“To him we have to be grateful for breaking out of the encirclement. Yes, I might add, and for our lives. If there was no General I would not be alive today”
CAPTAIN WALTER MANSFIELD, of the FIRST AMERICAN MISSION TO IHAILOVICH DURING WORLD WAR TWO
Speech given in Canada in 1953
“There is no nation which would, more than you Serbs, appreciate human freedoms and rights. Not only appreciate, but give everything for them. It happened on Kosovo, the Salonika Front and Ravna Gora. The first thing that I learned from your brothers in your mountains was “Freedom or Death.” The great law and ideal for great men and times.
“…I have not many opportunities to meet many great men. One of them is my good and never forgotten Chicha [General Mihailovich]. He will live in my heart as long as I last. I observed him in all conditions, mostly difficult ones. Then one can see better. It made no difference whether the gunpowder was burning the eyes, or death was waiting, or injustice was hurting. He was always great and sincere in victory as well as in defeat. He loved his country, his people and the cause of freedom, sacrificing himself for the glory of living…
“Calm, courageous, and resourceful, during all operations from Ivanjica, Drina, Zlatibor, Valjevo and Sabac, he remained always legendary. I remember one night near Rudo, when a battle lasted three hours and the Germans were firing on us from all sides and from the air, Chicha went from one to another, from one part of the battlefield to another, bringing fate and force into our weakened bodies. To him we have to be grateful for breaking out of the encirclement. Yes, I might add, and for our lives. If there was no General I would not be alive today…
“He spared innocent blood and avoided hopeless battles at all cost – although it is always easier to sacrifice others for one’s own glory, or build that glory on thousands of innocent and unneeded graves.
“‘When the times of a general uprising comes,’ said Chicha, ‘we will give everything for freedom and victory. But, for that day we must be ready so that we can hit harder and win for sure. Before that day arrived they chose Tito. By such an act, they have sinned against God, faithfulness, justice, victory and freedom,’ Chicha declared.
“During the very difficult winter of 1943, together, we were pushing to break out of the Valley of Death. Already the perspective was changing. The BBC glorified a man who had been sent to Yugoslavia to convert the liberation struggle into fratricidal war, and on the ruins of a state to build a Communist ‘Celekula’. [The Turkish Pasha of Nish, in 1809, had ordered that the heads of Serbian insurgents who had tried to liberate a town near Nish be shaved [Cele] and used to erect a tower [kula] as testimony to what happened if Turkish control was challenged in Serbia.] There is no cruel, dishonest, or bestial road that this Red monster did not take to to accomplish his task. The naïve Allies, to accommodate Stalin, nurtured a snake in their bosoms.
“On his account fables were converted into history. Other people’s successes into his red feather. We were in Rogatica after Ostojic’s troops won the victory at Visegrad. That same night the BBC gave our victory to Tito and announced that victorious Partisans had entered Rogatica. We, the Yugoslav Army of the Homeland, were in Rogatica. At that time, around the town there was not a single German or a Tito Commie.
“When we parted after a brotherly hug, Chicha was smiling but his eyes were sad. We knew what kind of days were to follow.”
Captain Walter Mansfield
of the First American Mission
to Mihailovich in WWII
Speech given in Canada