History of Europe

Phoivos Klokkaris:The Greek EPOS of EOKA... They fought for the Union

The national liberation struggle of the Hellenism of Cyprus against the British Empire is perhaps the most glorious period of its three thousand-year historical journey. The small, invisible army of the EOKA, drawn from the bowels of the enslaved Hellenism of Cyprus with a core of its brash youth, had the fortitude to successfully confront the mighty English empire. He had justice on his side and drew irresistible moral forces and fighters from the reservoir of Cypriot Hellenism, which had been permeated in its entirety by the vision of freedom and union with mother Greece.


It was an unquenchable flame, which was extinguished in 1950 with the union referendum organized by the church "We deserve the Union of Cyprus with Greece" (approved with a percentage of 95.7%) and on April 1, 1955 with the start of the armed struggle to throw off the English yoke.

The successful outcome of EOKA's struggle is due to the courage, self-sacrifice and moral strength of its fighters, the support of the church, the universal participation of Cypriot Hellenism and the excellent military preparation that preceded the struggle and the application of its principles war during the conduct of the adapted to the particular form of unorthodox war chosen for the specific case of Cyprus (the main reason for success on the battlefield), with its leader as the main contributor.

The retired colonel of the Greek army Georgios Grivas Digenis of Cypriot origin. The widespread participation in the struggle is reflected in the response of the mayor of Nicosia, Themistocles Dervi, to the English governor when he asked him for assistance in arresting the members of EOKA:"But we are all members of EOKA.

The three stages of military preparation

The Military preparation took place in three stages:a) Determination of the strategic objective of the struggle b) Conception of the strategic plan for the implementation of the objective and c) Organization and preparation of the struggle for the implementation of the plan.

Strategic objective: The deterioration and constant harassment of the English in Cyprus with acts of heroism and self-sacrifice in order to arouse the interest of international public opinion and to force the UN and England to provide a solution to the Cyprus issue according to the wishes of the Cypriot people.

Strategic plan: it included the combat actions of saboteurs and insurgents and the supporting actions of the combat actions (passive resistance, information, supplies, liaisons, enlightenment, etc.).
Organization and preparation of the fight:it took place in two phases and lasted approx. 4 years, as long as the race, because the physical infrastructure in Cyprus was non-existent. There was a shortage of means, armaments, ammunition, explosives and experienced personnel. Despite the fact that in Greece, together with the Greek people, they wholeheartedly offered their support to the struggle of EOKA, the Greek governments at the time, due to their dependence on England, did not offer EOKA material assistance (means, armaments, experienced personnel, training, etc. .) and there was a refusal to receive the result of the union referendum of 1950. First phase (1951-1954):reconnaissances were carried out, creation of small fighting nuclei, gathering of armaments and mission to Cyprus. Second phase (1954-1955):distribution of armaments, formation of fighting groups, training of fighters and cadres, creation of political nuclei, organization of information and liaison network.

Structure and management system of EOKA: masterfully organized on the basis of the principle of war "simplicity". Simple triangular structure. At the top is the leader and directly below him on one side of the triangle the sector leaders (5 sectors) and on the other side the leaders of the rebel groups (3 Groups). Each sector commanded guerrilla groups and strike groups (saboteurs, executioners, rifle commando groups).

ANE (Alkimos Neolaia EOKA), PEKA (Political Committee of the Cyprus Struggle) and the Associations functioned to support the leader and each department head. The material and moral support of the struggle was undertaken by the church of Cyprus, the Nationality, led by the archbishop of Cyprus Makarios III. The organizations of the Church (OHEN, PEON) were the first source of recruitment of EOKA fighters, men and women.

Strategy of a peculiar form of unorthodox warfare

EOKA's strategy, as formulated by its leader, "consisted in turning the entire island into a vast battlefield without distinction between front and rear, so that the enemy would never feel helpless and never safe. This opponent was unaware of where and when we were going to hit him." It was a strategy of a peculiar form of unorthodox warfare with a combination of military and psychological operations, which worked catalytically on the enemy's morale and neutralized his heavy armament. The invisible army of EOKA was everywhere and nowhere, constantly changing tactics and methods and acting by surprise against English targets, with minute-by-minute attacks by small groups of 4-5 men.

The EOKA fighters, wanted by the British or civilians beyond all suspicion, were organized in small strike groups and operated day and night throughout Cyprus. In the villages, the cities, the countryside, the plains and the mountainous massifs, where the insurgents had their hideouts. with the leader in full control of the organization), "Simplicity" (distinct roles with no gaps and room for misinterpretation in the hierarchical pyramid), "Security" (safety valves with dormant executive replacements and tight so that the disclosure of a department does not lead to and rooting out the rest.Organization of a service to prevent betrayals and misrepresentations of members.

Banning the use of cordless phones and replacing them with an intelligent network of links that proved to be extremely effective. It operated vertically from the leader to the sectors and rebel groups and horizontally between them). In the conduct of the fight, emphasis was placed on passive resistance and the principles of war "aggressiveness", "surprise", "simplicity" and "security".

The faith of the EOKA fighters in the ideals of freedom - union with Greece, gave examples of immeasurable heroism and self-sacrifice, which will remain a legacy to the future generations of Hellenism such as Pallikaridis, Auxentiou, Matsis, and so many other heroes who fell on the battlefields or at the horrible gallows of the English, singing the Greek national anthem. The site of the prisoners' memorials in Nicosia is the ark with the holy and sacred relics of Greeks everywhere.

Unfortunately, the military success of EOKA was not exploited by the political leadership of Hellenism. The struggle was stopped before its strategic goal was achieved. With the Zurich and London agreements, the Republic of Cyprus was established, a state of limited independence under the tutelage of guarantor powers, with a constitution, dysfunctional, dichotomous. Essentially, the first principle of war "choosing the goal and obsessing over it" had been violated which served our enemies, Turkey and Britain, and was the cause of suffering that plagues us to this day. Let the unyielding spirit of the EOKA fighters be a guiding beacon of resistance against the Turkish invader, who is encroaching on our lands, 3000 years of Greek history.