Greek People’s Liberation Army

ELAS is the short name of the Greek People’s Liberation Army (llinikós E / E L thnikós aikos A pelevtherotikós TRATOS S), the military arm of the “National Liberation Front” EAM. ELAS introduced during the Second World War under the command of the Communist resistance fighter aris e Velouchiotis a bitter partisan struggle against the German, Italian and Bulgarian occupation forces and their fascist collaborator

In December 1941, the Central Committee decided on 27 September 1941 formed the “National Liberation Front” EAM (E thnikó A pelevtherotikó ETOPO M), the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Greek. In mid-1942 took the ELAS partisans to armed struggle. ELAS then became the strongest military power in the Greek resistance movement.

On 5 July 1943, ELAS was recognized by the British Middle East Headquarters as an allied army. She added the occupation forces to significant losses in men and material. At this time it held the German leadership still possible to crush the liberation movement militarily “to feed the planned German troops.” A total of eight divisions and specialized units in the amount of eight battalions were moved to Greece in 1943. On 1 May 1944, the number of German soldiers had over 1942 more than doubled, but Colonel General Löhr still had to explain that it will never succeed “completely destroy and bring peace to the room” ELAS. By terror but they should be so weakened that in the event of invasion, the main roads were kept open for a certain time. In July, the German troops controlled by its own opinion, “no larger contiguous area more.” On 26 August 1944 Hitler ordered the evacuation of southern and central Greece.

ELAS was due to their action, which was also directed against their own countrymen, not without controversy and has been shown in the postwar period by the rightwing government as a communist terrorist organization. This included both EAM and ELAS the broad spectrum of the left movement of the democratic left (for B. Stefanos Sarafis) to Stalinist (eg As Nikolaos Zachariadis) and handed to Aris Velouchiotis, Georgios and Andreas Siantos Tzimas had a very strong non-Stalinist communist wing. As the former left-liberal and socialist resistance movement EDES of Komninos Pyromaglou and General Nikolaos Plastiras was under the leadership of Napoleon Zervas more and more of a melting pot for a royalist and other fascist forces that would not shrink even before collaborating with the Germans, it was in winter of 1943, the conflict with the ELAS.

By September 1944, ELAS had about Connected 120,000 fighters. For members of ELAS also used in Greece, Germany, formed from former political prisoners including Criminal Division 999 as Wolfgang Abendroth, Ludwig Gehm and Kurt Lohberger ran over. Also Falk Harnack, previously known member of the White Rose resistance group, fighting off the winter of 1943 in the ranks of ELAS. The Italian occupation troops harbored some deep sympathy with the Greek partisans fight and ran in many places as a closed combat units to ELAS, when Italy broke away from the axis alliance.

After the surrender of the Italian and Bulgarian occupation forces and the retreat of the German army in October 1944, EAM and ELAS turned against the policy pursued by the UK return of the exiled after the occupation of the Axis Powers King George II to the throne, but especially against the possible restoration the authoritarian, anti-democratic regime of the late General Metaxas in 1941. Because of Moscow’s secret agreement between the governments of Churchill and Stalin Greece was declared a British sphere of influence. The conservative British government feared the establishment of a Greek People’s Republic and therefore pursued a relentless confrontation with EAM and ELAS to enforce their claim to power in Greece. This led to armed conflict in late 1944, which were held in the so-called Battle of Athens. Military intervention by the United Kingdom on 5 December 1944 should ELAS accordance with the Agreement of Varkiza of 12 Be disarmed and demobilized in February 1945. This was not complete and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) continued as a purely communist successor ELAS continued until their final defeat in 1949 the civil war against the government.

Discharged during the 1946 to 1949 Greek Civil War, many of the demobilized ELAS commanders were forced to leave the country with their families to escape the onset of persecution, which nevertheless numerous ELAS members were with the approval of the Western Allies to the victim. They found shot in Bulgaria and Romania. Many of them, including more than 1,100 children in 1949 moved to the newly founded GDR.

To date, the resistance struggle ELAS is an identification factor of the Communist Party of Greece KKE, which sees itself as a champion for the recognition of the achievements of the former partisans.


•Federal Archive (ed.): Europe under the swastika, the policy of occupation of German fascism in Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Italy and Hungary (1941-1945); Hüthig Community, Volume 6, ISBN 3-8226-1892-6

Greek Military History

Greek Resistance 1941-1945

Guerrilla warfare in World War II


Established in 1942

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