Howard Fast

Tito and His People

Indisputable Evidence

Stoyan Pribichevich, the London correspondent for Fortune, Time and Life magazines, in an article written for Fortune, investigated the rival claims of the government-in-exile and the Partisans. He brings the following evidence:

One Captain Vaselevich, an officer of Mikhailovich's, captured with some Italians by a Partisan 'escort' in Slovenia, last December, is reported to have testified that Mikhailovich had organized 'White Guards' in Slovenia to fight the Partisans.

"Private Jack Denver, a New Zealander who escaped from a German prison camp near Maribar, in Slovenia, in the winter of 1942, broadcast over the Partisan Free Yugoslavia radio that he had seen Mikhailovich's troops march together with the Italians through the Slovenian capital, Lyublyana.

"During last winter's Axis onslaught in Bosnia the Partisan high command claimed in its communiques the capture of hundreds of Chetniks, together with Italians, stating dates, places of battles and giving names of seized Chetnik commanders.

"In January, 1943 the Partisan Vece President Dr. Ivan Ribar broadcast that large Chetnik units under Commanders Gaich, Yevdj Jevich and Birchanin, had joined the Italian army to raid Partisan villages in Dalmatia and Bosnia and established Chetnik training camps in Crikvenista, Split and other Italian-occupied coastal towns. And throughout this spring fighting in Hercegovina, the Partisan communiques complained of Chetnik attacks and claimed Chetniks among these Axis prisoners."

Pribichevich goes on further in his findings:

"Confidentially, the Yugoslav government officials will concede that Mikhailovich received armaments from the Italians under a secret agreement with General Mario Roatta, former commander of the Italian occupation forces in Yugoslavia. The proviso being that the armaments would not be used against the Italians."

Further, writing in the same issue of Fortune, Stoyan Pribichevich says: "In February the Istanbul correspondent of The London Times reported that Mikhailovich had 'a sort of tacit truce with the Italians'."

The New York Times Reports

Last November, Hanson Baldwin remarked in The New York Times that: "The defenders of General Mikhailovich do nor deny that he may have been in touch with the Italians and Marshal Nedich, but they point out that 'deals' are common in Balkan politics."

He says further: "Two facts have been established: (1) Mikhailovich was not fighting the Italians; (2) Mikhailovich has not disavowed the Chetnik units and commanders who have joined the Axis against their own kin."

In March, 1943, the Yugoslav government in London, officially, almost boastfully, admitted that Mikhailovich was carrying on an anti-Partisan offensive. Some of its members privately admitted to Stoyan Pribichevich, who is of Serbian origin himself, that Mikhailovich had a collaborative pact with the commanders of the Italian forces in the Balkans.

Louis Adamic Reports

Louis Adamic tells us in "My Native Land": "While Mikhailovich was hammering at the Partisans, King Peter and some of the inner clique of the Yugoslav government were in the United States, guests in fact, of the American government. Accompanying the king were two of his adjutants, Foreign Minister Momchilo Ninchich and Minister of the Court Radoye Knezevich, and in Washington they received messages from Mikhailovich that 'The people were exterminating the criminal and communistic Partisans.'

"The king and his entourage were too delighted with the news to be diplomatically silent. They talked about it at receptions given for the 'young sovereign' by organizations like the American Friends of Yugoslavia, whose supporters and members, knowing very little beyond official propaganda, were Mikhailovich and Chetnik enthusiasts."

While the Partisans fought valiantly, Mikhailovich's main line of activity apart from sniping at the Partisans and trying to hamper their movements, was to wireless the Yugoslav government-in-exile the names of hundreds of Yugoslav army officers who had left him and joined the Liberation Front, suggesting that they be stripped immediately of their commissions.

The government naturally complied with his request, at the same time decorating Chetniks who "distinguished" themselves in anti-Partisan operations.

It is now a known fact that Mikhailovich's Chetnik officers were treated for wounds in the Quisling Nedich's Nazi-occupied Belgrade, right under the noses of Hitler's henchmen and they weren't even touched. One of these officers, Major Kuloluch, was even given a medal by the government-in-exile after being visited by the butcher Nedich himself. The latter was responsible for murdering thousands of Yugoslavs. But this didn't mean anything to the government-in-exile.

For acts like this the famous Partisan Colonel Orovich denounced King Peter's government for decorating traitors.

To add insult to injury, Vladimar Milichevich, a former Belgrade police inspector (famous for his specialty in dealing with political figures who were wanted by the reactionary Yugoslav regimes before the war), today is Minister of the Exterior and the Police in the government-in-exile.

General Maitland Wilson Charges

General Maitland Wilson, commander of Allied forces in the Mediterranean, charged openly in the American press in the month of November, 1943, that the Chetniks were helping the Germans in a fruitless attempt to smash the Yugoslav Liberation movement. He said further that he was aware that in certain districts, especially in Dalmatia, people using the name Chetniks were helping the Germans. These people were betraying the interests of their country and made their traitorous actions even more pronounced when they said that their activities were sanctioned by England.

This is, of course, wholly false, and has been proven so by Winston Churchill's famous speech hereinafter quoted and by England's recognition of Marshal Tito and the attaching of a liaison officer to his staff by that country.

General Wilson went on to salute the noble achievements of the forces of liberation and he promised every possible aid from the Allies in keeping with Allied strategy.

In the same statement, General Wilson warned the Chetniks that they will be regarded as traitors to their own people and as enemies of the United Nations if they do not stop giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Winston Churchill's Historic Speech Gradually as a confused world started to hear the truth finally seep out of embattled Yugoslavia, Winston Churchill, opening a war debate in the House of Commons on February 22, 1944, made the following startling pronouncement in the House of Commons that fell like sledge hammer blows on those forces all over the world who were interested in keeping the Mikhailovich myth alive:

"General Mikhailovich, I regret to say, drifted gradually into a position where some of his commanders made accommodations with the Italian and German troops which resulted in their being left alone in certain mountain areas and in return doing very little or nothing against the enemy.

"However, a new and far more formidable champion has appeared on the scene. In the autumn of 1941 Marshal Tito's Partisans began a wild and furious war for existence against the Germans and they wrested weapons from the German hand.

"They grew in numbers rapidly; no reprisals, however bloody, whether of hostages or villages, deterred them; for them it was death or freedom.

"Soon they began to inflict heavy injuries on the Germans and became masters of wide regions, led with great skill and organized on guerrilla principles, they were at once illusive and deadly. They were here. They were there. They were everywhere. Large scale offensives have been launched against them by the Germans but in every case the Partisans even when surrounded, have escaped after inflicting great loss and toll on the enemy.

"The Partisan movement soon outstripped in numbers the forces of General Mikhailovich. Not only Croats and Slovenes but large numbers of Serbians, joined with Marshal Tito and he has at this moment more than a quarter of a million men with him and large quantities of arms taken from the enemy or from the Italians."

And Mr. Churchill went on further to say: "At the present time the followers of Marshal Tito outnumber many fold those of General Mikhailovich who act under the name of the Royal Yugoslav government. Of course, the Partisans of Marshal Tito are the only people who are doing any fighting against the Germans right now."

What stronger evidence can we possibly have than that presented by this great British statesman as late as February, 1944.

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