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The Belgrade Offensive

The History and Legacy of the Campaign to Liberate Yugoslavia’s Capital from the Nazis During World War II
Narrated by: Mark Norman
Length: 1 hr and 57 mins
Categories: History, European
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The Belgrade Offensive of 1944, while not considered one of the greatest and most important battles of the Second World War, was definitively an important moment of the war in the Balkans and marked the final defeat of the Axis in Southeastern Europe. 

The Axis campaign started in April 1941, when Germany and Italy, helped by Hungary and Bulgaria, attacked Yugoslavia and Greece. Almost immediately after the conquest of these two countries, occupying forces had to face the resistance of local guerilla movements, especially in Yugoslavia. It was divided between the remains of the Royal Army (the Chetniks or JVuO) and Communist Partisans. Yugoslav guerillas were a constant threat for the Axis in Balkans. Their fight was based on diversions, but they also conducted large military operations, making them unique in occupied Europe. During the four years of occupation, the Germans and Italians conducted five large operations and several smaller ones in order to defeat the guerillas and to secure the Balkans, which by 1943 was thought of as one of the possible landing zones for the Allies in Europe.

Another aspect of the Yugoslav resistance was that the two resistance movements were also at war against each other, disputing whether Yugoslavia would stay under the influence of Western democracies or turn to Communism. 

Although pressed by the Germans and Italians in the entire country, resistance movements managed to survive the war years, waiting for the tides of war to turn in favor of the Allies. Chetniks were waiting for western the Allies, while the Partisans were hoping for the sooner arrival of the Red Army troops. Partisans established their base in the central mountains of Yugoslavia, while Chetniks drew their strength from traditionally royalist Serbia.

Once the tactical advantage on the front changed in 1943 in favor of the Allies and Italy was defeated, both resistance movements turned to offensive operations. 

By that time, Partisans overcame Chetniks across the land. Strict organization of the Yugoslav Communist Party was transferred to military units and was far stronger than those of Chetniks. The bigger number of recruited men gave them the advantage, and the Partisans won the political and military support of the Allies both from the West and the East as they were considered the most useful resistance movement in fighting the Germans on Balkans. 

During the Tehran Conference in November 1943, the Communist People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (the NOVJ) was recognized as the allied force. One day after, the political body of the force, Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ) declared itself as a legislative and governing body of Yugoslavia. King Peter II was forbidden to come back to Yugoslavia until the end of the war. 

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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It Was Okay

It was short and brief, but informative. I did take issue with the narrator mispronouncing "Il Duce"...how did nobody catch that?