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Old 03-03-2011, 10:44 PM   #521
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In the context of things first it needs to be known that the word “KOMITA” (insurgent) comes from the Greek word “KOMA” (party), or as we say in Macedonian “KOMITET” (committee). The participants of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) committee, which organized the August 2nd, 1903 Ilinden Macedonian Uprising to free Macedonia from the Ottoman yoke were called “KOMITI” (insurgents).
This assumption he made about the word Komita and Komiti is questionable.

The word existed during Constantine the Great's time (comites, comitatus) and meant "companions" as the link above illustrates which seems relatively closer to the actual Macedonian words used "Komiti, Komita".
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:52 PM   #522
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Here are the pages:

page 199
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:57 PM   #523
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You are right again TM so many words thought of as Greek in both ancient and modern languages are borrowings from others but as you well know once a Greek latches onto anything it becomes Greek. Keep up your grey work exposing the bullshit that passes as Greek history
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:44 AM   #524
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Think about the number of lies the greeks have told about the macedonians.If we let them tell their lies they become like truth.If reveal for what theyare as lies then the world will know their true colors.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:28 PM   #525
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Default Macedonian Struggle for Independence Part 39 – Macedonian Involvement in WW I

Macedonian Struggle for Independence

Part 39 – Macedonian Involvement in WW I

By Risto Stefov

[email protected]

March 2011

Only a few years since their fatherland was snatched out of their hands and torn apart by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, the Macedonian people were about to enter into yet another indignant Great Power war. Still suffering from the wounds of the two Balkan Wars and from having their country occupied and partitioned, the Macedonians by now had completely lost confidence in their neighbours to help them gain their independence. The Macedonians however were not the only ones unhappy in this new arrangement. Bulgaria was dissatisfied because it received the smallest part of Macedonia, hardly a prize for its effort and losses. Serbia was not satisfied because, in spite of its great effort and expense, it still did not gain access to the Aegean Sea. Greece too, in spite of the large chunk of Macedonian territory it unexpectedly received, was dissatisfied because it did not gain the Shar Planina Mountain ranges; a natural border of strategic military significance. Germany and Austria-Hungary were also not satisfied because the newly occupied region by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria fell under British, Russian and French influence, which cut them off from their Asian connections. All this dissatisfaction caused friction between the various parties and laid the foundations for yet another conflict; the Great War.

To stem the tide, alliances were broken and new ones forged. Greece and Serbia joined the Entente Powers to safeguard what they had already while Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in hopes of getting more of what it did not get. While Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria became willing pawns in this Great Power struggle, Macedonia, yet again, unwillingly took centre stage in the conflict. And as unwilling participants, the Macedonian people were now mobilized by the Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian armies and forced into a fratricidal war.

Greece was one of the last Entente countries to mobilize its forces. By then it was common knowledge that mobilization was imminent so many Macedonians from Greek occupied Macedonia fled their homes and hid in the mountains to avoid the draft. Also, of the ones who were unfortunate enough to have been drafted, in spite of the threat of being executed, many deserted. By the start of the war about 20,000 Macedonians were mobilized into the Greek army, of whom about 8,000 deserted soon afterwards. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 512) Macedonian recruits were assigned to large, regular Greek army units to prevent them from deserting and to keep a close eye on them.

The situation in Serbia was somewhat different. As soon as Serbia gained control of the Macedonian territories and its people, it began to draft them into its army ranks. In January 1914, the Serbian Minister of War issued orders to have the entire male population, excluding Muslims, ages 20 to 29 drafted into the Serbian army. By March 5, 1914 three Macedonian regiments were created, each consisting of 4,000 recruits, led by Serbian officers.

Bulgaria took a similar approach to that of Serbia in the draft of Macedonians into its military. After gaining control of the Macedonian territories it occupied, Bulgaria began drafting Macedonians under the age of 25, as Bulgarian citizens, and those between the age of 25 and 30 were required to pay military tax. Bulgaria also drafted Macedonians who deserted the Greek and Serbian armies. These recruits were given special status and were not dispatched to fight on the front lines, instead they were sent to assist the German army. On October 30, 1916 the Bulgarian Minister of War dispatched orders to his districts to select the best 2,000 Macedonians and send them to assist the 11th German Division. All in all 22,351 Macedonians were recruited into the Bulgarian army. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 504)

By avoiding the drafts and by the large numbers of desertions, it was evident that the Macedonian people were not happy about fighting in a war that protected the interests of their enemies who occupied them and partitioned their fatherland, so they harshly opposed the recruitments. This unfortunately did not help their situation and turned what was supposed to be a general draft into a forced mobilization. The Macedonians in Greece received the worst treatment with the escalation of fear and terror campaigns. But it was the Macedonians in Serbian occupied Macedonia who publicly showed their dissatisfaction. This was manifested on April 15, 1914 during a line-up in Bregalnitsa to pledge an oath of loyalty to Serbia and the Serbian king, which the Macedonian recruits refused to take, prompting the Serbian officers to beat them in public, frightening the guests and dignitaries. As a result of their refusal to take the oath, 30 Macedonian recruits, considered the ring leaders, were jailed and the rest were taken away never to be seen again. Their act of loyalty to Macedonia and the Macedonian people however was unfortunately misused by the Bulgarian propaganda machine, which called the oath refusal “a Bulgarian revolt” and used it to create false concerns about the supposed “Bulgarians” (not the Macedonians) being mistreated by Serbia. As is well known however, the only concerns Bulgaria had were its own dissatisfaction that it had not received enough Macedonian territory from the Bucharest Treaty and was now looking for an opportunity to change that.

Historians attribute the start of World War I to Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sofia being assassinated on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo. Being prepared for war, Germany and Austria-Hungary used the assassination as an opportunity to declare war on Serbia. On the pretext that the Serbian government had something to do with the assassination, Austria-Hungary demanded that Serbia allow investigations to be carried out by Austrian personnel on Serbian soil. But after Serbian authorities refused, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.

Choosing the option to fight, Serbia, on July 12, 1941, ordered a general mobilization of its entire army. Macedonian recruits who were already inducted into the Serbian army in April 1914 were assigned to various divisions and immediately sent to the front. Macedonians who were called on to join the July 12th mobilization resisted bitterly. About 12,000 Macedonian recruits were assigned to Serbian units during the first phase of the mobilization which lasted from July 31 to August 10, 1914. But because Serbia could not muster enough forces during the first phase, it initiated a second and third phase during which it recruited more and older people ages 20 to 60, from its “newly occupied territories”. Muslims were also recruited. The total number of Macedonians recruited after the second and third phase was 53,048.

Besides facing resistance from the Macedonian population, Serbian authorities had to also deal with Bulgarian and Austrian propaganda calling on Macedonians to desert the Serbian army and join the Bulgarians. There were even secret channels organized to transport Macedonian deserters to the Bulgarian camps. Austria was attempting to influence the Macedonians to desert the Serbian army in an attempt to weaken Serbia and at the same time attract Bulgaria to its side. To sweeten the deal, Austria even offered its Macedonian prisoners of war to Bulgaria. If they declared themselves Bulgarians, Austria would release them and dispatch them to Bulgaria through Romania. By January 1915, 1,950 Macedonians left the Austrian camps and arrived in Bulgaria and by the end of February 1915, the number jumped to 3,000. In 1916 the Bulgarian government was informed that Austria had about 6,000 Macedonian prisoners of war remaining in its camps. According to Bulgarian and Serbian sources, about 30,000 people deserted the Serbian army, of whom 21,106 were Macedonians.

Many more Macedonians however still fought for Serbia and many sacrificed their lives in doing so. The exact number who died for Serbia is unknown because Serbia refused to recognize them as Macedonians. Some indirect recognition was given by Aleksandar, heir to the Serbian throne, on December 15, 1914 when he said: “In this solemn moment, when the Serbian flag is proudly hoisted over Belgrade, I must fulfill my obligation and express my gratitude to all our brothers, who we liberated from the Turks, and who fought shoulder to shoulder with you in this war. You are witnesses to their courage and their love for the fatherland. Men from Kosovo and Vardar, Zegligovo and Bregalnica, Bitola and Porece proved to be worthy and equal to their brothers from Sumadija and Morava”. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 492) But the Macedonians were neither liberated nor did they love the Serbian fatherland; they only fought because they had to save their own lives and died to save the lives of those for whom they cared.

The situation unfortunately was no better in Bulgaria and those attempting to escape the Serbian or Austrian-Hungarian clutches had no idea what they were getting into when they joined the Bulgaria army. Among the few that did know what they were doing and were prepared to do something about it was Yane Sandaski, then living in Melnik. In his frequent travels to Sofia, Sandanski used his influence to convince those whom he trusted that Macedonia would never have a future as long as Ferdinand and Radoslav’s revenge seeking government were in power. Sandanski and his like minded friends decided that in order to avoid disaster, Ferdinand had to be eliminated. With Ferdinand out of the way, Peoples’ rule would be established and Bulgaria would not have to enter the war. A group consisting of Yane Sandanski, Mihail Gerdzikov and Krsto Stanchev was created and given the task of establishing contact with the anti-war political parties. Unfortunately the idea did not have much support and the plan was abandoned, but not unnoticed by Ferdinand’s supporters. Some time later Ferdinand summoned Sandanski, proposing that he work for him and organize Macedonian units to fight for Bulgaria. Sandanski however had ideas of his own and proposed to the king that he would lead Macedonian units only if they fought under the Macedonian flag and for the Macedonian cause. On his return to Melnik, on Apri1 22, 1915, Sandanski was ambushed and murdered.

Dissatisfied with the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria went into a state of desperation and sought alliances with whoever would help her gain the most of Macedonia. Still believing that Austria-Hungary would support Macedonian autonomy, as it did during the Balkan Wars, the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO) too began to look to Austria-Hungary, hoping that it would support a revision of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest and reunification of Macedonia. However, as mentioned earlier, Austria-Hungary’s motive for drawing in Bulgaria and the MRO were to weaken Serbia and bring it to its knees. If there was any hope of Austria-Hungary supporting Macedonian autonomy, by the start of the First World War that hope was lost. Unbeknownst to MRO, Austria-Hungary was more interested in placating Bulgaria than it was in supporting the Macedonian question. So the notion of supporting Macedonian autonomy was quickly replaced by the notion of supporting an autonomous Macedonia to be annexed by Bulgaria.

Taking Austria-Hungary’s gestures seriously, MRO was able to not only muster its own forces but to create alliances with Albanian and Turkish forces that also looked to Austria-Hungary for support. Their first task was to go behind enemy lines and stir the Macedonian population into initiating an armed uprising against the Serbian regime. The MRO and its allies were also tasked with destroying a crucial bridge near the village Udovo in order to cut off the Entente line from providing the Serbian army with weapons, ammunition and military equipment. MRO and its allies accepted their assigned tasks and continued to operate from January to March 1915, carrying out military and propaganda missions as expected, particularly in the border areas.

Unfortunately because of the sense of hopelessness they were feeling, knowing very well that they might, yet again, be fooled by false promises, or because their sons were serving in the Serbian army and would be endangered if the did rise, the Macedonian people in the Serbian occupied part of Macedonia were reluctant to rise. Regardless however, the MRO and its allies continued with their plan to attack the bridge near the village Udovo and to occupy Valandovo. The attack on the bridge, which lasted through April 1st and 2nd, 1915, was bloody and unsuccessful, but the attack on Valandovo was a success and the town was occupied for one day until Serbian reinforcements arrived and re-occupied it. Unfortunately, it was most unfortunate that Macedonians had to be engaged on both sides of this conflict.

Unable to destroy the Udovo bridge in April, a second mission was put together for September, this time supported by the Bulgarian army. Two columns of joint MRO and Bulgarian forces were dispatched from Strumitsa to Udovo on the morning of September 30, 1915. The right column consisted of one company from the 14th Macedonian Infantry Regiment, one company from the 13th Rila Infantry Regiment and one company from the Border Battalion. The left column consisted of one company from the 14th Macedonian Infantry Regiment, one company from the 13th Rila Regiment and 50 MRO fighters. Other units were tasked with providing security for the retreat when the operation was completed.

Upon their arrival at the scene, on the evening of September 30, 1915, a battle broke out and despite their great effort the columns were unable to destroy the bridge. After this the job of destroying the bridge fell entirely on the MRO and the Macedonians. Again most of the victims in this battle were Macedonians, since both the Serbian and Bulgarian armies employed Macedonians in their units. Besides that, the Macedonian civilian population also suffered when houses and entire villages were burnt down, especially those in the path of the battle zones.

The latest successes in Valandovo and Germany’s victory over Russia in April 1915, boosted Bulgaria’s confidence in the Central powers, prompting Radoslavov’s pro-German government to publicly announce its aspirations towards Macedonia. Because of the Russian defeat, the Entente powers were inclined to offer Bulgaria what it wanted if it joined the Entente. But Bulgaria wanted all of Macedonia. Having Serbia’s agreement to give up the Bulgarian desired Macedonian territory, the Entente gave in to Bulgarian demands. The offer however was not accepted by Bulgaria because by then Bulgaria had secretly negotiated a better deal with the Central powers and had become a member of its coalition.

The pro-Entente Greek government followed Bulgarian-German negotiations very closely and was quick to react to Bulgarian threats against Serbia; itself threatening to retaliate to which Wilhelm II, the German chancellor, responded with a threatening telegram to the Greek king Constantine who happened to be the son-in-law of the German king. On March 6, 1915 the Greek Prime minister was replaced with the appointment of a prime minister who was willing to keep Greece neutral. The same Greek Prime Minister was again replaced after winning the elections in Greece but in 1917 the Entente powers forced the Greek king to abdicate and Greece joined the war on the Entente side.

The first major attack on Serbia by the Central powers took place on November 6, 1915 with the bombing of Belgrade. Pushed from the northern front by Austrian-Hungarian and German forces, the Serbians had to retreat towards Kosovo in order to continue their withdrawal to Solun. But their path was blocked and they were forced to retreat through the Albanian and Montenegrin mountains towards the Adriatic Sea. Because it was winter, the retreat turned out to be very difficult. The cold weather, hunger, being improperly dressed and unprepared, constantly being attacked on the way by pursuing Bulgarians and killed and robbed by Albanian armed gangs, the retreat took a toll on the Serbians. More than 72,000 Serbian soldiers, among whom were many Macedonians, lost their lives in a very short time.

On February 19, 1916, 151,828 Serbian soldiers and approximately 14,470 civilian refugees made it to the Adriatic Sea and were transported to Corfu where they were reorganized. By the end of May 1916, the entire Serbian army, approximately 150,000 men, was sent to Solun and after a brief training period at the beginning of August, the army was dispatched to the Macedonian front stretching from the River Vardar to Pelagonia along the line Vardar to Kozuf, Veternik and Dobro Pole to Kajmakcalan, to the road Banitsa in Lerin Region.

By now new alliances were forged and battle lines drawn, mostly on Macedonian soil. As fronts began to develop deserters were court marshaled, including many Macedonians who refused to fight in other people’s wars.

After Bulgaria occupied the Macedonian territories promised to it by the Central powers, it divided them into two districts. Later, when Bulgaria occupied a part of Greek occupied Macedonia, it created a third district. In total the two districts under former Serbian control covered nine regions, which included Skopje, Kumanovo, Tetovo, Shtip, Tikvesh, Bitola, Ohrid, Prizren and Prishtina Region. As soon as these districts were created Bulgaria began to mobilize the population, calling on all men between the ages 30 and 40 to join the draft. By September 1916, the total number of people mobilized was 28,920; 10,773 Christians, 18,101 Muslims, and 46 Jews. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 502) These were disappointing numbers for the Bulgarian authorities who, in spite of their strong propaganda calling for Macedonia to be liberated, were not believed by the Macedonian people. In other words, the Macedonian people still remembered what had happened to them after the Balkan Wars.

By October 1915, a large front began to develop in Macedonia with the Entente forces concentrating in Solun. By mid-November the French and British had arrived in Solun with a combined force numbering 150,000 soldiers. Commanded by the Frenchman Maurice Sarrail, this force, whose job was to secure rail traffic from Solun to Skopje, was known as the Eastern Army. Stretching from the southern slopes of Belasitsa -the village Tatarli - Demir Kapija –Kavadartsi, this front was created and mandated with the task of preventing Central forces from penetrating into Solun and reaching out towards the Suez Canal, Africa and Asia. This force was also responsible for staging a counter-offensive against German, Austro – Hungarian, Bulgarian and Turkish forces that might venture in that direction. The army’s role also included providing assistance to the British, French and Russian forces, assisting in Serbian restoration and putting pressure on the pro-German Greek king Constantine not to allow Greece to join the Central powers.

By December 1915, the Central forces commanded by Friedrich Scholtz, a German, were gathering strength and developing their own front in Macedonia with the Austrian-Hungarians taking positions in Albania and Macedonia, stretching from the Ionian Sea to Lake Ohrid. The Bulgarians and Germans taking positions from Lake Ohrid to Bitola and along the Greek border to Prilep.

Behind them, near Veles and Shtip, stood another German and Bulgarian force to protect their rear. A combined force was also placed along the Greek border following the Belasitsa Mountain north of Lake Dojran. The Bulgarians were taking positions along the Strumica -Petric -Nevrokop line, along the Mesta River valley to the Aegean Sea. The Turks took positions in Skopje and Prilep. These front lines remained unchanged until May 1916, when the Central forces occupied the Rupel Gorge, Drama, Seres, Kavala and other cities, and later the eastern region of Greek occupied Macedonia to the Aegean Sea.

By May 1916, both sides were well rooted in Macedonia and as they fought they continued to reinforce their strength bringing the Entente numbers to half a million soldiers with the British occupying the sector stretching from the Gulf of Orfano along the valley of Struma to Butkovo Lake, along the Krusha Mountain slopes to the Galik River. A combined force of French, British and Italian soldiers occupied the region from Galik to the Vardar River. The Serbians occupied the region from the Vardar River to Lake Prespa and a French-Russian force occupied the region south of Lake Ostrovo to Lake Kostur. A combined Italian and French force in the meantime occupied the region west of Lake Ohrid to southern Albania to the Ionian Sea.

At the same time the Central forces had formed a front along Bitola Region on Nidze Mountain near Duditsa, the Vardar River valley from Duditsa to Lake Dojran, the Struma River Valley from Lake Dojran to the Gulf of Orfano, and from Lake Ohrid to the Ionian Sea.

The Macedonian front extended over many mountain massifs where the height at some places exceeded 2,000 meters above sea level and stretched some 600 km from the Gulf of Orfano to the Ionian Sea. More that 450 km of the front was located inside Macedonia, existed for 3 years from 1915 to 1918 and was constantly active.

Sensing that this might be a short war, both the Serbians and Bulgarians tried to take advantage of it and employed every means at their disposal, including taking vicious attacks at each other all on Macedonian soil. And besides turning the Macedonian population into their victims, they both employed Macedonian soldiers on their fronts.

One such vicious attack was the battle of Gornichevo, which took place when the Bulgarians attempted to take that region from the Serbians. Bulgaria’s motive for this was to further expand its territory in Macedonia. On August 17, 1916, while one Bulgarian force attacked the British positions in the Struma River Valley, a second Bulgarian force attacked the Serbian forces and gained access to Gornichevo, Banitsa and Sorovichevo.

Displease about this, particularly since Bulgaria was now trying to obtain Macedonian territories given to Greece, the Entente ordered a regrouping of its forces and launched a counter attack against the Bulgarians. The battle of the counter attack, initiated by the Serbian army, took place in Gornichevo on September 12, 1916 by a strong artillery barrage. About six hours later the Bulgarian artillery began to fire and no village remained in the vicinity that was not burned down and turned to dust. That entire densely populated area was on fire placing the Macedonian civilian population in peril. The battle continued with the same intensity all through the night and the next day. It was not until Serbia brought reinforcements that the Bulgarians withdrew. This was the first vicious battle between Serbia and Bulgaria on Macedonian soil. Although Serbia succeeded in pushing Bulgaria out of this region it tallied up severe losses with more than 7,200 dead.

Of the many battles that took place in various parts of Macedonia, including the ones in the mountains, the next vicious battle was that of Tsrna Reka. After fighting several battles for the dominance of Bitola from October 20 to November 14, 1916, the Entente came to the realization that it would not be able to take it so General Sarrail moved the battle to Tsrna Reka. On October 22, Sarrail reinforced his position with Serbian, French and Colonial troops and began his attack. At the same time the Germans counter-attacked the Serbians but the attack was repulsed and the Serbians began to dig themselves in. Then on November 10, 1916 the Serbians breached the Bulgarian front and occupied Polog, pushing the Bulgarians 4 km south of Bitola and thus allowed the French and Russians to enter Tsrna Reka. On November 18 the Germans attacked the French and Serbian forces on Selechka Mountain. The Serbian, French and Colonial armies retaliated with a strong counter attack pushing the Germans and Bulgarians back.

Combat operations in this region continued until the end of November 1916, when Bulgaria sent 40 additional battalions to reinforce its position. In the next three months the combined Central forces penetrated almost 40 km and re-occupied Bitola.

Prior to Bitola’s occupation, the German and Bulgarian armies kept bombing Bitola from their positions in the mountains from March to October 1917, during which time they nearly destroyed the city. On March 4 alone, Bitola was bombed by 2,000 shells, some loaded with poisons from which 50 people died in horrible pain. On March 19, 60 shells were fired and on March 20, another 350, most of which contained poisons killing 47, wounding 20 and destroying 76 buildings. On March 26 and 27 Bitola was bombed by 93 shells which damaged 260 buildings. From May 6 to May 10, 183 shells were fired killing 9 people and damaging 15 buildings. From May 12 to 14, Bitola was bombed with 226 shells, eight people were killed and 40 buildings damaged. On May 18 and 19, 30 shells were fired, nine people killed and eight buildings demolished. On July 7 and 9, 146 shells were fired, four people were killed and nine houses were demolished. The severest was the bombing on August 4, when 2,000 shells were fired and the city was set on fire. Then on August 8, Bitola was attacked with 1,764 shells killing 18 people, wounding 15 and destroying 620 houses. On August 21 and 22, 665 shells were fired, three people were killed, five were wounded and 44 buildings were destroyed. On October 4, 7 and 8, Bitola was attacked again with 1,057 shells, seven people were killed and 37 buildings were destroyed. It was estimated that Bitola suffered the most serious blow of all cities that were involved in the conflict in World War I. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Pages 519 and 520)

While this was going on the Bulgarians continued to make gains against the Greeks in Drama and Kavala and extended their sphere of influence from the Gulf of Orfano along the Struma Valley to Krusha Mountain. On December 6, 1916 their defense positions were strengthened and this newly established front line remained intact until it was finally breached in 1918.

On June 12, 1917, Greek king Constantine abdicated and the new Greek government, headed by Prime Minister Venizelos, joined Greece to the Entente. By the fall of 1918, Greece dedicated nine divisions to this conflict. In the meantime a trench war and a crisis began to develop in the Bulgarian and Serbian armies which spent the winter of 1916-1917 in disease ridden trenches where many became sick and died. The crisis intensified after Macedonians discovered what Serbia and Bulgaria were up to and then refused to serve in their armies. Macedonians showed their discontent by massive desertion and either joined the French led labour force or hid in the mountains. Between March and August 1918, 2,132 soldiers deserted from the 2nd Bulgarian Army alone. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 520)

Another major battle that took place on Macedonian soil was the battle at Dobro Pole. This was one of the final battles between the Entente and the Central powers that marked the beginning of the end of World War I. After General Franchet d'Esperey’s appointment to Supreme Commander of the Entente allied forces at the Macedonian front in July 1918, he toured the entire front and recommended an offensive take place. The idea was to breach the Central Power front and invade Kavadartsi, Demir Kapija and Negotino Regions, creating a wedge between the German and Bulgarian armies. When this was to be completed, French, British and Greek forces were to attack enemy positions in the Vardar and Struma River Valleys.

After two months of preparations the plan was put into action on September 14, 1918, with an artillery barrage against the enemy which lasted all through the 14th and overnight into the 15th. The next day there was hand to hand combat sometimes involving Macedonians, even among close relatives, on both sides of the front. After severe vicious battles the Bulgarians began to retreat.

On September 17, 1918, the Entente allied forces took positions on Topolec peak and from that point forward had the Central Power forces on the run. On September 21, 1918 the Serbian Army arrived in the Demir Kapija, Kavadartsi and Negotino Regions, constructed a bridge on the Vardar River from Krivolak to Gradsko and from there began its counter offensive in Shtip, Veles and Prilep, thus concluding the Dobro Pole offensive.

Taking advantage of the success of this latest offensive and of the low morale of the Bulgarian army, Entente forces continued to widen the gap in the 20 km wide and 12 km deep German-Bulgarian front. Highly motivated by their recent success the Serbians continued their advance, determined to prevent the Germans and Bulgarians from creating a new front.

Aware of the situation at the front, the Bulgarian government, on September 26, 1918, sent representatives to Solun to request a time out in the next 48 hours. But Franchet d'Esperey rejected their request and advised them to seek peace. The Bulgarian government accepted and on September 29, 1918, signed a truce which signaled the capitulation to the Bulgarian army. All military operations ended on September 30, 1918, in accordance with the terms of the truce and the Bulgarian units operating west of Skopje were taken captive, while those east of Skopje were disarmed and sent back to Bulgaria.

German command however did not recognize the truce, as German units gradually retreated expecting reinforcements.

On October 30, 1918, Turkey capitulated followed by Austria-Hungary on November 4th and Germany signed a capitulation agreement on November 11, 1918.

Macedonian personnel losses and material damages were never estimated or recognized, even though the Macedonian population was mobilized by force and the brunt of the war took place on Macedonian soil. It was estimated that in total there were about 60,000 Macedonians inducted into the Serbian army, 133,887 into the Bulgarian army and about 20,000 into the Greek army. The total number of Macedonians mobilized in World War I was estimated to be about 213,000. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 527)

During World War I, military forces from both the Entente and the Central Powers entered Macedonian territory through a violent occupation and established their own administrations. The Bulgarians established their own authority and so did the Entente forces when General Sarrail disregarded existing Greek rule, expelled official Greek authorities from Solun, declared a state of war and established his own authority over the entire territory occupied by Entente forces. Thus the military occupation of Greek occupied Macedonia was publicly declared and lasted until November 1918.

After the 1919 Peace Treaty of Versailles, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria retained the Macedonian territories awarded to them by the August 10, 1913 Treaty of Bucharest with the exception of Strumitsa Region, which previously was given to Bulgaria, was now given to Serbia. Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian authority was quickly reestablished in the respective Macedonian territories and Macedonia once again found itself under the same old occupation. Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian authorities resumed their assimilation and denationalization policies, exposing the Macedonian population to severe measures of repression.

To be continued.

Reference This was taken from a private email from Risto Stefov

Last edited by George S.; 03-07-2011 at 09:59 PM. Reason: ed
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:58 PM   #526
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Default From the Once Classified Files - Part 5

Here is Balkan States – Report 5

Balkan States – Report 5
May 17th, 1945

Mr. Stevenson to Mr. Eden
Belgrade, 13th April, 1945.

(No. 74.)


I HAVE the honour to transmit to you herewith an interesting and useful memorandum on the partisan movement in Macedonia and its opponents, by Mr. Stephen Clissold, press secretary at this embassy.

I am sending copies of this -dispatch to the Resident Minister, Central Mediterranean. His Majesty's Ambassador at Athens and His Majesty's Political Representative at Sofia.



The Partisan movement in Macedonia and its Opponents

MACEDONIA bas always presented one of the most complex and confusing issues in Balkan politics, and it cannot be said that recent events there have done much to clarify it.

The Yugoslav partisans claim somewhat naively that the problem has been finally “solved” by granting Macedonia the status of one of the federal units of the Yugoslav State. Apart from the highly controversial international implications of this “so1ution,” as far as Bulgaria and Greece are concerned, its acceptance within Macedonia itself has not been so unanimously approved as the partisans would have us believe. They have had to meet formidable opposition from two sides; from the exponents of the old centralist thesis that Macedonia is but an extension of Serbia and should be given no regional autonomy whatever, and from the separatists who claim that Macedonia should be given the status of an entirely independent State. It is in the light of these two opposing schools of thought that the development of the partisan movement in Macedonia may best be reviewed.

Annexation by Bulgaria

It is generally admitted that the entry of Bulgarian troops into Macedonia was welcomed by the mass of the population as a prelude to national liberation. Official Yugoslavia had denied the existence of a Macedonian people and had regarded the inhabitants of “South Serbia” as Serbs corrupted by Bulgar influence. A strict policy of Serbianisation and centralism had therefore been pursued. Serbian co1onists were settled on the land and Serbian officials- often or a very inferior grade- sent to administer the province. What the Macedonians regarded with perhaps, pardonable exaggeration as their national culture was ruthlessly harried by the Serbs as an expression of Bulgarian irredentist propaganda. It is scarcely surprising that the sudden collapse of this unpopular regime should have been hailed as the dawn of a new era.

Disillusionment soon followed, as it become clear that Bulgaria cared as little as the Serbs for the national aspirations of the Macedonians. For the centralists of Belgrade there was substituted that of Sofia. But the false hopes with which the Macedonians had started, continued to colour their outlook for some time to come, and rendered the growth of the partisan movement there of peculiar difficulty. Macedonia, it was felt, had already been “liberated” by the Bulgarians; how then, could the insurrectionary movement sweeping over Serbia bring national liberation to them! If the Macedonians grew discontented under Bulgar rule, they sought to better their lot by a struggle for social, not national, resistance. The first Macedonian Insurgents formed themselves into units which they called National Detachments, not National Liberation Detachments, as elsewhere in Yugoslavia. They formed their committees, too, but these were National Committees, not National Liberation Committees. When they chalked up their slogans on the walls of the houses in Skopje and Bitolj, one would see not the customary “Death to the Invader,” but more often “down with the Filov Government.”

The Beginning of Resistance

The resistance movement in Macedonia threatened therefore to develop along entirely different lines from the rest of Yugoslavia. The first and most vital campaign which the partisans had to win was the conversion of all resistance elements to their own programme. They had to ensure that it should be a Yugoslav and not an exclusively Macedonian resistance movement. It must be made to conform to central directives and give full recognition to the authority of Tito and the Partisan Supreme Staff. This issue was fought out until August 1943, and it was only when the capitulation of Italy brought a fresh accession of strength to the partisans that Tito's line found general acceptance. Even so, the old separatist and pro-Bulgar trends continued - and still continue to- day- to trouble the consolidation of the movement.

The first phase of partisan activity in Macedonia - from the summer of 1941 to August 1943-was largely conspiratorial. Detachments were formed, but they lacked the cohesion of a common aim and leadership, and were mostly soon dispersed. Communist influence had always been considerable in Macedonia, especially amongst the workers and intelligentsia, and here, as elsewhere, the Communists took the lead in building up the underground organization. A partisan headquarters was formed consisting of Mihailo Apostolski, a major – in the old Yugoslav army, Lazar Kulisevski, secretary of the Macedonian Communist party, Straso Pindur, Mirce Acev and others. (The latter two have since been killed; Apstolski is now a lieutenant-general and until recently commander-in-chief for Macedonia; Kulisevski is President of the Macedonian Government.)

Military and Political Consolidation

By the autumn of 1943; partisan activity had reached a more serious scale. The partisan detachments assumed the designation (if not the reality) of a regular army-the Army of National Liberation-and nationalists could boast that Macedonia now had the first army of its own since the days of the Tsar Samuel. Public confidence began to grow. The partisans now no longer drew their recruits almost entirely from the ranks of the intelligentsia and workers; the peasants, too, began to take up arms. Non-Communist politicians like Andonov-Cento began to identify themselves with the movement. The first towns (Debar, Tetovo) were liberated, and partisan patrols could steal through the streets of Skopje and Prilep without fear o being denounced by a hostile population.

In the autumn of 1942 Tito had sent his personal delegate Tempo (Svetozar Vukmanovic) to direct the organization of the movement, and during 1943 he established close relations both with the Albanian F.N.C. and with Greek E.A.M./E.L.A.S. (see Bari dispatch No.62 to the Foreign Office and 64 to Caserta of the 16th July, 1944). At the end of the year the second Macedonian Brigade was formed on Greek soil. It was composed of the Pindzur Battalion and the Kristov Batev Battalion of deserters from the Bulgar army under the command of Dico Petrov.

Tile Opposition –Cetniks

Cetnik opposition was mainly confined to the towns and does not seem to have been a serious factor. The anti-Serb feelings of the Macedonian population naturally prevented the Cetniks from obtaining any great measure of popular support. Their plan was not to offer open resistance to the Bulgar authorities but to build up a secret administration to take over from them on the day of their ultimate withdrawal. A group of Cetniks was arrested in Skopje by the Bulgar police in 1942, made little secret of their intentions in court and were subsequently released. The titular head of such armed Cetniks who did resist was Vojo Trbic, son of a wealthy landowner from Prilep, and Mihailovic's personal representative for Macedonia, and Krstic, who commanded a group of Cetniks in E. Macedonia until they were finally liquidated by the partisans in the Koxjak hills in the spring of 1944.

The Pro-Bulgars

A far more serious and persistent problem was provided by the existence of the various pro-Bulgar groups. A vigorous propaganda was carried on among the Macedonian émigrés in Bulgaria by Dr. Stanisevci, Danail Krapcevci and other leaders to induce them to return to their "liberated" homeland. The usual bribes were held out-land confiscated from evicted Serbian tenants, good posts in the Civil Service, &c. To counter the growing popularity of the partisans, the Bulgars even began sponsoring, a rival movement of Macedonian extremists to demand autonomy, or even a greater Macedonia, including Salonica. The former I.M.R.O. terrorist leader, Ivan (“Vanco”) Mihailovic had been living in Zagreb since April 1941 under the protection of his friend Pavelic. He had, however, his henchmen in Macedonia - Ckatrov, Kiril Drangov and others, who readily lent themselves to these Bulgar-inspired plans. In September 1944 he himself visited Skoplje, under German auspices, to assess the possibilities of enlisting support for a Greater Macedonia under his control (see Belgrade dispatch No.45). It was, however, too late. The partisans had stolen his thunder and summoned their anti-fascist Sobranje for the National Liberation of Macedonia (A.S.N.O.M.) at the beginning of August. Macedonia was to be a federal State enjoying full autonomy within the frame work of the New Yugoslavia.

The Experiment of Home-Rule

The first A.S.N.O.M. was elected at Bitolj on the 2nd August; it was superseded on the 20th December by a second A.S.N.O.M. held at Skoplje, which was in turn developed into a full Government at the third session of A.S.N.O.M. in April 1945.

It soon became apparent that the old opponents of the partisans' Macedonian policy- the Serb Centralists and the Macedonian Separatists-had by no means been subdued by the partisans' success. The Centralists, forced to abandon their former posts in Macedonia, have been obliged to confine their activity to expressions of impotent disapproval from Serbia and have been frequently denounced in the partisan press. The Separatists, on the other hand, have been far more active and dangerous. A.S.N:O.M. itself was permeated with them, and Marshal Tito found it expedient to send his right-hand man, Edward Kardelj, to attend the second session of A.S.N.O.M. and issue a strongly worded warning against the dangers of becoming giddy with success and harboring separatist and irredentist tendencies. These warnings have been repeated on subsequent occasions by such authoritative spokesmen all Cuckov, Minister for Macedonia in the Yugoslav Federal Government, and Kulisevski, now head of the Macedonian Government.

The prevailing mood of over-confident nationalism resulting from the expulsion of the Bulgar and German forces of occupation has found expression in many ways. Attempts have been made to close the frontiers to Serbs wishing to enter Macedonia, and the Federal Government in Belgrade was forced to issue a sharp reminder that every Yugoslav subject has the right of access to any of the federal units, regardless of his national origin. To bring the lesson home, a Serb doctor, resident for many years in Macedonia, has been included as Minister of Public Health in Kulisevski's Government. In Church matters too, a marked tendency can be discerned to break away from Serbian influence. The exact position in this respect is not yet altogether clear, but a start has already been made with the holding of a congress of Serb Orthodox priests in Skoplje as a preliminary to the establishment of an autonomous Macedonian Church to be associated with the Serb Orthodox Church in some sort of ecclesiastical federation.

Irredentist ambitions in respect of Greek and Bulgarian Macedonia have increased in proportion with the desire to loosen the ties binding Macedonia to Serbia. As early as November 1944 a Greek Macedonian Brigade had been, formed under Yugoslav auspices in Bitolj and this was followed a few weeks later by the setting up of a commission "to direct the struggle of the Macedonians in Greece." Finally, matters came to a head when certain Yugoslav units in Bitolj demonstrated their preference to fight for the expulsion of the Greeks from Salonica rather then that of the Germans from Yugoslavia.

The reaction of the Yugoslav federal authorities to all these manifestations of irredentism and separation has been vigorous. Whatever the ultimate desires of Marshal Tito and his advisers may be - and there are some grounds for thinking that they do envisage an eventual Great Macedonia, possibly comprising one State member of a Balkan federation - they are at present bent upon steering a middle course between the Scylla of separation and Charybdis of centralism. The extent to which they have succeeded in establishing their authority over the more impetuous elements is not easy to determine. It would seem that they still have a long way to go before those tendencies towards separatism and dependence upon Bulgaria, which have so handicapped their movement in the past, are finally eradicated.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:15 PM   #527
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Default Where did we lose our country? – Open Organizations

Where did we lose our country? – Open Organizations

By Risto Stefov

[email protected]

March 20, 2011

Another factor that has contributed to losing our country to our neighbours is our inability to organize ourselves well because of the constant interference from our enemies.

A Frenchman once serving in Macedonia declared that if he had enough gold pieces he would be able to turn every living Macedonian into a Frenchman!

What does that really tell us?

In economic terms it says that “if anyone is willing to pay good money to purchase something, whatever that something might be, someone will sell it to them”. It works well with commodities in a free market economy, why shouldn’t it work well with peoples’ national identities? After all haven’t we been giving ourselves freely to the countries in which we decide to make our new homes? Think about it! How many Macedonians over the years have been assimilated into countries like Canada, the USA and Australia alone?

This trait (or treachery?) however, I am happy to say, is not “exclusive” to Macedonians because if there are “buyers” in the world looking to purchase “identities” then a lot of people will “sell” their identities for money or for better lives.

In fact to prove that this “idea” is not exclusive to Macedonians, I tested it in Toronto and more than half of the non-Macedonian people I asked said they would sign a paper declaring themselves Macedonians if I paid them enough money. When I asked if they felt that signing such a paper would make them traitors to their own identity, many said no! People are who they are and if I or some other foolish person thinks they can “pay” someone to “change” their identity, so be it!

It seems though that there is something different about the Macedonians! It seems that there have always been buyers ready to purchase Macedonians and turn them into Greeks, Serbians, Bulgarians and Albanians; a process that exists to this day.

Ever since Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian influence infiltrated Macedonia in the late 1800’s, the identity of the Macedonian people had been contested. Everyone it seems wanted them to be something else. All three countries (Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria) were on a mission to turn the “same” Macedonians into “Greeks”, “Serbians”, or “Bulgarians” all at the same time.

Imagine how foolish that might have seemed to the “uneducated” Macedonian peasants when they were “offered” money, real money, by educated and cultured people no less, to put an “x” on a piece of paper that they could not read and were given an explanation that made “no sense” to them?

Many Macedonians did sign such pieces of paper, including all the revolutionary leaders who belonged to the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO) and who worked for the Exarchate schools. Everyone, including Gotse Delchev, who wanted to work for the Exarchate (Bulgarian sponsored) schools had to sign a piece of paper declaring themselves “Bulgarian” in order to be given the job.

Macedonians who signed such documents were then declared and counted by our enemies as “Greeks”, “Serbians”, or “Bulgarians”!

All these revolutionaries are dead and gone now but the pieces of paper they signed still remain and are displayed in archives, museums and on the internet. Pieces of paper which the Bulgarians and Greeks would use over and over again to remind us that our forefathers were “Bulgarian” and also to discredit them for everything they fought for and spilled their blood to accomplish.

Many Macedonians declared themselves “Greek”, “Serbian” and “Bulgarian” because such declarations gave them job opportunities and freedom to move around, which they otherwise could not have. There are Macedonians even today who sign pieces of paper declaring themselves “Bulgarian” for similar opportunities! If such offers are made, people will take them!

Unfortunately “buying” peoples’ identities, as our enemies quickly discovered, did not automatically buy them “loyalty”. Even though a “piece of paper” said they were “Bulgarians”, they still fought against the Bulgarians for the Macedonian cause.

Not being able to trust them, these so-called “Bulgarians” had to be placed under constant watch and their activities monitored; particularly those of the MRO activists who were plotting against the Bulgarians.

Plotting as individuals was one thing, but for any major undertaking to take place, like an uprising or a liberation movement, Macedonians needed to be organized. For that, Macedonians needed to form their own organizations: organizations which the enemy “could not trust” and had a need to monitor.

If there was such a need then there also must have been a lot of money to be spent on spy activities, thus creating new “job opportunities” for people. These spies however had to operate in strict secrecy and needed to be part of the “organization’s community” so that they would not be suspected and could not easily be detected.

I have often had arguments with people about this, people who maintained that there were “too many traitors” among the Macedonians. My point here is that “if there is demand there will always be supply”. In other words, the same would be true in any society if “big money” is spent for “spy activities”. So let us not put all the blame on the Macedonians. The Macedonians are not the ones creating the demands here!

There is a joke circulating that 56% of Greeks today work for the Greek government. So, what could they all possibly be doing? Some say “one in six is a spy, paid for to spy on their neighbours”! I don’t know if this is true but I do know that our enemies spend “big money” to spy on us, which could create “incentives” for our people to become spies!

So if there is a need for “information” particularly from organizations that are deemed “harmful” to the interests of our enemies then you can be certain that these organizations are full of spies. And this has been the case with open Macedonian organizations from the old revolutionary days to today. This is also true for Macedonian organizations operating outside of geographic Macedonia, including Canada, the USA and Australia.

When Macedonians began to flee their homeland and permanently settle in Canada, the USA, Australia and other places, after the 1903 Uprising, they tended to settle in clusters. To help each other economically and socially they formed social clubs and cultural organizations. Organized they were better prepared to help their community as well as raise money for charity and other causes.

Since there was no “country” Macedonia under which to “group themselves” at a national level, most early organizations clustered around village associations. Then as these benevolent and benefit village associations matured they began to offer religious, social and cultural programs promoting the Macedonian culture. Of course this was detrimental to those who were promoting the idea that “Macedonians do not exist”, so such organizations were attacked with ferocity and in many cases, rendered impotent.

Many such organizations also survived but most were literally infiltrated and destroyed. One such Macedonian village organization to be destroyed by our enemies in Toronto, Canada was the powerful “Zhelevo” Association.

“THE RELIEF FRATERNITY OF “ZHELEVO”, an organization belonging to the people originally from Zhelevo, a village near Lerin, [Greek occupied Macedonia], was established in 1907, whereas later a “Zhelevo” charitable fraternity was established on October 1st, 1921. Zhelevo developed a wide range of activities among which in 1928 initiated the construction of the well known “Zhelevski dom” (Zhelevo Hall). In 1929 it founded the “Rodina” youth society. After being closed, the Zhelevo Hall was again opened in 1946.

On August 26, 1946 the Association purchased land to build a number of building which officially opened on July 10, 1948. On the land included were weekend house lots, golf terrains, and other properties. Zhelevo even participated in the planning and construction of the Macedonian Orthodox Church of St. Clement of Ohrid in Toronto.” (THE MACEDONIANS IN USA AND CANADA (HISTORICAL VIEW), By Slave Nikolovski – Katin, [email protected] MACEDONIAN VILLAGE AND REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FRATERNITIES AND SPORTS ASSOCIATIONS)

Like all other Macedonian village organizations that fell prey to our enemies, the Zhelevo organization, seen as a threat to Greek interests, was infiltrated by Macedonians who, unbeknownst to the patriotic Macedonians, worked for the Greek cause and rendered the organization useless.

Tens of organizations were lost in this way including several churches built by Macedonians, which eventually ended up in Greek and Bulgarian hands.

A man once told me that when he was a boy he was chased out of one of these churches by the Bulgarian priest who threw stones at him because he told the priest he was Macedonian.

Even today our Macedonian organizations, including the ones in the Diaspora, are continuously being monitored by our enemies to determine if the organizations are a threat. Our enemies monitor our activities as well as how much money we raise. If they deem that the organization is becoming a threat, they intervene through their Macedonian sleeper agents. Most of the organizations destroyed in this way in the past began with small disagreements between members in the managing committees regarding donations, invitation of guests, or just simply disagreements on varying opinions. When personalities begin to “clash” the committees become dysfunctional and the organization becomes impotent and eventually dies.

Some Macedonian organizations, after being infiltrated by enemy agents, continue to function but are made harmless to the interests of our enemies. These organizations however still raise money from the Macedonian community but now that money is used against the Macedonian cause instead of for it.

There are also “false” Macedonian organizations created by our enemies which pretend to work for the Macedonian cause, but in reality they work against it. These organizations started by our enemies can be very vocal, sympathetic and patriotic but their aim is to divide the Macedonian people and take money away from the Macedonian cause and invest it in anti-Macedonian activities.

In this way our money is being collected by our enemies and used against us! So it is imperative that you know and verify exactly where your hard earned money goes before you make a donation. It could be money that is not only lost but money that can be used to work against you.

Organizations such as these are also created to prevent the Macedonian people from uniting. The more organizations there are, that supposedly serve similar or the same functions, the more divided people become and they are less likely to unite or to maximize their strength and resources.

Pretending that they are working for the Macedonian cause, such organizations can also serve as “steam valves” releasing pressure by giving the Macedonian people the impression that “things are being taken care of”.

This treachery is nothing new; it has been this way since the old revolutionary days. The greatest impact our enemies have had on Macedonian organizations was during the planning stages of the 1903 Ilinden Uprising when almost the entire MRO leadership was jailed by the Ottomans and replaced by Bulgarian agents.

Aside from our enemies betraying our MRO leaders to the Ottomans, the Bulgarians, soon after the MRO leaders were arrested, sent their own agents to infiltrate MRO. Their aim was to start the Uprising before the Macedonian people were ready so that it would fail and at the same time, weaken the Ottomans enough so that Bulgaria could easily invade Macedonia and annex it for itself.

One MRO leader who was betrayed but not caught was Gotse Delchev, who at the time was supreme commander of MRO, and who better than anyone was aware that the Macedonian people were not ready for an Uprising. Unfortunately Delchev’s advice was not only ignored but he himself was betrayed to the Ottomans. His party was ambushed and Delchev was killed before he could influence the Uprising’s outcome.

I don’t believe it was a coincidence that Delchev was ambushed and killed only days before he was about to attend a scheduled meeting where he was to give a speech to make the delegates aware of the dangers of starting the Uprising early.

It was during this time that our enemies became very vocal, spewing patriotic slogans spurring the Macedonian people into action only to have them killed so that Bulgaria could walk in and annex their lands.

In fact it was common for our enemies to interfere in our organizations every time our people gained enough strength and became a threat to their interests.

So, what can we do to slow down or even avoid enemy infiltration in our organizations?

I don’t believe there is an absolute way of stopping our enemies from infiltrating our organizations but there are methods we can employ to slow them down.

The easiest and quickest method to employ is to “close” our organizations to “everyone” who wants to be a member and use “stricter methods” on how we build up membership. For example start an organization with say ten trusted members and then through these trusted members via personal sponsorship bring in new and scrutinized members. In this way no one can walk in from the street, purchase a membership and begin to influence the organization.

A security service also needs to be employed in order to investigate each member of the organization and develop a profile for them. People with criminal records, misplaced loyalties and shady practices should not be allowed to join.

A tighter method for securing an organization would be to carefully draft the organization’s by-laws or constitution with a strict and unchanging set of rules. Officers who are elected to run the organization must then strictly abide by these rules. Careful attention must also be paid as to who is allowed in by having new members investigated, scrutinized and sponsored by existing trusted members.

And finally, if an organization exhibits characteristics that are contrary to the interests of the Macedonian people, do not support it. You should not support organizations you know nothing about anyway because, as I said earlier, it is a shame to give your money to the enemy and it is a greater shame when the enemy uses your money against you.

To be continued.

From personal email from R.S

Last edited by George S.; 03-20-2011 at 01:16 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:17 PM   #528
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Default From the Once Classified Files - Part 6

Here is Balkan States 6

Balkan States – Report 6

December 12, 1946

Notes on Serb-Partisan-Bulgarian Relations during the period August-November 1944. – (Communicated in Beri dispatch No. 209 of the 28th November, received in Foreign Office the 12th December)

THE information and notes set out here below deal solely with the experiences and actual incidents, or reported past incidents, in the areas through which Mission “Mozart” moved during the period under review. The mission landed in Serbia on the 10th August in Barje area south of Lebane, and then moved south to Oruglica and Rozdac, crossing the Morava near Mastanica, and thence to Nesverta. After some time in this area the Mission moved north once more to Crna Trava and thence to Dobro Polje. From there it made its way through Strelac and Babusnica to Pirot, where it was later joined by Mission “Entanglement.” The two Missions then moved with Partisan 13th Corps through Vlasotince and took part in the final advance on and the capture of Nis.

2. The majority of the following information about the Bulgarians and their relations with the Serbs was obtained in the period spent at the east of the Morava. Feeling here among the population were far more pronounced than on the other side of the ricer, and contact with the Bulgarians seemed to have been far more of a reality in this area. As a result of this, it was very noticeable that, as the Mission moved eastwards, so anti-Bulgarian feeling among both Partisans and peasants became more and more apparent.

3. Generally speaking, the Partisan attitude in Serbia to the Bulgarian occupier can be divided into four separate phases, namely; -

(A) An initial period which generally speaking had been going on since hostilities began.
(B) The period immediately before the Russian declaration of war while British negotiations were still taking place.
(C) The Russian declaration of war, armistice and post-armistice period.
(D) The period of actual co-operation between the new Bulgarian army and the Partisans.

The attitude of the Serbian people themselves throughout this period was continuous and forms a background of the whole picture of Partisan-Bulgarian relations in this area. When considering each of the above phases in turn, this attitude of the Serbian peasants and people must be borne in mind as an important factor influencing the local situation, and also it must be remembered that during the first three phases named above, the Mission, as it traveled towards and along the Bulgarian frontier, was moving into territory more and more strongly biased against the Bulgars. (See para. 2 above.) As a result of this, the picture is inclined to become at once more local in character, and cannot be said to reflect the true attitude of the whole of Serbia, but only that of a badly hit section of the country, where feelings may have become distorted and enlarged out of all reasonable proportions by hate stirred up on the spot.

Phase (A)

4. The original Partisan attitude to the Bulgars was that the Bulgarian soldiers were an unenlightened enemy with Fascist leaders, who, as the occupiers, must be driven out of Serbia. Prisoners, when taken, were given the chance to renounce their Fascist leaders, and were allowed to join in the “movement” with the Bulgarian Partisans if groups were operating in the area. Only the leaders, officers, police and secret police organizations were considered completely corrupt, and as the instigators of all crimes and atrocities were executed out of hand when caught. To the ordinary rank and file an attitude of distasteful toleration was adopted, and if the prisoners decided to co-operate they were at once accepted as men, who in past had been lead astray by their leaders, and their lives were usually spared. At the slightest sign of these converts giving trouble, or when the military situation made it impossible to have this rather doubtful element within their midst, the Partisans were forced to dispose of them. This they did purely as a necessity, and without the hate which was sometimes shown to the German prisoners, and would seem to be the only sensible solution to the problem.

Throughout the whole period the Partisans persisted in their policy of co-operation with the Bulgarian Partisan Movement, giving their help wherever possible. The standing arrangement to send all sympathetic Bulgarian prisoners to swell the ranks of the Bulgarian Partisans was only one example of this, and quite definitely serves to illustrate the sincerity of the Partisans as a whole, whose policy it has been since the beginning of the movement to strive continuously for harmony with their Bulgarian neighbours. The Partisan quarrel with Bulgaria was not with her people, but with her leaders and the system they stood for, a system which struck directly at the heart of the Partisan will for a friendly relationship with all Balkan people.

The above attitude of toleration and willingness to cooperate was essentially evident during the Lebane offensive, where the Partisans were able to gain a decisive victory over the Bulgarian army, and at the same time remain consistent in their former attitude towards prisoners.

There were, of course, extremists among the Partisans who contemplated the long list of past Bulgarian misdeeds through the ages, and argued that the whole Bulgar race was at fault. Bulgaria was to these men “the Germany of the Balkans” and would remain a danger until liquidated. That the Bulgars should pay for their past crimes was their slogan.

The present attitude, generally speaking, was one of fear mingled with inborn hatred which grew in intensity with the lessening of the distance to the old frontier. Every village had its stories of house burnings and killings in the district, and some had actual examples to show, getting progressively worst to the east. Perhaps the most antagonizing situation for the peasants was when Partisans came into a village with some ex-Bulgarian soldiers in their midst. The Partisans the people were prepared to feed but the Bulgars they were definitely not.

Phase (B)

5. The period immediately before, and leading up to the Russian declaration of war, when it became increasingly clear that the Bulgars really were on the verge of collapse, witnesses a noticeable stiffening in the Partisan attitude towards the Bulgars. Still the former policy of toleration existed on the surface, and all men realized as they had stated so often in the past that some agreement must be reached with Bulgaria if future peace was to be ensured. Yet, at the same time, the feeling of the impending collapse brought out many expressions of real hatred that had hitherto been suppresses. Men began to recall instances where their own villages had been sacked and burnt, or friends and relations killed, and their women debauched. Formerly they had merely despised the Bulgarians, now they began to show hatred for them, and some even went so far as to express regret that Partisan policy was of necessity a tolerant one. Even such men as Mihailo Djurovic (see Appendix “A”) who was well educated and equally well-informed as to the general picture, besides being a great influence throughout the whole are stretching from Crna Trava to Kriva-Feja, expressed himself in strong terms when referring to the Bulgars. True, his are had suffered more severely than almost any other, and during this transition period even his broad view-point of the war in general, was far from being in line with the former and official policy. To him the Bulgars stood for culture on the German model in the Balkans.

There was much speculation in Partisan ranks as to what was going to happen when the end did in fact come, and all were in agreement that the Bulgarians must withdraw from the country immediately, leaving their arms with the Partisans. Any feeling of hatred the Partisans had hitherto expressed were incensed during this period by the one great fear that the Bulgarian troops, even at the last minute before their collapse, might hand over their arms and material to the Cetnic and Nedic organizations with whom they were known to be in contact in all towns of any size throughout East Serbia.

It was during this period that the peasants’ feelings reached their peak in anti Bulgar intensity, and indeed in the whole are from Kriva-Feja to Crna Trava had good reason to hate. Examples were quoted of Bulgar soldiers coming into villages, shooting three of a family, shutting the remainder into their house and then burning the house and its pitiful intimated with it. Whole villages were seen with every house burnt down and with the villagers still searching among the ruins trying to salvage something from the ashes. In some cases new houses were just being built, but life was a very hand-to-mouth affair, as none of the essentials of the household remained. “Some of the braver individuals were just uncovering their remaining worldly goods from holes in the ground beneath manure heaps that had been their hiding place for the past seven months, and on the other side of the valley smoke could still be seen rising from the ruins of two houses burnt less than ten days ago.” (Mission Diary-Nesverta)

The Bulgar destruction through the whole are had been systematic to a degree. In Novo Selo and Nesverta, for example, there was hardly a cooking utensil in the place, no cups, glasses or cutlery, all had been taken away when the Bulgars passed through. Many of the houses had been burnt or damaged, and their man-folk marched away to Bulgaria for internment or worse. The people from these villages all displayed an air of absolute hopelessness in their adversity.

The smallest incidents were taken by the Bulgarian occupier as an excuse for such action all over the area. If a village sheltered even a Partisan it was considered hostile and as likely as not liable to call down destruction on to itself.

The same situation was evident to an even greater extent in Crna Trava and the surrounding are, although the work was not so recent. In Crna Trava itself only three buildings appeared to be still intact. A typical example of the thoroughness of the Bulgar policy here was that they had even taken the trouble to erase all the names from the stone memorial to the slain of the last war. This type of behaviour can be dismissed as both futile and unimportant, but it assuredly serves to illustrate how deep-rooted the hatred of the peasant for the occupier must necessarily become, since it is connected with every aspect of his daily life, besides being a repetition of centuries of similar occurrences.

This was a period of universal East Serbian hatred for the Bulgars, which developed before Partisan policy and finally crystallized out into its present state. It was a breakaway from the previous Partisan attitude of disdainful toleration, and was due to the sudden possibility of a Bulgarian collapse, combined with the terrible local evidence to be seen an all sides of this particular are.

This condition of terrible fear amongst the peasants, and the newly-aroused hatred on the part of the Partisans, was typical of this phase, and persisted up to and even after the armistice in the case of the latter, while the former still does exist to a greater or less degree according to the locality.

It was during this period that too that the Bulgars themselves first started to show real signs, in a few isolated cases, of working out their own salvation. Desertions to the Partisans increased – 2 officers and over 100 men came over to the Partisans in the Surdulica area from a garrison in the hills. Actual fighting broke out between the Germans and the Bulgars, in Surdulica itself, yet the Bulgarians in Vranje, a few miles distant, declared themselves to be still whole-heartedly in support of the Germans, and the movement did not become general.

The reason given for these desertions were inveritably that, although they did not mind fighting for Bulgaria, they had no wish to remain with the Germans, only to be left with the prospect of being carried off to some obscure front to fight for Germany. They insisted they were not traitors to Bulgaria, but expressed grave concern at what their countrymen might thing of them for their actions which thy held to be completely justifiable, since their country was on the verge of suing for peace. All were most anxious to explain away the past atrocities by saying that it was merely the natural outcome of their own way of life in Bulgaria, where for the past 500 years they had lived in an atmosphere of secret police, killings, and house burning among their own countrymen. As a result of this, human life was rated very low indeed, and it didn’t mean a great deal to a man to have to commit similar crimes in an enemy country when ordered to by his Fascist superiors. (This information and opinion, was volunteered by a Bulgarian officer deserter at Nesverta, who spoke English learned at the American collage in Sofia.)

It was final rush to get into the right party by men who were clever enough to see what was taking shape, and who still sufficiently uncompromised to do so.

Phase (C)

6. The Russian declaration of war, the ensuing armistice, ant the post-armistice period is probably the most interesting of all, in that it may be said to pass through three main stages, viz, :-

(i) A period of complete confusion when Russia declared war on Bulgaria, closely followed by the complete collapse of the latter. No one could be sure during this period just what would happen. News was non-existent, although the Partisans in this area generally were fairly confident that at last the Bulgars would be forced to withdraw from the country at speed. The Russian attack, coupled with lack of directive as to Partisan policy, put local Partisan anti-Bulgar feeling at its highest, and on a genuine hate basis, 70 per cent, of the staff of the Pirot Bde, for example, stated on numerous occasions, and without reserve, what, they intended to do with the Bulgars, how they would be made to pay in full for their past crimes, and of how the attack should be carried into Bulgaria alongside the Russians and the countryside laid waste there as it had been in Serbia. Past atrocities were discussed and speculation ran high. Then came the armistice, and gradually a less irresponsible and more imaginative and realistic attitude began to take shape. This was the beginning of the second stage.

(ii) There was still no news, but as time passed and the Bulgars showed no signs of leaving the country, the Partisans began to look for a deeper meaning behind their prolonged stay and to think once more along the former logical lines of Balkan unity. Personal dislike and hatred generated by the thought of a vanquished Bulgaria was suppressed by all Partisans for the sake of their avowed ideal of friendship within the Balkans. They did not, however, basically alter their attitude to the Bulgars, or forgive the past, but merely looked at the matter in the light of hard facts. They reasoned that, although things would continue to be very vague until new directives came in, it was still certain that the Bulgarians would have to pay their price of their crimes, that the various leaders would be tried for their complicity in the atrocities, and that it now appeared that the Bulgars had been directed to fight against the Germans, since they were not going to leave the country. It was generally considered disappointing that the Bulgars had apparently been selected by the Russians to continue to fight against the Germans instead of being sent home as a defeater army after handing their material and arms over to the Partisans who could then have continued the fight. It was disappointing but it was accepted, for it was obviously the only practical solution. The Partisans even admitted quite openly that, had they been given the tanks and guns, &c., of the Bulgarian army, they could not really have put them to good use, owing to lack of trained personnel to man them; they would obviously be better handled by the proper owners, who must therefore stay. At the same time it was thought and hoped that the Russians would soon find out what rotten and hopeless allies the Bulgarians were.

(iii) Time passed once more and the Bulgars did not see real fighting, but more and more material and men continued to pour into the country in the Pirot area from Carribrod. It was now that directives at last came through, which stated that the new intention of the Bulgars was to conduct a full-size offensive into Serbia against the Germans, and cut once and for all the escape routs through the Morava and Ibar valleys.

However, the scheme did not begin to take shape quickly, and once more criticism was heard. The Partisans began to feel suspicious of this large army on their soil which did nothing to hamper the enemy, but merely ate Serbian food and looked impressive. Concern was expressed over the possible political developments of having a large army in a static role in and around the Pirot area, which was already known to contain many civilians who were sympathetic to the Bulgarians having lived under them for many months without having their conditions of life made radically worse than under their own past.

This was the exception and also the exact opposite of the position elsewhere in eastern Serbia, where universal hatred on the part of the peasants was still the predominant feeling. Could the Bulgarians be here for some sinister political reason was a fear which now began to present itself. Even 13 Corps staff stated that they moved their Headquarters to Barje Civilic because they feared civil trouble with so many Bulgarians and their sympathizers in Pirot. Matters were made no easier by the fact that temporarily all arms had ceased to be sent to the Partisans, as at this time British supplies had been discontinued and Russian support had not began to arrive, while at the same time the Partisans had an ever-growing influx of the “Narod” crying out for arms which were not available, yet when the Partisans looked around they could only see their late enemies with a surplus of material of every type at their disposal. Corps Commander Vuckovic himself stated that the inactivity had gone on too long and was becoming a possible source of future trouble, and that the moment had arrived when either the Bulgars must push through Bela Palanka and Vlasotince to Nis and Leskovac, or else get back to their own country. (The Bulgarians had been sitting across the roads leading to Bela Palanka for some three weeks without making any serious move in either direction.) A “fight or go” attitude was becoming noticeable in Parisian discussions about the Bulgars, and their attitude began to stiffen once more.

(iv) Suddenly this whole situation changed and the attendant tension disappeared overnight. Russian stores arrived for the Partisans and the Bulgars who were now presumably sufficiently prepared for their attack on the Morava and Ibar valley communications, carried out a very large switch of their forces from the Bela Palanka front, where the main effort had previously been concentrated, and thrust their main force into the Morava valley and through Vlasotince. Besides being a considerable military achievement in re-concentration and switching of available forces, despite the shocking difficulties entailed by making such a large movement of men and guns over an almost impossible road, the plan was also a complete success, and Vlasotince, Leskovac and Nis fell to the Bulgars in quick succession.

After the few days doubt on the part of the Partisans as to whether this was going to be a real or half-hearted effort was finally removed, and they admitted that at last things looked like working and genuine co-operation was in view.

After the capture of Nis, the Bulgars continued their advance westwards, chasing the retreating Germans through Prokopulje and onwards through Kursumlija. Their effort here seems to have been a genuine and wholehearted affair, and up to the present moment they have been fighting as hard as they can, as their heavy casualties bear witness.

The civilian population in the towns such as Nis did not appear to be nearly as violent in their hatred of the Bulgars as had the peasants, and through an indefinite dislike was expressed by many, no serious criticism was heard. In a few cases people returning to Nis after the liberation of the town did show disappointment at seeing the recent occupier once more in the town, but this was short lived, as soon the majority of troops had moved on towards the battle and Nis had to begin to think about picking up the threads of its life again.

Short Summary and Appreciation of Existing Relations

7. We have now traced the development and vicissitudes in Partisan-Serb-Bulgar relations during the last stages of the war in Serbia, and we have seen how it was and is still developing along the normal lines necessary for future peace.

First we had the Partisans facing the Bulgarian army as enemies and without showing any great demonstrative hatred towards them, and then, after the reasonable and natural phases of hate and suspicion, we find them eventually co-operating in making war on a common enemy. That this co-operation was a compulsory clause of an armistice agreement does not necessarily mean that any basis for real co-operation could not be built up from this point. In fact, the omens are heavily weighted in favour of future peace and eventual friendship.

The new Bulgarian Government and the purges carried out by the Bulgarian Partisans have effectively removed the main reasons standing in the way of co-operation with the Partisans, for the latter’s policy has been consistently, except for a few local misunderstandings as described above, one of a desire for friendship with Bulgaria, in the hope of obtaining a Balkan unity. This could not begin while Bulgaria was under the late Fascist leadership and while she played the role of occupier in Serbia. However, this is now no longer the case, and the two nations can now face each other on common ground. They will still remain recent enemies, but time, and a carefully-directed policy, should heal and deaden this as far as the Partisan movement and the new Bulgarian army are concerned.

That the peasants of Serbia are still bitter and nourish a great hatred for the recent Bulgar oppressor is both true and natural. It is the result of years of murder, pillage, house burnings and the like that has been carried out in successive wars. It is deeply ingrained into the national character, but should not prove an insurmountable difficulty, for if the Serb Partisans, who are also Serbian to the same degree as the peasants, are prepared to suppress their hatred in order to carry out the policy of a new Yugoslavia which is aiming at friendship and peace in the Balkans, then so also can the peasants and “Narod” generally do the same. Once the later has been absorbed into the Partisan movement and given proper instructions by the means of a gradual policy, then this very real stumbling block should disappear. It is the duty of the Bulgarian Partisan Movement to carry out similar reconstruction within their own country.

The Partisans have made a true noble sacrifice in this way by suppressing all their past hatreds for sake of a cause (see Appendix “B”), and there is no reason why this sacrifice should be set at nought.

The situation should be further assisted by the fact that in years to come, the new Bulgarian army will be remembered for the part it played in the liberation of Serbia, and it should be hard for the Serbs to hate those who came to their aid and who drove out the occupier, and who at a later date sent in food, leather, &c., as laid down in the armistice terms. If this last is done, and the “new army” leaves behind it the reputation of being a liberator, then the former period when the Bulgarians were the occupiers will gradually fade from memory, as the latter is usually a very short-lived affair.

That there is still much to be done, and a great deal of precarious negotiation to be carried out before a firm peace can be established, is obvious, especially on such questions as territory and populations, which cannot be discussed here at this present stage.

Those Bulgars responsible for atrocities in the past will have to be caught and punished. There should be no weakening on this count, but simply proper justice done. But if these and similar storms can be weathered there is every indication now that a possible solution is in sight.

General Stanchev has already given a lead in his tremendous task of bringing the new Bulgarian army into being out of the sorry material of the old, a task which seems to be carrying out with success in the Nis area, and equaled only by his success in dealing with the Partisans themselves. Others like this man should be able to make Yugoslavia-Bulgaria relations at least into a working arrangement between the two nations. A step in the right direction has been made.

The Partisans under the leadership of Marshal Tito have always given “Federation with the Balkans” as one of the first principles of their whole movement. This they have striven for consistently in the past, and in so doing they have to suppress all personal feelings, after entailing great suffering and self-sacrifice to themselves, in order to bring about so great a change. Now, at last, the achievement of their aim is in sight, and the possibility of a real Balkan Federation, such as they have envisaged in the past, can become a reality.

The basis for co-operation has already been laid, and was proved by the joint operations throughout the recent fighting in the Nis area. With careful handling, a real friendship may well grow from these foundations, and Balkan unity would no longer remain a matter for mere speculation or academic discussion.

Appendix “A”

Mihailo Djugovic

CIVIL engineer, well educated, speaks French, and has traveled in France and other parts of Europe. Had experience of Yugoslav political and public life before the war. Interned by Germans, but later set free in order to be repatriated to Bulgaria as he was then subject administratively to the latter owing to frontier changes announced by the Axis.

Joined Partisan movement, where his chief task became civil administration in the south of Crna Trava.

Appendix “B”

Partisan Sacrifices for sake of Balkan Unity

AN example of this suppression of personnel hatred on the part of individual Partisans was well illustrated in the case of the Political Commissar to 13th Corps.

This man came from Crna Trava area and has been with the Partisan movement in Serbia since the early days. He had witnessed all the hardships endured by his countrymen during the Bulgarian occupation, had been forced to live in the hills for many months, and his wife had been killed by the Bulgars during an early reaction in the Crna Trava area. Yet this man could put aside all personal hatred that he must have felt for the Bulgarian, and during the liberation ceremonies in Nis he did his utmost to foster good relations between the Partisans and the new Bulgarian army, and gave frequent demonstrations of his own friendship for them, and in full public view.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #529
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Quoted from Balkan States 10
The Vitsi front runs more or less in a straight line from Florina to Kastoria and the triangle of Greek territory north-west of it is entirely in rebel hands. The line is held by two G.N.A. divisions, who depend on their supplies on the two main lines of road communications; Kozani-Ptolemais-Florina and Kozani-Neapolis-Kastoria. Between these roads the Siniatsikon mountains provide a line of communications for the rebels and a jumping-off ground for raids and mine laying expeditions. West of the Aliakmon lies the other main rebel position on Mount Grammos, south of which the Pindus range affords the rebels another line of communications. South of Kozani is a semi-circle of mountains, Vourinos and Flamouri in the bend of the Aliakmon and Kamvounia and Pieria south-east of it, which forms the rebel road to Olympus. This whole semi-circle, together with the Khassia mountains to the south of the Aliakmon bend, is almost entirely under rebel control.
Imagine "Greece" now had it not been for the USA's napalm and UK intelligence.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:11 AM   #530
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dispatch 17, section 11 states "the rest of the report is missing". what a shame considering the dispatch was going to make comment on the feelings of the macedonian peasants...
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macedonia, macedonians, modern greeks

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