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Chetnik Movement (Yugoslavia)

Last modified: 2001-11-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: chetnik | skull | crossbones |
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[Flag of Chetnik Movement]by Ivan Sarajcic

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Description of the flag

A 2:3 black flag with a white skull & crossbones in the centre. Above and below the skull are arched writings in Cyrillic letters.

Kjell Roll Elgsaas, 7 December 1997

The writings on the flag say:

  • (above the emblem) Za kralja i otadzbinu - For the King and Fatherland
  • (below the emblem) Sloboda ili smrt - Freedom or Death

Ivan Sarajcic, 10 Febuary 1999

History of the Chetnik Movement

After the surrender of the Yugoslav royal army in April 1941, Serb soldiers throughout Yugoslavia set up chete, or "bands," named after armed irregulars who had harrassed the Turks in the 19th century. The most important were those organized in the Ravna Gora district of western Serbia under Colonel Dragoljub (Draza) Mihailovic. Mihailovic directed his units to avoid large-scale fighting with the Germans (who exacted horrible reprisals for every act of resistance) and to wait for an Allied invasion that would liberate Yugoslavia and restore the monarchy. This cautious strategy soon led the Chetniks into open conflict with the Partisans. Even after the Germans drove both forces out of Serbia, many Chetniks occasionally joined German, Italian, and Croatian units in operations against their communist rivals. The Allies, who at first considered Mihailovic the pillar of the Yugoslav resistance, eventually shifted their support to the Partisans. By the end of the war, the Chetniks were greatly reduced in number. Some retreated north to surrender to Anglo-American forces; Mihailovic and his few remaining followers tried to fight their way back to the Ravna Gora to continue the anticommunist struggle, but they were beaten and dispersed by the victorious Partisans. In March 1946 Mihailovic was captured and brought to Belgrade, where he was tried and executed.

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica (1999)

Ivan Sarajcic, 10 February 1999

Recent use of the Chetnik flag

In recent years, Chetniks reemerged as the leading power in the aggression on Croatia and Bosnia. The same flag was seen in many places occupied by them (usually volunteers), the most famous of them being Vukovar in 1992 ).
Anyway, the flag, and the Chetnik movement, is now connected mostly with Seselj, leader of the most rightist party in Serbia (Serbian Radical Party).

Zeljko Heimer, 8 December 1997

This is in no way official flag of any legal movement in Serbia. Serbian Chetnik movement is illegal as political party, and its founders, Vuk Draskovic and Vojislav Seselj, divided into different parties with different flags.

Marko Milivojevic 10 June 1998

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