Enter the Red Army
Near the end of September 1944 an important meeting between the Yugoslav Partizan leader, Josip Broz Tito, and Stalin took place. It was not precisely easy for Tito to get to the meeting – he, his dog Tigar, and several advisors had flown to the Soviet lines in Romania before being transferred to Soviet aircraft for the flight into Moscow.
Stalin was initially cool – thinking that, as in all the other Eastern European countries the Red Army had campaigned against the Nazis, all military forces would come under the Red Army command.
Tito, the leader of the largest Partizan movement in Europe, did not agree. By the time an official account of the meeting was released on 28 September, it stated that the Yugoslavs agreed to the “…temporary entry of Soviet troops onto Yugoslav territory,” and further went on to state that they would leave the Yugoslav borders once the “operational task” was completed, which was later spelled out as the liberation of the capital. Further, not only was Tito to retain command of the Partizans, Yugoslavia itself would retain control of civil affairs even after the Red Army entered Yugoslav territory.
They were concessions no other nation was able to wring from the leader of international communism, and Stalin was less than amused.
The agreement worked, however. Once Belgrade was liberated, the majority of Soviet military might in Yugoslavia was redeployed to places where they were needed more, leaving Tito with Soviet advisors to mop up the final Axis resistance and begin to rebuild the shattered Balkans.
It was these advisors who would provide the initial clue of the Tito-Stalin split when they withdrew from Yugoslavia in March 1948.
For more information on the Tito-Stalin split, please click here.
For more information on World War II, please click here.
- March 17, 2021