During the German occupation of Greece during World War II, the Communists formed a resistance army called the National People's Liberation Army (in Greek the Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos or ELAS), which by 1944 controlled large areas of the country. At the end of the war fighting broke out between ELAS and conservative forces backed by the British army. This led to the Greek civil war which lasted until 1949 and ended with the defeat of ELAS. The KKE remained banned until 1974.
During its period of illegality the KKE split into two groups, one baed in exile and loyal to the Soviet Union (known as the KKE Exterior) and one based inside Greece and following a Eurocommunist line (known as the KKE Interior). When democracy was restored in 1974 the KKE was overshadowwed by the new socialist party PASOK, and has since been a minor party of the left.
In 1989 it formed Coalition of the Left and Progress (Greek: Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai tis Proodou, Συνασπισμος της Αριστερας και της Προοδου). In 1991 a group split off from the Communist Party and also calls itself Synaspismos. The Communist Party claim that the current Synaspismos are falsely using that name, Synaspismos claim that they continued the coalition after the withdrawal of KKE.
The communist party stands in elections and has members in local government, national government and the European Parliament. In the European Parliament they are part of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left group.
Alternative spellings: Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, Kommounistiko Komma Ellados.