The Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army, commonly known as the
Chetniks (Serbo-Croatian: Četnici, Четници,
pronounced [tʃɛ̂tniːtsi]; Slovene: Četniki), was a World War
II movement in
Yugoslavia led by Draža Mihailović, an anti-Axis
movement in their long-term goals which engaged in marginal resistance
activities for limited periods. They also engaged in tactical or
selective collaboration with the occupying forces for almost all of
the war. The Mihailović
Chetniks were not a homogeneous
movement. The Chetnik movement adopted a policy of
collaboration with regard to the Axis, and engaged in cooperation
to one degree or another by establishing modus vivendi or operating as
"legalised" auxiliary forces under Axis control. Over a period of
time, and in different parts of the country, the Chetnik movement was
progressively drawn into collaboration agreements: first with the
Nedić forces in the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia,
then with the Italians in occupied
Dalmatia and Montenegro, with some
Ustaše forces in northern Bosnia, and after the Italian
capitulation also with the Germans directly.
Chetniks were active in uprising against the Axis occupiers
throughout 1941. Following the success of the Battle of Loznica,
Chetniks liberated the first city in Europe from Axis
control. Following this, German occupiers enacted Adolf Hiter's
formula for suppressing anti-Nazi resistance in Eastern Europe, a
ratio of 100 hostages executed for every German soldier killed and 50
hostages executed for every soldier wounded. In October 1941, German
soldiers conducted two mass murder campaigns against innocent Serbian
civilians in Kraljevo and Kragujevac, with a combined death toll
reaching over 4,500 civilians, convincing Chetnik leader Draža
Mihailović that killing German troops would only result in further
unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of Serbs. As a result, he
decided to scale back Chetnik guerrilla attacks and wait for an Allied
landing in the Balkans. While Chetnik collaboration
reached "extensive and systematic" proportions, the Chetniks
themselves referred to their policy of collaboration as "using the
enemy". Professor Sabrina Ramet, a historian, has observed, "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
Chetniks were doing anything besides attempting to realize a
vision of an ethnically homogeneous Greater Serbian state, which they
intended to advance, in the short run, by a policy of collaboration
with the Axis forces".
Chetniks were a partner in the pattern of terrorism and
counter-terror that developed in
Yugoslavia during World War II. They
used terror tactics against
Croats in areas where
Serbs and Croats
were intermixed, against the Muslim population in Bosnia, Herzegovina
and Sandžak, and against the
Yugoslav Partisans and their supporters
in all areas. These terror tactics took various forms, including
killing of civilians, burning of villages, assassinations and
destruction of property. These tactics exacerbated existing ethnic
Croats and Serbs. The terror tactics against the
Croats were, to at least an extent, a reaction to the terror carried
out by the Ustaše, but
Bosniaks living in areas intended
to be part of
Greater Serbia were to be cleansed of non-Serbs
regardless, in accordance with Mihailović's directive of 20 December
1941. The terror against the communist Partisans and their
supporters was ideologically driven. The Muslim population was a
primary target due to traditional animosity and also as
countermeasures against Muslim 'aggressive' activities, but this
action was also undertaken to 'cleanse' these areas of Muslims in
order to create a 'Greater Serbia' free of non-Serbs. In terms of
Chetnik motives for collaboration,
David Bruce MacDonald stated that
it is "highly misleading to suggest that [Chetniks] throughout the war
collaborated with the Germans and Italians to carry out genocide of
Croats and Moslems."
2.1 Chetnik guerrilla (1903–18)
2.2 Interwar period
3 World War II
3.1 Formation and ideology
3.2 Early activities
3.3 Axis offensives
3.5 Axis collaboration
3.5.1 Collaboration with the Italians
3.5.2 Collaboration with the Independent State of Croatia
3.5.3 Case White
3.5.4 Collaboration with the Germans
3.5.5 Collaboration with the Government of National Salvation
3.5.6 Contacts with Hungary
3.6 Terror tactics and cleansing actions
3.7 Loss of Allied support
3.8 Cooperation with the Soviets
3.9 Retreat and dissolution
4.1 SFR Yugoslavia
5.1 Yugoslav Wars
5.2 Serbian historiography
6 Contemporary period
Bosnia and Herzegovina
6.5 United States
7 See also
The organization was later renamed the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland
(Jugoslovenska vojska u otadžbini, Југословенска
војска у отаџбини; JVUO, ЈВУО), although the
original name was more commonly used. The word "chetnik" was used to
describe a member of a Balkan guerrilla force called cheta (чета,
četa) which means "band or troop", itself derived from the
Turkish word çete of the same meaning, which itself is derived from
the Sanskrit word cakra meaning "a troop of soldiers". The
suffix -nik is a Slavic personal suffix meaning "person or thing
associated with or involved in".
Chetnik guerrilla (1903–18)
Main article: Serbian Chetnik Organization
Chetnik commanders in Macedonia, July 1908.
The Chetnik movement had its roots in the 19th-century Balkan
liberation struggle against the Turks (Ottomans). The "Serbian
Committee", made up of intelligentsia, businessmen and military
officers, had initially funded small groups of brigands, either
self-organized or part of the Bulgarian revolutionary organizations
active in Macedonia (IMRO and SMAC), that were used to protect the
Christian population from Ottoman atrocities and persecution. Serbia
offered material support to the
Ilinden Uprising (1903), and after
its suppression, authorities in Belgrade sought but failed to
negotiate with Bulgarian leaders on sending Serbian bands (cheta) into
Macedonia for combined Serbian-Bulgarian action. The Serbian Committee
decided to fully organize their own groups, arming and sending the
first bands from Serbia into Macedonia in springtime 1904. Soon,
hostility on the field between the Bulgarian organizations and the
Serbian Chetnik Organization
Serbian Chetnik Organization began. With the failed idea of joint
Serbian-Bulgarian action, and growing nationalism, the Serbian
government took over the activities of the organization. As a
Chetniks simultaneously engaged the Ottomans (and
their Albanian irregular bands) and Bulgarian bands in the 1904–08
period. Activities were temporarily stopped after the Young Turk
Vojvoda Vuk with his commanders, 1912.
Chetniks were active in the Balkan Wars (1912–13), and as they
had proven valuable during that war, the Serbian Army used them in
World War I (1914–18). During the First Balkan War, Chetniks
were used as a vanguard to soften up the enemy forward of advancing
armies, for attacks on communications behind enemy lines, as field
gendarmerie and to establish basic administration in occupied
areas. In the
Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War the
Chetniks engaged the
Bulgarians. In World War I the
Chetniks were used in the same
Chetniks withdrew with the army in 1915 and were later
dispatched on the Salonika Front. In Bulgarian-occupied
southeastern Serbia in late 1916, the Serbian Supreme Command
organized for Chetnik detachments to lead an uprising in support of a
planned Allied offensive. They sent veteran Kosta Pećanac. In early
1917, the uprising, successful at first, was put down with
Austro-Hungarian reinforcement and bloody reprisals followed on the
civil population. Pećanac's
Chetniks were then used for
sabotage and raids against the Bulgarian occupation, then infiltrated
the Austro-Hungarian occupied zone.
Chetniks in the Interwar period
Following the end of World War I and the formation of the Kingdom of
Croats and Slovenes, pro-Bulgarian sentiment was rife in
Macedonia, which was referred to as "Southern Serbia" by the Belgrade
government. Extensive measures were undertaken to "serbianise"
Macedonia, including closing
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church schools,
revising history textbooks, dismissing "unreliable" teachers, banning
the use of the Bulgarian language, and imposing lengthy jail terms
for those convicted of anti-state activities. Hundreds of Bulgarian
activists were murdered and thousands arrested in the period
immediately following the war, and around 50,000 troops were stationed
in Macedonia. Bands of Serbian Chetniks, including one led by
Babunski, were organised to terrorise the population, kill
pro-Bulgarian resistance leaders and recruit the local population into
forced labour for the army. Resistance by IMRO was met with further
terror, which included the formation in 1922 of the Association
against Bulgarian Bandits led by Pećanac and Ilija Trifunović-Lune,
based out of
Štip in eastern Macedonia. This organisation quickly
garnered a reputation for indiscriminate terrorisation of the
Macedonian populace. Pećanac and his
Chetniks were also active in
fighting those resisting the Serb and Montenegrin colonisation of
Chetniks on parade in Belgrade, c. 1920.
Association against Bulgarian Bandits, between 1922 and 1925.
Chetnik Association, between 1921 and 1926.
The Chetnik movement also functioned as a civilian organization during
the interwar period, initially as the "Chetnik Association for the
Freedom and Honor of the Fatherland" (Udruženje Četnika za slobodu i
čast Otadžbine), a Chetnik veteran organisation formed in Belgrade
in 1921. The aims of the organisation were to foster Chetnik history,
spread Chetnik ideas, and to care for disabled
Chetniks and the widows
and orphans of fallen Chetniks. Initially the organisation was aligned
with the Democratic Party, but the increasing influence of the Serbian
Radical Party resulted in a split of the organisation in 1924.
The pro-Radical Party,
Greater Serbia elements of the organisation
formed two new organisations; the "Association of Serbian
King and Fatherland" (Udruženje srpskih četnika za Kralja i
Otadžbinu) led by Puniša Račić, and the "Association of Serbian
Chetniks "Petar Mrkonjić"" (Udruženje srpskih četnika Petar
Mrkonjić). Around a year later these two organisations amalgamated as
the "Association of Serbian
Chetniks "Petar Mrkonjić" for King and
Fatherland" with Račić presiding over a great deal of dissension
until 1928 when the organisation ceased to operate. After the
imposition of royal dictatorship by King Alexander in 1929, the "Petar
Mrkonjić" association was dissolved, and the former dissidents
re-joined the original "Chetnik Association for the Freedom and Honor
of the Fatherland".
In 1929, Trifunović-Birčanin became president of the organisation,
serving until 1932 when he was replaced by Pećanac who continued to
lead the organisation until the invasion of
Yugoslavia in April
1941. In 1932 the Chetnik organisation established chapters in
Dalmatia and Slavonia, and in 1934 Serb students at the University of
Zagreb launched a Chetnik newsletter. This expansion of what remained
a "nationalist-chauvinist" movement outside Serbia proper was a
worrying development. As a result of Pećanac's move to open
membership of the Chetnik Association to new younger members that had
not served in World War I, in the course of the 1930s he took the
organisation from a nationalist veterans' association focused on
protecting veterans' rights, to an aggressively partisan Serb
political organisation which reached 500,000 members throughout
Yugoslavia. During this period, Pećanac formed close ties with
Yugoslav Radical Union government of Milan
Stojadinović. Trifunović-Birčanin and others that were unhappy
with the aggressive expansion of the organisation and its move away
from traditional Chetnik ideals, and set up the "Association of Old
Chetniks" as a rival organisation, but it never challenged the
organisation led by Pećanac.
World War II
World War II
World War II in Yugoslavia
See also: Invasion of Yugoslavia
See also: Chetnik war crimes in World War II
Formation and ideology
Draža Mihailović confers with his men.
In April 1941 the Germans, Italians and Hungarians invaded Yugoslavia
leading to the swift collapse of the Yugoslav state and the surrender
of the Yugoslav army. Many Serb detachments refused to surrender and
took to the hills. In the wake of the invasion, the
Chetniks were the
first of the two resistance movements to be founded. The pre-war
Chetnik leader Pećanac soon came to an arrangement with Nedić's
collaborationist regime in the Territory of the Military Commander in
Serbia. Colonel Draža Mihailović, who was "interested in
resisting the occupying powers", set up his headquarters in Ravna Gora
and named his group "The Ravna Gora Movement" in order to distinguish
it from the
Pećanac Chetniks and others calling themselves Chetniks
who engaged in collaboration with the Germans. But as the other
Chetnik groups acted as adjuncts to the occupation, the word "Chetnik"
again became associated with Mihailović's force.
Mihailović's group was also called the "Chetnik Detachments of the
Yugoslav Army", although "The Ravna Gora Movement" was and still
is used to refer to the Chetniks. The movement was later to be
renamed the "Yugoslav Army in the Homeland", although the
original name of the movement remained the most common in use
throughout the war, even among the
Chetniks themselves. It is these
forces that are generally referred to as "the Chetniks" throughout
World War II
World War II although the name was also used by other smaller groups
including those of Pećanac, Nedić and Dimitrije Ljotić. In June
1941, following the start of Operation Barbarossa, the communist-led
Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito organised an uprising and in the
period between June and November 1941, the
Chetniks and Partisans
largely cooperated in their anti-Axis activities.
In the summer of 1941, the Ravna Gora Movement had attracted a small
number of Serb intellectuals who developed a political ideology for
Stevan Moljević believed that
Serbs should not repeat
the mistakes of World War I by failing to define the borders of
Serbia, and proposed that at the end of
World War II
World War II
Serbs should take
control of all territories to which they laid claim, and from that
position negotiate the form of a federally organized Yugoslavia. This
plan required the relocation of non-
Serbs from Serb-controlled
territories and other shifts of populations. He produced a
document, Homogenous Serbia, which articulated these notions.
Moljević proposed that
Greater Serbia consist of 65–70% of the
total Yugoslav territory and population. He based his plan on the
expulsion of the non-Serb population in different areas and on
population exchanges, but did not provide any figures. Mihailović
appointed Moljević to the Central National Committee of the Chetnik
movement in August 1941. Moljević's proposals were very similar
to those later formulated by the Belgrade Chetnik Committee and
presented to the Government in Exile in September 1941, in which the
Chetniks set forth specific figures in regard to population
In March 1942, the Chetnik
Dinara Division created a program which
Greater Serbia with a corridor between Herzegovina,
northern Dalmatia, Bosnia, and
Lika to Slovenia, and cleansing of
these areas of non-Serb populations. This was accepted a month later
by the military leaders of these areas. This document continued
additional formulations of strategy, including collaboration with
Italian forces as a modus vivendi, formation of Croatian Chetnik units
as part of a continuing struggle against the Partisans, Domobrans and
Ustaše. This document proposed decent treatment of the Muslim
population to keep them from joining the Partisan forces, and noted
Bosniaks could be dealt with later. In August 1942, the
Sandžak Chetnik Detachment was the largest and the most elite
military unit of Mihailović's Chetniks.
In the fall of 1942, a program was formulated at a Conference of Young
Chetnik Intellectuals of Montenegro, which also proposed a unified
Yugoslavia consisting only of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, exclusion
of other ethnic groups, which was to be controlled by the Chetnik
forces with the endorsement of the King, as well as agrarian and
political reforms, nationalization of banking and wholesale trade, and
increased propaganda to promote Chetnik ideology. Mihailović was
not present, but was represented by his subordinate commanders
Ostojić, Lašić, and Đurišić. Đurišić played the dominant
role at this conference.
A manual prepared by Chetnik military leaders in late 1942 detailed a
three phased approach and the military structure to be used during the
war. The manual argued that both the
Serbs and the
Croats had been
politically victimized in the period between the two world wars, and
the unproven notion that in Serbia and especially in Belgrade, Croats
held the upper hand in the government. Except for the Ustaše, Croats
were not seen as the enemies of the Serbs, and a goal was set for the
incorporation of Croatian forces under Chetnik leadership. Ustaše, on
the other hand, were to be summarily executed.
The question of shifting populations and religious conversion of the
Croats was to be left aside until the
Serbs had assumed power in
Yugoslavia. Revenge was incorporated into the Chetnik manual as a
"... sacred duty of the Serbian people against those who had
wronged them during the war and occupation".
Some Chetnik leaders initially conducted a number of operations
against Axis forces jointly with the Partisans. On 19 September 1941,
Tito and Mihailović met for the first time in
Struganik where Tito
offered Mihailović the chief-of-staff post in return for the merger
of their units. Mihailović refused to attack the Germans, fearing
reprisals, but promised to not attack the Partisans. According to
Mihailović the reason was humanitarian: the prevention of German
Serbs at the published rate of 100 civilians for
every German soldier killed, 50 civilians for every soldier
wounded. On 20 October, Tito proposed a 12-point program to
Mihailović as the basis of cooperation. Six days later, Tito and
Mihailović met at Mihailović's headquarters where Mihailović
rejected principal points of Tito's proposal including the
establishment of common headquarters, joint military actions against
the Germans and quisling formations, establishment of a combined staff
for the supply of troops, and the formation of national liberation
committees. In late October, Mihailović concluded the Partisans,
rather than Axis forces, were the primary enemies of the Chetniks.
On 2 November, Mihailović's
Chetniks attacked Partisan headquarters
in Užice. The attack was driven back and a counterattack followed the
next day, the
Chetniks lost 1,000 men in these two battles and a large
amount of weaponry. On 18 November, Mihailović accepted a truce offer
from Tito though attempts to establish a common front failed. That
month, the British government, upon the request of the Yugoslav
government-in-exile, insisted Tito make Mihailović the
commander-in-chief of resistance forces in Yugoslavia, a demand he
refused. Partisan-Chetnik truces were repeatedly violated by the
Chetniks, first with the killing of a local Partisan commander in
October and then later, under orders of Mihailović's staff,
massacring 30 Partisan supporters, mostly girls and wounded
individuals, in November. Despite this,
Chetniks and Partisans in
Bosnia continued to cooperate for some time.
In December 1941 the
Yugoslav government-in-exile in
London under King
Peter II promoted Mihailović to Brigadier-General and named him
commander of the Yugoslav Home Army. By this time Mihailović had
established friendly relations with Nedić and his Government of
National Salvation and the Germans who he requested weaponry from to
fight the Partisans. This was rejected by General
Franz Böhme who
stated they could deal with the Partisans themselves and demanded
The Germans launched an attack on Mihailović's forces in Ravna Gora
and effectively routed the
Chetniks from the Territory of the Military
Commander in Serbia. The bulk of the Chetnik forces retreated into
Sandžak and the centre of Chetnik activity moved
Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a Nazi puppet state.
The British liaison to Mihailović advised Allied command to stop
Chetniks after their attacks on the Partisans in the
German attack on Užice, but Britain continued to do so.
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Main article: Seven anti-Partisan offensives
In April 1942 the Communists in
Bosnia established two Shock
Anti-Chetnik Battalions (Grmeč and Kozara) composed of 1,200 best
soldiers of Serb ethnicity to struggle against Chetniks. Later
during the war, the Allies were seriously considering an invasion of
the Balkans, so the Yugoslav resistance movements increased in
strategic importance, and there was a need to determine which of the
two factions was fighting the Germans. A number of
Executive (SOE) agents were sent to
Yugoslavia to determine the facts
on the ground. In the meantime, the Germans, also aware of the growing
importance of Yugoslavia, decided to wipe out the Partisans with
determined offensives. The Chetniks, by this time, had agreed to
provide support for the German operations, and were in turn granted
supplies and munitions to increase their effectiveness.
The first of these large anti-Partisan offensives was Fall Weiss, also
known as the Battle of Neretva. The
Chetniks participated with a
significant, 20,000-strong, force providing assistance to the German
and Italian encirclement from the east (the far bank of the river
Neretva). However, Tito's Partisans managed to break through the
encirclement, cross the river, and engage the Chetniks. The conflict
resulted in a near-total Partisan victory, after which the Chetniks
were almost entirely incapacitated in the area west of the Drina
river. The Partisans continued on, and later again escaped the Germans
in the Battle of Sutjeska. In the meantime, the Allies stopped
planning an invasion of the Balkans and finally rescinded their
support for the
Chetniks and instead supplied the Partisans. At the
Teheran Conference of 1943 and the
Yalta Conference of 1945, Soviet
Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
decided to split their influence in
Yugoslavia in half.
Chetniks were almost exclusively made up of
Serbs  and
consisted of "local defence units, marauding bands of Serb villagers,
anti-partisan auxiliaries, forcibly mobilised peasants, and armed
refugees". The vast majority of Orthodox priests supported the
Chetniks with some, notably
Momčilo Đujić and Savo Božić,
becoming commanders. A few
Croats in central
Dalmatia and Primorje
supported Mihailović, but the group was too small to have any
political or military significance. A few
Sandžak and Bosnian Muslims
also supported him. In Slovenia, Major Karlo Novak led a small
pro-Mihailović group which never played an important role. A
number of Jews joined the Chetniks, but later defected to the
Chetniks treated women with the norm prevalent in the
Balkans at the time, limiting their duties to those traditionally
There had been long standing mutual animosity between Muslims and
Serbs throughout Bosnia. Due to mass atrocities carried out
Serbs late in the spring of 1941 in
Bosnia and Herzegovina
and in other ethnically heterogeneous areas, and due to Muslims,
especially those in eastern Bosnia, being branded as 'Turks' and
Ustaše cronies', few Muslims joined the Chetniks. In late 1942,
Herzegovinian Muslim leader
Ismet Popovac obtained assistance from the
Italians and formed an Italian Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia
(MVAC). Early in 1943, Popovac's militia of around 800 fighters
cooperated with the
Chetniks against the Partisans during Fall Weiss.
Not long after this, Popovac was assassinated.
In 1943, the
Chetniks moderated their policies towards the Muslims to
some extent, in order to assist them to enlist Muslims into their
ranks. At the urging of Zaharije Ostojić, on 25
March 1943, Mihailović appointed
Fehim Musakadić as the commander of
all Muslim Chetnik units, in the hope that his appointment would
encourage Muslims to form Chetnik units. At the end of 1943,
Muslims comprised up to eight percent of Mihailović forces, numbering
about 4,000. Another prominent Muslim supporter of Mihailović
was Mustafa Mulalić, who had been a representative of the Yugoslav
National Party in the pre-war Yugoslav parliament. In January 1944, at
the Congress of Ba, Mulalić was appointed vice-chairman of the
Chetnik National Committee. In late 1944, the
Chetniks organised a
Muslim Chetnik corps in north-east Bosnia.
In November 1941, Major Karlo Novak, who had initially been appointed
as the chief of staff of the Slovene Chetniks, became their commander
when Mihailović's original delegate, Colonel Jakob Avšić defected
to the Partisans. In Slovenia, anti-Communist resistance was
dominated by the Slovene Alliance led by the Slovene People's Party
rather than the Chetniks, and although the Slovene Alliance
theoretically owed allegiance to the government-in-exile via
Mihailović as Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland, in
reality it was completely independent of his command. The Slovene
Alliance collaborated with the Italians, becoming 'legalised' as units
of the MVAC. Partly as a result of the dominance and influence of
the Slovene Alliance, Novak was unable to attract a significant
following, and at their peak the Slovene
Chetniks numbered no more
than 300–400 fighters. Novak received some arms and ammunition
indirectly from the Italians. In September 1943 at the village of
Grčarice, 50 km southeast of Ljubljana, the main Slovene Chetnik
force of about 200 fighters was wiped out by the Partisans. Novak
escaped to Italy where he remained for the remainder of the war.
In mid-1944, Colonel (later General) Ivan Prezelj, who had been
appointed as Mihailović's delegate in
Slovenia after Novak's escape
to Italy, briefly re-established several Slovene Chetnik detachments.
One of these, operating in
Lower Styria and led by Jože Melaher,
managed to survive until the end of the war.
Initially many Jews served in the Chetniks, a number of whom were
former prisoners of concentration camps, and a Jewish Patriotic
Brigade existed. A Jew served as Mihailović's aide-de-camp and they
had their own newspaper named Židov. Jews were among the Chetniks
during the first months of occupied Yugoslavia, but as Chetnik
resistance ceased and collaboration increased the
for Jews in hiding and murdered them after torture or handed them over
to the Germans. Jews left the
Chetniks in favor of the Partisans and
on 2 January 1943 a directive from Mihailović stated: "Partisan units
are a motley collection of rascals, such as the Ustašas, the most
blood-thirsty enemies of the Serbian people, Jews, Croats, Dalmatians,
Bulgarians, Turks, Hungarians, and all other nations of the
world." Chetnik policies barred women from performing significant
roles. No women took part in fighting units and were restricted to
nursing and occasional intelligence work. The low status of female
peasants in areas of
Chetniks were strongest could
have been utilized and advantageous in military, political, and
psychological terms. The treatment of women was a fundamental
difference between the
Chetniks and Partisans and Chetnik
propaganda disparaged the female role in the Partisans.
Yugoslavia and the Allies
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chetnik collaboration with Axis
Generalmajor (Brigadier) Friedrich Stahl stands alongside an
Ustaše officer and Chetnik commander Rade Radić in central
Throughout the war, the Chetnik movement remained mostly inactive
against the occupation forces, and increasingly collaborated with the
Axis, eventually losing its international recognition as the Yugoslav
resistance force. After a brief initial period of
cooperation, the Partisans and the
Chetniks quickly started fighting
against each other. Gradually, the
Chetniks ended up primarily
fighting the Partisans instead of the occupation forces, and started
cooperating with the Axis in a struggle to destroy the Partisans,
receiving increasing amounts of logistical assistance. Mihailović
admitted to a British colonel that the Chetniks' principal enemies
were "the partisans, the Ustasha, the Muslims, the
Croats and last the
Germans and Italians" [in that order].
At the start of the conflict, Chetnik forces were merely relatively
inactive towards the occupation, and had contacts and negotiations
with the Partisans. This changed when the talks broke down, and they
proceeded to attack the latter (who were actively fighting the
Germans), while continuing to engage the Axis only in minor
skirmishes. Attacking the Germans provoked strong retaliation and the
Chetniks increasingly started to negotiate with them. Negotiations
with the occupiers were aided by the two sides' mutual goal of
destroying the Partisans. This collaboration first appeared during the
operations on the Partisan "Užice Republic", where
Chetniks played a
part in the general Axis attack.
Collaboration with the Italians
Momčilo Đujić (left) with an Italian officer
Chetnik collaboration with the occupation forces of fascist Italy took
place in three main areas: in Italian-occupied (and Italian-annexed)
Dalmatia; in the Italian puppet state of Montenegro; and in the
Italian-annexed and later German-occupied Ljubljana Province in
Slovenia. The collaboration in
Dalmatia and parts of
Bosnia was the
most widespread. The split between Partisans and
Chetniks took place
earlier in those areas.
The Partisans considered all occupation forces to be "the fascist
enemy", while the
Chetniks hated the
Ustaše but balked at fighting
the Italians, and had approached the Italian VI Army Corps (General
Renzo Dalmazzo, Commander) as early as July and August 1941 for
assistance, via a Serb politician from Lika, Stevo Rađenović. In
particular, Chetnik vojvodas ("leaders") Trifunović-Birčanin and
Jevđević were favorably disposed towards the Italians, believing
Italian occupation over all of Bosnia-
Herzegovina would be detrimental
to the influence of the
Ustaše state.
For this reason, they sought an alliance with the Italian occupation
forces in Yugoslavia. The Italians (especially General Dalamazzo)
looked favorably on these approaches and hoped to first avoid fighting
the Chetniks, and then use them against the Partisans, a strategy
which they thought would give them an "enormous advantage". An
agreement was concluded on 11 January 1942 between the representative
of the Italian 2nd Army, Captain Angelo De Matteis and the Chetnik
representative for southeastern Bosnia, Mutimir Petković, and was
later signed by Draža Mihailović's chief delegate in Bosnia, Major
Boško Todorović. Among other provisions of the agreement, it was
agreed that the Italians would support Chetnik formations with arms
and provisions, and would facilitate the release of "recommended
individuals" from Axis concentration camps (Jasenovac, Rab ...).
The chief interest of both the
Chetniks and Italians would be to
assist each other in combating Partisan-led resistance. 
Chetniks in units of Momčilo Đujić
In the following months of 1942, General Mario Roatta, commander of
the Italian 2nd Army, worked on developing a Linea di condotta
("Policy Directive") on relations with Chetniks,
Partisans. In line with these efforts, General Vittorio Ambrosio
outlined the Italian policy in Yugoslavia: All negotiations with the
Ustaše were to be avoided, but contacts with the Chetniks
were "advisable." As for the Partisans, it was to be "struggle to the
bitter end". This meant that General Roatta was essentially free to
take action with regard to the
Chetniks as he saw fit.
He outlined the four points of his policy in his report to the Italian
Army General Staff:
To support the
Chetniks sufficiently to make them fight against the
communists, but not so much as to allow them too much latitude in
their own action; to demand and assure that the
Chetniks do not fight
against the Croatian forces and authorities; to allow them to fight
against the communists on their own initiative (so that they can
"slaughter each other"); and finally to allow them to fight in
parallel with the Italian and German forces, as do the nationalist
Chetniks and separatist Greens] in Montenegro.
— General Mario Roatta, 1942
During 1942 and 1943, an overwhelming proportion of Chetnik forces in
the Italian-controlled areas of occupied
Yugoslavia were organized as
Italian auxiliary forces in the form of the Anti-Communist Volunteer
Militia (Milizia volontaria anti comunista, MVAC). According to
General Giacomo Zanussi (then a Colonel and Roatta's chief of staff),
there were 19,000 to 20,000
Chetniks in the MVAC in Italian-occupied
parts of the
Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia alone. The
extensively supplied with thousands of rifles, grenades, mortars and
artillery pieces. In a memorandum dated 26 March 1943 to the Italian
Army General Staff, entitled "The Conduct of the Chetniks".[citation
Italian officers noted the ultimate control of these collaborating
Chetnik units remained in the hands of Draža Mihailović, and
contemplated the possibility of a hostile reorientation of these
troops in light of the changing strategic situation. The commander of
these troops was Trifunović-Birčanin, who arrived in Italian-annexed
Split in October 1941 and received his orders directly from
Mihailović in the spring of 1942. By the time Italy capitulated on 8
September 1943, all Chetnik detachments in the Italian-controlled
parts of the
Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia had at one time or another
collaborated with the Italians against the Partisans. This
collaboration lasted right up until the Italian capitulation when
Chetnik troops switched to supporting the German occupation in trying
to force the Partisans out of the coastal cities which the Partisans
liberated after the Italian withdrawal. After the Allies did
not land in
Dalmatia as they had hoped, these Chetnik detachments were
basically forced into collaboration with the Germans in order to avoid
being caught between the Germans and the Partisans.
Collaboration with the Independent State of Croatia
Ustaše and Independent State of Croatia
Chetnik representatives meeting in
Ustaše and Croatian
Home Guard officers of the Independent State of Croatia
After the 1941 split between the Partisans and the
occupied Serb territory, the Chetnik groups in central, eastern, and
Bosnia found themselves caught between the German and
Ustaše (NDH) forces on one side and the Partisans on the other. In
early 1942 Chetnik Major
Jezdimir Dangić approached the Germans in an
attempt to arrive at an understanding, but was unsuccessful, and the
local Chetnik leaders were forced to look for another solution. The
Chetnik groups were in fundamental disagreement with the
practically all issues, but they found a common enemy in the
Partisans, and this was the overriding reason for the collaboration
which ensued between the
Ustaše authorities of the NDH and Chetnik
detachments in Bosnia. The first formal agreement between Bosnian
Chetniks and the
Ustaše was concluded on 28 May 1942, in which
Chetnik leaders expressed their loyalty as "citizens of the
Independent State of Croatia" both to the state and its Poglavnik
(Ante Pavelić).
During the next three weeks, three additional agreements were signed,
covering a large part of the area of
Bosnia (along with the Chetnik
detachments within it). By the provision of these agreements, the
Chetniks were to cease hostilities against the
Ustaše state, and the
Ustaše would establish regular administration in these areas. The
Chetniks recognized the sovereignty of the Independent State of
Croatia and became a legalized movement in it. The main provision,
Art. 5 of the agreement, states as follows:
As long as there is danger from the Partisan armed bands, the Chetnik
formations will cooperate voluntarily with the Croatian military in
fighting and destroying the Partisans and in those operations they
will be under the overall command of the Croatian armed forces.
(... ) Chetnik formations may engage in operations against the
Partisans on their own, but this they will have to report, on time, to
the Croatian military commanders.
Ustaše collaboration agreement, 28 May 1942
The necessary ammunition and provisions were supplied to the Chetniks
Chetniks who were wounded in such operations
would be cared for in NDH hospitals, while the orphans and widows of
Chetniks killed in action would be supported by the
Persons specifically recommended by Chetnik commanders would be
returned home from the
Ustaše concentration camps. These agreements
covered the majority of Chetnik forces in
Bosnia east of the
German-Italian demarcation line, and lasted throughout most of the
war. Since Croatian forces were immediately subordinate to the German
military occupation, collaboration with Croatian forces was, in fact,
indirect collaboration with the Germans.
Main article: Case White
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One major Chetnik collaboration with the Axis took place during the
"Battle of the Neretva", the final phase of "Case White", known in
Yugoslav historiography as the "Fourth Enemy Offensive". In 1942,
Partisans forces were on the rise, having established large liberated
Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chetnik forces, partially
because of their collaboration with the Italian occupation, were also
gaining in strength, however, but were no match to the Partisans and
required Axis logistical support to attack the liberated territories.
In light of the changing strategic situation, Hitler and the German
high command decided to disarm the
Chetniks and destroy the Partisans
for good. In spite of Hitler's insistence, Italian forces in the end
refused to disarm the
Chetniks (thus rendering that course of action
impossible), under the justification that the Italian occupation
forces could not afford to lose the
Chetniks as allies in their
maintenance of the occupation.
Collaboration with the Germans
Chetniks pose with German soldiers
When Germans invaded
Yugoslavia they met in the
organization trained and adapted for guerilla warfare. Although
there were some clashes between the Germans and the
Chetniks as early
as May 1941, Mihailović thought of resistance in terms of setting up
an organisation which, when the time was ripe, would rise against the
occupying forces. British policy with regard to European
resistance movements was to restrain them from activities which would
lead to their premature destruction, and this policy coincided
initially with the concepts on the basis of which Mihailović's
movement was being operated. In order to dissociate himself from
Chetniks who collaborated with the Germans, Mihailović at first
called its movement the "Ravna Gora Movement".
As early as spring 1942, the Germans favored the collaboration
Ustaše and the
Chetniks had established in a large part
Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the
Ustaše military was supplied by,
and immediately subordinate to, the German military occupation,
collaboration between the two constituted indirect German-Chetnik
collaboration. This was all favorable to the Germans primarily because
the agreement was directed against the Partisans, contributed to the
pacification of areas significant for German war supplies, and reduced
the need for additional German occupation troops (as
assisting the occupation). After the Italian capitulation on 8
September 1943, the German
114th Jäger Division
114th Jäger Division even incorporated a
Chetnik detachment in its advance to retake the Adriatic coast from
the Partisans who had temporarily liberated it. The report on
German-Chetnik collaboration of the XV Army Corps on 19 November 1943
2nd Panzer Army
2nd Panzer Army states that the
Chetniks were "leaning on the
German forces" for close to a year.
German-Chetnik collaboration entered a new phase after the Italian
surrender, because the Germans now had to police a much larger area
than before and fight the Partisans in the whole of Yugoslavia.
Consequently, they significantly liberalized their policy towards the
Chetniks and mobilized all Serb nationalist forces against the
2nd Panzer Army
2nd Panzer Army oversaw these developments: the XV Army
Corps was now officially allowed to utilize
Chetniks troops and forge
a "local alliance". The first formal and direct agreement between the
German occupation forces and the
Chetniks took place in early October
1943 between the German-led 373rd (Croatian) Infantry Division and a
Chetniks under Mane Rokvić operating in western Bosnia
and Lika. The Germans subsequently even used Chetnik troops for guard
duty in occupied Split, Dubrovnik, Šibenik, and Metković.
NDH troops were not used, despite
Ustaše demands, as mass desertions
of Croat troops to the Partisans rendered them unreliable. From this
point on, the German occupation actually started to "openly favor"
Chetnik (Serb) troops over the Croat formations of the NDH, due to the
pro-Partisan dispositions of the Croatian rank-and-file. The Germans
paid little attention to frequent
Ustaše protests about this.
Ustaše Major Mirko Blaž (Deputy Commander, 7th Brigade of the
Poglavnik's Personal Guard) observed that:
The Germans are not interested in politics, they take everything from
a military point of view. They need troops that can hold certain
positions and clear certain areas of the Partisans. If they ask us to
do it, we cannot do it. The
— Major Mirko Blaž, 5 March 1944.
When appraising the situation in the western part of the Territory of
the Military Commander in Serbia, Bosnia, Lika, and Dalmatia, Captain
Merrem, intelligence officer with the German commander-in-chief
southeastern Europe, was "full of praise" for Chetnik units
collaborating with the Germans, and for the smooth relations between
the Germans and Chetnik units on the ground. In addition, the Chief of
Staff of the
2nd Panzer Army
2nd Panzer Army observed in a letter to the Ustaše
liaison officer that the
Chetniks fighting the Partisans in Eastern
Bosnia were "making a worthwhile contribution to the Croatian state",
and that the 2nd Army "refused in principle" to accept Croatian
complaints against the usage of these units. German-Chetnik
collaboration continued to take place until the very end of the war,
with the tacit approval of
Draža Mihailović and the Chetnik Supreme
Command in the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia. Though
Mihailović himself never actually signed any agreements, he endorsed
the policy for the purpose of eliminating the Partisan threat.
Maximilian von Weichs commented:
Though he himself [Draža Mihailović] shrewdly refrained from giving
his personal view in public, no doubt to have a free hand for every
eventuality (e.g. Allied landing on the Balkans), he allowed his
commanders to negotiate with Germans and to co-operate with them. And
they did so, more and more ...
— Field Marshal Maximilian von Weichs, 1945
The loss of Allied support in 1943 caused the
Chetniks to lean more
than ever towards the Germans for assistance against the Partisans. On
14 August 1944, the
Tito-Šubašić agreement between the Partisans
and the Yugoslav King and government-in-exile was signed on the island
of Vis. The document called on all Croats, Slovenes, and
Serbs to join
the Partisans. Mihailović and the
Chetniks refused to follow the
order and abide by the agreement and continued to engage the Partisans
(by now the official Yugoslav Allied force). Consequently, on 29
August 1944, King Peter II dismissed Mihailović as Chief-of-Staff of
the Yugoslav Army and on 12 September appointed Marshal Tito in his
place. Tito at this point became the Prime Minister of the Yugoslav
state and the joint government.
Collaboration with the Government of National Salvation
In the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia, the Germans
initially installed Milan Aćimović, as leader, but later replaced
him with General Milan Nedić, former minister of war, who governed
until 1944. Aćimović instead later served as the key liaison between
the Germans and the Chetniks. In the second half of August 1941,
prior to Nedić assuming power, the Germans arranged with Kosta
Pećanac for the transfer of several thousand of his
Chetniks to serve
as auxiliaries for the gendarmerie. Collaboration between the
Government of National Salvation
Government of National Salvation and Mihailović's
Chetniks began in
fall of 1941 and lasted until the end of German occupation.
Nedić was initially firmly opposed to Mihailović and the Chetniks.
On 4 September 1941, Mihailović sent Major Aleksandar Mišić and
Miodrag Pavlović to enter a meeting with Nedić and nothing was
accomplished. After Mihailović shifted his policy of mild cooperation
with the Partisans to becoming hostile to them and seizure of
anti-German activity in late October 1941, Nedić relaxed his
opposition. On 15 October, Colonel Milorad Popović, acting on behalf
of Nedić, gave Mihailović about 500,000 dinars (in addition to an
equal amount given on 4 October) to persuade the
collaborate. On 26 October 1941, Popović gave an additional 2,500,000
By mid-November 1941, Mihailović put 2,000 of his men under Nedić's
direct command and shortly later these men joined the Germans in an
anti-Partisan operation. When the Germans launched Operation
Mihailović on 6–7 December 1941, with the intent of capturing
Mihailović and removing his headquarters in Ravna Gora, he escaped,
probably because he was warned of the attack by Aćimović on 5
In June 1942, Mihailović left the Territory of the Military Commander
in Serbia for
Montenegro and was out of contact with the Nedić
authorities until he returned. Subsequently, in the fall of 1942 the
Chetniks of Mihailović (and Pećanac) who had been legalized by the
Nedić administration were dissolved. By 1943, Nedić feared that the
Chetniks would become the primary collaborator with the Germans and
Chetniks murdered Ceka Đorđević, deputy minister of
internal affairs, in March 1944 he opted to replace him with a
prominent Chetnik in the hopes of quelling the rivalry. A report
prepared in April 1944 by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services
[Mihailović] should be viewed in the same light as Nedić, Ljotić,
and the Bulgarian occupation forces.
Office of Strategic Services
Office of Strategic Services report, April 1944
In mid-August 1944, Mihailović, Nedić, and
Dragomir Jovanović met
in the village of Ražani secretly where Nedić agreed to give one
hundred million dinars for wages and to request from the Germans arms
and ammunition for Mihailović. On 6 September 1944, under the
authority of the Germans and formalization by Nedić, Mihailović took
command over the entire military force of the Nedić administration,
including the Serbian State Guard, Serbian Volunteer Corps, and the
Serbian Border Guard.
Contacts with Hungary
In mid-1943, the Hungarian General Staff arranged a meeting between a
Serbian officer in the Nedić regime and Mihailović. The officer was
instructed to express to Mihailović Hungary's regret for the massacre
Novi Sad and to promise that those responsible would be punished.
Hungary recognised Mihailović as the representative of the Yugoslav
government-in-exile and asked him, in the event of an Allied landing
in the Balkans, not to enter Hungary with his troops, but to leave the
border question to the peace conference. After contact was
established, food, medicine, munitions and horses were sent to
Mihailović. During his visit to
Rome in April 1943, Prime Minister
Miklós Kállay talked about Italo-Hungarian cooperation with the
Chetniks, but Mussolini said he favoured Tito.
Hungary also tried to contact Mihailović through the royal Yugoslav
government's representative in Istanbul in order to cooperate against
the Partisans. The Yugoslav Minister of Foreign Affairs, Momčilo
Ninčić, reportedly sent a message to Istanbul asking the Hungarians
to send an envoy and a Serb politician from the Hungarian-occupied
territories to negotiate. Nothing came of these contacts, but
Mihailović sent a representative, Čedomir Bosnjaković, to Budapest.
For their part the Hungarians sent arms, medicine and released Serbian
POWs willing to serve with the
Chetniks down the Danube.
After the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, the Chetnik
relationship was one of the few foreign contacts independent of German
influence that Hungary had. A Hungarian diplomat, L. Hory, formerly
posted in Belgrade, twice visited Mihailović in Bosnia, and the
Hungarians continued to send him munitions, even across Croatian
territory. The last contact between Mihailović and Hungary
occurred on 13 October 1944, shortly before the German-sponsored coup
of 15 October.
Terror tactics and cleansing actions
See also: Chetnik war crimes in World War II
Chetnik ideology revolved around the notion of a
Greater Serbia within
the borders of Yugoslavia, to be created out of all territories in
Serbs were found, even if the numbers were small. This goal had
long been the foundation of the movement for a Greater Serbia. During
Axis occupation the notion of clearing or "ethnically cleansing" these
territories was introduced largely in response to the massacres of
Serbs by the Ustashe in the Independent State of Croatia.
However, the largest Chetnik massacres took place in eastern Bosnia
where they preceded any significant Ustashe operations.
Prior to the outbreak of World War II, use of terror tactics had a
long tradition in the area as various oppressed groups sought their
freedom and atrocities were committed by all parties engaged in
conflict in Yugoslavia. During the early stages of the
Ustaše had also recruited a number of Muslims to aid
in the persecutions of the Serbs, and even though only a relatively
small number of
Croats and Muslims engaged in these activities, and
many opposed them, those actions initiated a cycle of violence and
retribution between the Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims, as each
sought to rid the others from the territories they controlled.
Ustaše ideologues were concerned with the large Serb
minority in the NDH, and initiated acts of terror on a wide scale in
May 1941. Two months later, in July, the Germans protested the
brutality of these actions. Reprisals followed, as in the case of
Nevesinje, where Serb peasants staged an uprising in response to the
persecution, drove out the
Ustaše militia, but then engaged in
reprisals, killing hundreds of Muslims and some Croats, whom they
associated with the Ustaše.
The "Instructions" ("Instrukcije") of 1941, ordering ethnic cleansing
of Bosniaks, Croats, and others.
A directive dated 20 December 1941, addressed to newly appointed
commanders in Montenegro, Major Đorđije Lašić and Captain Pavle
Đurišić, outlined, among other things, the cleansing of non-Serb
populations in order to create a Greater Serbia:
#The struggle for the liberty of our whole nation under the scepter of
His Majesty King Peter II;
the creation of a Great
Yugoslavia and within it of a Great Serbia
which is to be ethnically pure and is to include Serbia, Montenegro,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srijem, the Banat, and Bačka;
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
Albania with Skadar;
the cleansing of the state territory of all national minorities and
the creation of contiguous frontiers between Serbia and Montenegro, as
well as between Serbia and
Slovenia by cleansing the Muslim population
Sandžak and the Muslim and Croat populations from
— Directive of 20 December 1941
The authenticity of the directive is disputed. Some have
attributed the directive as having come from
Mihailović. Others have claimed that there is no
original and that it may have been a forgery made by Đurišić to
suit his purposes. Mihailović's headquarters sent further
instructions to the commander of the Second
Sarajevo Chetnik Brigade
clarifying the goal: "It should be made clear to everyone that, after
the war or when the time becomes appropriate, we will complete our
task and that no one except the
Serbs will be left in Serbian lands.
Explain this to [our] people and ensure that they make this their
priority. You cannot put this in writing or announce it publicly,
because the Turks [Muslims] would hear about it too, and this must not
be spread around by word of mouth."
Chetniks systemically massacred Muslims in villages that they
captured. In late autumn of 1941 the Italians handed over the towns of
Foča and the surrounding areas, in south-east
Bosnia to the
Chetniks to run as a puppet administration and NDH
forces were compelled by the Italians to withdraw from there.
Chetniks gained control of
Goražde on 29 November 1941,
they began a massacre of Home Guard prisoners and NDH officials that
became a systematic massacre of the local Muslim civilian population,
with several hundred murdered and their bodies left hanging in the
town or thrown into the
Drina river. On 5 December 1941, the Chetniks
received the town of
Foča from the Italians and proceeded to massacre
around five hundred Muslims. Additional massacres against the
Muslims in the area of
Foča took place in August 1942. In total, over
two thousand people were killed in Foča.
In early January, the
Srebrenica and killed around a
thousand Muslim civilians in the town and in nearby villages. Around
the same time the
Chetniks made their way to
Višegrad where deaths
were reportedly in the thousands. Massacres continued in the following
months in the region. In the village of
Žepa alone about three
hundred were killed in late 1941. In early January,
fifty-four Muslims in
Čelebić and burned down the village. On 3
March, a contingent of
Chetniks burned forty-two Muslim villagers to
death in Drakan.
Đurišić's report of 13 February 1943 detailing the massacres of
Muslims in the counties of
Foča in southeastern Bosnia
and in the county of
Pljevlja in Sandžak
In early January 1943 and again in early February, Montenegrin Chetnik
units were ordered to carry out "cleansing actions" against Muslims,
first in the
Bijelo Polje county in
Sandžak and then in February in
Čajniče county and part of
Foča county in southeastern Bosnia,
and in part of the
Pljevlja county in Sandžak. On 10 January
1943, Pavle Đurišić, the Chetnik officer in charge of these
operations, submitted a report to Mihailović, Chief of Staff of the
Supreme Command. His report included the results of these "cleansing
operations", which according to Tomasevich, were that "thirty-three
Muslim villages had been burned down, and 400 Muslim fighters (members
of the Muslim self-protection militia supported by the Italians) and
about 1,000 women and children had been killed, as against 14 Chetnik
dead and 26 wounded".
In another report sent by Đurišić dated 13 February 1943, he
reported that: "
Chetniks killed about 1,200 Muslim fighters and about
8,000 old people, women, and children; Chetnik losses in the action
were 22 killed and 32 wounded". He added that "during the
operation the total destruction of the Muslim inhabitants was carried
out regardless of sex and age". The total number of deaths in
anti-Muslim operations between January and February 1943 is estimated
at 10,000. The casualty rate would have been higher had not a great
number of Muslims already fled, most to Sarajevo, when the February
According to a statement from the Chetnik Supreme Command from 24
February 1943, these were countermeasures taken against Muslim
aggressive activities; however, all circumstances show that these
massacres were committed in accordance with implementing the directive
of 20 December 1941. In March 1943, Mihailović listed the
Chetnik action in
Sandžak as one of his successes noting they had
"liquidated all Muslims in the villages except those in the small
Croats were smaller in scale but similar in
action. In the summer of 1941, Trubar, Bosansko Grahovo and
Krnjeuša were the sites of the first massacres and other attacks
Croats in the southwestern Bosnian Krajina. In
early October 1942 in the village of Gata near Split, an estimated one
hundred people were killed and many homes burnt purportedly as
reprisal for the destruction of some roads in the area and carried out
on the Italians' account. In that same October, formations under the
Petar Baćović and Dobroslav Jevđević, who were
participating in the Italian
Operation Alfa in the area of Prozor,
massacred over five hundred
Croats and Muslims and burnt numerous
villages. Baćović noted that "Our
Chetniks killed all men 15
years of age or older. ... Seventeen villages were burned to the
ground." Mario Roatta, commander of the Italian Second Army, objected
to these "massive slaughters" of noncombatant civilians and threatened
to halt Italian aid to the
Chetniks if they did not end.
Vladimir Žerjavić initially estimated the number
of Muslims and
Croats killed by the
Chetniks as 65,000 (33,000 Muslims
and 32,000 Croats; both combatants and civilians). In 1997, he revised
this figure down to 47,000 dead (29,000 Muslims and 18,000 Croats).
According to Vladimir Geiger of the Croatian Institute of History,
Zdravko Dizdar, a historian, estimates
Chetniks killed a total of
Croats and Muslims — mostly civilians — between 1941 and
1945. According to Ramet, the
Chetniks completely destroyed 300
villages and small towns and a large number of mosques and Catholic
churches. Some historians contend genocide was committed against
Šumadija kill a Partisan through heart extraction.
The Partisans were also targets of terror tactics. In the Territory of
the Military Commander in Serbia, apart from a few terrorist acts
against Nedić's and Ljotić's men, and in
separatists, terror was directed solely against the Partisans, their
families and sympathizers, on ideological grounds. The goal was the
complete destruction of the Partisans. The
Chetniks created lists
of individuals that were to be liquidated and special units known as
"black trojkas" were trained to carry out these acts of terror.
During the summer of 1942, using names supplied by Mihailović, lists
of individual Nedić and Ljotić supporters to be assassinated or
threatened were broadcast over BBC radio during news programming in
Serbo-Croatian. Once the British discovered this, the broadcasts were
halted, although this did not prevent the
Chetniks from continuing to
carry out assassinations.
Loss of Allied support
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To gather intelligence, agents of the western Allies were infiltrated
into both the Partisans and the Chetniks. The intelligence gathered by
liaisons were 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
their eclipse by the Partisans. The Germans were executing Case Black,
one of a series of offensives aimed at the resistance fighters, when
F.W.D. Deakin was sent by the British to gather information. His
reports contained two important observations. The first was that the
Partisans were courageous and aggressive in battling the German 1st
Mountain and 104th Light Division, had suffered significant
casualties, and required support. The second observation was that the
entire German 1st Mountain Division had transited from Russia on rail
lines through Chetnik-controlled territory. British intercepts of
German message traffic confirmed Chetnik timidity.
All in all, intelligence reports resulted in increased Allied interest
Yugoslavia air operations, and a shift in policy. In September
1943, British policy dictated equal aid to the
Chetniks and Partisans,
but by December, relations between the
Chetniks and British soured
Chetniks refused to obey orders to sabotage the Germans without
the guarantee of an Allied landing in the Balkans. Over time British
support moved away from the Chetniks, which refused to stop
collaborating with the Italians and Germans to fight them, towards the
Partisans, which were eager to increase their anti-Axis activity.
Tehran Conference the Partisans received official
recognition as the legitimate national liberation force by the Allies,
who subsequently set up the
Balkan Air Force
Balkan Air Force (under the influence and
suggestion of Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean) with the aim to provide
increased supplies and tactical air support for the Partisans. In
February 1944, Mihailovic's
Chetniks failed to fulfill British demands
to demolish key bridges over the Morava and Ibar rivers, causing the
British to withdraw their liaisons and halt supplying the
On 14 August 1944, the
Tito-Šubašić agreement between Partisans and
the Government in exile was signed on the island of Vis. The document
called on all Croats, Slovenes, and
Serbs to join the Partisans.
Mihailović and the
Chetniks refused to accept the Royal Government's
agreement and continued to engage the Partisans, by now the official
Yugoslav Allied force. Consequently, on 29 August 1944, King Peter II
dismissed Mihailović as Chief-of-Staff of the Yugoslav Army and on 12
September appointed Marshal
Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito in his place. On 6 October
1944, the Nedić government transferred the
Serbian State Guard
Serbian State Guard to
Mihailović's command, although cooperation proved impossible and they
separated in January 1945 while in Bosnia. As support shifted
towards the Partisans, Mihailović's
Chetniks attempted to recommence
Allied support for the
Chetniks by displaying their eagerness to help
the Allies. They helped rescue 417 Allied aviators in Operation
Halyard which they used to "make the greatest political and propaganda
out of" while in other instances the
Chetniks also rescued German
aviators and pursued Allied aviators for the Germans. Mihailović
later received the
Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit from US President Harry S. Truman
for the rescue of Allied pilots.
Cooperation with the Soviets
In September 1944, the Soviets invaded and occupied Romania and
Bulgaria, removing them from the war and putting Soviet forces on the
borders of Yugoslavia. The
Chetniks were not unprepared for this, and
throughout the war their propaganda strove to harness the pro-Russian
and pan-Slavic sympathies of the majority of the Serb population. The
distinction between the Russian people and their communist government
was belaboured, as was the supposed difference between Yugoslav
Partisans, who were allegedly Trotskyists, and the Soviets, who were
On 10 September 1944, a Chetnik mission of approximately 150 men, led
by Lieutenant Colonel Velimir Piletić, commander of northeastern
Serbia, crossed the Danube into Romania and established contact with
Soviet forces at Craiova. Their main purpose, according to the
memoirs of one of them, Lt. Col. Miodrag Ratković, was to establish
Soviet agreement to certain political goals: a cessation of the civil
war through Soviet mediation, free elections supervised by the Allied
powers and the postponement of any war-related trials until after
elections. Before the mission could go on to Bucharest, where the
American and British military missions were, they were denounced by
one of Piletić's aides as British spies and arrested by the Soviets
on 1 October.
Chetniks believed they could fight as allies of the
Soviets at the same time as they fought the Partisans, they did manage
some local cooperation with the former while antagonising the Germans.
In a circular of 5 October, Mihailović wrote: "We consider the
Russians as our allies. The struggle against Tito's forces in Serbia
will be continued." The Germans were aware of the Chetniks'
disposition through radio intercepts, and their intelligence reported
on 19 October that "the
Chetniks have never been prepared by Draža
Mihailović through appropriate propaganda for a fighting encounter
with the Russians.
Draža Mihailović has on the contrary upheld the
fiction that the Russians as allies of the Americans and the British
will never act against the interests of the Serbian
The commander of a group of the Shock Corps, Lt. Col. Keserović, was
the first Chetnik officer to cooperate with the Soviets. In
mid-October his troops met Soviet forces advancing into central
eastern Serbia from
Bulgaria and together they occupied the town of
Kruševac, the Soviets leaving Keserović in charge of the town.
Within three days, Keserović was warning his fellow commanders that
the Russians were only talking with the Partisans and disarming the
Chetniks. Keserović reported to Supreme Command on 19 October that
his delegate to the Soviet division had returned with a message
ordering his men to be disarmed and incorporated in the Partisan armed
forces by 18 October.
Another Chetnik commander to cooperate with the Soviets was Captain
Predrag Raković of the Second Ravna Gora Corps, whose men
participated in the capture of Čačak, where they captured 339
soldiers of the Russisches Schutzkorps Serbien (whom they turned over
to the Soviets). Raković apparently had a written agreement with the
local Soviet commander, placing himself and his men under Soviet
command in return for recognition that they were Mihailović's men.
After a protest from Tito to Marshal Fyodor Tolbukhin, commander of
the front, Keserović's and Raković's cooperation came to an end. By
11 November the latter had gone into hiding and his forces had fled
west to avoid being disarmed and placed under Partisan control.
After the fall of Belgrade to Soviet and Partisan troops there was
little hope of the
Chetniks surviving as a legitimate fighting force
in Yugoslavia.
Retreat and dissolution
Finally, in April and May 1945, as the victorious Partisans took
possession of the country's territory, many
Chetniks retreated toward
Italy and a smaller group toward Austria. Many were captured by the
Partisans or returned to
Yugoslavia by British forces while a number
were killed following repatriation from Bleiburg. Some were tried for
treason and were sentenced to prison terms or death. Many were
summarily executed, especially in the first months after the end of
the war. Mihailović and his few remaining followers tried to fight
their way back to the Ravna Gora, but he was captured by Partisan
forces. In March 1946, Mihailović was brought to Belgrade, where he
was tried and executed on charges of treason in July. During the
closing years of World War II, many
Chetniks defected from their
units, as the Partisan commander-in-chief, Marshal Josip Broz Tito,
proclaimed a general amnesty to all defecting forces for a time.
Draža Mihailović under trial.
After the end of World War II, the
Chetniks were banned in the new
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 29 November 1945, King
Peter II was deposed by the Yugoslav Constituent Assembly after an
overwhelming referendum result. Chetnik leaders either escaped the
country or were arrested by the authorities. On 13 March 1946,
Mihailović was captured by OZNA, the Yugoslav security agency. He was
put on trial, found guilty of high treason against Yugoslavia,
sentenced to death and then executed by firing squad on 17 July.
In 1947, Đujić was tried and sentenced in absentia for war crimes by
Yugoslavia. He was declared a war criminal who as commander of
Dinara Division was responsible for organizing and carrying out a
series of mass murders, massacres, tortures, rapes, robberies, and
imprisonments, and collaborating with the German and Italian
occupiers. He was accused of being responsible for the deaths of
1,500 people during the war.
Following his arrival in the United States, Đujić and his fighters
played a role in the foundation of the Ravna Gora Movement of Serbian
Chetniks factions found their way to the
United States and to Australia.
In January 1951, the Yugoslav government charged 16 individuals that
were Chetnik in orientation with being part of a conspiracy that
plotted to overthrow the government and reinstate King Petar with
French and American military intelligence assistance. Of the charged,
15 were sentenced to long prison sentences and one was sentenced to
death. On 12 January 1952, the government reported four or five
Chetnik "brigades" numbering around 400 men each still existed and
were at the borders of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania, and in
Montenegrin forests, attacking meetings of the communist party and
police buildings. As late as November 1952, small Chetnik groups
operated in mountains and forests around
Kalinovik and Trnovo. Trials
Chetniks carried on until 1957.
In 1975, Nikola Kavaja, a diaspora Chetnik living in
belonging to the
Serbian National Defense Council
Serbian National Defense Council (SNDC), was, at his
own initiative, responsible for bombing a Yugoslav consul's home, the
first in a series of attacks targeting the Yugoslav state in the
United States and Canada. He and his co-conspirators were captured in
a sting set up by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation and convicted
for terrorism for the incident and for planning to bomb two Yugoslav
receptions on Yugoslavia's National Day. Later that year, during his
flight to receive his sentence, he hijacked the American Airlines
Flight 293 with the intention of crashing the plane into Tito's
Belgrade headquarters, but was dissuaded; he ultimately received a
67-year prison sentence.
Momčilo Đujić delivering a speech in Canada, July 1991.
After Serbian President Slobodan Milošević's assumption of power in
1989 various Chetnik groups made a "comeback" and his regime
"made a decisive contribution to launching the Chetnik insurrection in
1990–1992 and to funding it thereafter". Chetnik ideology was
influenced by the memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and
Arts. On 28 June 1989, the 600th anniversary of the Battle of
Serbs in north Dalmatia, Knin, Obrovac, and
there were "old Chetnik strongholds", held the first anti-Croatian
On the same day, Đujić declared
Vojislav Šešelj "at once assumes
the role of a vojvoda and a vladika [high-ranking religious order]
unifier" and ordered him "to expel all Croats, Albanians, and
other foreign elements from holy Serbian soil", stating he would
return only when Serbia was cleansed of "the last Jew, Albanian, and
Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church began the procession of the
reliquary of Prince Lazar, who participated in the Battle of Kosovo
and was canonized, and in the summer it reached the Zvornik-Tuzla
Herzegovina where there was a feeling of
"historic tragedy of the Serb people, which is experiencing a new
Kosovo" accompanied by nationalist declarations and Chetnik
Later that year, Šešelj, Vuk Drašković, and
Mirko Jović formed
Serbian National Renewal (SNO), a Chetnik party. In
March 1990, Drašković and Šešelj splintered to form a separate
Chetnik party, the
Serbian Renewal Movement
Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO). On 18
June 1990, Šešelj organized the Serbian Chetnik Movement (SČP)
though it wasn't permitted official registration due to its obvious
Chetnik identification. On 23 February 1991, it merged with the
National Radical Party (NRS), establishing the Serbian Radical Party
(SRS) with Šešelj as president and
Tomislav Nikolić as vice
president. It was a Chetnik party, oriented towards
neo-fascism with a striving for the territorial expansion of
Serbia. In July 1991, Serb-Croat clashes broke out in
Croatia and rallies were held in the Ravna Gora mountains with chants
in favor of war and recollected "glories" of Chetnik massacres of
Croats and Muslims during World War II. The SPO held many rallies
at Ravna Gora 
An SDG member patrolling Erdut, Croatia in 1991.
During the Yugoslav Wars, many Serb paramilitaries styled themselves
as Chetniks. The SRS's military wing was known as "Chetniks" and
received weaponry from the
Yugoslav People's Army
Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serbian
police. Šešelj personally helped arm
Serbs in Croatia and
recruited volunteers in Serbia and Montenegro, sending 5,000 men to
Croatia and up to 30,000 to
Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to
Chetniks never acted outside the umbrella of the
Yugoslav People's Army
Yugoslav People's Army and the Serbian police". Željko
Ražnatović, a self-styled Chetnik, led a Chetnik force called the
Serb Volunteer Guard
Serb Volunteer Guard (SDG), established on 11 October 1990.
The SDG was connected to the Serbian Ministry of Interior,
operated under JNA command, and reported directly to
Milošević. It had between 1,000 and 1,500 men. Jović, at
the time the Serbian Minister of the Interior, organized the youth
wing of the SNO into the White Eagles, a paramilitary closely
based on the
World War II
World War II Chetnik movement, and called for "a
Christian, Orthodox Serbia with no Muslims and no unbelievers."
It came to be associated with the SRS though Šešelj denied the
Both the White Eagles and SDG received instructions from the Yugoslav
Counterintelligence Service. In September–October 1991, the
Chetniks were established to "carry on the 'best' Chetnik
traditions of the Second World War". A paramilitary group called
the Chetnik Avengers also existed and was led by Milan Lukić who
later took command of the White Eagles. A Chetnik unit led by
Slavko Aleksić operated under the command of the Army of Republika
Srpska. In 1991 it fought in the Krajina area of Croatia and in 1992
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Milošević and Radovan Karadžić, the president of the
self-proclaimed Republika Srpska, used the subordinate Chetnik forces
of Šešelj and Ražnatović as part of their plan to expel non-Serbs
and form a
Greater Serbia through the use of ethnic cleansing, terror,
and demoralization. Šešelj's and Ražnatović's formations
acted as "autonomous" groups in the RAM Plan which sought to
Serbs outside Serbia, consolidate control of the Serbian
Democratic Parties (SDS), and prepare arms and ammunition in an
effort to establish a country where "all
Serbs with their territories
would live together in the same state." According to historian
Noel Malcolm the "steps taken by Karadžić and his party –
[declaring Serb] "Autonomous Regions", the arming of the Serb
population, minor local incidents, non-stop propaganda, the request
for federal army "protection" – matched exactly what had been done
in Croatia. Few observers could doubt that a single plan was in
Chetnik units engaged in mass murders and war crimes. In 1991,
the Croatian town of
Erdut was forcefully taken over by the SDG and
JNA and annexed to the puppet state of Republic of Serbian
Croats and other non-
Serbs were either expelled or killed
Serbs repopulating empty villages in the area. On 1 April
1992, the SDG attacked
Bijeljina and carried out a massacre of Muslim
civilians. On 4 April, Chetnik irregulars helped the JNA in
shelling Sarajevo. On 6 April,
Chetniks and the JNA attacked
Bijeljina, Foča, Bratunac, and Višegrad. On 9 April, the SDG and
Chetniks aided the JNA and special units of the Serbian
security force in overtaking
Zvornik and ridding it of its local
Reports sent by Ražnatović to Milošević, Ratko Mladić, and
Blagoje Adžić stated the plan was progressing, noting that the
psychological attack on the
Bosniak population in
Herzegovina was effective and should continue. Chetnik forces
also engaged in mass murder in Vukovar and Srebrenica. The White
Eagles were responsible for massacres in Voćin, Višegrad, Foča,
Sjeverin, and Štrpci, and for terrorizing the Muslim population
in Sandžak. In September 1992,
Chetniks attempted to force
Sandžak Muslims in
Pljevlja to flee by demolishing their stores and
houses whilst shouting "Turks leave" and "this is Serbia". By
mid-1993, they suffered over a hundred bombings, kidnappings,
expulsions, and shootings. The SPO threatened Muslims with expulsion
when reacting to requests for autonomy in Sandžak.
On 15 May 1993, Šešelj proclaimed eighteen (18) Chetnik fighters as
vojvodas, naming towns that were cleansed of non-
Serbs in their
citation, and they were blessed by an Orthodox priest afterwards.
Šešelj came to be described as "a man whose killer commando units
operating in Croatia and
Bosnia carried on the very worst of the
Vojislav Šešelj under trial at the ICTY.
Later the SRS became a government coalition partner of Milosević and
in 1998, Đujić publicly stated that he regretted awarding that title
to Šešelj. He was quoted as saying, "I was naïve when I nominated
Šešelj [as] Vojvoda; I ask my people to forgive me. The greatest
Serbdom is Slobodan Milošević" and that he is
"disappointed in Šešelj for openly collaborating with Milošević's
Socialist Party, with Communists who have only changed their
name. ... Šešelj has sullied the reputation of
Serbian nationalism." In 2000, Ražnatović was killed before
facing prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Yugoslavia (ICTY). In 2003, Šešelj surrendered himself
to the ICTY to face war crimes charges and was acquitted in 2016.
Nikolić, whom Šešelj had, in 1993, proclaimed vojvoda and
awarded the Order of Chetnik Knights for his subordinates' "personal
courage in defending the fatherland", took over the SRS. He
vowed to pursue a
Greater Serbia "through peaceful means". In
2008, Lukić was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against
humanity and war crimes.
In the 1980s, Serbian historians initiated the process of reexamining
the narrative of how
World War II
World War II was told in Yugoslavia, which was
accompanied by the rehabilitation of Chetnik leader Draža
Mihailović. Being preoccupied with the era, Serbian
historians have looked to vindicate Chetnik history by portraying
Chetniks as righteous freedom fighters battling the Nazis while
removing from history books the ambiguous alliances with the Italians
and Germans. Whereas the crimes committed by
Croats and Muslims in Serbian historiography are
overall "cloaked in silence".
Draža Mihailović on Ravna Gora.
In Serbia there has been a revival of Chetnik nationalism.
Since the early 1990s, the SPO has annually held the "Ravna Gora
Parliament" and in 2005 it was organized with state funding for
the first time. Croatian president
Stjepan Mesić later cancelled
a planned visit to Serbia as it coincided with the gathering.
People who attend the Parliament wear Chetnik iconography and T-shirts
with the image of Mihailović or of Mladić, who is on trial
at the ICTY on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war
crimes. The SRS headed by Nikolić, still in favor of a Greater
Serbia and rooted in the Chetnik movement, won the 2003 elections
with 27.7 percent and gained 82 seats of the 250 available. In
2005, Patriarch Pavle of the
Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church backed the
SRS. It later won the 2007 elections with 28.7 percent of the
vote. In 2008, Nikolić split with SRS over the issue of
cooperation with the
European Union and formed the Serbian Progressive
Serbian textbooks have contained historical revisionism of the Chetnik
World War II
World War II since the 1990s. Reinterpretation and
revisionism has focused primarily on three areas: Chetnik-Partisan
relations, Axis collaboration, and crimes against civilians. The
2002 Serbian textbook intended for the final years of high
Chetniks as national patriots, minimized the
Partisan movement, and resulted in protests from historians who viewed
the work as dubious. It contained no mention of Chetnik
collaboration or of atrocities committed by
Chetniks on non-Serbs.
Chetniks that killed individuals who cooperated with communists were
said to have been renegades. The
Chetniks were referred to as
"the core of the Serb civic resistance" and "contrary to the
communists, who wanted to split up the Serb ethnic space, sought to
expand Serbia by incorporating Montenegro, the whole of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, part of
Dubrovnik and Zadar,
the whole Srem, including Vukovar, Vinkovi, and Dalj, Kosovo and
Metohija, and South Serbia (Macedonia)", and were portrayed as
betrayed by the Allies. The Chetnik movement is claimed to be the
sole one with "Serb national interests" and their defeat was equated
with the defeat of Serbia, stating in bold that: "In the Second World
War, the Serbian citizenry was destroyed, the national movement
shattered, and the intelligentsia demolished." After public
criticism, the 2006 textbook for the final year of elementary school
mentioned collaboration, but attempted to justify it and stated all
factions of the war collaborated.
In March 2004, the
National Assembly of Serbia
National Assembly of Serbia passed a new law that
Chetniks and Partisans as equivalent
anti-fascists. The vote was 176 for, 24 against and 4
abstained. Vojislav Mihailović, the Vice President of the Serbian
Parliament and grandson of Draža Mihailović, stated it was "late,
but it provides satisfaction to a good portion of Serbia, their
descendants. They will not get financial resources, but will have the
satisfaction that their grandfathers, fathers, were true fighters for
a free Serbia." Anti-fascist war veterans' associations
criticized the law and stated that Serbia was "the first country in
Europe to declare a quisling movement as being liberating and
anti-fascist." In 2009, Serbian courts rehabilitated Chetnik
ideologist Dragiša Vasić. In September 2012, the Constitutional
Court of Serbia declared the 2004 law unconstitutional stating Chetnik
veterans were not permitted an allowance and medical assistance while
still maintaining their rights to a pension and rehabilitation.
The Serbian basketball player
Milan Gurović has a tattoo of
Mihailović on his left arm which has resulted in a ban since 2004 in
playing in Croatia where it is "considered an incitement ... of
racial, national or religious hatred". Later
Turkey enacted such a ban. Serbian rock musician
and poet Bora Đorđević, leader of the highly popular band Riblja
Čorba, is also a self-declared Chetnik, but calling it a "national
movement that is much older than the WWII", and adding that he does
not hate other nations and never been a member of the SRS nor
advocated Greater Serbia.
In May 2002, plans were prepared for a "Montenegrin Ravna Gora"
memorial complex to be located near Berane. The complex was to be
dedicated to Đurišić, who not only spent some of his youth at
Berane but had also established his wartime headquarters there.
In June 2003, Vesna Kilibarda, the Montenegrin Minister of Culture,
banned the construction of the monument saying that the Ministry of
Culture had not applied for approval to erect it.
The Association of War Veterans of the National Liberation Army
(SUBNOR) objected to the construction of the monument saying that
Đurišić was a war criminal who was responsible for the deaths of
many colleagues of the veterans association and 7,000 Muslims.
The association was also concerned about the organizations that backed
the construction including the
Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church and its
Montenegrin wing which is led by Metropolitan Amfilohije. The
Muslim Association of
Montenegro condemned the construction and stated
that "this is an attempt to rehabilitate him and it is a great insult
to the children of the innocent victims and the Muslim people in
Montenegro." On 4 July, the Montenegrin government forbade the
unveiling of the monument stating that it "caused public concern,
encouraged division among the citizens of Montenegro, and incited
national and religious hatred and intolerance." A press release
from the committee in charge of the construction of the monument
stated that the actions taken by the government were "absolutely
illegal and inappropriate". On 7 July, the stand that was
prepared for the erection of the monument was removed by the
In 2011, the Montenegrin Serb political party New Serb Democracy
(NOVA) renewed efforts for a monument to be built and stated that
Đurišić and other royal Yugoslav officers were "leaders of the 13
July uprising" and that they "continued their struggle to liberate the
country under the leadership of King Peter and the Government of the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia."
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 22 July 1996, the
Republika Srpska entity of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
created a veteran rights law that explicitly covered former Chetniks,
but did not specify the Partisans.
During the Bosnian War, the main traffic road in
Brčko was renamed
the "Boulevard of General Draža Mihailović" and on 8 September 1997
a statue of Mihailović was established in the town's center. In
2000, the street was renamed the "Boulevard of Peace" and in
2004, after lobbying by
Bosniak returnees and intervention from the
Office of the High Representative, the statue was moved to an Orthodox
cemetery located at the outskirts of Brčko. It was removed on 20
October 2005 and on 18 August 2013 unveiled in Višegrad.
In May 1998, the Chetnik Ravna Gora Movement of
Republika Srpska was
founded and proclaimed itself the military branch of the SDS and the
SRS. In April 1998, the "key date in its recent history" occurred when
Šešelj had held a speech for a gathering in
representatives from the SDS, the SRS, the Serb National Alliance
(SNS), the Assembly of Serb Sisters of Mother Jevrosima, the High
Council of Chetnik Veterans of Republika Srpska, and the Chetnik Ravna
Gora Movement of Serbia in attendance. In April 1999 it was legally
registered and later renamed the Serb National Homeland Movement.
Important individuals in its beginnings included: Karadžić, Mladić,
Nikola Poplašen, Dragan Čavić, Mirko Banjac, Mirko Blagojević,
Velibor Ostojić, Vojo Maksimović and Božidar Vučurević. It
operated in fourteen regions where members work in "trojkas" and
infiltrate various civilian organisations. On 5 May 2001, it
disrupted cornerstone laying ceremonies for the destroyed Omer Pasha
Mosque in Trebinje and on 7 May for the destroyed Ferhat Pasha
Mosque in Banja Luka. The Bosnian magazine Dani linked to the
Oslobođenje newspapers, claimed that the "international community"
and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
designated it a terrorist and pro-fascist organization. In 2005,
United States president
George W. Bush
George W. Bush issued an executive order and
its US assets were, among other organizations, frozen for obstructing
the Dayton Agreement.
On 12 July 2007, a day after the 12th anniversary of the Srebrenica
massacre and the burial of a further 465 victims, a group of men
dressed in Chetnik uniforms marched the streets of Srebrenica. They
all wore badges of military units which committed the massacre in July
1995. On 11 July 2009, after the burial of 543 victims in
Srebrenica, members of the Ravna Gora Chetnik movement desecrated the
Bosnia and Herzegovina, marched in the streets wearing
T-shirts with the face of Mladić and sang Chetnik
songs. A group of men and women associated with the
Serbian far-right group Obraz "chanted insults directed towards the
victims and in support of the Chetnik movement, calling for
eradication of Islam." A full report of the incident was
submitted to the local District Prosecutor's Office but no one has
been prosecuted. The Social Democratic Party of
Herzegovina has been campaigning for a creation of a law that would
ban the group within Bosnia.
Milorad Pupovac of the
Independent Democratic Serb Party in Croatia
(the present-day leader of
Serbs of Croatia and member of the Croatian
Parliament), described the organization as "fascist
Serbian-Americans set up a monument dedicated to
Pavle Đurišić at
the Serbian cemetery in Libertyville, Illinois. The management and
players of the football club
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade visited it on 23 May
Chetnik fighters in Ukraine, 2014. Bratislav Zivkovic is seen in the
center of the second row.
In March 2014, Serb volunteers calling themselves Chetniks, led by
Serbian national Bratislav Živković, travelled to
Crimea to support the pro-Russian side in the Crimean crisis. They
spoke of "common Slavic blood and Orthodox faith", cited similarities
with the Cossacks, and claimed to be returning the favour of Russian
volunteers who fought on the Serbian side of the Yugoslav Wars.
Participating in the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine since its
inception in early 2014, it was reported in August 2014 that Chetniks
killed 23 Ukrainian soldiers and took out a "significant amount of
armored vehicles" during clashes with the Ukrainian army.
Chetnik war crimes in World War II
List of Chetnik voivodes
This article has an unclear citation style. The references used may be
made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation and
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^ Milazzo 1975, pp. 103–05.
^ Milazzo 1975, p. 182.
^ Milazzo 1975, p. 140.
^ Milazzo 1975, pp. 185–86.
^ a b c Ramet 2006, p. 145.
^ Ramet 2006, p. 147, Tomasevich 1975, pp. 224–25,
Macdonald 2002, pp. 140–42, Pavlowitch 2007, pp. 65–67
^ Milazzo 1975, pp. preface.
^ Hehn 1971, p. 350; Pavlowitch 2002, p. 141, official name
of the occupied territory.
^ a b Tomasevich 1975, p. 196.
^ Blic, Decenijama palio sveću zaboravljenom heroju, blic.rs;
accessed 09 March 2018.[better source needed]
^ Tomasevich 1975, p. 146.
^ Milazzo 1975, p. 31.
^ Pavlowitch 2007, p. 63.
^ Tomasevich 1975, p. 246.
^ Djokic, Dejan. "Coming To Terms With The Past: Former Yugoslavia."
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Yugoslav factions in World War II
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