The Greek Civil War
Date: May 17, 1950
Source: World News and Views, Vol. 29, No. 44
Author: Theodore Doganis
Transcribed/HTML: Mike B. for MIA, 2005
Proofread by: H. Antonn
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2005). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
A FACIST wedding has been officially celebrated. Tito was the bridegroom and fascist Athens the bride. Acheson and Bevin, who acted as best men, have worked hard to keep secret the preparations, aiming at bringing their two Balkan pets together.
But already in March 1949, Tsaldaris, in his capacity of Athens Foreign Minister and diplomatic arch-blunderer, had spilled the beans. Speaking in Corinth to the Daily Mail correspondent in Greece, during the celebration on the reopening of the Corinth canal, he indicated to the correspondent, King Paul, who was standing nearby, and said: "Very soon the King and Tito will be Allies."
True. Tsaldaris was severely reprimanded for this untimely indiscretion both by the Foreign Office and the State Department. But as we say in Greece—"It is from children and fools that one learns the truth." Indeed, only a few months later in the summer of 1949, King Paul and Maharaja Tito proved on the battlefields that they were already virtually comrades-in-arms. They fought together against the Greek Democratic Army. In fact, during last summer's all-out fascist offensive against the Greek Democratic Army defending Grarnmos and Vitsi, Tito gave the Greek fascists assistance which—as the General Secretary of the Greek Communist Party, N. Zachariadis, put it—"had a decisive influence on the outcome of our armed struggle" and finally forced the Greek liberation movement to a temporary retreat.
On the other hand the Vice-Premier of the Athens Government of that time, S. Venizelos, publicly stated: "Without the aid given to us by Yugoslavia we could not have been in a position to achieve such a success." And the Agence France Presse, as reported in the Athens papers of October 18, 1949, cabled that the "diplomatic quarters in Washington considered Tito's role in the development of the situation in Greece, as being at least as decisive as the economic and military assistance rendered by the U.S. to the Greek Government".
In fact, had Tito not joined the imperialist camp, had he not actively helped Greek fascism, the Athens regime would most probably have collapsed by now. So desperate had become the situation for the Greek fascists, as a result of the increasing attacks and the continuous strengthening of the Democratic Army, that the Americans did actually contemplate giving up Greece as a bad job.
It was at this critical juncture that Tito appeared as the Deus ex machina for Greek fascism and for the Anglo-American interventionists in Greece. He saved them both temporarily. And he had to because "Tito knew that only if monarcho-fascism could prevail in Greece, and the Greek Democratic Army were defeated, could he secure his rear and receive assistance from U.S. and Britain." (N. Zachariadis: New Situation, New Tasks.)
No sooner had the tottering Athens regime regained some measure of stability, than Washington proceeded to put its broader aggressive plans into effect. The bloc of American satellites directed against the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies which the State Department is trying to set up in South-Eastern Europe, is apparently to be based on a dual Axis, supplementing and supporting each other. One stretches horizontally from Turkey to Italy and the other vertically from Athens to Belgrade and possibly Vienna. The treaty of friendship signed recently between Rome and Ankara was according to Washington a good step forward in this American plan.
But things could really go ahead only after an Athens- Belgrade Alliance had been brought into being. Tito, as we saw, has already actively collaborated with Athens against the Greek guerillas. But he made every effort to conceal it. He did not dare admit to the Yugoslav people that he was assisting a regime in Athens which the entire civilised world considers as a gang of fascist murderers. Indeed, Tito's representative at U.N.O., the notorious Mr. Bebler, has directed continuous mock-attacks against Athens, trying to conceal behind this smokescreen of oratory the secret collaboration between Tito and Greek monarcho-fascism.
However, this collaboration had to become much more close and much more open in order to further Washington's and Tito's plans. The only difficulty was the necessity for Tito to have in Athens a government which he hoped he could sell to the Yugoslav people as "democratic". What kind of government he had in mind he made publicly known in an interview with The Times correspondent, published on April 8. The correspondent asked Tito whether he would co-operate with a Greek Government under General Plastiras. Tito replied that he "could co-operate with such a Government having democratic features".
Thereupon the American boss in Athens, Ambassador Grady, hastened to smooth the path for Tito. He bluntly appointed General Plastiras (the "democrat") as Premier. The new Premier did not lose time. He received the Yugoslav Chargé d'Affaires on April 20. before even having completed his Government. And after the meeting he declared that it was "cordial". It is indicative of the total subservience of the Athens regime to America that Plastiras had to report first to U.S. Ambassador Grady, whom he received immediately after the Yugoslav representative had left him, and then to his Cabinet.
Then it was officially announced that Tito and Plastiras will exchange ambassadors. The Athens press is exuberant in its enthusiasm about the prospects of the swift creation of the Athens-Belgrade Axis. The State Department and the Foreign Office too are extremely pleased. And Ambassador Grady has already arrived in Washington, passing through London, and obviously expecting to get a pat on the back for the good job and receive further instructions for the development of the aggressive American plans in the Balkans.
There is, however, a snag in the whole affair. It is the resistance of the peoples of Greece and Yugoslavia to the creation of the fascist Athens-Belgrade Axis. Tito has little chance of duping the Yugoslav people into believing that fascism has ceased to reign supreme in Greece just because an allegedly "democratic" general has been appointed Premier by the Americans. The people of Yugoslavia have already heard that the Makronisos horror camp—this bloody emblem of Greek fascism—will go on functioning under the new "democratic" Government of Plastiras. They have heard that no general amnesty is to be granted by the Plastiras Government, and that death sentences are still being pronounced in Greece against democratic citizens. Finally, they now know from the Government programme announced in Parliament that the Plastiras Cabinet will follow the fascist path of its predecessors. So the Yugoslav people will well understand that the Athens Government is as democratic as Franco or Tito himself.
As for the Greek people, they have never had any illusions about the character and the intentions of a Government appointed by the Americans and subservient to the Americans. They will combat the new American nominee Plastiras with the same undaunted courage as they have fought all other Anglo-American stooges. Together with the Yugoslav people and assisted by the democratic forces of the world, the people of Greece will ultimately smash the war schemes of the American imperialists in the Balkans and shatter their fascist Belgrade-Athens Axis before it is even set up.