|The Varkiza Agreement, 12 February 1945
On 12 February 1945 the Varkiza peace agreement was signed. It was an agreement that institutionally terminated the political and military fighting of December 1944 and aimed to reconcile the opposing blocs of the country.
The minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Sophianopoulos, the minister
of the Interior Periklis Rallis and the minister of Agriculture Ioannis
Makropoulos participated in the talks, authorized by the government
of Plastiras, while the delegation of EAM consisted of Georgios Siantos,
secretary of the central committee of the Greek Communist Party (KKE),
Dimitrios Partsalidis, secretary of the central committee of EAM and
Ilias Tsirimokos, general secretary of ELD. Each side had with it
three military experts, while the proceedings were closely supervized
by British dignitaries in Athens.
The agreement included nine articles on the basis of which civil liberties, and especially the freedom of the press and union freedoms, were reinstated. It also granted a general extended amnesty, with the exception of offences in common law against life and property, while the government pledged to purge the civil service, gendarmerie, Security Police and police. In return EAM/ELAS were committed to the liberation of its prisoners and the disarmament of its armed sections.
Finally, the Greek government promised to form a national army into which the members of ELAS would be accepted, and undertook to conduct a genuine, free plebiscite as soon as possible during 1945.
The agreement is made even more significant by the fact that its text was published in the Official Gazette, a fact that conferred on its contents the force of law.
Nevertheless, the breach of its terms by both sides led to fresh political polarization and the dramatic events of the last stage of a harsh civil war that lasted until 1949. The atrocities that occurred during its course injured the coherence of the social fabric of the country for several decades and irretrievably altered the productive and social geography of the Greek people.