Studies in the History of the Greek Civil War, 1945-49 8772890045, 9788772890043

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Table of contents :
Editors’ note
Musical Chairs in Athens: Analyzing Political Instability 1946-1952
Economic Stabilization and Political Unrest: Greece 1944-1947*
The Purge of the Greek Civil Service on the Eve of the Civil War
Population Movements in the Greek Countryside During the Civil War
The Civil War from the Perspective of a Messenian Village
The “Paidomazoma” and the Queen’s Camps
Self-Defence and Communist Policy 1945-1947
The Second Plenum of the Central Committee of the KKE and the Decision For Civil War: A Reappraisal
The “Third Factor”: The Struggle for an Independent Socialist Policy during the Greek Civil War
British Policy Alternatives 1945-1946
Perceptions of Soviet Involvement in the Greek Civil War 1945-1949
Yugoslav Policy towards Greece 1947-1949
The Yugoslavs and the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949
The Tito-Stalin Split and the End of the Civil War in Greece
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Notes on Contributors
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Lars Bærentzen John O. Iatrides Ole L. Smith


First published in 1987 by M useum TLsculanum Press N jalsgade 94, Copenhagen 2300S Printed in D enm ark by Special-Trykkeriet Viborg a-s

C T he Authors and the Departm ent of Modern Greek and Balkan Studies, Copenhagen University. ISBN 87-7289-004*5 ISSN 0902-5170 Cover photograph: Syntagma Square, Athens 1949. By Maynard Owen W illiam s01949 National Geographic Society. We are grateful to the National Geographic Society for permission to use this photograph.

Contents Editors’ n o t e .......................................................................................... 6 Sysse G. Engberg: P re fa c e .................................................................... 7 Keith Legg: Musical Chairs in Athens. Analyzing Political 9 Instability 1946-1952 ......................................................................... Christos H adziiossif: Economic Stabilization and Political Unrest: Greece 1944-1947 ............................................................................... 25 Procopis Papastratis: The Purge of the Greek Civil Service on the Eve of the Civil W ar......................... *.......................................... 41 A ngeliki E. Laiou: Population Movements in the Greek Countryside during the Civil War .................................................... 55 Stanley Aschenbrenner: The Civil War from the Perspective of a Messenian Village .............................................................................105 Lars Bcerentzen: The “Paidomazoma” and the Queen’s Camps . . . . 127 Ole L . Sm ith: Self-Defence and Communist Policy 1945-1947 ........... 159 H einz Richter: The Second Plenum of the Central Committee of the KKE and the Decision for Civil War: A R eappraisal.................179 Hagen Fleischer: The MThiid Factor”. The Struggle for an Independent Socialist Policy during the Greek Civil War . . . . . . 189 N igel Clive: British Policy Alternatives 1945-1946 .............................. 213 John O. Iatrides: Perceptions of Soviet Involvement in the Greek Civil War 1945-1949 ......................................................................... 225 Robert Frazier: The Bevin-Marshall Dispute of August-November 1947 concerning the Withdrawal of British Troops from Greece . . 249 Elisabeth Barker: (I) Yugoslav Policy towards Greece 1947-1949. (II) The Yugoslavs and the Greek Civil War 1946-1949 ................ 263 Jo ie Pirjevec: The Tito-Stalin Split and the End of the Civil W ir in G reece................................................................................................. 309 A b b rev iatio n s..........................................................................................317 Notes on C o n trib u to rs............................................................................ 319 In d ex .......................................................................................................... 321

Editors’ note

The papers published in this volume were originally read at the Confer­ ence on the Greek C ivil War 1945-1949 which was held at the Vilvorde Conference Centre in Copenhagen from August 30 to September 1,1984. Since then the authors have had the opportunity to revise their contribu­ tions and to add references. The editors have attem pted to impose some degree of uniformity in such m atters as spelling and the style of re­ ferences. The editors wish to thank the Danish Research Council for the Humanities for its financial support which made possible both the confer­ ence and the publication of this volume. We also wish to thank the Faculty of A rts at the University of Copenhagen which has met a large part of the costs of preparing the manuscript, and the Department of Modem G reek and Balkan Studies whose support we have enjoyed from the initial plan­ ning of the conference until the publication of the results. O ur thanks are also due to the General Secretariat of Press and Infor­ mation in Athens, and especially to Mrs. Eleni Zographou, for much kind assistance. Finally, we wish to express our sorrow at the death of Elisabeth Barker in March 1986. O ur conference was enriched by her wisdom and immense knowledge of Balkan affairs, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Copenhagen, October 1986

Lars Beerentzen John O. latrides Ole L . Sm ith

Preface Sysse G. Engberg In the spring of 1984, the Departm ent of M odern Greek and Balkan Studies was created at the University of Copenhagen. Until then, these studies had been housed at the Departm ent of Classical Philology and, since 1981, at the informal Centre for Modern Greek and Balkan Studies. One of the first activities of the newly created D epartm ent was the conference on the Civil War in Greece, held under the auspices of the Research Council for the Humanities and the Faculty of A rts of the Uni­ versity of Copenhagen. This conference could be seen as a continuation of the international congress on the Greek resistance movement (1936-1944) that was held in Athens earlier the same year. But whereas the Athens congress was large, both in scope, number of participants and duration, the Copenhagen conference was small, almost intim ate, and its theme more restricted. Even so, different interpretations of, and approaches to, the controversial issues were displayed in this small group of scholars, and discussions were lively. It is perhaps trite to say that history is too important to be left to the historians. On the other hand, the opposite extreme is equally, if not more dangerous. In Greece the history of the Civil War has, for a number of reasons, been out of the range of scholars for many years, and it has been non-existent in that version of national self-interpretation which is passed on to the younger generation. And since the historical development that followed the Civil War depended entirely on the deep internal conflict underlying the war, this also had to be left out. Thus a forty-year span of the national history was simply omitted from the school-books and the main attention given to Antiquity and to the struggle for independence in 1821, instead of modem history. O f course, the view of the world presented at school is accepted only by a well-behaved minority of children. For most, it probably confirms their


Sysse G . Engberg

suspicion that there exists an almost schizophrenic opposition between the artificial world of the school and the real world that we live in. Perhaps the picture of the world which the school-book presents is not so all-impor­ tant as it may seem to the schoolmaster. Still, in the real world the Civil War and its aftermath were interpreted, not by schoolmasters and historians, but by politicians and men of letters, both implicitly and explicitly. The Resistance Movement and the Civil War became part of the mythology of both sides, thus perpetuating the conflict. The monolithic and highly emotionally charged interpretation of the period that literature could offer would seem to feed the internal rift, not to bridge it over. One of the most important recent reforms in Greece consists in the official reappraisal of all of the Resistance Movement and thereby, im­ plicitly, of the Civil War. It may be naive to think that the effort of the historian to point out and to describe the complexity of history can contri­ bute to the settling of present conflicts in a society. But in this case it is difficult to imagine any other road towards reconciliation than the un­ biased analysis of the historical process, and the deflating of the myths that have been necessary for a long period. It is to be hoped that the results of the Copenhagen conference will make its small contribution to this development and take the analysis of the Civil War a step further down the road to reconciliation.

Musical Chairs in Athens: Analyzing Political Instability 1946-1952 Keith Legg Introduction There is little praise for the men leading Greece in the immediate post-war period. They are generally viewed as small-minded and petty, incapable of rising above personal animosities and historical quarrels to solve the enormous problems facing the country. In the words of the American Ambassador, Lincoln MacVeagh, “Lack of leadership is what principally ails this country at the present time - leadership which can see beyond political problems which are not only local in character but also complete­ ly out of date”.1The Athenian political world appeared as an impediment rather than an aid in winning the civil war and embarking upon the economic reconstruction of Greece. The purpose of this essay is not to describe the quarrels and maneuvering of political leaders, nor to evaluate their motivations and performance. Instead, this essay will examine the problem of political instability in modem Greece at a more general level: was political instability due to faulty leadership or was it the result of institutional failure? To answer these questions, the pattern of G reek politics from 1946 to 1952 will be analyzed in a broader historical context.

Stability and Instability: The Concepts From the first post-war elections of March 1946 until November 1952, there were ten governments in Greece. Eighteen parties contested the 1946 election, either independently or in coalition, and twelve gained * * J. Iatrides, Ambassador MacVeagh Reports: Greece 1933-1947 (Princeton: Princeton Univerity Press, 1980), 703.

D igitized by


O riginal from



K eith Legg

seats in the parliament. Since no single party gained a majority of the 354 seats, governing coalitions had to be negotiated by party leaders. The same pattern prevailed in the two succeeding elections. In 1950, ten of the 29 competing parties gained representation in the 250 seat parliament. In 1951, six of eleven competing parties gained seats in the 258 member parliament. Politics in Greece during this period were clearly unstable, at least by conventional measures of party continuity, parliamentary strength or cabinet longevity. Moreover, the perception of political instability in Greece was further enhanced by comparison with politics in other western democratic states. Instability, however, is a slippery concept. Two decades ago, David Easton observed that "social scientists typically fail to distinguish between stability and equilibrium. We often assume that a state of equilibrium must always refer to a stable condition, whereas there are at least two other kinds of equilibria, neutral and unstable”.2 Similarly, other political scientists have noted that change, in and of itself, is not evidence of instability. Change can be movement towards or away from stability, or even irrelevant to it. Appellations of stability and instability as descriptions of political activi­ ty at any given time, then, are dependent upon the specification of some initial condition. The first task is to determine the "initial conditions” of two conceptually distinct but related systems: the party system and the governmental system centered on the cabinet. Did the pattern of politics fall into patterns of stable or unstable equilibria? For this purpose, we will examine political activity in Greece from 1926 to 1964.

Party System Change in H istorical Perspective Patterns of party system activity can be measured in several ways, ranging from the simple to the complex.3 Thble 1 below shows change in the number of parties represented in the parliaments elected from 1926 to *

1 D. Easton, A Systems Analysis o f Political Life (New York: John Wiley aod Sons, 1965) 19. * For the party system discussion, data iras compiled from volumes of electoral statistics published by the Ministry of Interior.

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1964. There was a significant reduction in the number of parties gaining parliamentary representation, with the m ajor reduction beginning in 1951. These data, in addition to pointing out a growing simplification of the party system, also suggest that the large number of parties contesting elections in 1946,1950 and 1951 was not unusual when judged by pre-war patterns. Table 1 Political Parties with Parliamentary Representation 1926-1964 Year 1926 1928 1932 1933 193S 1936 1946 1930 1931 1932 1936 1938 1961 1963 1964

9 10 9 10 4 10 12 10 6 3 2 5 4 4 4

A more sophisticated measure of party system change uses the percentage distribution of party seats in a parliament immediately following an elec­ tion and compares that with the distribution following the next election.4 4 If a party exists at time T1 and then disappears at time T2, its percentage of seats is set equal to zero at time T2. The percentage distributions are then analyzed using the Pearson correlation coefficient with N equal to the number of paired observations (that is, paired elections). For example, a comparison of the parties contesting the election of 1950 with that of 1951 finds ten parties in 1950 and six in 1951. However, there are twelve cases. Four parties contested both elections under the same label, six competed only in 1950 and two competed only in 1951. The Pearson correlation coefficient is used to discern the relation­ ship between the seat distribution at one election and the next. The correlation between the two is always expressed as a decimal number between -1.00 and +1.00. The higher the positive decimal, the greater the positive relationship between the seat distributions in the two years.


K eith Legg

The data displayed in Tfcble 2 suggest several “breaks” in party system continuity, one in the period between 1946 and 1950, the other between 1952 and 1956. (The significance of these breaks is clouded by the fact that the size of the parliament changed.) There was more continuity in the party system between 1936 and 1946, despite the dictatorship, war and occupation, than between 1946 and 1950. The change between 1952 and 1956 is even more massive. O f greater importance for the argument ad­ vanced here, however, is the fact that the wide variation in correlation coefficients (the r’s in Ihble 2) points to a parliamentary party system that has been “regularly” unstable. The number of competing parties changes significantly from one election to the next and the number of seats won by continuing parties also fluctuates a great deal. This pattern is particularly striking when compared with data for other European party systems. Table 2 Party System Stability Measured by Party Seats in Parliament Yean

Scats r

1926/28 1928/32 1932/33 1933/35 1935/36 1936/46 1946/50 1950/51 1951/52 1952/56 1956/58 1958/61 1961/63 1963/64

.81 .73 .96 .80 .35 .53 .13 .78 .78 -.45 .52 .68 .89 .95

A nother measure of party system regularity is based on the actual number of new members of parliament, classified by party affiliation, following an election. This is a measure of political recruitm ent or parliamentary turn­ over stability. D ata is sketchy for the period from 1926 to 1946. Conse­

M usical C hain in A thens


quently, only data for the period 1946 to 1964 is included in Thble 3. The number of first-time members of parliament could change for several reasons. The election success of a new party could bring fresh faces into parliament. Crisis and competition within old parties could result in sub­ stantial membership turnover within parliamentary delegations. “Land­ slide” elections could also enlarge the number of first-time parliamenta­ rians within a party delegation. In these cases a measure not only of distribution (the Pearson’s r discussed earlier) but a measure of magnitude is also needed. Consequently, the intraclass correlation coefficient r(i) was used.3 The data displayed in Thble 3 suggest that patterns of turnover within parliamentary parties did not stabilize until the very end of the period.* Table 3 Party System Stability Measured by Recruitment Regularity Yean

New Memben

1946/50 1950/51 1951/52 1952/56 1956/58 1958/61 1961/63 1963/64

-.1 8 -.2 0 .66 -.6 0 -.2 5 -.1 9 .46 .79

* The intradess correlation measures both pattern and magnitude. The intradass correlation coefficient varies between +1.00 and -1.00. When ifi) equals +1.00, the values for all cases at T1 and T2 are identical, the variance is between the cases. When r(i) equals-1.00, all the variance is in the values of the cases, not between them. When r(i) equals 0.00, the within case and between case variance is equal. Using data from Ihble 3, the r(i) of -.1 8 for the 1946/1950 election suggests that the change in the number of parties, and the change in seau gained by the parties equally explain the variation. In the 19S1/S2 pair, the r(i) o f+.66 suggests that the change in the number of parties explains more of the variation than changes in seat distributions among the parties. For the 1952/56 pair, the r(i) of -.6 0 suggesu that the change in the distribution of seatt explains more than the change in the number of parties.


K eith Legg

There is evidence of change in the Greek party system from 1926 to 1964. Two measures, one using a simple count of the number of parties repre­ sented in parliament over time and the other measuring changes in parties and seats using correlation coefficients, suggest that the initial condition of the G reek party system was a state of “unstable equilibrium". Only after 1952 was there movement toward “stable equilibrium". The pattern of party recruitment or parliamentary turnover was examined using the in­ traclass correlation technique. H ere again, despite a limited time series, a pattern of increasing stability can be discerned. In this instance, stability begins to emerge about a decade after the emergence of “stable equilibri­ um” in the number of parties and the distribution of parliamentary seats. Government Change in H istorical Perspective The pattern of government or cabinet change can also be measured in several different ways. Ihble 4 displays data from 1926 to 1964 using five different measures. Table 4 Government Stability in Greece*6 1926-1964 Cabinet Year Government 1926 1928 1932 1932 1932 1933 1933 1935 1936 1946 1946 1947 1947 1947 1949 1950 1950 1950

Taimit E. Venizek» P&p&nastasiou E. Venizek» P.Tsaldaris E. Venizek» P.Tsaldaris Kondylis Demertzb Poulitsas K.Tsaldaris Maxunos K.Tsaldaris Sofoulis Diomidis S. Venizek» Plastiras S. Venizek»





Posts Men Ratio

555 1425 10 152 72 49 943 51 135 14 281 217 9 656 190 23 128 432

16 26 24 21 21 21 26 24 25 22 35 33 24 30 27 29 28 36

23 44 16 18 20 17 51 23 26 14 47 41 12 64 27 21 24 55

1.44 1.69 0.67 0.86 0.95 0.81 1.96 0.96 1.04 0.64 1.34 1.24 0.50 2.13 1.00 0.72 0.86 1.53

% Carry Over -

6.8 6.3 0 0 0 0 47.8 3.8 -

19.1 46.3 75.0 17.2 100.0 28.6 29.2 16.4

M usical Chairs in Athens





Posts Men Ratio

349 949 157 735 1023 601 56 512

23 32 26 28 28 28 24 30

27 51 27 29 26 27 22 27

1.17 1.59 1.04 1.04 0.93 0.96 0.92 0.90

Cabinet Year Government 1951 Plastiras 1952 Papagos 1955 Karamanlis 1956 Karamanlis 1958 Karamanlis 1961 Karamanlis 1963 G. Papandreou 1964 G. Papandreou


« Carry Over 25.9 0 51.9 3.4 46.2 42.3 0 63.0

• Does not include caretaker governments.

The simplest measure is the structure of the government itself. Did the cabinet reflect the m ajority status of a single party, the minority status of a party, or did it reflect a coalition of parties? Ordinarily, coalition govern­ ments are assumed to have less stability than m ajoritarian governments, and minority governments have the least stability of all. By this measure, coalition governments were the expected governments, at least until 1952. The fact that cabinets from 1946 to 1952 were composed of politicians representing more than one party cannot be assessed as unusual. A second measure involves the duration in office of governments. Over the period from 1926 to 1964, there were twenty-six governments and the average duration was 374 days. Tfcble 4, column 4, indicates that eight of the ten governments from 1946 to 1952 had durations below average. H ere, again, the pattern from 1946 to 1952 is only slightly different than the pre-war pattern. Governments formed after 1952 generally lasted much longer. A third measure of stability has two dimensions. Cabinet size varies from one government to another. Generally, larger cabinets permit the distribution of “rewards” to more politicians and parties. Ifcble 4, column*

* For the governmental system discussion, data was compiled from Tsingou D. Ailianou, The Greek Governments and Presidencies o f Parliament and Saute, 1926-1959 (Athens 1959). Data for the later period was compiled from Keesing’s Contemporary Archives.


K eith Legg

5 “Cabinet Posts" indicates that governments from 1946 to 1952 were larger than usual. Cabinet size is only slightly associated (r«.257) with government duration for the entire period from 1926 to 1964. However, for the 1946 to 1952 period, the association is much higher (r«.455). A second dimension is the flow of individuals through a cabinet. Data are given under the column labelled »Men« in Ifcble 4. Presumably, turnover within a cabinet means that the supply of rewards in the form of positions is constantly renewed. Consequently, a greater number of parliamentarians can be temporarily satisfied. This should contribute to government durability. For the entire period, higher personnel turnover within the cabinet is associated with longer government tenure (r=.600). For the shorter time frame, 1946 to 1952, the association is much stronger (r-.9 0 6 ). It can be argued, of course, that longer cabinet duration leads to greater turnover rather than the reverse. However, in the Greek case, the short duration of cabinets (relative to most other countries) suggests that natural turnover attributed to death and resignation for personal reasons would be small. A nother measure, avoiding the time factor, is a ratio of cabinet mem­ bers to cabinet posts. This data is provided in the column labelled “Posts Men R atio". Numbers less than one mean that there were more posts than individuals in the cabinet. (Some individuals held several ministries). Numbers higher than one indicate personnel turnover. The ratios found in the 1946 to 1952 period appear mixed. They do contrast markedly with the ratio pattern after 1952. There is much less contrast with the ratios found in the period before 1946. These ratios, as one would expect, are related to government durability. For the entire time period, r equalled .673, for the short period the association is high, r=.974. The final measure of stability examines carry over from one cabinet to the next. In general, as Table 4 indicates, there was more carry over from one cabinet to the next in the period from 1946 to 1952 than at any other time. There is no relationship between carry over and government dura­ tion for the whole period. For the short period, there is a negative rela­ tionship (r= -.4 9 8 ). This is the only measure that supports the general perception of cabinet “musical chairs” from 1946 to 1952. W hat do these data tell us? The general perception of government

M usical C hain in A thens


instability from 1946 to 1952 is not incorrect. The pattern of instability is an extension of the pre-war pattern of “unstable equilibrium”. The pattern of government stability, like the pattern of party system stability, changes from one of “unstable equilibrium” toward one of “stable equili­ brium” after 1952.

Explaining Unstable Equilibria W ith few exceptions, the measures have pointed to a change in the gov­ ernm ental “system” and the party “system” in the years after 1952. Dis­ continuities do exist in the patterns of both party system and governmen­ tal system activity from 1926 until 1952. However, these discontinuities are in a sense “regular”. W hat factors, then, explain the continuity of instability in the immediate post-war period? The most convincing explanation draws on the concept of institutionali­ zation put forward by Samuel Huntington. Institutionalization “is the process by which organizations and pro­ cedures acquire value and stability. The level of institutionalization of any political system can be defined by the adaptability, complexity, autonomy, and coherence of its organizations and procedures”.7 Huntington enumerates four dimensions along which institutionaliza­ tion can be measured: (1) Adaptability is measured in terms of the age of the organization - has the organization passed through the first set of leaders, does it have a life of its own? (2) Complexity is measured by the number of functioning organizational sub-units, and by a multiplicity of functions. (3) Autonomy is assessed by asking questions about the degree to which political organizations and procedures exist separately from other groups. (4) Coherence involves consensus within the group on mem­ bership and on methods for resolving conflicts. N either the party system nor the governmental system (defined as the prime minister and cabinet) can be described as highly institutionalized for most of the period consid­ ered here. 7 S. P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968) 12.


K eith Legg

G reek political parties rarely lasted long, at least when measured by continuity of name or label. Even the most long-lived parties in the period from 1926 to 1964, the Liberals and the Populists, did not survive the death of their founders by more than an election or two. Parties have occasionally created formal organization, but in few cases has this organ­ ization persisted. Most often, the organizational links of the parties are directly personal, between the politician and his voters, or indirectly per­ sonal, the relationship of a “charismatic” leaders to his followers. In most cases, it is difficult to differentiate purely political links from social and economic ones. Finally, consensus within political organizations has been fragile. Politicians create new parties, fragment old ones and occasionally jum p from one major political “camp” to another. The low level of party institutionalization affected the operation of the governmental system. In the period between the wars, the party system reflected the division between Venizelists and Antivenizelists. There were six elections between 1926 and 1936. In only one case, 1928, did the parliament last for the full four year term . In the other cases, only one or two years separated general elections. The conflict of personalities merely underlined conflicts over the nature of the regime. The military, the electoral system, and the rules of political conduct were all instruments for use by one side or the other in the struggle for political power. The execution of The Six, coups, counter­ coups, and attem pted coups, electoral boycotts, the exile and return of the monarchy, all point to limited institutionalization. The Metaxas dictator­ ship and the occupation further limited opportunities for institutional de­ velopment. The post-war party system simply reflected this historical lega­ cy, the parties continued to operate as before. If anything, the level of institutionalization in the party system had declined by 1946. lb be sure, the rather clean division of parties repre­ senting the Venizelist and Antivenizelist traditions in the 1920s and early 1930s was repeated. Problems of leadership succession, personal and ideological quarrels, however, had resulted in a fragmentation of the two m ajor parties even before 1946. The party fragmentation of 1936 was reproduced and even exacerbated in 1946. The leadership crisis in the Liberal Party, festering even before the death of Venizelos in 1936, was unresolved. Three different parties used the “liberal” label in 1946. The

M usical Chairs in A thens


death of Tsaldaris, also in 1936, deprived the Populists of clear leadership as well. In each case, post-war leadership passed to a close relative. Al­ though leadership position could be “inherited”, the personal ties to sec­ ond echelon leaders and party chieftains were difficult to transfer. Conse­ quently, the two m ajor parties of the interwar period were simply two competitors among many in 1946. Most party organization, largely the network of personal relationships linking political leaders with constituency notables, was generally insuffi­ cient to arrange contests in all parts of the country in 1946. (Only the Populists were able to field candidates in all constituencies). The social cleavage between “old” Greece and “new” Greece, so clear-cut in 1936, was also visible in 1946.8 The m ajor parties concentrated on areas of historical strength, or where party leadérs had personal ties. The small parties confined their attention to particular regions or even to several constituencies. The personal ties of individual voters to parliamentary candidates had been attenuated by the upheavals of the previous decade. Ordinarily, voters select a single party list and then use “preference” votes to favor one party candidate over another from the same party. In 1946, voters were perm itted to mark as many preference votes as there were can­ didates on the list. This peculiarity permits the construction of a measure of political institutionalization at the local level. A ratio was constructed by dividing the preference votes given all party candidates by the number of party votes. D ata are displayed in Tible S. A low number indicates that voters preferred a single candidate; a high number indicates that preferen­ ces were given to many candidates, indicating a lack of commitment to any one. It should be added that only a very small proportion of voters de­ clined to use the preference vote. Political institutionalization as measured by preferences for a single candidate appears greater in areas less affected by the civil war and where personal relationships were less altered by economic and social change.*

* O. Mavrogordatos, Stillborn Republic: Social Coalitions and Party Strategies in Greece, 1922-1936 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982) 275.


K eith Legg

Table 5 Mean Preference Votes by Region. All Parties Athens-Piraeus Old Greece Peloponnesus Ionian Islands Epirus Thessaly Macedonia Aegean Islands Crete Thrace

3.85 2.03 2.60 1.41 2.33 2.52 2.24 1.90 1.63 3.03

The instabilities in the party system during the civil war period merely continued the instabilities of the pre-war period. However, these in­ stabilities were magnified by two factors: the absence of commanding political personalities and the conditions resulting from the crises of the prior decade. Both major political constellations, the Liberals and the Populists, had lost their founders in the 1930s, and the dictatorship, occu­ pation, and war had prevented the emergence of new leadership. The dictatorship, occupation and war, with the social and economic disloca­ tions so occasioned, also disrupted the usual links between national poli­ ticians, local notables and voters. Government or cabinet instability reflects the lack of institutionaliza­ tion in the party system. Once again, this pattern also reflects a continuity with governmental practices of the inter-war period. The cabinet in Greece seems rarely to have been a truly collective body. Generally, a powerful leader such as Venizelos monopolized decision-making, or par­ celled out policy areas to trusted lieutenants. With weaker leaders, politi­ cal chieftains appear to have operated ministries as feudal domains. Most im portant, Greek governmental institutions have rarely operated well under crisis conditions. In the period 1946 to 1952, cabinets fluctuated in size and the assign­ ment of ministerial responsibilities. Ministries were divided, sub-divided, amalgamated and eliminated. Political decisions appear to have been the result of behind the scenes negotiations among party leaders, the military,

M usical Chairs in A thens


the monarchy, and foreign powers. Cabinets remained the center of poli­ tical bargaining, not the site for solving m ajor problems. A total of 165 men occupied positions in the ten cabinets holding office from the elections of 1946 to those of 1952. Relatively few ministers had prior experience in government. Only 26.7% had held cabinet office in the pre-M etaxas era, and most of this experience was at the level of deputy minister. A nother 13.9% had served in the goveraments-in-exile or in the governments appointed before the 1946 election. On the whole, prior administrative and political experience was limited. Few of the same faces appeared repeatedly in the six governments. As Thble 6 indicates, very few of the 165 men served in all ten governments, about half served in only one. Service in governments during this period was not likely to produce experts or specialists. Governments were usually short-lived, and even governments of longer duration underwent frequent “reconstructions”. Those few men with continuous participation in a gov­ ernm ent were often shifted from one ministry to another. In short, there was little personnel continuity and government ability to take crucial deci­ sions was weak. Table 6 Participation in Cabinets Between Elections of 1946 and 1952* N - 165 Number of Cabinets

Per Cent of Participants

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

46.7 29.1 8.5 8.5 4.8 1.2 1.2

* Does not indude caretaker governments.

Accounting fo r Change The elections of 1952 and 1956 mark a m ajor shift in Greek politics toward “stable equilibrium”. Measures of party system stability and cabinet stab­


K eith Legg

ility suggest growing institutionalization after that point. W hat factors account for this change? First, politicians had acquired more experience in operating the par­ liamentary system, despite its shortcomings. From 1946 onward, the level of prior political experience increased within the parliament, despite the instability of the party system. Ihble 7 displays data on the prior par­ liamentary experience of deputies elected from 1946 through 1964. Table 7 Stability Measured by Prior Parliamentary Experience Year

Experience %

1946 1950 1951 1952 1956 1958 1961 1963 1964

50.8 58.4 57.8 63.3 69.3 71.3 77.3 78.0 86.0

Second, the 1946 to 19S2 period marked a transition in political leader­ ship. Despite the conspicuous exception of George Papandreu, few poli­ tical leaders prominent after 1952 had significant careers in the pre-war period. The first post-war parliaments and the cabinets drawn from them contained the next generation of leaders. For example, the second govern­ ment of Sophoklis Venizelos in 1950, in addition to George Papandreu, counted among its members Stefanopulos, Mavros, Averoff, M itsotakis, Karamanlis and Tsatsos. Although memories of the inter-war quarrels were certainly alive, they were less germane. Within the political elite (defined as candidates for office), the lines between Venizelist and Antivenizelist backgrounds had blurred. Beginning in 1951, but continuing in 19S2 and 1956, from a third to over 40 % of the candidates of the “right” had previously contested elections on lists from the “center”, that is, on parties part of the Venizelist camp. Although less noteworthy, from ten to

M usical Chairs in A thens


twenty per cent of the candidates on “center” lists had previous can­ didatures for “right” or Antivenizelist parties.9 Third, a general consensus on most fundamental issues had emerged. The question of regime type had been settled. The division between Venizelists and Antivenizelists was largely replaced by a new cleavage, the “nation” versus the left. The relationship of the military to the political world had stabilized. There was general agreement on the rules for politi­ cal competition. Among the significant political rules were those relating to the electoral system. The “forced” experiment with a single-member plurality system in 1932 was abandoned, replaced by a reinforced propor­ tional representation system that required a high percentage of votes to share in second and third level seat distributions. Although there was regular tinkering with the threshold levels, and occasional intimations of fraud (especially in 1961), there was little pressure to alter the rules in a wholesale way. Fourth, the maturing of political leadership and institutions occurred in a period marked by economic recovery and an expansion of political resources. Leaders did not have to face really serious domestic crises until after 1964. This factor made it easier for political leaders to forge lasting political ties not only at the elite level, but to the constituencies as well. Moreover, the growth of the mass media and literacy gave top political leaders direct access to the voter, strengthening personal followings and consequently, diminishing the importance of local notables. The Greek party system, and the governmental system, moved consistently toward stable equilibrium after 1952.

C o n clu sio n

W hat do these data tell us about Greek politics during the civil war period? Was political instability due to faulty leadership or the failure of institutions? The answer depends upon the standards held by the ob­ server. From the perspective of foreign observers, Greek politics com­ » KR L e g g . Politics in Modem Greece (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969) 142.


K eith Lęgg

pared poorly to the placid politics of developed western democracies. Moreover, the causes of political instability - squabbling politicians - were easily identified. Greeks themselves, using the standards of later years, have also looked upon these politicians as irresponsible. From another, broader perspective, however, the pattern of politics seems understandable. The data show quite dearly, in ways impossible with narrative alone, that the pattern of political instability evident in the dvil war period was merely a continuation of patterns established in the inter-war period. The politidans of the dvil war period merely followed the norms of the past. Instability was exacerbated because the period of the dvil war also coindded with the decline of one political generation and the emergence of another with little political experience. To this must be added the enormity of the problems created by the dvil war itself. In retrospect, given the post-war experience of other economically under­ developed countries, it is remarkable that Greece functioned as an operat­ ing democracy at all.

Economic Stabilization and Political Unrest: Greece 1944-1947* Christos H adziiossif The year 1953 has generally been considered to be the beginning of the post-war era for the Greek economy, whilst the years immediately follow­ ing the end of the Second World War have been ignored as an obscure period of low production levels, soaring inflation and rapid currency de­ preciation. Yet the seeds of many future developments lie in these gloomy years. Well before the American programme of aid to Greece, the out­ come of the policies pursued by successive G reek governments had shown the kind of economic and social development Greek society could toler­ ate. From November 1944 to June 1947 five different courses of economic policy were experimented with. A t each stage, various policy options were eliminated so that eventually the only possible course left was that of a m arket economy with a heavy state intervention under the tutelage of the sole foreign lender, the U.S. Government. Following the famine and the destruction of the monetary system caused by the Axis occupation, the Greek and Allied authorities consid­ ered their main task to be the supply of adequate food to the population and the introduction of a new currency. These two goals, together with the supply of some basic raw materials, seemed to them to be sufficient for local production to resume. No development considerations were to be found in those plans, which assumed that the G reek economy would simply revert to its pre-war situation. In fact, this task proved to be more difficult to achieve than expected, partly because the few industrialists,

* This paper is part of a broader research on the “Political Economy of the Reconstruction Period 1944-1953”, prepared for the Research Programme on Modern Greek History of the Commercial Bank of Greece.


C hristos H adziiossif

combined with the numerous Mack m arketeers, wanted to ensure that the economic recovery would not harm their own interests. One of the more contradictory developments during the occupation had been the apparent shift of the balance of political power toward a broad leftist coalition simultaneously with a more uneven distribution of income and wealth. To break the economic power of the new rich and to get the economy back on its track would have required a measure of political backing by the leftist majority. Alternatively, it was not possible to attem pt the political elimi­ nation of the Left, while at the same time alienating, through economic controls, the middle and upper classes which had taken advantage of widespread suffering during the occupation in order to enrich themselves. As a result, economic issues were from the beginning entangled in the more general political problems of Greece. The political aspect of these economic issues was further complicated by the fact that the British, who were strongly opposed to the EAM and the KKE, shared with the G reek Government the responsibility for formulating economic policy. The first comprehensive economic programme was introduced by the Government of National Unity under George Papandreu in November 1944. The “Svolos stabilization”, so named because of Alexander Svolos, the socialist M inister of Finance, focused (as the word “stabilization” indicates) on the monetary aspect of the problem. Law 18/1944 intro­ duced a new drachma which was worth 50 billion of the old currency. The new system permitted transactions in gold sovereigns, which had been the value standard and the generally accepted medium of payment during the occupation. Such use of gold in transactions was considered to be a trans­ itional phenomenon which would disappear with the restoration of confi­ dence in the national currency. The National Bank of Greece was au­ thorized to intervene on the sovereign market in order to peg its price. Confidence in the strength of the drachma and in its ability to resist attacks on the gold m arket were based on the fact that the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Greece largely exceeded the volume of the note circulation.1This peculiar currency theory was invoked at each crisis during the next three years.1 1 See A. Svolos, / Istoria Mias Prospathias (Athens 1945).

Econom ic Stabilization and P olitical U nrest


The other important measure of the Government of National Unity was the freezing of wages at a low level. This step was particularly difficult for the EAM ministers, but the need for it had been impressed upon them by the British, who had made the increase in the daily food ration for the Athens area from 1300 to 2000 calories conditional on the maintenance of the wage rate at 7 s. a day.2 This measure sought to avert a cost-induced inflation and to avoid an increase in the cost of the British expeditionary force. As compensation, the left wing of the government had secured an indemnity scheme for unemployed industrial workers and restrictive clauses to prevent massive layoffs of redundant personnel. The Cabinet also discussed a bill on war profit taxation but no agree­ ment had been reached on this issue when the government collapsed in December 1944. The political crisis left the government no time to com­ plete its economic programme and it is therefore difficult to judge its possible effectiveness on the basis of such a short trial period. Neverthe­ less, during this month-and-a-half some key elements became apparent. The first of these elements was that the drachma devaluation and the wage freeze were both considered to be prerequisites for a sound economic policy. In fact, all future plans included these measures. The second ele­ ment was the industrialists’ opposition to all projects that attem pted to introduce an effective taxation on wartime profits. This issue alienated the Liberal Party from its traditional supporters among big capital, a develop­ ment which had a lasting effect on the country’s political life. The third key element which appeared during this short period was the demand for a foreign loan as an alternative to taxation and aid in kind (which was distributed under state control). It was assumed that a foreign loan, or preferably, foreign aid in cash, would lead to economic recovery without altering the economic and social status quo. But in the public debate the argument put forward in favour of a foreign loan was that Greece was too poor to afford direct taxation. For the royalists, who were the main champions of this policy, this kind of reasoning presented the advantage of being attractive to the middle classes and the petty bourgeoisie who were afraid of any new taxes.1 1 Ibid, and F0371/48328. R4613, Scobie to Sideris 7.2.43.


C hristos H adziiossif

On the other hand, one of the policy decisions taken at that time never again saw the light of day. Prior to December 1944 the government had entrusted the workers with the management of some industrial companies in the Athens area, such as the textile mill of EUiniki eriurgia, the lignite mines in Herakleion and Kalogreza and small shipyards in the Saronic Gulf.3 A t the same time the Ministry of Finance had installed represen­ tatives of the working classes on the boards of the prime banks. Another trend which dated back to the early post-liberation period was the policy of conferring responsibility for economic m atters on a small committee of ministers. The aim of this reform was twofold: it sought to ensure a greater degree of coordination in the decision-making process, while it attem pted to reduce the influence of short-term political interests on economic policy. During the six months following the December 1944 civil strife, the G reek economy went through a phase of complete "laissez-faire”, due less to deliberate policy than to the lack of technical skills and political will on the part of the responsible ministers. The only concrete measures that were taken concerned the repeal of the employment laws introduced by the former M inister of Labour, Miltiadis Porfirogenis. Otherwise the vari­ ous Ministers of Finance seemed to regard as their main task "begging for further help from the British”.45G .Sideris, the Minister referred to in Leeper’s comment just cited, was indeed the first Greek official to raise the loan issue, albeit in an indirect manner by way of a statem ent to the press. The results of this absence of policy were soon evident. On the monetary front, the sovereign rose from 3000 drachmas in December to 19000 in mid-May, and the note circulation more than doubled within a few months. This was mainly due to the huge budget deficit, public re­ venues covering only 10 to 25 percent of expenditures. The printing of money was accelerated just to cover this deficit, as no credits were issued to industry and agriculture. Even those industrialists who managed to obtain bank loans invested the money in sovereigns or merely produced a

3 A. Svoktt, op.eit. and Rizospastis 1.12.1944. 4 F0371/48327, R3109, Leeper to FO 13.2.45. 5 F0371/48326, R1602, Reuter’s cable from Athens 19.1.45.

E conom ic Stabilization and P olitical U nrest


few expensive items for the upper classes. In fact, producing goods for mass consumption seemed to make little sense as according to UNRRA statistics SO percent of the rural population and 30*35 percent of the townspeople were indigent.6 In turn, the economic situation intensified the already high social ten­ sions. There were not only the workers’ strikes, which reached their peak in the last weeks of May, but also the fact that the retail traders turned against the industrialists and accused them of fomenting the black mar­ ket.7 These developments imperilled British efforts to stabilize the politi­ cal situation and to impose a centre-right government. Aware of the inep­ titude of the traditional political elite and having had the Left excluded from effective participation, the British were looking for a technocrat who could cany out the necessary measures. Already at the beginning of 1945 they had made their choice in the person of Kiriakos Varvaressos, an economics professor at the University of Athens and Governor of the Bank of Greece since the 1930’s. Varvaressos had spent a large part of the war in London and was well acquainted with the City and the Treasury, both of which trusted him. Moreover, he was one of the few who knew how the British war economy was managed, and who had followed the developments leading up to the B retton Woods agreements. Therefore he had a better idea than most of his countrymen as to what the postwar economy would be like.8 However, Varvaressos’s candidacy encountered strong opposition from the G reek political and financial circles. Following the brief period of the Government of National Unity in which EAM had participated, these circles very soon regained control of the economy. G. Pesmatzoglu, a moderate Populist and big shareholder of the largest private bank, the Bank of Athens, became Governor of the influential state-controlled Na-1* * F0371/48331, R8508, “Economic Measures and Controls in Greece” by C. Sandberg 14.S.45. For a balanced Greek view of the situation, see the two X. Zolotas articles in Tb Vima 12-13.5.45. 1 Tb Vima 15.5.45 for the complaints of the retailers against the tobacco industries, 24.5.45 for the positions of the textile retailers in Athens and court sentences against mill owners, 25.5.45 for the requests of the shoetraders and court sentences against industrialists. ' See his wartime reports in the Tsuderos Papers (GAK) under B5.


C hristos H adziiossif

tional Bank of Greece. A relative, M. Pesmatzoglu, was Deputy M inister of Finance. G. Mantzavinos, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and M inister of Finance, was the brother-in-law of the biggest tobacco indu­ strialist Papastratos, while J. Paraskevopulos, the Supply Minister, had served on the staff of the National Bank. These people exploited Varvaressos’s absence from Greece during the war and his alleged deviation from “Greek mentality” in order to oppose his appointment to the govern­ m ent.9 O thers, like the M inister of National Economy, G. Kasimatis, re­ ferred in the discussions with the British to Varvaressos’s term in the Bank of Greece under the Metaxas dictatorship and also to his personal links with left-wing politicians.101Their purpose was to discredit him by labelling him a fascist or a communist. The bankers of Athens were especially angry at Varvaressos’s handling of the credit policy through the Bank of Greece11 and probably hoped to alter in their favour the credit system which had emerged in 1928. From February 1945, when the participation of Varvaressos was considered for the first tim e, until the beginning of June, when he finally entered the government, there were four months of bickering on this issue. However, these tactics had the opposite effect from that hoped for: they built up the image of Varvaressos as the only man who could save the economy so in the end his opponents were obliged to give in to the combined pressure of the British and public opinion. One of the final manoeuvres of this period was a solemn declaration delivered by industrialists at a dinner at the Yacht Club attended by members of the government, the British and American Ambassadors and the head of the UNRRA Mission in Greece, that they considered themselves to be “drafted into service” in order to bring about an economic recovery and that they would place their com­ panies and their personal know-how at the disposal of the state.12 In reality, through this move they were hoping to prevent more rigorous government controls on industrial production. * F0371/48327, R3263, Leeper to FO, 15.2.45. For the real meaning of thit allegation, see the Varvaressos-Diomidis debate in Nea lkonomia 1,1946-1947. 10 F0371/48329/R6629 Hill to Waley 12.4.45. 11FO371/48330/R6984 Hill to WUey 18.4.45 and FO371/48446/R16104 “Appendix Dm. u To Vimo 23-24.5.45.

Econom ic Stabilization and P olitical Unrest


Varvaressos entered the government on June 2 as M inister of Supply and Deputy Prime M inister with an absolute right to veto all measures proposed by the economic ministries. However, his opponents in the gov­ ernm ent, including Kasimatis, did not leave but were simply transferred to less sensitive ministries. Varvaressos had already discussed his reform plans with Hreasury officials in London, and had won their acceptance despite the fact that their views were not identical with his on all points. He received a blank cheque rather than a formal agreem ent.13 British officials emphasized the need for control of prices, wages, production and transport. Varvaressos agreed in principle, but never tried to enforce controls on maritime transports, which would have permitted him to re­ strict more effectively the flow of supplies to the black market. Also British views on taxation were never brought into harmony with those of Varvaressos. Despite these differences Varvaressos’s mission in restoring the country’s economy was considered by W hitehall to be of paramount importance. It prompted Prime M inister Churchill to send a telegram of wholehearted support which was to be widely publicized by the Greek press on the day Varvaressos announced his programme.14 The new Deputy Prime Minister, M inister of Supply and Governor of the Bank of Greece announced his programme in two phases. On June 4, he fixed the new parity of the drachma at 2000 to the pound, instead of the previous 600 drachmas to the pound. A t the same time he proclaimed a ban on transactions in gold. Only the Bank of Greece was authorized to deal in gold, at an official price which was four times less than the price on the unofficial market. He also fixed new ceilings for wages and salaries which, if enforced, would have meant im portant reductions in the work­ ers’ incomes. As compensation he reduced the prices of a number of UNRRA foodstuffs distributed by the state and imposed price controls on twenty-one basic items. The tax part of his programme was announced on June 21. The delay was due to unfavourable reactions within the government and also to Varvaressos’s own desire to avoid the appearance of a direct link between 1 11FO371/48331/R9017 FO to Athens 2S.S.45. See also FO371/48331/R8508 and R9195. MTo Vima S.6.4S.


C hristos H adziiossif

price controls and the less popular new taxes. These were to be imposed upon all industry and upon a great number of merchants and professional people. These new taxes, without being an intolerable burden, neverthe­ less represented a substantial handicap for industry and especially for simple shopkeepers for whom it constituted ten times their annual rent costs. Moreover the amounts due were to be paid monthly at the officially calculated rate and any appeal against the level of the tax would only entail a subsequent readjustm ent. The immediate reaction of political and financial circles to the first part of the programme was muted. In view of the manifest support of the British, the bourgeois politicians did not dare raise any objections. Only the Populist Party expressed the wish that the Allies should offer credits against anticipated German and Italian war indemnities and argued that only by “such means could the proper functioning of commerce and indu­ stry be restored”.13 On the other hand, the Communist Party greeted Varvaressos's entry in the government with a venomous editorial in R izospastis under the title “Varvaressos the economic dictator”.16 However, four days later, following the announcement of the first part of his pro­ gramme, the communists switched their stand from head-on opposition to cautious toleration and indeed the wave of strikes abated over the next few days. In the m arket these measures provoked a fall in prices and in the value of the sovereign.17 A fortnight later the taxation programme encountered greater hostility, especially among merchants and small storekeepers who started organiz­ ing demonstrations against the government. The reasoning underlying the decision to tax merchants was that the black-marketeers and wartime profiteers were not merely a handful of big industrialists, but thousands of small businessmen as well. D ata now available about property sales during the Occupation substantiate this view. Between April 1941 and November 1944 more than 350,000 urban properties and rural estates were sold to some 60,000 buyers for an estimated total of 6 million sovereigns as

“ Ibid. 6.6.45. MRizospastis 3.6.45. ” Ibid. 7.6.45.

Econontic Stabilization and P olitical U nrest


against a pre-war value of 90 million sovereigns.18 In 1943 Varvaressos’s analysis was shared by other economic observers19, but clashed with the attitude of the political parties which preferred to maintain the fiction that economic collaborators had been few in numbers. From a tactical point of view, the new taxation proved to be an error because it restored the common front of industrialists and merchants which had been split during the economic anarchy of the previous months. Its long term effect was to push the middle class towards the right in the same way as the “Svolos stabilization” and the ensuing wiping out of bank deposits had done seven months earlier. Moreover the “class analysis” employed by Varvaressos both in his public statements and also in Constitutional Act No 57 on “crimes menacing vital interests of the people” resembled too much the communist jargon and frightened even more the middle class. The hostility of industrialists focused on production controls. Despite their previous promise to place their factories at the disposal of the state, they bargained hard on every clause of an agreement concerning the production of some basic consumer goods. Under this agreement, the state would provide the raw materials, taking the finished goods in ex­ change. The factory owners were to be granted a sufficient margin for cost and profit. The first quantities of raw materials were in fact distributed in July 1943 but the agreement was never implemented because the successors of Varvaressos showed no interest in it and never reclaimed the finished goods from the manufacturers. Varvaressos faced these challenges successfully until the first week of August, when prices began to rise again and basic foodstuffs disappeared from the market. The situation was especially precarious on the olive oil m arket, where all the efforts of the government to barter with the peas­ ants by giving UNRRA goods in return for oil had failed. Varvaressos blamed this failure on the campaign led by the textile mill owners and the Right. There was a good deal of truth in this charge. However, at the same time the price policy of the government had altered the terms of exchange MPeneUinios Omospondia Poiisandon Ta Akinita Ton Epi Kasohis, Sinkendrotikos Pinax 1941-1944. ” X. ZotoUt, To Vima 13.5.45.


C hristos H adzüossif

between industrial and agricultural products to the latter's disadvantage. This development, coupled with the anticipated price rise, induced the peasants to hoard their production, or to sell only to black m arketeers who offered them better terms than the state agents. The aggravation of the economic situation coincided with the deteriora­ tion of the political climate. The Labour victory in the British General Election of July 1943 induced the political parties in Greece to seek the overthrow of the Vulgaris government in order to secure better bargaining positions in anticipation of future developments, lb achieve the downfall of the government there was no easier way than to attack its economic policies. During this political crisis, the Right declared openly for the first time that it looked Jo the United States to replace the feeble and sodalist­ leaning Britain as the guarantor of Greece’s sodal status quo.20 On Au­ gust 23 the attack on the government intensified following Ernest Bevin’s statem ent on foreign policy in the House of Commons and the announce­ ment of the United States that it had ended the lend-lease programme to Britain. A t the same time Varvaressos was informed that the oil reserves in Italy, which UNRRA had led him to believe would be made available, were in fact non-existent. Lacking domestic political backing, Varvaressos sought from the British and, characteristically, also from the Americans, a d e ar commitment to his polides. Their answers failed to satisfy him and he eventually resigned on the night of September 2.21 Logistical difficulties involved in helping Varvaressos certainly played a large role in the British attitude toward him. A t the same tim e, the British were uneasy about having to support Varvaressos in a long drawn-out battle against the industrialists and middle class, who formed the sodal foundations of London’s policy in Greece. There is also the question of the extent to which the attitude of the British staff in Athens reflected a developing alignment with the policy of the U .S. Embassy. The opposition of the Right does not mean that Varvaressos pursued a

* F0371/48277/R13868. A.O.I.S. 29.7 and 4.8.4S; See also the articles of EUinikon Ema for this period. 21 F0371/48447/R18824 MReport on Economic Conditions in Greece covering the period August 16-October 10, 1945.

Econom ic Stabilization and P olitical U nrest


leftist and even less a socialist course. The theoretical premise of his policy was that the state had to regulate effective demand through income and fiscal controls and to guide production in order to maximize employment and social welfare. However, he did not challenge the principle of private ownership and he condemned the Soviet experiment. For him, the pur­ pose of state intervention was the consolidation of bourgeois democracy rather than its replacement by a socialist regime.22 The Right, which was becoming the champion of the business circles, did'not oppose a leftist policy so much as the very principle of state intervention in the economy. Nor was the “Republican Center" unanimously in favour of Varvaressos’s policy. The half-hearted support that members of it accorded to him was essentially due to their alignment with the British on whose good will their return to power depended. A fter Varvaressos’s resignation the economic experts of the “Republican Center” voiced freely their doubts about the feasibility of an interventionist economic policy in G reece.23 During the same period the Left remained a spectator. As the failure of controls on prices and industry became evident the KKE abandoned its benevolent neutrality and reverted to its initial hostility towards Varvaressos. The September strikes were not staged in favour of controls but were a rather clumsy attem pt to take advantage of the government’s em­ barrassment. The movement gained momentum, particularly as it was joined by great numbers of wage-earners exasperated by inflation and the resurgence of the black m arket. However, it lacked clear objectives and eventually failed to alter the government’s policy. Its failure proved that strikes were an inadequate substitute for a short-term economic policy. In this respect the 7th Congress of the KKE, held in O ctober 1945, con­ firmed that the Left had a more coherent policy for long-term industrial development than for resolving the pressing problems of the day.24 The 22There aie very few theoretical contributions by K. Varvaresaos. His views on the role of the state in the economy are more dearly formulated in his address to the Academy of Athens at his entry on May IS, 1937 (Praktika Us Akadimüa Athiium, 1937, Part C, 49-64) and in his report on “The Monetary Problem in the Postwar Period", Document 18, London, July 1942 (GAK, Tsuderos Papers B5). 23 “His last error”, editorial in To Vima 4.9.45. 14 Professor A. Angelopulos and his team in Nea lkonomia are the exception to that rule.


C hristos H adziiossif

KKE abandoned the field of short-term economic policy to the bourgeois parties at the very moment that it was leaning toward abstention from the approaching national elections. On the other hand, for the Royalists opposition to economic controls and direct taxation was not only a question of vested interests and ideo­ logy but also a m atter of sound electoral tactics. Undoubtedly they pressed for early elections because they were confident about the effec­ tiveness of right-wing terrorism and of the pressures of the security forces on the voters. A t the same time they wanted to capitalize on the “social fear” and the shift to the right of the petty bourgeoisie following the crisis of December 1944.25 The main themes of the economic propaganda of the Right appealed to this volatile section of the electorate, even if the core of its programme was inspired by big industrialists and merchants engaged in foreign trade. The economic orthodoxy of the Right was for the first time summarized in a leaflet published by G. Kasimatis in September 1945.26 A lawyer and university professor, Kasimatis served as Deputy M inister of National Economy in John Metaxas’s government before and some time after the dictatorship of August 4. In 1945 he called himself a “socialist”27 even though in the meantime he had moved away from his wartime condemna­ tion of the capitalist system.28 In the cabinet of Admiral Vulgaris, Kasimatis was among the opponents of Varvaressos and his proposals were thought to be a liberal alternative to the latter’s programme. Kasimatis’s* * The change in the mood of the electorate in favour of the Right was recognized even by the newspapers of the Republican Center. (“The Social Fear”, editorial. To Vima 5.8.45.) The circulation of the Athens newspapers confirms these trends. In December 1945 the right-wing newspapers accounted for 45,5 %, the republican newspapers for 24 % and the communist for 30,5 % of the circulation. (F0371/58781, A.G.I.S. Report for 9-15.12.45, Appendix B ', R13S). George Papandreu who virtually joined the Royalists confessed to the French Chargé d’affaires: “Ce parti a maintenant la majorité dans le pays et il ne reste plus aux hommes d’E tat... qu’à s’attacher à sa fortune, quelle que puisse être d’autre part leur opinion personelle’’. Ministère des Rélations Extérieurs, Z177.1, Athens 8.10.45. * Spécial issue of the review Paron, September 1945. v Ministère des Rélations Extérieurs, Z177.1, Athens 30.4.45. * In October 1943 Kasimatis wrote in his review Paron: “It will be dearly proved that the capitalist regime is out of date and that a new social regime will take its place". See To PoUtiko Zitima in Paron 8.10.43, reprinted in vol. 4, 1946, XII.

Econom ic Stabilization and P olitical U nrest


proposals provided for (a) The abolition of all price and production con­ trols, (b) The budget deficit to be covered mainly through indirect taxes, (c) The free sale of the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank in order to absorb the surplus purchasing power of the gold market. It was thought that this move would stabilize the value of the sovereign and price levels and also initiate an economic recovery through the private sector, (d) A foreign loan to boost the foreign exchange reserves and to finance reconstruction. Like all the proposals of the Right Kasimatis’s objectives constituted a short-term programme, but their eventual implementation would deter­ mine in advance the nature of long-term economic development as well. They allowed no room for state intervention except for subsidizing the private sector and for “regulating the labour factor”.29 The schemes for the control of production and distribution along corporatist lines put for­ ward by the Athens merchants and the Federation of Greek Industria­ lists30 after Varvaressos’s resignation were never seriously considered. They had been intended to placate public opinion and to prevent a return to state controls. Therefore, they were abandoned as soon as pressure from the Left eased and as the government made it clear that a policy of controls was beyond its intentions The British were slower than their Greek clients to change direction toward a more liberal economic policy. Kasimatis’s intention to apply his programme, when he became M inister of Finance in November 1945, was one of the reasons for the despatch of McNeil’s mission to Greece and the replacement of the ill-fated Kanellopulos Government. Tsuderos, who succeeded Kasimatis, was committed by the British to a more rigorous programme, even though indirect taxes had in the meantime replaced price controls as the top priority.31 British opposition to a liberal policy was not based on principle. It was certainly consistent with Ambassador Leeper’s scheme for a centre-right majority with some elements of social*

“ Petro« Garufalias, the ecooomic expert of the Socialist Democratic Party of George Papandreu in the party's newspaper Ellas 1.10.45. " Ellas 17-24.9.45. * FO371/48337/R19700, McNeill to Bevin, Athens 22.11.45.


C hristos H adziiossif

justice. But the main reason for it was that the British Treasury could not extend to Greece a loan, which constituted the basic element of the Right’s programme. Free foreign trade was another point of disagreement because the resumption of imports would add to the pressures for the convertibility of the pound sterling, the currency in which the Bank of Greece kept most of its reserves. The British economic advisers in Athens did not wish to concede on this m atter what Lord Keynes in Washington was refusing to grant to the Americans in the negotiations for an Ameri­ can loan to Britain. The turning point in the British attitude toward the Greek economic problem came with the Grove memorandum during preparations for the establishment of a British Advisory Economic Mission for Greece under M aj. Gen. P.G.W. G ark (the “Clark Mission”). Edward Grove, a finan­ cial expert despatched to Greece in order to investigate the economic conditions, was the first to recognize “the particularities of the Greek situation”. He pleaded for the free conversion of drachmas into gold and foreign exchange and recommended a foreign loan in cash on condition that the British should control Greece’s public finances.32 No doubt Grove’s ideas reflected the findings of the British Embassy in Athens, whose analysts thought it useless to oppose a policy which was backed not only by the Right but also by the majority of the politicians and financial experts of Greece. This change in attitude, combined with the fear of political upheaval, helped Tsuderos obtain a 10 million loan in January 1946.33 In exchange he accepted the establishment of a Currency Control Committee with one British and one American member, who could veto all measures affecting monetary policy proposed by the G reek government or the banks. It was expected that nearly all economic policy would come under the auspices of this Committee. The establishment of the C.C.C. meant a significant limitation on Greece’s sovereignty. This was underlined by the simultane-* * F0371/48416/R21223, Athens to FO, 21.12.4S, 21309 “Memorandum on the present Greek finnndsl stuation”. B D uring Tsuderos’s stay in London varions Greek bodies addressed Bevin and Attlee with cables asking for a loan. Among them was the trade unions federation GSEE with its communist General Secretary K. Theos, F0371/58721/R882.

Econom ic Stabilization and P olitical U nrest


ous disbandment of the I.F.C. which had been set up in 1898 to look after the interests of Greece’s foreign bondholders. One form of foreign tute­ lage was replaced by another more adapted to the prevailing circum­ stances. The government of the "Republican Center” also took some steps for the control of industry and the protection of labour. Law 864/46 em­ powered a committee of Ministers to place industrial firms under direct state control and to prohibit massive firings of workers. In accordance with this law the government took over for some time the management of the cement works and of the country’s unique fertilizer plant in Pireaus. Although these measures infuriated the industrialists,34they were too isol­ ated and timidly applied to have any significant effect on the economy. A t the same time the loan agreement of January 1946 did not restore public confidence in the currency. In February Tsuderos began openly to sell gold sovereigns in order to stop the slide in the value of the drachma. This policy was continued by the Populists, who won the elections in M ardi 1946, and who also kept their old promise to sell foreign exchange to private importers. As a result, Greek reserves in gold and foreign ex­ change were exhausted before the end of the year without giving any significant help to the economy. A t the beginning of 1947 Greece needed more foreign aid for non­ military purposes than ever before. It was as much the prospect of these civilian needs as the requirements of the military which prompted Brit­ ain’s dedsion to pull out of Greece in February 1947. The estimated cost for 1947 was £ 40-50 million in civilian and £ 26 million in military aid.39 In return for its aid the United States, which replaced Britain, imposed upon Greece under the agreement of June 1947 conditions far more strict than *

MOn February 12 C. Katsambas and G. P. Drakos on behalf of the Federation of Greek Industries drew the attention of the British Embassy to Law 864/46 and promised in a letter that they “shall consider it (their) duty to advise (the British) further of various measures, both legislative and administrative, which were taken by the Greek Govern­ ment in haste, at a moment when British experts were due to arrive in order to study and give responsible advice on the measures to be taken”. F0371/58874/R3353. * FO371/67032/R2438, FRUS. 1947, V, 868.00/2-2147.


C hristos H adziiassif

those the British had ever considered. At the same time the implementa­ tion of the new aid programme required the state to play a more active role in the management of the economy. In order to obtain American aid the Greek Government had to recognize by its letter of intent of June IS, 1947 its administrative failure and to endorse an economic policy against which the Right had always fought.36 The merging of American aims with the interests of the Greek bourgeoisie was not to occur for some time. Nevertheless, the Greek bourgeoisie could take comfort in the fact that its class hegemony remained unchallenged.

The Purge of the Greek Civil Service on the Eve of the Civil War Procopis Papastratis

The purging of the civil service following World W ir II may appear to be less spectacular and controversial a topic than other aspects of the ques­ tion of purging the wartime collaborators. Nevertheless, it concerns the internal structure of the Greek administration in the immediate post-war period and had much greater social repercussions than the attem pted purges of other sections of the administration, such as the judiciary, the security forces and the academics. This was due to the numbers involved; twenty percent of the civil servants were affected. In addition, the attem pt­ ed purge was much more radical in form and - a s it was arbitrarily applied - it resulted in sharper reactions. In order to put the issue in its proper context, I will refer first to the failure of the government of the time to deal with the question of the purges in general. I will then examine the purge of the civil service. In the spring of 1945 the Greek Government enacted a series of constitu­ tional acts with the purpose of purging the collaborators from the state apparatus. This was in accordance with the Varkiza Agreement of Febru­ ary 1945. For example, Constitutional Act 6 dealt with collaborators in general. Constitutional Act 26 (March 24,1945) dealt specifically with civil servants who had collaborated with the enemy during the occupation. Constitutional Act 31 enlarged the scope of the purges in the civil service to include those who had entered the civil service from August 1936 onwards. Constitutional Act 27 (April 16,1945) had the same broad scope as it purged the judiciary of those judges whose conduct following the establishment of the Metaxas dictatorship was deemed improper.1 How-* ' Government Gazette 12 of January 20, 1945. No. 69 of March 24,1945, and R7296 PO


Procopis Papastratis

ever, the implementation of this impressive array of strictly-worded con­ stitutional acts was far from impartial as active prosecution was definitely directed towards the Left. A few days after the promulgation of the Varkiza Agreement, the police was arresting persons who had been only re­ motely connected with EAM , while ex-members of the collaborationist Security Battalions were openly intimidating Athenians.2 . Simultaneously with the above-mentioned constitutional acts the Plastiras government had issued Act 25 (March 22,1945), which was intended to purge the state apparatus of the participants in the “mutiny of De­ cember 3, 1944”.3 This A ct, the implementation of which was very thoroughly pursued, formed part of the legal framework for the persecu­ tion of the Left which was gaining momentum at an astonishing rate. The deteriorating situation did not escape the attention of the foreign press and on April 17 the London Times devoted a long article to this issue. It commented on the political situation and stated that “supporters of EAM are being penalised in a variety of ways. Former members of ELAS are beaten up, arrested and tried on trumped up charges. Hundreds of em­ ployees of public utility companies in Athens are being discharged for “anti-nationalist activities” which simply means membership of EAM ”. The reporter concluded that the Varkiza Agreement had become a “dead letter”.4 This article prompted the Foreign Office to act, especially since it was anticipated that questions would be asked in Parliament. It was suggested to the British Ambassador in Athens, Reginald Leeper, that one way to curb right-wing extremists was to induce the Greek Government to take more drastic action against former collaborators:*

371/48406; No. 94 of April 16,1944 and No. 182 of July 11,1945; No. 81 of April 2,1945. For the constitutional questions involved and the legality of the government’s actions in the period under examination, see N. Alivizatos, Les institutions politiques de la Grice a travers les crises, 1922-1974 (Paris 1979), Greek edition (Themelio) 140-202. * G. M. Alexander, The Prelude to the Thunan Doctrine, British Policy in Greece 1944-47 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982) 98. * Government Gazette 67 of March 22,1945 and R7420 FO 371/48406. 4 As cited in F.O. telegram 964 to Leeper, April 19,1945, R6325 FO 371/48264.

The Purge o f the G reek C ivil Service


Your recent report suggests th at m em bership o f EAM tends to be consi­ dered a greater crim e than collaboration with the G erm ans. You should take every opportunity o f em phasising our view that assistance to the enem y is regarded by his M ajesty’s G overnm ent as much worse than m em bership o f the EAM and should be m et with prom pt and condign punishm ent. I am by no m eans satisfied th at adequate purge of gendarm erie and o th er state services has been carried out o r is being seriously undertaken.3

Objection to this directive came from a rather unexpected source, al­ though some might argue, and with good reason, that this was to be expected: it was Churchill himself who took quite strong exception to these instructions. He minuted the Foreign Office that he did not agree at all, and continued: It seem s to m e that the collaborators in G reece in many cases did the best they could to shelter the G reek population from G erm an oppression. Any­ how they did nothing to stop the entry of liberating forces, nor did they give any support to the EAM designs. T he Communists are the main foe, though the punishm ent o f notorious pro-G erm an collaborators, especially if con­ cerned with the betrayal o f loyal G reeks, should proceed in a regular and strict m anner. T here should be no question o f increasing the severities against the collaborationists in order to win Com munist approval.6

The Foreign Office found the Prime Minister’s statements "really aston­ ishing” and patiently undertook to explain to him the basis for British policy towards Greece. Churchill was therefore informed that the reason for suggesting severe measures against the wartime collaborators was not to win communist approval but because the delay in their punishment was causing adverse comment and in order that a fair balance should be main­ tained. It has been British p o licy -th e Foreign Office continued - to build up the moderates in Greece against the extremists of either side.*

1 Ibid.: Leeper was asked for his urgent comments. His recent telegrams had suggested that there was considerable substance to the article’s remarks about EAM as well as about the activities of the Right extremists. For Leeper’s comments, see Leeper telegram 1092, April 22,1945, R72S6 FO 371/48267. * Churchill to Sir Orme Sargent M.383/5 April 22, 1945, R7423 FO 371/48267.


Procopis Papastratis A t the m om ent the extrem ists o f the R ight, m ostly ex-collaborationists are on the crest o f the wave, and the Communists in die trough. If we allowed the ex-collaborationists o f the Right to abuse their position, this m ight provoke a swing to the Left and m ake the position o f the m oderates im pos­ sible.7

However, the situation in Greece continued to deteriorate and political violence was in the ascendent, although the Foreign Office was not eager to admit it openly in Parliament. A t the end of May Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was asked to make a statement in the House regarding the situation in Greece with particular reference to the trial of collaborators and the wholesale dismissals and arrests of supporters of EAM contrary to the Varkiza Agreement. His answer, drafted by the Foreign Office, was that he did not have the full number of collaborators who had been tried and sentenced but that a number of them had been sentenced to death or to long terms of imprisonment. In general, he said, the political situation had improved considerably during the last several months and he was satisfied that the present Greek Government was making a sincere effort to carry out the Varkiza Agreement.8 Eden pointed out that the main problem facing the Greek Government was the difficult economic and financial situation. He added that this transcended in importance any political differences and its solution would require the united efforts of the Greek Government and the entire Greek people. The next day Leeper visited the Regent, Archbishop Damaskinos, to impress upon him that active and effective measures should be taken against the two main scandals in Greece: speculation and terrorism . It was, however, to the second question that Leeper wished particularly to direct the Regent’s attention. Recent reports which he had received from various parts of the country showed that “the National Guard was engag­ ing in some places in what could only be described as terrorism. This was doing the Government definite harm and it ought to act vigorously to stop *

1 0 . Sargent to Churchill PM/05/45/31 April 24, 194S and F.O. minutes R7423 PO 371/ 48267. * Parliamentary question (Mr. S. Cocks), Eden statement and F.O. minutes. May 3 0 ,194S, R9563 F.O. 371/48271.

The Purge o f the G reek C ivil Service


and punish severely those responsible”.9 Damaskinos replied that he was “painfully conscious” of all this. The real remedy was to replace to Nation­ al Guard by the gendarmerie as quickly as possible but there was still delay in the supply of the necessary equipment. He agreed that action should be taken against the National Guard and he was considering calling a special meeting of the Council of Ministers over which he would preside himself.10 In the universities the purge of faculty was not carried out in accord­ ance with the Varkiza Agreement. This was admitted by M inister of Edu­ cation Athanasiadis-Novas who stated on January 1,1946, that this should not be delayed any longer. Indeed, four weeks later, the Council of Mini­ sters approved a constitutional act which introduced measures to purge the universities of professors who had shown “dishonourable behaviour”. Specifically, the Act stipulated that professors who had been appointed during the Metaxas dictatorship and the occupation should be dismissed. This raised a storm of opposition from the university professors who threatened to resign en masse and issued strong resolutions in protest. This reaction was quite understandable, of course, as it was anticipated that half of the total number of professors was liable to be purged if this constitutional act were implemented.11 However, this resentment of state interference in the internal affairs of the university had been conspiciously missing when the constitutional act to purge the civil service from the participants in the December 1944 insurrection had been imposed on the universities with unusual haste, in the early spring of 1945. The first among the faculty to go had been Professors Svolos, Angelopulos, Kokkalis and Georgalas, all of them prominent EAM mem­ bers. And this, despite the statement of the then M inister of Education that no action would be taken against them unless active participation in the December revolt was proven. Leeper had informed the Foreign Office that the proceedings against these professors had been the result of strong representations from their colleagues - no doubt those liable to be purged * * Leeper telegram 1306 to F.O., June 2.1943 and F.O. minute R9S39 FO 371/48271. “ Ibid. " To Vima: January 1.23,27,29 and 31.1946; February 1,2 , S. 1946.


Procopis Papastratis

for dishonourable behaviour. This issue had been brought to the attention of the House of Commons in the form of a parliamentary question. Eden had been challenged during the debate to state whether these four pro­ fessors would be able to advocate their democratic principles in the uni­ versities. In true conservative form Eden had replied: “I am bound to say that they did not practice democratic principles when they had the chance”.12 The government’s record on the issue of trying and sentencing col­ laborators was also a lamentable one. In late July 1945 the Under-Secreta­ ry for the Press, D. Zakinthinos, attributed the delay in the collaborators’ trials to the limited number of judges and to the “psychological atmos­ phere created by the December mutiny”. He added that there were 18,000 individual charges against collaborators, while 1,100 persons were being held all over the country awaiting trial; eleven had been sentenced to death, six to life imprisonment and two had been executed.13 Almost one year later, in June 1946, the departm ent responsible for examining these charges announced that up to that time it had reviewed the cases of 3,500 persons and that only seven percent of them had been recommended for further prosecution.14This should be compared with the number of EAM supporters held in prison: 48,956 out of a total of approximately 80,000 at the end of 1945. Additionally, in the early summer of 1946 a number of Populist members of Parliament were openly promoting a draft decree to annul Constitutional Act 6 (the principal act for the prosecution of col­ laborators). During the same period - summer of 1946 - many former members of the Security Battalions were reinstated in the Army.13By that “ Parliamentary question (Mr. Driberg) and Debate, March 14,1945, R5095 FO 371/48261. Leeper telegram 738 to F.O., March 13,1945, R4893 FO 371/48260.F.O. telegram 671 to Leeper, March 10, 1945 R4808 FO 371/48260. The Minister of Education, Professor Amantos, admitted that he was under pressure to dismiss them. Rizospastis, March 4, 1945. To Vima, May 15,1945. u To Vima, July 25,1945; July 22,1945. André Gerolymatos, The Security Battalions and the Gvil War. Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora XII, No. 3 (1985) 17ff. MIn the 82% of the 2,642 cases examined, it was recommended that the persons accused should be acquitted; for the remaining 11 % detention should end pending trial. To Vimo, June 5, 1946. u To Vimo, December 11,1945. George Karagiannia, Lt. General, 1940-1952.1bDramatis


The Purge o f the G reek C ivil Service

tim e, as the civil war was gaining momentum, the willingness of the G reek government to bring the collaborators to justice was coming rapidly to an end. However, in other European countries the wartime collaborators faced severe punishment as the following figures indicate:* 16

condemned Belgium Netherlands Denmark Norway Fhmce

346,000 150,000 20.000

53,172 60,000 12,877



condemned to death


2,895 285* 76 30 6,763**

242 40 46 25 770

summarily executed on liberation 12 22


• 160 of these verdicts were commuted to life imprisonment ** 3,190 of them were tried in absence

These figures do not lend themselves to comparative study as different political conditions prevailed in each country. Nevertheless, they do show the thoroughness and the extent of the purges undertaken elsewhere in Europe. Both these characteristics were conspicuously missing from the Greek Government’s feeble attem pts to deal with this issue. The purge, or to be more precise, the attem pted purge of the civil Elladas: Epi ke Athiiotites, 234. To Vima, July 16, 1946. Government Gazette, No. 69, March 24, 1946. 16 Henri Michel, “Epuration”, in Dictionnaire de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, Vol. I, Librai­ rie Larousse 1979, 665-668. Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de Guerre, III (Plon 1959) 38. According to De Gaulle the number of executed collaborators was 779. - In Bulgaria, in early April 1945, 1552 persons had already been sentenced to death and executed as collaborators. Ta AthinaSka Nea, April 5, 1945. It must be noted that in Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Bulgaria the size of population was roughly the same. - De Gaulle personally studied the death sentences of more than 2000 collaborators in five months. He reprieved more than half of them, including all women, and personally signed 768 execution orders. D. Cook, Charles de Gaulle: A Biography (London: Seeker). Bookreview in New Statesman, May 18,1984. - On the collaboration and the purges in France (Political, Administrative and Economic) see Claude Lévy, “Essai bibliographique sur la collaboration en France", CNRS Bulletin de VInstitut d'Histoire du Temps Present, No. 11, March 1983,35-55. Marche! Baubot “E u t des recherches sur la répression de la collabora­ tion a la Libération", 19-23; Claude Lévy and Dominique Veillon “L’épuration en France: approche bibliographique", 24-45, CNRS, Bulletin de VInstitut d*Histoire du Temps Pre­ sent, No. 4, June 1981.


Procopis Papastratis

service, must be seen in the context of the increasingly evident civil war atmosphere. This purge was to be carried out in accordance with Constitu­ tional Acts 26 and 31. Act 26 provided that any civil servant who had collaborated with the enemy during the occupation period was to be dis­ missed.17 Act 31, entitled “Purge of the Civil Service”, had a wider scope as it took into account all those admitted into the service from August 4, 1936 to October 12,1944, i.e. the end of the occupation. The main criteria for their dismissal were a) incompetence, b) lack of integrity and c) “dis­ honourable and anti-national behaviour from August 4, 1936 until to­ day”.18 This extension of the period of dishonourable and anti-national behaviour to the date the Act was put in effect, could be used by the Government to include in the purge the participants in the December insurrection. The main purpose, however, of Act 31 was to abolish all positions in the civil service that had been created from the beginning of the occupation (April 27,1941) until April 1945 (Article 1). This was done for economic reasons. Each case of a civil servant who held such a position would be examined by an appropriate committee and those dismissed would receive compensation but no pension. The Government apparently believed that these dismissals would greatly ease the burden imposed upon the budget by an overstaffed civil service. This was the first time after the liberation that this radical measure was put to the test. However, the intention to do so goes back to early November 1944, when reports in the press indicated that the Government was planning to adopt this measure in order to balance the budget. A t the same time a six-member Minister’s Committee had been appointed to carry out the purge in the civil service. Professor A. Svolos, M inister of Finance in the Papandreu Government, denied that all those admitted into the civil service during the Metaxas dictatorship and the Axis occupation would be dismissed. Svolos’ reassurance notwithstanding representatives 17The judiciary was excluded; a special law w«* to deal with this issue: Constitutional Act 27, Government Gazette, No. 94. April 1 6 .194S. '* Article 4. Government Gazette No. 81, April 2.1945. There was a fourth criterion; admit­ tance to the civil service in breach of the regulations regarding qualifications, existing before the enemy occupation of the country. - On the date of promulgation of Constitu­ tional Act 31, see To Vima, May 31 and June 1,1945.

The Purge o f the G reek C ivil Service


of the civil servants impressed upon members of the Government and Papandreu himself the need to avoid mass dismissals arguing that each case should be judged on its merits. Papandreu praised the civil servants’ struggles and courage during the occupation but stated that the purge, mainly in the upper echelons of the service, would be complete; on the other hand he added that salaries would be sufficiently increased. Themistoldis Sofulis, the leader of the Liberal Party, issued a statem ent endorsing the view that there should be no mass dismissals.19 Nevertheless the Government, no doubt hard pressed to balance the budget and facing the difficult task of reconstruction with a disorganised civil service, eventually came to the conclusion that mass dismissals were unavoidable. Thus in the middle of November 1944 Svolos indicated that he wished to raise government salaries and he hoped to balance the extra cost by dismissing 15,000 officials appointed during the occupation; he would thus preserve a budget total of 21,4 million drachmas for salaries. The minimum salary was thought to be too low while the higher ranks were complaining that the difference between the salaries of heads of the departm ents and their lowest employee was too small. Hugh Jones, the British Dreasury’s economic adviser to the G reek Government, tele­ graphed London on November 22,1944, that salaries fixed “permanently” ten days ago had already become the subject of review.20 The Communist Party newspaper, Rizospastis, adopted a critical but restrained tone on this issue. It obviously did not want to embarrass Svolos, EAM minister in the Papandreu Government. In addition, the explosive question of the proposed demobilization of ELAS and the Mountain Brigade was being discussed at the time and it seems that Rizospastis did not wish to rock the boat unnecessarily with a subject that clearly required a radical solution. The deteriorating political situation and the December confrontation pushed aside the plans for these measures for economic stabilization. The*

n Rizospastis, November 4 ,7 ,8 ,1 1 ,1 4 and 16,1945. * H. Jones to Treasury, Leeper telegram 3 REMAC to F.O. November 22,1944 and F. O. Minutes, R19019 FO 371/43725. H.Jones to Heasury, Leeper telegram 13 to F.O. November 14,1944, R18485 FO 371/43724.


Procopis Papastratis

gravity of the fiscal situation came once again to the fore as the Varkiza negotiations were reaching their concluding stage. Dismissing redundant civil servants was one of the measures British TVeasury officials had urged G . Sideris, the new M inister of Finance, to undertake in order to balance the budget. The other two equally unpopular measures they advocated were an increase in taxation and the slashing of the wages of public em­ ployees. The Varkiza agreement helped to overcome Sideris’ initial reluctance to put at least some of these measures into practice for fear of the political repercussions they might cause. Article VII of this agreement provided for a purge of the civil service which was expected to reduce substantially the number of government employees. Sideris was also able to defer demands for an increase in the wages of civil servants by declaring in early March that the purge would have to be carried through first, because it was precisely the extent of the purge that would determine any wage increase and the subsequent reduction in public expenses. A glaring exception to this far-reaching austerity was the officers’ corps which was awarded gene­ rous salary raises not, of course, conditional on any prior dramatic reduc­ tion in their numbers. This was undoubtedly a socially unfair exception. Viewed in the context of the post-December period, the exception of the officers’ corps was both politically expedient and desirable. The proposed stem treatm ent of the civil servants was strongly opposed by their union and their protests were all the more poignant as the unwil­ lingness of the Government to carry out purges and punish collaborators in other sectors of the state apparatus was becoming increasingly evident. However, these protests were of no avail and Constitutional Act 31, enti­ tled “The Purge of the Civil Service”, was put into effect in early April 1945.21 Soon, however, this fiscally motivated purge of the civil service acquired a new and much more radical dimension which was to have serious social repercussions. This was Constitutional Act 59, pushed through a reluctant Cabinet at the end of June at the insistence of Kiriakos MG. M. Alexander, op.cit., 94-95. Rizospastis, March 3, 6 and 10, and April 6, 21, 1945. Government Gazette, No. 164, June 27,1945. To Vima, June.22,1945.

The Purge o f the G reek C ivil Service


Varvaressos, Vice President and Supply M inister in the Government of Petros Vulgaris, who had succeeded Plastiras as Prime M inister in April. This A ct, bearing the title “Definition of the organizational composition of the civil service”, provided for the mass dismissal of all civil servants appointed during the occupation. All positions in the civil service created during the same period were abolished. Also, all promotions were annul* led, and civil servants affected were demoted to their pre-war rank. Final­ ly, Constitutional Act 31 was abolished.21 The differences between Act 59 and its now defunct predecessors were indeed significant- Thus, dismissals were total, effective immediately, not selective and on the basis of committee hearings as provided by Act 31. Moreover, the annulment of all promotions of the occupation years was a new issue that was bound to raise strong protests and criticism. Finally, and most significantly, Act 59 did not include any reference to a purge of collaborators from the civil service. The serious social problem introduced by these sweeping changes was immediately apparent, especially in view of the fact that according to UNRRA statistics 30-35 % of the population in the towns were indigent.22 In the Cabinet itself this had been the argument against the proposed legislation that Varvaressos had been able to overcome with great difficul­ ty. The political parties had also declared their opposition to this massive dismissal of thousands of employees and were suggesting instead a qualita­ tive purge of the civil service. Understandably, the civil service em­ ployees’ union was most vehement in its protests. It declared that Var­ varessos, who was directing the economic policy in “a dictatorial manner”, as well as the Government, were responsible for the major social problem that was being created.23 Responding to these protests, Varvaressos made a statem ent to the press. The main purpose of this measure - he said - was to restore “moral order” in the administration which had suffered seriously during the occu-

a Christos Hadzüossif, “Economic Stabilization and Political Unrest, November 1944March 1947”, Paper presented at the Copenhagen Conference, August 1984 (this volume p. 25-40). “ 2b Vima, June 23,1945; Rizospasńs, June 6,8,16,1945.


Procopis Papastratis

pation. He added that it would be utterly absurd to treat with severity those who illegally held power during that period and at the same time show respect for their acts. Varvaressos defended his decision arguing that its consequences would not be particularly harsh for those affected. He did not fail to point out that the clamour against the proposed legislation was due to the fact that Act 59 annulled the notorious laws 120 and 140 of the last collaborationist government which, contrary to any sense of hierarchy and order, had completely disorganised the civil service. Despite repeated attempts by the civil service employees’ union, includ­ ing strike action, to have Constitutional Act 59 repealed, the Government refused to give in. The only concession the Government could make was to promise that the new law would be applied as moderately as possible, and that any future vacancies in the civil service would be filled from those dismissed. This, however, was hardly a consolation for those facing dis­ missal amid the harsh economic situation of the post-liberation period. They numbered 15,846 out of a total of approximately 80,000 civil ser­ vants (20% ). They were numerous enough to create a serious social prob­ lem if they were in fact dismissed, while at the same time and according to the Government they were imposing a heavy burden on an unstable budget. In the middle of July 1945, the first dismissal documents were signed amid reports in the press that the number of those to be dismissed was not so big after all. The recipients of these documents were told to remain in their positions pending a decision on how many of them would be reinstated in new positions in the civil service. By December 1945, the Government had decided to extend to the m ajor banks the measure of purging those appointed during the Metaxas dictatorship and the occupa­ tion. However, political developments soon gave a new turn to these issues. The Populist Party, which emerged victorious from the general elections of March 1946, announced that it would purge the civil service of the surplus personnel or of those who were performing no useful service to the state. The reasons, it was explained, were again economic as the budget could not be burdened with such expenses. However, the law that was issued three months later (in form of a decree) was so blatantly politically motivated that it was immediately branded “fascist” by both the centre

The Purge o f the G reek C ivil Service


and the left.2* This decree was the last phase of the attem pt to purge the civil service of undesirable elements while simultaneously reducing the budget deficit. From November 1944, when the socialist Svolos had plan.* ned this measure for the first tim e, the political situation had changed dramatically. The purpose of the decree of June 1946 was quite different from that of the original proposal and was set in a different political context. In order to better understand this attem pted purge we must view it in conjunction with the issue of amnesty. U nder the Varkiza agreement, amnesty was supposed to be applied to both sides of the political spec­ trum , to the left as well as to the right. In fact, the left was deliberately excluded. Similarly, the proposed purge was initially to be applied against the collaborators. Instead it was turned against the Left. In the prevailing circumstances, the failure of both these measures contributed greatly to the outbreak of civil war. Most significantly, the decree of the- Tsaldaris Government of June 1946 was one of the first elements in the police state which began to form at that time under the cover of a parliamentary regime.

* To Vima, June 24,26,28 and 29,1945: July 5,11 and 17,1945; December 6,1945; May 5, 16; June 5,7,28,29,1946. Rizospasńs, January 16,17,18,19,23 and 29,1946; February 2,1946; June 7,8,11.1946.

Population Movements in the Greek Countryside During the Civil War A ngeliki E. Laiou In the course of the civil war, there were two important population move­ ments affecting the Greek countryside, and they went in opposite direc­ tions. On the one hand, there was the movement of people to mountain­ ous areas: the members of the Democratic Army (D A ), mostly, and in­ creasingly, young men and women, were primarily active in the moun­ tains. Secondly, there was a shift of civilians from the mountains to the plains, from the rural areas to urban or semi-urban habitations. The com­ bination of these two movements had long-term economic and demogra­ phic consequences.

The Democratic Arm y The maximum number of its members is not known with certainty, and it must be calculated from the reported fighting strength of the DA at vari­ ous moments, the number of its casualties and the number of replace­ ments through voluntary or involuntary induction. Figures do exist, but they are, for the most part, contaminated by political content and pur­ pose. This is especially the case with regard to the casualty figures given by the Greek National Army (G N A ).1 But the caution applies also to the figures for the fighting strength of the DA , since once again these figures were presented by the Greek state authorities with the purpose of high­ 1 On this, see T. Mimas, Istoria ds smhronis Elladas. O Emfilios (Athens 1981) 365. F. Grigoriadis, Istoria tu Emfiliu PoUmu. To Deftero Andartiko (Athens n.d.) Ill 783, talks of additions and subtractions made by the National Army. I have not been able to consult B. Schramm-von Thadden, “Nordwestgriechenland in den Kriegsjahren: Das Bevölkeningsproblem der Gebirge (1940-49)", Hellas (1961) 27-42.


A ngeliki E. Laiou

lighting the need for increasing the GNA, or with other similar aims. By the end of the civil war, there is an estimate of a total number of about 70,000 people having been in the D A .2 This figure, however, must have been arrived at through use of the GNA’s casualty lists, and the extremely high replacement rate given by the Greek officials. An example of the inaccuracy of the records is given by the report of M ajor-General Cham­ berlin, who wrote, on October 20, 1947, that while the Greek Govern­ ment gave a figure of 9,000 guerrilla casualties from April to October Table / Reported strength of the Democratic Army Reference

Source or Presumed source


Grigoriadis, 783

StratiotUd Istoria tis EHedcs

April 1946 August 1946 Dec. 1946

950 3620 9285

M inus, 88


August 1946 Dec. 1946 Dec. 1946

5500 14,000 8,000

820.02 (Goof.) M inus, 141

Greek Gene­ ral Staff



British Intelli­ gence Major-Gen. Chamberlin, from Greek Army and British Intelli­ gence Sources.

Sept. 4,1947


2 Sec Ifcble I.

April, 1947 Oct. 1947




9-10,000 or 14,000 13,610 ca. 12,000 17,000

plus 5,000 in Home Defense units, plus 5,000 possible rein­ forcements in Social­ ist countries. Casualties: 9,000 in April-Oct. according to GGS; 2-3,000 according to Cham­ berlin


Population M ovem ents Number


Source or Presumed source


HQ.USAG, Greece P+O Greece 091 (11 Oct. 1948)


Sept. 30,1947


FRUS, 868.00/10-947 868.00/101047


Oct. 9,1947


Greek Army?

Oct. 10,1947

868.00/11-347 (AMAG)


Nov. 13,1947


Grigoriedis, 915 P+O Greece (15 Dec. 47-14 Dec. 48) F/W178


End 1947



Jan. 1948


P+O 091, Greece (2 Feb. 48)


Feb. 2,1948


P+O 091, GGS Greece TS (Sect. Ill), (caaes 18-25) 868.00/8-2948 GGS P+O Greece (15 Dec. 47-14 Dec. 48) F/W 178 GGS? HQ, US Army British Army/ US Intelli­ gence

Feb. 8,1948


Aug. 1948


Aug. 1948 Sept. 30,1948 Oct. 1,1948

17.000 22.000 22,000


Estimates recruitment as 1,000/monthfor the next 6 months; es­ timates conscripts as 60% of DA.

Recruits are esti­ mated as 1%for 1V4 losses. Increased from 12,000, according to source.

Underarms, plus 815,000 in socialist countries.

in Greece; 8,000 in socialist countries. This source gives the strength earlier in 1948 as 30,000; gives a casualty figure of 24,300, and a recruit­ ment figure of 20,000.


A ngeliki E. Laiou


Source or Presumed source


S. Grigoriadis, III, 330

Markos's November Platform GGS?

Nov. 1948


Dec. 1948


Mimas, 15960 P+0,091 Greece TS (Sect. III) (Cases 18-25) USAG


Fall 1948


Dec. 4,1948


Dec. 4,1948


Mimas, 355


24,000 20,000 16,500

Mimas, 379




Jan. 1949 April 1949 June 1949 After August, 1949 Nov. 3,1949

Neos Kosmas, 1950,813 V. Baitziotas, OAgonastu DSE 2nd cd., Athens 1982 Neos Kosmos, 1950,624,637



General HQ of Democratic Army


P+O Greece (IS Dec. 47 -14 Dec. 48) F/W 178

Total number. 1948-49:





This source gives the following casualties for Jan. 1-Dec. 6, 1948:30,000 kUled, 43,440 wounded, or apprehended.

Reports casualties of 25,000 from Jan. 1 to Dec. 4,1948

60,000 refugees into socialist countries. “for press release**: 73,000 “bandits” re­ cruited; 24,235 killed; 9,871 captured; 16,289 surrendered. 5,000 in Peloponnese. Total of 30,000 dead and heavily injured.


P opulation M ovem ents


1947, he was accepting a figure of 2-3,000.3*4He shows a figure of about 17,000 men in the DA (plus 5,000 Home Defense units, plus 5,000 in the Socialist countries) in October 1947. For the same period, the HQ of the US Army Group in Greece, perhaps using Greek sources, gives a figure of 30,000; this second figure, more suspect of political bias, must be rejected. In 1948, the figures range from a low of 18,000 to a high of 23-30,000/ Clearly, these figures are incompatible with each other (see Ifcble I). Even more suspect are what I call the replacement figures; these are the figures which supposedly represent the strength of the DA between two points in tim e, after the casualties (dead and heavily wounded) have been subtracted from the original number. In October, 1947, M ajor-General Chamberlin gives an estimate of 60% new recruits (his own figures are doser to 67 % ). The actual replacement figure these numbers imply is small: 2-3,000 out of an original 17,000, that is, 12-17 % .s Both Greek and American sources (I think not independent of each other) give casualty figures which indicate a replacement rate of 90% to over 100% (in one case, 243 % ) in the course of 1948. These figures are clearly fantastic for 1948, when the success of the GNA in the field was less than breathtaking. One must recall, in this connection, that Markos did state that by the middle of 1947, 90% of the DA consisted of forced recruits.6 But this statem ent was made on November 15,1948, in his polemical November platform , and is, therefore, not incontrovertible. One figure (25,000) keeps recurring, both in the American sources and in a totally independent one, that is, Vlandas’ estimate of the total fighting force of the D A .7 In the American sources, this same figure appears 1 This paper is based primarily on documents found in the U.S. National Archives. Cham­ berlin’s report: 868.00/10-2047. 4 The low figure is to be found in Mimas, op.cit., who cites no source. It perhaps refers to the figure of 17,000 given by the Greek General Staff for the period immediately after the Grammos operations. The figures of 23,000 and 30,000 are given by the following documents: P A O Greece (Dec. 1948), F/W 178, and “Appreciation of the Bandit War in Greece, early 1948”. * SDR 868.00/10-2047. * Mimas, op.cit., 182. Cf. Solon Grigoriadis, lstoria Us sinhronu Ellados 1941-1967 III (Athens 1974) 271, and F. Grigoriadis, op.cit. Ill 1196-97. ’ D. Vlandas, “Ttiamisi hronia palis tu DSE”, Neos Kosmos (1950) 637.


A ngeliki E. Laiou

almost as a constant; it is in order to explain its constancy that the heavy casualty lists (clearly derived from GNA sources) are supplemented with claims of heavy recruitment on the part of the DA. The Americans also claim that for logistic reasons 25,000 was the highest number of men at arms that the DA could maintain. This does, indeed, seem a plausible figure as the maximum force of the DA; we may also assume an estimated 5,000 reserves, the reserves of the DA being notoriously low. The overall replacement rate is a m atter of one’s hunch: mine argues for about 5060 % .' In that case, the total number of people who took to the mountains was about 45-50,000, mostly from the countryside, since the order for communists in the cities to go to the mountains came very late in the war. Most of those, plus a number of children plus their families (a total of about 150,000-200,000 as an order of magnitude) must be assumed to have been, by the fall of 1949, a population loss for Greece, since they either were killed or found refuge in the Socialist countries.9The population loss does not include the casualty figures for the GNA which were, however, much lower.

Displaced Persons The second important population movement, and a considerably more significant one in terms of numbers, consists of the displaced persons who moved or were moved from their own villages either into other villages or, more frequently, into towns. This is a movement from the mountain vil­ lages to the lowlands, for the most part.10 The term “displaced persons” is here used advisedly. It refers to all those who changed places of habitation because of the civil war. The process through which this change occurred has been a m atter of dispute and propaganda. The Greek Government sources and all sources con-* * This may be a shade too km, hot I don't believe it is too far from reality. The Greek General Staff gives a total figure of about 38,000 andartes dead: W raas, op.cit. 382. Cf. D. G. Zafiropulos, O andisimmoriakos agon 1945-1949 (Athens 1956) 670. * lAirnas’s estimate for the refugees is 60,000 adults and 20,000-30,000 children: op.tM. 387. wField Report from A.W.Johnston, Field Representative, to G.D.W hite, Director AMFS, Pella Prefecture. July 22.1948; 820.02 (Conf.).

P opulation M ovem ents


nected with the Greek Government as well as right-wing newspapers used the term s “andartopliktT or “sim m oriopliktT, translated into English as “bandit-stricken refugees**.11 The ideological/propaganda purpose of this nomenclature was to suggest, both for internal and for foreign consump­ tion, that these people were forced out of their villages by the D A , or that they sought refuge from the aggression of the Democratic Army. Leftwing sources, on the other hand, refer to these same people as having been forcibly evacuated by the GNA, in its effort to undercut the provi­ sioning system, the recruiting reserves, and the intelligence system of the D A .1 12 The problem is, of course, much more serious than one of nomencla­ ture. It goes to the heart of the question of whether the civil war had the support of the rural population or not; and it is a m atter of the greatest importance insofar as the tactics of the GNA are concerned. Finally, it is connected with questions of propaganda, and of the way in which the war was presented, both by the GNA and the American allies and from the point of view of the DA and the KKE. It is because the m atter is im portant and emotion-ridden that such diametrically opposed interpretations of it exist, both in the sources and in the bibliography, lÿpical in this respect is the view of D. G. Zafiropulos, who calls the story of the “refugees” an Aeschylean tragedy, and who states that the refugee problem was created purposely by the KKE, “in order to bring about the collapse of the State through the abandonment of the countryside and the disruption of the national economy”.13 There is a slight contradiction between this statement and the one immediately following, which is that the refugee problem began, in 1946, through the spontaneous abandonment of the countryside by the population “whose only purpose was to save itself’, and that the population was helped by the army, without the civil authorities having understood or prepared for the 11 Zafiropulos, op.dt. 661; cf. also SDR 868.48/5-949. u D. Eudes, Les Kapłumos (Paris 1970) 387; Wirnas, op.cit. 205; Deuxième livre bleu, édité par le gouvernement démocratique provisoire de Grèce (London 1949) 61-66; SDR 868. 00/5-2548. u Zafiropulos, op.cit. 661, 663. Cf. SDR 868.00/12-547; 868. 00/12-1247; 820 Class. 48. American Embassy, Conf. file, bx 22; SDR 868.48/12-1349.


A ngeliki E . L aiou

situation. The political conclusion reached by Zafiropulos is that “the 680,000 bandit-stricken refugees, ragged and starving, testified, by their flight, that despite the bandits’ promises of a better future and of demo­ cratic freedom, they could not live under a communist system; and this is the strongest and most unassailable argument against the defaming lies of certain peace-mongering and ignorant journalists of the international press”.14 On the other side, the Blue Book of the Provisional Government stated, in August 1949: “The monarcho-fascists, knowing full well the sympathy and the support of the population toward the struggle of the GD A , ordered the evacuation of the villages in order to create a ‘vacuum’ around our fighting units”.13 General M arkos, presenting, as President of the Provisional Democratic Government, an appeal to the UN, wrote, “700,000 people (men, women and children) were thrown out of their homes and transported into the cities... Systematic raids against the civi­ lian population of the free territories create numerous victims among the women and children ...”16 Because of the multiple importance of the question, it is necessary to try to disentangle truth from propaganda, and see the motives and the moda­ lities of this movement of the rural population which engaged a group of the order of magnitude of perhaps 700,000, certainly more than half a million people, i.e. a very large percentage (18 % ) of the rural population of Greece. H ere, the American archives are of particular importance. Although the military archives might have been a very valuable source, the ones which are open and available to researchers are of limited value. On the other hand, the State Department archives, especially some docu­ ments issued by AMAG, are useful. Certainly, neither AMAG nor the American Embassy nor any other American agency was favorable to the D A , and therefore cannot have been biased in its favor. On the other hand, although they shared the same strategic purpose with the GNA, they had different short-term interests and policies, and their reports were 14 Ibid., 663-664. Cf., in a similar vein, Arhigion Strato, O EUinikos Stratos kata ton andisimmoriakon Agona (1946-49). To A ’ etos tu andisimmoriaku agonos, 1946. (Athens 1971). u Deuxième livre bleu 62. Cf. F. Grigoriadis, op.dt. Ill 741. 14 SDR 868.00/5-2548.

P opulation M ovem ents


not necessarily and not always aimed at lending support, ideological or other, to the specific policies of the Greek Army or indeed of the G reek Government. About the problem at hand, they constitute a source which may be considered less biased than the documents of either the GNA or the DA. The American documents make it dear, first of all, that the GNA did indeed consider part of the countryside insecure, and often hostile. Some­ times the problem was that the DA was securing supplies from the vil­ lages.17 On November 7,1947, the American Consulate in Thessalonica reported that “a large number of villages” in Northern Macedonia could not be defended, were therefore liable to supply the D A, and would for that reason be evacuated.18 An equally important problem was the fact that the DA had created an intelligence network, espedally well de­ veloped in the mountainous areas, according to M ajor-General Chamber­ lin. In January, 1948, one report stated that there were about “50,000 Communists established in a well-organized intelligence system in every village in Greece. These are the so-called Self Defense Bandits and consti­ tute as great a danger as do the armed guerrillas. They are the administra­ tive, intelligence and supply agencies of the guerrilla forces”.19 Although the number itself is not accurate, the perceived threat is dear. Besides, the recruitm ent of new soldiers for the DA was, by any measure, a necessary part of DA policy, and the recruits came primarily from the villages. Finally, a report by Jay G. Diamond, Agricultural A ttaché, restates the problems faced by the Army, and Army policy: “The evacuation policy of the Greek Army, as originally conceived, was to deprive the guerrillas of sources of food and information ...” According to him, the policy back­ fired, for many (“thousands”) farm families instead of becoming refugees chose to join the “guerrillas”.20 In order to obviate the problems created by a rural population which, for various reasons, was a source of support for the DA , the Greek Go-* ” American Consulate of Thessalonica, July 14,1947, for an area near Katerini. Cf. 800. Confidential, Thessalonica, November 6,1946. “ SDR 868.00/11-747. " P A O Greece (15 Nov.-14 Dec. 48) F/W 178; a . SDR 868.007-2847. * 850 ERP ECA Conf. File. Cf. F. Grigoriadis, op.dt. Ill 682-3 (April. 1946).


A ngeliki E . L aiou

veram ent and Anny took a series of measures. First of all, as is perhaps to be expected, no aid in food, clothing or medical supplies was allowed to reach villages in DA-occupied territory, or considered to be “insecure”. A British official of UNRRA wrote on July 28, 1947, that in Evritania villages were left unprovisioned, because they were considered possible objects of attack by the D A , in which case the food would pass to the other side.21 He reported deaths from starvation. More telling is a report by George M. Widney, Vice Consul in Thessalonica.22 Having travelled to Edessa, Kastoria, Argos Orestikon and Fiorina, he reported that a number of “left villages” supplied the andartes willingly or unwillingly. He wrote that “The Greek government in Western and Central Macedonia has adopted a harsh policy, tantam ount to persecution, towards persons and individuals that supply left-wing armed bands (andartes) or that are accessible to them”. Among other measures, he mentions “discrimination against leftist villages in the m atter of distribution of UNRRA food and supplies”. Finally, a document of July, 1948, gives a list of DA-held vil­ lages in the Fiorina prefecture, stating that no supplies had reached them for 18 months.23 A second series of measures will be simply mentioned here, without elaboration, since they are not intimately connected with the problem of movements of population. These range from the introduc­ tion of curfews on the peasants, especially in mountainous villages, to the guarding of villages by Army units, National Defense Units and MAY units.24 The third, and drastic measure, consisted of the forcible evacuation of villages by the Army, clearly, from what has been said above, for the purpose of depriving the DA of food, supplies, possible recruits and infor­ mation. That this constituted conscious policy on the part of the GNA was affirmed by the Provisional Government and hinted at by Zafiropulos; it is proven by a series of documents emanating mostly, but not exclusively, from AMAG. Sometimes, the Army “advised” villagers to move to the *

* * * *

SDR 868.00/7-2847. Nov. 6, 1946: 800 Coof. Thessalonica. SDR 868.00/8-1448. SDR 868.00/7-2847 and 800 American Consulate, Thessalonica, July 14, 1947.

P opulation M ovem ents


towns, for security.21 But there is no question that there was also forcible evacuation, in villages which came, temporarily or permanently, under the control of the GNA, and which were considered insecure or suspect. The modalities of the evacuation become evident in a number of docu­ ments. A specific case is mentioned in the area of Serres. A memo from the Office of the Military Attaché at the American Embassy in Athens to the Commanding G eneral, USAGG says that the 35th Brigade (HQ Senes) “has removed 1,500 men, ages 16 to 40, from villages in its area to three camps. Families are to follow later”.26 In another case, M ajor Ver­ m s, of the Greek Intelligence (‘C Corps) reported that “certain Comman­ ders in ‘C’ Corps have requested that some 150 villages near andartecontrolled area be evacuated, in order that the andartes cannot secure supplies from them”. This request was taken under advisement.27 In November, 1947, an American observer reported that in Thessaly the refugee problem was much worse than had been thought. He said that 150,000 had been “imported” from hillside villages, and added that since the Greek Army could not control and maintain peace except on the plains and near roads, it would bring down to the plains the outlying village populations.28 The matter, however, was not limited to sporadic cases. By October, 1947, large numbers of people had been evacuated, so that a serious and costly refugee problem existed. The head of the AMAG, Dwight Gris­ wold, was sufficiently concerned to make repeated representations to the G reek Government and the Secretary of State of the U .S., and these constitute the most important documents I have found in this connection. On October 27,1947, he telegraphed to the Secretary of State that “Greek Army has evacuated 300,000 persons from homes in guerrilla-held territo­ ry or theater of operations, principally northern and central Greece, in* * SDR 868.0CV7-2847. * 27 October, 1947,820 (Secret). Cf. R & A OIR Report no. 4583 (PV), Jan. 7,1948. For another proven case of forcible evacuation, see F. Grigoriadis, op.cit. 841-42. ” SDR 868.00/10-947. * American Consulate, Patras, Memo to Springs, Nov. 8,1947. Chamberlin had suggested clearing the borders, laying down a no-man’s zone, and evacuating all areas inside it: SDR 868.00/10-2047.


A ngeliki E. L aiou

order to prevent forcible recruitment and theft of supplies. Refugees pre­ sent critical national problem on which we are planning jointly with G reek Government and Greek Army”.29 A nother report from the same source claims that the GNA had embarked on an “intensive policy mass evacua­ tion villages from areas within bandit range. Army transports evacuees to safe areas and then assumes no further responsibility”.30 Griswold esti­ mated the number of evacuees as 310,000 and added that there were also “thousands” of voluntary refugees. The immediate reason for the mass removal of peasants from their villages was the reported heavy recruit­ ment by the DA. Discussing the same problem, on November IS, Gris­ wold wrote that “whole villages” were evacuated by the Greek Army, while others fled from fear. These documents make a d ear distinction between evacuees and refugees.31 The number and proportion of the evacuees as opposed to the true refugees is not exactly certain. The numbers given above are dearly meant to represent estimates, and are probably biased upward for reasons that will be explained later. The most important document that deals.with the question is a dispatch from Griswold to the Secretary of State, dated November 2 0 ,1947.32 On November 8, the Greek Chief of Staff, General Yiadzis, was asked by the Prime M inister for an estimate of the number of evacuees. A few days later, he offered the figure 35,000. This was con­ tested by AMAG, and then, on November 13, the General reported that “the total number of persons evacuated for security reasons was 231,000, including families whose homes had been destroyed or in which the hus­ band or breadwinner had been killed”. The Ministry of Welfare gave a total figure of “refugees” (that is, displaced persons) as 350,000 for November 15. AMAG disputed these as well, and provided its own esti­ mate of over 400,000. According to these figures, 66 % or 58 % of the total displaced population consisted of evacuees. However, given the pro­ cess through which the Army estimate was obtained, and given also the *

* SDR 868.00/10-2747. ” SDR 868.00/11-1347, and ct SDR 868.00/10-2347. »' SDR 868.00/11-1347,868.00/1-2148. ” SDR 868.00/11-2047.

Population M ovem ents


uncertainty concerning the total refugee figures, these numbers should not be taken at face value. In particular, the numbers provided by the Army are very suspect, as the simple fact of the great variance between them testifies. It is, in any case, clear that in the estimation of AM AG, a very large proportion of the displaced persons were indeed evacuees. This is further proven by the actions taken and reported by AMAG. On October 20,1947, Griswold sent a letter to the Greek Prime Minister, in which he referred to a conversation held a few days earlier on the subject of evacuees and refugees in Northern Greece. In the letter, he mentioned that there was a great deal of resentment among the evacuees, and stress­ ed the political, economic and psychological problems created by the evacuation policy of the Army. He asked for the return of evacuees to their homes, and appended a seeding schedule for various parts of Macedonia and Thrace, urging that refugees return home before those dates.33 Presumably as a direct result of AMAG pressure, the G reek Government agreed on November 8 to stop further evacuations; an order of the General Staff to that effect was issued on November 9.34 Indeed, General Yiadzis promised that a third of the displaced persons would be returned to their villages within two months from November 20. Gris­ wold, however, did not believe that promise, and it is d ear that forced evacuations continued even after the order of November 9.35 In January, 1948, AMAG’s monthly report states that “The GNA is responsible for the evacuation of villages and movement of refugees. Villages are to be evacuated only when absolutely essential for military reasons, and ad­ vance notice of evacuation must be given”.36 As late as June 4, 1948, Edward Itynne, the AMAG Field Representative, was writing to the Consul-General in Thessalonica that, after the recent GNA operations near Komotini (May 21), there were 3,000 new “refugees” from 6 villages:*

" SDR 868.00/10-2347. Cf. SDR 868.00/10-2847. * SDR 868.00/11-1347. * SDR 868.00/11-2047. Cf. SDR 868.00/12-1048. reporting that in Thrace the Government directive was not being earned out. * SDR 868.00/1-2148.


A ngeliki E. Laiou

“These people were liberated by the army and thereupon moved down to Komotini”.37 It is, then, d ear that from 1946 through the fall of 1947 there was a conscious and concerted policy of the GNA to evacuate villages from areas which were considered hostile or insecure, in order to deprive the DA from its basis of support in the countryside. This policy was carried out in the areas of heaviest DA concentration (North and Central Greece and Thessaly, but not yet in the Peloponnese) and affected primarily the populations of the mountainous areas.381 have no information as to the extent to which the policy continued after the fall of 1948, although it is clear that it did. Perhaps for propaganda or political reasons, after the fall of 1948 most of the documents in my possession refer to all displaced persons collectively as refugees. It is, on the other hand, equally clear that there were also true refugees, fleeing either from the DA or from the war.38 Intuitively, one would think that the proportion of such refugees would become higher in 1948 and 1949, as the intensity and savagery of the war increased and as the use of napalm in the mountains began. By 1948 the problem of displaced persons had, indeed, become a national calamity. A word is necessary about the American involvement in this. Unfortu­ nately, I have no first hand information concerning the attitude of the American Army Mission to the evacuation of villages. W hether they supported this attitude or not remains a subject for future research.40They probably did not initiate it, for it began before the heavy American in­ volvement. It is most probable, of course, that they shared the GNA’s views of the advantages of removing the bases of support from a popular movement. AMAG’s position was not motivated by a difference in overall policy or purpose. The point is that AMAG had its own objectives and, perhaps as* ” 820 (Conf.). * R & A Report no. 4S83 (PV), Jan. 7.1948. " 848 US Relief Assistance (Conf.) May 20, 1948; SDR 868.00/11-747; 868.00/10-1047; 868.00/11-1547. Cf. Mimas, op.cit. 205; F. Grigoriadis, op.cil. 836,840-41. * F. Grigoriadis quotes a Greek officer as saying that the Americans, unlike the British, supported the evacuation plans after 1947: op.cit. Ill 885-886.

P opulation M ovem ents


importantly, its own budget. The removal of a large proportion of the rural population from its homes resulted in decreased cultivation and an increase in unproductive mouths that had to be fed. This slowed down the economic policy of AMAG and burdened its budget. That is why AMAG insisted that, despite the military and political costs, it was too expensive to keep the rural population away from its home.41 It is a measure of its strength that it pressured the Greek Government to intervene in the Army policy; but also a measure of its weakness that repatriation did not serious­ ly begin until mid-1949. Finally, it should be said that as a tactical measure the evacuation policy of the G reek Army was very successful. Indeed, it might be argued that this was the most successful Army operation until 1949. The infrastructure of the DA was progressively destroyed; by 1949,'its soldiers were starving. Furtherm ore, the recruitment possibilities of the DA were significantly reduced. Sources sympathetic to the DA insist that one of the main reasons for its failure was the depopulation of the villages, which created an insoluble reserve problem.42

Numbers and D istribution o f Displaced persons The problem of displaced persons appeared in late 1946, in a rather small way: Statistics of the Greek Ministry of Welfare give a figure of about 19,000 in all of Greece by January 15, 1947 (See Thble II). The people involved were concentrated, in order of importance, in Central Greece (9,100), M acedonia, and Thrace; there are no displaced persons reported

41 R ft A Report no. 4583 (PV); SDR 868.00/10-2347; 868.00/11-1347; 868.00/11-1547. ® F. Grigoriadis, III 682,741; IV 1292-1299; Vlandas, 605,606,608; Vtornas, op.cit. 377; V. Bartziotas, O agonas tu DSE (2nd edition, Athens 1982) 75. Cf. the speech of K. Koligiannis in 1950, in Neos Kosmos (1951) 59. One is also reminded of Vlandas’s statement that the reserve problem of the DA could have been solved only until the fall of 1947: op.cit. 606.


A ngeliki E . L aiou

Tobie IL I Number of Displaced Persons a. Northern Greece General Jan. *47

I6.V U I.’47


15.X /47

192,478 Clam A

212,478 Class A


Source: Weifare Office, Thessalonka 868.00/101047

Source: 868.00/11-747



Source: OIR Report, no. 4583 (FV) 7.1.48

Source: American Consulate, Thessakmica, 868.00/9-647









Source: Social Welfare Service, Government, N. Greece: 868.00/ 3-1048

Source: same

Source: 848. US Relief Assistance (Conf.)

Source: same

Source: OIR Report 00.4583 (PV), 7.1.48

Population M ovem ents




2,019 5,239

Dec. 1949

A ngeliki E. Laiou


£o, 3*n ri »n

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11,592 15,492


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