Yugoslavia, 1941-1944

Administration . In April 1941, German forces began the invasion of Yugoslavia, and within days the country was occupied. Western Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo, coastal stretches in Dalmatia and at Kotor were occupied and administrated by the Italians, Macedonia annexed by Bulgaria. Eastern Slovenia was annexed by Germany, Croatia (with all of Bosnia-Herzegovina) made an independent state with an Ustasa government, presided by Ante Pavelic. A part of Vojvodina was annexed by Hungary; the remainder - core Serbia - occupied by German troops.
King Peter, meanwhile, fled to Kenya into exile. A Yugoslav government-in-exile resided in London 1941 to 1945. In 1943, Tito's partisans, at the Jajce Conference, established the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (then in control of liberated areas). When Italy surrendered in 1943, Germany took over the Italian-administered areas; in 1944 Germany began her withdrawal from Yugoslavia, and the Socialist Federal Republic gradually took control of the country.
In June 1944, Ivan Subasic on behalf of the exile government and Josip Broz Tito on behalf of the partisans signed the Treaty of Vis, according to which the partisans joined the exile government, which in turn recognized Tito's partisans as the country's legitimate armed forces. Ivan Subasic was appointed as prime minister of the government-in-exile.

Domestic Policies . In (greater) Croatia, the Ustasa committed atrocities targeting the country's Serb minority causing refugees fleeing into Serbia proper in such a rate, that the German authorities (administrating Serbia proper) were alarmed and advised the Croatian government to moderate their actions.

Resistance . In Yugoslavia, two resistance organizations emerged, the royalist Serb Cetniks and the communists Partisans, under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito. In the cause of the war it turned out that Tito's partisans were the most important political factor in the resistance; Germany's interest was to have as few German troops tied up by the occupation of the country as possible and to leave policing to locals, such as the Croats. As partisan activity continued, an attempt was made in January 1943 to wipe out partisan activity in a major offensive; yet the mountainous terrain and half-hearted Italian support helped the partisans to overcome this difficult situation. In 1943 Italy signed an armistice and switched sides, the Germans taking over the administration of the hitherto Italian-occupied Yugoslav regions of Montenegro, Dalmatia and Western Slovenia.
The Partisans faced further German offensives intended to wipe them out, and survived them all. In 1944, the Germans retreated from the Balkans. Tito's partisans moved into Belgrade just hours before the Red Army arrived in the area. Much of Yugoslavia was liberated by Tito's partisans. Zagreb fell on May 9th 1945 - the day after Germany's surrender.
At Yalta, Churchill suggested Europe to be partitioned into three zones - a Soviet-dominated zone in Eastern Europe, a US-dominated zone in Western Europe and a British-dominated zone on the western Balkans peninsula (Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia). Stalin agreed.

Articles Treaty of Vis, Ivan Subasic, Josip Broz Tito, Partisans (Yugoslavia), People's Liberation War, Peter II of Yugoslavia, from Wikipedia
Yugoslavia, History of, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
In search for Refuge : Yugoslav Jews Fleeing the Holocaust 1941-1945, by Milan Ristovic, from Association for Social History, full text downloadable in English and Serbian
Milan Ristovic, German Plans for Economic Change in South-East Europe (1940/41-1944/45), from Association for Social History
Milan Ristovic, Third Reich's "New Order" Planning and Practice in the Balkans, 1941-44: Serbian and Greek Case, from Association for Social History
Yugoslavia in World War II, from World War II Multimedia Database
DOCUMENTS Banknote issues by Tito's Partisans, 1944, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money, click 1944 issues
Croatian Banknotes 1941-1944, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Tito, Nov. 1943
Banknotes used in Italian-occupied stretches of Yugoslavia, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money, scroll down to 'regional issues'
Tehran Declaration, Nov.29/Dec.1 1943, from CNN Cold War, on support of Yugoslav partisans
Judgement : The Aggression Against Yugoslavakia and Greece (sic !), from Avalon Project at Yale Univ.
Yalta Agreement, Feb. 1945, from CNN Cold War , with reference to Tito and Subasitch
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Yugoslavia (Lane), 9 February 1941, from V. Ferraro, Mt.Holyoke
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Yugoslavia (Lane), 14 February 1941, from V. Ferraro, Mt.Holyoke
Statement by the Secretary of State on the Invasion of Yugoslavia, April 6, 1941, from V. Ferraro, Mt.Holyoke
Remarks at the Dedication of Four Bombers for Yugoslavian Service. October 6, 1943, from Public Papers of the Presidents : Franklin D. Roosevelt
Adolf Hitler's Order of the Day Calling for Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece, Berlin, April 6, 1941, from Words of Peace, Words of War
Message of President Roosevelt to King Peter II of Yugoslavia, April 8, 1941, from Words of Peace, Words of War
Text of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's Message to the Yugoslav People, April 13, 1941, from Words of Peace, Words of War
The Pavelic Papers
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Statesman's Year Book 1943 pp.1348-1363 [G]
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Americana Annual 1943 pp.858-859, 1944 pp.804-807, 1945 pp.812-815, 1946 pp.833-837 [G]
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1944 pp.790-791, 1945 p.790 [G]
Article : Yugoslavia, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1941 pp.540-543, 1942 pp.521-522, 1943 pp.528-531, 1944 pp.491-494 [G]
Article : Yugoslavia, in : New International Year Book, Events of 1941 pp.757-763, 1942 pp.782-784, 1943 pp.753-758, 1944 pp.724-727, 1945 pp.697-700 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on August 26th 2007

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