Modern Greek History

Get to Know the Treaty of Varkiza

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Whether the country wanted to be or not, Greece was a player during World War II. Fighting occurred throughout the country, including a large battle that took place on the island of Crete. Ultimately, the country was occupied by Germany. Once occupation occurred, the Greek people didn’t like it and many efforts were made to get the Germans to leave.

Ultimately, the Allies intervened and tried to encourage Greece by offering support to some of the insurgent groups that overthrew the Germans. Eventually, these groups from within Greece strengthened and became rivals of one another. This eventually created tensions that lead to the writing of the Treaty of Varkiza.

Here’s more information about the treaty of Varkiza:

About the Treaty of Varkiza

While the Axis and Allies fought World War II, tensions grew within Greece. The communist party in Greece,the EAM – ELAS, pushed its manifesto. This was in direct opposition to the existing government, supported by the Allied Forces. As the world fought communism on the grandest scale, so, too, did Greece. That is until the 1945 Varkiza Pact.

On February 12, 1945, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, I. Sofianopoulus, and the General Secretary of the Greek Communist Party, G. Siantos, signed the Treaty of Varkiza. This temporarily ended the hostilities between the two. It included nine articles and demanded the disarmament of the EAM-ELAS. Ironically, it was signed in Varkiza, which is only fourteen miles south of Athens. It was there that much of the tensions were released with deadly consequences.

Fighting at the Dekemvriana

The EAM-ELAS party actually raided Athens between December 3, 1944 and January 11, 1945. Eventually, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, came in and secured a Greek victory. The community party, seeing defeat, fled the city towards central Greece. The EAM-ELAS took several Athenian hostages with them. Most died from cold or starvation. Making little progress, over thirteen thousand members were arrested and taken into British prisons.

Soon after their defeat in Dekemvriana, the communist party agreed to the Varkiza Peace Agreement. In it, the nine articles attempted to make a lasting peace between the two parties. Though it would be fleeting, the agreement did lead to a ceasefire.

For the people, the Varkiza Pact attempted to regain some normalcy. Article 1 ensured liberties, like expression, while Article 2 lifted martial law. The more famous Article 9 established free elections. It included a provision that a UN member would oversee the election.

Writing the Varkiza Pact

Though meant to ease tensions, the pact became a polarizing issue. Crimes were consistently classified as non-political, leading to murders of confessing communists. There were various articles that sought to address some of the issues that were arising because of the communist party’s surge in Greece. The Varkiza Pact was designed to dispel any tensions that may have arisen. Ultimately, this didn’t happen and war broke out anyway.

The Varkiza Pact also included articles to “purge” Greece of communist leaning officials. This included Articles 7 and 8, which focused on civil and security service employees, respectively. Articles 4 and 5 are typical among peace agreements. Article 4 released wartime prisoners on both sides to the justice system. Article 5 established a non-political national Greek army.Amnesty for political crimes was guaranteed in Article 3. Finally, Article 6 established the disarmament of the militarized communist party.

Though the Varkiza Pact quieted the fighting, the Greek Civil War eventually broke out on December 27, 1947 over the anti-communist backlash and a severe polarization of Greece. The Treaty of Varkiza ultimately led to the disarmament of the Greek communist party in 1945.

Source:

Wikipedia – Treaty of Varkiza

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com