Below is a commonly-reprinted argument, the idea that the Titoites broke with the USSR over the question of not helping the Greek Communists enough.
Is this true? Not according to Nikos Zahariadis, General Secretary of the KKE and the symbol of Marxism-Leninism in Greece. This Yugoslav-leaning article will be followed by his essay.
— Espresso Stalinist.
Jun 28, 1948:
Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM
The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter’s position on the Greek civil war. The expulsion was concrete evidence of the permanent split that had taken place between Russia and Yugoslavia.
The Soviet Union had established COMINFORM in 1947 to serve as a coordinating body for communist parties in Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Most Western observers believed the organization to be the successor to the Communist International (COMINTERN had been dissolved by Russia in 1943, in an effort to placate its wartime allies–the United States and Great Britain). With the hardening of Cold War animosities after World War II, however, the establishment of COMINFORM signaled that the Soviet Union was once again setting itself up as the official leader of the communist bloc nations. In addition, the inclusion of the Italian and French communist parties served notice that the Soviet Union wished to have a strong say in political developments outside of its eastern European satellites. Yugoslavia was an original member, but that nation’s leader, Josef Broz Tito, proved to be reluctant in following the Soviet line. Throughout 1947 and into 1948, Tito harshly criticized Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s lack of assistance to communists fighting for power in Greece. When Tito refused to tone down his complaints, Stalin ordered Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM.
After its expulsion, Yugoslavia continued to chart a communist, but distinctly independent, pathway in its domestic and foreign policies. The United States was delighted with the Soviet-Yugoslavia split, and actively courted Tito with economic and military aid in the late-1940s and 1950s. […]
Tito Clique’s Stab in the Back to People’s Democratic Greece
Communist Party of Greece
From For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy!
No. 15 (42), 1 August, 1949
Every inhabitant of Greece knows very well that monarcho-fascism would not have been able to hold out for a few months had it not been for the all-round and open aid of the American and British imperialists.
Our main difficulties arise from the fact that the Anglo-American imperialists are stubbornly trying to retain a foothold in Greece. The country is highly important to them for strategic reasons, and they are trying to turn it into a vital bridge head against the People’s Democracies and the Soviet Union. Churchill’s old plans in this respect, for instance, are well-known. However, foreign imperialism’s positions in Greece were badly shaken last year by the military defeat of monarcho-fascism in the Grammos-Vitsi area and by the collapse of its strategic plan for 1948. The People’s revolutionary movement and the democratic army extended and consolidated their positions in Peloponnesus, Rumelia, Thessaly and on the islands of Samos and Eubeia.
This placed the monarcho-fascist regime in a critical position. In their reports General Papagos, Vendiris, Tsakalotos and others openly admitted that army morale had been shaken. Hundreds of men and officers were shot. King Paul himself was compelled to speak about the moral crisis in the army. The Athens clique was in severe economic difficulties and the political crisis was steadily sapping the foundations of monarcho-fascism. Both at home and abroad, people who were by no means our friends began to realise that the only way out for the reactionaries was to reach a peaceful settlement and conclude an agreement.
The treachery of the Tito clique was disclosed at the very moment when the crisis of monarcho-fascism was coming to a head. Tito’s treachery meant serious new difficulties for our people’s democratic movement, for it strengthened the determination of the Anglo-American imperialists to retain, at all costs, their hold on Greece for the very purpose of making full use of the Tito clique and extending their base in the Balkans. At the same time the Tito clique’s over to the camp of imperialism raised the deflated hopes of monarcho-fascism.
The people’s democratic movement of our country has never, since the time of the first occupation, known of such a cunning and foul enemy as the Tito clique. The Great Serbia chauvinism of the Titoites in relation to the resistance movement in Greece was evident as far back as 1943, when the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party declared that the people of Aegean Macedonia could only win their liberation within the framework of Yugoslavia. The corollary of this was that it was the prime duty of all Macedonian patriots to fight against the Communist Party of Greece and EAM and instead to collaborate with the Tito agents.
This was the directive followed by Tito’s man in Aegean Macedonia, Tempo (Vukmanovic). This was the directive applied in practice by their chief agent, Goce. Today is it being carried out by Goce-Koramidjiev gang. During all these years the Tito clique sent thousands of its agents into the Communist Party of Greece and into EAM with the job of undermining the Communist Party of Greece and splitting the unity of the people’s liberation movement.
It is clear that Greek reaction and Anglo-American imperialism could not have found a better ally than the Tito clique. The following detail is extremely characteristic: in October 1944 when the British landed in Greece, Tempo at the head of the provocative movement against the Communist Party of Greece, informed the Communists of Aegean Macedonia that he has asked Tito for two divisions to occupy Salonika. This was before the December events; the British were not sure that they could hold Greece. Preferring to see Salonika occupied by Tito than in the hands of ELAS, the British parachuted weapons onto the aerodrome at Grupista. These were sent on to Vapsori by Tito’s agents – Tempo, Goce and Pios – to be used against ELAS. Even during the Hitler occupation Goce and Pios formed groups of Macedonian and collaborated with Tempo. It can be regarded as an established fact that, as a consequence, Evans, former representative of the British military mission in Macedonia, insisted on the network of these groups being extended. It was at the help of these groups that Goce, Pios and Keramidjiev carried out their disruptive activities against the people’s liberation movement in Greece.
In December 1944 Tito, who dreamt of snatching Salonika from people’s democratic Greece, did nothing to help us fight the British, in spite of all his earlier pompous statements. If anything, he stepped up his slander campaign against the Communist Party of Greece, especially Aegean Macedonia.
Tito organised the mass emigration of Macedonians to Yugoslavia thus depriving Aegean Macedonia of its Macedonian population. Incidentally, the Greek monarcho-fascists have been trying to the same thing for many years, hoping to change the ethnical composition Aegean Macedonia. Then again, the Titoites are trying to recruit agents from these refugees who, after the necessary training, are sent to Greece to operate against the Communist Party of Greece, EAM and our people’s revolutionary movement.
Since 1943 the Greek Communist Party and revolutionary movement have been two fires: on the one side the foreign imperialists and monarcho-fascist, on the other- the Tito clique and its executive organ, the Goce- Keramidiev gang which had and still has hundreds of Yugoslav intelligence servicemen in Aegean Macedonia. In 1944, acting on orders from Skopje, Goce crossed over to Yugoslavia with his detachment. Today Goce and Keramidjiev have their headquarters in Skopje.
Time and again the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece drew the attention of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party to the counter-revolutionary actions of these agents, proved by irrefutable documentary evidence, and demanded that their activities should be stopped. The Central Committee of the Yugoslav Party, however, did not do a thing to cut short these provocation actions.
It has been proved beyond doubt that Hristos Vlachos, who in 1947 in Salonika killed Yannis Zevgos, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Greek Party, was an agent of the Yugoslav intelligence, service and had received his instruction from Skopje. He arrived in Salonika on orders of the Yugoslav intelligence, placed himself at the disposal of General Zervas, an agent of the British Intelligence Service, and later murdered Zevgos. Five monarcho-fascist officers, some of them murderers of the people, escaped to Yugoslavia from a war prisoner’s camp with the help of Rankovic. The Central committee of the Yugoslav Party stated that it knew absolutely nothing about this, even though we gave them details of the date and the exact spot where the monarcho-fascists had crossed the border. Border officers and soldiers had informed us that the monarcho-fascists had crossed into Yugoslavia.
We have captured dozens of Yugoslav intelligence officers. In December 1948 two Yugoslav agents, Gunaris Menos and Gallios Mitsos, were detained in Prespa. These agents disclosed the names of the Yugoslav intelligence officers who had sent them and the assignment they had been given.
The Communist Party of Greece has at its disposal other damning proof of the treachery and disruptive activity of the Tito clique against the revolutionary movement in Greece. The nationalist gang of the treacherous Yugoslav leadership was always a mortal enemy to the Communist Party and people of Greece. Recent events are fresh evidence that the Tito clique helped and is continuing to help Greek and international reaction against the Greek people more and more openly.
In its communiqué of July 6, 1949 the General Headquarters of the Democratic Army stated that on July 5, 1949 monarcho-fascist troops used Yugoslav territory in order to bypass units of the Democratic Army in the Kaimakchalan area. The same day the “Free Greece” telegraph agency, basing itself on an official document (the report of lieutenant colonel Petropulos, commander of the monarcho-fascists’ 516th battalion, to General Grigoropulos, commander of the 3rd army corps), reported that on July 4, 1949, that is, on the eve of the day when the monarcho-fascists crossed Yugoslav territory, a meeting of Yugoslav and monarcho-fascist Greek officers had been held in the area of Popovolossi and Kaimakchalan. This meeting was attended by British and American officers. The Tanjug agency did not refute this fact, neither did the representative of the British Foreign Office when asked about this meeting. Again, neither did Tito deny it in his speech at Pola (Istria), on July 10, 1949. Like the Tanjug agency, he merely tried to refute the fact that an agreement had been reached allowing the monarcho-fascist to use Yugoslav territory.
Such was the Belgrade version when the United Nations Balkan Commission in Athens published its communiqué on July 21, 1949. The sole aim of this communiqué was to cover up Tito’s collaboration with the monarcho-fascists, a collaboration that had been laid bare by the General Headquarters of the Democratic Army and the Free Greece radio on July 6, 1949. This communiqué of the Balkan Commission is highly significant since, to begin with, for the first time in its history the Commission admitted that the monarcho-fascists had violated the Yugoslav frontier in the Kaimakchalan area on many occasions. It claimed, however, that this had been done by artillery and aircraft and not by infantry. Secondly, the communiqué admitted that a meeting of monarcho-fascist and Yugoslav officers had been held in the Kaimakchalan area.
After the Tito clique’s betrayal of the Greek people’s liberation struggle had been exposed in the eyes of progressive mankind and the Yugoslav people, the Yugoslav leaders found it necessary to mobilise yet another provocateur. On July 24, following the example of Tito and Djilas, Kardelj also made a statement to Tanjug on the Greek question. He denied everything: the agreement with Tsaldaris, the negotiations in the Kaimakchalan area, and the use of Yugoslav territory by the monarcho-fascists. He concluded by giving the Jesuit assurance that the Belgrade Government “continues to sympathise” with the movement of the Greek people, but that it “cannot force its assistance on them” and that “the agents of the Information Bureau who slandered Tito” are responsible for this.
We have never doubted the sympathy of the Yugoslav people. As for those who are responsible, “The Times” makes it clear when it writes that in his statement at Pola, Tito gave the Americans the necessary guarantees in advance for the dollars which he needs.
In order to mask their treachery, the traitors Tito, Djilas, Kardelj and company would have the world believe that morale of the Greek democrats is at a low ebb and that they are losing confidence in victory. As a matter of fact these Titoites are doing everything to undermine the morale of the Greek democrats. Tito’s treachery and his long-standing subversive activities against the people’s democratic movement in Greece are causing us serious difficulties. Tito has a deadly hatred for the Geek people’s liberation movement and is viciously fighting against it. But he is mistaken, and so are his monarcho-fascist allies and their common masters, if they think that they will be able to crush us.
Throughout Greece – in Rumelia, Thessaly, Peloponnesus, Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace and on the islands – the Greek Democratic Army is continuing its struggle against the enemy with unshaken courage in the face of enormous difficulties. A broad strike movement covering tens of thousands of factory and office workers is gaining strength in the cities. Hundreds of thousands of peasants who are literally starving to death in the cities where they have been forcibly driven by the monarcho-fascists, hate the Athens Government with all their soul. Reaction in Greece is in the throes of an economic, political and moral crisis from which it can find no way out. The Greek Democratic Army will come face to face with monarcho-fascism in the great battles that will be fought in Grammos and Vitsi.
We are fight because we want peace, because we want to establish democracy and the independence of Greece. Reaction is out for war. It wants to crush us at all costs and is using the Tito clique for this purpose. Thanks to the assistance and solidarity of progressive mankind, including the Yugoslav people, the people of Greece will be victorious both in war and will win a people’s democracy and national independence.