It is well-known that there were two types of resistance forces in occupied Yugoslavia during the World War II. That is, the Partisans and the Chetniks.
The Partisans were the military forces directed by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. The Chetniks were the paramilitary forces founded by a group of offi cer of Yugoslav Royal Army, who did not want to surrender to axis forces. The Partisans were a united front where all nations of this country joined hands, whereas the Chetniks were consisted of almost exclusively the Serbs.
In the postwar period, for a long time, the Partisans and the Chetniks were considered as completely different and opposing forces. However, with the collapse of the Communist regime, these differences came to be considered relative ones and new views have emerged.
For example, recently in Croatia, some historians say that the Chetniks were the forces which, from the very beginning of the rebellion, joined with the Communists, in the battle against the occupation forces. They insist that they cannot find any difference between the Chetniks-led guerrillas and the Communists-led guerrillas, especially in the barbarous acts they made against the Croats and Muslims inhabitants.
This paper tries to analyze the process of the resistance movement occurred in Croatia during the World War II, and to reexamine the attributes of the guerrilla units on the front that were mainly composed of Serbian peasants.
Its tentative conclusion was that contrary to both the common belief and the new view, both the Chetniks and the Partisans did not exist as distinct entity during the earliest period of the rebellion. Namely, in this period, two opposing units were undifferentiated on the whole, so that we cannot refer to the Chetniks unit (neither the Partisans) in the proper sense of the word. What we can point out as an attribute of guerrilla units at this time is "proto-Chetiniks". In this sense, we agree to the view of Croatian historians which regards the Chetniks-lead guerrillas and the Communists-lead guerrillas as homogeneous groups in relation to the brutality they conducted against the Croats.
The author further insists the guerrilla units as "proto-Chetniks" began to be differentiated into two opposing groups, namely the Partisans and the Chetniks, forced to answer two questions raised by two opposing leaders. One was whether they would fi ght the battle against Italians. Another was whether they could accept anti-Ustashas' Croats as blood brothers, distinguishing Ustashas and the non-Ustashas' Croats.
As a whole the Communists got an edge on this competition. The Serbian peasants followed by and large the instructions of the Communists. However, they were the persons who were susceptible to current conditions. They could cross the aside, depending on situations, especially on war conditions and the Chetniks' propaganda or tricks. So that the differentiation was not still completed in earlier stage of the competition.