Debating the Greek 1940s: histories and memories of a conflicting past since the end of the Second World War

Manos Avgeridis

University of Athens
“We were sitting in the empty room
studying our history all over again.”
—Yannis Ritsos1


In 20 March 2004, two Greek political scientists, professors Stathis Kalyvas (Yale University) and Nikos Marantzidis (University of Macedonia, Greece), published an article in the book review supplement of the daily Ta Nea under the title “Νέες τάσεις στη μελέτη του Εμφυλίου Πολέμου” (New trends in the study of the civil war).2 The article presented the positions of what its authors described as a new current in the historiography of the 1940s. Kalyvas and Marantzidis labelled a part of the output from a new generation of scholars in the 1990s and 2000s as the “new wave”. The authors’ ten-point summary of the innovative aspects of that output was intended more as a platform for future research in the field than as a review. What followed was an intense and rigorous debate in the supplement that lasted for around eight months. The series of articles, published under the general title “Διάλογος για την Ιστορία” (Dialogue on history), ended with a concluding piece by the two authors of the text that initiated the debate3 and a special issue that was printed but never came out.4 The “war”, though, was not restricted to the newspaper’s columns at that time. It was diffused in the press and the internet, as well as in conferences and publications, dominating the discussion on the field, with ups and downs, for more than ten years.5 Later, as the economic crisis emerged, it became part of the debate on the transformations and multiple uses of the 1940s in public discourse.


In Greece, debates and public discussions on the history of the 1940s had taken place before, in the media or elsewhere. Looking back, some of the most characteristic cases include the discussion around the destruction of security files on citizens in 1989, the long debate on the official recognition of the leftwing resistance during the Second World War, the first international historical conferences on the field in the 1970s and 1980s, the discussions and the antagonism around the first collective attempts in the 1960s to produce a chronicle of the occupation and resistance period, and the public interventions of veterans and politicians in the 1950s. Those and other relevant debates reflect the close relationship between politics, history, and memory; others, such as the debate around Thanasis Valtinos’ novel Orthokosta (1994), add literature, representations of the past and their role in the formation of historical culture to the picture.6


Such conflicts over history are certainly not a Greek or a narrowly national phenomenon, especially when the subject touches on a world war.7 As a matter of fact, the new wave debate in Greece has been compared to revisionist attempts and the discussion around them since the 1970s (or in other cases the 1990s) in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Israel, or in Russia and eastern Europe after the collapse of the socialist regimes.8


Moreover, as the “Dialogue on history” was also a dialogue on the historiography of the 1940s, the close relationship between history and historiography cannot be ignored: while studying the historical production (professional or not) on the 1940s in Greece, one should take into account the determinant role of each national political, social and cultural environment,9 of the present stakes and their significance for the way in which communities deal with their past, and of the practicality of that past.10 The role of the international environment is also important. There, of course, special attention should be paid to the developments with regard to professional history: the trends and institutions in which history is formed within and beyond national borders. Furthermore, the historical perception of a community is formed by stereotypes and repeating motives that are durable and create common sites, genealogies, “significant others” (enemies or friends) and views on history itself – and especially on national history; making a topos which effects, and often determines, any kind of attempted elaboration and re-elaboration of a historical period.


Regarding the historiography and public history of the field, 1989–1990 is considered as a rupture; however, it can also be seen as a continuity of a process that had started in the early years of the transition to democracy (metapolitefsi)11 after the collapse of the junta in 1974 in Greece, and even earlier by a new generation of scholars abroad. Any attempt to periodise this historical production will be subject to debate; however, periodisation is necessary for studying it over the long term.12 I shall distinguish three main periods, keeping in mind that different aspects of society move according to different temporalities:


a) 1945–1974. The first period can be defined as running from the end of the Second World War to the fall of the military dictatorship in Greece. Although one can identify various turning points during this rather long period – the short “peaceful” period after the liberation, the civil war and the establishment of the postwar state, the year 1956 and the changes that it brought to the international communist movement, the developments in the first half of the 1960s especially under the Centre Union government (1963-1965), and, of course the dictatorship of 1967–1974 – an important element serves to unify this era: professional historical research was relatively absent.13 A discourse, nevertheless, began in and gradually gained pace from the mid-1950s, concentrating mainly on the history of the resistance. The resulting output included press publications, memory accounts, autobiographies, local histories, chronicles, party histories, popular and specialty magazines, literature, and non-textual representations such as music, theatre, cinema, fine arts and monuments. What one can distinguish is the attempt by different memory communities to choose, narrate and give visibility to the facts that form a recent but still largely uncharted past.14 The actors in that past themselves play an important role in shaping its history; a reflexive attempt to form a memory archive of it and, at the same time, to interpret it.


b) 1974–1989: The fall of the junta and the transition to democracy marked a new era, not only for Greek society but also for Greek historiography.15 The universities were reformed and new institutions arose (faculties, research centres, archives, journals, museums). New research fields were established and the study of the 1940s was among them. Through the metapolitefsi, the history of the war entered the universities – not without obstacles and setbacks – and became a subject of academic research. In other words, professional historians gradually entered a field that had already been long open to public discussion.16 At the same time, the legalisation of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) allowed thousands of political refugees to repatriate to Greece.17 The KKE had already undergone a split into two parties; other changes in the political centre18 accelerated a paradigmatic shift in the discourse on the 1940s. This was symbolised by the official recognition of the leftwing resistance by law 1285/1982.19 There followed a memory boom, marked by the publication of many memoirs, autobiographies, and local histories by former members of resistance groups as well as politicians.


c) 1990–2010: The end of the 1980s coincided with the collapse of the communist regimes and the definitive end of the bipolar Cold War world. In relation to this crucial event and the fundamental change that it brought regarding the view of the world from that point on, 1989 was also a fateful year for the Greek political scene and society. Amid an atmosphere of corruption and scandals in which even the name of the prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, was involved, right and left agreed to form a coalition government. One of its most symbolic acts was the law on “lifting the effects of the civil war”, which was accompanied by the destruction of police records on citizens.20 The same period saw a second memory boom, this time concerning the civil war, as reflected in testimonies of participants, their (and not only their) representations and the surrounding public discourse; but also in new directions for historical research. In the 1990s a new generation of historians, who entered the field and broadened it, began to produce rich historical material. The political and diplomatic history of the previous decade gave way to more diverse social, local and oral histories, comparative approaches, gender and memory studies, as well as the combination of disciplines such as history, political science, sociology and social anthropology. Finally, the study of the case of the Greek Jews was an important accession in this constellation. All this led to the “conflict” that started in the first half of the noughties, while there was, also, a significant increase in studies triggered by the 50th anniversary of the end of the civil war.21


This article22 attempts to trace the production of histories and memories from the first postwar and post-civil war years by examining relevant debates in and on Greece as part of a broader process: that of the historisation of the Second World War in Europe within and, mostly, across national borders. It intends to see history as “the arena in which the present and future identity of a community is debated”23 and as a set of practices with different connotations; practices and perceptions determined each time by the present, but also by the lived experience in the past and present.


Thus, the article begins by exploring a part of the first collective effort, undertaken in the initial postwar decades, to create a European history of resistance movements, in an attempt to develop an initial approach to the repertoire of historical practices in the political environment of the time, to the ways in which the experience of the Second World War changed or accelerated the development of new historiographical trends, to the role of historians in that process and to the kind of history that was produced. Then, the focus is transferred to Greece. As a subject, the mapping of a constellation of different memory and history communities, centres and means in the same period has garnered little attention, comparing to the dominant anticommunist ethnikofrosini (nation-mindedness) discourse in Greece or the historiographical efforts of the left in the 1960s. The article, by following the developments in the academy and the politics of history and memory in the final decades of the previous century, returns to the current discussion on the 1940s in an attempt to approach it through the strings that connect it to the past and, at the same time, as a debate of the twenty-first century.

Historicising a world war in a Cold War world: a glance at the history of European resistance movements


The end of the Second World War marked a new era in the history of the twentieth century. Eric Hobsbawm captured an aspect of that change in the language of western intellectuals in its last quarter: “The keyword,” he wrote, “was the small preposition ‘after’, generally used in its latinate form ‘post’ as a prefix to any of the numerous terms which had, for some generations, been used to mark out the mental territory of twentieth-century life.”24 Indeed, beyond that “mental territory”, after the war much had changed on the European continent: from landscapes to demography, from state borders to new power relations. Perhaps, most importantly, the experience of Nazi atrocities (and not only these) had changed the view on what mankind was capable of and posed questions to the dominant narrative of constant progress, which had already been seriously battered by the experience of the First World War.25 Thus, there emerged a need for the war years to become past or, in the way that Tony Judt described it, for an end and reboot of European history in a way that had to deal with various processes of retribution, remembering and forgetting.26 How was the war made into the past and what was the role of history, memory and experience in that process?


Stefan Berger, among others, has offered a comprehensive image of how Europe, within the different national borders, shaped memories and narratives related to the political, ideological and social realities of the postwar era; the passing, or better the various passings, from a united popular resistance discourse to more self-critical national approaches has also been highlighted, up to a point.27 Resistance – including cases of greater or lesser importance to the outcome of the war – was the most significant and sometimes the only source of collective and national pride; for this reason, it formed the foundation myth of the new European status quo as well as for the questioning of this status quo.28 Here, we will focus on the first postwar period, from the aftermath of the war to the mid-1960s, in an attempt to follow one part of the transnational efforts for the formation of a collective history of resistance, beyond and within the national or bipolar divisions of the time, by examining the activities of international veterans organisations in regard to the history of the recent past. When seen from a certain viewpoint, such cases, even when they are not directly linked to the Greek case, can help us proceed with an examination of the latter.


In that context, the first pole was the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR), which was founded in July 1951, having its origins in the International Federation of Former Political Prisoners (FIAPP), formed in 1946. The FIR was founded and based for many years in Vienna, Austria, the country that had been commonly recognised as “Hitler’s first victim”. The FIR’s first bureau comprised representatives from nine countries, both eastern and western (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland and Soviet Union), and managed to bring together more than 41 veterans organisations over the next ten years. Apart from the low-profile, unofficial leadership that was controlled by the Soviets, the representatives from France and Italy, both countries with powerful communist parties, played an important role. The FIR was clearly a communist front organisation, whose establishment was influenced and supported by the Cominform, and thus relatively discredited in a large part of the western world.29 On the other hand, the FIR became a point of affiliation and a memory mediator for thousands of resistance veterans and victims of Nazism for more than 20 years, effecting the way in which the recent past was interpreted.


The FIR’s declared aims were to bring together the national organisations of former resistance fighters or political prisoners and refugees, to promote their interests, their rights and their demands, and to play an active political role in the promotion of aims of the United Nations charter and in the preservation of peaceful relations between the states. Moreover, it sought to honour the memory of the victims, to highlight the atrocities committed in the concentration camps and demand the punishment of those responsible for crimes against humanity. Most importantly, it aimed to keep the spirit and values of the resistance, as well as its historical role, alive.30 Or, to quote the words of its first president, French Colonel Henry Manhès:

Altogether we will build a living international monument for the glory of those who, in the saddest time of history, offered their life to liberate their homeland. We are gathered in an international federation, not only in order to honour and make sure that the resistance heroes will always be honoured, but also to take an active part in the safeguarding and strengthening of the values of peace and liberty.31


The FIR was very active in the first two decades of its existence, as an agent of history and memory.32 These two fields can be distinguished here, as they seemed distinguished in the FIR’s own perception as well: indeed, the FIR’s history committee, created in the second half of the 1950s, seemed to view historical writing as one of its duties – publishing and translating works for national and international audiences, such as the Cahiers internationaux de la résistance. It also involved itself in promoting the integration of resistance history into school curriculums and in organising and participating in historical conferences and meetings. On the other hand, heritage and memory issues – the creation of monuments, sites of memory, events and commemorations – were perceived as broader issues that required collective and, in fact, political work, from other committees or even the FIR’s bureau.33


A reaction to the FIR’s establishment and activities was the founding of international associations of veteran resistance figures and former prisoners that developed a discourse against totalitarianism, standing in favour of the defence the “free west”, and the integration of “Free Europe” into the latter. The first of these attempts was based in Paris: the Free International Federation of Deportees and Resistance Internees (FILDIR), founded in 1952, had the National Union of Associations of Deportees, Internees and Families of the Missing (UNADIF), headed by Michel Riquet, as its driving force and tried to imitate the FIR’s organisation and activity.34 Others gathered around the Belgian veteran Hubert Halin, and the multiple international groups that he created in the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Committee of Inter-allied Resistance Action (CAR), founded in 1953, and the International Union of Resistance and Deportation (UIRD), set up in 1957.35 Moreover, Halin’s periodical La voix internationale de la résistance engaged in a long debate with the FIR’s Résistance Unie. Pieter Lagrou has shown how these and other international memory communities perceived the resistance within the framework of Cold War discourse and connected it with the vision of a unified Europe.36 The CAR, through Halin, was also one of the organisers of the first of a trilogy of big international meetings of the time: the international conferences on the history of the resistance movements.


The first conference, which took place in Liege, Belgium, in 1958, was embraced by the Belgian state and the national historical community. In fact, many members of the Belgian government served as honorary committee members, while professional historians, mainly from Belgian universities, as well as Halin, were part of the executive committee. In total, historians and veterans from 16 countries, including Germany and Italy, Israel, and also non-European states, such as the US and Australia, took part in the conference. While representatives from the Soviet Union, Poland and Yugoslavia had accepted an invitation to participate, they didn’t attend the event. The main issues discussed by the panels were the resistance in Germany and Italy, the psychological war, the concentration camps and Jewish resistance, the Maquis and guerrillas, and the Allies in relation to the resistance movements.37


Participation at the second conference, which took place in 1961 in Milan, Italy, was broader. After Liege, a liaison committee for the organisation of international conferences was created, headed by the former Italian prime minister and founder of the National Institute for the History of the Liberation Movement in Italy, Ferruccio Parri.38 In Milan, representatives from the Eastern bloc and FIR participated in the organising committee, together with American, British, French, Italian, Dutch and Belgian scholars. In total, 21 countries were represented.39 The opening remarks and the conclusions of the conference were read by three historians: William Deakin, a professor at Oxford; Norman Kogan, a professor at the University of Connecticut; and Evgeni Boltin, a professor at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Moscow.40 On the other hand, despite the efforts to keep a balance, Cold War politics, in their rawest form, were not at all absent from the conference. The report by a CIA agent who followed the procedures concluded by pointing out that “one must remember that what the Communists were saying in Milan was just a sample of what they are spewing out in their official histories and papers and books. These are being translated in many languages and are being sent all over the world. They need to be countered. The West cannot leave the history of the war and the Resistance to the Communists. A true historical picture must be drawn, and it must get circulation behind the Iron Curtain and in the uncommitted nations of the world. From the standpoint of the Milan Conference, this is the unfinished business of the West.”41 In fact, that “business of the West” remained “unfinished”; the third relevant conference, organised by the same committee in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, two years later (1963), seemed to be dominated by the FIR, reflecting, up to a level, the gradual prevalence of the communists in the field.


However, at these conferences the concepts of representativity and scientific proficiency played an important role. These were considered as major factors for obtaining credibility and wider acceptance. This fact also represents a common ground with the events organised by the FIR: while studying the relevant procedures, a particular persistence on scientific objectivity and historical truth can be noticed. The presence and contribution of professional historians was deemed as precondition and necessity in that process, even if the subject concerned (maybe more than ever) a history of the present. Bearing in mind Hayden White’s working distinction between the practical and historical past, it can be argued that in this case the historical past comes as an agent of credibility to a process

which is elaborated in the service of “the present”, is related to this present in a practical way, and from which, therefore, we can draw lessons and apply them to the present, to anticipate the future (or at least the proximate future) and provide reasons, if not justifications, for actions to be taken in the present on behalf of a future better than the current dispensation.42


But of equal importance to the presence of professional historians was the necessity for actors in recent events to be part of that process. First, because they were present anyway, alive and active, and many of them were engaged in a new struggle: that for the preservation and promotion of the memory of the resistance. Second, because they represented a main primary source: a living archive for historians to work with. According to a report by the FIR’s history committee in 1961, “historians don’t have archives in order to write the history of the time, so they have to rely on oral memories or witness accounts”.43 On the other hand, André Puttemans, president of the Belgian Federation of History Teachers and general secretary of the International Committee for History Teaching, who headed the organising committees of both conferences, referred to the words of the late Lucien Febvre in his opening address: “Those who participated in the tragic struggle of 1940–44 don’t have just the right, but the obligation, the supreme duty, to transfer their truth to the others, and to offer their version of the facts, a version that includes living evidence and has been signed by thousands of sacrifices.”44


From that process – from the need for the recent past to become past – emerged issues that concerned the contemporary nature of history. Gérard Noiriel has argued that the Second World War was a turning point, an event that, along with the development and democratisation of the academy in the postwar years, boosted the formation of a new historical field that is now called contemporary history or histoire du temps présent (history of the present times), following the changes that had taken place after another fundamental international martial and political event, the First World War.45 According to Noiriel, this was related to the intense pressure on historians from public authorities and memory communities to contribute to a further understanding of the reasons for the barbarity that the world had faced and to the open issue of accountability. As the editorial of the first issue of the Journal of Contemporary History (1966) states:

The main arguments against the writing of contemporary history were, broadly speaking, that the source material was usually not available to provide the necessary information about events and trends in the very recent past. Moreover, it was argued that even if the facts were accessible and could be verified, the detachment required to deal with yesterday’s events in an objective and balanced way would be lacking. Human passions, predilections, and prejudices would be too closely involved when dealing with events that happened in our own time and had a direct impact on our lives. These are weighty arguments, but they do not invalidate contemporary history.46


Indeed, the publication of the Journal of Contemporary History in 1966 is evidential of this shift and the development of a community of historians dealing with yesterday’s past in the previous years. Examples can also be found in France, with the establishment of the Committee on Second World War History in 1951, which in 1979 was renamed the Historical Institute of Contemporary Conflict (IHCC), or in Germany with the establishment of the Institute of Contemporary History in 1949.


Moreover, beyond the developments in history and the involvement of professional historians in the interpretation of the recent past in this initial period, questions emerged on who had the right, the capability and the cognisance to narrate the resistance. In other words, who was the historian of the resistance? In this context, two main trends can be distinguished: those who were broadly recognised as resistance historians were, on the one hand, the professional historians, the academics, regardless of what their field of research was; on the other hand, there were the veterans (fighters, military officers, politicians or victims) who, after the war and the postwar failure of the resistance to translate into a comprehensive and prevalent political agenda, were engaged in a different project, mentioned above: the promotion of the history of the resistance to the next generation.47 Those “historians” of the time were not all eye-witnesses or generally actors in the struggle against Nazism and fascism; but some of them were committed to writing the history of the war beyond their personal experience, claiming to be engaged in a broad interpretation of the historical events, by writing books using historiographical tools of the time, founding institutes, participating in conferences and meetings, debating with historians and each other, representing the resistance in the national parliaments, and taking initiatives that formed the ground on which academic historical research took place, at the same time or in the years that followed.


Lastly, what kind of history was the history of the resistance produced in that initial period? By examining the conference procedures and works by the one or the other side, one could argue that the resistance had two faces. First, it was seen more as a condition than as an action; an environment of resistance that concerned almost everyone – the large majority of the occupied or/and displaced populations. In this context, a typology was formed in which everybody, except the Nazis and their active collaborators, had their place: civil resistance, passive resistance, moral or spiritual resistance, etc.48 Second, the resistance fighters, the ones who actually took up arms and fought against the invaders – including the organised national armies in the battlefields – were considered as just one part of that multifaced and multicoloured process. Even if there were different approaches to this pattern, related to political and ideological reasons, there was a common thread that connected the narratives. It involved at least three types of figure: The humble and heroic fighter, guerrilla or soldier; the common people who managed to stand and resist in any way possible; and, most importantly, the anonymous victim, the martyr, who gave his or her blood and to whom the supreme honour and duty in the present was dedicated.


To a large extent, finally, resistance history was a story of occupation, displacement and terror. A large part of almost all narratives was dedicated to extended descriptions of the forms of occupation (the economy, rule, terror) or the inhuman conditions in the concentration camps. Occupation and barbarity was becoming a common experience; lived or not, it was being re-lived in written, oral or visual representations. It seemed a moral obligation for any speech or text to refer to that experience, as it was for the residents of the areas around the concentration camps to visit them after the German defeat or the audience of Alain Resnais’ 1955 film Nuit et brouillard (Night and Fog) ten years later to watch the screen without turning their eyes away.49

The Greek resistance as past before, during and after the civil war


Shifting the focus to the Greek case, what matters is not only the study of the formation of the first historical narratives on the recent past, but also the ways in which the personal and collective experience became past and produced history. At this level we shall first focus on the agents, location and time of that process, regardless of the fact that, as many believe, the outcome of the civil war resulted in an “official” silence about the past: a forced silence that included the resistance period, which, for the state, was one of preparation for the communist attack: the first round; it was followed by a second round (the December events); and it culminated in the third round, the civil war, the most serious attempt ever made by the KKE to seize power. On the other hand, the KKE leadership under its general secretary, Nikos Zachariadis (who was imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp from 1941 to 1945), until 1956, in particular, ascribed a number of strategic mistakes to the resistance fighters and the previous leadership, thus deflecting the focus away from his own leadership and responsibility for the defeat in the civil war.50


The following mapping of what was produced regarding the history of the Greek 1940s (and also where and by whom) is based on four working hypotheses: first, the study of the historicisation of the Greek 1940s cannot be seen as an isolated, completely autonomous phenomenon. Even though it has its peculiarities that have to do with the civil war that followed liberation from the Axis, it was connected to the formation of the history of the Second World War and the resistance movements in Europe. Second, that process was not linear, neither was it restricted to the Greek left. It was an open and manifold process with different centres, communities, institutions and time regimes, which forms a unity based on the lived experience. Third, for one part of those who took active part in the events of the 1940s, their personal and collective engagement in the war was transformed into an engagement with the history of the war. That was a fact that determined both their own personal stance from that point, and the formation of Greek historical culture regarding the recent past of conflict.51 Last, even though the war as past and the historical perceptions around it were closely connected to and determined by politics, those perceptions were not necessarily identical to the political and social divisions that the 1940s caused in Greece.


From very early on, there were narratives on the events of the occupation period in Greece. The left, especially but not solely, took particular care in the way in which the period of occupation and resistance would be historicised. The archive of the Unified Panhellenic Youth Organisation (EPON), the youth organisation of the National Liberation Front (EAM), contains long manuscripts with information on the history of the activities of different units around Greece. Those documents are dated 1944 at the latest, or, sometimes, even earlier, and were destined for the purpose of writing the history of the national-liberation struggle, to use the most common term of the time. A series of initiatives in the same direction, such as the efforts to establish liberation day as an official national celebration, and the publication of a periodical dedicated to the resistance years,52 are indicative of this concern by the Greek left. Moreover, a number of relevant books came out in the years immediately after the liberation, such as ELAS (1946), written by its military commander Stefanos Sarafis,53 which was also one of the few Greek testimonies of that kind that was translated into English and published abroad (1951).54 Arguably, the outbreak of the civil war suspended that first stream.


However, in the 1940s, the imported term Αντίσταση (resistance) or Εθνική Αντίσταση (national resistance) was not commonly used in leftwing writings. On the contrary, it was quite common in the Greek liberal newspapers, such as Eleftheria, and in books by members of the non-communist resistance, such as National Resistance (1947) by Komninos Pyromaglou, the former political leader of the second major resistance group, National Republican Greek League (EDES).55 Also, the term appeared in legislation from 1946,56 as well as in initiatives, such as the first official historical exhibition on the war years that took place in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, also in 1946.57


Pyromaglou’s case of is one of the most eloquent examples of the witness-historian figure of the first postwar decades. A participant in the Asia Minor campaign in the 1920s and a member of the circle around Venizelist General Nikolaos Plastiras in the interwar years, Pyromaglou studied French literature in Paris. He actively opposed the Metaxas dictatorship (1936–1940) as member of anti-dictatorship groups and was exiled. Escaping to Marseille, he returned during the occupation to join EDES, serving as one of its political leaders. After the war, he taught French at the Panteion School and in 1958 he was elected MP on a Unified Democratic Left (EDA) ticket, serving until 1961. But Pyromaglou’s main characteristic in the postwar period was his systematic and constant engagement with the history of the Greek resistance. Beyond writing his two related books, National Resistance (1947) and The Trojan Horse (1956–58),58 he was one of the main representatives of a memory community that arose from the non-communist resistance and was officially recognised in 1949. The latter, which was not monolithic and in fact did not consider itself as a community, had access to the public sphere, formed veteran organisations and constantly intervened, mainly through the media, to represent the resistance in a period when the left was being persecuted.59


Pyromaglou, though, managed to move one step further than the rest: beyond his collaboration with the EDA and the organisation of the party’s resistance bureau, his participation in the Committee for the Restoration of National Resistance, and the publication of the first periodical dedicated to resistance, which took the title Ιστορικόν Αρχείον Εθνικής Αντιστάσεως [Historical Archive of National Resistance] (1958–62), he was one of the first Greeks to cross the border to take part in international forums in order to contribute to the integration of the Greek case into the historiography of the European resistance movements. His personal archive contains details of his involvement in international meetings, seminars, conferences and publications, as well as correspondence, such as the relevant letters in the early 1960s with University of California professor Peter Novick regarding his participation in a project, which, however, failed to materialise.60


A frequent discussant with Pyromaglou in those forums was the veteran of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Greece, the diplomat, politician and historian Christopher Montague Woodhouse, widely known in Greece as “Colonel Chris” and in Britain as “Monty”. Woodhouse belonged to another community of the time, based in Britain, which engaged itself with the history of the war from early on and had access to British universities, the political scene and the special services. British public discussion on the history of the war often referred to the Greek case, interacting simultaneously with the discussion in Greece.61 By the end of the 1950s, London houses had published more than 30 books written by SOE veterans, politicians and former war correspondents.62 Many of these made for big news in Greece, entering public debate through translations of extended extracts in the press, articles and reviews, and even full, Greek-language editions. Among the best-known publications was Greek Entanglement (1955), by the SOE’s first commander in Greece, Brigadier Eddie Myers, in 1955; and, earlier, Apple of Discord (1948), by SOE sub-commander and Myers’ successor from 1943, Woodhouse.63


In this context, it also worth mentioning the first study of the – later significant – American historian William Η. McNeill, The Greek Dilemma (1947).64 McNeill was a press attaché at the American embassy in Athens from late 1944 to 1946. In his book, he did not limit himself to his personal experiences, but attempted a historical narration from the Italian invasion in 1940 to the first postwar elections in 1946. A large part of the book was translated into Greek and serialised by the daily Eleftheria in the summer of 1947.


Moreover, some of the few academic studies on the field at that time were conducted overseas. Leften S. Stavrianos, a professor at Northwestern University, was one of the Greek Americans to be assigned by the State Department to analyse the events in Greece, a task that concluded in a number of articles and, finally, a book, Greece: American Dilemma and Opportunity (1952).65 Stavrianos, whose analysis was perceived as judgmental towards American (and British) policy in Greece in the 1940s and early 1950s, barely managed to publish his book; in fact, his work almost cost him his position at the university and it placed him in disfavour for around two decades.66


Another community comprised the defeated of the civil war who had been forced to leave Greece: the exiled communists in the eastern European peoples’ republics. Although, as has been mentioned, the left had always shown particular care for the preservation of the past, the Greek communists entered, systematically, into that process after the mid-1950s. In fact, the KKE’s history department was founded in 1959. Its relevant activities formed around three axes: a) the organisation of a large project of collecting testimony from veteran fighters and party members, as well as documentation and material from the period, for use in the creation of a “complete” chronicle of the national resistance and other publications; b) playing the role of an “editorial committee” by receiving, evaluating, editing and approving (or rejecting) all the texts under publication, from testimonies to chronicles, and from histories to novels and short stories; c) following the historical production on the war, especially in the Eastern bloc, and trying to coordinate the integration of the “Greek case” into it, either through establishing, for example, the entry on “Greek resistance” in the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia, or preparing the Greek representations at FIR conferences and meetings.67


Back in Greece, a fourth centre, which was closely connected to the Greek communists abroad, gathered around the Greek left, as it was expressed after the civil war by the EDA. This community was formed, or was activated as such, around the concept of national resistance, also in the second half of the 1950s. The party’s resistance bureau was formed in 1959, initially with the participation of Pyromaglou and leading officials such as the veteran military officer and EDA MP Gerasimos Avgeropoulos, who was often referred to as an historian. The activities of the office were, up to a point, similar to those of the KKE: the gathering of relevant data, giving opinions and evaluating manuscripts or published works, coordinating with exiled communists, etc. Its main goals were, however, different and concerned the integration of the left into the historical narrative of national resistance and, thus, the reformation of that narrative, which was still under construction. This was a two-way process, as it transformed, up to a level, both the public and the party’s view and discourse on the subject.68 Moreover, through publications, memorial ceremonies, campaigns, the foundation and coordination of veteran and victims’ unions and organisations,69 as well as through parliament, the EDA lobbied for the official recognition of the leftwing resistance and the lifting of the penal sanctions imposed during and after the civil war, wounds that remained open, not only as a traumatic past but also as the base of the oppressive postwar state and everyday life in Greece.70


The above-mentioned centres were the main bodies engaged in the history of the resistance, but they were not alone. Discourses on the 1940s could be found elsewhere. In Greece, apart from the anticommunist production of ideological and political essays informed by Cold War discourse and to the postwar ethnikofrosini state,71 the official historiographic perception of the events of the Second World War was, largely, expressed by the military publications of the Greek Army General Staff’s history bureau. The series entitled Ο Ελληνικός Στρατός κατά τον Β΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο [The Greek army in the Second World War] intended to cover the events from 1939 to the liberation of the last parts of Greek territory in the first months of 1945, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s it focused on the Greek-Italian War on the Albanian front in 1940, with the publication of four related volumes. The volumes dedicated to the activities of the Greek army on the Middle East front and the occupation period in Greece, even though they were included in the initial publishing plan, only came out many years later. On the other hand, works were also published abroad, especially in countries that were involved with the Greek case, or by Greek scholars such as the historian Nikos Svoronos, whose Histoire de la Grèce moderne, first published in Paris (1953), included a small part on contemporary Greece and the events of the Second World War.72 In Germany, for example, dozens of narratives were published in the postwar years, written by politicians and military officers. Beyond those, Greeks living in West Germany and Austria, such as Polychronis Enepekides73 and Vassos Mathiopoulos,74 published works based on German archives.


The ways in which these memory and history production centres were formed, developed and communicated with each other, as well as their practices and their products, are a core subject in a study such as the current one. In order to emphasise aspects of that multilayered process in the initial postwar decades, we will continue by briefly referring to two relevant examples.

The public debate over a Woodhouse lecture


On November 1957, Woodhouse, as an historian and general director of the British Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs (Chatham House), gave a lecture in Munich, at the invitation of the Institute of Contemporary History, under the title “Zur Geschichte der Resistance in Griechenland” (On the history of resistance in Greece). The lecture was published the following year in the institute’s journal, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (Contemporary history quarterly).75 Subsequently, a five-part Greek-language version of the article, translated by Mathiopoulos, was published in November 1958 in the daily Eleftheria. The newspaper, though it was close to the then-fragmented political centre, included angry headlines and subheadings like “Woodhouse distorts historical truth: A purulent lecture in Munich” and “Systematic anti-Hellenic propaganda”. By the end of the year, Eleftheria had published six additional pieces responding to Woodhouse, and the debate had spread to other Greek newspapers.76 Most of the responses to the piece came from veteran officers and members of guerrilla groups who had entered politics and written books about the history of the resistance movement and their experience during the Axis occupation, such as Pyromaglou, Stylianos Houtas, Georgios Petrakogiorgis, Christos Zalokostas and others. Woodhouse responded to the criticisms in an interview with BBC Radio (25 November 1958) and in a second interview with Eleftheria some months later (17 May 1959).


The lecture began by considering British historical production on the guerrilla movements against the Axis in Greece and throughout Europe. Woodhouse favoured re-evaluating this part of the history, with the intention of seeing its “true” dimensions within the war’s larger contexts, and arguing that it had been either overstated or ignored. This would require professional historians to retake the field from the amateurs. They had been absent, in his view, because of the proximity in time and the internal controversies within the British state apparatus. The latter had made it difficult to access a wide range of diplomatic documents and other archives of the period. Woodhouse then cited some data for the study of the Greek case with regard to the main resistance groups, the most important military achievements and the internal conflicts in the Greek resistance. Within this framework, he paid special attention to the deliberations and role of the SOE. Contrary to his initial protestations, his manner of narrating this history had a markedly personal tone; beyond a few abstract references to British diplomatic archives, he barely referred to any sources in justifying his arguments.


One of Woodhouse’s main conclusions was that the contribution of the Greek resistance to the military struggle against the Nazis was very small, a “little more than a pustule”; that was the phrase that generated the most outrage.77 Woodhouse argued, however, that the resistance was politically important in forming the postwar situation in Greece, and that this had been underestimated. British activity in Greece during the war, as well as the military intervention in Athens starting in 1944, was crucial, in his view, to blocking the communists from taking power, thus allowing Greece to remain in the “free world”, with all that this entailed for the next phase of European history.


By studying the debate, one can draw useful conclusions that can help us appraise the historicisation of the 1940s as an open historical and political process of the time. In fact, in giving that lecture Woodhouse was participating in a broader discussion that was taking place in Britain at the time regarding the British strategy during the war and its effects on the present. As Richard Clogg has pointed out, “few wartime organisations in Britain can have subsequently been the target of such abuse as the Special Operations Executive”.78 Woodhouse, as an advocate of the strategy of supporting guerrilla movements while also seeking to control them, was defending the tactic against military and political analysts, such as the historian Basil Liddell Hart, who argued that the approach had ultimately damaged the British empire by fostering the rise of anticolonial movements. The SOE’s activity as part of the British strategy during the war was criticised both as strategically ineffective and as amoral, giving the new generations false messages and impelling them “to defy authority and break the rules of civic morality”.79


Woodhouse named several examples in his lecture, such as Malaysia, Kenya and, most importantly, Cyprus, stretching the differences between the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) and the Greek wartime resistance. The Cyprus issue was also central to the responses. Regardless the different approaches taken by the critics of Woodhouse’s lecture, all those who responded seemed to be united in their common opposition to British policy in Cyprus. Indeed, all related the lecture to the Cypriot situation. Moreover, the responses to Woodhouse also allow us to observe the formation of a new national resistance genealogy: the Cypriot fighters appeared as successors to the fighters of the anti-Axis struggle, and the tradition of resistance was seen to stretch back all the way to the Greek revolutionaries of 1821.


The second issue, which was central to the debate, is related to the status of historians and witnesses, and the key concept of historical truth: who had the right to talk about the history of the war? For Woodhouse, this was the monopoly of professional “historians and serious scholars”, among which he included himself, even though, as he pointed out, he knew very well “that it is really difficult for anyone who has taken part in the historical events to judge with the same objectivity as a historian would judge”.80 Woodhouse’s respondents disagreed. His critics did not recognise him as an historian, because he was involved with politics and used history as a means to promote his country’s interests. His reliability as a witness was also questioned: first, because he himself had, implicitly, disclaimed it. Second, some of the responses questioned his reliability as a witness by doubting his bravery in battle. A “cowardly fighter” couldn’t be a credible witness.81 Thus, historical truth existed in the bravery of heroes and the blood of martyrs. History “has been written by the blood of the Greek fighters and sealed by the emptiness of the destroyed villages”, and not by types like Woodhouse, “with his alchemical numbers and his unacceptable claims”, as one article in Eleftheria claimed.82


The responses to Woodhouse invoked a repeating motif of the blood of the dead, still crying for justice. In this context, history appeared as debt, a moral duty to the dead. The demand that the resistance receive recognition was addressed in two ways. The history of the resistance sought its place in Greek national history, on the one hand, and in the history of the Second World War, on the other. Recognition, as a part of the letters in response to Woodhouse point out, would be an inevitable act of justice, redemption and, even, liberation. In this case, agency was vested in the veterans of the partisan struggle, a varicoloured memory community whose members now belonged to different parts of the political centre and had participated in the non-communist part of the resistance – remaining clean, in a way, from the stigma of the civil war, but maintaining a strong identity as members of the resistance and a commitment to its history.83

The ‘book of books’ and the antagonism of the press towards the first chronicle of the resistance


The publication of Στ’ Άρματα! Στ’ Άρματα! [To arms! To arms!], in the early 1960s, was one of the first collective attempts to create of a complete chronicle of the Greek resistance; a significant moment within a wider process, that of the formation by the Greek left of a coherent historiography of the recent past. Moreover, the project was also a means to call for the rehabilitation and official recognition of the leftwing resistance, as well as a number of demands towards the state, such as the release of political prisoners and exiles, and the legalisation of the KKE, wounds that remained open after the defeat in the civil war.


After considerable editing by different groups in Bucharest, where the KKE was based, and in Athens, by the EDA’s history bureau, the chronicle was published three times. It was serialised in the leftwing newspaper Avgi, under the title Στ’ Άρματα! Στ’ Άρματα! Το πρώτο ολοκληρωμένο χρονικό της Εθνικής Αντίστασης [To arms! To arms! The first complete chronicle of the national resistance] in 133 instalments, from July 1963 until January 1964. Then it was issued as a four-volume edition entitled Το Χρονικό του Αγώνα: Στ’ Άρματα! Στ’ Άρματα! Ιστορία της Εθνικής Αντίστασης [The chronicle of the struggle: To arms! To arms! History of the national resistance] (1964).84 Last, in 1967, it was published in Bucharest by Political and Literary Publications (PLE), the KKE publishing house, in a volume of 617 pages.


The case of the chronicle reflects a long-lasting process in the ranks of the Greek left; a process related to the ways in which the left, inside and outside Greece’s borders, tried to come to terms with its past, but also to the relationship, the communication codes, the different approaches and the balances between these two closely connected poles. Furthermore, it is a process through which we can examine the ways and the practices of history at the time, at least in regard to an engaged historiography, in its different shades and tensions: the reception and circulation of the project, the public (and private) discussion around it, as well as the very practice of chronicling and publishing in the daily press.


The chronicle was presented for the first time on 21 July 1963, written, according to Avgi, by a team of contributors and supervised by Avgeropoulos. In the content of that first publication, which formed the basis for those that followed, there was an obvious effort to establish the leftwing EAM and its armed wing, the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), as the main (if not the only) resistance force, and, at the same time, as the only agent of national unity, in a teleological scheme where national unity – from the very beginning to the end – was constantly and deliberately undermined by foreign “allies” (especially the British) and the national oligarchy. That first publication was, also, accompanied by a few dozen readers’ letters (33 in total), congratulating the initiative and providing additional data regarding events, names and places, but also correcting mistakes and criticising aspects of the chronicle. One of the criticisms came from Mitsos Dimitriou (Nikoforos), a veteran ELAS fighter and writer, who pointed out that

the newspaper has made a mistake. The subtitle of the piece (“complete chronicle of our national resistance”) is exaggerated. We should have known that it would be exaggerated. And that put the publication on a bad path. Now – in my opinion – it seems that the newspaper should have added an introduction: that we begin with this publication, that we tried to make it as complete as possible, but, in any case, we are aware that only with the cooperation of the thousands of fighters and of the readers can it be completed.85


Indeed, Avgi’s chronicle was neither “complete” nor was it the “first” such effort. Some years before, from July 1960 to February 1962, the daily Anexartitos Typos, a newspaper close to the small Greek democratic socialist political space, had presented a series entitled Η αληθινή ιστορία του ανταρτοπολέμου [The real history of the guerrilla war], written by an anonymous group of authors. The series was followed by an edition entitled Ιστορία της Εθνικής Αντιστάσεως, 1941–1944 [History of the national resistance, 1941–1944] (1962).86 The book was prefaced by Avgeropoulos and Pyromaglou; as the latter mentioned, it was an opportunity to highlight once more that

the state deliberatively neglects to form a wide, unprejudiced and representative experts’ committee in order to collect, classify and sort the historical material of the occupation period, and thus enable the study and writing of history … Thus, this deliberative absence is substituted, at the level that this is possible, by the historical writings that appear as a column in the pages of the one or the other newspaper, or as a chronicle by one author or another, even if the column or the chronicle supports the one or the other position, for one reason or another.87


Apart from the previous effort, six weeks before the first publication of Avgi’s chronicle, the daily Eleftheria started a series as well, named Το Αντάρτικο. Η πρώτη πλήρης και αντικειμενική εξιστόρησις των πολεμικών γεγονότων της Κατοχής [The guerrilla war: the first complete and objective narration of the military events during the occupation]; the latter was also compiled by an anonymous group of authors and, according to the newspaper, was “based on original documents – Greek, English, Italian, German”. In the introduction, entitled Debt, the editors argued that “all National Resistance fighters – from all the groups, armed or unarmed – made their ultimate duty, with self-sacrifice … Neither the suffering that followed the liberation, nor even the resistance’s black blots can stain and erase it, as it is in danger to be erased … Today, after the passing of 20 years, with cross-checked data from sources ‘from both sides of the fence’ … an effort for a dispassionate and objective narration of the events of a time of heroism and elation is possible; without fear, without passion, without exaggerations, but also without misrepresentations; with one sole interest, the truth.”88 The Αντάρτικο was a long series, comprising 296 instalments that ran until 24 May 1964. The publication was also accompanied by a number of readers’ letters, as in the case of Avgi’s chronicle. Likewise, it did not avoid criticism. According to the epilogue, the editors tried “to be objective, as humanly possible, without any preoccupation for any national freedom fighter”. All the criticisms from “fanatics on both sides” managed to achieve was that the authors remained on the right track.89


Meanwhile, the first edition of Στ’ Άρματα! Στ’ Άρματα! was published, in 48 weekly issues, which resulted to a four-volume edition of 1,666 pages. Apart from the chronicle’s main body, edited and expanded with additional data that the authors had received since its first publication, the edition included quotes from politicians, artists, and personalities covering the entire political spectrum from Greece and abroad, rich illustrations, a poetry collection, lists of people executed by the Axis, official reports, etc. The last part, which amounted to more than 250 pages, was dedicated to the resistance in different European countries, and included an extended report by the FIR about the Greek resistance. The editions’ inclusiveness and richness is evident of its ambition to become a reference book, the magnum opus regarding the history of the resistance. According to the related advertisement in the press, it was “the book of books”, the “legacy that the generation that lived the Occupation and created the epos of national resistance had left to the Nation”.


That first edition remained on the bookshop shelves for less than three years, as the military coup of April 1967 forced the publishers to suspend the title. However, in the same year, a second edition of the chronicle was published abroad, among the Greek refugee communities in the Eastern bloc. The book included only the main body of the chronicle and a long introduction by a KKE politburo member, Zisis Zografos, consisting of a communist rulebook for the party’s recent history.90

1960s adventures: meetings, trials, travels and writings


The snapshots above offer a small glance into the formation process, practices, means, and products of those different but interconnected poles in the two decades after the war; a lot more, though, would be needed for the creation of a representative album. In the 1960s that process grew and intensified; the changing Greek political environment was one of the reasons. After more than a decade of administration by rightwing governments – represented for eight years by Konstantinos Karamanlis’ National Radical Union (ERE) – and the royal court – the liberal Centre Union (EK) came to power in 1963 and Georgios Papandreou became prime minister. Karamanlis had combined his vision of Greece’s Europeanisation with oppressive police rule, the employment of autocratic methods and a tolerance for the powerful parakratos (shadow state) that ended up in the 1961 elections of “violence and fraud”, and the murder of leftwing MP Grigoris Lambrakis in May 1963 in Thessaloniki. According to one foreign analyst of the time, Karamanlis’ use of “unfair electoral practices” and the “exaggerated bogey of communism as a pretext for intimidation” were among the main reasons for the right’s downfall.91


Papandreou, on the other hand, who during the Centre Union’s 1961 election campaign introduced the “relentless struggle” discourse, managed to approach leftwing voters, and finally win two back-to-back elections in 1963 and 1964. He formed a government that lasted until the palace coup of 1965, which was followed by a period of political and social turbulence that resulted in the establishment of a military dictatorship two years later. In that context, the Centre Union raised issues of the recent past, such as resistance and collaboration during the occupation, claiming a part of the legacy of the former and accusing the right of the latter. During his administration, Papandreou tried to fulfil his pre-electoral promises. Among others, he moved forward with the release of a large number of communist political prisoners.


Moreover, there was an effort to establish two important anniversaries as official national days: these were the Gorgopotamos operation (25 November 1942) and the liberation of Athens (12 October 1944).92 The blowing up of the Gorgopotamos bridge represented a rare moment of unity during the occupation, as it was conducted by both major resistance groups, ELAS and EDES, under the SOE’s command. In 1964, the anniversary of the mission was commemorated under the government’s aegis for the first time. Thousands of people took part, but the detonation of an old landmine converted the celebration into a tragedy, leaving a dozen dead and more than 50 injured, sparking a riot by those present and many arrests. The incident, a bitter reawakening of wartime memories, was officially characterised as an accident, but the left perceived it as a CIA provocation.93 In the trial that followed the riots, among those convicted were Avgeropoulos and General Nikolaos Kosindas, an EDES veteran.


The trials were not the first related to the recent past to grab the public’s attention. From 1957 to 1960, the prosecution of Max Merten, an official of the Nazi occupation force, frequently made the front pages of the newspapers and developed into a major political and international issue.94 Moreover, from December 1958, the arrest, trial and conviction for spying of Manolis Glezos, Avgi’s chief editor, triggered a large national and international solidarity campaign. Glezos, who, along with Lakis Santas, had delivered the “first act of resistance” by tearing down the Nazi German flag from the Acropolis on 30 May 1941, was named as “Europe’s first partisan” (a phrase that had been ascribed to Charles de Gaulle) and became an international leftwing public figure in the 1960s.


One part of the campaign for Glezos’ release came from the FIR. The EDA, along with a number of Greek veterans and victims’ associations, started participating systematically in the FIR’s activities from the late 1950s. That was not always a simple task. On the one hand, organising trips abroad to participate in meetings, conferences and exhibitions was frustrated by the state apparatus using a series of bureaucratic obstacles; on the other, the EDA, which was perceived by many friends and enemies as the KKE’s locum tenens in Greece, could not always make and deliver its own decisions. A brief example: the Greek representation at the FIR’s third Conference of Historians of the European Resistance (Prague, 1963) consisted of one official from the exiled KKE (Giorgos Zoidis) and two EDA MPs (Vasilis Efremidis and Yiannis Skouriotis). After an adventurous trip, during which they encountered problems regarding their travel documents, the translation and copies of speeches, and so on, all three brought back reports as well as a large part of the conference’s procedures. By examining this material, one can trace, first, one of the ways in which the directions of that international process affected the relevant Greek case; the Greek participants were obliged to write papers based on the three main themes of the conference: the political system during the occupation, the economy and Nazi terrorism. Second, the communication codes between the two centres and their problems: the three participants had taken to Prague two different papers for each subject (three from Athens and three from the Eastern bloc) and they had to decide which ones would be read at the conference.95 Moreover, there is evidence about who was recognised as an historian at the time: according to their report, the EDA representatives believed that they were not capable of participating in a “scientific conference”; on the contrary, according to them, the party should had sent “historians such as Dimitris Fotiadis”96 or Pyromaglou. Finally, due to the organisers’ intention to preserve the “scientific character” of the conference, the Greek demand for the inclusion of a phrase, in the final collective statement of the conference, recognising the resistance in Greece was rejected, despite the negotiations of the Greek with the Soviet representation and the organisers.


A closer look at events such as the previous one is necessary for the examination of the narratives that were formed at the time, as well as the repertoire of practices and the material aspect that they contain. With regard to meetings and conferences, this does not only concern leftwing activities. Among others, there was “Greek” participation in the previously mentioned international conferences of the European resistance movements; there were also related events such as the conference “Britain and the European resistance, 1939–45” that took place in St Antony’s College, Oxford, in 1962 with the participation of Woodhouse, Pyromaglou and others.97 Furthermore, a Greek delegation attended the conference “Greece since the Second World War”, organised on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Truman doctrine at the University of Wisconsin in 1968; besides, its proceedings were published in Greece by the English-language journal Balkan Studies, an edition of the Balkan Peninsula Foundation (Institute for Balkan Studies), founded in Thessaloniki (1953) as a branch of the conservative Society for Macedonian Studies.98


On the other hand, it is always important to return to what was being written: in the 1960s a production of memoirs, narrations, chronicles and histories continued and grew. On the one hand, a number of leftwing testimonies, chronicles and local histories appeared.99 On the other, there were memoirs and histories written either by former EAM-ELAS members who were no longer part of the communist movement, or members of other groups.100 One of the most important editions of the time was the memoir of the rightwing intellectual and politician Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, who during the occupation was a member of the cabinet of the Greek government in exile and played a crucial role in the developments of the time. Kanellopoulos was Karamanlis’ successor as ERE party leader and, thus, head of the opposition, when his book Τα χρόνια του μεγάλου πολέμου, 1939-1944 (The years of the great war, 1939–1944) came out.101 According to the relevant advertisement, the book contained “pages of cold history and extended descriptions of the events, as well as pages of fascinating lyricism and emotional narrations of our people’s sacrifices, misfortunes, victories and triumphs”.102 The book consisted of two parts: the first was his thoughts around ten events in which he took part and his initiatives during the occupation. The second included a collection of his articles and correspondence from the period. The two great victories of the Greek nation that determined European history were, according to Kanellopoulos, 28 October 1940 and the victory in the civil war, but not particularly the resistance, as “this phenomenon appeared also elsewhere in the European countries. In any case, this phenomenon – although it was morally great – did not have any direct effect on the development of the world events, like the effect that our five-month victorious resistance in Albania or the victory of 1949 had.”103


Kanellopoulos’ memoir concluded with a didactic epilogue under the title “Thoughts on history”, addressed to the “Greek youth”. Indeed, what is missing, among many others,104 from this conclusion is the exploration of a new social subject from the mid-1960s; that of the Greek youth: the first generation, in other words, for whom the 1940s were little more than a childhood memory and who bore no responsibility for its outcome but grew up with its consequences. The formation of that generation’s historical perception is related to those consequences, as well as to the “substructure” described above, and to the environment, developments, social demands and new conditions of their time; facts that give to that youth, along with the age factor, a distinctive and autonomous historical subjectivity. A part of this generation that had studied history mainly abroad (mostly in the United States, Britain and France) would attempt and achieve to make the study of the 1940s a field of professional historical research, during and mostly after the military dictatorship.


What we have attempted to do through the presentation of these cases above is to explore and map the different practices and products by which the first historical narratives on resistance were formed. Many elements pitted these interpretations against each other. But in those contested and even conflicting histories, there are common threads, such as the notion of patriotism and the concept of foreign intervention, and the integration of the recent past into the national narrative of the continuity of Greek history.105 Moreover, the historisation of the war created a new type of hero, a character described eloquently by the Marxist philosopher Yiannis Imvriotis, in an article entitled “The man of resistance”:

The man of resistance is not an abstract concept, but a specific palpable figure, full with warmness. It revives each time inside different human beings, but goes beyond this narrow framework, spreads, gets a much broader meaning and becomes a universal archetype. This archetype has been revealed even to inexperienced people, men and women, elderly and children, who gain our immense admiration and respect. Here he comes, armed, battling face-to-face with the enemy, waving the flag and calling everyone to follow him in the struggle, in blood. But there isn’t just him. There’s the fighter who suffers but doesn’t betray; there’s the young girl, confronting the enemy tanks; or the teenager, tearing down and trampling on the swastika. There’s the astonishing hero who prefers death over putting another victim in his place … The women who dance in the yard of Pavlos Melas prison in Thessaloniki, before the firing squad, singing and saying goodbye to the others, and to all the people of today and tomorrow, confirming with their death, that under the boot of the conqueror and on the wasteland, countless flowers grow on the crown of liberty. Our friends who return from Golgotha, pushed into the chamber, lying on their beds exhausted from the torture … There’s the old lady, who, together with other women, gets in line and walks towards death, and who, while passing in front of us, with a voice so loud and brave and an erect and stable body, says goodbye to us … Against the shine in the eyes of the beast, against the unhistorical and evil power, there’s the man of resistance. He isn’t one of Carlyle’s heroes, who falls from the sky, ready, like the gift from God. Instead, this hero is very human, he gains and grows, sculpts and educates his essence through the everyday fire of devastation, every hour and every moment. He gives himself to the fight completely voluntarily. Yet, he is deeply “engaged”, he serves a high ideal and he is completely determined by it. His offer is his deep determination, but yet it is completely personal. The high ideal impregnates him and becomes his very life and breath. He fights as a free man and as a free man he suffers. He is a “Free Militant”, a “Free Besieged”.106


That type of hero included the fighter, the victim and the martyr, but also the common people and Greek society that experienced the hardship of the war. Last, these first narratives on the struggles in the 1940s sought vindication, constantly claiming and expecting their recognition in many ways: ethical and practical, national and international. In this context, history appears as debt, a moral duty to the dead.107 In order to have a better understanding of those elements that formed more an integrative than a divisive narrative, one should examine them not as a Greek peculiarity but part of the broader framework of history and memory of the Second World War; by thinking about the ways in which the personal and collective engagement in the war of people who played a decisive role in its results and consequences was transformed into an engagement in a struggle for identity, justice, legitimacy and hegemony, through history and the major concept of historical truth.

The civil war as past during and after resistance history: first cut


To return to the current debate on the history of the 1940s, it would be useful to examine the criticism that was (and is) made by the two authors who lead and mainly represent the “new wave”. The ten axes that they highlighted in the article that kicked off the “dialogue” were positions that, as has been mentioned, no historian or social scientist could easily disagree with. They described the need for historical studies to be discharged and detached from a highly ideological discourse, to avoid the heroisation or demonisation of the event’s actors, to overcome simplified Manichaean interpretations, to highlight the multiplicity of the issues concerning the civil war and its integration into broader theoretical and comparative frameworks. Moreover, they argued for the need of research to emphasise local history studies and to explore “taboo issues” such as the leftist violence in relation to the phenomenon of collaboration.108 Those lines were accompanied by an expansion of the time limits of the civil war – the beginning of which was placed in 1943, during the occupation – and observations such as one claiming that some personalities of the time, like ELAS’ communist commander-in-chief Aris Velouchiotis, were heroised in the existing bibliography.109 Most importantly, at the forefront of the initiative was a recently published case study by Kalyvas entitled “Red Terror: Leftist Violence during the Occupation”.110 In general, the fact that those positions were delivered within a specific historiographic reality in Greece made it obvious from the very beginning – and it was openly stated later – that the criticism was being directed at the historians and historiography that had developed in Greece during the Metapolitefsi.111 That historiography was criticised as highly ideologically and politically engaged with the left, and as subjective and unilateral.112


The professional historical research that, thus, was gradually developed on the Greek 1940s from the mid-1970s was, certainly, a product of its time. As Antonis Liakos has pointed out,

in academic historiography the incorporation of this period sprang principally from the generation of the 1970s, and chiefly from those who had hammered out doctorates in European and American universities during the period of the dictatorship. Most studies dealt with the political conflict between the left and the right, and the role of the English and Americans, supported by the relevant archives. It was a political historiography which broke the ice which had been constructed during the period of the Cold War, and from this viewpoint it was documented in the more general, international revisionist climate of the end of the Cold War. Around the historiography of this period was created a community of historians, with the participation of historians from Greece and abroad, which, even if they did not form a school, nevertheless created a historiographical forum with close communication and lively debate.113


That ice-breaking process was also not linear. Apart from the Cold War factor, it was related to various developments of the time – from the apperceptions of that generation, the junta and the antidictatorial struggle, the split in the KKE (1968) and regime change in Greece (1974), to the substrate that the production of the previous decades had created, and to the democratisation of the academy, the developments and the new trends in historical studies, as well as the opening of relevant archives and institutions in Europe.114 However, it cannot be seen as a smooth process; it was marked by intense debates and setbacks, and it resulted in various and even contested findings and interpretations. In fact, the only consensus that existed had to do with overcoming the dominant state and institutional postwar anticommunist discourse, and the opening of a discussion that would produce “scientific” and “well-documented” studies on the field.


The discussion, in fact, opened with two international conferences that were organised by the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) and the Society for Greek Studies (ELEMEP) in Washington and London, both in 1978. Looking at the participants, one could say that the past first encountered the future at those conferences. The past was represented by those who had taken part in the events and had written about them, such as Woodhouse, Nicholas Hammond, Andreas Kedros, Elizabeth Barker, Thanasis Hantzis and Myers; the present by already established historians in French, British and US universities, such as Nikos Svoronos, John Iatrides and John Petropoulos; and the future by a new generation of historians and social scientists on modern Greece, such as Richard Clogg, Nikos Alivizatos, George Mavrogordatos, Constantine Tsoukalas and Kostas Vergopoulos, as well as young scholars – the first academically specialised in the field – such as Hagen Fleischer, Prokopis Papastratis, Heinz Richter, John Hondros and Lars Baerentzen. Those conferences focused mainly on the political and diplomatic decisions, the “mistakes” and the relations between the Allies and the resistance movement.115


Although the conference in Washington had addressed issues related to the civil war, the events after 1946 were absent from the title and the programme of the first conference on the 1940s that was held in Greece in 1984, ten years after the regime change and two years after the official recognition of the leftwing resistance. On the contrary, the time period was extended backwards to include the 1936-1940 dictatorship (“Greece, 1936-44: Dictatorship–Occupation–Resistance”, Athens, 1984). Held in the National Hellenic Research Foundation; it was a large international conference with state support, many themes and participations from all over Europe.116


In the same year (1984), the first conference dedicated to the civil war took place, in a particularly neutral place, Denmark, under the title “Conference on the Greek Civil War, 1945–1949”, organised by the newly established Department of Modern Greek and Balkan Studies at the University of Copenhagen.117 The fact that one of the most traumatic events in Greece’s contemporary history overcame repulsion and inhibition and took its place, finally, on the “operating table of historical analysis” was indeed a significant moment and it was perceived as such, too. Papastratis describes the atmosphere there:

At the conference [in Athens], the issue for a conference on the civil war was discussed. And it took place in the same year in Copenhagen. In fact, our Danish friends, as they are methodical and orderly, didn’t hold it inside the city but in a conference centre outside Copenhagen that was quite far away and you could only reach it by bus. So you were obliged to be all the time there and not to get distracted … we were at a conference – the weather was very cold also – where we slept, ate, discussed, and fought … entering, at last, the civil war.118


Three years later another meeting was organised, again in Copenhagen with more narrow participation, and the intention – declared in the volume that followed – was to “introduce to the non-specialist the results of the research on the Greek civil war”.119 But Greece had to wait for one more decade in order to see a conference that would include the civil war in its title: it took place in Athens in 1995 (“Greece, 1936–1949. Dictatorship–Occupation–Civil War: Continuities and Ruptures”). Its programme shows the development of the field in that period; moreover, in its proceedings, published in 2003, one can find the first comprehensive overviews on the historiography of the 1940s and its institutional construction, in Fleischer’s prologue and Liakos’ introduction.120


On the other hand, the relevant book production in Greece until the 1990s was not determined by the developments in academic historiography. Apart from a book by Richter (1975),121 the procedures of the 1978 conferences, which were published in Greece in the first half of the 1980s, Fleischer’s ground-breaking study Crown and Swastika (1988),122 and the procedures of the conference in Athens that came out in 1989, edited by Svoronos and Fleischer, the academic book production remained rather poor. In fact, there were studies, written and published abroad that never came out in Greece123 or were only published decades later.


On the contrary, the same period showed that there was a memory boom, partly reflected in the publication of testimonies and nonacademic histories. Part of this boom came from the past, as books that had been published in earlier decades abroad came out in Greece in the initial period following the regime change.124 But the larger part came from the left and had its roots in the split and, later, the legalisation of the KKE as well as in the change of the atmosphere towards the left in Greece.125 The initial testimonies were oriented towards the resistance, while the usually brief references to the civil war were made in the context of accounts about their lives. The motive was to claim a discourse on “what had really happened” in the 1940s and, at the same time, to ascribe responsibility for the defeat of the communist movement in Greece. The authors were usually leftist cadres and their books are a combination of memoir and historical essay. The choice to elevate the resistance and not the civil war in the collective memory reflected the recognition of the left as a patriotic force and, also, the rejection of the use of armed violence for the seizure of power and the acceptance of legality and the parliamentary system.


As it is believed, the 1990s was a decade of further development, deepening and broadening of the academic field but also of the related memory production. The dynamic entrance of the civil war showed, at least for the moment, that the period had eventually “passed to history” and that, after such a long time, people could more openly speak and write about it. However, even though some aspects of the 1990s – as well as of the years that followed – have been mentioned, it remains too close to us and, thus, a highly unmapped time in terms of history. Beyond the memory accounts, which are a subject that also require further and deeper study, it would be useful to highlight four major developments regarding historiography and public history of the time.


First, a publishing boom (which continued and peaked in the 2000s) was evident, especially in the academic field, as was a turn to the social history of the period; or better, there was an important addition of the “society” and the “social”, as well as interdisciplinarity, to the political and diplomatic focus of the previous period. The books of Giorgos Margaritis (1993), Mark Mazower (1993, 1994), and Riki Van Boeschoten (1997) are considered the main examples of that production.126 Although published abroad, Janet Hart’s study on women and the Greek resistance (1996) could be added, at this level, as well as Polymeris Voglis’ research on the experience of political prisoners of the civil war, some years later (2002, 2004). Both attempted to approach the emergence of new social subjects during the war and its consequences.127


Second, beyond the entrance of the civil war to the field, there was another addition: that of the study of the case of the Greek Jews. The silence on this issue was broken with the establishment of the Society for the Study of the Greek Jews and its first conference, held in Thessaloniki in 1991.128 The first relevant studies came from scholars, some of whom were of Jewish origin, who turned to the history of the Greek Jews and wrote books, as a secondary subject of their research interests, before the field was established and connected it to the international research as a main trend of Second World War historiography.129


Third, the establishment of new institutions and the opening of archives that were classified or had belonged to private collections was also significant.130 The Contemporary Social History Archives (1991), the Society for the Preservation of Historical Archives, 1940–1974 (1992), or even the Archive of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (1990) and others, as well as the research institutes of the Greek political parties, and new historical journals that joined the existing ones from the 1980s, formed an environment where scholars could research, write and publish in Greece more easily than before. Moreover, the formation of new networks of historians in the 2000s helped young researchers to overpass existing hierarchies in the academy, create new communities and get publicity for their work. Such groups included the Network for the Study of the Civil War (2000), which later was partly connected to the “new wave”, the Group for the Study of History and Society (2006) and the Social History Forum.


Fourth, there is much to be studied regarding history in the public sphere of the time. How has, for example, the escalation of the public discourse around the German war reparations from the late 1990s affected the way people think about the Second World War, especially after this subject was linked to the Greek debt and the policies of the current German government towards Greece after the crisis emerged? In what ways and to what extent did the gradual homogenisation of political life in the first three decades of the third Greek republic form a consensus on the view the Greek 1940s? And, did this collapse along with the balances and political stability after the crisis erupted? Last, we should examine the role of the media, old and new: the press was, once again, the field where a large part of the discussion took place. It was, also, a main agent of the described process, as the mainstream press groups engaged, in the 1990s and 2000s, in a number of publishing projects, much of which concerned history, and particularly the history of the 1940s.

Conclusion: a 21st-century debate?


Even though the “dialogue on history” was seen as an “historians’ debate”, in fact historians were just one part of those who participated in it, both in the Ta Nea series and in the numerous articles, comments and replies in the press or online. Despite the fact that the initiative came from two political scientists, in Ta Nea and the other relevant material one can find historians, sociologists, anthropologists, journalists, architects, novelists, artists and life witnesses – the latter fewer, naturally, compared to previous discussions. This diverse combination matters, not only to confirm what we already know: that history is not just the business of historians. Through that body of participants one can observe the different approaches between “experts” and “amateurs”, on the one hand, as well as the communication codes between various disciplines, on the other; the latter phenomenon highlights the difficulty of interdisciplinary attempts, which are nevertheless necessary for a deeper understanding of an historical period.


The main issues of contention were closely connected to each other: leftwing violence during the occupation, the phenomenon of δωσιλογισμός (collaboration), its extent and its armed units (Security Battalions), the local aspects and the aggregate evaluation of the period, and the starting point of the civil war. Indeed, those subjects are crucial; in some cases, their study has offered ground-breaking results, as, for example, the issue of violence has been explored in its multifaced aspects in fruitful and interdisciplinary ways.131 However, a large part of the public discussion was monopolised by a well-known and not entirely new question: who was to blame for the civil war? The field may have indeed evolved and developed through the previous 40 years, but blameology and mistakeology remain powerful, both in academic and public history.


Moreover, in the contested contributions there was a constant invocation to science, the scientificity of historiographical practice, and the methodologies that lead to objective findings and pure knowledge. One part of the argument of both sides was based on the above, as well as on more inside professional and academic qualitative judgments, regarding the value of each scholar, their work and their place in the academic community inside and outside national borders. What can become evident from such an approach is the ways in which academics – at least in the humanities – draw prestige and credibility for themselves and their work: from the kinds and the use of documents to the number of publications and their international impact. Also, elements of how the public views the professional historian, the “expert”, can be traced to this period. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, those elements are related to a wider discussion on the historical profession, the academy and the perception of it. Closely connected with the previous point is the discussion on the relationship between politics, ideology and ethics with history, its practices and, finally, the role of historians today.132 This is certainly a contemporary discussion; but, as this article has tried to highlight, it also concerns a problematic that passes through the historiography on the 1940s: in the early postwar decades the relevant questions concerned the role of witness-historians or the moral witnesses,133 as well as the métier of historians and their multiple identities at the time. As Roderick Beaton has pointed out regarding members of the British School at Athens, the intervening period of almost a century since the First World War

has seen a vast increase in professionalisation, as well as specialisation. But there is no reason, today, why archaeologists and anthropologists and folklorists and linguists, architects, Byzantinists, Ottomanists, and even – why not? – spies, should not talk to one another as they did in the Finlay Library a hundred years ago, even if no one now would expect to find so many of these scholarly identities combined in one and the same person.134


Indeed, no one would expect today’s historians to combine the multiple identities of a Woodhouse; however, it would be also misleading not to problematise the various influences, interests and engagements of contemporary historiography.


A third remark concerns the media, through which historical discourse is produced and disseminated, and which effects not only the historical culture of a community, but also the historian community as well.135 There is, of course, the role that a weekly supplement in a popular newspaper on culture and history can have, the publicity that it brings and its effects; a subject that also connects the current discussion to the past. Besides, it is also important to focus on the role of the internet. Websites, blogs and social media contain dynamics that, to a large extent, remain unmapped.136 To what extent does the medium shape its users and is shaped by them? Would the debate on the 1940s be different if it remained restricted to newspaper columns, or academic conferences and publications and, if so, in what ways?


Having highlighted just some of the issues that the study of the debate opens to further discussion, the question set by the title of this article becomes more clear: Was (or is) the dispute on the history of the 1940s a historical debate of the twenty-first century or is it taking us back to questions and interpretations that supposed to belong to the past? Indeed, there are elements that help us think about the present and future of history and historiographical practice: history in the public sphere, the new media and the historical profession today.137 On the other hand, the “new wave”, “new current” or “new historiography” venture, as a historiographical and political attempt to penetrate and change the balances in what is considered a leftwing-dominated, in that case, field, can be seen, in the long run, as another episode in the long “war” for the history and memory of the 1940s. Was that decade a long civil war, a revolution that failed, an unyielding people’s resistance against foreign and native enemies, or a small case study in the history of the Second World War? Are all of the above simply a matter of historical perspective?


In conclusion, in terms of a critical approach, the current debate should be placed within its own historical framework, but also, as is attempted above, within the seven-decades-long elaboration of a highly conflicting subject of Greek and European history; a subject that is often not seen and lived as an historical event and, thus, part of the past, but as a constant present, a debt, heritage or “birthright”, and as a means to politically validate contemporary views and choices, as confirmed by the numerous public political commentaries by the two authors of the “new wave” and many others.138 Does this represent another attempt at revenge, following the considered “revanche of the defeated” during the Metapolitefsi, or a rightwing revisionist attempt, as it has been characterised, similar to international examples since the 1970s? Those questions may be valid, but another way to proceed, before rushing to conclusions, is to closely examine the social uses of the 1940s, as well as the paths and the historical practices in the past and the present.


In that context, an article like the current one is not enough, as it focuses mainly on some aspects of a multifaceted process: on academic and nonacademic historiography, that is, the textual and non-textual elaborations of the past that claim the concept of historical truth based on documentation and reasonable conclusions, or on the personal and collective experience. In the case of the 1940s, in particular, though, fiction, through its different expressions, has also staked a claim to truth and truthfulness,139 replacing or adding to the two aspects of the aforementioned multifaceted process, the ones of sentiment and imagination∙ and conquering, in many cases, a large territory of the “Jurassic park” of historical culture.140


Lastly, a reverse study of the current one is equally necessary: a historisation of the key concepts and interpretative frames of the history of the 1940s, such as resistance and civil war, and also “foreign intervention” and “violence”, would enable us to think about their past and present uses, the dominant effect of each choice in the interpretation of the whole decade, and their contemporary utility regarding a renewed critical, comparative, and interdisciplinary approach to both the period and its historiography.141


1 From the poem Στις γειτονιές του κόσμου [Neighborhoods of the world], written in exile on Makronisos and Ai-Stratis (1949-1951). See Ritsos’ note in Επιθεώρηση Τέχνης [Art Review] 10 (Oct 1955): 266. Extracts from the poem, but not the particular one, were translated in English by Athan Anagnostopoulos in “Yannis Ritsos: A Selection from the Forties,” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 3 (1978): 81–87. The verse reflects an aspect that is missing from this article: the moments of silence while trying to deal with the past alone; back in the house or an empty prison cell.
2 Stathis Kalyvas and Nikos Marantzidis, “Νέες τάσεις στη μελέτη του Εμφυλίου Πολέμου” [New trends in the study of the civil war], Ta Nea-Vivliodromio, 20–21 Mar. 2004, 10–11.
3 Stathis Kalyvas and Nikos Marantzidis, “Δεν θα επιστρέψουμε στα πέτρινα χρόνια” [We won’t return to the stone years], Ta Nea-Vivliodromio, 16–17 October 2004, 14–15.
4 Διάλογος για την Ιστορία. 18 ειδικοί συζητούν για τη βία στον Ελληνικό Εμφύλιο [Dialogue on history: 18 specialists discuss the violence in the Greek Civil War] (Athens: Ta Nea-Vivliodromio, December 2004 (unpublished). The issue was never published due to editorial disagreements. See, indicatively, Thanasis D. Sfikas, “Ένα ιστοριογραφικό ταξίδι στη χώρα του Γκιούλιβερ: Η ελληνική ιστοριογραφία και οι διεθνείς διαστάσεις του ελληνικού εμφυλίου πολέμου” [Gulliver’s historiographical travels: Greek scholarly literature and the international dimensions of the Greek Civil War], Dodoni: History and Archaeology 33 (2004): 311.
5 Besides books, academic publications, conference papers, etc, an initial collection of material relevant to the “Dialogue”, that was made for the project “Greek Historiography in the 20th Century”, amounts to more than 200 digital objects.
6 See Thanasis Valtinos, Ορθοκωστά (Athens, Estia, 1994). On the debate that the book caused, see indicatively, Dimitris Paivanas, “Cold wars after 1989: Thanasis Valtinos’ Orthokosta and its reception,” Études Helléniques/Hellenic Studies 18/1 (2010): 21–53.
7 Hagen Fleischer’s study on the presence of the Second World War in public history is one of the few Greek editions that offers a comprehensive review of such international debates. See Hagen Fleischer, Οι πόλεμοι της μνήμης. Ο Β΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος στη Δημόσια Ιστορία [The wars of memory: the Second World War in public history] (Athens: Nefeli, 2008). Beyond the “Greek production”, there is a rich discussion on postwar European history and memory and the relative debates. See indicatively, the Jörg Echternkamp and Stefan Martens, eds, Experience and memory: the Second World War in Europe (London: Berghahn, 2013); Malgorzata Parier and Bo Stråth, eds, A European memory? Contested histories and the politics of remembrance (London: Berghahn, 2010); Jan-Werner Müller, ed., Memory and power in post-war Europe: studies in the presence of the past (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
8 See indicatively, Giorgos Antoniou, “The lost Atlantis of objectivity: the revisionist struggles between the academic and public spheres,” History and Theory 46/4 (2007): 92–112; Stratos Dordanas, “Ο Goldhagen, το «νέο κύμα» και ο «διάλογος για την ιστορία»: Όψεις και όροι της δημόσιας ιστορίας στη Γερμανία και στην Ελλάδα” [Goldhagen, the “new wave”, and the “dialogue on history”: aspects and the condition of public history in Germany and Greece], in Η Δημόσια Ιστορία στην Ελλάδα. Χρήσεις και καταχρήσεις της ιστορίας [Public history in Greece: uses and abuses of history], ed. Andreas Andreou et al. (Thessaloniki: Epikentro, 2015), 99–113; and Christos Hadziiossif, “Ένα ευρωπαϊκό φαινόμενο και η ελληνική εκδοχή του. Ο αναθεωρητισμός στην ιστοριογραφία της Αντίστασης και του Εμφυλίου” [A European phenomenon and its Greek version: revisionism in the historiography of the resistance and the civil war], in Η μακρά σκιά της δεκαετίας του ’40 [The long shadow of the 1940s], ed. Katerina Gardikas et al. (Athens: Alexandria, 2015), 369–393.
9 The year 2004 could be seen as an end, and rather a “spectacular” end, of an era lasting more than a decade with the central stakes being the modernisation of Greek society and politics, economic development and upgrading of Greece’s position on the European and global map. At the same time, among other elements, it was the confirmation of a decade in which nationalism and racism emerged: the Macedonian issue, the Imia/Kardak dispute with Turkey, the debate around Maria Repousi’s history textbook, the protests against the removal of religious affiliation from citizens’ ID cards, and finally the “big Greek summer” of 2004 with the Olympic Games, the national success in sports and the first organised violent attacks against migrants in the streets of Athens. Later, and while the “dialogue” on the 1940s was continuing, Greece experienced rioting triggered by the murder of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman on 6 December 2008; rioting that was captured in the public discourse as the new “Dekemvriana”, a straight reference to the “battle of Athens” that took place in December 1944. It was a prologue, also, for the economic, political and social crisis of the following years that transformed the political representation, social structure and historical perception of Greece in many ways. For the multiple faces of nationalism in Greece after the transition to democracy, see Effi Gazi, “Μεταπλάσεις της ελληνικής εθνικής ιδεολογίας και ταυτότητας στη Μεταπολίτευση” [Transformation of Greek national ideology and identity in the Metapolitefsi], in Μεταπολίτευση. Η Ελλάδα στο μεταίχμιο δύο αιώνων [Metapolitefsi: Greece between two centuries], ed. Manos Avgeridis, Effi Gazi and Kostis Kornetis (Athens: Themelio, 2015), 246–260.
10 See Hayden White, “The practical past,” Historein 10 (2010): 17.
11 The term Metapolitefsi (regime change) is often used to describe the period from the junta’s collapse to the transition to democracy, as well as a larger period, that of the third Greek republic itself and its political, ideological and social universe.
12 A number of overviews of the historiography on the 1940s, most of them part of the current debate, has already been written. See, indicatively, Prokopis Papastratis, “Η ιστοριογραφία της δεκαετίας 1940–1950” [Historiography of the decade, 1940–1950], Synchrona Themata 35–37 (1988): 183–187; Antonis Liakos, “Αντάρτες και συμμορίτες στα ακαδημαϊκά αμφιθέατρα” [Guerillas and bandits in the academic theaters], introduction to Η Ελλάδα ’36–’49. Από τη Δικτατορία στον Εμφύλιο. Τομές και συνέχειες [Greece, 1936–1949: From dictatorship to civil war: ruptures and continuities], ed. Hagen Fleischer (Athens: Kastaniotis, 2003), 25–36; Stathis Kalyvas, “Εµφύλιος πόλεµος (1943–1949): Το τέλος των µύθων και η στροφή προς το µαζικό επίπεδο” [Civil war, 1943–1949: The end of myths and the turn towards the mass level], Epistimi kai Koinonia 11 (2003): 37–70; Nikos Marantzidis and Giorgos Antoniou, “The Axis occupation and civil war: changing trends in Greek historiography, 1941–2002,” Journal of Peace Research 41/2 (2004): 223–231; Sfikas, “Ένα ιστοριογραφικό ταξίδι στη χώρα του Γκιούλιβερ: Η ελληνική ιστοριογραφία και οι διεθνείς διαστάσεις του ελληνικού εμφυλίου πολέμου,” 311–362. See also the editors’ introduction to Η εποχή των ρήξεων. Η ελληνική κοινωνία στη δεκαετία του 1940 [The era of ruptures: Greek society in the 1940s], ed. Polymeris Voglis et al. (Thessaloniki: Epikentro, 2012), 7–25, and the collective volume by Giorgos Antoniou and Nikos Marantzidis, eds, Η εποχή της σύγχυσης. Η δεκαετία του ’40 και η ιστοριογραφία [The era of confusion: the 1940s decade and historiography] (Athens: Estia, 2008); Gardikas et al., eds, Η μακρά σκιά της δεκαετίας του ’40.
13 In general, contemporary history was absent from Greek universities in that period. For example, in the two attempts at an overall history of modern Greece, by professor Dionysios Zakythinos (1962) and by the politician Spyros Markezinis (1966–1968), the events after 1922 (year of the defeat of the Greek army in Minor Asia) did not merit more than a few lines. See Vangelis Karamanolakis, “Ιστορία και ιδεολογία στη δεκαετία του 1960” [History and ideology in the 1960s], in Η σύντομη δεκαετία του ’60 [The short 1960s], ed. Alkis Rigos, Serafeim Seferiadis and Evanthis Hatzivasileiou (Athens: Kastaniotis, 2008), 84–96.
14 A notion of visibility in the way that Joan Scott has put it. See Joan Scott, “The evidence of experience,” Critical Inquiry 17/4 (1991): 773–797.
15 See Antonis Liakos, “Modern Greek hstoriography (1974–2000): the era of transition from dictatorship to democracy,” in (Re)Writing History: Historiography in Southeast Europe after Socialism, ed. Ulf Brunnbauer (Münster: LIT, 2004), 351–378.
16 Indicating the difficulties facing the study of the 1940s in Greece, the first relevant historical conferences all took place abroad: London in 1978, Washington in 1978 and Copenghagen in 1984. The first conference organised in Greece was in 1984 in Athens. See Liakos, “Modern Greek Historiography (1974–2000),” 369–370.
17 The first effort to repatriate a number of political refugees took place in 1965, under the Centre Union government.
18 Such as the defeat of the right by Andreas Papandreou’s social democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) in 1981.
19 For the history of the official recognition of the leftwing resistance and the reaction to the relevant law, see Giorgos Antoniou and Eleni Paschaloudi, “‘Το άψογο πρόσωπο της ιστορίας θολώνει’: η αναγνώριση της εαμικής Αντίστασης και το πολιτικό σύστημα (1945–1995)” [The flawless face of history fades: the recognition of EAM resistance and the political system, 1945–1995], in Ήρωες των Ελλήνων: Οι καπετάνιοι, τα παλικάρια και η αναγνώριση των εθνικών αγώνων 19ος–20ός αιώνας [Heroes of Greece: the captains, the brave men, and the recognition of the national struggles, 19th–20th centuries], ed. Vasilis Gounaris (Athens: Hellenic Parliament Foundation, 2014), 257–331.
20 See Vangelis Karamanolakis, “Historians and the trauma of the past: the destruction of security files on citizens in Greece, 1989,” in Historians as engaged intellectuals, ed. Stefan Berger (Berghahn, forthcoming).
21 See Polymeris Voglis, “Η δεκαετία του 1940 ως παρελθόν: Μνήμη, μαρτυρία, ταυτότητα” [The 1940s as past: memory, testimony, identity], Τα Ιστορικά [Historica] 25/47 (2007): 437–456.
22 The article is one of the outcomes of the three-year research project “Greek Historiography in the 20th century: debates on identity and modernisation”, which also included a basic substructure work: the creation of a relative bibliography, the mapping of historical institutions, collectives and initiatives, a set of interviews with historians and a collection of documents relevant to the field.
23 Fernando Sánchez Marcos, “Historical Culture,”, accessed 2 September 2016,
24 Eric Hobsbawm, Age of extremes: the short twentieth century, 1914–1991 (London: Abacus, 1995), 287.
25 For the trauma and its postwar elaboration, see Richard Bessel and Dirk Schumann, eds, Life after death: approaches to a cultural and social history during the 1940s and 1950s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
26 Tony Judt, preface to The politics of retribution in Europe, ed. István Deák, Jan Tomasz Gross and Tony Judt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), vii–xii.
27 Stefan Berger, “Remembering the Second World War in western Europe, 1945–2005,” in A European memory? Contested histories and the politics of remembrance, ed. Malgorzata Parier and Bo Stråth (London: Berghahn, 2010), 119–136; Stefan Berger, “A return to the national paradigm? national history writing in Germany, Italy, France, and Britain from 1945 to the Present,” Journal of Modern History 77/3 (2005): 629–678.
28 A major example of this is France, as, according to Pieter Lagrou, nowhere was patriotic legitimacy after the war more crucial in postwar politics than there. Also, “De Gaulle’s commemorative policy assimilated the Nation and the Resistance into a symbolic discourse that was at the same time heroic, emblematic, abstract and elitist. The national honour had been safeguarded throughout the ordeal of the war by the heroes who presided over its destiny, in exile or on French soil, as combatants or as martyrs. Gaullist speeches and rituals staged tributes to the army and the nation through exemplary models of patriotism and assimilated the ambiguous victory of the Second World War with the patriotic triumph of the First. Abstract commemoration and its consensual appeal suited De Gaulle better than the cult of veteranism.” Pieter Lagrou, “Victims of genocide and national memory: Belgium, France and the Netherlands, 1945–1965,” Past & Present 154 (1997): 201–202. See also Henry Rousso, Le syndrome de Vichy (Paris: Le Seuil, 1987).
29 This fact, rather than closing the conversation, opens it; the establishment, function, the balances, influences and discourse of those organisation is, indeed, a fruitful subject for a very different article. For a polemic critique of the time against them, see, indicatively, Bernard S. Morris, “Communist international front organizations: their nature and function,” World Politics 9/1 (1956): 76–87.
30 FIR, “Status – Organismes de direction – Programme d’orientation et d’action,” 232/2/d, Archive of the Unified Democratic Left (EDA), Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI).
31 FIR, Sept années au service de la Résistance et de son idéal (Vienna: FIR, 1958).
32 “FIR: international meetings and committees,” 230–243, Archive of the Unified Democratic Left (EDA), Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI).
33 FIR, “Status – Organismes de direction – Programme d’ orientation et d’ action.”
34 From January 1953, UNADIF began publishing the periodical Déportation et Liberté. Bulletin Trimestriel de la Fédération Internationale Libre des Déportés.
35 See Giles Scott-Smith, Western anti-communism and the Interdoc network: Cold War internationale (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 220–223.
36 See Pieter Lagrou, The legacy of Nazi Occupation: Patriotic Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe, 1945–1965 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 262–291. See also Menno Spiering and Michael Wintle, eds, European identity and the Second World War (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). For a characteristic text of the time, see Hubert Halin, L’Europe Unie objectif majeur de la Resistance (Paris: Union des résistants pour une Europe unie, 1967).
37 For the relevant conference procedures, see European resistance movements, 1939–45: first international conference on the history of the resistance movements (London: Pergamon, 1960).
38 François Bédarida, “L’histoire de la résistance. Lectures d’hier, chantiers de demain,” Vingtième Siècle, Revue d’Histoire 11 (1986): 76.
39 Regarding the Greek case, Woodhouse took part at the Liege conference, presenting a paper about Britain and the Greek resistance. At the conference in Milan, Greece was represented by Komninos Pyromaglou.
40 See European resistance movements, 1939–45. second international conference on the history of the resistance movements (London: Pergamon, 1964).
41 See “Book review on European Resistance Movements 1939–1945,” Central Intelligence Agency Library, accessed 2 Sept 2016,
42 White, “The practical past,” 17.
43 FIR, “Report – 10 years of struggle for restistance,” 230/1/b, Archive of the Unified Democratic Left (EDA), Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI).
44 André Puttemans, foreword to European resistance movements, 1939–45: second international conference, xvi–xvii. Translation by author.
45 Gerard Noiriel, Qu’est-ce que l’histoire contemporaine? (Paris: Hachette, 1998). Greek edition: Τι είναι η σύγχρονη ιστορία; (Athens: Gutenberg, 2005), 44–46, 266–269. See also, indicatively, Lina Venturas, “Συνηγορία υπέρ της Σύγχρονης Ιστορίας ή Ιστορίας του Παρόντος” [A plea for contemporary history or history of the present], Mnimon 24 (2002): 369–386.
46 “Editorial note,” Journal of Contemporary History 1 (1966), iii–vi.
47 One of the relevant examples is the short-lived government of Ferruccio Parri and the moderate Action Party during the summer of 1945, in Italy. The Action Party, which formed a government based on a “Resistance programme”, was quickly replaced by the conservative Christian Democrats. During the following years, Parri became one of the personalities who became involved in the case of resistance history and the preservation of its memory at the national and international level. See, indicatively, Paul Ginsborg, A history of contemporary Italy: society and politics, 1943–1988 (London: Penguin, 1990), 72–120.
48 Lagrou, “Victims of genocide and national memory,” 181–222.
49 See Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman, eds, Concentrationary cinema: aesthetics as political resistance in Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog (Oxford: Berghahn, 2011).
50 See indicatively, Mark Mazower, “The Cold War and the appropriation of memory: Greece after liberation,” in The politics of retribution in Europe, ed. István Deák, Jan Tomasz Gross and Tony Judt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 212–232. Also, Riki Van Boeschoten, “Enemies of the nation–a nation of enemies: the long Greek Civil War,” in After Civil War: division, reconstruction, and reconciliation in contemporary Europe, ed. Bill Kisanne (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 93–120.
51 For an epistemological, political, and social approach to conflicting historical issues, focused here in historical education, see Giorgos Kokkinos and Dimitris Mavroskoufis, eds, Το τραύμα, τα συγκρουσιακά θέματα και οι ερμηνευτικές διαμάχες στην ιστορική εκπαίδευση [Trauma, conflicting issues and interpretative controversies in history education] (Athens: Rodon, 2015).
52 The National Resistance Archive, a periodical published by the Νέα Βιβλία [New Books], the leftwing publishing house of the time, managed to release two volumes before the outbreak of the civil war, in April and August 1946.
53 Stefanos Sarafis, Ο ΕΛΑΣ [ELAS] (Athens, 1946).
54 See the first edition of the English version, translated and abridged by his wife, Marion Pascoe: Stefanos Sarafis, Greek resistance army: the story of ELAS (London: Birch Books, 1951).
55 Komninos Pyromaglou, Εθνική Αντίστασις [National Resistance] (Athens, 1947).
56 See Vaios Kalogrias and Stratos Dordanas, “Η αναγνώριση των μη εαμικών αντιστασιακών οργανώσεων (1945–1974)” [The recognition of the non-EAM resistance group, 1945–1974], in Ήρωες των Ελλήνων: Οι καπετάνιοι, τα παλικάρια και η αναγνώριση των εθνικών αγώνων 19ος–20ός αιώνας [Heroes of Greece: the captains, the brave men, and the recognition of the national struggles, 19th–20th centuries], ed. Vasilis Gounaris (Athens: Hellenic Parliament Foundation, 2014), 181–256.
57 The exhibition entitled “Exhibition of war and the sacrifices of Greece, 1940–1944” was organized by the Ministry of Press and Enlightenment in 1946, following the relevant decision taken by the Greek government cabinet on 17 Jul. 1945. Although it was mainly dedicated to the Greek-Italian War of 1940 and the activities of the Greek army in the Middle East, it included one section named “Resistance” as well as sections dedicated to the famine in Greece during the occupation, the destruction of Greek villages by the German forces, etc. See Έκθεσις πολέμου και θυσιών της Ελλάδος 1940–1944 [Exhibition of war and the sacrifices of Greece, 1940–1944] (Athens, 1946), 36–37.
58 See Komninos Pyromaglou, Ο Δούρειος Ίππος. Πολιτική και εθνική κρίσις κατά την Κατοχήν [The Trojan horse: political and national crisis during the Occupation] (Athens: Dodoni, 1956–1958).
59 Apart from Pyromaglou, other representatives of that “community” included: Christos Zalokostas, a former member of a royalist group in the Peloponnese and one of the first to publish a book about the occupation years (Το χρονικό της σκλαβιάς [The chronicle of slavery] (Athens, 1946)); Stylianos Houtas, a veteran leader of a local guerilla group in Epirus belonging to EDES, later elected MP, first with the National Party, then with the Liberal Party, and then with the Centre Union; Giorgos Petrakogiorgis, former leader of a Cretan guerilla group later elected MP with the Liberal Party. For the noncommunist resistance in Greek, see Vangelis Tzoukas, Οι οπλαρχηγοί του ΕΔΕΣ στην Ήπειρο, 1942–44: Τοπικότητα και πολιτική ένταξη [The captains of EDES in Epirus, 1942–44: locality and political engagement] (Athens: Estia, 2013) and Nikos Marantzidis, ed., Οι άλλοι καπετάνιοι. Αντικομμουνιστές ένοπλοι στα χρόνια της Κατοχής και του Εμφυλίου [The other captains: armed anticommunists during the occupation and civil war] (Athens: Estia, 2005).
60 See “Archive of Komninos Pyromaglou,” 56/2Δ16, Municipal Center for Historical Research and Documentation of Volos.
61 Additionally, the fact that a number of British scholars who studied Greek history, anthropology and literature during the postwar years, such as Woodhouse, Douglas Dakin, John Campbell, Nicholas Hammond, Elizabeth Baker, Philip Sherrard and others, had been involved with the Greek events during the Second World War is a potentially fruitful subject that needs further study. See, indicatively, Mark Mazower, ed., Networks of power in modern Greece: Essays in honor of John Campbell (London: Hurst, 2008). Greek edition: Δίκτυα εξουσίας στη νεότερη Ελλάδα: Δοκίμια προς τιμήν του John Campbell (Athens: Alexandria, 2014). Also Richard Clogg Anglo-Greek attitudes: studies in history (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000). See, also, the interviews with Richard Clogg, Peter Mackridge and Mark Mazower, in the Encounters with historians section of the “Greek Historiography in the 20th Century” project, at
62 See Hagen Fleischer and Steven B. Bowman, Greece in the 1940s: a bibliographic companion (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1981).
63 For the Anglophone production on the Greek 1940s, see, indicatively, John O. Iatrides, “Οι διεθνείς διαστάσεις του ελληνικού εμφυλίου πολέμου: Μια επισκόπηση της αγγλόφωνης ιστοριογραφίας” [The international dimensions of the Greek Civil War: a review of the Anglophone historiography], in Η εποχή της σύγχυσης. Η δεκαετία του ’40 και η ιστοριογραφία [The era of confusion: the 1940s and historiography], ed. Giorgos Antoniou and Nikos Marantzidis (Athens: Estia, 2008), 55–103.
64 See Christopher M. Woodhouse, Apple of discord (London: Hutchinson, 1948); ECW Myers, Greek entanglement (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1955); William H. McNeill, The Greek dilemma: war and aftermath (London: JB Lippincott, 1947).
65 See L.S. Stavrianos, Greece: American dilemma and opportunity (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1952). See, also, the article: L.S. Stavrianos and E.P. Panagopoulos, “Present-day Greece,” Journal of Modern History 20/2 (1948): 149–158, as well as the thorough, for the time, analysis of EAM: L.S. Stavrianos, “The Greek National Liberation Front (EAM): a study in resistance organization and administration,” Journal of Modern History 24/1 (1952): 42–55.
66 Dan Georgakas, “The Greeks in America,” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 14/1–2 (1987): 31–32.
67 See Anna Mathaiou and Popi Polemi, Η εκδοτική περιπέτεια των ελλήνων κομμουνιστών. Από το βουνό στην υπερορία [The publishing adventure of the Greek communists: from the mountain to exile] (Athens: Vivliorama-ASKI, 2003). For the literature of the refugees, see Venetia Apostolidou, Τραύμα και μνήμη. Η πεζογραφία των πολιτικών προσφύγων [Trauma and memory: the literature of political refugees] (Athens: Polis, 2010).
68 For EDA’s resistance bureau and the party’s organisation in general, see Ioanna Papathanasiou, introduction to Ενιαία Δημοκρατική Αριστερά. Αρχείο 1951–1967 [United Democratic Left: archive, 1951–1967], ed. Ioanna Papathanasiou (Athens: Themelio–EKKE–ASKI, 2001), 11–78. See, also, Katerina Labrinou, “Προδικτατορική ΕΔΑ: πολιτική και ιδεολογία” [EDA before the dictatorship: policy and ideology] (PhD diss., Panteion University, 2016).
69 A particularly interesting work regarding the study of that kind of groups and unions is Chara Rovithi’s dissertation: Chara Rovithi, “Agents of memory in the making: the Greek war-disabled of WWII” (PhD diss., European University Institute, 2011).
70 For the postwar situation in Greece, see Mark Mazower, ed., After the war was over: reconstructing the state, family and the law in Greece, 1943–1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).
71 See Stratis Bournazos, “Το κράτος των εθνικοφρόνων: Αντικομμουνιστικός λόγος και πρακτικές” [The nation-minded’s state: anticommunist discourse and practices], in Ιστορία της Ελλάδας του 20ού αιώνα [History of 20th-century Greece], vol. D2, ed. Christos Hadziiossif (Athens: Vivliorama, 2009), 9–49; Mark Mazower, “Policing the anti-communist state in Greece, 1922–1974,” in The policing of politics in the twentieth century: historical perspectives, ed. Mark Mazower (Oxford: Berghahn, 1997), 129–150.
72 See Nicolas Svoronos, Histoire de la Grèce moderne (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1953).
73 Enepekides was lecturer and then adjunct professor of Byzantine Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria, where he lived from 1942. See Maria A. Stassinopoulou, “Οι νεοελληνικές σπουδές στο πανεπιστήμιο της Βιέννης” [Modern Greek studies in the University of Vienna], in Επισκόπηση των Ινστιτούτων και Κέντρων των Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών [Overview of the institutes and centers of modern Greek Studies], 122. He, also, had cooperation with Greek daily newspapers, such as To Vima, Kathimerini and Makedonia. During the 1960s he published the books Η Ελληνική Αντίστασις 1941–1944 – όπως αποκαλύπτεται από τα μυστικά αρχεία της Βέρμαχτ εις την Ελλάδα: μια νεοελληνική τραγωδία [The Greek Resistance, 1941–1944, as it is revealed from the secret Wehrmacht archives in Greece: a modern Greek tragedy] (Athens: Estia, 1964), and Οι διωγμοί των Εβραίων εν Ελλάδι 1941–1944: επί τη βάσει των μυστικών αρχείων των ΕΣ-ΕΣ [The persecution of Jews in Greece: based on SS secret archives] (Athens: Papazisis: 1969).
74 Vassos Mathiopoulos studied law in Bonn, where he worked as a correspondent of the daily Eleftheria. In 1960–61 he published a series of German archives relevant to the Greek occupation and resistance in the newspaper. Later, he released a book based on the same archives. See Vassos Mathiopoulos, Η Ελληνική Αντίσταση (1941–1944) και οι «Σύμμαχοι» (όπως καταξιώνεται από τα επίσημα γερμανικά αρχεία) [The Greek resistance (1941–1944) and the “Allies” (as documented by the official German archives)] (Athens: Papazisis, 1976).
75 Christopher M. Woodhouse, “Zur Geschichte der Resistance in Griechenland,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 6/2 (1958): 138–150.
76 Other than Eleftheria, there were responses at least to the newspapers To Vima, Makedonia and Avgi.
77 “Ο Γουντχάουζ διαστρέφει την ιστορική αλήθεια” [Woodhouse distorts the historical truth], Eleftheria, 6 Nov. 1958, 4.
78 Clogg, Anglo-Greek attitudes, 60.
79 David Stafford, Britain and European resistance, 1940–1945: a survey of the Special Operations Executive, with Documents (London: Macmillan, 1980), 4–5. See, also, Basil Liddell Hart, Defence of the west (London: Cassell, 1950), 53–57. For the history of the SOE’s creation, see MRD Foot, SOE in France (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1966).
80 “Ο Γουντχάουζ αμβλύνει ήδη την επίθεσή του εναντίον της Ελληνικής Αντιστάσεως” [Woodhouse already mitigates his attack against the Greek resistance], Eleftheria, 28 November 1958, 1, 5.
81 See Giorgos Petrakogiorgis, “Η δειλία του κ. Γουντχάουζ και η Ελληνική Αντίστασις. Επί ενός πυώδους δημοσιεύματος” [Mr Woodhouse’s cowardice and the Greek resistance: on a purulent piece], Eleftheria, 1 November 1958, 5.
82 See, indicatively, Dimitris Dimitriadis, “Ο κ. Γουντχάουζ διαστρεβλώνει την ιστορική αλήθεια. Οι Άγγλοι και η Ελληνική Αντίστασις” [Mr Woodhouse misrepresents the historical truth: The English and the Greek resistance], Eleftheria, 20 November 1958, 1, 5.
83 For more regarding this debate, see Manos Avgeridis, “The historicization of World War II in Greece after the Civil War: looking back on the public debate over a lecture by British historian C.M. Woodhouse,” in Historians as Engaged Intellectuals, ed. Stefan Berger (Berghahn, forthcoming).
84 Το Χρονικό του Αγώνα. Στ’ Άρματα! Στ’ Άρματα! Ιστορία της Εθνικής Αντίστασης [The chronicle of the struggle: To arms! To arms! History of the national resistance] (Athens: Giannikos, 1964).
85 “Μία επιστολή με σωστές παρατηρήσεις πάνω στο χρονικό της αντίστασης” [A letter with correct remarks on the chronicle of resistance], Avgi, 18 September 1963, 4.
86 Ιστορία της Εθνικής Αντιστάσεως, 1941–1944 [History of the national resistance, 1941–1944] (Athens: Anagennisi, 1962).
87 Ιστορία της Εθνικής Αντιστάσεως, 9–10.
88 “Το Αντάρτικο” [The guerilla warfare], Eleftheria, 2 June 1963, 7.
89 “Το Αντάρτικο,” Eleftheria, 24 May 1964, 11.
90 More about the differences between the two editions in Manos Avgeridis, “Στ’ Άρματα! Στ’ Άρματα! Οι τρεις εκδοχές ενός συλλογικού έργου για την ιστορία της Εθνικής Αντίστασης” [To arms! To arms! The three versions of a collective work on the history of the national resistance], Archeiotaxio 12 (2010): 161–168.
91 See Mario S. Modiano, “Greek political problems,” The World Today, 21/1 (1965): 33–42. Modiano was the Athens correspondent for The Times and The Economist.
92 See, indicatively, Antoniou and Paschaloudi, “Το άψογο πρόσωπο της ιστορίας θολώνει,” 263–277. For the Centre Union and the resistance, see, also, Eleni Paschaloudi, Ένας πόλεμος χωρίς τέλος. Η δεκαετία του 1940 στον πολιτικό λόγο, 1950–1967 [A war without end: the 1940s decade in the political discourse, 1950–1967] (Thessaloniki: Epikentro, 2010).
93 The tragic incident is also evidential for the distance between the autonomous action of the Greek shadow state in the postwar years.
94 See Susanne-Sophia Spiliotis, “An affair of politics, not justice: the Merten trial (1957–1959) and Greek-German Relations,” in After the war was over: reconstructing the state, family and the law in Greece, 1943–1960, ed. Mark Mazower (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 293–302.
95 There were no significant differences between the parallel papers. After some negotiation, two papers from the KKE (one political conditions during the Occupation; the other on terrorism) and one from the EDA (economy) were chosen.
96 Dimitris Fotiadis (1898–1988) was a communist novelist and writer, who, during the postwar years, wrote essays mainly on the history of the Greek revolution of 1821.
97 See Proceedings of a conference on Britain and European resistance, 1939–45 (Oxford: St Antony’s College, 1962).
98 See Vangelis Karamanolakis, “Ιστορία και ιδεολογία στη δεκαετία του 1960” [History and ideology in the 1960s] and Antonis Liakos, “Δεκαετία ’60: Η ιστορική συνείδηση και οι μύθοι της” [1960s: historical consciousness and its myths], in Η σύντομη δεκαετία του ’60 [The short 1960s], ed. Alkis Rigos, Serafeim Seferiadis and Evanthis Hatzivasileiou (Athens: Kastaniotis, 2008), 84–96. Regarding Balkan Studies, see also “Interview with Victor Papacosma”, in the Encounters with historians section, of the “Greek Historiography in the 20th century” project, at
99 See indicatively, Yiannis Zafeiris, Η Κατοχή και η Εθνική Αντίσταση στη Σάμο, 1941–1944 [Occupation and National Resistance in Samos, chronicle, 1941–1944] (Athens, 1962), Mitsos Dimitriou (Nikiforos), Αντάρτης στα βουνά της Ρούμελης (Χρονικό 1940–1941) [Partisan in the Rumelia mountains: Chronicle, 1941–1944)] (Athens, 1965), Ilias Papastergiopoulos, Ο Μωρηάς στα όπλα (Εθνική Αντίσταση 1941–44) [Morea in arms: national resistance, 1941–1944)] (Athens: Research and Critique of Modern Greek History, 1965), Lazaros Arseniou, Η Θεσσαλία στην Αντίσταση [Thessaly in the resistance] (Athens, 1966–1967). See also the first biography of ELAS chief commander Aris Velouchiotis: Panos Lagdas, Άρης Βελουχιώτης. Ο πρώτος του αγώνα (βιογραφία 1905–1945) [Aris Velouchiotis: the first in the struggle; biography, 1905–1945] (Athens: Kypseli, 1964).
100 See very indicatively, Foivos Grigoriadis, Το αντάρτικο (ΕΛΑΣ–ΕΔΕΣ–ΕΚΚΑ–5/42) [The guerilla warfare (ELAS–EDES–EKKA–5/42] (Athens: Kamarinopoulos, 1964) and Stavros Veopoulos, Το σφάλμα [The error] (Athens, 1961). See also, the autobiography of General Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos, 40 χρόνια στρατιώτης της Ελλάδος: πώς εκερδίσαμε τους αγώνας μας 1940–1949 [Soldier of Greece for 40 years: how we won our struggles, 1940–1949] (Athens: Acropolis, 1960). Moreover, a number of underground press catalogues and collections were published. See Nikos Anagnostopoulos, Παράνομος Τύπος: Κατοχή 1941–1944 [Underground press: occupation, 1941–1944] (Athens: Nikolopoulos-Papakyriakopoulos, 1960) and Dimitris Gatopoulos, Ιστορία της Κατοχής. Συμπληρωμένη με την ιστορία του παράνομου τύπου της Αντιστάσεως [History of the occupation: supplemented with the history of resistance’s underground press] (Athens, 1965).
101 Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Τα χρόνια του Μεγάλου Πολέμου 1939–1944 [The years of the Great War, 1939–1944] (Athens, 1964).
102 “Νέες εκδόσεις” [New publications], Eleftheria, 1 October 1964, 4.
103 Kanellopoulos, Τα χρόνια του Μεγάλου Πολέμου, 86.
104 This article does not address other forms of narrating the past, such as fiction, arts, music and cinema. There is, of course, an extensive production regarding the 1940s and one part of it is connected to the aforementioned communities; but apart from the fact that this opens a new chapter, there is also a fundamental difference: its relationship with the concept of historical truth – not in the sense of denying the truth, especially in this case, but of seeking the truth by different ways than historical writings and interpretations.
105 Even if, for the left, that continuity contained the concept of change, by revolutionary or institutional means.
106 Yiannis Imvriotis, “Ο αντιστασιακός άνθρωπος” [The man of resistance], Epitheorisi Technis 87–88 (1962): 280–287. For the role of periodicals such as Epitheorisi Technis and its relationship with history in a comparative approach, see Effi Gazi, “Reflections on Marxist historiography in the Eastern Mediterranean: examples from Greece, Italy and Turkey,” Storia della Storiografia 62/2 (2012): 79–87.
107 As Liakos has written from another perspective: “Memory as resistance became a commonplace, giving meaning to the cultural practices of history. In the Greek context, this meaning came from the postwar period when the Greek state suppressed the memory of the resistance against the German occupation.” See Antonis Liakos, “History wars: notes from the field,” Yearbook of the International Society for the Didactics of History 28/29 (2009): 57–74.
108 See Kalyvas and Marantzidis, “Νέες τάσεις στη μελέτη του Εμφυλίου Πολέμου.”
109 The two authors claimed the following book had large impact and mythicised the leaders of ELAS: Dominique Eudes, Les Kapetanios: La guerre civile grecque (Paris: Fayard, 1970) [Greek edition: Οι καπετάνιοι: Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος 1943–1949 (Athens: Exantas, 1995)]. In their latest work they refer to Dionysis Charitopoulos, Άρης ο αρχηγός των ατάκτων (Athens: Topos, 2009), published in English as Aris: the lord of the mountains (Athens: Topos, 2012). Regardless of their value, neither book can be included in the professional historiography of the field.
110 Stathis Kalyvas, “Red terror: leftist violence during the occupation,” in After the war was over. reconstructing the state, family and the law in Greece, 1943–1960, ed. Mark Mazower (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 142–183.
111 See Kalyvas and Marantzidis, “Νέες τάσεις στη μελέτη του Εμφυλίου Πολέμου.” The article was, also, accompanied by a short evaluation of the current production written by the British historian of the period, Mark Mazower, which they felt lent broader legitimacy to the “project”. See Mark Mazower, «Κανένας απ’ τους μύθους δεν αντέχει πλέον…» [None of the myths can still survive], Ta Nea/Vivliodromio, 20–21 Mar. 2004, 10–11.
112 See, more recently, Stathis N. Kalyvas and Nikos Marantzidis, Εμφύλια Πάθη. 23 ερωτήσεις και απαντήσεις για τον Εμφύλιο [Civil passions: 23 questions and answers on the civil war] (Athens: Metaichmio, 2015).
113 Liakos, “Modern Greek historiography (1974–2000),” 366–367.
114 For a broad analysis of the postwar developments in historiography, see Georg G. Iggers and Q. Edward Wang, A global history of modern historiography (London: Routledge, 2013), 250–316.
115 For the procedures of conference in Washington, see John Iatrides, ed., Greece in the 1940s: a nation in crisis (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1981), published in Greek as Η Ελλάδα στη δεκαετία 1940–1950. Ένα έθνος σε κρίση (Athens: Themelio, 1984). For the one in London, see Marion Sarafis, ed., Greece: from resistence to civil war (Nottingham: Spokesman, 1980), published in Greek as Από την Αντίσταση στον Εμφύλιο Πόλεμο (Athens: Nea Synora Livanis, 1982).
116 The programme and the abstracts of the papers were published in a small edition under the title Διεθνές ιστορικό συνέδριο: Η Ελλάδα 1936–1944. Δικτατορία–Κατοχή–Αντίσταση [International historical congress: Greece, 1936–1944. Dictatorship–occupation–resistance] (Athens, 1984). The proceedings came out five years later: Nikos Svoronos and Hagen Fleischer, eds, Πρακτικά Α΄ Διεθνούς Συνεδρίου Σύγχρονης Ιστορίας, Η Eλλάδα 1936–1944: Δικτατορία–Κατοχή–Αντίσταση [First international conference of contemporary history procedures, Greece, 1936–1944: Dictatorship–occupation–resistance] (Athens: Cultural Institute of the Agricultural Bank of Greece, 1989).
117 The Danish Scholars Ole Smith and Lars Baerentzen played an important role in this initiative. See Lars Baerentzen, John O. Iatrides and Ole L. Smith, eds, Studies in the history of the Greek Civil War 1945–1949 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1987), published in Greek as Μελέτες για τον εμφύλιο πόλεμο 1945–1949 (Athens: Olkos, 2002).
118 Interview with Prokopis Papastratis, in the Encounters with historians section of the “Greek historiography in the 20th century” project, atπροκόπης-παπαστράτης. Translation by author.
119 See David E. Close, ed., The Greek Civil War, 1943–1950: studies of polarization (London: Routledge, 1993), published in Greek as Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος, 1943–1950. Μελέτες για την πόλωση (Athens: Filistor, 2000).
120 See Hagen Fleischer, “Μνήμες και αμνήμονες” [Memories and forgetting], in Η Ελλάδα ’36–’49. Από τη Δικτατορία στον Εμφύλιο. Τομές και συνέχειες [Greece, 1936–1949: From dictatorship to civil war. Ruptures and continuities], ed. Hagen Fleischer (Athens: Kastaniotis, 2003), 12–23. Also, Liakos, “Αντάρτες και συμμορίτες στα ακαδημαϊκά αμφιθέατρα.”
121 Heinz Richter, Δύο επαναστάσεις και αντεπαναστάσεις στην Ελλάδα 1936–1946 [Two revolutions and counter-revolutions in Greece, 1936–1946] (Athens: Exandas 1975), published in German as Griechenland: zwischen Revolution und Konterrevolution, 1936–1946 (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1973).
122 See Hagen Fleischer, Στέμμα και σβάστικα. Η Ελλάδα της Κατοχής και της Αντίστασης 1941–1944 [Crown and swastika: Greece of the occupation and resistance, 1941–1944] (Athens: Papasizis, 1995).
123 See indicatively, John Hondros, Occupation and resistance: the Greek agony, 1941–1944 (New York: Pella, 1983); Prokopis Papastratis, British policy towards Greece during the Second World War, 1941–1944 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
124 See indicatively, Eddie Myers, Η ελληνική περιπλοκή. Οι Βρετανοί στην κατεχόμενη Ελλάδα [The Greek entanglement] (Athens: Exandas, 1975); Christopher M. Woodhouse, Το μήλον της έριδος. Η ελληνική αντίσταση και η πολιτική των μεγάλων δυνάμεων [The apple of discord: the Greek resistance and the politics of the great powers] (Athens: Exandas, 1976); Also, Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas, Φωτιά και τσεκούρι. Ελλάς 1944–1949 [Fire and axe: Greece, 1944–1949) (Athens: Estia, 1974). French edition: Le Feu et la Hache. Grèce 46–49: histoire des guerres de l’après-guerre (Paris: Breteuil, 1973); Dominique Eudes, Οι Καπετάνιοι: Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος 1943–1949 [The capitans: partisans and civil war in Greece] (Athens: Exandas, 1975). French edition: Les Kapetanios. La guerre civil grecque de 1943 a 1949 (Paris: Fayard, 1970).
125 See very indicatively, Thanasis Hantzis, Η νικηφόρα επανάσταση που χάθηκε [The victorious revolution that was lost] (Athens: Papazisis, 1977); Petros Antaios, Συμβολή στην Ιστορία της ΕΠΟΝ [Contribution to the history of EPON] (Athens: Kastaniotis, 1977); Dimitris Vlandas, Η προδομένη επανάσταση [The betrayed revolution] (Athens: Evangelou, 1977); Lefteris Apostolou, Το ξεκίνημα του ΕΑΜ [The beginnings of EAM] (Athens: EEA,1982); Maria Karra, Επονίτισσα στους δρόμους και τις γειτονιές της Αθήνας [EPON girl in the streets and neighborhoods of Athens] (Athens: Dorikos, 1982); Elli Pappa, Σελίδες από τον Τύπο της Αντίστασης [Pages from the press of the resistance] (Athens: Filippotis, 1985).
126 Liakos, “Modern Greek historiography (1975–2000),” 366–367. See Giorgos Margaritis, Από την ήττα στην εξέγερση. Ελλάδα, Άνοιξη 1941–Φθινόπωρο 1942 [From the defeat to the uprising. Greece, spring 1941–Autumn 1942] (Athens: O Politis, 1993); Mark Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece: the experience of occupation, 1941–44 (Yale: Yale University Press, 1993). Greek edition: Στην Ελλάδα του Χίτλερ. Η εμπειρία της Κατοχής (Athens: Alexandria, 1994); Riki Van Boeschoten, Ανάποδα χρόνια. Συλλογική μνήμη και ιστορία στο Ζιάκα Γρεβενών (1900–1950) [Upside-down years: collective memory and history in Ziakas, Grevena, 1900–1950)] (Athens: Plethron, 1997).
127 Janet Hart, New voices in the nation: women and the Greek resistance, 1941–1964 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996); Polymeris Voglis, Becoming a subject: political prisoners during the Greek Civil War, 1945–1950 (New York: Berghahn, 2002), published in Greek as Οι πολιτικοί κρατούμενοι στον εμφύλιο πόλεμο (Athens: Alexandria, 2004). See also, Dimitra Lambropoulou, Γράφοντας από τη φυλακή. Όψεις της υποκειμενικότητας των πολιτικών κρατουμένων 1947–1960 [Writing from prison: aspects of subjectivity of political prisoners, 1947–1960] (Athens: Nefeli, 1999).
128 The procedures of the conference came out in 1998, focused on the Holocaust: Rika Benveniste, ed., Οι Εβραίοι της Ελλάδας στην Κατοχή [The Jews of Greece during the occupation] (Thessaloniki: Vanias, 1998). See also, Rika Benveniste’s interview in Encounters with historians section of the “Greek Historiography in the 20th century” project, atρίκα-μπενβενίστε.
129 See, indicatively, Odette Varon-Vassard, ed., Εβραϊκή ιστορία και μνήμη [Jewish history and memory] (Athens: Polis, 1998), and particularly the articles of Rika Benveniste, “Εβραϊκή ιστορία, εβραϊκή μνήμη, μνημονικοί τόποι” [Jewish history, Jewish memory, memory sites], 30–61, and Odette Varon-Vassard, “Η προβληματική των μουσείων της Γενοκτονίας και της Αντίστασης: ευρωπαϊκό και αμερικανικό μοντέλο” [The problematic of genocide and resistance museums: European and American models], 113–145. See also, Odette Varon-Vassard, Η ανάδυση μιας δύσκολης μνήμης. Κείμενα για τη γενοκτονία των Εβραίων [The emergence of a difficult memory: texts on the Jewish genocide] (Athens: Vivliopoleion tis Estias, 2012).
130 Regarding the left, a first initiative towards the opening of archival collections to research was the publication of a series of documents from the archive of the KKE by the historian Philippos Iliou, in Avgi newspaper. See “Ο εμφύλιος πόλεμος στην Ελλάδα” [The civil war in Greece], Avgi, 2 December 1979 to 23 January 1980. See also, the relevant edited and enriched edition that came out after his death: Philippos Iliou, Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος. Η εμπλοκή του ΚΚΕ [The Greek civil war: the involvement of the KKE] (Athens: Themelio, 2004).
131 See, among others, the elaboration of the notion of violence and its different aspects in Riki Van Boeschoten, “The trauma of war rape: a comparative view on the Bosnian conflict and the Greek Civil War,” History and Anthropology 14/1 (2003): 41–54; Loring M. Danforth and Riki Van Boeschoten, Children of the Greek Civil War: refugees and the politics of memory (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012), published in Greek as Παιδιά του ελληνικού Εμφυλίου (Athens: Alexandria, 2015); Polymeris Voglis, Η αδύνατη επανάσταση [The impossible revolution] (Athens: Alexandria, 2015).
132 See indicatively, Frank Ankersmit, “The Ethics of history: from the double binds of (moral) meaning to experience,” History and Theory 43 (2004): 86–87.
133 See Jay Winter, “The ‘moral witness’ and the two world wars,” Ethnologie française 37/3 (2007): 467–474.
134 Roderick Beaton, “Epilogue,” British School at Athens Studies 17 (2009): 219.
135 See Tessa Morris-Suzuki, The past within us: media, memory, history (London: Verso, 2005).
136 See indicatively, Mitsos Bilalis, Το παρελθόν στο δίκτυο. Εικόνα, τεχνολογία και ιστορική κουλτούρα στη Σύγχρονη Ελλάδα (1994–2005) [The past in the net: image, technology, and historical culture in contemporary Greece, 1994–2005] (Athens: EMITHI/Historein, 2015), doi:10.12681/historein.5.11, and Mitsos Bilalis, “Ιο-πολιτική και ιστορική κουλτούρα” [Virus-politics and historical culture], in Η Δημόσια Ιστορία στην Ελλάδα. Χρήσεις και καταχρήσεις της ιστορίας [Public history in Greece: uses and abuses of history], ed. Andreas Andreou et al. (Thessaloniki: Epikentro, 2015), 65–82. For the transformations regarding the historical profession in the digital age, see Effi Gazi, “Historians and/in the new media,” in Historians as Engaged Intellectuals, ed. Stefan Berger (Berghahn, forthcoming).
137 Even methodologically, the question, for example, that was posed in recent years whether resistance benefited Greece or not derives from a certain political and ideological way of understanding the past and the present. See Stathis Kalyvas, “Αποτιμώντας την Αντίσταση” [Evaluating resistance], Kathimerini, 8 May 2011, 22–23.
138 For the uses of the 1940s in the contemporary political debates, see, indicatively, the opinion articles by Stathis Kalyvas from 2006 to 2015: Stathis Kalyvas, “Op-eds & book reviews in Greek”, accessed 2 Sept 2016,
139 Morris-Suzuki, The past within us, 229–244.
140 Antonis Liakos, “The jurassic park of Historical Culture” (paper presented at the conference “Layers of identities,” University of Athens, Athens, 29–30 May 2015).
141 An example in this direction: Iassonas Chandrinos, “Εθνική Αντίσταση: Ιστορικές, πολιτικές και θεσμικές εννοιολογήσεις από το 1941 στο σήμερα” [National resistance: historical, political, and institutional conceptualisations from 1941 onwards], in Η μακρά σκιά της δεκαετίας του ’40 [The long shadow of the 1940s], 191–213.