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Register of the Dragiša Nikola Ristić Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dragiša Nikola Ristić Papers
    Dates: 1941-1980
    Collection number: 92077
    Creator: Ristić, Dragiša Nikola, 1909-
    Collection Size: 7 manuscript boxes, 1 painting 5.2 linear feet)
    Repository: 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: Languages represented in the collection: English Serbian Croatian

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Dragiša N. Ristić Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    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 http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . 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.

    Biographical Note

    1909 January 9 Born, Veliko Bonjice, Serbia
    1928 Graduated, Belgrade Military Academy, rank of second lieutenant, assigned to Yugoslavian air force
    1932 Promoted to first lieutenant, Yugoslavian air force
    1935 Instructor, non-commissioned officers school
    1936 Promoted to second captain, squadron commander
    1936-1938, 1940-1941 Aide-de-camp to General Dušan Simović, commander of Yugoslavian air force
    1939 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 Germany
    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 prime minister
    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
    1941 April-June In Jerusalem, where Yugoslavian government-in-exile was based until it moved to London
    1942 March 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
    1943-1945 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
    1946-1948 Returned to the United States, employed by U.S. Steel Products Company, Los Angeles, and enrolled at University of California, Los Angeles
    1950 Graduated, bachelor's degree in political science, University of California, Los Angeles
    1951 Employed as instructor of Serbo-Croatian language at the U.S. Army Language School, Presidio of Monterey, California
    1953 Graduated, master's degree in political science, University of California, Los Angeles
    1955 Studied at the Faculté de Droit, University of Paris, while researching book on the Yugoslavian revolution of 1941
    1966 Published Yugoslavia's Revolution of 1941 (Pennsylvania State University Press)
    1972-1973 Studied in doctoral program for political science, Western Colorado University
    2004 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.

    Indexing Terms

    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.
    Yugoslavs--United States.
    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.