King Peter II
By Miloslav Samardzic
Before the superior forces of the Axis Powers, the monarchs, presidents and governments of the occupied European countries were escaping to Britain. Had Germany invaded Britain all these statesmen would have found refuge in Canada. In the second half of April 1941, Yugoslav King Peter II Karadjordjevic and the Yugoslav Government joined the exiled sovereigns. Whilst in Athens, Greece on April 16th 1941, King Petar stated:
“Forced to leave National Hearth before the stronger enemy, I do not intend to leave the fight. The Honor of the National Flag has been saved, but National Freedom is in danger. I call my dear People not to droop under the hits of fate but to preserve the faith in the future… Believing that God will defend our right cause, I acclaim: Long Live Yugoslavia and its Freedom!”
In the same day, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden informed the Yugoslav Ambassador in London he (minister Eden) hoped “that Yugoslav Government, although out of the country, will continue with Allies England and Greece and it [the Yugoslav government] stays in the eyes of the English Government as the legitimate representative of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.” Minister Eden also hoped “Yugoslavia would participate in the final victory”. Such a factual situation was accepted by all countries out of the Axis Block, and after June 22nd 1941, the Soviet Union did the same. The occupation was seen as a temporary terrorist act. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia still existed. It had The King, Government and Army: Smaller elements of the Army in the Middle East, and larger ones in the Homeland. There was always a free territory in the homeland thanks to the army. In the following years, King Peter met with leaders of the Allied Countries, including Churchill and Roosevelt, who kept repeating their promises from April of 1941, that his Country, and, so his People, were not endangered. In the second half 1943, the situation changed. Great Britain and the US shifted their support to the armed formations of the illegal Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Under the threat that he would be deported from London to Africa, King Peter 21 at the time was forced to support the communists. Soon he withdrew this support, but it was useless as all countries, the Red Army passed through, became communist countries. King Peter remained in exile. He died in the United States in 1970.