Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a country located in central and Southeastern Europe that existed from its foundation in the aftermath of World War II until its dissolution in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. Covering an area of 255,804 km², the SFRY was bordered by the Adriatic Sea and Italy to the west and Hungary to the north and Romania to the east, Albania and Greece to the south; the nation was a socialist state and a federation governed by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia with Belgrade as its capital. In addition, it included two autonomous provinces within Serbia: Vojvodina; the SFRY's origin is traced to 26 November 1942, when the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia was formed during World War II. On 29 November 1945, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed after the deposition of King Peter II, thus ending the monarchy.
Until 1948, the new communist government sided with the Eastern Bloc under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito at the beginning of the Cold War, but after the Tito–Stalin split of 1948, Yugoslavia pursued a policy of neutrality. It became one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, transitioned from a planned economy to market socialism; the SFRY maintained neutrality during the Cold War as part of its foreign policy. It was a founding member of CERN, the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, OSCE, IFAD, WTO, BTWC. Following the death of Tito on 4 May 1980, the Yugoslav economy started to collapse, which increased unemployment and inflation; the economic crisis led to a rise in ethnic nationalism in early 1990s. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, inter-republic talks on transformation of the federation failed. In 1991 some European states recognized their independence; the federation collapsed along federal borders, followed by the start of the Yugoslav Wars, the final downfall and breakup of the federation on 27 April 1992.
Two of its republics and Montenegro, remained within a reconstituted state known as the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", but this union was not recognized internationally as the official successor state to the SFRY. The term "former Yugoslavia" is now used retrospectively; the name Yugoslavia, an Anglicised transcription of Jugoslavija, is a composite word made up of jug and slavija. The Slavic word jug means'south', while slavija denotes a'land of the Slavs'. Thus, a translation of Jugoslavija would be'South-Slavia' or'Land of the South Slavs'; the full official name of the federation varied between 1945 and 1992. Yugoslavia was formed in 1918 under the name Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes. In January 1929, King Alexander I assumed dictatorship of the kingdom and renamed it the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, for the first time making the term "Yugoslavia"—which had been used colloquially for decades —the official name of the state. After the Kingdom was occupied by the Axis during World War II, the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia announced in 1943 the formation of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia in the substantial resistance-controlled areas of the country.
The name deliberately left the republic-or-kingdom question open. In 1945, King Peter II was deposed, with the state reorganized as a republic, accordingly renamed Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, with the constitution coming into force in 1946. In 1963, amid pervasive liberal constitutional reforms, the name Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was introduced; the state is most referred to by the latter name, which it held for the longest period of all. Of the three main Yugoslav languages, the Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian language name for the state was identical, while Slovene differed in capitalization and the spelling of the adjective "Socialist"; the names are as follows: Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian languages Latin: Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija Cyrillic: Социјалистичка Федеративна Република Југославија Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: Macedonian pronunciation: Slovene language Socialistična federativna republika Jugoslavija Due to the length of the name, abbreviations were used to refer to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, though the state was most known as Yugoslavia.
The most common abbreviation is SFRY, though SFR Yugoslavia was used in an official capacity by the media. On 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers led by Nazi Germany. Yugoslav resistance was soon established in two forms, the Royal Yugoslav Army in the Homeland and the Communist Yugoslav Partisans; the Partisan supreme commander was Josip Broz Tito, under his command the movement soon began establishing "liberated territories" which attracted the attention of occupying forces. Unlike the various nationalist militias operating in occupied Yugoslavia, the Partisans were a pan-Yugoslav movement promoting the "brotherhood and unity" of Yugoslav nations, representing the republican, left-wing, socialist elements of the Yugoslav political
Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
Operation Retribution (1941)
Operation Retribution known as Operation Punishment, was the April 1941 German bombing of Belgrade, the capital of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in retaliation for the coup d'état that overthrew the government that had signed the Tripartite Pact. The bombing occurred in the first days of the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia during World War II; the Royal Yugoslav Army Air Force had only 77 modern fighter aircraft available to defend Belgrade against the hundreds of German fighters and bombers that struck in the first wave early on 6 April. Three days prior, VVKJ Major Vladimir Kren had defected to the Germans, disclosing the locations of multiple military assets, as well as elucidating the VVKJ's codes. Three more waves of bombers attacked Belgrade on 6 April, more attacks followed in subsequent days; the attacks resulted in the paralysis of Yugoslav civilian and military command and control, the widespread destruction of Belgrade's infrastructure, many civilian casualties. The bombing of Belgrade was preceded by the commencement of the ground invasion a few hours earlier, coincided with air attacks on VVKJ airfields and other strategic targets across Yugoslavia.
Among the non-military targets struck during the bombing were the National Library of Serbia, which burned to the ground with the loss of hundreds of thousands of books and manuscripts, the Belgrade Zoo. The Royal Air Force carried out two bombing raids on Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, in retaliation for the attacks on Yugoslavia, which surrendered on 17 April; the senior Luftwaffe officer responsible for the bombing, Generaloberst Alexander Löhr, was captured by the Yugoslavs at the end of the war and was tried and executed for war crimes, in part for his involvement in the bombing of Belgrade. Kren was arrested in 1947 on unrelated charges of war crimes stemming from his subsequent service as the head of the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia, he was extradited to Yugoslavia to face trial, found guilty on all counts and executed in 1948. A monument erected in New Belgrade in 1997 commemorates the Yugoslav airmen who were killed in Belgrade's defense; the bombing has been dramatised in film.
Following Germany's 1938 Anschluss of Austria, Yugoslavia shared a border with the Third Reich and came under increasing pro-Axis political pressure as her neighbours fell into line with the Axis powers. In April 1939, Yugoslavia gained a second frontier with Italy. Between September and November 1940, Hungary joined the Tripartite Pact, Italy invaded Greece, Romania joined the Pact. From that time, Yugoslavia was surrounded by Axis powers or their client states, her neutral stance toward the war was under tremendous pressure. On 14 February 1941, Adolf Hitler invited Prime Minister Dragiša Cvetković and Foreign Minister Aleksandar Cincar-Marković to Berchtesgaden, requested that Yugoslavia join the Pact. On 1 March, Bulgaria joined, the next day, German troops entered Bulgaria from Romania, closing the ring around Yugoslavia. Further pressure was applied by Hitler on 4 March 1941, when the Yugoslav regent, Prince Paul, visited Berchtesgaden, but the prince delayed a decision. On 6 March, the Royal Yugoslav Army Air Force was secretly mobilised.
The following day, British troops began landing in Greece to bolster the country's defences against the Italians. On 12 March, the VVKJ began dispersing to auxiliary airfields. By 20 March, the VVKJ's dispersal had been completed. Hitler, wishing to secure his southern flank in anticipation of Germany's impending invasion of the Soviet Union, demanded that Yugoslavia sign the Pact. On 25 March, the Yugoslav government complied. Two days a military coup d'état was carried out by a group of VVKJ and Yugoslav Royal Guard officers, led by Brigadier General Borivoje Mirković; the prince was deposed and replaced by his 17-year-old nephew Peter, declared to be of age to accede to the throne. The same day as the coup d'état, Hitler issued Directive 25, which stated that the coup had changed the political situation in the Balkans, he ordered that "even if Yugoslavia at first should give declarations of loyalty, she must be considered as a foe and therefore must be destroyed as as possible". German reconnaissance aircraft violated Yugoslav airspace in the aftermath of the coup.
VVKJ fighters were placed on constant alert. The German incursions demonstrated that the Yugoslav ground observation post network and supporting radio communications were inadequate. Hitler decided that Belgrade would be bombed as punishment for the coup against the government that had signed the Pact, under the codename Operation Retribution. On 27 and 28 March 1941, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring transferred about 500 fighter and bomber aircraft from France and northern Germany to airfields near the Yugoslav border; the commander of Luftflotte IV, Generaloberst Alexander Löhr, allocated these aircraft to attack the Yugoslav capital in waves by day and night. Löhr issued his orders for the bombing on 31 March, but the decision to bomb Belgrade would not be confirmed by Hitler until 5 April. Although Hitler ordered the general destruction of Belgrade, at the last minute Löhr replaced these general directions with specific military objectives within the city. On 3 April, Major Vladimir Kren defected to the Germans, flying a Potez 25 aircraft to Graz in Austria, disclosed the locations of many of Yugoslavia's dispersal airfields, as well as codes used by the VVKJ, which had to be changed.
When the invasion commenced, he pointed out which locations in Belgrade should be targeted. On the afternoon of 5 April, a Britis
Army Group B
Army Group B was the title of three German Army Groups that saw action during World War II. Army Group B took part in Battle for France in 1940 in Belgium and the Netherlands; the second formation of Army Group B was established when Army Group South was divided for the summer offensive of 1942 on the Eastern Front. Army Group B was given the task of protecting the northern flank of Army Group A, included the 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. In February 1943, Army Group B and Army Group Don were combined to create a new Army Group South. A new Army Group B was formed in northern Italy under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1943 and was moved to Northern France. On 19 July 1944, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge took command from Rommel and on 17 August, Field Marshal Walter Model replaced Kluge. Army Group B participated in the Battle of Normandy. Moving to the Low Countries, Model received a shock when his HQ was located at Osterbeek close to Arnhem during the 17 September start of Operation Market Garden before the army group participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
The army group was isolated in the Ruhr Pocket in northern Germany and after being divided up into smaller and smaller sections, the final section surrendered to the Allies on 21 April 1945. Western FrontEastern FrontNorthern Italy/Northern France 12 October 1939 - 9 May 1941 General Hans von Salmuth 20 May 1941 General Hans von GreiffenbergEastern Front August 1942 - 20.5.1943 General Georg von Sodenstern Builder, Carl H. Bankes, Steven C. & Nordin Richard, Command concepts: a theory derived from the practice of command and control, RAND, Santa Monica, CA, 1999
Thessaloniki familiarly known as Thessalonica, Salonica or Salonika, is the second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, the capital of Greek Macedonia, the administrative region of Central Macedonia and the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace. Its nickname is η Συμπρωτεύουσα "the co-capital", a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα or "co-reigning" city of the Eastern Roman Empire, alongside Constantinople. Thessaloniki is located at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea, it is bounded on the west by the delta of the Axios/Vardar. The municipality of Thessaloniki, the historical center, had a population of 325,182 in 2011, while the Thessaloniki Urban Area had a population of 824,676 and the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area had 1,030,338 inhabitants in 2011, it is Greece's second major economic, industrial and political centre. The city is renowned for its festivals and vibrant cultural life in general, is considered to be Greece's cultural capital.
Events such as the Thessaloniki International Fair and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival are held annually, while the city hosts the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora. Thessaloniki was the 2014 European Youth Capital; the city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire, it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912. It is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman and Sephardic Jewish structures; the city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans. Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. In 2013, National Geographic Magazine included Thessaloniki in its top tourist destinations worldwide, while in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle.
Among street photographers, the center of Thessaloniki is considered the most popular destination for street photography in Greece. The original name of the city was Θεσσαλονίκη Thessaloníkē, it was named after princess Thessalonike of Macedon, the half sister of Alexander the Great, whose name means "Thessalian victory", from Θεσσαλός'Thessalos', Νίκη'victory', honoring the Macedonian victory at the Battle of Crocus Field. Minor variants are found, including Θετταλονίκη Thettaloníkē, Θεσσαλονίκεια Thessaloníkeia, Θεσσαλονείκη Thessaloneíkē, Θεσσαλονικέων Thessalonikéōn; the name Σαλονίκη Saloníki is first attested in Greek in the Chronicle of the Morea, is common in folk songs, but it must have originated earlier, as al-Idrisi called it Salunik in the 12th century. It is the basis for the city's name in other languages: Солѹнь in Old Church Slavonic, סלוניקה in Ladino, Selânik سلانیك in Ottoman Turkish and Selanik in modern Turkish, Salonicco in Italian, Solun or Солун in the local and neighboring South Slavic languages, Салоники in Russian, Sãrunã in Aromanian, Salonica or Salonika in English.
Thessaloniki was revived as the city's official name in 1912, when it joined the Kingdom of Greece during the Balkan Wars. In local speech, the city's name is pronounced with a dark and deep L characteristic of Modern Macedonian accent; the name is abbreviated as Θεσ/νίκη. The city was founded around 315 BC by the King Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and 26 other local villages, he named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great and princess of Macedonia as daughter of Philip II. Under the kingdom of Macedonia the city retained its own autonomy and parliament and evolved to become the most important city in Macedonia. After the fall of the Kingdom of Macedonia in 168 BC, in 148 BC Thessalonica was made the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. Thessalonica became a free city of the Roman Republic under Mark Antony in 41 BC, it grew to be an important trade-hub located on the Via Egnatia, the road connecting Dyrrhachium with Byzantium, which facilitated trade between Thessaloniki and great centers of commerce such as Rome and Byzantium.
Thessaloniki lay at the southern end of the main north-south route through the Balkans along the valleys of the Morava and Axios river valleys, thereby linking the Balkans with the rest of Greece. The city became the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia, it became the capital of all the Greek provinces of the Roman Empire because of the city's importance in the Balkan peninsula. At the time of the Roman Empire, about 50 A. D. Thessaloniki was one of the early centers of Christianity. Paul wrote two letters to the new church at Thessaloniki, preserved in the Biblical canon as First and Second Thessalonians; some scholars hold that the First Epistle to the Thessalonians is the first written book of the New Testament. In 306 AD, Thessaloniki acquired a patron saint, St. Demetrius, a Christian whom Galerius is said to have put to death. Most scholars