Mihajlović, Draža

Mihajlović, Mihailović, or Mikhailovich, Draža or Dragoljub dräˈzhä mēhīˈlôvĭch, dräˈgôlyo͞obˌ [key], 1893–1946, Yugoslav soldier. He fought with the chetniks, a Serbian guerrilla force, in the Balkan Wars (1912–13) and in World War I, and after the conquest (1941) of Yugoslavia in World War II he headed the revived chetnik forces. His successful operations earned him promotion to general and appointment (1942) as minister of war by the Yugoslav government-in-exile. An ardent royalist and Serbian nationalist, he soon clashed with the partisans of Marshal Tito. Mihajlović's forces gradually dwindled while Tito's increased, and by 1944 he had lost Allied support and was reluctantly dismissed by King Peter II. Mihajlović continued antipartisan warfare with the remnants of his forces, but he was captured by the Tito authorities and tried on charges of collaboration and treason. Evidence indicates that Mihajlović, who considered the Communists a greater threat than the Axis Powers, did at times act against the Tito forces in an understanding with the enemy, but his death sentence was based on internal political considerations rather than on his actual guilt.

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