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The Greek National Republican League (Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos, or EDES), led by a former army officer, Colonel Napoleon Zervas (on the right)




Greek Civil War


The Greek civil war consisted on one side of the predominantly conservative Greek civilian population and the armed forces of the Greek government, supported by the USA and the UK. On the other side were mostly Greek communists, and key members of the biggest Anti-Nazi resistance organization (ELAS), the leadership of which was controlled by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

The National and Social Liberation (Ethniki Kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosis or the EKKA), led by Colonel Dimitrios PsarosThe political differences between EAM/ELAS and the right-wing EDES, began in the years of the German occupation. In December 1944, a few months after the liberation, both groups confronted the pro-government forces, which were supported by the British army, in Athens. The fact that all resistance organizations in Greece accused each other of secret agreements and possible collaboration, made the situation and the alliances very unstable. The polarization led to the civil war of 1946-1946.

EAM and ELAS opposed all other resistance movements. The most important of such forces were the Greek National Republican League (Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos, or EDES), led by a former army officer, Colonel Napoleon Zervas, and the National and Social Liberation (Ethniki Kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosis or The EKKA leader, Aris Velouchiotis (Thanassis Klaras)the EKKA), led by Colonel Dimitrios Psaros. ELAS was a classical liberal movement with strong opposition to the monarchy led by Aris Velouchiotis (Thanassis Klaras). EDES initially had a republican ideology but, from 1943, its leader turned into a royalist one.

Greece is a country very favorable to guerrilla operations and by 1943 the Axis forces and their collaborators controlled only the main towns and connecting roads, leaving the mountainous interior to the resistance. By 1943, ELAS had about 30.000 men under arms and effectively controlled large areas of the mountainous Peloponnese, Crete, Thessaly and Macedonia (a territory of 30.000 km² and 750.000 inhabitants). EDES had about 10.000 men, nearly all of them in Epirus. EKKA only had about 1.000 men.

Resistance first struck in Eastern Macedonia, where the Germans had allowed Bulgarian troops to occupy Greek territories. Large demonstrations were organized by the YBE (Yperaspistes Voreiou Ellados or Defenders of North Greece), a right wing organization, in Greek Macedonian cities, in response. Top

Group name
Political affiliation
Political leader
Military arm
Military leader
Estimated peak membership
National Liberation Front (Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo/EAM)
Communist group affiliated with the KKE
Giorgios Siantos
National Popular Liberation Army (Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos/ELAS)
Aris Velouchiotis
National Democratic Greek League
military anti-communist, Venizelist, republican
Nikolaos Plastiras
National Troops of Greek Guerillas
Napoleon Zervas
(Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos/EDES)
(Ethnikes Omades Ellinon Antarton/EOEA)
National and Social Liberation
anti-communist, Venizelist, republican, liberal
Georgios Kartalis
Dimitrios Psaros and Euripides Bakirtzis
(Ethniki Kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosis/EKKA)



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