Josip Broz Tito

From a Letter to the
Provincial Committee for Macedonia1

Date: January 16, 1943
Source: Tito: Selected Military Works, pp. 268-271
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.


Similarly, the Party in your area has taken an incorrect attitude toward military formations and the composition of military commands.

The Party organization in the Army has been so established that all Party members in one company form a single cell. That is the Party unit in the Army: one company — one cell. If there are a large number of Party members, the cell may be divided up into groups, by platoons. The cell secretary is simultaneously the deputy political commissar of the company. The secretaries of all company cells in a battalion or detachment comprise the Party committee of a battalion or detachment. The secretary of the Party committee is also the deputy political commissar of the battalion, or the detachment. He is the head of the Party organization and maintains ties with Party forums in the field, with the municipal committee and the district committee, both for purposes of Party work in the Army and Party work in the field.

The HO's are military operational leaderships and as such are independent in making decisions on military and tactical assignments, on initiating and directing actions and commanding Partisan units. The HO of a company comprises: the commander, deputy commander, political commissar and deputy political commissar. The HO is a collective leadership but the responsibility is borne on behalf of the HO, as regards commanding and leading troops and actions, by the commander. The HO of the battalion or detachment comprises: the commander, the deputy commander, the political commissar, and the deputy political commissar. If, possible, all members of the HO should be Party members, although the junior commander or commander may be non-members. The competent Party forums implement Party directives, instructions, suggestions and so on, through the HO Party cell. All members of the HO who are Party members comprise The Party unit in the HO (HO cell). The deputy political commissar of the battalion, or the detachment, is the secretary of this cell. The company does not have a HO cell, but rather the Party members of the HO become members of the company cell. The political commissar may not be the secretary of the HO cell. As Army men. HO members are responsible to their military superiors. But as Party members, they are also responsible for their performance to the Party which can replace them if they are not suitable. The replacement is carried out through regular channels, through the Army command. At cell meetings, Party members, in addition to engaging in other kinds of Party work, are to take a critical and self-critical attitude toward their activities. The Party thus has insight into the work of the Army and can keep a cheek on it; through Party members in responsible posts, the Party can influence and lead. Through political work and instruction, by explaining the aims and character of the People's Liberation Struggle and the role of the Party, Party members wield an educational influence over non- Party Partisans and prepare them for joining the Party.

The political commissar is the Party delegate in the Army. Political work and activities among all the Partisans in the unit are his responsibility (this includes political, as well as cultural-educational and allied activities) as are concern for the well-being of the men (health and nutrition via the medical and supply services), general supervision of HO work in the fulfillment of assignments and duties; finally, he is responsible for the fighting efficiency, the morale, the political level and the cohesion of his unit. The Party organization helps him carry out large-scale duties, which include conferences (company, battalion), lectures, reports, study groups (theoretical and general education), courses for illiterates, choir practice, amateur theatrical groups, etc. He has political delegates in the platoons (Party members); it is also his responsibility, aided by Party organizations and all Partisans, to develop educational and instructional activities among the population in the area where the detachment in question is located.

The deputy political commissar is the head of the Party organization. As members of the HO, both the political commissar and his deputy must take an interest in and show understanding of military matters and help the HO along these lines.

You must see to it that the Party organization in the detachment, and also Party forums in the field, are not transformed into tutors of the HO. The relationship must be placed on such a basis that the Party acually does the leading while at the same time doing nothing to obstruct the independence and initiative of the military command and assuring implementation of Party directives; on the other hand, in all matters the military command can count on the firm support and assistance of the Party organi zation as the leading factor in the People's Liberation Struggle.

Care must be taken to prevent the "Army line" (this term has come into general use) from overriding the Party line, that is, Party members in positions of military or political leadership must not attend exclusively to their official duties to the neglect of their Party responsibilities, thereby reducing their relationship with their Party organization to the execution of their military duties alone. This would detract from the political significance of the goal we are fighting for and the Party would lose its leading role and its influence in the units. It has happened that certain military units, otherwise praiseworthy as such, neglected the political aspect of their activities with the result that the men simply became "militarized", a circumstance which can lead to negative results in certain situations (failure in combat, exhaustion, lack of food, etc., harmful political propaganda by the enemy or the discouraged elements, and so on). The Party organization and Party members must remain alert and Party work must proceed without a break.

By consolidating the Party organization, implementing the political line properly, educating and keeping vigil over our cadres, you will, comrades, unquestionably achieve success in short order.

Death to Fascism — Liberty to the People!

With comradely greetings,

1. The original is in the archives of the Historical Department of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The copy is in the archives of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Macedonia.

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