Reasons for the Start of the Greek Civil War


ELAS' large and powerful army arranged some large scale and successful actions against the fascist forces of the German, Italian and Bulgarian occupiers of Greece. Such a large and powerful army as was formed by the units of ELAS did not appeal to the exiled government of Greece, which stayed in Cairo (Egypt) the whole time the fascists occupiers were being fought.

The exiled government with the help of the English government began to put huge pressure on the EAM coalition. They did not want under any circumstances for there to be in Greece such a powerful army, especially not one in the spirit of people's liberation. The English government and the Greek government in exile knew that an army following people's liberation ideals could easily establish its own government on the model of other socialist countries.

At that time Georgias Sandos was a general secretary in the KPG. Under great pressure from England, he was forced to send his own EAM Political Commission delegation led by the socialist Zvolo to a meeting in free Lebanon.

The meeting was called for 17 May 1944. KPG, EAM, PEEA (Political Committee for National Liberation) and other more minor parties participated.

On 20 May 1944 the Lebanon Agreement was signed on the one hand by KPG, EAM and PEEA and on the other by the government in exile, EDES, EKA and other more minor parties from Greece. With this document, agreement had been reached for the establishment of a national government. In the new government, KPG, EAM and PEEA were to have 25 per cent of the ministry positions. Under the agreement it was envisaged that after the liberation of the country a national army for Greece would be formed.

The formation of a national army meant in effect the dismantling of the forces of ELAS.

At the meeting a new government was elected, with at its head as premier, Georgios Papandreou. The chief ministries were also selected and after the end of the meeting they immediately left for the territory that had already been liberated.

Not all of the members of EAM agreed with the agreement between the parties and the government in exile; and there was a clash between units of ELAS on the one hand and on the other the military police supported by the British troops located in Greece. This low act was the start of England's involvement in the internal affairs of Greece.

The battles between units of ELAS and the reactionary forces led by the British military forces lasted for 33 days.

In January 1945 the premier Georgios Papandreou resigned, and the new government was put together by Plastiras. He immediately began to negotiate with the leadership of EAM for the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the country. EAM was represented in the negotiations by the general secretary Partsalidis, KPG by Santos, ELD by Tsirimakos. On the other side the Greek government was represented by: Joanis Figanopoulos, minister for external affairs, Periklis Ralis - minister for internal affairs, and Joanis Markopoulos - minister for agriculture.

On 12 February 1945 the Varkiza agreement was reached for an end to the Greek Civil War which was still raging in Greece. It was named after a place near Athens. The Agreement in Varkiza meant an end to the armed struggle of the Greek people. With this agreement, KPG, EAM and ELD bound themselves to disband all military units within ELAS. This shameful agreement represented maximum capitulation and an act of betrayal by the leadership of the named parties.

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