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Claridge's Hotel in London, where the Yugoslav government in exile was based during the war.

The Yugoslav government in exile was the official government of Yugoslavia, headed by King Peter II, which evacuated from Belgrade in April 1941, after the German invasion of the country, first to Greece, then Palestine, then to Cairo in Egypt and finally, in June 1941, to the United Kingdom.

History[]

Fearing an invasion by the Axis Powers, Regent Prince Paul signed the Tripartite Pact on 25 March 1941, pledging cooperation with the Axis. Massive [anti-Axis] demonstrations followed in Belgrade.

On 27 March, the regime of Prince Paul was overthrown by a military coup d'état with British support. The 17-year-old Peter II was declared to be of age and placed in power. General Dušan Simović became his Prime Minister. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia withdrew its support for the Axis de facto without formally renouncing the Tripartite Pact. Although the new rulers opposed Nazi Germany, they also feared that if German dictator Adolf Hitler attacked Yugoslavia, the United Kingdom was not in any real position to help. Regardless of this, on 6 April 1941, the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) launched the invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and quickly conquered it. The royal family, including Prince Paul, escaped abroad and were interned by the British in Kenya.[1]

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was soon divided by the Axis into several entities. Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria annexed some border areas outright. A Greater Germany was expanded to include most of Slovenia. Italy added the Governorship of Dalmatia and more than a third of western Slovenia to the Italian Empire. An expanded Croatia was recognized by the Axis as the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH). On paper, the NDH was a kingdom and the 4th Duke of Aosta was crowned as King Tomislav II of Croatia. The rump Serbian territory became a military administration of Germany run by military governors and a Serb civil government led by Milan Nedić. Nedić attempted to gain German recognition of Serbia as a successor state to Yugoslavia and claimed King Peter II as Serbia's monarch. Puppet states were also set up in Montenegro and southern Yugoslavia. Hungary occupied several northern regions.

King Peter II, who had escaped into exile, was still recognized as King of the whole state of Yugoslavia by the Allies. From 13 May 1941, the largely Serbian "Yugoslav Army of the Fatherland" (Jugoslovenska vojska u otadžbini, or JVUO, or Četniks) resisted the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia. This anti-German and anti-communist resistance movement was commanded by Royalist General Draža Mihailović. For a long time, the Četniks were supported by the British, the United States, and the Yugoslavian royal government in exile of King Peter II.

However, over the course of the war, effective power changed to the hands of Josip Broz Tito's Communist Partisans. In 1943, Tito proclaimed the creation of the Democratic Federative Yugoslavia (Demokratska federativna Jugoslavija). The Allies gradually recognized Tito's forces as the stronger opposition forces to the German occupation. They began to send most of their aid to Tito's Partisans, rather than to the Royalist Četniks. On 16 June 1944, the Tito–Šubašić agreement was signed which merged the de facto and the de jure government of Yugoslavia.

During the exile King Peter II was educated at Cambridge University, served in the Royal Air Force and married Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark who was the only child of the late King Alexander I of Greece and Princess Aspasia of Greece and Denmark.

Armed forces[]

Government[]

Monarch[]

Portrait Name
(Born-Died)
Reign
Start End
Petar II Karađorđević.jpg King Peter II
(1923–1970)
18 April
1941
7 March
1945

Prime Ministers[]

Portrait Name
(Born-Died)
Term of office Party Cabinet
Start End
1 Dušan Simović
(1882–1962)
18 April
1941
12 January
1942
Royal Yugoslav Army Simović
2 Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svg Slobodan Jovanović
(1869–1958)
12 January
1942
18 June
1943
Independent Jovanović
3 Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svg Miloš Trifunović
(1871–1957)
18 June
1943
10 August
1943
People's Radical Party (NRS) Trifunović
4 Bozidar Puric.jpg Božidar Purić
(1891–1977)
10 August
1943
8 July
1944
Independent Purić
5 Ivan Subasic.jpg Ivan Šubašić
(1892–1955)
8 July
1944
29 January
1945
Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) Šubašić
6 Drago Marušič 1930s.jpg Drago Marušič
(1884–1964)
30 January
1945
7 March
1945
Independent Marušič

References[]

Bibliography[]

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