HISTORY: THE RESISTANCE AND THE CIVIL WAR
According to relationshipsplus, the country fell into a very serious famine and immediately the first resistance organizations were formed (EAM – which organized its own army, ELAS -, EDES, EKKA). Armed resistance is conventionally started from 25 November 1942, when English sappers, protected by Greek partisans, sabotaged the Gorgopòtamos viaduct. Resistance in Greece, from the end of 1942, spread like wildfire: entire areas of the country were liberated. The puppet government organized the Security Battalions, sadly known for their merciless hunt for patriots (assisted in this by the “X” bands of G. Grivas). In 1943 (the year of resistance victories and terrible reprisals) the prestige of the EAM became such that at the end of July the Partisans’ Headquarters was established (3 seats at ELAS, 1 at EDES, 1 at EKKA, 1 to the British Military Mission). After the withdrawal of the Italians from the war (8 September 1943), the conditions were created for a real provisional government, the Government of the Mountain (or PEEA), established on 10 March 1944 and chaired by the socialist A. Svolos. Negotiations with the government in exile, chaired by G. Papandréu, intensified, and, despite the disagreements on the institutional question (the problem of the monarchy), the formation of a government of national unity was agreed, with the participation of the EAM. The Anglo-Soviet agreements of May 1944 on “areas of influence” meanwhile gave Britain a free hand in Greece. On October 18, the government of national unity chaired by Papandréu landed in Athens and tensions and conflicts intensified: already in November the representatives of the EAM resigned, in protest against the policy inspired by the British whose first objective seemed to be the disarmament of the ‘ELAS. The clashes between police and demonstrators multiplied until, after a month of clashes between ELAS and royalist and British troops in Athens, the Vàrkiza Agreement (February 1945) was reached which envisaged between another was the creation of minimum conditions for calling elections, the organization of a referendum to decide the fate of the monarchy and the total disarmament of ELAS. Tensions and clashes began almost immediately, the elections of March 31 took place without the participation of the EAM which had asked for the postponement (Great Britain and the USA had opposed): the victory of the monarchical concentration was therefore easy and obvious; the anticipation of the referendum and its transformation into a plebiscite for and against the person of the king brought George II back to Greece. Many former partisans went into hiding and thus led to the civil war. A “hot” spot in a “cold war” climate, Greece, according to the doctrine of EAM which had asked for the postponement (Great Britain and the USA had opposed): the victory of the monarchical concentration was therefore easy and obvious; the anticipation of the referendum and its transformation into a plebiscite for and against the person of the king brought George II back to Greece. Many former partisans went into hiding and thus led to the civil war. A “hot” spot in a “cold war” climate, Greece, according to the doctrine of Truman, passed from English to American influence. The civil war, which cost the country more than half a million deaths, ended at the end of 1949.
HISTORY: FROM THE POSTWAR PERIOD TO THE MILITARY DICTATORSHIP
Greece emerged from the war period destroyed and bled and more than ever subject to external control. Political instability continued until 1954, with alternate governments of S. Venizèlos, N. Plastiras (under which the new Constitution was issued in 1952, and Greece joined NATO) and A. Papàgos. On the death of the latter, King Paul (who succeeded his brother in 1947) appointed K. Karamanlís as prime minister, who was acceptable to the USA. He founded the National Radial Union (ERE), a new party with which he remained in government (with methods that were not always clear) for three terms. In those years (1954-63) Greece was troubled by the problem of Cyprus, in revolt against the British, and by the economic problem: the association with the MEC (1962) did not bring all the hoped-for benefits. The internal situation saw the reorganization of the left in the EDA (in which the members of the officially outlawed Communist Party had converged) and of a center coalition that brought together the members of the Liberal Party led by S. Venizèlos and G. Papandréu. The assassination of leftist deputy G. Lambrákis (1963), for which the responsibility of sectors of the army and the police was shown, and the firm popular reaction cost Karamanlìs the government and exile in Paris. New elections gave a majority to the Central Union, also appreciated by the USA, Greece’s greatest ally, which after an initial favor towards the ERE, now feared that the excessive authoritarianism of Karamanlís would exacerbate the alternative between right and left. G. Papandréu formed a first government which was followed by the overwhelming success in the 1964 elections (53% of the votes). But suddenly on July 15, 1965, King Constantine (who succeeded his father in March 1964) took away trust in the Papandréu government, thus opening the most dangerous crisis in all of Greek history. During the period of government instability that followed, extremist groups intensified a web of provocations to fuel the strategy of tension, taking advantage of popular ferment. On the eve of the elections (which promised an overwhelming majority to the Union of the Center), a junta of colonels imposed a military dictatorship on Greece (April 21, 1967). After an initial wait-and-see attitude, the young king attempted (December 1967) a “counter-strike” which, unsuccessful, led to the escape of the royal family (which settled in Rome) and a massive purge of the Armed Forces. To General G. Zoitakís in the regency (1972) the prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, of defense, of the presidency, as well as head of the junta, G. Papadópulos, who received economic and military aid from the USA. In 1973, Papadópulos responded to an attempted monarchical coup d’état by the navy with the proclamation of the Republic (1 June) of which he himself became president. Meanwhile, the country’s economic situation was deteriorating and discontent grew in all social strata. When the Kippūr War broke out, Papadópulos banned Americans from using Greek air bases to help Israel, US support also waned and a military putsch ousted the colonel-president (November 25). The general came to power F. Ghizikis, joined by the police chief D. Ioannidis. But not even the “regime of generals” proved capable of resolving the situation in the country.