The Chetniks

The Chetniksi were members of the Serbian resistance units active on the Ottoman territories and occupied regions in the First World War. In the Second World War the Chetnik movement was anti-fascist in its essence, recognised by the Yugoslav government in exile, and at first were allies with the Western forces. Their aims completely differed from the Partisan ones: They fought for the preservation of the people and restoration of the Karađorđević Dynasty after the war. Their commanding officer was General Draža Mihailović, one of the most decorated officers in the history of modern Serbia, and his last decoration was – The Legion of Honour, First Rank – which was awarded posthumously by the US President, Harry Truman. But the coming of the Red Army to Serbia rendered the royalist Chetnik movement powerless to gain the upper hand in the civil war. The Communist authorities arrested General Miahilović, sentenced him to death, then executed him and buried at an unknown place.


The word Chetnik comes from Polish, denoting a guerrilla warrior. The word was first mentioned in Serbs in the mid 19th century, during a short-lived  Grbalj Uprising  at the backs of Boka Kotorska, and was coined by a Dubrovnik Serb, Matija Ban.


A Chetnik uniform was the Serbian national costume, the symbols were a fur hat with an emblem, kokarda, consisting of a cross with or without other signs. In the Second World War the emblem was the Chetnik symbol with the coat-of-arms insignia of the monarchy. The Chetniks wore beards and they saluted with words, “In God We Trust” or «Freedom or Death», and later on it was, «For the King and Homeland».


The first Chetnik headquarters in the Second World War was established on a liberated territory of Ravna Gora, in western Serbia, nearby Valjevo.


After the Second World War, the Chetniks had an important role in organising the Serbian diaspora and in educating them on their homeland


Jovan Babunski, Kosta Milovanović Pećanac, Dragoljub Draža Mihailović, Dragiša Vasić, Pavle Đurišić, Momčilo Đujić.