If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

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Steve
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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by Steve » 07 Nov 2021 22:09

I am surprised to see SloveneLiberal quote from an old post of mine as I always thought they passed into the nether realms but it seems not so.

Steve wrote: ↑
Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:04 pm
“With no coup Yugoslavia would perhaps have been in a similar position to Bulgaria. With no British intervention in Greece it may have been spared a German occupation or maybe only the northern part would have occupied as with France.”

“This post from mr. Steve I do not understand very well. Bulgaria was in war with UK in WW2, but not in war with USSR. War in Greece, which was started by Italy in 1940 after the fall of France was crucial for German intervention in Balkans yes. Also in Yugoslavia northern part with Croats was much more pro-German, than southern part. Ustasha regime declared war on both UK and USA and sent troops in USSR. It would be occupied by the Red army after the defeat of Germany as was Bulgaria which did not enter in the war with USSR.”

Did it make a meaningful difference to anything that Bulgaria was at war with the UK from December 13 1941? Looking through a biography of Churchill I could only find three mentions of Bulgaria during the war. These were the seizure of Dobruja, being used by the Germans for the invasion of Greece in April 41 and the post WW2 settlement. It would appear that Bulgaria rarely crossed Churchill’s mind. If Yugoslavia had stayed a German ally it may have also declared war on Britain in 1941 and ended up like Bulgaria. Perhaps it would have been spared the civil war that took place. The British were involved in the coup in Yugoslavia that brought on the German invasion but to what extent remains murky.

The Italian attack on Greece was crucial in bringing on the German attack but would Hitler have occupied all of Greece without British intervention? Directive No. 12 in November 1940 ordered the German Army to make preparations to occupy the Greek mainland north of the Aegean, if it became necessary to enable the Luftwaffe to attack British air bases threatening Rumanian oil fields. British aircraft were active in Greece from November 1940. In December Directive No. 20 was issued which still spoke of occupying the area north of the Aegean but now brought up the possibility of occupying all of Greece “should this be necessary”. Did British military involvement in Greece make this necessary?

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... iraeus.jpg Nice photo.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 08 Nov 2021 11:56

We know today quite a lot about the coup and British involvment. Reports from SOE are saying that two members of SOE the leader of National defense (Narodna obrana) Ilija Trifunović ( codename Daddy ) and his close friend Jovan Djonović ( codename Monkey ) gave an initiative for the coup and were preparing it. Also the role of British military attaché in Belgrade responsible for aviation and his connections with general Boro Mirković were important. It was apparently not hard to gain the support in circles of Yugoslav royal army and between Serbian patriotic organizations.

However new government was not ready to cancel the pact with Germany signed just before the coup. Churchill wanted Yugoslav army offensive against Italians in Albania. Greeks were able to defend with quite some success against Italian aggression, yet because Italy had Germany as an ally they needed strong ally too.

But new Yugoslav government was ready to join Britain and Greece only if Germans would attack Greece as i wrote before. That was a difference between this and previous government of Yugoslavia under knez Pavle which was apparently ready to allow occupation of Greece and was even considering annexation of Solun in the case of German victory. We know that Hitler then decided to attack both Greece and Yugoslavia at the same time. The pact was made mostly because of the German preparations for the war in Greece and Hitler's judgement was that new regime in Yugoslavia is unpredictable.

In fact not just the British but also Trifunović and Djonović were not happy with the results of the coup. They even started new talks with SOE for another coup which would bring even more pro-British government.

According to the testimonies of Slovene members of SOE, British Intelligence service was given free hands after the coup in Yugoslavia. On the other hand on the day of the coup Germans encouraged its minority in Yugoslavia to arm itself and to avoid mobilization in the army.

Slovenski špijone in SOE, written by dr. Jera Vodušek Starič, pages 234-240. Published in Ljubljana 2002.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by Steve » 08 Nov 2021 21:07

Interesting, the following is taken from British Intelligence in the Second World War Vol. 1 page 369/70.

The British SOE had been deployed to Yugoslavia in order to block the Danube and organise resistance in Balkan countries under threat from German occupation. By mid March they had received no effective collaboration from the Yugoslav authorities. The British were hoping that at least they could prevent the Government of the Prince Regent from yielding to German demands for transit facilities. By March 18 it was judged that the Prince Regent had gone over to the German side so an alternative policy was decided on. British influence would be used to have the Regents government replaced by one which it was hoped would join the war against Germany. On March 19 a meeting was arranged at the British legation. In accordance with the decided plan three Ministers resigned from the Yugoslav Cabinet on March 20, the day when the cabinet agreed to sign the Tripartite Pact. On March 21 the Embassy asked the British Government if it would approve a coup d’état and on March 23 approval was given to do what was thought fit “even at the risk of precipitating a German attack”. On March 24 authority was given to support any necessary subversive measures. Before the coup started London was alerted that it was imminent.

How much of what subsequently happened in Yugoslavia is down to the British?

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 09 Nov 2021 11:36

I think in fact that the coup would happen also without British support since resistance against pact with Third Reich was very strong specially in Serbia.

Maybe it would happen a few days later but anyway anti-axis forces in the country would not allow the fall of Greece since that would mean Yugoslavia is completely surrounded and has no hope of resistance to axis pressures.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by Steve » 09 Nov 2021 22:48

Yes, very likely the coup would have gone ahead even if the British were not encouraging the plotters. The British did comprehend that a change of government could bring on a German attack. You would expect the plotters to have discussed the likely German reaction and come to the same conclusion as the British. If the potters who were high ranking officers did not consider a German attack or thought they could resist one if it happened then they were clearly idiots. It may well be that feelings of national pride blotted out the reality of the situation they were facing.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by ljadw » 10 Nov 2021 21:52

SloveneLiberal wrote:
09 Nov 2021 11:36
I think in fact that the coup would happen also without British support since resistance against pact with Third Reich was very strong specially in Serbia.

Maybe it would happen a few days later but anyway anti-axis forces in the country would not allow the fall of Greece since that would mean Yugoslavia is completely surrounded and has no hope of resistance to axis pressures.
People forget the visit of Bill Donovan (OSS) to Yugoslavia in 1941.He dispatched 1000 American military trucks to Yugoslavia .

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 11 Nov 2021 21:55

Coup leaders tried to avoid German attack also with the pact with USSR. But Soviets did not to risk the war for Yugoslavia. However Yugoslavia was ready to risk the war for Greece&UK.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by Steve » 12 Nov 2021 03:50

I was quite surprised to find out that America had been involved in Yugoslavia far beyond the actions of a neutral. When it looked as if Yugoslavia might join the Tripartite Pact the Americans warned that they would freeze Yugoslavian assets in America if they made an agreement that affected Yugoslav independence, gave military facilities to Germany or threatened British forces. When Belgrade gave assurances the Americans allowed the transfer of half of Yugoslavia’s funds held in America. The British and American embassies in Belgrade coordinated their activities. After the British evacuated on April 12 the Americans went round to the Legation annex (where the plotting had taken place) to ensure nothing incriminating had been left in the rush to leave.

To sign a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union eight days after the government that had joined the Tripartite Pact was toppled suggests the coup leadership had lost their grip on reality. As far as I am aware Yugoslavia never entered into any military agreement to aid either Britain or Greece. The British did try to get Yugoslavia and Turkey to enter the war but with no success.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_ ... 7%C3%A9tat

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 12 Nov 2021 08:20

The problem with plans for common defense between Yugoslavia, Greece and UK was that they did not have enough military strenght. Britain had in fact a small amount of troops in Greece if you compare it with German forces which attacked the country. Plus there were also Italians. That's why there were Just talks about it and no detailed plan was prepared. Coup leaders were telling UK that they need some more time for better preparations.

Also Yugoslavia was attacked by Hungary too. Bulgaria basically waited until German victory and then occupied parts of Greece and Yugoslavia. Before this it was giving Just logistical support to Germans.

The leader of New government general Simović approved the agreement which was made by previous government and gave Croats autonomy. Still in Zagreb they were pretty much disappointed about the coup and mostly not ready to fight with Germany and Italy. For that purpose to encourage them Britain gave promise the borders with Italy established after WW1 Will be changed in the favour of Croats and Slovenes.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by historygeek2021 » 14 Mar 2022 05:34

Andrew Zapantis has a good discussion of this issue in Hitler's Balkan Campaign and the Invasion of the USSR. He notes that Creveld and other observers have noted that the Yugoslav coup actually helped Operation Barbarossa because access to Yugoslavia would otherwise have been denied to the German forces invading Greece. In addition to allowing Germany to outflank the Metaxas Line (discussed already in this thread), Yugoslavia had a much better rail network than Bulgaria. Besides improving the logistics of the German campaign in Greece, this allowed for the faster withdrawal of German forces from Greece to get back to their starting positions for Barbarossa.

The Yugoslavia portion of the Balkans campaign was much easier than the Greek portion. The Yugoslavia campaign lasted only 12 days from start to finish and only 151 German soldiers were killed. The Greek campaign lasted until the end of April and saw over 1,000 Germans killed, and the Battle of Crete lasted until June 1 and saw over 4,000 Germans killed.

Zapantis therefore states that the Yugoslav coup happened at almost the perfect time as far as Germany was concerned, just before its planned invasion of Greece, and greatly facilitated both the invasion and the repositioning of German troops afterward.

https://archive.org/details/hitlersbalk ... 3/mode/2up

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by ljadw » 17 Mar 2022 21:24

Steve wrote:
12 Nov 2021 03:50
I was quite surprised to find out that America had been involved in Yugoslavia far beyond the actions of a neutral. When it looked as if Yugoslavia might join the Tripartite Pact the Americans warned that they would freeze Yugoslavian assets in America if they made an agreement that affected Yugoslav independence, gave military facilities to Germany or threatened British forces. When Belgrade gave assurances the Americans allowed the transfer of half of Yugoslavia’s funds held in America. The British and American embassies in Belgrade coordinated their activities. After the British evacuated on April 12 the Americans went round to the Legation annex (where the plotting had taken place) to ensure nothing incriminating had been left in the rush to leave.

To sign a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union eight days after the government that had joined the Tripartite Pact was toppled suggests the coup leadership had lost their grip on reality. As far as I am aware Yugoslavia never entered into any military agreement to aid either Britain or Greece. The British did try to get Yugoslavia and Turkey to enter the war but with no success.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_ ... 7%C3%A9tat
Turkey intervened in WW 2 in February 1945,only for the show, a Turkish DOW in 1941 would have the same effect . Briton did not need Turkey, Turkey was important only in Winston's imagination .
That the coup leadership had lost their grip on reality,is questionable,as we don't know who took the initiative for the treaty : it could be the Soviets,or the Yugoslavs.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by pugsville » 18 Mar 2022 00:54

ljadw wrote:
17 Mar 2022 21:24
Steve wrote:
12 Nov 2021 03:50
I was quite surprised to find out that America had been involved in Yugoslavia far beyond the actions of a neutral. When it looked as if Yugoslavia might join the Tripartite Pact the Americans warned that they would freeze Yugoslavian assets in America if they made an agreement that affected Yugoslav independence, gave military facilities to Germany or threatened British forces. When Belgrade gave assurances the Americans allowed the transfer of half of Yugoslavia’s funds held in America. The British and American embassies in Belgrade coordinated their activities. After the British evacuated on April 12 the Americans went round to the Legation annex (where the plotting had taken place) to ensure nothing incriminating had been left in the rush to leave.

To sign a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union eight days after the government that had joined the Tripartite Pact was toppled suggests the coup leadership had lost their grip on reality. As far as I am aware Yugoslavia never entered into any military agreement to aid either Britain or Greece. The British did try to get Yugoslavia and Turkey to enter the war but with no success.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_ ... 7%C3%A9tat
Turkey intervened in WW 2 in February 1945,only for the show, a Turkish DOW in 1941 would have the same effect . Briton did not need Turkey, Turkey was important only in Winston's imagination .
That the coup leadership had lost their grip on reality,is questionable,as we don't know who took the initiative for the treaty : it could be the Soviets,or the Yugoslavs.
The British did spend a bit of time and resources courting the Turks, providing some arms and equipment. They saw Turkey as key to holding the middle east. There was quite a bit of planning about about Turkey.

The Turkish elite were almost universally of the opinion that getting involved in other peoples wars would be a complete and utter disaster for Turkey. And joining the war on either side would not be done.

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by ljadw » 18 Mar 2022 08:02

Turkey on itself could do nothing and an alliance with Balkan countries was excluded,given what had happened in the past .
Besides, there was nothing to gain for Turkey if it joined the war .

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 19 May 2022 09:14

Herman Goering at Nuremberg was explaining that Hitler wanted good relationios with neutral Balkan states, but because Italy under Mussolini attacked Greece and Italians needed help there Germany had to go in with its army. German government was afraid Yugoslavia under Simovic will join Greece and UK against Italy.

...

When Premier Cvetkovic came to power, General Simovic's revolt against the government of the Prince Regent and the accession to the throne of the King, who was still a minor, followed shortly after. We very quickly learned, through our close relations with Yugoslavia, the background of General Simovic's revolt. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that the information from Yugoslavia was correct, namely, that a strong Russian political influence existed, as well as extensive financial assistance for the undertaking on the part of England, of which we later found proof. It was clear that this venture was directed against the friendly policy of the previous Yugoslav Government toward Germany.

It must be mentioned here that in later press statements it was pointed out by the Russian side how strong their influence had been and for what purpose this undertaking had been executed. The new Yugoslav Government, quite obviously and beyond doubt, stood visibly in closest relationship with the enemies we had at that time, that is to say, England and, in this connection, with our enemy to be, Russia. The Simovic affair was definitely the final and decisive factor which dispelled the very last scruples which the Fuehrer had in regard to Russia's attitude, and caused him to take preventive measures in that direction under all circumstances.

Before this Simovic incident it is probable that, although preparations had been undertaken, doubts as to the inevitable necessity of an attack against Soviet Russia might have been pushed into the background. These clear relations between Moscow and Belgrade, however, dispelled the Fuehrer's very last doubts. At the same time it was evident that Yugoslavia, under the new government, was merely trying to gain time for massing her troops, for the very night the revolt was undertaken secret and shortly afterwards official orders for mobilization were issued to the Yugoslav Army.

In spite of the assurances that Simovic gave Berlin, that he would feel himself bound to the agreement or something like that, the maneuver could easily be seen through. The situation was now the following: Italy, our ally, had at the time attacked Greece, advancing from Albania in October or September 1940, if I remember correctly. Germany had not been informed of this venture. The Fuehrer heard of this undertaking through me on the one hand, who had by chance learned of it, and also through the Foreign Office, and he immediately rerouted his train, which was on the way from France to Berlin, in order to speak to the Duce in Florence.

The Italian Government, or Mussolini himself, saw very clearly at this moment why the Fuehrer wanted to talk to him, and as far as I remember the order to the Italian Army to march from Albania to Greece was therefore released 24 or 48 hours before originally scheduled. The fact is that the Fuehrer, in his concern to prevent under all circumstances an expansion of the conflict in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, wanted to urge the Duce to forego such plans, which were not necessary, but were undertaken only for reasons of prestige.

When the meeting took place at 10 o'clock in the morning and the Fuehrer had mentioned his misgivings, Mussolini actually declared that since 6 o'clock of that morning the Italian troops had already been advancing through Greece and, in his opinion, would shortly be in Athens. The Fuehrer pointed out again that this would mean that under certain circumstances relations with Turkey would also be most seriously endangered and another theater of war would be created, since he well knew, although he did not mention it at that time, that an Italian theater of war sooner or later would mean drawing on the German ally for help. That actually was the situation at the outbreak of the attack on Yugoslavia.

Italy, stopped and thrown back, was left in a most unfavorable position strategically and tactically while still facing the Greek enemy. If only a part of the Yugoslav Army moved against the flank and the rear of the Italian Skutari position, then not only would Italy be eliminated there, but also an essential part of the Italian fighting forces would be destroyed. It was clear that the position of these Italian fighting forces would soon be hopeless, since because of the landing of British auxiliary troops in Greece it was to be expected that as soon as they came to the aid of the Greeks the Italian Army would not only be thrown out of Greece, where they were standing merely at the border, but also out of Albania; and the British troops would then be in dangerous proximity to Italy and the Balkans, which were economically of decisive importance for us.

By means of the Simovic revolt and the mobilization of Yugoslavia the elimination of the Italian Balkan armies would have been achieved. Only the quickest action could prevent a two-fold danger: first, a catastrophe befalling our Italian ally; and second, a British foothold in the Balkans, which would be detrimental to a future vantage point in the conflict with Russia. The German troops which were on the march for "Operation Marita," Greece, which were to march against Greece in order to throw back into the Mediterranean those British divisions which had landed, and to relieve the rear of the Italian ally, were turned with the spearhead to the right, and with accelerated, short-notice preparations for attack, they were thrown into the flank of the massed Yugoslav troops.

...

He even says that in Berlin they were thinking Soviets not just the Bristish were also behind general Simović coup and that this influenced Hitler to became even more determined for the war against USSR.

https://gooring.tripod.com/goo28.html

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Re: If there's no Yugoslav coup in early 1941, does Operation Barbarossa succeed?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 13 Aug 2022 10:05

However communists in Yugoslavia at that time were not ready to join the war on the side of allies but were Just following the line of Comintern and SU which had an agreement with Third Reich at that time.

Since SU did not like that Yugoslavia would come closer with Germany they supported the Simović coup. Also SU wanted that Yugoslavia would get more pro-soviet government but not pro-UK. Since New government was much more pro-british than pro-soviet communists immediately attacked it too. Specially they did not want that Yugoslavia should help Greece.

For example in their proclamation on 27.3. 1941 Just after the coup communists claimed the old forces which were for tripartite pact joined with english agents and want to drag Yugoslavia in imperialistic war now.

With old forces they apparently were thinking about Croat and Slovene leaders which UK tried to encourage with promises of the revision of Border between Yugoslavia and Italy which was established after WW1.

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