Greek Civil War 1946-1949 – COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY

Greek Civil War 1946-1949 – COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY

Articles, Blog , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 100 Comments

I sincerely hope that it’s uncontroversial
to say that the struggle at the centre of the Cold War was… political. [sirens go off]
As somebody who lives in the relative safety of the West, it is often taken for granted
that political arguments can be rather benign with some even seeing the political game as
a… well game. But underneath elections and pageantry, we
participate in a debate over who does or does not have power. Lives are at stake. And one stark example is going to be our story
today. I’m your host David and we are FINALLY going
to discuss a topic that I think some of our viewers thought we were just going to skip! That’s right; the Greek Civil War. This is…the Cold War. Alright friends, we’re going back to World
War Two… Yes, I know. Again. The Axis powers took over Greece in 1941,
which at the time was a monarchy under the ruler George II. Before the Axis could capture him, however,
he and the Greek government escaped to Egypt forming a government in exile. However, while they proclaimed themselves
a government, and enjoyed recognition from the UK, they had no real ability to influence
the Greek people. The new government the Axis set up to run
Greece as a puppet lacked real legitimacy, mostly because of gross economic mismanagement. So.. there was virtually no government in
Greece that the Greek people took seriously. In such a situation, different groups rose
to resist the axis occupation, backing a various range of political ideologies from those who
wanted to restore the monarchy, to communists. I have no doubt you already know where this
is heading. The two major organisations to come out of
this resistance were the nonviolent, until 1943 anyway, Defenders of Northern Greece
or YVE, and the larger leftist National Liberation Front or EAM. The EAM had aimed at not only defeating the
fascist occupiers but of replacing the monarchy as the government of Greece after the end
of the war. They not only campaigned against the Axis
but tried to absorb and take over other resistance groups. Now it must be pointed out that the EAM was
run by Greece’s Communist party, but throughout this occupation and struggle against the Axis
occupation, it sold itself as more of a republican organisation. Their rhetoric was to build a broad coalition
opposed to the monarchy and eventually form a democracy. The Communist Party began its own military
wing called the Greek People’s Liberation Army or ELAS, and Communist groups began to
organise within the EAM’s ranks. Simple enough, right? Of course, this action did not go unnoticed. At first, every resistance group got western
support, especially the ELAS as it was the largest and most organised one in Greece. As the war drove on, the ELAS began to organise
into less of a resistance group, and more of a real actual Communist military. The Allies began to worry that the army was
falling out of their sphere of control. In 1943 when the ELAS and EAM seized a massive
stockpile of Italian weapons as the Italians left the country, the allies stopped supporting
them altogether. The Allies actually prefered to let the fascist
occupiers get a leg up rather than support a communist resistance. Their new resistance army of choice, they
threw thier support behind would be the anti-communist National Republican Greek League or EDES. Things broke down quickly between the two
sides, and the EDES and EAM-ELAS began a shooting conflict. A tiny few even accepted help from the Nazis
to fight the Communists. By 1944, the EDES had been pushed back into
a small fragment of Epirus, the region of Greece just south of Albania. The British forced a ceasefire, but the EAM-ELAS
had the advantage in both numbers and supplies. This was not an easy truce. A brutal hunt began to find and execute collaborators. Both civilian and so-called ‘security battalions’
emerged to fight the red terror tactics of the Communists. These security battalions also had a horrible
reputation for mass executions of leftists, especially EAM leaders. So, yeah, not a fun time. Now let’s pause a second to talk about the
landscape of Greece. And no, not because we would like sponsorship
from the Greek Tourist Board. Although that would be nice. We need to consider the landscape because
as we all know, geography has a huge effect on how war is waged. In the 1940s, Greece was a very rural country,
and much like today its population and economy were focused on Athens. The rest of the country is relatively mountainous,
but also has many islands. If you were an occupying army, this would
be a complete disaster. Just look to the most recent occupation of
Afghanistan to show how mountainous regions are a haven for insurgents to base guerilla
war. Now, mix in those islands as self-contained
potential pockets of resistance. It is a brutal combination. So, what does the political situation look
like at this time? Well, the political situation on the ground
in Greece was a mess. The EAM began a rival government to the Axis
collaborators, as well as the government in exile still in Egypt. It was called the Political Committee of National
Liberation or PEEA. I know, this is a lot of Acronyms, and its
a twisty turny story, but honestly, it was a confusing war with lots of twists and turns. That’s probably why there isn’t a ton
of videos on it. And also partly why it has taken us this long
to get to our coverage of it! The PEEA had a lot of support among the Greek
people and even the army. They demanded to become the post-occupation
government of Greece, stating that the government in exile had no legitimacy there for years. The Americans and British responded with suppression
using their soldiers and some of the greek army loyal to the king. The whole struggle threatened to break out
into a massive civil war, so instead of that, representatives from every faction met in
Lebanon to sort out a post-war Greece. Surprisingly, they managed to work something
out. The Lebanon conference ended with an agreement
called the National Contract and formed a new government. They were riding high on the Allies still
having good relations with the Soviets. It was 1944, and there was still a war to
win, so everyone wanted to be friendly. And that’s the Greek Civil war. It all ended that quick and easy, be sure
to check us out next time. [credits start, abruptly cut to David eating
a sandwich on set. Someone comes up to whisper in his ear]
a textbook, opens it and starts going through] Oh no, oh no no no [as he flips faster and
faster] [David pauses, then looks at the camera]
OK. So, I guess the war didn’t stop there. By 1944, the German troops were definitely
getting pushed out of Greece. The Soviets were advancing closer. They threatened to cut off not only supply
lines, but possible avenues of retreat for the Germans in Greece as the Red Army and
its allies knocked out occupied Romania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. German troops evacuated Greece ahead of a
British invasion. And not the fun kind with the Beatles, the
Animals and the Rolling Stones! By the time Allies arrived in Greece, partisan
forces had already liberated most of the country in the wake of the German retreat. The British took the last holdout of German
occupation, Athens, and a week later the government in exile, led by a Liberal leader named George
Papendreau arrived to form the new government agreed to in Lebanon. One promise he made was that the future of
the Greek monarchy would be decided by a referendum, so in the meantime, the king remained in Egypt. SO. This government-controlled Athens, but as
the Germans were swept out of the mountainous rural areas, the ELAS took de facto control
of most of the country. The only thing really keeping war from breaking
out was orders from Moscow not to ruin the alliance fighting Germany at the time. BUUUUUUUUT as you’d expect, some didn’t
agree. And this is where we’re going to look into
one of the stranger 20th Century power dynamics, but one which is very important in the geopolitics
of Eastern Europe. Some Greek Communist Party leaders did not
like Moscow imposing a ceasefire and didn’t want to get along with western leaders. Their relationship was closer with a Communist
leader in Yugoslavia by the name of Josip Tito. And trust me, it’s not the last time you’ll
hear about him on this channel. Tito had spearheaded a communist takeover
of Yugoslavia without much Soviet assistance, he believed that this form of independence
was preferable to taking orders from Moscow. There are some rumours that friction in this
period, which was discouraged by Stalin, were done because of influence from Tito. The government in Athens then decided to try
and disarm the resistance fighters in favour of an official National Guard. A plan was developed to simultaneously disarm
both the resistance and the Athens government, but Athens rejected it, and what few EAM members
there were in that Athens government resigned over the plan. Those who opposed the EAM began to set up
right-wing militias such as Organization X waiting for the British to take control of
the situation. The EAM responded by announcing a general
strike, and the reorganisation of the ELAS. 200,000 demonstrators marched on Athens clashing
with British forces and government police. The demonstration broke out into a firefight. Technically it’s disputed whether the police
or the demonstrators fired the first shot, but what little hearsay there is tends to
insinuate it was the cops. There aren’t even accounts that say the
demonstrators had guns. In this firefight, the police, British soldiers,
and Nazi sympathisers killed over two dozen leftists and injured over a hundred. The incident sparked a period known as the
Dekemvriana, a month of fighting in the streets between the EAM and the Greek government and
its British allies. The government lacked the weapons for such
a prolonged clash, so they turned to Organization X, rumoured to have Nazi sympathisers in their
ranks to suppress the leftists. Despite that, the EAM still seemed to be winning. On Christmas day 1944, Winston Churchill himself
went to Athens to try and put an end to the fighting. The conflict threatened a shaky political
coalition at home, but they were unable to broker peace. The Soviets, still worried about maintaining
the alliance decided to take a completely neutral stance in the conflict. The tide of the battle turned, and by January
of 1945, the EAM was forced to surrender. Scobie demanded the disarmament and the withdrawal
of the ELAS from the countryside. They’d get amnesty for the fighting, and
the Communist party could remain a legal, political party. Over the next year, however, right-wing death
squads murdered and tortured thousands of communists, resulting in some of the now-dissolved
ELAS to make small community defence squads. This period is often called the White Terror. Because of this, and the deterioration of
the wartime alliance as the Cold War began to settle in, the Communist Party took a more
militant stance yet again. They’d no longer participate in the government
and wished to start a new revolution in Greece. Ok, now we are finally going to talk about
what is most commonly referred to as the Greek Civil War. Ex-ELAS troops moving in and out of Communist
Yugoslavia and Albania organised a new Democratic Army of Greece or the DSE. Based over the northern border in Yugoslavia,
they began to gather supporters to put together a new revolutionary force. But the USSR still kept Greece at arm’s
length. The real help supplied to the DSE came from
Yugoslavia and Albania. The UK let the Americans know that with their
own economy stretched so thinly as a result of the Second World War, there was little
they could do to help prop up the monarchist government. Truman saw Greece falling to communism and
entering the Mediterranean as a way for socialist influence to flow into the middle east. Which is vital to the US because, you know,
that’s where all the oil is. Truman decided to give money to both Greece
and Turkey to avoid socialism from making it to the sea. It was the first significant foreign policy
move by the US as a response to something called Domino theory. A theory which posited that socialism in one
country would then influence others to fall to socialism. Like… like dominos. Get it? The thing is, the United States at this point
was not really accustomed to giving countries on the other side of the world money to avoid
a government they didn’t like. The people, but most importantly, Republicans
in Congress would need to be convinced. In a speech to a joint session of Congress,
Truman spoke on the need to help free people and assist them against subjugation by using
financial aid to stabilise their economies. This address worked, and $400 million of military
assistance and economic support arrived in Greece and Turkey. It was a turning point in the history of the
US, now on a course of more and more interventions into world conflicts. And currently, the Greek government was now
well supported to defeat the Socialists. It began as a guerilla war. The government went town to town in the countryside,
so to speak, to find, arrest, deport, or kill any DSE partisan troops or any communist sympathisers
who helped the DSE. The government responded to their tactics
by forcibly evacuating towns which might act as places of refuge. This was something they learned from CIA advisors. This conflict would escalate and escalate
until a full-on war broke out in 1947. The Communist party announced the formation
of a rival government, and a revolution would begin. The DSE launched major invasions on significant
towns to make a rival capital but succeeded in nothing less than the loss of their preciously
few troops. Over the next year, the DSE would field a
guerilla network of sympathisers and suppliers to a 20,000 strong army, up agains the government’s
90,000 troops. By 1948, the DSE found themselves on the decline. The split between Tito and Stalin, which we
plan to detail further in a future episode, led to Stalin taking a stance AGAINST the
communists in Greece, stating the cause hopeless due to western intervention. Despite that, the majority of the Greek Communist
party still chose to back Stalin over Tito. It was contentious, and the communist cause
in Greece was severely torn. The party went on a witchhunt for secret Titoists
and threw them out of the party. Tito closed the border to the DSE, and no
longer let them train in and base operations from Yugoslavia. A major offensive by the government devastated
DSE forces, and the few left had to leave the country for the USSR. The war was over, but Greece’s problems
were far from done. The left and right of Greece continued to
fight, resulting in events like a right-wing coup in 1967, making Greece a military dictatorship
until the 1970s. Even today, the left and right can clash with
severe violence in times of instability in Greece, such as the far-right Golden Dawn
during the Greek economic crisis just a few years ago. As you all probably know already, this struggle
between left and right is at the core of the cold war and of even contemporary politics. When a fight is over who has access to power,
who deserves the necessities of life, and who gets shut out from these things, people
will fight and die for their beliefs. And when we talk about the endless proxy wars
and struggles which form the narrative spine that this whole channel is about, know that
in the end, this is the tension at its heart. We hope you have enjoyed today’s topic and
to make sure you don’t miss any future episodes, please make sure you are subscribed to our
channel and have pressed the bell button. A big thank you to Tristan from StepBack History
who waded into the complexities of the Greek Civil War! We can be reached via email at [email protected] We are also on facebook and instagram at TheColdWarTV. To help us both keep the lights on and feed
my children, consider supporting us on Patreon via This is the Cold War Channel and don’t forget,
“The trouble with a cold war is that it doesn’t take too long before it becomes heated.”

100 thoughts on “Greek Civil War 1946-1949 – COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY

  • The Cold War Post author

    Merry Christmas! We are not taking any time off, so expect at least one more video until the end of the year. 🙂

  • New Sheed Post author

    I love vids about topics largely unknown. Good job!

  • Dal Jire ملحد Post author

    happy new year guys…

  • Kostas Kallianiotis Post author

    This topic is actually still kind of a taboo in Greece. Nearly every family has some ancestor who died fighting for one of the sides in the civil war, and the mere mention of this era is enough to spark heated debates over "which side was more right/wrong", with nothing being ever resolved. I've always wondered if the country will ever be able to truly heal from these wounds.

  • zain mudassir Post author

    Discussion around Cold War is as divisive as India Pakistan relations. I can guarantee most commenters in videos about Pakistan are Indians.

  • Κωνσταντίνος Ατζαράκης Post author

    Thank God Greece didn' have to face a second totalitarian occupation after the Nazis. When thinking about the communist terror which Poland, Romania and Serbia withstood all these years, we were quite lucky.

  • Περικλης Αντωνοπουλος Post author

    That fucking civil war not only divede us until this day but also we gave an excuse to Tito to creat the "real Macedonia" and now here we are today still fighting for foreign ideologys and beliefs that no Greek has anything to do. I hope we one day start thinking like Greeks and not like political party sheeps and egomaniacs so that we can save our country

  • Φραγκούλης Πέτρος Post author

    CONGRATULATIONS, you have just achieved the impossible- talking about the Greek Civil War without mentioning the concentration camps at Makronisos, Ag. Eftstratios, Trikeri etc. Whitewashing at its very best!

  • Leo Sam Post author

    To get some things corrected or placed in correct perspective.

    Greeks almost never had any respect for their government since 1821… basically because the monarchies were imposed by great powers contrary to their goals (Kapodistrias was forming a canton system like the one he help build in swicherland til 1830-31)

    Security battalions were formed by german occupation government with the funding of prominent industrialists (simens hellas owner in particular) with the goal of helping the occupation fight partisan forces and then form WSS Sparta.

    EAM-ELAS was from the start to the end a republican / progressive force that was guided / organized by the communist party (they had underground operations experience). Even after liberation and before exile government came back they were taking orders from Egypt allies command (they were ordering clean up operations targeting collaborators), that situation went on till "dekebriana event" when members become radicalized command went to take guidance / orders from COMITERN / USSR but even then the goals have not changed from the original. Rule of the people (λαοκρατία you see in the leaflets), the end of monarchy and the end of foreign influence in greek politics were the goal. (and not the formation of a soviet republic)
    Critics of the communist party even now accuse it that intentionally limits its appeal in accordance to the infamous 90%-10% influence agreement at yalta.

    Churchill almost assassinated (bomb at the hotel) as a statement that English basically colonial interference wont be tolerated but the operation stopped at the last minute by EAM orders.

    Most of the work against EDES was not done by the tactical government army since it was not capable till late in the civil war. English and american air force did the work by napalming all mountain regions that were hosting rebel forces. The severity of that fire bombing campain can still be seen on the mountains despite the intensive post war reforestation attempts.

  • Tyrion Lanyster Post author

    We had a fascist dictatorship of Metaxas the king was a puppet..

  • kiril marinov Post author

    Napalm was used against civilians in Greece for first time in the world…That was USA aid to Greece fascist regime.. Here is British documentary banned in 1986 because is truthful

  • Konstruktivist Neo Post author

    Very one-sided narration – partial to commies. According to this documentary, the anti-communists were "nazi collaborators" and, together with the British, committed all the massacres.
    The communists had overwhelming "support by the people?"
    Communists never cared about popular support, their usual tactic was RED TERROR (4:26 only A SINGLE mention of atrocities by commies; EAM leaders were mass murderers and were future dictators like Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin). Read Russian civil war history – communists had popular support only in the cities, because they HATED THE PEASANTS.
    11:54 ELAS were communist FANATICS, not a "self-defense" organization. The so-called "right-wing death squads" were anti-communist resistance to RED TERROR.

  • Patrick Cloutier Post author

    A number of those Greek communists also fled to the United States, just as many Spanish communists did after 1939.

  • andreas philipou Post author

    Δέν ανάφερα τίποτε για το ΚΚΕ. Ούτε υπέρ, ούτε εναντίον. Γιατί επιτέλους δέν μπορείτε να φύγετε απο τα στενά δεδομένα των πολιτικών αντιλήψεων των κομμάτων ; Ασ αναγνωρίσετε όλοι οτι στο ΕΑΜ- ΕΛΑΣ δεν ήταν μόνο αριστεροί, αλλά και η ευρεία μάζα του λαού που δέν ήταν κομματικοπηοιμένοι. Στον ΕΛΑΣ υπήρχαν επίσης και άλλες εθνικότητες όπως Κύπριοι (πρώην Βρεττανικού Στρατού) που έμειναν στήν Ελλαδα, Άραβες (απο Παλαιστίνη, Έλληνες Εβρα'ι'κής καταγωγής, Ιταλοί, Άγγλοι (που έμειναν μετά την αποχώρηση), και Γερνανοί (αντι-φασίστες δραπέτες απο τον Γερμανικό Στρατό). Με τα καλά και τα κακά του, ο ΕΛΑΣ γενικά χαρακτηριζόταν ως ο κατ' εξοχη, οργανωμένος, και αποτελεσματικός αντάρτικος στρατός που έδρασε εναντίον των κατακτητών και των συνοδοιπίρων αυτών.

  • Bill Giosis Post author

    My family lived in a village very close to the border with Yugoslavia and when the government forces came they told half of them to leave in a day or they would kill them but they spoke Greek and didn't take part in anything. This bullsh*t is what happened in that civil war from both sides and pretty much every time Greeks where in a sticky situation

  • DwRockett Post author

    Oh wow, this is a topic that isn’t often covered

  • NOT Highlander Post author

    Thanks for covering the Greek Civil War because it's quite uncovered even by the Greek state itself due to it's high atrocity.
    Far more Greeks died during the civil war than during Nazi Occupation. Entire male population of many villages were executed by Leftists. A distant relative of mine was captured (he was collecting the taxes of his village for the government and leftists considered him Right Wing collaborator) and they executed him with many others by cutting their head and genitals off. Their bodies were too damaged to be recognizable and all they found was a mess of blood and rotten flesh. Locals say that the price for Tito helping the leftists was the unification of Greek Macedonia with the Slavic Macedonian counterpart of Yugoslavia. This is why after the war communists who fled to Yugoslavia were never allowed to come back in Greece and were considered traitors of the state. All other communists were accepted back after around 30 years.
    I am not here to judge communists, just to say facts. This war was a huge blow to our country and must not happen again.

  • gg1275 Post author

    Get your facts straight. EAM were the real partisans. EPON was formed on British funding as a counterbalance to leftist EAM. It was them that actually created our civil war.
    That said, our prime minister today, K.Mitsotakis, is sponsored by Siemens. His father, another prime minister, actively cooperated with the Nazis during the occupation. So not so sure who actually won that war.

  • Ekyoroth Post author

    >right wing death squads

    God that gets me hard everytime.

  • karkatim Post author

    I wouldn't expect such a good cover, and sum up of a very little known conflict by a non-Greek. Well done! I really enjoyed it!

  • Panos Rigas Post author

    As a subscriber of your channel, I was extremely delighted for this christmas gift. It is a good thing that Greek history is studied and analysed outside the paternalistic restrictions of the Greek education system and party connections which traditionally have guided freedom of speech in our country (not intended to devaluate Greek works on the subject though).

    In my opinion as a Greek citizen, we must face and recognize the fact that EAM was highly patriotic. It is a sad fact that we celebrate the refusal of Metaxas' fascist regime to surrender to the Italian ultimatum (28 October of 1940) and forget the departure of Nazis in 1944 and the Greek resistance movement, with the contributions of fighters such as Manolis Glezos, Aris Belouxiotis etc. It is not even taught properly in schools. I think Greek resistance was among the top in Europe, along with the Poles and the French (not intended to devaluate the suffering and the braveness of all people who were unlucky to be placed in the inhumane grip of fascism during these years).

    Moving on, we should ask ourselves: Assuming that EAM and the communists won during December of 1944. The were very close to achieving that. What would Greece look like? Would they establish a social-democratic regime, according to the likes of labour party in the UK per se? Or turn Greece into an eastern bloc communist regime? Would they follow a Stalinist, a Maoist way? The distance between popular will and freedom and managing political realities is great, especially during a bipolar world, which was back then. And to mention Winston's speech : 'Democracy is not a whore that can be claimed by anyone who has a gun'. In my point of view, Greece would become a communist state. And as history showed, we would be on a losing side, because socialism couldn't keep up with capitalism and liberal democracy. With the unravelling of the iron curtain during the 90's, Greece would be a country with high corruption, poor and with limited personal freedom.

    Not that the establishment of the right as a political leader was ideal. It is outrageous that even today a portion of far right opinions and violence even takes office (the current right government has ministers who lead fascist/nationalist movement back in their youth). It is a historic atrocity that torturers, collaborators and Nazi boot lickers were given pardon, unlike the rest of Europe. And let's be honest. There is no real middle class in Greece. Many of them are goat herders who were given money and spent it recklessly, leading to today's insolvency. Many political and economic elites haven't grasped the ideas of competition, free market and progress, unlike their western counterparts, leading us to be the poor cousin of the West, with incompetent institutions and a badly organized economy. Mind you that this class that prevailed, fears popular sentiment into this day.

    But in any case, being a poor cousin of the west is proportionally better than a post-communist state. Even after Greek debt crisis, Greece is the leading Balkan economy, a full-time EU and NATO member and a stable west partner in a troubled region. Let us hope that newer generations will leave these passions behind and build something different. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone!

    PS. It would be fun to have a gyros treat before the hotline emergency xD

  • Aftastos K Post author

    This is awful. His version is more pro Communist than KKE itself.

  • Rudy Wooders Post author

    it was not civil war. It was communist rebellion. In second phase of 44-49 most of commies were not even Greek. Communists were illegal about 20 years before due to antinational and separatist action and propaganda. These scums were fighting for USSR and Bulgaria, not for Greece. Imagine that their children or the survivals of them ,supported USSR against Greece at 1989 basket final. They hated Greece and Greek people. LONG LIVE SECURITY BATTALIONS,X, PHEASANT DEFENCE UNITS and PURSUIT DETACHMENTS

  • Rudy Wooders Post author

    Communists were psychopaths,murderers,looters,national traitors and butchers. They have done 10 time worse than jihadists did in Syria and never apologised

  • Charlie Korovilas Post author

    I have ancestors who fought in this war, on both sides, which was not uncommon. Well made video on the whole. The role of the British in deciding the outcome of this war cannot be understated. Also the Soviet's non-intervention is key too.

  • Leonidas Papanikolaou Post author

    It is extremely insulting that the Communist Party of Greece, is legal and is in parliament.

  • Arhos Roukounas Post author

    70 years after ,the civil war is still the elephant on the room in greek politics,even today most Greeks vote according to which side their family supported back then

  • faithlessgr Post author

    The Greek civil war is a controversial subject that receives little to no coverage by contemporary historical research even though it is a very recent historic event involving major powers of the time. Even in Greek history books there is hardly any reference to the events and the causes that led to the civil war, younger generations are clueless about what went on. This video is a very nice introduction, well done on the research and work put into this but if you want to find out more about what was going on, I'd suggest this channel 4 1986 doc called Greece the Hidden War. The film has testimonies from people who took part in those events in one way or another , wheter that's Greek partisans, British army and inteligence officers, members of the Communist party and other political figures from that period. Link here:

  • MrTwo Beers Post author

    Οh please not again… summarizing such complex and largely obscure events to a wider audience is a commentable task as long as it is at least well searched and sourced. The number of gross inaccuracies, puerile suggestions, outright mistakes, etc. collected from various internet sources is a really dumb and reckless task when performed with such sloppiness just for the sake of consumption. History is neither for the faint-hearted nor something for some uncritical half-entertaining presentation destined for mass consumption.
    Some actual sources for anyone really interested in the historical context within which this terrible and still historically controversial tragedy occurred should at least take into consideration a semblance of basic literature. I know… reading these things with pages called books or monographs or collective works written by actual historians is so much more boring when compared to a flimsy, shallow and so grossly inaccurate yet easily consumable and ghastly ignorant presentation by non-experts ignoramuses, who are more interested in making a bock by serving fiddlesticks to a thirsty for knowledge but sometimes easily gullible audience (my GOD I managed to say all that in a single sentence!). So let's get serious: A nice start (albeit somewhat biased in favor of the leftists) is the British documentary produced back in the eighties for channel four:
    (I know it's more than an hour-long)

    For those still accustomed to real and critical reading, I'll just throw in some (oh yes just SOME) BASIC but reputable literature
    (I know… with these awful things one has to actually read rather than simply consume this new fast-food type of semi-historical youtube channels based largely on no actual reading and rigorous fact-checking. It's just so irresponsible and stupid when some youtube wannabe historians with rather questionable academic credentials do it for the sake of doing it. Strangely they seem to convince a lot of people about their
    "profound" grasp of just about everything)

    Not my fault if that's what it takes. And mind you I went to great lengths to just cite non-Greek translated literature on the subject. I don't want anyone saying that there is some kind of Greek historical bias. I have no particular ax to grind than present serious topics in a serious way. Good luck with that everyone.

  • Flippy DaFlip Post author

    So the (so-called) "west" just spontaneously erupts into fascism whenever people grow sick and tired of their overlords? It's almost as if it's a built-in feature… and not some kind of aberration as most historians like to pretend.

  • james murphy Post author

    Should have minded our own business

  • Michael West Post author

    12:30 really? Call me when you get your shit together. You could get to the point of why the Greek communists weren't exterminated down to the last child much more quickly. This is why Greece is the economic super power that it is.

  • D Christo Post author

    I’m a Greek and I know how difficult it is even today to talk about the civil war. Your documentary was good and to be really honest quite objective keeping a balance between the two sides. 😎👍

  • yufeng lu Post author

    Long live the Athen! Long live the Delian league! Fuck SPARTA!


  • Treetop Post author

    Nice video. 
    However, for your information, the video footages from the classes arround 16:45 is between the communist party and anarchists.
    Political situation in Greece is a little bit more complex.

  • tezcan uyanık Post author

    Meanwhile Turkey eating popcorn while watching this 😀

  • Constantine XI-the Greek Drinker Post author

    Your vid promotes Communist propaganda.There was never a Civil War it was a revolt of a few Communists who wanted to make Greece a Communist dystopia like Albania.

  • Kleo Bets Post author

    Very good video . You cover pretty much everything in 17 mins.

  • George Kokkos Post author

    Great video! Thanks. Allow me a correction. At 1:06 it’s King Pavlos (not King George II)

  • EdMcF1 Post author

    The legacy of the Civil War helps to put into context the hostility that Greece has shown to (North) Macedonia since 1991 and the Slavic-speaking minority in Greek Macedonia, which otherwise seems incomprehensible (to me anyway). The video glossed over the Communist atrocities during the Civil War, and there isn't time to cover the war, but to ar least point it out is a good start.

  • Ioannis Stavropoulos Post author

    One thing that should be stressed is that most Nazi collaborators and sympathizers never got punished in Greece because the government used them to fight the communist resistance forces. After the end of the civil war they were considered patriots by the state even if they committed war crimes against fellow Greeks during WWII…

  • Paul Oakwood Post author

    Why do you keep referring to Communist and Communism as Socialist?

  • Rigas D Post author

    Fun fact; Certain post- war military training manuals refer to the civil war as the "Russian attack against Greece".

  • z0ro_ Post author

    Only good communist is a dead communist

  • John Recaptcha Post author

    nothing new….leftists trying to rot and destroy their own societies and people. Same happening in USA today…need to stop them at all costs

  • Romega Vadquez Post author

    Mass execution of leftest……horrible reputation you say…🤔

  • xeniosaias Post author

    Well Greece has fallen to the left! It is going downhill after the Junta! No future no hope!

  • Hlias Tasoulhs Post author

    Τιμή στους Χίτες και στους Ταγματασφαλίτες!! Δεν ηταν εμφύλιος αλλά συμμοριτοπολεμος!

  • Vasilis Tsitsos Post author

    I compliment you on this video. Its quite accurate and neutral. Greece was pretty much a British protectorate, and the monarchy was there to assure Greece's loyalty to the empire. In Greece's civil war, napalm bombs were first introduced against partisans hiding in the forests. After the civil war, the Right who had prevailed, banned people with relatives or ties to the Left, from participating in society economically, high in the army or the State itself. When the civil rights movement got very strong in 1965, a CIA dictatorship was introduced in 1967. The divided nation reunited in 1981, when PASOK, the liberal center-to-left party won the elections. So though the armed conflict ended in 1949, but civil war really ended in 1981. And that gentlemen, is another Greek tragedy

  • kostas stampoulis Post author

    don't forget about the first napalm bombs in the world was given to the right wings from the cia to drop them to the communists in Greece and after tht they were banned from war as too violent….

  • aris0978 Post author

    the greek civil war was the continuation of an older civil war in 1915 known as national schism, between progerman and probrittish of which side should greece chose in A world war . 🙂

  • Gentleman Driver Post author

    My grandfather was fighting as a very young man in the age of 15 for the royalists / the official government army. He had witnessed how his father died during the occupation of the Germans in 1943. He told us that when they went on patrol they warned the population of the villages they would visit without the permission of their officers. So the civilians wouldnt get into the shooting line – in many cases at least one man of the company would have related people there. My granddad told us that his uncle was with the communists since German occupation. He was a freedom fighter. My granddad helped to hide him in our house after the border to Jugoslawia was closed.

  • symmoritis Post author

    To all fellow Greeks watching this video:
    Τότε στον Μελιγαλά, έγινε μισή δουλειά!
    Greece was one of the few countries that Nazi supporters and followers were never punished, but instead went on to man the post-war state. From what I see, many people here telling they are "Greeks", they actually are the children and grandchildren of these Nazi supporters, so take their comments with a grain (or a handful) of salt

  • kourtourafi Post author

    I got news for you: the communists in the Civil War that followed World War II, were democrats. To call their opponents "Democrats", thus insinuating that the communists weren't, is either cheap propaganda or ignorance.

  • kajamix Post author

    No civil war really. It was a typical foreign invasion by communust mercenaries. The only diffrerence to what happened in Eastern Europe was that Stalin could not afford an all out involvement or the western allies were going to make trouble for him elsewhere in Europe. So he lost.These days the extreme right wingers in Europe (reborn nazis) who are fanatically anti-Greek are twisting history in favour of the communists. The Turks also and their allies do the same.

  • Majkal Joni Post author

    this is not the true and only from the WEST was called "the civil war"
    WE THE MACEDONIANS are fighting to bring back the Aegean part of Macedonia ho was stolen from the greeks in Balkan wars and again is not covered the GENOCIDE of the Greeks and the refugees over us MACEDONIANS with western planes ( British, USA ) they kill with napalm bombs and with first rocket .

  • Grand Old Partisan Post author

    How did the King get back in power?

  • Eddy Alexiou Post author

    Hail Truman!

  • Space Racer26 Post author

    I’ve been waiting for this episode

  • Space Racer26 Post author

    When you brought out that sandwich I was like ‘oh man that was a quick episode’

  • Mikael Kyriakos Post author

    * Greeks were truly allies against Hitler, Turkey was with Hitler and a big traitor for all the allies and still get benefits, even today.

  • Dimitris Damilos Post author

    The most shameful moment in Greek history and it's still a taboo topic to talk about, as it immediately triggers everybody. It's still used as a polarisation tool. The world changed around those still unchanged and they missed it.

  • N.A. VI Post author

    Politics is scary…People who treat Politics as a GAME, is terrifying.

  • Ektor Voulgaris Post author

    Gross economic mismanagement stands for Germans and the puppet gov robing State and Land of everything they were able to rob, leaving the populace to starve. Also never missed the chance to burn villages and slaughter the civs.

  • kefalos gtx Post author

    When there is no one else to fight, Greeks will fight Greeks.This is true from ancient Greece until today. But, when an outside enemy attempts to attack Greece, all of Greece unites. Are you listening turkey.

  • gpan62 Post author

    You deliberately chose to use the term "socialist" instead of communist. I know that they are often used interchangeably. However, democratic socialists would appreciate the distinction given that they were the historic enemy of the communists.

  • Jefferson Wright Post author


  • Ilija Stojanoski Post author

    This was not greek civil war, but macedonian and albanian uprising against greek ocupation from 1912
    Macedonian and albanian partizans rise against grekomonarchofashists, but great britani and usa was on side of this fashists , make genocide to macedonians and albanians , help to greek fashists , that' s how this macedoalbanian partizan uprising was crushed and destroyed,
    Glory to macedonian and albanian partizans, one day they will rest in peace when will be endet this greek ocupation —
    Macedonia forever

  • andreas philipou Post author

    Όσων αφορά την αυτόνομη μονάδα του Ψαρρού 5/42, σίγουρα αυτό που έγινε ήταν λάθος. Αλλά όπως καταλαβαίνω αυτοί που ξατηγορούν τον ΕΛΑΣ, μάλλον νομίζουν οτι ο ΕΛΑΣ έπερνε πυρά που ήταν "ζαχαρωμένες σφαίρες". Οι αντίπαλοι του ΕΛΑΣ θέλουν να πούν οτι αυτός ο λα'ι'κός στρατός δεν έκανε τίποτε καλό ; Δέν έχετε την ελάχιστη διπλωματία έστω και με την πάροδο 75 ετών να μην κατιγορείται μόνο, αλλά να είστε αντικειμενικοί ; Θέλετε ένα αστείο ; ακούστε τότε :
    Ο ΕΛΑΣ δεν πολέμησε τον εχθρό, δεν πολέμησε τούς Γερμανούς.
    Τα τάγματα ασφαλείας πολέμησαν ηρω'ι'κά τους Γερμανούς.

  • Bjarke L. Post author

    Stalin screwed up big time, Greece was in his pocket, he didn’t keep it even as “peace keeping”. That scrap of paper by Churchill was that, a percentage “agreement” checked off by Stalin, but not signed. He had needed those bases in the Med. If he had done so, then the EU might have looked very different from today.

  • Jon J Post author

    I saw "ELAS" and thought that it had to be a backronym designed to be similar to "Hellas" (ie. "Greece" in (ancient?) Greek). Was it? Or was it just a coincidence? Or am I completely wrong, and native (modern) Greek-speakers wouldn't understand it in this way?

    (According to wikipedia, the "E" in ELAS already stands for "Greek", so I'm starting to think that I'm overthinking this, but I'd still like to know for certain.)

    (Also, ΕΛΑΣ is inconsistently translated by google translate – "the greek police" in English, "oil" in French, etc – so I can't tell if the single- vs double-Λ has a meaningful impact.)

  • 1emmanouil1 Post author

    You call youselves a history channel?? Really?? Extremely poor and biased coverage of the topic wouldnt even get an F as a school project..Save yourselves the embarasment next time.

  • tedmccarron Post author

    What a crock of s*** that's all was, total left-wing, pro-communist bias. He makes it sound like only the anti-communist right was guilty of any atrocities. In fact the Communists really put the cake when it came to claims Against Humanity. He mentions nothing of the Red Terror opposed by communist guerrillas increase during that time. similarly he tries to make it seem like the people of Greece all wanted stalinist dictatorship When in fact they did not. I would urge all viewers here to watch the movie Eleni Starring John Malkovich. It's a true story about the brutality of the Communists during the Greek Civil War. And by the way the Domino Theory wasn't a fear of "socialism" like the type they had in France, it was a very justifiable fear of international communism led primarily by the Soviet Union in attempt to turn the world into a totalitarian hellhole.

  • H : Post author

    Dear producers,

    I watch your channel and i believe it is very informative and you make very nice work with your videos.

    Although i also believe you tried to cover the Greek civil war and you made a very nice effort as always. It is difficult to fully cover such a difficult matter in 18 minutes. So i would like to make a few notes.

    You mentioned about them. You also mentioned in your video many times nazi supporters. Well Security Battalions were formed and equiped by the nazis in 1943. I think after the surrender of Italy to help them with the ressistance. Their totals numbers reached about 22000 men. Somewhere after in your video you say that it is formed a national guard and police and team x. Most men were used, were ex-security battalions members. Because Greece was the country with less or no punishment to those who
    collaborated with the nazis.

    It hadnt only communists in his ranks. It had members from every political party. It orgaznized from communists but it was free to participate anyone would like. Actually the cause was the liberation from the occupiers.

    The army was voluntary. Also partcipated men for every political party. It wouldnt excluded noone. Thats why became the largest partisan army in Europe. In his total reached about 100 thousand men.

    More well known in Greece. As the goverment of the mountain, because it is formed there. It had became elections and voted about 1800 milion people. Included and women. First time in Greece. It is formed in March of 1944 till November of 1944. Its really a miracle what happened there and the achievements that been made. In birthplace of democracy, a real democratic world based on its people.
    My suggestion is to look more deep to this matter and to analyze it better and to show it the world.
    There is a little video i found about PEEA

    The Nazis evacuated the country freelly and untouched because the British wanted it that way. ELAS had the potential to crush the Nazis at their retreat but they didnt wish it afraid that the ELAS will equiped even better. It seems that they had already decided that they will hit their ally.

    After Dekemvriana you forgot to mention that signed a very important agreement. The Varkiza agreement and the disarmed of ELAS. After that sterted the white terror and the hunted of ex-members of ELAS. Most of them in-prisoned or exiled. Others tortured and some maybe executed. Thats why the army of DSE later reached only 20 thousand.
    Of course the better for the country it would be to be avoided.

    I hope i didnt bore you.

  • rydolf 15 Post author

    how come you guys didnt talk about the deaths and forced movement of albanians in the epirus region by the democratic greek goverment

  • Miltos Lakkotrypis Post author

    So the Greek civil war in the end was between foreign armies (and a few sympathizers) and the Greek people that sympathized communism. I thought these wars are called Colonial wars. Heh, the greatest propaganda is how you name things. Great video anyhow.

  • Y eah Post author

    Cheers to Greece from Turkey.

  • tiktaktik tamtamtam Post author

    Οι αμερικανοι φτιαχνουν αθωα ιστορικα βιντεακια μονο για να θυμιζουν στους αλλους λαους τις διαφορες τους. Να ειναι παντα διαιρεμενοι για να ειναι ελεγχομενοι. Θα βγουν τωρα οι μαλακες αριστεροι και δεξιοι και θα τραφουν τη μαλακια τους τα γιδια. Μονο για πολεμο ειναι οι χωριατες.

  • Dimitris X Post author

    This is not a civil war.
    It's a war between Greece and communist.
    This the end for Greece because this war destroyed the country.

  • Ioannis Roussakis Post author

    An era of destruction, human loss and ruthless atrocities from both sides. The darkest page in modern Greek history, even worse than the axis occupation. We are still feeling the implications of this war to this day since the deep wounds that this war has left behind is the main reason why Greece cannot become a full western-type democracy.

  • Con Kyros Post author

    Dear "Cold War" (David) – I do appreciate your attempt in you explaining the Greek "Civil" War as it indeed is a complex and messed up state of historical affairs. You have covered the basics fairly well, however, it is much more dirty than you have reported.

    Note that I put "Civil" in inverted commas, this is because it is contested to be titled as that. It is not only known as the Greek "Civil" War but The Gangland War (Συμμοριτοπόλεμος). The Gang were essentially communist ant- Hellenic elements comprised of Albanians, Skopijans otherwise known as Vardaskans, and Bulgarians whom were the main constituents of E.A.M-E.L.A.S. that committed horrendous atrocities against the Greek people as they were the greater part of the communist movement in Greece.

    The Greek academic and Attorney at Law. Mr Konstantinos Plevris has documented this very well in his book "People forget what it means to be Left" (Ο λαός να ξεχνά τι σηµαίνει Αριστερά) – a very well documented book based on all objective evidence.
    The book unfortunately is in the Greek language.

  • OSTAP BENDER CND Post author

    totally.forgot.about this

  • Ivan Risteski Post author

    Disappointing that not one minority (being that called Macedonians/Bulgarians/Slavo Macedonians/Slavophones etc) was mentioned. The aftermath of the civil war and the repercussions that came out of it nor the issues that weren't closed in the decades after the war were not even mentioned.

  • trstification Post author

    You forgot Slavo Macedonian liberation front who was in coalition with Elas

  • vasilis K.K. Post author

    It was never greek civil war. 2000 greek communist and 18000 yugoslav/czechoslovakien/bulgaren, das not make it civil. Never was civil. The greek word (εμφυλιος-emfilios) it means, of the same race. So, if you see it better, you will realize, there was only a communist gang, against greek army. thats why america at the end have threw napalm bombs at communist gang. The gang war has ended.

  • Laurence S. D. Post author

    He says wrong things. Very superficial history.

  • Agramer Old Octane Post author

    Single comment: Red Army has never taken so-called Yugoslavia, tito and communist butchers did that on their own. Armoured units of Red Army were only assisting during attack on Belgrade, because tito's butchers had no experience in attacking real Army, as during a WW2 they were mostly running away from fights, slaughtering on their way any opponent they could catch.

  • Βασιλης Μυριδης Post author

    Civil war in Greece was more or less another charateristic example of what happens in a country were many agendas conflict with eachother, influencing groups of peaple for their own interest. Usually in these occasions, what is undoubtly true is that due to "blind violence" many innocent are killed for the gains of few regional and foreign power elites. For what is worth in this case, it is said that Churchill and Stalin came to an aggreement setting their influence areas on a piece of paper towel! On it Greece was agreed to be 90% percent under British influence and 10% under Soviet influence. That is why the Soviets never involved in Greek matters and why it was significant that local communists were to be "weakend" by any means necessary… The fact that 70 years later the civil war hatrate is still present shows the great disaster this country lived. Hoping that this chapter will become an example of what we Hellenes (Greeks) should avoid in the future, i urge my fellow countrymen to co-work on a basis that will bring us closer to a stronger, more respected country. Our forfathers legacy demands it…

  • havocgr1976 Post author

    Here is an interesting article .I always found it despicable how Britain helped nazis control the country instead of the people fighting the nazis for many years.Nothing new ofcourse, the USA did it shortly after, saving many nazis, and they even do it today supporting fascists,as long as the one they back is against Russia.I am Greek, and no I am not a communist.

  • VladderGraf Post author

    Thousands of Greek immigrants, mostly the DSE supporters, came to live in Poland after the Greek civil war. Some of them became quite well-known and had significant achievements.

  • Κωνσταντίνος Δαυλός Post author

    I think it should be more appropriate to pronounce E.L.A.S. as one word and not as an acronym, since the idea of giving to this army this name was because it sounded as Greece is called in Greek. It is called Hellas and it is written in Greek Ελλας with double L (Ellas). So E.L.A.S (with one L) is pretty close. Actually, Greeks read those acronyms as words, so E.A.M. – E.L.A.S. was read as Eam–Elas, and I think it would sound better if it was read this way. Think about it, although obviously, it would be difficult to change the video.

  • Peter Joševski Post author

    Hey David,What’s with the FAIRYTALES

  • MrDidaxi Post author

    Unfortunate times, yet fortunate aftermath, given that my country avoided the communist doom. This is about the strength of it. Thank god.

  • nik ol Post author

    Communists tried to impose a communist tyranny.Greeks kick their ass.End of story.

  • nik ol Post author

    Liberation by elas is yet another communist myth

  • just me Post author

    Every Greek malaka can form two parties. Look at them still today are in a shit mess.

  • Bertie B Post author

    Was Macedonia separate to Greece and therefore part of Yugoslavia?

  • Kyr Das Post author

    One small correction.The video you have near 16:30 is of classes in 2011 against anarchists and the communist party of Greece. It is NOT left wingers vs right wingers.
    Overall it was an excelent analysis.

  • Blink Mike Post author

    Great Video. ty

  • marko trzun Post author

    Did I hear correctly that Truman gave 400 million dollars in aid to a Government that used paramilitary troops made up of Greek Fascist supporters?!? AND persuaded Congress that it is a worthy cause?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *