The Yugoslav Partisans were a communist resistance military formation in Yugoslavia during WWII. They fought the Axis forces and their various collaborators. They are also often referred to as the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and their struggle as the People's Liberation War of Yugoslavia. The Partisans were led by Tito (Josip Broz)
Formation and activities
As Yugoslavia was invaded in April of 1941, the Communist party was one of the first to start organizing the resistance. Immediately after the occupation, members of the party started collecting weapons and organizing the first squads of partisans. Already in the mid of June, the partisans performed their first actions against the occupants and by autumn the movement had grown to tens of thousands of partisans. The true power of the partisan movement was shown when for a month and a half, the wider area of the Serbian city Užice was liberated by the Serbian partisans.
Despite the partisans being considered a completely communist movement, that was not true. In Slovenia, for instance, the resistance movement was founded by three equal parties: the Communists, the Sokol (eagle) movement and the Christian Socialists. It was not until 1943 that Communists took the leading role in the Slovene partisan movement.
Besides fighting the occupants, the partisans had to fight various quisling movements who considered it more important to fight against communism than to fight for the liberation of Yugoslavia. They were all restricted to their own country and almost all with nationalistic policies. The chetniks fought for a Greater Serbia, the ustashe for an independent Croatia etc.
The Allied powers sent several delegates to Yugoslavia and supplied the partisans with arms and necessities. The partisans also saved a few hundred Ally pilots who were shot down by the occupants.
During the war, the partisans were engaged in seven great Axis offensives. At the end of the war, Yugoslavia became the only country in Europe besides the Soviet Union to liberate itself (with exception of small areas in the east that were liberated by the Red Army).
The partisan tradition was very nurtured in the post-war Yugoslavia. A special movie genre, the partisan film, was established, much alike the American western, and various writers and poets discussed partisan themes in their work.