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Allied victory

Defeat of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in the Balkans Defeat and overthrow of Independent State of Croatia, Government of National Salvation, Chetniks, and other Axis collaborators Communist Partisans abolish of monarchy and establish a communist government Establishment of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia

Belligerents

April 1941:  Germany  Italy  Hungary April 1941:  Yugoslavia  

1941–43:  Germany  Italy  NDHa VNSa CGa  Hungary  Bulgaria Albania Pećanac Chetniks 1941–43: Chetniksb Supported by:  United Kingdom  United States 1941–43: Partisans Supported by:  Soviet Union

1943–45:  Germany  NDH VNS (until 1944) Chetniks CG (until 1944)  Hungary   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(until 1944) Albania
Albania
(until 1944) Slovene Home Guard 1943–45: Partisans  United Kingdom  Soviet Union (1944–45) Bulgaria (1944–45) Albania
Albania
(1944–45)   United States
United States
(limited involvement)

Commanders and leaders

Maximilian von Weichs Alexander Löhr (POW) Edmund Glaise von Horstenau Mario Roatta Miklós Horthy Ante Pavelić Slavko Kvaternik Milan Nedić Sekula Drljević Kosta Pećanac † Leon Rupnik Bogdan Filov Xhemo Hasa †

Dušan Simović Danilo Kalafatović

Draža Mihailović Ilija Trifunović-Birčanin Dobroslav Jevđević Pavle Đurišić  Momčilo Đujić Zaharije Ostojić  Petar Baćović  Vojislav Lukačević Jezdimir Dangić

Josip Broz Tito Mihajlo Apostolski Milovan Đilas Aleksandar Ranković Kosta Nađ Peko Dapčević Koča Popović Petar Drapšin Svetozar Vukmanović Tempo Arso Jovanović Sava Kovačević † Ivan Gošnjak Boris Kidrič Franc Rozman Stane † Fyodor Tolbukhin Vladimir Stoychev

Strength

300,000 (1944)[1] 321,000 (1943)[2] 170,000 (1943)[3] 130,000 (1945)[4] 40,000 (1943)[5] 70,000 (1943)[6][7] 12,000 (1944)[8] 93,000 (1943)[9][10]

100,000 (1943)[11] 800,000 (1945)[12] 580,000 (1944)

Casualties and losses

Germany:[13]c 19,235 killed 14,805 missing; Italy:d 9,065 killed 15,160 wounded 6,306 missing; NDH:[14] 99,000 killed Partisans:[15] 245,549 killed 399,880 wounded 31,200 died from wounds 28,925 missing

Civilians killed: ~514,000[16]–581,000[17] Total Yugoslav casualties: ~850,000[18]–1,200,000

a ^ Axis puppet regime established on occupied Yugoslav territory b ^ Resistance movement. Engaged in collaboration with Axis forces from mid-1942 onward, lost official Allied support in 1943.[19][20][21] Full names: initially "Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army", then "Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland". c ^ Casualties in the Balkan area, including Greece, from April 1941 to January 1945 d ^ Including casualties in the April invasion of Yugoslavia

v t e

World War II
World War II
in Yugoslavia

Axis invasion June 1941 uprising in eastern Herzegovina Uprising in Serbia

Loznica Banja Koviljača

Uzice (1st Offensive) Novi Pazar Mihailovic Sjenica

Uprising in Montenegro

Pljevlja

Southeast Croatia
Croatia
(2nd Offensive) Prijedor Nanos Trio (3rd Offensive) 1942 Montenegro offensive (3rd Offensive) Kozara Kupres Alfa Dražgoše Livno Kočevje Case White
Case White
(4th Offensive) Delphin Otto Halyard Case Black
Case Black
(5th Offensive) Zvornik Turjak Castle Ožbalt Kugelblitz (6th Offensive) Maibaum Rösselsprung (7th Offensive) Andrijevica Belgrade
Belgrade
Offensive Kosovo Syrmian Front Knin Mostar Lijevče Field Odžak Nagykanizsa–Körmend Poljana Niš

Hungarian occupation Allied bombing campaign

v t e

Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre

Adriatic North Africa East Africa Mediterranean Sea Gibraltar Malta Bahrain Balkans Yugoslavia Iraq Syria–Lebanon Palestine Iran Sicily Italian mainland Dodecanese Corsica Dragoon

Military operations in World War II
World War II
in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
began on 6 April 1941, when the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
was swiftly conquered by Axis forces and partitioned between Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and client regimes. Subsequently, a guerrilla liberation war was fought against the Axis occupying forces and their locally established puppet regimes, including the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
and the Serbian Government of National Salvation, by the KPJ-led republican Yugoslav Partisans. Simultaneously, a multi-side civil war was waged between the Yugoslav communist Partisans, the Serbian royalist Chetniks, Croatian fascist Ustaše
Ustaše
and Home Guard, as well as Slovene Home Guard troops.[22] Both the Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
and the Chetnik movement
Chetnik movement
initially resisted the occupation. However, after 1941, Chetniks
Chetniks
extensively and systematically collaborated with the Italian occupation forces until the Italian capitulation, and thereon also with German and Ustaše forces.[22][23] The Axis mounted a series of offensives intended to destroy the Partisans, coming close to doing so in the Battle of Neretva
Neretva
and Battle of Sutjeska
Battle of Sutjeska
in the spring and summer of 1943. Despite the setbacks, the Partisans remained a credible fighting force, with their organization gaining recognition from the Western Allies at the Tehran Conference
Tehran Conference
and laying the foundations for the post-war Yugoslav state. With support in logistics and air power from the Western Allies, and Soviet ground troops in the Belgrade Offensive, the Partisans eventually gained control of the entire country and of the border regions of Trieste
Trieste
and Carinthia. The human cost of the war was enormous. The number of war victims is still in dispute, but is generally agreed to have been at least one million. Non-combat victims included the majority of the country's Jewish
Jewish
population, many of whom perished in concentration and extermination camps (e.g. Jasenovac, Banjica) run by the client regimes. The Croatian Ustaše
Ustaše
regime committed genocide against Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-Fascist Croats. The Serbian Chetniks
Chetniks
pursued genocide against Muslims and Croats
Croats
and Pro-Partisan Serbs, and the Italian occupation authorities pursued violence against Slovenes
Slovenes
and Croats. The Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
carried out mass executions of civilians in retaliation for resistance activity e.g., the Kragujevac massacre. SS Division "Prinz Eugen" massacred large number of civilians and prisoners of war.[24] Hungarian occupation troops massacred civilians (mostly Serbs and Jews) during the a major raid in southern Bačka, under the pretext of suppressing resistance activities. Finally, during and after the final stages of the war, Yugoslav authorities and Partisan troops carried out reprisals, including the deportation of the Danube Swabian
Danube Swabian
population, forced marches and executions of thousands of captured soldiers and civilians fleeing their advance (the Bleiburg
Bleiburg
repatriations), atrocities against the Italian population in Istria
Istria
(the Foibe massacres) and purges against Serbs, Hungarians and Germans associated with the fascist forces.

Contents

1 Background 2 1941

2.1 Invasion 2.2 Early resistance

3 1942 4 1943

4.1 Critical Axis offensives 4.2 Italian capitulation
Italian capitulation
and Allied support for the Partisans

5 1944

5.1 Last Axis offensive 5.2 Partisan growth to domination 5.3 Allied advances in Romania and Bulgaria 5.4 Liberation of Belgrade
Belgrade
and eastern Yugoslavia

6 1945

6.1 Partisan general offensive 6.2 Final operations 6.3 Aftermath

7 Casualties

7.1 Yugoslav casualties 7.2 German casualties 7.3 Italian casualties

8 See also 9 References

9.1 Bibliography

Background Prior to the outbreak of war, the government of Milan Stojadinović (1935–1939) tried to navigate between the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
and the imperial powers by seeking neutral status, signing a non-aggression treaty with Italy and extending its treaty of friendship with France. In the same time, the country was destabilized by internal tensions, as Croatian leaders demanded a greater level of autonomy. Stojadinović was sacked by the regent Prince Paul in 1939 and replaced by Dragiša Cvetković, who negotiated a compromise with Croatian leader Vladko Maček
Vladko Maček
in 1939, resulting in the formation of the Banovina of Croatia. However, rather than reducing tensions, the agreement only reinforced the crisis in the country's governance.[25] Groups from both sides of the political spectrum were not satisfied: the pro-fascist Ustaše sought an independent Croatia
Croatia
allied with the Axis, Serbian public and military circles preferred alliance with the Western European empires, while the then-banned Communist Party of Yugoslavia
Communist Party of Yugoslavia
saw the Soviet Union as a natural ally. After the fall of France to Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in May 1940, the UK was the only empire in conflict with the Axis powers, and Prince Paul and the government saw no way of saving Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
except through adopting policies of accommodation with the Axis powers. Although Hitler
Hitler
was not particularly interested in creating another front in the Balkans, and Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
itself remained at peace during the first year of the war, Benito Mussolini's Italy had invaded Albania
Albania
in April 1939 and launched the rather unsuccessful Italo-Greek War
Italo-Greek War
in October 1940. These events resulted in Yugoslavia's geographical isolation from potential Allied support. The government tried to negotiate with the Axis on cooperation with as few concessions as possible, while attempting secret negotiations with the Allies and the Soviet Union, but those moves would fail to keep the country out of the war.[26] A secret mission to the US, led by the influential Serbian-Jewish Captain David Albala with the purpose of obtaining funding to buy arms for the expected invasion went nowhere, while Stalin expelled Yugoslav Ambassador Gavrilovic just one month after agreeing a treaty of friendship with Yugoslavia.[27] 1941 Having steadily fallen within the orbit of the Axis during 1940 after events such as the Second Vienna Award, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
followed Bulgaria and formally joined the Axis powers
Axis powers
by signing the Tripartite Pact
Tripartite Pact
on 25 March 1941. Air force officers opposed to the move staged a coup d'état and took over in the following days. These events were viewed with great apprehension in Berlin, and as it was preparing to help its Italian ally in its war against Greece anyway, the plans were modified to include Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
as well. Invasion Main article: Invasion of Yugoslavia

Occupation and partition of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
1941.

On 6 April 1941 the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
was invaded from all sides by the Axis powers
Axis powers
of Germany, Italy, and their ally Hungary. During the invasion, Belgrade
Belgrade
was bombed by the German air force (Luftwaffe). The invasion lasted little more than ten days, ending with the unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army
Royal Yugoslav Army
on 17 April. Besides being hopelessly ill-equipped when compared to the German Army (Heer), the Yugoslav army attempted to defend all borders but only managed to thinly spread the limited resources available. Also, large numbers of the population refused to fight, instead welcoming the Germans as liberators from government oppression. However, as this meant each individual ethnic group would turn to movements opposed to the unity promoted by the South Slavic state, two different concepts of resistance emerged, the monarchist Chetniks, and the communist Partisans.[28] Two of the principal constituent national groups, Slovenes
Slovenes
and Croats, were not prepared to fight in defense of a Yugoslav state with a continued Serb monarchy. The only effective opposition to the invasion was from units wholly from Serbia itself.[29] The Serbian General Staff was united on the question of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
as a "Greater Serbia" ruled, in one way or another, by Serbia. On the eve of the invasion, there were 165 generals on the Yugoslav active list. Of these, all but four were Serbs.[30] The terms of the capitulation were extremely severe, as the Axis proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia. Germany annexed northern Slovenia, while retaining direct occupation over a rump Serbian state, and considerable influence over its newly created puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia, which extended over much of today's Croatia
Croatia
and contained all of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mussolini's Italy gained the remainder of Slovenia, Kosovo, and large chunks of the coastal Dalmatia
Dalmatia
region (along with nearly all of the Adriatic
Adriatic
islands and the Bay of Kotor). It also gained control over the Italian governorate of Montenegro, and was granted the kingship in the Independent State of Croatia, though wielding little real power within it. Hungary dispatched the Hungarian Third Army to occupy Vojvodina in northern Serbia, and later forcibly annexed sections of Baranja, Bačka, Međimurje, and Prekmurje.[31] The Bulgarian army moved in on 19 April 1941, occupying nearly all of the modern-day Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
and some districts of eastern Serbia which, with Greek western Thrace and eastern Macedonia (the Aegean Province), were annexed by Bulgaria
Bulgaria
on 14 May.[32] The government in exile was now only recognized by the Allied powers.[33] The Axis had recognized the territorial acquisitions of their allied states.[34][35] Early resistance Various military formations more or less linked to the general liberation movement were involved in armed confrontations with Axis forces which erupted in various areas of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
in the ensuing weeks.

In the beginning there had been two resistance movements in Yugoslavia, the Chetniks
Chetniks
and the Partisans. The resistance of the Chetniks
Chetniks
had lasted only until the autumn of 1941, their leaders then going over to the enemy or returning to passivity.[36]

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
in Maribor, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
in 1941. He later ordered his officials "to make these lands German again".[37]

From the start, the Yugoslav resistance forces consisted of two factions: the Partisans, a communist-led movement propagating pan-Yugoslav tolerance ("brotherhood and unity") and incorporating republican, left-wing and liberal elements of Yugoslav politics, on one hand, and the Chetniks, a conservative royalist and nationalist force, enjoying support almost exclusively from the Serbian population in occupied Yugoslavia, on the other hand. Initially the Chetniks received recognition from the Western Allies, while the Partisans were supported by the Soviet Union. At the very beginning, the Partisan forces were relatively small, poorly armed, and without any infrastructure. But they had two major advantages over other military and paramilitary formations in former Yugoslavia: the first and most immediate advantage was a small but valuable cadre of Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
veterans. Unlike some of the other military and paramilitary formations, these veterans had experience with a modern war fought in circumstances quite similar to those found in World War II
World War II
Yugoslavia. In Slovenia, the Partisans likewise drew on the experienced TIGR
TIGR
members to train troops. Their other major advantage, which became more apparent in later stages of War, was in the Partisans being founded on a socialist ideology rather than ethnicity. Therefore, they won support that crossed national lines, meaning they could expect at least some levels of support in almost any corner of the country, unlike other paramilitary formations limited to territories with Croat or Serb majority. This allowed their units to be more mobile and fill their ranks with a larger pool of potential recruits. Although the activity of the Macedonian and Slovene Partisans
Slovene Partisans
were part of the Yugoslav People's Liberation War, the specific conditions in Macedonia and Slovenia, due to the strong autonomist tendencies of the local communists, led to the creation of a separate sub-armies called the People's Liberation Army of Macedonia, and Slovene Partisans led by Liberation Front of the Slovene People, respectively. The most numerous local force, besides the four second-line German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
infantry divisions assigned to occupation duties was the Croatian Home Guard (Hrvatsko domobranstvo), founded in April 1941, a few days after the founding of the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
(NDH) itself. It was done with the authorisation of German occupation authorities. The task of the new Croatian armed forces was to defend the new state against both foreign and domestic enemies.[38] The Croatian Home Guard was originally limited to 16 infantry battalions and 2 cavalry squadrons – 16,000 men in total. The original 16 battalions were soon enlarged to 15 infantry regiments of two battalions each between May and June 1941, organised into five divisional commands, some 55,000 enlisted men.[39] Support units included 35 light tanks supplied by Italy,[40] 10 artillery battalions (equipped with captured Royal Yugoslav Army
Royal Yugoslav Army
weapons of Czech origin), a cavalry regiment in Zagreb
Zagreb
and an independent cavalry battalion at Sarajevo. Two independent motorized infantry battalions were based at Zagreb
Zagreb
and Sarajevo
Sarajevo
respectively.[41] Several regiments of Ustaše militia were also formed at this time, which operated under a separate command structure to, and independently from, the Croatian Home Guard, until late 1944.[42] The Home Guard crushed the Serb revolt in Eastern Herzegovina
Herzegovina
in June 1941, and in July they fought in Eastern and Western Bosnia. They fought in Eastern Herzegovina
Herzegovina
again, when Croatian-Dalmatian and Slavonian battalions reinforced local units.[41] The Italian High Command assigned 24 divisions and three coastal brigades to occupation duties in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
from 1941. These units were located from Slovenia, Croatia
Croatia
and Dalmatia
Dalmatia
through to Montenegro and Kosovo.[43] From 1931-39, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had prepared communists for a guerrilla war in Yugoslavia. On the eve of the war, hundreds of future prominent Yugoslav communist leaders completed special "partisan courses" organized by the Soviet military intelligence in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and Spain.[44] Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, began on 22 June 1941.[45] On the same day, Yugoslav Partisans formed the 1st Sisak
Sisak
Partisan Detachment, was the first armed anti-fascist resistance unit formed by a resistance movement in occupied Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
during World War II.[46] Founded in the Brezovica Forest near Sisak, Croatia, its creation marked the beginning of anti-Axis resistance in occupied Yugoslavia.[46] After the German attack on the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on 22 June 1941, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia
Communist Party of Yugoslavia
formally decided to launch an armed uprising on 4 July 1941, a date which was later marked as Fighter's Day – a public holiday in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the village of Bela Crkva, Spanish veteran Žikica Jovanović Španac shot the first bullet of the campaign on 7 July 1941, a date that later became known as the "Day of Uprising of the Socialist Republic of Serbia". On 10 August 1941 in Stanulović, a mountain village, the Partisans formed the Kopaonik Partisan Detachment Headquarters. Their liberated area, consisting of nearby villages and called the "Miners Republic", was the first in Yugoslavia, and lasted 42 days. The resistance fighters formally joined the ranks of the Partisans later on. The Chetnik movement
Chetnik movement
was organized after the surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army by some of the remaining Yugoslav soldiers. This force was organized in the Ravna Gora district of western Serbia under Colonel Draža Mihailović. However, unlike the Partisans, Mihailović's forces were almost entirely ethnic Serbs. He directed his units to arm themselves and await his orders for the final push. Mihailović avoided direct action against the Axis, which he judged were of low strategic importance. The royalist Chetniks
Chetniks
(officially the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, JVUO), under the command of General Draža Mihailović, drew primarily from the scattered remnants of the Royal Yugoslav Army, relying overwhelmingly on the ethnic Serbian population for support. They were formed soon after the invasion of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
and the surrender of the government on 17 April 1941. The Chetniks
Chetniks
were initially the only resistance movement recognized by the Yugoslav government-in-exile
Yugoslav government-in-exile
and the Western Allies. The Partisans and Chetniks
Chetniks
attempted to cooperate early during the conflict, but this quickly fell apart.

Uprising in Yugoslavia, September 1941.

In September 1941, Partisans organized sabotage at the General Post Office in Zagreb. As the levels of resistance to its occupation grew, the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
responded with numerous minor offensives. There were also seven major Axis operations specifically aimed at eliminating all or most Yugoslav Partisan resistance. These major offensives were typically combined efforts by the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
and SS, Italy, Chetniks, the Independent State of Croatia, the Serbian collaborationist government, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The First Anti-Partisan Offensive
First Anti-Partisan Offensive
was the attack conducted by the Axis in autumn of 1941 against the "Republic of Užice", a liberated territory the Partisans established in western Serbia. In November 1941, German troops attacked and reoccupied this territory, with the majority of Partisan forces escaping towards Bosnia. It was during this offensive that tenuous collaboration between the Partisans and the royalist Chetnik movement
Chetnik movement
broke down and turned into open hostility. After fruitless negotiations, the Chetnik leader, General Mihailović, turned against the Partisans as his main enemy. According to him, the reason was humanitarian: the prevention of German reprisals against Serbs.[47] This however, did not stop the activities of the Partisan resistance, and Chetnik units attacked the Partisans in November 1941, while increasingly receiving supplies and cooperating with the Germans and Italians in this. The British liaison to Mihailović advised London to stop supplying the Chetniks
Chetniks
after the Užice attack (see First Anti-Partisan Offensive), but Britain continued to do so.[48] On 22 December 1941 the Partisans formed the 1st Proletarian Assault Brigade (1. Proleterska Udarna Brigada) – the first regular Partisan military unit capable of operating outside its local area. 22 December became the "Day of the Yugoslav People's Army". 1942

This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. (December 2015)

Italian armored cars in the Balkans.

German forces with French-made H39 tanks fording a river.

Yugoslav POWs supervised by Bulgarian soldiers and German armored car.

On 15 January 1942, the Bulgarian 1st Army, with 3 infantry divisions, transferred to south-eastern Serbia. Headquartered at Niš, it replaced German divisions needed in Croatia
Croatia
and the Soviet Union.[49] The Chetniks
Chetniks
initially enjoyed the support of the Western Allies (up to the Tehran Conference
Tehran Conference
in December 1943). In 1942, Time Magazine featured an article which praised the "success" of Mihailović's Chetniks
Chetniks
and heralded him as the sole defender of freedom in Nazi-occupied Europe. Tito's Partisans fought the Germans more actively during this time. Tito and Mihailović had a bounty of 100,000 Reichsmarks offered by Germans for their heads. While "officially" remaining mortal enemies of the Germans and the Ustaše, the Chetniks
Chetniks
were known for making clandestine deals with the Italians and other occupying forces. The Second Enemy Offensive
Second Enemy Offensive
was a coordinated Axis attack conducted in January 1942 against Partisan forces in eastern Bosnia. The Partisan troops once again avoided encirclement and were forced to retreat over the Igman
Igman
mountain near Sarajevo. The Third Enemy Offensive, an offensive against Partisan forces in eastern Bosnia, Montenegro, Sandžak
Sandžak
and Hercegovina
Hercegovina
which took place in the spring of 1942. It was known as Operation TRIO by the Germans, and again ended with a timely Partisan escape. This attack is mistakenly identified by some sources as the Battle of Kozara, which took place in the summer of 1942. The Partisans fought an increasingly successful guerrilla campaign against the Axis occupiers and their local collaborators, including the Chetniks
Chetniks
(which they also considered collaborators). They enjoyed gradually increased levels of success and support of the general populace, and succeeded in controlling large chunks of Yugoslav territory. People's committees were organized to act as civilian governments in areas of the country liberated by the Partisans. In places, even limited arms industries were set up. To gather intelligence, agents of the Western Allies were infiltrated into both the Partisans and the Chetniks. The intelligence gathered by liaisons to the resistance groups was crucial to the success of supply missions and was the primary influence on Allied strategy in the Yugoslavia. The search for intelligence ultimately resulted in the decline of the Chetniks
Chetniks
and their eclipse by Tito's Partisans. In 1942, though supplies were limited, token support was sent equally to each. In November 1942, Partisan detachments were officially merged into the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
(NOV i POJ).

German Generalmajor (Brigadier) Friedrich Stahl stands alongside an Ustaša officer and Chetnik commander Rade Radić in central Bosnia in mid–1942.

1943 Critical Axis offensives In the first half of 1943 two Axis offensives came close to defeating the Partisans. They are known by their German code names Fall Weiss (Plan White) and Fall Schwarz
Fall Schwarz
(Operation Black), as the Battle of Neretva
Neretva
and the Battle of Sutjeska
Battle of Sutjeska
after the rivers in the areas they were fought, or the Fourth and Fifth Enemy Offensive, respectively, according to former Yugoslav historiography. On 7 January 1943, the Bulgarian 1st Army also occupied south-west Serbia. Savage pacification measures reduced Partisan activity appreciably. Bulgarian infantry divisions participated in the Fifth anti-Partisan Offensive as a blocking force of the Partisan escape-route from Montenegro
Montenegro
into Serbia and in the Sixth anti-Partisan Offensive in Eastern Bosnia.[49] Negotiations between Germans and Partisans started on 11 March 1943 in Gornji Vakuf, Bosnia. Tito's key officers Vladimir Velebit, Koča Popović and Milovan Đilas
Milovan Đilas
brought three proposals, first about an exchange of prisoners, second about the implementation of international law on treatment of prisoners and third about political questions.[50] The delegation expressed concerns about the Italian involvement in supplying the Chetnik army and stated that the National Liberation Movement is an independent movement, with no aid from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
or the UK.[51] Somewhat later, Đilas and Velebit were brought to Zagreb
Zagreb
to continue the negotiations.[52] In the Fourth Enemy Offensive, also known as the Battle of the Neretva or Fall Weiss (Case White), Axis forces pushed Partisan troops to retreat from western Bosnia to northern Herzegovina, culminating in the Partisan retreat over the Neretva
Neretva
river. It took place from January to April, 1943.

Partisan liberated territory in Yugoslavia, May 1943.

The Fifth Enemy Offensive, also known as the Battle of the Sutjeska or Fall Schwarz
Fall Schwarz
(Case Black), immediately followed the Fourth Offensive and included a complete encirclement of Partisan forces in southeastern Bosnia and northern Montenegro
Montenegro
in May and June 1943.

In that August of my arrival [1943] there were over 30 enemy divisions on the territory of Jugoslavia, as well as a large number of satellite and police formations of Ustashe and Domobrani (military formations of the puppet Croat State), German Sicherheitsdienst, chetniks, Neditch militia, Ljotitch militia, and others. The partisan movement may have counted up to 150,000 fighting men and women (perhaps five per cent women) in close and inextricable co-operation with several million peasants, the people of the country. Partisan numbers were liable to increase rapidly.[53]

The Croatian Home Guard reached its maximum size at the end of 1943, when it had 130,000 men. It also included an air force, the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
(Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske, or ZNDH), the backbone of which was provided by 500 former Royal Yugoslav Air Force
Royal Yugoslav Air Force
officers and 1,600 NCOs with 125 aircraft.[54] By 1943 the ZNDH was 9,775 strong and equipped with 295 aircraft.[42] Italian capitulation
Italian capitulation
and Allied support for the Partisans

Uprising in occupied Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
after capitulation of Italy, September 1943.

On 8 September 1943, the Italians concluded an armistice with the Allies, leaving 17 divisions stranded in Yugoslavia. All divisional commanders refused to join the Germans. Two Italian infantry divisions joined the Montenegrin Partisans as complete units, while another joined the Albanian Partisans. Other units surrendered to the Germans to face imprisonment in Germany or summary execution. Others surrendered themselves, arms, ammunition and equipment to Croatian forces or to the Partisans, simply disintegrated, or reached Italy on foot via Trieste
Trieste
or by ship across the Adriatic.[39] The Italian Governorship of Dalmatia
Dalmatia
was disestablished and the country's possessions were subsequently divided between Germany, which established its Operational Zone of the Adriatic
Adriatic
Littoral, and the Independent State of Croatia, which established the new district of Sidraga-Ravni Kotari. The former Italian kingdoms of Albania
Albania
and of Montenegro
Montenegro
were placed under German occupation. 1943 would bring a change in the attitude of the Allies. The Germans were executing Operation Schwarz (Battle of Sutjeska, the Fifth anti-Partisan offensive), one of a series of offensives aimed at the resistance fighters, when F.W.D. Deakin was sent by the British to gather information. His reports contained two important observations. The first was that the Partisans were courageous and aggressive in battling the German 1st Mountain and 104th Light Division, had suffered significant casualties, and required support. The second observation was that the entire German 1st Mountain Division had transited from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on rail lines through Chetnik-controlled territory. British intercepts (ULTRA) of German message traffic confirmed Chetnik timidity. Even though today many circumstances, facts, and motivations remain unclear, intelligence reports resulted in increased Allied interest in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
air operations and shifted policy. The Sixth Enemy Offensive
Sixth Enemy Offensive
was a series of operations undertaken by the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
and the Ustaše
Ustaše
after the capitulation of Italy in an attempt to secure the Adriatic
Adriatic
coast. It took place in the autumn and winter of 1943/1944. At this point the Partisans were able to win the moral, as well as limited material support of the Western Allies, who until then had supported General Draža Mihailović's Chetnik Forces, but were finally convinced of their collaboration by many intelligence-gathering missions dispatched to both sides during the course of the war. In September 1943, at Churchill's request, Brigadier General Fitzroy Maclean was parachuted to Tito's headquarters near Drvar
Drvar
to serve as a permanent, formal liaison to the Partisans. While the Chetniks
Chetniks
were still occasionally supplied, the Partisans received the bulk of all future support.[55] When the AVNOJ
AVNOJ
(the Partisan wartime council in Yugoslavia) was eventually recognized by the Allies, by late 1943, the official recognition of the Partisan Democratic Federal Yugoslavia
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia
soon followed. The National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia
National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia
was recognized by the major Allied powers at the Tehran Conference, when United States agreed to the position of other Allied.[56] The newly recognized Yugoslav government, headed by Prime Minister Josip Broz Tito, was a joint body formed of AVNOJ
AVNOJ
members and the members of the former government-in-exile in London. The resolution of a fundamental question, whether the new state remained a monarchy or was to be a republic, was postponed until the end of the war, as was the status of King Peter II. Subsequent to switching their support to the Partisans, the Allies set-up the RAF Balkan Air Force
RAF Balkan Air Force
(under the suggestion of Brigadier-General Fitzroy Maclean) with the aim to provide increased supplies and tactical air support for Marshal Tito's Partisan forces. 1944 Last Axis offensive In January 1944, Tito's forces unsuccessfully attacked Banja Luka. But, while Tito was forced to withdraw, Mihajlović and his forces were also noted by the Western press for their lack of activity.[57] The Seventh Enemy Offensive
Seventh Enemy Offensive
was the final Axis attack in western Bosnia in the spring of 1944, which included Operation Rösselsprung (Knight's Leap), an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate Josip Broz Tito personally and annihilate the leadership of the Partisan movement. Partisan growth to domination

Marshal Tito talking with Brigadier General Fitzroy Maclean

Allied aircraft specifically started targeting ZNDH (Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia) and Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
bases and aircraft for the first time as a result of the Seventh anti-Partisan Offensive, including Operation Rösselsprung in late May 1944. Up until then Axis aircraft could fly inland almost at will, as long as they remained at low altitude. Partisan units on the ground frequently complained about enemy aircraft attacking them while hundreds of Allied aircraft flew above at higher altitude. This changed during Rösselsprung as Allied fighter-bombers went low en-masse for the first time, establishing full aerial superiority. Consequently, both the ZNDH and Luftwaffe were forced to limit their operations in clear weather to early morning and late afternoon hours.[58] The Yugoslav Partisan movement grew to become the largest resistance force in occupied Europe, with 800,000 men organized in 4 field armies. Eventually the Partisans prevailed against all of their opponents as the official army of the newly founded Democratic Federal Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
(later Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). In 1944, the Macedonian and Serbian commands made contact in southern Serbia and formed a joint command, which consequently placed the Macedonian Partisans under the direct command of Marshal Josip Broz Tito.[59] The Slovene Partisans
Slovene Partisans
also merged with Tito's forces in 1944.[60][61] On 16 June 1944, the Tito-Šubašić agreement between the Partisans and the Yugoslavian Government in exile of King Peter II was signed on the island of Vis. This agreement was an attempt to form a new Yugoslav government which would include both the communists and the royalists. It called for a merge of the Partisan Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
(Antifašističko V(ij)eće Narodnog Oslobođenja Jugoslavije, AVNOJ) and the Government in exile. The Tito-Šubašić agreement also called on all Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs
Serbs
to join the Partisans. The Partisans were recognized by the Royal Government as Yugoslavia's regular army. Mihajlović and many Chetniks
Chetniks
refused to answer the call. The Chetniks
Chetniks
were, however, praised for saving 500 downed Allied pilots in 1944; United States President Harry S. Truman posthumously awarded Mihailović the Legion of Merit for his contribution to the Allied victory.[citation needed] Allied advances in Romania and Bulgaria

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

In August 1944 after the Jassy-Kishinev Offensive
Jassy-Kishinev Offensive
overwhelmed the front line of Germany's Army Group South Ukraine, King Michael I of Romania staged a coup, Romania quit the war, and the Romanian army was placed under the command of the Red Army. Romanian forces, fighting against Germany, participated in the Prague Offensive. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
quit as well and, on 10 September, declared war on Germany and its remaining allies. The weak divisions sent by the Axis powers
Axis powers
to invade Bulgaria
Bulgaria
were easily driven back. In Macedonia, the Bulgarian troops, surrounded by German forces and betrayed by high-ranking military commanders, fought their way back to the old borders of Bulgaria. In Late September 1944 three Bulgarian armies, some 455,000 strong in total led by General Georgi Marinov Mandjev from the village of Goliamo Sharkovo – Elhovo, entered Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
with the strategic task of blocking the German forces withdrawing from Greece. Southern and eastern Serbia and Macedonia were liberated within two months and the 130,000-strong Bulgarian First Army
Bulgarian First Army
continued to Hungary. On 10 September 1944, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
changed sides and declared war on Germany as an Allied Power. The Germans swiftly disarmed the 1st Occupation Corps of 5 divisions and the 5th Army, despite short-lived resistance by the latter. Survivors retreated to the old borders of Bulgaria. After the occupation of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
by the Soviet army negotiations between Tito and the Bulgarian Communist leaders were organized, resulting in a military alliance between them. The new Bulgarian Peoples Army and the Red Army
Red Army
3rd Ukrainian Front troops were concentrated at the old Bulgarian-Yugoslav border. On 8 October, they entered Yugoslavia. The First and Fourth Bulgarian Armies invaded Vardar Macedonia, and the Second Army south-eastern Serbia. The First Army then swung north with the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front, through eastern Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
and south-western Hungary, before linking up with the British 8th Army in Austria in May 1945.[62] Liberation of Belgrade
Belgrade
and eastern Yugoslavia

Territories under Partisan control, September 1944

Concurrently, with Allied air support and assistance from the Red Army, the Partisans turned their attention to Central Serbia. The chief objective was to disrupt railroad communications in the valleys of the Vardar and Morava rivers, and prevent Germans from withdrawing their 300,000+ forces from Greece. The Allied air forces sent 1,973 aircraft (mostly from the US 15th Air Force) over Yugoslavia, which discharged over 3,000 tons of bombs. On 17 August 1944 Marshal Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
offered an amnesty to all collaborators. On 12 September, King Peter broadcast a message from London, calling upon all Serbs, Croats
Croats
and Slovenes
Slovenes
to "join the National Liberation Army under the leadership of Marshal Tito". The message had a devastating effect on the morale of the Chetniks. Many of them switched sides to the Partisans. In September, the Red Army
Red Army
and the Partisans launched the Belgrade Offensive, and took the city on 20 October. At the onset of winter, the Partisans effectively controlled the entire eastern half of Yugoslavia—Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro—as well as most of the Dalmatian coast. The Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
and the forces of the Ustaše-controlled Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
fortified a front in Syrmia that held through the winter of 1944–45 in order to aid the evacuation of German Army Group E from the Balkans. To raise the number of Partisan troops Tito again offered the amnesty on 21 November 1944. In November 1944, the units of the Ustaše
Ustaše
militia and the Croatian Home Guard were reorganized and combined to form the Army of the Independent State of Croatia.[42] 1945

Every German unit which could safely evacuate from Jugoslavia might count itself lucky.[63]

The Germans continued their retreat. Having lost the easier withdrawal route through Serbia, they fought to hold the Syrmian front in order to secure the more difficult passage through Kosovo, Sandzak and Bosnia. They even scored a series of temporary successes against the People's Liberation Army. They left Mostar
Mostar
on 22 February 1945. They did not leave Sarajevo
Sarajevo
until 15 April. Sarajevo
Sarajevo
had assumed a last-moment strategic position as the only remaining withdrawal route and was held at substantial cost. In early March the Germans moved troops from southern Bosnia to support an unsuccessful counter-offensive in Hungary, which enabled the NOV to score some successes by attacking the Germans' weakened positions. Although strengthened by Allied aid, a secure rear and mass conscription in areas under their control, the one-time partisans found it difficult to switch to conventional warfare, particularly in the open country west of Belgrade, where the Germans held their own until mid-April in spite of all of the raw and untrained conscripts the NOV hurled in a bloody war of attrition against the Syrmian Front.[64] On 8 March 1945, a coalition Yugoslav government was formed in Belgrade
Belgrade
with Tito as Premier and Ivan Šubašić
Ivan Šubašić
as Foreign Minister. Partisan general offensive On 20 March 1945, the Partisans launched a general offensive in the Mostar-Višegrad-Drina sector. With large swaths of Bosnian, Croatian and Slovenian countryside already under Partisan guerrilla control, the final operations consisted in connecting these territories and capturing major cities and roads. For the general offensive Marshal Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
commanded a Partisan force of about 800,000 men organized into four armies: the 1st Army commanded by Peko Dapčević, 2nd Army commanded by Koča Popović, 3rd Army commanded by Kosta Nađ, and the 4th Army commanded by Petar Drapšin. In addition, the Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
had eight independent army corps (the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and the 10th). Set against the Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
was German General Alexander Löhr of Army Group E (Heeresgruppe E). This Army Group had seven army corps (the XV Mountain, XV Cossack, XXI Mountain, XXXIV, LXIX, and LXXXXVII). These corps included seventeen weakened divisions (1st Cossack, 2nd Cossack, 7th SS, 11th Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Field Division, 22nd, 41st, 104th, 117th, 138th, 181st, 188th, 237th, 297th, 369th Croat, 373rd Croat, 392nd Croat and the 14th SS Ukrainian Division). In addition to the seven corps, the Axis had remnant naval and Luftwaffe forces, under constant attack by the British Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and United States
United States
Air Force.[65]

British RAF field regiment in Croatia
Croatia
with German prisoners captured by partisan forces at Bihać

The army of the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
was at the time composed of eighteen divisions: 13 infantry, two mountain, two assault and one replacement Croatian Divisions, each with its own organic artillery and other support units. There were also several armoured units. From early 1945, the Croatian Divisions were allocated to various German corps and by March 1945 were holding the Southern Front.[42] Securing the rear areas were some 32,000 men of the Croatian gendarmerie (Hrvatsko Oruznistvo), organised into 5 Police Volunteer Regiments plus 15 independent battalions, equipped with standard light infantry weapons, including mortars.[66] The Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
(Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske, or ZNDH) and the units of the Croatian Air Force Legion (Hrvatska Zrakoplovna Legija, or HZL), returned from service on the Eastern Front provided some level of air support (attack, fighter and transport) right up until May 1945, encountering and sometimes defeating opposing aircraft from the British Royal Air Force, United States
United States
Air Force and the Soviet Air Force. Although 1944 had been a catastrophic year for the ZNDH, with aircraft losses amounting to 234, primarily on the ground, it entered 1945 with 196 machines. Further deliveries of new aircraft from Germany continued in the early months of 1945 to replace losses. By 10 March, the ZNDH had 23 Messerschmitt 109
Messerschmitt 109
G&Ks, three Morane-Saulnier M.S.406, six Fiat G.50, and two Messerschmitt 110
Messerschmitt 110
G fighters. The final deliveries of up-to-date German Messerschmitt 109
Messerschmitt 109
G and K fighter aircraft were still taking place in March 1945.[67] and the ZNDH still had 176 aircraft on its strength in April 1945.[68] Between 30 March and 8 April 1945, General Mihailović's Chetniks mounted a final attempt to establish themselves as a credible force fighting the Axis in Yugoslavia. The Chetniks
Chetniks
under Lieutenant Colonel Pavle Đurišić
Pavle Đurišić
fought a combination of Ustaša and Croatian Home Guard forces in the Battle on Lijevča field. In late March 1945 elite NDH Army units were withdrawn from the Syrmian front to destroy Djurisic's Chetniks
Chetniks
trying to make their way across the northern NDH.[69] The battle was fought near Banja Luka
Banja Luka
in what was then the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
and ended in a decisive victory for the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
forces. Serbian units included the remnants of the Serbian State Guard
Serbian State Guard
and the Serbian Volunteer Corps from the Serbian Military Administration. There were even some units of the Slovene Home Guard
Slovene Home Guard
(Slovensko domobranstvo, SD) still intact in Slovenia.[70] By the end of March, 1945, it was obvious to the Croatian Army Command that, although the front remained intact, they would eventually be defeated by sheer lack of ammunition. For this reason, the decision was made to retreat into Austria, in order to surrender to the British forces advancing north from Italy.[71] The German Army was in the process of disintegration and the supply system lay in ruins.[72] Bihać
Bihać
was liberated by the Partisans the same day that the general offensive was launched. The 4th Army, under the command of Petar Drapšin, broke through the defences of the XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps. By 20 April, Drapšin liberated Lika
Lika
and the Croatian Littoral, including the islands, and reached the old Yugoslav border with Italy. On 1 May, after capturing the Italian territories of Rijeka
Rijeka
and Istria from the German LXXXXVII Corps, the Yugoslav 4th Army beat the western Allies to Trieste
Trieste
by one day. The Yugoslav 2nd Army, under the command of Koča Popović, forced a crossing of the Bosna River
Bosna River
on 5 April, capturing Doboj, and reached the Una River. On 6 April, the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Corps of the Yugoslav Partisans took Sarajevo
Sarajevo
from the German XXI Corps. On 12 April, the Yugoslav 3rd Army, under the command of Kosta Nađ, forced a crossing of the Drava
Drava
river. The 3rd Army then fanned out through Podravina, reached a point north of Zagreb, and crossed the old Austrian border with Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
in the Dravograd
Dravograd
sector. The 3rd Army closed the ring around the enemy forces when its advanced motorized detachments linked up with detachments of the 4th Army in Carinthia. Also, on 12 April, the Yugoslav 1st Army, under the command of Peko Dapčević penetrated the fortified front of the German XXXIV Corps in Syrmia. By 22 April, the 1st Army had smashed the fortifications and was advancing towards Zagreb. The long-drawn out liberation of western Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
caused more victims among the population. The breakthrough of the Syrmian front on 12 April was, in Milovan Đilas's words, "the greatest and bloodiest battle our army had ever fought", and it would not have been possible had it not been for Soviet instructors and arms.[73] By the time General Peko Dapčević's NOV units had reached Zagreb, on 9 May 1945, they had perhaps lost as many as 36,000 dead. There were by then over 400,000 refugees in Zagreb.[74] After entering Zagreb
Zagreb
with the Yugoslav 2nd Army, both armies advanced in Slovenia. Final operations

Front lines in Europe 1 May 1945.

On 2 May, the German capital city, Berlin, fell to the Red Army. On 8 May 1945, the Germans surrendered unconditionally and the war in Europe officially ended. The Italians had quit the war in 1943, the Bulgarians in 1944, and the Hungarians earlier in 1945. Despite the German capitulation, however, sporadic fighting still took place in Yugoslavia. On 7 May, Zagreb
Zagreb
was evacuated, on 9 May, Maribor
Maribor
and Ljubljana
Ljubljana
were captured by the Partisans, and General Alexander Löhr, Commander-in-Chief of Army Group E was forced to sign the total surrender of the forces under his command at Topolšica, near Velenje, Slovenia, on Wednesday 9 May 1945. Only the Croatian and other anti-Partisan forces remained. From 10 to 15 May, the Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
continued to face resistance from Croatian, and other anti-Partisan forces throughout the rest of Croatia
Croatia
and Slovenia. The Battle of Poljana, the last battle of World War II in Europe, started on 14 May, ending on 15 May 1945 at Poljana, near Prevalje
Prevalje
in Slovenia. It was the culmination and last of a series of battles between Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
and a large (in excess of 30,000) mixed column of German Army (Heer) soldiers together with Croatian Ustaše, Croatian Home Guard, Slovenian Home Guard, and other anti-Partisan forces who were attempting to retreat to Austria. Aftermath

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On 5 May, in the town of Palmanova
Palmanova
(50 km northwest of Trieste), between 2,400 and 2,800 members of the Serbian Volunteer Corps surrendered to the British. On 12 May, about 2,500 additional Serbian Volunteer Corps members surrendered to the British at Unterbergen on the Drava
Drava
River. On 11 and 12 May, British troops in Klagenfurt, Austria, were harassed by arriving forces of the Yugoslav Partisans.[why?] In Belgrade, the British ambassador to the Yugoslav coalition government handed Tito a note demanding that the Yugoslav troops withdraw from Austria. On 15 May 1945 a large column of the Croatian Home Guard, the Ustaše, the XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps and the remnants of the Serbian State Guard, and the Serbian Volunteer Corps, arrived at the southern Austrian border near the town of Bleiburg. The representatives of the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
attempted to negotiate a surrender to the British under the terms of the Geneva Convention
Geneva Convention
that they had joined in 1943, and were recognised by it as a "belligerent", but were ignored.[71] Most of the people in the column were turned over to the Yugoslav government as part of what is sometimes referred to as Operation Keelhaul. Following the Bleiburg
Bleiburg
repatriations, the Partisans proceeded to brutalize the POWs. On 15 May, Tito had placed Partisan forces in Austria under Allied control. A few days later he agreed to withdraw them. By 20 May, Yugoslav troops in Austria had begun to withdraw. On 8 June, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
agreed on the control of Trieste. On 11 November, parliamentary elections were held in Yugoslavia. In these elections the communists had an important advantage because they controlled the police, judiciary and media. For that reason the opposition did not want to participate in the elections.[75] On 29 November, in accordance with election result, Peter II was deposed by communist dominated Yugoslavia's Constituent Assembly.[76] On the same day, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
was established as a socialist state during the first meeting of the Yugoslav Parliament in Belgrade. Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
was appointed Prime Minister. The autonomist wing in the Communist Party of Macedonia, which dominated during World War II, was finally pushed aside in 1945 after the Second Assembly of the ASNOM. On 13 March 1946, Mihailović was captured by agents of the Yugoslav Department of National Security (Odsjek Zaštite Naroda or OZNA). From 10 June to 15 July of the same year, he was tried for high treason and war crimes. On 15 July, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad.[77] On 16 July, a clemency appeal was rejected by the Presidium of the National Assembly. During the early hours of 18 July, Mihailović, together with nine other Chetnik and Nedić's officers, was executed in Lisičiji Potok. This execution essentially ended the World War II-era civil war between the communist Partisans and the royalist Chetniks. Casualties Yugoslav casualties Further information: World War II
World War II
casualties and World War II reparations towards Yugoslavia

Victims by nationality

Nationality 1964 list Kočović[78] Žerjavić[17]

Serbs 346,740 487,000 530,000

Croats 83,257 207,000 192,000

Slovenes 42,027 32,000 42,000

Montenegrins 16,276 50,000 20,000

Macedonians 6,724 7,000 6,000

Muslims 32,300 86,000 103,000

Other Slavs – 12,000 7,000

Albanians 3,241 6,000 18,000

Jews 45,000 60,000 57,000

Gypsies – 27,000 18,000

Germans – 26,000 28,000

Hungarians 2,680 – –

Slovaks 1,160 – –

Turks 686 – –

Others – 14,000 6,000

Unknown 16,202 – –

Total 597,323 1,014,000 1,027,000

Casualties by location according to the 1964 Yugoslav list[17]

Location Death toll Survived

Bosnia and Herzegovina 177,045 49,242

Croatia 194,749 106,220

Macedonia 19,076 32,374

Montenegro 16,903 14,136

Slovenia 40,791 101,929

Serbia (proper) 97,728 123,818

Kosovo 7,927 13,960

Vojvodina 41,370 65,957

Unknown 1,744 2,213

Total 597,323 509,849

The Yugoslav government estimated the number of casualties to be at 1,704,000 and submitted the figure to the International Reparations Commission in 1946 without any documentation.[79] The figure included war related deaths but also the expected population if war did not break out, the number of unborn children, and losses from emigration and disease.[80] The same figure was later submitted to the Allied Reparations Committee in 1948 but was claimed to be only from war related deaths.[80] After Germany requested verifiable data the Yugoslav Federal Bureau of Statistics created a nationwide survey in 1964.[80] The total number of those killed was found to be 597,323.[80] The list stayed a state secret until 1989 when it was published for the first time.[17] The U.S. Bureau of the Census published a report in 1954 that concluded that Yugoslav war related deaths were 1,067,000. The U.S. Bureau of the Census noted that the official Yugoslav government figure of 1.7 million war dead was overstated because it "was released soon after the war and was estimated without the benefit of a postwar census".[81] A study by Vladimir Žerjavić estimates total war related deaths at 1,027,000. Military losses are estimated at 237,000 Yugoslav partisans
Yugoslav partisans
and 209,000 collaborators, while civilian losses at 581,000, including 57,000 Jews. Losses of the Yugoslav Republics were Bosnia 316,000; Serbia 273,000; Croatia
Croatia
271,000; Slovenia
Slovenia
33,000; Montenegro
Montenegro
27,000; Macedonia 17,000; and killed abroad 80,000.[17] Statistician Bogoljub Kočović calculated that the actual war losses were 1,014,000.[17] The late Jozo Tomasevich, Professor Emeritus of Economics at San Francisco State University, believes that the calculations of Kočović and Žerjavić "seem to be free of bias, we can accept them as reliable".[82] Stjepan Mestrovic estimates that about 850,000 people were killed in the war.[18] Vego cites figures from 900,000 to a million dead.[83] Stephen R. A'Barrow estimates that the war caused 446,000 dead soldiers and 514,000 dead civilians, or 960,000 dead in total from the Yugoslav population out of 15 million.[16] The reasons for the high human toll in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
were as follows:

Military operations of five main armies (Germans, Italians, Ustaše, Yugoslav partisans
Yugoslav partisans
and Chetniks).[84] German forces, under express orders from Hitler, fought with a special vengeance against the Serbs, who were considered Untermensch.[84] One of the worst massacres during the German military occupation of Serbia was the Kragujevac massacre. Deliberate acts of reprisal against target populations were perpetrated by all combatants. All sides practiced the shooting of hostages on a large scale. At the end of the war Ustaše
Ustaše
collaborators were killed during the Bleiburg
Bleiburg
massacre.[85] The systematic extermination of large numbers of people for political, religious or racial reasons. The most numerous victims were Serbs killed by the Ustaše
Ustaše
and Croats
Croats
and Muslims killed by the Chetniks. The Ustaše
Ustaše
massacred Serbs
Serbs
throughout the Independent State of Croatia
Croatia
and especially in Banija, Kordun, Lika, northwest Bosnia, and eastern Herzegovina
Herzegovina
and killed others in concentration camps such as the Jasenovac concentration camp.

Chetniks
Chetniks
carried out massacres against Muslims in Bosnia and Sandžak and Croats
Croats
in Bosnia and Herzegovina, northern Dalmatia, and Lika. Jews were partly killed in camps throughout Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
and partly in camps in Germany, Norway and Greece after deportation.[86] In the Province of Ljubljana, Italian authorities led by Mario Roatta terrorized the Slovene civilian population and deported them to concentration camps with the goal of Italianizing the area. The large numbers of casualties as a result of the ethnic cleansing the local populace committed on one another, along with the especially brutal methods of execution used-mass hangings, clubbing to death, setting fire to buildings with people inside, etc.,-led even the Germans occupying the area to express shock at the violence.[87][88][89] Mass killings by partisan purges and at Bleiburg
Bleiburg
were done for both political and ethnic reasons. Most victims were either killed for association with fascist forces such as soldiers and collaborators or were civilians of ethnic groups associated with the fascist forces such as Hungarian, German and Italian.[90]

The reduced food supply caused famine and disease.[91] Allied bombing of German supply lines caused civilian casualties. The hardest hit localities were Podgorica, Leskovac, Zadar
Zadar
and Belgrade.[92] The demographic losses due to a 335,000 reduction in the number of births and emigration of about 660,000 are not included with war casualties.[92]

Germans escorting people from Kragujevac and its surrounding area to be executed.

In Slovenia, the Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana launched a comprehensive research on the exact number of victims of World War II
World War II
in Slovenia
Slovenia
in 1995.[93] After more than a decade of research, the final report was published in 2005, which included a list of names. The number of victims was set at 89,404.[94] The figure also includes the victims of summary killings by the Communist regime immediately after the war (around 13,500 people). The results of the research came as a shock for the public, since the actual figures were more than 30% higher than the highest estimates during the Yugoslav period.[95] Even counting only the number of deaths up to May 1945 (thus excluding the military prisoners killed by the Yugoslav Army between May and July 1945), the number remains considerably higher than the highest previous estimates (around 75,000 deaths versus a previous estimate of 60,000). There are several reasons for such a difference. The new comprehensive research also included Slovenes
Slovenes
killed by the Partisan resistance, both in battle (members of collaborationist and anti-Communist units), and civilians (around 4,000 between 1941 and 1945). Furthermore, the new estimates includes all the Slovenians from Nazi-occupied Slovenia who were drafted in the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
and died either in battle or in prisoner camps during the war. The figure also includes the Slovenes from the Julian March
Julian March
who died in the Italian Army (1940–43), those from Prekmurje
Prekmurje
who died in the Hungarian Army, and those who fought and died in various Allied (mostly British) units. The figure does not include victims from Venetian Slovenia
Slovenia
(except of those who joined the Slovenian Partisan units), nor does it include the victims among Carinthian Slovenes
Slovenes
(again with the exception of those fighting in the Partisan units) and Hungarian Slovenes. 47% percent of casualties during the war were partisans, 33% were civilians (of which 82% were killed by Axis powers
Axis powers
or Slovene home guard), and 20% were members of the Slovene home guard.[96] In Croatia, the Commission for the Identification of War and Post-War Victims of the Second World War was active from 1991 until the Seventh Government of the republic, under Prime Minister Ivica Račan
Ivica Račan
ended the commission in 2002.[97] In the 2000s, concealed mass grave commissions were established in both Slovenia
Slovenia
and Serbia to document and excavate mass graves from the Second World War. German casualties According to German casualty lists quoted by The Times
The Times
for July 30, 1945, from documents found amongst the personal effects of General Hermann Reinecke, head of the Public Relations Department of the German High Command, total German casualties in the Balkans
Balkans
amounted to 24,000 killed and 12,000 missing, no figure being mentioned for wounded. A majority of these casualties suffered in the Balkans
Balkans
were inflicted in Yugoslavia.[98] According to German researcher Rüdiger Overmans, German losses in the Balkans
Balkans
were more than three times higher – 103,693 during the course of the war, and some 11,000 who died as Yugoslav prisoners of war.[99] Italian casualties The Italians incurred 30,531 casualties during their occupation of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
(9,065 killed, 15,160 wounded, 6,306 missing). The ratio of dead/missing men to wounded men was uncommonly high, as Yugoslav partisans would often murder prisoners. Their highest losses were in Bosnia and Herzegovina: 12,394. In Croatia
Croatia
the total was 10,472 and in Montenegro
Montenegro
4,999. Dalmatia
Dalmatia
was less bellicose: 1,773. The quietest area was Slovenia, where the Italians incurred 893 casualties.[100] An additional 10,090 Italians died post-armistice, either killed during Operation Achse
Operation Achse
or after joining Yugoslav partisans. See also

Adriatic
Adriatic
Campaign of World War II Allied bombing of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
in World War II Museum of 4 July Liberation Front of the Slovenian People Uprising in Serbia (1941) Seven anti-Partisan offensives Air warfare on the Yugoslav Front Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
and the Allies National Liberation War of Macedonia Slovene Lands in World War II Beisfjord massacre, a prisoner transfer from Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
that led to Norway's largest massacre Russian Protective Corps, a Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
unit composed of White Russian émigrés from Serbia

References

^ Mitrovski 1971, p. 211. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 255. ^ Jelić Butić 1977, p. 270. ^ Colić 1977, pp. 61-79. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 183. ^ Mitrovski, 1971 & 49. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 167. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 771. ^ Microcopy No. T314, roll 566, frames 778 – 785 ^ Borković, p. 9. ^ Zbornik dokumenata Vojnoistorijskog instituta: tom XII – Dokumenti jedinica, komandi i ustanova nemačkog Rajha – knjiga 3, p.619 ^ Perica 2004, p. 96. ^ Martin K. Sorge (1986). The Other Price of Hitler's War: German Military and Civilian Losses Resulting from World War II. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-313-25293-8.  ^ Geiger 2011, pp. 743-744. ^ Geiger 2011, pp. 701. ^ a b A'Barrow 2016. ^ a b c d e f Žerjavić 1993. ^ a b Mestrovic 2013, p. 129. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 226. ^ Ramet 2006, p. 147. ^ Tomasevich 2011, p. 308. ^ a b Ramet 2006, pp. 145-155. ^ Tomasevich 1975, p. 246. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo (2002). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia: 1941 - 1945. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804779241.  ^ Trbovich, pp. 131-132. ^ Lampe, p. 198. ^ Gabriel Gorodetsky (8 August 2002). Stafford Cripps' Mission to Moscow, 1940-42. Cambridge University Press. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-0-521-52220-5.  ^ Roberts, p. 26. ^ Shaw 1973, p. 92. ^ Shaw 1973, p. 89. ^ Hungary profile Archived 3 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive; usc.edu; accessed 4 December 2015. ^ Thomas 1995, p. 24. ^ Talmon 1998, p. 294. ^ Thomas 1995. ^ Lemkin 2008, pp. 241–64. ^ Davidson, Introduction. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 85. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 419. ^ a b Thomas 1995, p. 12. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 420. ^ a b Thomas 1995, p. 13. ^ a b c d Thomas 1995, p. 17. ^ Thomas 1995, p. 10. ^ Timofejev 2011. ^ Higgins 1966, pp. 11–59, 98–151. ^ a b Pavličević 2007, pp. 441–442. ^ Bailey, 1980, P. 80 ^ LCWeb2.loc.gov ^ a b Thomas 1995, p. 32. ^ Lekovic 1985, p. 83. ^ Lekovic 1985, p. 86,87. ^ Tomasevich 1975, p. 245. ^ Davidson, Contact. ^ Savic, et al., 2002, p. 60 ^ Martin, 1946, p.34 ^ Rendulić, Zlatko. Avioni domaće konstrukcije posle drugog svetskog rata (Domestic aircraft construction after World War II), Lola institute, Beograd, 1996, p 10. "At the Teheran Conference
Teheran Conference
of 28 November to 1 December 1943, NOVJ is recognized as an allied army, this time by all three allied sides, and for the first time by the United States." ^ "While Tito Fights". Time Magazine. 17 January 1944. Retrieved 14 September 2007.  ^ Ciglic, et al., 2007, p. 113 ^ Narodnooslobodilačka Vojska Jugoslavije. Beograd. 1982. ^ Stewart, James (2006). Linda McQueen, ed. Slovenia. New Holland Publishers. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-86011-336-9.  ^ Klemenčič & Žagar 2004, pp. 167–168. ^ Thomas 1995, p. 33. ^ Davidson, Rules and Reasons. ^ Pavlowitch 2008, p. 258. ^ Thomas 1995, p. 9. ^ Thomas 1995, p. 30. ^ Savic & Ciglic, 2002, p. 70 ^ Ciglic, et al., 2007, p. 150 ^ Pavlowitch 2008, p. 256. ^ Thomas 1995, p. 22. ^ a b Shaw 1973, p. 101. ^ Ambrose, S. (1998). The Victors – The Men of World War II. London. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-684-85629-2.  ^ Đilas 1977, p. 440. ^ Pavlowitch 2008, p. 259. ^ Klemenčič & Žagar 2004, pp. 197. ^ John Abromeit; York Norman; Gary Marotta; Bridget Maria Chesterton (19 November 2015). Transformations of Populism in Europe and the Americas: History and Recent Tendencies. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-1-4742-2522-9.  ^ "Too Tired", time.com, 24 June 1946. ^ Cohen 1996, p. 109. ^ MacDonald 2002, p. 161. ^ a b c d Cohen 1996, p. 108. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census The Population of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Ed. Paul F. Meyers and Arthur A. Campbell , Washington D.C.- 1954 ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 737. ^ Army War College 1994, p. 116. ^ a b Tomasevich 2001, p. 744. ^ Tomasevich 2001, pp. 744–745. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 747. ^ James H. Burgwyn: "General Roatta's war against the partisans in Yugoslavia: 1942", Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Volume 9, Number 3, September 2004, pp. 314–329(16), link by IngentaConnect ^ Giuseppe Piemontese (1946): Twenty-nine months of Italian occupation of the Province of Ljubljana. On page 3. Book also quoted in: Ballinger, P. (2002), p.138 ^ Pamela Ballinger (2003). History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08697-4.  ^ Marcus Tanner, Croatia: a Nation Forged in War ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 748. ^ a b Tomasevich 2001, p. 749. ^ DS-RS.si Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ DS-RS.si Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ RTVSLO.si ^ Delo, Sobotna priloga, 30 October 2010. ^ 66 7.6.2002 Zakon o prestanku važenja Zakona o utvrđivanju ratnih i poratnih žrtava II. svjetskog rata, narodne-novine.nn.hr ^ Davidson, The sixth offensive. ^ Overmans 2000, p. 336. ^ The South Slav Journal. Volume 6. 1983. Page 117

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Hitler
and Russia. The Macmillan Company.  Jelić Butić, Fikreta (1977). Ustaše
Ustaše
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as History: Twice There Was a Country. p. 198.  Lekovic, Miso (1985). Martovski pregovori 1943.  Lemkin, Raphael (2008). Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress. Introductions by Samantha Power and William A. Schabas (2nd ed.). Clarke, New Jersey: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 241–264. ISBN 1-58477-901-2.  Mamula, Branko (1985). "The National Liberation War in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945". The Journal of the Royal United Services Institute. 130 (4): 52–56.  Maclean, Fitzroy (1949). Eastern Approaches. Penguin Group.  McCormick, Rob (2008). "The United States' Response to Genocide in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941–1945". Genocide Studies and Prevention. 3 (1): 75–98.  Mestrovic, Stjepan (2013). Genocide After Emotion: The Post-Emotional Balkan War. Routledge. ISBN 9781136163494.  Mitrovski, Boro; Glišić, Venceslav; Ristovski, Tomo (1971). Bugarska vojska u Jugoslaviji 1941–1945 [The Bulgarian Army in Yugoslavia 1941–1945] (in Slovenian). Međunarodna politika.  Martin, D. Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, Prentice Hall, New York, 1946. Overmans, Rüdiger (2000). Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg. München: Oldenbourg. ISBN 3-486-56531-1.  Pavličević, Dragutin (2007). Povijest Hrvatske. Naklada Pavičić. ISBN 978-953-6308-71-2.  Pavlowitch, Stevan K. (2008). Hitler's New Disorder: The Second World War in Yugoslavia. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-70050-4.  Paris, Edmond (1988). Convert-- or die!: Catholic persecution in Yugoslavia
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