Croatia: a hostage of WWII history or…?

Croatian Homeland War Memorial Medal

Friday 13 July article by Zeljko Jurjevic “ The Homeland war is a shrine and it cannot be in the shadows of Ustashe, Partisans, and various (Radimir) Cacic’s and (Stjepan) Mesic’s …”  points to the issue that there are groups (in Croatia) in whose interests it is for Croatia to be seen as a country still preoccupied with World War II Ustashe and Partisans. The article leads one to see that turning to history is an easy way out from having to deal with the reality of the economic crisis. At the same time, Jurjevic, points out, Croatian Homeland War is being muddied and its veterans losing out on the deserved place in society. Jurjevic asserts that Croatia is a hostage of its WWII history and that this is not as harmless as it may appear.

No, it’s not as harmless as it may appear. It’s not just political spin to “mark the time”. It is the WWII Partisans’ descendants or sympathisers’ vessel through which they attempt to claim total credit for today’s independent and democratic Croatia.

Croatia’s Homeland War (1991 – 1995) is the foundation of today’s independent and democratic Croatia.

Because today’s Croatia was created with almost equal participation of the descendants of WWII Home Guards (politically neutral for much of WWII until they were forced to either join Ustashe, join Partisans, or die), Ustashe (fascists, pro-Nazi) and Partisans (communists, some were antifascist) Croatia simply cannot desert this history, leave it to historians without delivering justice for all the victims of all crimes committed during and after WWII.

Today’s Croatia was created (during 1990’s) by the unity of all Croatians, those that lived in Croatia and those that lived abroad, by the politically and historically right-winged, left-winged and neutral, descendants of WWII Ustashe, Home Guards and Partisans – equally! Only through such a marvelous unity was Croatia able to come out victorious against the manifold militarily stronger Serb aggressor.

There’s almost a relentless plight – at times reminiscent of a desperate cry – to have the importance of Croatian Homeland War veterans and defenders elevated to their rightful place of deservedness. Their love and dedication to the freedom and self-determination of Croatian people, more often than not, become marred by the woes of WWII history: Ustashe vs Partisans. The advocates of communist Partisans wickedly and unjustifiably equate the latter with the Homeland War veterans.

There lies the bone of great discontent, and the compelling reason why WWII communist crimes must be prosecuted.

In recent years, in Croatian media, a good number of journalist analyses and statements by various politicians (usually left oriented) have “urged” that “Croatia must move on, leave the history to historians, etc.”

Suffice to say that most of such “outbursts” have been closely associated with events that pointed to heinous crimes against Croatian people committed by the communist totalitarian regime of Josip Broz Tito (former Yugoslavia).

While Croatian people of all walks of life condemn the crimes committed by the pro-Nazi Ustashe regime of the Independent State of Croatia/NDH, when it comes to the crimes against humanity committed by communist Partisans, the pro-communist lot hails them as actions of justified revenge!

Of course, even a blind and politically ignorant individual can see that Croatia’s so-called antifascists (communists) hide the crimes of their predecessors by emphasising those of WWII Ustashe.

This is, all will agree, wrong.

Then, there’s a notion circling around in some loud circles that if Croatia processed and condemned communist crimes, Croatia would be left without any “goodness” in its people; that goodness of today’s Croatia comes from antifascists/communists.

What a load of garbage!

Leftists maintain (wrongly) that if it weren’t for antifascism there would be no modern, independent and democratic Croatia today!

The only way Croatia will lose its “goodness” is if it doesn’t prosecute communist crimes. Because of the WWII widespread Nazi crimes the whole of Germany had once been condemned and yet, it stands proud now, it has moved on a long time ago because no stone had been left unturned when it came to crimes committed against humanity during WWII.

In that respect Germany was the lucky country. It got closure for the victims of Nazism, however painful for some die-hards that closure might have been.

Croatia, would not be a lucky country in the decades following WWII – the ruling communists made sure that crimes committed by their echelons do not end up in the same dark social dungeons as those committed by the Ustashe.

Unlike for Germany, unlike for Ustashe, many WWII crimes committed in Croatia by communists still remain unpunished.

Neither communism nor fascism brought anything good to Croatian people. Both were one-party totalitarian regimes that persecuted those with opposing views.

There’s renewed glorification in Croatia of the former communist system and its ideologist Josip Broz Tito.  Various groups take advantage of the current economic crisis and say that life used to be better under the Serbo-Chetnik Yugoslavia that mercilessly persecuted Croatian people.

This too, is another angle in the pro-Communists’ attempts to evade the destiny of having communist crimes prosecuted. It is an established fact that from 1945 – the day WWII ended – Yugoslav (including Croatian) antifascism/communism became a criminal, anti-Croatian, Serbo-Yugoslav system for the persecution and genocide over Croatians. There has been no regime in history that murdered so many Croatians as did the Yugoslav communist regime under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito.

It is an absolutely undisputable fact that, in 1991, 94% of Croatian voters voted for independence from communist Yugoslavia, voted for democracy and self -determination. That fact in itself speaks clearly that the Croatian people were fed-up, to say the least, with oppressive Yugoslavia.

It is an undisputed fact that descendants of all WWII sides created today’s Croatia. Everyone who participated and contributed to the great freedom and democracy must be hailed a hero. That is what happens in every civilised world.

But, how can descendants of some be branded less worthy than others, because of their historical bloodlines! The descendants of fascists cannot allow the descendants of communists to steal all the blissful thunder of the cries for freedom and the struggle for freedom from early 1990’s. This is particularly so because the descendants of fascists know that the descendants of communists committed terrible crimes that have gone unpunished.

While the descendants of all WWII sides cannot be held responsible for the deeds of their ancestors, they must be held responsible to reconcile history. They must bring justice to those victims of crimes who have been forgotten and who have had no closure for their suffering (victims of communist crimes) which would allow them to move on, leave history to historians.

So, Croatia is not a hostage to WWII history. On the contrary, Croatia is struggling to rectify history and bring all to their deserved place. It only seems as if there’s a hostage-of-history situation in Croatia but the bottom line is the one being frantically drawn by the tactics of communist sympathisers whereby they do not want prosecution and condemnation of communist crimes.

Croatia will, in many ways, be a poor country if the shaping of its future solely depends on the descendants of criminals who got away (from justice)! This goes for corruption, as well as for WWII and post-WWII crimes. Ina Vukic, prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. WTF, Croatians…why has Croatia throughout it’s history always prevailed in great battles and seems to always lose the ensuing peace? When will Croatians realize that it is NOT about political views, affiliations or convictions? It is about being Croatian first. Why have various powers been able to dominate and persecute Croatia? The answer, because we let them through our own petty squabbling. Why is it that a genocidal aggressor like Serbia is able to triumph after their horrendous crimes? Because they are united not by politics, but by nationhood. Maybe Croatia needs a constitutional monarchy to help keep itself united – a monarch of neutral political affiliation with strict constitutional controls over it’s power like that in Great Britain or Japan. The monarch would be the guardian of Croatian values and civilization, promoting not a political view but a Croatian view to maintain a united and strong Croatia. I can’t believe that I would even consider such a solution for Croatia because I am firm anti-monarchist, but given the political situation in Croatian, out of sheer frustration, I find myself thinking that this may be what is needed.

    • A firm hand – to keep Croatia first line – is definitely needed at least to sort out issues that must be sorted out particularly when it comes to history that still “lives” because it has not been properly reconciled. Certainly the government – now and former – have failed miserably in defending the truth of the Homeland War, over and over again. When it comes to WWII the problem in Croatia is the same as in every other country in “European Union” area where communism took over after WWII – the battles to deal with communist crimes are hard but more progress seems to have been made everywhere else (including Slovenia) so let’s trust that a hard hand will rise in Croatia when it comes to that.

  2. Americro says:

    The entire WWII debate is nothing more than a subversive discourse to

    a) Sow discord amongst Croats to ensure that people don’t complain and are left with voting for which of the two megaparties that are offshoots of KPH/KPJ they view as a lesser economic evil at that time, ergo keeping the old ruling Communist bourgiouise turned neoliberal capitalist class in power;
    b) Cloud any discussion over the wholesale robbery of Croats in the first, protofascist Serboslavia which engaged in state sponsored terrorism against Croats, jailed 30,000 who were over 90% Radictes i.e. HSS supporters until the war itself began, and which carried out a savage program of cultural imperialism to and include passing laws granting land for non-Serbs converting to Serbian Orthodoxy;
    c) Serb Gendarme / VJ / local Chetnik attacks and massacres that PRECEDED the Ustashe being installed by Mussolini and Hitler, which sentenced Croatia on a more or less regional civil war
    d) Cloud the fact that Tito met with none other than the reactionary clerofascist imperialist Draz “Homogenija Srbija” in Serbia, meaning Tito was anything but an antifascist by the Hanna Ardent definition / axiom but rather a Yugoslav Nationalist and Communist;
    e) Cloud the fact that the Ustase and Chetniks collaborated with each other on and off the duration of the war as did the Chetniks and Partisans, which brings a giant question mark to the number of actual victims of WWII that has been used as a tool to silence any attempt to create a Croatian state or to even point out that there were Croatian victims in WWII
    f) Ensure that no discussion about failed foreign and economic / domestic policy is brought up but that the masses argue over which revisionist history – the far yugoslav Communist left or the far Ustasa right wing history is less revisionist.

    • When it comes to Croatian happenings in this matter you are right Americro in many ways. But ;et’s sincerely hope that someone will be strong enough and pursue the matter of prosecuting WWII crimes for what they are – crimes . Crimes committed must be taken out of political context and dealt with even if the perpetrators may attempt to justify committing murder with their political allegiance. As to communist crimes and Tito and Partisans it is well known that some Partisans were pure communists (pursuing communist agenda which included murdering opponents so that communist system could thrive) and others were antifascists. Not all Partisans committed crime. When it comes to real crimes then politics should not and must not matter when it comes to prosecuting them. It’s only natural that opposition to that will exist because perpetrators will always try and mount their defence, to which they have a right, but the defence of political allegiance is no defence at the end of the day. The people will always be divided if all crimes are not treated the same. Prosecuting communist crimes is not historical revision in the negative sense of the word, it is simply paying the debt we of today owe to those victims of cold-blooded mass murder that happened so many years ago. Today’s Croatia’s persons who call themselves antifascists will always say that attempts to prosecute communist crimes is historical revisionism; they justify the murders committed with that “catchy phrase” in order to justify the crimes and justify communist regime. They wrote the history, they did not prosecute their own who committed murder…so history has to be clarified and certainly revised if truth requires revision.

  3. Francis A. says:

    Partizans killed a ton of people, not just Croats. Their policy seemed to be to execute enemy combatants as well as to execute non-combatants who were not sympathetic to their cause. The pain they caused went far past the borders of just Croatia, and effected far more than just Croatians.

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