The Greek Civil War
Gabi Herrera, Kristina Olson, and
Stefan Seaberg
Background of Greece
• Greece was occupied by Nazis, along with Fascists, from
1941 to 1944
• The government of Greece was forced to flee to Egypt in exile
• This government was condemned and not recognized by the
U.S.S.R. and the National Liberation Front of Greece
• Germany set up a government with the cooperation of some
Greek collaborationists
• The National Liberation Front (EAM-ELAS) springs up as a
resistance movement, in response to the power vacuum that
was created when the occupation of Greece began
• EAM-ELAS grows in power, holding substantial amounts of
Nazi forces in the Greek countryside, with almost 100,000
armed fighters and guerilla warfare, constricting Nazi
control to major cities and towns
Background continued
• The Western Allies supported ELAS, by giving it supplies,
beginning in 1942
• The Western Allies began to stop funding ELAS as the
influence and power held by ELAS began to grow, and as
they no longer needed ELAS to help fight against the Axis
• The U.S.A. and Great Britain began to fund anti-communist
forces in the Mediterranean, but Great Britain withdrew
funding quickly, due to financial pressures, leaving U.S.
alone to fund anti-communists
• This led to the widespread U.S. foreign policy when
President Truman declared the Truman Doctrine, and the
Marshall Plan was created to give funding to any anticommunist forces
The outbreak of war
• In 1945, a peace treaty was signed, which demobilized ELAS,
and other groups of the sort, but the KKE remained legal.
• Nikos Zachariadis, leader of the Communist Party of Greece
(KKE), having spent time in the U.S.S.R. since the treaty,
began hostilities.
• In March of 1946, a group of people attacked a police
station, and were found to be former members of ELAS.
• KKE and DSE (Democratic Army of Greece) had to deploy
their fighters with little help from other countries, as the
U.S.S.R. only supported them politically, and gave no actual
funding or troops.
Nikos Zachariadis
"Long live our leader, N. Zachariadis"and "Long live the II
Congress of the NOF. Long live the national unification."
Peak of the Civil War
• Until 1947, the KKE and DSE use guerrilla tactics to render
the counter-attacks of the Army of Greece useless.
• In 1947, the KKE announces a Provisional Democratic
Government, with Markos Vafiadis, one of the leaders of the
KKE, as the Prime Minister.
• From this point on, the KKE generally abandons guerrilla
tactics, and begins to fight the full-scale war that gives the
Army of Greece a chance of victory.
• The new government, needing a city as it's seat, forced the
DSE to attempt to take the city of Konitsa. They failed
horribly at this, and lost many men.
• The DSE has the most power in 1948, numbering about
20,000 soldiers, but was still dwarfed by the near 100,000
that the Army of Greece had at it's power.
Communist Strongholds, 1946- 1947
The War, cont.
• During 1948, the DSE used it's 20,000 fighters to get within
15 miles of Athens.
• In 1948, the important III Division of the DSE is cut off from
ammunition, and it's 20,000 fighters were slaughtered by
80,000 soldiers of the National Army.
• In 1949, the DSE is cut off from crossing the Yugoslav
border, and using Yugoslavian territory to set up camps,
after Stalin broke off relations with President Tito of
Yugoslavia, and the DSE sided with Stalin.
• Alexander Papagos becomes the head of the National Army,
and launches a massive offensive against the DSE in
Northern Greece, taking if back and forcing the DSE to
retreat and declare a cease-fire, which ends the war.
DSE fighters during mortar training.
Greece's Own Conflict
• The conflict was Greece's struggle to institute a government
after World War II
• Many Greek civilians, and soldiers from both sides, died.
• The Civil War destroyed Greece's economy completely.
• The two partisan sides were divided for many years
• Greece's politics were incredibly unstable for years
afterward, and a military coup imposed a military
government in 1967, with the government lasting until 1974.
• Greece almost became a united socialist state, which would
have banded with the rest of the Eastern European socialist
Greece and the Cold War
• After World War II, Western nations such as the U.S. and
Great Britain desired to keep Communism from spreading
throughout Europe.
• Great Britain sent 40,000 troops and financial aid into Greece
to aid the nationalist government, but as Great Britain itself
was experiencing financial struggles, it declared on February
21st, 1947 that it would no longer send any aid into the
country after March 31st of the same year.
• President Truman felt that Greece's political turmoil could
not be ignored after Great Britain's withdrawal, and on March
12th he called upon Congress to aid in preventing Greece from
becoming an official Communist state.
• He asked for $400,000,000 to aid Greece and Turkey.
Truman Doctrine
• In his speech that would become known as the Truman
Doctrine, he stated,
I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples
who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside
I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in
their own way.
I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid
which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes....
In addition to funds, I ask the Congress to authorize the detail of American
civilian and military personnel to Greece and Turkey, at the request of those
countries, to assist in the tasks of reconstruction and for the purpose of
supervising the use of such financial and material assistance as may be
furnished, I recommend that authority also be provided for the instruction and
training of selected Greek and Turkish personnel....
End of the War 1949
• Greece was left in dismay after the war, and people were left
• People were left in prisons, or sent to exile on islands of
Gyaros and Makronisos
• Greek politics were unstable, leftist and right political
parties were most separated, when assassinations happened
within both parties
• After the collapse of the government, and the end of the
monarch, KKE was legalized and a new constitution was
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the Modern World (9th Edition). New York: Knopf, 2002.
• "Greek Civil War." - Reliable Security
Information. 22 Mar. 2009
• Lafeber, Walter. America, Russia, and the Cold War, 19452002, Updated: Updated. New York City: McGraw-Hill
Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2002.
• Nachmani, Amikam. International Intervention in the Greek
Civil War: The United Nations Special Committee on the
Balkans, 1947-1952. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1990.

International Intervention in the Greek Civil War