Howard Fast

Tito and His People

Death to All Fascists

Three days after the Yugoslav army had surrendered to the Axis, April 20, 1941, Tito held a meeting with certain Slovenian leaders, Catholic priests, trade unionists, peasant leaders and Communists. They formed the Liberation Front and issued their first defiance to Germany: Death to all Fascists! — Liberty to the People!"

The united front he organized included anyone and everyone who hated fascism and was willing to fight the invader. Its purpose was to render all aid to the Allies and to drive the Germans and Italians from Yugoslavia.

The Liberation Front, or LF as it became known, decided that Tito should go to Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, contact the anti-fascist organization there and start a movement that would embrace every democratic force in Yugoslavia, a movement that would unite the whole land against the Nazis.

In civilian clothes, a revolver in one pocket, Tito left Slovenia for Belgrade.

There are hundreds of stories told of how Tito began the Belgrade centre of the Liberation Front. It is said that he sat in a cafe in Belgrade, his hand on the revolver in his pocket, while German police cars cruised the streets looking for him.

Actually Tito did not start the Liberation Front in Belgrade, for when he arrived there, a united front underground organization including progressive Yugoslavs of every political shade was functioning. Tito knew many key people in this movement, contacted them and a meeting was arranged.

At this meeting was the former Yugoslav parliamentary president, Dr. Ivan Ribar and other national non-Communist leaders. The meeting lasted for hours. Tito constantly reiterated his purpose: "To drive out the invader and liberate the land."

Then and there the Liberation Front of all Yugoslavia was formed. Communists and non-Communists shook hands and pledged their lives to their country's freedom.

The slogan spoken first in Slovenia was confirmed as a battle cry:



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