The April War, 1941 - www.zlocininadsrbima.com


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Period: Second World War

Region: Yugoslavia


The April War, 1941



The April war refers to the invasion of the Axis powers (code name: “Directive 25”) of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. This operation signified the beginning of the Second World War on the territory of Yugoslavia which lasted for four years.

The aggression was conducted by land and air from many directions. German troops penetrated in territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from northwest across Austrian territory (already part of the Third Reich), Italian troops penetrated from west across Dalmatia, Hungarian troops from north across Bačka, Baranja i Slavonija, and Bulgarian troops from east. Albanian troops penetrated together with Italian troops from south across Kosovo i Metohija and Montenegro.

German troops used Romanian territory on northeast across Banat. Belgrade was heavily struck, as well as other Serbian cities: Split, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Bihać, Čačak, Kragujevac, Šabac, Niš, Podgorica, Kumanovo, Skoplje, etc. At the same time, German attack on Greece took place with code name: “Operation Marita.”

The April war ended on April 17, 1941 and its aftermath was capitulation, occupation and division of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Royal family, Karađorđević, and members of the government fled into London, Great Britain. The British Intelligence Service kept them in prison-like conditions, keeping them under surveillance even after the war ended. They were forbidden to return to Yugoslavia.

 

 

Background

 

The Kingdom of SHS was the first state of South Slavs, later renamed in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was created after the First World War by its promulgation on December 1, 1918 in Belgrade. Territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was divided into banates in 1929, and organized as parliamentary monarchy. Reigning title was held by Serbian dynasty Karađorđević. It encompassed South Serbia, Šumadija, Raška, Kosovo and Metohija, Niška and Timočka Krajina, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojvodina, Slavonija, a part of Dalmatia, The Republic of Dubrovnik, Lika, Kordun, Banija, Zagorje, Gorski Kotari and Slovenia. After assassination of King Alexander I Karađorđević in Marseilles on October 10, 1934, the kingdom was ruled by deputies: Prince Pavle Karađorđević, Dr Radenko Stanković and Dr Ivo Perović and the government was formed by Dragiša Cvetković and Vlatko Maček.


By the middle of 1930s, Europe faced the rise of nacism and fashism, especially in Germany, Italy and Spain. This prompted signing of the Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan on September 27, 1940. In the following months, the pact was joined by Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, etc, which left Yugoslavia surrounded by the Axis powers.

 

These circumstances made the Kingdom of Yugoslavia sign a protocol with Nazi Germany in Vienna on March 25, 1941 regarding a free passage of German and Italian troops through its territory. The Patriotic forces of Yugoslavia saw this as an act of treason allowing the British, but also the Soviet secret agents to organize a military coup and demonstrations which caused overturn of the regime led by Prince Pavle Karađorđević and putting on the throne King Petar II Karađorđević who was still under age.

                                                                                                                              

This forced Hitler to change his plans, redirecting his troops from attacking Greece to prepare attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

 

Situation in the Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

 

The Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was mainly supplied with contemporary weapon and material, although some kind of modernization was carried out with equipment and vehicles from Czechoslovakia. Fully mobilized, the Army could have deployed 28 Infantry Divisions, 3 Cavalry Divisions and 35 independent regiments. Of the total number of independent regiments, 16 were disposed at frontier fortifications and 19 were organized in units of the Reinforced Brigade. Every unit had from one to three infantry regiments, one to three artillery batteries and three units were organized in mountain units. German attack, however, caught the Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia still in process of mobilization with only 11 divisions disposed at their positions at the beginning of the invasion. The units were filled to between 70% and 90% of their full capacity as the mobilization wasn’t completed because Croatian and Slovenian recruits refused to respond to mobilization. The capacity of the Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was around 1.200.000 soldiers at the time German invasion got underway.

 

The Yugoslav Royal Military Aviation possessed 450 fighter aircrafts of domestic (the most well-known IK-3), German, Italian, French and British origin, half of which were of modern type. Aviation was organized in 22 Bomb Squadrons and 15 Hunter Escadrilles.

 

The Yugoslav Royal Navy was equipped with an outdated former German light cruiser (suitable only for training), British-originated flotilla, Dubrovnik, three modern Belgrade class flotillas of French origin (two constructed in Yugoslavia and one still in construction), an aircraft carrier, four modern submarines (two French and one British) and 10 modern torpedo boats. Of older vessels, it had six former Austro-Hungarian medium-size torpedo boats, six minelayers, four large shielded river monitors and numerous auxiliary ships.

The Yugoslav Army Command drew up a defensive plan under the code name “P-41”. The Army was fully deployed along the borders with Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Austria and Hungary. The entire front in Yugoslavia should have been defended by seven armies:

 

First Army under command of General Milorad Petrović, together with Third Army, should have defended South Serbia

Second Army under command of General Milutin Nedić (brother of Milan Nedić) was deployed on northwest towards Slovenia and Zagorje.

Third Army under command of General Milan Nedić was supposed to block borders around Vardar preventing Germans to penetrate into Serbia from Bulgaria.

Fourth Army under command of Petar Nedeljković was deployed at the Southeast around Kosovo and Raška. In case of collapse of all armies, it had a mission to organize its soldiers in chetnik (guerilla) unit and initiate guerrilla combats.

Fifth Army under command of Vladimir Čukavac have served as assistance to Fourth Army.

Sixth Army under command of General Dimitrije Živković was deployed at northwest towards Slovenia and Zagorje as assistance to Second Army.

Seventh Army under command of General Dušan Trifunović was at north towards Hungary.

 

Commander-in-Chief of Yugoslav armed forces became General Dušan Simović (also in charge of the president of the Government). Vojvoda Petar Bojović was brought out from retirement and appointed as an assistant of Supreme Commander, young King Petar II Karađorđević.

 

President of the Government, Dušan Simović used diplomatic means to pacify enraged Hitler trying to convince him that Yugoslavia would remain neutral. In fact, he tried to gain time for defense preparation, but this turned out as insufficient to make thorough arrangements for defense of the country. Berlin didn’t want to wait and immediately started up war machinery. On the day of Simović daughter’s wedding, Germans attacked the Kingdom of Yugoslavia without previous announcement.

 

 

The preparation of the attack

German immediate attack surprised the Yugoslav Army finding it with only 66% of mobilized fighting capacity which included 28 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions. The Air Force of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia had only 300 aircrafts at disposal.

 

German invasion plan was drafted as follows: Second Army of Colonel General Maximilian von Weichs was planned to reach Zagreb, and across Bosnian mountains, Sarajevo as well. At the same time, an armored unit from Hungary was supposed to reach Belgrade. The main strike should have been performed from Bulgaria where Twelve Army was deployed under command of Field Marshal Wilhelm List whose mission was to advance towards Niš after Vardar front breakthrough and attack Belgrade from south simultaneously moving towards North Greece and South Serbia organized in left and right wings.

 

Since counting of Second Army hadn’t been completed yet, Twelve Army started off the attack on Yugoslavia without its support, on April 6, 1941 while Second Army began its advancement on April 8.

 

 

The attack

In the night on April 5-6, 1941, Germans occupied Sip on Danube.

Belgrade was bombed early in the morning on April 6. Hitler threw bombs with devastating force of 1000kg on Belgrade, and it was symbolically named as the Operation Retribution. With the first strike the civil object was hit- the Avala Hotel, when, inter alios, minister in the Yugoslav Government, Franjo Kulovec, was killed. 10,000 Belgrade citizens died as a result of bombardment in April 6-7, 1941. The enormous amount of bombs was dropped on residential quarters and the Serbian National Library was destroyed with the most of priceless materials burnt (known as cultural genocide). The attack on Belgrade was performed under command of General Lieutenant Alexander von Lohr whose Third Airfleet conducted bombardment of the city.  

 

German aviation attacked cities like: Niš, Leskovac, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, finding their citizens sleeping who, after initial shock, searched for any shelter. Germans were very precise in hitting targets with the help of Volksdeutsche.

Before the beginning of the War Captain Vladimir Kren (later the member of the Air  Force of the Independent State of Croatia- NDH) fled from the Yugoslav Air Force taking its disposition plans with him.

 

 

The air combats

Defense of Belgrade was carried out by First Airborne Brigade (JKRV) whose pilots confronted aircrafts the Junkers Ju 87 (“dive bombers”) which were followed by the Messerschmitts, in the air above Belgrade. Nevertheless, the first day of war was also remembered as the day when German surveillance aircraft was downed by Yugoslav Anti-aircraft Defense near  village Donji Dušnik in South Serbia, and pilots, after catapult, were taken to Niš. The Yugoslav government issued Declaration of War against Germany and Decision on full mobilization, but it was too late. From the perspective of military strategy, Zemun was regarded as an  important place because the Air Force Command, the Navy Command and the airport were located there.

 

The Royal Yugoslav Air Force confronted numerically superior enemy. Yugoslav pilots who defended sky above Belgrade demonstrated exceptional courage and sacrifice receiving admiration from the enemy as well. Bomber regiments bombed many times German armored columns who were advancing from Bulgaria and several airports of the enemy in the territory of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Austria. Despite the act of treason by a number of Croatian and Slovenian pilots in the Yugoslav Navy, including JKRV, remaining crew made of officers and non-commissioned officers from all nationalities, although largely outnumbered, impeccably performed their duty in confronting the enemy. It is a little known fact that suicidal attacks on enemy’s aircrafts, mostly contributed to Russian pilots in WW2, were at first performed by Yugoslav pilots during the April War. Impressive contribution to air defense was made by the Counter-Air Defense.

 

Despite its heroic deeds, counteractions of JKRV started to decline. With the help of treason and Fifth Column which reported target locations to German aircrafts, auxiliary aircrafts of Yugoslav aviation were destroyed. Remaining aircrafts were destroyed by their crew, so as not to fall in the enemy’s hands. Some pilots attempted to fly to SSSR or Greece so that they could keep participating in combats, but they mostly crashed due to bad weather conditions. Those who succeeded, continued to fight together with the Air Force of the Allies.

 

These are known names of killed pilots:

 

  1. Miloš Žunić, died on April 6, near city of Pančevo
  2. Karlo Štrbenk, died on April 6, near Glogonjski Rit
  3. Dobrica Novaković, died on April 6, near Belgrade
  4. Dušan Borčić, died on April 6 fell in Sarajevska street
  5. Živica Mitrović, died on April 6, near Šid
  6. Miho Klavor, died on April 7 near Krušedol Monastery
  7. Vladimir Gorup, died on April 7
  8. Branislav Todorović, died on April 7
  9. Jovan Kapešić, died on April 7 near Beška
  10. Milivoje Bešković died on April 7 near Kovilj
  11. Milutin Petrov died on April 7 near place where the Tisa flows into Danube


 

 

Land warfare

A crucial penetration operation was performed by Twelve Army from Bulgarian territory. This Army had already been organized for invasion of Greece. Attack on the border front at Kriva Palanka near Belasica mountain, was carried out against the troops of the Yugoslav Third Army (Moravia, Sumadia and Bregalnica divisions and Strumica detachment). Those troops within Twelve Army which joined the battle, were 40th motorised corp, 9th armored and 73th infantry units, motorised SS brigade and elements of 18th corp of 2nd armored division with strong support of aviation.

 

In the first two days of war German forces performed crucial action: they cut off Moravia-Vardar valley and isolated the Yugoslav Army from getting any support from its allies, simultaneously reaching Greece border and threatening the rear area of the Thrace front. The attack was conducted from three directions: Ćustendil-Kriva Palanka-Kumanovo. The Twelve Army advanced at fast pace and entered town of Skoplje on April 7, 1941. An armored division rushed to the West and joined Italians in Albania, while the majority in Twelve Army proceeded towards Greece to confront Greece army and British Expedition Corp. Niš was bombed on April 8, 1941 which resulted in the death of 600 citizens. On the next day, German land units entered the city.

 

 

Betrayal of Croatians

The main German attack from northwest was performed from two directions: from Klagenfurt, Graz and Nađ Kanjiža where concentration of Second Army was still in progress together with 11th division under command of General Colonel Maximilian von Weichs. The 46th armored corp rushed from northwest to Belgrade facing poor resistance. Croatians were placed to fight these corp, but not only did they do anything to stop German soldiers, but they welcomed them, thus betraying the country. Such an epizode also happened in the military garnizon in Sinj where Croatian soldiers and officers rebelled and sang “Villa of Velebit” (Croatian patriotic song).

 

On Sarajevo front, commander of Second Army, General Bogdan Maglić, left the defense line under the pretext of illness and need for treatment in Sarajevo, only to become Ustashi general after creation of the Independent State of Croatia. Similar case happened in Šibenik where commander of Jadran Division, Petar Kvaternik (brother of Slavko Kvaternik) ordered surrender of arms and arrest of all Serbian military cadres.

 

German units entered on April 10, 1941 in Zagreb where retired Colonel Slavko Kvaternik, on behalf of the leader Ante Pavelić, proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia. Immediately after German attack, Vlatko Maček blamed and left already shaken Yugoslav government and called members of his Croatian Peasant Party to be loyal to the Third Reich.

 

 

Advancing in Serbia

The Yugoslav Army retreated to Čačak on April 13, 1941 after insignificant battles, and Kraljevo faced entry of German division from direction of Kruševac without much resistance.

The invasion was conducted by the Italian Army in coordination with Germans. Thus, Second Italian Army under command of General Ambrosio, concentrated along land frontier, penetrated from direction of Istra and Slovenian shore, while Ninth Army under command of General Cavallero, initiated attack from behind (from direction of Albania). Southeast front under command of Milan Nedić collapsed. In direction towards Niš, 11th armored division broke weak defense at the place called Ploče and occupied Niš at 9:00 am. In the afternoon it invaded Aleksinac which was defended by an infantry battalion from reserve and by 1st Artillery Division, and finally took over the place named Ražanj. Kleist, therefore, entered Niš with his troops hence accomplishing Hitler’s goal to cut off the route that would allow the Yugoslav Army reach Greece, and to prevent the formation of new Salonika front.

 

On April 9, 1941 Germans pursued units of 5th Army which were deployed at Niš sector. These were in chaotic and disorderly retreat along Nišava valley and the Kutinska river. Drina Division of the Royal Yugoslav Army retreated in the face of the rush of German tank units on the route Babušnica-Svođe-Vlasotince. German motorised units cut its retreat route near village Ljuberađa. This terrain witnessed fierce fights with many casualties from both sides. Having suffered heavy casualties, Drina Division retreated towards Leskovac. While German troops penetrated along the valley of the Kutinska river on the main route to Niš, broken Yugoslav Army was moving in the mountainous areas out of the main directions.

 

On April 10, 1941 units in Kosovo faced disorganization and the commander of Third Army ordered blockage of routes to Metohija and Raška with a help of improvised units. Continuing its operation in Južna Morava valley, the units of 11th armored division took over towns Paraćin, Ćuprija and Jagodina and advanced towards Kragujevac. The Supreme Command issued directive No. 120 on retreat of troops on the line Bojana-Metohija-Kosovo-Kopaonik-Kragujevac-Belgrade-Sava-Una. Under this directive the 5th Army was supposed to retreat even further but its realization was not possible. More attainable was call of the Supreme Command sent to soldiers to fight Germans wherever they encounter them. German Command ordered 12th Army to focus on Greece, and 2nd Army reinforced by 1st armored unit to take over Belgrade and finalize break of the Yugoslav Army.

 

The left wing of the Army didn’t even exist but only small units which, being in total chaos, surrendered to Germans. The total defeat meant collapse of the government led by Simović. Its vice president Vlatko Maček resigned on April 8, 1941 accompanied by several Croatian ministers: Josip Torbar, Baroša Smoljan i Ivan Andres. While they left for Zagreb, radical muslim leader Džafer Kulenović retreated to Sarajevo. Leaving positions in the government, in other words, deserting of ministers represents a unique event in the April war. Calling his military followers to be loyal to the new Ustasha’s government on April 10, Maček secured legitimacy of a power transfer and validated separatism and break of Yugoslavia as a country. Promise of Dr Ivan Šubašić that the debt would not be disavowed has proved empty.

 

 

Crisis in the Yugoslav government

From the very beginning the Supreme Command hasn’t controlled situation. At the meetings of ministers in Sevojno, where the government was placed, General Dušan Simović complained about poor connections in command, especially denying to issue orders to units via post office. He found the situation difficult, but not tragic and believed that the front could be stabilized. In order to prevent complete breakdown of the army and  the government as well, he declared on April 12 that he had full confidence in the moral strength of the army and people and that he had faith in amity with SSSR. However, everything had already been lost and complete defeat was on its way.

 

The elements of 8th German armored division entered Zemun on April 12, 1941 without any barrier. On the next day, administration in Zemun was taken by City Hall. Establishment of the occupation authorities has brought significant changes. On April 13, Germans broke the last defense line at Konjarnik and marched to Belgrade, organizing a parade in front of the National Assembly. Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist and Maximilian von Weichs soon arrived, too. This was third entry of Germans into Belgrade in XX century, after entry of Austro-Hungarian troops  in 1914 and their joint entry with Germans in 1915.

This information Dušan Simović received from his adjutant in place called Pale in the Primary school where General Staff of the Royal Yugoslav Army was placed. After failing to get urgent correspondence with an English representative, he received a letter  from general Dill in which he stated that England wasn’t in situation to organize evacuation of the Yugoslav Army through Navy base in Boka. Realizing difficulty of the situation he organized new meeting in the midnight of April 13, 1941. The Army collapsed and the government went through crisis.

 

Mutual mistrust and questioning of who was responsible for such a quick breakdown occurred in the government. Some ministers including Dr Slobodan Jovanović, Bogoljub Ilić i Marko Daković accused Croatians for betrayal. The last consultation the government held in Pale. The meeting was held on Catholic Christmas on April 13, 1941. Dušan Simović filled a report that situation was difficult but not hopeless. It was rumored that fight would have continued on new front Sava-Drina. In the end, the decision was made to relocate the government in Nikšić for the sake of better security. Simović suggested Reserve General Danilo Kalafatović to become  commander of the Supreme Defense. The possibility of capitulation was not considered at all, although some ministers thought that the situation was much more difficult than it was represented by Simović.

 

 

Evacuation of King Petar II Karađorđević

On the next day the government went to Nikšić without General Simović and first what they heard was that King Petar had already left for Greece. Loading cargo planes with gold was done by hundreds of soldiers at an improvised airport in Nikšić. During evacuation, however, two well-known persons died. During transport of gold in a battleship in the Aegean sea, the ship turned over and minister in the government Marko Daković and historian Vladimir Ćorović died.

 

At the last meeting of the government in Nikšić held on April 15, 1941, it was concluded that Yugoslavia would not capitulate as a state, which meant that only the army would capitulate and that the government and king were going abroad to continue resisting. This plan was made by Dr Slobodan Jovanović who gave it to Simović who then gave it to Kalafatović. On the same day, Simović gave an order to Kalafatović to conclude a truce with Germans for two reasons:  it was impossible to give resistance on the line Drina-Sava and because the new events happened in Croatia.

 

King Petar II Karađorđević together with the government left the country on April 15, 1941. They were welcomed by British generals, Dill and Wilson, on the airport in Atina and after travelling through Yerusalim and short break in Cairo, they finally arrived in London.

 

 

Heroism of individuals

Although their units were completely crushed, some soldiers and officers refused to capitulate and continued to fight. On Rapaj hill two young reserve officers organized resistance of their own accord, fighting against Germans on April 12, 1941. In Šabac region, a confrontation broke out on April 12, 1941 when German motorized units were attacked by soldiers from several units of First Army. Soldiers were holding Mišаr hill and defending the city. On April 13, 60th cavalry regiment of the Yugoslav Army initiated attack to enter Šabac and try to take it over from Germans, but it was decimated and forced to retreat. Some units of Second Army gave tough resistance in the route to Užice. Germans bombed the city on April 15, and stroke it with a heavy artillery. Commander of a military garrison refused to surrender and committed suicide. On April 17, Sergej Mašera and Milan Spasić sank the destroyer named “Zagreb” in Boka Kotorska.

 

Commander of Operations Department, Colonel Draža Mihailović, avoided capture in Sarajevo and fighting against a German armored unit on April 13, near Train Station Ševarlije and in a place called Petrovo Selo, he was breaking through to reach Doboj. Sergeant in the Yugoslav Army Boža Petrović managed to save a flag of 41th infantry regiment in Osijek and bring it with himself. This flag became the flag of  the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland.

 

 

Consequences

Many questions still remain unanswered and one of it relates to unclear activity of the government, the army and commanders in period between March 27 and April 6, 1941. It is clear that mobilization was ineffective, that only 11 divisions were deployed at their defensive positions before invasion, that the defense plan was inadequately organized, that the government  failed to keep unity during invasion and that majority of Croatians gave up of the fight and surrendered to the troops of Nazi Germany. This is confirmed by the fact that the newly formed Croatian Army of the Independent State of Croatia included 31 generals, 228 colonels, 245 lieutenant colonels, 254 majors, 1,005 captains and 417 lieutenants of the Royal Yugoslav Army.

 

When general Milan Nedić became president of the government of “National Salvation” in his first speech to Serbian people on September 1, 1941, said: “Sixth April was not Serbian but Yugoslavian disgrace”. The most units, despite their wish to give resistance, were not adequately equipped to confront German military force. The Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia failed to suppress German tanks and dive bombers.

 

The brave feat of pilots who, although overpowered in numbers, experience and aircrafts, flew their aircrafts and heroically defied their enemies, will be remembered.

 

Bombing of Belgrade in 1941, which was proclaimed as as an “open city” meaning that it will not be defended, demonstrated that fascists didn’t care for international war rights and that they put Belgrade on the list of cities that suffered enormous damages as a result of bombing. Starting from Gernika, this list includes Rotterdam, Paris, London and many others. The result of German bombing was collapse of infrastructure and the damage inflicted on the National Library which contained a lot of documents and writings. This loss is irreversible.

 

Moreover, this bombing decided the war outcome because from the very first day everything that had had any tactical and strategic characteristic of military and civil nature, was destroyed leaving the country paralyzed. There are evidence that posters which called for mobilization proclaimed on April 7,  were hang in some cities like Sarajevo, only on April 12.

 

Organization was such a failure that nobody knew how much territory Germans captured and government didn’t even know that capitulation had been signed. On several urgent meetings, Simović notified government about situation on the front until they were told to move to Nikšić from where they would be taken to Allies by plane.

 

Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Gavrilo Dožić wrote in his Memoirs that “thinking how to save the government and own families and not how to save the country and people, largely prevailed”.

 

Finally, collapse of Yugoslavia was inevitable. State was parted, the army was not capable to fight against Germans, mobilization wasn’t organized on time, and all the plans for saving the country were disrupted by resistance of Croatian armies and generals. Due to chaos in the Supreme Headquarters which prevailed during the very first days of invasion, units didn’t know what they should do, they were mutually disconnected, they were not given clear orders, but they were making decisions regarding fight against Germans on the terrain. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that the army was surprised by the strength and rapidity of the enemy who easily defeated the Royal Yugoslav Army, after occupation of Poland and Western Europe. From very beginning, the defense plan, which included protection of all boundaries, was doomed to failure, because the army wasn’t adequately equipped for defense of all boundaries. Already becoming very loosely, the army and the government were now completely broken. The only worthy resistance the army gave was against Italians in Albania.

 

 

Occupation

After the April war, the territory of Yugoslavia was divided between the Axis powers. Hitler held Serbs accountable for the war and divided Serbia in many occupation zones. Croatians received independent state and their country spread from Slovenia to Belgrade and from the Drava river to Jadran. It encompassed Slavonia, Zagorje, Kordun, Bania, Lika, a part of Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Gorski Kotari, Bosnia, Bosanska Krajina, Hercegovina and Srem.

Slovenia was divided between Italians and Germans (this was only territory directly occupied by Germans), Bačka and Novi Sad were captured by Hungarians, large part of Eastern Serbia and South Serbia was taken by Bulgarians, Kosovo and Metohija and remaining part of Vardar belonged to Italians who integrated it with the state of Great Albania. Montenegro became Italian protectorate. Remaining part of Serbia was organized in so called the state of Serbia under the authority of general Milan Nedić. This state acted as a German puppet and not respected by German occupation forces.

 

The territory of Yugoslavia would have soon witnessed two resistance movements:

- Chetniks guerilla under command of the colonel of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, Draža Mihailović

- Partisan movement under command of J.B. Tito and communists.

These two resistance movements had short cooperation in Autumn of 1941 in Sumadia, but they were separated by ideological beliefs. Chetniks wanted to preserve monarchy and communists saw the war as an opportunity to conduct socialist revolution.

 

 

 


Do not forget and do not repeat!