By Branko Ilic 30.09.2012 , Serbian FBReporter
By saying “No!” – straight to Hitler’s face the Serbs made a decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazis in World War II.
Excerpt from: “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”
A History of Nazi Germany
by William L. Shirer
Simon and Schuster, New York, 1960
…During the delirious celebrations in Belgrade, in which a crowd spat on the German minister’s car, the Serbs had shown where their sympathies lay.
The coup in Belgrade threw Adolf Hitler into one of the wildest rages of his entire life. He took it a
s a personal affront and in his fury made sudden decisions which would prove utterly dissastrous to the fortunes of the Third Reich.
He hurriedly summoned his military chieftans to the Chancellery in the Berlin on March 27 – the meeting was so hastly called that Brauchitsch, Halder and Ribbentrop arrived late – and raged about the revenge he would take on Yugoslavs… He was therefore determined,… “to destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as a nation. No diplomatic inquiries will be made,” he ordered, “and no ultimatums presented.” Yugoslavia, he added, would be crushed with “unmerciful harshness.” He ordered Goering then and there to “destroy Belgrade in attacks by waves,” with bombers operating from Hungarian air bases. He issued Directive No. 25 for the immediate invasion of Yugoslavia and told Keitel and Jodl to work out that very evening the military plans. He instructed Ribentrop to advise [the German allies] Hungary, Rumania and Italy that they would all get a slice of Yugoslavia, which would be divided up among them, except for a Croatian state.
And then, according to an underlined passage in the top-secret OKW notes of the meeting (1), Hitler announced the most fateful decision of all.
“The beginninig of the Barbarossa opreration [attack on Russia],” he told his generals, “will have to be postponed up to four weeks.” (It had originally been set for May 15 in the directive of December 18, 1940).
This postponment of the attack on Russia in order that the Nazi warlord might vent his personal spite against a small Balkan country which had dared to defy him was probably the most catastrophic single decision in Hitler’s career. It is hardly too much to say that by making it that March afternoon in the Chancellery in Berlin during a moment of convulsive rage he tossed away his last golden opportunity to win the war and to make of the Third Reich, which he had created with such stunning if barbarous genius, the greatest empire in German history and himself the master of Europe. Field Marshal von Brauchitsch, the Commander in Chief of the German Army, and General Halder, the gifted Chief of the General Staff, were to recall it with deep bitterness but also with more understanding of its consequences than they showed at the moment of its making, when later the deep snow and subzero temperatures of Russia hit them three of four weeks short of what they thought they needed for final victory. For ever afterward they and their fellow generals would blame that hastly, ill-advised decision of vain and infuriated man for all the disasters that ensued.