Montenegro, Italian occupation 1941–43

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Summary

Montenegro ( or ; or ; Montenegrin: Crna Gora / Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania to the south-east. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Prijestonica, meaning the former Royal Capital City.

Details

In 1941, Benito Mussolini occupied Montenegro and annexed it to the Kingdom of Italy. The Queen of Italy, Elena of Montenegro influenced her husband Victor Emmanuel III to suggest that Mussolini make Montenegro

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independent of Yugoslavia. The Uprising in Montenegro against Italian occupation broke out on 13 July and lasted until December 1941. The insurgents were Montenegrin communists and former Royal Yugoslav Army officers, some of whom had recently been released from prisoner-of-war camps. The communists dealt with the political organisation and providing of political commissars while the insurgent military forces were led by the former Royal Yugoslav Army officers.

Within three weeks from the start of uprising insurgents managed to capture almost whole territory of Montenegro. Pavle Đurišić emerged as one of the main commanders of the uprising after he distinguished himself during the successful attack he led on Berane. Italian troops were forced to retreat to their strongholds in Nikšić, Cetinje and Podgorica. The Communists took charge of the situation and began with terror against the people they perceived as their class enemies. The bloody rule of communists antagonized many people in Montenegro. The counteroffensive of Italian forces of 67,000 troops, commanded by General Alessandro Pirzio Biroli, was assisted by Muslim and Albanian irregular forces from border areas. Although the uprising was suppressed Italian occupation was effectively reduced to towns while Chetniks remained in control of the rest of the territory of Montenegro according to agreement with Italian General Alessandro Pirzio Biroli who was governor of Montenegro. Partisan forces of around 3,000 soldiers were chased away from Montenegro not to re-enter it for almost a year.

After the spring of 1942, much of the Sandžak region, which was included in the state of Montenegro, was not actually controlled by its government. The area of the Bay of Kotor (the Venetian Cattaro) was annexed to the Dalmatian province of Italy until September 1943. After the departure of the Italians, Montenegro remained under the direct control of German troops, with a terrible and bloody guerrilla war ravaging the area. In December 1944 the German troops withdrew and Josip Broz Tito's Partisans assumed control.

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