The head of the populist party Costantino Tsaldaris, foreign minister in the short government of P. Pulitzas, then president of the council from 18 April, was in charge of foreign policy. The first act of the Tsaldaris government, against the legal and non-legal opposition of the other parties, was to bring the institutional plebiscite forward to 1 September, considering previous agreements that should have taken place no earlier than 1948; it was also ordered that the referendum did not question the monarchical institution but the person of the king. The outcome was favorable to the return of George II, who arrived in Athens on September 28th.
Attempts to broaden the government base, promoted in part by the British government, failed mainly due to the opposition of the liberals; and the Tsaldaris government found itself obliged to take ever more serious emergency measures, also tightened by the onset of the second civil war. The bands of ELAS, under the command of the Communist Markos Vafiadis, began and intensified guerrilla actions in various mountain areas and especially along the northern border; and their action appeared all the more threatening due to the attitude of the neighboring nations on which the insurrectional movement was supported, and to the re-emergence of a “Macedonian question”.
Tsaldaris tried to overcome the situation on the international level, presenting himself to the UN and denouncing Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria as responsible for the guerrillas (December 3, 1946). Although the powers of the Slavic group reprimanded the accusations against the Tsaldaris government, the latter nevertheless obtained the decision to send an inter-allied commission of inquiry. The partial success did not avoid a government crisis (January 24, 1947), which was followed by a cabinet by Demetrio Maximos, with the participation of the representatives of the “National Union”. Tsaldaris kept the Foreign Portfolio.
Following the British decision to halve the garrison troops, the Greek government (March 3) presented a note to the US State Department, urgently requesting financial aid and assistance from American technical personnel. President Truman adhered to the Greek demands (March 12), and on May 22 the law was passed. Following an agreement with Greece (June 20, 1947), an American commission, with a military section, arrived in Athens on July 14.
America thus took the place of England in the protection of Greece; and the civil struggle appeared more and more as an episode in the larger struggle of the two international blocs.
Meanwhile, the internal situation in Greece was worsening. The death of King George (1 April 1947), who was succeeded by his brother Paolo, did not bring about a change in the government. EAM’s attempts at rapprochement and American recommendations for a more liberal policy remained in vain; on the contrary, the tension became more and more bitter. The guerrillas spread; the offensive of the regular troops of September 1947 only succeeded in the suppression of a few centers of revolt; on 16 August the gen. Markos announced the establishment of a free “Greek republic”. This hastened the resignation of the Maximos government (23 August); and after various attempts, a liberal-populist coalition government was reached on 7 September under the presidency of Sofulis, Tsaldaris vice president and foreign minister. On Christmas Eve, gen. Markos announced the formation of a people’s government of “free Greece” or “of the mountains” and began a new offensive. The Athens government responded by outlawing the EAM and the Communist Party (January 27, 1948) and on February 17 suspended parliamentary activity, announcing a counter-offensive next, with the help of official Anglo-American observers. In fact, on 15 April the government forces, supported by the air force, launched an offensive in the mountainous area of central-eastern Greece, knocking out about 2000 partisans of Markos. EAM and the Communist Party (January 27, 1948) and on February 17 suspended the activity of parliament, announcing a counter-offensive next, with the help of official Anglo-American observers. In fact, on 15 April the government forces, supported by the air force, launched an offensive in the mountainous area of central-eastern Greece, knocking out about 2000 partisans of Markos. EAM and the Communist Party (January 27, 1948) and on February 17 suspended the activity of parliament, announcing a counter-offensive next, with the help of official Anglo-American observers. In fact, on 15 April the government forces, supported by the air force, launched an offensive in the mountainous area of central-eastern Greece, knocking out about 2000 partisans of Markos.
On 1 May the Minister of Justice Ch. Ladas (liberal) was the victim of an attack, following which the coalition cabinet was reorganized (7 May), without changing its physiognomy: Sofulis remained prime minister and Tsaldaris kept the vice-presidency and the Foreign Portfolio. As a reaction to this attack, the Sofulis government ordered the execution of 151 communists condemned for taking part in the revolt of 1944. Shortly after, while the government troops continued to pursue the partisans, Markos on May 31 and June 1 launched the proposal to discuss the pacification of the country on condition that a “democratic” regime and the widest guarantees of independence were guaranteed to Greece, without foreign intervention. These proposals, not seeming to give sufficient confidence, they were rejected on 1 June itself. The offensive against the partisans of central-eastern Greece then moved towards the western sector, along the Albanian border, where a government army managed to close part of the Markos forces in the region close to the Grammos massif, on which the partisans they were fortified. After two months of fierce fighting, the guerrillas were defeated and many of them, to escape capture, were forced to cross over to Albania. The Balkan situation had also contributed to the defeat of Markos, as it had emerged after the break between Tito and Cominform, since Markos, declaring himself obedient to the latter, had come to lose the support of Yugoslavia. Moreover, the civil war was not over; groups of partisans continued to operate in Epirus, Macedonia and Thessaly; in September-October 1948 the forces of Markos managed to unblock the Grammos area.
A treaty of friendship, trade and navigation between Italy and Greece was signed in San Remo on November 5, 1948.