Sea of Blood

A Military History of the Partisan Movement in Yugoslavia 1941-45

Gaj Trifkovic

From its humble beginnings in 1941, People's Liberation Movement rose to be a leading junior member of the anti-Hitler coalition four years later. Based on a wide spectre of sources written in half-a-dozen languages and from a dozen different archives, the "Sea of Blood” tells this fascinating story and offers an unrivalled insight into the inner w
Date Published :
January 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
14 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781914059940
Pages : 448
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available


The Second World War on the territory of the former Yugoslavia was marked by extraordinary complexity and base brutality. At least twelve factions fought against and worked with each other in what was at the same time a liberation war, a civil war, and a revolutionary war. The human cost was staggering: out of the pre-war population of roughly 15 million, more than one million died as a direct result of the conflict.

Sea of Blood follows the creation and rise of the communist-led People's Liberation Movement and more specifically its combat arm, colloquially known as the Partisans. Sea of Blood also deals heavily with Axis counterinsurgency efforts, particularly those carried out by armed formations of the Third Reich. Although the past decade has seen a steady rise in the number of academic publications in English dealing with various military aspects of the war, none of them offers comprehensive coverage of the entire conflict. The main deficiency of most scholarly works from outside of what was once Yugoslavia is the over-reliance on Axis/non- Yugoslav primary sources; Sea of Blood seeks to redress the imbalance by drawing heavily on both original Yugoslav documents and a vast array of secondary sources published in the region over the past 70 years. The text also cites unpublished materials from more than a dozen archival institutions including NARA, TNA, TsAMO, BA/MA, Military Archives in Belgrade, and national archives from practically every former Yugoslav republic.

Sea of Blood will find a readership among all those interested in the Second World War in Yugoslavia, the history of guerrilla warfare, and the contemporary history of the Western Balkans. The main narrative is divided into seven chapters. Additional information is provided in the introduction (which comes together with a bibliographical survey) and three appendices, which contain a short treatise on human losses, as well as tables and organizational charts; the text is accompanied by 14 maps.

About The Author

Gaj Trifković (b. 1981 in Sarajevo) obtained both his MA and PhD in history of Southeastern Europe from Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria. He published more than a dozen scholarly articles on military aspects of World War Two in Yugoslavia, and is the author of the book titled “Parleying with the Devil: Prisoner Exchange in Yugoslavia, 1941‒1945” (University Press of Kentucky/Andarta Books, 2020).


"For anyone interested in the complete story of World War II, Sea of Blood fills what was probably the largest and most mysterious hole remaining in the literature. A fine volume taken entirely on its own merits, the nature of the subject matter further elevates the author's work, and this should be recognized as one of the most important new books about the war to come down the pike in a long time. Certainly one of the best new books of the year."

- Stone & Stone Second World War Books

"Trifkovic’s unique achievement lies in providing us with an account that, while clearly prioritizing the insurgents’ perspective, nearly always manages to back up his conclusions with sources from both camps."

- Journal of Military History

"The result of an astounding amount of diligent research based on a massive collection of primary sources little explored by western historians, Sea of Blood is by far the most important English language book about the military history of Yugoslavia during World War II to be written up until this time."

- The NYMAS Review

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