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The Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia, known more commonly by its Yugoslav abbreviation AVNOJ (Serbo-Croatian: Antifa?isti?ko vije?e narodnog oslobo?enja Jugoslavije - AVNOJ / ? ? - [a]), was the political umbrella organization for the national liberation councils of the Yugoslav resistance against the Axis occupation during World War II. It eventually became the Yugoslav provisional wartime deliberative body. It was established on November 26, 1942, to administer territories under the control of the Partisans.
After the Yugoslavian army capitulated on April 17, 1941, Yugoslavia was distributed between Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and the newly formed puppet states: the Independent State of Croatia, the Italian governorate of Montenegro, Greater Albania and Nedi?'s Serbia. Opposition to these occupation regimes caused the formation of resistance movements, resulting in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ), then only active in the underground but fast gaining popularity, assuming the role of leading the forces in the Yugoslavian resistance. The KPJ as an organisation comprised people from, and drew support from, the whole of Yugoslavia; as such, it represented a single Yugoslav identity.
On November 26, 1942, the Partisan leaders of Yugoslavia convened the first AVNOJ meeting at Biha?, in a liberated pocket called the Biha? Republic in the northwest of Bosnia, in the hope of gaining political legitimacy. The Slovene delegation could not attend due to intense fighting, but it fully approved the federal build-up of the new Yugoslavia. Comprising a committee of both the communist and non-communist Partisan representatives, under Josip Broz Tito, AVNOJ proclaimed support for:
In January 1943, Germany mounted a fourth large-scale anti-partisan offensive to strengthen its control of Yugoslavia by destroying the central command of the Partisan movement - the Central Committee of the KPJ - and the primary Partisan hospital. The Partisans, outnumbered and engaged in major battles with the Chetnik formations of Colonel Dra?a Mihajlovi?, Ustasha militias and the combined German and Italian regular forces, were steadily forced into retreat until an elaborate deception plan allowed the Partisans to escape their pursuers. Despite the tactical defeat and the loss of men and equipment, the Partisan central command remained intact and the hospital safe which, over time, enabled the continuation of further operations against the enemy. All the major strategic military offensives of the Axis and their collaborators were ultimately thwarted.
In May of the same year, German, Italian, Bulgarian and Croatian troops launched a fifth concerted offensive against the Partisans in south eastern Bosnia, near the Sutjeska river. Again, faced by superior enemy numbers and potential encirclement, the Partisans escaped defeat but not without cost. However, the fact that after their successful breakout the Partisans were still able to mount major counter offensives proved to be a turning point in the battle for control of Yugoslavia. When Italy surrendered in September, the Partisans were further aided by captured Italian armour, control of additional coastal territory, and the shipment of supplies from the Allies in Italy.
"We are convinced that our Allies will not misunderstand this historic step taken by our people, but rather that they will do everything to give our people their moral and material help and backing, and this through the representatives elected by the people themselves in their own country."
In its second conference in the Bosnian town of Jajce, from November 29 to November 30, 1943, Tito declared the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia to be the superior executive authority in the country. The decisions and the resolutions of the second AVNOJ conference were:
Stalin, the Soviet leader, was not informed of the move and barred Tito from forming a provisional government. To counter decisions of AVNOJ to organize Yugoslavia as federative republic, Dra?a Mihailovi? organized a Saint Sava Congress participated by representatives of former liberal political parties from Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia together with some pro-Yugoslav politicians from Croatia, based on the idea of Yugoslavia as tripartite constitutional monarchy headed by Serb sovereign.
In December 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin decided to support the Partisans. The United Kingdom joined a month later, and stopped supplying the Chetniks. The first Soviet mission arrived at Partisan headquarters, shortly thereafter. The United States kept a military mission with Mihajlovi? to encourage continued Chetnik aid for downed American fliers.
In May 1944, German airborne forces attacked Tito's headquarters in Drvar, nearly capturing him. Tito fled to Italy, and established a new headquarters on the Adriatic island of Vis. After throwing its full support to the Partisans, Britain worked to reconcile Tito and Petar. At Britain's urging, Petar agreed to remain outside Yugoslavia, and in September, summoned all Yugoslavs to back the Partisans.
The formulation of the resolutions at Jajce were revised and affirmed on 21 November 1944 in Belgrade, the city had been taken on 20 October by the Red Army and the Partisans under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito. One of the resolutions dealt with: "the decree about the transition of hostile goods to be turned into state property; about the public administration of the property of absent persons and seizure of the property alienated by force from the occupying powers". After this all possessions of the German Reich and its citizens, on the territory of Yugoslavia " as well as all possessions of persons of German nationality, except those Germans who fought as members of the national liberation army and the partisan units of Yugoslavia or who are citizens of neutral states, who did not behave hostilely during the Occupation ", should become the property of the new Yugoslav state. Besides this all possessions of the war criminals and their accomplices without consideration for their nationality and the fortune of each person, who was condemned, is seized by judgment of the civilian or military courts to become the possession of the state ".
On 6 February 1945, the decree of 21 November 1944 was transferred to the legislation of the Republic of Yugoslavia and incorporated into the Confiscation Law of 9 June 1945 and also into the law for agrarian reform of 23 August 1945. The law dealing with the voting lists of 10 August 1945 specified that "members of the military formations of the Occupiers and their native accomplices, and those who continuously and actively fought against the Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and/or against the Royal Yugoslav Army or against the armies of the confederates of Yugoslavia" are all denied the active right to vote. Moreover, the existence of these resolutions are confirmed in the establishment status of the autonomous area Vojvodina, which was created by decree of the presidency of the Serbian representative government (Slu?beni glas NIC Srbije of 9 September 1945) where a guarantee was made in article 4 "to all nationalities the full equal rights as a citizen of Serbia with exception of the German nationality, that due to the decision of the AVNOJ of 21 November 1944 the civic rights (dr?avljanska prava) were taken away." The AVNOJ resolutions became law on 1 December 1945 explains Leon Ger?kovi? and E. Zellweger. As a result, the flight and expulsion of the Danube Swabians (1944-48) began as part of the flight and expulsion of Germans (1944-50) and more than 170,000 Yugoslavian Danube Swabians were declared to be Germans and deported into many labor and concentration camps in Yugoslavia.