British Intelligence and the Origins of the EOKA Insurgency

  • David French University College London


This article explores why the British security forces on Cyprus failed to nip the EOKA conspiracy in the bud before the start of its armed insurgency in April 1955. Using material in the recently released Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘migrated archive’, together with information found in Colonial Office files in the National Archives that have hitherto been largely ignored, it shows that their failure was the result of a complex set of circumstances. Not only was the local Special Branch under resourced, but the British looked for trouble in the wrong place. They expected a repeat of the 1931 riots, not the campaign of armed terrorism that EOKA was planning.