Date: August 1941
Source: Tito: Selected Military Works, pp. 48-51
Published: Vojnoizdavčki Zavod, Belgrade, 1966
Transciption/HTML Markup: Mike B. for MIA, 2006
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
The Tasks Before the People’s Liberation Partisan Detachments1
FIRST. The People’s Liberation Partisan Detachments in all regions of Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Vojvodma, Sandžak and Dalmatia) have as their principal goal the liberation of the peoples of Yugoslavia from the invaders and the fight against the invaders’ local agents who are helping them to oppress and terrorize our people.
Second. The greatest enemy of the freedom and independence of our people is German fascism, followed by all the other fascist hangers-on marauding throughout the country. It is consequently the bounden duty of all patriots to fight relentlessly until the complete annihilation of these fascist bands.
Third. The Partian Detachments are called People’s Liberation Partisan Detachments because they are not fighting units of any particular political party — nor in this specific case of the Communist Party, regardless of the fact that Communists are fighting in the front ranks; rather they are fighting units of the peoples of Yugoslavia which ought to be joined by all patriots capable of bearing arms against the invaders, regardless of their political convictions.
Fourth. The Partisan Detachments have numerous tasks to carry out in the common struggle against the enemies of our people. They must destroy all objects of use to the fascist invaders: railways, bridges, factories, workshops, ammunition and arms dumps. They must use all their powers to prevent the enemy from confiscating grain, livestock and other foodstuffs from the peasants. Requisitional grain, livestock and other food supplies must be taken away from the enemy by force and distributed among the people, the necessary amount being retained to supply the detachments. The Partisan Detachments must prevent the collection of taxes and other levies as this money is used by the invaders to carry on their war of conquest and subjugate the people.
Fifth. The Partisan Detachments must defend, by force of arms, villages, towns and other settlements from fascist outrages. They must protect the people’s property from being plundered by the invaders.
Sixth. The Partisan Detachments must destroy fascist units whenever they come across them. Particularly kill officers, Gestapo men, Black Shirts and so on. They must also be ruthless in annihilating their local henchmen, traitors to the people of various categories and provocateurs, agents who are handing over in great numbers the best sons of our people to the fascist hangmen, serving the occupier like faithful dogs and terrorizing the people.
Seventh. The Partisan Detachments must be tireless in stimulating the resistance of the people, raising insurrections among the people and putting themselves at the head of them as the militant hard core. The experience of Partisan warfare so far has demonstrated that the question of the nationwide uprising has been neglected; it is therefore necessary to make good this shortcoming without delay lest the Partisans isolate themselves from the masses who are ready to fight for their just cause.
Eighth. The political line of the Partisan Detachments must be: the People’s Liberation Anti-fascist Front of all the nationalities of Yugoslavia,2 regardless of political or religious beliefs.
Ninth. There must be no exclusiveness in forming Partisan Detachments; opportunities for broad initiative in forming Partisan Detachments must be left open. Once formed, Partisan Detachments should be immediately linked with the local and regional HQs and put under their command.
Tenth. HQs and commanders must be on the alert lest the enemy infiltrate spies and agents provocateurs into the Partisan ranks. If they should appear, they must be shot immediately and their names published.
Eleventh. The HQs and commanders of Partisan Detachments must keep a sharp watch on discipline in the detachments. Looting, betrayal or other breach of discipline must be punished severely.
Twelfth. HQs must be responsible for the supplies of the fighting men, and for equipping them, etc. Food supplies must be organized in conjunction with the Committees of the People’s Liberation Front which has the task of collecting for the People’s Liberation Fund. Where such Committees still do not exist, provisions should be secured either by cash payment or as voluntary contributions from peasants and other citizens.
Thirteenth. All Partisan Detachments and their HOs, from Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herezegovina, Vojvodina, Dalmatia, Macedonia and Sandžak, come under the supreme command of the GHQ of the People’s Liberation Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia.
HQs must he well linked up with each other for purposes of battle coordination and successful conduct of operations.
Fourteenth. HOs and commanders must be responsible for seeing that the wounded and sick are given the proper medical care in terms of personal and supplies.
Fifteenth. As the uprising of the masses spreads and develops, the necessary commands will be set up; it is therefore essential for the HQs and commanders to be on the lookout for tried and tested commanders and commissars, who can lead the insurgent masses.
Sixteenth. Wherever strategic and other circumstances are favourable, large-scale military units may, where needed, be formed by merging number of Partisan Detachments in order to facilitate the conduct of major operations.
1. Published August 10, 1941, in No. I of the “Bulletin” of the General HO of the People’s Liberation Partisan Detach- ments, printed underground in Belgrade in August, September and the first half of October 1941. The text of “The Tasks” (under the words “for the General HO of the People’s Libera- tion Partisan Detachments”) was initialled T. T.
2. The People’s Front of Yugoslavia, an organization the platform of which provided a meeting ground for all demo- cratic and progressive forces in the struggle to liberate the country, to maintain independence, to preserve peace and to develop socialism. It was formed as the war approached at the initiative of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.