Following World War 1 and the defeat of Austria-Hungary, the remnants of its territories had to now be divided by the dominant European powers at the time. Bound by a flimsy understanding of the deep tensions between the different religions and ideologies of the Slavs that inhabited the Balkan areas however, the Governments of Western Europe, following World War 1, figured it would be a good idea to combine all of these Balkan states into one, called Yugoslavia. This was a recipe for disaster, and in the early hours of the 6th of April 1941, the Axis blitzed Yugoslavia, and captured Belgrade in less than 12 days, ultimately taking 300,000 Yugoslav officers prisoner. Having a relatively better understanding of the Balkans however, when Nazi High command were deciding what to do with their newly acquired land and how to best control it, the most natural idea was to use to pre-existing Croatian fascist party, known as the Ustaše, to act as a Nazi puppet state and spread terror and tyranny around the Balkans in the name of the fascist cause. And that’s exactly what they did, with their actions in World War 2 causing a divide that is still visible today.
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From the horrifying to the heroic, we preserve the lesser-known stories of war, focusing, for the time being, on the deadliest war in human history, World War II.