"Tito's state" in the heart of occupied Europe - Republic of Bihać

 

The Republic of Bihać occupied Yugoslavia (pink). The borders are that of the World War II Axis partition of Yugoslavia, including the collaborationist puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia.

The Bihać Republic was a vast partisan free territory created after the Bihać operation and the liberation of Bihać on November 4, 1942, by merging the liberated territories of the Bosnian Krajina and neighboring areas of Croatia.

 

From the beginning of November 1942 until the end of January 1943, Bihać was the center of the free Yugoslav territory, which stretched from the approaches to Karlovac and Zagreb, to the rivers Bosna and Neretva, covering about 50,000 km.

 

The development of the national liberation movement reached its highest level in this territory. In November 1942, the first divisions and corps of the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia were formed there, and the actions of the Supreme Headquarters succeeded.

 

The territory of the Republic of Bihać was the scene of the great winter operation Weiss, known as the Fourth Enemy Offensive, led in early 1943 by the combined occupying quisling forces.

Liberated and semi-liberated territory during the first session of AVNOJ (November 26-27, 1942)


Creation

 

With the penetration of proletarian brigades into Western Bosnia, the focus of insurgent struggles shifted to western Yugoslavia. From the middle of 1942, heavy battles were fought for Livno, battles for Jajce, the attack of the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia on Bosanski Novi in November 1942, and the attack of the NOVJ on Sanski Most in December 1942.

 

With the liberation of Bihać on November 4, 1942, and the unification of the free territories of the Bosnian Krajina and the neighboring areas of Croatia, a vast Republic of Bihać was created. From the beginning of November to the end of January 1943, Bihać was the seat of the Supreme Headquarters of the National Liberation Army and the Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia and the center of the free Yugoslav territory.

 

Due to the offensive action of the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia, especially in central Bosnia, this free territory was expanded until the middle of January 1943. It stretched from the approaches to Karlovac and Zagreb, to the rivers Bosna and Neretva and covered about 50,000 km².

Internal organization

 

The establishment of the Provisional Administrative Department at the Supreme Headquarters on October 22, which was supposed to direct the work of the People's Liberation Committees and military-territorial bodies, and then the Executive Board of AVNOJ (The Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia). 26/27. In November 1942, a unified system of government was built on this territory. On the territory of 30 districts, elections were held for local, municipal, and district, and in some areas also district national liberation committees - local and regional commands.

 

The Great National Assembly on the occasion of the liberation of Bihać in 1942.

At the initiative of the Executive Board of AVNOJ, political, economic, and educational activities were developed. The development of production, organization of exchanges and traffic was encouraged, the campaign of collecting voluntary contributions from the people for the supply of military units, actions of opening primary schools and other forms of educating the people was conducted, the People's Liberation Theater was renewed, the health service was improved. homes for neglected children, etc.). In addition to these activities, the People's Liberation Committees and the CPY worked to develop an anti-fascist organization of women and youth. The founding conference of the AFŽ of Yugoslavia was held in Bosanski Petrovac from December 6 to 8, and the founding congress of the USAOJ in Bihać, from December 27 to 29, 1942.

The American press published news about the Constituent Assembly and the formation of the government in Bihać. Even from Moscow, they convey the greetings of the Bihać Government addressed to the heads of foreign governments. Let us know if there is a basis for this news.

- Request of the Presidency of the Yugoslav Refugee Government dated 17 December 1942 to Draža Mihailović for verification of data on the formation of AVNOJ

Operation against the Bihać Republic

 

Counting on the possibility of an imminent invasion of Anglo-American troops into the European Mediterranean and, above all, the Balkans, Hitler believed that the NOV could endanger the defense of the Balkans. That is why he made the decision on Weiss's winter operations for the destruction of "Tito's state", as he called the liberated territory with the center in Bihać. From the same point of view, the interest in the events in Yugoslavia among the governments of the anti-Hitler coalition grew. This was shown in the intensified effort of the British government to dissuade Draža Mihailović's Chetniks from cooperating with the occupier, and on the other hand, in its decision to get in touch with the Supreme Headquarters of the National Liberation Army and the Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia.

 

The building in Bihać where the AVNOJ met for the first time.

Relying on the victories won and the level of development of the People's Liberation Movement, during the Bihać Republic, the Central Committee of the CPY, even more resolutely in the fight for international recognition of the People's Liberation Movement, which was expressed by the founding of AVNOJ and especially the first note issued by AVNOJ and the Supreme Headquarters of the National Liberation Army and the Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia sent to the governments of the forces of the anti-fascist coalition from Bihać in January 1943. On that note, they openly raised the issue of the treacherous activity of the government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in exile.

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