New Zealand press 1941: Macedonians are ultra patriots

Modern historyNew Zealand press 1941: Macedonians are ultra patriots

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An archival find, from the New Zealand press reporting from the Balkans in World War II and describing the Macedonians as “ultra patriots”. The article entitled “Secret Societies – Activities against Hitler – Bitterness in the Balkans” was published on page 3 of the New Zealand newspaper on 23 April 1941. A few days after the invasion of the German Wehrmacht and its allies, the Bulgarian Fascist troops.

They are ultra-patriots, Macedonian patriots, and among the greatest fighters in Europe

The whole article in the original wording:

Secret Societies

Activities against Hitler

Bitterness in the Balkans

There is a saying in the Balkans that „the master of the Vardar Valley is the master of the Balkans,“ and down and across the Vardar lies the country of the irrepressible Southern Serbs, the Macedonians.

These Macedonians, as hardy a race as lives, were the people loudest in their protest against capitulation to Germany. For more than 100 years they have withstood the efforts of four nations (Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Jugoslavia) to assimilate them. They are ultra-patriots, Macedonian patriots, and among the greatest fighters in Europe (writes Richard Greenless in the Melbourne “Sun”).

Partitioned and re-partitioned they remain Macedonians, although there is no longer a Macedonia. They recall the last war and hate the Germans. They hate Italy. They hated even the rulers at Belgrade. At one time they swore a kind of allegiance with Bulgaria which promise autonomy, but nor they hate the Bulgarian rulers.

For a century or more they have been responsible for many of the wars, much of the bloodshed, many of the assassinations in Europe.

Forty years ago there was formed in Macedonia the IMRO (the International Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation), whose followers, the “Komitadji” well organized and ever ready to fight superbly, will slit a throat, throw a bomb, fire a revolver, or start a war in the name od independence, at the drop of a handkerchief.

In their quest for independence they have caused their mountains to flow with blood. They have gone farther afield in pursuit of their victims – to Prague, to Vienna, to Miland and to Marseilles, where the assassinated their King Alexander (Peter’s II father) in 1934. They have assassinated (or “executed”) each other when sudden switches in policy have caused divisions in their own ranks. It is generally difficult to follow their passionate policies.

Serbia (the original Serbia to the north) and the League of Nations have been their main hates, and against Serbia they have directed their main terror.

In the cables recently there have been references to the stirring up of the Komitadji, to their leaving Vardar to join Greece.

The Macedonians will have to forget their antipathy for the Serbs now that Hitler has received his greatest rebuff in years.

The Serbs, too, are no kid-glove diplomatists. They also have had their secret societies, which are being revived to meet the German menace. It has appeared likely that we would hear again of the Black Hand, of which Gavrilo Princip was a member. The arrest of Tsvetkovitch and his traitor colleagues probably saved their lives.

For there is solid proof that the spirit that prompted young Princip to assassinate the Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, at Sarajevo in 1914, still exists. At Sarajevo there is a monument to the man whose deed lit the flame that started the last war. Princip remains a national hero to the Serbs, although he caused the loss of 19,000,000 lives.

Partly through the efforts of the fathers of the Macedonias, who already were crossing the Greek frontier, when Peter staged his coup, the Triume Kingdome of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Jugoslavia – Jugo for south) was formed, but those who redrew the frontiers produced what has been called an “unnatural union of motives,” most unnatural being the continued union of the Macedonians with the Serbs.

While the injustices of the union (and the division) are still rankling among the Macedonian they now see an opportunity of redrawing frontiers which will unite the two to four million of them in a new Macedonia, independent of all countries – Jugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece.

SOURCE: The Waikato Independent, April 23, 1941

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