Cover image for The rape of Serbia : the British role in Tito's grab for power, 1943-1944
The rape of Serbia : the British role in Tito's grab for power, 1943-1944
Lees, Michael, 1921-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1990]

Physical Description:
xvi, 384 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DR1258.G7 L44 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Recounts how the British were tricked into supporting Tito.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The author of this expose of British (and Churchillian) tomfoolery was himself a liaison officer dropped by the British into German-occupied Yugoslavia in 1943 to assist local resistance fighters. Propelled by his own curiosity, Lees--four decades later--discovered a cache of Secret Service files dealing with the Yugoslav situation. The result is a compelling reconstruction of how Britain, prompted by an obviously ill-advised Churchill, scuttled the West-leaning resistance movement of Mihailovic. Promises of arms and supplies were mysteriously betrayed, and sabotage operations on behalf of Mihailovic were called off at the last minute. The reason? Newly discovered documents disclosed herein demonstrate conclusively that Churchill was hoodwinked by a massive disinformation campaign that led him to overlook Marshall Tito's Communist roots and transfer Britain's official allegiance away from the pro-Western Mihailovic. Churchill himself was embittered by Tito's later "betrayal" and counted his role in Tito's ascendance as one of his greatest blunders. A fine work of historical revelation. Bibliography; index. --Allen Weakland

Publisher's Weekly Review

There were two major resistance movements in Yugoslavia during the war: Tito's Communist Partisans and Draza Mihailovic's Loyalist Chetniks. The author served as British liaison officer with the latter in 1943 and 1944. His memoir describes how Tito deceived Winston Churchill into believing Mihailovic was collaborating with the Germans, which resulted in the abrupt transfer of Allied aid from the Chetniks to the Partisans. The tragic upshot was that Tito then used Allied munitions against the Chetniks after the German retreat, launching an extermination campaign against thousands of rivals and potential enemies. The British prime minister, realizing too late his error in embracing Tito at the expense of Mihailovic, tried to intervene on the latter's behalf but was unable to prevent a Titoist court from convicting him of treason. Mihailovic was executed in 1946. Lees relates this grim story with unrestrained bitterness. His book is a powerful indictment of British wartime policy in the Balkans and an elegy for Yugoslav victims of Tito. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Lees combines his personal experience as British liaison officer with research in official declassified records to provide a revisionist account of the civil war in Yugoslavia at the end of World War II. The result is a fascinating investigation that effectively demolishes the reputation of Marshal Tito and blames his rise to power on the overt support of the Western allies. Lees indicts the British Secret Service for turning the tide toward Tito and against the non-Communist resistance leader General Draza Mihailovic, who was executed by Tito in 1946. Lees's involvement in some of these events adds an element of high drama to this study, and this unsettling work will cast serious doubt on all previous histories of this period, such as Walter Roberts's Tito, Mihailovic, and the Allies ( LJ 2/1/73). Recommended for most academic and larger public libraries.-- Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.