Political Committee of National Liberation (PEEA) or "Mountain Government", 1944

The so-called Mountain Government of Alexandros Svolos (April 10, 1944 - October 9, 1944) was a continuation of the Mountain Government with Euripides Bakirtzis as president and was created on April 10, 1944, one month after the initial composition of the Political Committee of National Liberation, with initiative of EAM, in Viniani, Evrytania.
National Liberation Front ("EAM"). Propaganda poster, 35 cm x 22 cm. Private collection.

The "Political Committee for National Liberation" (P.E.A.A.) - also known as the "Mountain Government" - (March - September 1944) was the government formed by the E.A.M. and the parties and organizations collaborating with it, at the end of World War II, in Free Greece. Its purpose was the administration and organization of public life in the areas liberated from the Germans. At the same time, occupied Greece was ruled by the Dosilogian Ralli government and the country's government, recognized by the Allies, was in exile in Cairo
Emblem of Political Committee of National Liberation from newspaper LIEBHEROTIS. ORGAN OF THE K. E. OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (E. A. M.). April 19, 1944..

P.Ε.E.A., with its seat in the village of Viniani in the prefecture of Evrytania, was formed on March 10, 1944 with Euripides Bakirtzis as temporary president. The scheme was expanded on April 10, 1944, simultaneously with the assumption of the presidency by Alexandros Svolos.

P.E.Ε.A., as the government of the liberated regions of the country, took part in the negotiations that took place during the Lebanon conference, for the formation of the future Greek government. Six members of P.E.A. took part as ministers in the government of George Papandreou and also in the next Government of National Unity again under George Papandreou.

Finally, P.E.E.A., having fulfilled its objectives, disbanded itself on September 2, 1944.
The formation of the government
With the spread and successes of the National resistance, a large part of mainland Greece had escaped the control of the Germans and the government of Athens. As noted by the scholar of the history of this period, Dimitrios Zepos, in his book "Popular justice in the free territories under the occupation of Greece",
"...The only relationship of the communities with the government of Athens was now the government's attempt to collect the production of the communities and in return it had to offer certain types of monopoly and also the help of the Red Cross."
In these liberated areas, the EAM and its local organizations initially undertook to replace the state by mainly strengthening the institutions of local self-government. Later, the administration passed into the hands of ELAS, which with its so-called "Provisions" regulated the most important issues of common life. On the basis of these "Provisions", new more representative community institutions were established which mainly dealt with the immediate living needs of the population, such as ensuring food and clothing, caring for the needy, coordinating with Red Cross services, finding work and payment of benefits to the unemployed, etc. In December 1943, the EAM calls on all political bodies, inside and outside Greece, to agree to create a "Government of National Unity" in Free Greece, which would take over the leadership of the national liberation struggle and the smooth return to democracy, after looming Axis defeat.
Specifically, in the announcement of the central committee of the EAM, dated December 14, 1943, it is written, among other things:
"The Central Committee of the EAM calls on all political parties that sincerely fight for the freedom and freedoms of the people to come to an agreement on the basis of forming here in Greece from now on a Government of National Unity, which will undertake both the unified conduct of the National Liberation Struggle and the smooth solution of the state issue, according to the popular will. With this statement, the EAM once again radically refutes the slander that it intends to monopolize the National Struggle and give arbitrary solutions to the state question, it goes back to the proposal made by its representatives in Cairo for the formation of a broad government of National Unity, subject to the declaration of the king for not returning to Greece before the referendum...".
This proposal was rejected by the old politicians as well as by the exiled government of Tsouderou since, according to the reasoning of the Prime Minister, Emmanuel Tsouderou, the government had to be abroad in order to have contact with the allies and also because in Greece there was no formed military front, with areas definitively liberated.. However, this proposal of the EAM did not fall completely into the void, since it became an occasion for rapprochement with Alexandros Svolos and other important personalities outside the communist space. In the coming months, negotiations will continue for the formation of a joint government of a universal nature, but ultimately they will end up nowhere.

After the two meetings of the central committees of K.K.E and E.A.M. in January 1944, the formation of the government was finally decided, even without the support of the other political areas. On March 10, 1944, the P.E.E.A. issued its founding proclamation and on March 12 the new government was sworn in. Specifically, the swearing-in took place in the building of the primary school of Viniani, in the presence of the vicar of the village, the high-priest commissioner of the region, the community leader of Viniani and General Stefanos Sarafis (as the leader of the guerrilla army). The five members of the government took the following oath:

"I swear that I will faithfully perform my duties as a member of the Political Committee of National Liberation, having as my guiding principle the interest of my country and the Greek people, that I will fight with self-sacrifice for the liberation of our country from the yoke of the conquerors, that I will defend everywhere and always the people's liberties and I will be the supporter and guide of the people in the struggle for their freedom and their sovereign rights."

Founding act of P.E.E.A.

Taking into consideration:

1. The supreme national needs and the imperative demand of the Greek people for the creation, within the country, of a central political body to coordinate the efforts and the struggle for national liberation, and to undertake the responsible administration of the free and liberated areas of the country.

2. The invitation from December 15, 1943 of the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front, to all parties and organizations as well as the Tsouderos government, for the formation of a general national coalition government,

We are forming

National Liberation Political Committee temporarily composed of the undersigned members.

The main and primary purpose of the Committee is:

To coordinate and conduct with all means and with all forces, within Greece and on the side of our allies, the struggle against the conquerors.

To fight for the expulsion from the country and the crushing of the German and Bulgarian invaders, for the total national liberation and for securing the independence and integrity of the country.

To pursue our national restoration based on the principle of self-determination of peoples, in accordance with the Atlantic Charter and the Tehran Agreement, and the strategic arrangement of our borders.

To fight for the extermination of internal fascism and the armed traitorous bodies.

At the same time, the Committee will undertake the following tasks:

1. The responsible administration of the guerilla units that will accept the Commission's recommendation for the purpose of unifying, reorganizing them and forming a unified national army.

2. The responsible senior management of the free areas in all sectors, with respect for the institutions of local self-government and the coordination, control and direction of its bodies.

3. Ensuring the individual liberties of the people in the free areas, respect for individual property as well as ensuring the freedom of religious conscience.

4. The satisfaction of the vital needs of the people and the care and protection of the victims of the war and the violence of the conquerors.

5. The preparatory work for the entry of the country, after the liberation, into a smooth political life aimed at securing the sovereign rights of the Greek people and combating any attempt at coup d'état or dictatorial solutions, and contrary to the free will of the Greek people by wherever and whoever they come from.

The Commission is counting on the patriotism and support of the Greek people to succeed in carrying out the work it has undertaken.
10 Μαρτίου 1944

At the Commission headquarters: Euripides Bakirtzis, Emmanuel Mantakas, Georgios Siantos, Ilias Tsirimokos, Costas Gavrielidis

Since the PEEA enjoyed neither the de facto power of the occupying authorities, nor the legitimacy of the exiled government, while it even joined the latter, it is not officially included in the list of Greek Governments, but a special mention is made in its constitution.

Composition of the governing committee
Provisional Administration (10 March - 18 April 1944)

President: Evripides Bakirtzis
Secretaries (ministers):
Ilias Tsirimokos
Giorgis Siandos
Manolis Mantakas
Kostas Gavrielidis
Final Administration (April 18 - September 2, 1944)

President: Alexandros Svolos
Vice President: Evripides Bakirtzis
Foreign Secretary: Alexandros Svolos
Secretary of Justice: Ilias Tsirimokos
Secretary of the Interior: Giorgos Siantos
Secretary of Education, Religious Affairs and Popular Enlightenment: Alexandros Svolos
Finance Secretary: Angelos Angelopoulos
Secretary of the National Economy: Stamatios Hatzibeis
Military Secretary: Manolis Mantakas
Secretary of Transport: Nikolaos Askoutsis
Secretary of Food: Evripides Bakirtzis
Secretary of Social Welfare: Petros Kokkalis
Secretary of Agriculture: Kostas Gavrielidis
Government project
In the summer of 1944, the PEEA also dealt with education: in July, it decided to establish two short-term Pedagogical Training Schools (both worked) in which "temporary teachers who do not have a pedagogical education and young high school seniors who wish to be appointed temporary teachers in Free Greece". There they would teach ΄΄Elements of Pedagogy, Psychology and Teaching΄΄, ΄΄New Greek΄΄, ΄΄Greek History΄΄. In August, a large Pedagogical Conference was organized in Laspi, Evrytania. The publication of two primary school reading books, Ta Aetopoulas and Eleftheri Ellada, is part of this framework. Their content is explained "by the revolutionary character of the conditions", but "presents the same pedagogical disadvantages as the state ones". Committees of EAM and ELAS, in which Dimitris Glinos probably participated, submitted a Plan for a Popular Education. The purpose of education is defined as the spiritual, moral and material elevation of the "working people", the exclusive use of the vernacular is defined, with the parallel establishment of monotony and the abolition of historical spelling. With regard to the organization of the system, administrative decentralization and the following levels are foreseen: a) preschool period (0-6 years old) with educational centers, b) kindergartens (4-6 years old), c) eight-year primary, four-year Secondary Education (High schools, technical schools, artistic) and Higher schools.

PEEA participated in the Lebanon Conference with a three-member committee consisting of: A. Svolos, A. Angelopoulos and N. Askoutsis.
On July 26, 1944, and while the work at the Conference had not been completed, 8 Soviets headed by colonel Popov parachuted into a mountain of "Free Greece", where they met with Xiado, without the subject of their discussions ever becoming known .
On August 15, 1944, the PEEA sent a telegram to the Greek government in Cairo declaring its full submission to the "Papandreou line".

Vassilis Bouras, "The Political Committee of National Liberation P.E.A.A., Free Greece 1944", Publisher: Diogenis, 1983
Verbenioti Tasoula, "The institutionalization of women's right to vote by the Greek resistance movement 1941-1944", Dini. Feminist Journal, Feature: history, women, gender, vol. 6, (1993), pp. 180-195.
Dimitris Zepos, People's Justice. In the free territories of occupied Greece, published by the Educational Foundation of the National Bank of Greece, Athens, 1986
Yannis Skalidakis, The policy of PEEA towards the corps of permanent officers, Cleo- PERIODIC EDITION FOR RECENT HISTORY, vol.3 (summer 2006), pp.121-145
The mountainous region that stretched from the Gulf of Corinth to the border with Yugoslavia and from the western slopes of Pindos to the eastern coastline of Greece html
  Thanasis Hatzis: "The victorious revolution that was lost", "Papazisi" ed., 1983, pp. 28-29
  Yannis (Jean Marie) Skalidakis: "Political Committee for National Liberation (1944). A type of revolutionary power. Political, economic and social parameters". Doctoral thesis, University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 2012
  "General Secretariat of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs | TSOUDERO EMMANUEL". Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  Alexis Dimaras, "Education: war, occupation, civil war (1940-1949)", History of the Greek Nation, Athens Publishing House, vol. IST, 2000, p. 549

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