The Withered Vine: Logistics and the Communist Insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949

The Withered Vine: Logistics and the Communist Insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949

The Withered Vine: Logistics and the Communist Insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949

The Withered Vine: Logistics and the Communist Insurgency in Greece, 1945-1949

Synopsis

An explanation of the failure of the Communist insurgency in Greece between 1945 and 1949, this study provides a striking lesson in what happens to an armed revolutionary movement when it lacks adequate manpower and logistical resources, and is divided against itself on such basic matters as foreign policy and the employment of its military capabilities. During the period of 1945-1949 the Greek Communist Party was split into competing factions, each with its own idea of which course the rebellion should take. The Stalinist faction, led by Secretary-General Nikos Zachariades, was pitted against the more pragmatic nationalist wing led by the commander of the Greek Democratic Army, Markos Vafiades. Shrader provides a detailed examination of the logistical aspects of the war, particularly the impact of political decisions and the aid provided to the Greek Communists by outside supporters on logistics and operations.

Excerpt

After fifty years, the causes, course, and outcome of the Greek civil war of 1945-1949 remain clouded by ideological and nationalist cant, Cold War myhology, and the lack of definitive information on even the most basic details. The assumption remains strongly entrenched that the attempt of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and its allies to overthrow a weak and unstable constitutional monarchy--still reeling from the awful effects of thirty years of war, foreign occupation, internal political strife, economic devastation, and social upheaval--was directed and supported from Moscow as part of a coordinated Soviet plot to topple democratic nations unhinged by the Second World War. Many of the pertinent questions remain unanswered--or even unasked--and no aspect of the Greek civil war is less well understood than the logistical arrangements of the Communist rebels. How were the rebel forces organized? What were their logistical requirements? What were the sources of logistical support for the rebel forces? What types and quantities of matériel and other support were provided? How was that support organized and delivered? What impact did the logistical situation of the rebels have on the ultimate outcome of the rebellion?

Those questions are addressed in this study through an examination of the logistical requirements, organization, methods, and operations of the Greek Democratic Army (GDA) during the so-called "Third Round" of the Greek civil war, from February 1945 to August 1949. Although due attention is given to such logistical functions as the determination of supply requirements, the acquisition, storage, issue, maintenance, and disposal of equipment and supplies, and the provision of medical services, this study focuses primarily on the support provided to the Greek Communist guerrillas by the Soviet Union and its satellites, in particular Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. The focus is essentially organizational and to a certain extent political and diplomatic. Thus, internal bureaucratic issues, Greek and international political developments, and the . . .

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