Greek Civil War

Ashley Singer & Kate Chang

The Greek Civil war can be deemed a civil war because people from the same unified nation divide and fight against each other. Greece is divided into two sides; communists, those set on Greece having a communist government, and royalists, those who supported the Greek monarchy at the time. The two different opinions on government led to violence and bloodshed, a civil war.

Precursor Events

World War II

German troops occupied and controlled parts of the country. Greece held a main-line railway ran north from the Peloponnesus through Athens to Thessalonica, after which it branched to former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey. This rail line was an important means of supply for German forces in Crete and even North Africa during WWII. 550,000 Greeks were killed; the country lost “one in 14” of its population, compared to “1/77” in France and “1/125” in Britain. More than a third of the national wealth and over 400,000 homes were destroyed, as well as over half of the national roads system, 73% of the commercial navy, 66% of trucks, and 60% of large farm animals, and a large part of agricultural crops. Unemployment in the cities stood at 50% and inflation was rampant. It was estimated that Greece would need $3,172 million to reconstruct. Thus, Greece emerged from WWII in complete economic, social, and political disarray.

Political Tension

Politics played a main role in the relationship between the ELAS and EDES very early, and was precursor of what was to follow. Even if ELAS tended to be somewhat independent, preferring to defeat the Germans first and talk about politics later, a bitter confrontation developed between the EAM and EDES. Of course, with the time the Communists made sure that ELAS toed the party line more closely.

Communist Take Over

Previously, the Greek government was controlled by Dictator Ioannis Metaxas who ruled Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. After his death, Greece is left powerless. Greece establishes a monarchy with King George II. He is, by implication, overthrown in a communist uprising in 1944.

White Terror

Occurred during 1945 - 1946; the persecution of EAM-ELAS members prior to the civil war. Organization X, a right-wing force, unleashed a terrorist campaign not only against the communists, but also against communist sympathizers, socialists, and centrists. 84,931 leftists and centrists were arrested, 31,632 were subjected to physical torture and 1,299 were executed. A British Parliamentary investigating team warned that “Greece is rapidly becoming a fascist state.”