restricted access The British Intervention in Greece: The Battle of Athens, December 1944


The British intervention in December 1944 represents a major turning point in Greek history. The forces of EAM-ELAS suffered a severe blow in the streets of the capital, and their loss had significant consequences. The military defeat of the Left consolidated the anticommunist camp and exacerbated the polarization of Greek society and political life. During the December events, a bloody wave of retributive violence occurred that undoubtedly had its roots in the Axis occupation and the clashes that took place between the main resistance organizations and the state's security forces. Nevertheless, as this paper argues, these confrontations were not the only factors that produced the destructive cycle of violence that took place during the December events. Urban guerilla warfare played a critical role in the conflict, and an analysis of the battlefield can shed new light on certain developments during this crucial period. A series of military decisions taken during the counterinsurgency operation within the context of a civil war radicalized those involved and led eventually to a bloodbath.