The Kapetanios: Partisans and Civil War in Greece, 1943–1949

The Greek Civil War was one of the bloodiest of modern times: it cost the lives of more than 600,000 people out of a population of 7 million. It was one of the founding moments of the Cold War and a pilot experience, in Europe itself, of the Western imperialist intervention practised in South-East Asia and elsewhere today. This book is the first blow-by-blow account of the process of the Greek Revolution and its background in the Resistance against Nazi occupation and fascist collaboration in the Second World War. The 'kapetanios' were the guerilla chiefs in the mountains in Greece who led the anti-fascist partisans, first against the Italian and German occupying forces and their Greek quislings, and then against the British troops who landed to prevent a partisan victory.

Besides extensive use of Greek, British and German written sources, the author has interviewed many of the surviving Greek partisans and political leaders. He reconstructs the course of the Civil War and establishes the depth and significance of British intelligence activity and military intervention. He also recreates the internal conflicts which simmered and exploded within the ranks of EAM - the Greek National Liberation Front. This was a conflict between those who were for an all-out offensive against British occupation and its Greek supporters, and those orthodox Communists who obeyed Stalin's acceptance at Yalta of British dominance in Greece - and ordered the guerillas to lay down their arms in 1946. Eudes shows how, in the 'second' Civil War that followed, the Greek partisans suffered from this fateful initial surrender. However, it was only after years of bitter fighting and massive intervention by British and US forces that the Greek monarchist counter-revolution achieved ultimate victory in 1949. The consequences of that victory of the 'free world' can be seen in the fascist military regime of Papadopoulos today.


  • Post-fascism: a mutation still underway

    This interview with Enzo Traverso was first published in L'humanité. Translated by David Broder. 

    June 2015 press conference of far right 'Europe of Nations and Freedom' bloc within European Parliament. 

    In his Les Nouveaux Visages du Fascisme, historian Enzo Traverso analyses the mutations of the European far Right movements that have emerged from "the fascist matrix."1 According to Traverso, the Left has to "offer political perspectives again" in order to occupy "the immense void" that is today being filled by both jihadism and a "post-fascism" that excludes Muslims.

    Are Europe’s far-Right movements (the AfD in Germany, the Front National in France, Jobbik in Hungary…) adopting the same codes as fascism or Nazism?

    Enzo Traverso: First of all, these movements do share common traits, including their rejection of the European Union, their xenophobia and their racism, in particular in its Islamophobic dimension. Beyond these markers, we can see notable differences. There are clearly neo-fascist or neo-Nazi movements, like Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, etc., whose radicalism is often linked to the extent of the crisis, even if in Greece the rise of Syriza did put a lid on this dynamic. As for France, the Front National does have a fascist matrix, and there are certainly neo-fascists in the party, but its discourse is no longer fascist. After all, it has made a considerable effort at ideological mutation, and that is one of the keys to its success. If it still advanced neo-fascist arguments it would not get a hearing, and could certainly not hope to reach the second round of the presidential election.

    Continue Reading

  • Mutations of Fascism: an interview with Enzo Traverso

    In Les Nouveaux Visages du fascisme, Enzo Traverso and Régis Meyran discuss the continuities and discontinuities between the fascist movements of the twentieth century and the "post-fascist" far right of today. Olivier Doubre spoke with Traverso for the 16-22 February 2017 edition of Politis. Translated by David Broder. 

    You use the term "post-fascism" to characterise today’s far Right movements. What does this term mean?

    Enzo Traverso: The idea of post-fascism firstly serves to characterise a political movement that is shot through with contradictions, and which has an evident fascist matrix — for that is its history, where it comes from — and in the Front National’s case a dynastic line of descent. There is an undeniable fascist hard core in the FN apparatus, its activist base, composed of neo-fascist militants of all generations. They are very active in the FN and hold onto a good part of the organisation. So there is a rift between the organisational reality of this party — or even its anthropological fabric — and Marine Le Pen’s discourse in the media or the public sphere, which is of a xenophobic, nationalist, anti-neoliberal tenor but also comes out of a social Right. Yet if the FN were a neofascist sect, or even a neofascist party, I do not think that it would be considered likely to appear in the second round of the presidential election, or even capable of being France’s biggest party. This party is thus clearly transforming, and it is trying to operate a process by which it dialectically transcends its fascist character — but without entirely rejecting it. So in order to fight this party, we have to understand what it has become.

    Continue Reading