Despite efforts of the Government of National Salvation and Ljotić himself, General Dragoljub Mihailović did agree on cooperation with communist partisans in a struggle against German occupation. The agreement came at the time when Serbian Volunteer Corps steamrolled over every communist stronghold. Mihailović’s men a.k.a Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland (JVuO) have now secured the existence of the partisan movement in occupied Serbia and have put themselves, indirectly, in the service of communist revolution.
Before all of this, Ljotić did warned Mihailović and his men of the dangers their cooperation with the communists can pose to the ordinary Serbian people, saying:
“-you are confusing Serbian people in such a way that they can’t see the difference between you and the communists. You are the ones who are allowing communist to disguise themselves as patriots. If you were absent, if all nationalists were in their villages and cities [not in woods with partisans], people would know that only communists are in the woods and their attitude toward them would be very different. But this way, the people don’t know and you’re the ones that are keeping them in confusion.”
Even if the officials of JVuO claimed that they will never cooperate with communists, Ljotić predicted otherwise. And he was right. Not only did this agreement secure men and weapons for communist revolution, but also support among now confused folk who had no clue what the real aim of communists was.
This alliance would bring a heavy toll on Serbian people. Probably the greatest one is known as “Tragedy of Kragujevac” or “Kragujevac Massacre”. Joint JVuO-Partisan attack happened in 16th October 1941. They attacked one German battalion that was heading to free their comrades that were imprisoned by local JVuO militia. The way this attack was carried showed that it only had one end goal: heavy reprisals on local Serbian population. 10 Germans were killed and 26 of them were wounded in the attack. When their comrades tried to gather their dead and tend the wounded, partisans and JVuO bandits ambushed them again forcing the Germans to leave their dead behind. In this attack majority of casualties were on JVuO side and after the attack they pulled back while partisans stayed to “finish” the job. They took the dead Germans and mutilated their corpses. They have cut penises of dead soldiers and stuffed them in their mouths, broke their arms and legs making “V” signs with them and gouged their eyes.
What followed was the execution of 2300 civilians, including schoolchildren. Luckily for the locals, some Volunteer units with Commander Marisav Petrović were present in the town. They managed to save hundreds and thousands of locals, but not all. History will remember this event quite differently: where Germans executed over 7000 antifascists helped by Serbian Volunteer Corps, and partisans were the ones who fought against such reprisals.
Hearing this, Ljotić, together with Milan Nedić, immediately intervened to Harald Turner and other German officials, demanding that they cease with reprisals on the civilians. Ljotić was shown the photos of mutilated German bodies and was told that the Germans will put and end to this “Serbian barbarianism”. Ljotić dismissed this, saying that only communists are capable of such felony and that they are committing them out of hatred to the Serbian folk. Both Ljotić and Nedić insisted that reprisals be put on hold, while they will make sure that communists be wiped from the territory of occupied Serbia.
This is how Ljotić struggled for his people, while Mihailović intensified his cooperation with Tito – which wouldn’t last long and he too will realized the error in his past actions. But the damage would already be done.
Even before this incident, Germans were continuously executing locals as reprisals for communist sabotages and attacks. In late autumn, Ljotić had a meeting with dr. Gruber, chief of Nachrichten Dienst. Seeing Ljotić bitter at Germans, he asked him if it isn’t all the same if Germans or Soviets win, to which Ljotić replied:
“It’s not the same. But if Germans are going to wage war this way, then it’s probably for the best for them to lose. If Bolsheviks win, they will cut to the roots of my people, but the roots will stay and after five, ten or fifty years new sprouts will grow. If Germans win the war, my people would be pulled out by the roots and gone.”
This attitude Ljotić held in regard to German campaign in the east too. He was disappointed at German staff for not treating their operation as liberation of Russian Christian people, but as a conquest of some territory. For the same reasons Ljotić predicted that Germans would lose the war, unfortunately this prediction would also come true.
Germans in the end listened to Dimitrije Ljotić and allowed Serbs do deal with communists and reprisals ceased to be carried out.
In winter of 1941, the JVoU-Partisan cooperation ceases, Tito and his red bandits fled from Serbia to the territory of Independent State of Croatia, where they would survive and grow throughout the whole war. If only Dimitrije Ljotić and his pupils from SDK were given a chance to act on the territory across Drina, no doubt the largest communist movement in Europe outside of USSR would be put down swiftly just like it was put down in Serbia. Wherever Serbian national forces, armed and inspired by Ljotić and his associates, acted – communists disappeared and local Serbian folk was safe.
“You want to be free. Never before did you want freedom so bad until now. But be careful. Watch out! Not for this wish, because it comes from God, but for those who can use it against you!”