Marko Attila Hoare

Muslim Bosniak collaboration in World War II





Case study 1


The Muslim Bosniak population of Bosnia-Hercegovina was in a state of ferment on the eve of Yugoslavia’s entry into World War II. The Cvetkovic-Macek ‘Sporazum’ (agreement) of 26 August 1939 had dealt a heavy blow to the traditional Muslim goal of autonomy for Bosnia-Hercegovina, by effectively partitioning the latter between Serbia and a newly established Croatian ‘banovina’ (province). This prompted the mainstream Muslim political elite to come together in the ‘Muslim Movement for the Autonomy of Bosnia-Hercegovina’, which demanded that a Bosnian banovina be established alongside the Croatian - a demand that was launched by Dzafer Kulenović, the president of the ‘Yugoslav Muslim Organisation’ (JMO) - the political party enjoying the support of the overwhelming majority of Bosnian Muslims. This movement brought together different political currents among the Muslims. Not least, this included formerly ‘pro-Serbian’ Muslims who had subscribed to the strategy of collaborating with the regime in Belgrade; a strategy that had been followed by the JMO leader Mehmed Spaho until his death in June 1939, but which had been completely discredited by the Sporazum, when the Belgrade regime sacrificed the Muslims to reach an agreement with the Croatian opposition. On the other hand, the small dissident ‘pro-Croatian’ Muslim current that had traditionally rejected collaboration with the Belgrade regime and that formed the ‘Muslim Branch of the Croat Peasant Party’ (MOHSS) now found itself paralysed by its adherence to a Croatian national movement that had turned its back on support for Bosnian unity.


















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With the assistance of the Federal Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the FR of Germany






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