THE DECEMBER REVOLT IN ATHENS BRITISH INTERVENTION AND YUGOSLAV REACTION DECEMBER 1944 – JANUARY 1945
The revolt that members and supporters of the leftist movement EAM-ELAS staged in Athens in early December 1944 against the Greek royal and British forces ushered into the second “round” of the civil war in Greece. The developments in the neighbourhood draw much attention in Yugoslavia, where the war of liberation was in its final phases in parallel with the elimination of political rivals to the new government in which communists played a central role. This attention was not only a result of ideological solidarity, it also had to do with the “Macedonian Question”, i.e. the position of Slavic Macedonian minority in northern Greece, an issue that had aroused a debate between Greek and Yugoslav communists in 1944. Difficulties in relations between the Yugoslav partisan leadership and the British, pressure from London, the passivity of the Soviet Union as regards the developments in Athens, a stalemate on the Srem Front, fights with the remaining collaborationist forces, compelled Yugoslavia to take a reserved position and avoid direct involvement in Greece. Appeals of Greek communists for aid in military supplies, promised on the eve of the revolt, failed to provoke a tangible response of the Yugoslav leadership. Once the revolt was crushed by the British and a truce between the EAM-ELAS and the royal government signed, a wave of migration to Yugoslavia ensued of the borderland civilian Slavic Macedonian population but also of several thousand radical Greek leftists unwilling to accept the Varkiza agreement.