How Greece Tore Itself Apart in a Vicious Civil War at the End of World War Two

How Greece Tore Itself Apart in a Vicious Civil War at the End of World War Two

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On the 28 November 1944, the newly liberated country of Greece descended into a bloody civil war.

The British-backed Royalists would battle Communist forces for the next five years, and the ideological nature of the struggle combined with the extent of British intervention has lead many historians to view the conflict as the first chapter of the Cold War.

Crucially for the west, the war ended in a Royalist victory and Stalin’s sphere of influence did not extend into the Mediterranean, but at a terrible cost, with 158,000 killed and over a million Greeks forced out of their homes.

In the popular imagination the Cold War was a divide between western and eastern Europe, epitomised by Winston Churchill’s famous speech describing an “iron curtain” falling over the east.

However, in the early years, with Stalin’s power growing and war-stricken Europe in disarray, there was a palpable fear in Britain and America that western and southern Europe would also fall into Communist hands.

Greece during World War Two

Greece looked like it would be the first domino to fall. It had been invaded by Axis forces in 1941, and despite a heroic resistance, it was subjected to a brutal occupation for the next three years.

When it became clear that Athens would fall, the west-aligned King George II fled in terror to British-held Egypt, where he formed a government in exile.

King George of the Hellenes with senior Royal Air Force officers in the Western Desert during his visit to a Greek fighter station. Credit: Imperial War Museum / Commons.

Eager for the King to one day regain control of his country, Churchill and other western leaders urged George to appoint liberal ministers in a more forward-thinking government, but the divisions began here at this early stage when Stalin refused to acknowledge the King’s government.

Sensing an opportunity, the Georgian rightly believed that the Greek people would not care for an exiled government who did not share their suffering, and would turn to radical left-wing leaders for leadership.

In September 1941, four left-wing parties got together to form a resistance group – the EAM. They took inspiration from the Soviet stand against Hitler in the east, and at first they attracted many non-communists who simply wanted to fight for their beleaguered nation.

EAM-ELAS Rebels. Credit: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Commons.

However, after a promising start fighting and sabotaging the German Army, the EAM’s actions became far more sinister.

As the tide of the war turned and it looked more likely that the Allies would win, the group turned their attentions to destroying the other resistance groups as they sought to control post-war Greece.

As the EAM, and its military wing ELAS, grew stronger, the Germans were pushed out of the mountainous countryside and the other resistance fighters were often butchered or forcibly absorbed into their ranks.

Allied intervention didn’t help matters. The British in particular saw ELAS as the strongest opposition to the Germans in the region, and supplied them with large amounts of weaponry and supplies.

To their dismay, however, the political group had begun to resemble a full-scale army by the end of 1943, and that army was intent on killing other Greeks.

The next year the growing tensions exploded into civil war. As 1944 went on, it became clear to the Greek garrison that they would be cut off if the Russians advanced much further, and as a result by the time the British liberated the country, only Athens offered any resistance as the German and Italian forces dribbled away.

Athenians celebrate the liberation of their city, October 1944. Credit: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Commons.

As the enemy soldiers left ELAS took control of all the important military and strategic points in Greece outside the capital. There the British entered triumphantly in October, accompanied by the Royalist government.

Once the fighting in Greece was over, the disarmament and dissolution of ELAS was requested from Athens, to be in place by 10 December. In response, the communists in the government resigned and began to whip up anti-British sentiment amongst ELAS sympathisers.

On 3 December things came to a head as a great crowd of 200,000 violent and angry citizens gathered in Athens, ignoring the British tanks stationed around the city to bar their way. As the tension increased shots were fired, and 28 protesters were killed.

The scale of the violence then escalated dramatically, and suddenly full-scale war erupted in Greece’s ancient capital.

Sherman tanks and troops from 5th (Scots) Parachute Battalion, 2nd Parachute Brigade, during operations against members of ELAS in Athens, 18 December 1944. Credit: Imperial War Museum / Commons.

The British and government supporters were badly stretched, and emergency troops from India and Egypt had to be flown into Athens to avoid a catastrophic defeat while the war in western Europe was at its most intense.

Over December the streets of the city were disfigured by gunfire as the fighting raged on.

Fighting a full-scale war against an anti-German movement, whilst the Allies were invading Hitler’s Reich did not look good politically for Churchill, who flew into the dangerous city on Christmas day.

There he met with Soviet and ELAS representatives, but no deal could be struck with all their aims so different, and later it transpired that ELAS terrorists had planned to bomb the hotel where the conference took place.


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The end for ELAS?

In the end, it seemed that no such diplomatic solution would be needed. The Royalists gradually took over the city from their enthusiastic but largely untrained foes, and in February ELAS were forcibly disbanded at the Treaty of Varkiza.

It appeared, for the time being, that Stalin’s aims had been thwarted and that Churchill had once again prevailed, as the King finally felt safe enough in his country to return from Egypt and take up the mantle of leadership once more.

Unfortunately, a year later the violence which had spread like a disease through Greece for so long reared its ugly head again, and a nationwide Civil War began in earnest.

After months of being targeted by the victors the ex-members of ELAS were angry, and in March 1946 a group of them attacked a local police station and killed its occupants.

Claiming that they had to defend themselves against right-wing aggression, the Greek Communist Party created a new army, the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) and began to conduct guerrilla campaigns against government forces.

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Soon, the DSE had a lot of support in the inaccessible countryside and their numbers and the scale of their ambitions increased dramatically through 1946.

The regular Greek Army, despite having large sums of British and now American money poured into it, was unable to combat this new threat as the enemy melted into the hills every time they heard word of a new counteroffensive.

The DSE meanwhile, were being generously supplied with men and resources by Stalin’s Yugoslav ally Marshal Tito. The war was escalating quickly.

By 1947, the DSE had grown to an extent where full-scale warfare could replace guerrilla tactics, and the Communists declared themselves to be a Provisional Democratic Government.

Knowing that they needed a capital to begin a journey towards legitimacy, they began heavy and costly assaults on Greek cities. This marked a major departure from the early years of fighting, which had been confined to remote areas.

1948 would be the high water mark for the DSE as they found themselves within twenty miles of Athens and controlling much of the Peloponnese.

Man hanged from a tree, with a sign around his neck on a square in a village; nearby, a Greek soldier. Credit: Bundesarchiv / Commons.

With the situation growing desperate, British and American advisers told the King to launch full-scale assaults into the central mountains. Eventually his forces won their first major victory as DSE defences crumbled.

Then, suddenly, the government met with good fortune in June, when Stalin and Tito had a calamitous falling out and suspended all relations. This put the DSE and its leader Vafiadis in a difficult position, for now they had to choose between Tito, their main backer, and Stalin who was in control of much of Communist world.

In the end Vafiadis opted to support Tito, but the other Communists protested and he was replaced. As a result, support from Yugoslavia ceased, and to compound matters Stalin, having lost interest in the region after his dispute with Tito, actively condemned the “Titoist” Greek rebellion.

From then on a Government victory seemed more and more of a formality. The hero of a valiant stand against Italy in 1940, Alexandros Papagos, was brought out of retirement and quickly crushed the DSE in a series of pitched battles in the Peloponnese.

Government army unit during the Greek Civil War (1945 – 1949). Credit: The State Archives of the Republic of Macedonia / Commons.

Demoralised by Tito’s new cold shoulder and Stalin’s disinterest, the Greek Communists began to lose heart and desert the cause, particularly after the success of Papagos’ war-winning Operation “Dove.”

In the end, the remnants of DSE forces retreated into Albania, and 1000 diehard Communists went into exile in the Soviet Union, hoping to be part of Stalin’s plans. The Soviet leader, however, had long since given up on Greece as a potential conquest, and the Greeks remained in an Uzbek prison camp for three years.

The battle for Greece had been won by the west, and it was a significant victory for the west, but it came at a terrible cost.

The Greek national consciousness remains deeply traumatised by both wartime atrocities committed by both Nazis and Greeks, as well as by the civil war itself.

9 Things You May Not Know About Mussolini

1. Mussolini had a penchant for violence even as a youth.
Born on July 29, 1883, Mussolini gained a reputation for bullying and fighting during his childhood. At age 10 he was expelled from a religious boarding school for stabbing a classmate in the hand, and another stabbing incident took place at his next school. He also admitted to knifing a girlfriend in the arm. Meanwhile, he purportedly pinched people at church to make them cry, led gangs of boys on raids of local farmsteads and eventually became adept at dueling with swords. When the New York Times reported on Mussolini’s May 1922 duel against a rival newspaper editor, it mentioned that he bore over 100 wounds received in battle.

2. Mussolini was a socialist before becoming a fascist.
Born to a socialist father, Mussolini was named after leftist Mexican President Benito Juárez. His two middle names, Amilcare and Andrea, came from Italian socialists Amilcare Cipriani and Andrea Costa. Early in Mussolini’s life, for instance, those names seemed appropriate. While living in Switzerland from 1902 to 1904, he cultivated an intellectual image and wrote for socialist periodicals such as L𠆚vvenire del Lavoratore (The Worker’s Future). He then served in the Italian army for nearly two years before resuming his career as a teacher and journalist. In his articles and speeches, Mussolini preached violent revolution, praised famed communist thinker Karl Marx and criticized patriotism. In 1912 he became editor of Avanti! (Forward!), the official daily newspaper of Italy’s Socialist Party. But he was expelled from the party two years later over his support for World War I. By 1919 a radically changed Mussolini had founded the fascist movement, which would later become the Fascist Party.

3. Italy’s leaders never called on the military to stop Mussolini’s insurrection.
From 1920 to 1922, armed fascist squads faced minimal interference from the police or army as they roamed the country causing property damage and killing an estimated 2,000 political opponents. Many other citizens were beaten up or forced to drink castor oil. Then, on October 24, 1922, Mussolini threatened to seize power with a demonstration known as the March on Rome. Though Prime Minister Luigi Facta knew of these plans, he failed to act in any meaningful way. Finally, when fascists began occupying government offices and telephone exchanges on the night of October 27, Facta and his ministers advised King Victor Emmanuel III to declare a state of emergency and impose martial law. The wavering king refused to sign any such decree, however, and Facta was forced to resign.

4. Contrary to popular belief, Mussolini did not take power in a coup.
With Italy’s leading non-fascist politicians hopelessly divided and with the threat of violence in the air, on October 29 the king offered Mussolini the chance to form a coalition government. But although the premiership was now his, Il Duce𠅊 master of propaganda who claimed the backing of 300,000 fascist militiamen when the real number was probably far lower—wanted to make a show of force. As a result, he joined armed supporters who flooded the streets of Rome the following day. Mussolini would later mythologize the March on Rome’s importance.

5. Mussolini did not become a true dictator until 1925.
After becoming prime minister, Mussolini reduced the influence of the judiciary, muzzled a free press, arrested political opponents, continued condoning fascist squad violence and otherwise consolidated his hold on power. However, he continued working within the parliamentary system at least somewhat until January 1925, when he declared himself dictator of Italy. Following a series of assassination attempts in 1925 and 1926, Mussolini tightened his grip even further, banning opposition parties, kicking out over 100 members of parliament, reinstating the death penalty for political crimes, ramping up secret police activities and abolishing local elections.

6. Mussolini was anti-Church before becoming pro-Church.
As a socialist youth, Mussolini declared himself an atheist and railed against the Catholic Church, going so far as to say that only idiots believed Bible stories and that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were lovers. He even authored an anti-clerical pulp novel. But after taking power, Il Duce began working to patch up that relationship. He outlawed freemasonry, exempted the clergy from taxation, cracked down on artificial contraception, campaigned for an increased birth rate, raised penalties for abortion, restricted nightlife, regulated women’s clothing and banned homosexual acts among adult men. Despite having many mistresses himself, he also put in place harsh punishments for adultery. In 1929 Mussolini signed an agreement with the Vatican under which the Church received authority over marriage and was compensated for property that had been seized decades earlier. Pope Pius XI afterwards referred to Mussolini as the “man whom providence has sent us.” Nonetheless, tensions between the two eventually resurfaced over such things as Mussolini’s racial laws, where were similar to those in Nazi Germany.

7. Mussolini sought to establish an Italian empire.
Mussolini launched his first military action in 1923 when he bombarded and briefly occupied the Greek island of Corfu. Several years later, he authorized the use of concentration camps and poison gas to help put down a rebellion in Libya, which at that time was an Italian colony. Poison gas was again used illegally during the conquest of Ethiopia in 1935 and 1936, after which Il Duce declared that Italy finally had its empire. “It is a fascist empire, an empire of peace, an empire of civilization and humanity,” he purportedly said. Three years later, Italy invaded and annexed Albania. In addition to those wars of expansion, conflict-loving Mussolini also propped up right-wing dissidents. During the Spanish Civil War, for example, he supplied troops and arms to General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist movement.

8. Italy’s army performed disastrously during World War II.
For all his bluster, Mussolini did not enter World War II until June 1940, by which time his Nazi Germany allies had already swept through much of Europe. It soon became apparent that Italy lacked adequate military equipment and that its pace of production was pitiful. In fact, the United States could manufacture more planes in a week than Italy could in a year. Mussolini did not help matters by repeatedly changing his war plans and stretching his forces too thin. His poorly executed attack on France made little progress until the French asked the Germans for an armistice. Later that year, Italian troops invaded Greece, only to be pushed back into neighboring Albania. Italy’s North Africa campaign likewise stalled, although in both cases Germany temporarily came to the rescue.

9. Mussolini was deposed without a fight.
Having already snatched away Libya and Ethiopia, Allied forces invaded Italy proper in 1943 and began dropping bombs on Rome. On July 25 of that year, King Victor Emmanuel informed Mussolini that he would be replaced as prime minister. Il Duce was then arrested and imprisoned in various places, including a remote mountain ski resort from which German commandos rescued him a month and a half later. From September 1943 to April 1945, Mussolini headed a puppet government in German-occupied northern Italy. At the end of the war, he tried to sneak over the Swiss border wearing a German greatcoat and helmet. But an Italian partisan recognized him and shouted out, “We’ve got Big-Head!” Mussolini was executed the following day, and his corpse was strung upside down in a Milan square.

Electrical substations that feed power to cities are the Achilles heel of liberal authoritarianism

DISCLAIMER #2: This is my analysis of what may come. I offer this as a warning, not as any form of advocacy for the actions described here. My hope is that this scenario can be avoided. Pray for peace. But be prepared for anything.

During Civil War Two, it would be a relatively simple matter for rural, patriotic Americans fighting for America and defending the Republic to take out the electrical substations that feed power to the cities. These substations are not even defended by anything more than chain-link fences in most cases, and they happen to be extremely vulnerable to sabotage which can disable delicate parts that require long wait times for resupply and repair.

I was recently thinking of writing a fiction novel about the likely tactical scenarios that would unfold in an actual modern civil war. In my research, I ran across this outstanding article from Matt Bracken, a patriot and Trump supporter who has reached many of the same conclusions that I’ve reached on all this. At, Bracken writes:

And once this vicious civil war is in full swing, the odds are high that the power grid itself will become the target of ten thousand attacks. In such a fluid crazy-quilt battlespace as an all-out dirty civil war, shared infrastructure lines will run through both friendly and enemy territory. Every faction will have a veto on their downstream enemy’s power grid and water supply. Food supplies that today are trucked from hundreds or thousands of miles away will disappear in this dangerous environment. Brainwashed Dunning-Kruger Democrats and their FACLI reinforcements might not enjoy living around evil and oppressive white devils very much today, but they are going to enjoy life without electricity, food, and clean drinking water even less. They will discover that it’s much easier to turn Minneapolis into Mogadishu than the reverse.

Bracken calls it a “dirty civil war,” and by that, he means it’s messy and chaotic. What Bracken recognizes is that cities rapidly become uninhabitable without power, water and food. And cutting off those supply lines to the cities is a relatively simple matter for determined patriots working to take their country back from the left-wing traitors who are trying to overthrow America (and destroy it with illegal immigration and massive, coordinated voter fraud). Disabling or denying the access of upstream dams, municipal-scale water pumps, electrical infrastructure, railways and even bridges is not technically that difficult for determined forces fighting to defend America against domestic enemies (i.e. lawless Leftists).

Imagine Los Angeles in a sustained power grid outage. Imagine no EBT cards (food stamps), no air conditioning and no wifi. In 48 hours, L.A. collapses into a war zone, with police vastly outnumbered by armed gangs that go door to door, robbing, killing, raping and pillaging. This is what liberal policies have demanded, of course: No police protection. No firearms for self-defense. No prosecutions of criminals if they happen to be minorities (Jussie Smollett, anyone?). Without a power grid, Los Angeles collapses into something far worse than Venezuela. It becomes a cesspool of filth, lawlessness and violence, which is exactly what Leftists eventually produce when they are in charge of cities, states or nations. Cutting off the power to Los Angeles would merely accelerate the process that’s already under way thanks to left-wing California policies that are rooted in lawlessness, socialism and authoritarianism.

Lunatic left-wing cities like Los Angeles are especially vulnerable given their dependence on large water volumes pumped over a mountain, using very high electrical power that’s brought in from remote locations. What happens to Los Angeles when power, water and food are cut off? The scenario is well described by Bracken:

What will happen inside the blue hives that are presently organized as DemSoc vote-harvesting plantations, when the EBT system collapses? When no electricity, food or water is flowing in to sustain their populations? This dystopian dynamic is likely to occur in some cities or regions earlier than in others, and this will lead to the imposition of extremely harsh measures, including martial law and food rationing in other parts of the country. Alternatively, where government control is weak, local vigilantism will become rampant.

But history is clear: no matter how draconian the emergency decrees, new laws will not by themselves restore the power grid, or purify and pump the water, or get the food supply chain moving again. That will require the end of the civil war and a return to civility and the normal rule of law. Civil War Two will be brutal in every corner of America, but it will be absolutely catastrophic for the inhabitants of the blue hives when their sustenance is cut off. The Dunning-Kruger Democrats and the FACLI immigrants will not be able to eat socialist slogans or drink officially-sanctioned racial hatred.

The upshot of all this? Don’t be in a liberal city when Civil War Two gets under way.

By the way, this exact same scenario also unfolds in the aftermath of an EMP weapon or solar flare that takes out the power grid. So what I’m actually describing here is not only a civil war scenario it’s also a warning about America’s vulnerability to EMP weapons launched by foreign adversaries like Russia, China or North Korea. We’ve already covered the belief that North Korea already possesses orbiting nuclear warheads that pass directly overhead the United States every few hours and can be dropped into a trajectory, then detonated to produce a disastrous EMP effect that could take down most of the major cities in America.

So as you’re reading this warning here, keep in mind that civil war is only one of the many scenarios that could produce these results. Again, my hope is that we can avoid all this, but things like space weather are completely outside of human control and thus cannot be stopped no matter what we do here on Earth. The sun, it turns out, is the great fusion-powered “societal reset” machine in the sky. Sooner or later, a massive solar flare strikes our planet and fries all the electronics. NASA says the odds of that happening are roughly 12% every decade, or put more simply, about 1% every year. Government research reports estimate a die-off rate of up to 90% of the U.S. population in the months following a grid-down solar flare event or EMP weapon detonation. Most of those deaths would occur in the cities.

German invasion

The long-anticipated German attack (Unternehmen Marita) began on April 6, 1941, against both Greece and Yugoslavia. The resulting "Battle of Greece" ended with the fall of Kalamata in the Peloponnese on April 30, the evacuation of the Commonwealth Expeditionary Force and the complete occupation of the Greek mainland by the Axis.

The initial attack came against the Greek positions of the "Metaxas Line" (19 forts in Eastern Macedonia between Mt. Beles and River Nestos and 2 more in Western Thrace). It was launched from Bulgarian territory and supported by artillery and bomber aircraft. The resistance of the forts under general Konstantinos Bakopoulos was both courageous and determined, but eventually futile. The rapid collapse of Yugoslavia had allowed the 2nd Panzer Division (which had started from the Strumica Valley in Bulgaria, advanced through Yugoslav territory and turned south along the Vardar/Axios River valley) to bypass the defenses and capture the vital port city of Thessaloniki on April 9. As a result, the Greek forces manning the forts (the Army Section of Eastern Macedonia, TSAM) were cut off and given permission to surrender by the Greek High Command. The surrender was completed the next day, April 10, the same day that German forces crossed the Yugoslav-Greek border near Florina in Western Macedonia, after having defeated any resistance in southern Yugoslavia. The Germans broke through the Commonwealth (2 div. & 1 arm. brig.) and Greek (2 div.) defensive positions in the Kleidi area on April 11/12, and moved on to the south and southwest.

While pursuing the British southwards, the southwest movement threatened the rear of the bulk of the Greek Army (14 divisions), which was facing the Italians at the Albanian front. The Army belatedly began retreating southwards, first its northeast flank on April 12, and finally the southwest flank on April 17. The German thrust towards Kastoria on April 15 however made the situation critical, threatening to cut the Greek forces' retreat. The generals at the front began exploring the possibilities for capitulation (to the Germans only), despite the High Command's insistence on continuing the fight to cover the British retreat.

In the event, several generals under the leadership of Lt.Gen. Georgios Tsolakoglou mutinied on April 20, and taking matters in their own hands, signed a protocol of surrender with the commander of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) near Metsovo the same day. It was followed by a second in Ioannina the next day (with Italian representation this time) and a final one in Thessaloniki between the three combatants on the 23rd. The very same day in Athens, Lt. General A. Papagos resigned his office as Supreme Commander whereas the King and his government embarked for Crete. About the same time the Commonwealth forces made a last stand at Thermopylae before their final retreat to the ports of Peloponnese for evacuation to Crete or Egypt. German troops seized the Corinth Canal bridges, entered Athens on April 27, and completed their occupation of the mainland and most islands by the end of the month, along with the Italians and Bulgarians.

The Battle of Crete

The only Greek territory remaining free by May 1941 was the large and strategically important island of Crete, which was held by a large but weak Allied garrison consisting primarily of the combat-damaged units evacuated from the mainland without their heavy equipment, especially transport. To conquer it, the German High Command prepared "Unternehmen Merkur", the largest airborne attack seen to date.

The attack was launched on May 20, 1941. The Germans attacked the three main airfields of the island, at the northern towns of Maleme, Rethimnon, and Heraklion, with paratroopers and gliders. The Germans met stubborn resistance from the British, Australian, New Zealand and the remaining Greek troops on the island, and from local civilians. At the end of the first day, none of the objectives had been reached and the Germans had suffered around 4,000 casualties.

During the next day however, through miscommunication and failure of the Allied commanders to grasp the situation, Maleme airfield in western Crete fell to the Germans. With Maleme airfield secured, the Germans flew in thousands of reinforcements and overwhelmed the western side of the island. This was followed by severe British naval losses due to intense German air attacks around the island. After seven days of fighting the Allied commanders realized that so many Germans had been flown in that hope of Allied victory was gone. By June 1, the evacuation of Crete by the Allies was complete and the island was under German occupation. In light of the heavy casualties suffered by the elite 7th Flieger Division, Adolf Hitler forbade further airborne operations. General Kurt Student would dub Crete "the graveyard of the German paratroopers" and a "disastrous victory." [4]

Section 4: Technological advances


Automobiles became much more common during the 1920s, as mass production put them within the reach of millions of families for the first time.

This boosted the rise of the suburbs and, in particular, ribbon development of houses along roads to and from towns.

The first oil well in Bahrain was discovered in 1932 (Flickr:first-oil-well-in-bahrain, Ryan Lackey)

It also stimulated the rise of the oil industry, which now consolidated its position as a global force within the world economy. Oil companies extended their operations in the Middle East, and began them in South America. Venezuela was soon the world’s second largest oil producer, after the Soviet Union.

Civil aviation

The demand for oil was boosted by the rise of civil aviation in these decades. The western European countries pioneered this development, with the spread of air services, first within Europe and later (from the late 20s) along transcontinental routes as the imperial powers developed their lines of communication with their colonies. Such airlines as the Dutch KLM and Britain’s Imperial Airways (ancestor of today’s British Airways) had their origin. At first the airliners were simply converted World War I bombers, but later elegant, specially designed aircraft took to the skies. As compared with that other form of long-distance travel, the ocean-going liner, the airlines cut times from weeks to days.

The Douglas DC-3 appeared in 1935 (Perry Hoppe,

The United States was a little later in developing its own air services, but it soon more than caught up. It was here that the most advanced airliner of these decades, the Douglas DC 3, was developed and airlines such as United, American and Delta grew to maturity. For overseas travel, Pan Am was a pioneering airline, especially in the field of flying boats, the most luxurious form of heavier-than-air travel at that time.

The promise of aviation was made clear to all by spectacular flights made by such pilots as Charles Lindberg, who flew non-stop across the Atlantic from New York to Paris in 1927, and Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to conduct long-distance flights, in the 1930s.


The decades between the wars also saw the brief heyday of the airship, with the German Zeppelin company leading the way. This mammoths of the sky promised to rival the ocean-going liner for luxury and elegance, but the tragic end of the Hindenburg, near New York in 1937, when 36 people lost their lives, put an end to these developments.

People watching the landing of Graf Zeppelin LZ 127 (Alexander Cohrs, Grombo, GFDL, cc-by-sa-2.5,2.0,1.0, 1930)

Ocean liners

In terms of passenger transport, the 20s and 30s were the peak age of the ocean liner. This was the safest and most comfortable way top travel at the time, and indeed the only way (apart from airships, and towards the end of the period, large Pan Am flying boats) in which wide expanses of ocean could be crossed.

Military technology

Weapons of war also experienced major advances between the wars. In aviation, the slow biplane fighters of World War I gave way to their sleek successors of World War 2, and much larger bombers were developed – in the mid-30s the B-17 was coming into service with the US Air Force.

In naval technology, the aircraft carrier, whose development began in World War I, was refined and improved to become the capital ships of World War 2. In land warfare, the tank was developed to such an extent that the armies of the Second World War were able to have far more mobility than those of the First, and so able to avoid the awful stalemate of trench warfare.

The 20s and 30s saw some major technological breakthroughs which would have a huge impact during and after World War 2 – the development of the first television (1925), the invention of the rocket (1926), the jet engine (1930) and radar (1938) being major examples.


The 1920s and 30s saw numerous medical advances. The most famous was undoubtedly the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928, which would revolutionize medicine during and after World War 2 but other discoveries included vitamin D and insulin.

Professor Alexander Fleming (between 1939&1945, Imperial War Museums, TR 1468)

The period also saw the development of vaccines for diphtheria, tuberculosis, tetanus and yellow fever of chemotherapy and shock therapy, and new techniques in anesthetics and in the treatment of mental diseases, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).


In communications, the radio found a home in millions of households – ready to be the major source of information and propaganda in the coming war. Cinema established itself as the main source of entertainment in these years, especially after silent films were replaced by sound films in the 1920s, and color films began to come in the 1930s. This decade saw some of the most famous films of all time being made, including Gone with the Wind and the Wizard of Oz. This was also the decade in which Walt Disney began making full-length feature films, the first being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Film poster for Gone with the Wind (1939,, Employee(s) of MGM)

Newsreels were a major source of information, and captured some of the great events of the day, for example the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, and the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, arriving home and waving his piece of paper with the Munich Agreement written on it, and declaring “Peace in our Time”. In Nazi Germany, the spectacular Nuremberg rallies were recored for posterity on film.

Greek Royal Forces in the Middle East

After the fall of Greece to the Axis, elements of the Greek armed forces managed to escape to the British-controlled Middle East. There they were placed under the royal government-in-exile, and continued the fight along the Allies.

In the face of the overwhelming German advance into Greece, several thousand Greek officers and soldiers were either evacuated, along with the Greek government, to Crete and then Egypt, in April–May 1941, or managed to flee, mainly via neutral Turkey, to the British-controlled Middle East. There they were placed under British command and re-equipped with British arms, complemented by volunteers from the local Greek communities, forming the "Royal Hellenic Army in the Middle East" (Βασιλικός Ελληνικός Στρατός Μέσης Ανατολής, ΒΕΣΜΑ).

Already on 23 June 1941, the 1st Greek Brigade began being formed in Palestine under Col. Ev. Antoniou. It comprised ca. 5,000 men in three infantry battalions, an artillery regiment (of battalion-size), and support units. An independent armoured car regiment (of battalion size) was also formed, but later incorporated in the Brigade's artillery regiment. The Brigade remained in training camps in Palestine until May 1942, where its command was taken over by Col. Pafsanias Katsotas. It was then transferred to Syria, before being deployed to Egypt in August. There it was placed under British 50th Division in the Nile Delta, and joined it in the Second Battle of El Alamein, where it suffered 89 dead and 228 wounded. A 2nd Brigade also began being formed in Egypt since 27 July 1942 along similar lines, but did not see action.

Both Brigades remained on guard duty in Egypt and Libya, where they became involved in the widespread pro-EAM mutiny in April 1944. Subsequently, both units were disbanded by the British, and their personnel interned in camps or used in non-combat duties. 3,500 politically reliable officers and men were formed into the III Greek Mountain Brigade under Col. Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos, on 4 June 1944. This unit was embarked for Italy in August and fought with distinction, particularly at the Battle of Rimini, where it earned the honorific Rimini Brigade. This loyal and battle-hardened unit would later be instrumental in the struggle between the British-backed government and the EAM-ELAS forces.

In September 1942, an elite special forces unit, the Sacred Band (Ιερός Λόχος), was formed, made up solely of officers and volunteers. Under its charismatic leader, Col. Christodoulos Tsigantes, it was attached to the 1st SAS Regiment, and participated in raids in Libya. In February 1943, the unit was placed under the orders of General Philippe Leclerc, and participated in the Tunisia Campaign. From May to October 1943, the Sacred Band was re-trained in airborne and amphibious operations, and for the remainder of the war it was employed in operations against the German garrisons of the Aegean islands. The unit was disbanded in Athens, on 7 August 1945.

The Hellenic Royal Navy suffered enormous casualties during the German invasion, losing over 20 ships, mostly to German air attacks, within a few days in April 1941. Its chief, Vice Admiral Averof, six destroyers, five submarines and several support ships, by evacuating them to Alexandria. The fleet was subsequently expanded by several destroyers, submarines, mine-sweepers and other vessels handed over by the British Royal Navy, until it became, with 44 ships and over 8,500 men, the second-largest Allied Navy in the Mediterranean after the RN, accounting for 80% of all non-RN operations.

Greek ships served in convoy escort duties in the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. RHN ships also participated in the landing operations in Sicily, Anzio and Normandy, as well as at the ill-fated Dodecanese Campaign. A significant moment in the RHN's history was the acceptance of the Italian Fleet's surrender in September 1943, alongside the British Royal Navy. Two of the most notable Greek warships of the war were the destroyers Adrias and Vasilissa Olga. The large Greek merchant navy, likewise, contributed enormously to the Allied war effort from the first day of the war, losing over 2,500 men and 60% of its ships in the process.

When the pro-George Papandreou.

Air Force

The few Air Force personnel that managed to escape eventually constituted the 13th Light Bomber and the 335th and 336th Fighter squadrons, operating under the Desert Air Force in North Africa and Italy, before being repatriated in late 1944.

13th Squadron was formed in June 1941 in Egypt as a naval cooperation unit, using the 5 surviving Avro Ansons of the former RHAF 13th Naval Cooperation Squadron. The Squadron was later reequipped with Blenheims and, later, Baltimores. [10] 335 Squadron was formed on 10 October 1941, while 336 Squadron on 25 February 1943. Both were initially equipped with Hurricanes, mostly of the Mk. IIc type, until they were re-equipped with Spitfire Mk Vb and Vc in January 1944. [11]

When Jerusalem Became Sodom

“in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.”

— St. John

“They also devoured what spoils they had taken…

and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness” — Josephus

We read the words of John the Revelator, of how Jerusalem was called Sodom, and we perceive this to be symbolic. But this is based on the assumption that the deranged ways of Sodom that we see popular in our own times, could not have existed in ancient Judea where the laws of Moses were memorized. But this perception is not really based on the historical realities of Judea, but is merely — as we have already said — based on assumption. For reading the Old Testament we find that the Hebrews indeed partook in the evils of Sodom. “And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.” (1 Kings 14:24) By sodomites this verse is referring to the qedeshim or the “male temple-prostitutes” of the Canaanites. (See Albright, Archeology and the Religion of Israel, ch. v, p. 159) Male prostitution was a part of the pagan religion of the Canaanites, and was something that the Hebrews adopted when they rebelled against the Law of Moses. Thus, the presence of homosexuality was a sign of Israel’s fall. The homosexual cult of the Canaanite became so intrenched in ancient Israel that it caused a civil war which split up the entire nation, between Judah and the rest of the Hebrew tribes. This civil war, which was a split between North (Samaria) and South Israel, sparked when Jeroboam cast out the Levites and “appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made.” (2 Chronicles 11:15)

Eventually Abijah defeated Jeroboam who “did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down, and he died.” (2 Chronicles 13:20) The homosexual priesthood was elevated in Judah — after its split from Israel — but was eventually purged by King Josiah when he “brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.” (2 Kings 23:7) When Israel rebelled against God, they turned to Sodom and when a righteous king arose, Sodom was purged from the land.

Here we see the struggle between two cities — that of Sodom and that of the heavenly Jerusalem earthly Jerusalem is not exempt from this cosmic war, and when she unleashed her spite against Heaven and murdered the Son of God, she too was overtaken by Sodom. It was there, in Jerusalem, where their Lord was crucified, (Revelation 11:8) and “darkness came over the whole land” (Luke 23:44), as if to say that God’s presence was no more. The Temple had become an empty shell, with its bones dead and its flesh rotting, vacuous of a soul, it was left to thieves.

Even though “they knew God, they glorified him not as God” (Romans 1:21) and “God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28). For did they not reject God when they called for His Son to be crucified, and they preferred a murderer — Barabbas — over Christ? Had not Jerusalem, for its murder of Christ, become worse than Sodom? “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Mark 6:11) Jerusalem, on account of the Crucifixion of Christ, became Sodom.

Just as the Hebrews would turn to Sodom when they rejected God, so would they as well turn to Sodom when they rejected Christ. God declared of the Jews through the prophet Isaiah:

“Israel is a nation of sin, a people loaded down with guilt, a group of children doing evil, children who are full of evil. They have left the LORD they hate God, the Holy One of Israel, and have turned away from him as if he were a stranger.” (Isaiah 1:4)

And in this state, God refers to Israel as Sodom:

“Hear the word of the Lord,

you rulers of Sodom!” (Isaiah 1:10)

And Jerusalem, after she had murdered Christ, is called Sodom by the prophet John: “in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” (Revelation 11:8) The spirit of Sodom manifested itself during the Jews’ conflict with Rome over the city of Jerusalem. In much of the conflict, the Jews murdered each other and fought in a vicious civil war over who was going to control the Temple. We have already written on the bloody conflict that took place within the city how the Zealots, led by one John, vied with the Pharisees (led by Ananus or Hanan ben Hanan) how they made a pact with the Arab Jews of Iduemea (modern day Jordan), and how these Arabians invaded Jerusalem by the tens of thousands, butchering multitudes (thousands upon thousands) of their fellow Jews.

We have already written on how the city had become an ocean of blood and gore spilt by the swords of the Arabs and their Zealot allies, and how these gangs of marauders robbed and pillaged every house they entered. We have already elaborated on this bloodbath, in order to demonstrate the nightmare Jerusalem was in almost seven decades after that city saw the Crucifixion. Knowing briefly of this, let us elaborate further into the nightmarish state Judea was in, so as to have a better understanding of the hellish atmosphere that surrounded the land when it got possessed by the abysmal spirit of Sodom.

After the Zealots murdered Ananus, a new leader would arise to war against John, who at the time ruled Jerusalem. His name was Simon, who was from the land of Gerasa. He was not as cunning as John, but his physical strength and warlike prowess gained him a powerful following. After he heard of the death of Ananus, he knew that this was his moment to make a name for himself and gain followers. He went to the mountains of the rugged countryside, and there he proclaimed that whosoever should follow him, will have liberty and rewards. He recruited enough people to form a gang of bandits, “wicked men from all quarters.” (Josephus, Wars, 4.9.3).

Together they conquered the villages that lied on the mountains of the countryside, and the more he conquered, the more recruits he gained, and the people who were under him were loyal to Simon as if he was their king. He went all the way to Idumea where he fortified a town called Nain and made it into his headquarters. He then set his eyes on the Zealots, his enemies and slaughtered a great number of them in battle. Simon’s army swelled up to twenty-thousand armed men, and at this point he declared war against the Arab Jews of Iduema. The Arab Jews, seeing that Simon’s army was approaching, gathered up their most fiercest of warriors (about twenty-five thousand in number), and a battle ensued at the border of Idumea.

The fighting was so ferocious, that it went on for almost an entire day, and still the battle was not won by either side, and so they both left the fray Simon returned to Nain and the Iduemeans to their quarters. The Arabians stayed inside of a fortress called Herodium in the Judean desert. Simon sent one of his companions, Eleazar, to go to the fortress and demand that the Arabs surrender it. When Eleazar approached the Arabs, they did not know his intentions, but once he made mention of surrendering Herodium, they fell upon him, and Eleazar, having nowhere to flee, ran out of the fortress and fell to his death. Simon eventually invaded Idumea where he overtook the city of Hebron and took it for himself. He ravaged Idumea, laying waste the villages and cities, and “Idumea was greatly depopulated” (Josephus, Wars, 4.9.6).

Upon the fecund earth and upon the green meadows and farms, Simon’s army trampled and if green lusciousness was before him, a desert was left behind his army, from the fires they spread, and the earth — from being soft, dark and fertile — was abandoned, left to be hard and rigid, the only thing watering it being the blood of those they butchered. The Zealots, seeing what Simon had done to their Arab Jewish allies, were deeply afraid and so kidnapped Simon’s wife with the expectation that he would lay down his arms. Simon went into an uncontrollable rage, and set himself and his forces at the wall of Jerusalem. Elderly people, as was customary, would exit the city to collect wild herbs or sticks, and these Simon butchered without mercy. Anyone who left the city was killed under his watch. So filled with frothing rage was Simon, that it was said that he was “almost ready to taste the very flesh of their dead bodies.” “He also cut off the hands of a great many, and sent them into the city to astonish his enemies, and in order to make the people fall into a sedition, and desert those that had been the authors of his wife’s seizure.” (Josephus, Wars, 4)

Those whose hands were cut off would return to the city and declare a message from Simon: that Simon swore by the God of the universe that if they did not return his wife that he would “break down their wall”, that he would inflict the same punishment as he did to those who exited the city, not sparing age nor distinguishing the guilty from the innocent. The Zealots, struck with such deep fear, returned his wife back to him, but at this point — in the words of Josephus — “sedition and civil war prevailed” in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Romans were advancing. The general Vespasian took over the Gophnitick and Acrabattene toparchies, he then seized Bethel and Ephraim. One of Vespasian’s commanders, Cerealis, laid waist Upper Idumea, invading Caphethra and taking over Capharabim. He then took over Hebron where he slaughtered all of the young men and burnt down the city. Simon returned to Idumea where he resumed his war against the Arabian Jews, driving many of them to flee to Jerusalem. Simon preemptively met them at this very city where he encompassed the walls, and anyone who tried to enter Jerusalem was slain.

Meanwhile, inside of the city of Jerusalem, the spirit of Sodom lingered. The inhabitants of the city were terrified of Simon and his forces, more so than they were of the Romans. Fear was deeply entrenched in their hearts, due to those who were without the walls, but within the walls was something abysmal, something evil, something that was beyond the natural order. John’s followers — the Zealots — in Jerusalem were thirsty for the blood of the rich, an ancient testament to the presence of the demon of fanatical madness, which mankind has seen numerous times (be it in revolutionary France or in Bolshevik Russia). They raided the homes of the wealthy, stealing their possessions with their insatiable lust for power and their endless greed. The have-nots wanted to become the haves, and those that called themselves Zealots only had zeal for their own power. They murdered men at random and raped women, and all of this evil was sport to them. How much blood they could shed, how many women they could ravish, was a measurement of their success. Another phenomena manifested itself: these Zealots began to decorate their hair and wear women’s garments and put on makeup. Mascara was under their eyes as they made the entire city of Jerusalem into a homosexual orgy. Jerusalem had become Sodom. With makeup around their crazed eyes, they slaughtered while they dressed as women, they acted like merciless mercenaries while they walked like women, they slaughtered with their swords. Jerusalem became Sodom. As Josephus described the madness:

“Now this Simon, who was without the wall, was a greater terror to the people than the Romans themselves, as were the zealots who were within it more heavy upon them than both of the other and during this time did the mischievous contrivances and courage [of John] corrupt the body of the Galileans for these Galileans had advanced this John, and made him very potent, who made them suitable requital from the authority he had obtained by their means for he permitted them to do all things that any of them desired to do, while their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich and for the murdering of the men, and abusing of the women, it was sport to them. They also devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood, and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance, till they were satiated therewith while they decked their hair, and put on women’s garments, and were besmeared over with ointments and that they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes, and imitated not only the ornaments, but also the lusts of women, and were guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, that they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort. And thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel-house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks, and ran every body through whom they alighted upon.” (Josephus, Wars, 4.9.10)

Those who fled Jerusalem to escape the sodomitic terror were slaughtered by Simon who was waiting outside. The nightmare was never ending. The Arabs, seeing the madness of the Zealots, and how cruel they were, and also being desirous for John’s power over the city, sought to destroy the Zealots out of hatred for their evil ways. The Arabians unsheathed their swords and butchered many of the Zealots, so much so that they fled into the Temple. The remaining authorities wanted to have John removed, and they would invite Simon into Jerusalem to take it over. This is what took place prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. But let us look at what Josephus wrote when describing Jerusalem’s sodomite presence. These sinister persons were the followers of John, meaning that they were Zealots, or people who had zeal for the Law of God. How could people who call themselves Zealots put on mascara and wear women’s clothes, and partake in homosexuality?

It is just like those conservative figureheads who will speak of the Bible or patriotism, and at the same time will promote Sodom. We see this in people like Milo Yiannopolous, a Jewish conservative talker who elevated pederasty stating: “some of the most important enriching, and incredibly life-affirming, important, shaping relationships are between younger boys and older men.” We see this in Dennis Prager, a rabbi who teaches the Torah and is very popular amongst American conservatives, when he said: “The Bible said: ‘Men, you are as happy with boys — I don’t mean 8 year olds, 15 year olds — just as a grown man is happy with a 15 year old girl. In that sense, homosexuals and heterosexuals are identical.” The rabbi also said: “I actually believe bisexual is the norm.”

The sodomites of Jerusalem wore women’s clothing and outlined their eyes with mascara, and at the same time they were warriors who butchered people. These are paralleled to the far-Right or tribalist groups that exist in north America and Europe. There is the movement of Jack Donovan, a sodomite and ideological terrorist who wants people to hold violence as “sacramental.” Just as the Zealots of Israel knew God and did not honor him as God when God gave them up to dishonorable passions (Romans 1:21, 26), so does the Right-wing of today express respect to Christianity, while appealing to Sodom. This can be seen in the Right-wing party in Greece, the Golden Dawn, which appeals to Orthodox Christians while their leader, Nikolaos Michaloiakos, once praised Luciferianism as the religion of Greece.

In the year 2013, the Greek journalist, Dean Kalimniou, wrote an in depth article entitled, Golden Dawn and the Devil. In this article Kalimniou recounts how before Michaloiakos entered the Greek parliament he wrote a preface for a poetry book written by Odysseus Paterakis, a Greek occultist, entitled, “The Shining Darkness of Lucifer – The National Greek Religion.” In his preface, Michaloliakos expresses his desire, not for the return of Christ, but for the coming of the kingdom of Satan which, he believes, will arrive to overthrow Christianity in Greece. Michaloiakos looks forward to the time when Satan will oust “twenty centuries of darkness,” restore “lost Paradises of old” which comprise the “future world of our dreams, which by our own Will, shall become a reality”. Michaloliakos, the leader of the nationalist Golden Dawn party, is calling for the coming of the kingdom of Lucifer.

Truly this is the religion of those who portray piety while uplifting the religion of strength, the cult of masculinity and the altar of Sodom. The Zealots of Jerusalem adorned their hair, and the wicked in the Wisdom of Solomon say amongst themselves: “Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.” (Wisdom 2:8) While they presented themselves as feminine, the Zealots of Jerusalem slew the innocent, and they saw murder as a form of sport and the wicked described by Solomon conspire thusly:

“Let us oppress the righteous poor man

let us not spare the widow

or regard the gray hairs of the aged.

But let our might be our law of right,

for what is weak proves itself to be useless.” (Wisdom 2:10-11)

Sodom portrays itself as amongst the godly, or will place itself in the ranks of ‘orderliness’ and ‘manliness,’ masquerading itself with righteousness while it advances its callousness. The madness that was seen on Golgotha, when an innocent man was nailed to a cross before scoffers, further demarcated the two cities — the Jerusalem on high and the Jerusalem of earth. The heavenly Mount Zion is where Moses spoke with God face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11) where he received his zeal to combat the worshippers of madness who elevated the golden calf where king Josiah was inspired to “brake down the houses of the sodomites” (2 Kings 23:7) it is in the heavenly Mount Zion where Christ had the zeal to unsheathe His whip and drive the thieves out of the Temple. But, in the earthly Jerusalem, the Temple is no longer a house of prayer for all nations, but a house thieves it is the earthly Jerusalem that becomes a brothel-house (to quote Josephus), it is in the earthly Jerusalem where Christ is murdered, where Truth is slain, where madness prevails it is earthly Jerusalem that is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

How Greece Tore Itself Apart in a Vicious Civil War at the End of World War Two - History

The name “Italy” for the boot-shaped peninsula that juts out into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea apparently comes from the name of an ancient tribe, the Itali, which settled in the present region of Calabria. Until about 800 B.C., tribes about which we know little inhabited the area. After that date, highly sophisticated peoples with advanced cultures arrived: Etruscans and Greeks.

There is mystery and debate about Etruscan origins before they settled in Italy, where they established their capital at Orvieto and dominated central Italy, including Rome. The Etruscans left many cultural artifacts, walled cities, necropoli and painted tombs that can still be seen. The Greeks settled Southern Italy beginning in about 700 B.C. to such a great extent that the area was known as “Magna Grecia” [Great Greece]. During this period a series of crises hit Ancient Greece and stimulated an exodus that brought Greek culture to different places in Europe, with Sicily and South Italy being the most important. The Greeks founded new cities, including Naples. Hellenic civilization in Italy produced magnificent temples that can still be admired, for example, in Agrigento in Sicily and in Paestum south of Naples. The interaction between the Greeks and the native populations created a new and vital culture. For example, it is thought to have been the origin of the Latin alphabet, the most widely used in the world.

Two twins, Romulus and Remus, descendants of Aeneas, a mythical hero and survivor of the Trojan War, supposedly founded Rome on April 21 sometime in the 750s B.C. The poet Virgil in his masterpiece The Aeneid describes this story, while ancient Roman historians such as Livy describe the early years of the city.

Following the establishment of Roman independence after the overthrow of Etruscan domination, the city grew in wealth and influence. It extended its domination over the Italian peninsula and then over the Mediterranean area and Europe. Rome began as a republic but then changed its governmental form to an Empire because of internal developments and under the pressure of absorbing the enormous amount of territory it had conquered. Julius Caesar, Rome’s greatest general and&mdashsome would argue&mdashits greatest statesman was at the center of this readjustment that included civil wars after his assassination. At its greatest extent, the Empire stretched to The British Isles, Romania, and parts of Germany. As time went on, civil wars shook the Empire as its riches became a tempting target for generals and, eventually, as it weakened, for other populations.

Besides its political power, Roman civilization, based on the Greek, has had an enormous influence on world culture, both at time of its existence and during the following centuries. The language, culture, religion, and law of Rome survived its political downfall, usually given as 476 A.D. with elimination of the last Emperor in the West. In the East the Roman Empire survived until 1453.

The fall of Rome was a complex occurrence that took several centuries and was marked by demographic and economic decline and by the movement of lesser-developed populations westward. These tribes came from eastern and northern areas of Europe and were escaping fiercer enemies. They admired Roman civilization and wished to be part of it. At first the Romans allowed them to settle the border areas of the Empire and help them guard the frontier. With the passage of time, the weakening of the Empire, and increasing pressure from warrior populations further to their east, these tribes pressed further and further into the Empire, eventually causing its downfall in the West. The wars that followed were marked by great destruction as waves of “barbarians” (i.e., non-Romans) swept into Roman territory and occupied different areas, eventually establishing their own kingdoms there.

These developments set the stage for medieval civilization. Sometime called the “Dark Ages” because learning supposedly disappeared, only the first centuries after the final crisis of the Roman Empire fit this description, even though some of the new rulers especially in Italy preserved Roman administration and maintained Roman public works. However, while many cities including Rome were sacked and buildings, literature, and works of art disappeared, the essence of Roman civilization survived and evolved. Italy was the center of this civilization, especially during the earlier years. Later the revival occurred in Northern Europe as well with the so-called “Twelfth Century Renaissance,” but Italy&mdashwhere literacy had never disappeared&mdashremained an important center of learning through the period and philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and Peter Lombard contributed greatly to the progress of European civilization.

In addition, the “Middle Ages” can be considered the period of the birth of modern Europe. While the new tribes were warriors, their numbers were few and when they mixed with the native populations they essentially became romanized. Feudal organization of society is considered to have developed from the fortified Villa of the late Roman period designed to confront the chaos of the period. Cultural elements mixed, but because Roman civilization had been more advanced it triumphed over the more primitive culture of the invaders. This was true of the religion of Rome, Catholicism (paganism had been defeated after 313), which dominated Europe. Latin and other languages mixed and evolved to become the modern Romance languages of Italian, Spanish, and French it even had a major impact on modern Romanian. Soon these “new” languages were considered worthy enough of great literature, with Dante’s Divine Comedy blazing the way. Roman administration survived through the organization of the Catholic Church, which had adopted it earlier. Modern states emerged through the influence of Roman law that had given supremacy to the Emperor and now was interpreted as giving it to the King rather than to the Church. In art as well, Roman forms survived. Church architecture was based on the Roman forms such as the basilica, and the Romanesque dominated the early Medieval period. The monastic movement&mdashits origins in the late Empire&mdashpreserved Roman literary masterpieces as best it could and had political influence as well.

Il Rinascimento (The Renaissance) and the Reformation

Beginning as early as the fourteenth century in Italy, there was an interest in reviving purer Roman forms. Writers scoured the monasteries for lost Roman masterpieces, republished them, and wrote their own works in ancient Latin. Roman art and architecture were studied and revived. Intellectuals of this period coined the term “Middle Ages” for the centuries between the fall of the Roman Empire and their own age, in which the “light” of learning was supposedly relit. In fact, even though the “Middle Ages” saw a great cultural revival, the Renaissance in many aspects can be considered the beginning of modernity. It supposedly began with the Florentine poet Petrarch who put, once more, the emphasis on the individual. In fact, the hallmark of the Renaissance was the shift from a preoccupation with God to the individual, as it had been during the Roman period, a movement known as “humanism.” For example, artists signed their works as “creators,” a role previously reserved for God. Italian Renaissance society became increasingly secular in effect if not in theory, and the names of its major characters are still admired: Michelangelo, Raffaele, da Vinci, Masaccio, Titian, Cellini, the Medici, and others too numerous to mention. Commerce, which had already revived earlier, spread even further. The first “modern” states not justified with a religious ideology appeared in Italy during this period.

Eventually the Renaissance spread to the North through the work of writers such as the Dutchman Erasmus. However, the Northern Renaissance was more religious than the Italian. In fact, Italian control of the Catholic Church and the enormous expenditures on art, buildings, and courts by the Popes, along with their secular and immoral behavior caused the resentment that produced the Protestant Reformation.

New political and religious developments heavily impacted Italy and finally brought an end to this glorious period. The Reformation touched off a series of wars that the small and divided Italian states could not withstand. In 1494, the French invaded Italy, followed by their Spanish rivals, and Italy became a battleground between the two superpowers. A treaty signed in 1559 recognized Spanish domination in Italy. In 1527, the sack of Rome by the Spanish and their German allies had already dispirited Renaissance artists the damage was so drastic that the sack has been widely considered as the end of the Renaissance.

In the meantime, the Spanish, as champions of the Church, imposed a harsh regime on Italy during the Counter-Reformation that ensued. The intellectual freedom that was the hallmark of the Italian Renaissance disappeared, the commerce that had been its economic underpinning drastically declined, and Italians took fewer economic risks by investing more in agriculture. An important development during this period was the widespread immigration of intellectuals from the country because of the increased censorship and repression. Italian artists fled to other countries, bringing their skills with them, from Britain to France, from Poland to Russia to Germany. This “brain drain’ greatly impoverished the country even though important artists remained in the country during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Contrary to popular belief, the eighteenth century Enlightenment that began in Britain and had its center in France also counted Italy as an important area. The Italians not only imported French ideas but also contributed to them. The Milanese writer Cesare Beccaria, for example, set the basis for modern jurisprudence with a brief treatise entitled On Crimes and Punishments. In Lombardy, in fact, the economy revived as the new Austrian rulers passed reforms and encouraged more nobles to engage in commerce and set up modern agricultural enterprises. Southern Italy also was a center of Enlightenment, with important writers constantly in touch with the French and attempting to implement Enlightenment reforms. Giambatista Vico, the thinker who “wrote in the eighteenth century, was read in the nineteenth century, and was understood in the twentieth century” was Neapolitan and fostered Italian in the universities. The new movement greatly influenced Tuscany as well.

The support of Italian monarchs for the Enlightenment came to an end with the French Revolution, because they believed that the Revolution demonstrated that reforms would only hurt them. However, the influence of the Enlightenment remained strong in Italy and contributed to the Risorgimento (Rebirth) that eventually united the country. In fact, during the early years of the French Revolution, Italian intellectuals from all over the peninsula formed a group that pushed for the formation of a unitary Italian republic. When the French occupied Italy during the ensuing wars, some of these intellectuals had important influence, although their radicalism prompted the French and Napoleon to curb them. With the final defeat of the French in 1815, the old states of the peninsula and Austrian domination were restored, but the idea that Italy should be an independent, unified country had taken root.

Unification: The Risorgimento

Following the Restoration, conditions in Italy deteriorated. The restored monarchs and the Austrians feared other revolutions and censorship and repression increased. These tactics only made matters worse and, in addition to a constant undercurrent of unrest, waves of revolutions hit the peninsula in 1820-21, 1830-31, and, most seriously, in 1848. These revolts resulted in even more repression, many Italian exiles, and more resistance.

During this period, there were debates about the form a united Italy should assume. Should Italy be a unitary republic (Giuseppe Mazzini)? A confederation of Italian states under the presidency of the Pope (Vincenzo Gioberti)? Or a kingdom under the Savoy dynasty of Piedmont (ultimately accomplished by Count Cavour). There were also political tracts favoring Italian independence, as well as important literary interventions such as the poetry of Giacomo Leopardi, and Alessandro Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi.

The 1848 revolutions and their aftermath determined the outcome of these different propositions. Mazzini believed that the people in revolt should establish a republic&mdashbut this solution failed in 1848 Gioberti hoped that Pope Pius IX would lead the movement for unification, but Pius refused to do so during the same period. As these solutions faded, the “Piedmontese solution” took shape. Piedmont (officially: the Kingdom of Sardinia) was the strongest Italian state, but it had been regressive. Beginning in 1848, however, it became a liberal state with the granting of a constitution and its intervention against the Austrians in the wars associated with the uprisings of that year. This liberalization attracted adherents from other states, and the establishment of a government led by Cavour as the result of a political compromise brought to power the most brilliant statesman of the age who was committed to Italian independence.

During the following thirteen years Italian independence and unification was accomplished, thanks to Cavour’s diplomatic skills, his alliance with France, and the willingness of leftist leaders such as Mazzini and Garibaldi to compromise despite their disapproval of Cavour’s moderate policies. On March 17, 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was officially proclaimed.

After unification, Italy faced many problems that resulted from centuries of foreign domination, the lack of raw materials, the absence of educational systems, the economic imbalance and divisions between the North and a less advanced South, and the enormous cost of unification. Given the problems that afflicted the united country, it made important strides during the fifty years following unification. The worst political problems that threatened the young country’s unity were resolved, at least on the surface political crises that occurred in different parts of the peninsula between 1861 and 1898 ended in 1896, the industrial revolution arrived even though it was restricted to parts of the North in 1901 a liberal government came to power and under the leadership of Giovanni Giolitti, pre-World War I’s most important Italian political statesman, the country made substantial economic and social progress. According to one historian, Italy was a “democracy in the making.”

However, important problems remained unresolved. Economic development was spotty and confined to certain areas. Suffrage was limited by the literacy requirement until quasi-universal suffrage for men was instituted in 1912 illiteracy, while declining, remained high southern landlords owned large tracts of the best land while peasants were unable to make a decent living. The poverty on the land caused millions of southern peasants to immigrate to the United States and Latin America, and this mass emigration served as a “safety valve” in reducing social tensions. Despite this fact, strong movements on the left threatened the government and the social order. Anarchists tried to overthrow the government with violence as early as the 1870s and extending into the 1880s. In 1892, the Italian Socialist Party was born. A Marxist organization, many of its most important leaders recommended a gradual road to socialism, but it was split between these leaders and others who advocated violence. The Socialists were never able to resolve this division, with the result that reform was difficult. In 1912, a serious split occurred and the revolutionary wing took power in the party. One of its major leaders was Benito Mussolini, then a revolutionary Socialist.

In addition to leftist opposition, many intellectuals had assumed that once unification took place Italy would automatically join the ranks of the Great Powers and regain the glory of Ancient Rome. When this did not happen, they blamed the government for failing to win an empire. United Italy suffered a series of military and diplomatic defeats (not surprising under the circumstances), but the pressure for an aggressive foreign policy persisted. In 1910, this pressure increased with the foundation of the influential Nationalist Association. This organization was fundamental in pressuring Giolitti to engage in a war with Turkey in 1911 in order to take its North African territory of Libya. The Nationalists favored war at any cost and linked up with a new cultural movement, futurism, that also favored war and an aggressive foreign policy.

World War I and its Aftermath

When World War I broke out in 1914, Italy found itself allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary. However, the Austrians and Italians had been on bad terms for decades despite their alliance. When Austria sent its ultimatum to Serbia touching off the conflict, Italy remained neutral because the action violated the terms of the Triple Alliance. As time went on, it became increasingly clear that Italy could not join the war on the Austrian side because of internal opposition, because it occupied Italian-speaking territory, and because, from a foreign policy standpoint, it would violate Italian interests to join their former allies in a war that might have produce Germanic dominance in Europe. After negotiation with the British and the French, the Italians entered the war on their side in May 1915.

The war was much more difficult than Italians had expected. The Italian front was the most difficult of the war but, despite the setbacks that afflicted all armies, the Italians fought well and were the only allies to end the war on foreign territory. Nevertheless, the Italians were disappointed by the negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference where they felt that their own allies denigrated their contribution to victory and that they did not gain enough compensation for their efforts and the losses in soldiers and treasures they had sustained.

Rightly or wrongly, this feeling permeated the country as a whole and between 1919 and 1921 there was a violent reaction against the war. The Socialists and the Catholics, who had opposed Italian intervention, received respectively 156 and 100 seats in a parliament of 525 seats while the old Liberals lost ground. However, because Socialists and Catholics did not collaborate, the political situation was extremely unstable. Massive strikes shook the country and the Socialists, blinded by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, proclaimed violent revolution without planning for it. This ruinous policy provoked a backlash that favored rightist forces, especially the Fascists. Fascism, founded by former Socialist Benito Mussolini, skillfully took advantage of the divisions within the country and fear of communism to take power in 1922 and to outlaw all other parties and to set up a dictatorship.

The Fascist dictatorship lasted for twenty years, until July 1943 after Italy entered World War II and was obviously headed for defeat. During the Fascist period, Italian liberty was crushed and the move toward democracy reversed. A strong resistance movement appeared in Italy and abroad in Italy the police kept it under control and abroad Italian exiles could not convince foreign governments of the dangerous nature of fascism and its capacity to spread to other countries. In foreign policy, Mussolini hoped to overthrow the settlement that followed World War I. He had little success until the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany in January 1933. Although he disliked Hitler, Mussolini was slowly drawn into his web because Hitler professed admiration for the Duce and because Mussolini believed that he did not receive compensation for his initial opposition to Hitler. Slowly Mussolini followed Hitler’s lead, even instituting anti-Semitic laws in 1938. In 1940, believing that the Germans would win World War II, Mussolini brought Italy into the conflict despite the country’s military unpreparedness in what turned out to be a disastrous adventure.

As Italy was invaded by the Allies and then occupied by the Nazis, a resistance movement in which the Communists had a major role fought the Nazi-Fascists in a vicious civil war. When the war ended, however, a revolution did not occur because the victorious Allies opposed a Communist takeover. On June 2, 1946 a referendum abolished the monarchy and accepted a republican constitution. In the first elections of this new republic, held on April 18, 1948, a threatened victory of Communists and Socialists was averted and the Christian Democrats won an effective majority.

The country quickly rebuilt itself under the leadership of Premier Alcide De Gasperi, and then underwent a radical transformation. In the space of a decade, Italy went from a primarily agricultural country to one of the most advanced industrial democracies in the world. Its economy became one of the seven largest, and in 1957 six European nations, including Italy, signed a treaty in Rome that set up the European Economic Community, forerunner of the European Union. However, political developments did not keep up with economic. The country hosted the largest Communist Party in the West, but while the party grew in influence it did not enter the government before the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991.

Nevertheless, because of the fear of communism, the Christian Democratic Party and its allies remained in power for over forty years, favoring corruption. In 1992, a major corruption scandal broke out that eventually led to the end of all the major parties and institution of a new electoral system in which competing coalitions fought for power.

In 1994, media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi burst on the scene when it seemed that the former Communists would come to power. He dominated politics until 2012. At the same time, long-standing problems came to the fore. The North-South split generated a separatist party in the North. This movement favored secession of the North, but in practice joined governments that implemented some federalist legislation. Immigration from third world countries ballooned while the Italian birth rate dropped to one of the lowest in the world. These developments and an aging population caused social and economic problems and raised fears in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, that its culture was being threatened. Reforms that might have increased Italian efficiency remained only promises, and this hurt the country during a crisis of the euro that became crucial in 2010-11. Taxation remained high and generated opposition. A technical government designed to pull Italy out of the crisis and implement reforms was put into place. It calmed the situation, but Italy strongly felt the malaise that hit the West at the beginning of the twenty-first century. As usual, the fate of the country remained linked to that of Western Europe.

'The Yemen civil war needs to end for global security - but there is little hope'

The three-year civil war in Yemen has left 10,000 people dead, 20 million displaced and 8 million on the brink of starvation.

Defence and security correspondent @AliBunkallSKY

Monday 5 February 2018 16:30, UK

Yemen is worse than a failed state it is a country in complete chaos and it is impossible to see a realistic end to the vicious civil war that has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis and sliced the country four ways.

Sana'a, the capital, is controlled by Houthi rebels. This rebel group emerged from the northern mountains in 2014 to govern a city of around two million people.

Iran has sent arms and fighters to back the Houthis Saudi Arabia in turn has thrown its support behind the internationally recognised government and carried out sustained bombing of Sana'a, drawing worldwide criticism because of the high number of civilian deaths.

Airstrikes on Sana'a seem to have lessened, perhaps in recognition that Riyadh's reputation was taking a battering too, but Saudi jets continue to target towns and villages in the north of the country, which goes largely undocumented.

Reports from the capital tell us there is a growing frustration among the population that the Houthis are unable to run an efficient system that works to the benefit of its citizens.

Cholera and diphtheria are rife, made worse by a Saudi imposed air and naval blockade.

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Riyadh justifies this blockade as a tactic to prevent Iran smuggling arms to the Houthis, but the consequence is that vital aid - medicine, food and fuel - cannot get in, and so civilians are dying.

Popular discontent within Sana'a might be the best hope for the government forces battling to retake the capital because victory through military force looks to be a non-starter.

East of Sana'a, government forces have advanced to within 20 miles of the capital and now occupy the Nehm mountains.

Senior commanders told us with bravado that they are advancing day by day and will move on the capital "when the conditions are right", whatever that might mean.

From the evidence we saw, the government forces have neither the manpower, nor the equipment, to launch an assault on the capital which would almost certainly result in intense urban warfare.

Until last week, the government also controlled the key port city of Aden in the south, which, incidentally, was a British colony until 1963.

Aden had become the seat of power, from where the country's prime minister (the president is living in exile in Riyadh) could control an arc of power running from top to bottom through the middle of the country.

But another group, the Southern Separatists, challenged that and have now seized control of the city.

To make matters more complicated, the Southern Separatists are backed by the UAE who, although part of a wider led coalition with Saudi Arabia, now find themselves at odds with Riyadh.

There is now momentum to carve Aden and the south off as a state of its own.

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And then there is al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsuar (AQAP).

The global terrorist organisation still controls much of the east of Yemen but is being heavily targeted by US drone strikes and special forces operations.

This is Yemen's war-within-a-war.

US and British intelligence agencies still regard AQAP as one of the chief terrorism threats to the West, and there are fears Islamic State fighters, chased out of Iraq and Syria, might go to join AQAP in Yemen.

It would be easy but remiss to dismiss the conflict in Yemen as irrelevant, just another civil war in the Middle East.

The humanitarian effects are devastating - up to 10,000 have been killed, 20 million have been displaced from their homes, eight million are on the brink of famine, and 75% of the population need aid.

It is an entirely man-made crisis.

Strategically, Yemen is important too - not only are the region's two main powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, using it to play out a proxy war, and not only must al Qaeda be stopped before it launches attacks in Europe, but the country also sits on the corner of a major shipping route.

The Bab-el-Mandeb Straits are just 18 miles across at their narrowest point.

Ships travelling from Europe to Asia via the Suez Canal must pass through here. It is a key transit point for world shipping.

If Iran wished to blockade or mine these waters, either itself, or by using the Houthis, then the effect would be global.

So for the security of the world, and for the lives of millions, the conflict in Yemen needs to be resolved - but there seems no prospect of that happening anytime soon.

Last Call to Cash In on a Vicious Civil War

JUBA, South Sudan — Latjor Thiyang was sitting on his bed in a displacement camp protected by U.N. peacekeepers here in the South Sudanese capital of Juba last month when a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) crashed into his makeshift home and knocked him unconscious. Moments later, he came to with a river of blood flowing from his head, legs, and one of his arms.

“A rocket has pieces,” Thiyang later explained, producing what remained of the RPG’s shell. “Once it falls or it explodes, there are many pieces, which cause cuts and bleeding.”

Roughly the length of an American football, though slightly slimmer, the shell probably came from a Type 69 RPG intended to destroy tanks, according to a weapons expert who reviewed photographs of the exploded rocket for Foreign Policy . It was most likely manufactured by Norinco, the Chinese state-owned arms dealer, and supplied to the South Sudanese government as part of a 2014 deal with the company worth $38 million for 40,000 such weapons, as well as 2 million rounds of ammunition and 2,394 grenade launchers, the expert said.

Since civil war broke out here in December 2013, the South Sudanese government has purchased hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons and military hardware on the international market, including attack helicopters, armored personnel vehicles, and heat-guided missiles, that have been used to kill an unknown number of civilians — estimates for the total death toll over the last two-and-a-half years range from 50,000 to 300,000 — and to carry out what the United Nations has said may be war crimes. All of these weapons have been acquired legally, since the U.N. Security Council has declined to put in place an arms embargo despite repeated calls by European countries to do so. (Rebel forces also acquired weapons during the course of the war, but in smaller quantities and mainly from Sudan.)

One of the biggest impediments to an arms embargo was the United States, which helped negotiate South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011 and remains an important backer of the young country. Since the beginning of the current civil war — which was supposed to have ended almost a year ago after President Salva Kiir signed a power-sharing agreement with rebel leader and former Vice President Riek Machar in August 2015 — the United States has used its position on the U.N. Security Council to shield the South Sudanese government from an arms embargo. U.S. officials offered various justifications for this position, including that a weapons ban would incentivize the government to escalate the war and that it wouldn’t work unless South Sudan’s neighbors agreed to enforce it. U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, whose involvement with South Sudan policy dates back to former President Bill Clinton’s administration, was reportedly one of the staunchest opponents of the proposed embargo.

But after fierce fighting erupted once again last month in Juba, leaving hundreds of people dead and casting doubt on the viability of the August 2015 peace agreement, U.S. officials are finally working behind the scenes to put an embargo in place. Last week, U.S. officials met with their Russian and Chinese counterparts at the U.N. to discuss a draft resolution containing an embargo, as well as a mandate for a new regional peacekeeping force, that could be brought to the full Security Council as early as Aug. 12.

The negotiations come at a perilous moment for South Sudan, with rebels threatening to march on the capital if a regional intervention force is not sent in to secure Juba and enforce a faltering peace agreement. The government, meanwhile, has said it won’t accept a regional force, and a military spokesman has threatened to fight foreign troops that enter the country without permission. More bloodshed could soon be on the horizon, and if the past is any guide, new weapons purchases will surely follow.

Experts say an arms embargo is unlikely to fully halt the flow of small arms or ammunition into South Sudan. Bullets are easily hidden and difficult to trace, making it simple for suppliers to skirt the ban. Likewise, light weapons like AK-type rifles are already common in even the most remote of villages. But where the ban would make a difference, experts say, is in prohibiting purchases of the kind of heavy military equipment — including vehicles and aircraft — that has been used with devastating effect against soldiers and civilians alike over the past two-and-a-half years.

Attack helicopters acquired in 2014 and 2015 gave the government a key military advantage, enabling it to roll back many of the rebels’ gains in the northern part of the country. The government purchased four Mi-24 helicopters during this period, at least three of them from a Ukrainian company as part of a $42.8 million deal. But rebel soldiers were not the only ones targeted. In July 2015, government Mi-24 helicopters fired rockets in what the U.N. called an “attack” on a Red Cross hospital in the town of Kodok, in Upper Nile state, killing two people and injuring 11. Attack helicopters were reportedly used again last month to bomb Machar’s compound in Juba during a week of fighting that left at least 500 people dead, including dozens of civilians.

Other heavy weapons purchased by the government during the war include Cougar- and Typhoon-type armored personnel carriers, supplied by a Canadian company, and what experts believe to be 10 Russian-made amphibious tanks whose seller remains a mystery. All of these vehicles appear to have been used to target civilians. During a scorched-earth offensive in Unity state last summer, for example, the government used amphibious tanks purchased in 2014 to chase “fighters and civilians into the swamps of the Sudd,” a U.N. report reads. Likewise, a 2015 Human Rights Watch report recounted scores of instances where government tanks were used to crush civilians during the same offensive.

An arms embargo would not only prevent the government from purchasing additional attack aircraft, tanks, and amphibious vehicles. It would mean that foreign personnel, like Ukrainian nationals who service the government’s Mi-24 helicopters, would have to leave the country, according to Lucas van de Vondervoort, a former member of the U.N. panel of experts for South Sudan. As a result, some equipment might eventually become inoperable.

An arms embargo would also provide a symbolic deterrent to countries funneling weapons to the warring parties. China pledged to suspend weapons transfers to the government after its Norinco shipment became public in 2014, prompting an outcry from rights groups, but other countries have stepped in to fill the void. Uganda, especially, has become a key supplier of weapons to South Sudan, reportedly purchasing weapons on behalf of its government from Israel, among other countries. The South Sudanese government has also sought to buy four additional attack helicopters worth $35.7 million from a Kampala-based company called Bosasy Logistics. (It’s unclear whether that sale was ever completed.)

On the rebels’ side, Sudan has been the major supplier of arms, at times airdropping weapons and ammunition deep into South Sudanese territory. In 2014, the weapons research organization Conflict Armament Research analyzed hundreds of small and heavy ammunition rounds that had been airdropped to rebels but later captured by the government. It found that a large portion of the ammunition was manufactured in Sudan after the civil war began — meaning that it would have been illegal to transfer had an arms embargo been in place.

The success of the proposed arms embargo will likely turn on the support of other African countries. Russia and China, which have vetoed similar measures in the past, are not expected to block the weapons ban if African countries present a unified front in favor of the embargo at the U.N. Security Council. Egypt could end up being the key vote, as Senegal and Angola — the two other African countries on the Security Council — are in favor of the proposal, according to foreign diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

South Sudan’s minister of information, Michael Makuei Lueth, opposed the idea of an embargo, saying it threatens the country’s sovereignty and would weaken the government more than the rebels.

“This is an elected government being equated with rebels,” Lueth told FP. “We are a sovereign state.… Why should others talk about an arms embargo simply because we are fighting rebels?”

Thiyang and other civilians in South Sudan are likely to suffer the most from renewed conflict. At the U.N. camp in Juba, a bullet was found behind one of the medical clinics that was hit during the recent round of fighting. It was manufactured in Sudan in 2014, according to the weapons expert who examined it for FP.

If an arms embargo is put in place, bullets like these will probably continue to fly. But larger weapons like the RPG that hit Thiyang’s house could become less common as both sides deplete their stocks. For a country perched on the brink of yet another civil war, that could be a step in the right direction.


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