Dr Ratomir Milikić

Institute for Contemporary History

Belgrade, Serbia



Vol. XXXV, 2/2017, pp. 85–99


ABSTRACT/RESUME: The paper has explored the decorations of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia awarded by King Peter II and the Yugoslav royal government, living in exile in London and Cairo. It is the prerogative of a sovereign and his government to award decorations, and in an extremely complicated and difficult period we have observed, it had a profound symbolic meaning, too. Not only did they continue to award the decorations, but had the existing medals recoined, while in the fragmented archives contain even a proposal of then army minister, General Dragoljub Mihailović, that a new decoration be produced. During the war, the number of awarded decorations dwindled, especially to the ministers and prominent figures in exile, and the Yugoslav Army in the Middle East, but those issued for protocolar purposes and to reward the bravery of soldiers in the occupied Yugoslavia did not subside in numbers. A decision to decorate a foreign citizen is always a diplomatic move, either civilian or military. In the given period, high-ranking decorations were awarded to the foreigners who helped promote a state propaganda campaign. In a time of war, the army minister was entitled to use his own discretion to nominate for decorations the members of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland for extreme bravery in combat, those killed in action in the first place. When after 1944 political circumstances changed in the country, as well as globally, the Partisan movement awarded their own decorations, with the assistance of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, having made a clear break with the Kingdom’s decorations. As the war drew to an end, the King in exile instituted the Royal War Cross to be awarded to the exiled members of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland.


KEYWORDS: Decorations, World War II, The Order of the Cross of Mother of the Jugović Brothers, Government-in-exile, General Dragoljub Mihailović, Partisan movement, Yugoslavia



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