Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Dragiša Nikola Ristić Papers
Collection number: 92077
Ristić, Dragiša Nikola, 1909-
7 manuscript boxes, 1 painting
5.2 linear feet)
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Correspondence and writings, relating primarily to Yugoslav military operations
and diplomacy during World War II, and to postwar Yugoslav émigré affairs. Includes postwar correspondence
between D. T. Simović and Winston Churchill, and a book-length study by D. N. Ristić relating to Nadezhda
Krupskaya and V. I. Lenin.
Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Dragiša N. Ristić Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in increments between 1972 and 2004.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
|1909 January 9
||Born, Veliko Bonjice, Serbia
||Graduated, Belgrade Military Academy, rank of second lieutenant, assigned to
Yugoslavian air force
||Promoted to first lieutenant, Yugoslavian air force
||Instructor, non-commissioned officers school
||Promoted to second captain, squadron commander
||Aide-de-camp to General Dušan Simović, commander of Yugoslavian air
||Promoted to first captain
|1941 January 23
||Accompanied General Dušan Simović to a meeting in Belgrade with Colonel
William J. Donovan, Franklin D. Roosevelt's representative in Europe
|1941 March 23
||Yugoslav Prime Minister Cvetković signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi
|1941 March 27
||Took part in the coup led by General Dušan Simović to overthrow the
government of Prince Paul and Cvetković. The 17-year-old Peter II was appointed king, and Simović became the new
|1941 April 6
||Germans bombarded Belgrade, began invasion of Yugoslavia
|1941 April 14
||Received assignment to escort King Peter II out of Yugoslavia to safety,
and flew him to Athens. Two days later, Simović, Ristić, and the King flew to Alexandria
||In Jerusalem, where Yugoslavian government-in-exile was based until it
moved to London
||Transferred to the Yugoslav military mission in Canada and the United States,
and was based variously at Ottawa, Washington, Nashville, and Windsor, Ontario. While in Windsor, enrolled at
Wayne State University in Detroit
||Transferred to Yugoslavian forces based in Cairo, and while there, enrolled
in the American University
|1945 May 26
||Honorable discharge from the Yugoslavian armed forces, rank of major
||Returned to the United States, employed by U.S. Steel Products Company,
Los Angeles, and enrolled at University of California, Los Angeles
||Graduated, bachelor's degree in political science, University of California,
||Employed as instructor of Serbo-Croatian language at the U.S. Army Language
School, Presidio of Monterey, California
||Graduated, master's degree in political science, University of California,
||Studied at the Faculté de Droit, University of Paris, while researching
book on the Yugoslavian revolution of 1941
||Published Yugoslavia's Revolution of 1941 (Pennsylvania State University Press)
||Studied in doctoral program for political science, Western Colorado
||Died, Monterey, California
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers of Dragiša N. Ristić, acquired in increments between 1972 and 2004, document his military career
in the Yugoslavian air force, with a special emphasis on his role as a protégé of General Dušan Simović.
Simović was one of the leaders of the coup of March 27, 1941, which overthrew the pro-German government in Belgrade.
Ristić was an aide-de-camp to General Simović, and as such, was both a participant in and eyewitness to the events
surrounding the coup.
In the years following the war, Ristić sought to document the events of this period, with an eye to defending the
reputation of his mentor. Having spent the war years in London, Simović returned to Yugoslavia in 1945, and lived
in Belgrade until his death in 1962. During the 1950s, Simović maintained a steady correspondence with Ristić,
who by then had settled in Monterey, California, and designated him to write his biography. To facilitate this,
Simović transferred his wartime diary and manuscript memoir to Ristić, both of which can be found in a separate
collection under Simović's name at the Hoover Institution Archives. During that period, Ristić began corresponding
with and interviewing many of the surviving key figures from the Yugoslavian government before the coup, including
Vladko Maćek, Slobodan Jovanović, Prince Paul, and others.
The Biographical File contains various personal documents, but also includes fairly extensive wartime diaries
of Ristić from his period in North America and Egypt. These diaries were written initially in Serbian, but Ristić
switched to using English in 1942, when he began studying English at Wayne State University in Detroit. Fragments
of a never-completed memoir can also be found in this series.
The Correspondence contains the bulk of the surviving research material for his book on the 1941 coup.
It consists of correspondence and interviews primarily from the 1950s, including his extensive correspondence
with Simović. The Writings contains various fragmentary works and essays, but also a lengthy unpublished
history of the Russian Revolution, a topic that greatly interested Ristić over the years. Also included in this
series are theses from his academic career at the University of California, Los Angeles and Western Colorado
University, works that also are connected to the history of the 1941 coup. The Subject File and Printed Material
contain additional material that he used in his research. The collection also contains an oil Painting depicting
General Dušan Simović, by Yugoslavian artist Veljko Stanojevic, which Ristić displayed in his home in Monterey.
Arranged in six series, Biographical File, Correspondence and Interview Notes, Writings, Subject File,
Printed Material, and Painting.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
World War, 1939-1945--Yugoslavia.
World War, 1939-1945--Diplomatic history.
Yugoslavia--History--Axis occupation, 1941-1945.
Soviet Union--History--Revolution, 1917-1921.
Lenin, Vladimir Il'ich, 1870-1924.
Krupskaya, Nadezhda Konstantinovna, 1869-1939.
Simović, Dušan T., 1882-1962.
Churchill, Winston, Sir, 1874-1965.