Grivas, Georgios

Greek Cypriot soldier, led fight for independence from Britain and for union (“Enosis”) with Greece

Price: $95.00

Description:
(1898-1974) Cypriot-Greek Army officer, his nom de guerre “Digenis adopted while leader of the EOKA guerrilla organization and EOKA B paramilitary organization. Grivas left Cyprus in 1916 to study at the Athens Military Academy and completed his military studies at the École Militaire in Paris in 1919. He served in the 10th Division of the Greek Army and participated in its advance from Ýzmir to Panormos (today Bandirma) and Eskiţehir, past Bursa and the Sakarya River. After the defeat of the Greek Army and its complete withdrawal from Asia Minor in 1922 he was decorated for bravery and promoted to lieutenant. He was later selected to study at the French Military Academy. He was promoted to captain in 1925 and to major in 1935. At the start of WW II, Grivas was transferred to the operations department of the Greek Army HQ, working on northern Greece's strategic defense plans. Three months after the Italian attack on Greece, he was transferred to the Albanian front as chief of staff of the 2nd Division in Dec. 1940. During the German-Italian-Bulgarian occupation of Greece, he founded and led the Organization X, a minor nationalist group of officers of Greek Army officers. In December 1944, members of Organization X fought alongside British and Greek monarchist forces to take control of Athens from EAM/ELAS fighters. In 1946 he retired from the Army and subsequent attempts to enter politics were unsuccessful. Thereafter Grivas focussed on liberating Cyprus from British colonial rule and union with Greece (Enosis). As a member of the secret Committee for the Cyprus Struggle he took the oath of Enosis with newly elected Archbishop Makarios III. He arrived secretly in Cyprus in Nov. 1954 and began formation of his guerrilla organization, EOKA. On April 1, 1955 with a declaration he signed as “Digenis” and a number of explosions in 4 cities and military installations, he announced the beginning of his campaign for self-determination for Cyprus and union with Greece. He led the first EOKA operations from Nicosia but soon moved to the Troodos Mountains to lead his guerrillas. He escaped capture twice after being surrounded by British forces in Dec. 1955, leading to battles in Spilia and Kykkos in May 1956. In June, chased by British forces, he found refuge in Limassol from where he directed not the military activities and the political campaign, after Archbishop Makarios was exiled in March 1956. The British colonial administration offered a reward of 10,000 pounds plus passage to anywhere in the world for information leading to Colonel Grivas’ arrest. With the signing of the Zurich-London agreements in early 1959 and the declaration of Cyprus as an independent state, he reluctantly ordered a cease-fire, since the main objective of Enosis was not achieved. His views were at odds with those of Makarios who accepted the agreements on behalf of the Greek Cypriot population. In March 1959, Digenis departed (in exile, requested by the UK as part of the cease fire agreement) for Athens. He received a hero's welcome as liberator of the Greek Cypriots and decorated with the highest honors by the Greek Parliament and the Athens Academy and promoted to general. He led a coalition party but soon abandoned this route after the party’s disappointments in the 1963 general election. He returned to Cyprus in 1964 after the outbreak of violence between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. He took over Supreme Command of the Greek Cypriot forces under Makarios's National Guard as well as a Greek military division sent to Cyprus by the government of George Papandreou to assist in the island's defense against possible Turkish attack. He directed construction of defense forts and complexes aiming at withstanding a Turkish invasion. On 15 November 1967, the Greek Cypriot National Guard under his direct command overran 2 small villages on the critical Larnaca-Limassol-Nicosia intersection, resulting in the deaths of 27 mostly unarmed Turkish Cypriot civilians as well as Turkish Cypriot resistance fighters. The immediate result was Turkey's ultimatum, which prompted the Greek government to recall the Greek Division and General Grivas to Athens. From 1968-69, while under strict surveillance, he participated in a resistance movement aiming at deposing the military Junta and restoring democracy in Greece. He began formation of armed resistance cells in Athens armed with guns and explosives brought in secretly from Cyprus. The organization was discovered by authorities and many of its members were arrested. After the discovery of Grivas' plans, he secretly returned to Cyprus and formed the armed organization EOKA B which he used as leverage in his attempts to persuade or force President Makarios to adopt the line of "Self Determination – Union" with Greece. EOKA B failed to overthrow Makarios but led to 1971-74 civil war among the Greek-Cypriot community. He died of heart failure while hiding in Limassol, his funeral and burial held in the garden of his last hideout during the1955-59 EOKA struggle, attended by tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots. Upon his death, the Cypriot Government declared a 3-day official mourning period. The military coup of July 15, 1974 which overthrew Makarios was executed the Cypriot National Guard (led by Greek officers and Greek-Cypriot conscripts) under direct instructions from Greece, joined by EOKA B members and other pro-Enosis forces. This was swiftly followed by the Turkish military invasion of Cyprus on 20 July. The Greek Cypriot left acknowledges Grivas’ contribution to the EOKA campaign against British rule. They view him also as a traitor to the Republic of Cyprus since he created EOKA B which took part in the 1974 coup and murdered Turkish Cypriots, communist Greek Cypriots and supporters of Makarios III. The Turkish Cypriot community views him as a terrorist because in both EOKA campaigns Turkish Cypriots were targeted. The Cypriot right sees him as a hero as he fought against colonization and for self-determination. SP, 5 Ľ x 3 ˝ b&w glossy bust portrait adding “Digenis” under his signature

Condition: Very good
Type:Photograph






[View Shopping Cart]
[Home] [Articles] [Biography] [Calendar]
[Catalogue] [Search]



enbainc@cs.com

Edward N. Bomsey Autographs, Inc.
7317 Farr Street
Annandale, VA 22003-2516
(703) 642-2040(phone & fax)




Home
Home

Articles
Articles

Biography
Biography

Calendar
Calendar

Catalogue
Catalogue

Search
Search