Challenge: Chetnik Yugoslavia

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by twistedirregular, May 13, 2018.

  1. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    The Axis invasion of Yugoslavia saw Yugoslavia being overwhelmed and partitioned between the Axis nations of Germany, Italy and Hungary as King Peter II and his Cabinet fled into exile in London. Their exiled troops were the 1st Battalion, Royal Yugoslav Guards which saw action in North Africa and Italy in 1944 whilst attached to an Indian brigade.

    The Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army were established to carry out guerrilla warfare against the occupying forces, loyal to the royalist Yugoslav government-in-exile. Unfortunately, the Chetniks adopted a more Serb-oriented ideology which isolated them from potential supporters and led them to terrorize the Bosniaks, Croats, Muslims, etc. They would also collaborate with the Axis forces as they viewed Tito and his Partisans as the more dangerous threat. This is what caused the Yugoslav Partisans (National Liberation Front) to receive more support from all facets of Yugoslav territory as the Partisans grew in numbers and support.

    Your challenge is to establish a more successful Chetnik resistance movement that isn't Serb-oriented and remains loyal to the Yugoslav government-in-exile, ending up in control of most of Yugoslavia by the late 1940s. The Yugoslav monarchy must be retained - bonus points if the Chetniks and Partisans continue to work alongside one another.
     
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  2. Seandineen Member

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    Loyalty to the Monarchy could be based on the memory of Alexander I who fought fascism and communism alike. Peter being kept off the booze will help. Milalovac needs to survive. He was smarter than Tito within his limited range.
     
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  3. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    What else do you recommend?
     
  4. Seandineen Member

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    Try to keep the Bosnians on side. Anti croat feeling will dissipate in about 20 years
     
  5. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    I was wondering - could the Chetniks adopt some other ideology that doesn't include attempting to establish a Greater Serbia? Could they be kept from collaborating with the Axis occupiers?
     
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  6. Seandineen Member

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    Only select units collaborated. The uk needs to avoid the switch to Tito. The chetniks could promote more federalism.
     
  7. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    Maybe if Chetnik units had been more disciplined? Perhaps the Yugoslav Partisans are severely weakened by one of the seven anti-Partisan offensives and thus, the Chetniks become the dominant resistance movement which leads the UK to support them more concretely - maybe more Yugoslav/Chetnik soldiers make it out of Europe and end up in either the Middle East or Africa where they contribute more to their allies' campaigns in North Africa and later, Italy.
     
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  8. Seandineen Member

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    Sounds good to me. Peter himself wanted to lead troops into battle.
     
  9. Court Jester Well-Known Member

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    Problem is that most of the Slovenes and Croats that were captured or deserted from Italian and German army in North Africa and Italy were not really fond of the kingdom and joined the partisans instead, forming six overseas brigades (five infantry, one armored) and smaller units counting some 18.000 men and some 20.000 were kept imprisoned as deserters from allied Italian army in Corsica, so they couldn't escape and join the partisans. People were dismayed by royal policies and conduct of the government in exile didn't help.
     
  10. Changundramon Well-Known Member

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    The only non-Serbian Chetnik group of any significance were the plavogardejci- Slovenian Chetniks. Croats sure as hell weren't fans of the monarchy, and the Chetnik ideology was always about Serbian dominance. Chetniks can win, but they cannot become unaffiliated to Serbian designs. A crushing defeat or two inflicted upon the Partisans by the Axis could force the Allies to reconsider whom to give support to.Chetniks were the first pick of the Western Allies. Their cooperation with firstly Italians, and then later Germans compromised their position.
     
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  11. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    I was unaware of any other Yugoslav formations being established in exile. What could the royalist Yugoslav government-in-exile do to help their people and the Chetniks?
     
  12. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    So what ideology could the Chetniks adopt to appeal to any potential supporters that isn't dominated by the Serbs? Pan-Slavism? Pan-Yugoslavism?

    What would be needed for the Chetniks not to collaborate with any Axis Power and thus, retain support from the Allies? I can see one of the anti-Partisan offensives decapitating the leadership and leaving the Partisans in a position where they were unable to prosecute a significant resistance effort, perhaps the remnants of the Yugoslav Partisans are integrated into the Chetniks.
     
  13. Changundramon Well-Known Member

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    IOTL, they did so because Italians were conveniently letting them pillage and destroy Croatian settlements in the Dalmatian hinterland. Considering that the Chetniks were ill-disciplined thugs, this is hard to change. Perhaps the Partisans get ratted out early, and Tito dies in 1941./2, along with a worse Soviet performance in the overall WW2? This means the WAllies have nobody else to give support to, in the area.

    Pan-Yugoslavism was supposedly the idea the murdered king Alexander subscribed to, but it was still Serbocentric in reality. The fact that Macedonians, a South Slavic people who weren't implicated in many wars in the Balkans (they rode the 90's out in peace), cooperated with the Ustashe to kill the king, speaks volumes about how popular he was outside of Serbia.

    Chetniks can win in WW2, if UK perseveres with them and maybe pressures the Americans to do a SE Europe invasion. Or if, even without that, the Soviets do worse enough to not be able to reach the area. They did not like the royalists for obvious reasons. But if Chetniks win, the restored Yugoslavia will be a dark, oppressive place, even fuller of mass graves than IOTL.
     
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  14. Court Jester Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, by the time of German invasion, the idea of Yugoslav kingdom was rather unpalatable to most of non Serb population and downright abnominable to good part of Croatians. Chetniks can only win through outside intervention and lot of bloodshed. In order to make king and kingdom more supported by people you would need a POD before Radić's assasination.
     
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  15. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

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    Well Prince Paul of Yugoslavia seems to have had slightly more of a Yugoslav than Serbian viewpoint and tried to maintain the country's neutrality so perhaps do something with that. He sees which way things are going in Europe and after Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 decides to build up a clandestine stay-behind like the UK's Auxiliary Units as a precautionary measure. Having time in hand the personnel are carefully chosen both for their loyalty to the crown and to weed out the worst of the Serbian nationalists, with a wide mix of ethnicities selected. Following the coup d'état control of the units passes over to Peter II in whose name they'd been raised in the first place. Including radios as well as arms in their supply dumps gives them the capability to remain in contact with the government in exile.

    The Adriatic isn't very wide so if the Allies were to have more reliable allies on the ground they could perhaps be convinced to launch some small amphibious operations when the Germans start pulling back from the Balkans. Nothing major just to help secure the major ports and coastal cities, from there advancing in-land when Axis opposition declines. Royal and Western Allied forces liberate most of Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia meeting the advancing Soviet and communist forces advancing westwards somewhere in the eastern parts of them. To help curry favour Peter announces plans for much greater decentralisation with power being pushed down to the banovina level with redrawn borders roughly analogous to our timeline's socialist republics. Free elections post-war still likely see Tito becoming Prime Minister with a plurality of seats but not an outright majority. Whilst they chart an independent course from the Soviets the communists are still likely to be tarred with their associations and Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe means they lose the next elections.
     
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  16. Halagaz Well-Known Member

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    This may have been somewhat true around 1930. In 1941, however, Croatia enjoyed a large amount of autonomy. The idea that Royal Yugoslavia was some kind of mega-opressive regime doesn't hold weight; and it wasn't likely to become one, either.

    Chetnik victory would be followed by reprisals and massacres, but probably no more than the Communist victory of OTL. Things would gradually settle down once power is returned to the Royal government.
     
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  17. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    I agree.

    I was proposing an alternate Chetnik organization where it isn't dominated by Serb nationalists and isn't likely to commit massacres such as IOTL where they become a prominent resistance movement in occupied Yugoslavia.
     
  18. Halagaz Well-Known Member

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    IMO, the problem is that any organization in these circumstances (resistance movement operating in an occupied country) is going to be at least somewhat decentralized. The Chetnik movement of OTL was highly decentralized. Which meant that - whatever high-minded orders are put forth by the officially Yugoslavist central leadership - the regional branches are still free to practice ethnic discrimination, reprisals and even massacres.
     
  19. twistedirregular Negus of Nationalism

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    That's true, is there anyway to make the Chetniks more disciplined at the regional level if they're created before Yugoslavia is occupied?
     
  20. Court Jester Well-Known Member

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    Problem is that memories of past opression take long to dissapate and Radić practically getting away with Račić's murder was still a sore point for many in Croatia, an example of Serb hegemony, despite later concessions.