Skip to comments.The Allies have it all Backwards when it comes to the Serbs.
Posted on 01/13/2008 5:51:34 PM PST by Ravnagora
Note From Ravnagora: Though written over 60 years ago, this essay resonates today. Like so much of what was happening at that time, particularly with regards to the Serbs, the fate of General Draza Mihailovich should have served as a harbinger to those who would be in charge of world events and their consequences in the future.
THE MYSTERY OF MIHAILOVICH
By Donovan Touche
December 27, 1946
Was General Mihailovich a great patriot, foully done to death, or was he a collaborator? That is the mystery of Mihailovich. I would not have presumed to intervene in this delicate and disturbing debate but for the privilege of my acquaintance with a very gallant gentleman, Major Kenneth Greenlees, who for eighteen months served with General Mihailovich as British Liaison Officer until our Military Mission was withdrawn in 1944. What the soldier said is evidence in this case.
In the dark days of 1941 Mihailovich was the loyal friend and Ally of Great Britain. Then in June 1941, Germany attacked Russia, and the Communist Tito took to the hills. Tito was a Russian-trained revolutionary agent, and as head of the Communist party in Yugoslavia had opposed the war with Germany so long as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact held good. He now took up arms in the interest of Russia, although hitherto indifferent to the cause of Yugoslav independence. His intervention greatly complicated the problem of the patriot Mihailovich who now had not only to defend his country from the Germans but also from eventual communisation, especially after he became the recognized representative in the field of the Royal Yugoslav Government. The astute Tito quickly grasped that the Russians would be unable to provide any material assistance for some considerable time. He, accordingly, set himself to win the confidence and support of the British, and later the Americans. By getting their support transferred from Mihailovich to himself, Tito would bring about the overthrow both of Mihailovich and the Kings Government, which he upheld, and obtained the control of Yugoslavia for Russia. The Anglo-Americans would thus be induced to co-operate in the destruction of the very government which they had recognized. To achieve this he had to convince the British that his Partisans were causing far more harm to the Axis forces than were the Chetniks, and exaggerated bulletins were issued as to the Partisan exploits and claiming credit for those of the Chetniks.
The only reply Mihailovich could make to this was to increase his own action against the Germans, which entailed appalling reprisals upon the population out of all proportion to any possible value of his military action. He soon came to the conclusion that continuous small actions were more harmful to his people than helpful to the Allies. The meager scale of his supplies did not permit larger actions. As Minister of War and the Kings representative in the field, he could not discard his responsibility for the Serbian people, on whom he was wholly dependent for recruits, food, shelter, and information, or weaken their loyalty to the King by exposing them to useless massacre. Tito felt no such compunction, and, indeed, had everything to gain by provoking reprisals in his rivals areas. Is not misery the seedbed of Communism anyway? The Germans were quick to seize the opportunity of sowing the seeds of civil war, and killed first hundreds, and finally thousands of innocent Serbs for any small act of sabotage. This policy was not nearly so marked in the Tito areas. To their eternal shame, the Anglo-Americans allowed themselves to be persuaded by the short-term military advantage of switching their supplies and propaganda support from Mihailovich to Tito, although this ensured the ultimate rulers of Yugoslavia being anti-British Communists. British arms and munitions were largely used against the Mihailovich forces which continued to rescue and evacuate hundreds of American airmen. The sacrifice of loyal and tried friends to their declared enemies has become a cardinal principal of British policy I these days of imperial decay; and who can say what craven motive of appeasing Russia calculated into the sordid calculation? Just so was the Polish Government, which we had likewise recognized, abandoned to the Communist wolves. Never again can any European King be expected to ally himself to a country which has proved as false and treacherous to its true friends in adversity as contemptible in its habitual appeasement of the strong.
General Mihailovich was a good enough soldier to have confidence in the final victory of the Allies, and as trustee for the Kings Government was in duty bound to weigh the advantages of any military action he could take against the reprisals it would bring down upon his people, and against the Communist threat embodied in Titos Partisan movement. As the Germans, in his view, would be driven out of Yugoslavia in the long run anyway, it is understandable that he should have regarded a permanent Communist subjugation as the greater danger to his King and Country, as in fact it has proved to be. The Generals plan was to organize his forces for a general uprising on the day of the Allied landing. It was difficult for him to understand why he should be called upon to sacrifice his men prematurely when every other resistance movement in Europe was being urged to lie low until Der Tag.
The followers of Mihailovich were for the most part Serbs and intensely pro-British, thanks to their memories of the Kaiser war, when the Serbian Army was re-equipped by and fought alongside the British Army. Old veterans of Salonika would tramp for miles over the mountains in any weather merely to shake the hand of a British officer. They would insist that British officers should share their homes, when discovery would entail their utter destruction, as it often did. The Communist intimates of Tito felt no sort of friendship for the representatives of British Imperialism and only preserved appearances until such time as they had built themselves up with Anglo-American arms and supplies brought in at the cost of Anglo-American lives. All pretence of friendship was dropped once the Allies wished to land in Yugoslavia, when they found their entrance to the country practically banned.
The tragedy of it all is not only that our betrayal of Mihailovich forfeited the friendship and esteem of the Serbs. By our pro-Communist propaganda we drove them into the arms of Tito. We succeeded in turning a large part of the population of Yugoslavia from friends into enemies, and reducing our prestige in the Balkans to zero. Have we not already smarted for it? Greek Communists have not hesitated to fire on British troops, Albanian Communists to fire on British ships, and Yugoslav Communists to shoot down American aircraft.
The people of Yugoslavia, and, indeed, of the Balkans generally, are the natural friends of a Britain which can harbour no possible territorial ambitions at their expense and only desires their independence. With vain and pathetic eagerness they look to us for moral leadership. Their traditional friendship and respect is being destroyed at an ever-quickening temp by the continuous propaganda of their Communist Governments. This propaganda has for its theme the evils of a mythical British imperialism and the danger to world peace of British aggression. It is, in fact, rabidly British. Our remaining friends behind the iron curtain are never allowed to hear our answer to these absurd charges. They see, on the contrary, our Press excusing and justify their Communist regimes. What, indeed, are they to conclude when they read in the Titotalitarian Times of November 12, that the Yugoslav elections were, by Balkan standards, relatively free and democratic? The Times leader also appears to accept the view that the assistance rendered by the Soviet Union in the liberation of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria gives the Russians a claim to favorable commercial treatment, when such favorable commercial treatment means the barring of trade and intercourse between ourselves and these countries. The implied conclusion is that there is no alternative to the existing Communist regimes, and their overthrow could only result in an anti-Semitic Fascist counter-revolution. Rather than risk that, The Times evidently prefers anti-British regimes. Far from any moral support, those who look to the West for inspiration find only abdication and exhortations to submit to the Communist tyranny, any encouragement being reserved for the Communist tyrants. Doubtless this conclusion will be made known throughout Balkania and will deepen despair among our dwindling supporters.
In the opinion of Major Greenlees there is no mystery about Mihailovich, who was a great Serbian patriot and no traitor. The man who had always been a friend of Britain, and threw in his lot with the British when their fortunes were at their lowest ebb, was not likely to be guilty of collaborating with the hated enemy when the Allies were heading for certain victory. It is not treachery to decline to accept a revolution. The most responsible American newspapers have openly stated that Mihailovich was shamefully tortured before his trial. As to this, Major Greenlees comments that the aged and broken man who gave evidence at the trial was not the same Mihailovich he had known for eighteen months in the hills. No admissions that may have been wrung from him in these circumstances would be admitted as evidence in any British court of justice. The trial was just a frame-up to discredit Anglo-America in the eyes of the Yugoslav peoples. Major Greenlees asserts that every effort should be made to keep the Balkan peoples truthfully informed of British aims and policy, as was done during the German occupation. It certainly should, but the B.B.C., which delighted in creating the Great Tito Legend, is no fitting instrument for the purpose. Its voice would drown in the blood of Mihailovich. Imagine, in conclusion, what were the feelings of Major Greenlees and his brother officers when, living under the faithful care and protection of the Chetniks, they heard the B.B.C. daily attacking those same Chetniks and their leader !
The demonization of the Serbs continues to this day though now carried out by the Dhimmi servants of Jihad (as can often be witnessed on FR threads regarding the Balkans).
Is that what you’re saying....in that case I agree...Milosevic was the lesser of 2 evils (the other evil to which I refer is Clinton)
Hi CRBDeuce, No, I would not ever equate Milosevic with Mihailovich in any real sense, especially given that Milosevic was part of the very machine that murdered Mihailovich years before, however, there are parallels in the context of what happened in Yugoslavia beginning in 1990/91 and continuing to this day.
Regarding the ‘lesser of evils’ - Regardless of how one viewed Slobodan Milosevic, he was certainly the lesser of three evils - the other two in Yugoslavia being Franjo Tudjman of Croatia and Alija Izetbegovich of Bosnia.
During his “trial” at the Hague, before Milosevic died in prison, he was insisting that he get the opportunity to put Bill Clinton on trial and ask him a few questions with regards to the former Yugoslavia. We will never know, but it’s highly likely that given the choice between facing Kenneth Starr and facing Slobodan Milosevic, Clinton would have found it much easier to be faced down by Starr.
Some of these people found their way into positions from which they convinced Churchill and others who knew better, or should have, that Tito's forces were doing a better job against the NAZIs than Mihailovich's. This included giving Tito credit for Mihailovich actions and victories!
Result: Mihailovich was starved for support, while Tito received lavish praise and help. Of course, it is also well documented that Tito used this support to fight and destroy Mihailovich's forces on many occasions.
It is also very likely that Tito's image of "independence" from Moscow was ALWAYS actually a clever Soviet canard.
There are a some decent videos on Youtube about Mihailovic:
and another one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ5EDVCbxZ8&feature=related from the grandson of American James Clarence Archer who was rescued by Mihailovic’s Cetniks.
There’s also a few videos by Muslims, communists and Croats, trying to slime Mihailovic.
Yes, there are some excellent books on the subject, including The Web of Disinformation by David Martin and The Rape of Serbia buy Michael Lees. The British agent in charge of all the WWII intelligence coming in from Yugoslavia was James Klugman, who also turned out to be the communist recruiter at Cambridge University who recruited the infamous Soviet spies, Burgess and Philby.
"It is also very likely that Tito's image of "independence" from Moscow was ALWAYS actually a clever Soviet canard."
Actually Kenny, I think that the break between Stalin and Tito was more about egos. Stalin wanted Tito as a worker-bee for greater Russian commuinsm and Tito wanted to be "the Stalin of the Balkans". Much of what has happened in the break-up of Yugoslavia can be attributed to Tito's failed plans for spreading communism throughout the Balkans, including Tito's pre-Hoxha plans for taking over Albania. Tito also supplied the communist side of the post-WWII Greek Civil War.
For further reading and information the article didn’t contain, but might add some insight: http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/006.shtml
Babe, IMHO, this image of competition between Stalin and Tito... a contrived image ... was the root of the disinformation campaign. Yugoslavia can be attributed to Tito's failed plans for spreading communism throughout the Balkans
Tito, with Soviet backing, was definitely the man who held Yugoslavia together in the postwar period. Tito's opposition to the Soviet union was largely a charade. However, I won't deny the man had a giant ego ... of Bill Clinton or Ceaucescu proportions, at least.
Saudi’s want Kosovo independent for the wahabis
Bush is in Saudi Arabia
The state department wants to give land to moslems
Bush will obey the state department and the saudis.
Tito’s independence of Moscow was solidified in 1948, especially with the removal and execution of those who sided with Stalin in Yugoslavia during the Informbiro scandal.
Oh wait, that's because they demolish the myth about Draza. Apologies!
If by "charade", you mean that Tito was "no less a communist than Stalin", I would agree. But I honestly think that Tito divorced himself from the Soviet Union so that he could (and eventually did) play both sides (the Soviet Union and the US) against the middle.
As much as I hated his guts, I will give Tito credit for one thing -- he turned Yugoslavia into "a player", rather than "the played".
Because they weren't and he wasn't. Only the Ustase (& it's modern-day fan club), who were the real German Nazi boot-lickers unsuccessfully try to slime Mihailovic with that in order to try and make themselves look less dirty.
Okay, where would you like to begin? With Pecanac’s Chetniks of Sumadija? With Dangic’s Chetniks of Eastern Bosnia? With Jevdjevic’s Chetniks of Hercegovina? With Djujic’s Chetniks of Dalmatia and Lika? With Djukanovic’s Chetniks of Western Montenegro? With Djurisic’s Chetniks of Eastern Montenegro and the Sandzak? Mihailovic’s Chetniks roughly accounted for less than 10% of all Serbian Chetniks during WW2, and even they took arms from the Germans to fight Germany’s enemies. All the ones I listed above openly sided with the Axis and formed the majority of Serbian Chetniks in WW2.
BTW, your regurgitated Ustase arguments are already available on the subject by using FR "search" and entering the word "Mihailovich" --but I doubt anyone will bother.
I guess it's easier for you to run away then to face the facts about the Serbian Chetniks of WW2.
You can't run away from facts.
According to my unchallenged source on all of this, i.e. Anatoly Golytsin, this was part of their carefully choreographed act, the choreographers of course in Moscow.
And please don't forget how Tito used the Albanians in Kosovo specifically to keep the Serbs off balance.
I fail to see how the execution of Stalinists in Yugoslavia during Informbiro could have been a carefully staged act between Stalin and Tito. I strongly suggest you read "Conversations with Stalin" by Milovan Djilas, a Yugoslav Politburo member who went from a hardcore Stalinist to anti-Stalinist and finally Yugoslav dissident.
As for Kosovo, Tito's right hand man, Aleksandar Rankovic (the Serb head of UDBA) ran the province as his own fiefdom for two decades. It was only after his removal for spying on Tito that the Albanians got into power in Kosovo.
Because it's all Communist lies, that's why.
The facts were already stated. All evidence against Mihailovich was invented by Communists.
No, they’re not communist lies. They’re facts. Now, where would you like to begin? Would you like to begin with Major Dangic’s alliance with the Germans in the winter of 1941 in Eastern Bosnia?
Obviously not, since the Chetniks sided with the Axis in varying degrees during the War. Some divisions, such as Djujic’s Dinara Division, were evacuated by the Nazis to Italy lest they fall in the hands of the Partisans.
Interesting Kenny, must read up on Golystin. Where I was taking much of my context from was Milovan Djilas, who was Tito's right hand during the war, later turned dissident.
Great Author. But his literary résumé may very well blend fact, fiction, and fantasy. I personally distrust newly-minted anti-communists who were fervent hard-line Marxists a short time before.
In re Kosovo: Review NYT early reportage. When Tito was in power, the Kosovar Albanians were given a great deal of autonomy, which they immediately misused to persecute Serbs, Jews, and the "Röm." At the time, the NYT thought this was absolutely horrible. Shocking to misuse the trust of Tito, one of their commie pets, etc. etc. etc. "Bandits," the NYT called them.
The minute Tito was dead and Serbia eventually became an internationally recognized state rather than part of communist Yugoslavia, these shocking Kosovar Albanian "bandits" suddenly became freedom fighters in the good grey pages of the NYT.
As to the execution of Stalinists during Informbiro, I seem to recall many earlier episodes of internecine bloodshed among Stalinists ... proves nothing. Remember also Tito's disgraceful persecution of Croatia's Cardinal Stepinac with manufactured KGB evidence, and many of the more outspoken Othodox prelates. Remember also that Tito, taking yet another Stalinist directive, sought to dominate the Serbian Orthodox Church.
No, I'll go with Golitsyn on this one. Perhaps it's personal, but Tito will never be a hero to me. THere are no angels in the Balkans, but Tito was definitely a bloody devil.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.