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Milan Nedić (Serbian Cyrillic: Милан Недић; 7 May 1878 – 4 February 1946) was a Serbian general and politician who served as the chief of the general staff of the Yugoslav Army, minister of war in the Royal Yugoslav Government and the prime minister of a Nazi-installed Serbian puppet government during World War II. Today, he is considered by many as a Nazi collaborator.
|Prime Minister of the Government of National Salvation|
29 August 1941 – 4 October 1944
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
|Minister of Interior of the Government of National Salvation|
5 November 1943 – 4 October 1944
|Preceded by||Tanasije Dinić|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
7 May 1878|
Grocka, Principality of Serbia
|Died||4 February 1946
Belgrade, Serbia, Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
|Allegiance|| Kingdom of Serbia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Government of National Salvation
|Years of service||1904–1941|
|Commands||Chief of the General Staff|
|Battles/wars||Balkans war, World War I, Serbian army's retreat through Albania, World War II|
After the war, Yugoslav communist authorities imprisoned him. In 1946 they reported that he had committed suicide by jumping out of a window.
Early life and military careerEdit
Milan Nedić was born in the Belgrade suburb of Grocka on 2 September 1878 to Đorđe and Pelagia Nedić. His father was a local district chief and his mother was a teacher from a village near Mount Kosmaj. She was the granddaughter of Nikola Mihailović, who was mentioned in the writings of poet Sima Milutinović Sarajlija and was an ally of Serbian revolutionary leader Karađorđe. The Nedić family was originally from the village of Zaoka, near Lazarevac. It traced its origins to two brothers, Damjan and Gligorije, who defended the Čokešina Monastery from the Turks during the Serbian Revolution. The family received its name from Nedić's great-grandmother, Neda, who was a member of the Vasojevići tribe in Montenegro.
Nedić finished gymnasium in Kragujevac in 1895 and entered the lower level of the Military Academy in Belgrade that year. In 1904, he completed the upper level of the academy, then the General Staff preparatory, and was commissioned into the Serbian Army. In 1910, he was promoted to the rank of major. He fought with the Serbian Army during the Balkan Wars, and received multiple decorations for bravery. In 1913, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served with the Serbian Army during World War I and was involved in rearguard actions during its retreat through Albania in the winter of 1915. That year, he was promoted to the rank of colonel. At 38, he was the youngest colonel in the Serbian General Staff. He was appointed ordinance officer to King Peter in 1916. Towards the end of the war, Nedić was given command of an infantry brigade of the Timok Division.
Royal Yugoslav ArmyEdit
Nedić remained a brigade commander within the Timok Division until the end of 1918 and served as the 3rd Army chief of staff. Beginning in 1919, he also served as the de facto head of the 4th Army District in Croatia because its nominal commander, General Božidar Janković, was old and infirm. Nedić's cousin, Dimitrije Ljotić, and their mutual friend Stanislav Krakov, also served in the 4th Army District and were commanded by Nedić. When the Royal Yugoslav Army (Serbo-Croatian: Vojska Kraljevine Jugoslavije, VKJ) was formed in 1919 he was absorbed into the army at the same rank. He was promoted to Divizijski đeneral in 1923, and subsequently commanded a division then was Secretary-General of the Committee of National Defence. In 1930, Nedić was promoted to the rank of Armiski đeneral,[a] and assumed command of the 3rd Army in Skoplje. Nedić was appointed Chief of the General Staff in June 1934, and held this position until the following year, when he became the third member of the Military Council, probably because of his strained relations with the Minister for the Army and Navy, Petar Živković. At the time, British diplomatic staff observed that he was "somewhat slow-thinking and obstinate". On 13 August 1939, Nedić was appointed Minister of the Army and Navy as part of the Cvetković–Maček Agreement. Ljotić later assisted the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Central Office, RSHA) in establishing contacts with him. He also exploited the connections he had with Nedić to ensure that the banned Zbor-published journal Bilten (Bulletin) was distributed to members of the VKJ. The journal was published illegally in a military printing house and distributed throughout Yugoslavia by military couriers.
Because of his disapproval of a potential participation in the war against Adolf Hitler's Germany, Nedić was dismissed on 6 November 1940 by regent Paul. This was most likely out of unease with Nazi Germany's ally, Fascist Italy which at the time harboured the Croatian extreme nationalist Ustashe leader Ante Pavelić in exile in Rome, and because of the rhetoric of some Italian fascists in the past such as the late Gabriele D'Annunzio, who were violently opposed to a Yugoslav state. Nedić welcomed the coup of 1941 which deposed the pro-Axis regime, and fought for Yugoslavia in the German-led Axis invasion that followed.
Wehrmacht commander Heinrich Danckelmann decided to entrust Nedić with the administration of German-occupied Serbia in order to pacify Serb resistance. Not long before, Nedić had lost his only son and pregnant daughter in law in a munitions explosion in Smederevo, in which several thousands died. He accepted the post of the prime minister in the government called the Government of National Salvation, on 29 August 1941.
On 1 September 1941 Nedić made a speech on Radio Belgrade in which he declared the intent of his administration to "save the core of the Serbian people" occupied and surrounded by Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albanians and Bosnian Muslims by accepting the occupation of Germany in the area of Sumadija, Drina Valley, Pomoravlje and Banat. He also spoke against organizing resistance to the occupying forces, because there was a German rule that 50 Serbs were to be murdered for each wounded German soldier and 100 for each killed soldier. In addition, at least 300,000 Serbs were forcefully taken to German camps. His state's propaganda was funded by Germany and promoted anti-Semitism and anti-communism, particularly linking these up with anti-masonry.
The Serbian government under Nedić accepted many refugees mostly of Serbian descent. The German occupiers held no respect for his authority or Serbs, and during the war over 300,000 people died in Serbia of war-related causes in German reprisals, which as described above demanded 100 killed Serbs for each killed German soldier, as in the Kragujevac massacre. In August 1942, the German occupiers proclaimed Serbia Judenfrei ("clean of Jews"). Nedić also secretly diverted money and arms from his government to the Chetniks.
On 4 October 1944, with the successes of the Yugoslav Partisans and their onslaught on Belgrade, Nedić's government was disbanded, and on 6 October Nedić fled from Belgrade to Kitzbühel, Austria (then annexed to Germany) where he took refuge with the occupying British. On 1 January 1946 the British forces handed him over to the Yugoslav Partisans.
He was incarcerated in Belgrade on a charge of treason. On February 5, the newspapers reported that Milan Nedić had committed suicide by jumping out of a window while the guards were not looking.
Recently, Miodrag Mladenović, a former officer with of the Yugoslavian OZNA, said that on 4 February 1946, he received an order to pick up a dead body at Zmaj Jovina street, where the prison was located at the time. When he arrived there, the body was already wrapped in a blanket and rigor mortis had already set in. Following the orders given to him, he took the body to the cemetery where it was buried in an unusually deep grave. He never attempted to see the face of the person that he was carrying, but the day after he read in the news that Milan Nedić had committed suicide by jumping through the prison window at Zmaj Jovina street.
During the Milošević era, Serbian history was falsified to obscure the role Serbian collaborators Milan Nedić and Dimitrije Ljotić played in cleansing Serbia's Jewish community, killing them in the country or deporting them to Eastern European concentration camps. In 1995, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts published a volume entitled 100 Outstanding Serbs, and included Nedić on the list. The minor Serbian Liberal Party attempted to promote his rehabilitation as an anti-Nazi who did his best in an impossible situation, sparking controversy in Serbia.
Nedić's portrait was included among those of Serbian prime ministers in the building of the Government of Serbia. In 2008, the Minister of Interior and Deputy PM Ivica Dačić removed the portrait after neo-Nazi marches were announced in the country.
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|Chief of the General Staff of Royal Yugoslav Army
1934 – 1935
|Minister of the Army and Navy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|President of the Ministerial Council of the Serbian Government of National Salvation
1941 – 1944
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