Dimitrije Ljotic (Serbian Cyrillic: ????????? ?????; 12 August 1891 – 23 April 1945) was a Serbian and Yugoslav nationalist politician and ideologue who established the Yugoslav National Movement (Zbor) in 1935 and collaborated with German occupational authorities in the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia during World War II.
He joined the Serbian Army with the outbreak of the Balkan Wars, fought on the Serbian side during World War I and remained in active service until 1920, when he decided to pursue a career in politics.
He joined the People's Radical Party that year and became regional deputy for the Smederevo District in 1930.
In 1931, he was appointed to the position of Yugoslav Minister of Justice by King Alexander I but resigned following a disagreement between him and the king over the layout of the Yugoslav political system.
Ljotic founded Zbor in 1935.
The party received little support from the largely anti-German Serbian public and never won more than 1 percent of the vote in the 1935 and 1938 Yugoslav parliamentary elections.
Ljotic was arrested in the run-up to the latter elections and briefly sent to an insane asylum after the authorities accused him of having a "religious mania".
He voiced his opposition to the Cvetkovic–Macek Agreement in 1939 and his supporters reacted to it violently.
Zbor was soon outlawed by the Yugoslav government, forcing Ljotic into hiding.
He remained in hiding until April 1941, when the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia.
Ljotic was later invited by the Germans to join the Serbian puppet government of Milan Acimovic and was offered the position of economic commissioner.
He never took office, partly because he disliked the idea of playing a secondary role in the administration and partly because of his unpopularity.
He resorted to indirectly exerting his influence over the Serbian puppet government through two of his closest associates whom the Germans had selected as commissioners.
In September 1941, the Germans gave Ljotic permission to form the Serbian Volunteer Detachments, which were later renamed the Serbian Volunteer Corps (SDK).
Ljotic was publicly denounced as a traitor by the Yugoslav government-in-exile and Chetnik leader Draža Mihailovic in July 1942.
He and other Serbian collaborationist officials left Belgrade in October 1944 and made their way to Slovenia, from where they intended to launch an assault against the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
Between March and April, Ljotic and Mihailovic agreed to a last-ditch alliance against the Communist-led Yugoslav Partisans and their forces came together under the command of Chetnik General Miodrag Damjanovic on 27 March.
Ljotic was killed in an automobile accident on 23 April and was buried in Šempeter pri Gorici.
His funeral service was jointly conducted by Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic and Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Gavrilo Dožic, whose release from the Dachau concentration camp Ljotic had secured the previous December.
In early May, Damjanovic led the SDK–Chetnik formations under his command into northwestern Italy, where they surrendered to the British and were placed in detainment camps.
Many were later extradited to Yugoslavia, where several thousand were executed by the Partisans and buried in mass graves in the Kocevski Rog plateau.
Others immigrated to the west, where they established émigré organizations intended to promote Zbor's political agenda.
The antagonism between these groups and those affiliated with the Chetniks continued in exile.