Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


The Secret of Partisan Success

The secret of these partisan successes is for us, former Yugoslav partisans, no secret at all: it is to be found in the sympathy and active support of the people, which we also, Yugoslav partisans, had during the late war, when we fought from July, 1941, 'til the middle of 1943 — i.e. during two whole years — with great success, building up a powerful regular army, without having received a single rifle or a single round of ammunition from the Allies.

The Greek press now admits that the same thing is happening in Greece. The newspaper Ethnikos Kinks of August 31, 1948, said concerning the successes of the Democratic Army in the Peloponnesus: "At the end of March, 1948, 600 bandits (i.e. partisans) from Parona, Tayget and the region of Arcadia concentrated in the region of Arfaron (Messinia), in the vicinity of the Kalamata-Tripolis main highway, without interference. On April 1 they attacked the small town of Tuna, which is only an hour's distance from Kalamata...The striking thing about this operation is this: In order to concentrate at Afara and attack Tuna the bandits had to cross many inhabited places and spend at least three days in preparations. During this period no one reported the doings of these bandits to the authorities...We wept over more than thirty gendarmes at Exanorion, Keridamilia, over 50 others at Agrianos, over more than 80 national guardsmen at Nedousan and Alagonia . . . because we had no information on the movement of the bandits!"

In Akropolis of August 17, 1948, we read that only six of the thirty agents of the Athens Government who penetrated into villages controlled by the partisans of Peloponnesus and were collecting precious information, have remained in the service of the Government, and that it is not sure how long they can continue to be of service!

And according to Embros of October 5, 1948, when peasants from districts teeming with partisans are questioned about the movements of the latter, they answer that no partisans have gone through their villages for months, although it is proved that when a group of partisans spends the night in a village the peasants mount guard in order to protect them against the possible arrival of the military. It is obvious that the situation in this sea-surrounded Peloponnesus, which is hundreds of kilometers from Yugoslavia, is the same as the situation in Thessaly and Rumelia or the northern regions of Greece, and that the Peloponnesus has so proudly risen in defense of national rights precisely because it is the cradle of ancient liberal traditions. This is the only answer to the question, "Who helps and supplies the Democratic army in the Peloponnesus? Who gives that army arms and munitions, clothing and footwear? Where are its military warehouses, foodstores and ammunition dumps? Where do the Peloponnesus units of the Democratic army train their newly mobilized fighters? Where are they retreating under pressure of the National' forces? Who is giving medical help, and nursing wounded soldiers of the Democratic army in the Peloponnesus? How is it that the large forces of the Athens Government in the Peloponnesus, armed to the teeth, cannot clear up the situation?...Why do the unfortunate and terrorized' people of the Peloponnesus so jealously guard the men of the Democratic Army? Why do they not betray them and hand them over to the authorities of the Athens Government; but, on the contrary, lay traps for the spies of Athens, capture them and hand them over to the partisans?"

From all this it is clear that the alleged help extended to the Greek Democratic Army from abroad does not account for the national uprising in the Peloponnesus, just as it is not the cause of the uprising in other regions of Greece and in the whole of Greece; but the causes are to be found in the wish of the Greek people to choose their own government, to be masters of their own fate, to lead an independent and sovereign existence. This accounts for the utter failure of all attempts to destroy by brute force the Democratic Army and the movement for democracy among the Greek people!

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