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Editorial – Yugoslavia Finds Her Soul

29 March 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 29 March 1941

Yugoslavia Finds Her Soul

The Balkan Broth begins to bubble with a vengeance! From the tangle of conflicting aims and ideals through which Hitler seeks to make the insidious chess moves of his diabolical game comes news of strange developments. Yugoslavia, her honour signed away by as sorry a bundle of politicians as handed over Rumania and Bulgaria bound and gagged to the Nazi monster, has roused herself through the righteous wrath and indignation of the people.

News of the government’s craven adherence to the Tri- Partite Pact, carefully kept in the background until the wretched act had been played to its farcical conclusion in Vienna brought no mood of dumb quiescence but an outburst of furious resentment. True it is that similar manifestations marked the collapse of Rumania, but present information suggests a more emphatic and better organised reaction in Yugoslavia.

Mr. Amery’s broadcast, stern and pointed, may have helped to ignite the spark of resistance. At any rate public demonstrations against the action of the politicians in signing the country’s destiny into the hands of her natural foe appear to have been rapidly translated into decisive action by a movement which has the fighting forces behind it and the young Prince Peter as a rallying point for all the finer elements in the state.

The Serbs, bitter foes of the aggressors in the last war have bethought themselves in the nick of time of those great traditions which they established when for months on end they held up an enemy stronger by far in materials and men. Whether differences between themselves and the Croats which the years have not yet cleared away, and which became evident in a Croatian leaning towards the Axis in the present crisis, can be sufficiently composed to provide the united front which now becomes essential if this check to German diplomacy is to be a permanent one remains to be seen.

What is important is that an attempt to cast off the mesmeric influence of Nazism has been boldly made and if all goes well Yugoslavia will have a new order indeed; an order which puts a term to an era of pitiful subservience and apprehensive vacillation as clearly as the Greek defiance of the Italian ultimatum.

The military coup d’etat which is reported to have taken place seems to signify an end to compromise and the step is one which can hardly fail to rouse the dire fury of the Bully of Berchtesgaden. The immediate reaction of the Huns will be the measure of their confidence in themselves, though further diplomatic plotting seems to be brusquely ruled out. Fair words may now at any time give place to vengeful blows.

The rejoicing with which news of the Yugoslav volte face has been received here is a sign and a token of its recognition as a vital part of the Balkan pattern. How much more significantly must the situation be read in Greece and Turkey. To the gallant Greeks the news must have come like a clarion call calculated to make them surpass the miraculous feats of arms which already stand to their credit. The Turks, grimly watchful, must find in it fresh cause to stiffen their already uncompromising attitude.

And does Berlin recognise in this gesture the beginning of that turn of tide which will sweep Hitler and his vandalistic system away and finally cleanse the face of Europe of a sore scourge? Amid all the mountains of bombast need we be surprised if a little misgiving begins to creep in? Time will reveal these things, and perhaps at no distant date.