed. Their disappointment was severe; but they had 
no choice in the matter and made the best of it. 

When the British Mission first found Zervas in the fall of 

1942, he had with him no more than fourteen men; Ares had 
a few more, about thirty. From these minute beginnings two 
armies developed during the next year, until by the end of 

1943, Ares* organization numbered perhaps twenty thousand 
men, while Zervas commanded about five thousand. This 
enormous growth was made possible by the development of 
the political organizations which supported the guerillas. 
We must now examine them more closely. 

The Greek Communist Party had succeeded in keeping 
its organization alive throughout the dictatorship of Metaxas. 
Communists fought bravely in the Albanian War, obedient 
to the instructions of a letter written by their imprisoned 
leader, Nicholas Zachariades. In January 1941, however, after 
the Greek troops had crossed into Albania, Zachariades wrote 
a second letter denouncing the Greek invasion as a war of 
Fascist aggression, and ordered his followers to desert and 
sabotage the war effort as far as lay within their power. This 


second letter did not gain the same wide circulation as had 
the first, and only a handful of "professional" Communists 
obeyed. Consequently the patriotic reputation of the Com- 
munist Party was not seriously damaged, and after the oc- 
cupation had begun, when Communist leaders began to call 
for a common front against the invaders, many patriotic and 
moderate-minded men were inclined to lend a willing ear to 
their words. 

In the general confusion that followed immediately upon 
the Greek defeat, most of the jails of the country were opened 
and their inmates allowed to escape. By this means nearly 
all the Communist leaders regained their freedom and were 
able to add their efforts to those of the few who had been 
able to evade imprisonment. Leadership of KKE passed to 
George Siantos, for the prewar head of the party, Nicholas 
Zachariades, had not been able to escape from prison. He 
fell into German hands and was sent to the Dachau concen- 
tration camp where he remained throughout the war. 

Since both Zachariades and Siantos have played central 
rdles in the recent history of Greece, it is worth while to look 
at their personal careers for a moment. Nicholas Zachariades 
was born in 1902 in Asia Minor. As a child, his family took 
him to Skoplje (then still part of Turkey), but after the Serbs 
acquired sovereignty over that town (1912) the family moved 
again to Adrianople (Turkey), where the young Zachariades 
attended a Greek school. At the time of the Russian Revo- 
lution he was just fifteen years old, and for some years there- 
after he worked as a sailor on the Black Sea. He was intel- 
lectually gifted, and perhaps resented the hard life of a Greek 
sailor. In 1921 or 1922 he skipped ship in some Russian port, 
and succeeded in winning admittance to a school of Marxist 
studies. He made a brilliant record, and in 1923 was sent by 
the Comintern to Greece where he quickly took a leading 
place in the Communist youth movement. By 1926 Zacha- 
riades had graduated to the party itself, and spent a short 


time in Salonika where he was arrested by the dictatorial 
Government of General Pangalos. He escaped, went to 
Athens, and after Pangalos 1 fall, became a member of the 
Athens Regional Committee of the Communist Party. In 
1929 he was again arrested, this time on the charge that he 
had killed a political opponent in a knife fight. His enemy 
was an "Archivo-Marxist," that is, a member of an obscure 
and miniscule Trotskyite group. With the help of his fellow 
Communists, Zachariades again succeeded in escaping from 
jail, and was shipped to Russia a second time for safety and 
further study. He is believed to have followed a course at 
the School of Eastern Studies in Moscow, and is reputed to 
have made the best academic record that had ever been made 
in that school. 

He certainly made a favorable impression on high officials 
of the Third International, for, as we have seen, when a split 
developed in the Communist Party in Greece (1931), the 
young Zachariades was chosen to take over the leadership of 
the party. He was notably successful in uniting the fractured 
party and led the Greek Communists to greater influence 
than they had previously known. During the next few years 
Zachariades' prestige rose with his party's successes. In 1935 
he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Comin- 
tern and became Secretary of the Balkan Communist Bureau. 
As such he was head of all the Balkan Communist organiza- 
tions, directly subordinate to the Comintern chief, George 
Dimitroff. When Metaxas came to power, Zachariades was 
jailed, and he remained a prisoner until the invading Ger- 
mans removed him to Dachau. 

If Zachariades represents the professional internationalist 
revolutionary, George Siantos may be taken as typical of a 
more distinctly national type of Communist. He is an older 
man than Zachariades, having been born in 1890. He came 
of a poor family in Thessaly, and at the age of thirteen began 
work in a tobacco factory. Siantos was an intelligent youth 


of dominating character. He became prominent in the 
Tobacco Workers' Federation of Greece even before the 
Balkan Wars. From 1911 to 1920 he served in the Greek 
Army, rising to the grade of technical sergeant. During this 
time he is said to have been strongly impressed by the progress 
of the Russian Revolution. Upon his discharge from military 
service, he became a member of the newly formed Socialist- 
Labor Party. 

He soon rose to be one of the leading figures of that party. 
In 1922 he helped to organize certain small agrarian disturb- 
ances that took place in Thessaly and led to the breakup of a 
few large estates which had previously existed there. Siantos 
advocated and helped to bring about the affiliation of the So- 
cialist-Labor Party with the Thicd International, and became 
a charter member of the Political Bureau of the new Greek 
Communist Party. In 1925 he became Secretary General of 
the Central Committee, a post which involved practical con- 
trol of the Greek Communists. 

In 1928 he made his first visit to Russia, attending the Sixth 
Congress of the Comintern as representative of the Greek 
party. He resumed the post of Secretary General upon his re- 
turn, and entered official political life as a member of the 
Chamber of Deputies in 1930. His career met a sudden ob- 
stacle in the next year when a discontented faction of the 
party broke away from his leadership and began to accuse 
him of deviations from true Marxist-Leninist principles. He 
was ousted from power and departed for Russia where he 
remained for two years, studying in the same School of East- 
ern Studies from which Zachariades had graduated so bril- 
liantly. In 1933 Siantos returned to Greece and took over 
direction of the Communist organization in Pireus, Within 
three years he was again a member of the Political Bureau, 
with an influence in the party second only to that of 

In 1937 Metaxas arrested Siantos and interned him oil a 


desolate little island in the Aegean. He escaped the following 
year and took over the direction of the Communist Party in 
the absence of Zachariades who remained securely in prison. 
He was arrested again in 1939, and fell into Italian custody 
after the occupation of Greece. He escaped from them in 
1941 and once more took over the leadership of KKE. In 
due course he became the most influential single individual 
in the Communist-inspired resistance movement. 

The contrast in the careers and characters of these two men 
is interesting and instructive for the light it throws on the 
management and control of the Greek Communist Party. 
Siantos was energetic, clever in conference rooms, and shrewd 
in his estimate of other men. He was not much of a doctrin- 
aire, and cared more for the preservation of the party as an 
administrative machine and instrument of power than for 
doctrinal purity or consistency. He was not an effective public 
speaker and rather shunned the limelight; yet in private con- 
versation he showed himself thoroughly self-assured, sar- 
donically humorous, ironically amused by the permutations 
of the human puppet show. His life has been wholly Greek, 
and it is rumored that he has not always accepted the direc- 
tions of the Comintern with complete enthusiasm. 

Zachariades was a totally different sort of character. He was 
a virtuoso in abstract intellectual discussion, could make an 
effective public speech, and has written large numbers of 
articles, two small books (including one on literary criticism) 
and translated several Marxist classics into Greek. He was 
highly educated, narrowly doctrinaire, totally humorless and 
liked to take a prominent place in the public eye. He was 
Greek by accident of language, having come to the country 
as a grown man, an emissary of the Communist International 
His whole point of view differed from that of Siantos. Siantos 
exhibited a sort of peasant shrewdness and soil-rootedness; 
Zachariades was an international urban revolutionary. 

In appearance the two were in striking contrast. Siantoi 


was short, balding, and stooped. His nose was long, great 
pouches hung under his eyes, and a moustache straggled 
across his upper lip. Zachariades was rather handsome, clean- 
shaven, with stocky but athletic build. In a social gathering 
he tended to lecture rather than to converse, and there was 
always some sense of strain, as though he were not thoroughly 
at his ease, and, anticipating attack, went out to meet it with 
aggressive and eloquent words. 

The organization which Siantos found under his direction 
when he escaped from jail in the spring of 1941 was relatively 
small, but boasted a firm discipline and commanded a deep 
enthusiasm among its members. A core of professional revo- 
lutionaries, of whom a small number (perhaps fifty in all) had 
been specially trained in Russia, headed a mixed following 
of students, professional men and workers. The greatest weak- 
ness of the organization was the lack of any real following 
among the peasants. Its greatest strength lay in the fact that 
the Communists were already familiar with repression and 
persecution, and had learned to be adept in undercover 
activity during the Metaxas regime. All in all, the Greek 
Communist Party was in a strategic position. No other Greek 
political organization was ready on the ground; and among 
most politicians a spirit of defeatism prevented any serious 
efforts to revive the party organizations which had ^been 
crushed by Metaxas. Yet despite the supine behavior of their 
old political leaders, nearly the whole Greek people was 
united in its dislike of the invaders. The Communists were 
quickly able to capitalize on this fact and win wide support 
by establishing a new organization, the National Liberation 
Front, or as it became universally known from it initials, 
EAM (Ethnikon Apeleftherotikon Metopon). 

EAM was founded 27 September 1941. Its original con- 
stituents were the Communist Party, the Agrarian Party of 
Gavrielides, the United Socialist Party, the Republican Party, 
the Union of Popular Democracy and the Socialist Party. 



Besides these organizations, some of which were of very 
slender influence, many individuals from the old Liberal 
Party were attracted into the new organization, and played 
relatively important rdles in the early days. EAM was di- 
rected by a committee, drawing one representative from each 
of the constituent parties. On the surface, this arrangement 
would seem to relegate the Communist Party to a minority 
place in directing the policies of the Front; but in fact it was 
otherwise. Of the six groups that united to form EAM, four 
were indistinguishable in all but name from the Communist 
Party. Only the Union of Popular Democracy headed by the 
Socialist intellectual, Elias Tsirimokos, and the Socialist 
Party, which drew its strength from the rather chaotic labor 
unions of Greece, were truly independent of the Communists. 
The others were headed by Communists and followed the 
wishes of the Political Bureau of KKE in all things. 

Despite this fact, Communist control of EAM was incon- 
spicuous during its early days. The movement succeeded in 
attracting great numbers of non-Communists, and generated 
such enthusiasm among them that for a while it seemed pos- 
sible that the Communists would be submerged by the 
greater numbers of the others and lose control of the move- 
ment. But, as we shall see, the disciplined energy of the Com- 
munists resulted in their coming into ultimate control of the 
whole EAM organization. 

The influence of the Communist Party was deliberately 
camouflaged at the beginning. KKE members were not 
allowed to hold the most conspicuous posts. Thus the first 
Secretary General of the National Liberation Front was an 
eminently respectable Socialist named George Economou. A 
similar policy was followed in filling all subordinate posi- 
tions; wherever possible men of general respect and good 
repute were installed. 

The purposes of EAM as originally announced were such 
as would appeal to almost every patriotic Greek. The 


organization set out to unite all factions against the invader; 
to resist the efforts of the quisling Government by strikes and 
by armed force; and to raise and maintain the morale of the 
people against the day of liberation. Preaching this doctrine, 
organizers were sent out to the villages of Greece during the 
fall and winter of 1941-1942. By this means, KKE's great 
weakness lack of peasant support was largely overcome. 
In nearly every village of Greece an EAM cell came to be 
established. Propaganda was intense and well organized. 
Young boys and students did much of the evangelistic work, 
and not all of them were Communist by any means. Under 
the circumstances, the movement spread rapidly and took a 
firm hold on the loyalties of large numbers of the peasants 
of Greece. 

In the towns, EAM's success was equally great. A few 
months after its foundation nearly all the laboring men had 
joined the movement, and a number of singularly successful 
strikes were carried out by EAM during the ensuing three 
years as warnings and demonstrations against unpopular Gov- 
ernment action. It was in part due to the propaganda and 
demonstrations organized by EAM that Greek laborers were 
never conscripted by the quisling Government for work in 
German factories, and that the number of men who volun- 
teered for work in Germany was small. 

EAM drew much of its force from the fact that it appealed 
to the youth and women of Greece. The movement was able 
to reach the boys and girls of the nation, and inspire them 
with a vivid sense of their OTpi value and importance. Boys of 
fourteen were numerous among the guerillas, while veritable 
children were regularly employed as messengers, being less 
likely to suspicion and search. Traditionally, in Greek society 3 
the father had unchallenged control over the members of his 
family, and the place of women was (and is) far lower than in 
the countries of Western Europe. EAM, however, established 
special groups for women, and many a Greek housewife found 


herself called upon for the first time in her life to act, in 
obedience to the directions of the organization, independ- 
ently of her husband's control. Such emancipation attracted 
many women, and they became among the most fanatic EAM 
supporters. In general, one may say that the development of 
EAM broke down the peasant family system of values and 
discipline which had previously been dominant among the 
working classes of the towns. In the country nothing of the 
sort took place: the families continued to exist as before with 
the father in supreme control, and the EAM movement was 
largely limited to the menfolk of the villages. For this among 
other reasons, the power of the movement was far less in the 
country than in the towns. In a sense this aspect of EAM's 
activity only continued an emancipation begun under the 
Metaxas regime, through the agency of youth and women's 

By the spring of 1942, EAM had set up local leaders and 
organizations over the whole of central Greece. Only after 
this had been achieved was an effort made to form the armed 
force, the guerilla army which was to resist the occupation 
troops. On 10 April EAM made proclamation of its plan to 
form a guerilla army. It was called ELAS, a pun on the 
Greeks' name for their country, Ellas. The letters are the 
initials of the National People's Liberation Army (Ethnikos 
Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos). The new army did not 
spring suddenly into existence but formed around a few 
guerilla chieftains, of whom Ares was by far the most famous 
and important. At first the bands operated independently, 
and not until the winter of 1942-1943 did any semblance of 
effective central control begin to bind the separate bands into 
what could properly be called a guerilla army. 

Thousands of eager young men offered themselves as re- 
cruits for ELAS. To be accepted, a volunteer had to be recom- 
mended by the EAM leader (Ipefthinos) of the village or the 
district of the town in which he lived. With a certificate of 


good character from the Ipef thinos, the would-be recruit pre- 
sented himself to the nearest band, and if weapons were avail- 
able, he would be duly sworn in as a soldier of the ELAS. 
Normal military law was enforced. A soldier once enrolled 
could not depart without formal permission from his com- 
manding officer; and disobedience to orders was punishable 
by death if circumstances seemed to warrant. Special military 
courts were established to enforce discipline, and they also 
extended their jurisdiction to the trial of civilians who were 
accused of hindering or harming the activities of ELAS. 

The army was commanded by a system of triplices. Instead 
of a single commander, every unit and headquarters was di- 
rected by a committee of three. The three were a military 
commander (usually but not always a former officer or ser- 
geant of the Greek Army); a Kapetanios, who was charged 
with carrying on propaganda and enlightenment in the unit; 
and a political representative of EAM. The political repre- 
sentative was supposed to direct relations between the unit 
and the civilian population and organizations, e.g., he would 
make billeting arrangements or requisition food from a vil- 
lage. Any important decision had to be agreed to by all three 
men in command. But in general, the military commander 
turned out to be the least important of the three, being en- 
trusted only with narrowly military decisions such as the dis- 
position of troops for an attack. Other matters, such as 
deciding who should be attacked and when, were usually 
attended to by the Kapetanios and the political representative 
together. The system assured civilian control over the army; 
more than that, it was so manipulated as to assure Communist 
control, for as time went on, more and more of the political 
representatives and Kapetanoi were chosen from the ranks 
of the Communist Party. 

Such a systematic description as the above oversimplifies 
and makes too orderly what was actually a gradual and in part 
an unforeseen development from the original collection of 


small isolated bands. Much of the early development of ELAS 
took place through the incorporation of bands which had 
formed independently of EAM. Many such bands were will- 
ing to join forces with the larger organization peaceably; 
especially when, as was often the case, their chieftains were 
promised a larger command within the framework of ELAS. 
It was by this method that its two most prominent military 
figures were persuaded to join the National People's Libera- 
tion Army. 

Colonel Stephen Sarafis was a Regular Army officer who 
had attached himself closely to the fortunes of the republican 
faction in the Army. After the 1935 revolution he was dis- 
missed from active service and exiled to the island of Milos. 
In 1941 he returned to Athens where he spent some months 
in jail as a prisoner of the Italians, but was released early in 
1943. He thereupon went to his native district in Thessaly 
and was able to organize a small independent band of gueril- 
las. In May 1943 his band was one day surrounded by ELAS 
troops, and Sarafis was offered the choice of surrendering to 
ELAS or suffering their attack. He chose to surrender, and 
was taken as a prisoner to ELAS General Headquarters where 
he was first condemned to death, and then, after some days, 
suddenly emerged as the Commander in Chief of all the 
ELAS forces. 

This surprising denouement can be understood if one 
bears in mind two things: first, that Sarafis was a high ranking 
Army officer (full colonel) with considerable prestige among 
republican officers, and presumed experience and capacity in 
military tactics; and second, that as Commander in Chief he 
was checked by a Kapetanios (Ares) and a political representa- 
tive (George Siantos), so that his opportunity of independent 
action was nil. From the point of view of the men who held 
effective power over ELAS, Sarafis could do them no harm; 
and by giving military advice and serving as a respectable 
front, he could do the movement useful service. 


Colonel Evripidis Bakirdjis was recruited to the ranks of 
ELAS in almost the same manner. When the war broke out, 
he was in exile, where he had fled after the failure of the 1935 
revolt. In 1942 he presented himself to the Greek Government 
in Cairo and was appointed to active duty. He quickly became 
immersed in the intrigues that were then running through 
the Greek forces in the Middle East. In order to rid them- 
selves of his troublesome presence, the Greeks suggested that 
Colonel Bakirdjis might be a useful man to head a resistance 
group in the north of Greece, where an organization known 
as EKKA, closely under British protection, was trying to start 
active military operations against the Germans. The British 
accepted him, and Bakirdjis was transported into Macedonia 
(spring, 1943), and he was soon able to form a small band of 
guerillas. But again ELAS insisted on a monopoly of re- 
sistance, and brought its forces into a threatening position so 
that Bakirdjis was persuaded to surrender to them. In due 
course, he became the top ELAS commander in Macedonia, 
and was for some months the president of the Provisional 
Government of the Mountains when it was organized in the 
spring of 1944. 

Commanders such as Sarafis and Bakirdjis were rare in the 
ranks of ELAS. Regular Army officers were generally an 
object of suspicion to the leftists, and officers reciprocated the 
distrust. Most ELAS units were commanded militarily by 
former sergeants or very junior Reserve officers of the Greek 
Army. The Kapetanoi and political representatives were re- 
cruited from the ranks of the Communist and associated 
parties. Some of these were capable and educated men- 
lawyers and university students or the like; but others were 
simple workmen or peasants whose only formal education was 
what they had gained from the propaganda lectures of EAM 
and the Communist Party. 

British policy did much to forward the growth of the power 
of ELAS. When the three original members of the British 


Mission received the order to remain in Greece, they dis- 
persed. Lieutenant Colonel Woodhouse joined Ares in the 
mountains of Thessaly; Lieutenant Colonel Barnes stayed 
with Zervas in western Greece; and Colonel Myers set up an 
independent headquarters of his own from which he hoped 
to coordinate the activities of both bands. It was roughly 
agreed that Zervas would act in the west, leaving the area 
east of the Pindus Mountains to Ares. This division was orig- 
inally made simply because Zervas in western Greece was on 
ground familiar from his childhood; but the facts of geog- 
raphy put him at a grave disadvantage as against Ares and the 
ELAS bands. The western part of Greece is isolated from the 
main centers of population and lines of communication by 
wild and desolate mountains, and an organization centering 
itself around the town of Arta was inevitably far removed 
from the fulcrum of power. 

Nevertheless, the British and Greeks worked on the basis of 
such a delimitation of spheres. Ares* band became the core of 
the National People's Liberation Army, and, as its numbers 
grew by recruitment and absorption of other bands, subordi- 
nate units, grandiloquently named divisions, regiments and 
battalions were organized. The British sent in some supplies 
and weapons by air; more important, they sent large sums of 
gold which were used to buy food and other necessities for 
the guerilla soldiers. During the first year the British treated 
ELAS and Zervas equally; although the fact that ELAS 
quickly outstripped all rivals meant that in practice the 
British delivered larger quantities of supplies to them. 

British policy was aimed to secure the maximum possible 
military pressure on the Italian and German troops that oc- 
cupied Greece. As a first step toward this end it seemed neces- 
sary to unite all the various guerilla bands into a single force. 
In central Greece, Ares and his friends became the chosen in- 
strument. They had been first on the ground, and Ares deeply 
impressed Colonel Woodhouse with his capacities as a guerilla 


leader. The sadistic side of Ares' character was probably kept 
hidden from the Britisher; and in any case, a little Balkan 
barbarism probably seemed inevitable and even wholesome 
to the cultivated young Englishman. 

Consequently, as ELAS stretched out its power into new 
areas, its demand for monopoly of armed resistance was in 
general supported by the British liaison officers who began to 
come into Greece in ever-increasing numbers. On the BBC, 
nightly broadcasts urged all guerilla factions in Greece to 
unite in harmony in order to resist the invaders. In practice 
over most of Greece this came to mean union with ELAS. 

The guerilla troops were chronically short of clothes and 
ammunition. Nevertheless, life in ELAS was not of itself very 
onerous, for the guerillas stayed in remote mountain villages 
most of the time and lived a life of semi-indolence. Occasional 
periods of sudden and extreme exertion varied the monotony; 
and every so often came a whiff of danger which confirmed 
the soldiers in their conviction that they were national heroes. 
In the winter, life was harder; but the men seldom had to live 
in the open for more than a few days at a time since it was 
the universal practice to requisition lodging (and sometimes 
food as well) from the local peasants. Food often ran short in 
the early days; but by midsummer 1943 EAM had succeeded 
in establishing a remarkably efficient system of requisition 
and purchase, and had been able to accumulate substantial 
ration stores which were distributed with fair regularity. 

In actual fact, a soldier in ELAS lived a good deaf better 
than did the ordinary peasant of Greece, and did not have to 
work with the same drudging toil. He further had the psycho- 
logical exhilaration of believing himself a hero and the true 
descendant of the robber klefti who had fought in the War of 
Independence and were enshrined in the Greek national tra- 
dition. Under the circumstances, many a peasant's son found 
himself irresistibly attracted to the guerilla life; and an over- 
abundant peasant population made recruitment easy. Fewer 


came from the towns; life was relatively, comfortable there, 
and EAM had other work for townsmen, organizing strikes 
and serving as propagandists among the more illiterate 

From the very beginning the chief factor that limited the 
numbers of the guerillas was lack of weapons. Their original 
armament had been in the country at the beginning, coming 
mostly from the soldiers who had kept their guns after the 
Albanian War. Additional weapons came by capture from the 
Italians and Germans; and a small trickle, but important be- 
cause it was tHe best source of automatic weapons, came by air 
from the British in Cairo. Drawing guns from these sources, 
ELAS was able to build its strength up to about twenty thou- 
% sand by the end of the summer of 1943. 

Although ELAS became by far the most formidable force 
among the resistance organizations, it was not without rivals. 
The most important of these was the EDES led by Napoleon 
Zervas. EDES shared all the early advantages of ELAS save 
two: it began operations in what was essentially a backwater 
of the country and could never reach into the main parts of 
Greece without coming into collision with ELAS which, hold- 
ing the Pindus Mountains, blocked the way to the main 
centers of population; and secondly, the political organization 
that backed the EDES guerilla force was less efficient and less 
energetic than EAM. It was this second weakness that was de- 
cisive. Had Zervas been supported by an organization as 
vigorous as EAM, he could undoubtedly have overcome the 
opposition of ELAS and built up his army in other parts of 
Greece despite the Communists. As it was, many isolated 
bands, not wishing to join forces with ELAS, tried to associate 
themselves with Zervas and EDES; but lack of easy communi- 
cation or effective support from a political machine compara- 
ble to EAM made all such attempts failures, and permitted 
ELAS to pick off the dissident bands one by one, after the 
fashion of their dealing with Colonels Sarafis and Bakirdjis. 


After Greece had been conquered by the Germans, the es- 
tablished leaders of the Liberal and other republican parties 
declined to take any active interest in organizing resistance. 
Most of them were old men (the leader of the Liberal Party, 
Themistocles Sofoulis, was seventy-nine years old) and unac- 
customed to the conspiratorial methods that had to be used. 
Many of the younger and more impatient Liberals con- 
sequently joined forces with EAM when it was founded. 
Others preferred to organize separately. The Greek National 
Democratic League (Athens EDES) was the result. This new 
organization fixed upon General Nicholas Plastiras as its 
nominal head. It will be recalled that Plastiras had been the 
military leader of the revolution against King Constantine's 
Government in 1922, and had led a second revolt, but with- 
out success, in 1933. Thereafter he lived in exile, but kept up 
connections in Greece with former confederates. A few of 
Plastiras' friends were among the original founders of the 
Democratic League, and through their influence he came to 
be recognized as the nominal leader of the organization. 

EDES, as the organization was always called, differed from 
EAM in many respects. It never achieved any wide popular 
base but remained little more than a cabal of ambitious poli- 
ticians or would-be politicians in Athens. Active leaders were 
mostly professors and well-to-do businessmen who made little 
progress toward building up a rank-and-file membership in 
Athens. Elsewhere in the country no real organization was 
ever established. The leading figure of EDES in Athens was 
General Stylianos Gonatas, Plastiras' colleague in the revolu- 
tion of 1922. As we have seen, Napoleon Zervas became the 
military leader of the movement; but after leaving for the 
west (June 1942) he maintained only very tenuous ties with 
the parent organization in Athens, and owed little to its sup- 
port. Some few recruits came to Zervas' forces through the 
Athens organization; otherwise nothing. 

In western Greece, Zervas was able to expand his guerilla 


force by much the same methods as were used by ELAS in 
sther parts of Greece. A political committee was organized 
3.t his headquarters which sent men round the villages to 
spread Zervas' fame. They urged young men who had rifles to 
join him, and selected local representatives in each village 
who became responsible for providing such supplies and 
quarters as the EDES guerillas required. But the political 
propaganda of EDES never had the drive and enthusiasm 
which was so abundantly possessed by EAM; and the political 
organization of the villages never reached a level comparable 
to that achieved by the rival group. 

Despite these weaknesses, Zervas was able to expand his 
force rapidly, and in his case too, it was a lack of weapons that 
held down the number of his guerillas. Approximately five 
thousand men had come under his command by the summer 
of 1943. Their organization followed orthodox military lines. 
Zervas, himself a former army officer, was able to attract into 
his forces a greater number of professional soldiers than was 
the case with ELAS. Military commanders were given full 
control of their units. Zervas was universally accepted as the 
Commander in Chief; and his relation to subordinates was a 
personal one. Among the EDES troops he was known as 
"Papa Zervas/' and his squat figure, distinguished by an 
enormous black beard, was known by sight to nearly all his 

In addition to the two principal resistance organizations, 
there grew up in Greece an enormous and bewildering num- 
ber of others, mostly known by a set of initials, one much re- 
sembling another. Out of this welter only three organizations 
actually succeeded in creating an armed force, or in rising to 
any practical importance. These were known as PAO, EKKA, 

The Panhellenic Liberating Organization, or PAO (Panel 
linios Apeleftherotiki Organosis) developed its principal 
power in Salonika. The core of its membership was regular 


and reserve army officers, but some civilians also joined in its 
councils. In December 1942, at a time when ELAS had not yet 
appeared in Macedonia, the organization succeeded in com- 
ing into contact with Greek and British authorities in the 
Middle East, and received five thousand gold pounds (roughly 
1 100,000 purchasing power ir^ Greece) on the understanding 
that PAO would form an armed force which would be obe- 
dient to the commands of the British Headquarters in Cairo. 

There was, however, a serious misunderstanding between 
the British and PAO leaders. The British hoped for the 
speedy formation of guerilla bands; the leaders of PAO in- 
tended rather to re-create the Greek Army in secret, planning 
to form on paper an organization which would rise to make 
a sudden blow against the occupiers on the day of, or slightly 
, before, an Allied landing in Greece. Working on these lines, 
the organization had no trouble in finding officers, but there 
was notable shortage of privates, since more hoped to give 
orders than to take them. As long as the army remained 
wholly a scheme on paper, free scope was given for quarrels 
over precedence. Fruitless bickering was only broken off 
when British Headquarters made clear that it looked for more 
concrete results. Consequently PAO guerilla bands were not 
organized until March 1943; and at the peak of their strength 
they probably mustered something like one thousand men 
divided among a dozen bands. 

By the time the PAO bands were formed, ELAS already 
existed in the mountains that border the Salonika plain to 
the west. Quarrels broke out immediately. ELAS accused its 
rival of collaboration with the enemy, and called them Fas- 
cists; PAO reciprocated, accusing ELAS of a secret league 
with the Bulgarians, and calling them Communists. Words 
soon led to action, and small-scale running fights broke out 
repeatedly. In June, a British officer travelled north from the 
ELAS General Headquarters, assigned as liaison officer with 
the ELAS bands of the region. Discovering the bad relations 


between ELAS and PAO, he tried to bring about an agree- 
ment for cooperation; but the effort failed, since the leaders 
on the spot said the matter would have to be referred to 
higher headquarters. In pursuit of such an agreement, the 
British officer returned to ELAS Headquarters in the Pindus 
Mountains, and after the lapse of some weeks, summoned 
representatives of the PAO Central Committee to come and 
negotiate an agreement between their organization and 
ELAS. Meanwhile the fighting between the two organizations 
continued, neither side winning conspicuous success. Even 
after a draft agreement had been signed between PAO and 
ELAS in the Pindus Headquarters, further fighting broke 
out, and mutual recriminations came thick and fast. 

The British Mission (headed after midsummer 1943 by 
Colonel Woodhouse), in pursuit of its general policy of trying 
to unify all guerilla organizations and bring them under the 
command of Allied Force Headquarters (Algiers), had spent 
the summer of 1943 trying to negotiate formal written agree- 
ments between the principal guerilla forces which had come 
into being in the hills of Greece. The PAO-ELAS draft agree- 
ment was only one of several similar peacemaking efforts. A 
formal agreement was finally drawn up in July, comprising 
terms of cooperation between all the guerilla groups and 
establishing their military subordination to Allied Force 
Headquarters. But after all the negotiation, ELAS refused to 
sign. They justified this refusal by accusing PAO of having 
violated the draft agreement that had been made some weeks 
earlier, and asserted roundly that no agreement with such a 
band of Fascist collaborators could ever be made. ELAS did, 
at this time, however, formally acknowledge its military 
subordination to AFHQ. 

The effort at peacemaking thus collapsed, and during the 
next six months ELAS was able to pick off the PAO bands 
one by one, and take over control of all Central Macedonia 
and the Chalcidice as well. In December 1943 the last surviv- 


ing remnant of PAO guerillas boarded a caique off the shore 
of the Chalcidice and succeeded in making its way to the 
Middle East. The organization itself continued to exist as a 
conspiracy between a few Army officers and others in the city 
of Salonika, but after the fall of 1943 it had lost all practical 

A single anti-Communist band survived ELAS attacks in 
northern Greece. Some of its members had belonged to PAO, 
but the band itself had not been a part of that organization. It 
was led by Anton Filiates, or as he was universally known, by 
Anton Tsaous, that is, Anton, the Sergeant. (Tsaous is a Hel- 
lenized rendering of the Turkish word for sergeant.) This 
band operated in Eastern Macedonia, in Bulgar-held terri- 
tory. ELAS power failed to penetrate the area until the fall 
of 1944. Prior to that time, Anton Tsaous moved through the 
mountains on the border between Bulgaria and Greece, or 
occasionally crossed into the rugged mountain mass of Pan- 
geion near the coast. At first he played a sort of Robin Hood 
role, protecting the Greeks against the Bulgars; later as the 
power of ELAS grew and its threat to his band increased, 
Anton Tsaous and his followers became more anti-Com- 
munist than anything else, and devoted most of their energies 
to preventing political or military penetration of their area 
by EAM-ELAS. ELAS accused Anton Tsaous of collaboration 
with the Bulgarian occupiers. Perhaps, during the last months 
of the occupation, he and his band did enter upon friendly 
relations with the Bulgars. But the matter is open to doubt. 
Accusations of collaboration against rivals were the stock in 
trade of all the Greek resistance organizations, and ELAS too 
has been darkly and repeatedly accused of collaboration with 
the Bulgarians in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. In this 
quarrel it seems impossible to assess blame or try to sift the 
flatly contradictory evidence advanced by the rival sides. 

Another resistance organization which achieved a place in 
the bickerings and civil wars that beset the Greek guerilla 


groups was the so-called National and Social Liberation, or 
EKKA (Ethniki kai Koinoniki Apdeftherosis). EKKA came 
late on the scene, forming at the beginning of 1943 around 
the lively personality of George Kartalis. He came of a rich 
and prominent family, and his uncle had achieved some 
prominence in the Popular Party. A bright young man, 
George Kartalis before the war had been a confirmed dilet- 
tante in politics no less than in art. He became attracted ta 
Socialist ideas, and in a moment of enthusiasm found himself 
editing a clandestine newspaper in Athens and heading an 
organization of intellectuals and political dabblers that called 
itself EKKA, In Athens the activities of this group were largely 
propagandist, directed principally toward the middle and 
upper classes. They supplied many spies for the British in- 
telligence network, and in later times the group came to be 
dubbed the Golden Resistance as a derogatory reminder of 
the quantities of gold its members had received from Cairo. 
EKKA's military organization was never of central im- 
portance in the group's activities and came about almost 
fortuitously. A certain Colonel Dimitrios Psarros had been 
among the many individuals who formed small independent 
guerilla bands in the summer of 1942. Colonel Psarros was a 
man of high character and reputation, an old-line Venizelist 
but no revolutionary. His personal prestige was sufficient to 
attract considerable numbers of men to his leadership, and 
his band grew to be larger than most, with perhaps two to 
three hundred members. When ELAS expansion began to 
reach into the villages on the slopes of Mount Parnassos where 
Colonel Psarros had established himself, he looked around 
for support, and found it in EKKA. An agreement was made 
between the guerilla leader and the politicians of EKKA 
whereby the band became subordinated to the commands of 
the EKKA Committee. This arrangement secured additional 
recruits for Colonel Psarros' band from among some of the 
young men of Athens who found stimulus in the political 


ideas of the Kartalis organization: more important, it gave 
his band political support and associated it closely with the 
British services that supplied EKKA so liberally with money. 

It followed that when ELAS units attempted to force Colo- 
nel Psarros to join them, he was able to refer the question to 
the EKKA committee, and negotiations between ELAS Head- 
quarters and EKKA ensued. In midsummer 1943 an agree- 
ment was drawn up providing for the cooperation of the two 
organizations; and it was incorporated in the general guerilla 
charter of July. But, as we have seen, difficulties arose over 
the final ratification of this document. ELAS found PAO un- 
acceptable as an ally, and raised objections to signing an 
agreement to which it was a party. The ELAS-EKKA agree- 
ment was, however, considered binding, by the British at 
least. Despite the agreement, mutual suspicions made effec- 
tive cooperation between the ELAS and EKKA impossible. 
Colonel Psarros was not able to expand his organization over 
any new area, as he wished to do, since he was hemmed in by 
hostile EAM organizations in all the surrounding villages, 
able and anxious to prevent any other organization from 
taking root if necessary by betraying the leaders of the rival 
group to the Italians. 

In the fall of 1943 ELAS began a large-scale effort to eradi- 
cate the remaining independent guerilla bands. As a part of 
this effort, Psarros was surrounded and compelled to give up 
most of his weapons. His band, however, did not totally break 
up. Most of its members, being deprived of weapons, returned 
to their homes; but a small number remained on the slopes 
of Mount Parnassos. In April 1944, ELAS renewed its attacks, 
and after a series of skirmishes succeeded in breaking up what 
remained. Colonel Psarros himself was captured and killed, 
with some twenty of his officers. Most of the rank and 
file were compelled or persuaded, to join ELAS. So ended the 
military career of EKKA. Its short-lived effort in Macedonia, 


under Colonel Bakirdjis, had, as we have seen, come to 
nothing some months before. 

The history of X is quite different This organization began 
as an association among the former officers of the II (Athens) 
Division. Lieutenant Colonel George Grivas had been Chief 
of Staff of the Division during the Albanian War, and within 
a few months of the organization's foundation he became its 
undisputed head. In its early days, X aspired to recreate the 
II Division underground, and on a given signal call it into 
active operation against the German and Italian occupation 
army. Such a rising was imagined as the concomitant of an 
Allied landing in Greece. But from the beginning, X had a 
strong conservative political color. Grivas was an ardent 
royalist, and his organization came to stand for the King. As 
the shadow of ELAS spread over the land, X came by degrees 
to fear more the power of the Communists than the oppres- 
sion of the Germans. In 1943 membership was extended to 
include former non-commissioned officers of the II Division; 
and a few months later privates and even men who had never 
served in the Division were admitted. 

X found arms difficult to come by. The British, already be- 
deviled by rival and quarrelling resistance groups, declined 
to add X to their payroll or to supply it with weapons. The 
only other easy supply of arms was from the German and 
Italian armies. It is not certain that Grivas ever came into 
direct contact with the occupying authorities; more likely he 
dealt indirectly through the Greek quisling Government in 
whose ranks not a few former Army officers and Metaxas of- 
ficials were to be found who would easily lend a sympathetic 
ear to a man of Grivas' position and political ideas. In any 
case, X was able to possess itself of arms from German and 
Italian sources. With the weapons so secured, gangs of bravos 
were equipped, who made it their habit to traverse the streets 
of Athens by night and seek out leading EAM organizers to 


shoot or beat up. X never became very large during the occu- 
pation, numbering perhaps five to six hundred armed men 
at its greatest strength. It became the chief target of ELAS in 
the city of Athens, and running gun fights became almost 
nightly occurrences between the rival organizations during 
the first months of 1944. 

From this brief survey, it is clear that none of the armed 
organizations that set themselves up in rivalry to ELAS suc- 
ceeded in challenging its power in Greece as a whole. The 
preeminent reason for their failure was lack of a political 
backing such as EAM was able to provide for ELAS. The 
energy and enthusiasm mobilized by EAM was tremendous. 
Most of its members were inspired by honest and lofty mo- 
tives and most profoundly believed in the righteousness of 
their cause. Yet despite their good intentions EAM began to 
undergo a complicated transformation and degeneration in 
the months after the summer of 1943. Patriotism and self- 
sacrifice, high enthusiasm and warm social idealism, all came 
to serve an intolerant, ruthless and power-hungry political 
machine which, by its excesses, helped to create an irreconcil- 
able opposition to itself and to bring on the miseries of civil 

The Beginning of Civil War 

ITS name implies, EAM, 
the National Liberation Front, claimed to represent the 
whole Greek nation in its resistance to the occupying armies 
and quisling Government, When first organized, EAM at- 
tracted well-meaning individuals from many walks of life; 
persons often energetic and idealistic, and of various political 
affiliations. Yet from the beginning there were many Greeks 
who did not join EAM. In the early days there was relatively 
little active hostility to the new movement, and the fact that 
the more conservatively minded Greeks did not join the 
Front was as much due to inertia as to any distrust of the 
movement's leadership. 

In most of the Greek villages, during the first years of oc- 
cupation, there was no other political organization which 
could compete with EAM for the loyalties of the peasants, 
and only indifference or personal rivalries among the villagers 
prevented everyone from joining in the movement. In the 
towns, the situation was more complicated. EAM found its 
first foothold chiefly among the workers and intellectual radi- 
cals; and other groups in the population, generally speaking, 
declined to associate themselves with a movement of such 
social composition. Some individuals no doubt cried "Com- 
munist" from the very first; but most of the upper and middle 
classes, I believe, remained aloof merely because they were 
unaccustomed to associate with refugees, impecunious law- 



yers and hot-headed students such as filled the ranks of the 
new movement. 

Just as the political leaders of the conservative and center 
parties steered clear of any association with EAM, so the 
upper and most of the middle class of the towns were content 
to let others undertake the crusade and risk the dangers of 
resistance to the unpopular Government and the hated con- 
querors, EAM thus became a movement of the dispossessed 
and the underprivileged; and from a nation-wide beginning 
gradually became a revolutionary class movement. This 
transformation was undoubtedly helped and deliberately 
hastened by the propaganda and actions of the Communist 
Party; but it was made possible by the initial abdication of 
the old ruling classes from leadership of the resistance; an 
abdication which was seldom deliberate and more often arose 
from a supine preference for the safer, easier path. 

EAM's early propaganda was designed to attract as many as 
possible to its banners, and could have alienated only the 
few out-and-out collaborators. In September 1942 a pamphlet 
was secretly published, entitled "What Is EAM and What 
Are Its Aims?" It had a wide circulation, and may be taken as 
an official statement of the purposes of the organization. The 
pamphlet listed them as follows: 

1. The protection of the people against hunger, illness 
and want. 

2. Passive and active resistance against the occupying 
forces and those collaborating with them. The raising of the 
people's morale. Opposition to all forms of collaboration. 

3. Daily paralyzing of the occupying forces to ensure that 
their war aims are not served by Greek labor or Greek 

4. Active resistance to force, answering force by force, 
armed struggle and a final armed rising. 

5. When the occupying forces have been expelled: 

a. The formation of a Government from the leaders 
of the National Liberation Struggle, from the 


parties and bands which will have guided the 
struggle during the fight and during the victory. 

b. The immediate reestablishment of all popular liber- 
ties, of press, of speech and of assembly. A general 

c. The immediate calling of elections for a National 
Constituent Assembly, where the form of popular 
government of the country will be drawn up. 

Surely only black reactionaries could object to such a pro- 
gram! So at least it seemed to most members of EAM. They 
came to feel that whoever did not join the movement was an 
enemy of the people and should be treated accordingly. This 
conviction, and. unquestioning acceptance of facile accusa- 
tions of collaboration made against all rivals, permitted ELAS 
to attack all independent guerilla bands without qualm, 
whereas most of the other bands were seriously embarrassed 
by finding themselves in battle with fellow Greeks, and re- 
peatedly fumbled opportunities to gain military advantage 
by attempting peace negotiations. In the face of the fervor 
and conviction of most EAM followers, and the hard calcula- 
tion of their leaders, no real or enduring understanding with 
any other independent organization was possible. There came 
to be no middle ground: whoever was not for, was against, 
and therefore an enemy of the people. 

From the neutral, patriotic beginnings of 1941 and 1942, 
EAM propaganda gradually took on a definite antiroyalist 
tone. King George II was portrayed as a man who had come 
to Greece in 1935 unbidden, who had imposed a dictatorship 
on the people by subterfuge, and who had cowardly fled the 
country when the real struggle began. The Greek defeat was 
attributed to the treason of regular officers who were accused 
of being pro-German and Fascist (as indeed some of them 
were). The Government-in-Exile fell under deep suspicion. 
It was descended from the Metaxas dictatorship without any 
constitutional break, recognized King George as its sovereign, 
and constituted a potential rival to EAM for postwar control 


of Greece. Prior to 1944, however, the Government-in-Exile 
was not assailed directly but merely by innuendo. Desire to 
maintain British support may have influenced this caution. 

In attacking the King, EAM was in full accord with the 
dominant sentiment of the Greek people. Dislike of the 
Metaxas dictatorship and dislike of the King became identi- 
fied; furthermore, many Greeks felt that their King had 
deserted them in the hour of need, forfeiting whatever right 
he had to rule, by his flight. In March 1942 representatives of 
nearly all the old-time politicians of Athens signed a petition, 
the so-called Protocol of 31 March, in which it was stated that 
King George should not return to Greece before a plebiscite 
had been held to determine whether the people wanted him 
or not. This resolution was in due course forwarded to Cairo, 
where it became the subject of much quarrelling and debate. 

By the summer of 1943 the formative period of guerilla de- 
velopment was past. At that time ELAS was indisputably the 
most powerful organization among the Greeks, with perhaps 
twenty thousand armed men in its ranks. The character of 
this force varied. Through the peripheral districts of Greece 
(except Epirus and part of Aetolia-Arkarnania where Zervas 
held sole sway) scattered ELAS bands roamed the country, 
living by requisition off the peasants of the more remote vil- 
lages, engaging in an occasional brush with the Italian troops 
that guarded the principal lines of communication, and, 
rather more often, descending upon some hapless Greek who 
had exposed himself to the charge of collaboration, punishing 
him with death or confiscation of all his possessions. 

The character of these bands varied markedly from region 
to region, and also with the individual who happened to be in 
command. In the Peloponnese, where the peasants were tra- 
ditionally conservative, EAM was never able to gain undis- 
puted hold on the loyalty of the population, and ELAS bands 
were consequently comparatively insecure. They reacted by 
exercising a terrorism more severe than in other parts of the 


country. By contrast, in most of Macedonia, almost the whole 
Greek population was won over to EAM, and the guerilla 
bands had almost the character of a national army. Com- 
munists controlled ELAS in the north as surely as they did 
elsewhere in the country, but their control was not challenged 
after the breakup of PAO, and the bands found no occasion 
to resort to acts of violence such as disfigured their record in 
the south. 

In Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, EAM influence re- 
mained weak. The Bulgajs treated the territory they had 
been given by the Germans as an integral part of Bulgaria, 
bringing in thousands of Bulgarian settlers, and driving other 
thousands of Greeks from the land. This weakened the Greek 
element. Still more, those Greeks who remained were more 
fearful of offending the. occupation force than was the case 
in the rest of Greece. Bulgar vengeance was swifter and surer 
than the Italian, and was animated by the bitterness of a na- 
tional quarrel. Another reason for EAM's weakness in this 
region was its remoteness. As we have seen, EAM's power did 
not come to Central Macedonia until the summer of 1943, 
and during the following year only feeble tentacles were ex- 
tended eastward. 

Conservative Greeks today explain that EAM did not try 
to organize in Bulgar-occupied lands because the Greek 
Communist Party had an agreement with the Bulgarian Com- 
munists by which the Greek leftists agreed to limit their ac- 
tivities to the districts west of the Strymon River. It is said that 
John loannides, one of the senior members of the Greek 
Communist Party and an old internationalist revolutionary, 
negotiated this agreement in 1941, long before the power of 
EAM and the Greek Communists extended into any part of 
Macedonia. Texts purporting to be the terms of the agree- 
ment have been published. The accusation, of course, is 
heatedly denied by EAM and the Communists. It seems im- 
possible to judge the question without free access to the 


secret files of the Greek or Bulgarian Communist Parties. All 
that need be noted here is that, whatever the reason, EAM 
and ELAS were relatively weak through the parts of Greece 
occupied by the Bulgars. 

Another area in which EAM had made no impression in 
1943 was the extreme northwest comer of Western Mace- 
donia. There, lived a small but compact population of Slavic 
peasants who took no part in Greek political movements, and 
in fact had generally been won to the support of the Axis by 
Bulgarian and Italian propaganda. 

In the islands, EAM generally had undisputed control and 
did not find it necessary to form armed bands. Crete was an 
exception. In that island, ELAS units operated side by side 
with independent guerilla bands and never absorbed or even 
attacked them. Relations were reasonably smooth between 
all the bands, even when the majority of the non-Communist 
groups formed a loose federation known as the National 
Organization of Cretan Guerillas or EOKA (Ethniki Or- 
ganosis Kritikon Andarton). The unwonted harmony in 
Crete may have been due to the fact that ELAS was in a 
minority, mustering not more than one third of the total 
armed guerillas of the island. 

The main center of EAM-ELAS power was in the Pindus 
Mountains west of the plain of Thessaly. By mid- 1943 a 
veritable state had been there set up, guarded by ELAS 
soldiers, policed by a special corps known as Politofylaki, 
and governed by the EAM Central Committee. The area had 
fluctuating boundaries. At no time were the guerillas able to 
prevent a column of Italian or German troops from moving 
at will over the country; nor did they often attempt to do so. 
Rather the guerilla forces melted away before the advancing 
enemy, and villagers in their path were warned to flee before 
their approach so that the Axis troops would generally find 
nothing tangible to oppose them. The guerilla power was 
none the less real. Taxes were collected in kind to support 


ELAS; justice was administered by a system of People's 
Courts; travel was controlled by internal passports; educa- 
tion, of a narrowly propagandist sort, was carried on by 
itinerant EAM organizers and evangelists. 

The principal agent of the EAM Government in each vil- 
lage was an official called the Ipefthinos (literally, the Re- 
sponsible). He was appointed by the central authority from 
among the local villagers, and if an incumbent proved un- 
satisfactory or showed any signs of lagging in enthusiastic 
enforcement of the demands made on the villagers, he was 
promptly replaced by a more efficient tool. The Ipefthinos 
was often assisted by a special representative of the EAM 
Central Committee. These were usually young men, full of 
crusading ardor for the cause, and in many villages tended to 
edge the native-bom Ipefthinos from real control. The tax 
burden on the peasants was heavy, but perhaps not in excess 
of the exactions formerly made by the Greek Government. If 
there was active discontent, it was easily repressed; for any 
man who ventured to speak against EAM marked himself as 
an enemy of the people and was promptly and ruthlessly 
dealt with by the People's Courts. 

When one considers the difficulties of transport and com- 
munication under which the EAM machine operated, the 
control it came to exercise appears as a truly remarkable 
achievement. What made it possible was the enormous en- 
thusiasm of the individual agents in the villages: men of 
energy, who were content to live poorly themselves in the 
conviction that they were aiding the cause of liberation and 
freedom. It is not at all clear how many of the subordinate 
officials of the EAM regime were Communists. Many of them 
were members of the party, but most of them probably were 
not, and took the democratic and disinterested slogans of 
EAM more or less at face value, looking forward to a social 
and political regeneration of Greece under their own leader- 
ship after the war. 


But freedom and democracy in their mouths tended to 
assume what seems to a man brought up in the American 
tradition, a peculiar meaning. Toleration of persons who dis- 
agreed with EAM' was never conceived, since they were all 
lumped together as Fascist reactionaries. Democracy seemed 
simply to mean the establishment of EAM in political power; 
but only by a peculiar distortion of the word could the or- 
ganization of EAM be termed democratic. The Central Com- 
mittee of EAM represented the constituent political parties; 
but, as we have seen, four out of six of these parties were 
Communist organizations. Subordinate officials were ap- 
pointed by the Central Committee and were subject to dis- 
missal or transfer without notice. Usually in each village or 
town there was also an elected advisory committee that as- 
sisted the Ipefthinos and the political representative in carry- 
ing out their duties, and doubtless the committee often 
exercised effective restraint against the enthusiasm of the 
village EAM leaders. But the committees had no mandatory 
power, and on disputed issues a committee was usually divided 
against itself, and could not act as an effective check on the 
power of the appointed officials. 

The whole system of government was makeshift. It was 
sustained by a high enthusiasm and never-ceasing propaganda. 
If one tries to imagine what the evolution of such a system 
would have been had EAM succeeded in winning control of 
postwar Greece, one can only think that as enthusiasm faded 
the autocratic elements in the Government would have come 
to the fore. There is a fine line between village labor 
voluntarily contributed to carry supplies over the mountains 
and forced labor conscripted by fear for the uses of the state. 
As has subsequently happened in Yugoslavia, I believe that 
the EAM Government would have evolved rapidly into an 
undisguised Communist dictatorship had it persisted in 
Greece after the withdrawal of the Germans. The elements 
for such an evolution were all present in the regime of the 


mountains, including a secret police (designed originally to 
ferret out and punish collaborators), a spirit of intolerance, 
and the principle of appointment from above. Undoubtedly 
other, truly democratic elements were also present in EAM: 
elected local committees and a preponderant number of per- 
sons who had no liking for the devious methods of the Com- 
munists. But only blind optimism or an act of faith can 
convince an observer that these elements would in the long 
run have predominated over the centralized authoritarianism 
of the Communist Party. 

Within the area controlled by EAM, the Greek quisling 
Government had little or no power. Gendarmes dared not 
travel there save in large groups, and were even then liable 
to sudden attack. Taxes could not be collected; justice and 
schools disappeared. Of all the public institutions that had 
existed before the war, only the Church survived. EAM never 
became anticlerical. In fact, many priests and a few bishops 
joined the movement. ELAS had chaplains to minister to the 
soldiers, and most of its peasant members retained their 
reverence for the Christian religion. The central administra- 
tion of the Greek Church in Athens likewise distinguished 
itself during the occupation by a steadfast and successful 
neutrality as between EAM and its rivals. 

The success of the Greek Church in the difficult times of 
the occupation was partly due to old tradition. In the time of 
the Turks the Church had been the sole bulwark of 
Hellenism, and for centuries had survived under, but inde- 
pendent of, the Turkish administration. The quisling Gov- 
ernment bore this same relation to the head of the Greek 
Church, Archbishop Damaskinos, and his subordinate prel- 
ates. They were under, but not of, the Government. A 
second reason for the Church's good standing with the Left 
was that the Greek Church has no endowment of land or 
money. In Greece the parish priests are chosen from among 
the peasants of the village and share the attitudes and ideas 


of their parishioners to the full. Most priests own a patch of 
land in their own right and till it like any other peasant. They 
are distinguished from their fellows chiefly by a peculiar dress, 
and by the semimagical power, conferred by the bishop's 
ordination, to conduct services, baptisms, marriages and 
funerals. The priests are little educated, and some of them are 
only partially literate. Under such circumstances there was 
no rift between clergy and peasants; and the priests divided 
as did their parishioners, some favoring, some opposing EAM. 

In the cities of Greece, EAM had little military power in 
1943. In them were concentrated the garrisons of the oc- 
cupying armies, and there concentrated also those Greeks 
who for one reason or another found themselves openly 
opposed to the leftist movement. In Athens, the city police 
remained in existence until the time of liberation; in the 
other towns, gendarme detachments were able to keep more 
or less effective police power. Taxes were collected rather 
haphazardly from the townspeople, and the Metaxas law 
cotirts continued to function. 

The situation in western Greece, where Zervas held sway, 
was less well organized. Openly EAM had no local repre- 
sentatives in Zervas' territory, although, as events later proved, 
there were secret adherents of EAM planted in a good many 
of the towns and some of the villages of western Greece. 
Zervas depended far less on the political cooperation of the 
villagers. He bought a large proportion of the food he needed 
to feed his soldiers, although some of it came by requisition. 
No system of regular assessment and collection of "taxes" was 
ever put into effect. Compulsory labor for the benefit of the 
EDES guerillas similarly remained on a haphazard basis, 
being called for only as the need arose. 

The economic foundations of Zervas' army were similar to 
those of ELAS. Representatives of EDES were appointed in 
most of the villages, and billeting, forced labor, or contribu- 
tions in kind were arranged through them when needed. But 


the pitch of enthusiasm for EDES among the villagers was 
far less. They supported and sympathized with the guerillas, 
and seldom or never betrayed them to the Italians. They must 
often have wished, however, to be left alone and relieved of 
the trouble and expense which supporting EDES meant for 
them. No all-seeing police or high-crusading enthusiasm pre- 
vented the expression of such sentiments; in other words, the 
EDES organization was less efficient, and more tolerant, than 
was its counterpart in ELAS territory. 

During the first six months of 1943 guerilla activity against 
the occupying armies was minimal. The effort of the British 
Mission and of the two principal guerilla armies was in the 
direction of extending and perfecting their organization, 
rather than day-to-day fighting against the Italians and Ger- 
mans. About midsummer, however, the British had done 
what they could to bring all the guerilla bands into har- 
monious cooperation and considered all was ready for a re- 
sumption of operations. At that time the order came from 
Cairo to open a general attack on the Italians and Germans, 
and specific plans for particular acts of sabotage were pre- 

The strategy behind this order was as follows: the German 
Afrika Korps was just on the point of its final defeat in North 
Africa, and preparations for the invasion of Italy were al- 
ready under way. It was hoped that a campaign of rumors and 
an outbreak of sabotage would convince the Germans that the 
point of Allied landing would be in Greece, and that they 
would divert reinforcements from Italy to the Balkan Pe- 
ninsula in such expectation. Accordingly, British and Greek 
agents spread the rumor that liberation was rapidly approach- 
ing, and it gained almost universal credence among the Greek 
people. The leaders of ELAS believed it too, and hastened 
their preparations against an early Allied landing. 

The political aims of ELAS leaders first became obvious to 
the British at this iuncture. What happened is this: when 


the order to embark on a campaign of sabotage came through, 
the leaders of ELAS found excuse after excuse to postpone 
action. They withdrew the best-organized units of their army 
into the high Pindus with the announced purpose of there 
forming a ' 'regular' ' national army that would be able to 
combat the Italians on equal terms. The peripheral ELAS 
bands were not always so refractory. Under the pressure of 
British liaison officers, and with equipment supplied spe- 
cifically for particular operations, they blew up a number of 
bridges, attacked trains, cut telephone wires and otherwise 
made life uncomfortable for the Italian and German garri- 
sons. But it was the universal impression of the members of 
the British Mission that ELAS did not exert its maximum 
strength. Most of them put this down to cowardice on the pan 
of the Greeks; and indeed many of the complaints that equip- 
ment was insufficient or the enemy too strong seemed to smack 
of fear. But the British discovered an odd fact: many times 
the subordinate commander and the men in his unit them- 
selves would agree gladly to a proposed act of sabotage and 
make no complaint of inadequate equipment or enemy 
strength; and this after the higher headquarters had decided 
$iat the proposal was impracticable until more equipment 
could be sent from Cairo. So common was this phenomenon 
that British officers adopted the policy of taking up a pro- 
posed operation directly with the unit that they thought best 
able to carry it out, by-passing the ELAS General Head- 
quarters. Using this irregular method, the British and ELAS 
were able to produce a real wave of sabotage in Greece; and 
this, coupled with the common talk of an approaching Allied 
landing in the country persuaded the Germans to send addi- 
tional divisions to Greece in the fall of 1943. These divisions 
were thereby lost to the Germans for the Italian campaign; 
and it may even be thought that the absence of these troops 
made the difference between the success and failure of the 


Allied landings in Italy. Though it cost Greece dear, the 
British ruse was a success. 

The events of the late summer of 1943 naturally estranged 
the British Mission from ELAS Headquarters. The British 
had freely flouted the ELAS chain of command; and ELAS 
General Headquarters had shown what the British came to 
regard as disobedience to the orders of the Allied High Com- 
mand. It seemed as though ELAS Headquarters were trying 
to keep its armed force intact; and the suspicion that it was 
to be preserved in order to serve as the instrument for estab- 
lishing a new regime in postwar Greece'became deeply seated 
in the minds of the British Mission. The same conviction 
spread among most Greeks who had not joined EAM. In view 
of the subsequent behavior of ELAS, the suspicion seems to 
have been well founded. 

Zervas for his part had fallen in with British wishes and 
instructions, and had carried out a number of successful at- 
tacks, often commanding in person. Nevertheless, Zervas and 
his army came under a shadow of suspicion about this time. 
The EDES organization in Athens viewed with alarm the rise 
of ELAS and EAM throughout Greece, and some of the mem- 
bers of the organization began to advocate combat of the 
Communists by any means, even going so far as to approve the 
organization of the Security Battalions by the Germans and 
quisling Government. In particular, General Gonatas, who 
had been the most prominent figure in the Athens EDES 
organization, won the peculiar enmity of EAM by advising 
young regular officers to obey the summons of the quisling 
Government and take service with the Security Battalions. 
Most of the members of EDES in Athens were too wary them- 
selves in person to enter into active collaboration; but they 
did lend moral support to others who did, and the reputation 
of the organization suffered accordingly. 

This behavior put Zervas in an embarrassing position. 


Accusations of collaboration had already been made against 
him freely by members of EAM, and now they had fresh 
reason and more plausibility for their reproaches. To escape 
such accusations, Zervas decided to break relations with his 
parent organization. He did so publicly in January 1944 and 
renamed his army National Units of Greek Guerillas, or 
EOEA (Ethniki Organosis Ellinikon Andarton). The 
change made little practical difference in his position. Re- 
cruits no longer came to him through the Athens organiza- 
tion, but that had never been an important element in 
Zervas' strength. He could easily raise more men than he 
could equip from the villages of western Greece alone. Nor 
did the action ward off accusations of collaboration. It did 
perhaps weaken their force and hurt the ELAS case against 
him. If so, that was its only effect. In popular speech his 
forces still were called EDES, and the original name stuck 
until their final disbandment. 

Events in Greece moved rapidly in the fall of 1943. The 
expected Allied landing failed to materialize, but a greater 
surprise came when the Italian surrender was announced, 9 
September. General confusion prevailed, for most of the 
country was still garrisoned by Italian units, and their com- 
manders knew not what orders to accept or what line of 
action to pursue. The British sent agents to the principal 
Italian headquarters ordering them to come into the moun- 
tains and join in the war against the Germans. At the same 
time, German troops moved rapidly and were able in many 
instances to persuade the Italian commanders to remain 
loyal to the Axis. Many smaller Italian units simply disin- 
tegrated, their members deserting, selling their weapons 
(usually to representatives of the guerillas) and taking up a 
vagabond life. These men were later rounded up for the most 
part and formed into labor battalions by the Germans. But 
some of the Italian units followed the orders circulated by 


British representatives and moved into the mountains where 
they expected, or at least hoped, to be received as allies. 

The principal unit which followed this course was the 
division that had garrisoned the plain of Thessaly. In Novem- 
ber 1943 the whole division, complete with artillery and 
transport, took the road westward toward the Pindus Moun- 
tains, marching into the central stronghold of ELAS. The 
plans of the British Mission were not clear. They had no 
means of feeding so many men, much less of supplying them 
with all the thousands of items required to keep a force in 
fighting trim. Plans were under consideration for partially 
disarming the Italians, dividing their equipment between 
ELAS and Zervas, and using the Italians as service and labor 
troops. But the Greeks had other ideas. The Italians were 
their bitter enemies, over whom they had triumphed in 
Albania and before whom they had humbled themselves in 
the streets of Athens. Such persons would never be allies if 
the Greeks had anything to do with it 

And the Greeks did, for they were in possession of the 
ground. As the column feached the higher hills, it was stopped 
by soldiers of ELAS, surrounded, and ordered to lay down all 
arms. After vain protest, and in a state of general bewilder- 
ment, the Italian soldiers did as they were bid. ELAS came 
into possession of some ten thousand rifles at one step. It also 
acquired a few pieces of mountain artillery, mortars, machine 
guns, mules and a number of motor vehicles. By guerilla 
standards, it was an enormous booty. Supplemented by the 
smaller hauls from other parts of the country, the Italian 
collapse approximately doubled the amount of small arms in 
ELAS possession, and strengthened the guerilla army, too, by 
the acquisition of light supporting arms such as they had 
never had before. As for the Italian soldiers, they were made 
prisoner and dragged out a wretched existence in the barren 
mountains until the liberation of Greece in 1944 finally freed 
those who remained alive. 


With such a windfall, the strength of ELAS rose enor- 
mously. Its leaders had no intention of letting any of their 
new-found power escape from them; and British remon- 
strances, urging division of the booty with Zervas, went un- 
heeded. Zervas had gathered a small harvest of arms himself, 
but he controlled a relatively small part of the country and no 
large Italian garrisons surrendered to him. It followed that 
ELAS was greatly strengthened as compared to Zervas, and its 
leaders proceeded in due time to exploit their new advantage. 

After the Italian surrender, the leaders of ELAS believed 
that they would be able to gain complete and undisputed 
control of Greece upon German withdrawal. Their relations 
with the British Mission had become strained during the 
summer of 1943; now they elected to throw caution to the 
winds and defy the British from further meddling in Greek 
affairs. They refused to give up any of the armament they 
had acquired from the Italians when the British Mission 
ordered them to do so. From that time the break was open. 
British liaison officers remained with ELAS units, but they 
no longer were accorded the freedom of movement or the 
deference they had previously enjoyed. Indeed some British 
officers found themselves in a sort of semi-imprisonment. At 
ELAS General Headquarters, the British Mission had a 
similar experience. Their words no longer counted for much, 
and they became reduced to a status of mere intelligence 

In the summer of 1943 American officers had come to 
Greece for the first time. They never played a r61e comparable 
to that of the British, being far fewer in numbers and having 
more limited supplies and cash resources at their command. 
A few American sabotage teams operated in Greece with con- 
siderable effect, but most of the American effort was confined 
to intelligence reporting, in which endeavor they operated 
successfully and independently. 

British reaction to the changed state of affairs in Greece 


was prompt. Further supply to ELAS was cut off in the hope 
that its leaders would change their ways. When this proved 
unavailing, the British undertook to build up Zervas* 
strength as a makeweight against ELAS. They sent equipment 
for fifteen thousand men and provided gold to pay the EDES 
soldiers regularly. But while Zervas' strength grew, ELAS 
was able to expand even more rapidly, using the Italian arms 
to equip new recruits. Consequently, Zervas' strength never 
approached that of ELAS. 

Within a month of the Italian surrender, and before the 
British had finished building up Zervas' strength, ELAS at- 
tempted to eliminate the EDES army completely* The leftists 
accused Zervas of having violated the guerilla charter which 
had been signed during the summer and proceeded to attack 
him. Open civil war resulted. 

Strengthened by the captured ammunition and weapons, 
ELAS was able to drive Zervas back toward the sea; but the 
fighting was hard, and Zervas showed himself to be a crafty 
and daring commander. In early January Zervas began to run 
out of ammunition, and his troops were compelled to with- 
draw into a small valley some twenty miles from the sea. For 
two days the whole fate of the EDES guerillas hung in the 
balance. Ammunition was expected from Cairo, but the 
weather was bad and long hours of waiting and watching 
brought no result. Finally, just as the morale of the retreating 
force was reaching rock bottom, an airplane appeared, flying 
low under broken clouds. While the guerillas cheered wildly, 
the plane dropped several hundred thousand rounds of small 
arms ammunition. With this, Zervas was able to stand off the 
attacks of ELAS. About a week later ELAS in its turn began 
to run short of ammunition. Zervas started to advance, and 
ten days of furious marching followed: ELAS retreating as 
fast as human legs could go, and Zervas pursuing. The rout 
crossed over the peaks of the Pindus in the dead of winter- 
no mean feat of endurance for the often ill-clad and always 


ill-fed guerillas and the victorious forces of Zervas pursued 
toward the plains of Thessaly. But once over the crest of the 
mountains, ELAS was within easy reach of ammunition and 
other stores that had been painstakingly accumulated, so that 
the tables once more were turned. Zervas and his men had to 
withdraw, but their retreat was comparatively slow, involving 
repeated rearguard actions. 

By February Zervas was back within the old boundaries of 
his power. ELAS for its part had expended far more of its 
precious ammunition and other supplies than had originally 
been planned, and saw no immediate possibility of finishing 
off the rival army which could always count on the support 
of the British. Furthermore, the outbreak of large-scale civil 
war in Greece had become known round the world, and 
there was strong pressure from public opinion within and 
outside of the country against the continuation of such 
fratricidal strife. 

Accordingly, on 12 February 1944, representatives from 
ELAS Headquarters, from the British and American Mis- 
sions, and from Zervas, met at the Plaka Bridge over the 
Arakthos River. An agreement was there drawn up exactly 
delimiting the zones in which ELAS and Zervas would 
operate against the Germans. It was solemnly agreed that 
neither side would infringe upon the other's territory, and 
that both would turn all their effort against the Germans. 
The Plaka Bridge Agreement failed to inspire any deep con- 
fidence in either side. From that time onward Zervas kept 
his two best "divisions" on his landward frontier as guard 
against a second ELAS attack; and ELAS reciprocated, sta- 
tioning strong detachments in border villages. 

The transformation of EAM-ELAS into a ruthless and 
unscrupulous instrument of power was signalized to all 
Greeks by the events of this civil war. It was clear to all that 
ELAS had been the aggressor, and had preferred the arbitra- 
ment of force to negotiation as a means of settling the differ- 


ences which inevitably arose between independent (and more 
or less lawless) guerilla forces. The effect of this development 
upon Greek civilians who stood outside the EAM movement 
was to create an active dislike and fear of the Left; and many 
began to revise their attitudes toward the quisling Govern- 
ment, thinking of it as a protection against sudden seizure of 
power by EAM. Some few Greeks, as we have seen, even em- 
barked upon active collaboration with the Germans, hoping 
to form military organizations X and the Security Battalions 
that could stand against ELAS in the post-occupation 
struggle for power. The experience of civil war transformed 
Zervas* force from radical republican into conservative na- 
tionalist, and EDES guerillas even came to wear the King's 
crown on their caps. The dominating sentiment among them 
became a hatred of communism, which in practice meant a 
hatred of ELAS. On the other side, ELAS steadily portrayed 
Zervas as a Fascist and collaborator who was perfidiously in 
the pay of both the British and the Germans. The stage 
clearly was set for future troubles. 

For the High Command of ELAS and EAM the civil war 
with Zervas was only one item in tfieir agenda. As we have 
seen, the only other important independent guerilla band- 
that led by Colonel Psarros was partly disarmed in the fall of 
1943 and totally eliminated the following spring. But the 
major attention of the leaders of ELAS was directed to still 
other ends. 

One of these was the creation of a powerful ELAS Reserve 
in the towns of Greece. Prior to the fall of 1943, EAM had 
existed in the towns as an unarmed secret organization. It 
now began to build up extensive arms depots, and to create 
a reserve army from among its sympathizers. This Reserve 
was organized territorially. Each city block had its platoon 
or company, with designated commanders and an arms depot. 
In some cases the arms were entrusted to the individual mem- 
bers of the Reserve, but more usually the rifles were dis- 


tributed in caches where it was easier to control and safe- 
guard them. Many of the weapons acquired from the Italians 
were used to equip the Reserve, and some were sent from 
villages where it was calculated they would not be needed. 
Units of the Reserve drilled by night. Patrols were frequently 
sent through the streets after dark, especially in Athens, 
where gangs of X-ites had begun to threaten the security of 
prominent EAM citizens. 

During the course of 1944 the ELAS Reserve became a 
large organization, and by the time of liberation it probably 
outnumbered the regular, troops of ELAS. In Athens and 
Pireus its strength was between ten and fifteen thousand men 
equipped with rifles, sub-machine guns and pistols. Else- 
where its numbers were smaller, but the total probably ran 
between thirty and forty thousand for the whole country. 

When rumors of the creation of the ELAS Reserve began 
to circulate, the anti-Communist Greeks jumped to the con- 
clusion that this was the instrument designed to secure the 
revolution after liberation. Leftists answered that it was de- 
signed to bring about the liberation; that on a given day the 
Reserve would rise against the occupiers and drive them from 
their strongholds in the cities. Doubtless both motives were 
operative among the men who planned and carried out the 
creation of the Reserve, mixed in different proportions ac- 
cording 'to their personal political ideals. The Reserve was no 
more purely Communist than was the ELAS in the moun- 
tains; but as in its active counterpart, Communists generally 
held key positions in its organization. As the future was to 
demonstrate, the Communists were able to bring the Reserve 
to obey their will. For the immediate time, the new organiza- 
tion assured the extension of ELAS power to those portions of 
the country into which it had previously been unable to 
penetrate due to the presence of the Germans. With the firm 
establishment of the ELAS Reserve in the towns, no corner 
of the country, save Zervas' small district in the west and 


certain vague areas in Bulgarian territory, was not actually 
or potentially in the hands o ELAS. As soon as the Germans 
retreated (and by 1944 it was obvious that they soon would 
have to do so) the country would be theirs. 

The second major enterprise undertaken by the leftists 
after the Italian collapse was the organization of a provisional 
Government in the mountains. The complexion of the Gov- 
ernment-in-Exile was far from satisfactory to EAM. It was 
solidly conservative, and in the event of its return to Greece 
it could not be expected to accept with good grace the new 
order of things which EAM hoped and expected to bring 
about. In particular, EAM was resolved to prevent the return 
of King George II to Greece. Accordingly, in March 1944, 
EAM set up a provisional Government of its own, known as 
the Political Committee for National Liberation, or PEEA 
(Politiki Epitropi Ethnikis Apeleftherosis). The first Presi- 
dent of the Committee was Colonel Evripidis Bakirdjis, suc- 
ceeded in April by Professor Alexander Svolos. They were no 
more than figureheads. Real power was concentrated in the 
hands of a few Communist leaders, chief among them George 
Siantos, the Secretary of the Interior in the "Cabinet." 

It is worth while to dwell for a minute on the career of 
Siantos during the years of resistance. As Secretary General of 
the Political Bureau of the Communist Party, Siantos became 
the most influential single individual in determining the de- 
velopment of EAM and ELAS. Despite his power, he re- 
mained effectively in the background, and it was not until 
after the Germans had left Greece that he emerged as the 
dominant figure of the leftist resistance movement. He held 
no post in EAM, but assigned the task of representing the 
Communist Party on the EAM Central Committee to an- 
other man, Demetrios Partsalides. Siantos did, however, 
occupy an official position in ELAS, acting as political rep- 
resentative in the General Headquarters. Ares, also a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party, played the r61e of Kapetanios in 


the Headquarters, and Colonel (now usually called General) 
Sarafis was the military member of the triumvirate. It is not 
difficult to imagine what counsels prevailed among these 
three men. Sarafis, save for narrowly military matters, was a 
nullity; Ares devoted himself to serving as contact man vis-a- 
vis the British and American Missions, and also carried out 
a number of special "sticky" jobs personally, such as the 
liquidation of Psarros. High policy lay with Siantos, and he 
was able skillfully to confound the British and build up an 
instrument of power far more efficient than any other in all 
Greece, save for the German Army itself. 

When Siantos and his councillors decided to establish the 
Provisional Government they took a step of great significance. 
By implication the authority of the Government-in-Exile was 
denied, and British governance of Greek affairs, which had 
been exercised in the name of the Cairo Government, re- 
jected. No change in the system of internal administration 
resulted from the establishment of PEEA, but a new symbol 
was created toward which the loyalties of the members of 
EAM and ELAS could be directed. The repercussions in 
Cairo were greater than in Greece itself. There a mutiny in 
the Greek Army was stirred up by agents of EAM and Prime 
Minister Tsouderos was overthrown. 

By the establishment of this Committee the divergence be- 
tween the resistance movement and the emigre Government 
was written clear for all to see, and the problems which Ger- 
man withdrawal would bring as to the postwar government 
of the country became obvious to everyone in Greece, and to 
those outside who took an interest in 'Greek affairs. The 
obvious step was to try to bring about some sort of recon- 
ciliation between the two Governments. Before tracing the 
efforts that were made in this direction, however, it will be 
necessary to describe the history of the Greek Government- 


The Governm%nt-in-Exile 


JLHE small group of men that 

fled with King George from Crete ahead of the advancing 
German Army could be called a Government only by courtesy 
coupled with an act of faith. They had no country to govern, 
and were deeply divided against themselves. The Prime 
Minister, Emmanuel Tsouderos, immediately before assum- 
ing office, had been under house arrest, in the keeping of 
none other than his Minister for Interior, Constantine 
Maniadakis. As can be easily imagined, there was little love 
lost between the two men. Standing uneasily over the dis- 
cordant groups in the Cabinet was the King, a descendant of 
Danish princes, George Gliicksburg by name. Such a refugee 
Government must have presented a forlorn appearance in- 
deed when its members debarked in Alexandria, Egypt, and 
proceeded to take up their residence in Cairo. 

Cairo itself in the summer of 1941 was full of confusion 
and alarm. Rommel's armies defeated the British in the 
Western Desert and drove forward, it seemed irresistibly. 
Semipanic spread through Cairo and Alexandria. It was de- 
cided that the Greek Government should move again beyond 
the reach of the Germans. Consequently, in July, King 
George and his Cabinet fled to Capetown, South Africa. After 
some months in that remote city, the King and a group of 
high officials, travelled to the United States, and were officially 
received. The seat of the Greek Government in the mean- 
while was removed to London, where it established itself in 



September, 194L In London, the Greek exiles were close 
to the seat of power but far from their own country and the 
Greek armed forces which had meanwhile been created in the 
Middle East. When disorders broke out in the Greek Middle 
East forces, it seemed wise for the Government to move closer 
to the scene, and accordingly, in May 1943, the King, Tsou- 
deros, and a small company of officials moved back to Cairo. 
There the Government remained until the eve of the libera- 
tion of Greece. 

The wanderings of the Greek Government during its first 
two years of exile had important consequences. By travelling 
to far corners of the world, the Government necessarily lost 
contact with affairs inside Greece. The Exile Government, 
even after its return to Cairo, never fully regained touch with 
the Greek people. Despite the Axis occupation, communica- 
tion between Greece and the Middle East was not entirely 
interrupted. Persons who wished to pass into or out of Greece 
could often cross the Turkish frontier in Thrace; and a multi- 
tude of small vessels regularly plied the Aegean, and could 
put into Turkish ports and there take on or drop off pas- 
sengers. Such travel was secret, of course. The Italians and 
Germans did their best to intercept persons trying to leave 
or enter the country from British areas. Despite their efforts, 
a sort of "underground railroad" came into existence. It be- 
came possible for a man to travel between Egypt and Greece 
with a reasonable amount of security, though not without 
great discomfort, expense and long delays. 

By the time the Greek Government took up regular resi- 
dence in Cairo, the Middle East end of this traffic had been 
gathered under British military control. During the years 
that followed, the British never relinquished their control. 
It followed that all communications between the Greek Gov- 
ernment and persons in Greece were thenceforth subject to 
British censorship. The Greeks of Cairo were allowed almost 
no say in the dealings between British Headquarters and the 


guerillas. This situation frequently galled the Greeks, but 
British officers felt small respect for the opinions of Greek civ- 
ilians when they opposed their own. Efforts of the Greek Gov- 
ernment to come directly into contact with resistance organiza- 
tions outside British military channels were strenuously and 
effectively frowned upon. This was certainly high-handed 
treatment of a "sovereign" allied government, but when one 
considers the miscellaneous gathering of adventurers and 
heroes, patriots and crooks that by degrees collected around 
the Greek Government in Cairo, it is hard to criticize the 
British authorities for their insistence on the power of cen- 
sorship and monopoly of military relations with the guerillas. 

A second result of the extended travels of the Greek Gov- 
ernment was that the Greek Army of the Middle East passed 
away from the control of the Greek Cabinet. Operationally 
there was never any question: Greek troops fought as a part 
of the Allied forces, and were subject to the orders of Allied 
commanders. Administratively, however, and especially in 
the matter of appointment of particular individuals to par- 
ticular posts, the Greek Army became a strange sort of hybrid. 
No single authority had jurisdiction; rival cliques among the 
officers developed into rival secret leagues which, in turn, 
fomented mutiny, and repeatedly were able to compel 
changes in the Cabinet. Mutinies, of course, were nothing 
new -in Greek military tradition, but it was the initial re- 
laxation of the government's power, due to its absence from 
the scene during the first years of exile, that provided con- 
ditions in which sedition was free to spread among the 

The Government, when it first came to the Middle East, 
was the legal continuation of the Metaxas regime. Most of the 
members of the Cabinet were holdovers from the dictator's 
Government. At the very beginning, a bitter struggle de- 
veloped between Prime Minister Tsouderos axid the Minister 
for Interior, Maniadakis. As chief of the Metaxas police, 


Maniadakis had come to represent all the most hated 
aspects of the dictatorship; and Tsouderos had a personal 
grudge against Maniadakis for the arrest to which he had been 
condemned. King George, however, was a man of strong per- 
sonal loyalties. The King felt that Maniadakis had been a 
faithful servant and loyal supporter of the state, and at first 
refused to entertain the suggestion that he be dismissed. But 
dictatorships were scarcely reputable with the Allies; at least, 
when vocal opposition to them existed. The King could with 
difficulty defend dictatorial principle^ and a few days after 
the Government arrived in Cairo, he yielded. Maniadakis was 
dismissed from the Cabinet along with some of his Metaxist 
colleagues, and the reorganized Cabinet became little more 
than a group of personal friends of the Prime Minister. It re- 
mained so until the return to Cairo in 1943. 

From the point of view of the British, who provided the 
chief financial and political support of the Exile Government 
during its first years, King George and his Cabinet had two 
uses. They embodied the legal government of Greece, and 
had a symbolic value for propaganda during the occupation 
and still more for the time of liberation, when, presumably, 
the Exile Government would return to resume its just and 
proper powers. For the immediate present, the Government 
was in a position to raise troops from among the Greek com- 
munities scattered through the Middle East. 

One of the first acts of the government was to declare a 
mobilization of all Greek citizens in Egypt and neighboring 
countries. The Greek community of Egypt was relatively 
large and prosperous. Under the Capitulation laws, nearly 
all Greeks had retained their nationality even though long 
resident in Egypt, and therefore came under the jurisdiction 
of the Greek Government. Nearly all of the Egyptian Greeks 
were engaged in commerce, accustomed to relatively easy 
living, and madfe poor soldiers as compared with Greeks from 
Greece. Some of the ever-recurrent troubles of the Greek Army 


in the Middle East arose from this fact. Egyptian-born Greeks 
did not accept gladly the orders of officers who had gathered 
from odd corners of the world, or who escaped from Greece 
after the occupation. Greek officers were accustomed to deal- 
ing with a peasant soldiery, and habitually presumed upon 
their privileges and power in a way that seemed tyrannical to 
the city-born-and-bred Greeks of the Middle East. 

As the months passed, a steady trickle of Greek refugees 
came to Egypt. Those of military age swelled the ranks of the 
Greek Army. Most of these came from the parts of Greece 
close to Turkey, for it was easier for them to escape than for 
the rest. But officers, and men who were well to do, were able 
to pay the cost of passage from other parts of Greece. Further- 
more, officers had perhaps more reason to wish to escape than 
others. They were in greater or less degree marked men, and 
suspicious acts on their part were more seriously regarded 
by the occupation armies. Consequently the Greek Army in 
the Middle East was embarrassed by a great surplus of officers. 
From their idleness and jealousy arose much of the intrigue 
that came to honeycomb it. 

Recruitment to the Army continued after the Government 
abandoned Cairo for South Africa and London. Altogether 
two brigades were formed (totaling perhaps eight thousand 
men). An equal or greater number of soldiers was distributed 
among various training centers and replacement depots. The 
First Brigade was organized and equipped by mid- 1942 and 
took part in the battle of El Alamein, where it fought credit- 
ably. The Brigade joined in the pursuit of the Germans, and 
was not withdrawn until Tunis had been reached. It did not, 
however, take part in any serious fighting after Alamein. An- 
other unit, the Sacred Squadron, composed exclusively of 
officers, went to the front in Tunis and fought under the 
command of the Free French almost until the time of German 
surrender in Tunisia. 

This is virtually the sum of the combat service of the 


Greek forces in the Middle East during the first three years 
of the war. Interminable training courses and long spells of 
guard duty filled in the rest of the time. Part of the reason 
for this fact was that British divisional and army commanders 
were reluctant to accept Greek troops under their command 
for active operations. Difficulties of language made effective 
coordination sometimes difficult. Moreover, most British 
commanders had an ingrained distrust of Greek units and 
tended to regard them as "native" troops. This 'bitterly 
offended Greek pride and was indeed quite unjustified by the 
performance of the Greeks in battle. But the fact of dis- 
crimination remained, and did nothing to improve the 
morale of the Greek troops. 

The first of a long series of troubles broke out in the ranks 
of the Greek Middle East Army in March 1942. The quarrel 
was largely personal, and arose among a small number of 
senior officers. A few officers, who had served under Metaxas 
and taken part in the Albanian War, had made their way to 
Cairo in the first days of occupation and had taken over the 
chief commands of the newly formed Army. During the suc- 
ceeding months, a number of others, mostly republican 
officers who had been exiled from Greece since the failure of 
the 1935 revolt, gravitated to Cairo; and some of them 
succeeded in regaining their commissions. Each group was 
deeply suspicious of the other. In March this suspicion broke 
out in bitter mutual recriminations and open insubordina- 
tion. Prime Minister Tsouderos hastily came from London 
to settle the dispute. After listening to the accusations of both 
sides he compromised by removing a few of the top com- 
manders and replacing them with men who were more or 
less neutral between the rival cliques. 

This move restored peace for the time being. It did not, 
however, end the rivalry and distrust between the Metaxist 
and republican officers, but rather drove their intrigues 
underground. Secret military leagues were formed by both 


groups, but, of the two, the Republican was the more active 
and became the more powerful. The handful of republicans 
was a small minority in the Greek officer corps of the Middle 
East. The leaders of the Republican League, therefore, de- 
cided to open it to soldiers of all ranks. The organization 
quickly became a league of privates and non-commissioned 
officers, led by a handful of senior officers. It had all the at- 
traction to the Greek soldier of an association directed against 
the men who were in command over him. It had an addi- 
tional source of strength in the discontent of the Egyptian- 
born Greeks, who generally felt themselves superior to the 
Greek officers who commanded them. During the year that 
followed, Greek troops were for the most part kept in routine 
garrison duty; and the Republican League grew apace, nour- 
ished by the dissatisfaction and idleness of the soldiers. 

In the spring of 1943 the League felt itself strong enough 
to act. Mutiny broke out in nearly all the Greek Army units 
(the Sacred Squadron was a notable exception). The muti- 
neers demanded that the Army be purged of Fascists, I. e., of 
Metaxist officers. The Government had no power to resist 
the soldiers, and most of the objectionable officers were re- 
moved. A new administration came to power in the Army, 
headed by the senior officers who had organized the Republi- 
can League; and a new War Minister, sympathetic to the 
republican cause, was added to the Cabinet 

Following this success, the leaders of the Republican 
League tended to relax their activities. They had now satis- 
fied their personal ambition by winning control of the Greek 
Army. Consequently they began to take less interest in the 
soldiers' organization which had made their rise possible. A 
natural development ensued. Without formally repudiating 
the leadership of the senior republican officers, the members 
of the League began to come under the influence of EAM; 
and a new cadre of leaders, sympathetic to the Left, formed 


under tHe republicans without displacing them from nominal 

EAM in Greece was naturally concerned that the Govern- 
ment-in-Exile should not some day return to wreck their 
achievement. After mid- 1943, EAM and EL AS were pretty 
well able to control the flow of persons to and from Greece 
at their end, just as the British did in the Middle East. Con- 
sequently, new recruits to the Greek Army were usually 
vetted by EAM before they were allowed to leave Greece. 
From 1943 onward EA]VT propagandists and organizers were 
systematically sent to the Middle East as recruits for the 
Army. They became privates for the most part, but were 
from that fact in a better position to talk with their fellow 
soldiers and win their confidence. They found the framework 
of the Republican League already established in the ranks, 
and speedily made use of it, joining and climbing, by their 
energy and skill, to positions of influence. 

Thus it came about that in the spring of 1944 both old-line 
republicans and EAM-ites believed that they controlled the 
Republican League in the Army. The republicans knew of 
the EAM propagandists, but thought it wise to "use" them 
to gain their own ends. Exactly the same reasoning was used 
by the EAM representatives. In point of fact, there was much 
in common between the aims of the two groups. Each wanted 
to overthrow the King and establish a republic in Greece 
after the war. Thus the issue, King versus Republic, which 
had long distracted Greece, was revived and tore apart the 
Greek Middle East Army*! It became at the same time the 
major question of emigr politics. 

In Greece itself, it will be recalled, the King had become a 
generally unpopular figure. In March 1942 most of the lead- 
ing prewar politicians had signed a manifesto suggesting that 
the King refrain frorft returning until after a plebiscite had 
been held. This suggestion was not welcome to King George. 
He had been born to rule, being the eldest son of Constantine, 


and educated more or less in the German tradition. He had 
grown up in Greece when it still had a predominantly 
patriarchal type of government. As a youth he had trained 
for a year with the Prussian Foot Guards, where he acquired a 
lifelong interest In military matters and a liking, too, for 
military discipline. When his father, King Constantine, came 
Into collision with the fiery genius of Venizelos, young George 
warmly espoused his father's side of the dispute. He was not 
a man of high intellectual abilities, and probably never was 
able to understand why his subjects turned from -the tradi- 
tional and proper loyalty which he felt they owed to him, 
their rightful sovereign. He tended to blame the whole re- 
publican movement on a handful of "bad" men who had 
succeeded in misleading the Greeks. 

When he returned to the throne in 1935, he hoped that 
the corrupting influence of the republican leaders had been 
dissipated and that all would be right again. He fondly 
dreamed of an obedient people, willing subjects of a benevo- 
lent and constitutional monarch. When such proved not to be 
the case, he fell back on one of his father's old friends, a mili- 
tary man, General Metaxas; and found in his militarized 
government and discipline a sort of substitute for the 
patriarchal relation he had hoped to have toward his people. 
In. exile again after 1941, King George felt that his right to 
rule was undiminished. Stubbornly, he did his best to close 
his ears to the voices that began to question his return. 

Despite the fact that his Prime Minister, Tsouderos, was an 
old republican, the King's relations with him were relatively 
smooth and easy. The King formally announced the end of 
dictatorship in February 1942. He hoped to embark on an- 
other constitutional experiment such as the one of 1935, and 
believed that in Tsouderos he had found a prime minister 
With whom he could work harmoniously. The Protocol of 
31 March, by which the leading politicians of Athens asked 
that he not return as a matter of right, must have come as a 


rude blow to the King's hopes. It roused a streak of stub- 
bornness in his nature, and he determined to do all in his 
power to resist so ungrateful an effort to unseat him. 

As long as the prospect of liberation was distant, the ques- 
tion of the King's position was not pressing. Nevertheless, 
republican sentiment among the Greek emigr6 colony 
steadily mounted. A group of Liberal politicians, headed by 
Sophocles Venizelos, son of the illustrious founder of the 
party, collected in Cairo, and came into contact with the 
officers who headed the Republican League in the Army. 
They easily imagined a triumphant re-entry into Athens, 
with themselves at the head of the Government, A little 
plotting to displace Tsouderos and seat themselves in his 
place seemed all that was necessary to achieve this result. 
Under the circumstances, intrigue proliferated wildly. 

By the fall of 1943 preponderance of republicanism both in 
and outside of Greece was unmistakable. In August delegates 
from the three principal guerilla organizations of Greece had 
come to Cairo, and put forward in the strongest terms their 
demand that King George not return before a plebiscite was 
held. The delegates received no immediate satisfaction, and 
returned, disgruntled, to Greece. 

Soon after this visit, Prime Minister Tsouderos discreetly 
raised the question with King George, and in November the 
King wrote a letter in which he promised to * 'examine anew 
the question of my return to Greece/' This letter was written 
in response to pressure from British officials who hoped to 
promote unity among the Greeks by putting off into an indef- 
inite future a final decision on the question of the King's 
right to rule. 

One of the forces which the King most heavily counted 
upon to guarantee his return to Greece was the support of the 
British Government. To assure this support, he decided to 
make a trip to England and there try to mend his political 
fences in person. Accordingly, in March 1944, he left Cairo 


and the Greek Government behind him and went to London. 
In the British capital, King George found sympathetic ears. 
The British Government, in the person of Mr. Churchill at 
least, had a sentimental regard for the institution of kingship, 
and liked to imagine Greece in the postwar world, a firm 
friend and grateful ally of Great Britain, securely ruled by a 
constitutional monarch. Furthermore, King George had 
nominally headed the Greek Government at the time when 
Greece came into the war as Britain's only European ally, 
and Churchill no doubt felt an obligation to forward the 
King's cause in return for the help he had given in the dark 
days of 1940. 

At lower levels, however, British official opinion was con- 
fused. To maintain their power in the Mediterranean, the 
British were anxious that postwar Greece should be friendly 
to Great Britain; but how best to guarantee such friendship 
was difficult for them to decide. Some British officials were 
convinced that only a republican government could be 
truly strong and popular. But EAM was the sole republican 
group that was in a position to take over the reins of power; 
and, after 1943, British observers became increasingly doubt- 
ful as to whether a Government established by EAM would 
in fact be friendly. Russian armies were already edging into 
the Balkans, and EAM's affection for Russia could easily turn 
into a cool, or even positively unfriendly attitude toward the 
British. Against such an eventuality the return of King 
George to his throne would be a guarantee; but there seemed 
small possibility that he would be able to return peacefully 
in view of EAM's bitter opposition and armed strength. In 
general, British officials in Cairo were more dubious of the 
King's political position than was the Foreign Office in 
London, and, as a result, British policy was lacking in clarity, 
and fluctuated between lukewarm support of the Greek 
King and an uneasy neutrality in the question. 

The more sympathetic attitude of officials in London 


encouraged King George to make no further concessions to re- 
publican pressure from Cairo and Greece. He took up resi- 
dence in the British capital, and a coterie of Greek royalists 
quickly formed round him. Many of these men were clever, 
ambitious and unscrupulous. Either by intention or perhaps 
without realizing it, they cut the King off from accurate in- 
formation as to the progress of affairs in Greece. He came to 
live in a sort of ivory tower, ignorant of what his opponents 
were doing and isolated from whatever elements in Greek 
life might have supported his claims. 

The republican movement continued to gain momentum 
in the King's absence. In December 1943, Prime Minister 
Tsouderos sent a representative into Greece with the mission 
of sounding out political leaders within the country as to 
their opinions on the question of the postwar regime. What 
particularly he wanted was their reaction to the proposal that 
a regent be nominated secretly by the King in order to exer- 
cise the royal powers for an interim period immediately after 
liberation. The original suggestion for the establishment of a 
regency in Greece had come from individuals in the British 
Embassy near the Government of Greece which had been set 
up in Cairo in 1943. Tsouderos favored the idea of a regency, 
and the Athenian politicians, with whom his representatives 
discussed the matter, likewise approved of the proposal. All 
groups that were consulted, including the Communists, 
agreed that Darnaskinos, Metropolitan of Athens and Arch- 
bishop of^All Greece, should be the Regent. Throughout the 
occupation, Daniaskinos had succeeded in keeping above 
party strife and was almost the only man in prominent posi- 
tion who could command the respect and confidence of both 
Left and Right. 

When news of the favorable reaction of Greek political 
figures to the proposed regency reached the Prime Minister, 
he, wrote a letter to King George urging him to sign a decree 
in secret, nominating Damaskinos as his temporary represent- 


ative in Greece. The King refused to consider the proposal. 
From that time on, he began to regard Tsouderos with suspi- 
cion, seeing him as no more than the agent of a republican 
conspiracy against him. 

The reaction to the King's refusal was not long delayed. 
EAM became convinced that strong measures would be neces- 
sary to prevent the King's return, and proceeded to set up the 
Provisional Government in the mountains in deliberate de- 
fiance of the royal emigr Government, At the same time, the 
Republican League in the Army redoubled its activities. Both 
EAM sympathizers and the Venizelist republicans took the 
King's refusal to appoint a regent as a gage of battle. 

In March, the First Brigade of the Greek Middle East 
Army prepared to take ship for Italy where it was expected to 
take part in the fighting. To the antiroyalist conspirators, the 
departure of the Brigade meant a hitch in their plans; a 
mutiny in Egypt, which did not include the First Brigade in 
Italy, would fail to deprive the King of all his military sup- 
port; and a mutiny in the front line would have been hard to 
start and harder still to justify in the eyes of the world. Con- 
sequently, on 1 April, only a few days before the Brigade was 
scheduled to embark, the Republican League gave orders to 
mutiny. Insubordination first broke out aboard the ships of 
the Greek Navy which were tied up in Alexandria Harbor. 
Within a week the mutiny spread to nearly all units of the 
Greek Army. As before, the Sacred Squadron was the only 
combat unit that remained obedient to the Cairo Govern- 

The mutiny was carried out with admirable efficiency. 
Groups of soldiers rose in the night, seized headquarters 
buildings and took prisoner those of their officers who pro- 
tested. There was almost no bloodshed, although in some of 
the units a few shots were fired. Committees, drawn from the 
members of the Republican League, took command of each 
mutinous unit. Some of the leaders were officers, but many 


were privates. The First Brigade, where the disorder caine 
to be most widespread and lasted longest, fell under the com- 
mand of a slight, intense private soldier, assisted by a pair of 
majors. In effect, EAM came into control. The old-line re- 
publican officers, who nominally headed the League, had 
agreed to, but had not actually organized the revolt, nor did 
they control it once it had begun. 

The mutineers demanded that the Greek Government 
recognize the Political Committee which EAM had estab- 
lished in Greece, as the legitimate representative of the Greek 
people, and accept some or all of its members into the 
Cabinet. They further demanded the purge of Fascists from 
the Army and Navy, and an unequivocal statement that the 
King would not return without a plebiscite. 

The mutiny came as a complete surprise to the British 
liaison officers who were attached to the various units of the 
Greek Army, and was equally unexpected by British Head- 
quarters. Knowing little or nothing of the political struggles 
that lay behind the action, the British officer who was de- 
tailed to handle the situation in the First Brigade saw nothing 
but mutiny against duly constituted military authority. Ac- 
cordingly, he declared the First Greek Brigade to be rebel- 
lious, and ordered all the soldiers to parade out from the 
camp where they were stationed and surrender their arms. 
This was a psychological mistake. During the first few days of 
the mutiny, only a minority of the soldiers had actively sided 
with the insurrection. There was a general state of confusion 
and uncertainty in the ranks. But when the order came to 
lay down their arms, it struck close to the Greek pride. Al- 
most to a man the soldiers refused, and by that act associated 
themselves with the mutineers. In some of the other Greek 
camps less maladroit methods were used, and the mutinies 
died one by one. The Navy and First Brigade, however, re- 
mained adamant. 

The Greek Navy, at the time when the mutiny broke out, 


was in almost undisputed command of Alexandria Harbor, 
There was wild talk to the effect that, if the Greek Govern- 
ment and British military authorities did not yield to the 
rebel demands, the guns of the Greek fleet would be turned 
on the city. Nothing of the sort occurred, however. Within a 
few days British destroyers were brought into the harbor, and 
for over two weeks the two forces glowered at one another* 
Finally on 22 April, the Greek Admiralty organized board- 
ing parties and took over the Greek ships one by one. On 
some of the ships there were gun fights and about half a 
dozen men were killed. The man who organized the boarding 
parties and brought the Navy back to obedience was Admiral 
Petros Voulgaris, newly appointed Commander in Chief, The 
reputation he gained by this action became the basis of his 
subsequent political career. 

The First Brigade, meanwhile, had been surrounded by 
British troops. The siege lasted for eighteen days. When news 
of the surrender in the Navy reached the camp, the British 
sent an ultimatum threatening full-scale attack if the muti- 
neers did not lay down their arms. No answer came to the 
ultimatum, and in the darkness of night, 23 April, British 
troops moved forward. They met with almost no resistance. 
The Greek soldiers surrendered three hours after the advance 
began, and next morning marched out from their camp with- 
out arms. 

In Greek political circles in Cairo, the mutiny had drastic 
repercussions. Tsouderos resigned when the news came, and 
the republican coterie, under the leadership of Sophocles 
Venizelos, succeeded to power. To their surprise, however, 
the republican politicians found that the mutiny they had 
helped to start did not die down, even when the new Prime 
Minister ordered the rebels to desist. When it came to action, 
the few republican senior officers who had headed the Re- 
publican League found that they had no control over their 
followers. The EAM-ites who had climbed up from the ranks 


directed the movement instead* It was a surprise to the re- 
publican Army officers to find themselves so powerless; and 
when Venizelos failed by his words to quell the trouble, 
despite his known connection with its fomentation, his pres- 
tige dropped almost to zero. The British Embassy began to 
look around for another prime minister. They found him in 
George Papandreou, leader of the Social Democratic Party. 

Before we turn to Papandreou's career, and the efforts to 
find a satisfactory modus vivendi between the Government- 
in-Exile and the resistance organizations in Greece, it is con- 
venient to recount the further development of the Greek 
Army in the Middle East. 

When the last mutineers had been forced to yield, the 
whole organization of the Greek Army was in ruins. Hardly 
a single commanding officer had been able to maintain any 
hold on the troops under his command, and except for the 
Sacred Squadron, no unit was without its percentage of revo- 
lutionaries. At the time of the surrender, an effort was made 
to separate the soldiers into those who had taken active part 
in the mutiny and those who had not. In the case of the First 
Brigade, this wa^ done simply by individual option: the men 
who agreed with the mutineers were ordered to fall out into 
one column and were thereupon marched off to a detention 
camp in the desert, while the remnant was taken to a different 
camp. By similar methods, the other units of the Greek Army 
were sifted, and altogether nearly ten thousand mutineers 
(about half of the total strength of the Greek forces in the 
Middle East) were segregated and interned. From the men 
who had not taken active part in the mutiny a new brigade 
was formed. It was named the Third Brigade, although there 
was of course no longer any First or Second in existence. 

A few weeks after the mutiny, the general administration 
of the Greek Army was entrusted to Major General Constan- 
tine Vendiris. General Vendiris was a man of remarkable his- 
trionic gifts and possessed resolute will and great ambition. He 


had a turbulent career behind him when he took command* 
As a young regular officer he had joined the Venizelist In- 
surrectionary Government in Salonika, and distinguished 
himself for his personal bravery in action. Through the peace 
he was generally considered an extreme republican. He took 
active part in the 1935 revolution and as a result was dismissed 
from the } Army. Metaxas cherished a personal animosity 
against him, and refused his melodramatic offer to serve as a 
private in the ranks at the time of the Albanian War. During 
the occupation, Vendiris became head of a secret organization 
known as RAN. This was an irridentist group, taking its 
name from three geographical place names which were desired 
as the future frontiers of an enlarged Greece Rumeli-Ava- 
lona-Nisi. The plan cherished by this organization was to 
equip secretly a force of patriotic Greeks who would leap to 
arms as the Germans withdrew, and follow behind, taking 
over border areas from Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. 
This scheme never got past the paper stage; but a number 
of influential Army officers and prominent civilians set them- 
selves up as a sort of headquarters for the nonexistent army, 
and under General Vendiris' direction devoted themselves to 
making propaganda for a Greater Greece. 

From his experience in Greece, General Vendiris had be- 
come bitterly anti-Communist. He believed Communists to 
be enemies of the nation, and looked upon the mutiny in the 
Middle East as a crowning blow struck against the glory of 
Greek arms. With the backing of British military authorities, 
he set about reconstituting the Greek Army. He was guided 
by two desires. He wanted to create an armed force that 
would be thoroughly proof against Communist infiltration, 
and he wanted to restore the Army quickly in order that some 
of its units might take part in the fighting in Italy and redeem 
the tarnished Greek military reputation. 

To achieve these purposes, Vendiris combed out the Greek 
officer corps and retained on active duty only those men 


whom he or his subordinates felt sure were anti-Communist. 
This meant in practice that he appointed royalist officers to 
command positions. Since a somewhat similar, though less 
careful selection of the common soldiers had taken place, the 
new units of the Greek Army became predominantly royalist, 
and uniformly anti-Communist. 

By June 1944 the Third Brigade was organized. After a 
couple of months* strenuous training in the mountains of 
Lebanon, it was transported to Italy. There the Brigade 
joined the Eighth Army and after a week of brisk fighting 
succeeded in capturing the Italian town of Rimini. From 
this victory, it was afterward frequently known as the Rimini 

As for the soldiers who had elected to join the mutineers, 
they remained in detention camps until after the liberation 
of Greece. Some of them were formed into guard battalions, 
and others served in labor units, but many remained in a 
sort of imprisonment until finally transported to Greece in 
the spring of 1945. Twenty of the ringleaders of the mutiny 
were tried by court-martial. Some of them were sentenced to 
death, others to varying terms of imprisonment. The sen- 
tences, however, were suspended by the Greek Government 
from political considerations, and no one suffered execution 
as a result of his part in the mutiny. 



Efforts at Unity 

JLN 1944 the German armies 

were everywhere on the defensive. To the hopeful eyes of the 
Greeks, their power waned almost from day to day. In early 
spring the Greek people generally expected an Allied landing 
in force, but from month to month it failed to come. As the 
summer wore on it began to look as though the German 
garrison in Greece would either have to withdraw or allow it- 
self to be cut off by the Russians, who were driving through 
the northern Balkans. Every German movement came to be 
rumored as withdrawal; but by late August it was unmis- 
takable: units of the German garrison were moving north- 
ward. Through September the certainty grew. A steady stream 
of German soldiers passed from the islands to the mainland, 
until whole islands were abandoned. By degrees garrison 
posts in the southern part of the country were likewise given 
up, and all Greeks knew that the day of liberation was at 

Liberation was longed for by all the population save for 
a handful of out-and-out collaborators. Almost every Greek 
was animated by a deep hatred of the Germans who had ruled 
so harshly, killed so many innocent persons, and burnt so many 
of the villages. But this hatred was almost the only feeling 
common to all Greeks. The men of the Left looked forward 
confidently to the day of liberation as a time when Greece 
would enter on a new era and, under the political leader- 
ship of the resistance movement, slough off all that was evil 



and unjust In the prewar social order. There was a tre- 
mendous buoyancy and faith in the EAM movement. Its 
members had no doubt that they were in the right and would 
be able to make all things new. They were, however, vague 
as to the exact steps that would be taken to realize the reforms 
they expected. They were definite only in two things: the 
King would not be allowed to come back and impose another 
Fascist dictatorship; and they, the members of EAM, would 
be the men and women who would take control of the country 
and direct it into democratic paths* What they meant by 
democratic it is hard to say; indeed it seems to me that the 
word had lost all independent meaning and had become 
equivalent in their mouths to their program of no King, and 
EAM in power. With governmental power in their hands, 
the members of EAM looked forward to elections, a new 
constitution and a new economic order. They had complete 
faith that in their hands the future of Greece would be safe; 
that they, being the people, could do no wrong and commit 
no folly. The whole movement had an element of religious 
crusade in it; one might carp and criticize from the outside, 
but once within the ranks all doubts faded and the world 
and its future seemed bright. In international matters, EAM 
advocated friendship with Greece's northern neighbors, and 
some of its members spoke of an eventual Balkan federal 
union that would include Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and 

By the time of liberation, EAM numbered about two 
million members, out of a total population of over seven 
million. They were incomparably superior to all rivals in 
their organization and enthusiasm, and had every reason to 
suppose that once the Germans were out of the way, they 
would be able to take over undisputed control. There seemed 
to be nothing that could hope to stand against them. 

EAM was not, however, the sole political organization 
among the Greeks, nor did it represent the only strains ol 


political feeling. The traditional political parties were all in 
a state of suspended animation. A few politicians lived quietly 
in Athens, and had from time to time expressed an opinion 
or desire to the Govemment-in-Exile. But they were without 
any organization that could lend their words weight, and for 
the time being they enjoyed only a sort of traditional prestige 
which attached to their names. Other than that they had no 

The enormous growth of EAM, and its intolerant attitude 
toward all who failed to join the National Liberation Front, 
aroused deep fears among many of the Greeks who refused to 
accept its leadership. In most of the country, opposition to 
EAM found no formulation. Anyone who spoke against the 
movement was effectively punished by fine, imprisonment or, 
in more serious cases, by death. In Athens and some of the 
other large towns, however, Right wing sentiment was free 
to develop. 

The conservatives were caught in an embarrassing position. 
They did not like the Germans, and yet they could not hope 
by themselves to challenge the military power of ELAS. Most 
conservatives found this dilemma insoluble, and during the 
last months of occupation lived in high anxiety, hating the 
Germans and fearing EAM and ELAS. Personally, the major- 
ity refused active collaboration, but they began to condone 
and even to approve of the few who took active part against 
the Communists in German-sponsored organizations. Thus 
many of the politicians of the Liberal and Populist Parties 
looked with complacency on the formation of the Security 
Battalions in the fall of 1943, hoping that they would be able 
to counterbalance the power of ELAS in the period after lib- 
eration. Conservatives looked upon X in much the same way: 
a valuable counterweight to the ELAS Reserve of Athens, 
even though its manners were sometimes crude, and its meth- 
ods of getting and using weapons best left in the dark. 

The few who actually took the plunge and entered into 


open military collaboration with the Germans against ELAS 
came from no one class or district. In later times, a casual 
observer could not have distinguished an ELAS Reservist 
from a member of X simply by looking at him or listening to 
his accent. Accident seems to have played a part in determin- 
ing the political affiliation of many individuals. The death 
of a close relative at the hands of ELAS was enough to make 
many a peasant or townsman join the other side. In the 
Peloponnese, where traditions of private justice and blood 
feud remain strong, this probably accounted for most of the 
men who joined the Security Battalions. In the great cities, 
like Athens or Salonika, some men doubtless joined simply 
to make a living. Economic conditions grew rapidly worse 
from 1943 onward, and many must have found the prospect 
of food and clothing, mixed with the opportunities for plun- 
der that came the way of a Security battalioneer, a strong 
attraction. The rank and file of both X and the Security Bat- 
talions came from the same social groups as did the ELAS- 
Ites. The only difference lay in the leaders. X was commanded 
for the most part by former army officers; ELAS by a mixed 
group of students, workmen and professional revolutionaries. 
During 1944 there was a perceptible hardening of Right 
wing sentiment in Athens. Propaganda against EAM was 
assiduously spread by word of mouth and through illegal 
newspapers as well. The accusations against the Left were 
many, but, of all, the most effective and most widely believed 
was that EAM sought to betray the Greek nation. "They call 
the Bulgars brothers" came to be a favorite damnation of the 
Left. Partly in reaction against the Left and partly for the 
inherent attraction of expansion, the Right began to revive 
the old dream of a Greater Greece. Territorial claims against 
Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were formulated on an 
extravagant scale, and, as we have seen, the proposal was seri- 
ously made that Greece should occupy the border lands as 
the Germans withdrew, thus giving the Greeks practical 


possession of disputed areas when the time for making peace 
treaties came around. By degrees, the one effective relying 
cry of the Right became "Greater Greece/* On other questions 
they were divided among themselves between republicans 
and royalists, and could find no course to steer between the 
"democracy" of the Left and the tyranny of the German 

The striking fact of the Greek political scene on the eve 
of liberation was the lack of anything that could be called 
a Center. There were many persons who disliked both the 
intolerance of the Left and the reaction of the Right; but 
they had neither an organization nor a program, and in 
practical politics counted for next to nothing. The Liberal 
politicians aspired to lead this confused mass, but they were 
themselves confused. After 1943 the leader of the Liberal 
Party, octogenarian Themistocles Sofoulis, turned strongly 
against EAM. But he had no liking for the royalists of the 
extreme Right and remained almost solitary, quite unable 
to stay, or even seriously to influence the course of events. 

George Papandreou, younger and more vigorous than 
Sofoulis, was likewise a politician of the Center and was, 
like his elder, without a party. Nevertheless, in the spring 
of 1944, British political observers came to pin their hopes 
on him. Papandreou had been one of the bright young men 
who congregated around the great Venizelos, and had held a 
number of Cabinet posts in the time of the republic. In 
1928 he broke off from the Liberals to found his own Social 
Democratic Party. The new party never became large. In 
1935 it won twenty-four seats in the Chamber of Deputies. 
This made it the largest of the republican splinter groups, 
but no more than that. During the occupation, Papandreou, 
like other politicians, took no active r61e. He flirted for a 
while with EAM but never joined it, and was among the 
signers of the Protocol of 31 March 1942 asking that the 
King's return be put off until after the plebiscite. In sue- 


ceeding months, he never broke so openly with EAM as did 
Sofoulis, perhaps foreseeing some such mediating rdle as 
in fact came his way in 1944. 

Papandreou's chief eminence was as a rhetorician. His 
speeches were eloquent, plausible and, by Western standards, 
interminable. He also had a keen sensitivity to the currents 
of public opinion; but careful attention to the public mood 
of the moment earned for him a reputation as an extraordi- 
nary twister and fence sitter. His public announcements of 
policy were always cloudy, capable of more than one inter- 
pretation, and enveloped in such a multitude of words that 
one could read into them almost any opinion. Papandreou 
was something more than this, however. He was a great ego- 
ist, and in the early months of 1944 convinced himself that 
he had been, as it were, supernaturally commissioned to 
bring order out of chaos and lead Greece through the diffi- 
culties of the liberation period. This sense of mission may 
partly have been assumed for the benefit of the public, but 
probably Papandreou himself sincerely believed that he was 
a chosen instrument, the only man in Greece who could 
bring reconciliation to the warring factions that divided the 
country. He had been in touch with British agents from 
time to time during the occupation, and early in 1944 he 
convinced some of them that he could join Left and Right 
in a National Union that would tide over the period of 

Accordingly, when the mutiny broke out in Egypt, the 
British decided to send for Papandreou. Soon after his ar- 
rival in Cairo, the Liberal coterie that had taken over the 
Government after Tsouderos* resignation, was persuaded to 
resign in its turn. On April 23 Papandreou succeeded 
Sophocles Venizelos as Prime Minister of the Exile Govern- 
ment. He came to power with the program of uniting all 
parties and resistance organizations in support of a coalition 
Government. This idea had been current in Cairo before 


his arrival, and the Venizelos Government had issued formal 
invitations to the parties and organizations in Greece to 
come to a conference in the Middle East. Such a conference, 
it was hoped by both British and Greeks, would be able to 
resolve the quarrels that threatened to break out into blood- 
shed upon the Germans* departure. 

It took some weeks for all the delegates to be transported 
safely to the Middle East. Finally, on May 17, the conference 
met near Beirut in the Lebanon. Altogether twenty-five dele- 
gates were present, representing the politicians of Cairo, and 
nearly all the parties and resistance organizations of Greece. 
EAM was represented by six men, of whom only one was a 
Communist. The head of the EAM delegation was Alexander 
Svolos, formerly Professor of Constitutional Law in the Uni- 
versity of Athens. Svolos had only recently made public his 
membership in EAM, leaving Athens for the mountains in 
April 1944. He was a figure of considerable distinction, with 
a high reputation in intellectual and legal circles. He was 
quickly appointed to the presidency of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment, replacing Colonel Bakirdjis, who went north and 
took command of ELAS in Macedonia and Thrace. Svolos 
was a theoretical Marxist of the Socialist persuasion, and a 
man of unquestioned good will. He came to the Lebanon 
Conference with sincere hope of making a workable coalition 

His relation to the Communists of EAM is difficult to 
comprehend. They probably accepted him as a useful "front 
man*' for the movement; he, however, took seriously the 
democratic professions of EAM, and conceived of democracy 
more along Western lines than was the case with other EAM- 
ites. He was willing to admit other points of view and did 
not automatically condemn all dissent as traitorous. At the 
same time, he was convinced that EAM did represent the 
overwhelming proportion of the Greek people, and expected 
to win for it a preponderance in the Government of National 


Unity. The other members of the EAM delegation were like- 
wise moderates, and the Communist representative, Miltiades 
Porfyrogennis, did not stand out irreconcilably against their 
attitude of compromise. 

It is interesting to speculate as to why EAM sent such a 
delegation to the Lebanon Conference. By its very composi- 
tion, some sort of agreement on a Government of National 
Union was assured, and such must have been the intention 
of the Central Committee that selected the delegates. It 
seems probable, from the shape of subsequent events, that 
the Communist leaders of EAM decided that their power 
needed the cover of formal legality, and shied away from 
an open and irreparable break with the Government-in-Exile, 
Probably they calculated that a Government of National 
Unity could at any time be bent to their will by the superior 
force of ELAS which, in the last analysis, would hold the 
power in Greece after the liberation. Another factor that 
may have governed the Communists* policy was the threat 
of British intervention. If no Government of National Unity 
emerged from the Lebanon Conference, there seemed a 
lively possibility that the British would land troops in Greece 
and restore the Government-in-Exile, even though it were 
without any representatives of the Left. Such an event would 
put the leftists in a difficult position. They would have either 
to fight against the liberating British Army or else knuckle 
under to a hostile Government. With such a possibility 
hanging over them, it must have seemed prudent to join 
the Government-in-Exile and hope to bend it toward the 
Left. The overwhelming preponderance which EAM had 
achieved in the country could reasonably be expected to 
make possible alterations in the Cabinet that would assure 
leftist control; and the British would have small excuse to 
intervene in the internal affairs of the Government once it 
had been safely reestablished on Greek soil. 

Such I believe to have been the sort of thinking that 


guided the Communist leaders in their decisions. That they 
had suffered a sudden change of heart and sincerely wel- 
comed EAM's cooperation with the Right wing and Center, 
or renounced EAM's claim to exclusive representation of 
the Greek people, seems entirely improbable. The move 
was rather in the nature o a tactical retreat. The ultimate 
goal, to establish an EAM Government and through it, a 
Communist regime, remained unaltered. At the same time, 
it must be recognized that a large element in EAM was not 
Communist and did not share the Communist ideals. To 
them participation in an ecumenical Government seemed a 
natural step. It proved RAM's good faith, and seemed to 
hold promise of future peace and quiet for the country. This 
was the group in EAM which Svolos and his Socialist col- 
leagues represented, and there is no reason to doubt their 

The Right wing was sparsely represented at Lebanon. 
The Popular Party had a single delegate from Greece, and 
General .Vendiris was present as representative of RAN. For 
them there was small question. A Government in which they 
were represented was better than the most probable alterna- 
tive: a solidly leftist, revolutionary regime in Greece, made 
desperate by the threat of forcible intervention by the British. 
Perhaps even at the time of the Conference, some of the 
rightists counted on British support once the Government 
of National Unity had established itself in Greece. Whether 
they saw so far into the future or not, a coalition seemed the 
best possible arrangement they could make, and no difficul- 
ties arose from the Right. 

The British Ambassador to the Greek Government-in- 
Exile, Reginald Leeper, played an important role in the 
deliberations. He did not actually attend the sessions of the 
Conference, but he did come up from Cairo to be close to 
the scene of action, and he was in constant touch with the 
chief delegates. He urged conciliation and agreement on all 


parties, and strove by all means in his power to make the 
Conference a success. In view of the British position vis-i-vis 
the Greek Government, his advice carried much weight; so 
much so that the agreement which emerged from the Con- 
ference generally reflected the British view. 

The major quarrel in the Conference was between the 
representatives of the Liberal politicians of Cairo and Prime 
Minister Papandreou. The Liberals felt that Papandreou 
represented nobody but himself, and that they, as represent- 
atives of the great traditional party of the Center, should 
hold the largest bloc of seats in the Cabinet. Papandreou, on 
the other hand, was anxious to consolidate his own personal 
position as chief of the Government and wanted to put as 
many of his friends into the Cabinet as he could. 

After some days of discussion, general agreement was 
reached among all the delegates. Papandreou was confirmed 
as Prime Minister of a Government of National Unity. EAM 
was accorded a quarter of the seats in the Cabinet (five); the 
Liberals were assigned an equal number; the Popular Party 
got three; and the balance was divided between small parties 
and groups, many of them personal friends of Papandreou. 

The basis of the new Government was the so-called Leba- 
non Charter. This document comprised eight resolutions 
that were to guide the policy of the new Government. They 
may be summarized as follows: 

1. Reorganization and disciplining of the Greek forces of 
the Middle East. 

2. Unification of guerilla forces and the eventual formation 
of a national army free from any party influence. 

3. End of terrorism in Greece, and the insurance of full 
political liberties after the German withdrawal. 

4. Shipment of food and medicines to Greece. 

5. Insurance of order and liberty in Greece at the time of 
liberation in order that the people might freely decide on 
the political and social regime to prevail in postwar 
Greece and install a Government of their choice. 


6. Severe punishment of all traitors and exploiters of the 
people's misery. 

7. Immediate satisfaction of the material needs of the 

8. Full satisfaction of national territorial claims. 

This was obviously a compromise document, and some of 
its provisions were subject to a wide variety of interpreta- 
tions. The third clause was aimed at ELAS; the sixth at the 
extreme Right; but the crucial and most controversial was 
the fifth. It was phrased to cover the question of the King's 
return but failed to commit the Government to anything 
definite. EAM regarded this clause as a guarantee that it 
would be able to take power after liberation. The other po- 
litical groups, however, interpreted "order and liberty" to 
mean the cessation of most of EAM's activities in order that 
their own partisans might organize and be able to install a 
Government of their choice. With such wide variations in 
interpretation, the Lebanon Charter was a frail basis upon 
which to form a truly united Government. It was the best 
that could be produced under the circumstances, however, 
and did serve as the foundation of government during the 
following six months. 

After the conclusion of the Conference, the Government 
returned to Cairo and representatives of the Liberal and 
other parties were duly inducted into the Cabinet. The EAM 
delegation, however, returned to Greece in order to secure 
ratification of its decisions, so that for the time being no 
representatives of the Left joined the Government of Na- 
tional Unity. 

The course of the new Government was not smooth. A 
sense of overwhelming urgency dominated the times, for 
the day of liberation was obviously approaching fast. But 
internal quarrels, and the embarrassing absence of the repre- 
sentatives of what was, after all, the most powerful group 
in the country, made it almost impossible for the Govern- 


ment to prepare serious plans for the postwar settlement 
and administration of Greece. Only one item in the agenda 
of the Lebanon Charter proceeded smoothly; the reorgani- 
zation of the Army in the Middle East, and that was carried 
on more or less independently of the Government, in defiance 
of the wishes of the Liberal members of the Cabinet, who 
saw their friends among the Army officers unceremoniously 
cashiered for having taken part in the mutiny. Even so un- 
controversial a matter as the organization of relief for the 
liberated country was hampered by jurisdictional quarrels 
between the Greek Government and UNRRA officials. The 
Greeks wanted. to have full control over relief distribution; 
UNRRA insisted on guarantees that relief supplies would 
not be used as a political weapon to favor one party against 
another, and proposed that perfect neutrality be assured by 
their taking over responsibility for the internal distribution. 
A deadlock resulted which was not resolved until several 
months after the liberation. 

Actually, the Cabinet's attention was devoted principally 
to its own internal quarrels. The largest question was EAM: 
would or would not the leftist representatives join the Cabi- 
net and participate in the Government? When Svolos and 
his fellow delegates returned to Greece from Lebanon, some 
at least of the leaders of EAM felt that they had come away 
with a bad bargain. EAM was far stronger in Greece than 
was the Liberal Party, yet the two had equal representation 
in Papandreou's Cabinet. Such a distribution of seats must 
have seemed little short of absurd to the leaders of EAM. 
They could, however, scarcely reopen the bargaining and 
ask for greater representation. Moreover, Svolos and his 
fellow delegates argued that the Cabinet would be re-organ- 
ized soon after the Government's return to Greece (fifth 
resolution of the Lebanon Charter), and held out great hopes 
of redressing the balance in favor of EAM at that time. 

During the following month, Papandreou's actions in 


Cairo began to cause the EAM leaders to doubt his willing- 
ness to fall in with their plans. Papandreou exhibited almost 
complete subservience to British suggestions and wishes, and 
showed unmistakably that he believed himself uniquely 
suited to lead Greece through the difficult time ahead of her. 
EAM leaders felt equally that they alone were ordained to 
the leadership and resented British influence. Accordingly, 
on 29 July 1944, EAM sent a telegram to Papandreou demand- 
ing that he resign before their representatives would join the 
Government. After discussion with the Cabinet, Papandreou 
returned a soft answer, saying that his person would never 
stand in the way of national unity. Simultaneously, the Lib- 
eral members of the Government sent a telegram to EAM 
in which they recommended that no insistence be made that 
Papandreou resign at the moment. They told, however, of a 
plan they cherished for substituting their own leader, The- 
mistocles Sofoulis, as Prime Minister as soon as the Govern- 
ment arrived in Greece. This reassured EAM, for with Lib- 
eral support they believed they would have no difficulty in 
forcing a reorganization of the Cabinet that would give the 
Left a larger share in the Government. 

But before the EAM Ministers came to Cairo, a second 
point was raised. The new Government had not clearly com- 
mitted itself on the question of the Security Battalions, and 
EAM now demanded a categorical denunciation of these 
organizations as traitorous. The conservatives in the Cabinet 
believed that the Security Battalions were a valuable and 
necessary makeweight to the armed power of ELAS, and 
hoped that they would survive the liberation to lend the 
Government military support in the event of trouble with 
the Left. But Papandreou and most of the Center could not 
approve of organizations which had committed so many atroc- 
ities against Greek villages and had served as willing tools 
of the Germans. The Right was overruled, and the Govern- 
ment agreed to denounce them. Accordingly on 7 September 


the Security Battalions were formally and publicly declared 
traitorous. The German evacuation of Greece had already 
begun, and the members of the Security Battalions, hearing 
that the new Government would consider them as enemies, 
began to drift off to their homes. By the time the liberation 
was accomplished only small remnants of the original force 
continued to exist and ELAS easily destroyed them all. 

With these two questions out of the way, EAM became 
reconciled to joining the Government in Cairo. Accordingly, 
five men were chosen as ministers, two of them Communists 
and the others drawn from the Socialist wing of the move- 
ment. They arrived in Cairo 1 September and were sworn 
in the next day. A few days later the Provisional Government 
of the Mountains was formally dissolved. 

Meanwhile, the Liberals in the Cabinet had quarrelled 
with Prime Minister Papandreou and, on the eve of the 
arrival of the EAM representatives in Cairo, had resigned 
from the Government (31 August). It seems certain that the 
Liberals expected to come into contact with the members of 
the EAM delegation upon their arrival from Greece and, in 
conjunction with them, compel an immediate change in the 
person of the Prime Minister. But when they arrived, the 
EAM leaders did not fall in with the plans of Sophocles 
Venizelos and his fellow politicians. Instead of balking at 
the behavior of Papandreou, the Leftists entered the Cabinet 
without delay, leaving the Liberal politicians in the lurch* 

According to Alexander Svolos, who had been appointed 
as one of the Ministers to represent EAM in Papandreou's- 
Cabinet, the reason for this action was that his two Com- 
munist colleagues went to the Russian Legation in Cairo 
and were there advised to join the Cabinet without further 
bargaining. There is no reason to doubt Svolos' word, or 
that he was in a position to know of the action of his fellow 
Ministers. It raises the interesting question of the general 


relation between the EAM movement and the Russian Gov- 

Until Russian troops had driven the Germans from the 
Black Sea coast, direct communication between Russia and 
Greece seems to have been practically impossible. There is 
no evidence that EAM or the Greek Communist Party re- 
ceived any instructions from Russia during the first years 
of the war. As we have seen, the EAM movement was domi- 
nated by Communists; and in the Greek Communist Party 
there was a small group of professional revolutionaries who 
had received special training in Russia before the war. Their 
number was very small, but their influence in EAM was pro- 
found. It seems probable that the remarkable parallel be- 
tween events in Greece and Yugoslavia may be accounted 
for by the fact that the Partisan movement, too, was directed 
by Russian-trained revolutionaries, and both movements fol- 
lowed the textbook directions of the Russian teachers. This 
seems to have been the limit of Russian control over EAM. 
Except for the intervention in Cairo, there is no evidence of 
Russian advice affecting the day-to-day policy of the Greek 
resistance movement, 

In August 1944 a small group of Russian Army officers 
dropped by parachute into ELAS Headquarters. Their sud- 
den arrival came as a complete and unwelcome surprise to 
the British. The Russians actually came from Tito's Head- 
quarters, not from Russia directly; and so far as could be 
observed, took no active part in directing ELAS policy dur- 
ing the ensuing months. The members of this military mis- 
sion remained in Greece after the liberation, acting as an 
intelligence team and evacuating Russian prisoners of war. 
They stayed in Athens throughout the civil war, living in 
British army billets, and made no gesture to assist the Greek 
Communists by word or deed. 

Though the Russians seem to have exercised no direct 


control over the movement, EAM certainly held Russia in 
high esteem, and in propaganda always emphasized the Red 
Army's preponderant part in the war against Germany. It 
seems certain that if it had ultimately gained control, EAM 
would have brought Greece into the Russian sphere, as the 
Partisans have done in Yugoslavia. In such an event, British 
and American influence would have been largely excluded 
from the country. 

But in the summer of 1944 such issues lay still buried in 
the future. The immediate problem was to make prepara- 
tions for the imminent liberation of Greece. The United 
States declined to take an equal share in the expedition that 
would liberate Greece, and American military participation 
was limited to a share in relief administration. The military 
undertaking thus became almost wholly a British responsi- 
bility. No serious effort to attack the German garrison or 
to cut off its retreat was contemplated. Troops for an attack 
were not easily available in the Mediterranean area, and a 
landing in force would bring no great advantage since the 
Germans were already leaving of their own ^accord. Conse- 
quently AFHQ assigned only a token force of approximately 
four thousand men for the landing in Greece. 

It was obviously necessary to concert plans with the Greek 
Government, but British military authorities were very re- 
luctant to confide in the Cabinet, for some of the Ministers 
were incurable chatterboxes, and regularly discussed state 
secrets with members of the Greek community in Cairo over 
their afternoon coffee on the porch of Shepheard's Hotel. 
Consequently in mid-August Prime Minister Papandreou 
agreed to feign illness, and was declared to be unable to see 
visitors. Actually he went secretly to Italy where he met 
Churchill and discussed plans for the liberation of Greece 
with the British Prime Minister. It was this circumvention 
of the Greek Cabinet that precipitated the resignation of 
the Liberal Ministers on 31 August. 


J* 1 
Exactly what passed between Papandreou and Churchill 

at their secret meeting in Italy has never been fully divulged. 
Upon his return to Cairo, Papandreou let it be known that 
they had agreed that King George II should not return to 
Greece immediately upon the liberation of the country but 
should wait in London until a plebiscite had been held; 
that the Government should be reorganized upon arriving 
in Greece; and that it should immediately transfer its seat 
from Cairo to Italy as a preparatory move for re-entering 
Greece. It is sure that military plans for the landing were 
discussed and agreed upon by the Greek and British Prime 
Ministers. In addition, the Liberals and EAM accused Pa- 
pandreou of having agreed to more than this, saying that 
he promised to favor the King's return and prevent the Left 
from coming into undisputed power. Whether these sus- 
picions were well founded only Papandreou and Churchill 
can say, and neither of the two men has found it fitting to 
tell more than was announced at the time. 

Early in September the Greek Government transferred its 
seat to Salerno, Italy, where it was effectually divorced from 
the talkative Greek colony of Cairo and subject to no outside 
pressures save that of British military advice. The great 
task was to get ready for liberation. Members of the Cabinet 
were detailed to go to various outlying parts of the country 
that had already been freed of the Germans. The main body 
of the Cabinet, however, with Prime Minister Papandreou 
and the EAM Ministers, remained in Italy and travelled to 
Athens by sea. 

Toward the end of September an agreement was made 
between the British and Greeks to regulate the military as- 
pects of the liberation. General Sarafis, Commander in Chief 
of ELAS, General Zervas, Chief of the EDES guerillas, Prime 
Minister Papandreou and two British generals, Sir Henry 
Maitland Wilson and Ronald Scobie were present at the 
Conference which drew up what was afterward called the 


Caserta Agreement. By this Agreement the guerilla forces in 
Greece acknowledged the headship of Papandreou's Govern- 
ment, and that Government in turn put all the Greek forces 
at its disposal under the command of General Scobie, as repre- 
sentative of the Allied High Command in Greece. It was 
further agreed that the guerilla forces would not make any 
attempt to seize power at the time of liberation, but would 
form a national union between themselves through which to 
coordinate their activities against the enemy. It was expressly 
stated that the Security Battalions were not a part of the 
forces under the Greek Government but were enemy forma- 

Supplementary to the Agreement was a series of opera- 
tional orders issued by General Scobie. In these Scobie stated 
his aim: to help to reconstruct Greece under the guidance of 
the Greek Government In the original draft of his order, 
General Scobie said he aimed to restore law and order. This 
met with an objection from Sarafis, who insisted that law 
and order were an internal matter which concerned only 
the Greek Government. General Scobie accepted the objec- 
tion and changed the wording of his order accordingly. Ad- 
ditional provisions of the operational order made the guerilla 
commanders responsible for the observance of good order 
in Greece immediately after liberation and marked out the 
operational boundaries between ELAS and EDES along the 
same line as that fixed by the Plaka Agreement. One im- 
portant territorial change was introduced. Athens and the 
district around it were exempted from ELAS control, and 
put under the command of General Panagiotis Spiliotopoulos 
instead. Spiliotopoulos was a friend and former subordinate 
of General Vendiris who was at this time the Commander 
in Chief of the Greek Middle East Army. In effect, then, this 
provision handed the capital over to the military control o 
Vendiris, and the conservative, nationalist political opinion 
he represented. 


One may say In general that the Caserta Agreement was 
drawn up at a time when the future political control o 
Greece was in the forefront of everyone's mind. The British 
were determined not to let the Government pass into the sole 
control of the Left; ELAS and EAM were equally determined 
to gain complete control of the country. Both sides in a sense 
were playing for time. EAM leaders expected that once the 
liberation had been accomplished their monopoly of political 
organization in the country and the widespread popular 
support they commanded would compel the Government to 
move more and more to the Left. The conservatives and the 
British felt that no break with the Left could be risked at 
the moment and were content to establish a Government in 
which EAM held only a minority position and let events 
guide their action afterward. 

Such then was the political situation when the Germans 
at last abandoned Athens, and the Greek Government was 
able to return to its long-lost capital city. There had been no 
real meeting of minds between the extremes, nor any suc- 
cessful effort toward honest compromise. Within the coun- 
try the two sides, EAM and the enemies of EAM, were as 
deeply estranged as ever. The Government of National Unity 
was a frail fabric, barely disguising the chasms which yawned 
between the constituent factions of the Cabinet. No one 
but a blind man or a foolish optimist could have expected 
the future to run smoothly. 

The Government arrived in Athens on 18 October 1944. 
British troops had landed in Greece three weeks earlier, com- 
ing ashore on the mainland first at Patras. Several small 
skirmishes took place between the advance guard of the 
British force and the tail of the German column. Zervas har- 
assed the German retreat through Epirus and assaulted 
Jannina before the last Germans had time to escape. ELAS 
likewise harried the retreating Germans, but devoted most 
of its power to destroying the remnants of the Security Bat- 


talions. As the Germans withdrew, the guerillas came down 
from the hills to the towns and enjoyed the sweets of a more 
civilized life than they had known in the remote villages of 
the back country. In some places there was a little bloodshed, 
notably at Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese where 
ELAS executed about thirty persons; but through most of 
Greece the guerillas obeyed the order of General Scobie that 
there .should be no wholesale punishment of collaborators. 
EAM governments were set up in all the towns of the ELAS 
area; a special corps of ELAS took over town police duties; 
taxes were assessed on those who were suspected of having 
profited during the occupation, and collected by force if 
necessary. In the city of Athens there were frequent shots by 
night; but the majority of them were fired into the air and 
only expressed the high spirits of the guerilla who pressed 
the trigger. Peace and order were on the whole remarkably 
well maintained. 

General Scobie sent a brigade of paratroopers northward 
on the heels of the Germans. By 30 October the German 
evacuation was complete, and all Greece was finally free. 
British troops visited the main centers of Greece as far as 
Salonika, "showing the flag." Everywhere they met with 
warm welcome as liberators, and joint ELAS-British parades 
were organized in several towns. The general spirit of the 
people was one of rejoicing, and for the first few days of the 
liberation there was little thought of the morrow or the prob- 
lems it would bring. Everyone believed that better times lay 
ahead, and forgot the bitter quarrels that divided them 
against each other. 

In late October two brigades of the Fourth Indian Division 
came to Greece after hard service on the Italian front. The 
plan was that Greece should serve a sort of rest area for British 
troops. It was intended to keep about one division in the 
country as a garrison force and insurance against trouble with 
ELAS. Upon the arrival of the Indian brigades, the para- 


troopers and raiding forces, which had first landed in the 
country, were concentrated in Athens and Patras for reship- 
ment to Italy. Raiding forces actually left the country in 
November; but the paratroopers were retained at the last 
minute when threatening political tension developed be- 
tween ELAS and the British-supported Government. They 
were destined to take the leading part in the Battle of Athens. 

After the first days of rejoicing, political tension was not 
slow to manifest itself. Papandreou's Government faced truly 
colossal difficulties, and could not forget its bitter internal 
quarrels. A week after reaching Athens, the Cabinet was re- 
shuffled; but contrary to the hopes of the Left, no significant 
change in the political balance of the Government took place. 
Papandreou remained as Prime Minister, and EAM was ac- 
corded only six seats in the Cabinet. Four representatives of 
the Populist Party came into the reorganized Government, 
but the Liberal Party remained aloof. Representing an almost 
nonexisting Center, the Liberal politicians found themselves 
in a difficult position. Themistocles Sofoulis, leader of the 
Liberal Party, refused to accept the plan of the Left (and of 
some of his own followers) whereby he would become Prime 
Minister in a Cabinet dominated by EAM; but at the same 
time, he declined to come into a Government headed by his 
old-time subordinate, Papandreou. He decided instead to 
wait and see. 

The reorganized Government faced a country in economic 
ruin; a people whose moral habits had been corrupted; a na- 
tion divided against itself politically, in which the govern- 
mental administrative machine had almost totally collapsed. 
Such difficulties might well have staggered a strong govern- 
ment. The divided Cabinet over which Papandreou presided 
proved itself quite unable to meet any of the difficulties that 
now confronted it. 

In economic matters, the immediate problem was currency. 
A wild inflation had taken place during the last months of the 


occupation, and by November one hundred billion drachma 
notes had become worthless and could be seen blowing in 
the wind across the sidewalks of Athens. Economic exchange 
had reverted to barter, although for large transactions, the 
gdld pounds, which had been supplied so copiously to various 
resistance organizations, provided a medium of exchange. 
Alexander Svolos, the Minister of Finance, declared the old 
currency no longer legal tender, and redeemed it with a new 
issue supplied from England at the rate of two hundred 
billion drachma to one. To start factories and restore com- 
munication and transport was far more difficult. In this di- 
rection the Papandreou Government accomplished prac- 
tically nothing. Some emergency road repair was done by the 
British Army units so that the main roads became passable to 
wheeled vehicles. Otherwise nothing. 

The political problem was equally beyond settlement. In 
the country, except for the area controlled by Zervas, there 
was only one vocal party. EAM was in control and it per- 
mitted no opposition. In Athens, however, the Right wing 
took courage, founded newspapers, and became more out- 
spoken every day. EAM for its part staged a series of large 
demonstrations in the heart of the city. The demonstrations 
had various themes. One demanded an immediate purge of 
collaborators from the Government; another celebrated the 
twenty-sixth anniversary of the Communist Party; and a third 
paraded the corpses of some EAM followers who had been 
slain in a brawl. 

Perhaps the deepest and most difficult of all the problems 
that beset Greece was the general breakdown of habit and 
morals that the war and occupation had brought about. When 
men had existed for years at a stretch under constant fear of 
sudden and unprovoked attack, normal living became almost 
impossible. Under a Government so unpopular as the quis- 
ling, sabotage and malingering became twisted into a patriotic 
duty and grew to be a fixed habit of mind and action among 


large sections of the population. In factories, honest work be- 
came the rare exception. An attitude of distrust and defiance 
of authority spread to all parts of the city population. Large 
numbers of families had lived on the charity of the Red Cross 
through the last years of the war^ and, lacking the oppor- 
tunity, had lost the will to work. Stealing had become pa- 
triotic, when it was done from the Germans; and many of 
the Greeks retained the habit after the Germans had gone. 
These attitudes combined to make Greek society grossly in- 
efficient. Much-needed work, such as the unloading of relief 
ships in Pireus or the repair of roads, could be organized 
only with the greatest difficulty, required far greater numbers 
of men than normally would have been the case, and without 
constant and minute supervision, theft and idling on the job 
kept results to a minimum. 

In brief, the machine which EAM had perfected for 
sabotage of the occupation regime continued to operate after 
the liberation. Perhaps had EAM succeeded in taking over 
the Government many of these inefficiencies would have been 
reduced. Insofar as it was organized deliberately, the sabotage 
would of course have stopped; but much was not organized. 
It had become an ingrained habit which only intensive 
propaganda and changed conditions of living could over- 
come. Neither came to Greece; and the country continued to 
suffer from a tremendous and crippling social inefficiency. 
Economic privation accentuated all these moral difficulties; 
But in turn, inefficiency accentuated economic privation. It 
became a sort of vicious circle from which it was hard to see 
any easy escape. 

Such matters lay far beyond the scope of the Government 
when it first returned to Greece. The immediate problem to 
which the Cabinet addressed itself was the establishment of 
a governmental machine that would be able to exercise power 
in the provinces. In particular, plans were proposed for the 
organization of an armed force that would be able to guard 


the public peace. In this, the Government ran headlong into 
opposition from EAM. Almost every man suggested for a gov- 
ernmental post by one side was automatically found un- 
acceptable by the other. The net result was that only a few 
top administrative posts in the provinces were filled, and 
then only by colorless weaklings who usually proved to be no 
match for the EAM administrators already on the ground. 

Much quarreling arose over the question of collaboration. 
The Left pressed for prompt and dire punishment, and 
wanted to organize special courts with special abbreviated 
rules of procedure to try persons accused. The Right was re- 
luctant. It feared that such courts would accept EAM's def- 
inition of collaboration by which most of the conservative 
political leaders and many of their prospective followers 
would be classed as collaborators. Such courts, set up over all 
Greece, could easily be made into an effective weapon against 
anyone who dared to criticize EAM, for plausible charges 
could be drawn against almost every man in Greece unless 
the definition of collaboration were made clear and narrow. 
With such a division in the Cabinet, judicial progress against 
collaborators was slow, and no one was actually condemned 
in the time during which Papandreou held power. This fact 
infuriated many honest Greeks, and became one of the prin- 
cipal items in leftist propaganda against the Government. 

An equally stubborn controversy developed over the ques- 
tion of the organization of a police force. The gendarmery 
which had served under Metaxas and the quisling Govern- 
ments had largely broken up, and was in any case totally un- 
acceptable to EAM. The Government decided to concentrate 
its remaining members in Athens and there screen them, 
accepting for continued service only those whose record 
could be proven blameless. In the meanwhile, a special Na- 
tional Guard was to be raised by calling to active service one 
of the prewar classes of the Army Reserve. The problem of 
finding officers for this organization who would be acceptable 


to both Left and Right proved very difficult. By the time the 
Guard was called to service (24 November) only about a 
third of the necessary officers had been appointed. For this 
and other reasons, it never actually took over police work 
until much later, when the whole balance of power in Greece 
had been changed by civil war. 

Before any makeshift police force had been organized, an- 
other problem arose which quickly obscured all others. ELAS 
and EDES had originally been formed to resist the Germans. 
Rightists in the Cabinet and outside it now argued that since 
the Germans had gone, ELAS and the other guerilla forces 
had accomplished their purpose, and should disband. They 
further stated that it was intolerable for a private army to 
exist within a sovereign state, and that, before the Govern- 
ment could consider any of the questions of reconstruction, 
the threat which the existence of ELAS constantly held over 
the head of any who ventured to disagree with the Left, must 
be lifted. EAM accepted this reasoning, agreed that ELAS 
had accomplished its task, but insisted that all armed 
organizations of the Right should be disbanded simulta- 

This argument was aimed at the Third (or Rimini) Brigade 
which had come from Italy to Athens, arriving 9 November. 
In leftist circles it was rumored that the Brigade had come 
from the battle in Italy in order to put down EAM and bring 
the King back by force. As we have seen, the Third Brigade 
was predominantly composed of royalists, and its members 
were inspired by a deep hatred of EAM and the Communists. 
That the Brigade would have been able to bring the King 
back by force seems, however, highly doubtful. King George 
was living in London, and he would scarcely have been able 
to leave without the knowledge and permission of the British 
Government. And the British, though they tended to favor 
the King's cause, would certainly not have allowed him to be 
installed on his throne by force of arms. It is, however, per- 


fectly true that a Government, supported militarily by the 
Third Brigade, would have been able to put into effect meas- 
ures favoring the King's return. It is even conceivable, though 
hardly probable, that a plebiscite could have been so 
administered within two or three months as to nullify EAM's 
popular strength and bring a majority in favor of the King. 
There seems small doubt that the King commanded only a 
minority of actively loyal subjects in Greece at the time o 
the liberation. The royalists lackedjany sort of organized fol- 
lowing in the provinces, and without a strong political 
machine, the most royalist of Governments could hardly 
have manipulated the ballots successfully. Furthermore, 
Papandreou's Government was far from royalist. The largest 
single bloc in the Government EAM was fanatically op- 
posed to any restoration of the King, and it is difficult to see 
how fake elections could have been carried through as long 
as EAM Ministers remained in the Cabinet. 

Such speculation is hardly to the point, for EAM was in no 
mood to accept what the rightists and the British wanted. 
They refused to agree to the retention of the Third Brigade 
as a cadre for the new Army, and to the total dissolution of 
all guerilla groups. It is easy to sympathize with EAM's 
position. They had risen to supremacy in Greece during the 
years of occupation through hard work, danger and suffering. 
They saw no reason why they should of their own will re- 
linquish the power which they had won, and give to the Right 
a chance to organize itself in the countryside and challenge 
their supremacy in the land. 

The Right claimed that EAM's power was based on terror, 
which in some part it was. Few dissidents dared to raise their 
voices in the villages and provincial towns in the fall of 1944; 
and because so few dared, overt acts of terrorism were also 
few, so that the outward seeming of the country was surpris- 
ingly peaceful and calm. Nevertheless, government officials 
and emissaries of the conservative political organizations were 


not allowed to travel out from Athens, being turned back by 
ELAS guards who were posted along the highways. Under 
such constraints, the Right justifiably claimed that there was 
no freedom in Greece, and that they could not conduct their 
activities nor organize their supporters until ELAS had been 

The leftists rebutted such arguments by observing that 
their opponents were rotten through and through with col- 
laboration, and should not be granted the right to propa- 
gandize their errors and break down the unity of the people. 
Passionately they claimed, and most of them believed, that 
they were the people. They believed that they, the people, 
had risen in righteous wrath against the men who for so long 
had betrayed and swindled them; boldly they asserted that the 
people would never again permit Fascist collaborators and 
economic tyrants to rule over them. 

The institutions and practices of liberal democracy of the 
Western style do not work in such a climate of opinion. There 
was no meeting place, no common ground between the Left 
and Right. Counting of heads or of ballots cannot resolve 
such antagonisms. The losing side will not accept the verdict, 
but will challenge the honesty of the election and sabotage 
the resulting Government by every means in its power, using 
whatever violence it can command. Under such circum- 
stances, force is the only arbiter. Certainly, it was force that 
prevailed in Greece. 

Events moved quickly toward their climax when once the 
issue of disarmament of ELAS had come up. Details of the 
proposals and counterproposals that ensued are much dis- 
puted, for in the negotiations that preceded the outbreak o 
war, each side sought to fix the blame on the other. Contra- 
dictory and variant accounts of happenings during the last 
two weeks of November have been published. What follows 
here can only claim to be an effort to sift the truth. 

On 22 November Prime Minister Papandreou declared 


that he favored the demobilization of all volunteer units. 
The Left understood that the phrase "volunteer units" 
included the Third Brigade, and Papandreou probably 
intended to include the royalist brigade in the phrase. But 
it was ambiguous, for one could argue that the Third Brigade 
was not volunteer, but the conscript Army of the Government 
o Greece, which in part it was. All Papandreou's skill in 
vague phraseology could not bridge the gap between the 
insistence of the Right (backed powerfully by the British 
Ambassador and General Scobie), that the Third Mountain 
Brigade be retained in service; and the equally definite 
insistence from the Left that the Brigade be disbanded. 

A compromise was suggested after some days, and seems 
for a brief while to have been agreed to by all factions in the 
Cabinet. The proposal was this: that ELAS disband and dis- 
arm, save for a number of men equal to the combined 
strength of the Third Mountain Brigade, Sacred Squadron 
and a corps, of undetermined size, from the EDES guerillas. 
This arrangement, while seeming to give ELAS an equal ad- 
vantage in the struggle for power, actually would have greatly 
weakened the position of the leftists, for ELAS was not equal 
man for man to the well-trained and equipped troops that had 
come from the Middle East. Voluntary demobilization of 
their greatly superior numbers would merely deprive the 
party for which ELAS stood of its peculiar advantage in the 
political scramble. Perhaps not realizing these military facts, 
the EAM Ministers in the Cabinet at first agreed to the pro- 
posal of partial disarmament of ELAS; then withdrew their 
assent two days later (29 November). 

Tired of the endless bickering and indecision of the Greek 
Cabinet, General Scobie thereupon ordered Sarafis and 
Zervas to disband their forces by 10 December. In issuing this 
order, Scobie was acting in his capacity as Commander in 
Chief of all Allied Forces in Greece. He was certainly stretch- 
ing the powers he had been accorded by the Caserta Agree- 


ment when he thus ordered the dlsbandment of a part of the 
forces that had been put under his control. 

Zervas promptly professed willingness to obey, but Sarafis 
refused point blank to disband ELAS, saying that any such 
order would have to come from the Greek Government. 
Scobie countered this defiance with a proclamation addressed 
to the rank and file of ELAS, ordering disbandment on 10 
December "in accord with the Greek Government's instruc- 

It is far from clear whether the Greek Government had in 
fact ever ordered the disbandment of the guerilla forces. A 
reasonable guess is that General Scobie chose to consider the 
leftists* initial acceptance of the proposal to disarm (save for 
a corps equal in numerical strength to Right wing armed 
units) as an official decision of the Greek Government. For a 
space of two days, it appears that the proposal had been con- 
curred in by all members of the Cabinet. Even so, legal 
formalities had not been complied with, for no decision of 
the Greek Government becomes official until published in the 
government Gazette, and no order for the disarmament of 
the guerillas had been so published. Actually, General Scobie 
probably took small account of such technicalities. As he saw 
it, the leftists had agreed to disarm and then had violated 
their word. He was determined to finish the dispute and keep 
to the schedule that had been set up, which called for the 
National Guard to begin police work on 1 December and 
ELAS to demobilize ten days later. 

EAM looked at the situation very differently. To them, the 
interference of a British general in Greek internal politics 
was intolerable. He had no right, they felt, to disregard their 
Ministers' change of mind; still less to make proclamations to 
their troops in the name of the Greek Government. Accord- 
ingly, when news of General Scobie's proclamation reached 
them, the EAM Ministers resigned from the Government, in 
the small hours of the morning, 2 December. 


As Siantos himself said later, this resignation did not arise 
solely from the controversy over the disarmament of ELAS. 
That question was merely the occasion for bringing into the 
open a split which irreconcilably divided the Greek Cabinet 
and paralyzed all important decision. Governmental inaction 
was as intolerable to EAM as to everyone else concerned* 
Papandreou had proved himself little more than a weather- 
cock, yielding to the Left, only to contradict himself later by 
yielding to the Right. Between the two, he had in the end, 
after repeated vacillations, always come over into the con- 
servative camp. Papandreou made it his habit to consult the 
British Ambassador, Mr. Reginald Leeper, on every issue. 
Leeper was no novice in Greek affairs, having followed the 
tortuous path of Greek politics in Cairo since 1943. He was 
a clever man, rather austere and forbidding in manner, and 
sometimes offended the Greeks by an air of haughtiness. 
Papandreou's dependence on the British Ambassador con- 
firmed all EAM's suspicions against the Prime Minister, and 
after six weeks' trial, they resolved to overthrow his Govern- 
ment. The disarmament question was only the stimulus for 
an open collision of what had long been irreconcilable wills. 

By the maneuver of resignation, EAM expected to provoke 
a Government crisis and bring about the overthrow of 
Papandreou and Ms Cabinet. The leftists were, perhaps, a bit 
surprised at the boldness and scale of British intervention in 
Greek affairs, but believed that a show of resolution and the 
discreet threat of force would compel General Scobie and 
Ambassador Leeper to yield. In the immediate crisis, they 
hoped to be able to win the support of the Liberal politicians, 
who had stood on the sidelines of the controversy. EAM 
leaders expected to be able to form a new Cabinet, consisting 
largely of Liberals and leftists, with the aged politician, 
Themistocles Sofoulis, as Prime Minister. But the event was 
to betray their expectations. Within a week, Athens was 
plunged into civil war. 


Civil War 

.UBLIC excitement mounted 
steadily in Athens through the last weeks of November. 
Alarmist rumors were in the air. Left and Right freely ac- 
cused each other of plotting a coup d'tat, o terrorism, of 
collaboration. There was almost no crime which was not 
attributed by each side to the other. By this time the original 
joy of liberation had worn off and most persons, looking 
around them, found life no better than under the Germans, 
their clothes still rags, food scarce, and medicines almost un- 
obtainable. Military relief had been organized long before 
the liberation, but difficulties of unloading from ships, of 
transport, and of distribution made actual delivery of sup- 
plies lag far behind the eager expectation of the Greeks. 
There was a feeling of disillusionment among many Athen- 
ians. The great day, the long-looked-for liberation had come 
and gone, leaving them with almost the same problems and 
discomforts as before. 

Political partisanship fed on this spirit. The Right blamed 
EAM and EAM blamed the Right for obstructing true and 
complete liberation. The principal accusation made against 
the Right was that it sought to bring the King back by force, 
establish a new dictatorship, and protect collaborationists 
from just punishment. The Left was accused of betraying 
Greece to the Bulgars, of exercising terrorism in the prov- 
inces, and of planning to establish a Communist dictatorship 
by guile or, if necessary, by force. None of these accusations 



Is exactly true; but all had enough color of truth to confirm 
the suspicions and increase the fear and hatred of each side 
for the other. 

The British, I believe, would have liked to see a liberal 
society and government emerge from this welter. Their first 
and principal concern was that the Government of Greece 
should always be friendly toward them; and the men who 
shaped British policy for Greece were by this time firmly 
convinced that an EAM Government would not be friendly. 
Exactly what "friendly" meant was not clear. Probably it 
meant in part the reestablishment of economic concessions 
to British-owned public utility and other companies; but in 
last analysis and far more important, it meant a Government 
in Greece that would side with Great Britain in case of an- 
other war. To assure a friendly Government, the British on 
the whole liked the idea of restoring King George. He might 
be personally grateful; certainly would be no friend of the 
Left which had attacked him so virulently. But there were 
important reservations in the British support of the King. 
Particularly among the officials of the Embassy in Athens, 
there was doubt as to whether King George could win enough 
popular support to be able to retain his throne except by 
strongarm methods of government. This the British would 
have been reluctant to see. Furthermore, the King's return 
threatened to drive the Liberal Party and many middle-of-the 
road Greeks into the arms of the extreme Left. This would 
have been a disaster from the point of view of the British 
Embassy, and they were not willing to back the King's return 
if it seemed to mean such an outcome. On the other hand, 
the British saw small hope of a peaceful and secure republic 
rising from the bitter party factionalism that prevailed in 
Greece. With serious doubts of the King and even deeper dis- 
trust of a republic, the British policy in practice was little 
more than one of wait and see, meanwhile keeping the Left 
from exclusive power. 


The resignation of the EAM Ministers on the night of 1-2 
December sent a tremor of excitement through all Athens. 
The issue between Left and Right had been joined at last* 
The Government would have to move decisively either one 
way or the other. The leaders of EAM were confident that it 
would move in their direction. The resignations had taken 
place Friday night. The next morning EAM asked and was 
granted permission to hold a demonstration in the center of 
Athens at Constitution Square on Sunday, 3 December. 
Large-scale preparations were immediately begun. Bands of 
young men went through all the streets of the city shouting 
orders and threats through megaphones, instructing all mem- 
bers of EAM to come to the demonstration, and warning all 
who stayed away that they would be considered enemies of 
the people. Large numbers of posters were prepared, calling 
for punishment of collaborators and the overthrow of Papan- 
dreou. Trucks were sent into the country round about to 
bring EAM members from the villages near the capital. The 
demonstration was intended to show the popular support 
EAM could command and convince the British and the Right 
that no Government without representatives of the Left 
could possibly rule Greece. 

EAM made still other and more ominous preparations. A 
special committee was established to take command of ELAS 
forces in and around Athens. The members of the Committee 
were "General" Emmanuel Mandakas, George Siantos and 
a retired general, Michael Hadjimachalis. Both Mandakas 
and Siantos were Communists; Hadjimachalis represented 
the "Left Liberals." The Committee was established on 
Saturday, 2 December, and on the same day it ordered the 
Athens and Pireus ELAS Reserve to mobilize. As word was 
passed round, the members of the Reserve proceeded to 
uncache their weapons and concentrate themselves at pre- 
arranged spots, mostly in school buildings and the like. 

A general strike was declared for Monday, 4 December. 


In fact, the call-up of the ELAS Reserve, and EAM's use of 
manpower for other preparations, cut deeply into the work- 
ing force of many plants and factories even before the strike 
officially began. There was no doubt that when it was called, 
the general strike would be effective. 

The Papandreou Government was in a state of near panic. 
It could in its own right command no military or police sup- 
port except for the thinned ranks of the Athens police. This 
force was almost unchanged from the time of occupation. It 
had not been deeply implicated with the Germans, and had 
on many occasions tipped off Greeks who were about to be 
arrested, thereby giving them a chance to hide away in time. 
Because of this, and the lack of any alternative corps to direct 
traffic and keep order, the Athens police had been allowed to 
continue its duties. It was badly demoralized, however, and 
numbered only a few hundred men. Yet this police force was 
the only support on which the Government could count, ex- 
cept for the troops under General Scobie's command. Under 
these circumstances, when the threat of violence and revolu- 
tion against the Government was unmistakable, Papandreou 
and his Ministers became wholly dependent on the decisions 
of the man who controlled the only force that could hope to 
stand against ELAS. >, 

That man was Lieutenant General Ronald Scobie. General 
Scobie was a professional soldier, an officer and a gentleman 
of the peculiarly narrow British military tradition. His 
manner was suave, his appearance handsome; and he was 
thoroughly at ease in a polite drawing room. His military 
career had been neither brilliant nor the reverse, but as a 
senior officer he had filled chiefly staff and administrative 
positions so that he had little experience as a field com- 
mander. Despite the prominence which his name came to 
have in connection with the civil war in Athens, he actually 
played only a small part in the events. British policy was 
decided by the Ambassador, Mr. Leeper and Churchill 


while Scobie contended himself with doing what he conceived 
to be his duty as a soldier, implementing the decisions handed 
down to him. When it came to open fighting, operational 
command of most of the British troops was taken from him, 
and another, more experienced field commander, General 
Hawkesworthy, came from Italy to direct the battle. Scobie 
of course remained as Commander in Chief, and all negotia- 
tions between the leftists, the Greek Government and the 
British Ambassador were conducted through his office. In 
actual fact, however, he was always more a symbol than a 
prime mover in the tangled skein of Greek affairs. 

On Saturday evening, as the scope and magnitude of EAM 
preparation became evident, the British took alarm, fearing 
that if the demonstration came off as scheduled it might gen- 
erate intense excitement and get far out of hand. When 
general tension in the city was so great, it seemed wise to try 
to prevent any demonstration from taking place. Accordingly, 
in the evening of 2 December after consultation with the 
British, the Greek Government informed the leaders of EAM 
that permission to hold their demonstration had been with- 
drawn. The leftists were indignant, and replied that their 
preparations had already gone so far that it was not possible 
for them to notify their followers in the remote parts of the 
city and cancel the demonstration. The leftist contention was 
undoubtedly true. They could not have called their demon- 
stration off even had they wished to. But they did not wish 
to do so, and to the last minute worked feverishly to make it 
as large and impressive a show of their popular support 
against the Right as lay within their power. 

On the morning of 3 December crowds of EAM demon- 
strators began to gather in all the suburbs of Athens. They 
raised their flags and banners and set off marching toward 
the middle of the town. Some of the columns came for miles 
on foot. A few marched in from Pireus. Others arrived in 
the outskirts of the city by truck, formed their columns, and 


started walking while the trucks went back for more. The 
mood of the crowds was angry. They were convinced that 
dark plots were afoot among the Fascist reactionaries. They 
believed that the people's liberty was endangered. Yet there 
was also a spirit of holiday excitement, rapid talk, violent 
gesticulation, craning necks, and much singing of spirited 
marching songs as the mass of people moved onward toward 
Constitution Square. Women and children predominated in 
the crowds for the able-bodied men had been called to duty 
with the ELAS Reserve. 

The Athens police were afraid. They had been ordered to 
prevent the demonstrators from getting to the Square. Cor- 
dons, two and three men deep, had been thrown across all the 
streets leading into the Square. The police carried arms: 
Italian carbines. Their magazines were loaded with blank 
rounds, and orders were to fire the blanks if it became neces- 
sary in order to break up the crowds and turn them back. 
Some of the police had small confidence in blank ammuni- 
tion, A few, or perhaps only one man, substituted live rounds 
for the blanks that had been issued. The act was to have wide 

The demonstration was scheduled to begin at 11 o'clock. 
The first columns began to arrive in the center of the city 
about 10:30 and were surprised and angry at finding their 
path blocked. Some of the columns stopped and retreated or 
milled around in confusion when they met the police barrier. 
But as more and more demonstrators accumulated, the pres- 
sure and excitement mounted in the streets, and attempts 
were made to break through the police lines. Scuffling ensued, 
and some persons had their heads cracked. Several wounded 
policemen were brought into Police Headquarters building 
adjoining Constitution Square. The sight of their wounded 
fellow policemen instilled a spirit of intense fear into the 
handful of men that guarded the front of Police Head- 
quarters. They easily believed that the demonstrators were 


out to lynch them. For better protection, the group moved 
across the street, taking shelter behind a breast-high stone 
wall that faced out onto the Square. 

About 10:45 one group of demonstrators broke through 
the police cordon that had tried to block Syngrou Boulevard, 
leading up from PIreus. (See map.) A triumphant and excited 
crowd started to move across the Square heading directly 
toward Police Headquarters. The crowd was unarmed, and 
probably intended no more than a highly emotional demon- 
stration against collaborators and the Papandreou Govern- 
ment. It numbered perhaps six hundred persons, close 
packed, and nearly all women and youngsters. They were an 
angry mass of human beings, and certainly had no respect or 
liking for the police. To the fifteen or twenty policemen who 
stood behind the wall in front of the Headquarters building, 
the advancing crowd was terrifying. When it had approached 
to within one hundred feet of where they stood, panic ran 
down the single line of grey-clad police. At this moment a 
man dressed in military uniform, but not in the grey of the 
police, suddenly ran out from the Headquarters building, 
shouted "Shoot the bastards/' crouched on one knee beyond 
the end of the wall, and began to fire his gun. The noise of 
gunshots and his example decided the wavering police. They 
too unslung their carbines, leveled them at the advancing 
crowd, and fired a veritable fusillade into the mass in front of 

The crowd was taken completely by surprise. Their 
banners fell like grain before a sickle as they threw themselves 
onto the pavement. Some ran for refuge .to the sides of the 
Square where walls and trees offered shelter. After a few 
minutes the police stopped firing, probably only because their 
ammunition had run out. When this lull came, the crowd 
hastily ran from the road where they had thrown themselves 
down. They left their banners behind them; left also some 
twelve to fifteen bodies prone on the pavement. Of these some 


were only wounded, but at least seven were killed. That so 
few were hurt can only be explained by supposing that most 
of the policemen fired blanks. Perhaps only one man per- 
haps the man who had run out at the last minute and started 
the shootingfired to kill. A single carbine could easily have 
done all the execution of that morning. If all of the police 
had fired live rounds, not fifteen but at least a hundred would 
have been hit, for the crowd was close and entirely unpro- 

When the smoke had cleared, a few brave individuals 
from the crowd returned to succor the wounded and remove 
the dead. They dragged them from the Square and carried 
the limp bodies away. The police continued to fire occasional 
rounds across the Square, whenever a cluster of people 
formed. The crowd remained scattered on either side of the 
street, dazed and angry. 

Meanwhile the police cordon across Kifissla Boulevard, 
about two blocks away, had been attacked by a similar EAM 
crowd, and had resorted to gunfire to drive the people back. 
Hundreds of shots were fired, but when It was all over, there 
were no casualties. In this instance, there is no doubt that the 
police used blanks. 

The deadlock in Constitution Square was broken by the 
arrival of another crowd of demonstrators. Coming from the 
west, up Hermes Street, this crowd had, like the first, broken 
through the police cordon and arrived triumphant a few 
minutes after 11 o'clock. The unnerved policemen in front 
of the Headquarters building did not fire a second time. They 
withdrew inside the gates and locked themselves in. During 
the next half-hour the remaining police cordons disinte- 
grated. Most of the policemen took refuge in private homes; 
some few made their way in safety to the Headquarters; but 
others were caught by the indignant crowd and in a few 
cases were killed and torn literally limb from limb. 

When the new arrivals discovered what had happened to 


the first group of demonstrators in Constitution Square, their 
anger and excitement rose to a paroxysm. With the collapse 
o the police cordons, great numbers flowed into the Square, 
and within a few minutes it became densely packed. Still 
other masses filled the neighboring streets, struggling to get 
into the center of things. For the next three hours the crowd 
milled round the Square, waving banners; shouting slogans, 
and hurling imprecations against the cowering policemen 
who hid within the walls of the Headquarters building* 
Around the spots on the pavement where their fellows had 
been slaughtered, little borders of flowers and twigs were 
erected, and hundreds of persons bent down to dip their 
handkerchiefs in the blood which lay fresh on the pavement. 
These were made into banners, which were paraded through 
the crowd while their bearers exhorted all around them to 
touch the blood-stained rag and swear vengeance against the 
men who had made the slaughter. 

It was the greatest demonstration that Athens had ever 
seen. Perhaps sixty thousand persons jammed the Square, and 
other thousands stood outside. The excitement was inde- 
scribable and the anger which exuded from the crowd 
seemed almost palpable. A tiny wizened woman, dressed in 
widow's weeds, came up in front of the Police Headquarters, 
a wooden stick in her hand, and remained there for half an 
hour, the very image of wrath. She hurled threats and spat out 
curses, gesticulating with her whole body. She must have 
struck a chord of fear in the heart of any policemen who 
heard or saw her. Young girls, scarcely more than fourteen 
years old, paraded with the hems of their skirts dipped in 
blood from the pools on the street. Some boys raised an 
American Army officer, who had tried to walk through the 
crowd, up on their shoulders and carried him more than forty 
yards before he kicked his way free. The crowd made a def- 
inite effort to distinguish between the American and British 
policy. They shouted "Roosevelt, Roosevelt," constantly, aftd 


carried vast numbers of American flags. There were also 
many Greek flags, a few Russian, but no British. Banners in 
English exhorted British soldiers not to interfere in Greek 
affairs, and reproached General Scobie and Ambassador 
Leeper for what they had done. 

Somewhat after two o'clock in the afternoon a company 
of British paratroopers arrived on the scene. They dis- 
mounted from trucks and quickly formed a cordon, one 
man deep, across the Square. The crowd showed no hostility 
toward them, and with remarkable good humor obeyed the 
soldiers* gestures that forbade walking through their line. 
The cordon moved slowly across the Square, herding the 
demonstrators in front of it. By this time the demonstration 
had pretty well worn itself out in any case. The EAM-ites 
must have been tired from the physical exertions and from 
the emotional intensity of the morning. They moved off, 
singing, down the main streets leading away from the Square, 
and filtered back to their homes. Within twenty minutes of 
the arrival of the British troops, the Square was empty, and 
a strange silence descended upon its pavements. 

The violent events of Sunday, 3 December, were a prelude 
to civil war. When news of the action of the police reached 
the ELAS Committee, the order was sent out to attack all 
police stations. Beleaguermetit began the same night. One 
by one the peripheral police stations were captured by ELAS 
and their inmates executed. When news of this action reached 
British Headquarters, relief parties of British troops were 
organized and sent to those of the police stations that still 
held out. ELAS made no active resistance to these columns, 
and more than half of the Athens police force was rescued. 

On December 4 the corpses of the people who had been 
killed in the demonstration the day before were paraded 
through the central streets of Athens. A great crowd of 
mourners followed their biers, and the occasion turned into 
a second, though smaller, EAM demonstration. This time. 


British tanks and armored cars were stationed at the street 
corners near the center of the city, and no further violence 
occurred, although the crowd showed a more hostile attitude 
toward the British soldiers than before. 

The same day, ELAS began to attack the stronghold of the 
X organization in the Theseon area of Athens. A small-scale 
battle developed. Several buildings were set on fire. The lurid 
color of flame was reflected from low hanging clouds, and 
illumined Athens at night. Electric power had been cut 
off by the general strike, and the red glow of the flames 
seemed appropriate illumination for the fateful time. The 
X organization was not numerous, and after a day of stubborn 
fighting, in the course of which ELAS used mortars for the 
first time, the rightists began to get the worst of it. They were 
saved from extermination by a British relief party, which, as 
in the case of the police rescues, was not resisted by ELAS, 
although stray shots were fired near, if not at, British vehicles. 

Meanwhile, the political scene had suffered violent fluctua- 
tions. Papandreou was alarmed at the action of the Athens 
police and still more by the reaction of EAM and its army, 
ELAS, On Monday, 4 December, he offered his resignation. 
Negotiations between various politicians in Athens were 
begun with the purpose of forming another Cabinet over 
which Themistocles Sofoulis would, by general consent, pre- 
side. By Monday afternoon fairly definite arrangements had 
been made for Sofoulis to take over, although the all-impor- 
tant question of the share EAM would have in the new 
Cabinet was not settled. But Athens did not have the only or 
ultimate say in the matter. King George was in London, and 
by constitutional procedure, only he could accept a Prime 
Minister's resignation or authorize another man to form a 
new Cabinet. 

Telegrams were consequently sent 'off to King George ask- 
ing his approval for the proposed change in Prime Ministers. 
Other telegrams were sent to the British Foreign Office de^ 


scribing the situation which had developed in Athens and the 
steps which had been proposed to meet it. The question was 
brought to Churchill. He was adamant against any concession 
to EAM, and declared that Papandreou must stay. Accord- 
ingly, a telegram was despatched to the British Ambassador 
instructing him to urge Papandreou to withdraw his resigna- 
tion. The substance of this communication was delivered to 
Papandreou, who quickly enough agreed not to resign, and 
thereby saved King George from the embarrassment of 
making a decision. Sofoulis was informed that his services 
would not after all be required. He took the information 
without comment, but refused to lend his support to Papan- 
dreou^ Government, declaring that it was nothing more than 
a disguised dictatorship. 

Churchill certainly could not have known the difficult de- 
tails of the situation in Greece when he made this fateful 
decision. He was probably influenced by the favorable im- 
pression he had gained from his interview with the Greek 
Prime Minister in August, Likewise, to allow Sofoulis to take 
over the Government would mean an end of any chance of 
restoring King George to his throne. Churchill had fewer 
doubts about the Greek King than did his Ambassador in 
Athens. He was relatively ignorant of the opposition that the 
King aroused among his subjects, and indeed it seems prob- 
able that Churchill scarcely conceived how different was the 
institution of kingship in Greece from its counterpart in 
Great Britain. A third consideration, and perhaps the most 
compelling, was Churchill's estimate that any change in 
Prime Ministers would mean concession to EAM. He prob- 
ably believed that any concession would mean a complete 
leftist victory, if not immediately, then in the early future; 
and, as we have seen, the whole policy of the British Govern- 
ment was directed toward preventing EAM from taking over 
control of the Government of Greece. Churchill no doubt 
thought that a show of resolution would bring the leftists- to 


heel. Probably it scarcely crossed his mind that British troops 
might find themselves embroiled in a civil war as a result of 
his decision. 

When Papandreou withdrew his resignation, EAM found 
itself in a critical position. The whole tactical plan had gone 
askew. If they were to gain their end, and change the Govern- 
ment, then obviously more strenuous efforts and greater 
violence were required. Their problem was made no easier 
by an order which General Scobie issued in the name of the 
Greek Government early in the morning of 4 December. By 
this order he commanded all ELAS units to withdraw from 
Athens and Pireus within seventy-two hours, and ordered 
them to desist from attacking police stations. As Allied Com- 
mander in Chief and duly commissioned deputy of the Greek 
Government, General Scobie unquestionably had the legal 
power to issue such orders. To defy them would mean an 
open break with British military power. ELAS was not yet 
willing to risk battle with the British, and returned a tem- 
porizing answer suggesting that the wishes of the Papandreou 
Government should no longer be considered as the expres- 
sion of the will of the Greek people, and expressing the hope 
that the British would "remain neutral in the fight waged by 
the Greek people for the safeguarding of their liberties." 

The counsels of EAM were seriously divided. The Com- 
munists were strongly in favor of continuing the battle, if 
necessary even against British soldiers. They calculated that 
the superior numbers of ELAS were sufficient to overcome 
not only the Right-wing Greeks, but the British as well. The 
Socialist element in EAM was reluctant to resort to unlimited 
violence. They were still looking for a compromise, and 
wished to reopen negotiations with Papandreou and the 
British. The 'argument between the two groups was heated 
but did not spread to the rank and file of the movement, for 
the differences of the leaders were kept within closed doors. 


After hours of uncertainty, a sort of compromise was readied. 
It was agreed that ELAS would not obey General Scobie's 
ultimatum to evacuate the town; but, leaving British troops 
scrupulously alone, would launch an attack on the main 
governmental buildings in the center of Athens. The leftist 
plan seems to have been to present General Scobie with a 
fait accompli. On the morning of 6 December, when the ulti- 
matum for withdrawal would expire, they hoped to be able to 
say to the British General: "We are now the Greek Govern- 
ment. We hold all Greece and all Athens, including the gov- 
ernment buildings. Consequently you will no longer pay 
attention to the wishes of the former Prime Minister, Mr. 

In the grey light of dawn on the sixth of December ELAS' 
made its attack. Men clad in civilian clothes and equipped 
only with rifles, made their way through the Royal Gardens, 
climbed the iron fence and started across Kifissia Boulevard, 
a broad avenue along which lay the Foreign Office, the Minis- 
try of War and other key government buildings. The attack 
failed. One reason was that it was delivered halfheartedly, 
and by relatively few men. A more important reason was that 
when the attackers arrived near their goal they were thrown 
into confusion by the unexpected presence of British soldiers. 
Perhaps General Scobie had knowledge of the leftist's inten- 
tions. Whether he did or not, a few hours before the attack 
was started, British sentries were posted in front of all the 
principal government buildings. ELAS had no instructions to 
attack the British, and many of its members had no wish to 
do so. Consequently, when in the early morning light they 
saw the figure of a lone British soldier in front of each build- 
ing, they did not know what to do. Some of the more reck- 
less spirits pressed on, regardless; others hung back. The at- 
tack was consequently weak and easily repulsed by the police 
detachments which had been assigned to guard the buildings. 


The British sentries joined in the battle. Thus for the first 
time ELAS and British soldiers fired at one another,^ and 
began open warfare. 

When the battle began, it was to the surprise and despite 
the intention of both parties. The British were not prepared. 
Small detachments of soldiers were scattered all through 
Athens, quartered in various public buildings, guarding sup- 
ply depots, and the like. Most of the British soldiers were 
not combat troops, being headquarters personnel, supply 
men, etc. There were, however, three combat units in Athens 
under Scobie's command: the paratroop brigade which had 
made the original landing in Greece, an armored brigade, 
and the Third Greek Brigade. Their total fighting strength 
was less than six thousand men. Of course in emergency this 
number could be increased by using the services of non- 
combat troops. Counting these, General Scobie had about 
ten thousand men available in Athens and Pireus. He had 
some twenty-four tanks and two squadrons of armored cars. 
As air force, a Spitfire squadron was stationed near by at 
Hassani airfield. 

ELAS for its part was almost equally unprepared for any 
prolonged battle. The main concentration of seasoned ELAS 
troops was in Thessaly, where they had come down from the 
Pindus after the liberation. Near the capital were two divi- 
sions, totalling perhaps eight thousand men. Within the city 
the ELAS Reserve numbered between ten and fifteen thou- 
sand, but its members were unused to battle and the organi- 
zation was necessarily imperfect. The Reserve had never 
before been mobilized, and most of its members knew only 
their immediate superior in the chain of command. In the 
confusion of battle, such a system is likely to break down, one 
man not knowing who is in authority or whom he should 

The ELAS Committee in Athens had sent out an order 
for reinforcements sometime prior to 5 December. A single 


brigade (about 2,000 men) from the Peloponnese, under the 
command of the redoubtable Ares, arrived In Athens on the 
5 or 6 December. Other reinforcements began to come from 
Thessaly on the fifth. Unfortunately for the revolutionists' 
plans, it required about eleven days of marching for troops 
to come from Thessaly to Athens. Once the battk had been 
joined, British airplanes patrolled the roads by day and shot 
up anything that looked like ELAS troops on the march. In 
consequence, the ELAS reinforcements from the north could 
move only at night, and in fact did not arrive in time to take 
any part in the fighting. 

Not all of ELAS strength was devoted to the battle in 
Athens. Large concentrations surrounded the British garri- 
sons in Salonika and Patras, where a precarious armed truce 
lasted throughout the period of hostilities in the capital. 
Furthermore, ELAS chose this time to attack Zervas again. 
EDES troops had infringed on the territory assigned to ELAS 
by the Plaka Bridge and Caserta Agreements during the last 
days of November. This ELAS took as a challenge to battle, 
and the High Command decided to eliminate the threat to 
their rear which the existence of Zervas* forces constantly of- 
fered. Hostilities began 19 December. Three ELAS divisions 
marched over the Pindus into Epirus, one of them going 
through Albania in order to turn EDES* flank. The attack 
was powerful and well executed. Within ten days of its open- 
ing, Zervas was driven to the sea. About half of his force es- 
caped to the island of Corfu, thanks to the British Navy, 
which evacuated the EDES soldiers. By this victory, ELAS 
gained control of all of Greece, save for a patch of land in the 
center of Athens, another stretch along the Bay of Phaleron, 
and two small zones in Salonika and Patras. Success in Athens 
would have sealed their victory. 

In Athens, confusion reigned on both sides after the attack 
of 6 December had been repulsed. EAM was still reluctant 
to fight against the British, and, for the next three days, tried 


by proclamation to keep the British neutral. General Scobie 
for his part held that ELAS had disregarded his orders, and 
as he had threatened, proceeded to treat the armed leftists as 
rebels and enemies. Early in the morning of 6 December he 
ordered British airplanes to strafe Ardettos Hill, a park which 
overlooks the center of Athens on which ELAS had concen- 
trated some troops. Other open areas held by ELAS were at- 
tacked from the air during the course of the day. It is impos- 
sible to be perfectly accurate with air attack, and some civilian 
houses were hit and civilian lives lost by this strafing. The re- 
action among the leftists of Athens was strong, and it is 
probable that the deaths from British airplanes did much to 
harden the feelings of the moderate elements in EAM and 
make them willing to accept the Communist revolutionary 

At this stage of the battle, British military circles seriously 
underestimated the resistance they had to deal with. Armored 
cars and tanks were able to move freely through the streets, 
and no systematic resistance was made to British troops. Most 
Britishers thought that the leftists would yield after a few 
days, when they had seen British strength and determination. 
The first disillusionment came when the Greek Third Bri- 
gade was ordered to clear the southeast suburbs and capture 
Ardettos Hill. The Greek soldiers met with heavy sniping, 
especially in the Communist suburb of Kaiseriani, and were 
unable to reach Ardettos Hill save with a few mortar shells. 
This the British wrote down to Greek inefficiency. The real 
disillusionment did not come until 10 December when Brit- 
ish troops, supported by armored cars and tanks, moved 
northward and occupied the Army Cadet College. This ad- 
vance was made only after overcoming some sharp resistance. 
A small garrison was left in the cadet school. Next morning 
to their dismay the British found that the garrison was cut off. 
ELAS had laid mines in the streets leading to the school, and 
had lined the houses along the way with snipers. Only after 


losing several tanks and armored cars by mines did the Brit- 
ish succeed in fighting their way to the school and rescuing 
the garrison. It was promptly evacuated. From this time on- 
ward the British soldiers seldom went beyond their lines. 

On the other side, ELAS faced serious problems at the be- 
ginning of hostilities. Even after 6 December, the leftists were 
not united on the question of fighting the British. The Com- 
munists, as before, argued for an all-out effort, but the Social- 
ists held back. The moderates had no practicable alternative 
to offer, however, and in the end, after long and heated de- 
bates, the Communists won the upper hand. By 10 December 
EAM had definitely determined that, if no political settle- 
ment could be reached, they would fight not only the Right- 
wing Greeks but the British as well. 

Leaders of the moderate wing of EAM never fully made 
up their minds in the emergency. Alexander Svolos, EAM's 
leading intellectual Socialist, decided on 5 December that 
he would not support an open revolution; but he did not 
announce his decision nor make a public break with the ex- 
treme leaders of the movement. Instead he retired to his home 
and waited to see how events would turn out. A similar dis- 
quiet troubled many in the rank and file who were Socialists 
or merely republicans. They felt somehow that they had be- 
come cat's-paws of the Communists, but saw no clear path by 
which they could escape from the dilemma in which they 
found themselves. They could not join the Right, and they 
dared not stand by themselves, against both Communists and 
conservatives. Their reluctance undoubtedly weakened the 
force of the ELAS attack and reduced the Left's chance of 

Until about the 12 or 13 December EAM leaders still 
hoped for a diplomatic settlement. Terms of agreement were 
discussed between Siantos and Scobie on one of these two 
days. The Communist leader was relatively conciliatory but 
General Scobie insisted on the full measure of his original 


demands: evacuation of Athens and the disarmament of 
ELAS throughout the country as had been ordered. Such 
terms were not acceptable to Siantos and the interview 
broke off without accomplishing anything, 

On the military front, ELAS was also beset with difficulties. 
The Reserve was an unreliable military instrument. It was 
organized on a territorial basis. When its members were de- 
fending their own home district, they sometimes fought very 
bravely and effectively. When called to another part of the 
city, however, their discipline was untrustworthy. Individuals 
were likely to slip away to their homes from time to time in 
order to make sure that all was well with their families. Pri- 
vates tended to question their commanders* decisions, doubt- 
ing their superior military skill and experience. In these and 
other respects they showed an independence incompatible 
with full military effectiveness. The ELAS regulars were 
much better disciplined and more experienced in fighting. 
After the first few days it was they who bore the real brunt of 
the battle against the British and Greek rightist forces. The 
Reserve did little but snipe; this, although troublesome at 
times, never amounted to more than a serious nuisance to 
the British. 

Since the ELAS Reserve wore no sort of uniform, its mem- 
bers could convert themselves from innocent civilian to hid- 
den sniper with the greatest of ease. All that was necessary 
was to take a gun from its hiding place and poke the muzzle 
out of the window. This made sniping difficult for the Brit- 
ish to deal with. Even in the heart of the city, where British 
troops were concentrated, sniping was incessant during the 
early days. Many times careful search of a building in which 
a sniper had been seen revealed nothing. The sniper need 
simply hide his gun and assume an innocent expression when 
the search party came through; or perhaps invent a story 
about a man whom he had seen running off over the roof tops 
in this or that direction. The British met the sniping nuisance 


in two ways. They arrested large numbers of persons on sus- 
picion, and when it became impossible to keep them in 
Athens, they were transported to a vacated army camp in 
North Africa. The other and more effective step was the ex- 
pansion of a Greek National Guard. 

The National Guard, which had been formed in November 
from one class of the Army Reserve, had almost entirely dis- 
integrated when ELAS attacked the government. In Athens, 
some few men remained. When the British began to feel 
the need for help against snipers, they determined to reestab- 
lish and expand the National Guard, by calling up and equip- 
ping additional reservists. Obedient to the British suggestion, 
Papandreou and his Cabinet issued a decree calling into active 
service Army Reserve classes from 1934 to 1940. As these men 
reported, they were given rifles and uniforms and formed into 
National Guard battalions. When uniforms gave out, arm 
bands were used, so that by the end of the battle it was a 
common sight to see bedraggled men in civilian clothing 
carrying rifles over their shoulders with only a blue and white 
armband to distinguish them from the ELAS reservists. 

Inasmuch as the writ of the Papandreou Government ran 
only where British arms prevailed, recruits to the National 
Guard came at first only from a small district in the 
center of Athens. With confusion so great, the "conscription" 
amounted to little more than a legal framework for the for- 
mation of volunteer units. Nobody looked too closely at the 
men who offered themselves for service. That they should be 
strictly within the age limits, nobody cared; nor did anyone 
examine the past record of the recruits. This inevitable haste 
and carelessness resulted in difficulties later. Many rough- 
necks and criminals hastened to join the new National Guard. 
Veterans of the Security Battalions did the same. The gen- 
darmes, who had been brought to Athens to be screened, were 
incorporated into the National Guard in a body without any 
pretense at checking their individual records for collabora- 


tlon. As the original pressure for men relaxed, more care was 
taken to enroll only those who legally belonged to the Guard. 
The battalions formed during the latter part of December 
were thus generally better disciplined and less extreme In 
their political partisanship than was the case with those 
formed earliest. Nevertheless, all the battalions that were 
raised during the fighting in Athens were rowdy and strongly 
anti-Communist. They came later to be known over most of 
Greece as the "Athens Battalions" and their reputation was 
no better than one would expect from the method of their 

Recruits for the National Guard battalions came in fast 
even in the earliest days. By the end of December, thirty-six 
battalions had been formed and equipped, with a total 
strength of more than nineteen thousand men. They were 
used chiefly to police the rear areas. By dint of numbers, they 
were able to check ELAS infiltration behind the lines and 
pretty well stopped the sniping which had so bothered the 
British during the early days. 

From 8 to 12 December the scale of ELAS operations 
steadily increased. The Reserve was gradually whipped into 
shape > supplies of mines were brought into the city and 
strewn in the principal streets, and the ELAS Regulars came 
from the hills and took up positions as close to British troops 
as they could. During this time various isolated British units 
were withdrawn into the center, and some valuable supply 
dumps were abandoned in Pireus and elsewhere. Consider- 
able stores of food thus became available to ELAS, and much 
of the rations which the ELAS soldiers ate while fighting in 
Athens came from these abandoned British dumps. 

One detachment, RAF Headquarters, was not withdrawn. 
It was located in Kifissia, a suburb of Athens, and the RAF 
commander pooh-poohed General Scobie's suggestion that his 
men be brought inside the British perimeter. On 18 Decem- 
ber ELAS attacked the buildings in which the RAF was 


billeted, and, after a two-day fight, captured them, taking 
several hundred prisoners. This was perhaps the greatest 
success ELAS won against the British. It was certainly the 
largest single haul of prisoners they made. 

The Greek Third Brigade was quartered outside Athens 
when the fighting began, and remained there until near the 
end. It was surrounded by ELAS troops, bombarded by 
mortars, and subject to constant small arms fire. No attack 
was launched on the barracks, however. After the unpleasant 
experiences of the first days, when the Brigade had failed to 
take Ardettos Hill, it remained on the defensive. Some con- 
siderable difficulty was experienced in maintaining com- 
munication with the British-held center of Athens. Special 
convoys carried food and other supplies out to the Greek 
troops at night, but they were subject to constant harassment 
by ELAS, and until the last days of the battle, the Brigade's 
supply situation remained precarious. 

The British forces were divided between three separate 
areas. A small number of men retreated to the tip of the 
peninsula in Pireus where they were cut off from all com- 
munication except by sea. Another slightly larger garrison 
occupied the airfield at Hassani and the shore toward 
Phaleron Bay. But the main body of British troops was lo- 
cated in central Athens. When the lines finally became more 
or less definitely fixed, about 12 December, the area held by 
the British was small indeed. It was about two miles long, and 
five or six blocks wide, extending from the barracks where 
the armored brigade was stationed on the east to the British 
Military Headquarters building on the west. The area em- 
braced Constitution Square, the main government buildings 
and part of the central business district. All the rest of the 
city lay in the hands of ELAS. 

Such a distribution of forces was ill suited for either de- 
fense or attack. The main difficulty that troubled the British 
commander was an imminent shortage of supplies. Much had 


been abandoned during the early days o the fighting and it 
was difficult to distribute what remained to the three pockets 
of troops. At one time, the British in central Athens had 
only a single day's ration of food on hand, and their supplies 
of gasoline were likewise nearly exhausted. Rumor had it that 
General Scobie at one time considered evacuating Athens, 
but decided against it because he had not enough trucks to 
carry out the withdrawal speedily and in (comparative) 

On 1 1 December Field Marshal Alexander, who had taken 
command of the Mediterranean Theater, flew to Athens to 
make a personal reconnaissance of the situation. He quickly 
decided that reinforcements were necessary. Within two days 
the first troops arrived by air from Italy, and during the next 
two weeks a total of two complete British divisions came to 
the Athens area, as well as a brigade of the Fourth Indian Di- 
vision and several miscellaneous battalions. These reinforce- 
ments were grouped under General Hawkesworthy's com- 
mand. They took up a defense position along Phaleron Bay, 
and proceeded to relieve the beleaguered British force in 
Pireus after some hard fighting. 

When the prospect of diplomatic settlement had vanished 
(about 13 December), ELAS prepared for an all-out attack on 
the British position in central Athens. British reinforcements 
were already beginning to arrive, and the ELAS Committee 
realized that they must strike immediately or lose all chance 
of success. Their own reinforcements had not arrived from 
Thessaly, and political difficulties within their ranks had not 
been fully overcome. Nevertheless, it was decided to make a 
concerted attack in the hope of compelling the British to 
retreat entirely from Athens. The plan of attack called for a 
simultaneous assault on the British lines from three direc- 
tions. Unfortunately for the attackers, their synchronization 
broke down. When on the night of 15-16 December, the at- 
tacks were launched, they did not come exactly at the same 

Civil, WAR 185 

time. As a result, British armored cars and tanks were able to 
rush from one front to another, to support the infantry line. 
In this way, each assault was repulsed in turn. Only on the 
east flank of the British position did ELAS succeed in break- 
ing through. The leftists entered the barracks where the 
armored brigade was quartered, burnt most o the gasoline 
which was stored there, and captured and destroyed the mili- 
tary switchboard, killing the civilian operators. Before they 
were able to advance farther, however, the tanks arrived, and 
were able to drive the invaders back. The failure of this 
attack marked the turning point of the battle. Thereafter, 
British strength grew steadily as the reinforcements arrived in 
increasing numbers, and ELAS power gradually decreased 
as individuals gave up the struggle and returned to their 

The British did not attack at once with their newfound 
superiority. Political considerations held them back. The 
repercussions of the outbreak of fighting between British and 
Greek troops in Athens had been world-wide. Newspaper 
correspondents generally reported the events in Athens in a 
tone highly critical of the British action. A storm of popular 
disapproval resulted in both the United States and Great 
Britain. Churchill was severely criticized for his imperialist 
policy by members of Parliament and by the press. He him- 
self was probably surprised by the turn affairs had taken, and 
decided to make an effort to bring a political settlement of 
the dispute. Accordingly, on Christmas Day he and his 
Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, flew to Athens. 

Upon his arrival, Churchill called a meeting of the most 
prominent politicians of Athens. Arrangements were made 
for the safe-conduct of EAM leaders to the conference, and 
all the other traditional parties and leading political figures 
were present. Churchill hoped that some sort of agreement 
could be reached that would end the fighting immediately. 
He hoped for something like a new Lebanon Agreement; and 


as candidate for the headship of a new Government, the 
British had fixed upon General Nicholas Plastiras. 

Plastiras had been persuaded to come from his exile in 
France some days previously. British political advisers pinned 
great hopes on his return, for they thought him to be the one 
man who might bring peace between Left and Right. Plas- 
tiras had a political record that fitted him admirably for such 
a mediating role. He had begun his career as a professional 
soldier, joined the Venizelist insurrectionary movement in 
Salonika in 1916, and later, in 1922, led the revolt against 
King Constantine which forced him into exile. Plastiras was 
personally popular among the refugee population which 
formed the principal support of the EAM movement in 
Athens. He was an uncompromising republican, and could by 
no stretch of the imagination be accused of wanting to im- 
pose a royal Government on an unwilling people. He would 
thus, as head of the Government, be able to win the con- 
fidence of many of the supporters of EAM. At the same time, 
he was a conservative, and disapproved of the Communists 
and their methods in the most emphatic manner. He would 
never willingly see established a Communist Government in 
Greece, nor permit Greece to move into the Russian orbit. A 
man combining such qualities seemed to the British an ideal 
choice to head a new coalition Government, and pacify the 

But the political atmosphere in Athens did not favor agree- 
ment. The royalists and men of the Right were delighted to 
see British soldiers fighting their battles for them. They were 
anxious that the Communists be utterly overthrown before 
peace should come, and were consequently in no mood to 
compromise. The Left too could not bring itself to yield. The 
British terms remained unchanged that ELAS should agree 
to disarmament and evacuate the Athens area but Siantos 
and his fellow Communists were not willing to give up the 
struggle or admit military defeat. Up to the time of the con- 


Eerence, the British had made no serious offensive move, and 
it is possible that the leftists were ignorant of the scale of 
British reinforcement. 

A notable fact at the conference was the firmness with 
which the old-line republican leaders turned their backs on 
the Left. Social revolution played no part in the political 
ideas of Sofoulis or the other Liberal leaders; and a close 
look at revolution as practiced by ELAS soldiers made them 
react against it violently. In this they reflected a revulsion that 
spread over much of the population of Athens. ELAS had in- 
dulged in atrocities to which the people of Athens were 
scarcely inured. People's courts were established in various 
suburbs to try persons accused of treason or collaboration. 
Their procedure was summary and punishment severe. After 
peace had come, several hundred bodies were exhumed from 
a cemetery in the suburb of Peristeri, where most of the ex- 
ecutions had taken place. Corpses showed unmistakable signs 
of torture and mutilation that were horrible to see. 

Still another psychological mistake was made by the leftists 
when they decided to take hostages. Horror stories circulated 
among the members of EAM retailing the brutalities of Brit- 
ish and Greek soldiers against the captured ELAS-ites, and 
on 16 December the ELAS Committee officially decided to 
take an equal number of hostages from the part of Athens 
they controlled. Fifteen thousand hostages were seized. When 
the ELAS retreat began, the hostages were driven northward 
on foot, despite inadequate clothing and bitter winter 
weather. Laggards were frequently shot out of hand, and in 
all, about tour thousand perished. The cruel treatment to 
which the hostages were subjected, and the injustice of the 
whole procedure, turned many former sympathizers against 
EAM and the Communists who ordered such deeds. 

When the political representatives gathered together foi 
conference (25-26 December), they agreed only on one point, 
All parties thought it wise that a regent should be appointed 


to exercise the powers of the King until such time as a plebis- 
cite could be held to decide whether King George should re- 
turn. On everything else, agreement proved impossible. 
Siantos demanded, as the conditions on which he would desist 
from battle, that EAM be given forty to fifty per cent of the 
seats in a new Cabinet; that collaborationists be purged from 
the state machinery; and that the gendarmes and Third 
Brigade be disbanded. Only when this had been done would 
ELAS agree to surrender its arms to the Government. Plastiras 
refused even to consider these terms. The representatives of 
the Popular Party walked out, exclaiming that such action 
would mean communizing the country. 

Churchill had waited impatiently in Athens for the conclu- 
sion of the conference. He was nettled by the failure of the 
Greek leaders to come to any sort of understanding, and de- 
parted immediately for London. In leaving he made some 
rather ill-tempered remarks belittling Greek political capa- 
city, and threatened that if the Greeks did not succeed "in 
laying democratic foundations which are satisfactory and 
inspire confidence, it will probably be necessary that you be 
placed temporarily under international trusteeship of some 

His experience in Athens had nevertheless convinced 
Churchill of two things. He decided that King George was 
hopelessly unpopular, at least for the time being, and de- 
termined to bring all the pressure he could command to per- 
suade the Greek King to agree to the appointment of a 
regent. Secondly, he concluded that the leftists would have to 
be crushed by superior weight of arms before they would 
accept terms satisfactory either to the British or to the other 
political leaders of Greece. Accordingly he ordered the Brit- 
ish generals in Greece to begin a full-scale offensive as soon as 

The offensive began on the very next day, 27 December. 
British troops moved northward from their Phaleron base, 


and the Greek Third Brigade attacked southward from their 
barracks. ELAS had no strength to stand against the superior 
numbers, equipment and discipline of the attacking troops. 
Within three days the whole southern half of the city was 
cleared of ELAS soldiers, and much of Pireus had been cap- 
tured from the leftists as well. Following this success, the 
British stopped their advance for a couple of days, regrouping 
and resting their forces. On 3 January the attack was resumed 
on the northern part of the town and the advance continued, 
though in the face of stout resistance. By this time the ELAS 
Committee realized that their forces could no longer hope to 
hold Athens. On the night of 4-5 January a general with- 
drawal was ordered, and ELAS began to evacuate the city. 

The retreat was carried out in reasonably good order. Rear 
guard detachments systematically dynamited buildings along 
the road of retreat and used the rubble as barricades from 
which to stand off the advancing British troops. By January 6 
the last ELAS units had left Athens. Many of the Reserve 
betook themselves to their homes, and for the most part it was 
only the Regular ELAS troops that withdrew from the city. 
They were not closely pursued. The British wanted first to 
search the newly won areas to prevent any outbreak of sniping 
in their rear. By 8 January pursuit was organized, and, in the 
following week, advance British units penetrated as far north 
as Lamia and as far south as Corinth. 

ELAS had been beaten. On 11 January delegates from 
ELAS Headquarters came to General Scobie and arranged an 
armistice. The leftists agreed to evacuate all troops from 
Attica, Beotia and a part of Phocia, and to abandon an area 
within a twenty-mile radius of Salonika. It was provided that 
ELAS troops should return to the part of the country to 
which they were native, thus preventing any concentration of 
strength in the north of Greece for a future resumption of the 
struggle. Release of all prisoners was prescribed, and arrange- 
ments for relief parties to come to the succor of the hostages 


were also included in the terms of truce. It was further pro- 
vided that terms of surrender were to be negotiated between 
ELAS and the Greek Government at the earliest possible date. 
On 15 January hostilities came to an end as agreed by the 
truce. The power of ELAS had been broken; the revolution 
had failed; all the enthusiasm and ardor of the EAM move- 
ment had come to disaster. Many former followers had be- 
come bitterly disillusioned, and the leaders of the Left were 
compelled to admit defeat. It remained for a new political 
balance to be struck, and a start made toward reconstruction 
of the war-torn country. 


BEFORE the final military 
overthrow of ELAS, two steps of the greatest importance had 
been taken toward the political pacification of Greece. On 
New Year's Day, 1945, His Beatitude, Damaskinos, Metro- 
politan of Athens and Archbishop of All Greece, became 
Regent. Three days later, General Nicholas Plastiras was ap- 
pointed Prime Minister. This change in regime undoubtedly 
attracted many of the EAM moderates away from their Com- 
munist leaders, and made possible the early end of the civil 
war. From the point of view of the British, who had in large 
part engineered the transfer of power, the move was therefore 
a success. 

When Churchill returned from his Christmas visit to 
Athens, he promptly interviewed King George II. The Greek 
King still cherished a stubborn determination not to yield 
one jot or tittle of his rightful powers; but brief and forceful 
argument changed his mind. Churchill insisted, and the King 
unwillingly agreed to authorize Archbishop Damaskinos to 
become Regent. A telegram was despatched to Athens an- 
nouncing King George's decision. Accordingly a hasty cere- 
mony was arranged in an upper room of the Foreign Office, 
at which the Archbishop-Regent took an oath to exercise the 
royal power in accordance with the Constitution. 

The new Regent was a striking figure of a man. He stood 
well over six feet, and was broad in proportion. The flowing 
robes and high mitre, which he wore by virtue of his episcopal 



office, exaggerated his height, and assured that his mere 
physical presence dominated any ordinary gathering of men. 
His face was coarse featured but majestic. His nose, which had 
been broken and thickened at the root, served as visible re- 
minder that Damaskinos' early career and first fame came as a 
wrestler where his extraordinary size and strength served him 

While still a young man Damaskinos gave up the wrestling 
ring and became a monk, which, in the Orthodox Church, is 
the normal prelude to a prelate's career. His imposing 
physical appearance, keen intelligence and general good sense 
assured him of preferment. In 1922 he was appointed Bishop 
of Corinth. Five years later, a great earthquake devastated the 
town, and Damaskinos undertook a trip to the United States 
to raise money from the Greeks of America for the rebuilding 
of the destroyed city. He was very successful, gathering several 
million dollars, which helped to rebuild Corinth on a new 
site some three miles from the old town. 

Damaskinos rapidly rose to a leading place in the Greek 
Church. In 1936 he again travelled to America, this time on a 
political mission in connection with the election to the pa- 
triarchate of Constantinople which occurred in that year. He 
went to drum up support among the Orthodox Church lead- 
ers of the United States for the candidate favored by the 
Greek bishops. In the same year, the incumbent Archbishop 
of All Greece died, and the council of bishops assembled to 
elect a successor. There were two candidates: Damaskinos and 
another bishop named Chrysanthos. The election was closely 
contested, but Damaskinos was finally elected by the margin 
of a single vote. 

This outcome displeased Dictator John Metaxas. Damas- 
kinos was generally known to be republican. He was no great 
friend or supporter of the King, and openly disapproved of 
the reactionary and extra-legal acts of the dictatorial Govern- 


ment. Consequently, on the ground that one of the partici- 
pating bishops had been unqualified to vote, the Government 
declared the election invalid. The bishops met again, and a 
new vote gave a majority for Chrysanthos. To remove a 
troublesome personality from the public eye, Metaxas there- 
upon sent Damaskinos into retirement in a provincial 

He remained there until after the Germans had occupied 
Athens. Thinking to gain a grateful supporter, the quisling 
Government in 1941 annulled the election of Chrysanthos 
and declared Damaskinos to be the rightful head of the 
Church. Chrysanthos in his turn retired, taking up private 
residence in Athens; and Damaskinos came to the capital and 
assumed the robes of office. Despite the circumstances of his 
accession to power, Archbishop Damaskinos never truckled to 
the quisling Governments. He busied himself with organizing 
relief for the people of Athens, and gathered around himself 
a group of earnest young men who conducted summer camps, 
helped suspects escape to the Middle East, carried blankets 
and other supplies to freshly burnt villages, and in other ways 
tried to reduce the hardships of the occupation for the people. 
During most of 1944 he was kept under house arrest by the 
Germans, but was not molested otherwise. 

Damaskinos was able to remain almost entirely above the 
strife of factions which tore Greece apart during the later 
years of occupation. He never denounced EAM, although 
strong pressure was brought to bear upon him to do so. EAM 
reciprocated by refraining from denouncing him, and indeed 
the majesty of his robes and sacred office held a strong power 
over the imaginations of most of the rank and file of the move- 
ment. Despite this, conservatives never accused the Arch- 
bishop of being a leftist, although some of them thought he 
was overly inclined to sympathize with republicanism. He 
was thus in a thoroughly unique position among prominent 
Greeks, and it was for this reason that he had been fixed upon 


by common consent as far back as 1943 as candidate for the 
office of Regent. 

The personal character of Damaskinos was kindly. He is 
said to have been ambitious and scheming as a young man; 
but, having arrived at so high a place, ambition no longer 
goaded him. His education, save in theology, was not exten- 
sive; but experience and native good sense have made him 
wise in the ways of men, a capable administrator and a prac- 
tical politician. Such a man was surely well chosen to preside 
over the destiny of Greece in troubled times. 

As soon as the Regent had been sworn in, Papandreou sub- 
mitted his resignation. It was accepted and the Regent com- 
missioned General Plastiras to form a new Cabinet. By 3 
January Plastiras had selected a Cabinet, and took office. For 
the most part he relied on old friends of 1922 and 1933, who 
were all associated with the Liberal Party, but he gave his 
Cabinet a flavor of coalition by including two representatives 
from the republican wing of the Popular Party. The Govern- 
ment was thus solidly anti-royalist. It was also anti-Com- 
munist and was committed to carry on the struggle against 

When the truce between ELAS and General Scobie was 
signed, the most pressing problem before the Government 
became the negotiation of a definitive settlement with the 
leftists, who remained in control of more than half the coun- 
try. At the time, many persons in Athens expected a resump- 
tion of hostilities. From grossly underestimating the power of 
ELAS, the pendulum had swung to the extreme of overesti- 
mation. In actual fact, the Communists had shot their bolt. 
Within the ranks of ELAS, strong criticism was raised against 
the way their leaders had conducted the revolution. As late 
as 14 December, ELAS guerillas coming to join the fight in 
Athens were told that they were to fight against Greek Fas- 
cists, and when they found themselves opposing British 
troops, they were grievously surprised, and some few deserted 


or allowed themselves unnecessarily to be taken prisoner. 
After the truce, Siantos and his colleagues no longer could 
have ordered their men to resume the fight, had they so 

Despite this fact, peace negotiations were long drawn out. 
There was bickering about the representatives, the Govern- 
ment insisting that members of the Communist Party be sent, 
while EAM* preferred to accredit men who were not Com- 
munists. At length the Government had its way, and, at the 
beginning of February, a three-man delegation, headed by 
Siantos, arrived in Athens to negotiate peace. After a week's 
bargaining, agreement was reached on 12 February. From the 
name of the village near which the meeting took place, it was 
called the Varkiza Agreement. By its terms ELAS agreed to 
surrender all arms, and quotas for the various types of 
weapons were established as a means of assuring that actual 
disarmament took place. With the exception of a few small 
guard detachments, disbandment of ELAS was to be com- 
pleted within two weeks. Weapons were to be concentrated at 
specified points, and handed over to British officers appointed 
by General Scobie to collect them. 

In return for this concession, the Government agreed to 
maintain and uphold civil liberties and to publish an amnesty 
which would cover all "political" crimes committed during 
the civil war. The Government further promised to purge the 
state bureaucracy by means of special boards, but the criteria 
on which judgment was to be based were only vaguely re- 
corded. The Army was to be recruited by age groups, but it 
was expressly provided that professional soldiers and reserv- 
ists specially trained in modern weapons could be retained in 
service. This in practice meant that the Third Brigade and 
Sacred Squadron would remain to form the core of a new 
Greek Army. The final provision was as follows: 

At the earliest possible date, and in any case within the cur- 
rent year there shall be conducted in complete freedom and 


with every care for its genuineness, a plebiscite, which shall 
finally decide on the Constitutional question, all points being 
submitted to the decision of the people. Thereafter shall 
follow as quickly as possible elections to a Constituent As- 
sembly for the drafting of the new Constitution of the 
country. The representatives of both sides agree that for the 
verification of the genuineness of the expression of the popu- 
lar will, the great Allied Powers shall be requested to send 

The elections, promised by this clause, were to become one 
of the main issues of Greek politics during the following 
year. In view of the later changes, it is interesting to note that 
the leftists pressed for an early election date at this time. They 
evidently still believed themselves to command a safe ma- 
jority in the country, and hoped through fair elections to 
resume some or all of the power they had lost. Six months 
later they had lost their confidence, and, fearing defeat, used 
all the devices at their command to postpone the holding of 
elections. This striking change in tactics was brought about 
by a widespread popular reaction against the Left which 
began to show itself as soon as the military power of ELAS 
had been dissipated. We must now follow the manifestations 
of that reaction. 

Despite some misgivings among British officers and Greek 
conservatives, ELAS punctually and faithfully carried out 
most of the military prescriptions of the Varkiza Agreement. 
Arms were duly collected into dumps, and the soldiers of 
ELAS were sent home with formal discharge certificates. A 
few ELAS-ites, however, either feared or disliked the prospect 
of returning to their native villages. One small band of ir- 
reconcilables under the leadership of Ares took to the familiar 
mountains of the Pindus, and defied both the Greek Govern- 
ment and the orders of the Communist Party. Three months 
later the band was hunted down by detachments of the Na- 
tional Guard. After a brisk battle, the rebels were over- 
powered. Most of them were killed on the spot, and only 


three or four succeeded in escaping. Ares was among the 
dead. His head was cut off and brought to the town of Trik- 
kala where it was barbarously displayed in the market place 
for all to see. Others from the ranks of ELAS, numbering per- 
haps three or four thousand in all, crossed the border into 
Yugoslavia where they found refuge from the vindictiveness 
of the Greek Right, and lived to stir up future trouble in 
Greek Macedonia. 

The British originally planned to occupy ELAS territory 
slowly, but the unexpected completeness of the disarmament, 
and the outbreak of disorders in some of the remote areas of 
the country, persuaded them to accelerate their movements. 
By 1 April detachments of British troops had penetrated to 
all the principal towns of Greece, and had quieted most of 
the incipient disorder. The first care of the British was to 
take over the arms dumps where ELAS had concentrated its 
weapons. By the Varkiza Agreement, 41,500 rifles and a pro- 
portionate number of other weapons had been set as the 
minimum to be turned over by ELAS. Actually ELAS sur- 
rendered more of every weapon than had been required. 
Despite this surplus, not all the leftists* arms were given up, 
as had been stipulated in the peace terms. Some of their best 
weapons were secreted in caches and singly. During the next 
six months, British and Greek troops searched out as many of 
these hidden arms as they could. The total actually discovered 
and reported amounted to about four thousand additional 
small arms. Many more were actually found by the Greek 
troops and never reported, being used to equip civilian 
sympathizers of the Right. 

The National Guard, which had been formed so hastily in 
Athens during the battle, was the organization to which fell 
the task of policing the newly occupied areas. The Greek 
units followed behind the British more slowly, and it was not 
until May 15 that National Guardsmen had spread the power 
of the Greek Government to all parts of the country. As the 


guard advanced, new battalions were raised from the local 
inhabitants by the call up of a single class of the Army Re- 
serve. The Athens Battalions served as a sort of advance party, 
occupying new areas progressively, moving on only after local 
battalions had been formed. Consequently, it was the Athens 
Battalions that came first to each part of die territory that had 
been occupied by ELAS. These battalions contained many 
disreputable characters. Their officers and soldiers were 
fanatically opposed to communism, and were generally ig- 
norant of the law. As a result, they freely disregarded the civil 
liberties which had been promised by the Varkiza Agreement. 
In point of fact, the machinery for legal arrest and trial did 
not exist in the provinces, and the only alternatives were 
either complete inaction or infraction of the niceties of law. 
Nevertheless, the Athens Battalions indulged in unnecessary 
and provocative acts against the Left, and, partly as a result, 
frequently became engaged in local affrays and public brawls. 
When a National Guard detachment first arrived in a vil- 
lage or town which had previously been under leftist control, 
the Guardsmen first conducted a search for hidden weapons, 
and regularly found a goodly number. Their methods were 
rough. Most of the caches which they found were discovered 
by confessions wrung from local leaders of the Left by beat- 
ings and other strong-arm methods. Sometimes the weapons 
were turned in to the British, but a proportion they regularly 
kept out and gave to their political friends, that is, to men of 
the Right. As soon as the Left had been thus disarmed, a 
swarm of informers descended on the Guard commander, ac- 
cusing the local leftists of all sorts of crimes. Most of these 
accusations were never acted upon, but a proportion of them 
resulted in arrests. Jails were primitive and soon became ter- 
ribly overcrowded. Since judges were few and legal procedure 
incredibly dilatory, many persons languished in prison for 
months on end without coming up for trial. After some 
months, the Government was compelled to pass a series of 


amnesty laws which cleared the prisons of most of the persons 
who had been incarcerated. By this, innocent and guilty alike 
were freed, and in parts of Greece private vengeance was 
thereupon brought into play to remedy the undeniable de- 
fects of legal justice. 

Despite the handicaps under which they labored once the 
National Guard had come to town, EAM and Communist 
newspapers generally continued to appear as before. A favo- 
rite pastime of some of the National Guardsmen came to be 
breaking up the leftist printing shops. On many occasions, 
a group of soldiers in their off-duty hours invaded the prem- 
ises where the printing was done, scattered the type fonts and 
smashed as much as they could of the presses. The editors, if 
caught, were beaten. 

Not all battalions indulged in such rowdyism. Their con- 
duct varied according to the officers who led them. Much, too, 
depended on how close the unit found itself to British troops, 
who uniformly exercised a moderating influence. On several 
occasions British officers made prison inspections and com- 
pelled improvements in what were truly appalling conditions. 
The British looked with the strongest disapproval on the 
practice of arming civilians with the weapons seized from 
leftists, so that in the larger towns where British troops were 
also stationed, this practice was a good deal less open than 

As the National Guard spread out through the countryside 
of Greece, a sort of miniature counter-revolution followed in 
its wake. The rightists of each village and town came into the 
open, and proceeded to do all in their power to turn the 
tables, and silence their opponents. A rash of self-styled Na- 
tionalist organizations grew up within a matter of weeks. 
Many of them were nothing but an ambitious letterhead or a 
cabal of a few would-be politicians. As time went on, the 
local organizations tended to affiliate themselves with nation- 
wide societies, chief among which was X. By fall, Colonel 


Grivas, the leader of the X organization, claimed a member- 
ship of two hundred thousand. In actual fact, however, much 
of the membership was nominal. The rightist organizations 
never succeeded in mobilizing the same enthusiastic energy 
as had the Left, nor did they ever coine to dominate the daily 
life of the population with speeches, demonstrations, lectures, 
etc., to the same extent as the Left had done. Furthermore, 
the Government was officially committed to an advocacy of 
civil liberties. EAM had been trammelled by no such com- 
punctions and had permitted no dissident newspapers to ap- 
pear, nor any rival political organizations to form under its 

It followed that the relative inefficiency of the Right in its 
organization and propaganda, supplemented by an official 
policy of toleration, made political life freer in 1945 than it 
had been under the Left a year before. In most villages, save 
for the northern parts of Greece, EAM organization and ac- 
tivities pretty well ceased. In the larger towns, great numbers 
of EAM followers deserted the movement, but the organiza- 
tional core remained, and was able to continue propaganda, 
organize strikes, and even hold public demonstrations. Dur- 
ing the first months after the disarmament of ELAS, the Com- 
munist party line was pacific. By a careful obedience to the 
law, the party leaders hoped to make possible an early election 
which would, they believed, return a majority for EAM. But 
in calculating thus, the Communists underestimated the re- 
action against them. 

In March the two leading figures of the Socialist movement, 
Elias Tsirimokos and Professor Alexander Svolos, announced 
their withdrawal from EAM, and by degrees drew all So- 
cialist groups into a new United Socialist Party. In breaking 
off they spoke harsh words against the Communists, accusing 
them of having dominated and perverted the whole EAM 
movement. How many of the EAM rank and file followed the 
Socialist leaders, it is impossible to say. Socialism has always 


been a comparatively weak movement in Greece, and the 
actual number of persons who deserted EAM with Svolos and 
Tsirimokos may have been small. Nevertheless, their action 
had a certain importance since it made the Communists the 
sole supporters of EAM. Its pretensions to be a National 
Front representing the whole Greek people from this time on 
lacked all plausibility. 

Marked regional variations in the political pattern of the 
Greek countryside developed in the course of the first year of 
rule by the Athens Government. In the south generally, and 
especially in the Peloponnese, the Right gained almost un- 
challenged control. Leftists were severely persecuted, and 
many were hunted down and killed by armed rightists. Re- 
venge for murders committed by leftists during the preceding 
years probably constituted the principal motive in most such 
killings, for in the Peloponnese it is still counted a family 
duty to kill the murderer of a close relative. In central Greece 
and Thessaly, the Left remained much stronger. Most villages 
passed under rightist domination, but the towns became di- 
vided between rival political organizations, and small-scale 
disorders were not uncommon between the extremes. 

In Epirus, Zervas' followers, demobilized after 1 January 
in Corfu, returned to the mainland and dominated both town 
and country. On the ground that Albanians persecuted 
Greeks on the other side of the border, Zervas' bravos harried 
about fifteen thousand Albanian peasants from their ancestral 
villages and compelled them to flee from Greece to Albania. 
The fact that the Chams, as these Albanians were called, had 
cooperated with the Germans during the occupation and had 
used their favored position to abuse their Greek neighbors, 
partly accounts for this vengeful act. 

Western and Central Macedonia, on the other hand, re- 
mained strongly influenced by the Left. Many villagers met 
the new National Guard with hostile sullenness; and the 
rightists among them never achieved an unchallenged su- 


premacy such, as was general In the south. The major reason 
for this difference was probably the relatively good record 
EAM and ELAS had made in the north. The EAM movement 
there had won general support from the population, and con- 
sequently the leftists did .not find it necessary to use violent or 
terroristic methods. Conversely, the Right, finding less sup- 
port than elsewhere, committed more outrages in Macedonia 
than in the other parts of Greece during the first days of its 
new-found power. 

In Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, provinces which had 
been occupied by the Bulgars during the war, the state of 
public feeling and balance of political organization was quite 
different from that of the neighboring sections of Macedonia. 
The EAM movement had penetrated that area late (hardly 
before 1944) and never consolidated its hold on the popula- 
tion so firmly as elsewhere. Remnants of Anton Tsaous' band 
came down from hiding in the hills after ELAS had laid down 
its arms, and, for a brief while, more or less took over control 
of towns such as Drama and Serres. Even after regular units 
of the National Guard had arrived on the scene, Tsaous' 
guerillas continued to carry arms for several weeks; and the 
band became the framework for a sort of local nationalist 
political machine. The influence of Tsaous' band was made 
possible by the state of political feeling among the people at 
large, which turned strongly against the Left, identifying the 
Communists with a policy of conciliation toward the hated 
Bulgars. Even towns such as Kavalla, the chief center of 
tobacco manipulation in Greece, which had been a strong- 
hold of communism before the war, showed a much more 
conservative spirit than was the case in industrial towns in 
other parts of the country. 

The greater cities of Greece that is, Athens, Pireus, Sa- 
lonika, Patras, and Volos differed from the country that la^ 
around them in that political antagonism there had a real base 
in social class distinctions. A proletariat, largely unemployed 


and existing chiefly on the goods supplied by relief agencies, 
remained generally loyal to the Communist leaders. Against 
them, merchants, capitalists, as well as a host of small entre- 
preneurs, were almost solidly arrayed as members of one or 
another of the "nationalist" parties. Intellectuals and profes- 
sional men divided between the two extremes. 

By slow degrees the civil administration of the central Gov- 
ernment was reestablished in the provinces. Governors and 
prefects were appointed and despatched to their posts, but 
after they had arrived they found themselves faced with in- 
numerable difficulties. There was an almost total lack of sup- 
plies and transport. Even the simplest items such as paper to 
write on or the pencil wherewith to write were unobtainable, 
or could only be acquired after days of effort. No sort of civil 
service existed, of course; and the local officials were seldom 
empowered to make any but the most petty expenditures 
without special authority from Athens. In practice, the top 
administrators spent most of their time in the capital, trying 
to force decisions from the central Government, and perforce 
neglected the day-to-day management of the provinces as- 
signed to their care. 

As soon as possible, the gendarmery was reorganized and 
despatched to the provinces to relieve the National Guard of 
police duty. The gendarmes who had served during the occu- 
pation formed the core of the new force. Only a few hundred 
were refused reinstatement because of collaboration with the 
Germans; but all were put through an abbreviated training 
course organized by a British Police Mission, were reequipped 
with uniforms and carbines, and hurried out to the provinces. 
By 15 May the gendarmes had taken over police responsibility 
everywhere, although they were not numerous enough to re- 
lieve the National Guard in the more remote areas until some 
months later. After the gendarmery had arrived in the prov- 
inces, the National Guard became merely a frontier police, 
with the exception of a dozen battalions which remained in 


the Interior as a sort of reserve in case of disorders too great 
for the gendarmery to cope with. 

In general the reorganized gendarmery made a better 
record than the National Guard had done. The force was 
definitely rightist. No known or suspected Communists were 
admitted to its ranks, and many gendarmes were closely as- 
sociated with, or even became members of, extreme rightist 
organizations such as X. Despite this bias, the processes of 
law were better observed by the gendarmery, and they com- 
mitted fewer illegal acts of violence against the Left than the 
National Guard had done. 

The central Government itself suffered from many of the 
same difficulties that plagued its local representatives. The 
plethora of civil servants who had been given jobs during the 
occupation nearly all remained on the Government's payroll, 
although many, perhaps even most of them, were half idle or 
performed useless tasks. Frequent changes in Cabinet Minis- 
ters, and corresponding shifts in the top administrators, 
seriously interfered with the smooth functioning of most gov- 
ernment offices. Graft and favoritism were scarcely checked, 
especially when a new inflation began to develop and the civil 
servants' salaries became entirely inadequate to sustain life. 

Two agencies almost independent of the Government 
began to take over mariy of the functions which normally 
would have fallen to the central administration. In economic 
matters, UNRRA guided and largely controlled Greek Gov- 
ernment officials; in military matters, the Greek General 
Staff, supported by a British Military Mission, achieved a 
marked degree of independence. 

Civilian relief was under military control for the first six 
months of liberation. A special organization known as 
Military Liaison, Greece, headed by an American brigadier 
general, Percy L. Sadler, assumed initial responsibility for 
relief distribution. Tfre Athens fighting delayed operations 
for about two months, but during the reduced time, about 


ninety per cent of the amount of supplies originally scheduled 
was brought into the country. The chief item was food, for 
Greece was even less able than before the war to feed its 

UNRRA took over the responsibility for relief in April 
1945, with the expectation of administering a two-year pro- 
gram ending 1 January 1947. The scale of its operation was 
very large. A foreign staff of over seven hundred persons, 
nearly all American and British, was supplemented by sev- 
eral thousand Greeks. The controversy which had begun in 
Cairo was ended in April when UNRRA at length signed an 
agreement with the Greek Government, by which it took re- 
sponsibility only for discharging supplies on the docks. 
Officials of the Government were to supervise delivery and 
distribution. UNRRA, however, was accorded the right of 
inspection to make sure that flagrant abuses did not develop. 
In practice this right of inspection came to be greatly ex- 
panded, and in many instances, the Greek governmental 
officials became almost wholly dependent on UNRRA's "ad- 

Most of UNRRA deliveries to Greece during 1945 were 
designed for relief rather than rehabilitation. Its purchases 
for Greece during the second-half of 1945 were as follows: 

Food $100,000,000 

Seed and agricultural equipment 14,000,000 

Clothing 21,000,000 

Industrial rehabilitation 26,000,000 

Hygiene 10,000,000 

Total $171,000,000 

During the first full year's operation no less than 1,400,000 
tons of food were imported by UNRRA into Greece, in addi- 
tion to which Military Liaison brought 387,000 tons to the 
country. This amounted to about four hundred pounds for 
every single person in Greece, more than a pound per day. 


Such a quantity of food prevented any real starvation, but 
many persons were undernourished, especially since it be- 
came common practice for poor families to sell a part of their 
UNRRA ration on the black market to provide themselves 
with ready cash. 

During 1946, the emphasis of the UNRRA program shifted 
from immediate relief toward longer range reconstruction. 
Consequently, food and clothing shipments were reduced and 
a larger amount of machinery and industrial raw material was 
fed into thd> Greek economy. The results were perceptible. 
Agriculture, the great economic base of the country, re- 
covered most promptly and, thanks to an unusually favorable 
growing season, the wheat crop of 1946 was almost equal to 
average prewar production. 

Industrial recovery was much slower. Financial and labor 
difficulties powerfully abetted damaged and worn-out ma- 
chinery to keep production at a small fraction of prewar 
figures. Industry, however, had never been of central im- 
portance in the over-all picture of Greek economy. A more 
serious and crippling problem was the difficulty of transporta- 
tion. UNRRA brought about six thousand trucks to distrib- 
ute relief supplies, but was unable to help much with the 
repair of the railroads, which, it is estimated, will take two 
years from 1 January 1946 under the most favorable cir- 
cumstances. During 1946 the narrow gauge railroad in the 
Peloponnese was repaired and the important link between 
Salonika and Constantinople was reopened. Some stretches 
of the main line from Athens to Salonika were likewise re- 
built, but UNRRA could not supply the materials necessary 
for the repair of some difficult tunnels and bridges between 
Thessaly and Botia. Equally, if not more, important was 
the shortage of sea transport, which had carried much of the 
freight in prewar Greece. About eighty per cent of the small 
coasting vessels had been sunk during the war, and wood to 
build new ones was very scarce and expensive. Lack of 


adequate transportation put a steady drag on the functioning 
of the Greek economy, increased local food shortages, and 
hindered all forms of industrial activity. 

UNRRA was an international organization, and as such 
was properly independent of the Greek Government. The 
Greek General Staff, on the other hand, was of course 
nominally subject to the control of the Government through 
the Ministry of War. In practice, however, it was able to 
assert a great deal of independence and gained a control over 
Army administration and policies almost apart from the wishes 
of the Government. The major reason for this was a British- 
directed effort to make the Greek Army free from "politics." 
British Police and Military Missions were established during 
the early months of 1945, having been requested by the 
Papandreou Government at the time of the civil war to assist 
in reorganizing the police and army. The Police Mission was 
accorded mandatory powers, so that its chief was able to veto 
promotions and transfers proposed by the Minister "of In- 
terior if they seemed to him deleterious to the service. The 
Military Mission, however, had only advisory powers; but its 
advice proved to have nearly the force of command. 

In the new Greek Army, men trained in the Middle East 
and already familiar with the British methods and organiza- 
tion were in a key position. Veterans of the Third Brigade 
constituted the principal cadres for new units, and their con- 
servative spirit came to dominate the Army completely. 
Plastiras, as an old soldier and veteran of two military revo- 
lutions, had an especial interest in the Army. He appointed 
his personal friends and former republican confederates to 
the top commands; but despite the fact that the generals 
were nearly all republican, tHe Army itself became strongly 
royalist. General Constantine Vendiris, who was appointed 
Assistant Chief of the General Staff, became the key figure 
of the Greek Army in this anomalous situation. He was in 
the confidence of the British advisers, and was able to sur- 


round himself with a personal following of relatively senior 
officers. These officers were fanatically anti-Communist, and 
looked on King George II as the best stay against the Red 
menace. Vendiris and his friends gained authority to make 
appointments in the whole Army, and by that power, came to 
control it. 

This development in the Army was profoundly disturbing 
to Prime Minister Plastiras. With a royalist Army holding the 
ultimate power in the state, he saw small chance of establish- 
ing the republic which he hoped for. He tried to interfere, 
but only came into collision with the British Mission which 
accused him of playing politics with the Army, In this con- 
tention, the British officers of the Mission were undoubtedly 
sincere. They did not fully realize the political bias of the 
Army they were helping to create, and regarded any inter- 
ference with their work as mere political meddling. The 
British Military Mission was able to enlist the support of the 
British Ambassador and General Scobie. And its desires in 
general prevailed, even against the will of the Prime Minister. 

At the same time, in the country at large, royalism gained 
steadily at the expense of republicanism. Generally, anyone 
who disliked the Communists and their methods came also to 
distrust republican government. The royalists harped steadily 
on the theme that Greece's only effective safeguard against the 
Left was the return of the King; and few Greeks could believe 
that a liberal republican Government would be able to sur- 
vive the machinations of the Communists. The Liberal party 
limped along under the direction of a few old men. Themisto- 
cles Sofoulis, now eighty-three years old, remained as head of 
the party, and his following consisted mostly of men whose 
political ideas had been fixed at the time of the bitter quarrel 
between Constantine and Venizelos, during the First World 
War. They cherished an unquenchable dislike for the royal 
house and for the person of George II, but equally abhorred 
the new ideas and violent methods of the Left. The younger 


generation of Liberals had deserted, drifting either to Left 
or Right. All the dynamism which had once driven the Lib- 
eral Party to power and palace revolution was departed. The 
patriotic appeal of "Greater Greece" had been inherited by 
royalists of the Right; and Liberal social reformism had been 
transmuted into the revolutionary aspirations of EAM. 

Plastiras, as an old republican and stout conservative, 
found himself in an uncomfortable position. As the royalists 
spread their organization over the country and gained popular 
support, they began vociferously to accuse him of using his 
position as Prime Minister to forward party ends. In the 
Army too, the royalists had control, and Plastiras' efforts to 
unseat them were thwarted by the British Mission and the 
Greek General Staff. Thus he found himself without any 
important following. 

In March, royalist circles began to agitate for the establish- 
ment of a "service'* Government. By this they meant a 
Government of men who had no traditional or clear-cut asso- 
ciations with any political party. They argued that only such 
a Government could prepare the way with perfect fairness for 
the election which would at last set up a normal Government 
in Greece. Plastiras did not take kindly to the suggestion that 
he surrender the reins of office. Accordingly, at the beginning 
of April a royalist newspaper published a letter that he had 
written in 1941 in which he declared that further resistance to 
the Germans was useless. Royalists proclaimed this loudly 
as proof of collaboration. (The Germans had tried to bring 
Plastiras back to Greece and install him as head of the quisling 
Government, but after some hesitation, he refused.) This 
embarrassment, in combination with his quarrels with the 
British and his lack of success in making secure a republican 
Government, persuaded Plastiras to resign, 7 April. 

Plastiras was succeeded by a "service" Government, headed 
by Admiral Petros Voulgaris. His Ministers were largely 
Army and Navy officers, relieved by a sprinkling of university 


professors. Voulgaris himself was a former republican. He 
had taken part in the 1935 revolt and had been put into re- 
tirement as a result. During the next years, he worked as a 
plant manager for one of the great industrialists of Greece, 
Bodossakis Athanassiades, generally known simply by his first 

Bodossakis was an extraordinary individual, and his career 
illustrates something of the part private capitalists have been 
able to play in Greek political affairs. Native to Asia Minor, 
he came of a poor family and boasted almost no formal educa- 
tion. He was, however, shrewd and utterly unscrupulous, and 
devoted his talents to making money. The foundation of his 
fortune came from selling supplies to the Greek and Turkish 
armies during the war of 1920-1922. Forced to flee with the 
rest of the Greeks, he lost most of his gains, but salvaged 
enough to begin industrial operations in Pireus. From small 
beginnings, he succeeded in building up an industrial em- 
pire. By 1940 he controlled the munitions industry of Greece, 
from which he made a fortune during the Spanish civil war 
and in the Albanian War. In addition he dominated Greek 
shipbuilding, the wine and spirits industry, owned the only 
artificial silk factory in Greece, and developed other business 
interests outside the country. 

Once he had become rich, Bodossakis' ambition turned 
from the simple accumulation of money to the exercise of 
power. He had the temperament that delights in secrecy; his 
favorite pastime was to watch the human puppets dance on 
the political stage of Greece while secretly pulling some at 
least of the strings by which they moved. It is perhaps a fallacy 
to overestimate his power. He is reputed to have had connec- 
tions with every political party, thanks to his generous con- 
tributions of money. An elaborate private intelligence system 
gave him access to a great many of the government's official 
secrets, and in fact most of his wealth probably came from 
competitive advantages he enjoyed by virtue of governmental 


favors. In the Middle East, he was implicated in the April 
mutiny of 1944, but no proof was ever found of his role. 
Though the Left-Liberal group failed to take power, when he 
reappeared on the scene in Greece in 1945, he was firmly 
ensconced in the good graces of the royalists. Yet at the same 
time he continued to make contributions to the Communist 
Party, perhaps as insurance against some future day. 

Boddssakis was a tremendous gambler in business deals. 
Against a rival he was ruthless, and all men he treated as 
instruments. He learned to play upon them with a masterly 
touch. He exercised a strange fascination on his associates, 
and was able to gather to himself some of the most capable 
technicians of Greece, who, though they distrusted his 
honesty, admired his sinuous, daring character. Bodossakis* 
influence and power had played a real part in the history of 
Greece during the past twenty-five years. It did not diminish 
when his protege, Admiral Voulgaris, became Prime Minister. 

By comparison, Voulgaris was a small man. He had won 
prominence by organizing the boarding parties which brought 
the mutiny in the Greek Navy to an end in April 1944. 
Thereafter he had been Commander in Chief of the Navy, 
and, like Vendiris, had carried through a purge of all who 
sympathized with the mutineers. After the purge, the Navy 
became predominantly royalist, although on the whole its 
partisanship was less than the Army's. Like so many other 
former republicans, Voulgaris had reacted strongly against 
communism, and he found himself, though perhaps without 
warm conviction, in the royalist camp. The Government 
which he headed shared his views. It became in fact, though 
not in name, a Government of the reaction. 

One of the most pressing problems which confronted the 
Government was the unhappy state of the Greek economy. 
Despite the ever-increasing flow of relief supplies from 
UNRRA, recovery was painfully slow. There were material 
difficulties. Sometimes the lack of a single small part would 


stop a complicated piece of machinery. Since most of the 
machinery in Greece had come from Germany, spares were 
hard to get, and the local machine shops were themselves 
short of steel and other necessities for effective improvisation. 
Lack of transport multiplied all these difficulties. The major 
hindrance to recovery, however, was social disorganization. 
Strikes broke out at frequent intervals, and few workmen re- 
gained prewar habits of industrious labor. They were exposed 
to a steady bombardment of propaganda from EAM urging 
them not to work for the bosses and to demand a living wage. 
The propaganda was the more effective because inflation 
early began to cut into Government-fixed wages. The Govern- 
ment spent approximately twice what it took in from taxes, 
and financed the deficit by printing paper. With continuing 
scarcity of goods, inflation was rapid. The new drachma when 
first introduced in November 1944 was assigned an exchange 
value of 149 to the dollar. In June 1945, the official rate was 
changed to 500 to 1; but the black-market rate continued to 
rise, and after six months (January 1946) a new exchange was 
set at 5,000 to L Wages and salaries inevitably lagged behind 
prices, and the gap inflicted real and severe hardship on all 
workmen and salaried persons. 

Inflation and political insecurity had a further disastrous 
consequence. What capital individual Greeks possessed, they 
hid. Most of their surplus cash was converted to gold or other 
tangible stocks. In consequence, the price of gold in Greece 
rose far above the world market, and such items as continued 
to be produced, steadily disappeared from the market into 
private warehouses where they were hoarded as a form of in- 
vestment for surplus capital. Constructive investment was at 
a minimum. Men simply were afraid to risk their resources 
for fear of losing all they had. Consequently, some factories 
which could have been reopened if the owners had been 
willing to make expenditures, were kept closed, and new con- 
struction was at a minimum. 


UNRRA, for all its bounty, had a curiously blighting effect 
on governmental economic policy. In the hope that UNRRA 
might supply all needs gratis, foreign exchange for the pur- 
chase of many items, which private persons were anxious to 
import, was refused. For this reason much-needed hospital 
supplies, railroad equipment, and other such items were de- 
layed in reaching Greece. 

Unemployment continued high, and uneconomic self-em- 
ployment became absurdly widespread. Little stands display- 
ing half a dozen eggs or a few shoe laces, etc., were set up by 
the thousand all through Athens and other towns, competing 
one against the other and providing only a miserable half- 
living for their proprietors. Yet in the midst of all the poverty, 
luxury existed. If one had enough money, one could buy 
anything in Athens. No sort of rationing was in force and 
lavish meals could be had for extremely high prices in the 

To improve this unsatisfactory economic situation, the 
Voulgaris Government tried to introduce rationing and price 
control. Kyriakos Varvaressos, a former Governor of the Bank 
of Greece, was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Min- 
ister of Supply, and it was he who planned and directed the 
attempt. Varvaressos' intention was to stop inflation by bring- 
ing the state budget nearly into balance through direct tax- 
ation on real estate, and at the same time to assure a more 
even distribution of food and other consumer goods by 
rationing the whole population and fixing prices. Govern- 
ment boards were set up to determine just prices, and a 
market police was organized to enforce the price-maximums. 
After a couple of months of seeming success, the effort failed, 
Varvaressos resigned, and the measures were withdrawn. A 
strange combination defeated the program. A few large mer- 
chants and industrialists objected to paying direct taxes and 
selling at fixed prices, and organized a sort of selling strike, 
hoarding their stocks. The Communists, perhaps fearing a 


genuine economic settlement, took the occasion to organize 
a widespread series of strikes, demanding a one hundred per 
cent increase in wages and the inclusion of EAM in the Gov- 
ernment. As a result, food almost disappeared from the 
Athens market for several days. Newspapers of all political 
shades laid the blame on Varvaressos, and he at length re- 
signed in bitter anger. 

Even apart from the maneuvers that overthrew the scheme, 
it is questionable whether the plan could have been a success. 
The Government did not have the personnel to administer 
and enforce price ceilings, and serious injustices were done 
by the Government boards which assessed the taxes and set 
the maximum prices. The scheme was too ambitious, and 
was bound to collapse from the lack of flexibility and honest 

The failure of Voulgaris' economic program was a great 
blow to the Government's prestige. Liberal and leftist criti- 
cism mounted steadily. Furthermore, with the victory of the 
Labor Party in Great Britain (end of July), it was generally 
assumed that there would be a sharp change in British policy 
toward Greece. These considerations led Admiral Voulgaris 
to resign in the early days of August. For some days negotia- 
tions were carried on between the Liberal and Popular 
parties in an effort to form a coalition Government between 
the two. The Populists, however, were well content with the 
way things were going under Voulgaris. They stubbornly re- 
fused to enter into any sort of coalition with the republicans 
of the Liberal Party, and extolled the virtues of "nonparti- 
san" government. After a week's uncertainty, the Regent 
prevailed upon Voulgaris to resume office. There were some 
changes in the Cabinet, designed to bring into it a stronger 
republican influence, but the new Ministers proved unable 
to change the drift toward royalism and reaction, and in fact 
made small difference in the policies of the Government. 

The principal purpose for which the Voulgaris "service" 


Government had taken office was to organize elections. In 
June, the Government had ordered a revision of the election 
registers which had last been used in 1936. It was decreed 
that voters must register in their prewar place of residence. 
This decision was taken partly in the hope of inducing some 
of the refugees who had flooded into Athens and other large 
cities to return to their former homes. A more important 
reason was the administrative impossibility of completely re- 
compiling the registers. It had the effect, however, of dis- 
franchising a large number of potential voters. Registration 
was rather difficult in the cities, for voters had to present 
certificates of birth and residence, and pay a small fee before 
being put on the lists. In the villages it was simpler, for there 
a committee, consisting of the priest, a villager and a repre- 
sentative of the government Civil Service inscribed the names 
of the voters without any individual application. 

The Varkiza Agreement had provided that an Allied 
mission be invited to observe the elections. Voulgaris accord- 
ingly sent invitations to Britain, France, the United States 
and Russia. Probably fearing that a precedent might be set for 
elections in her own satellite countries, Russia declined the 
invitation on the ground that such a mission was an unjusti- 
fiable intervention in the domestic affairs of an independent 
country. The other three Allied nations, however, agreed to 
send observers, and undertook to bear the expense of the 
mission themselves. 

The . Varkiza Agreement had likewise provided that a 
plebiscite to determine the constitutional issue would precede 
elections for a constitutive assembly. The changed political 
balance in Greece, however, coupled with a change in British 
policy, resulted in a transposition: it was decided to hold 
elections first, and postpone the plebiscite until after a Gov- 
ernment based on an elected Chamber of Deputies had come 
to power. 

By the early fall of 1945 the Left was convinced that it 


could not any longer command a majority of the voters, and 
so ceased to urge a speedy plebiscite. The conservatives and 
royalists, on the contrary, believed that they would be able 
to win, and called loudly for an immediate vote. When 
Churchill's Government suffered defeat in Great Britain and 
the Labor Party came to power, all Greeks wondered what 
would be the effect on British policy in their country, and, at 
the beginning of September, the Regent, Archbishop Damas- 
kinos, undertook a trip to London for the purpose of sound- 
ing out the new British Government, In particular, he 
discussed the problem of organizing elections in Greece. 

Unlike Mr. Churchill, the Laborites were generally un- 
sympathetic to King George of Greece, believing that his 
partisans were reactionaries and unworthy of their support. 
But equally, they disliked the Greek Communists who seemed 
to be the only serious contender for political power in 
Greece. In such a dilemma, the British advisers decided that 
a prolonged cooling-off period was desirable. If the constitu- 
tional question could be postponed until some measure of 
economic recovery could be brought to Greece, and a strong 
Center have time to build itself up, then, they believed, a 
"sounder" expression of the people's will could be had, and 
the question of the King's return settled once and for all. 
Meanwhile, Greece obviously needed a Government that was 
based directly on the popular franchise, for the Cabinets that 
had governed Greece since the time of Metaxas could by no 
stretch of the imagination be regarded as democratically 

The British, then, advised Archbishop Damaskinos that 
the plebiscite should be postponed, and recommended 1947 
or 1948 as a good time for it to be held. The Greek Regent, 
realizing the power of the Right in Greece and its anxiety to 
hold a plebiscite at the earliest possible moment, was re- 
luctant to announce such a drastic change in schedule, saying 
that he would lay himself open to charges of trying to prolong 


his own tenure of power. Consequently, the British took the 
matter up with the American and French Foreign Ministers 
(who were conveniently gathered in London at a meeting of 
the Big Four) and persuaded them to join in making a procla- 
mation to the world which ran in part as follows: 

The three Governments [of Great Britain, the United 
States and France] hold the firm opinion that elections for a 
revisionary assembly should be held as soon as possible. . . . 
Thus a government would be formed which would be based 
on the wishes of the people and Parliament. The formation 
of such a Government would facilitate the restoration of 
conditions of stable tranquillity in Greece. Only when these 
conditions are, in due course, firmly established will it be- 
come possible to hold a free and genuine plebiscite to decide 
on the future regime in Greece. 

This statement was received submissively enough in 
Greece, although the royalists protested briefly. They were 
confident of winning either election or plebiscite, and if the 
Great Allies wanted the election first, they were willing to 
yield. The Left, for its part, largely neglected the question, 
but welcomed what was obviously a cooling of British affec- 
tion for the cause of King George. 

When it became evident that Britain and the United States 
were pressing for early elections, a vigorous controversy 
arose in Greek political circles. The royalists warmly agreed 
that elections should be hastened; the Liberals and the Left, 
on the contrary, realized their weakness, and insisted that the 
state of public disorder and terrorism in the country was such 
that honest elections could not be held. For some weeks, 
Voulgaris hesitated between the two pressures. At length, at 
the beginning of October, he announced elections for 2C 
January 1946. Within a day, EAM and the Liberal Part} 
both proclaimed that they would refuse to participate ir 
elections held under prevailing conditions. It became ap 
parent that only the royalists would vote. Such a situatior 


would make the elections a farce, and, having come to such 
an impasse, Voulgaris resigned. 

A month of crisis followed. For nearly three weeks Greece 
had no Cabinet. The deadlock was the same as in August. 
The royalists refused to join in any coalition with the Lib- 
erals; and the Regent, recognizing the power of the Right and 
distrusting the Left, refused to agree to a Cabinet drawn only 
from the Liberal Party. A coalition of leftists and Liberals was 
never considered. The Liberals, although republican, liked 
the Communists no better than did the royalists, and refused 
even to entertain such a possibility. 

The lack of any titular head to the Government created a 
feeling of public nervousness in Greece. For some days there 
were rumors of an impending coup d^tat from the Right, 
and in fact it seems to be true that some rightists considered 
such action. Its vehicle would have been the X organization, 
which by this time claimed wide membership and support. 
Success, however, could only be assured by the cooperation 
of the Greek Army. The hotheads of the X organization 
counted on the assistance of General Vendiris, and of a secret 
military league which he headed. This league had been 
formed in the Middle East after the mutiny of April 1944, 
and was designed to serve as a sort of extraordinary chain of 
command which would be called into operation only in the 
event of a second Communist mutiny. In the present instance, 
there was no immediate danger of a Communist uprising. 
The Communists were relatively weak, and were careful to 
make no provocative move. Consequently, Vendiris refused 
to support a coup from the extreme fringe of the Right, and 
the plot petered out into a demonstration on Constitution 
Square, held despite an emergency decree forbidding public 

At length, on 17 October, the Regent himself took over 
the office of Prime Minister as a stop-gap measure. The Minis- 
ters who had served with Voulgaris were asked to remain at 


their posts to give an appearance of solidity to the adminis- 
tration. Public apprehension was in some degree quieted 
thereby. For two weeks this extraordinary Government en- 
dured. The Regent replaced it on 1 November by a Govern- 
ment of University professors and disabled politicians, who 
were brought together by Panagiotis Kanellopoulos. 

This Government had perhaps the ablest collection of 
brains of any of the postwar Governments of Greece. But it 
lacked any vestige of political support. Kanellopoulos "was 
neither flesh nor fowl; neither definitely a royalist nor defi- 
nitely a republican. He preferred a republic on theoretical 
grounds, but was not convinced that republican government 
was well suited to Greece under the extraordinary difficulties 
of the time. He asserted that he would become either one or 
the other, obedient to the verdict of people. Such an avoid- 
ance of the key issue in Greek politics won him no political 
friends. Both republicans and royalists declined to support 
his Government, so that good intentions and a high-minded 
program came to nothing. 

Throughout the month of October, inflation advanced by 
leaps and bounds. Prices on the Athens market almost 
doubled within the single month, and the black-market ex- 
change rate of the drachma sank to about three thousand to 
the dollar. Heroic remedies for the economic and political 
crisis were needed. In the emergency, the Greeks turned to 
Great Britain, and the Labor Government was forced to take 
another and closer look into Greek affairs. The resultant 
British intervention set the mould for Greek politics during 
the following four months and finally brought about the 
long promised postwar elections. To the intricacies of the 
election question we must now turn. 





JLHE situation of Greece, when 

it came so urgently to the attention of the Labor Government, 
was an embarrassing one for the British. A year of liberation 
had not sufficed to establish anything that could reasonably 
be considered recovery. Uncertainty and distress still plagued 
the country. The Government held power only by a sort of 
constitutional fiction, being based neither on elections nor on 
any theory of dictatorship. 

Hector McNeil, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Foreign 
Affairs, was assigned the task of trying to set things to rights. 
He arrived in Athens, 13 November, and after some days of 
discussion with Greek politicians and officials of the British 
Embassy, he formulated a definite plan. First of all, he wanted 
a reorganization of the Cabinet to make it representative of 
a coalition of political parties. To assist such a Government, 
he proposed the appointment of British or Allied committees 
to advise in matters of economic administration and policy. 
In return, he held out hope of a substantial loan from Great 
Britain with which the Greek currency could perhaps be 

When it came to putting this program into. effect, the Brit- 
ish emissary found the Popular Party as unwilling as ever to 
take any part in a coalition Government. After some vain 
negotiation, he decided that a coalition of center parties was 
a practicable alternative. Accordingly, the Liberal leader, 
Sofoulis, prepared a Cabinet composed only of republican 



politicians. The Regent distrusted such a solution, believing 
that the royalists were the strongest political group in the 
country and should be represented in any real or effective 
coalition. When McNeil insisted, Archbishop Damaskinos 
felt his dignity and authority had been disregarded, and in a 
tumultuous all-night scene, he resigned from his post as 
Regent. Only after heated argument did he agree to swear in 
the new Sofoulis Government; and it was three days before 
the advice of the American Ambassador, Lincoln MacVeagh, 
persuaded the Archbishop to resume his regency. 

Such high-handed intervention in the affairs of the "sov- 
ereign" state of Greece was reminiscent of the methods 
Churchill had used in dealing with Papandreou. In Decem- 
ber 1944 the British Government had been severely criticized 
for its intervention, and during the following months the 
British made an effort to keep their hands off Greek politics. 
Obedient to this policy, the British Ambassador had rebuffed 
frequent appeals from the Regent during the prolonged crisis 
of October. On a lower level, British influence had of course 
been uninterrupted. The Military Mission and the Police 
Mission exercised continuous and decisive influence in de- 
termining military policy, and, as we have seen, operated in 
fact to assist the royalist faction, while trying, according to the 
lights of the British officers who staffed the missions, to make 
the armed forces nonpolitical. By this dichotomy, the Brit- 
ish effort at nonintervention on the narrowly political plane 
was effectively annulled. British influence remained pre- 
eminent in Greece, and inaction by the Ambassador in time 
of political crisis merely intensified the state of indecision. 

The basis of British influence in Greece is not far to seek. 
Most Greeks had reacted strongly against communism as 
practiced by EAM, but they saw themselves faced with a 
constant menace from the Communists within their own 
country, and still more by the solidly Communist countries 
north of them. Fear of Communist-Slavic inundation became 


widespread and deep-seated. It seemed clear to all anti-Com- 
munist Greeks that only the power and prestige of Great 
Britain could. stave off the danger which threatened their 
country. British troops had originally come to Greece as a 
liberating force. Within three months they were formed into 
a sort of extraordinary police force which took over control 
of the country where EAM had ruled. In May 1945 British 
troops withdrew from active policing, leaving it to the Greek 
gendarmery. Thereafter the British forces were concentrated 
in or near the principal centers of population, and confined 
their activities to training their own replacements, and lend- 
ing aid to the training of the Greek Army. But British troops 
remained in Greece. Their function had imperceptibly 
changed from that of an internal police force to a guard 
against foreign invasion. The Greeks who controlled the Gov- 
ernment, and the British Cabinet likewise, calculated that the 
mere presence of British troops would forestall any Com- 
munist intervention from Yugoslavia or Bulgaria on behalf 
of fellow leftists in Greece. 

Thus the Greek internal struggle became involved in the 
larger international rivalry between Russia and Great Britain. 
Whether they liked it or not, and the Greek rightists did not 
always like the British attitude of superiority toward them- 
selves, the anti-Communists of Greece felt that they needed 
British protection against the danger that threatened them. 
They felt they must please the British, and it followed that 
British advice came to have almost mandatory force, not only 
in military but in all other matters. 

The British were often embarrassed by the responsibilities 
which such a relation thrust upon them; but such half- 
hearted efforts as they made to escape from active interven- 
tion in Greek affairs proved unavailing against the growing 
shadow of international distrust between Russia and the 
West. Unless they decided to abandon Greece and the Eastern 
Mediterranean to the Russians, the British were compelled to 


maintain a "friendly" Government in Greece; and a friendly 
Government asked, indeed pleaded, for British troops as a 
physical and moral protection against the Slavic threat to its 
power. 'Thus the little cockpit of Greek internal politics 
during 1945 came to be inseparably mixed into the world 
struggle of the Great Powers; and by the same token, the 
British became inextricably tangled in the quicksands of 
Greek political strife. The development had been foreseen 
neither by Greeks nor British at the time of liberation. It 
made of Greece a client-state, quite apart from the deliberate 
intention of either the British government or the Greek 
Right, and effectively limited (one might almost say ter- 
minated) the sovereignty of the Greek Government. 

When news of the British intervention in favor of Sofoulis 
and the Center reached the royalists, they became furious. A 
few hotheads spoke of making a coup d'etat, but calmer lead- 
ers realized that such an act would alienate the support of the 
British which they felt they desperately needed. Consequently 
all organized violence was repressed. The royalists instead 
concentrated all their strength to press for an early election. 
They were confident that a vote would give them the undi- 
vided power over the Greek Government which they sought. 
Events were to prove them correct. 

Throughout the next four months, Sofoulis and the British 
were hopeful that a Center Government would be able to 
gather together the shattered strength of the center parties. 
Their hopes were vain. Conservative republicanism had no 
appeal for the Greek people, for nearly all conservatives had 
come to believe that a republican Government would prove 
only the first step toward communism. 

The Left had at first been pleased by the British interven- 
tion on behalf of Sofoulis. EAM and the Communist Party 
announced that they would accord the new government 
moral support, and began to press for release of prisoners, 
purge of Army and police, and the inclusion of EAM in the 


Government. By this time, the Communist Party had re- 
covered much of its lost morale, and the strength of the Left 
was rising once more. In October a General Congress of the 
Communist Party took place in Athens. At this congress, a 
new Political Committee was elected, and the lines of a new 
and aggressive policy were laid down, Zachariades had re- 
turned from Dachau in May, and immediately took over con- 
trol of the party despite the fact that he had no official posi- 
tion. At the Congress this defect was remedied; he was elected 
Secretary General of the Political Bureau in place of Siantos, 
and his personal supporters gained control of the whole Com- 
munist organization. Siantos remained a member of the 
Political Bureau, but his influence was much reduced. It be- 
came fashionable in Communist circles to decry his wisdom, 
and accuse him of having muffed the chance of seizing power 
at the time of liberation. 

Absurd misunderstanding was common among all Greeks 
as to the nature of the Labor Party in Great Britain. With its 
victory in July, Greek leftists assumed that the workers of 
Great Britain would now come to their succor and put them 
in power. The tardy intervention in November was regarded 
as a half-step in this direction, and was accepted as such by 
many Gjeek Communists. It speedily appeared, however, that 
Sofoulis was no Communist, and that his efforts to republi- 
canize the Army and police were still being thwarted by the 
British Mission. When this state of affairs became clear to the 
leaders of the Left, they embarked on a bitter campaign 
against the British. Quite correctly, they estimated that the 
presence of British troops in Greece was the major factor 
obstructing their rise to power in the land. Accordingly, a 
propaganda campaign, more calumnious and intense than 
any the Left had launched since the defeat of January 1945, 
was unleashed against the British occupation. The campaign 
began in December 1945, and was echoed by the Russian de- 
mand for British retirement from Greece, made at the first 


meeting of the United Nations Security Council in February. 

The Sofoulis Cabinet faced two pressing problems when it 
came to power. Economic dislocation, consequent upon a 
snowballing inflation, threatened serious disaster; and elec- 
tions, so long promised, had to be organized before the Greek 
Government could be plausibly counted democratic, or find 
itself securely based on the popular will. 

At his accession to power, Sofoulis had been given to un- 
derstand that a British loan would be promptly forthcoming 
by means of which the inflation of the currency could be 
checked. In fact, hitches developed in the negotiations. The 
British government sent an Economic Mission to look over 
the ground in Greece, and what they found was not en- 
couraging. Government waste and inefficiency had scarcely 
been reduced from the time of the quisling Governments. 
Thousands of useless civil servants burdened the budget; and 
the two largest single items in the Government's expenses, up- 
keep of the armed forces (30%) and pensions (15%), were 
economically unproductive. Taxation was nearly all indirect 
and dishonestly administered. As inflation advanced, the gov- 
ernment's expenditures mounted steadily. Salaries o civil 
servants were raised to compensate for the debasement of the 
currency, and other costs increased proportionately. Tax in- 
come, however, failed to keep pace, and by January, the Gov- 
ernment was spending over three times its receipts. Without 
a thorough housecleaning, it seemed to the British economists 
that a loan would simply pour money down the drain, post- 
poning, but not solving, the economic problems that be- 
deviled the country. 

Consequently, prolonged discussions were entered upon 
as to the steps which could be taken to reduce expenditures 
of the Government and improve revenues. Two of the leading 
ministers of the Cabinet went to London to conduct the 
negotiations, and not until 25 January was an agreement 
finally reached. By the terms of this agreement, the British 


Government relaxed restrictions that had been placed during 
the war on Greek funds deposited in London, and granted 
a loan of ten million pounds to the Greek Government. Gold, 
which had in practice become the basis of prices, was le- 
galized, and 500,000 sovereigns were imported from Britain. 
The Bank of Greece fixed the price of sovereigns and under- 
took to sell them to the public. By this means, devaluation 
of the paper currency was halted for the time, although not 
before the drachma had depreciated to an exchange value of 
about six thousand to one dollar. But the agreement also 
provided for the establishment of a British Economic Mission 
with wide powers. Furthermore, the issuance of currency was 
subjected to the veto of an Anglo-American financial com- 
mission. Such an agreement was not received with any great 
enthusiasm by the Greeks. The terms were less generous than 
they had expected, and the establishment of foreign economic 
and financial advisors seemed to threaten Greece with a 
semicolonial status. The Left attacked the agreement bitterly; 
while the Right felt Greece's dignity had suffered damage. 
Nevertheless, it worked: prices ceased to rise. This was a 
substantial success for the Sofoulis Government, and unques- 
tionably helped it to survive. 

Progress toward elections was slower. Sofoulis believed that 
a necessary preliminary to elections was a purge of royalist 
leaders from the Army and police. Sweeping changes in the 
top commands were suggested by the Minister of War, but as 
before, such measures were strenuously opposed by the Brit- 
ish Military and Police Missions. The controversy came to 
settle around the figure of General Vendiris, Assistant Chief 
of Staff. He was accused by republicans, both conservative 
and leftist, of being the leader of the royalist clique in the 
Army. In December, the Minister of War "removed" Vendiris 
from his post, but the General remained at his desk during 
the next few weeks until a sort of compromise was arranged. 
Instead of being dismissed outright, Vendiris was posted to a 


provincial command. With the exception of this single vic- 
tory, the Liberal effort to purge the Army was successfully 
parried by the Greek General Staff, acting with the British 
Military Mission. 

The failure to transform the Army from royalist to re- 
publican disturbed the Liberals. They could not bring them- 
selves to believe the protestations of the Greek officers and of 
the British Mission that the Army had become divorced from 
politics. Among themselves they accused the British of duplic- 
ity, seeking to restore the King while professing neutrality on 
the constitutional issue. 

The rights and wrongs of the quarrel over the Army are not 
simple. The republican officers were nearly all old men, who, 
like Sofoulis himself, had fixed their political conceptions 
thirty years before. They had been out of military service, 
since 1935, and were, as a whole, comparatively inefficient and 
antipathetic to new ideas and British advice. They tended 
to look upon the Army as an instrument of political power 
within the state, and were at less pains to hide their attitude 
than were the royalists, who verbally at least, fell in en- 
thusiastically a with the British program for a nonpolitical 
Army. An Army with officers chosen purely on the basis of 
professional competence automatically favored the royalists, 
since most of the competent officers were also supporters of 
the King. Thus the British Mission had a real justification for 
its strong stand against republican tampering with military 

In effect, one may say that the failure of the republicans to 
gain control of the Army was another manifestation of the 
collapse of the Center in Greek life. Young conservative re- 
publicans, whether in the Army or out of it, scarcely existed. 
The only competent republican officers were veterans of 
ELA$, and neither Sofoulis nor the royalists contemplated 
incorporating them into the Regular Army. ELAS officers 
were driven into the arms of the Communists by this policy, 


and many individuals, who in January 1945 had been dis- 
gusted with their Communist leaders, began to gravitate back 
toward the party, seeing in it their only chance of a career. 
The Communist Party was substantially strengthened by this 

The Sofoulis Government also insisted that a necessary 
preliminary to elections was the establishment of peace and 
order in the countryside. The economic hardships of the 
inflation, the impatience of royalist extremists, and the policy 
of the Communist Party all combined to increase the public 
disorders in Greece during the fall and winter months. In the 
Peloponnese and in parts of Thessaly, royalist bands began 
to form. They devoted themselves to attacking leftists, and 
lived as outlaws in the tradition of the Greek klefti. In 
January a royalist band entered Kalamata in the southern 
Peloponnese, and took over the town for a couple of days. 
They released some of their fellows who had been jailed on 
criminal charges, and took the occasion to settle scores with 
a number of local leftists. The Government promptly declared 
martial law and sent a detachment of the Army to the district; 
but the bandits easily escaped, especially since neither the 
local gendarmes nor the Army officers wanted to arrest them. 

Simultaneously, the Communists, feeling themselves 
stronger, adopted an aggressive policy. So-called "self-defense 
groups*' were formed in the principal cities, and began to 
prowl the streets at night where they engaged in riots and 
small-scale battles with rival rightist gangs. In Macedonia two 
or three leftist bands came into permanent existence in the 
mountains. They made a practice of visiting remote villages, 
threatening their political opponents with the imminence of 
a "third round" when the Left would revenge itself for the 
defeat of January 1945. Isolated gendarme posts were 
attacked on several occasions, and a few prominent national- 
ist civilians assassinated. 

Such conditions could plausibly be advanced as evidence 


that free elections could not be held in Greece. Unfortunately, 
there seemed no likelihood that these disorders would quickly 
come to an end, or that the level of public peace would soon 
improve. It seemed possible that a popularly elected govern- 
ment might to able to reduce in some degree the prevalence 
of violence. In any action against illegal armed bands an 
elected Government would at least have the sanction of 
popular support, such as no appointed Government could 
claim. Consequently, when the advance party of the Allied 
Mission for Observing Greek Elections (AMFOGE) arrived 
in Greece at the end of November, its numbers were not 
impressed by Prime Minister Sofoulis' arguments against 
holding elections at an early date. After considerable pressure 
had been brought to bear by the leaders of the Mission, 
Sofoulis reluctantly set the election date for 31 March, and 
the Mission proceeded to lay plans on that basis. 

For many months thereafter, rumors that the elections 
would be postponed again were in the air. The Liberals did 
not want them held, since they realized their weakness. The 
Left, too, was reluctant, and after some uncertainty, declared 
that it would refuse participation, on the ground that the 
state of terrorism was such that the result could not be any- 
thing but a travesty. In making this decision, two considera- 
tions probably guided the Communists. For one thing, 
persecution of leftists in most of Greece was real, and under 
the prevailing conditions, the Communists could not expect 
to bring the full number of their supporters and sympathizers 
to the polls. All the penumbra of the leftist movement, the 
lukewarm sympathizers and fellow-travellers, would shy away 
from exposing themselves to rightist retaliation. In addition 
to this, the leaders of the Left did not wish to reveal the fact 
that they had only a minority following. Abstaining from the 
election, they could claim not only their own adherents, but 
also all the persons who failed to vote for other reasons: the 
sick, indifferent and dead. 


The state of the Greek election registers was such that 
many persons long deceased appeared as eligible voters. The 
Voulgaris Government had ordered a revision of the lists, but 
the order had been imperfectly obeyed. In many communi- 
ties, names of men who had come of age since 1936 were 
added, but names of those who had died were not erased. 
The reason for this was largely sloth and inefficiency, but 
there was another factor which contributed to the distortion 
of the lists. According to the election law, a man voted in the 
community where he had been resident in 1940. Many per- 
sons had moved their domiciles during the years of occupa- 
tion, and many such refugees had died. But in their original 
communities, sure information was often lacking, and to cut 
a name off the list on the presumption that the man had died 
was of course illegal. 

Still another important factor that kept the election regis- 
ters swollen was the fact that politicians of the Right thought 
they might be able to cast ballots for the absent ones. As we 
shall see, the activities of the Election Mission were on such 
a scale as to reduce falsification to a minimum, but in the 
days before the Mission arrived on the scene, many politicians 
anticipated the possibility that they might be able to rig the 
election, as had so often been done before in Greek history. 
In some election districts, false names were deliberately in- 
serted on the lists under the Voulgaris Administration. Con- 
sequently, Sofoulis reopened the registration lists, and many 
of these irregularities were removed. Thereafter, the efforts 
of the Election Mission and of the Government prevented any 
large-scale systematic falsification. The names of many dead 
and displaced persons remained on the rolls, however, and in 
due course were claimed by EAM as supporters of the Left. 

Prolonged dispute next arose over the question of repre- 
sentation. The royalists, being stronger, advocated the major- 
ity system such as is used in Great Britain or the United States. 
The weaker parties wanted a proportional system whereby the 


minority votes of each district would also be given representa- 
tion in the elected Chamber. After some weeks of debate, 
Sofoulis declared that the proportional system would be 

By February it was clear that elections would in fact be 
held, despite the obvious reluctance of the Government to 
face the polls. The Allied Mission for Observing Greek 
Elections arrived on the scene in force. It comprised over 
twelve hundred persons, of whom almost half were Ameri- 
cans. The observer teams were all headed by Army and Navy 
officers who were generally quite ignorant of Greek affairs. 
They depended entirely on a hastily gathered staff of inter- 
preters, and it is probable that in some cases the observers 
allowed themselves to be hoodwinked, and failed to discover 
the true state of affairs due to their interpreters' distortion 
of question and answer. All arrangements had perforce to be 
made in haste, and sufficient allowance for the peculiarities of 
the Greek national character and political scene was not 
always made. 

Despite these handicaps and shortcomings, the Mission 
made a serious effort to check the accuracy of the registration 
lists and the regularity of the procedure. Two hundred and 
forty field teams were organized. They visited over half of all 
the polling places in the country, sampled the registration 
lists, observed the physical preparations of polling booths, 
and on the day of election itself watched the proceedings at 
as many of the polling places as possible. The scope and 
sincerity of the effort impressed the Greeks, and undoubtedly 
made the election better, more honest and freer than it 
would otherwise have been. 

The proportional system of counting election results made 
party coalitions meaningless. There was no need for joint 
slates, when the votes for each minority candidate were 
counted also, and given a proportionate share of representa- 
tion in the Chamber. Consequently the parties separated, 


and each conducted its own independent campaign. Nine 
major parties took part in the election, of which four were 
royalist, two republican and three declared that they would 
accept either a kingdom or a republic, according to the de- 
cision of the plebiscite. The chief royalist party was the 
Popular, headed by a three-man Committee. The others 
were the Reformist Party of Apostolis Alexandris, the Na- 
tional Liberal Party led by Stylianos Gonatas (outgrowth of 
the Athens EDES), and the National Party of Greece which 
Napoleon Zervas had founded on the basis of his guerilla 
force. Out-and-out republican parties were limited to the 
Liberal Party led by Themistocles Sofoulis, and the Agrarian 
Party of Alexander Mylonas. In between, the personal fol- 
lowings of the former Prime Ministers, George Papandreou, 
Sophocles Venizelos (who had broken away from the Liberal 
Party in January), and Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, formed 
three more parties. These three politicians shared a senti- 
mental inclination toward republicanism, but announced that 
they would abide by the outcome of the plebiscite, and be- 
come royalist or republican according to the verdict of the 

Campaigning followed patterns familiar in the United 
States. Election posters, bearing the photographs of candi- 
dates, decorated the walls of Athens and the chief provincial 
towns. Candidates embarked on a flurry of speechmaking, and 
promised all things to all men. The leading politicians under- 
took tours through the provinces to drum up support, en- 
dorse local candidates, and jack up their political machines. 
Strangely enough, the Left was in the forefront of the 
electioneering, urging all and sundry to abstain from voting. 

On the eve of election, Constitution Square in Athens 
presented an extraordinary sight. Three rival political rallies 
took place simultaneously. From one building, former Prime 
Minister Papandreou promised his followers a Greater 
Greece; across the Square, royalists promised the return of 


King George II; and diagonally, Siantos and other speakers 
for EAM instructed all democrats to abstain. Cordons of 
unarmed policemen separated the three crowds, permitting 
the passage of individuals from one group to the other, but 
deflecting mass movements. The meetings broke up without 
rioting. In all Athens only one murder occurred on election 

So far as the Allied observers saw, there was little overt 
terrorism used by either side to influence the result of the 
election. Acts of physical violence were few, although in parts 
of the country it proved difficult or impossible for the minor- 
ity parties to make an open campaign. In Epirus, Zervas and 
his former guerillas prevented all rivals from circulating 
freely in the countryside for electioneering purposes by set- 
ting up check posts on the roads; and in the Peloponnese, the 
Popular Party was able to treat republican propagandists 
almost the same way. As a general rule, and over most of 
Greece, however, threats of future retaliation took the place 
of actual physical restraints. In the areas of the country where 
the extremes were strongest, threats certainly carried con- 
siderable weight in the minds of ordinary citizens who, as 
always, chiefly desired to keep out of trouble. In certain 
districts of Athens and Pireus where EAM was firmly en- 
trenched, anyone who went to the polls on election day be- 
came a marked man. In such districts as much as eighty-five 
per cent abstention took place. In parts of Macedonia the 
same conditions existed, and abstention ran above fifty per 
cent. Conversely, in the Peloponnese and Epirus, pressure to 
vote was strong, and only men who were already known as 
EAM-ites dared to stay away. Nevertheless, nothing could 
prevent a man from casting a blank ballot if he wished to ab- 
stain, so that the psychological pressure of the Right was less 
efficacious than that of the Left in distorting the result of 
the election. 

When election day came round, it passed off fairly peace- 


fully. In a single village in Macedonia the voting was inter- 
rupted when a band of leftists descended from the hills, 
attacked the gendarme station and broke up the election 
booth. In some of the other provincial towns disturbances 
took place, but not on a scale to interrupt the voting. In 
Athens the royalists persuaded the Military Governor to keep 
polls open past the legal time for closure in some districts. 
Their purpose was to allow certain persons to vote who feared 
to approach the polling places during daylight, when they 
could easily be seen and identified by Communists of their 

Despite these irregularities most Greeks felt that their 
election had been as free and honest as circumstances would 
permit. Illegal and plural voting was at a minimum. Errors 
in the registration lists were estimated at no more than two 
per cent of the voters by AMFOGE. There was a spirit of 
quiet exultation among the people of Athens. A peaceful 
election reminded many of prewar times, and they fondly 
hoped that Greece at last was returning to normal and peace- 
ful political life. Such an election, they felt, raised Greece 
above her neighbors, where Communist democracy had uni- 
formly and almost unanimously endorsed the monolithic 
state. A free election seemed to put Greece on a plane with 
Great Britain or the United States, and stood a proof of the 
democratic, Western spirit of the people. 

Final results of the elections were not known for several 
days, but it speedily became evident that the royalists had 
won. When the count was finally in, they emerged with an 
overwhelming majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Out of 
a total of 354 seats, the royalists won 231 places. The Popular 
Party constituted by far the largest proportion of this total; 
but it is impossible to give an exact figure, due to the fact 
that once the election was over, all the royalist groups, with 
the exception of Zervas' party, merged into a single bloc, and 
particular party affiliation of individual royalist deputies 


became lost. Against this crushing majority, out-and-out re- 
publicans numbered only 51, divided between the Liberals' 
48 seats and the Agrarian Party's 3. The three parties which 
had straddled the constitutional issue won a total of 67 places 
in the Chamber. In addition, there were three independents. 

The Left did what it could to discredit the election result. 
Only forty-nine per cent of the persons whose names appeared 
on the registration lists had voted, and the Left jubilantly 
claimed the balance, fifty-one per cent, as its followers. The 
leftists derided their opponents, saying that they represented 
only a minority of the people, and declared the assumption 
of power by the royalists to be illegal. The logical force of 
this propaganda was hurt by the fact that, before the election, 
the Left had loudly proclaimed the falsity of the election 

It is difficult to discover how great was the actual following 
of the Left. The AMFOGE report on the election estimated 
that only 9.3 per cent of the electorate abstained for political 
reasons; but this figure was received with general incredulity 
in Greece, and exposed the Election Mission to the charge of 
partisanship and deliberate falsification against the Left. 
The percentage had been arrived at by sampling public 
opinion just before election. Every precaution was taken to 
make the sampling statistically correct, but unfortunately for 
the reputation of the Allied Mission, proper account of the 
peculiarities of the Greek psychology was not taken. The 
sampling was done by interview of persons selected at sci- 
entific random from the registration lists. The interviews 
were made by American, British and French Army officers, 
It seems almost certain that some of the people whom they 
questioned answered, as is the wont of the Greeks, not ac- 
cording to what they felt, but as they believed their inter- 
locutor to desire. Consequently it is safe to assume that a 
good number of persons, who in their hearts intended to 
abstain, told the interviewers that they would vote. The 


actual number of EAM and Communist followers can only 
be estimated. As a guess, one may set the correct figure at 
about twenty per cent of the voters. 

When the royalist victory became certain, Sofoulis re- 
signed. A coalition Government took over for a few days until 
the count had been completed, when the newly elected leader 
of the Popular Party, Constantine Tsaldaris, became Prime 
Minister. The new Prime Minister was a nephew of Panagiotis 
Tsaldaris, prewar leader of the Popular Party. He was an 
undistinguished man and his political fortunes depended on 
his name and on the fact that his mediocrity had made him 
fewer enemies than was the case with rivals for the party 
leadership. His Cabinet was drawn largely from the ranks of 
his own party, but included representatives of all other 
royalist groups with the exception of Zervas' party. 

The Popular Party which had won the election was ill 
consolidated. In January 1945 it had existed only as a few 
dozen professional politicians in Athens. A year later, it was 
able to nominate candidates in almost every electoral district 
of Greece, and to win a majority of the seats in the Chamber 
of Deputies. This rapid growth was not based upon any solid, 
disciplined organization. When EAM had ruled the country, 
the leftist political machine had been able to repress all 
dissent and opposition, even after a reaction against it had 
begun to set in. Partly for this reason, when finally unleashed 
by military events, the reaction went further than it would 
otherwise have done. Thus the Right in a sense profited from 
the thoroughness of the Left. But the royalists lacked a politi- 
cal machine that could equal what EAM's had been. To be 
sure, there were widespread royalist societies, such as X, 
which aspired to a totalitarian control over the people at 
large; but these societies were never wholly coordinated with 
the Popular Party (Colonel GrivaS, leader of X, had split with 
the Populists just before the election), and they lacked both 


funds and evangelistic enthusiasm with which to achieve a 
totalitarian reactionary state. 

The power of the Popular Party was consequently less 
firmly based than EAM's had been. Even parliamentary 
discipline among the royalist deputies was imperfect. A 
group of young men tended to form a clique which demanded 
quick and drastic action. They frequently criticized the gov- 
ernmental leaders for too great caution and dependence on 
British advice. Being extremists, in their fanatic bitterness 
against the Communists they often advocated measures that 
could plausibly be called Fascist. As against the republicans, 
this group of young proto-Fascists of course supported the 
Government; but the republican bloc was so small that their 
votes were not needed to assure a royalist majority, and on 
many issues the extremists acted almost like an Opposition of 
the Right, showing scant respect for the wisdom or wishes of 
the older men who headed the Popular Party. 

The existence of such a group in the Chamber of Deputies 
was, in a sense, made possible by the absention of the extreme 
Left from the election. Had the Left voted, and won some 
twenty per cent of the seats in the Chamber, then the royalist 
majority would have been smaller, and it would seldom have 
been possible for the extreme wing to break away from the 
Government. A stricter parliamentary discipline would have 
been enforced on the royalist deputies in order to keep safe 
their superiority as against the republican and leftist groups. 

It strains the imagination, however, to picture royalists 
and Communists sitting in the same Chamber. Were the two 
extremes brought so close together, it would be almost certain 
that the intensity of their mutual hate would have made 
peaceful proceedings utterly impossible, and parliamentary 
procedure would have been reduced to brawls and fisticuffs. 
The institutions of Western democracy hardly fitted the 
social and political situation in which Greece found itself; 


and, at any close look, it appeared that the parliamentary 
cloak was ill fitted to the Greek body politic, though it might 
camouflage its true bones and joints upon occasion. 

Despite the weaknesses of the Popular Party and of the 
Chamber of Deputies, the new Government was far stronger 
than those which had preceded it. It had come to power 
through a relatively free and honest election and was firmly 
supported by both police and Army. The British accepted 
the new Government with some reservation. British officials 
were anxious to improve administration and moderate the 
Government's narrow partisanship, but nevertheless ap- 
proved the general policy and political orientation of the 
new Cabinet. 

The Chamber of Deputies met for the first time on 13 
May. It was the first assemblage of a legislature since the brief 
and fruitless session of 1936. The occasion was not without 
dignity. The deputies filled the hall, seating themselves ac- 
cording to their party affiliation. More than half of the space 
was occupied by the deputies of the Popular Party. Not all 
of them were well dressed, and many bore on their persons 
marks of provincial origin. In front of them sat the Ministers 
in full and formal array. Toward the center of the hall, Zervas 
and his deputies took their place. The guerilla leader looked 
strangely different with shaved face and civilian clothes; his 
followers, nearly all from the wilds of Epirus, presented a 
rough-and-ready appearance. Other well known faces were 
present. Former Prime Ministers Papandreou, Venizelos and 
Kanellopoulos sat on the left, each with his group of deputies 
clustered around him. On the extreme left the aged but still 
vigorous Liberal leader, Sofoulis, appeared in the front row, 
and a few rows behind him sat two Cretan deputies, clad in 
the old peasant costume of their island: baggy trousers and 
little flat cap. The majestic figure of the Regent strode into 
the hall to open the session. He read a brief speech from the 


Throne which had been prepared for him by the Cabinet, 
after which the meeting was adjourned. 

The following day, Prime Minister Tsaldaris outlined the 
Government's program, and announced that the plebiscite 
would be held on 1 September. This date had been set as the 
earliest by which the election registers could be thoroughly 
revised. The British still wanted to postpone the plebiscite 
until 1947 or 1948, but the newly elected Government would 
not brook such a delay, and for the first time since 1941, a 
Greek Government was able to resist the wishes of the British 
successfully. Such independence reflected the firmer base 
elections had given the new Government. The British could 
not very well gainsay its right to decide on the date of the 
plebiscite, and in fact accepted Tsaldaris' decision with good 

The program Tsaldaris expounded to the deputies put 
major emphasis on the restoration of the King. Everything 
else was subordinated to this issue. In foreign affairs he 
promised strenuous efforts to secure the annexation of new 
territory to Greece from Albania and Bulgaria. Economic 
recovery he passed over lightly, falling back more on pious 
hopes than on specific proposals. A fourth topic which he 
greatly stressed was the restoration of law and order in the 
provinces, for which he promised quick and effective action 
against the armed bands which were principally responsible 
for disturbing the peace. 

Of all the problems which faced the new Government, 
economic recovery was probably the most important. Yet 
the Government was on the whole little interested in eco- 
nomic matters. Their attitude was one of laissez faire, with 
politic attention to the wishes of their friends who could 
profit from a complacent government policy in matters of 
taxation and contracts. To make the system work, they 
counted on loans from Britain and America. Such an ap- 


proach to economics did not correspond well with the ideas 
and wishes of the British Economic Mission. This Mission 
had scarcely begun to function under Sofoulis, and it soon 
found itself facing the passive resistance of the Greek Govern- 
ment and administration. The Greeks suspected the British 
advisers of trying to bring Greece under their economic con- 
trol, and did not welcome the prospect. They resented British 
suggestions for economy and limitation of government ex- 
penditures, but found that they could not easily resist the 
advice showered upon them. 

A state budget was drawn up and presented to the Chamber 
in June. The largest single item in this estimate was for the 
maintenance and equipment of the Army. With the cost of 
the police, Navy and Air force, the total for military and 
security expenditures amounted to fifty per cent of the 
total budget. Estimates for other expenditures were reduced 
to a minimum; and in particular, the amount allotted to 
reconstruction was pitifully small. Taxation policy was not 
clarified, and the estimates of government receipts, by which 
the budget was almost brought to balance, seemed to be 
rather hopes than calculations. 

Such a budget could not excite wholehearted approval. 
Yet the desperate economic plight of the country made it 
difficult to conceive of anything much better. The Govern- 
ment promised to introduce genuine budgetary control of 
.expenditure, as its predecessors had never done. It seemed 
highly doubtful, however, whether in fact the estimates 
would prove enforceable, or inflation could permanently be 
stopped. In general, the Government counted on foreign 
loans for reconstruction. The budget was drawn up partly 
with the purpose of inducing British and American officials to 
approve loans, which, if the budget could be adhered to, 
would be devoted principally to economically productive 
expenditure. In July a vast plan for reconstruction was hastily 
drawn up for presentation to the United States and Britain 


as a basis for loan making. Negotiations dragged, however, 
and were not concluded at the end of September. 

To establish satisfactory public peace called for strong 
action. In the southern parts of Greece, rightist bands con- 
tinued to harass leftists, frequently resorting to violence and 
murder. Their acts sometimes embarrassed the Government 
and regularly brought grist to the Communist propaganda 
mill. Nevertheless the leaders of the Government and mem- 
bers of the gendarmery generally sympathized with these 
bands, and secretly considered such to be the only effective 
way of dealing with the Left. Gestures toward the arrest and 
punishment of these rightist bands were made, but no more. 

In northern Greece, however, the Government viewed the 
situation with some alarm. Leftist bands had been abroad in 
the fastnesses of Mount Olympus and near-by areas since the 
summer of 1945. After the royalist victory in the election, the 
Communists increased their effort to create additional bands, 
hoping to reestablish a guerilla force such as ELAS had been. 
What most alarmed the Government was that some of these 
bands received help and supplies from Yugoslavia. Their 
existence seemed a standing threat not only to local rightists 
but to the security of the Greek state itself. Strong measures 
were accordingly taken to disperse them. The Minister of 
Public Order organized special gendarme detachments to 
hunt down the bands. They were equipped with automatic 
weapons and instructed to take no prisoners. Operations 
began in July, and met with some success. The gendarmes 
were not able to eliminate the bands completely, but did 
succeed in restricting the scale and scope of their activities. 

In September the scale of leftist band activity increased 
again. The Communist leaders in Athens openly acknowl- 
edged their connection with these bands, and claimed that 
ten thousand men had again taken to the hills of Greece, 
forming a new ELAS which would combat the monarcho- 
Fascist government of Greece. Units of the Greek Army were 


called into action against the new ELAS, and a number of 
skirmishes ensued in which altogether several hundred men 
were killed. British troops, although they remained in Greece, 
took no part in these operations* 

Despite some pressure from extremists, the Communist 
Party was not declared illegal. However, its activities were 
somewhat hampered by the enactment of laws designed to 
impede Communist organizers. Security Committees were 
established in a number of provincial towns with the legal 
power of banishing objectionable characters who were not 
native residents. Since it was standard Communist practice to 
assign their organizers to particular towns and districts, 
usually under false names, where they were not native born, 
this law made it possible for local leading citizens to compel 
Communist organizers to move on. The initial use of this 
power was very cautious, for the Government feared that 
British and American public opinion would consider such 
action a violation of civil liberties. New and stricter libel 
laws were also passed, which, if literally enforced, would 
severely restrict the traditional scope of almost every Greek 
newspaper. This law too was sparingly invoked, and the 
Communist press remained free to publish bitter denuncia- 
tions of the government "Fascists." 

To cope with economic problems and Communist in- 
transigence was, in the Government's view, a necessary task; 
the restoration of George II, King of the Hellenes, a joyous 
duty. The clique of younger deputies advocated an im- 
mediate recall of the King, arguing that he was the rightful 
sovereign of Greece and required no plebiscite to justify 
his power. The official leaders of the Popular Party, however, 
had committed themselves to a plebiscite in December 1944, 
and saw no reason to risk public and world opprobrium at this 
juncture by declining to take a vote which they knew they 
could win. In order to give the plebiscite the sanction of the 
Western Powers, Tsaldaris decided to invite the Allies to 


send a second mission to observe the preparations for the 
plebiscite. Invitations were issued in April, and accepted by 
Britain and the United States. France declined on the ground 
of expense, although the pressure of French Communists in 
the Chamber of Deputies probably had more to do with the 

The original Election Mission had recommended that a 
thorough revision of the Greek electoral registers precede 
any new vote. This the Government undertook to do prior 
to 1 September, when the plebiscite was scheduled to take 
place. Renewed instructions were sent out to the local gov- 
ernment officials, ordering a careful check of all names on 
tlie elections registers. As a result of this order, a few new 
names were inscribed, but the major change was the elimina- 
tion of several hundred thousand names of persons who had 
died since 1936, when the registers had last been brought 
fully up to date. Revision began in June, and was observed 
and verified by the British and American Mission that came 
to supervise the process. The second election mission was 
much smaller than had been its predecessor, and only twenty- 
five teams were sent into the country to check on the pro- 
cedure in the provinces. These teams managed to visit six 
hundred registration polls, and concluded, when the revision 
had been completed (mid : August), that the Greek election 
lists had been brought to "a degree of fairness and accuracy 
which justifies their use in seeking the opinion of the Greek 
people in matters, of national import." By sampling cross- 
sections of the population and checking the result against 
the registration lists, the Mission estimated that over eighty 
per cent of the persons of voting age had registered, and that 
errors and false registrations were reduced to minimum. 

The Greek Government requested the Allied Mission to 
remain and observe the actual voting in the plebiscite, but 
the British and American Governments declined to undertake 
the task, arguing that the Mission was too small to be able 


adequately to cover the whole of Greece, and consequently 
would not be able to make any authoritative report. Indi- 
vidual members of the mission nevertheless remained in 
Greece until after 1 September, and were able to watch the 
actual voting process. 

The Greek Government was most anxious to carry out the 
plebiscite in a fashion that would win the approval of the 
Western Powers, and *give the leftists no plausible basis of 
criticism. The royalists were sure that they could win a 
majority for the King, and consequently were not much 
tempted to falsify the result, or to resort to illegal means of 
persuasion. In point of fact, the Greek Communists played 
into the royalists' hands, for the increased scale of leftist 
banditry lent power to the Government's argument that 
only the King could establish a stable Government, capable 
of opposing the violent attack of the Communists. Systematic 
publicity was given to the armed clashes between gendarmes 
and Communist bands; and for the first time it was publicly 
announced that the leftists were receiving weapons and other 
supplies from Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. This roused the old 
and deep-seated Greek fear of Slavic invasion of their north- 
ern provinces, and seemed to prove that the Communists were 
indeed enemies of the Greek nation, in league with the hated 
Bulgars. More and more, the threatening foreign situation 
weighed on the public mind, and the Government was able 
to distract attention from the internal problems of the 

There is no doubt that the aggressive Communist policy 
alienated many former followers. In August KKE proclaimed 
a general strike to last only two hours as a demonstration 
against the Government. It was not successful; and the royal- 
ists construed the failure as proof that the workingmen no 
longer adhered wholeheartedly to the leadership of the Com- 
munist Party. But at the same time, the more aggressive 
policy had the effect of binding those who remained with the 


Communists more firmly to their cause. Thus the net effec- 
tiveness of the Communist Party as an instrument of power 
scarcely suffered decline. 

The republican arguments against the King were often 
scurrilous and bitterly personal. The principal charge was 
that King George had wantonly established dictatorship in 
Greece in 1936, and would do so again if he should return. 
The words and behavior of some of the extreme royalists 
lent a certain amount of plausibility to this charge, despite 
the Government's official rebuttal that the King was now 
firmly committed to democratic principles. 

Some weeks before the plebiscite, the three former Prime 
Ministers, George Papandreou, Sophocles Venizelos and 
Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, whose parties had tended to cluster 
together in the Chamber of Deputies in a sort of informal 
Opposition bloc, came out definitely for a republic. They all 
professed willingness to abide loyally by the result of the 
plebiscite; but, perhaps anticipating a future popular re- 
vulsion against royalism and the Popular Party, took the 
occasion to declare against the King's return. 

Just prior to the plebiscite, apprehension lest the Com- 
munists should mobilize to create riots and break up electipn 
booths was general in Athens. To discourage such an attempt, 
the Greek Army was alerted. Guard detachments of soldiers 
were scattered through Athens and other large towns. The 
reduced British garrison, however, was confined to barracks 
during the time of voting, and took no part in the proceed- 

Despite the fears, there was little disorder on 1 September. 
In the provinces a number of brawls took place and several 
people were killed; in Athens the plebiscite was carried out 
with decorum. Almost all the registered voters cast ballots, 
for no party urged its followers to abstain, and the republican 
groups were anxious to make as impressive a show of their 
strength as possible. According to the figures of the Ministry 


of the Interior, from a registered total of about 1,700,000, 
more than 1,673,000 votes were cast: sixty-nine per cent in 
favor of the King and thirty-one per cent against his return. 
This amounted to a slightly larger royalist vote than had 
been polled in the election of March, when the various royal- 
ist parties combined to gain sixty-five per cent of the total. 

When the result of the plebiscite was known, Prime Minis- 
ter Constantine Tsaldaris (who was in Paris at the Peace 
Conference) went to London and formally invited his sov- 
ereign, George II, King of the Hellenes, to return to Greece 
and resume his throne. Tsaldaris returned to Paris briefly, 
but went on to Athens, where he busied himself with prepara- 
tions for the royal arrival. On 27 September, King George 
alighted from an airplane and set foot on Greek soil for the 
first time since 194L He immediately embarked in a Greek 
destroyer, and made his formal entry into Athens the next 
day, coming ashore at Phaleron Bay, and progressing up 
Syngrou Boulevard to the Cathedral. There the former 
Regent, Archbishop Damaskinos, officiated at a Te Deum, 
after which the King made a public appearance in Constitu- 
tion Square, where he laid a wreath on the tomb of the Un- 
known Soldier. Later in the day, he held a reception for 
leading politicians, government officials and foreign diplo- 
mats. The Russian and Yugoslav diplomatic representatives 
were both ominously absent. 

The city was decorated for the occasion with thousands of 
Greek and Allied flags. Large crowds watched the King's 
progress into .the city, and were restrained with difficulty from 
blocking the streets, by long lines of police. JLoud cheers 
greeted the King as he made his way slowly toward the center 
of Athens, and some of the people in the crowd made highly 
emotional displays of their affection for the returned mon- 
arch. Yet there was an overtone of sombreness. The crowd, 
though large and enthusiastic, was not so large nor so stirred- 
up as some EAM crowds had been. Officials feared that some 



attempt at assassination might be made, and a special police 
edict forbade the throwing of flowers, lest a bomb be mixed 
with the bouquets. The celebration was ostentatiously boy- 
cotted by all leftists. The Communist newspaper of Athens in 
reporting it remarked that George Gliicksburg, a foreigner, 
had returned and would begin to rule over the Greeks. The 
King could not cease from being a symbol of party strife even 
for one day, and the ceremonies were in fact a party and not 
a national demonstration. 

Despite the welcome of the royalist crowds and the pro- 
testations of loyalty which the politicians of the Popular and 
associated parties showered upon King George, it must have 
been with some sadness that he saw the evidences of poverty 
and sensed the antagonism that divided his subjects against 
one another and turned a part of them so bitterly against his 
own person. By himself, the King could hope to do little to 
relieve the troubles and anxieties of his kingdom. The fa- 
miliar problems economic dislocation, internal strife, and 
international ill will still were as pressing as ever. The 
solution of each seemed to require the solution of the others 
first, making an endless circle from which only great wisdom, ' 
hard work and good fortune could rescue the country. The 
greatest test of the royal Government clearly still lay ahead. 


Foreign Relations 



/NDER the occupation, 
Greece had become an unwilling part o the New Order, and 
had lost all the reality and most of the pretenses of national 
sovereignty. The quisling Government did what it was told, 
though sometimes with reluctance. Greek provinces had been 
ceded to the Bulgars. A fierce hatred for the old enemy flared 
in nearly every Greek heart, but resentment could find no 
open or official expression for the time. 

EAM, at its inception, paid little attention to international 
problems. As time passed, the power of EAM extended into 
the border regions of Greece. This inevitably raised problems 
of relations with guerilla forces of neighboring countries. In 
general, EAM followers believed that the hostilities which 
had divided the Balkan countries against one another in the 
past would be overcome by their revolutionary movement, 
working in conjunction with the parallel movements of 
Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. No very clear blueprints 
for the future were ever drawn up. Some members of the 
movement talked of a Balkan confederation; but a strong 
streak of unregenerate nationalism ran through much of the 
EAM rank and file, and projects for such a submergence of 
Greek sovereignty were never officially promulgated. 

In practical matters, relations between the Communist 
guerillas of the Balkan countries were generally amicable. A 
sort of passport system existed whereby a man could get a 
slip of paper from designated authorities near the frontier, 



which, upon presentation to the guerilla officials across the 
border, assured recognition as a friend. With such a passport, 
travel was possible between all the Balkan countries. Difficul- 
ties of transport were of course severe, yet Tito and ELAS did 
exchange liaison officers in 1943 and communication was ir- 
regularly maintained between Partisan and ELAS Head- 
quarters thereafter. The Albanian guerilla movement, when 
it began to form under Enver Hodja, was in practice little 
more than an extension of Tito's power into a new area. EAM 
was friendly, and, as we have seen, an ELAS division could 
march through Albania in December 1944 (in order to 
attack Zervas) and meet with no opposition or even protest. 

The relation of the EAM movement with Bulgaria is less 
clear. It seems probable that some communication with Bul- 
garian Communists occurred during the occupation; and, as 
we have seen, there were rumors that the Greek Communists 
made an agreement assigning East Macedonia and Thrace 
to the Bulgar sphere of revolutionary operations. 

During tEe six months of EAM rule in northern Greece, 
relations with the northern neighbors remained on the whole 
friendly. There were certain quarrels with the Yugoslavs, and 
one small battle took place between ELAS and a detachment 
of Yugoslav Partisans when the latter tried to remove some 
railroad freight cars from Greek territory. However, these 
incidents were smoothed over by an evangelistic spirit, 
preaching the brotherhood of all Balkan nations. In 1944, a 
more serious issue between Greeks and Yugoslavs began to 
develop in Western Macedonia, but that is best described 
separately as a pan of the evolution of the Macedonian 

The international frontiers were lightly guarded, and 
passage to and fro was relatively free. Certain grain shipments 
from Greece into Albania took place in the spring of 1945, 
when ELAS power was about to come to an end, and the 
leftists saw no reason to give up their food stores to an un- 


sympathetic central Government. Shortage of surplus prod- 
ucts and lack of transport reduced other economic inter- 
change to a minimum. 

The victory of the Greek Right in the fighting in Athens 
brought an end to these relatively harmonious international 
relations. Toward the end of the occupation, at a time when 
the Right was generally disorganized and divided between 
collaboration and refusal of collaboration, the one clear issue 
on which conservative Greeks had been able to unite was ad- 
vocacy of the ideal of Greater Greece. After liberation, 
propaganda for annexation of neighboring territories grew 
stronger. Nearly all Greeks carne to believe that the sacrifices 
and sufferings they had undergone could only be com- 
pensated by the addition of new territories to their country 
at the expense of the neighboring nations to the north. The 
old hope of restoring the Byzantine Empire was revived in 
this shrunken form. It was easy for the Greeks to convince 
themselves of their right to the territories they coveted, re- 
membering the extent of Byzantine boundaries. It is probably 
also true that calculating politicians chose to fan the flame as 
a means of distracting attention from hardships at home. The 
conviction took deep emotional hold. The national claims 
were warmly applauded by all parties of the Right and 
Center. The Left, in deference to the strength of popular 
feeling, advanced claims of its own, against Turkey and 
Great Britain (Cyprus), and even accorded vaguely phrased 
support to territorial claims to the north. 

Basically, the Greek feeling was one of moral indignation. 
They believed that the Bulgars should be made to pay for 
their annexation of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace during 
the war. But retribution did not seem an adequate argument 
to justify annexation of Bulgar soil. Consequently an aux- 
iliary argument, the need for military security, was developed 
and expanded until the vast majority of the people of Greece 
came to believe that only by the addition of a strip of land 


some thirty to fifty miles in width across the whole length of 
their northern frontier could Greece become militarily safe 
from her neighbors. The fact that Yugoslavia had been an 
Allied state and could hardly be asked to yield up part of her 
territory to the Greeks, was simply glossed over in most public 
utterances. Emotional emphasis was directed against the 
Bulgars and the Albanians; mention was scarcely made of the 
Yugoslavs, but maps of the new "Greater Greece" showed a 
generous slice of Yugoslav territory included in the new 
Greek boundaries. 

Ethnological arguments were advanced to justify the de- 
sired annexations, but except for the case of southern Albania 
(or, as the Greeks insist on calling it, Northern Epirus) the 
grounds for the Greek claims were ridiculously slight. Albania 
presents a more difficult case. The Albanian state came into 
existence only as a result of the intrigues of the Austrian and 
Italian Governments in 1912. At that time, Albanian na- 
tionalism was in a formative stage. In the province of North- 
ern Epirus the educated and articulate Christians spoke and 
considered themselves Greek. There was also a peasant 
Christian population which spoke Albanian, and had prac- 
tically no sense of nationality. After World War I, Greece 
laid claim to this province, but Italian influence again pre- 
vented any cession of the southern part of Albania to Greece. 
During the following years of Albanian national independ- 
ence, the feeling of nationalism was successfully implanted 
in most of the Albanian-speaking peasants, whether Moslem 
or Christian. Persons who actively expressed loyalty to Greece 
not unnaturally were persecuted in greater or less degree, and 
many individuals found it politic to lose their Greekness and 
assume an Albanian nationality, in outward things at least. 
The result was a steady weakening of the Greek element in 
the border regions, until today it is certain that the number 
of active Greek nationalists in Northern Epirus is a small 


After the overthrow of ELAS in Greece, the national an- 
tagonism became entangled with ideological struggles. Al- 
bania came under a Communist Government in 1944. When 
a conservative Government took power in Greece, Albanian 
conservatives, in the southern part of the country at least, 
began to look to Greece for liberation from their rulers. At 
the same time, Albanian authorities began to take precau- 
tionary measures against the opposition, jailing many, execut- 
ing some, and putting others into forced-labor battalions. 
This the Greek Government has interpreted as persecution of 
the pro-Greek minority, as indeed it has become. 

Greek territorial claims against her three northern neigh- 
bors naturally did nothing to improve Balkan international 
relations. An initial strain existed in the ideological opposi- 
tion, for Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania all lay within the 
Russian sphere of influence and came under Communist 
Governments. The Greek border was closed to all normal 
traffic from 1945 onward. In March 1946, when UNRRA 
tried to organize the delivery of relief supplies to southern 
Yugoslavia through Salonika, quarrels between the Yugoslav 
and Greek local officials prevented all but a single shipment 
from crossing the border. 

Mutual distrust led inevitably to a series of border inci- 
dents. Most of these were entirely insignificant, consisting of 
sheepstealing raids or smuggling by civilians across the fron- 
tier. Others, however, developed into small-scale battles 
between the rival frontier posts, in which prisoners were 
sometimes, taken and casualties suffered. It is unprofitable to 
try to assess the fault for these affrays. They arose over minor 
misunderstandings, fed by the general atmosphere of hos- 

The Greeks had laid claims of $700,000,000 in reparations 
from Bulgaria for damages wrought in the zone of their oc- 
cupation. The Bulgars countered with lists of the capital 
improvements they had made in the area, and refused to 


accept Greek accounting of damages. A single small repara- 
tions payment was made. Eighty railway freight cars and two 
locomotives were surrendered to the Greeks in March 1946 
but most of them were so worn as to be almost useless. At the 
Paris Peace Conference (October 1946) Greece was tentatively 
awarded reparations payments from Bulgaria amounting to 
$62,500,000, but time and means of payment remained un- 

During the early months of 1946 it became clear that 
Greek territorial claims against Bulgaria and Yugoslavia had 
small chance of satisfaction. The Bulgars not only announced 
that no cession of any territory to Greece would be con- 
sidered, but went further and countered Greek claims by de- 
manding an outlet to the Aegean for themselves. Such 
''impudence" startled the Greeks; but helped to make clear 
that few concessions could be expected from Bulgaria, es- 
pecially since Bulgar claims seemed to have the tacit support 
of the Russians. 

Disappointment in Bulgaria made Greek territorial aspira- 
tions turn the more strongly toward Albania, where their 
case was a better one. Memoranda were prepared for the 
principal Allied Powers; and Greek historical, military and 
ethnological rights to possession of Northern Epirus were 
presented before the Peace Conference in Paris (July 1946) 
by the Prime Minister himself. The Greek claims did not 
come up for hearing until the last days of August. Russia 
proved unalterably opposed to any territorial changes at the 
expense of her protectorate, Albania; and maneuvered mat- 
ters so that when Greek accusations against Albania came up 
in Paris, Ukrainian accusations against Greece were simul- 
taneously being aired at Lake Success before the Security 
Council of the United Nations. The Western Allies were 
unprepared to back the Greek claims strenuously in the face 
of Russian opposition; but Greek hopes rose when the ques- 
tion of Bulgarian boundary adjustment was referred, by a 


quirk of Conference procedure, back to the Council of 
Foreign Ministers without any specific recommendation from 
the Peace Conference. 

Greek relations with her Mediterranean neighbors were 
not much happier. From Italy, Greece claimed the Dodeca- 
nese Islands in the southeast Aegean. These islands were in- 
habited by a Greek population, but had been under Italian 
rule since 1911. They had considerable importance as mili- 
tary bases for control of the Eastern Mediterranean. The 
island of Leros boasted a fine harbor, and the Italians had 
there constructed a naval base and several military airfields- 
Perhaps for this reason, the Russians at first raised objection 
to the transfer of these islands to Greek sovereignty, but at a 
Conference of the "Big Four" in Paris, May 1946, it was 
finally agreed that Greece should have the Dodecanese. Actual 
assertion of Greek sovereignty, however, was delayed until 
after the conclusion of the final peace treaty with Italy, 

A second point at issue between Greece and Italy was 
reparations. The Greeks calculated the costs of the Albanian 
War and the Italian occupation in rough and ready fashion, 
and arrived at the astronomical figure of $2,677,000,000. This 
claim was referred to the Peace Conference (July-October 
1946) for settlement, and the amount was at length scaled 
do^rn to $100,000,000, less than four per cent of the original 
claim. In the course of the Peace Conference, Greece and 
Italy showed signs of coming into more harmonious relations 
with one another. Despite the prominent part Italy had 
played in the war against Greece, public resentment against 
the Italians did not rise to a high level in post-liberation 
Greece. Relatively little attention was paid to the past crimes 
of the Italians, perhaps because the full force of public resent- 
ment was so effectively channeled against the Bulgars. This 
fact, plus the possession of common friends (Great Britain 
and the United States) and common opponents (Yugoslavia 


and Russia) made rapprochement between the former ene- 
mies a relatively easy matter. 

Relations with Greece's other neighbor and old-time 
enemy, Turkey, were generally amicable but scarcely inti- 
mate. During World War II, the Turks had assessed heavy 
and unjust taxes against the Greek community in Constanti- 
nople, and many prominent Greek families had been ruined. 
This raised an echo of the old antagonism, which only slowly 
died down in Greece, and rather reduced the warmth of of- 
ficial relations. Early In 1945 the Greek leftists advanced a 
claim on Eastern Thrace, arguing that the province by old 
historic right belonged to Greece. They furthermore hinted 
that if Greece would see the light and join the Communist 
bloc, a grateful Russia would gladly give Greece all or most 
of that province, after having wrested Constantinople and the 
Straits from Turkish control. As can be imagined, such a 
propaganda did not help to cement relations between Greece 
and Turkey. In general, the Turks considered the Greeks so 
weak and divided that they would not make worthwhile allies 
against the Russian and Communist danger, which threat- 
ened both governments alike. Consequently even the posses- 
sion of a common enemy did not bring about any important 
rapprochement between the two countries. Trade and com- 
munication with Turkey were relatively free. A railroad 
connection between Salonika and Constantinople existed 
after June 1945, and boat service ran between Pireus and the 
chief Turkish ports. With the exception of Egypt, Turkey 
was the only country to which an ordinary civilian could 
travel from Greece. Other frontiers and countries were 
closed, either by government policy or by Insuperable trans- 
port and exchange difficulties. 

Greece thus found herself in an unenviable position. She 
was surrounded by enemies or lukewarm friends and sup- 
ported only by the distant power of Great Britain, and, less 


directly, die United States. Even relations with Britain were 
not perfectly smooth. Greek claims to Cyprus constituted a 
long-standing irritant. That island is inhabited by a mixed 
Greek and Turkish population, and during recent years the 
Cypriote Greeks have become ardent nationalists. The Greek 
Right, feeling the need of British support, never raised the 
question of Cyprus directly. Rightist politicians repeatedly 
stated that Great Britain and Greece would be able to settle 
the question amicably, implying that the British would, from 
the generosity of their hearts, surrender the island to Greek 
sovereignty. These hints the British studiously disregarded. 
The Left, however, fixed upon Cyprus as a legitimate national 
claim, and demanded it loudly and emphatically. Most 
Greeks wanted Cyprus, but were not prepared to risk British 
displeasure by pressing for its immediate annexation. The 
question, consequently, remained more or less in the back- 

Another factor which made relations between Greece and 
Great Britain something less than idyllic was the feeling cur- 
rent among many Greeks that the British were trying to 
exploit their country economically. Most of the prewar con- 
cessions to British capital were reestablished with the return 
of the Exile Government. Such enterprises as the Athens 
streetcars and the electric power company were British owned 
and directed. It was generally feared that the Economic Mis- 
sion, which had been set up in conformance with the agree- 
ment of 25 January 1946, would operate to the advantage of 
Great Britain and tie Greece to the sterling area in all finan- 
cial and commercial dealings. The Greek Left made much of 
thf se misgivings, but, in fact, they were shared by many 
other Greeks who accepted economic bondage as the neces- 
sary though unwelcome price of political and military sup- 
port against the Communists within, and still more outside, 
the country. 

A further irritant to Greek-British relations was the casual 


way in which British officials and troops constantly assumed 
an air of superiority. Many Greek Army officers came bitterly 
to resent the patronizing attitude Britishers adopted in dis- 
cussing military matters with them; and in other walks of life, 
where Greeks and British came closely into contact, similar 
disharmony tended to arise. Nevertheless, on a purely per- 
sonal and social plane, relations were often very friendly. 
Most Greeks appreciated the difference between British and 
German or Italian methods, and infinitely preferred British 
superciliousness to the harsh subjection they anticipated if 
ever they should come under Russian domination. 

Relations between the United States and Greece were 
much happier. In general, the American Embassy, headed by 
Ambassador Lincoln MacVeagh, took no active part or in- 
dependent lead in Greek affairs. During the civil war in 
Athens, the handful of American troops on the scene main- 
tained an official neutrality between the British and ELAS. 
This enabled the United States to escape the full bitterness 
of partisan attack; and during subsequent months, despite the 
fact that in most things American policy tacitly supported the 
British, the United States never became a prime target of 
leftist criticism. Americans took a leading part in the first 
Election Mission, for the American contingent of observers 
was the largest and best equipped of the three national dele- 

From the time of liberation (and even before) the United 
States government, and private societies in America such as 
the Greek War Relief and the Near East Foundation, played 
a major part in organizing relief and rehabilitation for 
Greece. The American contingent in the UNRRA Greece 
Mission was larger than any other, and the head of the Mis- 
sion was an American, Buell Maben. In the summer of 1945 
a 125,000,000 loan was granted to Greece by the United States 
Government for reconstruction purchases, and the Greeks en- 
tertained lively hopes of securing additional and larger loans 


in the future. The prominence which the United States 
achieved in relief activities strengthened the gratitude and af- 
fection which nearly all Greeks felt toward America. For 
many thousands, emigration to the United States seemed the 
brightest hope for the future, and the American consulates 
were constantly besieged by eager applicants for immigration 
permits. A small and inelastic quota prevented all but a very 
few from achieving what they so much desired. 

As tension developed on the larger international scene be- 
tween Russia and the West, the United States began to take 
a rather more positive part in Greek affairs. Ceremonial visits 
by American warships were generally accepted by the Greeks 
as proof that the United States was interested in and solicitous 
for the welfare of Greece and her protection against Com- 
munist invasion from the north. In December 1945 the USS 
Providence visited Pireus briefly. In April of the next year the 
USS Missouri put in at Phaleron after its visit to Constanti- 
nople; and six months later, the aircraft carrier, Franklin D. 
Roosevelt, repeated the call. The visit was climaxed by a 
demonstration flight over the capital city of Athens. 

The large Greek-American community in the United States 
created a special sentimental tie between the two countries. 
Many Greeks felt a sort of vicarious partnership in the United 
States: if their relatives could so easily become Americans, 
they too could feel a vague kinship to the great, rich and 
powerful nation across the ocean. The United States was thus 
in a unique position, and enjoyed high esteem in the eyes of 
nearly every Greek. 

The third Great Ally, Russia, occupied first place in the 
affections of the Left, but was profoundly feared by the Right. 
Official relations after the rightist victory of January 1945 
were consequently cool. For many months the Russians sent 
no ambassador to Athens, and were represented only by a 
military mission. (The same that had been dropped into 
ELAS Headquarters by parachute.) This embarrassing gap in 


the diplomatic corps was filled only after Sofoulis became 
Prime Minister; and when Admiral Gonstantine Rodianov 
presented his credentials they proved to be addressed not to 
King George but to the Regent. 

The Russian press and radio regularly reproduced the 
propaganda of EAM, and did not hesitate to call the Greek 
government Fascist. In March 1946 the Russian Ambassador 
suggested that Greece should cede one of the Dodecanese 
islands to Russia as a base for shipping, so that supplies of 
grain could be sent from Russia to the Greeks. This idea was 
firmly refused by the Greek Government, and the Russians 
dropped the matter without further discussion. Implied 
Russian support for Bulgarian claims to an outlet on the 
Aegean shocked and terrified the Greeks. Official relations 
became the more frigid and correct. 

In July 1946 the Peace Conference assembled at Paris, and 
Prime Minister Tsaldaris attended in person, hoping to 
emulate the successes of his predecessor, Eleftherios Veni- 
zelos, and win for Greece new territories. It soon became 
evident, however, that the Russians were strongly opposed to 
the Greek claims, and that the United States and Great 
Britain were at best lukewarm to the Greek hopes of ter- 
ritorial changes. It was a shattering discovery for most of the 
Greeks. They had so completely convinced themselves of 
their rights to enlarged boundaries, that they generally felt 
that they had been ungratefully betrayed and their heroic 
part in the war shamelessly forgotten. The award of much- 
whittled-down reparations seemed a caricature of justice; and 
the Left took the occasion to proclaim the folly of a Govern- 
ment which depended on such ungrateful nations as the 
Anglo-Saxon Powers. 

Tsaldaris' unsuccessful demands against Albania and 
Bulgaria at the Peace Conference did not help to improve 
relations with Russia. Toward the end of August, the Russian 
and Yugoslav Ambassadors both went home on 'leave." and 


their prolonged absence was generally interpreted as a sign 
of displeasure at the policies of the Greek Government. A few 
days later, August 23, Dimitri Manuilisky, Foreign Minister 
of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, asked the United 
Nations to consider the threat to world peace which the 
policies of the Greek Government offered. He specifically ac- 
cused Greece of fomenting border incidents, of seeking to 
take over by force the southern part of Albania, and of per- 
secuting minorities; and requested the Security Council of 
the United Nations to consider and concert steps to deal with 
the threat to peace which these acts had created in the Balkans. 

The Ukrainian charge was accordingly put on the agenda 
of the Security Council meeting but only after bitter words 
had been exchanged between the British and Ukrainian rep- 
resentatives. The debate turned into fruitless discussion of 
border quarrels between Greek and Albanian frontier guards 
over stolen cattle, the painting of frontier markers, etc. Repre- 
sentatives of various Russian satellite nations accused the 
Greeks of aggressive intentions, and dwelt on the malicious 
influence exerted by the presence of British troops, which, 
they charged, encouraged Greek collaborators and reaction- 
aries to stir up trouble in the Balkans. The Greek representa- 
tive, Ambassador Vassili Dendramis, heatedly denied the 
charges, and was supported by the British delegate to the UN. 
Despite its heat, the debate generated little light, and con- 
cluded with a vote whereby a majority of the nations declared 
that Greece had not been proven an aggressive nation, nor a 
danger to the precarious Balkan peace. 

The Security Council debate of August-September 1946 
dramatized the ill-feeling that permeated the Balkans, and the 
tensions which had arisen during the preceding two years 
between Greece and her neighbors. In actual fact, Greece 
found herself in the front line, at the juncture of British and 
Russian spheres of influence. Such an advanced position in- 


evitably exposed Greece to severe buffets and a constant 

Potential enemies were near and powerful in comparison 
with the limited resources of the Greek nation. Potential 
allies were far away, separated from Greece by long stretches 
of sea. The delicate Greek international position was made 
still more acute by a revival, in altered form, of the Macedoni- 
an question which had for so long plagued the Balkans. Since 
the future history of the Greek state and people may depend 
in large part on the development of the ^Macedonian issue, it 
deserves a careful examination. 

Before the Balkan Wars (1912-13) the Turkish province of 
Macedonia was inhabited by a peasantry predominantly 
Slavic, mixed with a population, mostly urban, of Turks, 
Greeks and Jews. The Slavic peasants spoke a language dis- 
tinct from other Balkan tongues, but more nearly related, to 
Bulgarian than to any other. Helped by this affinity, the 
Bulgars on the whole had more success in winning the 
allegiance of the peasants in the struggle for Macedonia 
(1876-1912) than had any other nation. 

After World War I, when the Bulgars were excluded from 
nearly all of Macedonia, Greek influence became overwhelm- 
ingly predominant in the part of that province which had 
come within the boundaries of Greece. Exchange of popula- 
tions with Bulgaria resulted in the uprooting of nearly all of 
the Slav-speaking peasants, and Greek refugees were settled 
in their place. Much new land was brought under cultivation, 
and the total population increased rapidly. No exchange of 
populations with Yugoslavia toolc place, however, and in the 
remote northwest corner of Greece a substantial colony of 
Slavic peasants remained on their ancestral lands. Their ac- 
tual number is much disputed, but probably lies between 
sixty and a hundred thousand today. 

The Slavic peasants of Western Macedonia had been less 


affected by nationalism than their fellows of less remote dis- 
tricts, and were generally content to accept the new Greek 
sovereignty calmly enough. The Greek Government for its 
part was distracted by other problems, and paid very little 
attention to the Slavic community that had been incorporated 
inside the national boundaries. Greek schools were set up 
throughout the district and substantial numbers of Greek 
settlers came to occupy land that had fallen vacant as a result 
of the prolonged disorders which had affected all Macedonia. 
Under these circumstances, Greek influence became firmly 
established in the region, and, through the schools, the 
younger generation among the Slavs generally began to learn 
a little Greek. 

This process of peaceful assimilation was checked by a 
series of laws passed in the time of the Metaxas dictatorship. 
In an effort to hasten assimilation, it was made a legal offense 
to speak Slavic in public, and other legal handicaps were put 
upon the Slavs. Under such repression, the Macedonian 
peasants became acutely conscious of their difference from 
the Greeks. The old half-dormant conviction that the land 
belonged by right to them and their kind gained a new hold 
over their minds. Population had grown rapidly, and the land 
which had been half empty in 1912, was, by 1936, insufficient 
to provide a living for all the peasants' sons. Greek and Slavic 
peasants were driven to compete against each other for the 
very means of their livelihood, and the latent national antip- 
athies throve as a result. 

Throughout the early years of occupation, the Italians were 
responsible for policing Western Macedonia, The occupying 
army quickly hit upon the idea of using the antagonism 
which had developed between Slavs and Greeks for their own 
advantage. Bulgarian agents were allowed free scope to spread 
propaganda among the Slavic villagers, and persuaded many 
to opt for Bulgarian nationality. Thereby the Slavs gained spe- 
cial legal and ration privileges, and were able to lord it over 


their Greek neighbors as the Greeks had previously lorded it 
over them. The Italians organized a special Slavic gendarmery 
force from among the peasants of Western Macedonia and 
used it for ordinary police work of the area. As was usual with 
Axis police forces, it indulged in punitive raids against Greek 
villages in retaliation for acts of sabotage carried out by the 
guerillas. Naturally enough, the Greeks of Western Mace- 
donia came to hate their Slavic neighbors for such traitorous 
behavior, but were relatively helpless for the time. 

The Italian surrender in 1943 brought a temporary in- 
crease in Bulgarian influence, for Western Macedonia was 
nominally added to the Bulgar zone of occupation. Actually, 
Bulgar troops never came to the area in force, and practical 
control of all but the main roads passed into the hands of 
EL AS. The indigestible Slavic population of Western Mace- 
donia presented the leaders of ELAS with a difficult problem. 
International Communist policy for Macedonia in the years 
before the war had been far from clear. There had, however, 
been considerable talk in Communist circles of a Macedonian 
republic to be organized within a Balkan federation of revo- 
lutionary states. Within each of the three countries concerned 
Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia the national Communist 
parties had had an "autonomist" wing which advocated 
creation of the new state. But there was no Macedonian Com- 
munist Party as such, and individual Macedonians who fell 
under the influence of Communist doctrine joined one or 
another of the three established national parties. Among 
Greek Communists, Andreas Dzimas had become the recog- 
nized leader of the Macedonian autonomy movement. He was 
a native of Kastoria in northern Greece, a Slav by ancestry, 
but educated as a Greek, 

In the summer of 1943 a conference was held between 
representatives of the Albanian, Yugoslav and Greek guerilla 
armies in a village of Western Macedonia. The question how 
to counteract reactionary Bulgar influence among the Slavic 


peasants of Greek Macedonia came up at this meeting. The 
Yugoslav representative suggested that Tito's Macedonian 
Partisans could best succeed in establishing Communist vil- 
lage organization and in raising guerilla bands among the 
Slavs, of Greece. But the Greek representative refused to fall 
in with this suggestion. It was finally agreed that the guerilla 
groups would restrict their organizations to the old national 
boundaries, and ELAS undertook to organize the Slavs as an 
integral part of EAM and ELAS. To establish liaison and 
assure smooth cooperation, Dzimas was sent to Tito's head- 
quarters shortly after this conference (fall of 1943) as chief 
representative of ELAS. In that position he undoubtedly did 
what he could to forward the cause of Macedonian autonomy. 

As a result of the conference, in the fall of 1943 ELAS 
formed a Slavic Communist band under the command of a 
man named Gotsi (or Gotseff). Gotsi was a native of Fiorina, 
a town just south of the Yugoslav border; himself a Slav and 
a baker by trade. The band was considered to be a part of 
ELAS and came under the command of ELAS Macedonian 
Headquarters. From its inception, however, the band had a 
strong autonomist coloring, and Gotsi followed a relatively 
independent propaganda policy, openly advocating the es- 
tablishment of an independent Macedonian state under Com- 
munist auspices. His band found recruits easily enough, and 
he was able to draw at least some of the necessary weapons 
from ELAS stocks. 

It seems probable that from the beginning Gotsi had ac- 
cepted ELAS control only with reservations. Matters came to 
a crisis about May 1944 when the remnant of the Slavic 
gendarmery joined forces with Gotsi. From the point of view 
of ELAS Headquarters, this was an enemy formation which 
had surrendered to Gotsi. It followed that the gendarmes' 
guns were captured enemy property, and, as such, subject to 
the disposition of ELAS Headquarters. Gotsi, however, 
looked on the matter quite differently. He considered that, 


to advance their common aim the better, the two forces had 
united to work for the establishment of an independent 

When ELAS Headquarters ordered Gotsi to turn over most 
of his newly acquired weapons, he refused to do so. Prolonged 
negotiations followed in the course of which Gotsi did yield 
some few guns, which were however mostly useless castoffs 
and failed to satisfy ELAS. Such intransigence seemed in- 
tolerable to the Greek leaders of ELAS, and at length they 
decided to break with the Slavic band. In October 1944 su- 
perior ELAS forces were brought up, and Gotsi was com- 
pelled to cross the border into Yugoslavia. 

In Yugoslavia Gotsi found refuge but no warm welcome. 
The Partisan movement in Macedonia had a strong tinge of 
autonomism, and was Communist chiefly for convenience. 
When the power of Tito's central Government began to make 
itself felt in Yugoslav Macedonia (spring 1945), considerable 
friction developed as a result of the Macedonian expectation 
of a real autonomy in the new federated Yugoslav state. The 
whole Macedonian autonomist movement consequently fell 
under Tito's displeasure. Serbian and Montenegrin troops 
were sent into Yugoslav Macedonia and purely Macedonian 
units were transferred elsewhere. Simultaneously, the govern- 
ment at Skoplje was overhauled and brought fully into line 
with Tito's central Government. Gotsi's band fell under sus- 
picion with the rest of the autonomists, and it was put into 
semi-internment for several months. Groups of ELAS refu- 
gees, which came from Greece in March, were similarly 

After Gotsi's expulsion from Greece, ELAS and EAM 
ruled the Slavic villages of Western Macedonia for the next 
six months. By and large EAM distrusted the Slavs. No sys- 
tematic persecutions were carried 'through, however, and ef- 
forts to spread Communist organization to them continued 
and met with fair success. When the National Guard and 


Greek gendarmery came to Western Macedonia in April and 
May 1945 the ill-feeling, which had accumulated during the 
occupation and had been more or less repressed by EAM, 
boiled to the surface. Greeks came to the authorities bearing 
all manner of accusations against the Slavs. It became cus- 
tomary in local rightist circles to call all the Slavs Communist. 
The National Guard, for its part, was ardently nationalistic, 
and prone to accept any accusations against a Slav at face 
value. Repeated acts of violence and official discrimination 
against the Slavic peasants resulted. Many were beaten and 
robbed of some or all of their goods, but relatively few were 
killed. Such deeds were usually justified as repayment for 
acts committed by the victims against Greeks during the oc- 
cupation; and in some instances undoubtedly such was the 
case. On other occasions, innocent individuals suffered; but 
the Greeks tended to regard the Slavs as collectively guilty 
for the acts of a few, and threatened to evict the entire popu- 
lation from Greek soil in punishment for their treason during 
the war. 

Thus it came about that in the spring of 1945 the Slavs of 
Western Macedonia were like sheep without a shepherd. 
Greek Communists distrusted them; Greek nationalists hated 
them; and the autonomist movement seemed to have under- 
gone an eclipse in Tito's Yugoslavia. In many Slavic villages 
of Greece fear and apprehension was intense, and villagers 
slept away from their houses to avoid sudden surprise by 
night. Reports of this situation easily reached Yugoslavia. 
Communist authorities across the border saw a great op- 
portunity and did not hesitate to take it. Selected men from 
Gotsi's followers and from, among the ELAS refugees were 
allowed to form small armed bands and cross over into 
Greece. These bands appeared first in June 1945. They de- 
voted most of their attention to spreading propaganda among 
the Slavic villages, promising an early liberation from the 
Greek rule. A "third round" was darkly hinted at when the 


Communists would return triumphantly to power, and in- 
corporate Greek Macedonia into Tito's Macedonian re- 

The bands were never numerous perhaps five hundred 
men in all, divided into fifteen or twenty groups. They em- 
phasized their propaganda by waylaying a few National 
Guardsmen and gendarmes, and by assassinating a few leading 
Greek nationalists in the villages. On one occasion, a band 
attacked a British truck and killed one of its passengers. 
Strenuous British and Greek countermeasures, the approach 
of cold weather, and perhaps difficulty in getting ammunition 
and other supplies from Yugoslavia, persuaded the bands to 
withdraw in the fall of 1945. 

They had however brought a new hope to the Slavs of 
Greece. It seems clear that these bands persuaded the great 
majority of the Slavic villagers to pin their hopes on the 
Macedonian People's Republic to the north, and attach their 
political loyalties to Tito and his brand of communism. 

This new development proved an acute embarrassment to 
the Greek Communist Party. Most Greek Communists 
strongly objected to any cession of Greek territory; and 
should it become recognized that the party officially backed 
cession of all or part of Macedonia to a Slav state, the Greek 
Communist movement would lose much of its influence over- 
night. To avoid such a debacle, Greek Communist leaders 
became extremely anxious to reach an understanding with 
Tito on the question of Macedonia. In January 1946 Zacha- 
riades made a secret trip to the north of Greece, accompanied, 
significantly, by Dzimas. In the course of his travels, Zacha- 
riades had a conference with high-ranking members of the 
Bulgarian and Yugoslav Communist parties, and probably 
discussed the Macedonian question with them. 

What was decided at this meeting can only be surmised 
from subsequent events. During the following months, par- 
allel Communist organizations were set up through most of 


Western Macedonia: a Greek organization designed to attract 
and appeal to Greeks; and a Macedonian organization, di- 
rected from Skoplje, which was designed to win the support 
of the Slavic population. Local Greek and Macedonian or- 
ganizers were instructed to cooperate with each other closely. 
It is impossible to say whether Zachariades and his fellow 
conferees made any decision as to the ultimate disposition of 
Macedonia. The Greek Communist Party did all in its power 
to gloss over the issue and distract public attention from it; 
and in Yugoslavia spokesmen refrained from making any 
public statements which might seem to threaten the integrity 
of Greek Macedonia. 

Since the summer of 1945 the activities of the Macedonian 
Communist Party inside Greece have been constant and ef- 
fective. They won the support of most of the Slays; and con- 
tinued to instigate murders and assassinations of Greek na- 
tionalists and officials of the Government. In the summer of 
1946 armed bands reappeared in the hills, supplied and sup- 
ported as before partly from Yugoslavia. The Greek Govern- 
ment was seriously alarmed by the presence of these bands, 
and as we have seen made strenuous efforts to suppress them. 

Chiefly as a result of the success of the Macedonian Com- 
munist organization in Western Macedonia, the Greek Com- 
munist organization lost much of its former influence in that 
area. Communism for the local Greeks came to mean an anti- 
national movement. In reaction, the Right grew stronger than 
anywhere else in Macedonia. In other words, ideological and 
national antagonisms aligned themselves; Greek reactionary 
against Slav revolutionary. 

It is an explosive mixture, and may provide Tito at any 
moment he desires with a convenient and plausible excuse for 
diplomatic or even military intervention in Greece. The 
Slavic peasants have a long tradition of guerilla action, live in 
a remote and mountainous land, and have bred hundreds of 
young men who have no land of their own, and find them- 


selves strongly attracted toward the heroic life of banditry, 
colored and condoned by political principles and national 
antagonism. At almost any time it may desire, the Mace- 
donian Government in Skoplje will be able to create serious 
disorders in northwestern Greece; disorders adequate, should 
the Yugoslavs ever wish it, to justify intervention to protect 
"oppressed Slav brothers of Aegean Macedonia." 

The Macedonian question is like a lighted match. It may 
go out with the passage of time; but it may also provide the 
occasion for widespread conflagration. As we have seen, Greek 
international relations are difficult. The country faces hostile 
neighbors, and finds itself on the razor's edge dividing East 
from West, Russia from Great Britain and the United States. 
The internal struggle of Left and Right is inextricably mixed 
with the international struggle between Russian communism 
and Anglo-American capitalism. In such a chiaroscuro, an 
open flame like the Macedonia issue may prove fateful 


Conclusion and Prospect 


war did not come to 
an end In Greece when the Varkiza Agreement was signed. A 
bitter war of words has continued without cessation, and spo- 
radic sparks of violence illumine, as it were, two armies en- 
camped over against each other, dividing and disputing 
Greece between them. Neither side thinks the time quite 
propitious for all-out battle. Skirmishes take place from time 
to time, and only tactical calculation, not any spirit of com- 
promise and commonweal, prevents hostilities from breaking 
out between Left and Right on a much larger scale. 

Real democratic government is impossible under such cir- 
cumstances. No one supposes that battles can be settled by 
asking rival armies to vote for the candidates of their choice. 
Democratic government of the sort familiar to American or 
British tradition can only exist when an overwhelming pro- 
portion of the people agree in all important matters as to 
how things should be done. When such a happy unanimity 
exists, parties may divide over minor issues, take their dif- 
ferences to the polls, and accept the result with good grace. 
In case of defeat, the minority can contentedly wait and hope 
for a future redress of the balance which will bring them to 
power. These conditions obviously do not exist in Greece. 
The issues and memories which divide Left from Right are 
too deeply fraught with emotion to permit either side ever to 
admit defeat until physically crushed by superior force. 

It is conceivable that democratic organization and control 



should prevail within the ranks of one or the other or both 
sides. But no stretch of the word will bridge the gap between 
them. Furthermore, the strain of battle operates to reduce or 
eliminate the democratic elements within the contending 
parties. To fight well, whether with guns or with words, re- 
quires unquestioning subordination to a unified command. 
Much of the peculiar strength of the Communist Party comes 
from its firm recognition of this principle. The Greek Com- 
munist Party, to be sure, holds elections within its ranks; but 
the elections are all rigged in advance so that only the men 
already chosen by the leaders of the party come to office. In 
case of serious quarrel between the leaders, higher Commu- 
nist authority intervened in the past, and there is no reason 
to suppose it would not do so again. For, though the Comin- 
tern has been officially declared dead, there are in Greece 
unmistakable signs of its lively life after death. 

The strain toward military subordination and unified con- 
trol has asserted itself among the rightists also. Their organ- 
ization and discipline are far less developed, and the rival am- 
bitions of individual politicians have prevented any single 
party organization from achieving unquestioned leadership 
of the Right. The lack of strong party machines has been 
partly compensated for by the use of the governmental ad- 
ministrative bureaucracy as a substitute. But up to date, the 
British and American Ambassadors have exercised an effec- 
tive restraining hand on the extremists of the Right, who 
would like to deny all civil liberties to their Communist 
enemies, and use the police and Army to destroy the power 
of the Left. 

If the strength of the Communists should increase until 
they seemed seriously to challenge the present power of the 
Right, a notable consolidation of rightist ranks would prob- 
ably take place. In real or imagined emergency, rather than 
go under to the Communists, the men of the Right would 
try to establish a dictatorship such as the one Metaxas wielded 


before the war; and would employ the full power of the po- 
lice and Army to repress the threat from the Left. Such an 
event would prove highly embarrassing to the British and 
American Governments. Both have preferred a Center which 
does not exist; but between extremes have chosen to support 
the Right within certain limits. Should the Right, facing 
emergency, set up authoritarian government, the Western 
Powers would find themselves faced with the problem 
whether to support what would practically be a Fascist 
state. Only if communism fades away and becomes what it 
was before the war, an irritant but not a threat, will the 
probability of a dictatorship from the Right disappear. 

What then will bring a weakening of the extremes and the 
strengthening of moderate opinion? Moral education can 
perhaps do something, but apostles of the golden mean are 
hard to find in Greece today, and their influence does not 
promise to be great until their numbers and conviction in- 
crease. If economic conditions could be so improved that 
every Greek was able to live as well as he had been brought 
up to expect, it seems probable that the excessive concern and 
fanaticism which the people now manifest for political par-* 
ties and programs would diminish. Circumstances might then 
become propitious for the gradual emergence of a community 
of ideas that would embrace almost the whole population, 
and permit genuine democratic government to be established. 
Economic prosperity could not guarantee stable and popular 
government, but it would certainly make its achievement 
more probable. 

Unfortunately for Greece, the country's economic life is 
deeply distressed, and will almost surely remain so for years 
to come. The fundamental problem is overpopulation. For 
generations, the Greek peasant family has produced a large 
surplus of children. In the past, periodic outbreaks of disease, 
war and famine kept the population down. Greece after the 
War of Independence, and Macedonia after the Balkan Wars, 


had both been half depopulated by these means, and a genera- 
tion or more was required to restore full occupancy of the 

Today the land of Greece is fully occupied. Greece is one 
of the most densely inhabited countries of Europe in propor- 
tion to the extent of arable soil. Only Belgium and Great 
Britain have a greater concentration of population per cul- 
tivated acre, and they depend on a highly developed industry 
to support their people. In Greece, the land is generally poor. 
Most hill slopes are denuded of soil so that they can be used 
only as pasture for sheep and goats. Every patch of tillable 
earth is exploited. Many peasant families wring a hard living 
from holdings of only three or four acres, and depend on the 
high value of specialized crops such as tobacco or currants to 
buy the food they require. Any interruption of export trade 
brings immediate disaster to them, unless charity such as has 
been provided by the Red Cross or UNRRA becomes avail- 

Substantial improvements in agricultural techniques are 
possible, especially through the more abundant use of fer- 
tilizers. But improvements generally require capital which 
most peasants do not have. A stubborn conservatism among 
them hinders innovation of any kind, especially when recom- 
mended to them by city-trained (and therefore suspect) agri- 
cultural agents. For these reasons, only small increases in 
agricultural production can be expected in Greece during 
coming years. 

After 1900, when Greece faced a similar population crisis, 
the pressure was relieved by emigration, expansion into 
Macedonia and industrial development at home. Today 
emigration is almost closed except to men of considerable 
wealth who can satisfy the requirements for admission to 
South American countries, South Africa, etc. The United 
States, which absorbed most of the earlier emigration, has al- 
most closed its doors. The quota for Greece is only a little 


over three hundred per year* Applications for more than ten 
years to come are on file at the American Embassy. 

If Americans seriously want to help Greece, the simplest 
and most effective way to do so would be to enlarge this small 
quota. Greeks have proved themselves good Americans, and 
the United States could easily absorb several thousand immi- 
grants from Greece each year. Thereby, the population pres- 
sure in Greece would be partially relieved, and the United 
States would acquire useful, energetic citizens. Such a policy 
would be better and cheaper than millions of dollars in loans. 
It would bring gain to both nations, loss to neither. 

Other means for bringing a satisfactory living to the sur- 
plus population are not very hopeful. Any important ter- 
ritorial expansion of the Greek state seems hardly probable. 
Greek territorial demands are extensive and unabashed, but 
met with almost no success at the Peace Conference. Further- 
more, with the exception of parts of European Turkey, the 
land which adjoins Greece is already thickly populated with 
Bulgars, Macedonians, and Albanians. There is no longer any 
half-empty land into which Greece might expand as was the 
case after World War I. 

The only peaceful alternative is absorption of the surplus 
population by a vast development of industry. Greek indus- 
try, however, labors under heavy handicaps. The country has 
no abundant source of power, and many factories now depend 
on imported coal. This means higher costs. In the past the 
disadvantage was counterbalanced by tariff protection and 
near-starvation wages. Greece has never had any important 
industrial exports. There seems small likelihood of any being 
soon created. Raw materials are not abundant, and, save for 
some bauxite deposits, no important mineral resources exist 
in the country. Other countries have equally good bauxite, 
and Greece lacks the power with which to refine aluminum 
from the ore economically. Some cotton is raised which pro- 
vides a part of the raw materials for the textile factories of 


Greece. Save for that, almost everything has to be bought 
abroad and brought into the country for manufacture. This 
inevitably means production costs above those of more 
favored parts of the world, and implies small chance for 
Greek industry ever to compete on the world market. 

It is conceivable that enormous expenditures of capital 
could nevertheless create a substantial industrial plant in 
Greece able to supply almost all the industrial products re- 
quired by the country itself. This would absorb some, but by 
no means all of the surplus population. A network of dams 
could be constructed, which would permit flood control, help 
irrigation, and produce electric power. But the flow of all 
streams is markedly seasonal, and all but a few dry up com- 
pletely in the summer. Power production would consequently 
have to follow the seasonal fluctuation, or else run at a very 
low level the year round using water impounded by the dams 
to tide over the dry months. The great initial cost of the dams 
would make electricity expensive, and it would almost cer- 
tainly be uneconomic in competition with other countries. 
Although such a program would undoubtedly bring great im- 
provement to Greece, it would fall short of solving the basic 
population question. There are, nevertheless, a few sites, 
especially in western Greece, where valuable and econom- 
ically practicable dams could be constructed to the great 
advantage of the country. 

Physical difficulties are only a part of the industrial im- 
passe which confronts Greece. The whole social pattern in 
the cities is disjointed, and there is no efficiency in it. The 
war, and the impact of EAM, largely succeeded in breaking 
down the peasant attitudes of mind which had persisted 
among most of the industrial workers of Greece prior to the 
war. Up to the present, the effect has been wholly negative. 
Old habits of work have been lost, but new ones have not 
been developed to take their place. Under the occupation, 
the Left succeeded in building up a magnificent machine for 


industrial sabotage; it continues to operate under the royalist 
Government with almost equal success. In consequence, ef- 
ficient and honest work in the factories is almost unheard of, 
and labor costs are doubled or sometimes trebled as com- 
pared with prewar times. 

Equally, capitalists are afraid to risk anything in the un- 
settled times, and many individuals have sabotaged govern- 
mental efforts to improve industrial production by hoarding 
raw materials and refusing to make expenditures that are re- 
quired to reopen factories. 

There is little if any sense of commonweal. Workmen re- 
gard their employers as natural enemies; employers look upon 
their workmen as unruly, dishonest, greedy. The political 
paralysis of the country extends to its industrial relations. 
Labor unions are mostly controlled by Communists, and 
many workmen sympathize with the Left. Employers are stout 
conservatives almost to a man, and regard any concession to 
their workmen as a concession to communism. Peace and 
goodwill are obviously not to be found under such circum- 
stances; even intelligent cooperation for the improvement 
of production hardly exists. 

Before the war, Greek industrial efficiency was relatively 
good. Capitalists were daring and adventurous; workmen la- 
bored hard and long. Their miserable wages scarcely sufficed 
to buy more than the food they needed; but the smallness of 
their wages contributed to the cheapness of the product. 
Today, this efficiency seems irretrievably gone. By May 1946 
industrial production in Athens and Pireus amounted to less 
than half the 1939 total, even with the advantage of free im- 
port of raw materials by UNRRA, which were issued to the 
factories at less than market cost. 

The Greek foreign exchange balance was always precarious 
in prewar years. Remittances from emigrants to their families 
back home, and income from the merchant marine, almost, 
but not quite, covered the trade deficit. Remittances will in- 


evitably decrease as the generation of emigrants passes from 
the scene, and this source of foreign exchange will gradually 
dry up unless large-scale fresh emigration becomes possible. 
About eighty per cent of the Greek merchant marine was 
sunk in the war, and reparations will only replace a small 
proportion of the lost tonnage. Furthermore, it seems prob- 
able that the low wages which made possible Greek success in 
international competition before the war, will lead to para- 
lyzing labor troubles on Greek ships. If such in fact proves to 
be the case, it will be difficult indeed for Greece to build up 
again the merchant marine she had before the war. 

To this accumulation of problems must be added the 
disaster of physical destruction during the war, which greatly 
reduced the capacity of the internal transport system, and 
cut into the industrial plant. 

Most Greeks consider their only escape from the economic 
dilemma to be foreign loans. The United States and Britain 
have already made loans to Greece, although relatively small. 
Enormous sums would be necessary to build a self-sufficient 
economy in the country, and there seems almost no possibility 
that such sums could ever be repaid. Both America and 
Britain are prepared to subsidize the Greek economy to some 
extent in order to keep peace in the country, but it is doubtful 
whether their willingness will extend to large sums delivered 
over long years. Especially will this be true if strong-arm 
dictatorial government comes to be established in Greece. 

It seems clear, then, that all Greeks must expect a lowered 
standard of living during the next few years. But many Greeks 
existed on the thin edge of starvation even before the war, 
and it is difficult to see how any great lowering of their in- 
come can take place without widespread social disturbance. 
There is no spirit of willingness to share the inevitable suf- 
fering. Each man is out for himself, and many Greeks are 
quite prepared to disregard laws designed to equalize the 
economic burden among all classes. Evasion of taxation is 


common practice among the well-to-do; bribery of underpaid 
government officials is a normal way to secure special favors. 

With such an economic base, Greek politics seems certain 
to continue embittered, and democratic government will 
scarcely prove viable. The strategic place Greece holds on the 
international scene adds still more to the difficulties that lie 
before the country. Tension between Russia and the Anglo- 
American Powers almost guarantees continuance of the Com- 
munist-Rightist struggle within Greece. Each of the domestic 
factions looks abroad for moral and physical support. Each 
promises eventual victory to its adherents on the strength of 
foreign help. 

Greece has involuntarily come to the forefront in the 
postwar jockeying of the Great Powers for position in Europe. 
The northern frontier of Greece has come to be a part of the 
line separating Russia from the West; and it is crystal clear 
that the Russians would be glad to increase their zone of in- 
fluence and bring Greece among the number of their client 
states. In the struggle for Greece, geography gives Russia an 
advantage, while history helps the Western Powers. The geo- 
graphic advantage of proximity and a long land frontier needs 
no elaboration. Against it must be set the traditional affilia- 
tion of Greece with France and England, and the general 
Greek fear of Slavic inundation. The existence of the Com- 
munist threat, we have seen, forces Greece into dependence 
on Great Britain. Equally, the Russian danger drives the 
British to seek to maintain their power and influence in 

In the world-wide strategic picture, this barren little coun- 
try cannot of itself be considered highly important. Its value 
lies in its position. Communist success in Greece would bring 
Russian power and influence into the Eastern Mediter- 
ranean, and go a long way toward assuring the Russians of 
predominance in all of that troubled area. Neither the United 
States nor Great Britain is willing to accede passively to such 


an increase in Russian power. It is for this reason that the 
British so high-handedly supported Papandreou in December 
1944 and used their troops to combat EAM. It is largely for 
the same reason that Britain and the United States have 
hoped for economic and political stabilization in Greece, and 
have sent such large amounts of relief supplies to that coun- 

The task of stabilization is not yet accomplished, nor is the 
Communist threat dissolved. I have already said that support 
of the enemies of the Communists in Greece may possibly 
turn into support of dictatorial and violent government. If 
this should come to pass, the British and American Govern- 
ments will find themselves in a difficult dilemma, unwilling 
to withdraw, and hand Greece over to the Communists and 
the Russians, yet unable with good conscience to support what 
will to all intents and purposes be a Fascist state. The 
Western Powers will undoubtedly bend every effort to prevent 
such a situation from arising. The British and American Am- 
bassadors will do all they can to assure the maintenance of 
democratic and parliamentary forms even though the sub- 
stance of government by consent will almost surely be unat- 
tainable. Diplomatic pressure supported by economic subven- 
tion on a sufficient scale would probably suffice to stave off 
dictatorship. The question is whether we will prove willing to 
pay the cost of our scruples; or, refusing to make uneconomic 
loans, and insisting on the sacred liberties of Western 
democracy, find that economic distress and organized Com- 
munist effort have made Greece ripe for Russia to pluck. 

In Communist hands, Greece would suffer from most of 
the economic ills that beset the country today. Perhaps the 
energy and efficiency of the Communist organization would 
succeed in checking some of the sabotage that today comes 
from workmen and capitalists, and be able to put Greek 
factories more efficiently to work. But Russia is in no position 
to send much help to Greece, at least for the present; and 


without foreign food, coal and manufactures, Greece would 
starve. The Greek economy is not like that of Bulgaria or 
Yugoslavia, self-sufficient within itself for the necessities of 
life. Greece depends on imports to live. For political reasons 
Russia might be willing to send wheat to Greece. Needing it 
for her own people, she might also let the Greeks starve, or 
solve the problem of surplus population by forming forced 
labor gangs for work in Russia. 

In the world contest for power, the good or ill of a small 
state like Greece counts for little. Neither Great Britain nor 
Russia directs its policy toward the benefit of the Greeks. If 
Greece benefits, it is only incidentally; if Greece suffers, 
equally it is incidental. Yet the fate of Greece in very large 
part has come inescapably to depend on the remorseless ac- 
tion of the Russian millstone grinding heavily against the 
Anglo-American. It is a sad and anguishing position for a 
proud people. 

The difficulties that face Greece may seem almost over- 
whelming. One does well to remember that Greeks have suf- 
fered many tribulations in the past and have survived them 
all. Poverty is no new thing among them, nor is internal dis- 
sension. The people are energetic, ingenious and clever, ac- 
customed to living by their wits in a difficult world. After 
World War I, a million and a half refugees flooded the coun- 
try, most of them bereft of all material possessions; yet, by a 
combination of foreign philanthropy and their own address, 
most of these refugees succeeded in making a living, and 
some even rose to easy circumstances. The surplus popula- 
tion that now throngs the towns and villages of Greece is 
much as was that refugee mass twenty-five years ago. There 
is no land in Macedonia today for them to settle, but perhaps 
they will nevertheless be able to contrive the means to live, 
and find a way to contribute their part to the productivity 
of the nation. 

Even should the townsmen fail, and war and rapine be 


called in to solve the population problem, the Greek peas- 
antry remains. The peasants are hardy and industrious, able 
to survive the cataclysms of famine, war and pestilence. In 
the past, town life in Greece has often been nearly wiped out. 
One hundred and thirty years ago, Pireus was an empty 
harbor without even a single house by its shores, and Athens 
was only a small village of perhaps a thousand souls. Today 
the two cities number over a million inhabitants between 
them. Though they may again be brought low, the survival 
of the Greek people on the land will not thereby be pre- 
vented. The land and its tillers survive while cities rise and 
fall. If overpopulation is not relieved by emigration and 
peaceful economic development, it will bring its own solu- 
tion by precipitating death-dealing violence, as has happened 
in the past. Yet the peasant community will still survive, and 
with it, something of the turbulent, proud, and civilizing 
Greek spirit. 

Chronological Table 

1453 Turks capture Constantinople. End of the Byzantine 


1821-29 Greek War of Independence. 

1835 Otto of Bavaria appointed King of the Hellenes. 

1863 George I became King of the Hellenes. 

1870 Bulgarian Church separated from the Greek Church. 

Great impetus to the rising spirit of Bulgar national- 

1878 Treaty of San Stefano created a Big Bulgaria, putting 

nearly the whole of Macedonia within the boundaries 
of the new state. It was modified in the same year at 
the Congress of Berlin, and Macedonia returned to 
Turkish sovereignty. 

1881 District of Arta and part of Thessaly added to Greece. 

1897 Greco-Turkish war. Inconclusive. 

1899-1910 Chronic disturbances in Macedonia, with rival gue- 
rilla bands and organized propaganda striving to 
advance the cause of Greek, Bulgar and Serbian 
nationalism among the local inhabitants. 

1908 Young Turk Revolution promised longer life to 
Turkey than the Christian states of the Balkans had 
hoped. Venizelos distinguished himself in Cretan 

1909 Military league made coup d'etat in Athens, invited 
Venizelos to come to Greece. 

1910 Venizelos became Prime Minister for first time. 

1912 First Balkan War. Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria at- 
tacked Turkey and drove Turks almost entirely out 
of Europe. 

1913 King George I assassinated. His son Constantine suc- 
ceeded to Greek throne. Outbreak of Second Balkan 



War, Bulgaria fighting against Greece and Serbia 
over the division of the spoils in Macedonia. 
1914 Outbreak of World War I. Great Britain annexed 

Cyprus. Bitter quarrel between King Constantine 
and Venizelos over Greek foreign policy. 

1916 New elections returned slight Venizelos majority, but 
King Constantine refused to accept Venizelos as 
Prime Minister. Venizelos set up insurrectionary Gov- 
ernment in Salonika. 

1917 Venizelos returned to Athens. King Constantine 
forced into exile, succeeded by his second son Alex- 

1918 Armistice. Greek troops bivouacked within sight of 

1919 Peace Conference at Paris. Venizelos won great con- 
cessions for Greece, including strip of Asia Minor 
along the Aegean, and Western Thrace. Treaty of 
Neuilly fixed Bulgarian peace terms, provided for a 
population exchange between Greece and Bulgaria 
and guaranteed Bulgaria an economic outlet on the 

1920 Mustapha Kemal refused to accept peace terms dic- 
tated by Allies for Turkey. King Alexander died and 
King Constantine recalled by popular acclaim. 

1921 Greek offensive in Asia Minor. 

1922 Turks threw back Greek armies in Asia Minor. Mas- 
sacre in Smyrna. King Constantine abdicated and his 
elder son George II became King. Plastiras, Gonatas 
and Hadjikyriakos led revolt against royalist Govern- 

1923 Treaty of Lausanne made peace between Greece and 
Turkey. Greece gave up all claims to territory in 
Asia Minor, and exchange of populations prescribed. 
Corfu incident. 

1924 Greece became a republic. 

1925 General Pangalos established a dictatorship. 

1926 Pangalos overthrown, republic restored. 
1928-33 Venizelos Prime Minister again. 

1933 Election gave majority to Popular Party (royalist). 

Plastiras attempted coup d'tat without success. Went 
into exile in France. 


1935 Second republican coup d'tat put down after some 
days o fighting in Athens and Macedonia. Extensive 
purge of Greek Army, favoring royalists. King George 
called back by extensively falsified plebiscite. 

1936 New elections resulted in almost even balance be- 
tween royalists and republicans in Chamber of Depu- 
ties. General John Metaxas acting Prime Minister, 
while Chamber of Deputies was prorogued. Metaxas 
persuaded King George to entrust him with dicta- 
torial powers. 

1939 Outbreak of World War II. 

1940 Italy declared war on Greece, but after initial suc- 
cesses Italian troops were driven back inside Albanian 

1941 British troops land in Greece but were too weak to 
oppose German invasion. Greek Army of Epirus sur- 
rendered, General Tsolakoglu became quisling 
Prime Minister while King George and Cabinet, 
headed by Tsouderos, fled to Cairo. Famine in Greece, 
winter 1941-1942. 

1942 Resistance organizations began to form in Greece, the 
chief being EAM and its army, ELAS; EDES less 
powerful, centered in western Greece under Napoleon 
Zervas' leadership. Destruction of Gorgopotamos 
Bridge marked arrival of British sabotage teams in 
Greece, first important act of resistance. 

1943 Rapid growth of guerilla armies. British worked to 
unite all guerilla forces. General guerilla charter, 
July, established subordination of Greek guerillas 
to Allied Force Headquarters, Mediterranean. Italian 
surrender strengthened ELAS. Outbreak of large- 
scale civil war between ELAS and EDES. Estrange- 
ment of British from ELAS. 

1944 Plaka Bridge agreement ended civil war between 
guerillas (February). Establishment of ELAS Re- 
serve in towns. Provisional Government of the Moun- 
tains challenged the Exile Government's legality. 
Mutiny in Middle East (April). Efforts at unity. 
Lebanon Conference (May). Papandreou, Prime 
Minister; EAM agreed to join the Exile Government 
(August). Government transferred to Italy (Septem- 


ber). Caserta Agreement. Government returned to 
Athens (October). Quarrels between Left and Right. 
EAM ministers resigned (2 December) . Demonstra- 
tion led to bloodshed (3 December). Outbreak of 
civil war, with British supporting the Right. 
Churchill flew to Athens in effort to end fighting. 

1945 Archbishop Damaskinos appointed Regent (1 Janu- 
ary). Plastiras became Prime Minister. ELAS signed 
truce. Varkiza Agreement ended civil war (February). 
Dissolution o ELAS. National Guard took over con- 
trol of provinces. Plastiras resigned (April), suc- 
ceeded by Voulgaris, who resigned in October. Im- 
passe. Regent Prime Minister for few days, succeeded 
by Kanellopoulos (October), and Sofoulis (Novem- 
ber). Preparations for elections. 

1946 Elections March 31 returned royalist majority. Tsal- 
daris became Prime Minister. Revision of election 
registers. Plebiscite (1 September) resulted in recall 
of King George. King returned to Athens (28 Sep- 






"Aegean Macedonia," 269 
AFHQ, Algiers, 85; Caserta, 146 
Agrarian Party, 27, 232, 235 
Albania, 15, 36, 37, 129, 134, 177, 

201, 239, 248, 251-54, 259, 263 
Albanian War, 37-42, 254 
Alexander, Field Marshal Harold, 184 
Alexander, King of the Hellenes, 17, 


Alexandras, Apostolis, 232 
American Army Mission in Greece, 

106, 108, 112 

AMFOGE (Allied Mission for Ob- 
serving Greek Elections), 217, 229, 
231, 234, 235, 257 
Anton Tsaous, 86, 202 
Ares (Velouhiotis), 63, 66, 77, 79, 

111, 177, 196-97 
Armoured Brigade (British) , 176, 183, 


Army, British, see Great Britain 
Army, Greek, in Albanian War, 38- 
42, 44-46; in the Middle East, 114- 
120, 125-130, 142; reorganization of, 
195, 207, 208, 226-27; after libera- 
tion, 209, 227, 238, 240, 245, 257; 
see also Third Mountain Brigade, 
Sacred Squadron 
Asia Minor Campaign, 18ff. 
Athens EDES, 82, 103-104, 232 
Autonomism, Macedonian, 263-65 

Bakirdjis, Col. Evripides, 78, 81, 89, 

111, 137 

Balkan Wars, 13ff., 261 
Barnes, Lt. Col. Tom, 66, 79 
Bodossakis, 210-11 
Border incidents, 36, 37, 252, 260 
British Economic Mission, 226, 240, 

British Embassy to Greece, 124, 128, 

162, 220; see also Great Britain 


British Headquarters, Cairo, 65, 67, 
84, 107, 114-15; Greece, 171, 183 

British Military Mission, 207-209, 221, 
224, 226-27 

British Mission with the Greek gue- 
rillas, 66, 67, 78-80, 85, 101-108, 112 

British Police Mission, 203, 207, 221, 
224, 226 

Bulgaria, 86, 129, 134, 259, 261-63, 
280; in Balkan Wars, 15; in World 
War I, 17; irridentism, 20, 253, 259; 
in World War II, 43, 50, 95, 248; 
Greek attitude toward, 202, 222, 
239, 248, 250-51, 254; relation to 
guerillas in Greece, 95, 244; repara- 
tions, 252-53 

Caserta Agreement, 147-49, 158, 177 

Chamber of Deputies, 30, 32-33, 215, 
217, 234, 235, 237, 239, 245 

Chrysanthos, Archbishop, 192-93 

Church, Greek Orthodox, 99-100, 192- 

Churchill, Winston, 44, 123, 146-47, 
164, 173-74, 185, 188, 191, 216, 221 

Collaboration, 50-51, 53-54, 84, 104, 
109, 133-34, 154, 157, 161, 163, 188 

Communist Party, Greek, 29, 67, 195, 
196, 211, 213-14, 218, 237, 252; early 
history, 30-32, 34; and resistance, 
68, 72-73, 76, 97-99, 110; relation to 
Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, 95, 
248-50; policy toward Govt. of Na- 
tional Unity, 138-39; relation to 
Russia, 145, 259; and civil war in 
Athens, 174-75, 179, 186-87; power 
and morale of, 194, 200, 224-25, 
227-28, 241-42, 244-45, 271, 276; 
newspapers, 199, 242, 247; fear of, 
221-22, 242, 245, 278; and elections, 
223, 228, 229, 234, 235; and Mace- 
donian question, 263-69. 



Constantine, King of the Hellenes, 16- 

18, 24, 186, 208 
Constantinople, 13, 14, 18, 19, 206, 

255, 258 
Constitution Square, 163, 166-71, 183, 

218, 232, 246 
Corfu, 36, 177, 201 
Corinth, 189, 192 
Crete, 46, 86, 238 
Cyprus, 250, 256 

Damaskinos, Archbishop and Regent, 

99, 124, 214, 216, 218-19, 221, 238, 

246, 259; career and character, 191- 


Dictatorship, 25, 33-35, 98-99, 132, 161, 

245, 270-72, 279 
Dimitroff , George, 69 
Dodecanese Islands, 254, 259 
Dzimas, Andreas, 263-64, 267 

EAM (Ethnikon Apeleftherotikon 
Metopon) , establishment of, 72; 
aims, 73, 92-94, 98, 108-109, 132, 149, 
212; growth, 74-75, 132; morale, 90, 
93, 157, 174-75, 178, 190; social com- 
position, 91-92; regional strength, 
94-97, 100, 201-203; local govern- 
ment by, 97,236; and the Church,99- 
100; and Greek Army in the Middle 
East, 119-20, 126-28; opposition to, 
133; and Govt. of National Unity, 
137-39, 141-44, 154-57, 159-60, 163; 
relation to Albania, Bulgaria and 
Yugoslavia, 95, 248-50; demonstra- 
tions, 152, 163, 165-71; preparation 
for civil war, 163, 165-71; policy 
during civil war, 174-75, 179; news- 
papers, 192, 242; loss of influence, 
199-201, 215-16; and elections, 215- 
17, 223, 229, 233, 235-36; and 
Russia, 144-46, 235-36, 259; and 
Macedonian question, 263-65 

EDES, guerillas (Ellinikos Dimokrat- 
ikos Ethnikos Syndesmos), 65, 81, 
158, 232-33; organization of, 83, 
100-101, 106; relations with British 
Mission, 102-103, 107; split with 
Athens EDES, 103-104; attacked by 
ELAS, 107, 177; transformation of, 

EKKA (Ethniki kai Koinoniki Apelef- 
therosis), 78, 83, 87-88 

ELAS (Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherot- 
ikos Stratos), establishment and 

growth, 75-81; relations with other 
guerillas, 85, 88, 89, 107, 177; 
strength, 94, 105-106; relations with 
British Mission, 78-80, 102, 103, 106, 
107; transformation of, 108-109; and 
liberation, 149-50; question of its 
disbandment, 155-59; in Athens 
civil war, 176-77, 180, 182, 184, 188- 
89, 194-95; disarmament and dis- 
bandment of, 196, 227-28; reap- 
pearance of, 241-42; and Yugoslavia, 
249; and Macedonian question, 263- 

ELAS Reserve, establishment and 
growth, 109-10; social composition, 
134; and fighting in Athens, 163, 
171, 175-76, 180, 182, 184, 188-89 

Elections, 17, 18, 25, 28, 30, 196, 215, 
217-18, 226-36 

Election Mission, see AMFOGE 

EOEA (Ethniki Organosis Ellinikon 
Andarton), 104 

EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kritikon 
Andarton), 96 

Epirus, 15, 37, 46, 62, 94, 149, 177, 
201, 233, 238, 251 

Famine, 51 

Filiates, Anton, see Anton Tsaous 

Financial Commission, 226 

First Brigade, Greek, 117, 125-28 

Fiorina, 264 

France, 186, 215, 217, 235, 278 

Gendarmery, 50, 154, 181, 203-204, 
222, 228, 265, 267 

General Staff, 207, 209, 227; see also 
Army, Greek 

George II, King of the Hellenes, 24, 
161, 172, 188, 217, 232, 259; acces- 
sion and exile, 25; return to throne, 
30, 242, 246; and Government-in- 
Exile, 47, 113, 116; character and 
education, 120-22; question of his 
return, 122, 141, 147, 155-56; visits 
United States, 113; and regency, 
124-25, 188, 191; opposition to, 93, 
156, 188, 245; British support for, 
122, 125, 162, 173-74, 216-17; 

rwth of popularity, 208, 239, 244- 

Germany, 42, 44, 50, 104, 131, 149, 


"Golden Resistance," 87 
Gonatas, Stylianos, 25, 103, 232 



Gorgopotamos bridge, 65, 66 

Gotsi, 264-65 

Government-in-Exile, 111-16, 138, 147 

Great Britain, and Greek Campaign, 
1941, 43-45; policy towards restora- 
tion of King George, 123-24, 162, 
227; policy toward EAM, 149, 162; 
and outbreak of civil war in 
Athens, 162, 165, 172-74; army in 
Greece, 43-45, 149-51, 176, 184, 
188-89, 197, 242, 245, 260, 267; 
opinion about Greece, 185, 242; in- 
fluence in Greece, 185-88, 221-23, 
239, 255, 260-61, 278-80; and Greek 
elections, 215-17, 235, 238, 243; 
loans to Greece, 220, 226, 239-41, 
277; see also British Mission to the 
Guerillas, British Headquarters, 
British Embassy 

"Greater Greece," 14, 134-35, 209, 232, 
239, 250-52, 259 

Greece, social organization of, 20-24, 
27-28, 275-76; ,* establishment of re- 
public, 25; Metaxas dictatorship, 
33-35; Albanian war, 37-42, 46; war 
with Germany, 44-47; economy, 27- 
28, 52-53, 134, 151-52, 204-207, 212- 
14, 225-26, 239-41, 256, 272-81; psy- 
chology, 38, 40-41, 51, 54, 60, 131-35, 
152-53, 161, 235, 270-72, 275-78; 
governmental administration, 53- 
55, 203-204; relations with Italy, 36- 

Greek War Relief Association, 257 

Grivas, Lt. Col. George, 89, 200, 236 

Guerilla bands, 53, 55, 61ff., 228, 
241-42, 244, 245, 267; see ELAS, 

Guerilla charter, 85, 88 

Hadjimihalis, Gen. Michael, 163 
Hawkesworthy, Gen., 165, 184 
Hodja, Enver, 248 
Hostages, 187, 189 

Immigration, 258, 273, 274 
Inflation, 52, 151-52, 212, 219, 226, 


loannides, John, 95 
Ipefthinos, 75, 97 
Italy, 15, 35, 36-42, 50, 62, 104-105, 

251, 253-54, 262 

Jannina, 15, 38, 39, 46, 149 

Kafandaris, George, 26 

Kalamata, 150, 228 

Kalavryta, 57 

Kanellopoulos, Panagiotis, 40* 219, 

232, 238, 245 
Kapetanios, 76-78 
Kartalis, George, 87 
Klaras, Athanasios, see Area 
Koritsa, 38, 39 
Koryzis, Alexander, 47 
Kozani, 38, 45 

Labour Party (British), 214, 216, 219, 

220, 224 
Lamia, 65, 189 

Lebanon Agreement, 140-41, 185 
Lebanon Conference, 136-41 
Leeper, Sir Reginald, 139, 10, 164, 

Liberal Party, 23, 73, 82, 133, 135, 

140, 142, 143, 151, 160, 194, 208-209, 

214, 217-18, 232, 235 
Loans, 226, 239-41, 257, 277 
Logothetopoulos, Konstantine, 54 

Maben, Buell, 257 

Macedonia, 15, 20, 24, 45, 78, 84, 88, 
95, 228, 233-34, 260-69, 280; Central 
85, 201-202; Eastern, 95, 202, 249, 
250; Western, 96, 201-202, 249 

Macedonian Communist Party, 263, 

Macedonian Question, 249, 261-69 

MacVeagh, Ambassador Lincoln, 221, 

Mandakas, Gen, Emmanuel, 163 

Maniadakis, Constantine, 113, 115-16 

McNeil, Hector, 220-21 

Metaxas, Gen. John, 26, 29, 32, 33, 40, 
47, 63, 121, 129, 192, 262, 271 

Military Liaison, 204-205 

Minorities in Greece, 260; Albanian, 

37, 201; Slavic, 96, 261-69 
Myers, Col. Edward, 66, 79 
Mylonas, Alexander, 232 

National Guard, 154, 181-82, 197-99, 

203-204, 265-67 
National Unity, Government of, 137- 

38, 140-47, 151-60, 164 

Navy, Greek, 125, 126-27, 211, 240 
Near East Foundation, 257 

Pangalos, Gen. Theodore, 25, 64, 65, 



PAO (Panellinios Apeleftherotiki 

Organosis), 83-86 

Papandreou, George, 26, 128, 160, 
175, 181, 221, 232, 238, 245, 279; 
career and character, 135-36; as 
Prime Minister, 135-36, 140, 143, 
146-47, 172-73, 194 
Paratroop Brigade (British), 150-51, 

171, 176 
Parliament, Greek, see Chamber of 


Partsalides, Dimitrios, 111 
Peace Conference (Paris 1946), 246, 

253-54, 259, 274 
PEEA (Politiki Epitropi Ethnikis 

Apelftherosis), 78, 111, 125 
Peloponnese, 94, 134, 177, 201, 206, 

228, 233 
Phaleron, Bay of, 177, 183, 184, 188, 

Pindus mountains, 39, 64, 66, 67, 81, 

85, 96, 102, 105, 107, 177, 196 
Pireus, 31, 45, 70, 153, 168, 174, 176, 
182, 183, 184, 189, 202, 233, 255, 276, 
Plaka Bridge Agreement, 108, 148, 


Plastiras, Gen, Nicholas, 25, 28, 64, 82, 

188; career and character, 186; as 

Prime Minister, 191, 194, 207, 209 

Plebiscite, 30, 196, 215, 239, 242-46 

Plebiscite Mission, 243-44 

Police, 164, 166-71, see also Gen- 


Popular Party, 24, 133, 139, 140, 151, 

188, 194, 214, 220, 232, 233, 234, 

236, 242, 245; organization of, 236- 


Population, 19, 24, 262, 272-74, 280- 

Protocol of 31 March, 94, 120, 121, 


Provisional Government in the Moun- 
tains, see PEEA 
Psarros, Col. Dimitri, 87-88, 109, 112 

Quisling government, 50, 53, 54-55, 
209, 248 

RAF, in Albanian War, 42; in Athens 

civil war, 176-78, 182-83 
Railroads, 206-207 
Rallis, John, 55 

RAN (Rumeli-Avalona-Nisi), 129 
Red Cross, 52, 55, 153 

Refugees from Asia Minor, 19, 24, 

31, 186, 280 

Regency, 124-25, 187-88, 191 
Regent, see Damaskinos 
Reparations, 252, 253, 259 
Rimini Brigade, see Third Mountain 


Rodianov, Adm. Constantine, 259 
Roosevelt, Pres., Franklin D., 170 
Royalists, 18, 23-24, 26, 29-30, 186, 

208-209, 211, 214, 216, 217, 218, 223, 

227, 228, 230, 232, 234, 235, 236, 

244, 24? 
Russia, 144-46, 215, 222, 224, 246, 252- 

60, 269, 278-80 

Sacred Squadron, 117, 125, 128, 158, 

Salonika, 15, 38, 44, 45, 59, 64, 69, 83, 
129, 134, 150, 177, 189, 202, 206, 
252, 255 

Sarafis, Col. Stephen, 77, 81, 112, 147, 
148, 158 

Scobie, Lt, Gen. Ronald, 147, 150, 
171, 195, 208; operational orders 
for liberation, 148; disbandment of 
guerillas, 158-59; career and char- 
acter, 164-65; and civil war in 
Athens, 174, 178, 179, 182, 184, 189 

Security Battalions, 58, 59, 103, 109, 
133, 134, 143-44, 148, 149, 182 

Security Committees, 242 

"Service" government, 209, 214-15 

Siantos, George, 68, 77, 160, 224, 232; 
early career and character, 69-71; 
position in EAM and ELAS, 111-12, 
163; in Athens civil war, 163, 179, 
186, 188, 195 

Skoplje, 45, 68, 265, 268, 269 

Slavic population of Greece, 96, 261- 

Socialists, 72-73, 174, 179, 200-201 

Sofoulis, Themistocles, 82, 135, 143 3 
151, 160, 172, 173, 187, 208, 238, 
259; as Prime Minister, 220-21, 223, 
224, 227, 229, 230, 231, 232, 236 

Spiliotopoulos, Lt. Gen. Panagiotis, 

Svolos, Professor Alexander, 111, 137, 
142, 144, 152, 179, 200-201 

Terror, 56-58, 56-57, 199, 228, 233-34, 

Thessaly, 70, 96, 105, 108, 176-77, 184, 

206, 228 



Third Mountain Brigade, 158, 195, 
207; formation of, 128, 130; fight- 
ing in Italy, 130; arrives in Athens, 
155; in Civil War, 176, 178, 183, 189 

Tito, 145, 249, 264, 265, 267 

Tsaldaris, Constantine, 236, 239, 242, 
245, 259 

Tsiriraokos, Elias, 73, 200-201 

Tsolakoglu, Gen. George, 46, 50 

Tsouderos, Emmanuel, 47, 113, 115, 
118, 121, 122, 124, 127, 

Turkey, 14ff., 18-19, 250, 255 

Ukraine, 253, 260 

United Nations, 253, 260 

United States, 146, 185, 192, 204, 226, 
239-41, 242, 254, 256, 257-58, 259, 
269, 277, 278, 279; and Greek elec- 
tions, 215, 217, 231, 235, 243; Navy, 
258; Army, 106, 108, 112, 257 

UNRRA, 142, 204-207, 211, 213, 252, 
257, 276 

Varkiza Agreement, 195-98, 215, 270 
Varvaressos, Kyriakos, 213-14 
Vendiris, Maj. Gen, Constantine, 139, 

148, 207, 218, 226; early career and 

character, 128-29 

Venizelos, Eleftherios, 13ff., 17, 18, 26, 

29, 64, 135, 208, 259 
Venizelos, Sophocles, 122, 127, 136, 

144, 232, 238, 245 
Voulgaris, Admiral Petros, 127, 209- 

10, 211, 214,217-18,230 

Wilson, Gen. Sir Henry Maitland, 44, 


Woodhouse, Lt. Col. Chris, 66, 79, 85 
World War I, 16, 261, 280 

X (Chi), 83, 109, 110, 133, 236; estab- 
lishment of, 89-90; relations with 
ELAS, 89, 134, 172; growth, 199- 
200, 204; threatens coup d'etat, 218 

Yugoslavia, 43, 98, 129, 134, 145, 197, 
222, 244, 246, 248, 251, 252, 254, 
259, 261, 263-66, 280 

Zachariades, Nicholas, 32, 40, 224, 
267, 268; early career and character, 
68-69, 71 

Zervas, Napoleon, 63, 66, 67, 79, 81, 
83, 94, 103, 106, 107, 147, 149, 152, 
158, 177, 232, 233, 234, 236, 238, 
249; early career and character, 64-