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Yugoslavia during Second World War

Last modified: 2003-01-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: second world war | partisans | star (red) |
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Occupied territories


After the breakdown of Yugoslavia in 1941, a puppet regime proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia. The flag was red white blue with a symbol of the leading pro nazi party Ustasa, a chequered red and white with letter U above in a wattle.

Zeljko Heimer, 14 October 1995


In Serbia, an 'independent' regime led by General Nedic was established, and was as more independent as in neighbouring Croatia. They issued money (Serbian dinars) and postage tamps, but I found no reference on them to flags, though the white eagle with the ocila emblem is a frequent motif. I guess a version of Serbian colours continued to fly.
Serbian units, known as chetniks under General Mihajlovic, were nominaly the army of the Jugoslavian government that had fled to London, and helped the Allies until 1943, but not uncommonly fighting together with Axis troops against Tito's partisans. They used black "Jolly Rogers" with texts 'Freedom or Death' or similar.

Zeljko Heimer, 14 October 1995


Montenegro was nominaly declared an independent kingdom in personal union with Italy (former Montenegrin dynasty Petrovic had many connections with the Italian dynasty), and as far as I know at least in the first days of the war the Montenegrin tricolour was used. They also issued postage stamps, but continued to use the former Jugoslav currency.

Zeljko Heimer, 14 October 1995


Macedonia was annexed by Bulgaria and the Bulgarian flag was used there.

Zeljko Heimer, 14 October 1995


Slovenia was annexed directly to the Third Reich, and as much as I know there was no separate flag, though there were postage stamps and money with the arms of Provinz Leibach (Province of Ljubljana) with eagle bearing checkered crescent on breasts (I don't know the colours).

Zeljko Heimer, 14 October 1995

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina was totally incorporated into the Independent State of Croatia, and other parts of former Jugoslavia were joined to Hungary, Albania and Italy, where appropriate flags were used.

Zeljko Heimer, 14 October 1995


In all these regions partisan units were more or less active, bearing the national flag with a red star (at that time without the yellow border). Also plain red flag was not uncommon.

Zeljko Heimer, 12 April 1996

There were some Polish units in the Yugoslavian Partisan Army. The most known was a Battalion formed by Polish ethnic minority in Bosnia. This unit was created in the village of Martince, Prnjavor county, on 7 May 1944 as the 5th Battalion of the 14th Middle-Bosnian Shock Brigade of NOVJ. In September 1944, it was renamed renamed the 3rd Battalion. The unit fought in Bosnia and was disbanded in August 1945.

The batallion used a white-red bicolor flag with a dark red irregular star. Ratio of the flag was 1:2.

Source: Wojsko Polskie 1939-1945 by Stanislaw Komornicki, Zygmunt Bielecki, Wanda Bigoszewska, Adam Jonca; Warszawa 1984

It seems that it was a vertical flag, but in the book it is displayed horizontally. The red stripe seems to be standard red, whereas the star is dark red.

Grzegorz Skrukwa, 8 April 2002

This hand made flag of the wartime was similar to other national flags used by Tito's Partisans during the war. They were basis for the flags granted to ethnic minorities in post-war Yugoslavia.

Zeljko Heimer, 9 April 2002