The Problems of the Second Plenum of the Central Committee of the KKE, 1946

by OLE L. SMITH

In recent years, the problem of what was decided at the second plenum of the KKE central committee has been discussed with great energy by participants and writers on KKE history alike. As far as one can see, nothing resembling a consensus has been arrived at, since the original participants, most of whom are dead now, held sharply divided views then as well as later, and since later writers were influenced in their assessments of the evidence by their individual politico-ideological views.

Thus, among the wealth of rumors, opinions, and interpretations given by the surviving participants, later writers with very little documentary evidence to guide them were relatively free to pick and choose what they liked and to arrange the material according to their sometimes very preconceived notions.

Recently Heinz Richter has tried to reassess the whole material—or rather nearly all of it—in order to argue that the second plenum did not decide on civil war; at best, the central committee decided to strengthen self-defense. The result of this was that the KKE drifted into civil war without wanting it and without any dear idea of where it was going[1].

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[1] British Intervention in Greece: From Varkiza to Civil War (London, 1985) 477-495. Richter's reassessment is to some extent directed against the solution I offered in Scandinavian Studies In Modern Greek, 1 (1977), 15-31; for inexplicable reasons, he never mentions Matthias Esche, Die kommvnistische Partei Griechenlands 1941-1949 (Munchen-Wien 1982), who dependently, it seems, arrived at basically the same conclusions I did.