Josip Broz Tito

The First and Foremost Task
is the Struggle Against the Invaders1

First published: December 1942 (date written is unknown)
Source: Tito: Selected Military Works, pp. 126-130
Published: Vojnoizdavčki Zavod, Belgrade, 1966
Transciption/HTML Markup: Mike B. for MIA, 2006
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

As the People's Liberation Struggle intensifies and acquires ever wider proportions, as it becomes increasingly organized from the military standpoint and new victories are won, so does it become more complicated, requiring more flexibility and resourcefulness from Communist Party members in each specific situation. As a result of these factors, the concealed enemies of the People's Liberation Struggle are being shown up in ever greater measure. The differentiation between various political groups is growing with all reactionaries, opponents of the People's Liberation Struggle who are assisting the invaders in various ways concentrated on one side; on the other is the increasing number of patriots joining the People's Liberation Front as they realize that the only right, the only possible road today is the one taken by the great majority among all the nationalities of Yugoslavia.

Owing to the growing number of local turncoats of various kinds joining the traitors who have since the very beginning been stabbing the People's Liberation Struggle in the back, many Party members are inclined to forget the chief enemy, the invader, and see only the traitors, allowing the latter to get on their nerves to such an extent that they make mistakes of a sectarian nature. It is wrong to see only these traitors on one side and only the Communist Party on the other neglecting that great people's force, that great mass of patriots who are either already fighting or joining us now or will join us in battling the invaders and local traitors in the future. On the other hand, many Party members, and even leaders, are too slow in disclosing the harmful and treacherous role which individual turncoats or groups of traitors are gradually and subtly playing. When they do see what is going on, they regard it as an isolated case, having no connection with the invaders, as a matter concerning only one political party or group and not as an indivisible whole, as an alliance of all traitors with the invaders.

While one section of the reactionary leadership of various political parties, and certain public figures immediately placed themselves in the service of the invaders, the larger part withdrew to watch in safety the unequal struggle going on between our finest men and the invaders, nurturing the secret hope that the occupation forces would easily square accounts with the "fools" whom these gentlemen also consider their opponents. This has been and still is the wish of the gentlemen exiles from London, this is the wish of Mr. Maèek and company, this is the wish of many others. With their hustlers' mentality, they think the present People's Liberation Struggle simply a Communists cause; they think the Communists want to do all they can to spite those gentlemen, to grab as much as possible for themselves and seize power. It is beyond the grasp of these gentlemen, — it astonishes them, — that non-communists, peasants and intellectuals are fighting and dying "in vain" instead of waiting calmly for the Russians and Germans to bleed each other white, and for a landing by the British who, in their opinion, should come here to put things back the way they were before. The growing victories of the Red Army in the East and British and America in Africa, the growing victories of our valiant People's Liberation Army and the ever more imminent collapse of the fascist invaders have therefore stimulated many leaders and quasi-leaders of various political parties, who have been lolling about their mouseholes and pretending either to be neutral or even supposedly sympathizers of the People's Liberation Struggle, to come out into the open and definitively side with the enemies of the people, that is, the fascist invaders. These gentlemen hope that by their present collaboration with the invaders they will be able to stop the wave of the people's uprising, that they will, with the help of the invaders, destroy the people's force that is threatening their interests. Therefore, smashing the fascist invaders in this country simultaneously means smashing these treason-ridden gentlemen and their anti-national plans. On the other hand, as the invaders and traitors are crushed, unity among patriots will be consolidated and conditions promoting fraternity among all the nationalities of Yugoslavia will be created. Just as the process of unification is being accelerated in this country, with parallel acceleration of closer collaboration between the invaders and various heterogeneous reactionary elements regardless of the antagonisms between them, so is the clustering of reactionary elements on the international level being stepped up, irrespective of the war and the antagonisms between them. This is best demonstrated by the following example: Britain is at war with Germany and Italy, but that does not stop reactionary British circles from doing their utmost to help the Yugoslav Government-in-exile in London which is, through its Minister Draia Mihailovid and the Chetniks under him, actively aiding the invaders in their fight against the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia. In the final analysis, these reactionary British gentlemen are abetting Britain's enemies, are opposing the true allies of the peoples of Britain and America. On the other hand, the invaders are arming the Chetniks affiliated with the London Government-in-exile which is a formal ally of Britain, America and the Soviet Union, and using them to fight the People's Liberation Army, that is, the peoples of Yugoslavia. What does that mean? That means that in this great liberation war against fascism, the most reactionary elements in the world have come to terms at the expense of the true Pleople's Liberation Struggle and that these international reactionaries still, despite the war, consider fascism their striking force against the freedom-loving aspirations of those fighting for liberty. This means that, wherever possible fascism is to serve the struggle against these aspirations, and the most typical example of this is to be found in Yugoslavia. In other words, fascism is to serve international reaction until such time as it is replaced by other reactionary forces which the sworn reactionaries are already preparing in secret. This is yet another reason why fighting the fascist invaders is the principal task of the day, regardless of machinations by the treasonous, reactionary circles in our own country and in the world at large. Furthermore, fascism bent on conquest is the bitterest and most dangerous enemy of freedom and independence. It has still not been smashed, it is still strong and menacing; this makes it necessary to strain all forces, to mobilize everything in the fight against invading fascism, to destroy it, exploiting even the most minor antagonisms on the enemy's side. This will usher in the victory over the anti-national reactionaries and the just cause of the people will triumph. We should not forget that a process of differentiation is in progress in the fascist invaders' camp as well. This differentiation is being stepped up as the downfall of Hitler's régime nears. But this differentiation is not developing to the benefit of the peoples aspiring toward liberation in the fascist or enslaved lands, but to the benefit of the reactionaries who are already concerning themselves with saving whatever there is left to save. That is why such reactionary elements will wield increasing influence in the fascist camp and that is precisely why fascism, and those who have generated it, must be destroyed. That, too, is why our first and foremost task is to prosecute a relentless struggle, until the fascist conquerors and their henchmen, have been wiped out.

The peoples of the Soviet Union, their stalwart Red Army which bears the brunt of this great war of liberation, are fighting to destroy the fascist invaders. This struggle is also waged by the other allies, Britain and America, and by the peoples of all the subjugated countries, whose aims run completely counter to those of the various reactionary cliques in those countries. The observations in this article therefore apply only to reactionary cliques and not to our great Allies — the peoples of Britain and America who are also striving to destroy fascism and eliminate all the factors that helped it gather such force, that led up to such a frightful catastrophe. The peoples of Yugoslavia firmly believe that our Allies the peoples of Britain and America, will frustrate the materialization of the ideas generating in the minds of reactionaries in their countries and contribute their share to the total destruction of the fascist plague and the establishment of genuine liberty, independence and equal ity among the nations of Europe.

The Communist Party of Yugoslavia has had the leading role in this gruelling People's Liberation Struggle since the very beginning. All Yugoslav patriots, irrespective of the religious, political and national difference, recognize the role played by the Party. This confidence and recognition by patriots has resulted from the Party's pursuing the correct political line in this great People's Liberation Struggle. It has resulted from the utter selflessness displayed by Party members in the struggle. Communists must therefore continue working correctly so as to retain the confidence the Party has already won; this they can do by directing all their efforts, all their energies exclusively to the People's Liberation Struggle against the fascist occupiers, considering this the first and most important task of the day, while never losing from sight the relentless pursuit of the struggle against the local traitors, which is part and parcel of the fight against the invaders.


1. This article was published in the same number [year XVII, no. 16, December 1942] of Proletarian. Also translated and published a number of times.

Josip Broz Tito Internet Archive
Marxists Internet Archive