Oral History Interview with
Greek lawyer, historian, and politician. Legal advisor to King George II of the Hellenes, 1936-46; served in Greek National Resistance, 1941-44; member of Parliament for the Cyclades, 1946, for Athens, 1952-67; founded New Party, 1947 (dissolved 1951); Minister without Portfolio, 1949; Minister for Coordination and Economic Planning until 1954; formed Progressive Party, 1955; and Prime Minister, October-November, 1973.
July 22, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate
the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.
Opened September, 1986
Harry S. Truman Library
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Oral History Interview with
July 22, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson
Mr. Markezinis,"interview" consists of his written answers
to a few general questions and a list of 21 specific questions submitted
to him by Dr. Theordore A. Wilson, University of Kansas, as part of his
research for the Truman Library Institute's special project on foreign
aid during the Truman Administration. Mr. Markezinis submitted his replies
in Greek and a translation was then prepared for the special project.
In giving my answers I have adopted the following course: As regards the
general questionnaire I started with a brief summary and gave more definite
and explanatory answers to questions on matters I am familiar with or,
on which I can express an opinion, and in any case cannot be considered
irrelevant for a Greek.
As regards the special questionnaire, which was personally addressed
to me, I considered it convenient to number the questions and answer each
one separately, and often more widely. I thought that excess of information
can be cut down and is better than insufficient information.
A full analysis with all the data in my possession, I have included in
the second section, soon to be published, of my work A Political History
of Modern Greece, but the publication of the volume referring to
the subject concerned,
will, I fear, be delayed. Therefore, I am willing to supply any further
During 1946 -- barely one year after the termination of World War II
-- it became clear in Western Europe that if the war had been won the
same could not be said of peace. Both the defeated and the victors had
come out of the war so exhausted from the long and hard struggle or from
the foreign occupation and had sustained such wide economic destruction
that their recovery appeared inconceivable. It is a fact that switching
from war to peace is very difficult. But the problems arising after World
War II were unique as regards their extent and the multiple future issues
they presented. Moreover, J. Stalin's intention to exploit the situation
for the furtherance on a world scale of his imperialistic plans could
hardly be disguised and the dangers thereof increased daily. After World
War I, as we all know, there arose differences of views between the Allies,
often reaching the point of discord. But there was no example of one Ally
trying to take advantage of any opportunity at the expense of his Allies.
In Yalta, J. Stalin ruthlessly took advantage of the weaknesses of F.D.
Roosevelt, at the time President of the U.S.A., who was the victim of
his physical disability, which soon occasioned his death, and his naïve
idealism to believe in the sincerity of J. Stalin's intentions. When President
Harry Truman took the succession of F.D. Roosevelt, it soon became apparent
that essential changes were taking place. The public, having for long
taken the habit of admiring F.D. Roosevelt, started by underestimating
Truman as a negligible mediocrity. J. Stalin was perhaps among the first
to ascertain that the contrary was true. President Truman's decision to
use the atomic bomb for the prompt termination of the war was enough to
make him realize that he was now facing a resolute man with a strong will.
This, as well as the fact that the U.S.A. was the only power to possess
the atomic bomb, made J. Stalin alter his tactics by concealing as much
as possible his ambitions and adapting them to the prevailing situation.
This policy (also adopted by his successors) consisted in avoiding direct
clashes and inciting unrest and undermining the countries exhausted by
the war. The new tactic was to exalt and project Communist ideology in
the tradition of Tsarist Russia, exploit the Orthodox Church and later
enhance the idea of Panslavism. The Communist theory was offered to a
wretched postwar society as the sole remedy of their ills and was brought
forth by Russia as having determined the victory against Fascism. The
idea was to create a state of mind similar to the impression prevailing
after World War I, that French Democracy had conquered despotism of Germany
and Austro Hungary. Of course J. Stalin did not limit to this his propaganda.
He made the best possible use of the well-organized Communist parties
in the various countries and wearing in turn the masks of the lion or
the fox, aimed at domination.
The Communists endeavored to appear as disinterested champions concerned
only with the prosperous future of other countries. They were fully aware
of the weariness of the peoples whose only desire was demobilization and
realization of the material goods which they expected on a utopian scale.
The same phenomenon was faced by the victors of World War I which was
overcome by the myth that Germany could pay for everything. It is well-known
that when Keynes published his famous book in which the victors were urged
to adopt more realistic views, the London Times very nearly accused
him of being the enemy's spokesman.
In any case, no one after World War II could dare put forth such a myth.
Moreover, the colonial powers did not consider advisable immediately after
the war, to admit even to a certain degree that colonialism could any
longer survive. They thus opened the way for Communists to make the best
of what Lenin had already marked out: that is,
for the Russians to become the champions of the peoples' right for self-determination
and the pioneers of the abolishment of colonialism. And no one even dared
ask: After all, what was and still is Siberia's status?
The U.S.A. was the only power to be in a privileged, from every point
of view, position. They had sustained immense economic sacrifices and
by far larger material losses and losses of lives than during World War
I. But at the same time they undoubtedly stood forth as the country with
unlimited economic possibilities. They were also immune as regards the
sincerity of the democratic ideological motives for participating in the
war. No one could possibly accuse the U.S. of being colonialists or having
imperialistic purposes. It is a noteworthy fact, that J. Stalin with his
sly genius tried to take advantage even of this. Had he succeeded, this
would have meant the beginning of the end of Democracy in the world. In
the U.S.A., a country with a highly developed democratic conscience, public
opinion is taken into consideration. Precisely for this reason, however
unlimited the rights and prerogatives granted by the American Constitution
to the President, even the most powerful President has to comply with
public opinion. Therefore, the substantial change which took place owing
to President Truman's personality
when he assumed his duties as President, were not sufficient to alter
American public opinion which, for the major part, continued to consider
Russia a sincere friend and simultaneously to confuse propaganda with
actual facts. That is to say, public opinion continued to believe that
the Russians were really defending ideals, fighting against colonialism,
for the independence of peoples and social equality and justice. Much
indeed had to happen: i.e. J. Stalin, and in general Soviet leadership
had to make many mistakes in order that American public opinion be awakened
and assist and wholeheartedly contribute to the new struggle in support
of real independence and freedom of nations and to safeguard democratic
It was most fortunate for the free world that at that time Harry Truman
was invested President of the U.S.A. Had the U.S.A. been governed by the
F.D. Roosevelt of the New Deal, I am convinced that his reactions would
have taken the same trend. But if it was the F.D. Roosevelt of the Yalta
period, I am afraid, the contrary would have happened. In my opinion,
Harry Truman had one more quality of leadership: the gift to find the
right man for the right place. The first evidence was the appointment
of General G. Marshall, who combined -- and gave proof of -- ideological
convictions with absolute realism which constitutes one of the biggest
virtues in politics. A proof is the disengagement of the U.S.A. from the
Chinese mainland. Only after many years has it been made clear what the
U.S.A. and with them the free world would have suffered if a different
course of action had been adopted. The above cannot, in any way be compared
with the situation in Vietnam. Moreover this timely withdrawal, without
entailing the abandonment of Asia, gave the opportunity to the U.S.A.
to turn their attention to Europe and consequently to the recovery of
Europe. From my personal point of view I would wish to add two more personalities
of the Truman administration: Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman. Specifically
regarding Greece, and apart from answers in the questionnaire, I wish
to mention the successful work of L. Henderson, at the time of the Truman
Doctrine, head of the office of Near Eastern and African Affairs with
the State Department.
In the case of Greece and Turkey, and mainly of the former, the new doctrine
was being tested. The fact that President Truman understood the situation,
and boldly dealt with it, decisively helped in subsequent developments.
Furthermore, American public opinion was unaware of the threat of Russian
imperialist communism and consequently President Truman's decision increases
in value and importance. In addition, President Truman justly merits to
with not only simply attempting, but successfully projecting the democratic
basis of his policy which was adopted from the first moment as the official
bipartisan policy of the U.S.A. We should be reminded that the Truman
Doctrine finally obtained in the Senate, 67 votes against 23, and 35 of
the 67 votes were Republican votes, while 32 were Democratic votes. Republican
Senator Vandenberg and Democratic Senator Connally contributed in achieving
the above. This bipartisan policy facilitated the shaping of American
public opinion and contributed to its final success. Undoubtedly, the
course was not easy, but subsequent results proved that the Truman Doctrine,
as completed by the Marshall Plan, constituted one of the most important
landmarks on a world scale in postwar history.
Mention has been made of the Marshall Plan. Indeed only three months
after the implementation of the Truman Doctrine, General G. Marshall,
at the time Secretary of State, on the occasion of his appointment as
Honorary Doctor by Harvard University, delivered his famous address announcing
the Marshall Plan. This plan, however, with its decisive issues for the
survival of Europe, could not have been carried out if it had not been
preceded by the Truman Doctrine. Moreover, the President himself was once
heard to say: "The one and the
other are two halves of the same nut." Greece in 1821 -- with her
struggle for independence -- was the starting point of reaction against
the monarchist and despotic doctrine of the Holy Alliance. Its successful
issue completed the triptych formed by the American Revolution of 1779
-- the French Revolution of 1789 and the Greek Revolution of 1821. The
triptych was the cornerstone of 19th century liberalism. It was fated
that it was in Greece, in 1947, that the U.S.A. was given the opportunity
to set the foundations of the struggle against Communist expansion.
QUESTION: What were the most serious obstacles to recovery and to further
economic development in your country? In all of the countries included
in the European Recovery Program?
MARKEZINIS: The countries which participated in the European Recovery
Program, each were facing more or less different problems. In France,
for instance, large areas had been theatres of war with great catastrophes
during the period of liberation. Such catastrophes of the same sort were
experienced on a smaller scale in Greece. On the other
hand, the damages resulting from the three year triple occupation were
great. Even greater were the catastrophes from the outside-supported guerrilla
war which followed the liberation. The main obstacle was the fact that,
during the period of American aid and especially during the first two
years of major assistance to Greece, war was still going on. Consequently,
a large portion of aid was purely military in character. As well, the
largest part of economic aid was absorbed for necessities of life of the
population. Whatever remained for the explicit purpose of the recovery
program was utilized under most difficult circumstances because of the
continued war against the guerrillas.
QUESTION: What were your expectations regarding the nature, extent, and
duration of United States aid at the end of the war? At the time of Secretary
of State Marshall's speech in June, 1947? At the beginning of the war
MARKEZINIS: I do not know what the expectations of other countries were
but in Greece they were great. The Greeks had the feeling that they alone,
with the English
were struggling until their last drop of blood. And, as was natural, they
were very much depending upon manifestations of admiration and sympathy
on the part of the world's free nations. Despite the experience of being
under triple occupation, Greece did not capitulate in any respect. Greek
soldiers did not participate on any German front and no Greek workers
voluntarily labored in Germany. And those who did cooperate with the Germans
in Greece were a very small percentage. Other Greeks suffered terribly
but they sustained themselves with most promising hopes for the future
offered to them by the Allied radio broadcasts.
In addition, Greek resistance groups were called upon by secret Allied
agents and the Greek Government abroad to prepare and send detailed reports
for all assistance to be required after liberation -- not simply for reconstruction
of damaged property but also for the reorganization and development of
the economy to levels higher than those prior to the war. Having actively
participated in the resistance, I can provide firsthand knowledge for
what I have said. I should add, however, that as time went on a conviction
about the prospects for aid which surpassed any reality. This is the reason
why all those who governed Greece during the years immediately after the
war, being prompted by that peculiar mentality, usually submitted unjustified
It must be made clear, however, that those expectations were not initially
or wholly aimed only at the United States. Only when time progressed was
it confirmed that almost the entire world was in a condition of poverty
and that the U.S.A. was the only country with its industries intact and
with sufficient assets. At that time a process of orientation toward the
U.S.A. started, a fact which created a reaction in the U.S.A. because
obviously the American public was not willing to play forever the role
of a philanthropic organization. Gradually, an adjustment began to take
place on both sides. The Europeans became more realistic about help from
the United States and the U.S.A. realized that the maintenance of an independent
Europe was of common concern. This was true not only from the ideological
point of view but also from a purely economic one. I therefore believe
that the announcement of the Truman Doctrine and of the Marshall plan
later, which was similar in format and duration, was surprisingly sound.
They took place in an atmosphere
when great expectations had been greatly diminished and simply from that
dead point approaching disappointment we had entered the street of new
realistic hopes. In my opinion, this was the situation at the time of
Truman's decision; that is, something was expected but not what followed.
QUESTION: Do you believe that the aid programs of the Truman Administration
facilitated the economic and political union of Europe? If so, in what
ways? Was it the serious intent of the U.S. Government that they do so?
MARKEZINIS: The political and economic unity of Europe is a matter which
presupposed and presupposes a long-lasting process and a whole series
of assumptions. I believe that the intentions of all American governments
coincided with the success of such objectives. The aid programs which
Truman's administration initiated helped indirectly and they are helping
now toward that goal. In order that the economic and political unity of
Europe became reality, there must be assured first its economic and political
independence. Those who share my views that Truman's administration decidedly
contributed to this aim admit that these programs undoubtedly helped.
QUESTION: Did you view United States economic aid as primarily anti-Communist
in purpose? What were the broad motives of the Truman administration in
MARKEZINIS: I think it is a mistake to say that the primary purpose or
intent of American aid was anti-Communist. Truman's administration was
not negative but positive. It is summed up in all that he himself supported
in his famous enunciation of the Truman Doctrine. He said: "I believe
that the policy of the U.S.A. should be: support of free peoples who resist
attempts to enslave them which are done by armed minorities or outside
pressures." Of course, since at that time the danger was coming from
Soviet imperialism covered over with the Communistic ideology, from this
point of view American policy was anti-Communist.
QUESTION: What was the nature of the results of "public relations:
efforts regarding ERP and other programs? Would you comment on the organization
of this effort,
its relative success and which activities were most successful?
MARKEZINIS: I belong to that school of thought that believes Truman's
aid policy had decided effects but that, relatively, the effects of public
relations endeavors were poor. The fact that Greece preserved its independence
with only American material aid and without the utilization of even one
American soldier and with the preservation of democratic beliefs in Greece,
it did not get projected universally as it ought to be. Just as I think
the splendid success of the airlift in Berlin was also badly publicized.
QUESTION: Did the United States aid programs have influence upon the
political system and internal political alignments of your country? If
so, in what ways? Did U.S. aid serve to strengthen democratic processes
by the general aims? By the methods adopted?
MARKEZINIS: American aid programs contributed decisively to the protection
of democracy both by the goals which America stated (see content of Truman
Doctrine and also of Marshall Plan) and by the methods, since it based
their application on the acknowledged desire of the people and on their
decision to fight for democracy.
QUESTION: In your view, where would Europe be if the aid
programs of the Truman administration had not been provided?
MARKEZINIS: Without American aid Europe, having mostly ruined its industrial
structure and having been deprived of its assets, would have needed a
relatively long time to recover. It must be stated, though, at the same
time that social problems were multiplying and that the Soviet Union's
eagerness for territorial acquisitions were being created. It was a big
question mark for the U.S.A. whether Europe could recover by itself. It
should be noted that without the economic aid programs NATO would not
have been possible, and despite its various weaknesses, it is a fact that
NATO has protected all the countries which it embraces from foreign intrigues.
QUESTION: Should (or could) American aid have been funneled through United
Nations agencies, such as the Economic Commission for Europe?
MARKEZINIS: Without a doubt, no.
QUESTION: Did the cancellation of lend-lease come as a surprise? To what
do you attribute this decision? How serious were its effects?
MARKEZINIS: For those mostly concerned with the situation, no, because
it was a war-connected mechanism. But, strictly speaking, having contemplated
the huge problems which existed, they asked themselves what would happen
and what other mechanism could replace the system of lend-lease.
QUESTION: Did antagonism toward Germany influence measures taken for
the economic recovery of Europe?
MARKEZINIS: After the war the peculiar mentality of the winners concerning
Germany was so confused that it is difficult for one to come to a positive
conclusion. He can only proceed to certain inferences: (a) just as only
Frenchmen continued to be concerned about the German threat after World
War I, only the Russians happened to see it after World War II. That is
why they pushed through the division of Germany and the curious status
quo of Berlin, while Clemenceau, Foch, and Poincare had failed mutatis
mutandis in their similar pursuit earlier. (Boundaries of the Rhine,
Rhineland, etc.) (b) the failure of the reparations after World War I
and the consequences of collapse of the German mark led the
victors to other thoughts after World War II. They thought that the dismantling
of German industrial installations (those which had survived the air raids)
would enable German industry to recover. Whereas, on the other hand, the
regaining of those installations by the Allies would somehow substitute
for part of the reparations. At the same time, the quadruple military
occupation of Germany was giving the impression of control over any possible
threat. However, the opposite happened. Germans had approved of the vitality
of the French after the War of 1870. Freed from any military expense and
forced to start from the beginning in order to survive, France had entered
into international rivalry with the most modern industry. At the same
time, following the liberal policy of Professor Erhard and putting aside
social needs, the Germans emphasized productivity. This brought about
the acclaimed postwar German miracle. President Truman's aid program did
not view Germany unfavorably nor favorably by the other European nations.
The Russians continued to fear Germany and the other Europeans ignored
and underestimated the Germans. When these nations found themselves facing
a new era of regeneration, the American programs had been substantially
ended, and nothing remained but admiration for what had happened in Germany.
QUESTION: Would you comment upon the invitation to the Soviet Union to
participate in the discussions at Paris? Was the invitation sincere? Why
did the Russians refuse to participate? What might have happened if they
had taken part?
MARKEZINIS: I do not doubt that the invitation to the Soviet Union was
sincere. It was obvious, however, that the conference would have failed
if the Russians had taken part because, strictly speaking, the aims of
the conference were opposed to the Soviet Union's own policy.
QUESTION: Were there efforts at cooperation in Europe before Secretary
of State Marshall's speech?
MARKEZINIS: They were in truth on a theoretical level.
QUESTION: Might one say that U.S. aid was a means of ending American
responsibility in Europe? Was "neo-isolationism" a fair description
of the attitudes of many Americans, especially Congressmen, with whom
you have contact?
MARKEZINIS: On the contrary. The application of the
Truman administration's aid programs did not constitute the end of American
concern for Europe or the creation of "neo-isolationism," but
the starting point of the actual concern for Europe's destiny in peacetime.
It can be regarded more as a forerunner of John F. Kennedy's policies
of close cooperation of the U.S. with a United Europe.
The large number of American Senators and Congressmen with whom I had
a chance to speak during the first years of the Truman Doctrine and the
Marshall Plan did give me the impression that they were favoring an isolationist
viewpoint. But even those who believed in the revival of the old isolationism
did not give the impression that the aid was provided with the thought:
"to help you recover and then depart." No one, of course, was
contemplating that the aid would continue indefinitely. Rather, achieving
its purpose would create immediately a powerful united Europe with which
the U.S.A. would be better able to defend the democratic ideals of the
QUESTION: Would you agree that the importance of the Marshall Plan, was
not so much the amount of aid given but the
fact that the aid was concentrated in a short period of time?
MARKEZINIS: I certainly agree. During the time of the application of
the Marshall Plan, if an idea of a necessary long lasting program had
prevailed, failure most likely would have occurred. The "too little,
too late" approach has always been catastrophic. President Truman
fortunately did not follow this policy.
QUESTION: Would you comment upon the subject of UNRRA aid to Greece?
MARKEZINIS: The first aid on a considerable scale given to Greece was
that of UNRRA which originated from American funds. It began in 1945 and
terminated formally in December 1946; but actually UNRRA continued in
operation until March 1947. It is estimated that approximately 250 million
dollars was received -- 2/3 of which was for foodstuffs and hygienic materials
and 1/3 remaining for raw materials, fuel, and, to a certain extent, industrial
equipment. Reality showed that the Greeks had placed
excessive hopes in UNRRA; however, by taking care of the most urgent needs
of the hours, it was of decisive importance for the survival of the country.
With regard to the accuracy of the figures, I am of the opinion that
no Greek agency will be in a position to provide any guaranty. I should
further add that the disorganization of the machinery of state at that
time was conducive to the reduction of the results expected. At the same
time, there is no doubt that UNRRA's machinery itself revealed great weaknesses
and thus a considerable portion of aid came to be lost. A characteristic
example was the dispatching of large quantities of useless and unnecessary
materials; whereas, in reverse, there was a considerable lack of indispensable
QUESTION: How important a role did German reparations play (or were expected
to play) in Greek reconstruction?
MARKEZINIS: The role of German reparations was negligible Reparations
did not exceed 18 million dollars which were given in automobiles, some
tools, and scrap iron. To be sure, the World War I attitude, whereby the
vanquished were expected to pay damages and to restore the economies of
the countries which had won, did not exist in Greece
either. Yet there was a limited relevant expectation and momentarily particular
significance was attached to the transfer and installation also in Greece
of German industrial equipment taken from that which had escaped the destruction
of Allied bombing.
Still greater expectations were placed in the hope that Germany would
be in a position to help seriously with regard to her responsibility for
the annihilation of the Greek currency.
With reference to reparations from Italy, these were substantial, having
amounted to 105 million dollars. They mainly represented funds for passenger
ships, which were delivered after a number of years and which have been
used in domestic and Mediterranean communications. Reparations have also
been paid with regard to the electrical network of the country.
QUESTION: Did British and U.S. approaches to Greek recovery differ significantly?
MARKEZINIS: In essence no comparison can be made. The aid given by Great
Britain until March 1947 was primarily military in nature. Aid for the
reconstruction of the country consisted of "off hand" repairs
by the British Royal Engineers and the placing of Bailey bridges. Great
Britain also made available during the first months of liberation mainly
foodstuffs estimated in value at 28 million dollars by Military Liaison.
There was also placed at the disposal of the Greek Government in office
at that time an amount of 76 million dollars, the balance of an inter-governmental
loan concluded in 1941.
To all of this, even if one were to add together the aid granted by UNRRA
with that from other different sources, no comparison can be made with
the amounts granted by the American Government pursuant to the Truman
Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. The figures given, the accuracy of which
I cannot guaranty, even if taken as an approximation to the real figures,
constitute a precious measure for comparison. From March 1947 to 1966,
this aid amounted to approximately two billion dollars, only part of which
was in the form of long-term loans. In addition to the above, during the
same period, military aid estimated at 1860 million dollars was received
in the form of equipment and common use items.
QUESTION: Might you describe the reaction in Greece to the mission of
Paul A. Porter in early 1947?
MARKEZINIS: The special mission by Paul A. Porter, who came to Greece
in the beginning of 1947 to examine locally the situation and to suggest
urgently what could be done, was received most favorably. Greek public
opinion took it for granted that his embassy would make favorable suggestions,
not only with regard to economic aid but military as well. No one could
have predicted [or imagined] what was to follow. On the contrary, the
Greeks had nourished great hopes and dreamt a great deal during the occupation.
But after the liberation, they observed their troubles increasing while
Allied support in the field of economic reconstruction had so far been
on a small scale. Thus they became realistic in their expectations. Few
Greeks believed it possible for the needs which Greece was facing to be
QUESTION: Would you comment on the period of the announcement of the
Greek-Turkish aid program? Did it come as a surprise? What problems, if
any, did it bring to the Greek Government?
MARKEZINIS: The announcement of the Truman Doctrine created profound
relief and raised expectations in Greece. Yet, at the same time, it was
a surprise. American aid had been
expected since the Porter mission, but not to the extent the Truman Doctrine
revealed. Moreover, the change brought about was felt immediately. The
Greeks, in other words, realized that the U.S.A. had assumed responsibility,
not merely for economic or military assistance, but to secure Greek independence
and integrity provided, to be sure, that the Greeks themselves would be
prepared to fight for it. They were and they proved it!
The significance of the Truman Doctrine cannot be fully realized unless
one appreciates the point of despair Greece had reached. As you know,
Greece, almost immediately after liberation, faced certain danger in December
of 1944 -- the peril of submission to the Communist bloc by means of the
open assault assumed by Greek Communists who were incited by Moscow and
its satellites to take control. The Communists would have succeeded had
it not been for Sir Winston Churchill's resolve. Supported by Marshall
Alexander and Harold Macmillan, Churchill put aside reactions of different
sorts, and having successfully transferred troops from the Italian front,
he finally forced the Communists to surrender and to sign the Varkiza
Treaty in 1945. The events of December 1944 were, however, a terrible
blow to Greece. The aspirations
that efforts to reconstruct the country from the [ravages of] war and
the triple-enemy occupation -- Germany, Italian, and Bulgarian -- would
begin after liberation were, instead, followed by a period of internal
political instability, uncertainty, and confusion which led to further
dislocation of the machinery of State. The aid given originally by the
British, UNRRA, and other secondary sources, was now directed towards
the survival of the populace, not for economic recovery on which, however,
depended Greek economic independence.
King George II was forced to remain in London and it was not until the
first of April in 1946 that elections, in the presence of foreign observers,
became feasible. The Communists abstained and conservative elements were
predominant. These elements pressed for a plebiscite on the first of September
in 1946 which voted in favor of the King's return -- he returned on the
18th of September. With regard to formal legality, things appeared to
have been settled. In reality, however, it was obvious that a new storm
was imminent. Stalin had agreed at Yalta not to interfere with Greek affairs;
but, realizing the importance of sovereignty over Greece for Russian plans
of expansion, he aspired to attain his goal in an
indirect way. The Greek Communists, with assistance from the Communist
governments of neighboring Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, made preparations
while attempts to erode democratic public opinion in Greece and abroad
were made by disguising their real aims behind slogans of democracy, independence,