Croatia’s D-Day: Operation Storm 1995

Croatian Operation Storm 5 August 1995 Photo: MORH Ministry of defence Repubplic of Croatia (centre left: General Ante Gotovina, centre right: President Franjo Tudjman – standing above liberated town of Knin)

The profound respect, delight and the sense of ultimate justice for freedom WWII D-Day generates in the lands of WWII Allies is nothing less, nothing more than what “Operation Storm 1995” generates for Croatia and Croatians – except for the misguided few.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower issued his historic message to the troops prior to their landing in Normandy on June 6 1944: “You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you”. It was the beginning of the end of WWII – the Allied forces stormed the beaches of northern France in a surprise attack on Nazi-occupied Europe. D-Day brought the beginning of the ending of the horrors of the Holocaust with steel resolve.

Words to the same effect were, I remember, delivered by President Franjo Tudjman to Croatian troops in the lead-up to Operation Storm 1995 against the Serb occupying forces.

I have not yet seen any D-Day commemorations, anywhere, where the enemy (members of the Nazi) are invited to participate. Just imagine if such an invitation went out in Britain, France, USA, Australia …! All rage would be unleashed across those the lands! D-Day is, after all, a day to honour those who fought; who lost their lives in order to liberate Europe from the brutal Nazi occupation.

Indeed, the place and times of any reconciliation between people are such that they must not, under any circumstance, contaminate the honour and remembrance of the moments in history that held the key to freedom, independence and the beginning of the ending of horrors endured by a nation.

Vecernji List reports that Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic has invited to the 17th anniversary commemoration of Operation Storm (5 August) the president of Serbian Democratic Forum, Veljko Dzakula! This man Dzakula was the political leader of rebel Serbs in Slavonia (Croatia) and although in February of 1993 he took part in the unsuccessful attempts by the Croatian government for peaceful transfer to Croatian authority, towards normalizing life for the locals on the battlefield, he was, nevertheless, prior to that – a rebel Serb leader. In the mind of Croatian people, he would have taken a strong political role behind what was to become a horrendous nightmare for Croatia – Serb aggression, occupation, ethnic cleansing, genocide, rape …

While Croatia’s president Josipovic might think (wrongly!) that Dzakula’s presence at the 17th Anniversary commemoration of Operation Storm could bring a certain confirmation of legitimacy for the Operation Storm the fact is that Operation Storm is legitimate without any testimonies from former Serb rebel leader.

The legitimacy is written in all the horror that occurred on Croatian territory at the hands of Serbs from 1991 to 4th August 1995. The legitimacy of Operation Storm is the fact that Operation Storm was waged for the ultimate need of self-preservation of Croatia within its historical and sovereign borders.

It is indeed painful, to the core, that Croatia’s leftist president and current leftist government are seemingly tolerated, albeit only coyly criticised in some media, for this utterly unfair move to bring among the revelers for Operation Storm elements that have the capacity of playing down the deserved honour to be bestowed upon Croatian war veterans on this day. Such contamination of this proud moment in Croatian history is unforgivable!

While I do not need to repeat what has been written many times about the corrupt political moves to equate the victim with the aggressor it is in that light that I see this shameful invitation by Josipovic to Dzakula.

Josipovic has perhaps read (and given utterly misguided credence to) Boris Divjak’s (one of the founders of Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina) 2006 depraved sentence: “The conflict continued throughout much of 1995 but, after Croatia invaded the Serb region of Krajina in early August …” (Page 237, paragraph 3)

Croatia did not invade a Serb region with Operation Storm. Croatia liberated its own region with Operation Storm. Operation Storm is D-Day for Croatia – the day we remember the victory over the suffering and horrors imposed upon Croatians and non-Serbs of Croatia by the Serb aggression and invasion between 1991 and 1995.

Furthermore, Josipovic and Croatia’s leftist government are perhaps still contemplating on withdrawing the Croatia’s lawsuit at International Court of Justice (ICJ) (filed in 1999) against Serbia for genocide. Serbia in its counterclaim at ICJ (2010) claims, besides dredging out WWII Ustashi crimes against Serbs that 1990’s war in Croatia has absolutely nothing to do with, demand that Croatia “amends its Law on Public Holidays, Remembrance Days and Non-Working Days, by way of removing the ‘Day of Victory and Homeland Gratitude’ and the ‘Day of Croatian Defenders’, celebrated on the 5th of August…

The time in Croatia, and internationally, has indeed come when political manipulation must stop and truth – prevail.

May Croatia’s war veterans of Operation Storm be praised and reveled for eternity for, not only did they liberate Croatia from the brutal Serb aggression but many also, led by Croatian General Ante Gotovina, went on to stop further genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina via operation that lifted the Serb siege of Bihac. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)  


  1. I’ve just watched a documentary film on DVD that can be bought with newspapers (Večernji list) in Croatia. It’s called: “Udružena nepravda”. Author of the documentary film is Jadranka Jureško-Kero.
    I saw and heard you in the documentary film and I was pleasantly surprised. I was so surprised that I had to search for your blog. It’s unbelievable to me that there is actually someone that determined to justice and truth.
    I belong to a generation born during the war, been informed by my grandmother about facts that you stand behind.
    I don’t know what else to say, but I really support what you’re doing and I’m really glad to see what you’re doing.
    Thank you so much.

    • Thank you Malva, much appreciate your praise. Keeping Croatian truth alive can be a tiring task given so much untruth circling around. But the task is done with dedication and belief in truth and justice. Your generation must never forget that although Serbs say they suffered in Homeland war too most suffered because they did not want to live in Croatia, attacked Croatia with brutality and Croatia had to defend itself. Of course, victims fall in any defensive action but Operation Storm about which the documentary film “Joint injustice” talks was the move Croatia had to make to preserve its own life from the aggression and occupation. Self-preservation is the ultimate right of every human being.

  2. I\’ve just watched a documentary film on DVD that can be bought with newspapers (Večernji list) in Croatia. It\’s called: \”Udružena nepravda\”. Author of the documentary film is Jadranka Jureško-Kero.
    I saw and heard you in the documentary film and I was pleasantly surprised. I was so surprised that I had to search for your blog. It\’s unbelievable to me that there is actually someone that determined to justice and truth.
    I belong to a generation born during the war, been informed by my grandmother about facts that you stand behind.
    I don\’t know what else to say, but I really support what you\’re doing and I\’m really glad to see what you\’re doing.
    Thank you so much.

    • Thank you Necrilia. It was an honour to participate in the documentary film Udruzena nepravda (Joint injustice) for Croatian truth. When one sees the injustice and misinformation circling around out of political corruption it is only human and out of love for justice that I write the blog.

  3. Amazing! Thank you Ina for your persistence in spreading the Croatian truth. By the way I refer also to the Udruzena nepravda documentary film I just watched today 4 August in Zagreb, bought it with Vecernji List – you and all the participants in it are simply great and Croatians should follow your example everywhere. Indeed, Operation Storm was “to be or not to be for Croatia” as you say in that documentary. I will keep that in mind, never forget it. Because there is so much effort by many in Croatia and outside that try to convince the world otherwise – with dirty lies. Please continue writing, thank you

    • Thank you Stjepan, and if you have a Croatian flag handy, let it flutter with pride from your window or your garden today and tomorrow.

  4. Hrvoje Milostic says:

    Just saw in Split the documentary film Udruzena Nepravda (Joint Injustice) by Jadranka Juresko-Kero on Operation Storm, the Hague Tribunal, Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac.
    Bravo Robin Harris
    Bravo Goran Visnjic
    Bravo Mishka Gora
    Bravo Ina Vukic
    Bravo Brian Gallagher
    Bravo Neven Sesardic
    Bravo Mirijan Damaska

    When it comes to the truth about the Hague you all deserve our gratitude and praise. You lift the spirit of truth

  5. Miso Sorbel says:

    Yes, there’s nothing the Serbs would like more than for Croatia to give up the celebrations of Operation Storm and Homeland Gratitude on August 5th – that way the Serb aggressor would benefit from that, their horrendous and heinous crimes would soon be forgotten. No way should Croatia withdraw from ICJ lawsuit against Serbia. Today we see all sorts of “poor me”, “we suffered too” from Serbs but they omit to admit that they were the cause of their own suffering, as well as the suffering of others. Bring it on – at ICJ!

    • Don’t know where you get your ideas Rachel Dowling but I suggest you read the blog a bit better before you jump to crazy conclusions. On your issue check out the Croatian Timeline link on the right hand side or click the picture of Korcula and in the Timeline you shall find the reference to Ustashe WWII. You should really try to hate less and be more objective. Thank you on your comment.

    • Francis A. says:

      She does not erase it, Rachel, she simply whitewashes and minimizes it, censoring the numbers given by the US Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, and The Simon Wiesenthal Center.

      • At least Francis A, I am not single minded and I do respect the truth. It is not a matter of whitewashing it is a matter of your comments disrespecting Comments policy – if you wish to promote The Holocaust Research center you are welcome but not on my blog because that center is not be all and end all, there are many others perhaps more credible than that.
        For example, Statistics by Israel scholar, Yehuda Bauer are considered to be the most reliable when it comes to Holocaust victims – Jews:
        Polish-Soviet Area approx. 4,565,000
        Germany 125,000
        Austria 65,000
        Czechoslovakia 277,000
        Hungary 402,000
        France 83,000
        Belgium/Luxembourg 24,700
        Netherlands 106,000
        Italy 7,500
        Norway 760
        Romania excluding Bessarabia, N. Bukovina and northern Transylvania 271,000 – 287,000
        Yugoslavia 60,000 – 67,000 (includes Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro)
        Greece 60,000 – 67,000
        Totals number of Jewish victims 5,700,000 – 5,860,000
        Source: Yehuda Bauer. A History of the Holocaust. New York, Frankin Watts Revised edition 2001.

        When it comes to Serbs, or Croats killed in Croatia in WWII – I do not intend nor will I ever publish guesswork as fact. That I believe might be a job you might like to take.

  6. Robert H says:

    A heartfelt congratulation to Croatian war veteran of 1991 – 1995.

  7. Bravo to our Brave men and women who defended their homes, family and country against the evil of Serb aggression and hegemony. Since our esteemed President and Serb representations in Croatia both believe that all victims of the Serb Aggression should be commemorated equally during sacred celebrations and commemorations like Operation Storm, I propose that on their behalf a petition is initiated to commemorate all victims of ‘D’ Day. Because really there would be no D Day or Operation Storm if there were no aggressors; makes sense in an Hague justice sort of way??

    • How true!

    • Francis A. says:

      It is funny how you say “Serb aggressors” when the aggressors came from Croatia and were Croatian Serbs. The JNA ended the “Serb aggression” in 1991. Of course though, a Croat does not consider a Croatian Serb to be a Croat, but merely a pesky Serb occupying foreign land. Remind me again what happened in WWII in the region?

      • It is beneath anyone and the truth to reply to your comment Francis A but it must be done. No, Croatian Serbs formed para-military forces and then in June 1991 Yugoslav Peoples Army from Belgrade, comprised of Serbs and Montenegrians joined and strengthened aggression against Croatia. Before that the YPA tried it in Slovenia. There were a large number of Croatian Serbs who did not join the Serb aggressor and joined the Croatian defense forces. The rebel Serbs who had lived in Croatia did not want to live in independent Croatia and occupied parts of it, ethnically cleansing Croatians and non-Serbs from those areas. What happened in WWII in the region has nothing to do what happened in 1990’s except that many Serbs in Croatia wanted Yugoslavia to continue. Surely, you cannot blame your child or you cannot make your own child to suffer for any deeds you might do in your adult life.

  8. Francis A. says:

    If such was the case, why have so few Serbs from the JNA been convicted by the ICTY for actions in Croatia? By my count, there have been 3, all 3 involving either Vukovar or Dubrovnik, both for 1991. The ICTY also claims that fewer than 5,000 Croatian civilians were killed during the war. Or are both of these statistics “not really the truth”, i.e. a perverse attempt to nationalize history?

    • Well trials still continue but you will find that there were a number of Croatian rebel Serbs who collaborated with JNA convicted in ICTY. I suggest you research the ICTY decisions yourself or you may use other sources including Croatia: Timeline on my homepage regarding the number of Serbs convicted for war crimes in Croatia by ICTY. It would be good if you could provide the link from ICTY where it talks of the number of civilians killed, in any case the number you quote is not small – even one is too many.


  1. […] commentators such as Robin Harris (former adviser to Margaret Thatcher), actor Goran Visnjic, Ina Vukic  and Mishka Gora. It also features CBR editor Brian Gallagher, who has been writing on the case […]

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