Joseph Hansen

Allies Impose “Truce” in War
on Greek People

(20 January 1945)


Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 3, 20 January 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2006 by Einde O’Callaghan.
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A truce between the Allied military command and heads of the ELAS (Greek National Liberation Army) went into effect January 15, bringing at least a temporary cessation of hostilities in the Greek civil war which was provoked by the British on December 3. The terms made public conceded the Allied demand that ELAS withdraw from the Athens area but did not specify that ELAS fighters lay down their arms. Exchange of war prisoners was also agreed upon. The ELAS began releasing hostages.

The truce is a victory for Allied counter-revolution. This is demonstrated clearly by the character of the demonstration which occurred in Athens upon the withdrawal of the ELAS. Royalists collected in the streets January 14, shouting slogans against communism and in praise of General Scobie and King George as well as Churchill and Roosevelt. Just a few days earlier, on January 11, the Greek Military Governor of Athens banned all public meetings, prohibited the publication of leaflets, the painting of signs or slogans, and the spreading of news “likely to cause uneasiness.” The order declared full details of a press censorship and the suspension of certain newspapers was to be announced later. Thus have Churchill and Roosevelt established the Four Freedoms in Athens.

The severity of Allied regulations in Athens indicates they have little confidence in the permanence of the truce. The conditions that drove the Greek people to defend themselves against the British attack still remain. Starvation, misery and death stalk the streets of the Greek capital.
 

Blood and Iron

The truce does not at all signify that Churchill has given up his policy of blood and iron. On January 8 the Athens press announced that warrants had been issued for the arrest of 150 “leaders of the rebellion.” On January 10 the puppet premier, General Plastiras, appealing to the ELAS to lay down their arms while royalist forces continued to shoot workers and peasants, declared there would be no general proscription of those who had borne arms. But on January 14 the Plastiras cabinet announced 25 three-judge committees would soon begin reviewing cases of persons arrested in order to release all except those who had borne arms against the state.

The regency established by the British is carrying out Churchill’s brutal counter-revolutionary policy to the letter. The regent, Damaskinos, is ‘profoundly shocked’ that ELAS retains hostages taken as a defensive measure against the seizure of hostages by the forces of counter-revolution. Plastiras announced on January 12 that his cabinet is not at all bound by the terms of the truce since it was signed by the British general and not by the Greek Government. Plastiras thus prepares to act the role of butcher for the British.

Meanwhile in London the Tribune charged that King George II of Greece had sent a telegram to Athens royalists declaring he had received British assurances that the current regency is purely temporary and that he would be returned to the throne.

The Tribune’s charge confirms our analysis made when the regency was set up.

“The shift from king to regent,” declared the January 6 Militant, “changes nothing politically. Regency is a classic device of monarchy to save itself during times of stress. The regent takes over the functions of government until the mass, struggle subsides or is smothered. Thereupon the regent retires and the king again steps to the forefront, sometimes with the formality of a rigged plebiscite.”

The Stalinists in Greece bear full responsibility for the truce. After the British commander had withdrawn his original terms, two heads of ELAS with their aides appeared at Scobie’s headquarters suing for new terms. These two were Dimitri Partsalides and Jean Zevgos, both officials of the Greek Communist Party.

Stalinist Role

From the beginning, the Stalinist role in Greece has been one of perfidious treachery. They sought leadership of the Greek workers in order to utilize them as pawns in Stalin’s counter-revolutionary deals with world imperialism. They have acted as servants of Allied imperialism, sending Churchill congratulations and greetings again and again. They took posts in Churchill’s puppet Greek government. They welcomed Allied troops in Greece. Their apparent differences with Churchill’s policy, as when they resigned from the Papandreou cabinet, arose only from their need to. avoid compromising themselves so seriously as to lose all claim to leadership of the mass movement.

Churchill followed a brutal and avowed policy of naked counter-revolution. Confronted with an armed people, Churchill did what the imperialists always do in such situations. He set out to disarm and subdue the masses. To be sure, he was willing and even eager to utilize agents able and willing to betray the masses. The Stalinists acted as this auxiliary agency within the ELAS forces.

But in the Greek situation he relied primarily on armed might. In the final analysis arms decide all questions of great political importance. Thus the imperialists, who know this fact very well, always and everywhere follow the consistent policy of arming themselves to the teeth while compelling the workers to give up arms.

The great indignation of the world working class over the use of Allied troops in Greece has given rise to a deep political crisis in England. The effect of the working class pressure was clearly, visible in Churchill’s flight to Athens which, he made as a demonstrative reply to his critics, hoping thereby to ease the pressure on his cabinet.

This pressure was again reflected in General Scobie’s declarations during the past week. Scobie tried to make out that the Greek workers really favor the Allied intervention. When heads of the “Greek Federation of Labor” called on General Scobie on January 8 in “gratitude” for the “liberation” of Athens, Scobie replied: “I am particularly moved by your visit because you represent the workers. In other countries they seem to think the measures I have taken are contrary to Greece’s spirit.”

Neither the Greek Federation of Labor nor its heads are known in labor circles either in England or the United States. It appears to be another puppet created by the Allies.

Scobie, however, fools no one. The tanks, airplanes, artillery and rifles he turned against the Greek workers give the lie only too clearly to his utterances.

Although the truce went into effect January 15, the British are still mopping up in the Athens area. When they have consolidated their positions, they will probably move against the areas to which ELAS retreated. The civil war provoked by the Allies is far from ended.

 


Last updated on: 4 April 2018