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White Hand, or Bela Ruka (Бела Рука), was a secret, unofficial military organization in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (and later in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia).

White Hand was opposed to another, similar organization called Black Hand, and it was formed for this purpose in 1912 by Colonel Petar Živković[1] (who was, along with the Black Hand, involved in the 1903 coup against Aleksandar Obrenović), with blessings from Prince Alexandar Karađorđević (later King Alexander I of Yugoslavia).

With the demise of the Black Hand in the Salonika Trial (Solunski proces), White Hand steadily gained control of the young and ambitious Prince Alexander. Živkovic was made the head of the Palace Guard in 1921, and started amassing power. In 1929 King Alexander I, along with officers of the White Hand orchestrated a coup in attempt to control the growing nationalist tensions in the country (especially in Croatia) and the instability of the Parliament. Živković, now a general, was appointed Prime Minister. The autocracy was eased in 1931, when the King re-instated some constitutional rights after his reforms completely failed in their purpose, and Živković lost his position in 1932 after organizing numerous show trials against minority leaders, ultra-nationalist groups, and communists.

The members of White Hand are also suspected of being involved in the abdication of heir-apparent Prince George in favour of Alexander (1909), the installment of Alexander as a regent during the reign of Peter I, as well as the coup of March 27, 1941 which placed the underage Prince Peter II Karađorđević on the throne, effectively putting Yugoslavia in a state of war with Germany.

With the victory of the communist forces of Josip Broz Tito in the subsequent civil war in Yugoslavia, members of the White Hand were either executed by the new regime, or fled to the Allies.




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