Treaty of Varkiza

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The Treaty of Varkiza (also known as the Varkiza Pact or the Varkiza Peace Agreement) was signed in Varkiza (near Athens) on February 12, 1945 between the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs (supported by the British) and the Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for EAM-ELAS. One of the aspects of the accord (Article IX) called for a plebiscite to be held within the year in order to resolve any problems with the Greek Constitution. This plebiscite would help establish elections and thus create a constituent assembly that would draft a new organic law. In another aspect of the treaty, both signatories agreed that the Allies send overseers in order to verify the validity of the elections.[1] The accord also promised that members of EAM-ELAS would be permitted to participate in political activities if they surrendered their weapons. Moreover, all civil and political liberties would be guaranteed along with the undertaking by the Greek government towards establishing a nonpolitical national army.

The Treaty specified that EAM-ELAS in particular should disarm. ELAS are recorded to have surrendered, within the next few days or weeks, the following:

a) artillery of various types 100 b) heavy mortars 81 c) light mortars 138 d) machine-guns 419 e) submachine guns 1,412 f) automatic rifles 713 g) rifles and pistols 48,973 h) anti-tank rifles 57 i) radios 17[2]

However the data is not complete, as some refused to accept receipts for their weapons. Panagiotis Koumoukelis relates in 'All That Grief' that he refused a receipt for his gun, and was subsequently tortured by members of the Security Battalions, as he could not produce his receipt.[3]

Ultimately, the promises enshrined in the Treaty of Varkiza were not upheld. The main problem was that the treaty gave amnesty only for political reasons, but many actions by communists during the Dekemvriana were viewed as common crimes. The events that followed entailed widespread right-wing persecution of leftist elements (White Terror).[4] Even though the Treaty of Varkiza was not enforced, it was nevertheless a diplomatic attempt towards officially ending the civil war. Due to the treaty, the Communist Party of Greece remained legal during the Greek Civil War until 27 December 1947.

Negotiators[edit]

The negotiators included:

Greek Government
Name Portfolio
Ioannis Sofianopoulos Minister for Foreign Affairs (Greece)
Periklis Rallis Ministry of the Interior (Greece)
Pafsanias Katsotas Military Advisor of the Greek Government
Left-wing forces
Name Portfolio
Georgios Siantos General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece
Ilias Tsirimokos General Secretary of the Socialist Party of Greece
Dimitrios Partsalidis Secretary of the Central Committee of EAM
Stefanos Sarafis Military Advisor of EAM

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xydis, pp. 7-8. "After a truce on January 11, 1945, between the commander of the British forces and the Communist leader of ELAS (the military arm of EAM, the National Liberation Front), a "peace treaty" was finally concluded at Varkiza, near Athens, on February 12, 1945. It was signed on the one hand by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of a new, British-bolstered Greek government headed by a former general with an indubitably anti-dynastic and republican background, and the Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for EAM-ELAS, on the other. Article IX of this agreement provided for a plebiscite within the year to decide upon the constitutional problem, with elections to follow for a constituent assembly that would draft a new organic law. Both parties, moreover, agreed to ask the Allied powers to send observers to these elections to verify the genuineness of the expression of the popular will."
  2. ^ Stefanos Sarafis, ELAS: Greek Resistance Army (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1981), p. 525.
  3. ^ Panagiotis Koumoukelis, 'Our Last Song', in Allan and Wendy Scarfe (eds.), All that Grief: Migrant Recollections of Greek Resistance to Fascism, 1941-1949 (Sydney: Hale & Irmonger, 1994), p. 165.
  4. ^ Stavrianos and Panagopoulos, p. 156. The December hostilities were terminated with the signing of the Varkiza peace agreement on February 12, 1945. In return for surrendering its arms, the E.A.M. was promised freedom to engage in political activities, and the government guaranteed civil and political liberties and undertook to organize a nonpolitical national army. These commitments were not fulfilled, and the Varkiza pact was followed by a rightist reaction and widespread persecution of leftist elements.

Sources[edit]

  • Xydis, Stephen G. "Greece and the Yalta Declaration." American Slavic and East European Review. Vol. 20, No. 1, (February 1961), pp. 6–24.
  • Stavrianos, L. S. and Panagopoulos, E. P. "Present-Day Greece." The Journal of Modern History. Vol. 20, No. 2, (June 1948), pp. 149–158.
  • C.M. Woodhouse "The Apple of Discord: A Survey of Recent Greek Politics in their International Setting (London 1948)308-310 [1]

+ Richter, Heinz "British Intervention in Greece, From Varkiza to Civil War February 1945 to August 1946" (London 1986)