Draza Mihailovic

Draza Mihailovic

Draza Mihailovic was born in 1893. He entered the Belgrade Military Academy at the age of 15 and in 1912 took part in the war with Turkey. By the end of the First World War he had reached the rank of captain.

In the 1930s the Yugoslavian government headed by Prince-Regent Paul allied itself with the fascist dictatorships of Germany and Italy. However, on 27th March 1941, a military coup established a government more sympathetic to the Allies. Ten days later the Luftwaffe bombed Yugoslavia and virtually destroyed Belgrade. The German Army now invaded and the government was forced into exile.

After the invasion Mihailovic became head of the Chetniks, a mountain guerrilla movement. The Allies provided military aid to Mihailovic and for a while was willing to work with Josip Tito and his partisans. However, Mihailovic was a traditional monarchist whereas Tito was a communist and it was not long before the two armies were fighting each other.

Information reached Winston Churchill that the Chetniks had began to collaborate with the Germans and Italians and at Teheran (28th November to 1st December, 1943) the decision was taken to switch this aid to Tito and the partisans.

Mihailovic was captured by partisans on 13th March 1946. Convicted of collaborating with the enemy, Mihailovic was executed on 17th July 1946.