The Greek Civil War
On April 27, 1941 the Germans entered Athens and the occupation of Greece began
German soldiers raising the Reich War Flag over the Acropolis. The guardian of the Greek flag on the Acropolis, Constantine Koukides , a young Evzone in his early twenties, from the provincial town of Naphpaktos, in the morning of April 27th, 1941 , when the German Officer ordered him to haul the Greek flag down and replace it with the swastika banner, he wrapped in the Greek flag and fell off the Acropolis, refusing to hand it to the invaders. In 2000 , a monument in memory of Koukides, unveiled on the Acropolis
King George II and the Greek Government, along with approximately 10,000 Greek troops, transferred the seat of government to Crete. The Germans, on May 20 , assaulted Crete with airborne troops. The island was in German hands by June 1, 1941 , the British forces and Greek Government having been evacuated to Egypt. A Greek government-in-exile was established in Cairo; the few Greek troops that had escaped to Egypt were put under the command of the British Commander-in-Chief, Middle East. The Germans decided to share occupation duties with the Italians and Bulgarians
Many communist leaders escaped from Greek prisons in the confusion of the German invasion and immediately went underground to help reorganize their party (KKE-Communist Party of Greece). The first efforts of the KKE towards resistance centered around creating organizations affiliated with labor. The communists started where their strength was, hoping to gain members sympathetic to their cause. One such organization was the National Workers' Liberation Front or EEAM in July '41. The prime success of EEAM was the stifling of a German attempt to export laborers to Germany by means of strikes, stoppages and general unrest. Another, and more important, secret organization was the National Liberation Front or EAM (September '41) which although it was a coalition of six political parties joined by the common purpose of resisting the Axis occupation, in reality EAM was a front organization for the KKE, for the communists controlled its leadership conmittee. Meantime, small bands of guerrillas began to surface in the mountainous areas of Greece during late 1941 and early 1942 centered around a leader who was either a communist or had right-wing political beliefs. One such communist band was led by Aris Velouchiotes
Another army was also formed in early 1942 by the former Officer in the Army Colonel Napoleon Zervas
A strict republican in his politics, Zervas raised a small army known as EDES, the National Republican Greek League
ON THE ROAD TO CIVIL WAR
On October 12, 1943 , ELAS attacked virtually all groups that posed any threat to ELAS at all over the whole of Greece. A fighting broke out between the larger two organizations (ELAS-EDES) but a truce was negotiated between them in February 1944 ; The fighting between Greeks tapered off because the Germans commenced aggressive operations against both ELAS and EDES at the same time. When the German offensive abated somewhat, Colonel Zervas sent his EDES fighters to counterattack ELAS in the hopes of regaining ground lost in the earlier fighting. The Allies imposed their will onto the guerrillas on February 4, 1944 , when both sides agreed to a cease fire. This was followed on February 29 with the signing of a document known as the Plaka Agreement .
Signed at the Plaka bridge over the river Arachthus in a contested area of Epirus , the agreement appeared to be a victory for ELAS. In April 1944 ELAS launched an attack on what remained of the 5/42 Evzone Regiment under Demetrios Psaros (Psaros' 5/42 Evzone Regiment was not organized or in any sense created by a political party, but rather came into being spontaneously). Psaros was captured and executed. The Germans evacuated Athens on October 12; British troops entered the city the next day and proceeded to move toward Piraeus. As the line of German occupation receded north, more British forces were introduced into Greece. By the end of October, the newly designated III British Corps had 26,500 men, under Lt.Gen Ronald Scobie . The Government of National Unity arrived in Athens on October 18, 1944.
On 2 December, 1944, the left-wing ministers resigned from the government of national unity & EAM called a general strike in Syntagma Square, in the center of Athens, for 4 December. Thousands of pro-EAM demonstrators converged on Syntagma Square, and, at the height of the demonstration, panic-stricken Police & British troops opened fire, leaving some fifteen dead and many more wounded
The shooting provoked attacks by ELAS on Police stations and within a few days ELAS and British troops were locked in bloody street fighting. By December 5 , ELAS was in Athens in strength, attacking police stations and government buildings; British troops were attacked and were forced to return fire
The Brits in Athens, 1944
By early 1946 , the clashes between the army & the communist guerilla forces had been generalized. Infiltration and sniping tactics accompanied assaults by company-sized units, into every town or city in Greece. DSE-Greek Democratic Army , the continuation of ELAS, appeared to have many mortars & artillery guns and enough ammunition for them to use them at will. A DSE division, under General Bakindzis & Markos Vaphiades , had deployed in and around the city of Athens. In the northern countryside, General Saraphis with his forces attacked the villages & the small Greek provincial towns. By the fall of 1946 larger groups of communist guerrillas were operating in Greece, mainly in the mountainous areas of Macedonia and Epirus with borders on the communist satellite countries.
The Battle of the Makriyannis Camp, December 1944
The Gendarmerie HQ (Makriyannis Camp), in the '60s
In December 1944 , Athens was under complete Communist control. The only areas controlled by the government forces were the Gendarmerie HQ (Makriyannis Camp) & the Omonia Square (down-town Athens), controlled by the Greek III RIMINI Brigade. The Communists tried to take by assault the Gendarmerie HQ, to force the government leave the city in order to establish a new Communist regime & drive the British off. Albania, Bulgaria & the USSR, were eager to recognize & legitimize the new regime.
The building complex that sheltered the Gendarmerie HQ, stood at the Makriyannis district, below the Acropolis rock.
The HQ was guarded by the men of the 1st Gendarmerie Rgt (1,100 men in 1944). 700 of those, had been ordered to spread inside the city, to guard government & other public buildings.
On December 5 , the Gendarmerie contingent, was composed of 88 Officers & 429 Gendarmes, armed with the Mannlicher-Schonauer 6.5mm twin-bolt rifle & the Sten MKII Sub Machine Gun. This force was supported by a Breda 8mm Machine Gun, two 37mm guns & a light armoured vehicle (with two Breda machine guns). CO of the Gendarmerie Rgt was Col Georgios Samuel
Major-General Georgios Samuel in 1950 (Chief of Royal Hellenic Gendarmerie)
The basic problem the Gendarmes were facing was that the area surrounding the camp was densely populated, full of big apartment blocks. Thus, if the Communists could ascend the blocks which overhang the camp, the throwning of grenades or dynamites at the gendarmes could cause serious casualties. Consequently, the essential component of the defence plan, involved the control of the surrounding buildings & the establishment of advanced posts ontop of the blocks. These advance posts composed the first line of defence. The first advanced post was set on the flat roof of a nearby block, at the northern part of the camp. The second advanced post was set on the flat roof of a block exactly opposite to the first post. AP1 & AP2 were manned by 22 gendarmes each, supported by a small mortar (AP1) & a Breda MG (AP2)
A gendarme handling a Breda MG
AP3 (18 gendarmes), AP4-5-6-7 (16 gendarmes each), were covering a huge area. The gendarmes called these AP "death posts" because they were set on a long distance from the camp. The men guarding these posts were so convinced they would die, that at noon of December 4, the wife of the CO of AP7 (Captain Papakostas) payed him a fairwell visit.
The second line of defence composed of the buildings abuted on the camp wall.
The third (or ultimate) line of defence composed of the three-floor HQ building guarded by the Gendarmerie reserve force (100 men).
DECEMBER 6, The first clashes
In the morning of December 5, the battle of Athens began. Communist forces attacked a series of Police Stations. In the area controlled by the Gendarmerie, an unnatural stillness caused the gendarmes to have the fidgets. At 05:45 in the morning of December 6, six shots were heard from a house-block near the southern gate. Almost immediately, bugle calls & battle-cries were heard. Seconds later, the first fusillade hit the gendarmes. Mortar & artillery shells (two guns were set on the nearby hills of Ardettos & Philopappos, manned by experienced communist Italian & German deserters ), hit the camp causing a number of casualties. At 07:00, 400 ELAS (ELAS: National People’s Army of Liberation) guerillas launched an attack on AP7 (AP7 was guarding the main road leading to the Gendarmerie camp). The 22 gendarmes fought obstinate. At 12:00, a small guerilla band, managed to reach the building wall & blew it up. Hundreds of communists, entered the building through the break on the wall & a close combat began. Only 3 gendarmes escaped. The rest were either killed or captured alive. The captured gendarmes were tried & putbefore the communist firing squad in the morning of December 7.
AP5 & AP6 , were attacked simoultaneously. A hail of missiles hit both posts. Soon, only 5 gendarmes were still alive. Cpt Kontakos, carried the wounded WO Papadakis on his back & escaped. The 3 remaining gendarmes attempted a desperate exodus & reached safe the Gendarmerie camp.
AP4 , fell to the communist hands after a fierce fight. WO Hantzakis was the only gendarme left alive. He also attempted a desperate exodus & reached safe the Gendarmerie camp.
AP3 (under Sergeant Naskos), fell to the communist hands after a fierce fight. No-one survived.
AP2 gave extremely strong resistance. WO Sakellaris, a sharp-shooter, was firing against the communists with the Breda MG, leaving dozens of rebels killed. But the shortage of ammunition, which allowed the rebels to move closer to the post, caused serious casualties among the gendarmes. Under enemy rolling barrage, the barber of the regiment, Leonidas Kousouris, arrived carrying new magazines. Only two rebels survived the attack.
At about the same time, 50 rebels, from the roof top of captured AP5, carrying molotov bombs & dynamites, attempted to destroy the nearby building on which AP2 was set. Immediately, Sergeant Retsinas & Corporals Lambropoulos & Stratidakes, manned one 37mm gun & under constant enemy fire, turned the gun to the north & fired against the communists. One shell hit the roof top of AP5. A huge explosion was heard. The sight was gruesome: Rebels, burning alive, were jumping off the roof top to the ground.
The gendarmerie casualties the first day of the battle accounted for 5 Officers 49 gendarmes dead, 8 Officers 28 gendarmes wounded. The Communists attacked with two regiments. Dozens of dead rebels were lying in the steets around the Gendarmerie camp
The eastern wall of the Gendarmerie HQ. Note the bullet holes. The building looks untouched but this is not the case: The roof collapsed on the gendarmes' heads, after a mortar hit, killing 4
DECEMBER 7, The Gendarmes counter-attack
At noon of December 7, Col. Samuel ordered for an attack on the captured by the rebels AP3 & AP4 (intelligence had evidence that the communists were about to plant huge quantities of gasoline & explosives in those buildings). By 16:00, the attack was over. 50 rebels were caught, 70 rifles, 10 MGs & huge ammount of dynamite captured.
DECEMBER 9-10, The Communist main assault
On 9 December, 500 black-berets (communist elite force)
Black-berets somewhere in Greece
under the legendary Kapetan-Gavrias , arrived to Athens. In the afternoon, 15 British sappers of the Royal Engineers ( Lt.Becker ), managed to lay mines & wire around the camp, under heavy enemy fire (one sapper was killed).
At 09:00 in the morning of December 10, the main Communist assault commences. The entire 6th ELAS Regiment (Kapetan-Gavrias) leads the attack. For two hours, the communists launch consecutive attacks. Elements of the Communist force, achieve the imposssible: They penetrate the wire & through the breaks on the walls, throw grenades & molotov bombs inside. The gendarmes respond with rolling fire. The communist momentum is stopped. At 15:30, a new & massive communist attack begins on the main gate. Lt.Col Costopoulos, an Army Officer who volunteered for the gendarmerie defence, orders the gendarmes to carry the 37mm gun before the main gate. Four volunteers (Lt Svarnias, Sergeant Koletses & the gendarmes Sverkos & Kanellopoulos), under heavy enemy fire, defy danger, reach the gun & carry it in front of the main gate. After a 30-minute salvo, the communist assault ends (18:00)
The Battle at the South Wall
At 20:00, about 100 black-berets, reach the southern wall. They notice a large gap on the wall & attempt to enter the camp through it. Their leader steps on a mine though & is killed. The explosion, alarms the knackered gendarmes, who respond with a deadly counter attack. 50 black-berets were killed. After a failed night assault, the communists are forced to cease the attack.
By December 18, the communist assault on Makriyannis camp, was over. By January 1945, Athens was safe.
Casualties: 12 Officers, 3 WO, 53 NCOs, 84 gendarmes KIA. Army Major Apostolos Dounes & Army 2nd Lt Stylianos Lekkas (both volunteers) were also killed. The exact communist figures are unknown
Col.Schinas (CO of the Gendarmerie Rgt in 1950), proudly displays the Rgt colours at a ceremony
GREEK CIVIL WAR: Chronological table
Night of 30-31 March, 1946:
33 communist guerillas under Ypsilantis enter the town of Litochoron (N.Greece) & attack the local Gendarmerie . In the short battle that followed the infiltration, 13 Gendarmes were killed. This was the first armed confrontation of the civil war
65 right-wing rebels killed in communist attack on their camp. Communist armed bands attack the Gendarmerie stations of 6 Thessalian villages.
July 5, 1946:
The first clash between the communists & the Army takes place in Kilkis, Macedonia: An armed guerilla band assaults an Infantry company stationed there. 40 soldiers enter the ranks of DSE (Greek Democratic Army).
Early August, 1946:
Communist assaults on various army units in N.Greece. At the town of Grevena, two Gendarmerie stations are hit simoutaneously.
30 August, 1946:
Armed communist bands attack a mechanized column moving from Athens to Larissa. At night of the same day, guerillas enter the city of Larissa & spread thousands of propaganda brochures.
Armed rebel bands attack & destroy an infantry company stationed at Kotyli (Greek-Yugoslav border). Three successful assaults on various army units follow. After the successful (for the communists) battle of Deskate, the entire Kastoria prefecture (N.W. Greece, Greek-Yugoslav border), is under the communist control. By October, the communists control the mountain area of Grammos-Vitsi.
26-30, September 1946:
The first serious attempt of the Greek armed forces to suppress the communist revolt. The attack against the Grammos complex is unsuccessful.
November 1946-February 1947:
28 rebel assaults on Gendarmerie stations & army units of Thessaly. Four counter-attacks are attempted by the army. The communists resist obstinate.
Epirus region: 7 rebel assaults on 16 villages & 12 Gendarmerie stations.
Peloponnese region: From 12-16 February, rebel bands attack on the government prison at Sparta. 176 communists face life enprisonment or death penalty, are liberated.
In May 1947, operation Terminous starts. The first serious confrontation between government & communist forces takes place in Epirus. The rebels resist.
December 23, 1947:
The communists form the Democratic Government of the mountain, a communist regim whose function was to administer the areas of Greece under the rebel control. Thus, Greece in 1947 has two governments.
December 24-January 5, 1948:
The battle of Konitsa begins. 3 infantry battalions & 5 gendarmerie battalions clash with 2 DSE brigades & 4 DSE battalions. 12,000 men & women on both sides fight for the control of the town of Konitsa (Greek-Albanian border). After a ferocious battle & under airforce raids, the communist forces withdraw the front. This marks the first serious victory of the government forces.
KKE central committe approves its general secretary (Nikos Zachariades) suggestion that .."from now on, our forces must leave behind the guerilla & infiltration tactics & fight the monarchofasistes (i.e. pro-monarchy fascists) in regular army tacticts.." . A serious debate starts between Zachariades & Markos Vaphiades (DSE general). Markos argues that ..."our troops are not well trained for frontal battles against tactical units.." . Finally Markos obeys. For many Greek historians, this marks the beginning of the end of the communist revolt in Greece.
February 6-7, 1948:
Rebel bands, attack on the Gendarmerie station at mount Parnes, 20 km/12 miles away from Athens. 9 gendarmes are killed, large quantities of rifles & supplies captured.
February 9-10, 1948:
Rebel bands under Nikos Triantaphyllou, infiltrate Salonika & clash with army & police units. Communist artillery shells the city. This is the first communist assault against a large city. A report issued by the A' Corps HQ describes: "The guns used (3 or 4) were German 75mm caliber. The rebels fired 40 shells, from a distance of approximately 3-3,5 Km/1.8-2 miles"
February 23, 1948:
A force of 200 communists infiltrates the town of Gythion, Mani (Peloponnese) & attacks on the government prison. 23 rebels are liberated. Dozens of gendarmes & prison guards are killed.
July 5th 1948, the battle of Chalandritsa (Peloponnese):
III DSE division & two independent brigades attack on a gendarmerie platoon operating in the area. The 618 infantry battalion arrives to aid the gendarmes. Both units were completely annihilated. Only 7 survived. The communist losses accounted for 3 dead, 7 wounded.
June 14, 1948-August 21, 1948, the first battle of Grammos, operation "Coronis/Crown":
6 army divisions (I, II, VIII, IX, XV) under lt.gen. Tsakalotos, clash with 8 DSE brigades (Democratic Youth Brigade, 107th, 14th, 16th, 102nd, 103rd, 105th, 123rd Brigades) under Markos, on Grammos. After 40 days of hand to hand combat, Markos does the unthinkable: He concentrates his forces & attacks on the center of the deployed government forces. Thus, a gap is created. The rebels advance through it, towards mount Vitsi & escape. Greek army suffered 6,740 casualties, the communists had 1,200 dead & wounded.
September 9-10, 1948:
The battle of Vitsi commences. One army division (XV) & three brigades (3rd, 22nd, 53rd) clash with 9,000 rebels. On september 10th, the rebels counter-attack on the government forces. The 22nd Infantry Brigade is cought by surprise & is literaly annihilated. 78 infantry men were arrested, tried & putbefore the firing squad. This is the biggest communist victory in the civil war.
August 28-September 16, 1948:
The battle of Mourgana (Epirus). One army division (VIII), one brigade (35th), one armored cavalry troop & four independent battalions attack on four DSE battalions. DSE withdraws the battlefield after having suffered huge losses.
December 5-January 30, 1949:
Operation "Dove/Peristera". The battle for Peloponnese.
One greek army division (IX), fourteen infantry battalions, three gendarmerie battalions, four commando squadrons, one armored cavalry regiment, one field artillery regiment, one mountain artillery section (approx. 40,000 men), commence a generalized attack on the rebel forces stationed in the entire Peloponnese region. By the end of January '49, the entire communist army in the Peloponnese is crashed. 3,500 rebels killed, 4,000 captured.
December 11-12, 1948:
The battle for the capture of Karditsa (a town of 40,000 in Thessaly). Two DSE divisions (I, II) & the DSE cavalry brigade, attack on the town of Karditsa. After inflicting huge losses on the local gendarmerie force, the communists withdrew with 3 artillery guns (war spoils).
December 15-30, 1948:
X DSE division (under Kapetan-Gousias) attacks on the towns of Veroea, Edessa & Aridaea in N.Greece. The division suffered many losses & withdrew to Vitsi.
January 11, 1949:
X DSE division, after regrouping & under new CO (Kapetan-Vlantas), attacks on the town of Naousa (N.Greece). After a 2-day fight & with minimum losses, the town was captured. The division withdrew two days later.
January 20-22, 1949:
The capture of the town of Karpenesion. Two DSE divisions (I,II), two independent battalions & two independent companies, attacked & after a 2-day battle, captured & held the mountain town of Karpenesion for 18 days. On January 29th , one Greek army division (XV), two commando squadrons (A',B') & the 39th infantry regiment, commence a counter-offensive to recapture the town. After a ferocious battle, the government forces retake Karpenesion, inflicting enormous losses on the rebels (one DSE battalion had all its men killed).
February 11-13, 1949:
The battle of Phlorina (N.Greece). Four DSE brigades (14th, 103rd, 18th, 107th), men of the DSE officers academy, three saboteur companies, & two tank-destroyer companies, attack on the government forces (II infantry division, Gendarmerie HQ & commando companies) stationed in the town of Phlorina. After a 2-day battle, the DSE forces withdrew the field leaving behind 713 dead. 350 rebels were captured. The government forces had 44 KIA, 284 wounded, 35 MIAs.
April 1-30, 1949:
The second battle of Grammos. DSE forces (16th, 108th, 103rd brigade), clash with three greek army divisions (VIII, IX, XVI) & two brigades (77th, 45th). After huge losses on both sides, the battle turns in favor of the communists.
May 1-June 21, 1949:
Operation "Rocket/Pyravlos". The battle for the control of central Greece.
Government forces (70,000 men) under lt.gen. Tsakalotos, commence a generalized attack on the rebel forces stationed in central Greece (two DSE divisions, DSE army academy brigade) under Koliyannis. The battle is victorious for the government forces. The CO of the II DSE division kapetan-Diamantes is killed. I DSE division, manages to escape & through the mountains of Olympus, Hasia, Pieria & Smolikas, reaches Grammos. On July 12, 1949 , KKE central committed announces that: ..."our democratic forces in central Greece, are no more.." . The last DSE forces now are gathered in the mountain area of Grammos-Vitsi.
OPERATION TORCH, THE FINAL BATTLE OF THE CIVIL WAR (August 2-30, 1949)
The Order of Battle:
-I, II, VIII, IX, X, XI, XV Infantry Divisions
-III Commando Division
-Two independent Infantry Brigades
-Fourteen light Infantry Regiments
-150 mountain & field artillery guns
-200 Tanks & Armored Vehicles
-100 Airplanes (51 Helldivers).
C-i-C of the Greek Army, was Marshal Alexandros Papagos
Head of the Operation, was Lieutenant General Thrasyvoulos Tsakalοtos, CO of the A'Corps
(CO of the III Greek Mountain Brigade in Italy)
-GREEK DEMOCRATIC ARMY (DSE)
-VIII Democratic Division-including the 107th Brigade , formed mostly by Yugoslav communist volunteers & women
-IX Democratic Brigade
-Independent Infantry Battalion
-Independent Engineers Battalion
C-i-C of the Democratic Army was General Markos Vaphiades or Markos
Political leader of DSE was KKE general secretary, Nikos Zachariades
On August 2, 1949, Operation TORCH/Pyrsοs commenced. By August 10 , A' Corps had started a generalized attack on the mountain area of Grammos-Vitsi with considerable air and artillery support (TORCH A, 2-8 August 1949). In spite of the overwhelming superiority of fire, the DSE held its positions grudgingly; On August 8th , elements of the A'Corps managed to step on the guerilla strongholds height 1425, "Tamburi", height 1356 . On August 10th , operation TORCH B' begins (10-16th August 1949). II, IX, X, XI, XV Infantry Divisions, III Commando Division, 22nd Infantry Brigade, 12th Light Infantry Rgt., six National-Guard Btns, supported by four field artillery rgts, three heavy artillery squadrons, four mountain artillery squadrons, II & IX Armored Cavalry rgts, XI Armored Troop, attack on the guerilla positions on mount Vitsi (Greek-Yugoslav border). At 06:30 the 22nd Infantry Brigade attacks on the Communist forces & by noon, manages to capture the communist strongholds height 1585 & "Polenata" . Immediately, XI Division & E' Commando Squadron follows & by the morning of the next day, the Communist forces on Vitsi are surrounded by the government forces. During the night, the entire III Commando Division, launches a surprise attack on the positions held by the Communist forces. A hand-to-hand combat begins. The communists resist. On August 14th , the DSE counter-attacked with modest success. But the heavy toll exacted by the supporting arms was decisive. By August 16 , the 7 or 10,000 defenders of Vitsi were pushed out of Greece into Albania . From August 19-22 , elements of the C Corps assaulted the 107th DSE brigade discovered in the mount Beles range. The Brigade's CO, Kapetan-Yannoules, was tried & executed on sight by his comrades, following his defeat
TORCH C began on August 24 . Four Greek Army divisions (I,VIII ,IX ,XV), 77th Indpendent Brigade, III Commando Division & four light infantry regiments (8th,15th, 24th & 40th), supported by 51 newly arrived Helldiver aircrafts, moved against the Grammos complex. Progress was slow but steady.
On the 27th of August , the Army seized Mount Grammos itself and DSE morale and resistance collapsed. Although the DSE continued to fight from several small pockets, by August 30 the Greek Army was firmly in control of Grammos-Vitsi. Almost 8,000 communist insurgents escaped into Albania. Zachariades attempted to rally them and keep their formations together, but to no avail. The Albanian government, viewing the DSE as the defeated army it was, began in September to disarm and detain any armed Greeks it found. On October 16, 1949 , the KKE announced that the DSE had agreed to "cease-fire" in order to prevent the complete annihilation of Greece. The Greek Civil War ended.
Greek Army had 16,753 men killed in the 3-year civil war, 4,527 MIAs (considered dead). The numbers regarding the civilian population that was deported due to the rebel assaults on the towns, the conscription by force & the executions were (according to official reports):
January 1947: 19,000
May 1947: 65,000
September 1947: 238,000
November 1947: 500,000
March 1948: 600,000
May 1949: 684,000
4,289 civilians executed by Communists.
DSE had 38,000 rebels killed. 5,000 were executed, both sides.
Great read. Not a topic I had much knowledge of. Surprising how long and intense this conflict was, especially given that it happened right after the close of WWII.
A sad period fro Greece I am afraid. Not only it costed much and forced many Greeks to migrate, it also held back its progress. The distrusts between the populace ended only after the fall of the military regime in 1975 (even though most hardcore leftists still accuse right wings and the opposite)
I have a close friend who is Greek by birth, his father emmigrated to the US when he was 8 years ond in 1979...they had absolutely nothing. Today his dad is a retired multi millionaire ...he had the skill of being a shoe repairman in Greece...he opend a small shoe business in NY shortly after arriving and turned it into a ten sore chain of delux high end shoes. Great people. Strong willed, very sharp minded and determined.
The similar thing happened in Yugoslavia (Serbia). We also had two anti-fascist arimes: NOVJ (communists) and JVuO (chetniks). But our civil war under the occupation was over in 1944. when communists win. After the war, Yugoslavia had supported general Markos in Greek civil war.
Yeah, one of the reasons for the communist defeat in Greece was the fact that KKE (Greek Communist Party) decided to side with the Soviet Union when USSR and Serbia went on different ways, resulting to the end of Serbian support to the guerillas.
Originally Posted by Labud
Personally, I had many relatives in both sides and it saddens me that many great men were persecuted afterwards, despite their great deeds against the Germans.
Alot of stuff i´ve never heard about, my cousins are greek but i never hear them talk about this event.
Greeks tend not to talk much about dark times of their history. Even in school books it's only little refered. Maybe because some of the key players still live.
Originally Posted by Superking
My grandfather's uncle was captain of an ELAS group in Eastern Crete and was forced to live Greece for years. Because of this relation my grandfather was denied several jobs in the army and the police (at first he wanted to be a pilot), even though he wasn't a communist himself. When I talk with him, he still feels very bitter about this.
Originally Posted by valtrex
On the other side of my family, my great-grandmother died out of heart-attack when ELAS guerillas broke in her house during the civil war, searching for her brother who was a right-wing and had killed several of their men during ELAS-EDES clashes during the occupation. My grandfather still hates the guts out of communists nowadays.
Vorian..how do you personally feel about that bitter history? MM
You will be shocked but even in the Rep. of Macedonia (Skopje to the Greeks) there was not much talk about it or what actually did happen in Greece.
Originally Posted by Vorian
The war should NOT have happend.
I have relatives that were refugees from Greece civil war and few of our teachers in school were from there mainly Kastoria and Florina. The Yugoslav government did not actually want the people to know how the Greek Civil war ended with Tito's stab in the back. USSR did not support the war it was Tito's own pet project.
Not until 10 years ago it was revealed that the Communist Serbs shot partisans that wanted to go and help in Greece in 1944.
Here is a very good source on the issues from a Greek web site:
If you can read to the end it makes very good points.
Also wiki (not always a accurate source but fairly accurate) has this to say:
Despite setbacks such as the fighting at Konitsa, during [*******#0000ff]1948[/COLOR] the DSE reached the height of its power, extending its operations to the Peloponnessus and even to [*******#0000ff]Attica[/COLOR], within 20 km of Athens. It had at least 20,000 fighters, and a network of sympathizers and informants in every village and every suburb. It has been estimated that out of DSE's 20,000 fighters, 14,000 were of [*******#0000ff]Slavic Macedonian[/COLOR] origin. Given their important role, KKE changed its policy on Greek Macedonia. At the fifth Plenum on January 31 1949, a resolution was passed claiming that [*******#0000ff]Macedonian people[/COLOR] are distinguishing themselves, and after KKE's victory they would find their national restoration as they wish. .....
and Tito's stab in the back.
After a year of increasing acrimony, Tito closed down the Yugoslavian border to the guerrillas of DSE in July of [*******#0000ff]1949[/COLOR] and disbanded their camps inside Yugoslavia. The DSE still could operate from Albania, but to the DSE that was a poor alternative. The split with Tito also set off a witch-hunt for "Tito-ites" inside the Greek Communist Party, leading to disorganisation and demoralisation within the ranks of the DSE and decline of support of the KKE in urban areas.
That has had its ripple effect even now so at the moment it is causing problems in the Balkans. So instead of Orthodox counties cooperating they are arguing while certain "other" countries are taking advantage of the situation.
IT IS SAD SAD that the Greek Civil war did occur due to International communist plans for the Balkans.
Personally I am glad the communists didn't win (we would be like all ex-communist countries now), but don't hold grudges. Both sides fought for their beliefs and both sides were supported by a foreign power, the communists were just sold off by Stalin and Tito.
Originally Posted by Mastermind
Nowadays I just get angry when a right-wing accuses communists of crimes or (most often), when left-wings do the same while ignoring their faults completely