The CC of the KKE, the entire party and KNE, honours the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the democratic Army of Greece (DSE).
1946 was a year of important developments directly connected to the creation of the DSE, such as:
The 2nd Plenum of the CC of the KKE (12-15 February 1946), which began exactly a year after of the signing of the Varkiza Agreement (12th of February 1945).The 2nd Plenum, even if in a contradictory way, was the one that decided to conduct the armed struggle.
The attack of a group of partisans on the gendarmerie station of Litohoro, on the night of the 30th and early in the morning of the 31st of March 1946, took place on the eve of the parliamentary elections.
The foundation of the General Headquarters of the Partisans (28th of October 1946), which is in essence the date of the foundation of the DSE. The official name was finalized on the 27th of December 1946, with the issuing of the Order of the General Headquarters of the Partisans, which set "the name of the partisan forces as being the DEMOCRATIC ARMY OF GREECE".
The 70th anniversary finds the KKE waging a stable and decisive struggle for the interests of the working class and popular strata, for their alliance and the regroupment of the labour movement, in the conditions of the counterrevolutions that prevailed in the period 1989-1991 and of the current crisis of the international communist movement.
These conditions create additional difficulties for the struggle. They have a paralytic impact and disorient the working class and popular forces, despite the deep and prolonged capitalist economic crisis in Greece, its coordinate outbreak at a global level in 2008, the unstable recovery and the manifestation of repeated crisis phenomena later on, expose the impasses of capitalism, its historically obsolete character.
In the framework of this political correlation of forces at a global level that is negative for the communist movement and the peoples, the KKE waged and wages tough social and political battles. It has ideologically, politically and organizationally regrouped itself, having formed a revolutionary strategy for the contemporary conditions and having reinforced its communist characteristics.
The KKE had developed its deep roots amongst the people initially in the harsh class struggles before the 2nd World War, but especially during the bloody struggles of the 1940s when communist men and women fought and died in the mountains, were executed by firing squads (at Goudi, Pavlos Melas etc.), in the prisons (Aigina etc.), the concentration camps (Makronisos etc) and the places of exile.
All these struggles, especially the class struggle of the DSE, were factors that lent great strength and developed consciousness of the communist responsibility, so that the KKE could stand upright during the counterrevolutions of 1989-1991, draw strength, maintain its historical continuity, and deal with offensive launched by opportunist factionalism to liquidate it. These factionalists had united with other social-democratic forces in the "Coalition of the Left and Progress" in these efforts.
At the same time, the KKE is convinced that learning from the DSE and drawing conclusions that strengthen the class struggle today, the struggle for socialism-communism is the real and substantial way to honour the history of the DSE and the heroic hundred-year history of the Communist Party more generally. This is the reason that the critical study of the history of the KKE has nothing to do with a one-side obsession with mistakes or an opportunist embellishment of the facts that refuses to draw conclusions from the past.
The study of the history of the KKE and the international communist movement has been a valuable resource for our party regarding the formation of its strategy. The compass for this is the scientific analysis of capitalist reality, which is a guarantee that the time distance from the historical events does not lead to easy criticisms detached from the entirety of the factors that formed these situations.
The KKE does not conceal the weaknesses of the subjective factor that had a negative impact on the outcome of the DSE's struggle. It considers incorrect and misleading, as well as unscientific, to attribute all the problems that emerged to objective causes and to prettify its political line and the political line of the international communist movement.
The three-year struggle of the DSE was just, heroic and magnificent.
It expressed the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population against the interests of their oppressors and exploiters. It expressed the interests of the working class and its basic allies, the impoverished farmers and poor urban self-employed strata. Bourgeois state power at that time faced the greatest danger to its existence .The struggle of the DSE was the supreme expression of the class struggle in Greece during the 20th century.
The KKE is proud of the army of heroes it educated. Thousands of communist men and women gave the last ounce of their strength so that the epic of the DSE could be realized, fighting and marching day and night, often without food, many barefoot, through ice and storms.
The activity and self-sacrifice of tens of thousands of dead fighting men and women of the DSE, the wounded, those imprisoned for belonging to its ranks and fighting for its cause and all those who struggled bravely in Greece and in political exile, provide lessons and inspiration both ethically and politically. The majority of them were young people, organized in the Democratic Youth of Greece (DNE) and EPON, and they constituted about 80% of the DSE's overall strength.
The KKE honours all those men and women who fought heroically, on the mountains of Grammos and Vitsi, on Ipeiros and Thessaly, in Roumeli and the Peloponnese, in Macedonia and Thrace, in Crete, on the islands of the Ionian and Aegean, everywhere where the DSE was active.
The DSE confronted the local bourgeoisie and all its political forces (both "rightwing" and "centrist") and their state, and also their allies, like the capitalists states of Great Britain and the USA. Without the latter’s military, financial and political backing, the bourgeois class in Greece could not have been victorious.
It is characteristic that in the final battle on Grammos, the DSE deployed about 12,500 fighters with light weapons, while the government's army was calculated at being over 100,000 men, with 120 artillery pieces, many tanks and airforce support. This unequal class confrontation makes the legacy of the DSE even more valuable in political and moral terms.
The DSE was a people's army. It was based on the organizational and military experience of ELAS'sstruggle during the occupation and December 1944. The EAM-led resistance and the crucial and objectively class-based conflict of December had left an important militant legacy in the people's consciousness, and in terms of the forms of organization and struggle that could be used.
The great strength of the DSE was its bonds with the people, especially in the regions of Free Greece. The poor popular masses were the ones who provided the DSE with all kinds of assistance, fighters, food and clothes; they assisted in the construction of fortifications. Intelligence gathering, the organization of the people's militia. They found support and strength in the DSE the popular institutions for the organization of social-political life (people's councils, people's militias, people's courts) in the areas where the DSE was in control. These institutions dealt with a plethora of problems, such as the protection of children and saving them from bombings and enslavement, their education and the establishment of schools. This is the reason why the bourgeois stated carried out the forced deportation of hundreds of thousands of people from the villages, which they hypocritically described as being "affected by the rebels", in order to isolate the DSE from the basic source of its strength.
In contrast with the bourgeois army, the characteristic feature of the DSE was its struggle for the just cause of the people, its self-sacrifice and conscious discipline. It combines the militant implementation of orders with the democracy of assemblies at its various levels, where the lower-ranked criticized the higher-ranked and vice versa, where assessments were made about military operations in a spirit of self-criticism.
Thousands of military leaders at all levels emerged from the ranks of the DSE, such as: Giannis Alexandrou (Diamantis), Harilaos Florakis (Yiotis), Nikos Triantafyllou, Stefanos Giouzelis, Panos Zaras, Kostas Karagiorgis, Gianis Podas, Kostas Koligiannis,(Arvanitis), Thanasis Genios (Lassanis), Pantelis Vainas, Giorgos Ilaidis (Sofianos), ), Nikos Theocharopoulos (Skotidas), Tassos Petsas, Romas Petsos, Giorgis Vogias (Kartsiotis), Antonis Aggeloulis (Vratsanos), Kosmas Spanos (Amyntas), Giorgos Giannoulis, Thomas Palas (Koziakas), Dimitris Giannakouras (Perdikas), Polychronis Vais (Achilleas Petritis), Ilias Alevras, Kostas Xydeas, Michalis Papadamos (feriaos), Manolis Stathakis, Aristos Kamarinos, Kostas Tsolakis, Thymios Kapsis (Anapodos), Giorgos Giorgiadis, Fotis Sgouros, Gerasimos Grigoratos (Astrapogiannos).
The role of the Officers' School of the DSE in producing military cadres, which also contributed to the development of their military capabilities, must be underlined.
Officers that came from the bourgeois army also served in the DSE, such as: Giannis Malagaris, Giorgos Samaridis (Logothetis), Giannis Kilismanis, Stefanos Papagiannis, Kostas Kanellopoulos, Pavlos Tompoulidis, Nikos Terzoglou (Pyravlos), Thodoros Kallinos (Amarmpeis), Kostas Basakidis, Christos Stefopoulos, Dimitris Tsitsipis, Theodosis Zervas, Vasilis Venetsanopoulos, Giorgos Kallianesis (Messinis), Giannis Manias, Dimitris Koukouras, Thymios Zoulas, Giorgos Katemis, Kostas Antonopoulos (Kronos), Alekos Papageorgiou, Giorgos Kontalonis.
The role of the Political Commissars was a decisive factor its functioning, in inspiring its fighting men and women, in their education and political stance towards the civilian population and also towards the conscripts of the bourgeois army.
Many Political Commissars emerged. The following can be mentioned indicatively: Nikos Belogiannis, Giannis Salas, Vangelis Rogkakos, Giorgos Erythriadis (Petris), Mitsos Vamvakas, Leonidas Stringos, Nikos Kanakaridis,(Lampros), Kostas Loules, Kostas Laoutaris, Nionios Traiforos, Panagiotis Yfantis (Iraklis), Kostas Karakanis (Takis), Nikos Kliafas, Petros Iosifidis, Sonia Eleftheriadou, Roidis Michalakis, Katina-Tsveta Andreopoulou, Eleftheria Ioannidou, Kosmas Boukovinas, Lydia Kalaitzidou, Aspasia Daskalopoulou, Antonis Antoniadis (Simos), AristeidisTheocharis, Xrysoula Gogoglou, Gianna Trikalinou, Manolis Fragkiadakis, Maria Veliou (Parasekevoula), Dimitris Kyrlas, Melpomeni Dimanopoulou, Athanasia Kalaitzidou.
The ideological-political work of the DSE served its military-political goal.
It developed substantial publishing activity as well. The following magazines and newspapers were published:"Exormisi ", "Pros ti Niki", "Dimokratikos Stratos", "Neos Machitis", "Agrotikos Agonas", "Machitri", "Agonistria ", "Partizana."Apart from the central printing press of the DSE, each Divisional headquarters produced its own daily news bulletin and newspaper. Special newspapers were published in the languages of the Slav-Macedons, and of the Muslims from Thrace.
In this period the following newspapers were also illegally published: 'Rizospastis" in Athens and Piraeus."Laiki Foni" in Thessaloniki."Lefteria"in Volos."Laiki Foni" in Larissa. Illegal party newspapers were also published in other regions, such as "Morias" in the Peloponnese, "Ginaioi" in Samos etc.
The publishing house "Free Greece" was also established, which published hundreds of books in print runs of thousands.
The radio station "Free Greece" began to broadcast in July 1947, initially from Belgrade and then later from Bucharest. Aphrodite Nodara (Eleni Makri) was assigned responsibility for it by the KKE; its editors were Giorgis Angourakis (Alekos Psiloreitis), Periklis Kalodikis, Dimitris Hadzis, Mariana Veaki and its announcers were Takis Leivadas and Gianna Kalodiki.
Ideological lessons, lectures and speeches were organized for the fighters of the DSE. These focused on lifting their morale and informing them about the current political developments and tasks of the DSE. Lessons on the Programme and Statutes of the KKE were also held.
Units of the DSE distributed or fly posted the print material in villages and cities. Handmade loudspeakers were also used by DSE units to address themselves to the soldiers of the bourgeois army, calling on them not to fight against the militant people.
When the conditions allowed, especially on anniversaries, various units of the DSE in the liberated areas organized evenings of entertainment with theatrical performances, poetry recitals and songs. Theatre troupes were organized and even a film crew.
An Enlightenment Bureau of the DSE's Headquarters was set up to organize and conduct political enlightenment work. At a central level the following, amongst others, participated in this work: Takis Mamatsis, Panagiotis Mavromatis, Zinon Zorzovilis, Parisis Aggelidis, Vasos Georgiou, Nikos Simitzis, Paschalis Paschalefski, and Apostolos Spilios.
The participation of women in the activity of the DSE was significant. They constituted 1/4 of its overall strength.m 1,027 women reached officer or NCO ranks in the DSE.
By the end of 1948, women constituted over 20% of the people's organs and institutions in Free Greece.
In Greece, and elsewhere, in this period, where the reactionary view that women were inferior prevailed and where women's inequality was a legal fact (they still did not have the right to vote), the DSE elevated the working woman and the young women from villages into playing a leading role in the political developments, something that paved the way for a better life. The women of the DSE proved themselves to be the equals of their male comrades. The special work regarding women that was carried out in the ranks of the DSE and was expressed through the creation of the "Pan-Hellenic Democratic Union of Women", whose President was initially Chrysa Chatzivasileiou and then later Roula Koukoulou, contributed to this.
The women of the DSE provoked awe in the ranks of the larger and better equipped bourgeois army comprised entirely of men. The "glorious" Greek-British-US army felt humiliated when the women of the DSE, together with the men, won battles. It shook their morale. At the same time, women contributed to the People's Militia and also behind enemy lines through the distribution of propaganda, the organization of the people's protests, and also contact for intelligence gathering.
Thousands of heroic women emerged from the DSE, both as fighters and also as military commanders and political commissars. It is impossible to single out one of the bright personalities of women fighters, because the apparently different stories of blood, self-sacrifice, faith in ideals are united in a single story, that belongs to the thousands of men and women who honoured the KKE, joined the DSE, lived and sacrificed themselves heroically for the people.
There follows a list of some of the honoured dead heroines of the KKE in the mountains and cities: Eirini-Mirka Gini, Vangelitsa Kousiantza, Athina Benekou, Vangelio Kladou, Maria Boraki, Maria Lioudaki, Antzouleta Merkouri, Dionysia Grigoratou, Eleni Oikonomou, Iordana Slatnikou, Germania Paikou, Tasia Konstantinidou, Eleni Chroni, Peristera Vlachou, Polyxeni Kanonidou, Koula Eleftheriadou, Ismini Sidiropoulou, the gypsy Magdalene Panagiotidou and thousands of others.
The contribution of the DSE's medical service made an irreplaceable contribution to the struggle. At the beginning it lacked doctors and nurses, and even the most basic equipment. They used cloths and shirts for bandages, while they collected cotton extracted by the villagers from pillows and quilts.
Hospitals were built through the tireless efforts of the fighters and supporters of the DSE, the largest one was located in Aspri Petra in Grammos, and other ones were built in the Prespes region, Taugetos, Vitsi, Psiana, Zagori, Spinasa and elsewhere. Wards were built, even using tree trunks.
At the same time, the lack of nursing staff was dealt with, as far as possible, through the creation of nursing schools.152 members of the DSE graduated from the Middle Medical School of the DSE with the rank of Lieutenant of the medical Service. Later, 75 others also graduated. Over 300 men and women graduated from the Nursing School.
Doctors and some medical students played a decisive role in the organization and functioning of the DSE's medical Service. Amongst them the Professor of Medicine, Petros Kokkalis, the doctors Giorgos Tzalamoukas, Nontas Sakellariou, Nikos Kokoulios or Paliouras (the DSE' first doctor), Giorgos Nedelkos, Takis Skyftis, Vasilis Dadialaris, Avgi Ktena, Kaiti Nikolettou-Gizeli, Kaiti Potiri, Vasiliki Kritiski, the student Patra Mona (Spengou).Volunteer doctors from other countries also contributed, like the Hungarian doctor Tibor, as well as doctors from the bourgeois army that joined the DSE, like Panagiotis Petropoulos.
The small number of doctors, with the assistance of nursing staff and other personnel, despite the terrifying shortages, the complete absence of the suitable conditions for their work, worked miracles in their constant struggle against death. They were able to heal and save thousands of the DSE's fighters. They healed around 12,000 fighters in the Grammos-Vitsi region alone.
The achievements of the doctors and medical staff of the DSE flowed from their faith in the just cause of their struggle. Many sacrificed themselves, especially stretcher bearers , many of them women, and also doctors.
Many artists and scientists, and men and women of letters participated in the ranks of the tens of thousands of fighters of the DSE, like the writers Dimitris Hatzis, Fotis Aggoules, Giorgis Sevastikoglou, Takis Adamos, Giorgis lamprinos, Dimitris Ravanis-Rentis, Mitsos Alexandropoulos, Alexis Parnis, Nikos Kytopoulos, Kostas Pournaris (Bosis), Anthos Filitas (Anthimos Hatzianthimou), Vasilis Pigis, Nikos Papandreou, the historian Giorgis Zoidis, the director Manos Zacharias, the photographer Apostolos Mousouris, the actors Giannis Veakis, Antonis Giannidis, the painters Giorgos Dimou, Giorgos Goulas and many others.
The following supported and assisted the DSE from abroad: the sculptor Memos Makris, the philologist Giorgis Athanasiadis, the writers Elli Alexiou, Melpo Axioti, Theodosis Pieridis, Elli Lampridi, Thrasos Kastanakis and many others.
Others in exile and prison supported the DSE such as the composer Mikis Theodorakis, many writers and poets, such as Giannis Ritsos, Kostas Varnalis, Aggelos Sikelianos, Tasos Leivaditis, Themos Kornaros, Kostas Giannopoulos, Nikiforos Vrettakos, Manolis Anagnostakis, Viktoria Theodorou, Did Sotiriou, Andreas Fragkias, Michalis Katsaros, Stratis Doukas, Giorgos Kotzioulas, Menelaos Lountemis, Nikos Karouzos, Nikos Kabbadias, Giorgos Valetas, Kostas Kalatzis 9Thessalos), Alki Zei, Galateia Kazantzaki, the engraver A.Tassos, the painters Giorgis Farsakidis, Giannis Stefanidis, Valias Semertzidis, Vasilis Armaos, Dimitris Gioldasis, Thomas Molos, Christos Daglis, Vasilis Vlasidis, Vaso Katraki, Katerina Hariati-Sismani, the critic Foibos Anogeianakis, the composer Alekos Xenos, the director Nikos Koundouros, the university professor Giannis Imbriotis, the educational theorist Roza Imvriotis, the art critic Markos Avgeris, the historians Giannis Kordatos and Dimitris Fotiadis the actors Manos Katrakis, Aleka Paizi, Tzavalas Karousos, Titos vandis, Aspasia Papathanasiou, Olympia Papadouka, Malaina Anousaki, Argyro Vokovits, Kaiti Diridoua, Taugetis, Nikos fermas, Giorgos Giolasis, Kostas Baladhmas, the actor and writer George Sari, the lyricist Kostas Virvos, the composer Thodoros Derveniotis and many others.
Thousands of militants in the prisons and concentration camps wrote poems or expressed their support for the people's struggle through paintings and drawings.
DSE's struggle inspired foreign poets of a global standing, like Nazim Hikmet, Pablo Neruda, Paul Eluard and others.
Today the DSE's struggle inspires many and also annoys the class enemy and those that have compromised with it. The bourgeoisie and those involved in its mechanisms have unleashed enormous slanders against the DSE.
The bourgeoisie and its supporters slander and distort the struggle of the DSE, because they well know that it represented the highest form of struggle, in a period when a class conflict over power was being waged in an objective sense. They polemicize against it because their interests lie in concealing the source of all injustice, i.e. the contradiction between capital and wage labour. Their interests lie in impeding the working class and popular forces from realizing the necessity and timeliness of socialism.
The accusations about EAM being guided by “foreign, Bulgarian agents” and the talk about "communist gangs" of previous decades is again being regurgitated by fascist Golden Dawn, a component part of the rotten bourgeois political system. This is being regurgitated by all those that admire the collaborationist security battalions and the Hitler’s' stormtroopers and have theories about "racial purity" and carry our murderous attacks against the people and militants.
We also have those who seek to turn history on its head and promote the ahistorical unscientific and anticommunist theory of the "two extremes" in order to identify communism with fascism, Stalin with Hitler, Stalin who led the titanic struggle to crush the Nazi monster. The Soviet Union contributed to this struggle with 20 million dead and around 10 million injured and disabled.
The obsession with alleged mistakes, the allegedly futility of the struggle, the ideological construct that says that the armed struggle was adventurism on the part of the leadership of the KKE and of the General Secretary of the CC, Nikos Zachariadis, as well as a sophisticated anti-communism are component elements of bourgeois propaganda, which are also being reproduced by opportunism and its various formations as regards the reasons for the DSE's defeat and also in relation to the KKE's activity.
And opportunism conceals the violence of the bourgeois state, which is expressed by its laws, institutions and organs of power. It conceals the multi-faceted violence carried out by the capitalists against the workers and employees in the workplaces.
Such positions demonstrate that their supporters are in reality in favour of the reactionary and irrational theory about the "end of history", in opposition to the fact confirmed many times over that historical development is governed by the laws of class struggle.
Every worker, every young person that begins their lives in the jungle where the rule of the exploiter prevails has every interest in understanding, with the assistance of the KKE, the cause and goal of the ideological offensive of those that defend capitalist exploitation directly and indirectly.
They seek to attack the class struggle today, in order impose capital's strategy without endangering the capitalist system and the perpetuation of the exploitation of man by man. Irrespective of the varied expressions of opposition to the DSE's struggle, the varied slanders and distortions, there is a unified strategy: The working class and popular strata must remain helpless in the face of the consequences of the contradictions, the decay and barbarity of capitalism or to satisfy themselves with the dead-end struggle of allegedly correcting it.
No slanderous, anticommunist and opportunist offensive can obscure the struggle of the KKE, the struggle of the DSE, their courage and moral standing. It is our duty to disseminate the historical truth even more widely. The younger generations must come to know of the struggle of the Democratic Army of Greece.
Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS): ELAS was the military wing of the National Liberation Movement (EAM)
 National Liberation Movement (EAM) was founded on the 27th of December 1941 in occupied Athens at the initiative of the KKE.
 Free Greece. Areas of Greece that were under the control of the DSE.
The DSE waged a necessary struggle.