Tsoucalas, Constantine. 1969. The Greek Tragedy. London: Penguin.
- Chapter 4. 1945–1946: White Terror
- » I Want to Speak of the Great Silence
In July 1945, Papandreou informed the government that the dissolution of the Comintern was only a sham. Although Stalin still did not support a resumption of armed struggle in Greece, thereby showing his respect for the Yalta agreement, in February 1946 the KKE leadership decided that, taking into account domestic circumstances and the wider Balkan and international situation, armed struggle was the only means for self-preservation. The KKE boycotted the March 1946 elections as being rigged (predetermined by backstage manipulations by the British, the Right, and the Palace) and as excluding de facto a vast portion of the electorate, which had gone into hiding out of fear of the paramilitaries—in effect anyone to the Left of the Right. The elections were won by the monarchist United Patriotic Party (Hēnōménē Parátaxis Ethnikophrónōn, HPE), whose main member was the People's Party (Laiko Komma) of Konstantinos Tsaldaris. In September, in a climate of continued terror, a manipulated referendum decided to retain the monarchy, and despite the protests of the KKE, which disputed the results, King George II returned to Athens. From February to July 1945, 20,000 persons had been arrested, over 500 had been murdered, and 2,961 had been condemned to death. According to the minister of justice, in December 1945 “the number of imprisoned persons is 17,984. Of these 2,388 have been legally condemned and 15,596 are detained preventively… 48,956 are being prosecuted for their activities as EAM/ELAS members. The total number of persons to be charged, including those already detained is, according to our estimate, over 80,000” (Tsoucalas 1969: 94).
Eventually even the ΚΚΕ itself deemed the decision to boycott the elections a grave mistake.
The referendum was so rigged that it produced more votes than there were voters, something that came to be standard practice in almost all Greek elections until 1974. When I asked people about this particular election, the most common response was that “every body and every thing [oi pántes kai ta pánta]” voted: the dead, trees, empty houses. Pharmakes (2006) attempts to rehabilitate these elections by saying that, when electoral representatives of the ΚΚΕ tried to substantiate the votes through the electoral catalogues by visiting the specific addresses, “of course, after such a long time, things had changed; they went there and where a house used to be they found a tree.” Yet the attempts to substantiate the votes were made only a few months after the referendum took place.
King George II had been deposed and reinstated in Greece twice, and had to flee the country at least as many times, a situation that, allegedly, led him to declare that the most important possession for a king of Greece was a suitcase.