The comintern and the Western Communist Parties 1930-1949 Dr. Nikolaos Papadatos- University of Geneva
The Policy of the Comintern: the problem of nationalities
The Comintern and the Balkan Communist Federation (BCF):
The problem of Macedonia:
Greece and the creation of the SEKE:
The statehood without nationhood, 1924-1931:
The Greek communistes and the Comintern: 1919-1922:
The KKE and the Comintern: 1929-1940
KKE and Dictatorship
KKE during and after WWII: 1941-1949
Категория: ИсторияИстория

The comintern and the Western Communist Parties 1930-1949


2. The comintern and the Western Communist Parties 1930-1949 Dr. Nikolaos Papadatos- University of Geneva

3. The Policy of the Comintern: the problem of nationalities

• The creation of a new world order was one of the first objectives after
the end of the First World War: the victors took account of political
and geographical changes in Europe. There was also the question of
creating new nations with partly homogeneous nationalities.
• It was hoped that these problems would be solved at the Versailles
peace conference which would provide a cure for all the festering
wounds of Europe at the time.
• In the event the peace conference solved nothing and the question of
nationalities dragged on until the outbreak of the second world war.


• The source of these conflicts were the following; territorial conflict
between France and Germany over Alsace-Lorraine, between
Hungary and Romania over Transylvania, between Hungary and
Czechoslovakia over Ukrainian Transcarpathia, between Yugoslavia
and Hungary over Voivodina, between Yugoslavia and Austria over
Carinthia, between Albania and Yugoslavia over Kosovo, between
Yugoslavia and Italy over Istria, between Italy and Austria over South
Tyrol, between Bulgaria and Greece over Western Thrace, between
the Soviet Union and Romania over Bessarabia and Northern
Bukovina, between Poland and the Soviet Union over the Curzon
Line and between Poland and Germany over Upper Silesia and
• In addition there were three nationality disputes to be settled; the
Macedonians, the Basques and the Flemings.


• The Balkans provided a good example of the unresolved problems of
nationality and territory. One of the worst consequences of the Versailles
conference was that it failed to establish any Balkan state with a
homogeneous population.
• Only “natural” states enjoyed some semblance of stability. Yugoslavia for
example in 1924 had a population of 12,055,688 but no nation within
Yugoslavia comprised more than 50% of the population. Some 7 million
people, Croatians, Macedonians, Slovenians, Montenegrins and Albanians
had a sense of separate identity.
• The Kingdom of Greece also moved into territory which had no
homogeneous Greek character. Greece only possessed a homogeneous
Greek population in the territory of what was Ancient Greece, namely the
Peloponese, Southern Epirus and Thessaly as far as Olympus. Everything
north of these territories had a mixed identity. Thus Northern Epirus, for
example, was inhabited by Albanians and Greek Macedonia by SlavoMacedonians while Thrace was inhabited by Greeks, Turks and Bulgarians.

6. The Comintern and the Balkan Communist Federation (BCF):

• The aim of the Comintern was to promote Lenin’s policy of world
revolution whereas the aim of the BCF was to turn the whole of the
Balkans into a soviet republic.
• The BCF’s task was to bring about a communist revolution in the Balkans
and create a Balkan Soviet Socialist Republic. The BCF upheld the
demands of all peoples living in the Balkans for self-determination,
particularly those of the Macedonians, a people spread over four states,
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia.
• The years 1935 to 1939 brought political changes as a result of the growing
influence of fascist regimes. The Comintern’s efforts were devoted to a
struggle with these regimes leading to changes of policy and abandonment
of previously held positions, especially those relating to self-determination
for minor nationalities.

7. The problem of Macedonia:

• As far as a united and independent Macedonia was concerned, the
Bulgarian communist party (BCP) considered the territory to be
“populated by Bulgarians”. Therefore, such a view provoked
opposition from the Communist Parties of Greece and Yugoslavia
(CPG and CPY). In this situation the Comintern attempted to reconcile
the divergent views of the Balkan parties with regard to the
Macedonian question. Unrelenting pressure by the Comintern on
these parties achieved results.
• During the Fifth Congress of the Balkan Communist Federation in
1922, a consensus was reached about the formation of a united and
independent Macedonia.


• This consensus was compromised: it emerged that all nationalities
living in the Balkans would co-exist in Macedonia and no one
nationality would have an absolute majority. The result was that
whichever nationality would predominate in Macedonia, (Serbs,
Bulgarians or Greeks), the others would automatically be
discriminated against.
• The Sixth Congress of the BCF therefore declared that the
establishment of a single, united and independent Macedonia under
the auspices of the Balkan Federation would ensure the rights and
liberties of all nationalities. Thanks to this solution, the BCF accepted
the statement that different nationalities lived in Macedonia.
• The Communist Parties of Greece and Yugoslavia accepted the
policy of a united and independent Macedonia : the Balkan
Federation would have to guarantee peaceful development of all
peoples living in Macedonia.


However, despite this compromise, voices of protest began to be raised
immediately after the Sixth Congress. These protests came from different
nationalities and different countries in the Balkans but the most
vociferous opposition to the concept of a united and independent
Macedonia came from the ranks of the Communist Party of Greece.

10. Greece and the creation of the SEKE:

• The concept of the so called “Great Idea” (meaning a Greater Greece) was
present in Greek political thought throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
It was also accepted by the CPG even though its origins were to be found in Greek
bourgeois circles and thus inimical to the Communists. The concept itself
(Meghali Idhea, Μεγάλη Ιδέα) came from the Phanariots, members of the old
Byzantine aristocracy living in Constantinople (Istanbul) who took their name
from the area of the city, Phanar, in which they lived.
• The "Great Idea" was the expression of Greek nationalism in the 19th and 20th
centuries. The term was effectively used in 1844 by Ioannis Koletis, Prime
Minister of King Othon I. In reality, it took the form of an irredentism. The content
of this ideology was intended to unite all Greeks in a single state whose capital
was Constantinople. The "Great Idea" exerted a major influence on the internal
and external politics of Greece.
• On this question see: David Brewer, The Greek War of Independence: The
Struggle for Freedom from Ottoman Oppression and the Birth of the Modern
Greek Nation, The Overlook Press, New York: 2001.


• Note: Nikos Zachariadis, the General Secretary of the KKE, described
the « Great Idea » with these words:
The secret of the plutocratic success and submission of the
people, "he says," lies in the fact that he has succeeded, by all
means, to impose the ideology of the utopian "Great Idea" on
the people in order to consume, under his direction, the most
monstrous and anti-popular crimes. Plutocratic and
bourgeois Greece and its intellectuals succeeded in enslaving and
leading the people in an erroneous and catastrophic ideological
direction and thus diverted it from its vital and internal problems.


The plutocracy subjugates the people through this ideology. She
stole it and sheared it in the name of a forthcoming pleasure and
reward; it diverted him from the reality of his inner misery and
drunk him with the dream of his world mission! In the name of
her omnipotence tomorrow, she managed to conceal her [...]
daily sellout [...], her incessant national debasement, her
continuous decay and her backwardness that led her to [come
down on] the last ladder of European civilization! [...]. The theory
and ideology of the "Great Idea", without scientific and historical
foundation, which wanted to present the different social
formations of Ancient-Hellenic slavery, Byzantine feudalism and
contemporary neo-Hellenic nation, as a unique historical and
social continuity, reigned and expressed its hegemony over the
nation. This led him to the catastrophe and the decadence of


• According to Zachariadis Greece was not been able to find its economic
and social development within the framework of the "free and
independent Balkans of democratic federation", (an ideology related to the
“concept of Rigas Féréos", because "the program and the organization of
the people's democracy was missing”.
• The most important problem which Greece faced both after the Balkan
wars and the first world war was that of Macedonia. An important number
of the population of Aegean Macedonia (now Northern Greece) was of
non-Greek origin.
• Up to 1924 the Macedonian question was of little interest to the SEKE.
Only in 1924 the situation changed. The “Resolutions” began to reflect the
official views of the Greek authorities. The concept of the “Great Idea” was
one of the problems of that period (as many minorities existed in Aegean
Macedonia, Southern Albania, Western Thrace). But the greatest and most
pressing problem, the Macedonian national problem, remained.

14. The statehood without nationhood, 1924-1931:

The statehood without nationhood, 19241931:
• The Macedonian question arose again at a meeting of the BCF which
was convened after the defeat of the September uprising in Bulgaria.
The uprising had been directed against the bourgeois government of
Tsankov ( he took a leading role in the overthrow of the government
of Aleksandar Stamboliyski in 1923) and was chosen to head the
coalition that succeeded the deposed premier but the communist
party had remained neutral. (A brief Greek invasion took place).
• A meeting of the BCF took place in Moscow where Georgi Dimitrov
and Vasil Kolarov urged the acceptance of the slogan “A United and
Independent Macedonia”. The representative of the CPG, Nicos
Sargologlos, however, refused to accept their arguments.


• However at the V Congress of the Comintern in Moscow in 1924, the
KKE was severely criticised by the leader of the Comintern and
expert on Balkan affairs, Dmitriy Manuilskiy as well as Vasil Kolarov,
chairman of the BCF for “Austro-Marxism”. The KKE recognised a
“United and Independent Macedonia” but this decision created
tensions and political disagreements within the party . Kolarov’s
arguments were supported by Manuilskiy who declared that “in
Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian and Albanian Macedonia there live a
people who, independently of the ethnic diversity about them, have
nurtured their own Macedonian historical traditions and are thus
entitled to the unwritten law of national independence and
• Let’s see the fight between the party and the process of


• During the 3rd extraordinary Congress of the Party, in november
1924, the representative of the Comintern stated:
On the national issue, the KKE clearly distinguishes its position
from the social democracy and the chauvinists of the Second
International, who refuse to admit the slogan of national
autonomy, helping in fact the bourgeoisie of its countries to
oppress nationalities. The slogan of the self-determination of the
ethnicities has an enormous historical significance for the
countries of the Near and Far East, where the national
bourgeois revolution has not yet developed. For Turkey, Persia,
China this slogan is the flag of the struggle against
imperialism. For the colonial peoples of India and Africa the
slogan of national self-determination sets a whole period of
struggle against international capital. To say that this slogan has
the meaning of strategic maneuver means that we do not
understand the real meaning of this slogan.


• The acceptance of the decision of the Comintern and the BCF on the
national issue requires not only to accept but also to executing it:
• The decision briefly mentioned the key points of the Party's action
4.A common action with the parties of Serbia and Bulgaria for
the creation in Macedonia of a single national revolutionary
organization of either party. 5) Outbreak the nationalist program
of the Greek bourgeoisie. 6) Adaptation of anti-militaristic
propaganda in connection with the "national" wars in the
Balkans that hide imperialistic purposes in essence. 7) Wrestling
against the settlement policy of the bourgeoisie.
As our comrades can see our slogan on the national issue determines
the program of action with regards to the agrarian question, the
united front, the anti-militarist agitation and anti-war struggle, etc.
(RGASPI: 531/6/7, f. 14).


• Τhese events led to the Bolshevization of the Party. During, the Third
Extraordinary Congress, in November 1924, the SEKE was renamed
K.K.E (Greek section of the Communist International) and fully
accepted the terms and decisions of the CC. Secretary of the Central
Committee was elected the young lawyer, Pantelis Pouliopoulos, who
led the “left wing” of the Party. The dynamic new leadership team will
remove the members of the founding generation of SEKE (Abraham
Benarogia, Nikos Dimitratos, Aristotle Sideris, Giorgos Georgiadis,
etc.), describing them as opportunists with bourgeois perceptions.
• Also, earlier, in 1923 a group of members of SEKE, later joined the
international Trotskyist movement, retired from the party, and
created the Archeo-Marxist group. (The magazine "Archives of


• The leading group of KKE was divided into two sections. Pouliopoulos and
Stavridis fully agreed with the position imposed by the Comintern, while
Kordatos and Apostolides disagreed with the "unrealistic“ platform of the
• The Macedonian position of the party was the pretext for the persecution
of the cadres. Especially after the establishment of the Pangalos
dictatorship, in the summer of 1925, a vague of persecution was
generalized in accordance with the Law 4229 on “safety measures for the
social establishment and protection of the freedom”.
• The term idionymon (in Greek: ιδιώνυμο, "special illegal act", delictum sui
generis) was defined by a Greek law, voted in 1929 (Law 4229), after being
introduced by the Eleftherios Venizelos government. It was a law
"concerning safety measures for the social establishment and protection
of the freedom". It was aiming to penalize the "insurrectional" ideas and in
particular to fire prosecution against communists and anarchists.

20. The Greek communistes and the Comintern: 1919-1922:

• The
between Greece and the Turkish National Movement during
the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after World War I between
May 1919 and October 1922. It is known as the Western Front.
• the Catastrophe of Smyrna (in Greek: Καταστροφή της Σμύρνης)
destroyed much of the port city of Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey) in
September 1922. The subsequent fire completely destroyed the
Greek and Armenian quarters of the city.
• In 1923, a population exchange between Greece and Turkey resulted
in a near-complete elimination of the Greek ethnic presence in
Turkey and a similar elimination of the Turkish ethnic presence in
much of Greece. According to the Greek census of 1928, 1,104,216
Ottoman Greeks had reached Greece.


• It is impossible to know exactly how many Greek inhabitants of
Turkey died between 1914 and 1923, and how many ethnic Greeks
of Anatolia were expelled to Greece or fled to the Soviet Union.
• The National Schism in Greece was the deep split of Greek politics
and society between two factions, the one led by Eleftherios
Venizelos and the other by King Constantine, that predated World
War I but escalated significantly over the decision on which side
Greece should support during the war. (The foreign parties within
Greece: Russia, France, England).
• Mikrasiates prosfyges, The refugees from Asia Minor where not
welcomed by the local populations of Greece. They were rapidly
radicalized and the Comintern tried to take advantage of this



In such circumstances, the KKE decided:
“Therefore, our Party will fight for the right of self-determination of
minorities in Macedonia and Thrace and we will accept their
separation as soon as the same minorities are fighting for it.
Communist International, regulates the policy of our Party on the
National problem and stated:
"By striving for the right of national self-determination and separation,
against the national faith in Macedonia and Thrace, the Party should
not, in today's circumstances, put the National Question at the center
of its political struggle, and as the current slogan of action – The
Independence of Macedonia and Thrace -. We must bear in mind that
the Communist Parties support the national revolution, but that they
do not create it directly. “ (RGASPI: 531/6/15).


• We have a new social group: the refugees
• The problem of national minorities
• Comintern strategy: create an upheaval in the Balkans and spread the
• For this reason the Comintern set to Greece a generation of young
communists had come from the Soviet Union and had attended the
Communist Workers' University of the East (КУТВ), (Andronikos
Haitas, Costas Efthyhadis and Nikos Zachariades).
• However, the previous tendencies between Pouliopoulos and
Kordatos and the evolution within the Comintern created new
tensions within the KKE:


• In the 3rd Ordinary Congress convened in March 1927, they were
already three groups in the party :
• The Stalinists (Chaitas, Eftychiadis, Kolozov, Theos, Siantos,
Zachariadis), who was the majority and tried to Implement the
principles of the C.I.
• The Trotskyists (Pouliopoulos), who did not disagree with the party’s
principles, but questioned the way of guidance from the Communist
International (they never accepted neither Stalin nor Bukharin).
• The Centralists (Maximos, Hainoglou, Sklavos) who were between the
two groups and tried to reconcile their differences.


• Eventually, after an intense controversy and intervention by the
representative of the Comintern, Remel, the Trotskyists were
removed from the leadership of the party.
• The Centralists (Maximos) resigned from the leadership of the party
and set up the opposition group with the KKE leadership, publishing
the magazine "Spartacus". The team of Spartacus was drawn up with
the positions of the Left Opposition in the Soviet Union. (Trotski etc).
• But remember: the 6th Congress of the C.I. (1928). It depicted the
changes that had occurred within the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union. In that time, Stalin had largely gained control and the initiative
against his opponents. Therefore, the Communist movement should
now follow three main axes: a. an anti-war struggle defending the
Soviet Union; b. the fight against "right opportunism" and c. the
“annihilation of Trotskyism" within the Communist Parties.

27. The KKE and the Comintern: 1929-1940

• Within these conditions, the KKE was trying to develop a specific tactic and
tried to clarify the "character of the upcoming revolution in Greece".
However, the immediate and most fundamental political problem at that
time was the exploitation of the wave of political strikes in favor of the
Communist movement (1929’s crisis). One side of the leadership of the
KKE, the so-called Chaitas-Efthyiadis group, argued, that "the general
political strike" was not a direct political task as it had to be ensured before
the revolution.
• The other group of the leadership, the so-called Siantos-Theos group,
favored the immediate declaration of a general political strike with the aim
of "rapid radicalization of the masses”. The objective was a revolutionary
rise in order to seize power.
• On these issues, a strong confrontation broke out between the two groups.
The result was the creation of an internal weaknesses in the organizational
and political formation of the KKE.


• The Comintern’s intervention took place on november 1931:
• “The leadership of the Party Instead of confessing its mistakes, with
a Bolshevik transparency, instead of making an energetic turn to
regain the delay and turn to the masses, the leadership effectively
served in the struggle of groups, which at the end of the 1930s took
the form of a dangerous fractionist struggle, swept the Party back
and helped the action of the class enemy and its agents and spies
within the working class and the peasantry”.
• New leaders: Nikos Zachariadis, Yannis Michailidis and Assimidis
became the key figures of the KKE.


The Comitern had a statutory right to raise the issue of the approval or
rejection of the Secretariat of its Party members. Giorgos
Konstantinidis (Assimidis), Nikos Zachariadis and Yannis Michailidis
staffed the new three-member Secretariat of the KKE. The selection of
these executives was not accidental: the two of the above had
attended the Communist Workers' University of the East. We can
reasonably assume that the "Bolshevization" of the KKE should be
carried out in a structured manner by executives devoted to the USSR
and the CC.


New policy: the 6th Plenum which took place on January 12th,
1934. This Plenum raised two crucial questions: a. the nature
of the production and social relations of Greece and b. the
concept of the "imminent revolution".
• The new policy was decided by the the Comintern's analysis
which stipulated: “that Greece was a country "having
acquired a middle level of capitalist development ... with an
agricultural economy composed of the important residues of
the semi-feudal relations, carrying the minimum of the
essential material conditions for the socialist transformation,
without having yet completed its democratic-bourgeois
transformation ".


• The 7th Congress of the Comintern (1935) was marked by the change of its
strategy against the rise of fascism and National Socialism. Despite the
contrary assumptions of the C.I, fascism became a mass movement. Greece
was partly influenced by this social phenomenon. The Comintern's antifascist program, after having assimilated the setbacks of "economic
catastrophism," spread rapidly to the masses on the basis of a new
theoretical framework that had two central axes: a. the proletarian united
front, b. the popular anti-fascist front. The KKE placed the highest
importance on these two strategic priorities.
• Dimitrov gave the new theoretical scheme: “In the work of mobilizing the
working masses for the struggle against fascism, a particularly important task
is to create a broad popular anti-fascist front on the basis of the proletarian
united front… At the time of the creation of the popular anti-fascist front, it
is of great importance to approach in a fair manner the organizations and
parties to which the masses adhere in considerable numbers… In the
capitalist countries, the majority of these parties and organizations, both
politically and economically, are still under the influence of the bourgeoisie
and continue to follow it… Under certain circumstances, we can and must
orient our efforts to attract, in spite of their bourgeois leadership, these
parties and organizations, or some of their parts, alongside the popular
anti-fascist front. (The class against class strategy does not exist anymore).


• The KKE quickly incorporated these “advices" into its policy. After the
7th Congress of the Comintern he formed its tactics according to the
interests of a possible alliance against fascism. The 6th Congress of
K.K.E (December 1935) specified, among other things, these:
• “In order to face victoriously the attack of fascism and capital’s forces
and to proceed to the popular democratic solution of the vital affairs
of the country, we need a precondition which consists in the creation
of a united proletarian front, fighting for the unification and the joint
action of all the forces of the working class”.
• The Congress endorsed the decision of the 3rd Plenary Session of the
CC (April 1935) and annulled the previous slogan of a "Unified and
Independent Macedonia and Thrace" and replaced it with the slogan
of the full national and political equality of all ethnic minorities
living in Greece.

33. KKE and Dictatorship

• KKE's "fight against bourgeois democracy" was essentially a call to the
masses. The above-mentioned position of the KKE is of particular
interest to the extent that it was reformulated, in different terms, by
Ioannis Metaxas in January 1934, just a few months before the
imposition of his dictatorship:
• "... Therefore for us the Greeks the problem is not by which way we
will stay in parliament, but through which door we will come out of
it. Through the door of communism or through the door of the
national state.” (Journal Kathimerini, January 6, 1934).


• In April 1934 K.K.E stated: “… The ruling classes and the reactionary
government of Tsaldaris are not satisfied with the brutal fascist
terrorism that was stalled all over the country. They are now
preparing to go into the open fascist dictatorship, the bloody and
ruthless suppression of the revolutionary struggle of the working
masses and the removal of the last remnants of their economic and
political rights ... Forward, more impetuous, to put an end to the
establishment of an open fascist dictatorship and to prevent the
imperialist war with the labor-aggressive revolution ... ".
• in 1935 the KKE held its 6th Congress. Following Comintern’s orders
K.K.E. unified all the democratic and anti-fascist: the coalition was
called popular Front of the masses. The objective: oppose every
right-wing dictatorial deviation, encourage Greece to fight against any
imperialist war. Eventually, the Front was created in January 1936,
with the support of the Rural Party and other “neutral” personalities
like Dimitris Glinos.


• The Popular Front received 6.5% and elected 15 deputies. The leader
of his parliamentary group was Stelios Sklavenas.
• In 1936 elections the Venizelist parties elected 142 deputies, the antiVenizelists 143 and the Popular Front elected 15. Hence, neither of
the two major parties (Liberals and Conservatives) could form a
sovereign government and given their fierce rivalry it was not possible
to form a coalition government. Both big parties secretly tried to
reach the Popular Front in order to support a government that would
form either a vote of confidence or a vote of tolerance.
• Negotiations were made between the Liberal Party and the Popular
Front, and on 19 February 1936 the secret agreement was signed. It is
called the Sofouli-Sklavenas Accord. The demands of the Pact
concerned the improvement of living standard of workers and
farmers. Sofoulis was finally elected President of the parliament but
his party refused to apply the secret clauses of the Agreement. K.K.E.
openly and publicly revealed the existence of the Accord.


• As a result the Liberals failed to compose a government. In addition, the
Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces Alexandros Papagos informed
King George II that the army was not willing to tolerate a liberal
government which would be based on votes or tolerance of the
• The political tension remained: After a heavily rigged plebiscite, George II
returned to the throne in 1935. The elections of 1936 (january) produced
a deadlock between a right-wing coalition led by Panagis Tsaldaris and a
centre-left bloc led by Venizelos' successor, Themistoklis Sophoulis. The
political situation was further polarized by the gains made by K.K.E, which
held the balance of power. Disliking the Communists and fearing a coup,
George II appointed Metaxas, then minister of war, to be interim prime
minister on 13 April 1936, and the appointment was confirmed by the
Greek parliament. Widespread industrial unrest gave Metaxas
justification to declare a state of emergency on August 4, 1936.


• K.K.E. described Metaxas’s regime as a : “reactive plutocracy”. The
reactive plutocracy always resorted to the fascist elements of the
Army with the help of which it sought to establish the fascist regime.
Lastly, the Hitler Fascist Metaxas himself used the reactive elements
that were organized in the secret Military League in order to declare
and support his fascist dictatorship, which launched the biggest and
worse terrorism ever experienced by the Greek people. (SakarelosZografos).
• “However, Metaxas' demagogy was basically focused on the success
of this goal: the creation of a mass base. To this end, the dictatorship
strives to succeed by isolating all the political parties, and first of all
the Communist Party, from the masses”. (RGASPI, 495/17/382).


• In 1936, with the outbreak of the Mexican dictatorship, all parties ceased
their activities. Several cadres (Yannis Ioannidis, Manolis Manoleas, Vassilis
Ververis, etc.) were arrested from the very first days of the dictatorship,
while those who escaped the arrest initially acted in profound illegality,
under strict conspiracy rules. K.K.E. leader Nikos Zachariadis was arrested
in September 1936. A new Secretariat was formed by the party's leadership
until 1938: Vasilis Nefelοudis, Stelios Sklavenas and Mitsos Partsalidis.
• However, the arrests escalated in the years 1938-1939. (Tyrimos,
Michailidis, Koutsogianis-Psaras and Maniadakis issue). Koutsogiannis held
a “secret” house and he made contacts with Chronopoulos, Karafyllas,
Gioss, Katsidou, Boukidis and Tzortzatos who returned illegally from
Moscow via Paris in October 1939 in order to apply the new directives of
the Comintern: form a new leadership because the existing was eroded by
Maniadaki’s forces (Minister of National Security). The Interim
Administration of K.K.E was formed in December 1939 and made its official
appearance in January 1940. In fact, it decided to issue its own newspaper
(Rizospastis) with the intension to confuse the Communists.

39. KKE during and after WWII: 1941-1949

• The German occupation (April 1941) contributed to the revival of the
Communist Party of Greece, marginalized by the dictatorship of Metaxas. He
led the resistance by founding a mass civilian organization in 1941, the EAM
(the National Liberation Front) and in 1942 the Hellenic People's Liberation
Army (ELAS). In 1943, 1944 and January 1945, the civil war broke out
between ELAS and EDES (the democratic national league of Greece) secretly
supported by the British.
• A Soviet Commission, headed by Colonel Grigori Popov (GRU), seconded by
Colonel Vassili Chernichev and Majors Viktor Ivanov and Eremei Karamanov,
abandonned Tito's military headquarters in July 1944 in order to meet the
KKE leaders. The objective: convince the members of the Political Committee
of National Liberation (PEEA), Ioannidis and Roussos, both members of the
C.C. of the KKE to participate in a government of national unity.


• On October 12, 1944, the Germans evacuated Athens. On October 18,
1944, George Papandreou arrived at the Greek capital as prime
minister of the Greek government in accordance with the agreements
of Lebanon (national government) and Caserta. On September 26,
1944, the KKE agreed to place all ELAS forces under the command of
General Scobie.
• On November 28, Papandreou issued a decree on the general
demobilization of the "official" armed forces, namely the Chief of staff
of EDES and ELAS. The Communists rejected this plan and
participating in the strike of 4 December 1944, violently repressed by
the far-right organization "X", commanded by Colonel S. Gonatas.


• Soviet diplomacy prepared a "draft resolution" which, among other
things, stipulated:
• "I received," writes Dekanozov, "the British government's information
on the current events in Greece ... Many reports from the British and
American press based on these events, the recent debate in the
House of Commons about the large number of protests, which are
coming to the Soviet government from Greek organizations all over
the world, describe the situation in Greece in such a way so that the
Soviet government fears that events in Greece may cause
considerable damage to military efforts and to the unity of the
allies. ".


• On February 4-11, 1945, the Yalta conference took place with the
presence of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.
• the "Svolta di Salerno" of the PCI and the change of orientation of the
PCF in 1944. As Georges-Henri Soutou says: "The PCI followed Stalin's
instructions to the letter: in April 1944, he proceeded to the famous
and sudden" svolta di Salerno", by which he renounced to demand
the abdication of the king and decided to enter the Badoglio
government ... The PCF also followed Stalin's instructions; at least in
part, and one will note the synchronism with the PCI: on April 4,
1944, two of its members entered the CFLN (the government of De
Gaulle in Algiers ... ».
• In the same way, the Greek communists followed to the letter "the
fraternal councils" of Moscow in 1944 by adopting a dualistic
strategy: respect USSR’s foreign policy and wait for a more favorable
international moment to make the revolution.



• Greece, the Balkans, Poland and Germany: (France, U.K., U.S.A, Soviet
• October 7, 1946, Souslov informed Stalin: “Comrades Tito and
Rankovic said they have the ability and are ready to help the KKE by
sending ammunition and weapons. Also, they do agree to assist in
the [military] training of guerrilla leaders, composed of the forces of
the same Greek comrades as well as the creation of an illegal radio
station in Yugoslavia and have no objection to establishing a parallel
Central Committee in Yugoslavia. This can be headed by Comrade
Zachariadis. As for assistance in foreign currency, in clothing and
medicine, they asked us to tell you that at present they do not have
such a possibility.”


• One of the realities of the Greek civil war was the supply of the
Democratic Army by the People's democracies. The Soviet-Yugoslav
entente, ratified by the treaty of friendship and assistance of April 11,
1945, was a decisive element in the resumption of the conflict on the
side of the Greek communists. But in 1948, Tito and Dimitrov began
to campaign for a Balkan federation between Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and
a part of Hellenic Macedonia. At the same time, Soviet Ambassador
Anatoly Lavrentiev told Stalin that Tito's decision-making authorities
despised S.U. advice even on the most crucial issues.
• On June 28, 1948, Yugoslavia was excluded from the Cominform at a
meeting of the Information Bureau of the Communist Parties which
took place in Bucharest.

46. Conclusion:

• In 1944, the Greek communists accepted the Soviet advises and they
adhered to Papandreou's national unity government. The riots of
December 1944 were a "proxy" message from the Soviets warning
the English: if they wanted to control Greece and protect their
empire, they had to abstain from Poland. Souslov's unpublished
letter, in October 1946, highlights the gradual degree of intervention
of Moscow in the affairs of Greece.
• The assistance, sometimes indirect, sometimes direct, of the USSR
was, of course, indispensable for the resumption of the fratricidal
conflict in Greece, but entirely disproportionate in relation to the
material needs of the struggle of the Greek communist and in relation
to what the Americans offered to the National army.


• The reasons for this Soviet attitude stemmed, on the one hand, from
the fact that the ratio of forces, both militarily and economically, was
one of the worst it had ever known, and on the other, because the
Kremlin's geopolitical interests were not necessarily compatible with
the Democratic Army's seizure of power.
• After the split between Moscow and Belgrade the direct intervention
of the USSR in the war was more than ever indispensable.
Nevertheless, this possibility was categorically ruled out by the
• Whence it follows that the considerable aid provided by Moscow to
the Greek guerrillas constituted a Soviet "Trojan horse" imposed in
the bowels of the West, in order to gain time. The geopolitical
protection of USSR.


• The fact that the communist evacuation to Albania began on August
29, 1949, the same day that the USSR made its first successful
atomic weapon test in Semipalatinsk, the Kazakh Soviet Socialist
Republic, confirms this hypothesis. In this sense, the Greek civil war
greatly helped the Soviets to change, militarily, the balance of
power in interstate relations, and at the same time confirmed the
creation of a bipolar world.
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