Antifascist resistance in France and Serbia durning World War II

Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
After the occupation of France (1939) and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1941), the Nazis imposed the most rigorous rules in France and Serbia. Example, for one dead German soldier, 100 civilians would be shot. The French government advised people not to give resistance to the German occupation, in the hope that the allied army would succeed in releasing them soon.Yugoslavia was occupied completely in 11 days. The army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia had no time to mobilize, i.e. the mobilization was ordered is too late. But even so, a large number of civilians took weapons and entered the streets by resisting the German occupation. France was largely relieved of the intervention of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. While Partisan leaders led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito successfully freed most of their teroriir from the enemy before the forces of the Red Army came.

France received a special position within the United Nations Security Council, as well as control over part of Germany. While Yugoslavia only received praise from both sides. The Allies wanted to weaken the Soviet influence in Europe, putting pressure on the liberated countries to oppose the "new evil". And to choose instead a democratic system. The leadership of the Soviet Union was shocked by the fact that the Marshall Plan did not encompass the Soviet Union and their "puppet states", as well as the pressure of the Allies that territories under the auspices of the USSR become democracies and decide for themselves which political system to choose.

How do you characterize the role of France and Serbia (Yugoslavia) in the Second World War?
I think it's very easy to say the people of France or Serbia should have done this or that 80 years later when you're not involved and weren't in that position - children to feed and so on.

I'm not saying either France or Serbia were defined by collaboration as I don't know much of what happened in those countries, but as a general point I never feel comfortable when watching pictures of 'collaborators' being rounded up and 'dealt' with. 'Just seems another chapter of violence and dislocation that doesn't achieve anything for anyone.

As for France's position after the war, I think powerful nations are always looking at least 20 years ahead, and when Germany isn't in the equation France is continental Europe's leading power and so of course France was always going to be rebuilt in terms of political sway - for the benefit of the United States and Britain. Just as West Germany was - same reason.
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,964
Iowa USA
I'm not saying either France or Serbia were defined by collaboration as I don't know much of what happened in those countries, but as a general point I never feel comfortable when watching pictures of 'collaborators' being rounded up and 'dealt' with. 'Just seems another chapter of violence and dislocation that doesn't achieve anything for anyone.

As for France's position after the war, I think powerful nations are always looking at least 20 years ahead, and when Germany isn't in the equation France is continental Europe's leading power and so of course France was always going to be rebuilt in terms of political sway - for the benefit of the United States and Britain. Just as West Germany was - same reason.
Right.
The UK/US coalition was surprised that Nazi resistance in the Rhineland was well organized, didn't capture Remagen Bridge until weeks, or maybe three months, later than anticipated in say Sept. '44, France was the beneficiary of the divided German nation.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,827
SoCal
Question--in which countries other than Yugoslavia and obviously the USSR was the Communist resistance to Nazism extremely strong? So far, I could only think of Albania, Greece, and perhaps France as well. Were there any other such countries?
 
Sep 2013
432
France
Communist resistance was not that big in France. Of course it played a role, but not as big as the post war propaganda claimed.
One of the big difference, I think, between France and Yougoslavia after the german occupation, was that France had from 1942 an army fighting outside, with De Gaulle clearly percieved as free french leader.
Southern France and eastern France was largely liberated by french troops. De Gaulle and french soldiers were in Paris for the liberation, and thousand of french troops crossed the Rhine.
What I'm trying to say is that french resistance was organized with the idea that a link existed between FFI and FFL, and that sooner or later, the junction would happen.
A lot of people who wanted to fight didn't do it firstly on the mainland, but travelled to first fight the german troops with the western allies.
 
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Sep 2019
185
Slovenia
Well also Yugoslavia had its army outside of the country with the British in Africa and so on. It was not so big as French army under De Gaulle but anyway. In the second half of 1944 this forces merged with partisans under Tito after Tito-Šubašič deal, which was later after the war broken by communists, because there were no free elections and also communism was introduced by force contrary to the agreement.

Yugoslav government-in-exile - Wikipedia
 
Sep 2019
185
Slovenia
@Futurist in Yugoslavia and Greece it was the strongest, but in both cases communists attacked and banned other resistance movements, they only allowed the one which was under their control. In Greece they did not succeed to destroy them completly because the British came in the country at the end of 1944.

Some examples from Yugoslavia:

Already in December 1941 Tito and Kardelj as leaders of CPY wrote to communist leaders in Montenegro that they were right in banning all other units with exception of communist led partisans and from now on they must enforce this policy even stronger. Kardelj gave basically the same order also to partisans in Slovenia and again already in December 1941. Central committiee of CPY warned in January 1942 Slovene communists that they must abandon the propaganda based just on national-liberation and must work for a second phase of revolution - that is soviet revolution. Also communists in Serbia were ordered at the same time that they must prepare partisan units in a way that they can be used as soviet red army in Yugoslavia fighting for revolution. Tito established proletarian brigades in Bosnia and ordered they must be prepared also for the second phase of revolution ( January 1942 ).

At that time even Comintern was worried about such developements in Yugoslavia. USSR was not feeling strong enough yet. And they warned communists in Yugoslavia that they are going to far. But soon USSR was not so much worried. At the beggining of 1943 for example in Slovenia so called 'Dolomitska izjava' was signed on the demand of communist party and other groups in national Liberation Front had to agree that they will not be organized as political parties and that even after the war communist party will have the leading role in Slovenia.

Book Bermanov dosje, written by dr. Aleksander Bajt, published in Ljubljana in 1999, pages 386-390.
 
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Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
Right.
The UK/US coalition was surprised that Nazi resistance in the Rhineland was well organized, didn't capture Remagen Bridge until weeks, or maybe three months, later than anticipated in say Sept. '44, France was the beneficiary of the divided German nation.
I don't really know that much about WW2 as I'm much more interested in WW1, but I'd be hugely surprised in the event WW2 Allied commanders didn't realise what a back-peddling Germany about to defend her homeland was capable of. They were very much aware of German capabilities, albeit a weakened version, in 1918, so I can't see how it would be any different in WW2. I think it could be more the case that there were egos at play.
 
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Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,401
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Without fail, all you need is to call upon a Serb if you want to diminish Serbs' own achievements. What other country in Axis occupied Europe fielded full fledged brigades in 1941 and divisions in 1942? What other nation managed to carve a territory/state of Uzice Republic in the midst of Europe only several months after being occupied by Nazis? How many Serbs paid the ultimate price in battles against Nazis and their satellites or perished in Jasenovac (my direct family member) and other concentration camps? While I honor and value each and every organized resistance group in Europe, from Norway to Italy, no one save for Polish and Belorussians come even close to that level of organized and massive fighting resistance. As a Serb from RS in Bosnia, I am proud of my family members being in Partisans and Chetniks from the very beginning until the end of the war. They knew what they were fighting against and against what odds.
The partisan operations in the Balkans managed to tie up a very significant portion of German (Axis) military forces during 1943 & 1944, which were otherwise urgently needed in France & Eastern Europe.
 
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May 2013
188
USA
Question--in which countries other than Yugoslavia and obviously the USSR was the Communist resistance to Nazism extremely strong? So far, I could only think of Albania, Greece, and perhaps France as well. Were there any other such countries?
Belarus communist resistance was quite strong and has achieved significant successes in liberating parts of their country. While far outnumbered by Armia Krajowa, Polish communist resistance also counted in tens of thousands. I am sure these were Soviet backed, but nevertheless, they contributed toward the common goal that is defeat of Nazism in Europe.

Edit: Sorry, I just realized you mentioned outside of USSR above thus Belarusian example is covered already.
 
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