Under Nazi control, the Yugoslav people suffered a holocaust, which,
when measured on a per-capita basis, was greater than the persecution
of the Jews in Germany, Poland and elsewhere in Europe -- a fact
that is not generally well known in the West. The most infamous
of the extermination camps was located in Jasenovac, where upwards
of 1.2 million Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies perished at the hands of
the Nazi-led Croatian Ustashe.
When the Nazi's were finally driven out in 1944 and the war ended,
the Serbs, like the Jews, said "Never Again!" To support
that posture, they decided to arm the entire populace as an armed
militia, even though they were then Communists. Normal gun ownership
as we know it here was not allowed, but they knew that if the enemy
came again, their basic defense would be the armed peasant.
The Model 1948 98k Short Rifle or otherwise called the Yugoslavian
M48 is based in design on the German 98k Mauser and the Yugoslavian
Model FN 30 and 24 Carbines and Rifles. It is the last military
Mauser rifle (not made from parts or a rebuilt) made and was produced
in Yugoslavia at the Kragujevac arsenal from 1945 until 1952. The
rifles were built on German tooling, but are of a more robust construction,
because the Yugoslav factories did not experience the materials
shortages that cheapened the later German production.
The rifles and ammunition were dispersed to military storage facilities
around the country in anticipation of WWIII. Semi-automatic infantry
weapons such as the SKS and the AK47 soon made these Mauser rifles
obsolete for modern combat. Even so, the Mausers were still kept
in reserve and ready for service
And so it continued for over fifty years. Then the Berlin wall
came down, Communism died, the Bosnian war started, and Yugoslavia
broke apart with five of its seven states becoming independent countries.
The newly independent countries were able to take control of the
military storage facilities in their territories and sell these
rifles on the international surplus weapons market.