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Yugoslavia Table of Contents


Military Doctrine

Yugoslavia's TND doctrine reconciled the country's domestic and foreign policies with its strategic realities and limitations. Formulated after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, TND became Yugoslavia's official military doctrine when the National Defense Law of 1969 was published.

Yugoslavia's determination to rely on its own resources and to remain independent and nonaligned conflicted with strategic reality. The invasion of Czechoslovakia showed that the standing conventional forces of a small country could not repulse a surprise attack by a qualitatively and quantitatively superior aggressor. TND was designed to allow Yugoslavia to maintain or eventually reestablish its independent and nonaligned status should an invasion occur.

TND prepared the entire population to contest the occupation of the country and finally to liberate it. The Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) would mobilize the population for this purpose (see Territorial Defense Forces , this ch.). The combat readiness of the TDF meant that the steps of organization and training could be bypassed after the start of hostilities. The TDF would supplement the YPA, giving it greater defensive depth and an armed local population ready to support combat actions. Large numbers of armed civilians would increase the cost of an invasion to a potential aggressor.

The most likely scenario in the doctrine of TND was general war between the Warsaw Pact and NATO in Europe. In such a situation, Yugoslavia would remain nonaligned, and it would not accept foreign troops of either alliance on its territory regardless of threats or inducements. The doctrine did recognize the likelihood that one side or the other might try to seize Yugoslav territory as a forward staging area, to ensure lines of communication, or simply to deny the territory to enemy forces. Such action would be considered aggression and would be resisted. Regardless of ideology, the occupiers would be considered Yugoslavia's enemy, and Yugoslavia would immediately join the opposing side for the specific purpose of liberating its territory.

TND was legally codified in article 240 of the Constitution of 1974. It declares that the armed forces consist of the YPA and territorial defense units organized for nationwide armed resistance. It stipulates that any citizen who resists an aggressor is a member of the armed forces. Article 238 declares that no one has the right to acknowledge or sign an act of capitulation, to accept or recognize the occupation of the country, or to prevent other citizens from resisting. To do so is high treason. This provision was written to prevent an occupying force from using a Yugoslav faction or group to request and legitimize an invasion. The National Defense Law of 1982 further elaborates these provisions and explicitly states the LCY's responsibility for defense efforts.

Data as of December 1990