The Kapetanios
Partisans and Civil War in Greece, 1943–1949

The Kapetanios Partisans and Civil War in Greece, 1943–1949

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By Dominique Eudes

The Greek Civil War was one of the bloodiest of modern times: it cost the lives of more than 600,000 people out of a population of 7 million. It was one of the founding moments of the Cold War and a pilot experience, in Europe itself, of the Western imperialist intervention practised in South-East Asia and elsewhere today. This book is the first blow-by-blow account of the process of the Greek Revolution and its background in the Resistance against Nazi occupation and fascist collaboration in the Second World War. The 'kapetanios' were the guerilla chiefs in the mountains in Greece who led the anti-fascist partisans, first against the Italian and German occupying forces and their Greek quislings, and then against the British troops who landed to prevent a partisan victory.

Besides extensive use of Greek, British and German written sources, the author has interviewed many of the surviving Greek partisans and political leaders. He reconstructs the course of the Civil War and establishes the depth and significance of British intelligence activity and military intervention. He also recreates the internal conflicts which simmered and exploded within the ranks of EAM - the Greek National Liberation Front. This was a conflict between those who were for an all-out offensive against British occupation and its Greek supporters, and those orthodox Communists who obeyed Stalin's acceptance at Yalta of British dominance in Greece - and ordered the guerillas to lay down their arms in 1946. Eudes shows how, in the 'second' Civil War that followed, the Greek partisans suffered from this fateful initial surrender. However, it was only after years of bitter fighting and massive intervention by British and US forces that the Greek monarchist counter-revolution achieved ultimate victory in 1949. The consequences of that victory of the 'free world' can be seen in the fascist military regime of Papadopoulos today.