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Montenegro existed from 1941 to 1943 as a puppet protectorate of Fascist Italy, a component of the envisioned Italian Empire. The Italian Fascist regime saw Montenegro as a future part of a Greater Italy that would span the Adriatic coast to northern Greece, where local populations would be assimilated as Italians and colonization by Italians would be promoted (as it was in Italian-held Albania) to eventually displace non-Italian populations.


After the invasion of Yugoslavia by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy on April 6 1941, and subsequent Royal Yugoslav Army surrender on April 17 1941, Sekula Drljević, leader of the Montenegrin Federalists in the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker, established the Provisional Administrative Committee of Montenegro, which operated as the collaborationist organ of Fascist Italy. The Committee was disbanded on 5 May 1941 and a Montenegrin Council was formed to oversee the Italian occupation and create the semi-independent protectorate of Montenegro. The Fascist regime intended to make Montenegro part of Greater Italy, which would span the Adriatic coast to Albania, with the intention of assimilating the local populations.

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (influenced by his wife Queen Elena, daughter of the former King of Montenegro) imposed on Mussolini the creation of an independent Montenegro against the wishes of the fascist Croatians of Ante Pavelic and the Albanians (who wanted to divide Montenegro between themselves). The Kingdom of Montenegro was created under fascist control when Krsto Zrnov Popović returned from his exile in Romemarker in 1941 to attempt to lead the Zelenaši ("Green" party), who supported the reinstatement of the independent Montenegrin monarchy. This militia were called the Lovćen Brigade.

Montenegro was nominally a Kingdom, but the last King's grandson Prince Michael Petrović-Njegoš refused the crown, declaring loyalty to his cousin, young King Peter II of Yugoslavia. Two Romanov princes, Prince Nicholas Romanovich of Russia and his father Prince Roman Petrovich also refused the crown, so Italian governors ran Montenegro instead.

On July 12, 1941, the rule of Sekula Drljević was inaugurated. At the beginning of 1942, however, the country suffered the outbreak of civil war as the Partisans and Chetniks (Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland) fought against Montenegrin separatists and Axis forces. As World War II progressed, the conflict within Montenegromarker became extremely chaotic and vicious as virtually every combination of alliances were made and broken between the warring sides and factions. Also active within Montenegro were the Second Serbian Volunteer Corps.

German mountain forces in Montenegro, June 1943.
The nation's borders essentially existed only on paper. Particularly after the spring of 1942, much of the Sandžak region, which was included in the Independent State of Montenegro, was not actually controlled by its proclaimed government. In addition, the area of the Bay of Kotormarker (the venetian Cattaro) was annexed to the Dalmatian province of the Kingdom of Italy until September 1943.

At the end of September 1943, the fascist Croatiamarker of Ante Pavelić annexed the Italian Province of Kotor (Provincia di Cattaro; Bay of Kotormarker) . By October 1943, Drljević was exiled from Montenegro. In 1944, while in the Independent State of Croatiamarker, Drljević formed the Montenegrin State Council, which attempted to act as a government-in-exile. The Montenegrin People's Army was later formed by Ante Pavelić and Drljević out of the defeated Pavle Đurišić-led Chetnik forces.

After the departure of the Italian governors, Montenegro remained under the direct control of German troops, with a terrible and bloody guerrilla war ravaging the area. During this period, tens of thousands of innocent civilians were killed by the Nazis . In December 1944 the German troops withdrew from Montenegro and Tito's partisans assumed control, ending the existence of the Kingdom of Montenegro.



The main religion in Montenegro was Serbian Orthodox. There was also a significant Muslim population and a smaller Catholic one. The Serbian Orthodox Church was divided into the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral and the Eparchy of Budimlje-Nikšić, both led by Joanikije Lipovac. Lipovac was killed in the aftermath of the war by Yugoslav communists after trying to flee the country in 1945. The Catholic Church was divided into two dioceses, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Skopje.

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