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The May consultations were an underground gathering of the Central Committee (Politburo) of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) and leaders of its regional branches held after World War II in Yugoslavia started, on the initiative of Josip Broz Tito in early May 1941 in Zagreb, at the time part of the so-called Independent State of Croatia (modern-day Croatia).

The exact place and date of the consultations is unknown, but based on the first records about it, it is assumed that it was held in Zagreb at the beginning of May 1941. The participants were communists from regional committees of Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. The communists from Serbia and Macedonia did not attend it. The purpose of the consultations was to discuss the reasons for the defeat of the Yugoslav Royal Army during the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia and the consequences of the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia, and consequent further directives for the members of the CPY.

The conclusions were subsequently interpreted and published in different records, and contained several key points aimed against Greater Serbian reactionary bourgeoisie, considered by them to be truly at fault for the war, and in favor of a Croatian state that would not actually be a fascist puppet state. At the time, however, their main point was to present to the Yugoslav public that communists of Yugoslavia had plans to struggle against the Axis occupation despite the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

The CPY decided to organize the Military committees with each of its regional branches in Yugoslavia, similar to the Military committee of the Politburo established on 10 April 1941.

April meetings of communists in Zagreb

After the beginning of the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia during April 1941, the Central Committee of the CPY and the Communist Party of Croatia held several meetings in April 1941 about the activities of the communists in Axis occupied Yugoslavia.[1] This meetings determined the necessity to organize May consultations with representatives of the national and regional Yugoslav communist leaders.[2] On 15 April 1941 the CPY published proclamation from which Tito in his later interpretations emphasized that "It was necessary to inform people in advance - the struggle will be very bloody because there will be no return to old Yugoslavia, in which workers were exploited and people without any rights".[3]

Date of the consultations

The first sources, including text published in Proleter, explained that the consultations were organized in the beginning of May 1941.[4] Different later interpretations about the exact date of the consultations from Vladimir Dedijer, a main official biographer of Josip Broz, raised doubts that this consultations even happened at all.[5] Some historians, including Veselin Đuretić, believe that the consultations have never happened.[6] The communist historiography explained the different interpretations of the exact date with necessity to keep the date as secret, but this argument is not valid.[7]

Participants

The consultations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia were initiated by Josip Broz Tito and attended by delegates from almost all parts of Axis occupied Yugoslavia.[8] The meeting was attended by all members of the Politburo except Aleksandar Ranković:[9]

Aleksandar Ranković was at the time secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Croatia and member of Politburo who went to Belgrade to order Serbian communists to return to Belgrade after they left it and went to rural places.[10] Although many different sources published some information about participation of some communist representatives from Serbia, according to Blagoje Nešković, nobody from Serbian regional communist committee was present tat the consultations.[11] The reliable historical literature also does not mention participation of any member of CPY from Serbia.[12]

The secretary of the regional committee of CPY for Macedonia refused to send their delegates to Zagreb, the regional committee for Macedonia was disbanded.[13] The Macedonian communists stated that they are subordinated to Bulgarian communists, basically agreeing with territorial aspiration of Greater Bulgarian fascists.[14]

Discussions

The purpose of the consultations was to discuss the reasons for defeat of Yugoslav Army and consequences of Axis occupation of Yugoslavia and consequent further directives for the members CPY.[15]

Milovan Đilas explained in his later memories that the CPY blamed German and English capitalistic imperialists for the World War II, emphasizing that English capitalists are more dangerous and that people of Yugoslavia should align with Soviet Union.[16] Tito emphasized that English capitalists are careless "English proponents of war together with Greater Serbian chauvinist who are pushing the country into war bloodbath with their provocative actions".[17] To counter such activities the CPY decided to organize Military committees with each of its regional branches in Yugoslavia, similar to the Military committee of the Politburo established on 10 April 1941.[18]

One of the most important remarks of the leaders of Yugoslav Communist Party was their determined rejection of accusations coming from Greater Serbian circles that Croats are responsible for "quick capitulation of Yugoslav Army".[19] The Yugoslav Communists concluded that most important reason for quick defeat of Yugoslav Army in April war was policy of Greater Serbian bourgeoisie which exploited for more than 20 years people of Yugoslavia.[20] The Yugoslav communists underlined that they know that Serbs have nothing in common with those treacherous Serbian gentlemen.[21] The Yugoslav communists emphasized that Serbian reactionary bourgeoisie is guilty for the tragedy of Serbs and all other Yugoslav nations and that Serbs will first invite them to meet the justice at the right time because Serbian bourgeoisie is main cause of all evil that happened to Serbs and other nations of Yugoslavia.[22]

The Yugoslav Communists rejected accusations of Ustaše propaganda that they were against Independent State of Croatia (NDH) because they were against independence of the Croats. The conclusions of the May consultations rejected such accusations and emphasized that Yugoslav Communists are not against independence of Croats, underlining that majority of Croats and Croatian nationalists knew very well that the main cause of the struggle of Yugoslav communists is liberation of all Yugoslav nations from exploitation of the Greater Serbian bourgeoisie, but in the first place for liberation of Croat nation.[23] The CPY stated that it is against NDH because it is not an independent Croatia, but a simple Italian province subjected to robbery of Italian and German imperialist thieves. That kind of "independent" Croatia is what they are against, together with 99% of Croats.[24]

Written records

No written records from this consultations were kept, the exact date of the consultations and exact place where it occurred is unknown, including the composition of the participants.[25] There are no written records which could be formal direct result of the consultations, the introductory text presented by Tito, the text of the resolution or scripts were never published.[26] In June 1941, after he went to Belgrade, Tito published a text about the May consultations in "Proleter", an organ of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, only in June 1941 in German-occupied Belgrade.[27][28]

The main purpose of the decisions was to present to Yugoslav public that communists of Yugoslavia had plans to struggle against Axis despite the fact the Soviet Union had a pact of non-aggression with Nazi Germany (which would unravel on 22 June 1941).[29]

According to some sources, Milovan Đilas in his memories published 30 years later explained the reasons for destruction of the scripts: The Yugoslav Communists reached decision to struggle against Serbs with main aim to establish communist regime in Yugoslavia.[30]

The absence of the written documents from this consultations and different interpretations of the key details brought into doubt that these consultations has even occurred.[citation needed]

Report to Comintern about the consultations

After May consultations Tito went to German-occupied Belgrade where he resided until September 1941. At that time the Soviet Union had its embassy in Belgrade which was active even after the Axis occupied Yugoslavia because the Soviet Union and Germany were still allies until 22 June 1941. Tito delivered report to Moscow through an officer in the Soviet Embassy in Belgrade. His report had two main points:[31]

References

  1. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 7):"..Pitanje utvrđivanja sudionika Savjetovanja usko je povezano s pitanjem same svrhe toga sastanka I priprema za nj. Riječ je o tome da su sastancima članova CK KPJ i Ci<L KPH, kojih je bilo nekoliko u toku travnja, prisustvovali oni članovi koji su se nalazili u Zagrebu. ,..."
  2. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 7):"..Po svoj prilici je na toj sjednici III ubrzo nakon nje donesena odluka o sazivanju širega jpartljskog savjetovanja na koje bi se pozvali predstavnici nacionalnih I pokrajinskih loikovodstava. ,..."
  3. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 7):"...nema povratka na staro, na staru Jugoslaviju u kojoj su radne mase bile ugnjetene i' eksploatisane, a narodi obespravljeni,..."
  4. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 2)
  5. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 3):"Bez ikakvih novih argumenata Iskonstruirao je kvalitetno nove podatke o Savjetovanju, dovodeći u sumnju njegovo održavanje"
  6. ^ (Đuretić 1997, p. 42)
  7. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 3):"Tvrdnja da se u spomenutim primarnim dokumentima »zbog konspiracije« nije dao tobožnji pravi datum, tj. da je Savjetovanje održano potkraj travnja, nema nikakve čvršće osnove"
  8. ^ Fourteen Centuries of Struggle for Freedom. Military Museum. 1968. pp. xxviii. In early May, 1941, at the initiative of Josip Broz Tito, a Consultation of the Yugoslav Communist Party was held in Zagreb, attended by delegates from almost all parts of Yugoslavia.
  9. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):"...Najprije treba konstatirati da su Savjetovanju prisustvovali svi članovi Političkog biroa Centralnog komiteta KPJ osim Aleksandra Rankovića. To znači da su na tom sastanku bili: Josip Broz Tito, generalni sekretar KPJ, Edvard Kardelj, Rade Končar, Ivan Milutinović, Franc Leskošek i Milovan Đilas.^..."
  10. ^ (Glišić & Borković 1975, p. 24):"... Александар Ранковић. Он је око три месеца вршио дужност секретара ЦККПЈ Хрватске,"
  11. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 9):"Prema sjećanju člana Pokrajinskog komiteta Blagoja Neškovića, »od članova PK Srbije niko nije išao na sastanak u Zagreb posle 6. aprila«"
  12. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 10):".*U relevantnoj povijesnoj literaturi također nema spomena o tome da je netko iz PK KPJ za Srbiju prisustvovao Savjetovanju"
  13. ^ (Vujnović 1986, p. 24):"Pošto je sekretar pokrajinskog komiteta KPJ za Makedoniju odbio da njegovi predstavnici učestvuju na Majskom savetovanju u Zagrebu i raspuštanjem Pokrajinskog komiteta u maju,.."
  14. ^ (Perazić 2001, p. 62):"Одбио је да дође на мајско саветовање 1941 . године , изјавивши да је партијска организација Македоније саставни део Бугарске радничке партије . На тај начин он се сагласио са аспирацијама великобугарских фашиста"
  15. ^ (Nikolić 2000, p. 185)
  16. ^ (Nikolić 2000, p. 185)
  17. ^ (Nikolić 2000, p. 185):" На другој су били " разуларени енглески ратни хушкачи и великосрпски шовинисти који са својим провокацијама гурају земљу у ратни покољ...""
  18. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 18):" Istina je da smo mi protiv takve 'Nezavisne Države↵Hrvatske' kakva je danas, kakvu su skrpili Pavelić i njegova bratija zajedno sa Mussolinijem i Hitlerom, jer to nije nikakva nezavisna država Hrvatska, nego obična talijanska provincija, objekt pljačke njemačkih i talijanskih imperijalističkih razbojnika. Protiv takve 'nezavisne' države Hrvatske nismo samo mi, već i 99 posto hrvatskog naroda.«"
  19. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):"Jedna od bitnih i najznačajnijih ocjena rukovodstva KPJ na Savjetovanju sastojala se u odlučnom suprotstavljanju svim optužbama koje su potjecale iz velikosrpskih krugova: da hrvatski narod snosi glavnu krivicu za »brzu kapitulaciju jugoslavenske vojske«. "
  20. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):"Majsko savjetovanje posebnu je pozornost obratilo analizi uzroka onako munjevitog sloma Kraljevine Jugoslavije u travanjskom ratii. U toj je analizi rukovodstvo KPJ istaklo nekoliko presudnih činilaca: politiku nacionalnog tlačenja koju su provodili režimi velikosrpske buržoazije više od _dvadeset godina; "
  21. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):" kao što nema ništa zajedničko ni srpski narod sa izdajničkom klikom vladajuće srpske gospode."
  22. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):" Ali srpski narod predobro zna da je glavni krivac sadašnje njegove tragedije, kao i tragedije svih naroda Jugoslavije, baš srpska reakcionarna vladajuća buržoazija i nju će u prvom redu pozvati na odgovornost kada za to kucne čas. Ona je glavni krivac svega zla koje je zadesilo kako srpski tako i ostale narode Jugoslavije.« "
  23. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):" KP je odlučno odbijala optužbe, koje joj je tada upućivala ustaška propaganda, da su komunisti »protiv nezavisnosti hrvatskog naroda«. U vezi s tim u zaključcima Savjetovanja ističe se: »Razumije se da je to obična laž i kleveta. Mislimo da je dovoljno dobro poznato većini hrvatskog naroda, a i nekim frankovcima koji su sjedili na robiji zajedno s komunistima, da smo mi, komunisti, baš zbog toga i navukli veliku mržnju na sebe od strane velikosrpske buržoazije što smo se borili za nacionalno oslobođenje ugnjetenih naroda Jugoslavije, a u prvom redu hrvatskog naroda"
  24. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 8):" Istina je da smo mi protiv takve 'Nezavisne Države Hrvatske' kakva je danas, kakvu su skrpili Pavelić i njegova bratija zajedno sa Mussolinijem i Hitlerom, jer to nije nikakva nezavisna država Hrvatska, nego obična talijanska provincija, objekt pljačke njemačkih i talijanskih imperijalističkih razbojnika. Protiv takve 'nezavisne' države Hrvatske nismo samo mi, već i 99 posto hrvatskog naroda.«"
  25. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 1):"Nije sačuvan dokument o ovom savetovanju, nije poznat ni tačan datum njegovog održavanja, kao ni zgrada u kojoj se zasedalo i sastav učesnika"
  26. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 1):"ni ti dokumenti nisu neposredni rezultat rada Savjetovanja u formalnom smislu riječi,...ne postoje neki dokumenti koji su u formalnom smislu riječi proizašli neporedno iz rada Savjetovanja kao što su Titov uvodni referat, rezolucija i zapisnik"
  27. ^ (Glišić & Borković 1975, p. 24):"и закључци са мајског саветовања које је написао Тито, а објављени су у „Пролетеру“"
  28. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 1):"Kao što je poznato, o samom Savjetovanju postoje dva osnovna dokumenta. Prvi dokument pod naslovom »Savjetovanje Komunističke partije Jugoslavije«, objavljen je u »Proleteru«, organu OK KPJ, u lipnju 1941. u okupiranom Beogradu.^"
  29. ^ (Đuretić 1997, p. 42):"Анализа садржине одлука“Мајског саветовања” ЦК КПЈ показује да..."
  30. ^ Sotirović, Dragan; Jovanović, Branko; Dimitrijević, Bojan (2004). Srbija i Ravna Gora. Институт за савремену историју (Belgrade, Serbia). p. 76. ISBN 9788674030899. Мајском саветовању у Загребу, Комунистичка партија придаје велики значај а његове закључке и одлуке ... Тридесет година касније ће Милован Ђилас у својим мемоарима изне- ти разлоге који су налагали уништење тога записника. На томе заседању Комунистичка партија Југославије је донела одлуку о борби противу српскога народа, у циљу љу успостављања комунистичке власти и система у Југославији
  31. ^ (Jelić 1984, p. 1):"Tito je u svom izvještaju rukovodstvu Kominterne ukazao na dva bitna momenta. Prvi se odnosio na činjenicu da je KPJ »sačuvala kontinuitet u svome radu i međusobne veze« te da partijska rukovodstva na čelu sa Centralnim komitetom obavljaju svoje funkcije. Drugi moment ogledao se u tome što je KPJ »ostala jedinstvena, a CK rukovodi nesmetano u svim oblastima okupirane zemlje i ima redovne veze s tim oblastima«"

Sources