April 2021

Helmet from the April War

April will mark the 80th anniversary of the Axis forces' attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The signing of accession of Kingdom of Yugoslavia to the Tripartite Pact was followed by demonstrations and a coup d'état led by pro-British officers. When the Axis forces attacked the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, the Yugoslav army was defeated in less than two weeks, despite resistance from some units and above all the air force. The royal family and government withdrew abroad. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was dismembered. The Slovene territory was divided among four occupying powers. The largest part was assigned to the German occupation authorities; Italy acquired the southern part. The German army handed over occupied Prekmurje to Hungary. Five Slovene settlements in the Posavje region were formally annexed to the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). One of the remnants from those days is also the M39 helmet (Czechoslovak helmet vz 34), which the Royal Yugoslav Army used alongside older French Adrian helmets. It was most likely found by the museologist Janko Vertin soon after the beginning of the occupation and handed over to the Museum after the war.