As in the rest of Greece, the Greek-Macedonians' determination to resist the Axis and make a stand against its attempts to bring about the disintegration of Greek-Macedonia became immediately evident.
The Bulgarian occupation in particular met with dogged opposition from the population. The first act of collective resistance against the Axis in occupied Europe took place in eastern Macedonia, in the region of Drama, in September 1941; it was put down by the Bulgarians with exceptional cruelty.
EAM-ELAS, led by the Greek Communist Party (KKE), soon emerged as the strongest resistance group. But other resistance organizations were also formed, which were distrustful of the KKE: PAO in the German zone, and the guerrillas of Anton Tsaous (Antonis Fosteridis) in eastern Macedonia.
Gathering in Thessaloniki after liberation
K. Megaloikonomos archive, 1944
In 1943, the British attempted to coordinate the actions of all these groups. The attempt failed, and by the end of the Occupation ELAS forces neutralized the other organizations and dominated Greek-Macedonia.