- Gebundene Ausgabe: 352 Seiten
- Verlag: IVAN R DEE INC; Auflage: New edition (1. Dezember 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1566634830
- ISBN-13: 978-1566634830
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,9 x 2,6 x 23,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 829.081 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
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The Struggle for Greece, 1941-1949 (Englisch) Gebundenes Buch – 1. Dezember 2002
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An account of the communist struggle for Greece between 1941 and 1949. Colonel Woodhouse portrays a Greek communist party weakened by internal feuding, divided by dissension over policy, and overcome by the strength of US forces. The text is based on documents, interviews and his own experiences.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
C. M. Woodhouse was the author of several standard works on modern Greek history. Richard Clogg is a fellow St. Antony's College, Oxford.
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It is also written by the most qualified person to write this history. The author, C.M. Woodhouse, was a British operative (i.e., spy) who worked with the various resistance groups against the Nazi occupiers in the country, and thus had first hand experience of many of the facts in this history. Indeed, when he describes the purpose of actions undertaken by him or other operatives he unabashedly if matter-of-factly states in many places the purpose was to obtain “intelligence.”
Many resistance movements in Europe at the time had Communist or leftist leanings. Greece was no exception. One of the truly amazing aspects of this history is how well Woodhouse documented the narrative. His history is literally chock full of contemporary accounts, both from first-hand sources and especially from newspaper clippings. Woodhouse includes numerous newspaper stories, almost at a daily basis, culled from Greek newspapers. Many of these newspapers are still around. He especially focuses on clippings from Rizospastis, the organ of the Greek Communist Party, and other Greek newspapers documenting British atrocities. So many, in fact, that one had to wonder, Where on earth did he find these newspaper stories? The answer is obvious — From his own intelligence dossier!
So the general reader should be aware of the bias inherent in a history of this sort written by such a person. Bias can be demonstrated both in explicit statements and by omission of crucial facts. Both, to varying degrees, are present here.
As a staunch anti-Communist, Woodhouse describes most resistance leaders as “mediocre,” “weak,” or “unimaginative.” That bias is less noticeable in describing the events of what he calls, “The First Round.” This is the portion of the decade in which Greece experienced the German occupation. The interests of the Allies and the resistance fighters were then more or less aligned. Woodhouse, in fact, in keeping with his mission as a British operative (spy), participated in many of the same acts of resistance described in this phase. There were, however, two other phases. The “Second Round” consisted of the re-taking of Athens after the Germans left and the “Third Round” was the Greek Civil War where whatever conciliation existed among the various groups — ELAS, EAM, EDES, the British — broke down and all jostled for control of the country. The title of this book is very appropriate: They were all struggling for control. Woodhouse indeed was one of them.
Woodhouse’s Cold War mentality is demonstrated by his failure to distinguish between the two Greek Communistic factions. Communism was thought to be a huge, international monolithic movement, ready to take over the world. (In this respect this mentality is not unlike how many neo-Cons view radical, militant Islamic groups.) This mentality colors Woodhouse’s narrative of the activities of the KKE, the Greek Communist Party. Woodhouse discusses the KKE essentially discussed as a unitary party, answerable only to Moscow. In reality, there were two branches to the Greek Communist Party — one indeed answerable to Moscow (“Exoteriko”), the other a nationally based, independent, party, similar to the type of Communism practiced by Tito in the then-country of Yugoslavia (“Esoteriko”). The closest Woodhouse goes to acknowledging the two groups is by stating late in the book that the KKE was “confused,” “not united,” but “divided.” This, however, could be said of any left-leaning resistance group in Greece at the time. Woodhouse does not distinguish between the two. The split occurred perhaps later; Woodhouse however does not say. At any rate, while it does not detract from the quality of Woodhouse’s narrative, it presents an incomplete picture of the political forces in the struggle.
This is very much a history written by the victor. This can be most clearly seen in his treatment of the Varkiza Agreement. This was the accord worked out between the British overlords, Greek politicians, notably George Papandreou, and the resistance groups, which notoriously provided for the demobilization of the latter. Woodhouse noted how the Resistance fighters repeatedly violated the agreement. What he does not reflect are the violations by the ruling powers (the British) nor the common Greek perception — held to this day — of elder Papandreou being the “Papatzis,” or trickster, who tricked the Resistance to disarm only to renege later.
To his credit Woodhouse discounts the notion that the Greek Civil War was inspired or commandeered by Soviet Russia. Stalin literally didn’t care about Greece. Woodhouse correctly implies that the Civil War was the result of a total breakdown in reconciliation of the diverse groups existing at that time. However, true to his Cold Warrior leanings Woodhouse identifies KKE as the “catalyst” of the outbreak of hostilities, having allowed the country to fall into political chaos. What Woodhouse does not appreciate is the political damage caused by the endless indecision of the imperial powers (Britain and USA) on whether to install the monarchy again. The Civil War was as much caused by Britain and later the USA pushing their agenda rather than allowing the Greeks to duke it out. This, however, Britain and the US would never have allowed, because Leftists controlled three fifths of the country and they couldn’t just let the country “go Red.”
Stalin may not have cared what happened in Greece at that time, but as Woodhouse correctly observes, we all should care enough to understand that decade. Greece in the 40s was very much a litmus test. What was happening in Greece during and immediately after the war happened elsewhere in Southern Europe. This is as much a history of Post-WWII Greece as it is for the entire Balkans, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Macedonia. The Civil War which followed moreover was the first great conflict in the Cold War and set the tone for East West relations for the next forty five years. The Greek Civil War set the stage for Korea, Vietnam, and other Cold War quagmires.
Even in this post-Cold War world, this decade in this little country in Southern Europe can still offer lessons. It is ironic that today Germany would figure so prominently again in the internal affairs of Greece. Even Woodhouse could not have predicted that. Woodlouse’s history is more relevant than ever, absolutely engrossing, a real page-turner, and a marvelous read.
After the WW II, there's insufficient attention given to political and social developments in Greece other than those related to the Communist insurgency. Elections and the referendum on republic vs. monarchy in 1946 are barely mentioned, with no results presented. On the other hand, the autor delved too deep into details in describing some battles.
On the positive side, this book is good in describing activities of the Greek Communist party, the role of foreign factors in Greece affairs and the civil war 1946-1946, its military aspect, in particular.