- Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War Part of the Cold War
Map of Balkans should be current
Date March 1946–October 1949 Location Greece Result National Army victory Belligerents National Army
United States (after 1947)
Democratic Army of Greece (1946–49)
Commanders and leaders Alexander Papagos,
Strength max. 232,500 all arms max. 26,000 men and women (mid-1948)
Total: c.100,000 men and women served, of whom:
130-150 Cham Albanians
Casualties and losses Hellenic Army, Navy and Air Force, from August 16, 1945 to December 22, 1951:
Hellenic Gendarmerie, from December 1, 1944 to December 27, 1951:
Hellenic Army claim:
1,000,000 people were relocated temporarily during the war
The Greek Civil War (Greek: ο Eμφύλιος [Πόλεμος], "the Civil War") was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece (ΔΣΕ) (Greek initials DSE), the military branch of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania. It was the result of a highly polarized struggle between leftists and rightists which started in 1943 and targeted the power vacuum that the German-Italian occupation during World War II had created. One of the first conflicts of the Cold War, according to some analysts it represents the first example of postwar British and American interference in the internal politics of a foreign country.
The first signs of the civil war occurred in 1942–1944, during the Occupation. With the Greek government in exile unable to influence the situation at home, various resistance groups of differing political affiliations emerged, the dominant one being the leftist National Liberation Front (EAM), controlled effectively by the KKE. Starting in autumn 1943, friction among EAM and the other resistance groups resulted in scattered clashes, which continued until the spring of 1944, when an agreement was reached forming a national unity government which included six EAM-affiliated ministers.
The prelude of the civil war occurred in December 1944, after the country had been liberated. EAM and the combined government and British forces fought a bloody battle in Athens after a Greek police officer ordered his men to fire on a demonstration, which had been organized by EAM in opposition to an order by the government requiring it to disarm and engage in civil politics. The result was the defeat of EAM forces. The defeat of EAM forces spelled the end of its ascendancy: ELAS (the military arm of EAM) was partly disarmed, while EAM continued its political action as a multi-party organization. Tensions remained high however, as clashes between right and left-wing factions continued.
The civil war erupted in 1946 when forces of former ELAS partizans that found shelter in their hideouts and were controlled by the KKE, organized the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) and its High Command HQ. KKE backed up the whole endeavor, deciding that there are no more political means to use against the right wing that had an international recognition of their government formed after the 1946 elections (boycotted by KKE). The Communists formed the Provisional Government and used DSE as the military branch of this government. The neighboring Socialist States of Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria offered logistic support to the Provisional Government - especially in the forces operating in the North.
Despite initial failures by the government forces from 1946 until 1948, increased American aid, lack of high numbers of recruits to the ranks of DSE and the side-effects of the Tito–Stalin split, led to victory for the government forces.
The final victory of the Western-supported government forces led to Greece's membership in NATO, and helped to define the ideological balance of power in the Aegean for the entire Cold War. The civil war also left Greece with a vehemently anti-communist security establishment, which would lead to the establishment of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, and a legacy of political polarization which lasted until the 1980s.
- 1 Background: 1941-44
- 2 Confrontation: 1944
- 3 Interlude: 1945-1946
- 4 Civil War: 1946-1949
- 5 Post-war division and reconciliation
- 6 Representation in culture
- 7 List of abbreviations
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 External links
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The origins of the civil war lie in the divisions created during WWII over which side to support, as well as the occupation of Greece by Nazi Germany, Bulgaria and Italy from April 1941 to late October 1944. While Axis forces approached Athens in April 1941 King George II and his government escaped to Egypt, where they proclaimed a government-in-exile, recognised by the Western Allies, but not by the Soviet Union. The Western Allies (Winston Churchill in particular) encouraged, and even coerced, the King to appoint a moderate cabinet.
As a result, only two of his ministers were previous members of the 4th of August dictatorship under Ioannis Metaxas, which with the blessings of the King himself had seized power with a coup d'état and governed the country since August 1936. Nevertheless, the exiled government's inability to influence the affairs inside Greece rendered it irrelevant in the minds of most Greek people. At the same time, the Germans set up a collaborationist government in Athens, which lacked legitimacy and support. The puppet regime was further undermined when economic mismanagement in wartime conditions created runaway inflation, acute food shortages and even famine amongst the civilian population.
The power vacuum that the occupation created was filled by several resistance movements that ranged from pro-Royalist to Communist ideologies. Resistance was born first in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where Bulgarian troops occupied Greek territories. Soon large demonstrations were organized in many cities by the Defenders of Northern Greece (YVE), a patriotic organization. But the largest group to emerge was the National Liberation Front (EAM), founded on 27 September 1941 by representatives of four left-wing parties. Proclaiming that it followed the Soviet policy of creating a broad united front against fascism, EAM, as it became known in Greek, won the support of many non-communist patriots. These resistance groups launched attacks against the occupying powers and set up large espionage networks. But the communist leaders of EAM planned that it would dominate in the post-war Greece, so, usually by force, they tried to take up or destroy the other resistance-groups in Greece (like the destruction of EKKA, and the murder of its leader Dimitrios Psarros by communists partisans. When liberation came in October 1944, Greece was in a state of crisis, which soon led to the outbreak of civil war.
It soon became the largest mass organization in Greek history, numbering nearly 2,000,000 in 1944. Although controlled by the KKE, the organization had a modest democratic republican rhetoric. Its military wing, the Greek People's Liberation Army, or ELAS, was founded in February 1942. Aris Velouchiotis, a member of KKE's Central Committee, was nominated Chief (Kapetanios) of the ELAS High Command. The military chief, Stefanos Sarafis, was a colonel in the pre-war Greek Army who had been dismissed during the Metaxas regime due to his democratic views. The political chief of EAM was Vasilis Samariniotis (nom de guerre of Andreas Tzimas).
The Organization for the Protection of the People's Struggle (OPLA) was founded as EAM's security militia, operating mainly in the occupied cities and most particularly Athens. Furthermore, a small Greek People's Liberation Navy (ELAN) existed, operating mostly around the Ionian Islands and some other coastal areas. Other communist-aligned organizations were present, including the NOF, comprised mostly by Slavic Macedonians in the Florina region. They would later play a critical role in the civil war. The two other large resistance movements were the National Republican Greek League (EDES), led by republican former army officer Colonel Napoleon Zervas, and the social-liberal National and Social Liberation (EKKA), led by Colonel Dimitrios Psarros.
The Greek landscape was favourable to guerilla operations, and by 1943 the Axis forces and their collaborators were in control only of the main towns and connecting roads, leaving the mountainous countryside to the resistance. EAM-ELAS in particular controlled most of the country's mountainous interior, while EDES was limited to Epirus and EKKA to eastern Central Greece. By early 1944, ELAS could call on nearly 25,000 men under arms, with another 80,000 working as reserves or logistical support, EDES roughly 10,000 men, and EKKA under 10,000 men.
To combat the rising influence of the EAM, and fearful of an eventual takeover after the German defeat, in 1943, Ioannis Rallis, the conservative Prime Minister of the collaborationist government, authorized the creation of paramilitary forces, known as the Security Battalions. Numbering 20,000 men at their peak in 1944, composed mostly of local fascists, convicts, and sympathetic prisoners of war, as well as forcibly conscripted soldiers, they operated under German command in anti-partisan operations, and soon achieved a reputation for brutality.
EAM-ELAS, EDES and EKKA were mutually suspicious, and tensions were exacerbated as the end of the war became nearer, and the question of the country's political future arose. The role of the British military mission in these events proved decisive. To EAM, London's preferences were clear: although EAM was by far the largest and most active group, due to their persistence to achieve their own political goals (not always with actions against axis' powers) in order to dominate on post-war Greece, British material support was directed mostly to the more reliable Zervas, who by 1943 had reversed his earlier anti-monarchist stance.
The first conflicts: 1942-1944
The Western Allies at first provided all resistance organizations with funds and equipment, giving special preference to ELAS, whom they saw as the most reliable partner and a formidable fighting force that would be able to create more problems for the Axis than other resistance movements. However, as the end of the war approached, the British Foreign Office, fearing a possible communist upsurge, observed with displeasure the transformation of ELAS into a large-scale conventional army more and more out of Allied control. After the September 8, 1943 Armistice with Italy, ELAS seized control of Italian garrison weapons in Greece. In response, the Western Allies began to favor rival anti-communist resistance groups. They provided them with ammunition, supplies and logistical support as a way of balancing ELAS’s increasing influence. In time, the flow of weapons and funds to ELAS stopped altogether, with rival EDES enjoying the bulk of the Allied support.
In mid-1943, the animosity between EAM-ELAS and the other movements took the form of an armed conflict. The communists and EAM accused EDES of being traitors and collaborators, and vice versa. Other smaller groups, such as EKKA, continued the anti-occupation fight with sabotage and other actions. They declined to join the ranks of ELAS, and were systematically murdered by the Communists. While few organizations did accept assistance from the Nazis in their operations against EAM-ELAS, the great majority of the population refused any form of cooperation with the occupation authorities.
By early 1944, after a British-negotiated ceasefire (the Plaka Agreement), EAM-ELAS had destroyed EKKA and confined EDES to a small part of Epirus, where it could only play a marginal role in the rest of the war. Their political network (EAM) had reached about 500,000 citizens around the country. By 1944, the numbers of the armed forces favored ELAS, having more than 50,000 men in arms and an extra 500,000 working as reserves or logistic support personnel (Efedrikos ELAS). In contrast, EDES had around 10,000 fighters and EKKA around 10,000 men.
As the communist position strengthened, so did the numbers of the Security Battalions, with both sides engaged in several skirmishes. The ELAS units were accused of the Meligalas massacre. Meligalas was the headquarters of a local Security Battalion Unit that was given the control of the wider area of Messenia by the Nazis, After a battle there between ELAS and the security battalions, ELAS forces prevailed and the remaining forces of the collaborators were taken into custody (according to several references). In the later years, the post-civil war governments declared that 10,500 members of the collaborationist units were massacred along with civilians by the communists, number that never met the real bodies found in the mass grave (an old well in the area) . According to left-wing sources, civilian bodies found there could have been victims of the Security Battalions. As Security Battalions were replacing occupation forces in territories that Germans could not enter, they were accused of numerous instances of brutality against civilians and captured partisans, as well as the executions of prominent EAM and KKE members by hanging.
In addition, recruiting by both sides was controversial, as the case of Stefanos Sarafis indicates. The soon-to-be military leader of ELAS sought to join the non-communist resistance group commanded by Kostopoulos in Thessaly, along with other former officers. On their way, they were captured by an ELAS group, with Sarafis agreeing to join ELAS at gunpoint when all other officers who refused were killed. Sarafis never admitted this incident, and in his book on ELAS makes special reference to the letter he sent all officers of the former Greek Army to join the ranks of EAM-ELAS. Again, numbers favoured the EAM organization; Nearly 800 officers of the pre-war Greek Army joined the ranks of ELAS with the position of military leader and Kapetanios.
Egypt "mutiny" and the Lebanon conference
In March 1944, EAM established the Political Committee of National Liberation (Politiki Epitropi Ethnikis Apeleftherosis, or PEEA), in effect a third Greek government to rival those in Athens and Cairo. "to intensify the struggle against the conquerors... for full national liberation, for the consolidation of the independence and integrity of our country... and for the annihilation of domestic Fascism and armed traitor formations." PEEA consisted not only of communists but also of progressives, who had nothing to do with communist ideas.
The moderate aims of the PEEA (known as "κυβέρνηση του βουνού", "the Mountain Government") aroused support even among Greeks in exile. In April 1944 the Greek armed forces in Egypt, many of them well-disposed towards EAM, demanded that a Government of National Unity be established, based on PEEA principles, and replace the government-in-exile as it had no political or other link with the occupied home country. The movement was suppressed by British forces and Greek forces loyal to the exiled government. Later on, through political screening of the officers, the Cairo government created the III Greek Mountain Brigade, composed of staunchly anti-Communist personnel, under the command of Brigadier Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos.
In May 1944, representatives from all political parties and resistance groups came together at a conference in Lebanon, seeking an agreement about a government of national unity. Despite EAM's accusations of collaboration made against all other Greek forces, and charges against EAM-ELAS members of murders, banditry and thievery, the conference ended with an agreement for a government of national unity consisting of 24 ministers (6 of whom were EAM members). The agreement was made possible by Soviet directives to KKE to avoid harming Allied unity, but did not resolve the problem of disarmament of resistance groups.
From the Lebanon conference to the outbreak
By the summer of 1944, it was obvious that the Germans would soon withdraw from Greece, as the armed forces of the Soviet Union were advancing into Romania and towards Yugoslavia, and the Germans risked being cut off. In September, General Tolbukhin's armies advanced into Bulgaria, forcing the resignation of the country's pro-Nazi government and the establishment of a pro-communist regime, while Bulgarian troops withdrew from Greek Macedonia. The government-in-exile, now led by prominent liberal George Papandreou, moved to Caserta, Italy, in preparation for its return to Greece. Under the Caserta Agreement of September 1944, all resistance forces in Greece were placed under the command of a British officer, General Ronald Scobie.
The Western Allies arrived in Greece in October, by which time the Germans were in full retreat and most of Greece's territory had already been liberated by Greek partisans. On October 13, British troops entered Athens, the only area still occupied by the Germans, and Papandreou and his ministers followed six days later. The King stayed in Cairo, because Papandreou had promised that the future of the monarchy would be decided by referendum.
At this point there was little to prevent ELAS from taking full control of the country. With the German withdrawal, ELAS units had taken control not only of the countryside but of most cities as well. However, they did not take full control because the KKE leadership was instructed by the Soviet Union not to precipitate a crisis that could jeopardize Allied unity and put Stalin's larger post-war objectives at risk. KKE’s leadership knew this, but ELAS's fighters and rank-and-file communists did not, which became a source of conflict within both EAM and ELAS.
Following Stalin's instructions, KKE’s leadership tried to avoid a confrontation with the Papandreou government. The majority of ELAS members saw the Western Allies as liberators, although some KKE leaders, such as Andreas Tzimas and Aris Velouchiotis, did not trust them. Tzimas was in touch with the Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz Tito, and he disagreed with ELAS's co-operation with the Western Allied forces.
The issue of disarming the resistance organizations was a cause of friction between the Papandreou government and its EAM members. Advised by the British ambassador Reginald Leeper, Papandreou demanded the disarmament of all armed forces apart from the Sacred Band and the III Mountain Brigade, which were formed following the suppression of the April 1944 Egypt Mutiny, and the constitution of a National Guard under government control. EAM, believing that this would leave ELAS defenseless against right-wing militias, submitted an alternative plan of total and simultaneous disarmament. Papandreou rejected this plan, causing EAM ministers to resign from the government on December 2. On December 1, Scobie issued a proclamation calling for the dissolution of ELAS. Command of ELAS was KKE's greatest source of strength, and the KKE leader Siantos decided that the demand for ELAS's dissolution must be resisted.
Tito's influence may have played some role in ELAS's resistance to disarmament. Tito was outwardly loyal to Stalin but had come to power through his own forces and believed that the Communist Greeks should do the same. His influence, however, had not prevented the EAM leadership from putting its forces under Scobie's command a couple of months earlier, in accordance with to the Caserta Agreement.
In the meanwhile, following Grivas' instructions, Organization X members had set up many outposts in central Athens and resisted EAM for several days, until British troops arrived, as their leader had been promised.
On December 1, 1944, General Scobie (the British head of the Allied forces in Greece at that time) officially announced an ultimatum for the general disarmament of all guerrilla forces by 10 December, excluding those allied to the government (the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade and the Sacred Squadron). As a result, six ministers of the EAM, most of whom were KKE members, resigned from their positions in the "National Unity" government, and a demonstration was organized by EAM on December 3. According to an account of a person participating in the shootings, that day the police, covered by British troops, had been ordered to open fire on the crowd. The shootings began when the marchers had arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, originating from the side of the building of the General Police Headquarters, across from the Grande Bretagne hotel (where international observers had settled), the hotel itself, the Parliament (Βουλή) and from other governmental buildings. The British commander Woodhouse suggests it is uncertain whether the first shots were fired by the police or the demonstrators. More than 28 demonstrators were killed 148 were injured. This signaled the beginning of the "Dekemvriana" (Greek: Δεκεμβριανά, "the December events"), a 37-day period of full-scale fighting in Athens between EAM fighters and smaller parts of ELAS, and the forces of the British Army and the government.
At the beginning, the government had only a few policemen and gendarmes, some militia units, the 3rd Mountain Brigade distinguished at the Gothic Line offensive in Italy, which, however, lacked heavy weapons, and the royalist group X, also known as 'Chítes' (Χίτες), which was accused by EAM of collaborating with the Nazis. Consequently the British intervened in support of the government, freely using artillery and aircraft as the battle approached its last stages. On December 4 Papandreou gave his resignation to the British Commander, General Scobie, who rejected it. By December 12 ΕΑΜ was in control of most of Athens and Piraeus. The British, outnumbered, flew in the 4th Indian Infantry Division from Italy as emergency reinforcements. Although the British were openly fighting against EAM in Athens, there were no such battles in the rest of Greece. In certain cases, such as Volos, some RAF units even surrendered equipment to ELAS fighters.
Conflicts continued throughout December with the forces confronting EAM slowly gaining the upper hand. Curiously, ELAS forces in the rest of Greece did not attack the British. It seems that ELAS preferred to avoid an armed confrontation with the British forces initially and later tried to reduce the conflict as much as possible, although poor communication between its much independent units around the country might also have played a role. This might explain the simultaneous struggle against the British, the large-scale ELAS operations against Trotskyists and other political dissidents in Athens, and the many contradictory decisions of EAM leaders. Videlicet, KKE's leadership, was supporting a doctrine of "national unity" while eminent members, such as Stringos, Makridis and even Georgios Siantos, were creating revolutionary plans. Even more curiously, Tito was both the KKE's key sponsor and a key British ally, owing his physical and political survival in 1944 to British assistance.
This outbreak of fighting between Allied forces and an anti-German European resistance movement, while the war in Europe was still being fought, was a serious political problem for Churchill's coalition government of left and right, and caused much protest in the British press and the House of Commons. To prove his peace-making intentions to the public, Churchill himself arrived in Athens on December 25 and presided over a conference, in which Soviet representatives also participated, to bring about a settlement. It failed because the EAM/ELAS demands were considered excessive and, thus, rejected.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union remained passive about developments in Greece. True to their "percentages agreement" with Britain relating to Greece, the Soviet delegation in Greece did not encourage or discourage EAM's ambitions, as Greece belonged to the British sphere of influence. The delegation's chief gained the nickname "sphinx" among the local communist officers for not giving any clues about Soviet intentions. Pravda did not mention the clashes at all. It appears that Stalin didn't intend to avert the Dekemvriana, as he would profit no matter the outcome. If EAM rose to power, he would gain a country of major strategic value. If not, he could use British actions in Greece to justify similar actions in countries in his own sphere of influence.
By early January, EAM forces had lost the battle. As a result of Churchill's intervention, Papandreou resigned and was replaced by General Nikolaos Plastiras. On January 15, 1945, Scobie agreed to a ceasefire in exchange for ELAS' withdrawal from its positions at Patras and Thessaloniki, and its demobilization in the Peloponnese. Despite this severe defeat, ELAS continued to exist and the KKE had an opportunity to reconsider its strategy.
KKE's defeat in 1945 was mainly political but the exaltation of terrorism on the communist side made a political settlement even more difficult. The hunting of "collaborators" was extended to people who had not been involved in collaboration, but they were supporting the Greek government.. It is remarkable the cruelty that OPLA and some other communist groups showed against their opponents (including politicians, policemen, professors, priests etc), while they were killing them; something that increased the anti-communist fury on the other side. Also, several trotskyists had to leave the country in fear for their lives (Cornelius Castoriadis fled to France). As a result of the fighting in Athens, most of the prominent non-communists of EAM left the organization and KKE support declined sharply.
In February 1945, the various Greek parties signed the Treaty of Varkiza, with the support of all the Allies. This provided for the complete demobilization of ELAS and all other paramilitary groups, amnesty for only political offenses, a referendum on the monarchy, and a general election to be held as soon as possible. The KKE remained legal, and its leader Nikolaos Zachariadis, who returned from Germany in April 1945, said that the KKE's objective was now for a "people's democracy" to be achieved by peaceful means. This objective had dissenters, of course, such as former ELAS leader Aris Velouchiotis. The KKE renounced Velouchiotis when he called on the veteran guerrillas to start a second struggle; shortly afterwards, he committed suicide, surrounded by the security forces.
The Treaty of Varkiza transformed the KKE's political defeat into a military one. ELAS's existence was terminated. The amnesty was not comprehensive, because many actions during the German occupation and Dekemvriana were classified as criminal, exempting them from the amnesty. Thus, the authorities captured approximately 40,000 communists or ex-ELAS members. As a result, a number of veteran partisans hid their weapons in the mountains, and 5,000 of them escaped to Yugoslavia, although the KKE leadership did not encourage this.
Between 1945–1946, right-wing gangs killed about 1,190 pro-communist civilians and tortured many others. Entire villages that had helped the partisans were attacked by the gangs. According to right-wing citizens, these gangs were "retaliating" for their suffering during the ELAS reign. The reign of "White Terror" led many persecuted ex-ELAS members to form self-defense troops, without any KKE approval.
KKE soon reversed its former political position, as relations between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies deteriorated. With the onset of the Cold War, communist parties everywhere moved to more militant positions. This change of political attitude, and the choice to escalate the crisis, derived primarily from the conclusion that regime subversion, which had not been successful in December 1944, could now be achieved. The KKE leadership decided in February 1946, "after weighing domestic factors, and the Balkan and international situation", to go forward with "organization of a new armed struggle against the Monarcho-Fascist regime." The KKE boycotted the March 1946 elections, which were won by the monarchist United Patriotic Party (Inomeni Parataxis Ethnikofronon), the main member of which was Konstantinos Tsaldaris' People's Party. In September, a referendum favored the retention of the monarchy, though the KKE disputed the results, and King George returned to Athens.
The King's return to Greece reinforced British influence in the country. Nigel Clive, then a liaison officer to the Greek Government and later the head of the Athens station of MI6, stated that "Greece was a kind of British protectorate, but the British ambassador was not a colonial governor." There were to be six changes of prime ministers within just two years, an indication of the instability that would characterize the country's political life over that period.
Civil War: 1946-1949
The crest: 1946-1948
Fighting resumed in March 1946, as a gang of 30 ex-ELAS members, most of whom were persecuted, attacked a police station in the village of Litochoro. The next day, the official KKE paper’s coversheet announced, "Authorities and gangs fabricate alleged communist attacks". Contemporaneously, armed bands of ELAS veterans infiltrated Greece through mountainous regions near the Yugoslav and Albanian borders; they were now organized as the Democratic Army of Greece (Dimokratikos Stratos Elladas, DSE), under the command of the ELAS veteran Markos Vafiadis (known as "General Markos"), operating from a base in Yugoslavia and sent by the KKE to organize already existing troops.
Both the Yugoslav and Albanian communist states supported the DSE fighters, but the Soviet Union remained ambivalent. The KKE kept an open line of communication with the Soviet Communist Party, and its leader Nikos Zachariadis had visited Moscow on more than one occasion. The Soviet Union was backing the Greek communist struggle politically, as demonstrated in several assemblies of the UN Security Council, but was determined not to interfere further in the Greek Civil War. Certain western historians believe it was not part of Stalin's strategy to conduct a war against the Western Allies in Greece, and the Soviets gave little direct support to the KKE campaign.
By late 1946 the DSE was able to deploy about 16,000 partisans, including 5,000 in the Peloponnese and other areas of Greece. According to the DSE, its fighters "resisted the reign of terror that right wing gangs conducted across Greece". In the Peloponnese especially, local party officials, headed by Vangelis Rogakos, had established a plan long before the decision to go to guerrilla war, under which the numbers of partisans operating in the mainland would be inversely proportional to the number of soldiers the enemy would concentrate in the region. According to this study, the DSE III division in the Peloponnese numbered between 1,000 and 5,000 fighters in early 1948.
Rural peasants were caught in the crossfire. When DSE partisans entered a village asking for supplies, citizens were either supportive (years previously, EAM could count on 2 million members across the whole country) or could not resist. When the national army arrived at the same village, citizens who had supplied the partisans were immediately denounced as communist sympathizers, and were usually imprisoned or exiled. Rural areas also suffered as a result of tactics dictated to the National Army by US advisers; as admitted by high-ranking CIA officials in the documentary "NAM: the true story of Vietnam", a very efficient strategy applied during the Greek Civil War, as well as in the Vietnam and Korean wars, was the evacuation of villages under the pretext that they were under direct threat of communist attack. This would deprive supplies and recruits to the partisans, while simultaneously raising antipathy towards them.
The Greek Army now numbered about 90,000 men, and was gradually being put on a more professional footing. The task of re-equipping and training the Army had been carried out by its fellow Western Allies. By early 1947, however, Britain, which had spent 85 million pounds in Greece since 1944, could no longer afford this burden; President Harry S. Truman announced that the United States would step in to support the government of Greece against communist pressure. This began a long and troubled relationship between Greece and the United States. For several decades to come, the US Ambassador advised the King on important issues, such as the appointment of the Prime Minister.
Through 1947 the scale of fighting increased; the DSE launched large-scale attacks on towns across northern Epirus, Thessaly, Peloponnese and Macedonia, provoking the Army into massive counter-offensives, themselves meeting no opposition as the DSE melted back into the mountains and its safe havens across the northern borders. In the Peloponnese, where General Georgios Stanotas was appointed area commander, the DSE suffered heavily, with no way to escape to mainland Greece. In general, army morale was low, and it would be some time before the support of the United States became apparent.
In September 1947, however, the KKE’s leadership decided to move from guerrilla tactics to full-scale conventional war, despite the opposition of Vafiadis. In December, the KKE announced the formation of a Provisional Democratic Government, with Vafiadis as prime minister; this led the Athens government to finally ban the KKE. No foreign government recognized this government. This new strategy led the DSE into costly attempts to seize a major town as its seat of government, and in December 1947 1,200 DSE fighters were killed at a set piece battle around Konitsa. At the same time, the strategy forced the government to increase the size of the army; with control of the major cities, the government cracked down on KKE members and sympathizers, many of whom were imprisoned on the island of Makronisos.
Despite setbacks, such as the fighting at Konitsa, the DSE reached the height of its power in 1948, extending its operations to Attica, within 20 km of Athens. It drew on more than 20,000 fighters, both men and women, and a network of sympathizers and informants in every village and suburb. Amongst analysts emphasizing the KKE's perceived control and guidance by foreign powers such as USSR and YSR, some estimate that of the DSE's 20,000 fighters, 14,000 were Slavic Macedonians from Greek Macedonia. Expanding this reasoning, they conclude that given their important role in the battle, KKE changed its policy towards them. At the fifth Plenum of KKE on January 31, 1949, a resolution was passed declaring that after KKE's victory, the Slavic Macedonians would find their national restoration within a united Greek state.
The extent of such involvement remains contentious and unclear; some emphasize that the KKE had in total 400,000 members (or 800,000, according to some sources) immediately prior to December 1944, and that during the Civil War 100,000 ELAS fighters - mostly KKE members- were imprisoned and 3,000 were executed. Faced with this point of view, those more favorable to the organization emphasize instead the DSE's conduct of a war effort across the country, aiming at "a free and liberated Greece from all protectors that will have all the nationalities working under one Socialist State".
DSE Divisions conducted guerrilla warfare across Greece; III Division, with its 1948 count of 20,000 men, controlled 70% of the Peloponnese both politically and militarily; Battalions named after ELAS formations were active in Northwestern Greece, alongside the islands of Lesvos, Limnos, Ikaria, Samos, Creta, Evoia and the bulk of the Ionian Islands. Western-allied funds, advisers and equipment were now flooding into the country, and under Western Allied guidance a series of major offensives were launched into the mountains of central Greece. Although these offensives did not achieve all their objectives, they inflicted serious defeats on the DSE.
Communist evacuation of the children and the Queen's Camps
The removal of children from Greece to socialist states was another highly emotive and contentious issue. About thirty thousand children were forcefully taken by the DSE from territories they controlled to Eastern Bloc countries. Many others were moved for protection to special camps inside Greece, an idea of Queen Frederica.   This issue drew the attention of international public opinion, and a United Nations Special Committee issued a report, stating that "some children have in fact been forcibly removed".
Communist leadership claimed that children were being gathered to be evacuated from Greece, allegedly at the request of "popular organizations and parents". According to other researchers, the Greek Government also followed a policy of displacement by adopting children of the guerrillas and placing them in indoctrination camps.
According to Kenneth Spencer, a UN Committee reported at that time that "Queen Frederica has already prepared special 'reform camps' in Greek islands for 12,000 Greek children...". According to official KKE historiography, the Provisional Government issued a directive for the evacuation of all minors from 4 to 14 years old for protection from the war and problems linked to it. This is stated clearly according to the decisions of the Provisional Government on March 7, 1948. According to non-KKE accounts, the children were abducted to be indoctrinated as communist janissaries. Several United Nations General Assembly resolutions appealed for the repatriation of children to their homes.
During the Civil War more than 25,000 children, most with parents in the DSE, were also placed in 30 "child towns" under the immediate control of Frederika of Hanover, something especially emphasized by the left. After 50 years some of these children were found to have been given up for adoption to American families, now retracing their family background in Greece.
The end of the war: 1949
A significant blow to the KKE and DSE, however, was to be political, not military. In June 1948, the Soviet Union and the other newly founded socialist states broke off relations with President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia. In one of the meetings held in Kremlin with Yugoslav representatives, during the Soviet-Yugoslav crisis, Joseph Stalin stated his unqualified opposition to the "Greek uprising". Stalin explained to the Yugoslav delegation that the situation in Greece has always been different from the one in Yugoslavia, because the US and Britain would "never permit [Greece] to break off their lines of communication in the Mediterranean." (Stalin used the word svernut, Russian for "fold up", to express what the Greek communists should do.)
Yugoslavia had been the Greek communists' main supporter from the years of Nazi occupation. The KKE thus had to choose between its loyalty to USSR, and its relations with its closest ally. After some internal conflict, the great majority, led by party secretary Zachariadis, chose to follow the USSR, not like the YSR that had already started to negotiate with the British. In January 1949 Vafiadis himself was accused of "Titoism" and removed from his political and military positions, to be replaced by Zachariadis.
After a year of increasing acrimony, Tito closed the Yugoslav border to the DSE in July 1949, and disbanded its camps inside Yugoslavia. The DSE was still able to use Albanian border territories, a poor alternative. Within the Greek Communist Party, the split with Tito also sparked a witch-hunt for "Titoites" that demoralized and disorganized the ranks of the DSE and sapped support for the KKE in urban areas.
In the summer of 1948, DSE Division III in the Peloponnese suffered a huge defeat; lacking ammunition support from DSE headquarters, and having failed to capture ammunition depots belonging to the National Army at Zacharo in the western Peloponnese, its 20,000 fighters were doomed. The majority (including the commander of the Division, Vangelis Rogakos) were killed in battle with nearly 80,000 National Army troops under the command of General Tsakalotos. The National Army's strategic plan, codenamed "Peristera" (the Greek word for "dove") had proven successful. A number of other civilians were sent to prison camps as helpers of the communists. The Peloponnese was now governed by paramilitary groups fighting alongside the National Army. In order to terrify urban areas assisting DSE's III Division, these forces decapitated a number of dead fighters and placed them in central squares. Following this defeat in southern Greece, DSE continued to operate in Northern Greece and some islands, but as a greatly weakened force facing significant obstacles both politically and militarily.
At the same time, the National Army found a talented commander in General Alexander Papagos, commander of the Greek Army during the Greco-Italian War. In August 1949, Papagos launched a major counter-offensive against DSE forces in northern Greece, code-named "Operation Torch". The campaign was a victory for the National Army, and resulted in heavy losses for the DSE. The DSE army was now no longer able to sustain resistance in set piece battles. By September 1949, the main body of DSE Divisions defending Grammos and Vitsi, the two key positions in northern Greece for DSE, had retreated to Albania, while two main groups remained within the borders, trying to reconnect with scattered DSE fighters largely in Central Greece.
These groups, numbering 1,000 fighters, exited Greek borders by the end of September 1949, while the main body of DSE, accompanied by its HQ, after discussion with the USSR's Communist Party and other Socialist governments, was moved to the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. They were to remain there, in military encampments, for three years. Other older combatants, alongside injured fighters, women and children, were relocated to European socialist states. On October 16, Zachariadis announced a "temporary ceasefire to prevent the complete annihilation of Greece"; the ceasefire marked the end of the Greek Civil War.
Almost 100,000 ELAS fighters and communist sympathizers, able to serve in DSE ranks, were imprisoned, exiled or, in some cases, executed. This deprived the DSE of the principal force able to support its fight. According to some historians, the KKE's major supporter and supplier had always been Tito, and it was the rift between Tito and the KKE that marked the real demise of the party's efforts to assert power.
Greek right-wingers and Western Allied governments saw the end of the Greek Civil War as a victory in the Cold War against the Soviet Union; left-wingers countered that the Soviets never actively supported the Communist Party's efforts to seize power in Greece. Both sides had, at differing junctures, nevertheless looked to an external superpower for support.
Post-war division and reconciliation
The Civil War left Greece in ruins, and in even greater economic distress than it had been following the end of German occupation. Additionally, it divided the Greek people for ensuing decades, with both sides vilifying their opponents. Thousands languished in prison for many years, or were sent into exile on the islands of Gyaros and Makronisos. Many others sought refuge in communist countries or emigrated to Australia, Germany, the USA, UK, Canada and elsewhere.
The polarization and instability of Greek politics in the mid-1960s was a direct result of the Civil War and the deep divide between the leftist and rightist sections of Greek society. A major crisis showing this was the murder of the left-wing politician Gregoris Lambrakis in 1963 (the inspiration for the Costa Gavras political thriller, Z). The crisis of the Apostasia followed in 1965, together with the "ASPIDA affair", which involved an alleged coup plot by a left-wing group of officers; the group's alleged leader was Andreas Papandreou, son of George Papandreou, the leader of the Center Union political party and the country's prime minister at the time.
On April 21, 1967, a group of rightist and anti-communist army officers executed a coup d'état and seized power from the government, using the political instability and tension of the time as a pretext. The leader of the coup, George Papadopoulos, was a member of the right-wing military organization IDEA (Ιερός Δεσμός Ελλήνων Αξιωματικών, "Sacred Bond of Greek Officers"), and the subsequent military regime (later referred to as the Regime of the Colonels) lasted until 1974.
After the collapse of the military junta, a conservative government under Constantine Karamanlis led to the abolition of monarchy, the legalization of the KKE and a new constitution, which guaranteed political freedoms, individual rights and free elections. In 1981, in a major turning point in Greek history, the center-left government of PASOK allowed DSE veterans who had taken refuge in communist countries to return to Greece and reestablish their former estates (Slavic Macedonians excluded); this greatly helped diminish the consequences of the Civil War in Greek society. The PASOK administration also offered state pensions to former partisans of the anti-Nazi resistance; Markos Vafiadis was honorarily elected as member of the Greek Parliament under PASOK's flag.
In 1989, the coalition government between Nea Dimokratia and the Coalition of Left and Progress (SYNASPISMOS) - in which the KKE was for a period the major force - suggested a law that was passed unanimously by the Greek Parliament, formally recognizing the 1946-1949 war as a Civil War and not merely as a communist insurgency ("Συμμοριτοπόλεμος") ( Ν. 1863/89 (ΦΕΚ 204Α΄) ). Under the terms of this law, the war of 1946-1949 was recognized as a Greek Civil War between the National Army and the Democratic Army of Greece, for the first time in Greek postwar history. Under the aforementioned law, the term "communist bandits" (Κομμουνιστοσυμμορίτες, ΚΣ), wherever it had occurred in Greek law, was replaced by the term "Fighters of the DSE".
In a 2008 Gallup poll, Greeks were asked "whether it was better that the right wing won the Civil War". 43% responded that it was better for Greece that the right wing won, 13% responded that it would have been better if the left had won, 20% responded "neither" and 24% did not respond. When asked "which side they would have supported had they lived in that era", 39% responded "neither side", 14% responded "the right wing", 23% "the left wing" while 24% did not respond. 
Representation in culture
- The Greek Civil War is the background to Nikos Kazantzakis' 1964 novel Fratricides (also published as Father Yanaros ).
- One of the two narratives within Barry Unsworth's 1967 novel The Greeks Have a Word For It concerns the aftermath of the war.
- The documentary movie Greek Civil War (1997) by Roviros Manthoulis provides a comprehensive look into the civil war. It starts with the Stalin-Churchill agreement and ends with the accounts of the people who have participated in the war with interviews done in the 1990s.
- Crno seme (Black Seed), a 1971 film by Kiril Ceneski about a number of Macedonian soldiers in Greek Royal Army, and their fate after WW2.
- The Civil War forms part of The Travelling Players, by Theo Angelopoulos, a 1975 film with a wide timeframe, running from 1939 to 1952.
- The Brotherhood of War: The Lieutenants (1982), book 1 in the series by W. E. B. Griffin, has two of its major characters and one lesser character involved with the Military Advisory Group (MAG) in Greece. It is referenced throughout the rest of the series, but is given detail in the first book.
- The tragic end to DSE Division III in the Peloponnese is depicted in the film The Descent of the 9, made by Christos Siopachas in 1985.
- The war forms the backdrop to the 1985 film Eleni, with John Malkovich.
- Psyhi vathia, a 2009 film by Pantelis Voulgaris, recounts the story of two brothers fighting on opposite sides during the Civil War.
List of abbreviations
Abbrev. Expansion Translation DSE Δημοκρατικός Στρατός Ελλάδας Democratic Army of Greece EAM Εθνικό Απελευθερωτικό Μέτωπο National Liberation Front EDES Εθνικός Δημοκρατικός Ελληνικός Σύνδεσμος National Republican Greek League EKKA Εθνική και Κοινωνική Απελευθέρωσις National and Social Liberation ELAN Ελληνικό Λαϊκό Απελευθερωτικό Ναυτικό Greek People's Liberation Navy ELAS Ελληνικός Λαϊκός Απελευθερωτικός Στρατός Greek People's Liberation Army HQ Headquarters KKE Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα Ελλάδας Communist Party of Greece NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization Nazi National-Socialist; National Socialist German Workers' Party NOF Народно Ослободителен Фронт National Liberation Front (Macedonia) OPLA Οργάνωση Προστασίας Λαϊκού Αγώνα Organization for the Protection of the People's Struggle PASOK Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα Panhellenic Socialist Movement PEEA Πολιτική Επιτροπή Εθνικής Απελευθέρωσης Political Committee of National Liberation UN United Nations USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics YSR Jugoslavske Svazove Republice YVE Yperaspistai Voreiou Ellados Defenders of Northern Greece
- Communist Party of Greece
- National Liberation Front (Macedonia)
- Aris Velouchiotis
- Nikolaos Zachariadis
- Nikos Belogiannis
- Nikos Ploumpidis
- Markos Vafiadis
- Napoleon Zervas
- George Papandreou (senior)
- Alexander Papagos
- Air operations during the Greek Civil War
- Greek Resistance
- Security Battalions
- Axis occupation of Greece during World War II
- Eleni (film)
- Proxy war
- ^ The Struggle for Greece 1941-1949, C.M.Woodhouse, Hurst & Company, London 2002 (first published 1976), page 237
- ^ Νίκος Μαραντζίδης, Δημοκρατικός Στρατός Ελλάδας, 1946-1949, Εκδόσεις Αλεξάνδρεια, β'έκδοση, Αθήνα 2010, page 52
- ^ Νίκος Μαραντζίδης, Δημοκρατικός Στρατός Ελλάδας, 1946-1949, Εκδόσεις Αλεξάνδρεια, β'έκδοση, Αθήνα 2010, page 52, page 57, pages 61-62
- ^ Γενικόν Επιτελείον Στρατού, Διεύθυνσις Ηθικής Αγωγής, Η Μάχη του Έθνους, Ελεύθερη Σκέψις, Athens, 1985, pp. 35-36
- ^ Γενικόν Επιτελείον Στρατού, p. 36
- ^ Γιώργος Μαργαρίτης, Η ιστορία του Ελληνικού εμφυλίου πολέμου ISBN 960-8087-12-0
- ^ Chomsky, Noam (1994). World Orders, Old And New. Pluto Press London.
- ^ "Foreign News: Five Crises". Time Magazine. 1944-12-11. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,883883,00.html. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- ^ Incompatible Allies: Greek Communism and Macedonian Nationalism in the Civil War in Greece, 1943-1949. Andrew Rossos", The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1997) (p. 42)
- ^ History of National Resistance 1941-1944, v1
- ^ The Greek Civil War 1944-1949, Edgar O'Ballance, 1966 p.105
- ^ The Greek Civil War 1944-1949, Edgar O'Ballance, 1966 p.65
- ^ Ksiarchos S., The truth regarding Meligala
- ^ http://www.iospress.gr/ios2005/ios20050911.htm
- ^ Werth, Nicolas; Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois (1999). The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674076087. , noted at "?". http://www.grecoreport.com/the_black_book_of_communism_and_the_greek_civil_war.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- ^ Ο ΕΛΑΣ, Στέφανος Σαράφης
- ^ History of the National Resistance 1941-1944, v2
- ^ http://www2.rizospastis.gr/wwwengine/story.do?id=1054367&publDate=1/12/2001
- ^ http://konstantinosdavanelos.blogspot.com/2009/10/12-1944.html
- ^ Testimony by N. Farmakis, a member of the "X" organizations, at the Reporters Without Frontiers, 1/05/2006, http://greekbox.blogspot.com/2009/10/dekemvriana-papandreou-georgios.html
- ^ Kessel Album, Athens 1944.
- ^ Spyros Kotsakis, Captain in ELAS First Army (1986). December 1944 in Athens, Athens, Synhroni Epochi.
- ^ Daniele Ganser (2005). NATO's Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, London, Franck Cass, pp. 213-214 (his quote).
- ^ Newspaper "ΠΡΙΝ", 7.12.1997, http://nar4.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/δεκέμβρης-44-αυτά-τα-κόκκινα-σημάδια-εί/
- ^ C.M. Woodhouse, Modern Greece, Faber and Faber, 1991, p. 253.
- ^ Britain's support for Tito
- ^ a b The Civil War in Peloponnese, A. Kamarinos
- ^ NAM, The true Story of Vietnam, 1986
- ^ Ζαούσης Αλέξανδρος. Η Τραγική αναμέτρηση, 1945-1949 – Ο μύθος και η αλήθεια (ISBN 960-7213-43-2).
- ^ Speech presented by Nikos Zachariadis at the Second Congress of the NOF (National Liberation Front of the ethnic Macedonians from Greek Macedonia), published in Σαράντα Χρόνια του ΚΚΕ 1918-1958, Athens, 1958, p. 575.
- ^ KKE Official documents,vol 8
- ^ C. M. Woodhouse, Modern Greece, Faber and Faber, 1991, 1992, pp. 259.
- ^ Lars Barentzen, "The'Paidomazoma' and the Queen's Camps,", 135-136
- ^ Lars Barentzen, The'Paidomazoma' and the Queen's Camps,, 130
- ^ Myrsiades, Cultural Representation in Historical Resistance, 333
- ^ Kenneth Spencer, "Greek Children," The New Statesman and Nation 39 (January 14, 1950): 31-32.
- ^ KKE, official Documents v6 1946-1949, pg474-476
- ^ Richard Clogg, A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 141.
- ^ Ods Home Page
- ^ Dimitris Servou, "The Paidomazoma and who is afraid of Truth", 2001
- ^ Thanasi Mitsopoulou "We brought up as Greeks" ,Θανάση Μητσόπουλου "Μείναμε Έλληνες"
- ^ "Βήμα" 20.9.1947
- ^ "Νέα Αλήθεια" Λάρισας 5.12.1948
- ^ "Δημοκρατικός Τύπος" 20.8.1950
- ^ Δ. Κηπουργού: "Μια ζωντανή Μαρτυρία".- D. Kipourgou " A live testimony"
- ^ "The'Paidomazoma' and the Queen's Camps," in Lars Baerentzen et al.- Λαρς Μπαέρεντζεν: "Το παιδομάζωμα και οι παιδουπόλεις"
- ^ Δημ. Σέρβου: "Που λες... στον Πειραιά"- Dimitri Servou "Once upon a time...in Piraeus"
- ^ http://politikokafeneio.com/dse/dse87.htm
- ^ Djilas, Milovan: Conversations with Stalin, pp 181-182, Harcourt Brace, paperback edition 1990, ISBN 0156225913, first edition: 1962,
- ^ http://tovima.dolnet.gr/print_article.php?e=B&f=15201&m=A26&aa=1
- ^ http://www.enet.gr/online/online_fpage_text/dt=27.10.2002,id=53398096,58807248,75086160,80744144
- ^ www.mof-glk.gr/syntaxeis/kwdikas/polemikwn.pdf
- ^ Article 1 of the Law 1863/1989
- Lars Bærentzen, John O. Iatrides, Ole Langwitz Smith, Studies in the history of the Greek Civil War, 1945-1949, 1987
- W. Byford-Jones, The Greek Trilogy: Resistance-Liberation-Revolution, London, 1945
- R. Capell, Simiomata: A Greek Note Book 1944-45, London, 1946
- Philip Carabott, Thanasis D. Sfikas, The Greek Civil War, 2004
- W. S. Churchill, The Second World War
- Nigel Clive, A Greek experience 1943-1948, ed. Michael Russell, Wilton Wilts.: Russell, 1985 (ISBN 0-85955-119-9)
- Richard Clogg, Greece, 1940-1949: Occupation, Resistance, Civil War: a Documentary History, New York, 2003 (ISBN 0-333-52369-5)
- D. Close (ed.), The Greek civil war 1943-1950: Studies of Polarization, Routledge, 1993
- Dominique Eude, Les Kapetanios (in French and Greek), Artheme Fayard, 1970
- André Gerolymatos, Red Acropolis, Black Terror, London, 2003
- N.G.L. Hammond Venture into Greece: With the Guerillas, 1943-44, London, 1983 (Like Woodhouse, he was a member of the British Military Mission)
- Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull, New York 1948
- S.N. Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil War, Cambridge, 2006
- Georgios Karras, The Revolution that Failed. The story of the Greek Communist Party in the period 1941-49 M.A. Thesis, 1985 Dept. of Political Studies University of Manitoba Canada.
- D. G. Kousoulas, Revolution and Defeat: The Story of the Greek Communist Party, London, 1965
- Reginald Leeper, When Greek Meets Greek: On the War in Greece, 1943-1945, London, 1950
- M. Mazower (ed.) After the War was Over. Reconstructing the Family, Nation and State in Greece, 1943-1960 Princeton University Press, 2000 (ISBN 0-691-05842-3)
- E. C. W. Myers, Greek Entanglement, London, 1955
- Amikam Nachmani, International intervention in the Greek Civil War, 1990 (ISBN 0-275-93367-9)
- Elias Petropoulos, Corpses, corpses, corpses (ISBN 960-211-081-3)
- C. M. Woodhouse, Apple of Discord: A Survey of Recent Greek Politics in their International Setting, London, 1948 (Woodhouse was a member of the British Military Mission to Greece during the war)
- C. M. Woodhouse, The Struggle for Greece, 1941-1949
- Heinz Richter, British Intervention in Greece. From Varkiza to Civil War, London, 1985 (ISBN 085036 301 2)
The following are available only in Greek:
- Ευάγγελος Αβέρωφ, Φωτιά και τσεκούρι. Written by ex-New Democracy leader Evangelos Averoff — initially in French. (ISBN 960-05-0208-0)
- Γενικόν Επιτελείον Στρατού, Διεύθυνσις Ηθικής Αγωγής, Η Μάχη του Έθνους, Ελεύθερη Σκέψις, Athens, 1985. Reprinted edition of the original, published in 1952 by the Hellenic Army General Staff.
- Γιώργος Δ. Γκαγκούλιας, H αθέατη πλευρά του εμφυλίου. Written by an ex-ELAS fighter. (ISBN 960-426-187-8)
- "Γράμμος Στα βήματα του Δημοκρατικού Στρατού Ελλάδας Ιστορικός - Ταξιδιωτικός οδηγός", "Σύγχρονη Εποχή" 2009 (ISBN 978-960-451-080-1)
- "Δοκίμιο Ιστορίας του ΚΚΕ", τόμος Ι. History of the Communist Party of Greece, issued by its Central Committee in 1999.
- Αλέξανδος Ζαούσης, Οι δύο όχθες, Athens, 1992
- Αλέξανδος Ζαούσης, Η τραγική αναμέτρηση Athens, 1992
- Α. Καμαρινού, "Ο Εμφύλιος Πόλεμος στην Πελοπόνησσο", Brigadier General of DSE's III Division, 2002
- "ΚΚΕ, Επίσημα Κείμενα", τόμοι 6,7,8,9.The full collection of KKE's official documents of this era.
- Μιχάλης Λυμπεράτος, Στα πρόθυρα του Εμφυλίου πολέμου: Από τα Δεκεμβριανά στις εκλογές του 1946-1949, "Βιβλιόραμα", Athens, 2006
- Νίκος Μαραντζίδης, Γιασασίν Μιλλέτ (ISBN 960-524-131-5)
- Γιώργος Μαργαρίτης, Ιστορία του Ελληνικού εμφύλιου πολέμου 1946-1949, "Βιβλιόραμα", Athens, 2001
- Σπύρος Μαρκεζίνης, Σύγχρονη πολιτική ιστορία της Ελλάδος, Athens, 1994
- Γεώργιος Μόδης, Αναμνήσεις, Thessaloniki, 2004 (ISBN 960-8396-05-0)
- Γιώργου Μπαρτζώκα, "Δημοκρατικός Στρατός Ελλάδας", Secretary of the Communist organization of Athens of KKE in 1945, 1986.
- Περιοδικό "Δημοκρατικός Στράτος", Magazine first issued in 1948 and re-published as an album collection in 2007.
- Στέφανου Σαράφη, "Ο ΕΛΑΣ",written by the military leader of ELAS, General Sarafi in 1954.
- Δημ. Σέρβου, "Που λες... στον Πειραιά", written by one of DSE fighters.
- A full referenced history of DSE
- Greek Civil War Archive at marxists.org
- Andartikos - a short history of the Greek Resistance, 1941-5 on libcom.org/history
- Dangerous Citizens Online, the online version of Neni Panourgiá's Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State (ISBN 978-0-8232-2968-0)
- Report from globalsecurity.org
- Απολογισμός των 'Δεκεμβριανών' (only in Greek) Εφημερίδα ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ-Δεκέμβρης 1944:60 χρόνια μετά
- Battle of Grammos-Vitsi The decisive battle which ended the Greek Civil War
- Nicholas Gage, author of the book Eleni
- Paidomazoma - Communist Children Abductions in the Greek civil war
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