Yugoslav Front of World War II

Yugoslav Front of World War II

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Yugoslav Front of WWII

caption=Partisan troops of the 5th Krajina (Kozara) Assault Brigade crossing the Kolubara river in their advance to Belgrade, during the Belgrade Offensive, October 1944.
partof=World War II
date=1941 – 1945
result=Partisan victory
(from 1942 on)
flag|Nazi Germany|name=Germany
flagicon|Italy|1861 Italy
(until 1943)
flagicon|Bulgaria|1878 Bulgaria
(until 1944)
flagicon|Hungary|1940 Hungary
(until 1944)
flagicon|Croatia|1941 Independent State of Croatia
flagicon image|Flag_of_Serbia_(national).svg Serbian Military Administration
flagicon image|Cs-cg rs.png Kingdom of Montenegro
flagicon image|Flag of German occupied Albania.svg Albania
(until 1944)
flagicon image|Flag of Slovenian axis supporters during WWII.png Slovene collaborationists
combatant3=Yugoslav royalists:
flagicon image|Chetniks Flag.svg Chetniks
Allies: 1941-1943
Unrecognized: 1943-1945
("de facto" Axis militia)
commander1=flagicon image|Yugoslav Partisans flag 1945.svg Josip Broz Tito
commander3=flagicon image|Chetniks Flag.svg Draža Mihailović
Total casualties:~1,200,000
The Yugoslav Front of World War II, also known as the Yugoslav People's Liberation War (Croatian, Serbian: "Narodnooslobodilački rat", Cyrillic script: Народноослободилачки рат; _sl. Narodnoosvobodilni boj or _sl. "Narodnoosvobodilna borba"), was fought in occupied Yugoslavia during World War II (1941 - 1945) between the Yugoslav resistance forces, primarily the Yugoslav Partisans, and the Axis powers.

The Yugoslav resistance forces were initially divided into two guerrilla armies: the communist-led Yugoslav Partisans, and the royalist Chetnik movement (known officially as the "Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland"), while the latter increasingly collaborated with the Axis and lost its international recognition as a resistance force. 7David Martin, Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, (New York: Prentice Hall, 1946), 34..] After a brief initial period of cooperation, the two factions quickly started fighting against each other. Gradually, the Chetniks ended up primarily fighting the Partisans [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9023896/Chetnik Chetnik - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] instead of the occupation forces, and started cooperating with the Axis in their struggle to destroy Tito's forces, receiving increasing amounts of logistical assistance (in particular, from Italy). [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+yu0031)]

Although the activity of the Macedonian partisans was a part of the greater Yugoslav National Liberation War, still the specific conditions in Macedonia due to the strong autonomist tendencies of the local communists led to the creation of a separate sub-army called the Macedonian National Liberation Army which was engaged in the National Liberation War of Macedonia. [The autonomist wing in the Communist Party of Macedonia wich dominated during WW2, was finaly liquidated in 1945 after the second Assembly of ASNOM. Most of the CPM officials were send to Goli Otok.] Although with a separate command until 1943, in the beginning of 1944 the Macedonian and Serbian commands met in southern Serbia and made a joint command, which then put the Macedonian partisans under the direct command of Josip Broz. [NARODNOOSLOBODILAČKA VOJSKA JUGOSLAVIJE. Beograd. 1982.]


"), the Yugoslav Army attempted to defend all borders but only managed to thinly spread the limited resources available. Also, some divisions within the Yugoslav Army refused to fight. Instead,they welcomed the Germans as liberators from Serb oppression.

The terms of the capitulation were extremely severe, as the Axis proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia. Germany occupied northern Slovenia, while retaining direct occupation over a rump Serbian state and considerable influence over its newly created puppet state, [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-1413183/Independent-State-of-Croatia Independent State of Croatia, or NDH (historical nation (1941-45), Europe) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] the Independent State of Croatia, which extended over much of today's Croatia and contained all of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mussolini's Italy gained the remainder of Slovenia, Kosovo, and large chunks of the coastal Dalmatia region (along with nearly all its Adriatic islands). It also gained control over the newly created Montenegrin puppet state, and was granted the kingship in the Independent State of Croatia, though wielding little real power within it. Hungary dispatched the Hungarian Third Army to occupy Vojvodina in northern Serbia, and later forcibly annexed sections of Baranja, Bačka, Međimurje, and Prekmurje. [ [http://www.usc.edu/libraries/archives/arc/libraries/sfa/hungary.html Hungary] - Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive] Bulgaria, meanwhile, annexed nearly all of the modern-day Republic of Macedonia.

After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, all territories under its administration were placed under German or Ustaše control. These include Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and much of Dalmatia. (All these territorial acquisitions, and the dissolution of Yugoslavia itself, were of course not recognized by any Allied state, nor are they today considered legal by any modern-day state, or the United Nations.)

Yugoslav resistance

From the start, the Yugoslav resistance forces consisted of two factions: the communist-led Yugoslav Partisans, and the royalist Chetniks. With the first receiving Allied recognition only at the Tehran conference (1943), after the degree of Chetnik-Axis collaboration increased greatly.

The Yugoslav Partisans (officially the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia, NOV i POJ), under the command of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, primarily fought against the German, Italian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and collaborationist forces. Drawing on a cadre of experienced fighters from the Spanish Civil War to train troops, and on communist ideology to win support that crossed national lines, they steadily gained power during the struggle winning recognition from the Allies and the Yugoslavian government-in-exile as the legitimate Yugoslav liberation force. The movement grew to become the largest resistance force in occupied Europe, with 800,000 men organized in 4 field armies. [ [http://www.vojska.net/eng/world-war-2/yugoslavia/ Yugoslavia in World War 2 ] ] Eventually the Partisans prevailed against all of their opponents as the official army of the newly-founded Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (later Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).

The royalist Chetniks (officially the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, JVUO), under the command of General Draža Mihailović, drew primarily from the scattered remnants of the Royal Yugoslav Army. The Chetniks were formed soon after the invasion of Yugoslavia and the surrender of the government on April 17 1941. The Chetniks were initially the only resistance movement recognized by the Yugoslavian government-in-exile and the Allied forces. The Partisans and Chetniks attempted to cooperate early during the conflict, but this quickly fell apart. After fruitless negotiations, the Chetnik leader, General Mihailović, turned against the Partisans as his main enemy. According to him, the reason was humanitarian: the prevention of German reprisals against Serbs. [Bailey, Ronald H. 1980 (original edition from 1978). "Partisans and guerrillas" ("World War II"; v. 12). Chicago, Illinois, USA: Time-Life Books. P. 80] This however, did not stop the activities of the Partisan resistance, and Chetnik units attacked the Partisans in November 1941, while increasingly receiving supplies and cooperating with the Germans and Italians in this. The British liaison to Mihajlović advised London to stop supplying the Chetniks after the Užice attack (see First anti-Partisan offensive), but Britain continued to do so. [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+yu0031)]
The Chetniks sided with the Axis forces in their bid to destroy the Partisans. [Please refer to sources cited in the Serbian Wikipedia article on Chetnik collaboration in WWII] [ 7David Martin, Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, (New York: Prentice Hall, 1946), 34..] Ethnically the Chetniks were predominantly Serb, and in some regions committed widespread atrocities against non-Serb civilians with the intent of ethnic cleansing. [Please refer to sources cited in the Serbian Wikipedia article on Chetnik atrocities in WWII] They also suffered from internal divisions serious enough that battles broke out between different Chetnik factions, like the Montenegrin People's Army (see Battle on Lijevča field).

Guerrilla and civil war

Early resistance

Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, began on June 22, 1941.cite book | title = Hitler and Russia | first = Trumbull | last = Higgins | publisher = The Macmillan Company | year = 1966 | pages = pp. 11 - 59, 98 -151] On the same day, Yugoslav Partisans formed the 1st Sisak Partisan Detachment, the first armed resistance unit in Europe. Founded in the Brezovica forest near Sisak, Croatia, its creation marked the beginning of anti-Axis resistance in occupied Yugoslavia.
Various military formations more or less linked to the general liberation movement were involved in armed confrontations with Axis forces which erupted in various areas of Yugoslavia in the ensuing weeks. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia formally decided to launch an armed uprising on July 4, 1941, a date which was later marked as Fighter's Day - a public holiday in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. One Žikica Jovanović Španac shot the first bullet of the campaign on July 7, 1941, later the Day of State of the Socialist Republic of Serbia (part of SFR Yugoslavia).

On August 10, 1941 in Stanulović, a mountain village, the Partisans formed the Kopaonik Partisan Detachment Headquarters. Their liberated area, consisting of nearby villages, was called the "Miners Republic" was th first in Yugoslavia, and lasted 42 days. The resistance fighters formally joined the ranks of the Partisans later on. On December 22, 1941 the Partisans formed the 1st Proletarian Assault Brigade ("1. Proleterska Udarna Brigada") - the first regular Partisan military unit, capable of operating outside its local area. December 22 became the "Day of the Yugoslav People's Army". In 1942 Partisan detachments officially merged into the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia (NOV i POJ).

The Chetnik movement was organized after the surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army, by some of the remaining Yugoslav soldiers. This force was organized in the Ravna Gora district of western Serbia under Colonel Draža Mihailović. However, unlike the Partisans, Mihailović's forces were almost entirely ethnic Serbs. He directed his units to arm themselves and await his orders for the final push. Mihailović avoided direct action against the Axis, which he judged were of low strategic importance.
The Chetniks initially enjoyed the support of the western Allies up to the Tehran Conference (1943). In 1942, "Time Magazine", featured an article which praised the "success" of Mihailović's Chetniks, and heralded him as the sole defender of freedom in Nazi-occupied Europe. The Chetniks also were praised for saving several downed Allied pilots. However, Tito's Partisans fought the Germans more actively during this time. Tito and Mihailović had a bounty of 100,000 Reichsmarks offered by Germans for their heads. While "officially" remaining mortal enemies of the Germans and the Ustaše, the Chetniks were known for making clandestine deals with the Italians and other occupying and quisling forces.

Axis response

The Yugoslav Partisans fought an increasingly successful guerrilla campaign against the Axis occupiers and their local collaborators, the Serbian Military Administration, the Ustaše-controlled Independent State of Croatia, and the Chetniks (which they also considered collaborators). They enjoyed gradually increased levels of success and support of the general populace, and succeeded in controlling large chunks of Yugoslav territory. People's committees were organized to act as civilian governments in areas of the country liberated by the Partisans. In places, even limited arms industries were set up.
At the very beginning, however, the Partisan forces were relatively small, poorly armed, and without any infrastructure. But they had two major advantages over other military and paramilitary formations in former Yugoslavia: the first and most immediate advantage was a small but valuable cadre of Spanish Civil War veterans. Unlike some of the other military and paramilitary formations, these veterans had experience with a modern war fought in circumstances quite similar to those found in World War II Yugoslavia. Their other major advantage, which became more apparent in later stages of War, was in the Partisans being founded on ideology rather than ethnicity. Therefore they could expect at least some levels of support in almost any corner of the country, unlike other paramilitary formations limited to territories with Croat or Serb majority. This allowed their units to be more mobile and fill their ranks with a larger pool of potential recruits.

The Axis powers, however, were quite aware of the Partisan threat. They tried to destroy them with numerous minor offensives. There were also seven major anti-Partisan offensives specifically aimed at the destruction of all Yugoslav Partisans. These major offensives were typically combined efforts by the German Wehrmacht and SS, Italy, Chetniks, the puppet Independent State of Croatia, the Serbian Military Administration, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The major offensives included two larger efforts: Fall Weiss (Plan White) and Fall Schwarz (Operation Black) also known as the 4th Offensive (Battle of Neretva) and the 5th Offensive (Battle of Sutjeska). [ [http://www.vojska.net/eng/world-war-2/battles-and-operations/ Battles & Campaigns during World War 2 in Yugoslavia ] ]

even major anti-Partisan offensives

Historiographers in Yugoslavia defined seven major Axis operations as numbered anti-Partisan offensives:
*The First anti-Partisan Offensive (First Enemy Offensive), the attack conducted by the Axis in autumn of 1941 against the "Republic of Užice", a liberated territory the Partisans established in western Serbia. In November 1941, German troops attacked and reoccupied this territory, with the majority of Partisan forces escaping towards Bosnia. It was during this offensive that tenuous collaboration between the Partisans and the royalist Chetnik movement broke down and turned into open hostility.

*The Second anti-Partisan Offensive (Second Enemy Offensive), the coordinated Axis attack conducted in January 1942 against Partisan forces in eastern Bosnia. The Partisan troops once again avoided encirclement and were forced to retreat over Igman mountain near Sarajevo.

*The Third anti-Partisan Offensive (Third Enemy Offensive), an offensive against Partisan forces in eastern Bosnia, Montenegro, Sandžak and Hercegovina which took place in the spring of 1942. It was known as "Operation TRIO" by the Germans, and again ended with a timely Partisan escape. This attack is mistakenly identified by some sources as the Battle of Kozara, which took place in the summer of 1942.

*The Fourth anti-Partisan Offensive (Fourth Enemy Offensive), also known as the Battle of Neretva or "Fall Weiss" (Case White), a conflict spanning the area between western Bosnia and northern Herzegovina, and culminating in the Partisan retreat over the Neretva river. It took place from January to April, 1943.

*The Fifth anti-Partisan Offensive (Fifth Enemy Offensive), also known as the Battle of Sutjeska or "Fall Schwartz" (Case Black). The operation immediately followed the Fourth Offensive and included a complete encirclement of Partisan forces in southeastern Bosnia and northern Montenegro in May and June of 1943.

*The Sixth anti-Partisan Offensive (Sixth Enemy Offensive), a series of operations undertaken by the Wehrmacht and the Ustaše after the capitulation of Italy in an attempt to secure the Adriatic coast. It took place in the autumn and winter of 1943/1944.

*The Seventh anti-Partisan Offensive (Seventh Enemy Offensive), the final attack in western Bosnia in the spring of 1944, which included "Operation Rösselsprung" (Knight's Leap), an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate Josip Broz Tito personally and annihilate the leadership of the Partisan movement.

Allied support shifts

Later in the conflict the Partisans were able to win the moral, as well as limited material support of the western Allies, who until then had supported General Draža Mihailović's Chetnik Forces, but were finally convinced of their collaboration by many intelligence-gathering missions dispatched to both sides during the course of the war.

To gather intelligence, agents of the western Allies were infiltrated into both the Partisans and the Chetniks. The intelligence gathered by liaisons to the resistance groups was crucial to the success of supply missions and was the primary influence on Allied strategy in Yugoslavia. The search for intelligence ultimately resulted in the demise of the Chetniks and their eclipse by Tito’s Partisans. In 1942, though supplies were limited, token support was sent equally to each. The new year would bring a change. The Germans were executing Operation Schwarz (Battle of Sutjeska, the Fifth anti-Partisan offensive), one of a series of offensives aimed at the resistance fighters, when F.W.D. Deakin was sent by the British to gather information.
His reports contained two important observations. The first was that the Partisans were courageous and aggressive in battling the German 1st Mountain and 104th Light Division, had suffered significant casualties, and required support. The second observation was that the entire German 1st Mountain Division had transited from Russia on rail lines through Chetnik-controlled territory. British intercepts (ULTRA) of German message traffic confirmed Chetnik timidity. Even though today many circumstances, facts, and motivations remain unclear, intelligence reports resulted in increased Allied interest in Yugoslavia air operations and shifted policy. In September 1943, at Churchill’s request, Brigadier General Fitzroy Maclean was parachuted to Tito’s headquarters near Drvar to serve as a permanent, formal liaison to the Partisans. While the Chetniks were still occasionally supplied, the Partisans received the bulk of all future support. [ 7David Martin, Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, (New York: Prentice Hall, 1946), 34..]
Thus, after the Tehran Conference the Partisans received official recognition as the legitimate national liberation force by the Allies, who subsequently set-up the RAF Balkan Air Force (under the suggestion of Brigadier-General Fitzroy MacLean) with the aim to provide increased supplies and tactical air support for Marshal Tito's Partisan forces.

In January 1944, Tito's forces unsuccessfully attack Banja Luka. But, while Tito is forced to withdraw, Mihajlović and his forces were also noted by the western press for their lack of activity. [cite journal| date =January 17, 1944| title = While Tito Fights| journal = Time Magazine| url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,796332,00.html| language = English| accessdate = 2007-09-14 ] On June 16, 1944, the Tito-Šubašić agreement between the Partisans and the Yugoslavian Government in exile of King Peter II was signed on the island of Vis. This agreement was an attempt to form a new Yugoslav government which would include both the communists and the royalists. It called for a merge of the Partisan Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia ("Antifašističko V(ij)eće Narodnog Oslobođenja Jugoslavije", AVNOJ) and the Government in exile. The Tito-Šubašić agreement also called on all Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs to join the Partisans. The Partisans were recognized by the royal government as Yugoslavia's regular army. Mihajlović and many Chetniks refused to answer the call.

Between March 30 and April 8, 1945, General Mihailović's Chetniks mounted a final attempt to establish themselves as a credible force fighting the Axis in Yugoslavia. The Chetniks fought a combination of Ustaša and Croatian Home Guard forces in the Battle on Lijevča field. This battle was fought near Banja Luka in what was then the Independent State of Croatia. The battle ended in victory for the Independent State of Croatia forces.

Allied offensive in the Balkans


In August 1944, King Michael I of Romania staged a coup, Romania quit the war, and the Romanian army was placed under the command of the Red Army. Romanian forces, fighting against Germany, participated in the Prague Offensive. Bulgaria quit as well and, on 10 September, declared war on Germany and its remaining allies. The weak divisions sent by the Axis powers to invade Bulgaria were easily driven back. In Macedonia, the Bulgarian troops, surrounded by German forces and betrayed by high-ranking military commanders, fought their way back to the old borders of Bulgaria. Three Bulgarian armies (some 455,000 strong in total) entered Yugoslavia in late September 1944 with the prearranged consent of Tito and the Partisans and moved from Sofia to Niš and Skopje with the strategic task of blocking the German forces withdrawing from Greece. Southern and eastern Serbia and Macedonia were liberated within two months and the 130,000-strong Bulgarian First Army continued to Hungary.

Concurrently, with Allied air support and assistance from the Red Army, the Partisans turned their attention to the Serbian Military Administration, the state of the Serbian Axis fifth column. The area under its had seen relatively little fighting since the fall of the "Republic of Užice" in 1941 (see First anti-Partisan offensive). On 20 October, the Red Army and the Partisans liberated Belgrade after a joint operation. At the onset of winter, the Partisans effectively controlled the entire eastern half of Yugoslavia—Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro—as well as most of the Dalmatian coast. The Wehrmacht and the forces of the Ustaše-controlled Independent State of Croatia fortified a front in Syrmia that held through the winter of 1944-45. To raise the number of Partisan troops Tito declared a general amnesty for all members of quisling forces that switched sides before December 31, 1944.

Partisan General Offensive

On March 20, 1945, the Partisans launched a general offensive in the Mostar-Višegrad-Drina sector. With large swaths of Bosnian, Croatian and Slovenian countryside already under Partisan guerrilla control, the final operations consisted in connecting these territories and capturing major cities and roads. For the general offensive Marshal Josip Broz Tito commanded a Partisan force of about 800,000 men organized into four armies: the 1st Army commanded by Peko Dapčević, 2nd Army commanded by Koča Popović, 3rd Army commanded by Kosta Nađ, and the 4th Army commanded by Petar Drapšin. In addition, the Yugoslav Partisans had eight independent army corps (the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and the 10th).

Set against the Yugoslav Partisans was German General Alexander Löhr of Army Group E ("Heeresgruppe E"). This Army Group had seven army corps (the XV Mountain, XV Cossack, XXI, XXXIV, LXIX, and LXXXXVII). These corps included seventeen weakened divisions (1st Cossack, 2nd Cossack, 11th, 41st, 104th, 22nd, 181st, 7th SS, 369th Croat, 373rd Croat, 392nd Croat, 237th, 188th, 438th, 138th, 14th SS Ruthenian, and the Stefan Division). In addition to the seven corps, the Axis had remnant naval forces (under constant attack by the British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) to defend the coast, strong police forces to secure the rear, and roughly twenty weak, remnant divisions of local Croatian and Serb units. The Croats included Ustaše and Croatian Home Guard units of the Independent State of Croatia, as well as the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia and the units of the Croatian Air Force Legion, returned from service on the Eastern Front . The Serbs included the remnants of the Serbian State Guard and the Serbian Volunteer Corps from the Serbian Military Administration. There were even some units of the Slovene Home Guard ("Slovensko domobranstvo", or SD) still intact in Slovenia.

Bihać was liberated by the Partisans the same day that the general offensive was launched. The 4th Army, under the command of Petar Drapšin, broke through the defenses of the XV Cossack Corps. By April 20, Drapšin liberated Lika and the Croatian Littoral, including the islands, and reached the old Yugoslav border with Italy. On May 1, after capturing the former Italian possessions of Rijeka and Istria from the German LXXXXVII Corps, the Yugoslav 4th Army beat the western Allies to Trieste by one day.

The Yugoslav 2nd Army, under the command of Koča Popović, forced a crossing of the Bosna River on April 5, capturing Doboj, and reached the Una River. On May 8, the Yugoslav 2nd Army, along with units of the Yugoslav 1st Army, captured Zagreb. On April 6, the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Corps of the Yugoslav Partisans took Sarajevo from the German XXI Corps.
On April 12, the Yugoslav 3rd Army, under the command of Kosta Nađ, forced a crossing of the Drava river. The 3rd Army then fanned out through Podravina, reached a point north of Zagreb, and crossed the old Austrian border with Yugoslavia in the Dravograd sector. The 3rd Army closed the ring around the enemy forces when its advanced motorized detachments linked up with detachments of the 4th Army in Carinthia.
Also on April 12, the Yugoslav 1st Army, under the command of Peko Dapčević penetrated the fortified front of the German XXXIV Corps in Syrmia. By April 22, the 1st Army had smashed the fortifications and was advancing towards Zagreb. After taking Zagreb with the Yugoslav 2nd Army, both armies advanced in Slovenia.

Final operations

On May 2, the German capital city, Berlin, fell. On May 7, 1945, the Germans surrendered unconditionally and the war in Europe officially ended. The Italians had quit the war in 1943, the Bulgarians in 1944, and the Hungarians earlier in 1945. Despite the German capitualtion, however, sporadic fighting still took place in Yugoslavia. On May 9, Maribor and Ljubljana were captured by the Partisans, and General Alexander Löhr, Commander-in-Chief of Army Group E was forced to sign the total surrender of the forces under his command at Topolšica, near Velenje, Slovenia, on Wednesday May 9, 1945. Only the quislings remained.

From 10 May to 15 May, the Yugoslav Partisans continued to face resistance from Ustaše, Domobranci and other collaborationist diehards throughout the rest of Croatia and Slovenia. The Battle of Poljana, the last battle of World War II in Europe, started on May 14, ending on May 15, 1945 at Poljana, near Prevalje in Slovenia. It was the culmination and last of a series of battles between Yugoslav partisans and a large (in excess of 30,000) mixed column of German Army ("Wehrmacht Heer") soldiers together with Croatian Ustaše, Slovenian Home Guard and other collaborators who were attempting to retreat to Austria.


In early May, 1945 the remnants of the Serbian State Guard, the Serbian Volunteer Corps, the Croatian Home Guard, the Ustaše, and the XVth Cossack Cavalry Corps surrendered to British forces. On May 5, in the town of Palmanova (50 km northwest of Trieste), between 2,400 and 2,800 members of the Serbian Volunteer Corps surrendered to the British. On May 12, about 2,500 additional Serbian Volunteer Corps members surrendered to the British at Unterbergen on the Drava River.

On May 11 and 12, British troops in Klagenfurt, Austria, were harassed by arriving forces of the Yugoslav Partisans. In Belgrade, the British ambassador to the Yugoslav coalition government handed Tito a note demanding that the Yugoslav troops withdraw from Austria. On May 15, Tito placed Partisan forces in Austria under Allied control. A few days later he agreed to withdraw them. By May 20, Yugoslav troops in Austria had begun to withdraw.
Around June 1, most of the Serbian State Guard, the Serbian Volunteer Corps, the Croatian Home Guard, the Ustaše, and the XVth Cossack Cavalry Corps who surrendered to the British were turned over to the Yugoslav government as part of what is sometimes referred to as Operation Keelhaul. The Partisans proceeded to brutalize the POWs in what became known as the Bleiburg massacres. On June 8, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia agreed on the control of Trieste.

On March 8, 1945, a coalition Yugoslav government was formed in Belgrade with Tito as Premier and Ivan Šubašić as Foreign Minister. King Peter II of Yugoslavia agreed to await a referendum on his rule before returning from exile. On November 29, in accordance with overwhelming referendum results, Peter II was deposed by Yugoslavia's Constituent Assembly. On the same day, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was established as a socialist state during the first meeting of the Yugoslav Parliament in Belgrade. Josip Broz Tito was appointed Prime Minister.
On March 13, 1946, Mihailović was captured by agents of the Yugoslav Department of National Security ("Odsjek Zaštite Naroda" or OZNA). From June 10 to July 15 of the same year, he was tried for high treason and war crimes. On 15 July, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,852848,00.html Too Tired "Time Magazine" 1946-06-24 ] ] On July 16, a clemency appeal was rejected by the Presidium of the National Assembly. During the early hours of July 18, Mihailović, together with nine other Chetnik officers, was executed in Lisičiji Potok. This execution essentially ended the World War II-era civil war between the communist Partisans and the royalist Chetniks.

War victims

The official Yugoslav post-war estimate of victims in Yugoslavia during World War II is 1,704,000. However, the number of 1.7 million was later disputed as being deliberately exaggerated for war reparations from Germany. Germany refused to pay reparations until names were provided of the victims, following which another investigation showed only around 600,000 victims that could be indentified by name. Subsequent data gathering in the 1980s by historians Vladimir Žerjavić (Croatian) and Bogoljub Kočović (Serb) showed that the actual number of dead was about 1 million. Both arrived at an almost equal figure during independent, unrelated studies.

This was later confirmed by Professor Vladeta Vučković, Serbian author of the official 1946 Yugoslav document, who agreed with the Žerjavić and Kočović estimations. Vučković stated that he had calculated "demographic" loss at 1,700,000 (i.e., including those not born, deaths by starvation, diseases, etc.), and later that number was interpreted as actual number of victims and presented by Yugoslav delegation at the peace conference later that year in Paris. [http://www.nspm.org.yu/Debate/2006_POM_nikolic_zrtve111.htm Nikolić, Goran; "ŽRTVE RATA IZMEDJU NAUKE I PROPAGANDE"; Nova srpska politička misao (in Serbian)] ] Žerjavić's and Kočović's calculations of war losses in Yugoslavia during World War II were accepted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Other sources have confirmed their figures:

*Numbers of victims by ethnicity:

*Numbers of victims by SFR Yugoslav federal unit:


There existed a number of local factions and militias active on Yugoslav territory during World War II. These include:

** (Partisan faction in Macedonia)


* (NDH)"'
**Croatian Armed Forces (HOS)
***Croatian Home Guard
***Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia
***Croatian Air Force Legion

* (Nedić's Serbia)"'
**Serbian State Guard
**Serbian Volunteer Corps
**Chetniks of Kosta Pećanac (faction of the Chetnik movement)
**Russian Corps

* under Italian and German occupation"'
**Slovenian Home Guard
**Legion of Death
**Upper Carniola Home Guard
**Slovene National Security Force

**Montenegrin People's Army (faction of the Chetnik movement)

See also

*Yugoslav Partisans
*National Liberation War of Macedonia
*Invasion of Yugoslavia
*Serbian State Guard
*Yugoslavia during the Second World War
*Seven anti-partisan offensives
*Liberation Front of the Slovenian People
*List of anti-Partisan operations in Yugoslavia
*Serbian Military Administration
*Independent State of Croatia
*Independent State of Montenegro


External links

* [http://www.vojska.net/eng/world-war-2/battles-and-operations/ Battles and Campaigns During World War II in Yugoslavia]

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  • World War II — the war between the Axis and the Allies, beginning on September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland and ending with the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, and of Japan on August 14, 1945. Abbr.: WWII * * * or Second World War (1939–45)… …   Universalium

  • World War II in popular culture — There is a wide range of ways in which people have represented World War II in popular culture. Many works were created during the years of conflict and many more have arisen from that period of world history. Some well known examples of books… …   Wikipedia

  • Topic outline of World War II — World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict, the joining of what had initially been two separate wars. The first began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino Japanese War; the other began in Europe in 1939 with the German… …   Wikipedia

  • Strategic bombing during World War II — For a list of notable strategic bombings in the European Theatre of World War II, see List of air operations during the Battle of Europe. Main article: Air warfare of World War II Strategic bombing during World War II Part of World War II …   Wikipedia

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