International Intervention in the Greek Civil War: The United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans, 1947-1952

International Intervention in the Greek Civil War: The United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans, 1947-1952

International Intervention in the Greek Civil War: The United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans, 1947-1952

International Intervention in the Greek Civil War: The United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans, 1947-1952

Synopsis

Often termed "the hidden war," the Greek Civil War of the late 1940s is still highly controversial and a source of extreme emotion for those Greeks who remember it. This book details the events leading to the outbreak of the war and examines the unique means by which United Nation's intervention was able to restrain a conflict that threatened to engulf the Balkans and southeastern Europe. Nachmani demonstrates how the United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans (UNSCOB)--the first U.N. observation mission--stood out as a success story among the observation and peacekeeping missions of the post-World War II era.

Excerpt

An anomalous situation exists as regards events in Greece in the 1940s. While the public is more or less knowledgeable about the Spanish civil war, few are as conversant with the history of the Greek civil war. Thus a 1986 British television documentary on the Greek civil war was entitled “The Hidden War.” During the time I worked on this book, both at St. Antony's College in Oxford (where I spent a sabbatical year in 1986) and in Jerusalem, I was often asked whether by the Greek civil war I was referring to the conflict between Athens and Sparta in classical times. Many Greeks themselves were not acquainted with the history of the calamitous events that took place in their country in the 1940s.

I can suggest a few explanations for this lack of familiarity. In the late 1940s the situation in Greece could not again shake the generation that had witnessed World War II, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima. Even today the subject is still extremely emotional and highly controversial and political for the Greeks and is not freely taught in their schools. Moreover, previous twentieth-century European civil wars are remembered for the colossal tragedies they embodied; their significance is further appreciated in light of their role as the origins of the world wars that followed them. This is particularly true of the Spanish civil war—the “general rehearsal” for World War II. No calamitous world war evolved from the Greek civil war to elevate it to the status of one of the key origins of a third global catastrophe. The war in Greece, conducted prudently so that it led “only” to a cold war, was therefore, in the minds of many, relegated to oblivion.

It is to the credit of the great powers that they managed the Greek

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