Thursday, July 17, 2008

Draža Mihailović

Dragoljub Draža (Čiča) Mihailović *April 27, 1893, †July 17, 1946.

When the Axis armies of the fascist countries descended upon Jugoslavija, on the 6th of April 1941, they crushed the Royal Jugoslav Army, but not as quickly as they intended. This caused a delay in the offset of the main theatre of the world war. This hiccough allowed the germans to experience a russian winter, that, they did not plan for. This low evaluation of the slavonic nations was typical of the germans.

On the 15th of April, Colonel Mihailović refused to surrender at Doboj, Bosna. He retreated to the hills of his boyhood. On the 4th of May, Herr Hitler gleefully told the world, that, Jugoslavija was no more. Four days later, Draža Mihailović reached Ravna Gora to meet other units of army, his group was alone. So was born the Četnik resistance. A četa is a band. It is to be understood, that, the četniki were, moreso, independent irregulars, than a centralised army.

Spontaneous uprisings occurred throughout the rest of the year. When it came to the knowledge of Hitler, that a thousand germans were dead, a new policy was to be carried out: 1 german dead, 100 srbs to be executed, one german wounded, 50 srbs executed. And it was.

Mihailović needed to re-evaluate the situation. Mihailović was very much of the same character, and in the same position as Charles de Gaulle: a patriotic nationalist, a soldier of greater intelligence and ability than his superiors, and determined to a degree of stubbornness. Both would not surrender and refused to be pawns of the allies, thereby, vexing them.

The situation in the Balkans was more complicated than in France. On 19 September ’41 Mihailović had his first meeting with a man, whom would only identify himself as “Tito” at Struganik. They had different motivations.

Mihailović was a Srb restorationist, “Tito” was a ruthless bolshevik. Mihailović had seen the Ustaš and German massacres of Srbs. Mihailović fought the initial German invasion. “Tito”, only, began after the Soviet Union was attacked. He cared not at all about civilian casualties, even better, for future communist consolidation purposes.

Mihailović decided that the most productive. and humane course would be a general uprising, Ustanak, at the opportune time, and sabotage, not so readily identifiable by the occupiers. Draža, correctly, saw that the internal wars as a higher priority than suicidal attacks against the germans. The communists and the ustaš were more pressing enemies of the moment.

At first, british propaganda, and therefore american soon thereafter, promoted the četniki. Then with the soviets they chose the partisans, a motley group, with communist leadership. In America, Louis Adamic agitated for the communists.

On 28 February 1943, Mihailović spoke at Donje Lipovo. Churchill was notified and was furious. He sent a statement to the Srb premier in exile:
In the course of the speech, General Mihailovich said that the Serbs were now completely friendless, that the English, to suit their own strategic ends, were urging them to undertake operations without the slightest intention of helping them now or in the future, and that the English were now fighting to the last Serb in Yugoslavia ... that he would never be a party to this “shameful commerce typical of English perfidy. ”
The Ustanak was achieved, but the partisans were credited and supported by the Big Three. OZNA (Odeljenje za Zaštitu Naroda — Department for Protection of People) caught Mihailović on March 13, 1946. Draža Mihailović was put on a show trial in 1946, the Belgrade Process, and executed, with others, 18 July 1946.

Many individual americans and british soldiers could have gave evidence on behalf of Mihailović, they were not called. Mihailović was innocent, and this mattered not at all. Diplomatically, Tito was to be supported, after 1948 especially, by the Anglo-Americans. Mihailović’s counterpart, and friend, de Gaulle would not be a party to the Anglo-American perfidy.

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