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This memoir by a member of the 1940's Yugoslav government-in-exile demands patient reading between the lines. Jukic, now a British resident and then a deputy of the reactionary Croatian leader Macek, gives a dense account of the events preceding the Nazi invasion of his country. A putsch overthrew the government which had just signed a pact with Hitler; Jukic in effect agrees with scholars like John Strawson and Alan Bullock that Hitler's consequent rage launched the invasion. But he raises an implicit question when he describes how the new government had decided to stay pro-German after all, and told Hitler so. Jukic describes the extreme sufferings of the three-way war among fascist Croatian Ustashi, semi-fascist Serbian Chetniks, and Tito's Communist-led partisans, the only ones who fought the German occupiers. A pox on all of them was Jukic's mood, and even on the British, who swung to what he considers a suicidal support of the partisans, then failed to persuade the Americans to invade Southern Europe and rescue Yugoslavia from Tito. There's valuable data on the Chetnik collaboration with the Italians, as well as a claim that Tito negotiated with the Germans for a joint front in the event the Allies did invade -- a claim hard to take at face value, since Tito's strength was based on the anti-German struggle. Such absorbing issues are bordered by dull minuets of changing pseudo-ministries among the London Yugoslavs. Jukic concludes with the mournful understatement that the Croatian faction in London really should have expressed disapproval of the Ustashi massacres (which outran even the Nazis' in horror) -- then Tito might have been crushed. An obligatory reference, and a challenge to specialists.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1974
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich