SOE in Greece

S.O.E in Greece: C.M. Woodhouse and British Interests 1 “I hold no brief for the Macedonians, the Bulgarians or any of the other semi- civilised races inhabiting the Balkan peninsula. Sentiment is out of place in dealing with these races.” Rowland Sperling, FO minute of 1928, cited by Livanios, p. 70. The story of the Greek resistance to the occupation of the Italians, Bulgarians and Germans during WWII (from April, 1941 to September, 1944) remains difficult to recount. Excluding the Aegean islands and Crete, the Axis essentially divided Greece into three parts, the north (excluding Epiros), Thrace (except for the land along the Ebro), and the rest of the country. 2 At various times multiple Greek cadres operated within these areas, few of which had viable contact with others within or without their operational districts. Moreover the enduring political split between monarchists and Venezilists in Greece was immensely destructive especially to the effectiveness and continuity of any of the smaller groups. There prevailed practically to the end of the war on the British side a plethora of alphabetic organizations (nine secret), military or quasi- military 3 with potentially overlapping charges and varying numbers and quality of 1 This essay assumes acquaintance with Greece, Greek politics of the 1940s, SOE Greece, and the situation in Southeastern Europe during WW II. Few concessions have been made for the parvenu. I have on occasion reminded readers of particular circumstances (e.g. Kosovo"s status during the occupation) simply to drive home a point. I present this essay to Professor Roy Arthur Swanson in recognition of his 75th birthday, a friend and colleague for thirty years. 2 On the consequences of this division, see Mazower, passim , but especially pp. 15-22. A very precise, closely documented discussion is to be found in Hionidou, pp. 11-14 wherein the author describes how such a chaotic division played out in the reality of the distribution of food during the terrible famine that gripped all Greece in the winter of 1941-1942. In fact her book is in many respects an exegesis on ill-conceived and incompetent occupation of a conquered country and just what can result from such, especially when the occupiers are intent on plundering foodstuffs and raw material as well as controlling the local population. The famine of 1941-1942 did not have to take place. Though focussed on the islands, her Chapter 8, “Population movement during the occupation” applies, mutatis mutandis , to the mainland as well. 3 A compact list for reference can be found in Seaman, Special Operations , pp. xii-xv, wherein a quick perusal will ferret out the non-British entries.

Transcript of SOE in Greece

Page 1: SOE in Greece

! ! ! S.O.E in Greece: C.M. Woodhouse and British Interests1

! “I hold no brief for the Macedonians, the Bulgarians or any of the other semi-civilised races inhabiting the Balkan peninsula. Sentiment is out of place in dealing with these races.”! Rowland Sperling, FO minute of 1928, cited by Livanios, p. 70.!

! The story of the Greek resistance to the occupation of the Italians, Bulgarians and Germans during WWII (from April, 1941 to September, 1944) remains difficult to recount. Excluding the Aegean islands and Crete, the Axis essentially divided Greece into three parts, the north (excluding Epiros), Thrace (except for the land along the Ebro), and the rest of the country.2 At various times multiple Greek cadres operated within these areas, few of which had viable contact with others within or without their operational districts. Moreover the enduring political split between monarchists and Venezilists in Greece was immensely destructive especially to the effectiveness and continuity of any of the smaller groups. There prevailed practically to the end of the war on the British side a plethora of alphabetic organizations (nine secret), military or quasi-military3 with potentially overlapping charges and varying numbers and quality of

1 This essay assumes acquaintance with Greece, Greek politics of the 1940s, SOE Greece, and the situation in Southeastern Europe during WW II. Few concessions have been made for the parvenu. I have on occasion reminded readers of particular circumstances (e.g. Kosovo"s status during the occupation) simply to drive home a point. I present this essay to Professor Roy Arthur Swanson in recognition of his 75th birthday, a friend and colleague for thirty years.

2 On the consequences of this division, see Mazower, passim, but especially pp. 15-22. A very precise, closely documented discussion is to be found in Hionidou, pp. 11-14 wherein the author describes how such a chaotic division played out in the reality of the distribution of food during the terrible famine that gripped all Greece in the winter of 1941-1942. In fact her book is in many respects an exegesis on ill-conceived and incompetent occupation of a conquered country and just what can result from such, especially when the occupiers are intent on plundering foodstuffs and raw material as well as controlling the local population. The famine of 1941-1942 did not have to take place. Though focussed on the islands, her Chapter 8, “Population movement during the occupation” applies, mutatis mutandis, to the mainland as well.

3 A compact list for reference can be found in Seaman, Special Operations, pp. xii-xv, wherein a quick perusal will ferret out the non-British entries.

Page 2: SOE in Greece

personnel, for any consistent policy, military or political, to be easily carried out.4 To add to this confusion Athens and Piraeus occupy a distinct position with respect to the rest of Greece: as its capitol it is its political and economic center; but its spiritual hold on the country is even deeper and more important. Yet Athens remained, as it does today, a world unto itself. The occupation tended to make this separation of Athens/Piraeus from the rest of the country starker: for instance, communication with Cairo could well be easier and quicker than with any of the the resistance groups in the countryside.! The consequences of such a fragmented landscape have made for many difficulties in the study of the resistance. Personal memoirs can only present a worm"s eye view of a whole far larger than the individual. Histories of specific units, authorized /official or not, are similarly limited. Since the principal actors in this story are the British and the Greeks themselves, one would think that some kind of agreement might be possible with respect to the basic issues involved and the events themselves. No such luck. Consequently definitions are required. I believe that there are basically four versions of the Greek resistance, that of 1) EAM/ELAS (which would include the KKE), 2) the British5, 3) the nationalist, non-monarchist center right (Rigopoulos" 5-16-5 and EKKA"s 5/426 resistance groups), and 4) the monarchy under king George II (the Tsouderos #government" in Cairo). These groupings are political, not military. What seems to have happened inspires interest. The accounts of EAM/ELAS and the British have remained distinct and generally hostile to each other; those of the center-right have coalesced with internal disputes acknowledged but generally passed over in discreet silence. The problems that this latter circumstance created even during the war can be clearly seen in Rigopoulos" accounts of persons he recruited into his organization.7 The grand British conspiracy to hobble the nationalist/non-communist right as perceived and adumbrated by Rigopoulos remains a curiosity for most rightist historians and a subject for derision by the British and the left.8 Nevertheless what his argument does reveal is the truly awesome cleavage between Athens and the rest of

4 For S.O.E. see Mark Seaman, “ #A new instrument of war#; the origins of the Special Operations Executive,” pp. 7-21 and David Stafford, “Churchill and SOE,” pp. 47-60; both in Seaman, Special Operations. A thumbnail sketch of some of the problems encountered within the British bureaucracy can be read in Andrew Roberts" “Introduction” to Garnett; for the dreary detail Garnett"s wonderful text will more than do (see pp. 35-40 and 68-73 in particular). There is a succinct review on the web:

5 Which would include amongst others EAM/ELAS, EDES. SOE/MO4, PWE, and OSS, as well as the FO, the British military, and the PM.

6 In full: 5/42 Regiment of Evzones, the military wing of Psarros" EKKA which was formed in early 1943 and disbanded three times by ELAS, for good in April, 1944.

7 Pages 38 and 48; note the slight but significant shift in perspective. Rigopoulos himself is a paradigmatic example: a non-monarchist, republican center private person who had moved into the monarchist right by the end of the war.

8 See Rigopoulos, p. 172, etc. I cite Rigopoulos in summary for copyright reasons.

Page 3: SOE in Greece

Greece during the occupation. This circumstance cannot be ignored. Since I am not concerned with the monarchist account and only tangentially those of ELAS/EAM and the non-monarchist right, I will refer to them as required. This essay is about what I perceive to be the standard history of the events of the Axis occupation of Greece in Western Europe and America, which is that of the British.! I begin with George II"s unconstitutional act of 19369 and end pretty much with the Dekemvriana of 1944. Since I no longer have access to a scholarly library, I will be working with books in English which I own or have been able to acquire. I deplore this deficiency, but there is not much I can do about it. In addition Modern Greek history has always taken a back seat to Ancient, as any student of that country knows-- there"s a reason why we add “medieval” and “modern” when we talk about post-classical Greece ; moreover, only very recently have contemporary Greek scholars been able (or, perhaps, willing) to undertake the study of this period with a minimum of parti pris. My understanding is that there has been a !"#$%& '&()* of recent work on the 1940s that has been prompted by and brought to light much new material that exists in spite of the notorious state of affairs in the National Archives and the seemingly unending destruction of documents (see infra, n. 57). In addition HMG has released to the PRO (now renamed the National Archives) a mass of papers relating to SOE and its activities during the war years in Greece. These do not include all extant SOE archives, however, and, strangely, there has apparently been some censorship even now. ! In 1936 king George II of Greece prorogued the Assembly and handed effective power to Ioannis Metaxas, a very good staff officer during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 who was trained in Berlin (where he was known as the Young Moltke), who stayed out of the 1919-1922 Greek invasion of Asia Minor (the “Katastrophi”), and who pretty much retired after that fiasco, only heading up a minor right-wing monarchist party in the early 1930s. What caused the king to act unconstitutionally was the result of the January 26,1936 elections, in which a virtual tie between the Monarchist Right and the Republican (Venezilist) Left left the balance of power to the Communists (KKE; a.k.a. Popular Front) who received 15 seats.10 Metaxas was granted dictatorial powers by the king"s suspension of several articles of the constitution and by his being permitted to rule by decree (with the king and the army behind him); until his death he was the Greek government.11 His appointment presented all Greeks with an insoluble problem. If you were a monarchist, you couldn"t go along with a dictator who, though he might rule with the king"s support, was still a living defiance of the principles of a constitutional

9 “King George"s decision to suspend Parliament in 1936 had clearly been unconstitutional.” Mazower, p. 98.

10 For the numbers, see Hondros, pp.16-17.

11 “The establishment of the dictatorship lay not in the threat of communism but in the King"s and Metaxas" rejection of parliamentary government and in the disruptive consequence of returning any republican officers to the army.” Hondros, p. 22; Hondros" analysis pulls no punches and is by far the best short description of the Metaxas take-over I have read. See the brief but incisive discussion of Mazower, Balkans, pp. 129-130, which encompasses all of Southeastern Europe

Page 4: SOE in Greece

monarchy; if you were a Republican, you couldn"t support either the king or Metaxas. What happened could be predicted: the schism in Greek society which had existed since before WWI between the monarchists and republicans was both exacerbated and confused and ultimately transformed into something much more lethal than any previously experienced.! Metaxas was an anti-communist au point de la lettre. He saw communists everywhere, and his Internal Security man, Konstantinos Maniadakis, was right in there with him. Metaxas created a regime which was not actually fascist but had many of the trappings of the fascist state12; in Maniadakis he found the right man to suppress dissent wherever it popped up, especially such that might be attributable to the dreaded Bolshevik13 . The consequence was that the KKE as a viable political organization was destroyed; but it went underground and survived in a way-- cells were independent so that the destruction of one was not necessarily fatal to another. Moreover members of the KKE, real or imaginary, were incarcerated in the same prisons as other #miscreants"; thus the prisons themselves became notorious recruiting and training grounds for the KKE14. A slender, but shall we say meaner KKE was preserved. Metaxas and his

12 Fascism is a political and social phenomenon far too large and difficult a subject. A recent study is Mabel Berezin, Making the Fascist Self. The Political Culture of Interwar Italy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell U.P., 1997), in particular her first chapter, “Interpreting Fascism/Explaining Ritual” in which she discusses (amongst other aspects of the problem) #generic" as opposed to #national" fascism, an important distinction often neglected. Indirectly she has a good deal to say about Metaxas" Greece. Hondros" discussion, pp. 23-24, homes in on the revolutionary side of fascism and its middle class roots but fails to note the essential connection between the fascist state and large business corporations which was crucial for the political success of fascism in Italy and Germany. In Greece, the labor unrest, in some cases violent, that preceded the August 4th regime played a critical role in the political solution of the king and Metaxas. The problem then faced by both was their utter lack of popular support and a political base as well as at best a muddled, inconsistent idea of what they should do.

13 ”...the undesirable effect on British opinion of M. [i.e. Constantine] Maniadakis, the #Himmler" of Greece.” Michael Paliret, February 1940; cited by Barker, p. 96.

14 See P. Voglis in Carabott and Sfikas pp. 151-155, who, though he describes a later period, might as well be talking about the Metaxas era. Smith (p. 232) quotes a retired Greek colonel as saying after the war: “Prisoners go in as ordinary people and come out as Communists.” He doesn"t give the source for this bon mot, but then there are no notes at all in his book.

Page 5: SOE in Greece

regime15 and the man who caused it to come into being, the king16, were scorned if not hated by the Greek people. ! Metaxas, however, had his one moment of greatness. When presented with an ultimatum from Mussolini on 28 October, 1940 which, had he accepted it, would have made Greece an appendage of Italy, Metaxas at 3AM that morning said Ochi, No. He became an overnight hero, much to his delight17. The Italian army invaded Greece from Albania. The Greek army, poorly equipped and trained, defeated the Italians and pushed them back into Albania, whereupon the Greeks were stymied for the winter around Vlorë, which the Italians were able to hold and resupply. In this unexpected victory very few of the Republican officers who had been cashiered by Metaxas and the king were permitted to fight; nor were communists, leftists, union organizers and anybody else who ran afoul of Maniadakis and his police. Hitler was apparently (in private rather than in public) furious at Mussolini, especially as he recognized that he was going to have to save his ally"s skin. In the meanwhile Metaxas had suddenly died18, and Greece was left without an effective leader: the king was hopeless and despised, army officers were suspect and parliament discouraged and floundering. Metaxas had assiduously refused to give leave to the British to bring in significant

15 Some historians use the phrase “were indifferent to” with respect to Metaxas, but those are weasel words: “...although all the evidence examined reveals that Metaxas was an unpopular leader, more evidence coming from the same sources suggests that contrary to his unpopular image, the public reaction was one of passive tolerance and general apathy.”, Petrakis, p. 189. Greek indifference amounts to contempt and hatred.

16 “...the King"s unpopularity with the majority of his subjects...”, Smith, p. 117, an understatement to say the least. Hondros, pp. 22-23, supplies some very revealing statements from the king regarding Greece and the Greeks. See George Taylor"s long comment in Auty and Clogg, pp. 261-263; “I think it fair to say, as a sort of summary conclusion, that this information built up a picture which showed that in the total field of resistance in Greece, in the mountains and in Athens and other cities, there was an absolutely unanimous attitude of hostility and distrust of the Royal Hellenic Government and of the King. It was quite unmistakable.” (p. 262)

17 “It was at this time that Metaxas achieved his life"s dream and was able to overcome his past insecurities and become a beloved leader and an accepted politician. The feelings of his people towards him in the final months of his life are reflected in his lament: #They accused me, exiled me, sentenced me to death (in absentia incidentally) but finally even for me there came in my seventieth year the moment of recognition." ” Petrakis, p. 197; the direct quotation is cited from Vatikiotis, Panagiotis, Popular Autocracy in Greece 1936-1941, A Political Biography of General Ioannis Metaxas, the Metaxas Dictatorship. ELIAMEP-Vryonis Center, Athens, 1993, p. 203. Woodhouse"s #obituary" in Apple, p. 9 is nicely phrased and dead accurate.

18 It is astonishing how many of the old-line Greek politicians died between 1935 and 1945, thus potentially at least leaving the country to younger men; Papandreou was a real dinosaur when he returned to Greece in 1944, and yet he lasted twenty years longer; George himself died on 1 April 1947.

Page 6: SOE in Greece

military support, both men and materiel, on the grounds that such permission would give Hitler an excuse to move against Greece. He and his fellow countrymen felt confident fighting the Italians but the Germans were a different matter19. His successor, Alexander Koryzis, (who actually took Metaxas" place as dictator because Metaxas" mandate had not been cancelled by George upon the dictator"s death) had no such scruples if only because it was clear in January of 1941, at the time of Metaxas" death, that the Germans were going to have to come in or possibly see the Italians thrown out of Albania20. Yet even so General Alexandros Papagos and king George were hesitant to grant the RAF use of Greek airfields, even for bombing Rumania (see Berker, p.43). The British finally did respond to a Greek appeal and sent in about 50,000 men21, some equipment and a few airplanes. But the Germans moved too quickly and with professional tactical assurance. The invasion of Greece started at the beginning of April and was over during the third week; Crete was taken shortly afterwards22.! The Germans dictated the terms of the occupation. Italy, scorned by the Greeks, was given control of the country outside the Piraeus, Macedonia, the Turkish border area, and a few of the Aegean Islands and most of Crete, all of which were to be under the Germans; the Bulgarians were given Thrace and eastern Macedonia to rape23. The king, his entourage, and many officers were evacuated first to Crete, then to Cairo, and thence they were sent to South Africa, and finally to London. George left his country in the lurch, having given no instructions to anybody about resistance or indeed anything

19 At the onset of the Italian invasion of Greece Metaxas asked for help from the British in supplies and material, in particular air support. A very modest contribution of two Blenheim squadrons was sent in November, and not much more. Barker (p. 100) quotes Lord Halifax: “...the difficulty was to find a way of heartening the Greeks without disclosing our weakness in the Middle East.” And when Archibald Wavell went to Athens in January, 1941 to offer a modest contribution of men, Metaxas made no bones about his needs: it would take nine British divisions to beat back an invasion by the Germans. Metaxas refused anything less than that. (See Barker, p. 101-102.)

20 See Mazower, pp. 15-16; Hondros, pp. 48-50. 102)

21 Mostly Anzacs-- Churchill seemed to have specialized in killing them .

22 For the invasion of Greece , the campaign that followed, the capitulation, the battle for Crete, and subjects related to them, any one of the standard histories of Modern Greece should suffice. For the British side, see Smith, pp. 39-67. The main bones of contention do not engage attention in this essay, in particular the contribution of king George which Barker finds perhaps significant (p. 103)

23 See the fine contribution of Xanthippi Kotzageorgi-Zymari (with Tassos Hadjianastassiou), “Memories of the Bulgarian Occupation of Eastern Macedonia: Three Generations”, in Mazower, After, pp. 273-192.

Page 7: SOE in Greece

else and leaving no “legitimate” government intact24. An early act of the Germans, oddly enough, was to free many of the political prisoners held by the Metaxas regime; Nikos Zachariades, however, the first secretary of the KKE was sent to Dachau where he spent the entire war. Many freed KKE members claimed Bulgarian citizenship and were supported by the Bulgarian government-- hence their release. The Germans, for their part, were trying to pin the disaster that befell Greece on Metaxas, the king, and their policies. The freed communists for the most part immediately headed for the mountains and/or went into hiding. Far more quickly than could be imagined, they founded and organized a political organization (EAM) and, later, a resistance army (ELAS). These men were well trained, tough, and resourceful25. The KKE as a body was at that time Stalinist to the core; fissures in its politics only arose much later.! As the occupation settled in resistance became evident. The British had been Greece"s sole ally (after the fall of France) and vice-versa. The English had a long-standing “friendship” with Greece that was really that of a master-client, and it soon became evident that England would do all it could to assure itself of the continuation of this fealty after the war. Moreover Churchill, when he became PM, took a particular interest in Greece and especially in the restoration of the king, and he communicated such to the Foreign Office which was inhabited de natura by men of a like mind. But Churchill had also caused to be created the Special Operations Executive (SOE) which he instructed to set Europe ablaze (famous phrase); this organization was to have minimal direct operational contact with any other, military or civilian, government office26. Greece and Turkey were originally regarded as Mediterranean countries and not part of Southeastern Europe (See Barker, p. 6) by HMG, but eventually these became part of the Near Eastern desk and headquartered in Cairo, along with the rest of Southeastern Europe. Soon thereafter the king and his fellow refugees were sent to Cairo. So Cairo became the cockpit (or cesspool) of the Greek resistance. Or so the British thought.! Early efforts at organizing a Greek resistance by the British were, to be blunt, pathetic, and in one outstanding case actually so disastrous that the result was the break-up of the entire existing network in Athens and environs27. The first group of British operatives to go into Greece was code named #Harling", and its objective was to blow up one of the three single track railroad bridges in Central Greece that connected

24 See Mazower, Chapter 8; “with almost no encouraging news from abroad, what Theotokas called the #grim ugliness of foreign subjection" seemed to have subdued the Greeks. They were leaderless and confused, neither King George in exile nor Tsolakoglou offering anything to rally round.” p. 89.

25 See Woodhouse, Struggle, pp. 17-20. On the rise of EAM see Mazower, Chapter 9, which details the collapse of the traditional political parties in the face of the defeat and occupation.

26 For the story of the founding of SOE, see supra, note 3.

27 On the Atkinson-Grammatikakis operation, see Gerolymatos, pp. 222-228; it was this debacle that forced Kanellopoulos to decamp to the Near East. See too Bickham Sweet-Escott in Auty and Clogg, p. 18.

Page 8: SOE in Greece

Thessalonike with Piraeus and helped to supply Hitler"s Afrika Korps. At the time it was sent in the British were reeling back towards Cairo-- people were burning papers right and left, including the early records of SOE-- and their army needed all the help it could get. In the event the group successfully blew the Gorgopotamos Bridge in late November, three weeks too late to help Montgomery who had already won at El Alamein. The original plan called for everybody in the unit to be evacuated by submarine from the west coast of Central Greece except for C.M. Woodhouse and a radio man who were to stay behind and remain with a not so amiable rascal named Napoleon Zervas who supposedly had collected together an #army" in western Greece and was the leader of a movement with the acronym EDES28. The British had heard of it and figured it might be made into a pro-monarchy national movement, but this was pure moonshine. Zervas was a petty dictator who could never delegate authority; moreover, his republican credentials were very suspect, but he was at that time not about to come out in support of the king. In fact at no time during the occupation was there any resistance organization anywhere in Greece that fought openly for the monarchy29. ! The story of the #Harling" operation in Greece is to say the least peculiar30 . It took over five weeks for the men who first parachuted in to find themselves and their Greek allies (or enough of them to pull the mission off); the reason: they had been dropped at the wrong place. As it turned out, however, Woodhouse walked across Greece in early winter, by himself, hunting for Zervas (who of course had waited at the correct drop point). He found him and brought him back with some of his men. In the meanwhile Aris

28 No good biography of Zervas exists in English; the history of EDES itself is completely tied up with the resistance-- it did not survive the war for long-- and is covered by any number of books on that subject. There is a good summary of EDES and its leader in Hondros, pp. 104-107. Livanios (p. 148), in his brief discussion of the formation of a JGHQ in Greece, describes Zervas as “a right-wing guerilla leader”, a phrase that carries a little too much baggage for my taste

29 I am cognizant of the existence of non-Republican/leftist resistance groups in Athens as well as the #Six Colonels" and the mission of Ioannis Tsigantes; Hondros, p. 103f. These groups did not fight openly for the king. Hondros" statement (p. 101) stands: “The most effective internal political, social and economic force emerged in the form of an anti-monarchist resistance which seized the initiative in Greek affairs by the early months of 1943.”

30 Condit provides a good, concise overview of this mission, pp. 29-32; Myers" book is fullest and most detailed account of all.

Page 9: SOE in Greece

Velouchiotis31 of the then nascent ELAS had found the remaining British and with them joined the main #Harling" group. When Aris and Zervas met chez les British polity was the order of the day; but they hated and mistrusted each other, and for good reason. Aris was a five star thug. He was also one of the founders of ELAS. There"s a contemporary drive afoot in Greece to make him a great hero of the war; he was hardly that, especially after 1943. After the success of Gorgopotamos, Aris went his way, and Zervas and the British went theirs. The success, however, caused Cairo to think again about the Greek resistance, and after a harrowing hike across Greece to the Ionian Sea, the leader of the group, Eddie Myers, and his miserable men on St. Stephen"s Day while freezing in hiding along the west coast, found out that Cairo had ordered the lot of them to remain in Greece and form a British Liaison Group (BLG). Myers was Jewish (mentioned only once in my reading-- see Endnote, infra-- but not unimportant when dealing with the mandarins of the FO and the British Army) and his chances of surviving the tender mercies of the Gestapo were slim, a trained engineer and no politician; he was put in an impossible position since not only did he not speak Greek but he also had had no briefing at all on the then-existing political situation in Greece, even though SOE and the FO knew quite a lot about EAM/ELAS and EDES. So here these British SOE operatives were, surrounded by hostile Italians and Germans in the midst of a bunch of slippery characters right out of the grand 18th/19th century tradition of the Greek bands that robbed, raped, destroyed, and and played fast and loose with their loyalties32. Under the circumstances Myers did a brilliant job33.

31 There is a good deal of #information" about Aris to be found on the web-- YouTube for instance-- and in print. See Hamson, pp. 98-99 (It is indicative of the depth and range of misinformation in E. D. Smith"s book that Hamson"s name is misspelt throughout as #Hanson".) ; Myers, pp. 71-73; Hammond, p. 126; and Woodhouse Struggle, pp. 3-6. All these are British eye-witnesses and refer to him repeatedly, of course. Mazower, pp. 125-125; Hondros, pp. 133-134; Gerolymatos, pp. 209-210 with note 99. These are all modern assessments. For Aris" end, see Woodhouse, Struggle, pp. 140-141; the actual circumstances of his death are unclear. (Smith"s account, pp. 233-234, is the standard vague report.)

32 Koliopoulos, passim, and read with an eye towards the resistance and compare Mazower, p. 129 and ibid., Balkans, pp. 107-108. Compare S.W. Bailey"s comments on the difference between Tito"s Partisans and Mihailovi$"s Chetniks in Auty and Clogg, p.64 (in his “British Policy Towards General Dra%a Mihailovi$”).

33 See Mazower, Chapter 13, one of the sanest and most consistent analyses of Myers" achievement I have found, brief but compelling. Woodhouse, who clearly respected Myers as a person and an officer, stood by him and later, as an example, in “EAM and the British Connection” (Iatrides, p. 101) commented: “What was inexcusable was that they [i.e. the FO] vented their indignation on Myers personally.” Later in this paragraph he uses the word “vendetta.”

Page 10: SOE in Greece

! The crunch came quickly34. It became very clear that few Greeks would give any trust to anybody who was perceived to support the monarchy. Outside of Athens, soon enough fear of ELAS (present almost from the very beginning, if only because of such armed personnel as Aris) was matched by fear of the Italians, Germans and later in the war the Security Battalions and the #X" [i.e. chi] organization. When not under attack by the Axis or, in late 1943 and 1944, the Right, villages and towns beyond its control would be taken over by ELAS and its governmental structure imposed. These local administrations were very often respected and endured. In fact, by the end of 1943 much of non-urban Greece (most of the country) was controlled in some way by EAM/ELAS and supported the resistance. Myers had long before faced up to this fact and did his damnedest to put its reality across to his bosses, namely SOE Cairo, Baker Street and a fortiori the FO (even Smith admits as much, p. 107). None would listen willingly to the truth, although SOE (conscious that there was war going on) did inconsistently and grudgingly give some support to EAM/ELAS. Myers had no doubt that the KKE controlled EAM and through it ELAS, but he wanted to kill Germans and Italians and not worry about the far off future-- and in 1942 and much of 1943 the future was a long way off35. The central person with respect to what happened in Greece is Woodhouse who turns out to be a very cagey character in his own right. The FO became so angry with SOE and with Myers36, who was working with ELAS as an (albeit difficult) ally, that it arranged to have David Wallace dropped into Greece (in mid 1943) to become Myers" “political advisor” (a.k.a. commissar; see Myers in Auty and Clogg, p. 268) and to report on the situation there. Wallace apparently reported (twice) that Myers was right in his analysis of the actual circumstances of the Greek resistance: nothing could be done without ELAS, which by this time (mid 1943) virtually controlled the interior of Greece. But a strange thing happened when Wallace returned to Cairo; he

34 I now enter the most difficult part of this essay. I have tried to incorporate as much detail in this account as I can, but inevitably some will be omitted.

35 The Greeks knew at least locally who had the power: see e.g. Mazower, 133

36 Clogg (Anglo-Greek Attitudes, p. 83): “What is rather surprising is the extent to which the documents reveal the depth of the bitterness, already known from other sources, felt by the Foreign Office for SOE, as presumably those of SOE, if they were made available, would reveal similar attitudes on the part of SOE towards the Foreign Office/ There are innumerable references to the #ramps" being perpetrated by SOE, to telegrams from SOE being #Pearls from Swine", to SOE"s inevitable preference for the #cranky and unorthodox", to the purported lack of political finesse of their operatives. Leeper, for instance, described Brigadier Myers as #a complete disaster", #a very dangerous fool", and a #fanatic #with a very strong streak of megalomania", while he found General Gubbins to be #a very difficult man." For more on Leeper see next note. Barker calls attention to the unfortunate position of SOE in relation to the FO and the Military, a sort of unwanted step-daughter, p. 149-150 and 165. I guess it is only fair to point out that Churchill once called Giorgios Papandreou an “old fool” (Barker p. 169); proximity to Hellenic matters can bring out the worst in anybody.

Page 11: SOE in Greece

changed his mind after talking with Reginald Leeper37 , the British Ambassador to the Greek government in Cairo (i.e. the king). Wallace, by the way, was embarrassed about the whole thing38, but unfortunately he was killed later in the war in Western Greece so his version of these events cannot be recovered39. In August, 1943 Myers came out of Greece to Cairo with some of the principal leaders of the resistance, including KKE members representing EAM/ELAS. Though the FO and SOE wanted this famous pow-wow (#the Cairo Conference") to be about military matters only, they failed to pull it off. The only issue was the king. The Cairo meeting was an unmitigated disaster, and the resistance people were insulted40. Myers himself was shipped off to England where he was reassigned and did not return to Greece for the duration of the war. Woodhouse took over from Myers. Relations between the British and the Greek resistance, now virtually ELAS, remained rocky to say the least. The Greeks (and the Americans in OSS) thought, quite rightly in my view, that the British, pushed by Churchill and the FO,

37I wish I could say something really positive about Leeper. As all modern commentators note, it was he who really went after Myers from the time of the Cairo conference in August, 1943 until he finally managed to get rid of him (with a little help from the FO) later that year. He was also behind the Wallace mission which turned out to be a hatchet job on Myers (in spite of all of Wallace"s words to the contrary) and which resulted in the ascendancy of Woodhouse coupled with the taming of SOE. This part of the story has a rancid smell about it; see Hondros, pp. 167-168; Clogg, Anglo-Greek Attitudes, Chapter 5. There is a fascinating exchange of thoughts about Leeper in Auty and Clogg, pp. 259-279.

38 “On no occasion did he [i.e. Wallace] indicate to me that he had been brainwashed in the way that Leeper"s account suggests. But he was a very embarrassed man in my company when talking about subjects which we had previously agreed. I would put a more generous interpretation on it, as has been suggested by Woodhouse just now, that he was torn between two loyalties, one to me, who had been his temporary commander in the mountains, and secondly to his actual bosses in Cairo. When Leeper changed his mind Wallace was placed in a very invidious position as regards me.” (Myers in Auty and Clogg, pp. 270-271)

39 The document usually reprinted is his version dated and signed Cairo, 29 August 1943. There is a complete text available in Clogg, Greece 1940-1949, pp. 118-152. Pages xxx-xxxiv in Baerenzen, British Reports, comprises a brief overview of Wallace"s army life and of his unfortunate death in action. See Clogg"s discussion: “The Foreign Office...” in Anglo-Greek Attitudes, especially pp. 86-99.

40 A lot of controversy surrounds this meeting, most of which was caused by Leeper. See the detailed, sober account of Clogg, “The Foreign Office, SOE, and the Greek Resistance,” in Anglo-Greek Attitudes, pp. 90-100, with references. There is also a good account in Hondros, pp. 163-169. See too: Myers, Chapter 16, far more decent and generous than is perhaps required under the circumstances (as is his account in Auty and Clogg, “The Andarte Delegation to Cairo: August 1943,” pp. 147-166; see n. 33 supra) and the magisterial review of the whole debacle by Woodhouse, “Summer 1943: The Critical Months,” in Auty and Clogg, pp. 119-146.

Page 12: SOE in Greece

were going to force the king on Greece after the war. But the British were supplying much of the resistance with material and money. So ELAS and its leaders were restrained, so to speak, at least until the Italians dropped out of the war. At that time EAM/ELAS got most of their equipment and supplies, by hook and by crook, and this fortuitous bounty gave it a good deal of freedom41-- but not enough to operate without A lot of controversy surrounds this meeting, most of which was caused by Leeper,42 the support of the AMM and the BLOs who still held the purse strings and had the contacts outside Greece. Until the very end, in fact, EAM/ELAS sought to maintain ties with the Allies in some way while retaining its freedom of action. That this is true EAM/ELAS demonstrated later during the Dekemvriana when it restrained its fighters for as long as possible from shooting at British troops. ! The king was a man of limited intellect and very stubborn43. He wanted back. He refused any kind of compromise until late December, 1944 when Churchill met for the first time and finally agreed to install Archbishop Damaskinos as Regent and verbally forced the king to accept a fait accompli. When Zervas at long last showed his true colors and came out in favor of the king (and lost support in Greece and among the Greek soldiers in the Near East), George was the more convinced of his position44. The

41 On the Italian surrender see Mazower, Chapter 14; Myers, pp. 266-268; Woodhouse in Auty and Clogg, pp. 245-246.

42 See the detailed and sober account by Clogg, “The Foreign Office, SOE, and the Greek Resistance,” in Anglo-Greek Attitudes, pp. 90-100, with references. There is also a good account in Hondros, pp. 163-169. See too: Myers, Chapter 16, far more decent and generous than is perhaps required under the circumstances (as is his account in Auty and Clogg, “The Andarte Delegation to Cairo: August 1943,” pp. 147-166; see n. 33 supra) and the magisterial review of the whole debacle by Woodhouse, “Summer 1943: The Critical Months,” in Auty and Clogg, pp. 119-146.

43 Everybody who has written on this period has an opinion of George II. Two British documents are printed by Clogg, Greece, pp. 159-162-- both positive, of course-- Mazower, p. 98; Hondros, Chapter 1 and passim. Woodhouse, Struggle, p. 73, partially quotes the king"s statement of 8 November 1943: “...when the desired moment of liberation of our country comes, I will examine afresh the question of the date of my return to Greece, in agreement with the Government, in the light of the prevailing political and military conditions.” The phrase “in agreement with the Government” was added by Tsouderos; take it away and the real meaning of the statement is clear. Barker devotes some space to the king"s character and cites the British Minister of State in Cairo as writing of the king"s “intense blindness which one might suppose to have been an inheritance from the Stuart family.” (p. 155)

44 On this volte-face by Zervas see Woodhouse, Struggle, pp. 37-38, Clogg, Anglo-Greek Attitudes, p. 85; Hondros, pp. 135-136.

Page 13: SOE in Greece

FO, SOE, and the rest of the British were also delighted45. George"s brother, Paul, and Paul"s wife Frederika (a grand-daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm and a former member of a Nazi Bund) were both prominent in the rallies and meetings of Metaxas" various social action and athletic groups (some of which actually did good), as were two of their children, Irini and Konstantinos46. The whole lot of them were compromised and bigoted, and many Greeks, Americans and British knew it. The king in fact had missed his one great chance at national reconciliation when, after Metaxas" death, he failed to bring the country together or to leave it with dignity. But the FO plugged on, railing at the communists, claiming that good old Uncle Joe was behind ELAS/EAM, and finally that the only government fit for Greeks was a constitutional monarchy47. The Greeks required a Constitutional Monarchy to govern themselves but the Albanians and Yugoslavs did not? George had long ago in 1936 made a mockery of the very idea of a #constitutional" monarchy, and in fact had only restored the flawed and superseded constitution of 1912 in February, 1942, and then only under pressure. The constitutional question is complex but so integrated into the actual events of the resistance that it is

45 Myers devotes a chapter (12) to the formation of the #National Bands", pp. 187-201, the negotiations for which may be called Byzantine. On the reaction of the Whitehall mandarins to Zervas" letter to the king, see amongst others Clogg, Anglo-Greek Attitudes, pp. 86-87.

46 The subtitle to Petrakis" book is “Dictatorship and Propaganda in Greece,” and her references to the participation of George"s brother"s family are passim.

47 “Information concerning deliberations between the Balkan communist parties [i.e. in 1944-1945] was scanty and fragmentary, leaving the impression that Balkan communism should be treated as a monolithic world with no internal strife and conflict. Such a view led to another received wisdom: that every Balkan initiative was instigated by Stalin, who, in turn, seemed to entertain predatory aspirations regarding an outlet to #warm waters". As a result a bleak prospect haunted the Foreign Office: Slavdom, with its headquarters in Moscow, had been concocting the destruction of Greece, posing a grave danger to British communications in the eastern Mediterranean basin.” So Livanios (p. 173) sums up the the view of Southeastern Europe from Whitehall. It seems dead accurate. Pierson Dixon (of the Southern Department) wrote to Henry Hopkinson 9 September 1942 (draft letter, cited by Clogg, Anglo-Greek Attitudes, pp. 157-158): “There is no question of imposing the King on the Greek people by British bayonets. At the same time, we owe the King a great deal for holding the nation together at the time of the German attack, and it would probably suit British interests best that he should return to his throne after the war. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that a liberal constitutional monarchy is the regime which best suits the modern Greeks and that the peculiar demagogic Greek temperament is not ideal for democracy in its most advanced form.” I see no reason to dilate upon the extraordinary number of presuppositions and misapprehensions that this most patronizing of statements contains and in such an abbreviated text no less. On this issue see Barker, p. 10, whose long parenthetical paragraph provides a succinct summary of British and Churchillian thinking on the (non)restoration of pre-war monarchies.

Page 14: SOE in Greece

impossible to separate it out and treat it as a subject in itself. Perhaps no other single fact brings into focus the disintegration and consequent viciousness of the long-standing political schism between Republicans and Monarchists48. As for George himself Churchill was adamant on his return as the #legitimate" ruler of Greece49. In this Woodhouse was the key man as far as the FO was concerned, I believe. So came about the Civil War that every independent observer and most British in Greece predicted if the king returned -- in fact there were three of them, the bloodiest and longest of which was the last and began not only after king George II had returned but was dead. ! Richard Clogg, the current British doyen of Modern Greek studies, wrote in his Introduction to a new edition of Woodhouse"s The Struggle for Greece 1941-1949 (2002) “It is difficult to conceive of circumstances arising in the future in which a non-Greek would ever play such a critical role in Greek affairs as C.M. Woodhouse did between 1942 and 1944. Not only did he help to shape the history of Greece at one of the most critical junctures in its independent history, but he also made a major contribution to the historiography of the country.”(p. xxiv) So who was he? Some years ago I read his autobiography, Something Ventured, and what a curious document that is. There are, I believe, no more than a half dozen mentions of his father and three of his mother; life, as he tells it, only began for him in Oxford, and really only after the beginning of the war. But after the war, when he decided to go into politics, he gives himself away: he found he had to choose between the Conservatives and Labour. Here"s what he says: “The guiding light for Conservatives was freedom, while for the Labour Party it was compassion. Freedom proved a sounder basis in practice, for compassion could easily lead to dictatorial socialism...” (Something Ventured, p. 138)The tension in his position arises when these sympathies are placed against his statements respecting his activities in Greece while with SOE. Woodhouse"s perception

48For a right-wing view, see Rigopoulos, p. 172ff

49#Legitimate is a favorite word of the monarchists: see, e.g. Rigopoulos, p. 48, Gerolymatos, p. 161: “The underlying factor influencing British foreign policy was that the Greek monarchy represented legitimacy”; a variant, #lawfully constituted", Smith p. 255, alii alia. Churchill could be very reasonable on the subject-- see Gerolymatos, p. 161-- but there"s no doubt whatsoever that his heart and mind were with the king: see ibid., p. 165: “...SOE should always veer in the direction of groups willing to support the King and Government and furthermore impress on such other groups as may be anti-monarchical the fact that the King and the Government enjoys the fullest support of HMG Government.” (Churchill to SOE, April, 1943) See below , note 41 on Albania. E.D. Smith has produced the worst and most dangerous book on this period in my experience. I cannot take the time here to document its travesties of fact and its defamation of person and character (EAM/ELAS men under Aris are “...hunting down policemen and members of the Security Battalions, the so-called traitors...”) Throughout his book it is taken for granted that the Royal Hellenic Government is the only legitimate government in Greece; in believing this Smith fails completely to understand and consequently falsifies the political situation in Greece during the occupation and its aftermath.

Page 15: SOE in Greece

of his status in Greece by Greeks was: “Every left-wing Greek #knew for a fact" that I had been sent to Greece in 1942 not to organize resistance but to undermine the #people"s struggle" of EAM as an agent of British imperialism, which meant the Foreign Office, the Intelligence Service and the City.” (Something Ventured, p. 137) This is both overstatement and understatement, and I hope to make that clear. Woodhouse claimed later that: “I had flattered myself that Myers and I between us were on the right course to avert a civil was in Greece, until the Foreign Office wrecked our progress by insisting that SOE should sack Myers.” (Something Ventured, p. 101) This is a possible scenario, but since Woodhouse took over from Myers there"s a slight (but obvious) problem that cannot be ignored.! Woodhouse landed on the side of a mountain in central Greece on a cold, wet night; he immediately conversed with a shepherd, organized and hid himself and those others who turned up or whom he found. Shortly thereafter he walked across occupied Greece alone. In Cairo he had spoken to Panaghiotis Kanellopoulos, a prominent Greek politician (who had just barely escaped from Greece, see n. 21, and who opposed the king), before he left for Greece. He claims that he knew nothing about the Greek political scene when he hit the soil of Greece, and though it is certain that the other members of the #Harling" mission were utterly ignorant of Greek politics, it is not altogether clear to me what he spoke to Kanellopoulos about if not that. Moreover, Woodhouse was a junior officer at the time. How is it he could contrive to speak with a bigwig like Kanellopoulos, even in the more casual world of Cairo?50 Moreover, as far as I can ascertain Kanellopoulos was not fluent in English, so they had to communicate in Greek. Even after the war he and Kanellopoulos communicated in Greek, or so it would appear (Something Ventured, p. 174) Nowhere in his putative autobiography is there any indication of any connection with Greece prior to WWII (a Battle of Navarino stamp?, Something Ventured, p.174). Americans and Greeks in Greece practically to a man believed that he had personal interests in Greece51; logically his Greek had been learnt young. Whatever else sessions in Oxford with a tutor in modern Greek for a year were not going to teach him enough to communicate freely and easily with a Greek shepherd on a mountainside in the middle of a freezing night in occupied Greece.

50. Rigopoulos describes “breaches of hierarchical formality” among the members of the Greek community in exile in Cairo (p. 170) that allowed him to meet with Tsouderos so easily. But the Woodhouse-Kanellopoulos-Pirie meeting is quite a different matter; and the formalities of hierarchy were never dispensed with by the British in Egypt or anywhere else.

51Gerolymatos discusses his meeting with Kanellopoulos and makes some of these points, p. 145; he notes too that Ian Pirie, then head of the Greek section of SOE, was also present. (Pirie was recalled by Lord Selborne in late 1942 on the grounds that he was anti-monarchist; see Barker, p. 156.) See the letter of R.L. Wolff to W.L. Langer in Clogg, Greece 1940-1949, pp. 177-178. The statement “His [i.e. Woodhouse"s] family is said to possess large interests in Greece.” is flatly denied by Clogg (note 7, ad loc.) and Woodhouse.

Page 16: SOE in Greece

Woodhouse is an enigma. He was acknowledged by the members of #Harling" to be the resident political expert, but you wouldn"t know it from him52.! I feel certain that the Greeks in the resistance or just living in Greece during the war and the Americans were right. From the beginning the British intended to bring back the king and his government53. Once the resistance became directly associated with the KKE everything was done to undermine EAM/ELAS just short of outright rejection. When in 1944 EAM/ELAS set up a government, PEEA, in northern Greece, the monarchy and the #government" in Cairo (not to mention the FO and SOE) became apoplectic and tried in every way to discredit it54. But EAM/ELAS had revolutionized the countryside. It had established courts, collected taxes, provided police, administered medical services, set up schools, and above all brought women and girls into every facet of governance and services. It was far from perfect, and all too often extremely brutal55, but it had fought the common enemy and done so bravely56. The transformation of ELAS into the National Democratic Army that fought the long civil war from 1946 to 1949 was an easy and logical result of the return of the king. The USA got to clean up after the British-- because it was so scared of Soviet communism.

52 “Now the messenger from the Athens [wireless] set arrived and conferred with Harry and Chris. Chris was the expert on Greek politics and certainly most able. On him fell all the more delicate tasks of diplomacy, and as politics were the mainstay of such Greek resistance as existed, he had a number of these tasks.” Hamson, p. 80, evidently written after their jump into Greece but before the blowing of the Gorgopotamos bridge.

53 There is a delicate analysis of British vocabulary to be found in R.L. Wolff"s abbreviated letter of 8 July 1944: see Clogg, Greece 1940-1949, p. 176. The nadir of British semantic sophistry is to be found in Smith"s book (see supra, n. 48).

54 One of the more interesting contemporary comments about PEEA on the British side can be found in Hammond, pp. 132-135 and 144-146. Hammond was a determined critic of EAM/ELAS, but his assessment of the creation of PEEA is very fair.

55 Stathis N. Kalyvas, in Mazower, After the War, published a long article, “Red Terror: Leftist Violence during the Occupation,” (pp. 142-183) which helps a great deal to understand the feelings of the Greek on the street towards EAM/ELAS and the OPLA organization. To the outsider, the intrusion of family feuds and of revenge in the battle against the German occupiers in the Argolid is very disturbing, but well-documented elsewhere in Greece and Albania. See also in the same volume Mazower"s “Three forms of political justice: Greece, 1944-1945.”

56 Unlike Tito"s Partisans, however, EAM/ELAS had not fought set battles involving large numbers of troops against the Germans. This point is briefly made by Seton-Watson in Auty and Clogg, p. 293 and can be verified by the record. Tempo"s (Svetozar Vukmanovi$) activities to galvanize the KKE into full-scale operations against the Germans later in the war put the Greeks in an impossible situation: the British were fully supporting Tito by that time while giving less and less to EAM/ELAS: Barker, p. 190. On the questions of Macedonians living in Greece and the tensions between EAM/ELAS and YCP see Barker, pp.197-103.

Page 17: SOE in Greece

! The irony is that Stalin was uninterested in Greece and the KKE. He had given up on the country during the war and remained very cool to any proposals from the KKE after the war, in particular refusing to send the Red Army into Greece in September, 1944 (and ever after keeping the KKE at arms length: see Livanios, p. 139) . Churchill and Stalin had carved up Southeastern Europe between themselves. The KKE was not told57. The KKE made one tactical error after another, most egregiously when it waffled on the creation of an independent Macedonian state58. In itself such a proposal

57 Barker, p. 139, cites a particularly direct statement Molotov made in April, 1943, in which he virtually comes right out and says that Russia has no interest in internal Greek affairs. See Woodhouse, Struggle, pp. 85-86, 92-93; Clogg, “The Greek Government in Exile,” in Anglo-Greek Attitudes, pp. 163-164. As Clogg points out not only was the KKE ignored but so was the Greek #government" and the king. Tito was not very happy either: see F. Maclean and F. Deakin, in Auty and Clogg, pp. 246-247. (Churchill"s sophistry about this #deal" is pathetic.) Interestingly, Mark Wheeler, in Seaman, p. 107, describes a British mission to Moscow in which something like a draft treaty (later signed but never observed) was negotiated with respect to resistance activities that included a geographical distribution of responsibilities bearing a startling resemblance to Churchill"s proposal. The #Percentages Agreement" turns up like a bad penny continuously in Part II of Livanios" book wherein the author makes very clear that except for Greece it was meaningless: “ seems plausible to suggest that Stalin did not consider Greece to fall within his sphere of influence, a fact clearly shown in the -- cynical but effective-- Percentages Agreement. In contrast to his Greek policy, Stalin"s Balkan objectives appeared to be much more obscure.” (p. 173) The suspicion arises that Churchill made this wholly cynical deal only to retain Britain"s hold on Greece after the war. Barker devotes a section of her book to this subject, pp. 140-147. On Britain"s Mediterranean strategy during 1943 and its consequences, see Barker, p. 125: the contrast between American and British policy towards Southeastern Europe is made most clear. British and European readers should remember that for Americans there was no “theater of war” in Southeastern Europe of any significance.

58 There are many sides to this question. For the Yugoslavs, see Woodhouse, Struggle, 159-161(also 66-68); for Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, pp. 188-189; for all the parties involved and Tito"s split with Moscow, pp. 252-254. I discuss Albania and Yugoslavia in Endnote 2, infra. See too Minehan, “What was the Problem in Greece?”, in Carabott and Sfikas, pp. 44-45 and p. 53. The document in which the KKE tried to dissociate itself from its own stated policy is reprinted in Clogg, Greece 1940-1949, p. 213 (dated 7 March 1949). Livanios" book takes up this question in detail, Chapters 5-7. For the British, the unwavering concern was for Greece (and Bulgaria) to retain their pre-war boundaries and to thwart at all costs a Pan-Slav union controlled by Tito"s Yugoslavia and incorporating all of the south Slavs, including #Macedonia" as well as any recognition of a Macedonian people: “In the preceding decades the Balkan specialists of the Central Department [i.e. of the FO] were of the view that the #Macedo-Slavs" had no national consciousness whatsoever. During the 1940s the Foreign Office continued to approach that question with extreme caution, mainly due to their anxiety to preserve the territorial integrity of Greece.” (Livanios, 9. 165)

Page 18: SOE in Greece

revealed the extreme schizophrenia of the KKE. It had always been strongest in Macedonia, especially amongst the tobacco workers (whence came many high-ranking KKE members), and since many of these people were Macedonian or Bulgarian and not ethnic Greek, the KKE found itself pulled between Greek nationalism and Macedonian irredentism. To square this circle proved impossible for the KKE, and every attempt to address it pulled it further into self-contradiction and disrepute59. In this debilitating confusion, the KKE was caught with its pants down when Tito broke with Stalin. Yet it dutifully continued to support Stalin, whereupon Tito closed the Yugoslav border to the Greeks. That act led to the end of the civil war, though in fact it had already been lost when the leader of the KKE Zachariades (who had returned to Greece after liberation) had ousted Markos Vaphiadis as general and decided to fight a regular war of set battles instead of a guerilla war that had been going on for years and was the only sort of war fightable by his men. The KKE was beaten on the field, but it had a lot of help behind the lines60.! Over the years I"ve come to mistrust the British in Southeastern Europe in general and Greece in particular; as for the Near East my lack of faith is almost complete. My father, a good leftist of the time, worked with UNRRA for most of WWII; he was in Greece in November, 1944 and subsequently evacuated after the Dekemvriana. His brownie black and white photographs, now lost, and his stories were horrific for me to see and hear. And he was scathing on the British military and political authorities. Yet, for most of my life I"ve accepted the British account of what happened in Greece during the 1940s; now I am absolutely convinced that I was wrong and my father and so many others right. I do not believe Greece would have been a better country or better off under the Communists of the KKE, but I do believe that there were other ways for the country to go. The absolute prerequisite, however, was not within the moral or ethical

59 There is a very precise notice in Barker (p. 163) in which she quotes Richard Casey, Minister of State in Cairo, in a telegram to Churchill wherein he asks for Churchill"s “personal views” on the situation in the Balkans. What makes her paragraph so piquant is the explicitness of his analysis of the British dilemma in Southeastern Europe. The KKE and the British had a not dissimilar problem. In her subsequent discussion (pp. 166-168) she recounts just how Eden posed this abnormal circumstance to Churchill.

60 Woodhouse in Struggle is at his best on the failure of the SU to offer any support to the KKE and EAM/ELAS, even after they were welded together as the National Democratic Army. See Struggle, pp. 284-289, but really passim. In fact, the SU for much of the war could offer the resistance in Yugoslavia, Albania, and Greece very little in the way of men and material. The arrival in Albania in August, 1944 of a Soviet mission (of two men, headed by a Major Ivanov)) was unexpected but well-received; but it embraced nothing other than words. See Bailey, pp. 285-286.

Page 19: SOE in Greece

reach of the British. Had the British junked the king from the beginning and worked with the communist resistance61, all would have been different, and not of necessity worse. ! Who were the real losers? Greece was left in 1950 desolate. Much of it was still that way when I first went to Greece as a young student in 1961. It was not merely that the economy had been eviscerated; that could have been ameliorated or even obviated had the Americans worked harder at ridding the country of the corruption of a venal, selfish upper class. More the loss of self-esteem, of pride, and of a sense of the future seemed to debilitate the country. Post-war Greece experienced a mass movement of people, especially the young, from the countryside to Athens/Piraeus and Thessalonike. And what did these people do? They found work as best they could, of course, but they also formed the basis for a strong, dedicated left wing political activism. The destruction of an organized labor movement (by Metaxas and the occupation) in a country that had little heavy industry (and that controlled by a very few) and a large agricultural labor group that was destined to migrate to the cities62 for jobs and a future was perpetuated by the British and, later, the Americans. The people themselves had to rectify this grievous wrong. The political resurgence and even success of the center-left after the war attests to the need workingmen (and women: between the war and EAM/ELAS they were now an essential part of the economy) felt for protection from the oligarchy that

61 And that could have been done. “The policy of His Majesty"s Government for promoting and organising resistance to the Axis in Albania is to support all anti-Axis element, wherever they may be, subject to the availability of aircraft and other resources, provided always that they continue to combat the Axis actively and wholeheartedly.” SOE directive to Brigadier E. F. Davies, October, 1943; cited by Bailey, p. 92. In Yugoslavia in January, 1944, the British broke with Mihailovi$: “The British were committing themselves to a powerful, communist-led guerrilla movement bent on being in the driving seat politically when the war was over; they were also abandoning a rival, royalist party with which they had associated for over two years.” (Bailey, p. 130) Gerolymatos (p. 161) asks whether HMG had any choice other than to support the king and his #government-in-exile": “...[they] were the internationally accepted representatives of the Greek state. Consequently, British denial of the legality of the Greek government would have given some credibility to the puppet regime in Athens.” I believe this nonsense, and certainly events in Albania and Yugoslavia, not to mention the hostility of the Greeks to their own regime, show how little the Tsolakoglou/Logothetopoulos/Rallis #governments" mattered to anybody in Athens or anywhere else. Moreover the essential point is that what came out of Occupied Greece was so consistently hostile to the Royal Hellenic Government and the king, that the FO and the Greek government did everything it could to suppress that reality; see Taylor in Auty and Clogg, p. 264.

62. Or to Western Europe or the U.S. When my wife and I were leaving Greece in May, 1962 we spent much time on deck with a mass of young men, all of whom were going to Belgium to work in the coal mines. We asked why they were going. &'( )* +,-.*/0)0; 10/ 230' 405)( 6),/ 744.8.. That is the story of Modern Greece and the Greek diaspora.

Page 20: SOE in Greece

controlled Greece for so long before and after the war63 . It was the Greeks who suffered for the obsessions of Churchill and his minions64 in Whitehall. Woodhouse, I"m convinced, was the man they put their trust in, and he performed very well.! The British did refuse to support king Zog in Albania and worked with Enver Hoxha and his communists through SOE65. It is, however, questionable whether any cohesive analogy can be drawn between these two countries or between them and Yugoslavia.

63 In 1989 the Reconciliation law was passed. At the same time 17,500,000 files of people on the left were burned. Close, p. 274 (in Carabott and Sfikas), quotes a reporter"s comment that “locked away” were “...the whole democratic movement of the town, which for sixty long years had struggled against established authorities for the attainment of trade union rights.” Full discussion, pp. 272-275. Woodhouse has some pertinent observations on the position of the trade unions in 1946, but for the later history of the union (non)movement see Wittner"s Chapter 7, #Taming the Greek Labor Movement 1947-1949." This chapter, as well as the whole book, make hard reading for Americans, but it is pleasure to affirm that it was written by an American. One key issue was the unionization of the workers associated with the seaports at Piraeus, Thessalonike, Patras, and Kalamata, as well as the tobacco workers in Kavala and Macedonia and Thrace in general. Indeed it was the rioting of these workers that gave so much impetus to the king"s abrogation of legal government in 1936.

64 This responsibility was perceived by some members of SOE. In Albania David Keswick told Gubbins that “we may well have created just such another situation in other Balkan countries-- an especially close parallel is Greece-- and may well have fomented an acute civil war without in any way increasing the discomfiture of the enemy-- if anything on the contrary.” (Colonel D. Keswick to Major General C. Gubbins, 25 February 1944; cited by Bailey, p. 154) Keswick later that year returned to the subject, again writing to Gubbins: “Our political unwisdom has got us into the most unholy mess in the Balkans...We do not want bigger and better civil wars, and this eternal tinkering with both sides in order to match them up one against the other will in my opinion prove disastrous.” (Colonel D. Keswick to General C. Gubbins, 8 July 1944; cited by Bailey, p. 266) Keswick was proven right in Greece; in Albania and Yugoslavia actual civil war was brief. Livanios (pp.112-113) is very sharp on British (that is, FO) policy: “British wartime planning regarding the future of the Balkans, apart from the customary Great Power arrogance [see too p. 162] which enabled Balliol [the reference is to pp. 88, n.26 and especially 109] to make and unmake frontiers, and to transfer regions from one federal unit to the other at a stroke of a pen, suffered from two fundamental weaknesses. First, the assumption, never stated, but implicitly accepted, that dispassionate reason, as understood in London, would be the only force which would dictate the foreign conduct of the countries concerned. Secondly, the hidden hope that Russia would possibly be prepared to extend her support to a scheme that was ultimately directed against her. The latter point dealt British plans a deadly blow; but it is beyond doubt , that, in the long run, the former would have done the same.”

65 See Bailey, pp. 92, 130, 140, 318-319.

Page 21: SOE in Greece

David Keswick (cited in Bailey, p.153), Director of Mediterranean Operations (of SOE) “likened the #pattern of disunity" in Albania to that seen in Yugoslavia and Greece.” But in Greece the SOE did not see eye to eye with Churchill, the FO and even some SOE administrators, and in this case the results were disastrous. As Bailey (p. 317) puts it: “Only where Greece was concerned were the British prepared to divert forces from the final battle against the Germans in order to prevent a communist coup.” Moreover, in the division of Southeastern Europe that Churchill made with Stalin no mention of Albania is made. Albanian security of boundaries was not guaranteed by the British or the Allies66 (see n. 69 and Barker, pp. 177-179); Greece, which had claims to Southern Albania, was promised nothing also. (In the event Greece only obtained the Dodecanese after the war.) King Zog had long been resident in England and was hardly given a thought with respect to the resistance especially since his support inside the country was slight and in the south (a.k.a. Northern Epirus, almost as sensitive to the Greeks as Kosovo is to the Albanians and the main base of LNC"s power). What happened in Albania is not comparable to what happened in Greece (on this, see Endnote 2 infra), where a good number of royalist officers had come out during the April, 1941 collapse and very many Venezilists had ended up joining the monarchists when the political position of EAM/ELAS had become clear.! It is a fact that most Greeks did not like and even feared the communists, long before but especially after the events of December, 1944 which involved, among other things, the killing of many hostages by ELAS, most of whom were middle-class, basically plain people, not collaborators or #monarcho-fascists", as the KKE was wont to describe them. “The rebels failed because the mass of the Greek people was against them” (Woodhouse, Struggle, p.233) EAM/ELAS was not a monolithic Stalinist organization if only because most of its fighting men and women were not communists and had no intention of supporting a post-war communist government. The National Democratic Army, however, which fought the Civil War (1947-49), was most certainly a Stalinist communist revolutionary organization, and everybody knew as much.! The creation of SOE constituted a political act. Astonishingly there appears to have been no recognition that political circumstances, necessities, and/or desires dictate the formation of armies. To achieve a separation of the military from the political requires a discipline on both sides that is often lacking. In my own lifetime in the USA I have watched military personnel engage in political activity with varying degrees of success, but almost never when they are actually serving in the military. To recall General MacArthur in Korea and Colonel North in Central America is sufficient. Yet both these men were placed by their political leaders in ambiguous positions which gave them the opportunity to act as they did. How could an SOE be formed to go clandestinely into occupied (and unoccupied) countries in a time of war and be expected to know when and how to act politically or apolitically? And in Southeastern Europe of all places? Of

66This was a major sticking point for both the LNC and BK and is a recurrent topic in Bailey"s book. The issue had been neatly confused by the Germans who incorporated most of Kosovo into Albania for administrative purposes during the occupation (with the BK controlling the government). As Barker (p. 13) puts it: “The British plan for #a Balkan bloc" was undermined from the start by the territorial disputes of the area...” On all this see Endnote 2.

Page 22: SOE in Greece

the characters in this paper Myers is the one person who performed his duty as a military man as far removed from politics as is humanely possible. His eyes were open; he told the truth as he saw it; and he killed the enemy and destroyed their materiel. That it was Whitehall and the FO and a Leeper that caused him to be removed reveals the confusion, suspicion and ignorance that infected HMG for the entire war. Churchill quite literally created SOE by amalgamating three separate quasi-military/quasi-political organizations, and he did so, I believe, without thinking through what he was doing. Indeed PWE had to be organized to handle #political warfare" to sanitize SOE"s brief. (And that"s another story, well told by Barnett.) SOE was yet another manifestation of Churchillian romanticism. One might say that its achievement in Southeastern Europe was a communist Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Albania, and in Greece a vicious monarchy. All lasted too long and blighted the lives of too many. But these failings here hyperbolically ascribed to SOE must be placed at the door of a Churchillian HMG and its contempt for the dictum that war is an extension of politics. The policies adopted by HMG were ad hoc (and propter hoc), as Barker so clearly enunciates (p.9): “The story of Britain"s relations with South-East Europe during the Second World War was for the most part a story of last-minute improvisation and the undertaking of commitments without the resources to fulfil [sic] them. Policies, if that is the right name for them, were largely dictated by negative outside factors: first, fear of annoying Mussolini, then fear of provoking Hitler prematurely, after that fear of irritating Stalin; there was later the wish to avoid trouble with nagging exiled governments. Positive policies, when committed to paper, were often documents designed to justify or defend actions already taken for urgent short-term reasons, against attack by critics or opponents either inside the British War Cabinet or within the anti-Hitler alliance.” ! Finally, I don"t like anti-Americanism; I know where it comes from and have some sympathies with it. But when taken to an extreme I reckon it the other person"s problem, not mine. To revile the USA for the post-war ills of Greece is a travesty of reason and analysis. Wittner has detailed with scholarly care the powerful case against American intervention. Americans do not have much to be proud of. Very slowly in Greece attitudes have been changing with the pace picking up since 1980 as a younger generation of scholars has come into its own, and the 1940s are no longer a source of instant contention. Someday, I"d like to see people in Greece recognize that what happened to their country was their own responsibility, but not necessarily the consequence of their own decisions or predilections. Most of all, I"d like to see the cause of the disastrous return of the king put where it belongs. The monarchy lasted until 1967 when the colonels" coup drove the playboy Konstantine out forever. The one

Page 23: SOE in Greece

law passed by the colonels that was retained by the restored Republic in 1974 was that outlawing the monarchy67.

! ! ! ! ! !! ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! ! ! !! ! ! ! ! ! !

67 I am going to give the last word to Harry Fultz, OSS" Albanian officer: “We should not be surprised if later we find that these people have no love left for the Allies. [We] cannot hope to promote confidence if we state that we favor and help those who fight [the Germans] and at the same time do things which cause injury to those who fight the Germans. We should not expect to have people believe us if we state that we will not meddle in the internal affairs of a country if at the same time we try to manipulate events to achieve predetermined results.” (H.T. Fultz to P. Adams, 24 February 1944; cited by Bailey, p. 319).

Page 24: SOE in Greece

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ENDNOTE 2!

Only in reading Woodhouse"s Something Ventured (pp. 22-23) did I discover that Eddie Myers was Jewish; I"ve only seen that in print this one time. He was not one of “us,” as the English would say. Woodhouse on the other hand was: he was to the manor born-- he inherited his father"s title-- as were the FO people. Robert Carver, in a letter to the TLS (25 July 2008) relates an apposite story from Norman Lewis. “When I interviewed Lewis at his home in Essex for the #Scotsman" circa 1997, he was much more precise and vehement about his looks: #I have always been mistaken for a Jew throughout my life-- much to my disadvantage", he told me. #Regardez ce type-là-- typiquement juif", he overheard a woman refer to him in a Belgian nightclub in the 1930s. #It was why I was never given a commission in the British Army in the Second War", he went on to explain, something he touched on obliquely in both his autobiography and in Naples "44.” Leeper, a really sinister guy, was oddly enough Australian. But then so is Murdoch, come to think of it. In the corpus of memoirs by the SOE people in Greece, Denys Hamson"s We Fell among Greeks is by far the most idiosyncratic, interesting and revealing. To this day I do not understand why the FO or the military allowed it to be published. But then they probably figured it would be ignored, as it is for the most part.

! ! ! ! ! ENDNOTE 2

! It has been the contention of this paper that the long-term interests of the FO, Churchill, and SOE London and Cairo were realized when George II returned to Greece after WWII and his brother, Paul, succeeded him when he died shortly thereafter. I also argued that the English pro-monarchy group found its SOE man in Greece in C. M. Woodhouse, who proved to be a very effective head of the AMM and well-deserving of the accolades he received, but who was miraculously able to act without stirring up a political hornet"s nest in London or anywhere else. That he was pushed aside at the time of liberation and treated as redundant is merely the obvious manifestation of what the regular British military and Whitehall really thought of SOE and its operatives.! The tendency to treat Southeastern Europe as something of a unified geopolitical unit seems to have stuck right up to contemporary times. “The Balkans” is fixed in the minds of most Western Europeans and North Americans as a specific term encompassing not only a geographic area but also, and more importantly, a mentality68

. I suspect it is this very confluence of the physical and intellectual that has allowed fine scholars to draw extensive comparisons between what happened in occupied Greece and in Albania and Yugoslavia.

68 There is an excellent book on this subject: Todorova, Maria N. Imagining the Balkans. New York: Oxford U.P., 1997. Sadly, Livanios is prone to employ the usual stereotypes: e.g. “typically Balkan coup” (p. 117).

Page 25: SOE in Greece

! I briefly discussed this matter with regard to Albania in my essay, but I think that the topic needs more elucidation than I chose to give it; and since Greece and Yugoslavia are so frequently thought of together in histories of the resistance in Southeastern Europe and, moreover, since Yugoslavia plays a critical role in the history of the 1947-1949 Greek civil war, its circumstances require discussion as well.! That Greece lacked an Enver Hoxha or a Tito requires no real elaboration. Of the many higher-ups in the KKE, including Yioryos Siantos, Petros Roussos, Markos Vaphiades, Andreas Tzimas, Nikos Zachariades, Khrysa Khatzivasiliou to name but a few-- none had that quality of leadership necessary to bring order and discipline to a national resistance organization and to retain a firm grip on it over the long haul69. Indeed the failure of the KKE to find a viable, charismatic substitute for (a dull, doctrinaire and compromised) Zachariades during the war remains a most damning fact of its lack of mass appeal. An observer from the outside has a great deal of difficulty understanding how Zachariades could return to Greece after four years in Dachau and pick up right where he left off. Greece in 1945 was a very different country than that in 1940, especially as it had been transformed by EAM/ELAS/KKE. Zarchariades should have been revered (perhaps) but irrelevant.! More than a leader, however, separates Greece from Albania and Yugoslavia, and with the opening of most of the existing SOE files there is now an ongoing reassessment of both the position of SOE in the latter two countries and their #national" resistance groups. Roderick Bailey"s new book on Albania represents one significant beginning of this scholarly enterprise which eventually ought to cover not only the three occupied countries but also Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary70. ! Albania as a nation came out of the two Balkan Wars (1912-1913), though to describe it simply as a creation of the Great Powers neglects the very real existence of an Albanian language and people. Albania had indeed previously supported the Ottoman Empire and wished to remain within it. But then, faced with the disintegration of Turkey in Europe consequent upon the Balkan Wars, it at first tried to opt for the status of an autonomous state within the Empire; but finally, in December, 1912, the Great Powers recognized an independent Albania and, in 1913 after the second Balkan War (which lasted one month), fixed its borders. The borders were a Solomonian compromise: Kosovo (then inhabited mainly by Albanians} was claimed by Serbia, and the northern border was fixed to accommodate Montenegro and Serbia; in the south, however, the new state acquired “Northern Epirus” which Greece had claimed on ethnic

69 This point is well made by Woodhouse, Struggle, pp. 6-7, 18-20.

70 Seaman"s book contains essays from a symposium held at the Imperial War Museum in 1998; the authors have returned to their papers as originally given and brought them up to date by incorporating material from the recently released SOE files.

Page 26: SOE in Greece

grounds71. During WWI the country was literally dismembered by its neighbors under various pretexts, but finally its prewar borders were confirmed after WWI in the Versailles peace treaty 72. These have caused problems for all concerned ever since. The government of Albania, if it can be called that, was #republican" until 1925 when Ahmet Bey Zogu (né Zogolli), who had suppressed a revolt (led by Bishop Fan Noli) of June, 1924 by invading the country, became president. A new constitution was brought into force, but in 1928 Zogu made himself king Zog, and Italy virtually ran the country 73.! Yugoslavia as an independent unified state had a suitably complicated history which can only be alluded to here74. In December, 1918, the existence of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was announced at which time it had no definitively settled borders. By 1920, without a shot being fired, the borders of the new state had been established and the new country recognized by all the great powers, including Italy (which had secured Fiume/Trieste for itself). The political settlement, a constitutional monarchy with a strong centralized administration in Belgrade, was in fact a Serbian diktat, confirmed by a rump parliament (mainly Serbian) in June, 1921. The result of the constitutional wrangling was an insecurely unified state with a weak monarch and a fluid

71 On these borders there exists now a large literature. For the south the map in Winnifrith, p. 196 (Number 6), shows the various proposals and their relation to the modern border; Winnifrith himself comments: “The difficulty of further advance [i.e. by the Greek army in 1940] suggests that the frontier of 1914 was a more sensible strategic line than that settled by the Great Powers.” (p. 136) Kosovo has been in the news for the last fifteen years or so. Luckily I am not required to discuss Macedonia in this context, but it is worth noting that in 1925 IMRO resolved on the creation of a Balkan Federation with an autonomous Macedonia, on the report of which William Erskine appended a note: “An autonomous Macedonia state from Kavalla to Ochrid and from Uskub [Skopje: WE"s addition; is this not Tetovo?] to Salonika will one day be evolved.” With the addition of Bulgaria “a vast Slav state will exist. This will not be wholly to our advantage but clearly we can do nothing to prevent it.” This quotation is taken from Livanios, p. 76; see also p. 50 (for Allied offers to Bulgaria during WW I). Greece had reason to be chary of Great Power fiddling in Macedonia. Barker devotes a full chapter (15) to “The British, the Balkan Communists and Macedonia” (pp. 184- 203). As she says (p. 185): “As for Macedonia, the word alone seemed to send a shudder down Foreign Office backs; at best Macedonia would be a lynch-pin in a South Slav union which they did not want; at worst it would threaten their protégé, Greece, and so undermine British influence.”

72 For the melancholy history of Albania during WWI see Jelavich, pp. 316-318, short but very clear. For “Northern Epirus” during the war, Winnifrith, pp. 130-132.

73 On (Zogolli)/Zogu/Zog see Bernd Fischer, “Perceptions and Reality in Twentieth-Century Albanian Military Prowress”, in Albanian Identities, pp. 134-139. This story is succinctly discussed by Bailey, pp. 13-16.

74 There are many histories in English of Yugoslavia; for my purposes, the general one included in the narrative of Jelavich, is more than adequate.

Page 27: SOE in Greece

political scene75. King Peter II, a rather feckless young man with little experience, was declared of age and installed on the throne after the Yugoslav defiance of Hitler on 27 March 1941 (in which Peter himself played a minor role). He soon escaped to London where he proved to be a diffident and difficult subject for proper English training76. The government which succeeded his overthrow, however, did not revoke the recently made pact with Germany and gave no help to Greece in its struggle with Italy. General Du9an Simovi$ and his Foreign Minister, Mom:ilo Nin:i$ continued to play ball with Hitler (see Barker, p. 93 and 104) who wasted no time assuaging his anger at the Yugoslavs by invading the country.! Yugoslavia was overrun by the Germans in less than two weeks; the Italians, once the Greek army had been outflanked by the German army in its invasion of Greece and had surrendered, tightly controlled Albania for as long as it was in the war. After the Italian capitulation in 1943, the Germans moved very quickly to occupy all of Albania to protect its supply lines to Thassalonike and the rest of Greece as well as its communications with northwestern Greece. As in Greece, the German army proved a good deal more efficient and brutal (though more liberal in granting some autonomy to local government) than the Italian occupation force, and the resistance in Albania was never very effective (even from April, 1941 to 1943). Yugoslavia was quite a different matter.! Albania was definitively occupied by the Italians in August, 1939; king Zog fled to Greece and thence to London where he remained. As in Greece the king left behind no government and no instructions for resistance though he did have supporters in the north. Albania was left to the Italians to administer, but as the war caught up with the country, groups began to be formed (usually about a strong local leader) to combat the Italians. The Albanian resistance was composed basically of three groups: 1) men allied with Abbas Kupi that was in the (partially Catholic) north (of the Shkumbun River), 2) the Levicija Nacional Çlirimtarë (LNC), led by Enver Hoxha and mainly in the south, and 3)

75“At the root of the problem of Yugoslavia"s defense strategy lay the Serb-Croat Problem. The voluntary union of independent Serbia with the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918 had saddled the new State with great difficulties which only supreme political patience and flexibility could have solved.” Barker, p. 82: her subsequent discussion is well worth reading. I am not certain what she means by “voluntary.”

76 For Peter"s personality, see Barker, p. 153-154. On Peter and the Yugoslav coup of 1941 see amongst others: Sweet-Escott in Auty and Clogg, p. 7. The #standard" history can be found in Barnett, p. 180, who also says: “Thus the policy of Britain was, for a great part of the war, identified with the restoration of King Peter II and the voice of Britain was ineffectually devoted to urging a unity between irreconcilable elements.” PWE also ran an RU, Y2 Shumadia, which was directed against the collaborationist government of Milan Nedi$ and was specifically directed to Serbia and the citizens of Belgrade. (Barnett, p. 205) On prince Paul and his relations with Britain, see Barker, pp. 84-91.

Page 28: SOE in Greece

Balli Kombëtar (BK), strongest in the Vlorë region77. Kupi was a royalist and loyal to Zog throughout the war; Hoxha was a Stalinist (as befits a leader of a party founded and controlled by the CPY; see Livanios, p. 145); the BK was non-royalist and nationalist. Put simply, the BK ended up a collaborationist group since for it the occupation by the Germans had in fact benefitted the country and even expanded it so as to include Kosovo which the Germans had handed over to the BK to govern78. Kupi"s group, never anywhere as large as he claimed it to be (ranging from 2,500 to 25,000), did not fight the Germans until the end of the occupation, and then only insignificantly79. The LNC, later FNC (Fronti Nacional Çlirimtarë), did not collaborate with the Germans to any great

77 For these groups see Bailey, pp. 61-65; Kupi was at first on the LNC council but evidently broke away shortly after the arrival of the BLOs. But he was known to the British in 1940: see Bailey, pp. 21-22.

78 The BK appears as a very sinister and dangerous (to the British) organization in the SOE reports: see Bailey, p. 100, etc. As for Kosovo Bailey says “ effectively Germany had minimised resistance by incorporating most of Kosovo into Albania and recognising Greater Albania"s independence. #The majority of Kosovars preferred a German occupation to a Serb, Kemp observed. #The Axis powers had at least united them with their fellow Albanians, whereas an Allied victory would, they feared, return them to Yugoslav rule." “ (p. 172)

79 Kupi occupies a peculiar place in the history of British/SOE operations in Albania. As Barker puts it (p. 180)): “It was never quite clear whether the main motive behind the British effort to mobilise Kupi was political or military, but on balance it seems to have been political.” I would agree. She also cites (p. 181) a charming minute from Churchill to Eden regarding Kupi and LNC: “...let me have a note on this showing which side we are on. W.S.C.” To which in 1944 no less Eden can reply: “I still have some hope that we may be able to reconcile the two factions.” Hope springs eternal. In Bailey"s book he appears passim since he was in Albania from the beginning of the occupation to the end of the war. But for the sad story of his dealings with the British and others, see Chapter 9: “Colleagues in Conspiracy”, which discusses in detail the pot-war claims made that SOE in Bari was a hot-bed of Commies, hence the rather shabby treatment of the Zogist Kupi. In mid-1944 the issue of continued British support for Kupi and his Nationalists was discussed; amongst other reasons given for continuing it the British Chiefs of Staff stated: “...our deception plan includes a notional assault on the Albanian coast.” As long as this #idea" remained on the table, Kupi was not going to be dropped.

Page 29: SOE in Greece

degree and did fight them when it could do so in relative safety or when it had to80. Neither Kupi"s group nor the BK survived the war; Hoxha and his communists won Albania practically by default.! Albania proved a tough nut to crack for SOE and OSS. There did not exist a pool of Albanologists in either British or American academia or among the diplomatic corps, nor were there many people around who knew the topography of the country or had even visited it81. There was no particular reason for the British to support king Zog, who lacked a dynastic connection with any noble house in Europe (as opposed to George II of Greece, a Glücksburg and related to the English king) and whose regal credentials were otherwise non-existent. Moreover, though Zog himself was in contact with Kupi, he showed no especial aptitude for resistance or, even, for handling his supporters. The British ended up sending and maintaining (or attempting to send and maintain) BLOs to each of the three resistance groups, and they persisted in this self-destructive activity virtually until the end of the war. Their refusal to withdraw their BLOs from Kupi and BK created an impossible situation for all the SOE BLOs concerned, but especially for those attached to LNC/FNC. After all, Hoxha"s forces did fight the Germans and, perhaps more importantly, did not fight the British or Americans as BK did; SOE operatives in the field were left to explain this as best they could. It did not help that the Albanian resistance received little #press" from the BBC or HMG; to salve the amour propre of a very sensitive people would have been very easy82. ! But what forced the British into a really impassable cul-de-sac in Albania was the issue of Albania"s boundaries, and here they found that they had no choice: Tito"s Partisans in Yugoslavia were fighting hard, set battles against the Germans and

80 See Fischer in Albanian Identities, pp. 139-140: “One of the keys to explaining Germany"s relative success was its policy of seducing and then corrupting all of the non-communist elements of the resistance, including the nationalist Balli Kombëtar, the Zogoists, and many of the independent Chieftains. They all either collaborated outright--with some joining the puppet governments-- or at least failed to actively resist the Germans hoping to use the Germans and the British to obtain an arsenal for fighting the communists once the Germans had gone. This strategy proved to be disastrous for the non-communists who lost their political credibility leaving the communists as the only group with long-term political prospects and short-term military significance.” There is now a rather large body of work on Hoxha and the FNC.

81 On Margaret Hasluck see Bailey, Chapter 2 (“A Few Volunteers”), also pp. 145-149 and his references.

82 See Bailey, pp. 128-129: “The result [of BBC"s lack of reporting on Albanian resistance] was reduced faith in the accuracy of other broadcasts and #ill feeling" towards SOE officers and Britain generally.” Interestingly, Sofia had much the same complaint; see Livanios, p. 135. The Bulgarian army liberated Skopje and much of the rest of southern Yugoslavia, a fact hardly (if ever) mentioned by the BBC.

Page 30: SOE in Greece

maintaining and even extending their positions83; in Greece HMG had an apparent commitment to the Royal Hellenic Government to restore it to its prewar political position and national boundaries. In this squeeze the Albanians became more of a nuisance than anything else. (As did the Macedonians who were reckoned “an obscure pest”; see Livanios, p. 114) In fact, one suspects that the contrast between British treatment of the communist resistance in Greece and Yugoslavia was made all the more painful by the constant waffling of SOE, FO, and the regular military in Albania. Late in the war the British gave up on BK and Kupi and supported Hoxha"s FNC, but by that time Hoxha hardly needed British support.! The British also tried to straddle the fence in Yugoslavia and to support both Mihailovi$"s Chetniks and Tito"s Partisans, the Royalists and the Communists. Peter II and Mihailovi$ remained in close communication for most of the war; but Mihailovi$ was not the Yugoslav patriot needed to promote a (monarchist) resistance to the Germans. Tito was84 and, though a communist, until 1943 he was apparently not averse to Peter"s return to Yugoslavia even during the war85. But as Mihailovi$ grew more obvious in his collaborationist activities and less interested in resistance of any kind, and the British dithered over how to deal with him, Tito"s interest cooled and finally simply disappeared, especially once he had gained a secure hold in Serbia The lines in Yugoslavia were clear. SOE supported both sides until finally on 8 January 1944, in what Bailey (p.130) calls “a dramatic moment”, the British ceased its support of the Chetniks. For the Russians, on the other hand, there was no problem at all: Molotov made it clear that “he might prefer to have no mission at all [i.e., to Tito] than one with each side.” (Barker, p. 137)! If in Greece EAM/ELAS lacked a strong personality to lead a cohesive resistance and the opposite was true in Albania and Yugoslavia, interestingly enough the reverse is true of the British. C.M.Woodhouse proved to be an excellent #replacement" for Myers, though as the war came to a close in Greece his importance for the re-establishment of the prewar monarchy lessened considerably. Indeed he hardly figured in the liberation period between September, 1944 and 5 December, and thereafter not all. In Albania and Yugoslavia SOE had no agent blessed with Woodhouse"s comprehensive knowledge of

83 And Kosovo was extremely important to the Yugoslavs (i.e. Serbians): see Bailey, e.g. pp. 178-179. For the principal that when it came to promises about boundaries during the war, no policy is the best policy, see Barker, pp. 174-175. And when push came to shove, the British were more than consistent-- they would not even guarantee Albania"s prewar boundaries; Barker, p. 176.

84 “Mihailovi$ had the great misfortune of having to compete with a military and political leader of the stature of Tito who also had a new programme to offer, which, whether you believe it to be realised or not, had immense attractions for the Yugoslavs, not merely some Serbs, but the other nations of Yugoslavia too. Against these handicaps Mihailovi$ simply could not compete.” K. Johnstone in Auty and Clogg, p. 253.

85 See the exchange among E. Barker, G.H. Seton-Watson, and F. Maclean in Auty and Clogg, pp. 241-242.

Page 31: SOE in Greece

the country and its language, its political factions, and realistic perceptions of the possibilities for resistance. For all their abilities (and they were many) no one BLO knew Albania, spoke Albanian, and had the mobility to get around Albania that Woodhouse had in Greece. Winnifrith"s comment that “British writers on the Albanian resistance tend to support the resistance group to which they were attached” (p. 136) is very true, and though damning in itself must be seen in the context of being a foreigner in a time of war and having to work in a country of great geographic complexity and inhabited by a people whose vision hardly extended beyond their own village86. Individual SOE operatives could and did make a difference locally, not nationally.! In Yugoslavia the SOE agents were working with Tito. In no sense of the word can it be said that Tito was at any time subservient to the British, and as much as he needed British military and financial support, he managed to get both without yielding any of his authority to any BLO87. There are good reasons for this. In August, 1941 the Royalist government-in-exile announced that Mihailovi$ had formed a resistance group, apparently the first in the country. By the fall, D.T. Hudson was going back and forth between Mihailovi$ and the Partisans, but to little purpose. On 25 December 1942 a British mission under S.W. Bailey made contact with Mihailovi$, and proceeded to act on the basis that his was the exclusive recipient of British support. “...on the basis of the available documents, it seems fair to say that the original decision to back Mihailovi$ exclusively was taken by the Foreign Office and S.O.E., not for operational reasons, nor because they believed him to be the most effective resistance leader, but with the longer-term political aim of establishing him as sole leader and inducing the Communists to subordinate themselves to him, or at least of drawing off support from

86 “ localized, in 1944, were the viewpoints of the SOE officers who were later so critical of this and other decisions.” R. Bailey, “The S.O.E. in Albania. #The conspiracy theory reassessed." “ in Seaman, p. 190.

87 See the curious possible scenario put forward by Sweet-Escott, in Auty and Clogg, p. 19, wherein he suggests that supplying the Chetniks might have saved “Tito from being overwhelmed some time in 1943 or 1944.” M. Wheeler, in Seaman, p. 115, neatly puts it: “Their [i.e. the BLOs] relegation to this subordinate role [as interpreters] happened because Tito"s army turned out to be a vastly more organized, competent and cohesive from than SOE had envisaged when recruitment commenced. As far as the Partisan leadership was concerned, the British missions were welcomed in order to provide material and logistical support, to coordinate strategic plans and to help win international recognition for the Partisans" war effort. They were not in Yugoslavia to reorganize, take over or otherwise subvert the KPJ"s (Yugoslav Communist Party) revolutionary struggle.” Barker makes clear Britain"s desire to take over both sides and put them under the command and control of the British: p. 163; she also carefully delineates the #power" these BLOs had both among the Yugoslav Partisans and the Albanians (p. 167).

Page 32: SOE in Greece

the Partisans.” (Barker, in Auty and Clogg, p. 33; her italics)88 British support was being constantly undermined by radio intercepts of German communiques89 and other reports from the country: Mihailovi$ was not doing anything about resistance. It took the British a year to drop him, a high level mission to Tito under Fitzroy Maclean (who fashioned a chilling critique dated 6 November 1943)90, and more evidence of his co-operating with collaborationist groups and by extension the Germans, and finally direct proof of

88 Sweet-Escott (in Auty and Clogg, p. 9) cites W, J, M. Mackenzie through Michael Howard that “ the spring of 1943 we [i.e. SO.E.] had ten missions in Greece, a dozen with Mihailovi$, and five in Albania-- twenty-seven in all.” As for the Partisans at the end of 1942 - beginning of 1943: [S.O.E.]...did not realise at that stage the extent to which the Partisan movement was an organized movement with a central headquarters, with Tito in command...” To which Maclean (Auty and Clogg, p. 236) would respond: “If the Chiefs of Staff knew that there were twenty or thirty German or Italian divisions doing something in one small country in the Balkans, you would think they would have been certain to follow it up and discover the reason.” Xan Fielding (in his memoir of the Cretan resistance Hide and Seek, London: Secker and Warburg, 1954, pp. 98-99 and 103) has some harsh words about the vagaries of the bureaucracy of SOE and the FO, even quotes a song (p. 99): “We"ve the Partisan itch,/But there"s Mihailovic,/And the Foreign Office doesn"t seem to know which is which,,,” Or, from the other side so to speak: “In Yugoslavia S.O.E. had backed a right-wing monarchist Serbian officer-- which was in line with Foreign Office policy-- but had been forced to admit him a failure as a resistance leader, and, under pressure the Foreign Office, was about to extend its contacts to the Communist Partisans, clearly a far stronger resistance force.” So Barker, pp. 163-164.

89 The question of intercepts is very difficult: see Sweet-Escott, “S.O.E. in the Balkans”, in Auty and Clogg, pp. 4-21 and especially the ensuing discussion, pp. 210-215. This issue turns up like a bad penny in any analysis of the knowledge the British may or may not have had of the Partisans before 1943. Maclean (in Auty and Clogg, p. 227) states the question with the pertinacity it requires: “Now the enemy, Hitler and Mussolini, knew all about Tito and the Partisans. They had learned the hard way and they knew exactly who all those divisions of theirs were fighting against. That is absolutely certain. How was it then that for about two years the biggest and by far the most effective resistance movement of World War II was to remain practically unheard of and quite certainly unhelped, while such help as we did give went to the ;etniks, many of whom were actively collaborating with the enemy and very few, if any, of whom had done any fighting against the enemy since November, 1941?” Indeed. See also Barker, p. 152, who is non-committal, but whose context is inter-departmental conflict.

90 On the Maclean mission, see the contribution of Fitzroy Maclean in Auty and Clogg, 221-234 and the long, detailed paper by Elisabeth Barker, “Some Factors in British Decision-Making over Yugoslavia, 1941-1944”, in Auty and Clogg, pp. 22-58, in particular pp. 38-45. Maclean himself has described his experiences in two books published shortly after the war: Eastern Approaches (London: Jonathan Cape, 1950) and Disputed Barricade (London: Jonathan Cape, 1957) neither of which I have seen.

Page 33: SOE in Greece

collaboration. On 29 November 1943 Tito"s Partisans passed the Jajce resolutions, the most significant of which for this essay were the articles that forbade the return of king Peter (pending a plebiscite), denounced in very strong terms the Royalist government-in-exile, and established a National Committee91. At about the same time, C. in C. General Wilson had made it clear that HMG should let Mihailovi$ “rot and fall off the branch rather than be pushed off” (Barker, in Auty and Clogg, p. 40), but Churchill, Eden, and the FO wanted Peter to sack him and to reach an agreement with Tito92. The result of this contretemps was a period in which any number of possible arrangements were considered not one of which would have worked. Indeed, the problem was centered around the FO, which insisted on doing nothing about the BLOs and their missions then operating in territory supposedly controlled by Mihailovi$ until Tito accepted king Peter in some form. It was only towards the end of 1943 that the FO threw up the towel and gave in on Mihailovi$. In all this intramural in-fighting SOE had little enough say. Bailey (in Auty and Clogg, p. 89) comments “that in way there never was a British policy towards Mihailovi$ in the true sense of the term-- a definite course of action selected from among alternatives in the light of established facts and designed to achieve desired ends.” SOE could hardly have operated under less adequate conditions. ! S.W. Bailey, at the end of his paper “British Policy Towards General Dra%a Milhailovi$” (in Auty and Clogg, pp. 88-89), makes some observations on Mihailovi$"s failure to be able to collaborate with the Allies. After citing his #slav mysticism" and #professional loyalty to king and country"; his #Slav fatalism"; his #almost pathological obsession with military administrative procedures"; his #fanatical hatred" of communism, the enemy of the (Serbian) monarchy and the Church, he concludes, “and finally his inability to appreciate that the military, political, and social set-up in Europe had changed irreversibly since the halcyon days of the First World War, the Salonika Front, and the subsequent restoration of quasi-absolute monarchy in virtually all the countries of south-eastern Europe: in other words, his failure to realise that the clock could not be turned back.” For king Peter II, king Zog, and king George II and their followers a no more fitting epitaph could be fashioned.! There is no room for sentimentality in war-- as Sperling so bluntly said about the peoples of Southeastern Europe. Churchill"s penchant for supporting the ancien régime in Europe and for dabbling in regional politics created political problems in these three countries that SOE (and other agencies of HMG) was unprepared to cope with under

91 This document was passed without the knowledge of Stalin: see Barker in Auty and Clogg, pp. 41-42.

92 Barker (in Auty and Clogg) discusses a possible reason for this intransigence on the part of the FO, pp. 42-47, ending thusly “But they [i.e. the FO] do seem to have had the long-term aim of trying to establish British influence to post-war Yugoslavia, in the face of a clearly-seen threat of Soviet domination.”

Page 34: SOE in Greece

any circumstances93. In the event Churchill was usually supported by the FO and his Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden. So long as there existed agreement between the military demands of the situation and the political desires of Whitehall, no problem arose. But this serendipitous situation seldom occurred. The results are obvious to all: Yugoslavia and Albania became Communist, though of a very different sort; Greece experienced a vicious civil war, followed by a repressive, right-wing #constitutional monarchy" which was overthrown by the military when the center-left won an election and began to initiate changes, and this tyranny was ended in 1974 with the restoration of civilian rule. The monarchy was permanently banned; the right discredited; and the military shamed. Some twenty five years after liberation and the Varkiza agreement a socialist government was elected, and the real process of reconciliation begun. As Livanios (p.127) puts it: “...whenever the issue at stake was the fate of Greece or the dramatic rise of communist power in the Balkans, the British always preferred to sacrifice military efficiency rather than prejudice their fundamental polltical aims.”! After the war Tito tinkered with Yugoslavia"s Serb-oriented constitution of 1922, but it didn"t take long for that country to resolve itself into its original components upon his death; the war that might have taken place in the 1940s was simply delayed. As for Albania, so long as Hoxha lived the country was certifiably paranoid-- lines of concrete bunkers and mined seas can testify to that--- but with his death there has been a slow progress towards some sort of stabilization. As of this writing an independent Kosovo seems to be in the offing, though Serbia is resisting. The Greek-Albanian border, rather an unnatural one it must be admitted, has been reaffirmed and the two countries are no longer at war (as of 1987; but the Greek Parliament has not yet ratified this treaty). If this is progress, so be it. But the world has not heard the last of Southeastern Europe. ! As for SOE I conclude that Greece was special because of the presence of C.M. Woodhouse, the ranking officer of the AMM, by means of whom the British Government was able to keep enough control over the opposition of EAM/ELAS to allow for the introduction of British forces at liberation. By keeping EAM/ELAS in play right up to the end Woodhouse simply outflanked them. At the critical moment of liberation EAM/ELAS had its best troops in western Greece driving Zervas and EDES into the sea and consolidating its complete control over a now useless resistance. In Albania and Yugoslavia the British BLOs became irrelevant or were so from the beginning; SOE and the British tried but failed to control the resistance in both. So far as I can tell there was no AMM in either country, though Americans were present. If there had been one, I cannot make out from the existing documents that I have read a leader of Woodhouse"s stature among any of the brave men who were sent in to help foment and organize resistance.

! ! ! ! !

93 See Seton-Watson, in Auty and Clogg, p. 293 on Churchill"s passion for George II. Barker in Auty and Clogg, p. 46, describes Eden as keeping Churchill “ play by appealing to his monarchist feelings and about his personal power to influence Tito.” Barker, p. 170, calls it “his rigid loyalty” (to king George) and notes that it made the British position more difficult than it need have been.

Page 35: SOE in Greece

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ENDNOTE 3

! As should be clear from the two long essays above, by the end of 1943 thanks to the FO, Leeper, and Baker Street SOE the regional staff and in-country operatives of SOE were effectively stripped of substantive power to make #political" decisions, especially, but not only, in Greece. The division of the decision making process of SOE between the regular military and the FO caused the organization Churchill had envisioned simply to disappear. And though SOE Greece (as well as Albania and Yugoslavia) might make potentially #political" moves on the ground, the effect of such could be and were modified and/or negated higher up. The likely truth is that nobody in the FO could delineate a specifically #political" problem when faced with military situations of such inherent complexity as occurred in the three countries discussed herein (not to mention elsewhere). What the FO resorted to was essentially simplicity itself: to acknowledge the military side with an “of course”, “naturally”, vel sim. and then to make the #political" of primary importance. Thus it attempted to arrogate to itself the decisions respecting SOE and its activities in occupied territory; in this it succeeded to a degree, thwarted only by the military. In all three cases the results were confusion, animosity and blaming. A good example may be perused at leisure in Roderick Bailey"s article (Seaman, pp. 179-192) “SOE in Albania. #The Conspiracy Theory Reassessed.” In his careful examination of a vexing rumor-made-fact he makes clear the impotence of the SOE staff in Bari to influence British policy. Ahmed Bey Kupi was not thrown to the wolves because there was a cable of Communists in staff headquarters but because he was militarily useless. In spire of all the fuss made over James Klugmann, I think that Bailey has effectively dealt with his putative #influence" in his book The Wildest Province, pages 131-132; newspaper reports such as that in “The Independent” for 28 June 1997 (by Colin Brown) are much exaggerated and even downright fallacious. ! Woodhouse remains an issue because when the events leading up to the eclipse of SOE are laid out, it becomes clear that the Cairo Conference of August 1943 was the critical moment in SOE"s existence, especially in Southeastern Europe, as Woodhouse himself has made so clear. The subsequent collapse of the “National Bands” agreement (never very strong anyway) and the fighting between EAM/ELAS and EDES (the so-called #first round" of the civil war) gave Leeper and the FO all the leverage it needed to do away with Myers and regularize, if I may use that word for such an organization, the status of SOE. Woodhouse occupies the crucial position throughout these months, and when the dust finally settled, he was the pre-eminent survivor. When the war had finally been clearly won in Greece and the withdrawal of the Germans just a matter of time, Woodhouse, who had done his job well for king and country, was removed. He had the extreme displeasure of watching happen what he (and Myers) had predicted: British troops with right wing military and para-military units and the king"s government returned from exile fighting EAM/ELAS. Of all the battles in that part of the world during the war, the one fought in Athens in December, 1944 should never have come about; British soldiers did not like fighting their (former?) Greek allies, even if they were communists. But in this matter Woodhouse has no excuse. If you sell out, being right before the fact doesn"t carry much weight; Woodhouse sheds crocodile tears when he talks about the plans he and Myers had to ease out EAM/ELAS and keep Greece safe for Britain.

Page 36: SOE in Greece

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ENDNOTE 4

! As I was finishing this article Oxford University Press published the following book: Dimitris Livanios, The Macedonian Question. Britain and the Southern Balkans 1939-1949 (2008; 978-0-19-923768-5). The author deserved better of his publisher. As I read I became more angry at the editing and proof reading of a book that cost me $100 and the author untold hours of labor. Mr. Livanios is not a native speaker of English; this is revised thesis, and though it shows it in places the revision has been thoughtfully done. It is must reading for students of Southeastern Europe. But it is hard going and infuriating.! I will begin by listing the problems, first in editing, then in proofing. This is an invidious task, and one that I would prefer not to do. But as far as I"m concerned OUP owes me $100 and Mr. Livanios apology. Since neither is likely to be forthcoming, here we go.! Throughout the book there is an amazing inconsistency in the use of commas that on occasion is positively ludicrous. In some sections the German rules obtain, in others, Anglo-American. I"ve always viewed, or tried to do so anyway, punctuation as a manifestation of character and hence bound by few rules. On the whole, however, a period should mark the end of a complete sentence, and commas used sparingly to connect two main clauses with “and” and to set off supplements and interjections (as “however” in this sentence). In this text the reader will find that (s)he will experience on one page each subordinate clause set off by commas as well as main clauses and sentence fragments (such as nominative absolutes); on the next page (s)he will be back in the world of English punctuation. This gets really nerve wracking, especially in the first half of the book.! The text seems to have edited by committee. Problems begin in the footnotes. Page 8, note 20: assuming that “in” is meant to be Latin then id. is incorrect, and eod. should be used. A small point, but since the editor chooses to use the same locution on p. 161, note 60, where ead. is correct, consistency is in order. This goes for ed. and edd., the latter of which is not used even in Latinate situations. (See p. 11, note 31.) Part 3, Chapter 6 is filled with the words “fact”, “result”, “due to”, and most unnervingly, “the fact(s) that...”, which appears on pp. 180, 182, 183, 185, and 186 and then, poof!, disappears until p. 208 and 218. Sections of the book show inconsistencies in the use of the definite and indefinite article. On p. 186, for example, we read the phrase “ matter how late the ASNOM was convened...”; later on the same page “Turning again to ASNOM...”, a style that is followed for the next three appearances of the acronym until, in the middle of the next page, we have another “the ASNOM.” The same problem occurs on p. 189. A more interesting use of the article appears on p. 146: “No matter how premature it was in 1941 for the Yugoslavs to foresee the eventual victory of the CPA in 1944, it was certain that -- unlike the Greek Communist Party (KKE)-- the militant attitude of the the Albanians towards the question of the political power allowed a considerable amount of optimism about their victory...” I had to read this sentence twice to make the necessary excision of “the” before “political”. On p. 192 we read: “on the other hand Tito would find it particularly easy to #orchestrate" a campaign against Greece whenever this suited him. This peculiar political acrobatics, however, could be

Page 37: SOE in Greece

tolerated only so far as it would not jeopardize Yugoslavia"s international position. The following years were to confirm that whenever that point was reached Tito found both the determination and the means to reduce the Macedonian irredentist chorus to silence.” Briefly: remove the quotes around orchestrate; read “These” for “This”; read “they” for “it”; read in the last clause “...the means to silence the Macedonian irredentist chorus.” The erratic use of the definite article is to be found throughout the book.! The last example brings me to one of the real disservices done to this author, namely the dismal failure of the editor(s ?) to help the author with the old Mot Just (or the well-known editor S.J. Perelman once cited, Mr. Moe Just, a man OUP should hire). P. 21: “On March 1912” and later “on October 1912”, and on the next page “On June 1913”; use “in”. P. 84: “...the Italians had been trying to awake the Albanian factor”; read “awaken”. P. 4: “...keeping Bulgaria away of the German..: read “from”. P. 85: “...the dispatch of a British force in the Balkans...”; read “to”. P. 95: “...that the Protogerov faction, who had now become...”; read, I think, “which”. P. 101: “...the Foreign Office favoured Boris, because he spoke some English, whereas King Alexander could not.”; remove the comma and read “Alexander did not.” P. 128: “...this feeling was particular strong...”; read “particularly”. P. 147: “Svetozar Vukmanovi$ conceded...that the idea...”; so far as I can tell he conceded nothing, read “asserted”. P. 150: “Tempo voiced strong reservations for the efficiency of...”; read “about”. P. 155: “Despite heavy pressure the Yugoslavs appeared to have been failing to extract...”; I"m not sure here, but read either “to have failed” or “to be failing” depending on how the author understands the perfect progressive. P. 169: “All the more so, as the Conference of Yalta-- due to take place at February-- was only a few days away.” Obviously read “in”, but the sentence should be rephrased. P. 170: “But if the Balkan actors in the play had been notified, others had been not.” Classic Timese: see the beginning of “Citizen Kane”; read “others had not been.” P. 183: “Apart from the above aspects...”; “aspects” refers to specifically to Albanians and Turks and probably IMRO as well, though I can"t be certain; I"m not sure how to deal with this phrase. P. 186: “...thus the return of Serb colonists in Macedonia was banned...”; what this refers to is the return of Serbian colonists to Macedonia after November 1944. P. 190: “Whatever Tito"s intentions during the critical December might...”; read “that”. P. 193: “...was also reflected in the education system...”; read “educational”. P. 210: “Britain has shown little...”; read “had”. P. 212: “Bulgaria, however, was considered a very difficult mouthwash for the British to swallow.”; this startling turn of phrase is probably best rectified by reading “pill.” P. 212: “ deny the Soviets absolute control in a country from where they could have been able to maintain control...” ; read “from where they could maintain.” P. 237: “...small bands were operating in Greek soil...”; read, “on”. P. 220: “What appeared to be a two-track policy regarding Greece, and the obscurity of the Yugoslav plans towards Bulgaria, was bound to create confusion.”; I think this is what the author is saying: “What appeared to be a two track policy regarding Greece and the obscurity of Yugoslav plans towards Bulgaria were bound to create confusion”. P. 220: “...prevailing on the ground and the...”; place a comma after “ground”. P. 220: “...the whole issue was not #actuel"; did Clutton use the French word? P. 220: “...not to pay particular importance to...”; read, I guess, “...not to attach any particular...” P. 221: “Agreement, the Greeks retorted, was already reached...”; read, perhaps, “continued”. P. 223: “The new organization found itself...trapped into the vortex of...”; read “sucked” or, more prosaically, “drawn.” P. 223:

Page 38: SOE in Greece

read Tsaldaris everywhere (including note 30). P. 226: “...causing the raising of some eyebrows in the..”; read “causing some raised eyebrows”. P. 226, note 51: “...the opposition papers have been repeatedly voicing their...”; read, “were”. P. 228: “ surrender her own Macedonian part...”; read, maybe, “Macedonian territory,” vel sim. P. 228: “But, as from the spring of 1947...”; cut both the commas and “as”. P.229: “Bevin urged the State Department strongly to declare their resolve to oppose...”; read either “its” or “America"s”. P. 230: “He still remained unconvinced that a federation was genuinely wanted in Belgrade; nor that the fate...”; cut the semi-colon and read “or”. P. 232: “...the Macedonian Question pursued an almost erratic course...”; read “travelled” and, I think, cut “almost”. P. 235: “...and their refusal...”; read “its”. P. 237: “...that most delegates in the First...”; read “to”. P. 239: “...continued to receive reports on...”; read “of”. P. 243: “...forced them to make their presence felt.”; read “it” and its” (the antecedent is Britain). P. 246: “...against the retreating Germans in Yugoslavia; clearly a Soviet initiative.”; this seems a good place for a dash. P. 247: “During the interwar years, and according to the ups and downs of Bulgar-Yugoslav relations, the Foreign Office....and did not fail to register their disapproval...”; remove the first comma, write “in accordance with” and for “them” read “its”. At the bottom of this page things get really out of hand. Where are these editors? “As far as Britain was concerned, their action reaffirmed their commitment to the security and territorial integrity of Greece. It is perhaps of interest to note that they felt that the possible threat to Greece, arising from the Balkan federation, was so imminent that there was no need too waste time by consulting the Americans about their plans. ...their rush to block Tito"s plans...” Read “it” or “its” as necessary for the “theirs”; in the second sentence, remove “they” and repeat “Britain.” {The issue here, as elsewhere, is of course whether to treat “Britain” as a collective noun; I don"t particularly mind a constructio ad sensum, but I am interested in consistency.] P. 248: “ was Stalin that undertook”; read “who”.! Before we proceed, let"s take a break. The book probably could have been improved a bit by a trip to Washington to take a gander at the State Department and OSS archives. As I"m sure the author knows, not infrequently things show up there that have been suppressed or lost in London. It also could use some more material on the Greek side, especially with reference to the KKE and its gyrations over Macedonia. But these are really small points. The depth and range of the author"s archival research is everywhere present and, so far as I can tell, accurate.! Meanwhile, we turn to typos and other textual problems. These I will list.

! P. 8. note 19: read “weight”.! P. 10, note 27: What is “rep.” an abbreviation for?! P. 13, note 40: read “became”.! P. 14, note 44: read “étaient”.! P. 43, note 5: read “Ellas” here and in the Bibliography (p. 254).! P. 48, note 21: Place “That” before the quotation.! P. 99: Read “The German press welcomed the pact which could be seen, ! ! retrospectively, as...”! P. 127, note 43: Read “Phyllis: everywhere in the book, including the bibliography ! ! (p. 252). Correctly spelled on p. 135, note 77.! P. 133, note 69: read “held”, I believe, though the present tense is possible.

Page 39: SOE in Greece

! P. 135: In the quotation from Clutton, “ regard Bulgaria as having been hardly ! ! treated..” Was the original word “harshly” or “badly”?! P. 170: read “...could not afford to sever their relations...”! P. 210: read “...Britain had shown little...”

In the Bibliography:

! Auty, Phyllis. Already noted. (See also under Barker, Elisabeth)! Dontas, Domna. I Ellas... (also already noted.! Fleischer, Hagen. In the title, read Stemma. The Greek translation was published ! ! in 1995; the original German, which ought to be cited here as well, was ! ! published in 1985.

I am pretty sure that I have not picked up all of the many problems of this text. Nor would I have felt impelled to exercise such pedantry on this book had I not felt that it was worth the publisher"s effort to edit the author"s text. In addition, I know that I am not alone in objecting to the wholesale transliteration of furrin language titles; the only exception in this book is <=>?@A in the bibliography.; and, oh yes, the lovely inscription to the author"s mother. If the transcription fetish were offset by careful editing and proofing, I suppose that would be cause to live with it. But OUP has really imploded from the looks of this book. It is not worth $100; do not buy it if you have or can gain access to an academic library. Finally this book has seven (7) end papers. My wife suggested that they were for writing down errata and corrections.

! The book is a diplomatic history that keeps its feet on the ground, and that"s no small feat when writing about this part of the world. Mr. Livanios was clearly well guided in his research. He does not allow himself to jump down one of those ever present Macedonian rabbit holes and get lost. Thus his treatment of Albania and Greece (my particular interest) has been carefully circumscribed and pared to the minimum. The reader does not need to know in any detail what was going on in either country during this period since his central question revolves around the relations between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria with particular reference to Britain with regard to the entity #Macedonia". The British hardly knew what to make of Albania, but in Greece they had quite precise interests that they attempted to pursue rigorously. Kosovo was a very big problem for Yugoslavia in relation to Albania, but not so much so in the context of Macedonia where the Albanian population was neither large nor well organized, if at all. Greece posed a different set of problems. In order of importance they may be rapidly listed: 1) Greek neuroses, sometimes verging on hysteria, respecting anything that smack(ed)(s) of Macedonian irredentism, 2) The deep, long-lived desire of Bulgaria to acquire a port on the Aegean, preferably Thessalonike , but Kavala or even Alexandroupolis might do , 3) The extraordinary ambivalence of the South Slavs in their mutual relations, political, social, economic and military, thus confusing the issue and increasing Greek paranoia, and 4) The fickle attitude and short attention span of the European powers and the USA towards the whole of the area except for Greece. Mr. Livanios explicates all of these issues neatly within the context of his central topic

Page 40: SOE in Greece

! I was myself particularly struck by the ability of the CPY and CPB to put the KKE in a pickle practically in an off-hand manner. Between the schizophrenic KKE and the constant noise from its north it is no wonder that the KKE was fissiparous and rendered virtually witless after Varkiza. Zachariades was not the man to go up against Tito or even Dimitrov, so the KKE dithered and floundered and lost the war. But there seems to me to be something more than mere confusion and lack of communication, etc. etc. in all this. Tito had his own agendum, and nothing was going to deflect him from achieving it; Hoxha controlled a weak, desperately poor nation that required full-time attention; and finally Bulgaria had too much to live down from the war (its liberation of Skopje and other parts of southern Yugoslavia notwithstanding) and was also poor and needing of recovery. None of these nations had any cogent reason to think about Greece, which was, after all, not exactly a hereditary ally of any of them. The best way to keep the Greeks out of Macedonia beyond its borders was to pay lip service to a Macedonian state (whether federal or independent) but never to allow too much real contact between the Greek state and its proposed expanded Macedonia. It seems to me that Tito played his cards perfectly in this respect. ! Two points. Britain spent a lot of time and energy defending the territorial integrity of Greece. Mr. Livanios has given us the documentation to conclude that Britain held on to the Churchillian passion to restore the pre-war world too long and too consistently. In a fragile world flexibility is a necessity, and in Macedonia that was especially true since everything about it was uncertain, amorphous and potentially dangerous. Secondly, it must be admitted that the British exercised a modest influence in Macedonian matters throughout the 1940s, but little of it was of lasting effect. It may well be, as Livanios argues, that British intervention was essential in 1945 to stop Tito"s attempt to revise the pre-war boundaries, but as Mr. Livanios himself points out (p.247) “ was was Stalin"s pragmatic approach rather than British strength, that halted Tito"s drive.”! Mr. Livanios provides a really useful summary of events and characters relating to the Macedonian Question prior to WW I. To me IMRO was not a whole lot more than a name and a few rather unsavory people; Mr. Livanios" exegesis of IMRO"s history comes as a real help. But I sensed a slight weakness in the matter of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 that does disturb me. Mr. Livanios finds a “surprising readiness” that Greek and Bulgarian would lay down their arms and even embrace one another (p. 20). For all its deficiencies the Ottoman Empire retained a hold on its subjects that is indeed hard to understand but real enough. Koliopoulos has outlined in detail the story of Greek brigands during the Nineteenth Century. It would be hard to defend the actions of most of them as those of “freedom fighters” for Greece; indeed many of these brigands changed sides so often it is hard to keep track of them. For many thousands of people in Macedonia the Ottomans were the government, and they were supported as such by Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Vlachs, and others. The prospect of a full scale revamping of the Ottoman government with recognition of the many defects yet present in Turkish administration would have been a cause for rejoicing in many, if not most, communities in Macedonia. This comes out on p. 235 (and n. 83): “The Bulgarians did not sit back. The Sofia press did not mince its words when referring to the #middle-class bourgeois nationalistic psychosis" evident-- in their view--in Belgrade. Passions were so inflamed that it was also suggested that under the Turks the situation in Yugoslav Macedonia was better: Bulgarian schools and papers could be seen at that time, but not

Page 41: SOE in Greece

now.” My queasiness arises because I have to wonder if Mr. Livanios has got the relations between the Ottoman state and its subjects right.! Napoleon Zervas, I suppose, was a “right-wing” guerilla leader (p. 148), but until he showed that in mid/late 1943, it is probably a good idea to describe him as “moderate, relatively non-political” leader. This is the way the British tried to handle him in the beginning, always, of course, looking to make him a good monarchist. Zervas is a cheap shot nowadays, not that he doesn"t deserve it.! Franklin Roosevelt intervened directly in Greek political affairs once, namely in late 1943 when he was asked by king George II if he should agree to return to Greece only after a plebiscite (p. 167, n. 31). Roosevelt said no, and the FO had yet another hissy fit. Here"s what I think. In 1943 the President was Commander in Chief of a young, relatively inexperienced army, navy and air force fighting a wide-ranging war in the Pacific and a relatively concentrated, vicious war in Europe with allies whose interests and purposes were hardly those of himself or his country. He didn"t care about Southeastern Europe except as a strategic area that supplied the Axis with raw materials and manpower. He certainly was not interested in dabbling in its politics. I believe he did what Churchill wanted/expected him to do and said the hell with it. Why did George go to him anyway? And certainly George didn"t have to take his advice-- plenty of people didn"t. I"d have to read too much in the life of Roosevelt, his third term, and his relations with Churchill to come up with even an attempt to answer these questions. But if the FO was angry, I"ll bet Churchill wasn"t.! Pipe smoking statesmen, intellectuals, and their ilk may have been at the heart of complaints leveled at the Bulgarian returnees from Moscow after liberation in airplanes, forsooth! (p. 235), but there"s a side-swipe here at Stalin as well; he had taken up pipe smoking during the war, I believe for health reasons. ! Tito allowed himself to be interviewed by Sulzberger of the New York “Times” because he knew that it would get under the skin of the British, because he needed the international publicity and this was by far the best way to get it, and because he was constrained to play off the incessant British pressure with somebody or something, and this was the best way he knew. So the FO raised its eyebrows; Tito was able to keep his cards close to his chest. One smart guy.! Future students of this subject would do well to take to heart Mr. Livanios" comment: “... Greek and Yugoslav interests (more precisely the interests of their exiled governments) were not as similar as the British would have wished them to be...” (p.245). !!

! ! ! ! !

Page 42: SOE in Greece

! ! ! ! ! ! BIBLIOGRAPHY

Auty, Phyllis and Richard Clogg. British Policy towards Wartime Resistance in ! Yugoslavia & Greece. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1975. [Auty and Clogg]

Baerentzen, Lars. British Reports on Greece 1943-44. Copenhagen: Museum ! Tusculum, 1982. [Baerentzen]

Bailey, Roderick. The Wildest Province. SOE in the Land of the Eagle. London, ! Jonathon Cape, 2008. [Bailey]

Barker, Elisabeth. British Policy in South-East Europe in the Second World War. New ! York: Barnes and Noble, 1976. [Barker]

Carabott, Philip and Thanasis D. Sfikas. The Greek Civil War. Essays on a Conflict of ! Exceptionalism and Silences. London: Ashgate, 2004. [Carabott and Sfikas]

Clogg, Richard, Editor and Translator. Greece 1940-1949. Occupation, Resistance, Civil ! War. London: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2002. [Greece 1940-1949]

Ibid. Anglo-Greek Attitudes. Studies in History. New York: St. Martin"s, 2000. ! [Anglo-Greek Attitudes]

Condit, D.M. Case Study in Guerrilla War: Greece During World War II. Washington: ! The American University, 1961. [Condit]

Garnett, David. The Secret History of PWE. The Political Warfare Executive 1939-1945. ! London: St. Ermin"s, 2002. [Garnett]

Gerolymatos, André. Guerrilla Warfare & Espionage in Greece 1940-1944. New York: ! Pella, 1992. [Gerolymatos]

Hammond, Nicholas. Venture into Greece. With the Guerrillas, 1943-1944. London: ! William Kimber, 1983. [Hammond]

Hamson, Denys. We Fell Among Greeks. London: Jonathon Cape, 1946. [Hamson]

Hionidou, Violetta. Famine and Death in Occupied Greece, 1941-1944. New York: ! Cambridge U.P., 2006. [Hionidou]

Hondros, John Louis. Occupation & Resistance. The Greek Agony 1941-1944. New ! York: Pella, 1983. [Hondros]

Iatrides, John O. Greece in the 1940s. A Nation in Crisis. Hanover: University Press of ! New England, 1981. [Iatrides]

Page 43: SOE in Greece

Jelavich, Charles and Barbara. The Establishment of the Balkan National States, ! 1804-1920. Seattle: Washington UP, 2000. [Jelavich]

Livanios, Dimitris. The Macedonian Question. Britain and the Southern Balkans ! 1939-1949. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. [Livanios]

Mazower, Mark. Editor. After the War was Over. Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and ! State in Greece, 1943-1960. Princeton: Princeton U.P., 2000. [After the War]

Mazower, Mark. The Balkans. New York: Modern Library, 2000 [Balkans]

ibid. Inside Hitler"s Greece. The Experience of Occupation 1941-44. New !Haven: Yale ! U.P., 1991. [Mazower]

Myers, Brigadier E.C.W. Greek Entanglement. Revised Edition. London: Alan Sutton, ! 1985. [Myers]

Petrakis, Marina. The Metaxas Myth. Dictatorship and Propaganda in Greece. London: ! Tauris, 2006. [Petrakis]

Rigopoulos, Rigas. Secret War. Greece--Middle East 1940-1945. The Events ! Surrounding the Story of Service 5-16-5. Translated by Jesse M. Heines. ! Paducah, KY: Turner, 2003. [Rigopoulos]

Schwander-Sievers, Stephanie. and Bernd.J. Fischer. Albanian Identities. Myth and ! History. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2002. [Albanian Identities]

Seaman, Mark. Editor. Special Operations Executive. A New Instrument of War. London: ! Routledge, 2006. [Seaman]

Smith, E.D. Victory of a Sort. The British in Greece, 1941-46. London: Robert ! Hale,! 1988. [Smith]

Winnifrith, T. J. Bandlands-Borderlands. A History of Southern Albania/Northern Epirus. ! London: Duckworth, 2002. [Winnifrith]

Wittner, Lawrence S. American Intervention in Greece, 1943-1949. New York: Columbia ! U.P., 1982. [Wittner]

Woodhouse, C. M. Apple of Discord. A Survey of Recent Greek Politics in their ! International Setting. London: Hutchinson, [1949]. [Apple]

ibid. Something Ventured. London: Granada, 1982. [Something Ventured]

Ibid. The Struggle for Greece 1941-1949. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2002. [Struggle]