First greetings to all and I am so glad that on this way we can contribute to the WW2 project with some of our researches and interesting facts on the same way as we did earlier for “The Great War” channel!
p.s. I edit my post in the form of timeline in order to be more easy to follow all events.
World War II in Yugoslavia is definitely the most brutal, complicated, controversial and one of the saddest periods associated with the Balkans, which in many respects remained unclear or (mostly deliberately) unsettled until this days which is one of the basis of the problems for today’s relations in this region. Scars which the Second World War left on Yugoslavia are simply not measurable especially from the perspective of ordinary civilian citizens. I opened the general Yugoslavia topic with desire to present some interesting facts, sources, videos which I found, parts of the books that I read, but of course anyone with additional information is welcome. For now I will wrote just how it all started, but the topic will be updated by the time, hope as well by the other users who know more related to this topic.
June 1st 1939, Prince Paul Karađorđević (who was leading the politics instead of under aged Crown Prince Peter of Yugoslavia) had an official visit to Hitler where, according to the expression of the faces, it can be seen that neither Hitler nor Paul were specially enthusiastic about talks they had, although the prince and his wife were greeted with a full military and cultural honors. Hitler after told that Prince Paul is “like an eel” because when they were close to reach certain agreements he was hiding himself behind the decisions of Yugoslavian parliament. This game between Paul and Hitler will continue on diplomacy level until 1941 as long as the Paul could escape some Hitler demands.
March 24th 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia joined the Triple Pact of Germany, Italy and Japan under the great German pressure in the period of previous couple of months. The protocol was signed in Vienna by Yugoslav Prime Minister Dragiša Cvetković and Joachim von Ribbentrop. An official banquet was held right after which present diplomats commented as the “funeral party”. Interesting fact is that protocol was translated by the member of Yugoslav diplomatic delegation Ivo Andrić, the only Yugoslav Nobel prize winner (1961, Nobel Prize for Literature). Before continuing I would like to recalled that Hitler had long been making a knot around Yugoslavia which back then tried to avoid any kind of conflict and events that were happening in the war turned Europe.
March 27th, 1941 When people in Belgrade find out about Yugoslavia’s accession to the triple pact, on the streets of city erupted total chaos with protests and slogans like “better grave than slave” and “long live allies Britain and US” even communist symbols were there on the streets. The conspiratorial group of senior Yugoslav Army officers, led by Brigadier General of the Air Force, Borivoje Mirković, threw three members of the Royal Imposition from power (including Prince Poul) and rule was handed over directly to the young and still under aged King Peter Karađorđević (son of King Alexander Karađorđević who was assassinated in Marseille during the visit to France 1934). Later, many would argue that this coup is directly staged from the side of British secret intelligence service in Belgrade which many dissatisfied citizens in Serbia unconsciously followed while everything culminated relatively fast.
April 6, 1941 Hitler went extremely angry by developments in Yugoslavia and ordered full scale attack that begins on April 6 when Germany starts a total retaliation on the territory of Kingdom Yugoslavia (so called April War in Serbia or Hitlers Operation Punishment) that will completely fall into the hands of Nazi Germany and Italian occupier forces only in a two weeks, while completely surprised and unorganized Yugoslav Army collapsed. Young Yugoslavian King Peter, is evacuated to London and Belgrade is devastated by the Nazi bombing campaign where just in two days number of dead according to the data of the city administration amounts to 4000, half of which is buried under the buildings… Among the non-military targets except many civilian houses during the bombing were and National Library of Serbia, which burned to the ground with the loss of hundreds of thousands of very important scripts and books of the world heritage importance (most of those books were uniques without any copies created) and the Belgrade Zoo so that chaos in the city would be as big as possible.
April 10th, 1941 German troops entered Zagreb (Croatia), and were welcomed from the large group of citizens with enthusiasm and filled with flowers. The Ustasha exponent Slavko Kvaternik proclaimed the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia so called NDH on behalf of Ante Pavelić. Germans at first offered rule of the newly formed state to Croat political leader Vlatko Maček, who refused to joined political activities of the newly formed Independent State of Croatia (later he will be sent to Jasenovac concentration camp by the Croatian authorities as an opponent and danger for the new state). Ante Pavelić returned from Italy to Zagreb on April 17th (before that agreeing with most of Mussolini requirements) becoming an absolute dictator of the newly formed Nazi puppet state. By the Treaty of Rome on May 18, 1941 NDH gave Italy most of Dalmatia with its cities and by this act rounds up its territory.
Entering of the German forces into Serbia and Yugoslavia, direct targets of the bombings, as well as the creation of the Independent Nazi State of Croatia, Chetniks and Partisans resistance movements and their battles, collaborative governments, ideologies, horrible massacres, order 100 executed for 1 killed German during the war and everything else deserves much more time, deep researche and great attention. Meanwhile you can watch this videos to get familiar with the topic:
Prince Paul visiting Berlin 1939:
Bombing of Belgrade 6th April, 1941:
Belgrade April and May 1941, After Germans Occupied town:
Entering of the German troops in Zagreb and Welcome by the Locals:
Serbia during WW2:
Public executions by the Germans in Pančevo 1941:
Jasenovac - Cruelest Death Camp in WW2
(with direct witnesses and English subtitles):