Monday, Jul. 22, 1946
YUGOSLAVIA: The Gale of the
Darkness crept into the huge courtroom as the toneless voice (which once sang resonantly in the Serbian
mountains) droned on & on. For the first time in six weeks the crowd of a thousand spectators ceased their
hissing. They listened intently to Draja Mihailovich's last defense. He spoke with calm and sincerity, as if he
knew that history would heed him even though Communist Tito's court would not.
Nothing that Mihailovich could say would wipe out abundant evidence that some of his Chetnik troops
collaborated with the Germans. His tale was of how and why they came to do so, the tale of a victim and a
but not that of a traitor. He said:
"England & I." "I loathed and hated the Germans, forbade Nazi meetings and strove to rouse and train our
youth for the fight I knew must come. . . . When war came and our front broke, I was left with a
broken-spirited people and with a legacy of rottenness of two decades. I went into the forest and told the
people to hide their weapons. ... At that time only England and I were still in the war. . . .
"I had three meetings with Marshal Tito, to which I went sincerely . . . but unfortunately we spent our time
in mutual accusations. . . . Then Captain Hudson arrived from Britain with a message that I was not to
transform the struggle into a fight for the Soviet Union. . . .
"My 5,000 men were nothing against five German divisions. I told the London Government but received no
instructions. So I went to see the Germans myself. ... I refused to drink wine with them, and there was no
agreement. . . . Very soon afterwards they attacked my headquarters and killed many of us. ... Once they
passed within a few yards of me, but I was covered with leaves. . . ."
It was pitch dark when Mihailovich laid down his notes and wound up his four hour plea. "I wanted nothing
for myself. The French revolution gave the world the rights of man and the Russian revolution also gave us
something new, but I did not want to start today where they had started in 1917. I never wanted the old
Yugoslavia. ... I was caught in a whirlpool of events. . . . Believing that the world would take the course of the
Russian revolution I was caught by the [policy of] the Western democracies. They [the democracies] are for our
peoples' good, and so are the Russians.
"I had against me a competitive organization, the Communist Party, which seeks its aims without compromise. . .
. I believed I was on the right road. . . .
But fate was merciless to me when it threw me into this maelstrom."
Then Mihailovich spoke his epitaph: "I wanted much, I started much, but the gale of the world carried away me
and my work. . . ."
Five days later the court sentenced (but did not silence) Draja Mihailovich: "To be shot by a firing squad."
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