January 11

This Day in History

World War II

Jan 11, 1945:

Truce signed in Greek Civil War

On this day, fighting in the civil war stops when a political truce is signed between the British-backed Democratic National Army and the communist rebel National Liberation Front.

Upon the occupation of Greece by Germany (which invaded to bail out Italy after its failed invasion threatened to leave Greece open to Allied occupation), various resistance forces gave battle. Two stood out as particularly important: a communist-backed resistance movement called the National Liberation Front and a liberal, democratic movement called the Democratic National Army. While the factions operated within different ideological frameworks, they nevertheless occasionally cooperated in fighting the common German enemy. By early 1944, however, the National Liberation Front took to the hills to create a provisional government, rejecting the legitimacy of both the Greek king and his government-in-exile. It also disregarded its one remaining rival for ultimate political supremacy in Greece—the Democratic National Army.

When Germany withdrew from Greece in October 1944, victorious British forces brought together the communist and democratic factions in order to establish a coalition government. This government collapsed after the communist National Liberation Front refused to disband its guerrilla forces. On December 3, war broke out between the communists and the democrats. The National Liberation Front took control of most of Greece, with the exception of the capital and Salonika.

The British fought against the communists alongside the Democratic National Army, which began to move more and more to the right politically as it struggled for survival and support. On January 11, the National Liberation Front accepted the British terms for a truce; a month later, the rebels surrendered and disbanded their guerilla army altogether. The peace was short-lived, however, as civil war broke out again in the postwar environment and the tumultuous struggle for control over Greece continued.

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