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Teacher's Comment :

Han, Changhee - The Greek Civil War



Han, Changhee has lived in Massachusetts for 4 years, feels comfortable in an English-speaking environment, is a passionate debater and avid reader. He wrote his research paper about the Greek Civil War.
Han, Changhee's paper is 21 pages long (single space), has 53 notes and 17 positions on the reference list. He begins his account with the German invasion of Greece in 1941, divides it into three phases (1941-1944 - German Occupation and Greek Resistance; 1944-1946 - Liberation and Provisional Government; 1946-1949 - Greek Civil War).
During World War II the Allies, i.e. primarily the British, supported anyone resisting the Germans, thus both Democrats and Communists. By the time the German Army evacuated Greece, the Communists controlled most of the country. Now the British pushed for the establishment of a Provisional Coalition Government which would include the Communists in a minor, powerless role, while the legal system was used to crack down upon Communists. In Moscow 1944, Churchill and Stalin agreed on spheres of influence on the Balkans, with Greece falling into the British sphere.
The Greek Communists found themselves outmanoeuvred, resumed active resistance, operated from bases on the Albanian, Yugoslav and Bulgarian side of the border. They were outnumbered and outgunned by the regular forces, but determined; Tito's split with Stalin resulted in the Greek Communists, siding with the USSR, deprived them of the vital support of first Yugoslavia and then Albania; the civil war was over.
In the late 1940es and 1950es, in English-language publications, the Greek Civil War was blamed on Communist aggression; coverage focussed on military events and Communist atrocities. The Truman Doctrine resulted in massive U.S. aid for Greece and Turkey to combat a Communist threat.
Han, Changhee fills in the blanks left by Cold War Era accounts, gives the role of British diplomacy its proper space, describes the Communists both as actors as of victims of the situation. British diplomacy, with U.S. support, engineered a democratic non-communist post-war government in Greece, complete with the return of King George II., much as the USSR engineered post-war communist governments in Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the GDR. Western Cold War media blamed the Soviets for her actions in her sphere, while not covering or mislabelling the Anglo-American actions in Greece.

Han, Changhee's account is based on English-language publications, mostly secondary sources (the primary sources he uses are the Britannica Books of the Year). His paper compiles information from a selection of diverse sources, uses a number of direct quotes in the process, organizes his paper according to his own criteria (thus beginning his account in 1941, not in 1944) and reaches his own, independent conclusion.
Han, Changhee's paper compares to a third year college presentation and would serve as an excellent foundation for an academic discussion of the topic.


December 27th 2007

Alexander Ganse



Han, Changhee The Greek Civil War