Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War (Greek: ο Eμφύλιος [Πόλεμος], ""the Civil War"") was fought from 1946–49 between the Greek government army—backed by Great Britain and the United States—and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), the military branch of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), backed by Yugoslavia and Albania as well as Bulgaria. The result was the defeat of the Communist insurgents by the government forces. Founded by the Communist Party of Greece and funded by Communist nations such as Yugoslavia, many of the insurgents operating within the Democratic Army of Greece were partisans who had fought against German and Italian occupation forces during the Second World War.The civil war was the result of a highly polarized struggle between left and right that started in 1943 and targeted the power vacuum that the end of German-Italian occupation during World War II had created. It was one of the first conflicts of the Cold War, and represents the first example of postwar involvement in the internal politics of a foreign country. Greece in the end was funded by the U.S. through the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan and joined NATO, while the insurgents were demoralized by the bitter split between the Soviet Union's Premier Joseph Stalin (who wanted the war ended) and Yugoslavia's President Josip Broz Tito (who wanted it to continue). Tito was committed to helping the Greek Communists in their efforts, a stance which angered Stalin as he had recently agreed with Winston Churchill to not support the Communists in Greece, a position held and documented in their Percentages Agreement.The first signs of the civil war occurred in 1942–44, during the Occupation. With the Greek government in exile unable to influence the situation at home, various resistance groups of differing political affiliations emerged, the dominant ones being the leftist National Liberation Front (EAM), and its military branch Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS), which were effectively controlled by the KKE. Starting in autumn 1943, friction among EAM and the other resistance groups resulted in scattered clashes, which continued until the spring of 1944 when an agreement was reached forming a national unity government that included six EAM-affiliated ministers.The prelude of the civil war took place in Athens, on December 3, 1944, less than 2 months after Germans had retreated. A bloody battle (the ""Dekemvrianá"") erupted after Greek government gendarmes, with British forces standing in the background, opened fire on a massive unarmed pro-EAM rally, killing 28 demonstrators and injuring dozens. The rally had been organized against the impunity of the Nazi collaborators and the general disarmament ultimatum, signed by Lieutenant-General Sir Ronald MacKenzie Scobie, which had excluded the right-wing forces. The battle lasted 33 days and resulted in the defeat of EAM after the heavily reinforced British forces sided with the Greek government. The subsequent signing of the treaty of Varkiza spelled the end of the left-wing organization's ascendancy: the ELAS was partly disarmed, while EAM soon after lost its multi-party character, to become dominated by KKE. All the while, White Terror was unleashed against EAM-KKE supporters, further escalating the tensions between the dominant factions of the nation.The war erupted in 1946 when forces of former ELAS partisans that found shelter in their hideouts and were controlled by the KKE organized the DSE and its High Command headquarters. KKE backed up the endeavor, deciding that there were no more political means to use against the internationally recognized government that had been formed after the 1946 elections, which the KKE had boycotted. The Communists formed a provisional government and used DSE as the military branch of this government. The neighboring communist states of Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria offered logistical support to the Provisional Government, especially to the forces operating in the north.Despite setbacks suffered by government forces from 1946–48, increased American aid, the failure of the DSE to attract sufficient recruits and the side effects of the Tito–Stalin split eventually led to victory for the government troops. The final victory of the western-allied government forces led to Greece's membership in NATO and helped to define the ideological balance of power in the Aegean Sea for the entire Cold War. The civil war also left Greece with a vehemently anti-Communist security establishment, which would lead to the establishment of the Greek military junta of 1967–74 and a legacy of political polarization that lasted until the 1980s.