While this excellent analysis by Srdja Trifkovic focuses on the “internal” history of Croatia, it is important to note that four days after Nazi Germany declared war on the United States, Hitler’s staunch ally the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) declared war on both the United Kingdom and on the United States on December 14, 1941. What makes this especially significant is that less than three years later, on April 16, 1944, which was Easter Sunday for the Serbian Orthodox, the Anglo-American forces bombed Belgrade, the capital of their loyal and devoted ally Serbia, even though there was no strategic reason to do so. The consequences of the bombing campaign were devasting for the Serbs, who lost tens of thousands of innocent civilians on that Holy day. No such Anglo-American bombing campaign was ever initiated against Zagreb, the capital of the Independent State of Croatia.
Division of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April 1941
Some important Westerners may prefer to look forward, to forget, minimize, or even deny, the fruits of the Croatian Holocaust of 1941-45 and its revived legacy of 1995. The endeavor is flawed. Sins unatoned for will continue coming back to haunt us.
The range of moral and political issues raised by the Ustaša movement and the regime it established in Croatia on April 10, 1941, is comparable to the Third Reich. In both cases, a political group, organized into a regime, devoted extraordinary resources to mass murder based on the victims’ race, creed or ethnicity. In both cases most ordinary Germans and ordinary Croats – those not directly affiliated with the regime, or overtly supportive of its goals and methods – opted for passive acquiescence. In both cases only a small minority was directly involved in the killing. In both cases the perpetrators understood why it had to be done; the mass murder made sense to them.
There are intriguing differences. The Nazis subjected ordinary Germans to relentless anti-Semitic indoctrination for almost a decade prior to the final, exterminationist phase of 1942-45. The anti-Serb propaganda campaign conducted by the Ustaša regime preceded the beginning of its own exterminationist campaign by weeks rather than months. In both cases modern racial myths were blended with a mix of pre-existing myths, stereotypes and prejudices, thus preparing ordinary people to internalize the dehumanization and subsequent liquidation of the victims. In Croatia, however, the collective indoctrination preceding the mass murder could be so much shorter because the soil was more receptive to the seed.
The Ustaša movement had its roots in the political tradition based on Croatia’s state rights, which included the key claim that no inhabitants of Croatia were exempt from the jurisdiction of its political and legal institutions. For the upholders of this view, the Serbs of the Military Border were unwelcome aliens for as long as they insisted on retaining their distinct name, their autonomous legal status vis-à-vis Civil Croatia, and their Orthodox faith. An obsessive aristocratic resentment at Grenzer priviliges was passed on from one generation to another, and became democratized after the collapse of feudalism in 1848.
At the historical root of the Ustaša bloodbath lay a centuries-old striving of the Croatian elite to impose legal and religious homogeneity and to re-establish political obedience. A culturally homogeneous nation-state could not be created from the diversity of nationalities without ethnic cleansing, however. The notion of a racially distinct national community with an exclusive claim to its land was the necessary ingredient to make such a project not only possible but emotionally and culturally legitimate. That notion was eventually articulated in the aftermath of 1848, in the period of rapid modernization, with the Serb as the essential ‘other’ at its center. The old distaste for the Vlach of the Croatian Estates was re-defined in surprisingly modern terms by the “father of the nation,” Ante Starčević. He articulated eliminationist anti-Serbism and thus created the necessary political culture for the Ustaša project of exterminationist Serbophobia.
What also set the Ustašas apart from both Nazis and Fascists was the degree to which their anti-Serb hate defined their emotional as well as cultural self perception, their very Croatness. This set the movement apart from all other political forces in Croatia, and notably the HSS. The Ustašas postulated a demonic concept of the Serb which made any compromise impossible. Limited sovereignty and amputation of territory was preferable. Pavelić’s perception of Croatia’s interests was consistent with his basic assumptions, eventually turning him into Mussolini’s “Balkan pawn” in the latter’s own words.
The victor in the Yugoslav war of all against all, Tito tried to force all “Yugoslavs” to invest their memories of the war into the common bank of the National Liberation Struggle (NOB) and Fascist Terror as equal shareholders, and to draw the common dividend of brotherhood and unity. Tito’s edifice thus came to be built on three fictions:
1. The myth of the constituent nations’ equal contribution to the Partisan victory in the ‘National Liberation Struggle.’
2. The myth of all ethnic groups’ equal suffering under the ‘occupiers and their domestic servants.’
3. The equating of the Četniks with Pavelić’s Ustašas as politically and morally equivalent.
The Serbs were not allowed to be personalized as victims and the Ustašas were seldom named as perpetrators. Countless markers and monuments in Lika, Kordun, Banija, or Bosnia and Herzegovina memorialized the “victims of the terror by occupiers and their domestic servants,” followed by long columns of Serbian names. The state narrative could not prevent or outweigh the impact of personal and family ones, however, which for the Serbs became part of an underground national narrative.
Zagreb (Agram) in 1941
The Serb-Croat conflict of the 1990s grew from elements which should now be familiar. The Communist apparat in Croatia and the police force were disproportionately Serb. This was resented by Croats, just as Serb privileges had been resented before 1881. As the Croatian Communist Party became more nationalistic, this became consequential; and when Communism failed, nationalism detonated. The Serbs were identified as the bearers of the Communist revolution itself.
In 1990-91 it was hardly imaginable that the Serbs should not take up arms against a regime in Zagreb which was reviving the symbols, slogans, and atmosphere of the Ustaša state. Their fears were kindled by the government of Franjo Tudjman which came to power in April 1990 after the first multiparty election since 1938. It was composed of nationalists whose stated goal was to reconcile the legacy of the Croatian Partisans and their Ustaša opponents. Tudjman’s successor as president, Stjepan Mesić, thus declared that Croatia had scored a victory twice in the Second World War, first in 1941 and then again in 1945. Tudjman readily affirmed that the NDH reflected the legitimate, centuries-old aspirations of the Croat people.
The war which broke out in August 1991 had the traumatic collective memory of the NDH as its key cause. Its final act came on August 4, 1995, when Operation Storm was launched by the Croatian army and police. Its political objectives became evident over a decade later, when the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague released a transcript of Tudjman’s meeting with his top military commanders and civilian aides at the Adriatic island of Brioni on July 31, 1995. “We have to inflict such blows,” Tudjman announced, “that the Serbs will to all practical purposes disappear.” It is important that those civilians set out, he went on, “and then the army will follow them, and when the columns set out they will have a psychological impact on each other … This means giving them a way out, while pretending to guarantee civil rights etcetera.” This strategic design was firmly rooted in 1941. The result was the biggest act of ethnic cleansing in post-1945 Europe. An area the size of New Jersey, inhabited by over half a million people a century ago, was literally depopulated. Of those left behind, many have been shot in the back of the head or had throats slit, others have been mutilated. Virtually all Serb villages had been destroyed and many corpses left unburied.
To most Croats this was but the final act of a war of Serbian aggression and Croatian Defense of the Motherland. The power of this narrative became evident in April 2011, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest the conviction of two Croatian generals by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. A rational verdict on the crimes against the Serbs remains as unlikely in today’s Croatia as it was seven decades ago. Suffice to note that the Croatian Army chief chaplain, Bishop Juraj Jezerinac, compared the predicament of generals Gotovina and Markač to the suffering of Jesus Christ. The collective refusal to judge immoral acts as such, separate from some alleged context, does not bode well either for Croatia or for its neighbors.
Tudjman’s vision behind the Storm, a Serb-free Croatia, indicated that the legacy of 1941 was alive. A week after it was all over, at a rally in Knin, Tudjman announced, “There can be no return to the past, to the times when [Serbs] were spreading cancer in the heart of Croatia, a cancer that was destroying the Croatian national being.” Those same words could have been uttered at a rally in the spring of 1941. Tudjman gloated in the “ignominious disappearance” of the Krajina Serbs, “as if they have never lived here.” His predecessors of 1941-45 would have approved.
What happens in the Balkans is seldom due to the Balkans alone. Tudjman felt authorized from Washington and Bonn to proceed with his final solution in the Krajina no less than Pavelić had felt authorized to pursue fifty years of intolerance after visiting Hitler in June 1941. Tudjman’s goals were recapitulated with precision on August 23, 1995, in the aftermath of the Storm:
“Military force can be a most effective means for solving the internal needs of the state… It is necessary for military command precisely to become one of the most efficient components of our state policies in solving the demographic situation of Croatia.”
The Ustaša legacy is a Serbenfrei Croatia. It is kept alive not only by the skinhead fringe at Thompson’s concerts and the Black Legion lookalikes at Bad Blue Boys’ soccer rallies, but also by the political, academic, ecclesiastical, cultural and media establishments. They, too, have internalized a host of similar assumptions and preferences, but they no longer require explicit symbolism and terminology of seven decades ago. Steadily reduced from a quarter of Croatia’s population before 1914 to a sixth after 1945 and a seventh in 1991, the Serbs today account for fewer than five percent.
Europe may have moved beyond blood-and-soil atavism, west of the Oder at least, but in the Balkans the old heart of darkness keeps beating. After the decline of higher cynicism in the name of Human Progress, benevolent tolerance by the “international community” of that legacy reflects the ascent of higher cynicism in the name of Human Rights. Some important Westerners may prefer to look forward, to forget, minimize, or even deny, the fruits of the Croatian Holocaust of 1941-45 and its revived legacy of 1995. The endeavor is flawed. Sins unatoned for will continue coming back to haunt us.
Author: Srdja Trifkovic
The original source of this article is LIBERTY/СЛОБОДА, Serbian National Defense Council of America Vol. 60 No. 7
Copyright © Srdja Trifkovic
, LIBERTY/СЛОБОДА, Serbian National Defense Council of America Vol. 60 No. 7, 2012
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
The “Final Solution” of the Serb Question in Nazi-Croatia during the WWII
With American military personnel now entering service who were not even alive on 9/11, this seems an appropriate time to reexamine the events of September 11, 2001 – the opaque motives for the attacks, the equally opaque motives for the counter-offensive by the United States and its allies known as the Global War on Terror, and the domestic fall-out for Americans concerned about the erosion of their civil liberties on the homefront.Before venturing further, it’s worth noting that our appraisal is not among the most common explanations. Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants at Al-Qaeda, and the men who carried out ...
The Dayton system has kept the peace for twenty-five years. Why destabilize Sarajevo now?As befits a successful peace agreement, the November 1995 Dayton accords that ended the Bosnian war were marked on their twenty-fifth anniversary with a flurry of international conferences. Oddly enough, even though a general acknowledgment that the accords have kept the peace, most recommendations call for radically “revising Dayton,” on the grounds that Bosnia’s institutions are too cumbersome, prone to corruption and politically unfair to minorities. Even more oddly, many proposals have been made to address these problems by dismantling the very structures that have brought and maintained peace. ...
Despite having the biggest military budget in the world, five times larger than the next six countries, the largest number of military bases – over 180 – in the world and the most expensive military industrial complex, the US has failed to win a single war in the 21st century.
In this paper we will enumerate the wars and proceed to analyze why, despite the powerful material basis for wars, it has led to failures.
The Lost Wars
The US has been engaged in multiple wars and coups since the beginning of the 21st century. These include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Venezuela and ...
This list of shrines is based on a study by Milan Ivanovic, Crkveni spomenici XIII-XX veka (Church Monuments from 13th to 20th century) from Zaduzbine Kosova (The Foundations of Kosovo), Prizren-Belgrade 1987, and other recent publications. Dragan Jovanovic, researcher, compiled the major part of this list.
AJKOBILA (in the Middle Age Prozdrikobila, Pristina): demolished church in the vicinity of the present-day mosque.
AJNOVCE (in the Middle Ages Hainovci, K. Kamenica): 1. ruins of the Tamnica monastery with the church built and frescoed in the 14C on the foundations of an older Byzantme basilica; 2. remains of a church in the old cemetery ...
Norway is a member of NATO and has close ties to the United States and Great Britain. The political, economic and bureaucratic elites are firmly integrated in transatlantic networks, a nexus of economic connections, think tanks, international institutions, media and a thousand other ties that bind. They tend to identify with the liberal wing of the empire, (i.e. the Democrats, not the Republicans), but will work with any US administration. The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are selected by the Norwegian parliament, and the Committee is nominally independent.Despite being considered – and where the population considers itself – a ...
Several power centers were formed in Libya as a result of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the destruction of the statehood. None of them has a national legitimacy. The pursuit of personal interests by some political leaders to the detriment of the general state is intertwined with territorial fragmentation. The historic regions - Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan - have de facto separated from each other. The Libyan phenomenon of the city-state arose (Misrata, Al-Zintan, Sirte, etc.). The separatist tendencies of the tribes grew stronger.Along with it, the UN attempts to stabilize the situation in the country. ...
A newly-released Hilary Clinton email confirmed that the Obama administration has deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as the “best way to help Israel.”In an indication of her murderous and psychopathic nature, Clinton also wrote that it was the “right thing” to personally threaten Bashar Assad’s family with death.In the email, released by Wikileaks, then Secretary of State Clinton says that the “best way to help Israel” is to “use force” in Syria to overthrow the government.The document was one of many unclassified by the US Department of State under case number F-2014-20439, Doc No. C05794498, following the uproar ...
Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag TerrorIn the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally, in writing, or through photographs or videos:(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria.This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasionsadmitted their part in the ...
The American taxpayers have been fleeced for almost seventy years by a so-called «intelligence» agency that has systematically violated the US Constitution, broken practically every federal law on the books, and penetrated virtually every facet of American life. The Central Intelligence Agency’s creation was bemoaned by its creator, President Harry S Truman, who, in a fit of personal angst following the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy, wrote in a newspaper column,“I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations… I, therefore, would like to see the ...
“We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” —Patrick Henry, Virginia Convention, 23 March, 1775
“The completeness of the victory is established by this fact: that of the six hundred Moros (Muslims living in the southern Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century) not one was left alive. The brilliancy of the victory is established by this other fact, to wit: that of our six hundred heroes only fifteen lost their ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSaveSave
Churchill once said that in war the truth is so precious it has to be surrounded with a bodyguard of lies. In Germany over the last two months one clearly saw the fabrication of such a bodyguard.Even as air attacks proceeded against civilian targets—destroying factories, electricity works, refineries, bridges, streets, railway lines and apartment blocks— German government representatives spoke of a ” humanitarian action ” . Despite the fact that the NATO attacks unleashed the massive wave of refugees and reduced towns and villages in Kosovo to ruins , it has been maintained to the very end that the aim ...
We bribed parties and politicians who have enticed hate between the nations. Our ultimate goal was to enslave you!WebTribune publishes their interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer during his promotion tour in Quebec for upcoming book “Secrets of the White House” last week.My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media.Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, has authored many books ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
It only took a few months under Donald Trump’s presidency for the US to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, impose new sanctions on Russia, reverse the normalisation of diplomatic relations with Cuba, announce its intention to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, warn Pakistan, threaten Venezuela with military intervention, and declare a readiness to strike North Korea with ‘fire and fury … the likes of which this world has never seen before.’ The Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the only countries on better terms with the US since Trump’s arrival in the White House on 20 January.Trump is ...
Many of us go through life searching for our purpose, for something that we are passionate about. After years of searching finally I stumbled upon mine a few years ago. Having the world hear Syrians telling their side of the story while living through this imposed war is what ignited that fire in me. As a Syrian American that was born in Syria and lived in both countries my entire life, I feel a strong link to my heritage, my birth country, my culture, my language, my customs, my nationality, and my history.
We have been bombarded with lies and propaganda ...
When Napoleon crossed the Neman River and said about Russia, “May its fate come to pass”, could we call it aggression on Russia by a nineteenth-century European Union? Whatever you call it, with the exception of the Balkans, which were under the Turks, all the rest of Europe had been pulled into this campaign—Prussia, Austria, and Switzerland as allies, and Poland, Spain, and Italy as vassals. That leaves almost no one else. Of course, when writing about history you can’t use modern terminology in the past tense. But a polemicist can do what a scholar cannot. And understanding the conditional nature of ...
In an email sent to his business partner and Democratic fundraiser Jeffrey Leeds, former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote of Hillary Clinton, “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s first term was an unmitigated disaster for many nations around the world. Neither the Donald Trump campaign nor the corporate media have adequately described how a number of countries around the world suffered horribly from Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy decisions.Millions of people were adversely harmed by Clinton’s misguided policies and her “play-to-pay” operations involving favors in return for donations ...
“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants” (Albert Camus 1913-1960)
On 1st May 2003, George W. Bush stood in a dinky little flying suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and in a super stage managed appearance told the lie of the century: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.” (1)
The illegal occupation and decimation of Iraq continued until December 2011. In June 2014 they returned to bomb again ...
The British Labour Party no longer represents the working class. Under UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Labour Party became a vassal of the One Percent. The result has been a rebellion in the ranks and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, a principled Labourite intent on representing the people, a no-no in Western “democracies.”Corbyn is too real for the Labour Party Blairites, who hope to be rewarded with similar nest eggs as Blair for representing the capitalist One Percent. So what is the corrupted Labour Party doing to prevent Corbyn’s election?The answer is that it is denying the vote to ...
The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret War
The Ethno-Territorial Separation of Bosnia Was the Key to Ending the War and Keeping Peace
The US: The Century of Lost Wars
The Shortened List of the Serb Christian Orthodox Shrines of Kosovo-Metochia (13th-20th centuries)
The Nobel Peace Prize in Support of War
Clinton: Destroy Syria for Israel
False Flag Terror: A Historical Overview
CIA: The Corrupt and Ignorant Agency
The Painful Truth: War is a Racket on Behalf of Wall Street and the Bankers
EuroMaidan Ukraine – (Selection of the Best Photos)
German Interests in the War Against Yugoslavia
Confession of a CIA Agent: They Gave Us Millions to Dismember Yugoslavia
Hillary Clinton – A Member of the “Axis of (D)evil”
US Foreign Policy is as Bellicose as Ever
Export of Kosovostan Jihad in the Middle East: The Christian Genocide in Syria
The Forerunner of the European Union
Countries Destroyed by Hillary Clinton
Death and Destruction in Iraq, Extensive US War Crimes: Apocalypse in Mosul in the Guise of Bombing ISIS
Western Democracy is an Endangered Species on its Way to Extinction
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS