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How Churchill, Stalin and Truman betrayed democracy in Greece

(Title previously was "Britain and America's Betrayal of democracy in Greece". - JS 7/8/2019)

This little-known documentary contains rare and compelling footage of Greek villages and Greek partisans during World War 2. It also interviews male and female partisans who survived a series of international betrayals. In 1940 Mussolini attacked Greece from its colony of Albania. The attack was repulsed and the Greeks conquered one third of Albania in their counter attacks. At the time, Greece was Britain's only ally against Nazi Germany in Europe. (France Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Luxumbourg had all been conquered.) Four years later, Britain savagely turned on the same heroic Greeks who had resisted the Italians and subsequently fought against their Nazi German-allied occupiers. It was only possible for the British to succeed because the communist ELAS-Partisans trusted the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

After they landed in October 1944, the British pretended to arrest former Greek collaborators and saved them from furious Greek crowds in Athens. The former collaborators were 'imprisoned' in a hotel overlooking the central Athens. During one of the protests by Athenians against the British, the 'arrested' former collaborators opened fire on the Athenian crowds, killing many.

This provoked a ferocious fightback against the British by the ELAS-Partisans. So fierce was their fight that the British were forced to get reinforcements from the Italian front and from Belgium, where they were fighting the German Ardennes offensive. However, the communist Greek KKE, under Stalin's orders, then agreed to completely disarm and return to their homes in the suburbs of Athens and elsewhere. This was under the pretext of recognising the British puppet forces as the legitimate national Greek army.

In the suburbs of Athens many former ELAS fighters became victims of gangs of former collaborators. Many ELAS fighters were imprisoned by the British and their puppets.

In 1946 those ELAS fighters who had fled to the mountains, and many more, who had escaped from Greece, restarted the civil war against the Greek dictatorship. From 1946-1948 the ELAS partisans (who had changed their name to the Democratic Army). With heroism and brilliant leadership, they outfought superior numbers of government forces, with many from the government forces defecting to the Democratic Army. However, the Greek Government started to overcome the Democratic Army, now with the aid of United States military 'advisors' and the CIA, and from the same source, the provision of war planes capable of dropping napalm, a fearsome new weapon of the time. The Democratic Army was further hamstrung by instructions from the KKE leadership to engage in conventional warfare rather than guerilla warfare, thus enabling the government to more effectively use its numerical and logistic superiority against the Democratic Army partisans. The fighting ended in 1949, when the last of the Democratic Army partisans fled across the border into Albania. From Albania, many were granted 'exile' in the Soviet Union.


Thanks James. The footage really does lay down the betrayal of the Greek Partisans during and after WW2. My Dad didn't talk about the war much at all especially the Greek campaign although he did talk about the Partisans with some admiration. I think the Greek saga and the subsequent retreat to Crete where he lost his best mate were highly traumatic times for him. I'll show the video to my sister Liz who'll quite interested.

... and thank you, John for having taken the effort to watch the video. Like myself, you can see that was well worth the 1 hour and 42 minutes you took to watch this video. For my part, I am so grateful that this much of the story has been captured on film.

Quite possibly, no other country did as much, in proportion to the size of its population, to defeat Hitler as did Greece. Whilst it has been disputed elsewhere on candobetter - I will try to find the posts - it seems to me that by defeating the attempted invasion by Italy, which started on 21 October 1940, the Greeks may well have stopped Hitler from defeating the Red Army later that year, and hence winning the war. (See also Was Barbarossa derailed by the Balkans Campaign? (1/4/2018) by Nigel Davies and 3:07 minute Youtube video How Greece saved Europe in world war 2(12/5/14).)

The setback suffered by Italy, whose armies were driven back into Albania, losing a third of that country's territory, caused Hitler to delay the launch of Operation Bararossa from mid-May until 22 June 1941, in order to conquer first conquer Yugoslavia and Greece. The delay helped prevent the capture of Moscow before the freezing Russian winter ensued.

The subsequent resistance by the ELAS partisans, seems to me to have been the most effective of all the efforts by resistance movements in Europe. Much of the effectiveness of the partisans was due to the brilliant and insightful leadership of the their Kapetanios, particularly Aris Velouchiotis. (Apparently the term 'Kapetanios' can be both singular and plural.)

By October 1944, when the British landed in Athens, most of the Greek countryside had been liberated by ELAS partisans. They also controlled most of the mountains overlooking the roads out of Greece, but they been ordered by British, through the Central Committee of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), to not interfere with the retreating Germans. Had the partisans resisted, very few Germans would have been able to escape. The subsequent use, elsewhere, of these escaped German soldiers against other resistance movements and the Red Army would have needlessly added to the already terrible cost paid to defeat Hitler.

As I have written elsewhere, the ELAS partisans, with the collusion of the Central Committee of the KKE were also tricked, or coerced, into disarming, whilst Greeks 'under arrest' by the British for having collaborated with the the former German and Italian occupiers, were secretly re-armed. The former collaborators were to be subsequently unleashed on the disarmed ELAS fighters.

In January 1945 ELAS surrendered partially in return for a promise by the British to disarm former collaborators. That promise was never honoured.

In 1946, former ELAS partisans, as the Democratic Army, restarted the struggle against the Greek dictatorship and their American advisors, who had replaced the British. However, again, they were hamstrung by the KKE Central Committee and defeated by 1949, despite the heroism of the Democratic Army fighters.

In recent years, many who consider themselves, part of the global resistance against United States hegemony, for example, those, who resist the Ukraine regime in Donetsk and Lugansk, perversely, display placards of Stalin alongside Lenin (who, unlike Stalin, almost certainly would have helped ELAS rather than betray it, were he still alive in 1944).

Also, please have a look at About the Greek Civil War 1944-1949 (6/4/2015) by myself. I think you should also consider ordering a copy of "The Kapetanios" by Frenchman Dominique Eudes. It was first published in 1970. The English translation was first published in 1972. It can be ordered from The Monthly Review Press (the listed price excluding postage is US$20.00), "Alibris, or Amazon

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