Yugoslav Front

Yugoslav Front
Yugoslav Front / National Liberation War
Part of World War II
National Liberation War collage
Clockwise from top left: Leader (Poglavnik) of the puppet Independent State of Croatia, Ante Pavelić, visits Adolf Hitler at the Berghof, Partisan fighter Stjepan Filipović, shouts "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!" as he is hanged by the occupation forces, an Ustaše guard stands among the bodies of prisoners killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp, Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović confers with his troops, Yugoslav Prime Minister Marshal Josip Broz Tito, commander of the Partisans, with members of the British mission
Date 1941 – 1945
Location Yugoslavia
Result Decisive Partisan victory
 Independent State of Croatiaa
Government of National Salvationa
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Partisans
 Italy (1941-43)
 Independent State of Croatiaa
Government of National Salvationa (1941-44)
 Hungary (1941-44)
 Bulgaria (1941-44)


Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Partisans

 Soviet Union

Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Maximilian von Weichs
Nazi Germany Alexander Löhr
Nazi Germany Edmund Glaise von Horstenau
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) Mario Roatta
Independent State of Croatia Ante Pavelić
Independent State of Croatia Dido Kvaternik
Milan Nedić
Kosta Pećanac
Sekule Drljević
Leon Rupnik
Draža Mihailović
Ilija Trifunović-Birčanin
Dobroslav Jevđević
Pavle Đurišić
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Milovan Đilas
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Aleksandar Ranković
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Kosta Nađ
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Peko Dapčević
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Koča Popović
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Petar Drapšin
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Svetozar Vukmanović Tempo
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Arso Jovanović
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Sava Kovačević 
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Ivan Gošnjak
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) 321,000[1]
Independent State of Croatia 262,000[2]
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia 800,000 (1945)[3]
Casualties and losses
Nazi Germany Germany:
24,267 killed
12,060 missing;[4]
Independent State of Croatia Croatia:
209,000 soldiers killed[5]
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Partisans:
237,000[5] – 350,000 partisans killed; 400,000+ wounded[6]
Civilians killed: ~581,000 [5]
Total Yugoslav casualties: ~1,200,000

a Axis puppet regime established on occupied Yugoslav territory
b Resistance movement. Engaged in collaboration with Axis forces from mid-1942 onward, lost official Allied support in 1943.[7][8][9][10] Full names: initially "Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army", then "Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland".

The Yugoslav Front[Note 1] started in April 1941 when the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was quickly overrun by Axis forces and partitioned between Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia and client regimes in Serbia with German Banat.

The war was fought in occupied Yugoslavia during World War II (1941–1945) between the Yugoslav resistance forces and the Axis Powers. During the war two guerrilla resistance armies sprang up: the communist-led and republican Yugoslav Partisans; and the royalist Chetnik movement. In spite of sporadic acts of resistance, after 1941 the Chetniks adopted a "policy of collaboration", and collaborated extensively and systematically with the Italian occupation forces until the Italian capitulation in September 1943, and beginning in 1944, also with Nazi German and Ustaše forces.[11][12] A parallel civil war between the two movements soon ensued.

The Axis mounted a series of offensives intended to destroy the Partisans, coming close to doing so in winter and spring of 1943. Despite the setbacks, the Partisans remained a credible fighting force, gaining recognition from the Western Allies and laying the foundations for the post-war Yugoslav state. With support in logistics, equipment, training, and air power from the Western Allies, and Soviet ground troops in the Belgrade Offensive, the Partisans eventually gained control of the entire country and the border regions of Italy and Austria.

The human cost of the war was enormous. The number of war victims is still in dispute, but is generally agreed to have been at least one million. The victims included the majority of the country's Jewish population, many of whom perished in concentration camps (e.g. Jasenovac, Banjica) run by the client regimes. In addition, the Croatian Ustaše regime committed genocide against local Serbs and Roma while Chetniks pursued their own ethnic cleansing against the Muslim and Croat population. The Germans (in particular the Dabnube Swabian SS formations) also carried out mass executions of civilians in retaliation for resistance activity, e.g. the Kragujevac massacre. Finally, during and after the final stages of the war, the Yugoslav authorities deported the Danube Swabian population, while Partisan troops summarily executed for treason thousands of fleeing members of the Ustaše, Chetniks, and Croatian Home Guard (Bleiburg massacre), and committed atrocities against the Italian population in Istria (Foibe killings).



Occupation and partition of Yugoslavia, 1941-43.
Occupation and partition of Yugoslavia, 1943-44.

On April 6, 1941 the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded from all sides by the Axis powers, primarily by German forces, but also Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian formations. During the invasion, Belgrade was bombed by the German air force (Luftwaffe). The invasion lasted little more than ten days, ending with the unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army on April 17. Besides being hopelessly ill-equipped when compared to the German army (Wehrmacht Heer), the Yugoslav army attempted to defend all borders but only managed to thinly spread the limited resources available. Also, large numbers of the population refused to fight, instead welcoming the Germans as liberators from government oppression. However, as this meant each individual nationality would turn to movements opposed to the unity promoted by the South Slavic state, two different concepts of resistance emerged, the monarchist Chetniks, and the communist Partisans.[13]

The main reason was that neither of two of the constituent national groups (Slovenes and Croats) were prepared to fight in defense of a Yugoslav state with a continued Serb monarchy. The only effective opposition to the invasion was from units wholly within Serbia itself.[14] The Serbian General Staff were united on the question of Yugoslavia as a "Greater Serbia", ruled, in one way or another, by Serbia. On the eve of the invasion, there were 165 generals on the Yugoslav active list. Of these, all but four were Serbs.[15]

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,[16] 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 of the 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.[17] 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 included Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and much of Dalmatia.

Dubious status of international recognition

The fall of a true international body following the split in affinity by the world's nations, the status of international law and questions of continuity from former conventions became a shady matter. The government-in-exile was now only recognized by the Allied powers.[18] The Axis had recognized the territorial acquisitions of their allied states.[19][20]

When the AVNOJ (the Partisan wartime council in Yugoslavia) was eventually recognized by the Allies, by late 1943, the official recognition of the Partisan Democratic Federal Yugoslavia soon followed. The National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia was recognized by the major Allied powers at the Tehran Conference, when United States agreed to the position of other Allied.[21] The newly recognized Yugoslav government, headed by Prime Minister Josip Broz Tito, was a joint body formed from of AVNOJ members and the members of the former government-in-exile in London. The resolution of a fundamental question, whether the new state remained a monarchy or was to be a republic, was postponed until the end of the war, as was the status of King Peter II.

Yugoslav resistance

Adolf Hitler in Maribor, Yugoslavia in 1941. He later ordered his officials "to make these lands German again".[22]
Inauguration of the Government of NDH

From the start, the Yugoslav resistance forces consisted of two factions: the Partisans, a communist-led movement propagating pan-Yugoslav tolerance ("brotherhood and unity") and incorporating republican, left-wing, and liberal elements of Yugoslav politics, and the Chetniks, a conservative royalist and nationalist force, enjoying support almost exclusively from the Serbian population in occupied Yugoslavia. The Chetniks were the ones to initially receive recognition from the western Allies. The Partisans were supported by the Soviet Union, but received universal Allied recognition in place of the Chetniks after the Tehran conference (1943). By the time of this conference, the degree of Chetnik-Axis collaboration was indicated to have 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 socialist 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.[23] 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).

Although the activity of the Macedonian Partisans was part of the Yugoslav People's Liberation War, the specific conditions in Macedonia (due to the strong autonomic tendencies of the local communists) led to the creation of a separate sub-army called the People's Liberation Army of Macedonia which was engaged in the People's Liberation War of Macedonia. In 1944, the Macedonian and Serbian commands made contact in southern Serbia and formed a joint command, which consequently placed the Macedonian Partisans under the direct command of Marshal Josip Broz Tito.[24] The autonomous wing in the Communist Party of Macedonia, which dominated during World War II, was finally pushed aside in 1945 after the Second Assembly of the ASNOM.

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, relying overwhelmingly on the ethnic Serbian population for support. 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.[25] 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 Mihailović advised London to stop supplying the Chetniks after the Užice attack (see First anti-Partisan offensive), but Britain continued to do so.[26]

Guerrilla and civil war

Chetniks posing with soldiers of the German occupation forces.

Early resistance

In 1931-1939 USSR has prepared Communists for the partisan war in Yugoslavia. On the eve of the war, hundreds of future prominent Yugoslav communist leaders completed special "partisan courses" organized by the Soviet military intelligence in the Soviet Union and Spain.[27] Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, began on June 22, 1941.[28] On the same day, Yugoslav Partisans formed the 1st Sisak Partisan Detachment, the first armed resistance unit in Europe.[29] Founded in the Brezovica forest near Sisak, Croatia, its creation marked the beginning of anti-Axis resistance in occupied Yugoslavia.[29]

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 ("The Spaniard") 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 the 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 500 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 forces.

Axis response

Italian armored cars in the Balkans.
German forces with French-made H39 tanks fording a river.
Bulgarian soldiers and German armored car.
Croatian Air Force Legion (HZL) aircrew pose in front of their Dornier Do 17Z bomber in recognition of the unit's 1,000th sortie over the Eastern Front, 16 September 1942. The unit returned to Croatia in December 1942.

The Partisans fought an increasingly successful guerrilla campaign against the Axis occupiers and their local collaborators, the Serbian Government of National Salvation, 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.

During the war, generally the national minorities, with the exception of Czechs, Slovaks and Turks cooperated with the occupation forces.[30]

The Axis powers, however, were quite aware of the Partisan threat. The most numerous local force, besides the four second-line German Wehrmacht infantry divisions assigned to occupation duties was the Croatian Home Guard, founded in April 1941, a few days after the founding of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) itself. It was done with the authorisation of German occupation authorities. The task of the new Croatian armed forces was to defend the new state against both foreign and domestic enemies.[31] The Croatian Home Guard was originally limited to 16 infantry battalions and 2 cavalry squadrons - 16,000 men in total. The original 16 battalions were soon enlarged to 15 infantry regiments of two battalions each between May and June 1941, organised into five divisional commands, some 55,000 enlisted men.[32] Support units included 35 light tanks supplied by Italy,[33] 10 artillery battalions (equipped with captured Royal Yugoslav Army weapons of Czech origin), a cavalry regiment in Zagreb and an independent cavalry battalion at Sarajevo. Two independent motorized infantry battalions were based at Zagreb and Sarajevo respectively.[34] Several regiments of Ustaše militia were also formed at this time, which operated under a separate command structure to, and independently from, the Croatian Home Guard, until the units of the Ustaše militia and Croatian Home Guard were reorganized and combined in November 1944 to form the Army of the Independent State of Croatia.[35]

The fledgling Army crushed the revolt by Serbs in Eastern Herzegovina in June 1941, and fought in July in Eastern and Western Bosnia. They fought in Eastern Herzegovina again, when Croatian-Dalmatian and Slavonian battalions reinforced local units.[34] The Home Guard reached its maximum size at the end of 1943, when it had 130,000 men.

The Croatian Home Guard also included an air force, the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia (Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske, or ZNDH), the backbone of which was provided by 500 former Royal Yugoslav Air Force officers and 1,600 NCOs with 125 aircraft.[36] By 1943 the ZNDH was 9,775 strong and equipped with 295 aircraft.[35]

As the levels of resistance to its occupation grew, the Axis Powers responded with numerous minor offensives. There were also seven major Axis operations specifically aimed at eliminating all or most Yugoslav Partisan resistance. These major offensives were typically combined efforts by the German Wehrmacht and SS, Italy, Chetniks, the Independent State of Croatia, the Serbian collaborationist government, Bulgaria, and Hungary. In the first half of 1943 two of these offensives came close to defeating the Partisans. They are known by their German code names Fall Weiss (Plan White) and Fall Schwarz (Operation Black), as the Battle of Neretva and the Battle of Sutjeska after the rivers in the areas they were fought, or the 4th and 5th offensive, respectively, according to former Yugoslav historiography.[37]

Former Yugoslav historiographers numbered the seven major Axis offensives as follows:

  • 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 the 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 the 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 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 USSR 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.[38]

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.

Allied aircraft specifically started targeting ZNDH (Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia) and Luftwaffe bases and aircraft for the first time as a result of the Seventh anti-Partisan Offensive, including Operation Rösselsprung in late May 1944. Up until then Axis aircraft could fly inland almost at will as long as they remained at low altitude. Yugoslav Partisan units on the ground frequently complained about enemy aircraft attacking them while hundreds of Allied aircraft flew above at higher altitude. This changed during Rösselsprung as Allied fighter-bombers went low en-masse for the first time, establishing full aerial superiority. Consequently, both the ZNDH and Luftwaffe were forced to limit their operations in clear weather to early morning and late afternoon hours.[39]

In January 1944, Tito's forces unsuccessfully attacked Banja Luka. But, while Tito was forced to withdraw, Mihajlović and his forces were also noted by the Western press for their lack of activity.[40] 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. The battle was fought near Banja Luka in what was then the Independent State of Croatia and ended in victory for the Independent State of Croatia forces.


Yugoslav Partisans marching through liberated Bitola, Macedonia, November 1944.

On 19 April 1941, Bulgaria occupied Macedonia and some districts of Eastern Serbia, which, with Western Thrace and Eastern Greek Macedonia (the Aegean Province), were annexed by Bulgaria on 14 May.[41]

On 15 January 1942, the Bulgarian 1st Army of 3 infantry divisions transferred to South-East Serbia. Headquartered at Niš, it replaced German divisions needed in Croatia and USSR. On 7 January 1943, it also occupied South-West Serbia. Savage pacification measures reduced Partisan activity appreciably. Bulgarian infantry divisions participated in the Fifth anti-Partisan Offensive as a blocking force of the Partisan escape-route from Montenegro into Serbia and in the Sixth anti-Partisan Offensive in Eastern Bosnia.[42]

On 10 September 1944, Bulgaria changed sides and declared war on Germany as an Allied Power. The Germans swiftly disarmed the 1st Occupation Corps of 5 divisions and the 5th Army, despite heroic but short-lived resistance by the latter. Survivors retreated to Bulgaria, joining the new 450,000-strong Bulgarian National Armed Forces. On 8 October, the 1st and 4th Armies occupied Serb Macedonia with Partisan permission. The 2nd Army then occupied South-Eastern Serbia. The 1st Army then swung north with the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front, through Eastern Yugoslavia and South-Western Hungary, before linking up with the British 8th Army in Austria in May 1945.[43]

Italy Surrenders

Map of the Balkan military theater during September 1944-January 1945.

The Italian High Command assigned 24 divisions and three coastal brigades to occupation duties in Yugoslavia from 1941. These units were located from Slovenia, Croatia and Dalmatia through to Montenegro and Kosovo.[44]

On 8 September 1943, the Italians concluded an armistce with the Allies, leaving 17 divisions stranded in Yugoslavia. All divisional commanders refused to join the Germans. Two Italian infantry divisions joined the Montenegrin Partisans as complete units, whilst another joined the Albanian Partisans. Other units surrendered to the Germans, to face imprisonment in Germany or summary execution. Others surrendered themselves, arms, ammunition and equipment to Croatian forces or to the Partisans, simply disintegrated, or reached Italy on foot via Trieste or by ship across the Adriatic.[32] The Italian Governorship of Dalmatia was disestablished and the country's possessions were subsequently divided between Germany which established its Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral and the Independent State of Croatia which established the new district of Sidraga-Ravni Kotari.

Allied offensive in the Balkans

Map of German retreat in autumn 1944 (week by week)

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 September 10, 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(to be anexed by URSS) 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). In September, the Red Army and the Partisans launched the Belgrade Offensive, and took the city on October 20. 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

German General Major Friedrich Stahl stands alongside an Ustaše officer and Chetnik commander Rade Radić in central Bosnia, 1942.[45]

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 Mountain, XXXIV, LXIX, and LXXXXVII). These corps included seventeen weakened divisions (1st Cossack, 2nd Cossack, 7th SS, 11th Luftwaffe Field, 22nd, 41st, 104th, 117th, 138th, 181st, 188th, 237th, 297th, 369th Croat, 373rd Croat, 392nd Croat and the 14th SS Ukrainian Division). In addition to the seven corps, the Axis had remnant naval and Luftwaffe forces, under constant attack by the British Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and United States Air Force.[46]

The Army of the Independent State of Croatia was reorganized in November 1944 to combine the units of the Ustaše and Croatian Home Guard into eighteen divisions, comprising 13 infantry, two mountain, two assault and one replacement Croatian Divisions, each with its own organic artillery and other support units. There were also several armoured units. From early 1945, the Croatian Divisions were allocated to various German Corps and by March 1945 were holding the Southern Front.[35] Securing the rear areas were some 32,000 men of the Croatian Gendarmerie (Hrvatsko Oruznistvo), organised into 5 Police Volunteer Regiments plus 15 independent battalions, equipped with standard light infantry weapons, including mortars.[35]

The Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia (Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske, or ZNDH) and the units of the Croatian Air Force Legion (Hrvatska Zrakoplovna Legija, or HZL), returned from service on the Eastern Front provided some level of air support (attack, fighter and transport) right up until May 1945, encountering and sometimes defeating opposing aircraft from the British Royal Air Force, United States Air Force and the Soviet Air Force. Although 1944 had been a catastrophic year for the ZNDH, with aircraft losses amounting to 234, primarily on the ground, it entered 1945 with 196 machines. Further deliveries of new aircraft from Germany continued in the early months of 1945 to replace losses. By 10 March, the ZNDH had 23 Messerschmitt 109 G&Ks, three Morane-Saulnier M.S.406, six Fiat G.50, and two Messerschmitt 110 G fighters. The final deliveries of up-to-date German Messerschmitt 109 G and K fighter aircraft were still taking place in March 1945.[47] and the ZNDH still had 176 aircraft on its strength in April 1945.[48]

Serbian units 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.[49]

By the end of March, 1945, it was obvious to the Croatian Army Command that, although the front remained intact, they would eventually be defeated by sheer lack of ammunition. For this reason, the decision was made to retreat into Austria, in order to surrender to the British forces advancing north from Italy.[50] The German Army was in the process of disintegration and the supply system lay in ruins.[51]

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 XVth SS Cossack Cavalry 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 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 entering Zagreb with the Yugoslav 2nd Army, both armies advanced in Slovenia.

On May 8, the Yugoslav 2nd Army, along with units of the Yugoslav 1st Army, entered Zagreb, which had been evacuated the previous day.

Final operations

Front lines in Europe 1st May 1945.

On May 2, the German capital city, Berlin, fell to the Red Army. On May 8, 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 capitulation, however, sporadic fighting still took place in Yugoslavia. On May 7, Zagreb was evacuated, 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 Croatian and other anti-Partisan forces remained.

From May 10 to May 15, the Yugoslav Partisans continued to face resistance from Croatian, and other anti-Partisan forces 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, Croatian Home Guard (Hrvatsko Domobranstvo), Slovenian Home Guard (Domobranci), and other anti-Partisan forces who were attempting to retreat to Austria.


On May 15, 1945 the Croatian Home Guard, the Ustaše, the XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps and the remnants of the Serbian State Guard, and the Serbian Volunteer Corps, surrendered to British forces. The Croatians attempted to negotiate a surrender to the British under the terms of the Geneva Convention, but were ignored. The Independent State of Croatia had joined that Convention on January 20, 1943, and was recognised by it as a "belligerent", that is, as a national state with armed forces in the field. All the signatories of the Convention, including Great Britain and the United States, were informed that this recognition had been given.[50] 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 SS 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 July 15, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad.[52] 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.


Victims by nationality
Nationality 1964 list[53] Kočović[54] Žerjavić[54]
Serbians 346,740 487,000 530,000
Croatians 83,257 207,000 192,000
Slovenians 42,027 32,000 42,000
Montenegrins 16,276 50,000 20,000
Macedonians 6,724 7,000 6,000
Muslims 32,300 86,000 103,000
Other Slavs - 12,000 7,000
Albanians 3,241 6,000 18,000
Jews 45,000 60,000 57,000
Gypsies - 27,000 18,000
Germans - 26,000 28,000
Hungarians 2,680 - -
Slovaks 1,160 - -
Turks 686 - -
Others - 14,000 6,000
Unknown 16,202 - -
Total 597,323 1,014,000 1,027,000
Casualties by location according to the 1964 Yugoslav list[54]
Location Death toll Survived
Bosnia and Herzegovina 177,045 49,242
Croatia 194,749 106,220
Macedonia 19,076 32,374
Montenegro 16,903 14,136
Slovenia 40,791 101,929
Serbia (proper) 97,728 123,818
Kosovo 7,927 13,960
Vojvodina 41,370 65,957
Unknown 1,744 2,213
Total 597,323 509,849

The Yugoslav government estimated the number of casualties to be at 1,704,000 and submitted the figure to the International Reparations Commission in 1946 without any documentation.[55] The figure included war related deaths but also the expected population if war did not break out, the number of unborn children, and losses from emigration and disease.[56] The same figure was later submitted to the Allied Reparations Committee in 1948 but was claimed to be only from war related deaths.[56] After Germany requested verifiable data the Yugoslav Federal Bureau of Statistics created a nationwide survey in 1964.[56] The total number of those killed was found to be 597,323.[56] The list stayed a state secret until 1989 when it was published for the first time.[54]

The U.S. Bureau of the Census published a report in 1954 that concluded that Yugoslav war related deaths were 1,067,000. The U.S. Bureau of the Census noted that the official Yugoslav government figure of 1.7 million war dead was overstated because it "was released soon after the war and was estimated without the benefit of a postwar census".[57] A recent study by Vladimir Žerjavić estimates total war related deaths at 1,027,000. Military losses of 237,000 Yugoslav partisans and 209,000 Croatian Home Guard and Ustase. Civilian dead of 581,000, including 57,000 Jews. Losses of the Yugoslav Republics were Bosnia 316,000; Serbia 273,000; Croatia 271,000; Slovenia 33,000; Montenegro 27,000; Macedonia 17,000; and killed abroad 80,000.[54] Bogoljub Kočović a statistician, who is a Bosnian Serb by ethnic affiliation, calculated that the actual war losses were 1,014,000.[54] The late Jozo Tomasevich, Professor Emeritus of Economics at San Francisco State University, believes that the calculations of Kočović and Žerjavić “seem to be free of bias, we can accept them as reliable”.[58] The reasons for the high human toll in Yugoslavia were as follows:

  1. Military operations of five main armies (Germans, Italians, Ustaše, Yugoslav partisans and Chetniks).[59]
  2. German forces, under express orders from Hitler, fought with a special vengeance against the Serbs, who were considered Untermensch.[59] One of the worst massacres during the German military occupation of Serbia was the Kragujevac massacre.
  3. Deliberate acts of reprisal against target populations were perpetrated by all combatants. All sides practiced the shooting of hostages on a large scale. At the end of the war Ustaše collaborators were killed during the Bleiburg massacre.[60]
  4. The systematic extermination of large numbers of people for political, religious or racial reasons. The most numerous victims were Serbs killed by the Ustaše and Croats and Muslims killed by the Chetniks. The Ustaše massacred Serbs throughout the Independent State of Croatia and especially in Banija, Kordun, Lika, northwest Bosnia, and eastern Herzegovina and killed others in concentration camps such as the Jasenovac concentration camp. Chetniks carried out massacres against Muslims in Bosnia and Sandžak and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, northern Dalmatia, and Lika. Jews were partly killed in camps throughout Yugoslavia and partly in camps in Germany, Norway and Greece after deportation.[61]
  5. The reduced food supply caused famine and disease.[62]
  6. Allied bombing of German supply lines caused civilian casualties. The hardest hit localities were Podgorica, Leskovac, Zadar and Belgrade.[63]
  7. The demographic losses due to a 335,000 reduction in the number of births and emigration of about 660,000 are not included with war casualties.[63]

In Slovenia, the Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana launched a comprehensive research on the exact number of victims of World War II in Slovenia in 1995.[64] After more than a decade of research, the final report was published in 2005, which included a list of names. The number of victims was set at 89,404.[65] The figure also includes the victims of summary killings by the Communist regime immediately after the war (around 13,500 people). The results of the research came as a shock for the public, since the actual figures were more than 30% higher than the highest estimates during the Yugoslav period.[66] Even if one counts only the number of deaths up to May 1945 (thus excluding the military prisoners killed by the Yugoslav Army between May and July 1945), the number remains considerable higher than the highest previous estimates (around 75,000 deaths vs. an estimate of 60,000). There are several reasons for such a difference. The new comprehensive research also included Slovenes killed by the Partisan resistance, both in battle (members of collaborationist and anti-Communist units), and civilians (around 4,000 between 1941 and 1945). Furthermore, the new estimates includes all the Slovenians from Nazi-occupied Slovenia who were drafted in the Wehrmacht and died either in battle of in prisoner camps during the war. The figure also includes the Slovenes from the Julian March who died in the Italian Army (1940–1943), those from Prekmurje who died in the Hungarian Army, and those who fought and died in various Allied (mostly British) units. The figure does not include victims from Venetian Slovenia (except of those who joined the Slovenian Partisan units), nor does it include the victims among Carinthian Slovenes (again with the exception of those fighting in the Partisan units) and Hungarian Slovenes. 47% percent of casualties during the war were partisans, 33% were civilians (of which 82% were killed by Axis powers or Slovene home guard), and 20% were members of the Slovene home guard.[67]

In Croatia, the Commission for the Identification of War and Post-War Victims of the Second World War was active from 1991 until the Seventh Government of the republic, under Prime Minister Ivica Račan ended the commission's work unfinished in 2002.[68] In the 2000s, concealed mass grave commissions were established in both Slovenia and Serbia to document and excavate mass graves from the Second World War.

See also


  1. ^ The Yugoslav Front, (Bosnian: Jugoslovenski front; Croatian: Jugoslavensko bojište; Macedonian: Југословенски фронт; Slovene: Jugoslovanska fronta; Serbian: Југослoвенски фронт/Jugoslovenski front) is also known as the National Liberation War (Bosnian: Narodnooslobodilački rat; Croatian: Narodnooslobodilački rat; Macedonian: Народноослободителна борба; Slovene: Narodnoosvobodilna borba; Serbian: Народноослободилачки рат).


  1. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 255.
  2. ^ Vucinich, Wayne S. (September 1974). "Yugoslav Resistance in the Second World War: The Continued Debate". Reviews in European History 1 (2): 274. "In September 1943, the total strength of the armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia (regular army and Ustashe militia) was about 262,000 officers and men." 
  3. ^ Perica, Vjekoslav (2004). Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States. Oxford University Press. p. 96. ISBN 0195174291. 
  4. ^ Feldgrau.com
  5. ^ a b c 'Yugoslavia manipulations with the number Second World War victims, - Zagreb: Croatian Information center,1993 ISBN 0-919817-32-7
  6. ^ Tomasevich 1969, p. 120.
  7. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo; War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: The Chetniks, Volume 1; Stanford University Press, 1975 ISBN 978-0-8047-0857-9 [1]
  8. ^ Cohen, Philip J., Riesman, David; Serbia's secret war: propaganda and the deceit of history; Texas A&M University Press, 1996 ISBN 0-89096-760-1 [2]
  9. ^ Ramet, Sabrina P.; The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918-2005; Indiana University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-253-34656-8 [3]
  10. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo; War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: occupation and collaboration, Volume 2; Stanford University Press, 2001 ISBN 0-80473-615-4 [4]
  11. ^ Ramet, Sabrina (2006). The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918-2005. New York: Indiana University Press. pp. 145–155. ISBN 0253346568. http://books.google.com/books?id=FTw3lEqi2-oC&pg=PA148&dq=ramet+chetniks&hl=en&ei=5cvmTdLiBs7tsgaMpemjCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=ramet%20chetniks&f=false. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
    p. 145: "Both the Chetniks' political program and the extent of their collaboration have been amply, even voluminously, documented; it is more than a bit disappointing, thus, that people can still be found who believe that the Chetniks were doing anything besides attempting to realize a vision of an ethnically homogenous Greater Serbian state, which they intended to advance, in the short run, by a policy of collaboration with the Axis forces. The Chetniks collaborated extensively and systematically with the Italian occupation forces until the Italian capitulation in September 1943, and beginning in 1944, portions of the Chetnik movement of Draža Mihailović collaborated openly with the Germans and Ustaša forces in Serbia and Croatia."
  12. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo (1975). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, Volume I: The Chetniks. San Francisco: Stanford University Press. pp. 246. ISBN 0804708576. 
    On p.246, a general statememt on Chetnik collaboration describes it as "systematic and enduring":
    "..the systematic and enduring Chetnik collaboration described in this study".
  13. ^ Tito, Mihailovic and the Allies by Walter Roberts (p. 26)
  14. ^ Shaw, 1973, p.92
  15. ^ Shaw, 1973, p.89
  16. ^ Independent State of Croatia, or NDH (historical nation (1941-45), Europe) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  17. ^ Hungary - Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive
  18. ^ Stefan Talmon (1998). Recognition of governments in international law: with particular reference to governments in exile. Oxford University Press. p. 294. ISBN 0198265735. 
  19. ^ Nigel Thomas; K. Mikulan; Darko Pavlović (1995). Axis forces in Yugoslavia, 1941-5. Osprey Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 1855324733. 
  20. ^ Raphael Lemkin; Samantha Power (2008). Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. The Lawbook Exchange. pp. 241–264. ISBN 1584779012. 
  21. ^ Rendulić, Zlatko. Avioni domaće konstrukcije posle drugog svetskog rata (Domestic aircraft construction after World War II), Lola institute, Beograd, 1996, p 10. "At the Teheran Conference of 28 November to 1 December 1943, NOVJ is recognized as an allied army, this time by all three allied sides, and for the first time by the United States."
  22. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 85
  23. ^ Yugoslavia in World War 2
  24. ^ Narodnooslobodilačka Vojska Jugoslavije. Beograd. 1982.
  25. ^ Bailey, 1980, P. 80
  26. ^ LCWeb2.loc.gov
  27. ^ Timofejev A., Russia and the Second World War in Yugoslavia.Belgrаd, 2011
  28. ^ Higgins, Trumbull (1966). Hitler and Russia. The Macmillan Company. pp. 11–59, 98–151. 
  29. ^ a b Pavličević (2007), pp. 441–442
  30. ^ Yugoslavia's National Minorities under Communism by Paul Shoup In: Slavic Review, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1963), p.67
  31. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 419
  32. ^ a b Thomas, 1995, p.12
  33. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 420
  34. ^ a b Thomas, 1995, p.13
  35. ^ a b c d Thomas, 1995, p.17
  36. ^ Savic, et al., 2002, p. 60
  37. ^ Battles & Campaigns during World War 2 in Yugoslavia
  38. ^ Martin, 1946, p.34
  39. ^ Ciglic, et al., 2007, p. 113
  40. ^ "While Tito Fights". Time Magazine. January 17, 1944. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,796332,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  41. ^ .Thomas, 1995, p.24
  42. ^ Thomas, 1995, p.32
  43. ^ Thomas, 1995, p.33
  44. ^ Thomas, 1995, p.10
  45. ^ "Photograph #46717". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. http://resources.ushmm.org/inquery/uia_doc.php/query/45?uf=uia_BeHOBM. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  46. ^ Thomas, 1995, p.9
  47. ^ Savic & Ciglic, 2002, p. 70
  48. ^ Ciglic, et al., 2007, p. 150
  49. ^ Thomas, 1995, p.22
  50. ^ a b Shaw, 1973, p.101
  51. ^ Ambrose, 1998, p.335
  52. ^ Time.com, Too Tired Time Magazine 1946-06-24
  53. ^ Cohen 1996, p. 109.
  54. ^ a b c d e f Žerjavić, Vladimir. YUGOSLAVIA-MANIPULATIONS -WITH THE NUMBER OF SECOND WORLD WAR VICTIMS. Croatian Information Centre. ISBN 0-919817-32-7. http://www.hic.hr/books/manipulations/index.htm. 
  55. ^ MacDonald 2002, p. 161.
  56. ^ a b c d Cohen 1996, p. 108.
  57. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census The Population of Yugoslavia Ed. Paul F. Meyers and Arthur A. Campbell , Washington D.C.- 1954
  58. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 737
  59. ^ a b Tomasevich, 2001, p. 744
  60. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 744-745
  61. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 747
  62. ^ Tomasevich, 2001, p. 748
  63. ^ a b Tomasevich, 2001, p. 749
  64. ^ DS-RS.si
  65. ^ DS-RS.si
  66. ^ RTVSLO.si
  67. ^ Delo, Sobotna priloga, 30.10.2010
  68. ^ 66 7.6.2002 Zakon o prestanku važenja Zakona o utvrđivanju ratnih i poratnih žrtava II. svjetskog rata, narodne-novine.nn.hr
  • Ambrose, S. The Victors - The Men of World War II, London, 1998. ISBN 978 0 6848 5629 2
  • Bailey, R. H. (original edition from 1978). Partisans and Guerrillas (World War II; v. 12). Chicago, Illinois, USA: Time-Life Books. 1980.
  • Ciglic, B. and Savic, D. 'Dornier Do 17 The Yugoslav story, Operational Record 1937-1947. Jeroplan, Belgrade, 2007. ISBN 978-86-909727-0-8
  • Cohen, Philip J.; Riesman, David (1996). Serbia's Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 0890967601. 
  • Martin, D. Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, Prentice Hall, New York, 1946.
  • Pavličević, Dragutin (2007). Povijest Hrvatske. Naklada Pavičić. ISBN 978-953-6308-71-2. 
  • Savic, D. and Ciglic, B. Croatian Aces of World War II, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces - 49, Oxford, 2002. ISBN 1 84176 435 3
  • Shaw, L. Trial by Slander: A background to the Independent State of Croatia, Harp Books, Canberra, 1973. ISBN 0-909432-00-7
  • Thomas, N., Mikulan, K. and Pavelic, D. 'Axis Forces in Yugoslavia 1941-45 Osprey, London, 1995. ISBN 1 85532 473 3
  • Thomas, N., Abbot, P. and Chappell, M. 'Partisan Warfare 1941-45 Osprey, London, 2000. ISBN 0 85045 513 8
  • Tomasevich, Jozo; Vucinich, Wayne S. (1969). Contemporary Yugoslavia: Twenty Years of Socialist Experiment. University of California Press. 
  • Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804708576. 

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