Communist Power in Europe, 1944-1949

By Martin McCauley | Go to book overview

II Greece

RICHARD CLOGG

Despite the existence of a vigorous and powerful Communist Party Greece alone of the countries of Eastern Europe was not taken over by the Communist in the post-war period.1 In trying to explain why the Greek Communists failed to achieve power between 1943 and 1949 we have to try to answer four basic questions. First: Why did E.A.M. / E.L.A.S., the Communist-dominated resistance movement in wartime Greece, fail to achieve the kind of almost total control of active resistance achieved by Tito and the Partisans in Yugoslavia and Enver Hoxha and the L.N.C. in Albania? Second: Why did E.A.M. / E.L.A.S., having none the less secured control of much of the country by the time of its liberation in October 1944, not seize power as the Germans withdrew and present the Western allies with a fait accompli which, given the existing state of public opinion in Great Britain and the United States, Churchill and Roosevelt would have been unable to counter decisively even had they been so inclined? Third: What did the Communists hope to achieve in the 'Second Round', the Communist insurgency in Athens in December 1944, and if this insurgency did represent a serious bid for power, why did it fail? Fourth: Why did the last and least ambiguous Communist bid for power, the civil war of 1946-49, known as the 'Third Round', end in ignominious defeat for the Communist Party of Greece (K.K.E.).

Founded in 1918 as the Socialist Labour Party, the K.K.E. made some headway during the inter-war period among the tobacco workers of start here!! Northern Greece and among the déraciné refugees from Asia Minor, but its espousal between 1924 and 1934 of the cause of an independent Macedonian and Thracian State enabled its opponents, with considerable effect, to brand it as unpatriotic. The K.K.E.'s electoral appeal thus remained limited, although it was projected to the forefront of the political stage following the 1936 elections. These resulted in a deadlock between the Royalists (143 seats) and the Venizelists (141 seats) and gave the Communist popular front with 15 seats a significant degree of political leverage. The revelation that both major political groupings had been engaging in clandestine negotiations with the Communist deputies, coupled with serious, Communist-inspired labour unrest, gave General Metaxas the pretext he needed to abrogate key clauses of the constitution, suspend parliament indefinitely and ban all political parties.

Metaxas's 'Regime of the 4 August 1936' was a quasi-Fascist, authori-

-184-

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Communist Power in Europe, 1944-1949
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes on Contributors xix
  • List of Abbreviations xxi
  • Part One 1
  • 1- Economic Developments in Eastern Europe under German Hegemony 3
  • 2- The Baltic States 1940-50 22
  • Part Two 37
  • 3- Poland 39
  • 4- East Germany 58
  • 5- Czechoslovakia 73
  • 6- Hungary 95
  • 7- Romania 111
  • Part Three 131
  • 8- Finland 133
  • 9- France 151
  • 10- Italy 168
  • II- Greece 184
  • Part Four 199
  • 12- British Policy towards Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary 1944-1946 201
  • 13- Thirty Years after 220
  • Index 231
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