A history of the Greek resistance in the Second World War

The People’s Armies

The book is the first systematic study of the ‘People’s Armies’ of ELAS and EDES during the occupation. Previous studies have either neglected the study of the guerrilla armies altogether or focused on their political and operational activities as a result we know very little about the lives, experiences and beliefs of the men who comprised them. Equally little is known about the nitty gritty of guerrilla life; provisioning, leisure, and relations with the civilian population. The book delves into this unexplored area and provides new insights on the formation of the resistance movements and the experiences of the guerrilla fighters. The book follows the guerrillas from enlistment to the battlefield, it examines the rise and origins of the resistance armies, explores how their experiences of hardship, combat and personal loss shaped their self-image and social attitudes and discusses the complex reasons that led partisans to enlist and fight. Existing studies have presented the guerrillas as political soldiers and underscored the importance of ideology in motivation and morale. The present study offers a more complex image and looks at a series of factors that have been neglected by scholars including kinship and group ties, violence, religious beliefs and leadership. Moreover the book discusses relations between the guerrillas and the civilian population and examines how the guerrilla armies governed their territories.

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