Draža Mihailović

Draža Mihailović
Draža Mihailović
144 Draza Mihajlovic.jpg
Nickname "Uncle Draža"
Born April 27, 1893(1893-04-27)
Ivanjica, Serbia
Died July 17, 1946(1946-07-17) (aged 53)
Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Allegiance Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1942-43)
Service/branch Royal Serbian Army
Royal Yugoslav Army
Chetnik movement
Years of service 1910-1946
Rank General
Commands held Chetnik movement
Battles/wars World War I
Yugoslav Front (part of World War II)
Awards CZE Rad Bileho Lva 5 tridy BAR.svg Order of the White Eagle
Military cross BAR.svg Military Cross
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Ruban de la croix de guerre 1939-1945.PNG Croix de guerre
Other work Executed by firing squad for war crimes and high treason in 1946 by the new Yugoslav government

Dragoljub "Draža" Mihailović (Cyrillic script: Драгољуб "Дража" Михаиловић; also known as "Uncle Draža"; 27 April 1893 – 17 July 1946) was a Yugoslav Serbian general during World War II. A staunch royalist, he retreated to the mountains near Belgrade when the Germans overran Yugoslavia in April 1941 and there he organized bands of guerrillas known as the Chetnik movement.[1][2] The Chetnik organization, officially named the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland (JVUO, ЈВУО), was founded as a royalist/nationalist Serbian resistance movement and was the first Yugoslav military opposition against invaders but by late 1941 they had fallen out with the communist resistance forces, the Partisans.[3] From early 1942 Chetnik factions began collaborating with Italian forces and, after the collapse of Italy as an Axis power, with German occupation forces.[4]

After the war, Mihailović was tried and convicted of high treason and war crimes by the Yugoslav authorities, and executed by firing squad. The nature, extent and responsibility for collaboration and ethnic massacres remain controversial.


Early life and military career

Serbian officers in the company of a British nurse on the Salonika front. Second lieutenant Draža Mihailović (kneeling).

Born in Ivanjica, Kingdom of Serbia, Mihailović was the son of a Court clerk. Orphaned at seven, he was raised by his paternal uncle in Belgrade.[5] Both his uncles were military officers and he himself joined the Serbian military academy in October 1910. He fought as a cadet in the Balkan Wars 1912–1913. At the end of the First Balkan War, he was awarded the Silver Medal of valor. At the end of the Second Balkan War, during which he mainly led operations along the Albanian border, he was given the rank of Second Lieutenant as the top soldier in his class, ranked sixth at the Serbian military academy.[6] He served in World War I and together with the Serbian Army marched through Albania in 1915 during the long retreat. He later received several decorations for his achievements on the Salonica front. He was appointed to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes' Royal guard but had to leave his position in 1920 after taking part in a public argument between Communist and nationalist sympathizers. He was sent to Skopje. In 1921, he was admitted to the Superior Military Academy of Belgrade. In 1923, having finished his studies, he was promoted as an assistant to the military staff, along with the fifteen other best alumni of his promotion.[7] In 1930, he was made a Lieutenant Colonel: that same year, he spent three months in Paris, following classes at the École Militaire. Some authors have asserted that he met and befriended Charles de Gaulle during his stay, although there is no proof of this.[8] He was appointed in 1935 in Sofia, as a military attaché to the Kingdom of Bulgaria. On September 6, 1935, he achieved the rank of Colonel. Mihailović then came in contact with members of Zveno and considered taking part in a plot aiming to provoke Boris III's abdication and set up an alliance between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, but, being untrained as a spy, he was soon identified by Bulgarian authorities and was asked to leave the country. He was then appointed as an attaché in Prague, Czechoslovakia.[9]

His military career almost came to an abrupt end in 1937, when he submitted a report strongly criticizing the Yugoslav Royal Army's organization. Among his most important proposals were the idea of dividing the Yugoslav Royal Army along national lines, into (Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes), and the use of mobile Chetnik units along the borders. Milan Nedić, Minister of the Army, was incensed by Mihailović's report and sentenced him to 30 days imprisonment. Afterwards, Mihailović was appointed as professor to Belgrade's staff college.[10] World War II found Colonel Mihailović occupying a minor position of assistant to chief of staff of the Second Army. In the last years before World War II, he was stationed in Celje, Slovenia (then Drava Banovina). In April 1941, he was chief of staff of the Yugoslav Second Army in northern Bosnia[11] for a brief period, prior to taking over command of a "Rapid Unit" (brzi odred) shortly before the Yugoslav High Command capitulated to the Germans on April 17th, 1941.[12]

World War II

Following the invasion of Yugoslavia and the country's defeat by Germany in April 1941, a small group of officers and soldiers led by Mihailović escaped in the hope of finding Yugoslav army units still fighting in the mountains. Following skirmishes with Ustaze and Muslim band, and an attempt at sabotage, Mihailović and about 80 men crossed the Drina River on 29 April.[13] Mihailović planned to establish an underground intelligence movement and establish contact with the Allies, though it is unclear if he initially envisioned to start an actual armed resistance movement.[14]

Formation of the Chetniks

Chetnik flag. The Eye of Providence on the Chetnik flag. The skull and bones are the pupil of the eye. The flag reads: "For King and Fatherland - Freedom or Death"
DražaLegion of Merit.jpg

For the time being, Mihailović established a small nucleus of officers with an armed guard, which he called the "Command of Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army".[15] After arriving at Ravna Gora, Serbia in early May, 1941, he realized that his group of seven officers and twenty four non-commissioned officers and soldiers was the only one.[16] He began to draw up lists of conscripts and reservists for possible use. His men at Ravna Gora were joined by a group of civilians, mainly intellectuals of the Serb cultural club, who took charge of propaganda.[17]

The Chetnik group led by Kosta Pećanac already in existence when the war in Yugoslavia broke out did not share Mihailović's desire for resistance.[18] In order to distinguish his group and other groups calling themselves Chetniks, such as Nedic's followers, Mihailović and his followers identified themselves as the "Ravna Gora movement".[19] The stated goal of the Chetniks was the liberation of the country from the occupying armies including mainly the forces of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Ustaše, the fascist regime of the Independent State of Croatia.[citation needed]

Mihailović spent most of 1941 consolidating scattered army remnants and recruiting new forces. In August, Mihailović set up a civilian advisory body, the Central National Committee, composed of Serbian political leaders including some with strong nationalist views such as Dragiša Vasić and Stevan Moljević.[20] On June 19, a clandestine Chetnik courier reached Istanbul, whence royalist Yugoslavs reported that Mihailović appeared to be organizing a resistance movement against Axis forces.[21] Mihailović first established radio contact with the British in September 1941 when his radio operator raised a ship in the Mediterranean, and his first radio message to King Peter's government in exile announcing that he was organizing a resistance force formed of remnants of the Yugoslav army was received on September 13.[22] He also received the help from officers in other areas of Yugoslavia, such as Slovene officer Rudolf Perinhek, who brought reports on the situation in Montenegro. Mihailović sent him back to Montenegro with written authorization to organize units there, and with oral approvals for other officers like Đorđe Lasić and Pavle Đurišić. He only gave vague and contradictory orders to Perinhek, mentioning the need to put off civil strife and to "remove enemies."[23]

Mihailović's strategy was to avoid direct conflict with the Axis forces, intending to rise up after Allied forces arrived in Yugoslavia.[24] Mihailović's Chetniks had had defensive encounters with the Germans, but reprisals and the tales of the massacres in the Independent State of Croatia made them reluctant to engage directly in armed struggle, except against the Ustaše at the border.[25] In the meantime, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia led by Tito also went into action and called in July for an insurrection against the occupiers, setting up their armed force which came to be known as the Partisans.[26] At the end of August, Chetniks and Partisans both came into action, sometimes jointly despite their mutual diffidence, capturing prisoners.[27] But Mihailović discouraged sabotage due to German reprisals (such as more than 3,000 killed in Kraljevo and Kragujevac) unless some great gain could be accomplished; instead, he favored sabotage that could not easily be traced.[28] His reluctance to engage in more active resistance meant that most sabotage carried out in the early period of the war were due to efforts by the Partisans, and Mihailović lost several commanders and a number of followers who wished to fight the Germans to the Partisan movement.[29]

Even though Mihailović initially asked for discreet support, propaganda from the British and from the Yugoslav government in exile quickly began to exalt his feats. The creation of a resistance movement in occupied Europe was received as a morale booster. On November 15, the BBC announced that Mihailović was the commander of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, which became the Chetniks' official name.[30]

Conflicts with Axis troops and partisans

1942 German proclamation and reward offer for Mihailović, after the Chetnik killing of 4 German officers.

Mihailović soon realized that his men did not have the means to protect the civilians in Serbia against German reprisals.[31][32] The prospect of reprisals also fed Chetnik concerns regarding a possible takeover of the Yugoslavia by the Partisans after the war, and they did not wish to engage in actions that might ultimately result in a post-war Serbian minority.[33] Mihailović's strategy was to bring together the Serbian bands and build an organization capable of seizing power after the occupation forces withdrew or were defeated, rather than engaging in direct confrontation.[34] In contrast to the reluctance of Chetnik leaders to directly engage the Axis forces, the Partisans advocated open resistance, which appealed to those Chetniks desiring to fight the occupation.[35] By September, Mihailović began losing men such as Pop Vlada Secevic and Lt. Ratko Martinovic, and the Cer Chetniks led by Captain Dragoslav Racic, to the Partisans.[36][37]

On September 19, Tito met with Mihailović to negotiate an alliance between the Partisans and Chetniks, but they failed to reach an agreement as the disparity of the aims of their respective movements was great enough to preclude any real compromise.[38] Tito was in favor of a joint full-scale offensive, while Mihailović considered a general uprising to be premature and dangerous, as he deemed it would trigger reprisals.[39] For his part, Tito's goal was to prevent an assault from the rear by the Chetniks, as he was convinced that Mihailović was playing a "double game", maintaining contacts with German forces via the Nedic government. Mihailović was in contact with Nedic's government, receiving monetary aid via Col Popovic.[40] On the other hand, Mihailović sought to prevent Tito from assuming the leadership role in the resistance,[41][42] as Tito's goals were counter to his goal was the restoration of the Yugoslavian Monarchy and the establishment of a Greater Serbia.[43] Further talks were scheduled for October 16.[44]

At the end of September, the Germans launched a massive offensive against both Partisans and Chetniks.[citation needed]

A joint British-Yugoslav intelligence mission, quickly assembled by the Special Operations Executive and led by Captain D. T. Hudson had arrived on the Montenegrin coast on the 22nd of September, whence they had made their way with the help of Montenegrin Partisans to their headquarters, and then on to Tito's headquarters at Uzice.[45] and arrived on or around October 25.[46] Hudson reported that earlier promises of supplies made by the British to Mihailovic contributed to the poor relationship between Mihailovic and Tito, as Mihailovic correctly believed that no one outside of Yugoslavia knew about the Partisan movement,[47][48][49] and felt that "the time was ripe for drastic action against the Communists"[50]

Tito and Mihailović met again on October 27, 1941 in the town of Brajići near Ravna Gora in an attempt to achieve an understanding, but found consensus only on secondary issues.[51] Immediately following the meeting, Mihailovic began preparations for an attack on the Partisans, delaying the attack only for lack of arms.[52] Mihailovic reported to his government in exile that he believed occupation of Užice, the location of a gun factory, was required to prevent strengthening of the Communists.[53] On October 28, two Chetnik liaison officers approached first Nedic and later that day German officer Josef Matl of the Armed Forces Liaison Office, with an offer of Mihailovic's services in the struggle against the Partisans in exchange for weapons.[54][55] This offer was relayed to the German General in charge of Serbia, and a meeting was proposed by the German for November 3. On November 1, the Chetniks attacked the Partisans' headquarters at Užice, but were beaten back.[56][57] On November 3, 1941 Milhailovic postponed the proposed meeting with the German officers until November 11 citing the "general conflict" in which the Chetniks and Partisans were engaged requiring his presence at his headquarters.[58][59] The meeting, organized through one of Mihailović's representatives in Belgrade, took place between the Chetnik leader and an Abwehr official, although it remains controversial if the initiative came from the Germans, from Mihailović himself, or from his liaison officer in Belgrade.[60] It appears that Mihailović offered to cease activities in the towns and along the major communication lines, but ultimately no agreement was reached at the time due to German demands for the complete surrender of the Chetniks,[61][62][63] and the German's belief that the Chetniks were likely to attack them despite Mihailović's offer.[64] After the negotiations, an attempt was made by the Germans to arrest Mihailović.[65] Mihailović carefully kept the negotiations with the Germans secret from the Yugoslav government-in-exile, as well as from the British and their representative Hudson.[66][67]

Milhailović's assault on the Partisan headquarters at Užice and Pozega failed, and the Partisans mounted a rapid counter attack.[68][69] Within two weeks, the Partisan forces repelled the Chetnik advances and surrounded Milhailović's headquarters at Ravna Gora. Due to the loss of troops from clashes with Germans[citation needed], the loss of approximately one thousand troops and considerable equipment in the attack against the Partisans,[70] and having received only one small delivery of arms from the British in early November,[71] and having been unsuccessful in convincing the German to provide him with supplies,[72] Mihailović found himself in a desperate situation.[73][74]

In mid November, the Germans began an offensive against the Partisans, Operation Western Morava, which bypassed Chetnik forces.[75][76][77] Having been unable to quickly overcome the Chetniks forces, faced with reports that the British considered Milhailović as the leader of the resistance, and under pressure from the German offensive, Tito approached Milhailović with an offer to negotiate which resulted in talks which led to an armistice between the two groups on November 20 or 21st.[78][79][80] Tito and Mihailović had one last phone conversation on November 28; Tito announced that he would defend his positions, while Mihailović said that he would disperse.[81][82][83] On November 30 Milhailović's unit leaders decided to join the "legalized" Chetniks under General Nedic's command, in order to be able to continue the fight against the Partisans without risk from the Germans and to avoid compromising Mihailovic's relationship with the British. Evidence suggests that Milhailović did not order this, but rather only sanctioned the decision.[84][85] About 2-3,000 of Mihailović's men actually enlisted in this capacity within the Nedić regime. The legalization allowed his men to have a salary and an alibi provided by the collaborationist administration, while it provided the Nedić regime with more men to fight the communists, although under the control of the Germans.[86] Mihailović also considered that he could, using this method, infiltrate the Nedić administration, which was soon fraught with sympathizers of his "Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland".[87] While this arrangement was different than all-out collaboration like Kosta Pećanac's, it caused much confusion over who and what the Chetniks were.[citation needed] Others of Mihailović's men crossed to Bosnia to fight the Ustaše, while most abandoned the struggle.[citation needed] Throughout November, the Mihailović's forces had been under pressure from German forces, and on December 3rd, the Germans issues orders for Operation Mihailović, an attack against Mihailović forces in Ravna Gora.[88] The day before the attack, December 5th, Mihailović was warned by contacts serving under Nedić of the impending attack,[89] and Mihailović closed down his radio transmitter on December 5 in order not to give the Germans hints of his whereabouts,[90] dispersed his command and the remainder of his forces.[91] The remnants of his Chetniks retreated to the hills of Ravna Gora, but were under German attack throughout December,[92] Mihailović narrowly avoiding capture.[93] On December 10, a bounty was put on his head.[94]

Activities in Montenegro and Serbia

Pavle Đurišić, Mihailović's representative in Montenegro, first fought the Italians, then started collaborating with them against the Partisans.
German-produced poster offering 100,000 Gold Marks for the capture of Mihailović, 1943.

In early 1942, the Yugoslav Government in exile reorganized and appointed Slobodan Jovanović as the prime minister, and the cabinet took as a primary goal strengthening Milhailović's position, seeking unsuccessfully to obtain support from both the Americans and the British.[95] The latter had suspended support in late 1941 following Hudson's reports of the conflict between the Chetniks and Partisans. Milhailovic, infuriated by Hudson's recommendations, denied Hudson radio access and had no contact with the British agent through the first months of 1942.[96] Although Milhailović was in hiding, by March the Nedić government located him, and a meeting sanctioned by the German occupation took place between him and Aćimović. Following this meeting, General Bader was informed that Mihailović was willing to put himself at the disposal of the Nedić government in the fight against the Communists, but Bader refused the offer.[97] In April 1942 Mihailović, still hiding in Serbia, resumed contact with British envoy Hudson, who was also able to resume his radio transmission to Allied headquarters in Cairo, using Mihailović's transmitter. In May, the British resumed their help to the Chetniks, although only to a small extent,[98] with a single airdrop on 30 March.[99] Mihailović left for Montenegro, arriving there on the first on June.[100] He established his headquarters there and, on June 10, was formally appointed as Chief of staff of the Supreme command of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland.[101] The Partisans, in the meantime, insisted to the Soviets that Mihailović was a traitor and a collaborator, and should be condemned as such. The Soviets initially saw no need for it, and their propaganda kept supporting Mihailović. Eventually, on July 6, 1942, the station Radio Free Yugoslavia, located in the Comintern building in Moscow, broadcast a resolution from Yugoslav "patriots" in Montenegro and Bosnia labeling Mihailović a collaborator.[102]

In Montenegro, Mihailović had found a complex situation, with local Chetnik leaders Stanišić and Đurišić having reached arrangements with the Italians, and cooperating with them against the communist-led Partisans.[103][104] Mihailović later claimed at his trial in 1946 that he was unaware of these arrangements prior to his arrival in Montenegro, and had to accept them once he arrived,[105][106] as Stanišić and Đurišić acknowledged him as their leader in name only and would only follow Mihailovic's orders if they supported their interests.[107] Mihailović believed that Italian military intelligence was better informed than he of the activities of his commanders.[107] He tried to make the best of the situation, and accepted the appointment of Blažo Đukanović as the figurehead commander of "nationalist forces" in Montenegro. While Mihailović approved the destruction of communist forces, he aimed to exploit the connections of Chetniks commanders with the Italians to get food, arms and ammunition in the expectation of an Allied landing. On 1 December, Pavle Đurišić organised a "Youth conference" of Chetnik units at Šahovići. At the Chetnik congress, which according to Stevan K.Pavlović expressed "extremism and intolerance", nationalist claims were made on parts of Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy, while the resolutions posited the restoration of a monarchy with a period of transitional Chetnik dictatorship. Mihailović and Đukanović did not attend the event, which was entirely dominated by Đurišić, but they sent representatives.[108]

In the Independent State of Croatia, Ilija Trifunović-Birčanin, a leader of pre-world war II Chetnik organizations, commanded the Chetniks in Dalmatia, Lika, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He led a "nationalist" resistance against Partisans and Ustaše and acknowledged Mihailović as formal leader, but acted on his own, with his troops being used by the Italians as the local Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia (MVAC). Italian commander Mario Roatta aimed to spare Italian lives, but also to counter Ustaše and Germans, to undermine Mihailović's authority among the Chetniks by playing up local leaders, and to have possible links with Mihailović and the Allies in case the Axis lost the war. Chetniks, led by Dobroslav Jevđević, came from Montenegro to help Bosnia's Serb population against the Ustaše. They murdered and pillaged in Foča until the Italians intervened in August. Help was also asked of the Italians by Chetniks for protection against the Ustaše's retributions. On 22 July, Mihailović met with Trifunović-Birčanin, Jevđević, and his newly-appointed delegate in Herzegovina Petar Baćović. The meeting was supposedly secret, but was known to Italian intelligence; Mihailović gave no precise orders but expressed his confidence in both his subordinates, adding, according to Italian reports, that he was waiting for help from the Allies to start a real guerrilla campaign, in order to spare Serb lives. Summoned by Roatta upon their return, Trifunović-Birčanin and Jevđević assured the Italian commander that Mihailović was merely a "moral head" and that they would not attack Italians, even if he should give such an order.[109]

Having become more and more concerned with domestic enemies and concerned that he be in a position to control Yugoslavia after the Allies defeated the Axis occupation, Mihailović concentrated from Montenegro on directing operations, in the various parts of Yugoslavia, mostly against Partisans, but also against Ustaše and Dimitrije Ljotić's Serbian Volunteer Corps.[110] During the autumn of 1942 at the request of the British Mihailović's organization undertook a series of sabotages against the railway lines used to supply Axis forces in the Western Desert[111] In September and December, Mihailović's actions damaged the Serbian railway system seriously; the Allies gave him credit for inconveniencing Axis forces and contributing to their successes in Africa.[112] Early in September 1942, Mihailović called through leaflets and clandestine radio transmitters from civil disobedience against the collaborationist Serbian regime of Milan Nedić; fighting resulted between Chetniks and followers of the Nedić regime. The Germans, whom the Serbian administration had called for help against Mihailović, responded to Nedić's request and to the sabotages with mass terror, and attacked the Chetniks in late 1942 and early 1943. Roberts mentions Nedić's request for help as the main reason for German action, and does not mention the sabotage campaign. Pavlović, on the other hand, mentions the sabotages as simultaneous with the propaganda actions. Thousands of arrests were made and during December, 1,600 Chetnik combatants were killed in German reprisals. In response to these actions, Mihailović abandoned the active resistance to the Germans begun that summer and reverted to his previous strategy of avoiding open conflict and waiting for an Allied landing.[113]

Mihailović had great difficulties controlling his local commanders, who often did not have radio contacts and relied on couriers to communicate. He was, however, apparently actually aware that many Chetnik groups were committing crimes against civilians and acts of ethnic cleansing; according to Stevan K.Pavlović, Pavle Đurišić proudly reported to Mihailović that he had destroyed Muslim villages, in retribution against acts committed by Muslim militias. While Mihailović apparently did not order such acts himself, and disapproved of them, he also failed to take any action against them, being dependent on various armed groups whose policy he could neither denounce nor condone. He also hid the situation from the British and the Royal Yugoslav government-in-exile.[114] Many terror acts were committed by Chetnik groups against their various enemies, real or perceived, reaching a peak between October 1942 and February 1943.[115]

Ethnic conflict and terror tactics

see also Chetniks: Ethnic conflict and terror tactics

Chetnik ideology encompassed the notion of a Greater Serbia, to be achieved by forcing population shifts in order to create ethnically homogeneous areas.[116] Partly due to this ideology and partly in response to violent actions undertaken by Ustasha and Muslim forces attached to them, Chetniks forces engaged in numerous acts of violence including massacres and destruction of property, and used terror tactics to drive out non-Serb groups.[117][118]

"Instrukcije" ("Instructions") of 1941 attributed to Mihailović ordering the cleansing of non-Serbs from territories claimed by the Chetniks as part of a Greater Serbia

Mihailović's role in such actions is unclear as there is "...no definite evidence that [he] himself ever called for ethnic cleansing.[119] Instructions to his Montenegrin subordinates commanders, Lasic and Djurisic, which prescribe cleansing actions of non-Serb elements in order to create a Great Serbia have been attributed to Mihailović by some historians,[120][121][122][123] but some historians argue that the document was a forgery made by Djurišić after he failed to reach Mihailović in December of 1941 after the latter was driven out of Ravna Gora by German forces.[124][125][126][127][128] It is important to note that if a forgery, the document was forged by Chetniks hoping it would be taken as a legitimate order, not by their opponents seeking to discredit the Chetniks.[129] The objectives outlined in the directive were:[130]

  1. The struggle for the liberty of our whole nation under the scepter of His Majesty King Peter II;
  2. the creation of a Great Yugoslavia and within it of a Great Serbia which is to be ethnically pure and is to include Serbia [meaning also Vardar Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srijem, the Banat, and Bačka];
  3. the struggle for the inclusion into Yugoslavia of all still unliberated Slovene territories under the Italians and Germans (Trieste, Gorizia, Istria, and Carinthia) as well as Bulgaria, and northern Albania with Scutari;
  4. the cleansing of the state territory of all national minorities and a-national elements [i.e. the Partisans and their supporters];
  5. the creation of contiguous frontiers between Serbia and Montenegro, as well as between Serbia and Slovenia by cleansing the Muslim population from Sandžak and the Muslim and Croat populations from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Whether or not the instructions were forged, Mihailović was certainly aware of both the ideological goal of cleansing and of the violent acts taken to accomplish that goal. Stevan Moljević worked out the basics of the Chetnik program while at Ravna Gora in the summer of 1941,[131] and Mihailović sent representatives to Conference of Young Chetnik Intellectuals of Montenegro where the basic formulations were expanded.[132] Djurišić played the dominate role at this conference.[citation needed] Relations between Djurišić and Milhailovic were strained, and although Mihailovic did not participate, neither did he take any action to counter it.[133] At his trial in 1946, Mihailović claimed that he never ordered the destruction of Croate and Muslim villages, and some of his subordinates hid such activities from him, but Djurišić, for example, boasted of his actions to Mihailović after leading actions to destroy Muslim villages.[134][135]

Relations with the British

Winston Churchill became increasingly doubtful about Mihailović.

On November 15, 1942, Captain Hudson cabled to Cairo that the situation was problematic, that opportunities for large-scale sabotage were not exploited because of Mihailović's willingness to avoid reprisals and that, while waiting for an Allied landing and victory, the Chetnik leader might come to "any sound understanding with either Italians or Germans which he believed might serve his purposes without compromising him", in order to defeat the communists.[136] In December, Major Peter Boughey, a member of SOE's London staff, insisted to Zivan Knežević, member of the Yugoslav cabinet, that Mihailović was a Quisling, who was openly collaborating with the Italians.[137] The Foreign Office called Boughey's declarations "blundering" but the British were worried about the situation and Mihailović's inactivity.[138] A British senior officer, Colonel S. W. Bailey, was then sent to Mihailović and was parachuted into Montenegro on Christmas Day. His mission was to gather information and to see if Mihailović had carried out necessary sabotages against railroads.[139] During the following months, the British's efforts concentrated on having Mihailović stop Chetnik collaboration with Axis forces and perform the expected actions against the occupiers, but they were not successful.[140]

In January 1943, the SOE reported to Churchill that Mihailović's subordinate commanders had made local arrangements with Italian authorities, although there was no evidence that Mihailović himself had ever dealt with the Germans. The report concluded that, while aid to Mihailović was as necessary as ever, it would be advisable to extend assistance to other resistance groups and to try to reunite the Chetniks and the Partisans.[141] British liaison officers reported in February that Mihailović had "at no time" been in touch with the Germans, but that his forces had been in some instances aiding the Italians against the Partisans (the report was simultaneous with the Third anti-Partisan Offensive). Bailey reported that Mihailović was increasingly dissatisfied with the insufficient help he was receiving from the British.[142] Mihailović's movement had been so inflated by British propaganda that the liaison officers found the reality decidedly below expectations.[143]

On January 3, 1943, just before the battle of the Neretva, an Axis conference was held in Rome, attended by German commander Alexander Löhr, representatives of the Independent State of Croatia, and by Dobroslav Jevđević who, this time, collaborated openly with the Axis forces against the Partisans, and had gone to the conference without Mihailović's knowledge. Mihailović disapproved of Jevđević's presence and reportedly sent him an angry message, but his actions were limited to announcing that Jevđević's military award would be withdrawn.[144]

On February 28, 1943, in Bailey's presence, Mihailović addressed his troops in Lipovo. Bailey reported that Mihailović had expressed his bitterness over "perfidious Albion" who expected the Serbs to fight to the last drop of blood without giving them any means to do so, had said that the Serbs were completely friendless, that the British were holding King Peter II and his government as virtual prisoners, and that he would keep accepting help from the Italians as long as it would give him the means to annihilate the Partisans. Also according to Bailey's report, he added that his enemies were the Ustaše, the Partisans, the Croats and the Muslims and that only after dealing with them would he turn to the Germans and the Italians.[145][146]

While defenders of Mihailović have argued that Bailey had mistranslated the speech,[147] and may have even done so intentionally,[148] the effect on the British was disastrous and marked the beginning of the end for British-Chetnik cooperation. The British officially protested to the Yugoslav government-in-exile and demanded explanations regarding Mihailović's attitude and collaboration with the Italians. Mihailović answered to his government that he had had no meetings with Italian generals and that Jevđjević had no command to do so. The British announced that they would send him more abundant supplies.[149] Also in early 1943, the tone of the BBC broadcasts became more and more favorable to the Partisans, describing them as the only resistance movement in Yugoslavia - Bailey complained to the Foreign Office that his position with Mihailović was being prejudiced by this[150] - and occasionally attributing to them resistance acts actually undertaken by the Chetniks.[151] The Foreign Office protested and the BBC apologized, but the line did not really change.[150]

Defeat in the battle of the Neretva

During the battle of the Neretva, the Italians heavily supported the Chetniks in the hope that they would deal a fatal blow to the Partisans. The Germans disapproved of this collaboration, about which Hitler personally wrote to Mussolini.[152] At the end of February, shortly after his speech, Mihailović himself joined his troops in Herzegovina near the Neretva in order to try to salvage the situation. The Partisans nevertheless defeated the opposing Chetniks troops, who were in a state of disarray, and managed to go across the Neretva.[153] In March, the Partisans negotiated a truce with Axis forces in order to gain some time and use it to defeat the Chetniks. While Ribbentrop and Hitler finally overruled the orders of their subordinates and forbade any such contacts, the Partisans benefited from this brief truce, during which Italian support for the Chetniks was suspended, and which allowed Tito's forces to deal a severe blow to Mihailović's troops.[154]

In May, the German intelligence service also tried to establish a contact with Mihailović to see if an alliance against the Partisans was possible. In Kolašin, they met with a Chetnik officer, who did not introduce himself. They assumed they had met Mihailović himself, but the man was possibly not the general, whom Bailey reported to be in another area at the same period. The German command, however, reacted strongly against any attempt at "negotiating with the enemy".[155]

The Germans then turned to their next operation, code-named Schwarz, and attacked the Montenegrin Chetniks. Pavle Đurišić appears to have suggested to Mihailović a short-term cooperation with the Germans against the Partisans, something Mihailović refused. Đurišić ended up defending his headquarters at Kolašin against the Partisans. On 14 May, the Germans entered Kolašin and captured Đurišić, while Mihailović escaped.[154][156]

In late May, after regaining control of most of Montenegro, the Italians turned their efforts against the Chetniks, at least against Mihailović's forces, and put a reward of half a million lire for the capture of Mihailović, and one million for the capture of Tito.[157]

Allied support shifts

Josip Broz Tito, commander of the Partisans, was ultimately favored by the Allies over Mihailović.

In April and May 1943, the British sent a mission to the Partisans and strengthened their mission to the Chetniks. Major Jasper Rootham, one of the liaison officers to the Chetniks, reported that engagements between Chetniks and Germans did occur, but were invariably started by German attacks. During the summer, the British sent supplies to both Chetniks and Partisans.[158]

Mihailović returned to Serbia and his movement rapidly recovered its dominance in the region. Receiving more weapons from the British, he undertook a series of actions and sabotages, disarmed Serbian State Guard detachments and skirmished with Bulgarian troops, though he generally avoided the Germans, considering that his troops were not yet strong enough. In Serbia, his organization controlled the mountains where the occupation troops were absent. The collaborationist Serbian administration was largely infiltrated by his men, many Serbian State Guard troops being actually sympathetic to the "Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland". After the defeat on the Neretva, Mihailović tried to improve his organization. Dragiša Vasić, the movement's ideologue who had opposed the Italian connection and clashed with Mihailović, left the supreme command. Mihailović tried to extend his contacts to Croats and traditional parties, and to revitalise his contacts in Slovenia.[159] The United States sent liaison officers to join Bailey's mission with Mihailovic, while also sending men to Tito.[160] The Germans, in the meantime, became worried by the Partisans' growing strength and made local arrangements with Chetnik groups, though not with Mihailović himself. According to Walter R. Roberts, there is "little doubt" that Mihailović was aware of these arrangements and that he might have regarded them as the lesser of two evils, his primary aim being to defeat the Partisans.[161]

From the beginning of 1943, British impatience with Mihailović grew. From the decrypts of German wireless messages, Churchill and his government concluded that the Chetniks' collaboration with the Italians went beyond what was acceptable and that the Partisans were doing the most severe damage to the Axis.[162]

With Italy's withdrawal in September 1943, the Chetniks in Montenegro found themselves under attack by both the Germans and the Partisans, who took control of large parts of Montenegrin territory, including the former "Chetnik capital" of Kolašin. Pavle Đurišić, having escaped from a German camp in Galicia, found his way to Yugoslavia, was captured again, and was then asked by collaborationist prime minister Milan Nedić to form a Montenegrin Volunteer Corps against the Partisans. He was pledged to Nedić, but also made a secret allegiance to Mihailović. Both Mihailović and Đurišić expected a landing by the Western Allies. In Serbia, Mihailović was considered the representative of the victorious Allies.[163] In the chaotic situation created by Italian surrender, several Chetnik leaders overtly collaborated with the Germans against the reinforced Partisans; approached by an Abwehr agent, Dobroslav Jevđević offered the services of about 5,000 men. Momčilo Đujić also went to the Germans for cover against Ustaše and Partisans, although he was distrusted.[164] In October 1943, Mihailovic, at the Allies' request, agreed to undertake two sabotage operations, which had the effect of making him even more of a wanted man and forced him, according to British reports, to change his headquarters frequently.[165]

By November and December 1943, the Germans had realized that Tito was their most dangerous opponent; German representative Hermann Neubacher managed to conclude secret arrangements with four of Mihailović's commanders for the cessation of hostilities for periods of five to ten weeks. The Germans interpreted this as a sign of weakness from the Mihailović movement. The truces were kept secret, but came to the knowledge of the British through decrypts. There is no evidence that Mihailović had been involved or approved, though British Military Intelligence found it possible that he was "conniving".[166]

The British were more and more concerned about the fact that the Chetniks were more willing to fight Partisans than Axis troops. At the third Moscow Conference in October 1943, Anthony Eden expressed impatience about Mihailović's lack of action.[167] The report of Fitzroy MacLean, liaison officer to the Partisans, convinced Churchill that Tito's forces were the most reliable resistance group. The report of Charles Armstrong, liaison officer to Mihailović, arrived too late for Anthony Eden to take it to the Tehran Conference in late November 1943, though Stevan K.Pavlowitch thinks that it would probably been insufficient to change Churchill's mind. At Tehran, Churchill argued in favor of the Partisans, while Joseph Stalin expressed limited interest but agreed that they should receive the greatest possible support.[168]

On December 10, Churchill met King Peter II in London and told him that he possessed irrefutable proofs of Mihailović's collaboration with the enemy and that Mihailović should be eliminated from the Yugoslav cabinet. Also in early December, Mihailovic was asked to undertake an important sabotage mission against railways, which was later interpreted as a "final opportunity" to redeem himself. However, possibly not realizing how Allied policy had evolved, he failed to give the go-ahead.[169] On January 12, 1944, the SOE in Cairo sent a report to the Foreign Office, saying that Mihailović's commanders had collaborated with Germans and Italians, and that Mihailović himself had condoned and in certain cases approved their actions. This hastened the British's decision to withdraw their thirty liaison officers to Mihailović.[170] The mission was effectively withdrawn in Spring 1944. In April, one month before leaving, liaison officer Armstrong noted that Mihailović had been mostly active in propaganda against the Axis, that he had missed numerous occasions for sabotage in the last six or eight months and that the efforts of many Chetnik leaders to follow Mihailović's orders for inactivity had evolved in non-aggression pacts with Axis troops, although the mission had no evidence of collaboration with the enemy.[171]

In the meantime, Mihailović tried to improve the organization of his movement. On 25 January 1944, with the help of Živko Topalović, he organized in Ba, a village near Ravna Gora, a Chetnik meeting also meant to remove the shadow of the previous congress held in Montenegro. The congress was attended by 274 people, representing various parties, and aimed to be a reaction against the arbitrary behaviour of some commanders; the organization of a new, democratic, possibly federal, Yugoslavia, was mentioned, though the proposals remained vague, and an appeal was even made the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to join. The Chetnik command structure was formally reorganized. Pavle Đurišić was still in charge of Montenegro and Momčilo Đujić of Dalmatia, but Dobroslav Jevđević was excluded. Germans and Bulgarians reacted to the congress by conducting in February an operation against the Chetniks in northern Serbia, killing 80 and capturing 913.[172]

After May and the withdrawal of the British mission, Mihailović kept transmitting radio messages to the Allies and to his government, but no longer received replies. In July and August, he ordered the rescue of about 250 downed allied airmen. Several Yugoslavs were also evacuated, along with Topalović; they tried to raise more support abroad for Mihailović's movement, but this came too late to reverse allied policy.[173] The United States also sent an intelligence mission to Mihailović in March, but withdrew it after Churchill advised Roosevelt that all support should go to Tito and that "complete chaos" would ensue if the Americans also backed Mihailović.[174]

In July, Ivan Šubašić formed the new Yugoslav government in exile, which did not include Mihailović as Minister. Mihailović, however, remained the official chief of staff of the Yugoslav Army. On August 29, upon the recommendation of his government, King Peter II dissolved by royal decree the Supreme Command, therefore abolishing Mihailović's post. On September 12, King Peter II broadcast a message from London, announcing the gist of August 29's decree and calling upon all Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to "join the National Liberation Army under the leadership of Marshal Tito". He also proclaimed that he strongly condemned "the misuse of the name of the King and the authority of the Crown by which an attempt has been made to justify collaboration with the enemy". Though the King did not mention Mihailović, it was clear who he meant. According to his own account, Peter II had obtained after strenuous talks with the British not to say a word directly against Mihailović. The message had a devastating effect on the morale of the Chetniks. Many men left Mihailović after the broadcast; others remained out of loyalty to him.[175]

Defeat in 1944-45

At the end of August 1944, the Soviet Union's Red Army arrived on the eastern borders of Yugoslavia. In early September, it invaded the Kingdom of Bulgaria and coerced it into turning against the Axis. Mihailović's Chetniks, meanwhile, were so badly armed to resist the Partisans' incursions in Serbia that some of Mihailović's officers, including Nikola Kalabić, met German officers to try to work out a meeting with Hermann Neubacher and obtain his support. Milan Nedić, in turn, apparently picked up the idea and suggested forming an army of united anti-communist forces; he arranged a secret meeting with Mihailović, which apparently took place around 20 August. From the existing accounts, they met in a dark room and Mihailović remained mostly silent, so Nedić was not even sure afterwards that he had actually met the real Mihailović. According to British official Stephen Clissold, Mihailović was initially very reluctant to go to the meeting, but was finally convinced by Kalabić. It appears that Nedić offered to obtain arms from the Germans, and to place his Serbian State Guard under Mihailović's command, possibly as part of an attempt to switch sides as Germany was losing the war.[176] Neubacher favored the idea, but it was vetoed by Hitler, who saw this as an attempt to establish an "English fifth column" in Serbia. According to Stevan K.Pavlowitch, Mihailović, who was reportedly not enthusiastic about the proposal, and Nedić might have been trying to "exploit each other's predicaments", while Nedić may have considered letting Mihailović "take over". At the end of August, Mihailović also met an OSS mission, headed by Colonel Robert McDowell, who stayed with him until November.[177]

As the Red Army approached, Mihailović thought that the outcome of war would depend on Turkey entering the conflict, followed at last by an Allied incursion in the Balkans. He called upon all Yugoslavs to remain faithful to the King, and claimed that Peter II had sent him a message telling him not to believe what he had heard on the radio about his dismissal. His troops started to break up outside Serbia in Mid-August, as he tried to reach to Muslim and Croat leaders for a national uprising. However, whatever his intentions, he proved to have little attraction for non-Serbs. Đurišić, while leading his Montenegrin volunteer corps, who were related on paper to Dimitrije Ljotić's forces, accepted once again Mihailović's command.[178] Mihailović ordered a general mobilization on September 1; his troops were engaged against the Germans and the Bulgarians, while also under attack by the Partisans.[175] The Partisans penetrated Chetnik territory, fighting a difficult battle and ultimately defeating Mihailović's main force by October. On 6 October, what was left of Nedić's troops openly joined Mihailović. In the meantinme, the Red Army initially found no Partisans while entering from Romania and Bulgaria; they briefly cooperated with the Chetniks against retreating Germans, before disarming the Chetniks. Mihailović sent a delegation to the Soviet command, but his representatives were ignored, and ultimately arrested. Mihailović's movement collapsed in Serbia under the attacks of Soviets, Partisans, Bulgarians and the fights with the retreating Germans. Still hoping for a landing by the Western Allies, he headed for Bosnia with his staff, McDowell and a force of a few hundreds. He set up a few Muslim units and appointed Croat Major Matija Parac as the head of an as yet non-existent Croatian Chetnik army. Nedić himself had fled to Austria. On 25 May 1945, he wrote to general Eisenhower, asserting that he had always been a secret ally of Mihailović.[179]

Now hoping for US support, Mihailović met a small British mission between the Neretva river and Dubrovnik, but realized that it wasn't the signal of the hoped-for landing. McDowell was evacuated on 1 November and was instructed to offer Mihailović the opportunity to leave with him. Mihailović refused, as he wanted to remain until the expected change of Western Allied policy.[180] During the next weeks, the British government also raised the possibility of evacuating Mihailović by arranging a "rescue and honorable detention", and discussed the matter with the United States. In the end, no action was taken.[181] In January 1945, Mihailović tried to regroup his forces on the Ozren heights, planning Muslim, Croatian and Slovenian units. His troops were, however, decimated and worn out, some selling their weapons and ammunition, or pillaging the local population. Đurišić joined Mihailović, with his own depleted forces, and found out that Mihailović had no plan.[182] Đurišić went his own way, and was killed on 12 April in a battle with the Ustaše.[183]

On March 17, 1945, Mihailović was visited in Bosnia by German emissary Stärker, who requested that Mihailović transmit to the Allied headquarters in Italy a secret German offer of capitulation. Mihailović transmitted the message, which was to be his last.[184] Dimitrije Ljotić and several independent Chetnik leaders in Istria proposed the forming of a common anti-communist front in the north-western coast, which could be acceptable to the Western Allies. Mihailović was not in favor of such a heterogeneous gathering, but did not reject Ljotić's proposal entirely, since the littoral area would be a convenient place to meet the Western Allies, and to join Slovene anti-communists, while Germany's collapse might make an anti-communist alliance possible. He authorized the departure of all who wanted to go, but few Chetniks ultimately arrived on the coast, with many being decimated on their way by Ustaše, Partisans, sickness and hunger.[185] On 13 April, Mihailović set out for northern Bosnia, on a 280 km-long march back to Serbia, aiming to start over a resistance movement, this time against the communists. His units were decimated by clashes with Ustaša, with Tito's forces, as well as dissension and typhus. On 10 May, they were under attack by the Yugoslav People's Army, successor to the Partisans. Mihailović managed to escape with 1,000 to 2,000 men, who gradually dispersed. Mihailović himself went into hiding in the mountains with a handful of men.[186]

Capture, trial and execution

Draža Mihailović (far left) and others stand as the verdict is read.

The communist Yugoslav authorities wanted to catch Mihailović alive in order to stage a full-scale political trial.[187] He was finally caught on 13 March 1946.[188] The elaborate circumstances of his capture were kept secret for sixteen years. According to one existing version, Mihailović was approached by men who were supposedly British agents offering him help and an evacuation by airplane. After hesitating, he boarded the airplane, only to discover that it was a trap set up by the OZNA. Another version, proposed by Tito's regime, is that he was betrayed by Nikola Kalabić, who revealed his place of hiding in exchange for leniency.[189]

The trial of Draža Mihailović opened on 10 June 1946. His co-defendants were other prominent figures of the Chetnik movement as well as members of the Yugoslav government-in-exile, such as Slobodan Jovanović, who were tried in absentia, but also members of ZBOR and of the Nedić regime.[190] The main prosecutor was Miloš Minić, later Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Yugoslav government. Mihailović appeared physically and intellectually weakened, possibly by torture.[191] His answers were often incoherent. The Allied airmen he had rescued in 1944 were not allowed to testify in his favor.[192] Mihailović evaded several questions by accusing some of his subordinates of incompetence and disregard of his orders. The trial shows, according to Jozo Tomasevich, that he had never firm and full control over his local commanders.[193] A committee for the fair trial of General Mihailovic was set up in the United States, but to no avail. Mihailović is quoted as saying, in his final statement, "I wanted much; I began much; but the gale of the world carried away me and my work.".[194]

Roberts considers that the trial was "anything but a model of justice" and that "it is clear that Mihailović was not guilty of all, or even many, of the charges brought against him" though Tito would probably not have had a fair trial either, had Mihailović prevailed. Mihailović was convicted of high treason and war crimes, and executed 17 July 1946.[195] He was executed together with nine other officers in Lisičiji Potok, about 200 meters from the former Royal Palace. His body was reportedly covered with lime and the position of his unmarked grave was kept secret.[196]


In 1920, Draža Mihailović married Jelica Branković; they had three children. One of his sons, Branko Mihailović, was a sympathizer of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and later supported the Partisans.[197] His daughter, Gordana Mihailović, also sided with the Partisans; she spent most of the war in Belgrade and, after the Partisans took the city, spoke on the radio to denounce her father as a traitor.[198] While Mihailović was in prison, his children did not come to see him, and only his wife visited him.[188] In 2005, Gordana Mihailović personally came to accept her father's posthumous award in the United States. Another son, Vojislav Mihailović, fought alongside his father and was killed in battle in May 1945.[199]


General Dragoljub Mihailovich, 1981 portrait by Jim Pollard for the Serbian St. Sava Cultural Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Monument to Draža Mihailović on Ravna Gora

Historians vary in their assessments of Mihilaović. Tomasevich suggests one main cause of his defeat was his failure to grow professionally, politically or ideologically as his responsibilities increased, rendering him unable to face both the exceptional circumstances of the war and the complex situation of the Chetniks.[200] Tomasevich also criticizes Mihailović's loss of the Allies' support through the Chetniks' collaboration with the Axis, as well as his doctrine of "passive resistance" which was perceived as idleness, stating "of generalship in the general there was precious little."[201] Pavlowitch also points to Mihilaović's failure to grow and evolve during the conflict and describes him as a man "generally out of his depth".[202] Roberts asserts that Mihailović's policies were "basically static", that he "gambled all in the faith of an Allied victory," and that ultimately he was unable to control the Chentiks, who, "although hostile to the Germans and the Italians ... allowed themselves to drift into a policy of accommodations with both in the face of what they considered the greatest danger."[203]

Political views of Mihailović cover a wide range. After the war, Mihailović's wartime role was viewed in the light of his movement's collaboration, particularly in Yugoslavia where he was considered a collaborator convicted of high treason. Charles de Gaulle considered Mihailović a "pure hero",[204][205] while Winston Churchill stated he considered intelligence reports had shown that Mihailović had engaged "...in active collaboration with the Germans".[206] In the United States, due to the efforts of Major Richard L. Felman and his friends, President Harry S. Truman, on the recommendation of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, posthumously awarded Mihailović the Legion of Merit for the rescue of American airmen by the Chetniks. The award and the story of the rescue was classified secret by the State Department so as not to offend the Yugoslav government.

"General Dragoljub Mihailovich distinguished himself in an outstanding manner as Commander-in-Chief of the Yugoslavian Army Forces and later as Minister of War by organizing and leading important resistance forces against the enemy which occupied Yugoslavia, from December 1941 to December 1944. Through the undaunted efforts of his troops, many United States airmen were rescued and returned safely to friendly control. General Mihailovich and his forces, although lacking adequate supplies, and fighting under extreme hardships, contributed materially to the Allied cause, and were instrumental in obtaining a final Allied victory." (March 29, 1948, Harry S. Truman)
"The unparalleled rescue of over 500 American Airmen from capture by the Enemy Occupation Forces in Yugoslavia during World War II by General Dragoljub Mihailovich and his Chetnik Freedom Fighters for which this "Legion of Merit" medal was awarded by President Harry S. Truman, also represents a token of deep personal appreciation and respect by all those rescued American Airmen and their descendants, who will be forever grateful." (NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF AMERICAN AIRMEN RESCUED BY GENERAL MIHAILOVICH - 1985)

Almost sixty years after his death, on 29 March 2005, Draža Mihailović's daughter, Gordana, was presented with the posthumous decoration by president George W. Bush.[207][208] The decision was controversial; in Croatia Zoran Pusić, head of the Civil Committee for Human Rights, protested against the decision and stated that Mihailović was directly responsible for the war crimes committed by the Chetniks.[209][210][211]

With the breakup of Yugoslavia and the renewal of ethnic nationalism, the historical perception of Mihailović's collaboration has been challenged by parts of the public in Serbia and other ethnic Serb-populated regions of Yugoslavia. In the 1980s, political and economic problems within Yugoslavia undermined faith in the communist regime, and historians in SR Serbia began a re-evaluation of current historiography and a rehabilitation of Mihailović and the Chetniks.[211] In the 1990s, during the Yugoslav Wars, several Serbian nationalist groups began calling themselves "Chetniks", while Serb paramilitaries often self-identified with them and were referred to as such.[212] Vojislav Šešelj's Serbian Radical Party formed the White Eagles, a paramilitary group considered responsible for war crimes and ethnic cleansing, which identified with the Chetniks.[213][214] Vuk Drašković's Serbian Renewal Movement was closely associated with the Serbian Guard, which was also associated with Chetniks and monarchism.[215] Reunions of Chetnik survivors and nostalgics and of Mihailović admirers have been held in Serbia[216] By the late 20th and early 21st century, Serbian history textbooks and academic works characterized Milhailović and the Chetniks as "fighters for a just cause", and Chetnik massacres of civilians and commission of war crimes were ignored or barely mentioned.[211] In 2004 Mihailovic was officially rehabilitated in Serbia by an act of the Serbian Parliament.[217]

The revised image of Mihailović is not shared in non-Serbian post-Yugoslav nations. In Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina analogies are drawn between war crimes committed during World War II and those of the Yugoslav wars, and Mihailović is "seen as a war criminal responsible for ethnic cleansing and genocidal massacres."[211] The differences were illustrated in 2004, when a Serbian basketball player, Milan Gurović, who has a tattoo of Mihailović on his left arm, was banned by the Croatian Ministry of the Interior Zlatko Mehun from traveling to Croatia for refusing to cover the tattoo, as its display was deemed equivalent to "provoking hatred or violence because of racial background, national identity or religious affiliation."[211][218] Serbian press and politicians reacted to the ban with surprise and indignation, while in Croatia the decision was seen as "wise and a means of protecting the player himself against his own stupidity."[211] In 2009, a Serb group based in Chicago offered a reward of $100,000.00 for help finding Mihailovic's grave.[219] A commission formed by the Serbian government began an investigation and in 2010 suggested Mihailovic may have been interred at Ada Ciganlija.[217]

See also


  1. ^ encyclopedia americana vol 19 page 55
  2. ^ Spartacus educational article
  3. ^ "Partisans: War in the Balkans 1941 - 1945". http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/partisan_fighters_01.shtml#two. Retrieved 11-05-2011. 
  4. ^ David Martin, Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, (New York: Prentice Hall, 1946), p. 34
  5. ^ Buisson (1999), p.13
  6. ^ Buisson (1999), pp.26-27
  7. ^ Buisson (1999), pp.45-49
  8. ^ Buisson (1999), pp.55-56
  9. ^ Buisson (1999), pp.63-65
  10. ^ Buisson (1999), pp.66-68
  11. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.53
  12. ^ Milazzo (1975), pp.12-13
  13. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.13
  14. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.54
  15. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.54
  16. ^ Freeman (2007) p.123
  17. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.54
  18. ^ Roberts (1973), p.21
  19. ^ Roberts (1973), p.21
  20. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.21-22
  21. ^ Roberts (1973), p.22
  22. ^ Roberts (1973), p.22
  23. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.79
  24. ^ Roberts (1973), p.26
  25. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.59
  26. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.56
  27. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.60
  28. ^ Freeman (2007) pp.124-26
  29. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.26-27
  30. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.64
  31. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.63
  32. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.148
  33. ^ Roberts (1973), p.48
  34. ^ Milazzo (1975), pp.15-16
  35. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.21
  36. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.21.
  37. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.141
  38. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.140
  39. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) p.63
  40. ^ Ramet (2006), p.133
  41. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.140"
  42. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.26
  43. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.178
  44. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.26
  45. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.143
  46. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.33
  47. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.34
  48. ^ Roberts (1973), p.34
  49. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.152
  50. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.34
  51. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) pp.62-64
  52. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.35
  53. ^ Roberts (1973), p.34"
  54. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.148
  55. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.35
  56. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.34-35
  57. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.149
  58. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.149"
  59. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.36-37
  60. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) pp.65, Roberts (1973), p.36. Pavlowitch asserts that that it cannot be determined who initiated the meeting, but Roberts attributes it to Matl.
  61. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.38
  62. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.150
  63. ^ Miljuš (1982), p.119
  64. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.155
  65. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) pp.65-66
  66. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.38
  67. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.150"
  68. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.35
  69. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.151
  70. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.37
  71. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.196
  72. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.149
  73. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.256
  74. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.37
  75. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.151
  76. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.39
  77. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.272
  78. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.151"
  79. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.39
  80. ^ Trew (1998) pp.86-88.
  81. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.63
  82. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.150
  83. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.272
  84. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.155
  85. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.40
  86. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.200
  87. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) pp.66-67, 96
  88. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.272
  89. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.272
  90. ^ Roberts (1973), p.38
  91. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.272
  92. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.37-38
  93. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.199
  94. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) pp.65-66
  95. ^ Tomasević (1975), pp.269-271
  96. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.53-54
  97. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Toma.C5.A1evi.C4.87_1975_p.199; see Help:Cite errors/Cite error references no text
  98. ^ [#Tomasević_1975|Tomasević (1975)]], p.184
  99. ^ Roberts (1973), p.56
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  101. ^ Roberts (1973), p.66
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  105. ^ Tomašević, p.219
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  109. ^ Pavlović(2007), pp.122-126
  110. ^ Roberts (1973), p.67
  111. ^ Pavlović (2007), p 98.
  112. ^ Pavlović (2007), pp.98-100
  113. ^ Pavlović (2007), p.100
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  115. ^ Jozo Tomašević, The Chetniks: war and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945, Stanford University Press, 1999, page 256
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  117. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.259
  118. ^ Hoare (2006), p.148
  119. ^ Malcolm (1994), p.179
  120. ^ Lerner (1994), p.105
  121. ^ Mulaj (2008), p.42
  122. ^ Milazzo (1975), p.64
  123. ^ Tomasevich (1975), pp.256-261
  124. ^ Karchmar (1987), p.397
  125. ^ Pavlowitch (2005), p.863
  126. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.79-80
  127. ^ MacDonald (2002), p.261
  128. ^ Malcolm (1994), p.179
  129. ^ Malcolm (1994), p.179
  130. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.170
  131. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.179
  132. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.171
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  134. ^ Pavlowitch (2007) p.127
  135. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.258
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  142. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.91-92
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  144. ^ Buisson (1999), p.164
  145. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.92-93
  146. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.166-167
  147. ^ Roberts (1973), p.94 Roberts quotes Konstantin Fotić, though he adds that even the latter, a Mihailović supporter, admits that the speech was "unfortunate"
  148. ^ Buisson (1999), pp.162-163
  149. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.93-96
  150. ^ a b Roberts (1973), p.86
  151. ^ Jozo Tomasevich, The Chetniks: war and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945, Stanford University Press, 1999, page 361
  152. ^ Roberts (1973), p.103-106
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  159. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.182-186
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  163. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.192-195
  164. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.204-205
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  167. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.157-160
  168. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.191-192
  169. ^ Roberts (1973), p.178-180
  170. ^ Roberts (1973), p.197
  171. ^ Roberts (1973), p.225
  172. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.223-226
  173. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.253-254
  174. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.255-257
  175. ^ a b Roberts (1973), pp.258-260
  176. ^ Roberts (1973), pp.257-258
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  182. ^ Jozo Tomasevich, The Chetniks: war and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945, Stanford University Press, 1999, page 440
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  186. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), pp.266-267
  187. ^ Pavlowitch (2007), p.267
  188. ^ a b Roberts (1973), p.307
  189. ^ Buisson (1999), p.250-251
  190. ^ Buisson (1999), p.262
  191. ^ Ramet (2006), p 166
  192. ^ Buisson (1999), p.260-262
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  194. ^ One Who Survived, Time, 7 October 1957
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  196. ^ Buisson (1999), p.272
  197. ^ Buisson (1999), p.97
  198. ^ Buisson (1999), p.227
  199. ^ Buisson (1999), p.242
  200. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.???
  201. ^ Tomasevich (1975), p.470
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  205. ^ Lutard-Tavard (2005), p.78
  206. ^ Churchill (1953) p.415
  207. ^ Chicago Serbs Timeline
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  218. ^ MSNBC (2004)
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  • Hoare, Marko Attila (2006). Genocide and Resistance in Hitler's Bosnia: The Partisans and the Chetniks, 1941-1943. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0197263801. 
  • Karchmar, Lucien (1987). Draza Mihailović and the Rise of the Cetnik Movement, 1941-1945. Garland Publishing. ISBN 0824080270. 
  • Lampe, John R. (2000,). Yugoslavia as history: twice there was a country. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Lerner, Natan (1994). Yoram Dinstein. ed. "Ethnic Cleansing". Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 24. ISBN 9041100261. ISSN 03335925. 
  • MacDonald, David Bruce (2002). Balkan holocausts? Serbian and Croatian victim-centred propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia. Manchester University Press. ISBN 071906466X. 
  • Malcolm, Noel (1994). Bosnia: a short history. New York University Press. ISBN 0814755208. 
  • Milazzo, Matteo J. (1975). The Chetnik Movement & the Yugoslav Resistance. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 
  • Pavlowitch, Stevan K. (2007). Hitler's new disorder : the Second World War in Yugoslavia. New York: Columbia University Press. 
  • Pavlowitch, Stevan K. (05-2005). "Review of Le Monténégro et l'Italie durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale: Histoire, mythes et réalités by Antoine Sidoti". The English Historical Review 120 (487): 863. 
  • Peyrefitte, Alain (1997). C'était de Gaulle. 2. Paris: Editions de Fallois. 
  • Ramet, Sabrina P. (2006). The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918-2005. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253346568. 
  • Roberts, Walter R.. Tito, Mihailović and the Allies 1941-1945. Rutgers University Press. 
  • Trew, Simon (1998). Britain, Mihailović and the Chetniks, 1941-42. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 031217757. 

Further reading

  • Sindbæk, Tea (April 2009). "The Fall and Rise of a National Hero: Interpretations of Draža Mihailović and the Chetniks in Yugoslavia and Serbia since 1945". Journal of Contemporary European Studies 17 (1): 47–59. doi:10.1080/14782800902844693. 
  • Freeman, Gregory A. (September 2007). The Forgotten 500. 80 Strand, London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-451-22212-1. 
  • Juce, Sinoc. Pjetlovi nad Tigrovima, Sanski Most, BiH: Begovic-Bosanska Krajina Press 2007
  • Martin, David. Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailović. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1946.
  • Martin, David. Patriot or Traitor: The Case of General Mihailović: Proceedings and Report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Committee for a Fair Trial for Draja Mihailović. Hoover Archival Documentaries. Hoover Institution Publication, volume 191. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 1978.[1]
  • Roberts, Walter R. Tito, Mihailović, and the Allies, 1941–1945. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1973.
  • Trew, Simon. Britain, Mihailović, and the Chetniks, 1941–42. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's Press in association with King's College, London, 1998.
  • Tucaković, Semso. Srpski zlocini nad Bosnjacima Muslimanima, 1941 - 1945. Sarajevo: El Kalem, 1995.
  • Marcia Christoff Kurapovna (2010). Shadows on the mountain: the Allies, the Resistance, and the rivalries that doomed WWII Yugoslavia. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-08456-4. 

External links


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