restricted access The Greek Communist Party (KKE), Official Documents, Volume 6 (review)
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Reviews The Greek Communist Party (KKE), Official Documents, Volume 6. Athens: Sinhroni Epohi. 1987. The appearance of the sixth volume of KKE official documents (EpÃ-sima kimena), covering the Civil War period 1945—1949, is an event for several reasons. First and foremost, the book marks the end of the semi-official reticence inside the KKE concerning the Civil War. The slow process of coming to terms with this tragic and fateful part of Greek reality and Party history got started only in 1982 when the PASOK government carried through Parliament the long overdue recognition of the Leftist Resistance Movement. Once Law 1285/82 was passed and the free return of the political refugees was guaranteed by the 29 December 1982 decision of the Ministry of Interior and Public Order, the Greek Communist Party cautiously began to work for public recognition of the fact that the Civil War had not been a "bandit war" or "conspiracy against Greece" as was claimed in Government propaganda until 1981, but rather a struggle for national independence and a continuation of the resistance against the Axis Powers during the Second World War. Books on the Civil War written by KKE members began to appear with the imprimatur of the "official" Party publishers, and at the Communist Youth Festival in 1986 the 40 years of the Democratic Army was given some prominence. Though there can be no doubt that public sentiment in Greece is changing on the subject of the Civil War, the KKE must take care not to press a delicate issue, especially in the present political situation. In public opinion, the Civil War remains distinct from the National Resistance. The publication of the official Party documents from the Civil War reflects an endeavor to both accept the tragic events as facts and promote the political goal of having the Civil War recognized as a continuation of the resistance, though the KKE openly admits the errors committed during the struggle. For historians the importance of the publication lies not only in Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 6, 1988. 135 136 Reviews the fact that it provides easy access to texts which up to now had been difficult to locate but that it also makes available for the first time some hitherto unknown documents, though these are of mixed quality and importance. Historians will ask two natural questions: how far is this a full collection, and what new facts emerge? An exhaustive discussion of these questions cannot be attempted here; I shall confine myself to a brief treatment of some problematic cases in order that the reader may get an idea of what can be found in the book and what cannot. In order to judge the fullness of this collection we must bear in mind that the documents are the official statements of the KKE, that is, statements by authoritative Party organs meant for party members and the general public. It goes without saying that during this period, especially after October 1947, Party decisions and statements of policy were not always made public, nor even made known to all those within the KKE. Accordingly, the definition of "official document " employed by the editors precludes the inclusion of some extremely interesting and important texts. I will mention only two examples: the correspondence between the KKE and the fraternal Parties in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania; and, documents which are partially known and in some cases represent "official" KKE views but not the views of the KKE official who signed the document. For example, the document sent to the CPSU in July 1947 (published in Avyi 16 and 18 December 1979) is an official Central Committee report, as is also the letter sent to the CPY which was published in Avyi 11 January 1980. In addition, the Appendix to the volume (pp. 387-514) includes some texts which fall outside the strict definition of official Party documents, but it is not always easy to see why a particular text has been included. For instance, the Central Committee report presented by Siantos to the 7th Congress is included but not the reports by Zahariádis, Siringos, PartsalÃ-dis and IoannÃ-dis, for which we...


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