July 05th 2007 05:21:28 PM
This, from TIME Magazine in 1942, is whom Croatians are *still* trying to paint as a “Nazi collaborator”:
He clasps the crag with crooked hands . . . he watches from his mountain walls, and like a thunderbolt he falls.
These words, written of an eagle, today are a far better fit for one of the most amazing commanders of World War II. He is Yugoslavia’s Draja Mihailovich. Ever since Adolf Hitler vaingloriously announced a year ago that he had conquered Yugoslavia, Draja Mihailovich and his 150,000 guerrillas in the mountains south-west of Belgrade have flung the lie in Hitler’s teeth. It has been probably the greatest guerrilla operation in history:
> Last fall Mihailovich kept as many as seven Nazi divisions chasing him through his Sumadija mountains.
> Mihailovich’s swarming raiders have preserved an “Island of Freedom”, which for a time was 20,000 square miles in area, with a population of 4,000,000.
> Mihailovich’s annihilation of Axis detachments, bombing of roads and bridges, breaking of communications and stealing of ammunition have been so widespread that the Nazis had to declare a new state of war in their “conquered” territory.
> Last October the Nazis even asked for peace.
>When Mihailovich refused, they priced his head at $1,000,000.
> When the Nazis desperately needed troops in Russia, they tried to leave Mihailovich to the forces of their Axis partners and stooges. But Italian, Bulgarian and Rumanian soldiers could not deal with him, and the Nazis went back. Only last week the Russians announced that a Nazi division had arrived at Kharkov fresh from Yugoslavia—where it had certainly not been stationed for a rest.
>Mihailovich’s example has kept all Yugoslavia in a wild anti-Axis ferment. The Axis has resorted to executing untold thousands, but the revolt continues. Last month the Nazis said they had seized Mihailo-vich’s wife, two sons and daughter, threatened to execute all relatives of Mihailovich’s army and 16,000 hostages if the General did not surrender within five days. He did not. It is a misfortune that conquered Europe cannot learn detail by detail the effective methods used by the gaunt, hard, bronzed fighter on TIME’S cover…