Britain, Mihailović and the Chetniks, 1941–42 by Simon C. Trew

By Simon C. Trew

Casting new mild on a debatable element of wartime British overseas coverage, this e-book strains the method through which the British experts got here to supply their backing to Colonel Draza Mihailovic, chief of the non-Communist resistance circulation which emerged after the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941. It additionally examines why British self assurance in Mihailovic was once hence eroded, to the purpose the place severe attention was once given to shifting aid to his avowed enemies, the Communist-led Partisans.

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Extra info for Britain, Mihailović and the Chetniks, 1941–42

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None of the Services were willing to give up large numbers of trained personnel. The navy was unable to provide anything but the most occasional transport and certainly not any vessels for permanent SOE use, which in turn meant infiltration of agents and supplies by air. Yet there were few parachute training facilities, a shortage of stores containers and equally few aircraft. What long-range aircraft were produced automatically went to bombing operations or to Coastal Command for its batde against the U-boats.

This was not the first time that the Communists in Yugoslavia had been mentioned. Even before 22 June there had been rumours of a Communist rising should Germany attack Russia, and Rapotec was clearly aware of their 34 Britain, Mihailovic and the Chetniks existence when he arrived in Istanbul; but this seems to have been the first occasion that their activities were described in any detail. Rakic pointed out that the Communists had done nothing against the enemy until Hitler's attack on Russia, preferring to denounce Mihailovic's people to the Germans, who had killed many as a result.

These instructions contained both a carrot and a stick, for Djonovic continued that 'when they are advised to begin action, they will be helped with air support and much else. If they do not listen, they cannot hope for aid of any Preparation 37 kind'. In a direct reference to the question of 'premature action' he stated: It is too early in any case for us to start anything, because that would provoke horrible reprisals and the extermination of our people. The English here all agree with this. That being the case, all we can now do is to ease somehow the people's lives and advise them to remain calm and to organize, [my italics] Thus, when confronted with the Yugoslav request, SOE responded in three ways.

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