Contact details
Wer Ist Walter?
Armed resistance Organisation of resistance Transnational Resistance

Balkan Headquarters

“You are going to Macedonia. I received a report from Kosovo… there are about three thousand fighters in the partisan detachments. That’s why I’m sending you to Macedonia! Make your way as you know how! With three thousand partisans you can do miracles…”. These were the words with which Svetozar Vukmanović Tempo, commander of the Main Staff of the NOP detachment in BiH, was sent to Macedonia by Tito at the end of 1942. His task was to start an armed uprising in the eastern parts of Yugoslavia, and also to get in contact with the leadership of the communist parties of Albania, Greece, and Bulgaria.

Upon his arrival in Macedonia, and after spending a few days in Skopje, Tempo presented the idea of forming a common “Balkan headquarters”, which would unite the activities of the partisans of Albania, Greece, and Yugoslavia. He held a series of meetings with party leaders in Albania and Greece. In Macedonia, which was still under Italian occupation at the time, he analyzed the situation in the border areas and concluded that the idea of a common Balkan headquarters was achievable and very useful for strengthening Yugoslavia’s fight against the occupiers. In his report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Macedonia in June 1943, he stated that: “The Balkan headquarters will begin its work on the realization of a unified leadership of the struggle of the Balkan peoples as soon as possible.” During several meetings held in summer and autumn 1943, the idea was further elaborated and concretized in discussions between Tempo and representatives of Albania and Greece.

But after presenting the idea of the “Balkan headquarters” to the leadership of the KPJ, in their response to Tempo they emphasized the potential danger to the NOP, as an idea from which their enemies could benefit the most, and they ordered him to withdraw from the project. One of the possible reasons is that, at this time, Tito tried to gain the support from the British government, and that forming an all-Balkans communist headquarters would have been seen negatively by the British, especially because they also had their own interests in Greece.  At the end, the question remains if Tempo had ever received a mandate from the KPJ and Tito to form  a “Balkan Headquarters”. Tempo himself wrote after the war that this was the case. But some historians think that he is not a reliable time-witness, that the mandate the KPJ gave him was only to coordinate the activities with Albania and Greece, and that the idea of the “Balkan headquarters” was his own initiative.


Nedim Pustahija

Sources/ further reading
  • Svezozar Vukmanović Tempo, „Borba za Balkan“ (The battle for Balkan), (Globus, Zagreb, 1981)
  • Zbornik dokumenata i podataka o narodnooslobodilačkom ratu – Dokumenti CK KPJ i Vrhovnog štaba NOVJ, knjiga 10, tom 2

This website stores cookies on your computer. Cookie Policy