Macedonians (ethnic group)
Macedonians are a nation and a South Slavic ethnic group native to the region of Macedonia. They speak a South Slavic language. About two thirds of all ethnic Macedonians live in North Macedonia and there are communities in a number of other countries; the origins of Macedonians are varied. In antiquity, much of central-northern Macedonia was inhabited by Paionians who expanded from the lower Strymon basin; the Pelagonian plain was inhabited by an ancient Greek tribe of Upper Macedonia. During the late Classical Period, having developed several sophisticated polis-type settlements and a thriving economy based on mining, Paeonia became a constituent province of the Argead – Macedonian kingdom. Roman conquest brought with it a significant Romanization of the region. During the Dominate period,'barbarian' federates were at times settled on Macedonian soil. In contrast to'frontier provinces', Macedonia continued to be a flourishing Christian, Roman province in Late Antiquity and into the early Middle Ages.
Linguistically, the South Slavic languages from which Macedonian developed are thought to have expanded in the region during the post-Roman period, although the exact mechanisms of this linguistic expansion remains a matter of scholarly discussion. Traditional historiography has equated these changes with the commencement of raids and'invasions' of Sclaveni and Antes from Wallachia and western Ukraine during the 6th and 7th centuries. However, recent anthropological and archaeological perspectives have viewed the appearance of Slavs in Macedonia, throughout the Balkans in general, as part of a broad and complex process of transformation of the cultural and ethno-linguistic Balkan landscape after the collapse of Roman authority; the exact details and chronology of population shifts remain to be determined. What is beyond dispute is that, in contrast to Bulgaria, northern Macedonia remained "Roman" in its cultural outlook into the 7th century, beyond, yet at the same time, sources attest numerous Slavic tribes in the environs of Thessaloniki and further afield, including the Berziti in Pelagonia.
Apart from Slavs and late Byzantines, Kuver's Avar Pannonian "Bulgars" – a mix of Roman Christians and Avars – settled the Keramissian plain around Bitola in the late 7th century. Pockets of settlers included Magyars in the 9th century, Armenians in the 10th–12th centuries, Cumans in the 11th–13th centuries, Saxon miners in the 14th and 15th centuries. Having been Byzantine clients, the Sklaviniae of Macedonia switched their allegiance to Bulgaria during the reign of Empress Irene, was incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire after the mid-9th century. Subsequently, the literary and ecclesiastical centres in Ohrid, not only became a second cultural capital of medieval Bulgaria, but soon eclipsed those in Preslav. Many aspects which now define Macedonian culture are a culmination of the so-called "Byzantine commonwealth" which consisted of Medieval Byzantine and Serbian Empires. Cultural and political developments of Slavic Orthodox Culture occurred in Macedonia itself. Anthropologically, Macedonians possess genetic lineages postulated to represent Balkan prehistoric and historic demographic processes.
Such lineages are typically found in other South Slavs Bulgarians, Bosniaks, but to the Greeks and Romanians. A study was organized that compared all Slavic nations and combined all lines of evidence, autosomal, mtDNA and y-DNA, including more than 6000 people; the overall data situates the southeastern group in a cluster together with Romanians, they are at similar proximity to Gagauzes and Serbs. This study itself calculated genetic distance by SNP data of the multiple autosomes and ranked most proximal to Macedonians again the same group, i.e. the Bulgarians, the Serbs, Romanians, Gagauzes Macedonian Greeks, etc. The large majority of Macedonians identify as Eastern Orthodox Christians, who speak a South Slavic language, share a cultural and historical "Orthodox Byzantine–Slavic heritage" with their neighbours; the concept of a "Macedonian" ethnicity, distinct from their Orthodox Balkan neighbours, is seen to be a comparatively newly emergent one. The earliest manifestations of incipient Macedonian identity emerged during the second half of the 19th century among limited circles of Slavic intellectuals, predominantly outside the region of Macedonia.
They arose after the First World War and during 1930s, thus were consolidated by Communist Yugoslavia's governmental policy after the Second World War. During the Middle Ages, there was no distinct ethno-political Macedonian identity. References to "Macedonians" were varied, from geographical to administrative one; the Byzantine historians categorized the numerous Slavic tribal unions on the early Medieval Balkans as'Sclavinias' and associated them with particular tribes. In the ninth century, Theophanes the Confessor reported that the emperor Constantine V captured the Macedonian Sklavinias in the year 758–759; the modern Macedonian historians have described it as some kind of primary ethno-political entity, but such views are doubtful. These Slavs did not have sufficient state-building skills, they failed to unite them and in the 8th c
Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography
The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography is Croatia's national lexicographical institution. Based in Zagreb, it was established in 1950 as the national lexicographical institute of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, it was renamed after the Croatian writer and its founder Miroslav Krleža in 1983. The institute was founded in 1950 as the Lexicographical Institute of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia and was renamed the Yugoslav Lexicographical Institute in 1964, its longtime director was Miroslav Krleža, with Mate Ujević as the chief editor. It was based with branches in Ljubljana and Belgrade. After Krleža's death in 1981, the institute was renamed as the Yugoslav Lexicographical Institute "Miroslav Krleža". Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was renamed to its current name in 1991, becoming the national lexicographical institute of Croatia, situated in 26 Frankopan Street of Zagreb; the institute employs numerous scientists in many areas of expertise and issues general and specific reference works as well as maps and travel guides.
Some notable works started or completed by the institute: Encyclopedia of Yugoslavia – 1st ed. in 8 volumes. It runs several major projects relating to the Croatian language, as well as culture; these include: the Croatian Encyclopedia the Croatian Biographical Lexicon the Croatian Literary Encyclopedia a Croatian thesaurus a world atlas a technical lexicon a legal lexiconIts current director is Antun Vujić. Jelavich, Charles. "The Importance of the Leksikografski Zavod to the Scholar". Slavic Review. 21: 330–335. Doi:10.2307/3000636. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 3000636. "Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod "Miroslav Krleža"". Enciklopedija Jugoslavije VI. Zagreb: Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod "Miroslav Krleža". 1990. Official website
Svetozar "Tempo" Vukmanović was a leading Montenegrin communist and member of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. During World War II he served on the Supreme Staff, went on missions to Bulgaria and Albania, became Josip Broz Tito's personal representative in Macedonia, he held high positions in the postwar government, was proclaimed a People's Hero of Yugoslavia. Born to Nikola Vukmanović and Marija Pejović in the village of Podgor near Cetinje, young Svetozar grew up with three siblings: older brothers Đuro and Luka and sister Milica. In search of work, their father Nikola went over to North America where he made a living by doing manual labour in mines, but returned to Montenegro. After World War I, he was an opponent of the matter of the unification of Serbia and Montenegro and held pro-Zelenaši views following the Podgorica Assembly. For this he was arrested by the royal Yugoslav regime, spending two years in prison during the early 1920s. Svetozar completed primary school in his village with excellent grades, before going to Cetinje, like his brothers for gymnasium studies.
He did this against the wishes of his father who wanted at least one male to stay with the family at the village. His first exposure to communist ideas occurred in 1927 when his oldest brother Đuro came back to the village in poor health and soon died. Impressed with what he heard, young Svetozar became a communist and long with his first cousin Branko Vukmanović started reading Marxist and Soviet literature. After graduating Gymnasium in 1931, he moved to Belgrade with his first cousin to study at the University of Belgrade's Law School. Although a communist for a few years Svetozar was not a member of the Communist Party in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia because its organization in Montenegro was still weak with sporadic activity. Upon arriving to Belgrade, however, he took an active part in the revolutionary student movement, strong at the university. Right away, he participated in the large demonstrations during November 1931 for which he got kicked out of the dormitory the following year, he was thus forced to pay rent in various private apartments and for a time lived with another communist activist Đuro Strugar, his friend from Cetinje gymnasium.
In 1933, Svetozar formally joined the Party along with his gymnasium friends Novica Ulićević, Dimitrije Živanović, Ratomir Popović, Branko Mašanović, Đuro Strugar. As a student in 1933, he organized demonstrations, he graduated from the University of Belgrade's Law School in 1935. He was nicknamed Tempo because of his urging people to hurry. After publishing his memoirs in the 1980s, Tempo came back into the public spotlight by providing vocals for the rock band Bijelo dugme on their 1986 album Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo. Tempo died in late 2000 in his seacoast villa in Reževići. Before his death, he explicitly requested to be buried next to his brother Luka in their home village Podgora. Svetozar Vukmanović's own brother Luka Vukmanović was a Serbian Orthodox Church priest in Montenegro, he was executed by Yugoslav Partisans in May 1945, after being captured and tortured along with Metropolitan Joanikije. The details of his capture and subsequent execution remain somewhat unclear, along with the role of his brother Tempo in the said events.
In mid-1945 priest Luka Vukmanović was escaping Montenegro along with clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church's Metropolitanate of Montenegro-Littoral in a mass exodus towards Slovenia and Austria. In the mass convoy were various members of the Podgorica Assembly who voted to unite Montenegro with Serbia in 1918 and who now feared reprisals in chaotic situation in Montenegro, as well as royal government ministers and many other royalists and chetniks who bitterly opposed communism and many of whom had collaborated with the occupying forces of the Axis. In particular, the most prominent member of the clergy in the exodus, Metropolitan Joanikije, had collaborated with the occupying Italian and German forces and supported the activities of the Serbian Chetniks, they were all on the run since November 1944. Luka's 14-year-old son Čedomir was within the convoy; the convoy was intercepted by troops commanded by communist general from Montenegro Peko Dapčević. According to some accounts, this happened near Zidani Most in Slovenia, according to others it took place in Austria.
Wherever it was, most of the people in the convoy were executed on the spot and buried in various unmarked graves. This is when Tempo was informed about Luka's capture and asked to decide on what should happen to his brother, his reported answer was: "The same as what happens to others". Archived 6 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine Luka's young son Čedomir, who managed to survive the bloody ordeal was effectively raised by his uncle Tempo who took care of his nephew's living arrangements and education in Belgrade. Before the mass executions began, Metropolitan Joanikije, as the most prominent member of the clergy was separated from the group and transported to Aranđelovac vicinity in Serbia where he was imprisoned, executed. In 1971, Tempo wrote a book entitled Revolucija koja teče in which he wrote the following about his brother: "I didn't want to talk to my mother about Luka, she didn't dare mention him in front
Bulgarian Communist Party
The Bulgarian Communist Party was the Communist and Marxist-Leninist ruling party of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from 1946 until 1989 when the country ceased to be a socialist state. The Bulgarian Communist Party had dominated the Fatherland Front coalition that took power in 1944, late in World War II, after it led a coup against Bulgaria's tsarist regime in conjunction with the Red Army's crossing the border, it controlled the Bulgarian People's Army. The BCP was organized on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle introduced by Russian Marxist scholar Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies; the highest body of the BCP was the Party Congress, convened every fifth year. When the Party Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body, but since the body meets only once a year, most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee.
The party's leader has held the offices of General Secretary. BCP was committed to Marxism-Leninism, an ideology consisted of the writings of the German philosopher Karl Marx and Lenin, introduced in 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in which the industries in Bulgaria were nationalized and a planned economy was implemented. In the 1960s, the BCP announced some economic reforms, which allowed the free sale of production that exceeded planned amounts. After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985, the BCP underwent political and economic liberalization which promptly liquidated the party and dissolved the Bulgarian People's Republic completely. After the end of the BCP, the party was renamed to the Bulgarian Socialist Party in 1990, which retained connections with Russia; the party's origins lay in the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party, founded in 1903 after a split in the 10th Congress of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party. The party's founding leader was Dimitar Blagoev, the driving force behind the formation of the BSDWP in 1894.
It comprised most of the hardline Marxists in the Social Democratic Workers' Party. The party was sympathetic to the October Revolution in Russia. Under Blagoev's leadership, the party applied to join the Communist International upon its founding in 1919. Upon joining the Comintern the party was reorganised as the Communist Party of Bulgaria. Georgi Dimitrov was a member of the party's Central Committee from its inception in 1919 until his death in 1949 serving as Bulgaria's leader from 1946. In 1938 the party took the former party's name. In 1948 the BWP reunited with the Social Democrats to become the Bulgarian Communist Party once again. Following Dimitrov's sudden death, the party was led by Valko Chervenkov, a Stalinist who oversaw a number of party purges that met with Moscow's approval; the party joined the Cominform at its inception in 1948 and conducted purges against suspected "Titoites" following the expulsion of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia from the alliance. Suspected counter-revolutionaries were imprisoned.
In March 1954, one year after Joseph Stalin's death, Chervenkov was deposed. From 1954 until 1989 the party was led by Todor Zhivkov, supportive of the Soviet Union and remained close to its leadership after Nikita Khrushchev was deposed by Leonid Brezhnev, his rule led to an increase in living standards. The demands for democratic reform which swept Eastern Europe in 1989 led Zhivkov to resign, he was succeeded by a more liberal Communist, Petar Mladenov. However, events soon overtook him, on December 11 Mladenov announced the party was giving up its guaranteed right to rule. For all intents and purposes, this was the end of Communist rule in Bulgaria, though it would be another month before the provision in the constitution enshrining the party's "leading role" was deleted; the party moved in a more moderate direction, by the spring of 1990 was no longer a Marxist-Leninist party. That April, the party changed its name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party. A number of hardline Communists established several splinter parties with a small number of members.
One of these parties, named Communist Party of Bulgaria, is led by Aleksandar Paunov. The leaders of the Bulgarian Communist Party were: Dimitar Blagoev Vasil Kolarov Georgi Dimitrov Valko Chervenkov Todor Zhivkov Petar Mladenov Alexander Lilov Chairman Buzludzha Eastern Bloc politics History of Bulgaria
Mihailo Apostolski, was a Yugoslav general, military theoretician, historian, Commander of the Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army and Partisan detachments in Macedonia. Apostolski was born on November 1906 at Štip, Kosovo Vilayet, in the Ottoman Empire, he attended secondary school in Štip. In 1927 graduated from the Military Academy in Belgrade, capital of Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1933 he graduated from the High Military Academy, in 1938 graduated Commanding Academy as a major. During the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany, Hungary and Romania, in April 1941, as a commander of the alpine units of the Royal Yugoslav Army, he ordered demolition of bridges in order to slow the progress of the German troops. After the capitulation of Yugoslavia, Bulgarian troops entered Vardar Banovina and seized most of it. Meanwhile Apostolski was taken to the camp Vestone. Shortly after, his father, a Bulgarian army veteran, made a request to the Bulgarian Minister of War and it was granted soon after.
Apostolski, as well as 12,000 other Macedonian POWs, were released with Bulgarian intervention by the German and Hungarian authorities. After his liberation from the prison, Apostolski filed an application for appointment in the Bulgarian army; because of his past, him was offered a captain's rank as a Bulgarian officer in Labour battalion, but he considered this unsatisfactory. Meanwhile Apostolski entered the Sofia University. In April 1942 he became a member of the CPY, in June of the same year he was appointed commander of the Headquarters of the Yugoslav partisan units of Macedonia. In May 1943 he was appointed Major General. During the Second Session of AVNOJ he was appointed to the Presidency of AVNOJ. In addition to the Macedonian brigades operating under his command, in February 1944, he commanded the brigades from Kosovo and Southern Serbia, he became a member of the Initiative Board for organization of ASNOM. He was elected to its Presidency. After the Second World War Apostolski became one of the military leaders of new SFRY.
After the end of his active military service he began intensively to deal with history of the Macedonian nation. From 1965 to 1970 was head of the Institute of National History in Skopje, he was involved in formation of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, of which he was member since its creation. He was president of Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts for the period 1976-1983, he was member of: Serbian Academy of Sciences, Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts, Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo. He died on August 1987 in Dojran, SFR Yugoslavia. In 1995 the Military Academy in Republic of Macedonia was named "General Mihailo Apostolski". Website of the military academy "General Mihailo Apostolski"
The Axis powers known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not coordinate their activity; the Axis grew out of the diplomatic efforts of Germany and Japan to secure their own specific expansionist interests in the mid-1930s. The first step was the treaty signed by Germany and Italy in October 1936. Benito Mussolini declared on 1 November that all other European countries would from on rotate on the Rome–Berlin axis, thus creating the term "Axis"; the simultaneous second step was the signing in November 1936 of the Anti-Comintern Pact, an anti-communist treaty between Germany and Japan. Italy joined the Pact in 1937; the "Rome–Berlin Axis" became a military alliance in 1939 under the so-called "Pact of Steel", with the Tripartite Pact of 1940 leading to the integration of the military aims of Germany and Japan. At its zenith during World War II, the Axis presided over territories that occupied large parts of Europe, North Africa, East Asia.
There were no three-way summit meetings and cooperation and coordination was minimal, with more between Germany and Italy. The war ended in 1945 with the dissolution of their alliance; as in the case of the Allies, membership of the Axis was fluid, with some nations switching sides or changing their degree of military involvement over the course of the war. The term "axis" was first applied to the Italo-German relationship by the Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini in September 1923, when he wrote in the preface to Roberto Suster's Germania Repubblica that "there is no doubt that in this moment the axis of European history passes through Berlin". At the time, he was seeking an alliance with the Weimar Republic against Yugoslavia and France in the dispute over the Free State of Fiume; the term was used by Hungary's prime minister Gyula Gömbös when advocating an alliance of Hungary with Germany and Italy in the early 1930s. Gömbös' efforts did affect the Italo-Hungarian Rome Protocols, but his sudden death in 1936 while negotiating with Germany in Munich and the arrival of Kálmán Darányi, his successor, ended Hungary's involvement in pursuing a trilateral axis.
Contentious negotiations between the Italian foreign minister, Galeazzo Ciano, the German ambassador, Ulrich von Hassell, resulted in a Nineteen-Point Protocol, signed by Ciano and his German counterpart, Konstantin von Neurath, in 1936. When Mussolini publicly announced the signing on 1 November, he proclaimed the creation of a Rome–Berlin axis. Italy under Duce Benito Mussolini had pursued a strategic alliance of Italy with Germany against France since the early 1920s. Prior to becoming head of government in Italy as leader of the Italian Fascist movement, Mussolini had advocated alliance with defeated Germany after the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 settled World War I, he believed. In early 1923, as a goodwill gesture to Germany, Italy secretly delivered weapons for the German Army, which had faced major disarmament under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1923, Mussolini offered German Chancellor Gustav Stresemann a "common policy": he sought German military support against potential French military intervention over Italy's diplomatic dispute with Yugoslavia over Fiume, should an Italian seizure of Fiume result in war between Italy and Yugoslavia.
The German ambassador to Italy in 1924 reported that Mussolini saw a nationalist Germany as an essential ally for Italy against France, hoped to tap into the desire within the German army and the German political right for a war of revenge against France. During the Weimar Republic, the German government did not respect the Treaty of Versailles that it had been pressured to sign, various government figures at the time rejected Germany's post-Versailles borders. General Hans von Seeckt supported an alliance between Germany and the Soviet Union to invade and partition Poland between them and restore the German-Russian border of 1914. Gustav Streseman as German foreign minister in 1925 declared that the reincorporation of territories lost to Poland and Danzig in the Treaty of Versailles was a major task of German foreign policy; the Reichswehr Ministry memorandum of 1926 declared its intention to seek the reincorporation of German territory lost to Poland as its first priority, to be followed by the return of the Saar territory, the annexation of Austria, remilitarization of the Rhineland.
Since the 1920s Italy had identified the year 1935 as a crucial date for preparing for a war against France, as 1935 was the year when Germany's obligations under the Treaty of Versailles were scheduled to expire. Meetings took place in Berlin in 1924 between Italian General Luigi Capello and prominent figures in the German military, such as von Seeckt and Erich Ludendorff, over military collaboration between Germany and Italy; the discussions concluded that Germans still wanted a war of revenge against France but were short on weapons and hoped that Italy could assist Germany. However at this time Mussolini stressed one important condition that Italy must pursue in an alliance with Germany: that Italy "must... tow them, not be towed by them". Italian foreign minister Dino Grandi in the early 1930s stressed the importance of "decisive weight", involving Italy's relations between France and Germany, in which he recognized that Italy was not yet a major power, but perceived that Italy did have
World War II in Yugoslav Macedonia
World War II in Yugoslav Macedonia started with the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia. Macedonian communist Partisans of the People's Liberation Army of Macedonia, part of the Yugoslav Partisan movement, started a political and military campaign on 11 October 1941 to resist the occupation of Vardar Macedonia by Bulgarian, German and Albanian forces; the area was called Vardar Banovina, because the name Macedonia was prohibited in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It had no real success, starting to grow only in 1943 with the capitulation of Italy and the Soviet victories over Nazi Germany; the role of the Bulgarian communists, which avoided organizing mass armed resistance, was a key factor. Their influence over the Macedonian Party organization remained dominant until the spring of 1943 when Tito's special emissary Svetozar Vukmanović arrived in Macedonia; this led to the rise of younger generation anti-Bulgarian oriented partisan leaders, who were loyal to Yugoslavia. In the western part of the area, the Albanian Partisans participated in the resistance movement.
After Bulgaria switched sides in the war in September 1944, the Bulgarian 5th. Army stationed in Macedonia, moved back to the old borders of Bulgaria. In the early October the newly formed Bulgarian People's Army together with the Red Army reentered occupied Yugoslavia to blocking the German forces withdrawing from Greece. Vardar Macedonia was liberated in end of November; the operation was called the National Liberation War of Macedonia by the Partisans, in line with the greater Yugoslav People's Liberation War, but combatants developed further aspirations over the geographic region of Macedonia. It marked the victory of Macedonism in the area; the Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913, the World War I divided the region of Macedonia amongst the Kingdom of Greece, the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Serbia. The territory was up until that time part of the Ottoman Empire. In those days, the majority of the Slavic speakers in Ottoman Macedonia considered themselves to be a part of the Bulgarian people.
From 1912 until 1915 the territory of Vardar Macedonia remained within the territory of Serbia. In the parts administred by Serbia the new authorities forced out most of the Bulgarian priests and teachers, began implementing a forceful state-sponsored Serbianisation of Slavic-speaking Macedonians, it was occupied by Kingdom of Bulgaria during World War I between 1915 and 1918. Afterwards it was restored back to Serbia and included as part of the Vardar Banovina in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During that period, there were two main autonomist agendas; the right-wing Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization led by Ivan Mihailov, was in favor of the creation of a pro-Bulgarian Macedonian state under German and Italian protection. The leftist IMRO group, who merged with the communists prior to the beginning of the war, favored creation of an independent "Soviet Macedonia" within a Balkan Federation; this option was supported by Pavel Shatev, Dimitar Vlahov, Metodi Shatorov, Panko Brashnarov, others.
However such Macedonian activists, who came from the Bulgarian Communist Party, never managed to get rid of their pro-Bulgarian bias. During the interwar period in Vardar Macedonia, some young locals repressed by the Serbs, tried to find a separate Macedonian way of national development; the existence of considerable Macedonian national consciousness prior to the middle of 1940s is disputed. At that time anti-Serbian and pro-Bulgarian feelings among the local population prevailed. Fearing an invasion of the World War II Axis Powers, Regent Prince Paul of Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact on 25 March 1941, pledging cooperation with the Axis. On 27 March, the regime of Prince Paul was overthrown by a military coup d'état with British support; the 17-year-old Peter II of Yugoslavia was placed in power. General Dušan Simović became his Prime Minister; the Kingdom of Yugoslavia withdrew its support for the Axis de facto without formally renouncing the Pact. On 6 April 1941 the German armed forces launched the invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and conquered it.
A division of Vardar Macedonia part of so called Vardar Banovina was drawn up on 19 and 20 April 1941. Bulgarian troops entered the central and eastern parts and seized most of the banovina, including parts of Eastern Sebia and of today Kosovo; the prominent force which occupied most of the area was the 5th Army. The westernmost parts of Macedonia were occupied by the fascist Kingdom of Italy. Bulgarian action committees – After the defeat of the Yugoslav army, a group of Macedonian Bulgarians headed by Spiro Kitincev arrived in Macedonia and started preparations for the coming of the Bulgarian army and administration in Macedonia; the first of the Bulgarian Action Committees was formed in Skopje on 13 April 1941. Former IMRO members in Vardar Macedonia were active members of this committee. On 13 April 1941, at a meeting in Skopje, it was decided that one of the first tasks of the newly formed organisation was to regulate the relations with the German authorities; when the Bulgarian Army entered Vardar Macedonia on 19 April 1941, they were greeted by most of the local population as liberators, as anti-Serbian and pro-Bulgarian feelings among the local population prevailed at that time.
With the intercession of the committees and Bulgarian administration more than 12,000 Yugoslav Macedonian POWs, conscripted into the Yugoslav army were released by German and Hungarian authorities. With the arrival of the Bulgarian army m