The planned assassination of Prince Paul shortly before the beginning of World War II Cover Image

Planirani atentat na kneza Pavla uoči Drugog svjetskog rata
The planned assassination of Prince Paul shortly before the beginning of World War II

Author(s): Nikola Milovančev
Subject(s): Political history, Social history, Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)
Published by: Matica hrvatska Daruvar
Keywords: Prince Paul; assassination; ORJUNA; National Defense; Filip Kosec; SOE; political events;

Summary/Abstract: The article talks about the preparations for the assassination in Slovenia (1940) of Prince Paul Karađorđević royal governor, who was the main bearer of royal power in Yugoslavia ever since the assassination of King Alexander on October 9, 1934, until the coup d’état on March 27, 1941. The person who ordered the assassination preparations was Ilija Trifunović Birčanin, who was the president of the organization National Defense. Birčanin was also an associate of the British intelligence service SOE, with the pseudonym Daddy. The royal governor, Prince Paul, was pro-British, and from 1935 he replaced the earlier Francophile foreign policy orientation of King Aleksandar Karađorđević with his Anglophile policy. However, due to new geopolitical relations in Europe, he advocated for closer economic and political relations with Germany. In 1940, this led to tendencies towards the physical removal of Prince Paul, which was not realized, but the overthrow of the government through a coup d’état was attempted, which was done on March 27, 1941. The British intelligence officers in charge of Yugoslavia were informed about the preparations for the removal of Prince Paul and the execution of a coup d’état, but the Foreign Office in London, i.e. Lord Hallifax himself, in July 1940 considered that it was too early for a coup d’état. The article is based on the testimony of the Yugoslav nationalist (ORJUN), Slovenian Filip Kosec, who was an operative of the National Defense and carried out certain activities in cooperation with the British SOE. Kosec’s testimony is confirmed by British intelligence documents published in 1980 by British historians Neil Balfour and Sally MacKay in their book „Paul of Yugoslavia. Britain’s Maligned Friend”.

  • Issue Year: V/2021
  • Issue No: 5-6
  • Page Range: 156-169
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Serbian