White Terror (Greece)
White Terror (Greek: Λευκή Τρομοκρατία) is the term used in Greece, analogous to similar cases, for the period of persecution of former members of the leftist World War II-era resistance organization EAM-ELAS in 1945–46, prior to the outbreak of the Greek Civil War.
During the Axis occupation of Greece, the communist-dominated EAM-ELAS had become the leading Resistance organization. By the summer of 1944, with an estimated membership of between half and two million and 150,000 fighters, it dwarfed its nearest non-communist rivals, EDES and EKKA. The mounting tensions between the rival groups, divided by ideology as well as EAM-ELAS's ambition to be the sole instrument of "national liberation", led to repeated clashes in 1943–44, in what was later termed the "first phase" of the Civil War. At the same time, EAM-ELAS found itself attacked by the "Security Battalions" of the collaborationist government.
At the time of Greece's liberation in October 1944, EAM-ELAS dominated the country except for the major cities, especially Athens, where British forces supported the returned Greek government in exile. The dormant rivalry between the British-backed government and EAM-ELAS resulted in the Dekemvriana clashes in Athens (December 1944 – January 1945), where EAM-ELAS was defeated, and the disarmament of the organization in the Treaty of Varkiza (February 1945).
White Terror and outbreak of the Civil War
With EAM-ELAS emasculated, its members became easy prey for persecution by various right-wing groups in retaliation for the preceding "Red Terror". These ranged from former members of the collaborationist Security Battalions to the government's paramilitary security services, chiefly the Greek Gendarmerie and the National Guard, acting with the government's tacit support. As a result, "[w]hereas elsewhere in Europe prisons were flooded with fascists and their collaborators, in Greece most of the prisoners were members of leftist resistance organizations". The campaign of persecution lasted through 1945 and much of 1946, and was a critical element in the radicalization and polarization of the political climate in the country; it led to the formation of leftist self-defence troops, the Left's boycott of the 1946 election, and finally the resumption of warfare with the outbreak of the second, or main phase, of the Greek Civil War in spring 1946.
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