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Episode 1728

Ba Congress
Thu, 2022-Jan-27 00:54 UTC
Length - 4:31

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Thursday, 27 January 2022 is Ba Congress.

The Ba Congress, also known as the Saint Sava Congress (Serbian: Светосавски конгрес, romanized: Svetosavski kongres) or Great People's Congress, was a meeting of representatives of Draža Mihailović's Chetnik movement held between 25 and 28 January 1944 in the village of Ba in the German-occupied territory of Serbia during World War II. It sought to provide a political alternative to the plans for post-war Yugoslavia set out by the Chetnik's rivals, the communist-led Yugoslav Partisans, and attempted to reverse the decision of the major Allied powers to provide their exclusive support to the Yugoslav Partisans while withdrawing their support of the Chetniks.

The Partisan plan had been set out in the November 1943 Second Session of the communist-led Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ). While the Chetnik movement and Mihailović had been working towards a return to the Serb-dominated, monarchist Yugoslavia of the interwar period, AVNOJ had resolved that post-war Yugoslavia would be a federal republic with six equal, constituent republics, and denied the right of the King to return from exile before a popular referendum to determine the future of his rule. AVNOJ had further asserted that it was the sole legitimate government of Yugoslavia.

By the time of the Ba Congress, large parts of the Chetnik movement had been drawn into collaboration with the occupying forces. The British, who had primacy regarding Allied policy in Yugoslavia, had originally supported the Chetniks, but, by December 1943, had concluded that the Chetniks were more interested in collaborating with the Axis against the Partisans than in fighting the Axis. As a test, they asked Mihailović to attack two specific bridges on the Belgrade to Salonika railway line, which never happened. At the Tehran Conference of November – December 1943, the major allies agreed to change support to the Partisans. However, the Partisans had not gained entry to the German-occupied territory of Serbia, and combined with a November armistice they had with the Germans (and likely with their tacit support for the congress), the Chetniks planned the Ba Congress as a political gesture aimed at addressing the resolutions of AVNOJ, providing an alternative political vision for post-war Yugoslavia, and as a means of changing the minds of the Allies – but particularly the US – about the decisions of the Tehran Conference that withdrew support for the Chetnik movement.

The congress opened on 25 January, with the pre-war leader of the small Socialist Party, Živko Topalović, as its chairman. The congress denounced the AVNOJ as "the work of the Ustasha-Communist minority", continuing an existing propaganda campaign which claimed that the Partisans and Ustashas had united to exterminate the Serbs. It also provided its full support to King Peter II and the Yugoslav government-in-exile, and re-asserted the Chetnik movement's opposition to the Germans and their allies. It further resolved to mobilise all anti-communist Serbs to fight for the survival of Serbdom. It founded a new political party, the Yugoslav Democratic National Union (JDNZ), in an effort to unite all the elements of the Chetnik movement. Lastly, it proposed its own vision for the political and socio-economic future of Yugoslavia. This political framework included a Serb sovereign and a tripartite federal state, with entities for the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes only, with the Serb unit being dominant, much in the style of the Serbian nationalist and irredentist idea of Greater Serbia. However, while the congress resulted in a short period of reduced collaboration with the Germans and the forces of the puppet Government of National Salvation in the German-occupied territory of Serbia, at this stage of the war, and with the change in Allied policy towards the Chetniks, there was nothing that could be done to improve the position of the movement. Mihailović was dropped as a minister of the government-in-exile soon after, and the Chetnik situation continued to deteriorate, with their continuing tentative collaboration with the Germans playing into the hands of Partisans.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:54 UTC on Thursday, 27 January 2022.

For the full current version of the article, see Ba Congress on Wikipedia.

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