The Greek Civil War 1943-1949, Major Jeffrey Kotora, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, 16 Apr 1985

Author: Kotora, Jeffrey C., Major, USMC
Title: The Greek Civil War, 1943-1949
Date: April 26, 1985
Since the end of the Second World War, the frequency with which nations have fallen victim to communist insurgencies has not abated. Why have some nations been able to resist while others succumbed to wars of national liberation? The object of this paper is to examine one such conflict with a view towards analyzing the events of the war and the causative factors that made it a successful counterinsurgency.
This study of the Greek Civil War begins with a discussion of the roots of the conflict in the German occupation of Greece in 1941. Included in this discussion is the growth of the resistance and the rise of the Greek communists. The major portion of the paper deals with three separate stages, or «Rounds» of the civil war. The First Round occurred in late 1943 and was an attempt by the communists to eliminate rival resistance groups. The Second Round was precipitated by the overt attempt of the communists to seize control of Greece shortly after liberation by the Allies in late 1944.
The Third Round started in 1946 and saw the heaviest fighting, as the communists made one final attempt to seize power in Greece by means of conventional warfare. The final section of the paper offers some conclusions regarding the factors that caused the legitimate Greek Government to defeat the communists.
Because of the nature and the length of the Greek Civil War, this study is broad in scope and deals only with the most significant events. Previously printed materials were used as sources for this paper.


The Greek Civil War: from liberation to catastrophe

A far greater tragedy than the ancient Greek playwrights Euripides, Aeschylus or Sophocles could ever have written befell the Greek people between 1941 and 1949.

From the German Nazi occupation of Greece in April 1941 and the consequent food shortages which killed 300,000 people, to the valiant struggle by the resistance which led to the liberation of Greece, there were many twists and turns in the struggle.

During those years, what could easily have turned into a democratic socialist revolution became the antithesis — concentration camps full of partisans and the murder and decapitation of anti-Nazi fighters (their severed heads were stuck on tall poles to terrorise others out of resisting the Nazis).

In September 1941, the National Liberation Front (EAM) and its army, ELAS, were formed. They were led by the Stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE), but their memberships were much broader than the party.

While Greece’s bourgeois politicians fled into exile or collaborated with the Nazis, the communists stayed and fought. Συνέχεια

Civil War of Passion

ΝΕΚΡΟΙ ΑΠΟ ΚΟΜΜΟΥΝΙΣΤΕΣ 01During World War II, Greek partisan groups of opposing political extremes suppressed their differences to fight their common enemy. The end of German occupation unleashed a civil conflict of savage violence and brutality in which there would be few neutrals. by Barry M. Taylor

 Life did not change much in the villages of Greece. Although the Germans had invaded the country in 1941, the peasants seemed to go about their business undisturbed, the rhythms of the seasons passing as they had always done since the time of the gods of myth.

One morning in June of 1942, therefore, the villagers of Domnitsa, a hamlet about 185 miles from Athens, were startled to see a group of 15 heavily armed men suddenly appear. Their black-bearded leader gave a short speech. Συνέχεια

Greek Democratic Army Order of Battle

The Greek Democratic Army (GDA) was in a state of constant organizational change throughout the Greek civil war of 1945–1949. Moreover, units were frequently transferred from one region to another to meet strategic and tactical requirements. There was considerable cross-attachment, and units were frequently reassigned permanently from one major headquarters to another. The commanders changed over time as individuals became casualties, were dismissed, or rose in rank and responsibility. Συνέχεια