1,072,000 Murdered Tito's Slaughterhouse
The communists had never been an important force in prewar Yugoslavia. The defeat and occupation changed all that. Led by Josip Broz Tito, their secretary general since 1937, the communists were at first inhibited in opposing the Nazi occupation. This was the result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939. After all, the Soviet Union was a de facto German ally, having divided Poland with the Nazis and continuing to supply the Nazis with raw materials. The communists did, however, prepare for an armed uprising if war were to break out between the two, as it did in June 1941. The Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia was savage and genocidal. Guerrilla war against the occupying Nazi forces began almost immediately. In the beginning it was carried out by guerrillas led by a colonel on the General Staff of the Yugoslav army, Dragoljub-Draza Mihailovic. Called Chetniks, these guerrillas were largely Serbian, anticommunist, nationalist, and royalist.