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By Enver Redzic

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The Germans, on the other hand, saw the Chetniks as their historic opponents. The Germans fought with the aim of eradicating the insurgent movement as a whole, regardless of whether it had a Partisan or Chetnik orientation, since both groups had their own Yugoslav programmes and goals. Nevertheless, the Germans at times exhibited an inconsistent attitude towards these insurgent groups. Motivated by the practical interests of war and a common anti-Communist platform, the Germans allowed their commanders to engage in operative collaboration with certain Chetnik units.

Separating Bosnia and Herzegovina from the NDH and uniting it with Dalmatia would mean that Italy could gain control of vast mining and forest resources, which was the basic motive for the projected occupation. 5 million inhabitants, the projected combined territories of Dalmatia and of Bosnia and Herzegovina would provide a counterbalance to Croatia and secure the hinterland of Dalmatia. The project could count on the collaboration of Serbs in Bosnia who had been subjected to Ustasha crimes. An astute Italian political strategy could win over the Muslims, Pièche argued, since the latter feared both Croatian chauvinism and expansionist Serbian nationalism.

The reality of the war, however, was working against the Italian project to unify Dalmatia with Bosnia and Herzegovina. 96 Officers in the headquarters of the Italian Second Army were aware that the exploitation of Herzegovinian bauxite mines could be only secured by clearing a broader area consisting of Posušje, Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Tomislavgrad and Livno. 97 Hitler has ‘no extra troops’ The uprising proved resilient in both the Italian and German occupied zones. 98 In this meeting, Hitler made clear that the primary interest of the Reich at that moment was the unimpeded export of goods from the NDH.

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