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.
The “Final Solution” of the Serb Question in Nazi-Croatia during the WWII
This article was original published by GR in May 2003
“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” - Hermann Goering
Genocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation.
I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam Chomsky ...
I graduated from the exact same PHD Program at Harvard that produced Kissinger and Brzezinski before me. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. I also went through the exact same Soviet/Russian Studies Program at Harvard that produced Brzezinski before me, and passed my PHD Oral/General Examinations in Soviet Politics and Russian History under Adam Ulam and Ned Keenan, respectively. R.I.P. Obama was behind me at Harvard Law School.
Brzezinski has been Obama’s mentor and foreign policy guru since Obama’s student days at Columbia. Zbig ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on foreign affairs and defense, and ...
In 1917, the Austro-Hungarian government erected a monument to Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife the Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo on the third year anniversary of the assassinations on June 28. It was called the Sühnedenkmal or Spomenik umorstva, The Atonement or Expiation Monument. The bronze statue was by Hungarian sculptor Eugen Bori.
Photo left: 1918 Austro-Hungarian postcard featuring the monument to Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo date stamped August 25, 1918 by Kartenzentrale Jacob A. Cappon, Sarajevo, the same publisher of the Gavrilo Princip postcard published after the war. Sarajevo, Sühnedenkmal. Spomenik umorstva. 28 VI. 1914. Atonement or Expiation ...
A „rövid” XX. századot a balkáni lôporos hordó robbanása vezette be, és úgy látszik, addig nem is tud befejezôdni, amíg ezt a hordót jó mélyen és örökre el nem temetik. A koszovói konfliktus új fázisa – ha nem akarunk éppenséggel visszamenni az ôsidôkig, de legalábbis a rigómezei ütközetig (1389) vagy Arsenije Carnojevic és népe nagy elvándorlásáig (1698 – a tartomány szerb lakosága ekkor menekült el a török megtorlás elôl, és ekkor kezdôdött dél felôl az albánok tömeges betelepedése a lényegében lakatlanná vált területre) – nagyjából az elsô balkáni háborúval kezdôdött, és kisebb-nagyobb megszakításokkal tart ma is. A tartomány szerencsétlen helyen ...
Serbia rescued more Jews than any other part of the former Yugoslavia during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem , The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, has awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations, those who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, to 127 individuals from Serbia, which is the highest number for the former Yugoslavia.
On December 2, 2008, Arthur Koll, the Israeli Ambassador to Serbia, presented to the children and grandchildren of Borivoje Bondzic, Grozdana Bondzic, Ljubica Mandusic-Gazikalovic, and Jelica Rankovic the Righteous Among the Nations award. They are the descendants of Serbs who during the Holocaust risked their own lives ...
The United States is indisputably the world’s most frequent and extensive wager of aggressive war, largest occupier of foreign lands, and biggest weapons dealer to the world. But when the United States peeps out from under the blankets where it lies shivering with fear, it sees itself as an innocent victim. It has no holiday to keep any victorious battle in everyone’s mind. It has a holiday to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — and now also one, perhaps holier still, to recall, not the “shock and awe” destruction of Baghdad, but the crimes of September 11, 2001, ...
On the evening of April 6 the U.S. military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria. The bombing was a “response” to the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad government, which critics of the American deep state and the US imperial agenda have called a false flag attack.
The U.S. assault, which was done without congressional approval, marks a complete reversal of Trump’s campaign trail anti-interventionist claims as well as his condemnation of previous US presidents’—Bush and Obama’s –military actions in countries like Syria and Iraq.
As Think Progress reports, this action marks a “dramatic reversal from Trump’s position ...
The anti Serbian hysteria, ignorance, corrupted officials, media and public is something the British have to take consequences for. The consequences are: blooming criminal, narco business, robberies, theft, prostitution, kidnappings, radicalism, terrorism and other criminal officially supported (and) by Great Britain activities. But only while on Serbian soil. The Serbs were not allowed to defend their state form the criminals; there were NATO bombs to support Neonazi regime(s) in Croatia, radical Islamists in Bosnia and Islamofascists Albanian quasi state Kosovo, built on drug trade, prostitution and Serbian harvested organs.
Since Albanians were not happy with ‘Kosovo’ state anymore, and after they ...
The Green Corridor is a geopolitical concept with two meanings: (a) The Islamists’ goal of creating a contiguous chain of Muslim-dominated polities from Istanbul in the southeast to northwestern Bosnia, a mere 120 miles from Austria ; and (b) The process of increasing ethno-religious assertiveness among the Muslim communities along that route. The process entails four key elements:
Expanding the area of those communities’ demographic dominance;
Establishing and/or expanding various entities under Muslim political control with actual or potential claim to sovereign statehood;
Enhancing the dominant community’s Islamic character and identity within those entities, with the parallel decrease of presence and power of non-Muslim groups; and
Prompting Muslim communities’ ambitions for ever bolder ...
The following research is a review around the theme of Southeastern European organized crime, mainly in the period 1995-2007, highlighting the emergence of powerful regional “Mafias” with an actual global presence. The main focus is the Albanian criminal syndicates centered on Kosovo. The research is composed by previous material of the writer, some of which was presented in international workshops. Moreover the issue of radical Islam is being overviewed in a second part,for the same period, along with information regarding the state of affairs of the Muslim communities in the region.Narcotics and the emergence of crime syndicates in the BalkansThe ...
I listened to part of Trump’s UN speech this morning. I was so embarrassed for him and for my country that I had to turn it off.I wonder if whoever wrote the deplorable speech intended to embarrass Trump and inadvertently embarrassed America as well, or whether the speechwriter(s) is so imbued with the neoconservative arrogance and hubris of our time that the speechwriter was simply blind to the extraordinary contradictions that stood out like sore thumbs all through the speech.I am not going to describe all of them, just a couple of examples.Trump went on at great length about how ...
Part IFrance’s Balkan policy of the status quo The fundamental interest of France in the region of South-East Europe was of the economic nature but not fundamentally of the political one. The region was perceived by the French politicians as primarily significant in the following three points:As a well-suited area for the investment of the French financial capital.As the region which was the most appropriate overland traffic bond with the Ottoman Empire.As a foothold for the French economic domination over the East Mediterranean.[i]In this respect, the French economic penetration into the region, followed by an investment of the French financial ...
It is the Unlimited Imperialists along the line of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon and Hitler who are now in charge of conducting American foreign policy…Historically this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898. Then the Republican administration of President William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting ...
“Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear….”
So begins the official Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, 2015, signed and issued by Barack Obama.
While it hearkens back to earlier Thanksgivings in St. Augustine in 1565 and Plymouth in 1621, this is an essentially imperial document than gives only vague lip service to giving “thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.” When his proclamation gets specific, in the third sentence, the President gives the highest place of ...
Members of a notorious Albanian-run cocaine smuggling gang in London have outraged the UK mass media by flaunting their illegally obtained wealth on Instagram.
The Daily Mail on Monday accused the Hellbanianz group of “brazenly flaunting their gangster lifestyle” by posting pictures of themselves draped over luxury cars, smoking drugs, sporting Gucci outfits and fielding a kind of cake made up of rolled-up 50 pound notes.
A similar note of outrage was struck by the Sun and the Daily Mirror.
One picture shows a gang member holding a golden “game-of-thrones” style knuckleduster, encrusted with gems and formed in the shape of the letters ...
The recent declassification of over 3800 documents by the Central Intelligence Agency provides detailed proof that since 1953 the CIA operated two major programs intent on not only destabilizing Ukraine but Nazifying it with followers of the World War II Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera.
The CIA programs spanned some four decades. Starting as a paramilitary operation that provided funding and equipment for such anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR); its affiliates, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), all Nazi Banderists. The CIA also provided support to a relatively anti-Bandera faction ...
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 ...
This paper was presented by the late Sean Gervasi at the Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterrenean, Prague, 13-14 January 1996. It was published on Global Research when the Global Research website was launched on September 9, 2001.
The late Sean Gervasi had tremendous foresight. He understood the process of NATO enlargement several years before it actually unfolded into a formidable military force. He had also predicted the breakup of Yugoslavia as part of a US-NATO project.
See also Sean Gervasi’s 1993 video interview
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large task force into ...
“I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet.Stephen Lendman, one of the world’s most respected analysts, speaks with Pravda Report on the consequences of those attacks, and President Trump’s denial of his promises during the presidential campaign to investigate the day that has killed more than one million people ...
Is Vladimir Putin the most popular Russian leader of all time?
It certainly looks like it. In a recent survey conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center, Putin’s public approval rating soared to an eye-popping 86 percent, which is twice that of Obama’s when he left office in 2016. And what’s more surprising is that Putin’s popularity has held up through a severe economic slump and nearly two decades in office. Unlike most politicians, whose shelf-life is somewhere between 4 to 8 years, the public’s admiration for Putin has only grown stronger over time.
And the phenom is not limited to Russia either. According to a recent survey by the pollster YouGov, “Putin is the third most admired man in Egypt, the fourth in China, ...
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
The Anti-Russian Warmongering
Gavrilo Princip or Franz Ferdinand? Heroes or Villains?
Rescue in Serbia of the Jews during the WWII
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
Trump Bombs Syria and Obliterates His Anti-Interventionist Promises
Albanian Organized Crime in UK and Mainstream Media
Kosovo and the Jihadist Green Corridor in the Balkans
Southeastern European Organized Crime & Extremism Review
Trump’s UN Speech (September 2017)
South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (II)
“Unlimited Imperialism”: History of American Militarism
Thanksgiving for a Grateful Empire
Albanian Drug Gangsters Taunt UK by Flaunting Wealth
The CIA: Nazifying Ukraine since 1953
Countries Destroyed by Hillary Clinton
Why is NATO in Yugoslavia?
Democracy in America is Pure Fantasy