Croatia Thanks The Veterans For Freedom And Dawn Of Democracy

Defending freedom - Croat defenders 1991 - 1995

Defending freedom – Croat defenders 1991 – 1995


Croatian War of Independence (1991 – 1995) – The Storm Of Victory
Video tribute to Croatian veterans and Operation Storm with “Brothers in Arms” – Dire Straits music:

Today, August 5, Croatia commemorates the Day of Victory and Homeland Gratitude and the Day of Croatian Defenders, the day when 19 years ago its military and police forces regained control of most of the Serb occupied territory in the legendary military offensive Operation Storm.

Operation Storm restored Croatian sovereignty over nearly a fifth of the country’s territory, occupied by Serb terrorising, murderous rebels backed by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) from Serbia in 1991. Operation Storm, along with Operation Flash (Western Slavonia part of Croatia) successfully launched in May 1995, crushed the Serb forces and thus ended the military part of Homeland War in August 1995.

After the four years of occupation, shelling attacks and ethnic cleansing of Croats and other non-Serbs from the Serb-held areas, and many rounds of failed peace talks and initiatives, Croatia had no other choice but to liberate its sovereign but occupied territory with its own military force.

Operation Storm was launched at 5am on August 4, 1995, and within the next 84 hours nearly 10,500 square kilometres or 18.4 % of Croatia’s territory was liberated. A 20-metre-long Croatian flag was displayed on the fortress in Knin, the heart of the Serb rebellion, at noon on August 5.

The gratitude to the veterans and Croatian leadership at the time championed by Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman is immense. They should forever be remembered, celebrated and raised to the pedestal of eternal gratitude of the Croatian nation. Their resolve to fight off communist Yugoslavia venom was astonishing; the kind of resolve and bravery that pours hope and joy of freedom. In that light and in expressing my personal and deep gratitude to all those who fought in the battles for freedom, to all those who worked for freedom in the background, to all those who lost their lives for Croatia’s freedom, I have collected a series of screen shots from Operation Storm documentary films and turned them into photographs (please click on them to enlarge and enjoy). Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


Croatia destroyed by Serb aggression and on its knees  by August 1995

Croatia destroyed by Serb aggression
and on its knees
by August 1995


Croats forced to leave their towns  in their hundreds of thousands  by August 1995

Croats forced to leave their towns
in their hundreds of thousands
by August 1995


Croats fled their destroyed towns  under threats of death  and concentration camps  before August 1995

Croats fled their destroyed towns
under threats of death
and concentration camps
before August 1995

Croatia victims vukovar 1991

Operation Storm begins 4 August 1995

Operation Storm begins
4 August 1995


Croat wounded soldier attended to by mates

Croat wounded soldier
attended to by mates


Operation Storm 1995 Croat soldier in action

Operation Storm 1995
Croat soldier in action


Operation Storm Determined to be finally free

Operation Storm
Determined to be
finally free


Croat veterans charge in 1995 Operation Storm

Croat veterans charge
in 1995 Operation Storm


Operation Storm 5 August 1995  Croat soldiers circle  Serb occupied area

Operation Storm
5 August 1995
Croat soldiers circle
Serb occupied area


4 August 1995 Operation Storm Croat defenders plan liberating battles

4 August 1995
Operation Storm
Croat defenders plan
liberating battles


Swift, determined, strong Operation Storm 5 August 1995 Croat soldiers close in

Swift, determined, strong
Operation Storm 5 August 1995
Croat soldiers close in


Victory and liberty Operation Storm veterans complete their task

Victory and liberty
Operation Storm veterans
complete their task


Croat Operation Storm defenders enter liberated town of Knin

Croat Operation Storm
defenders enter liberated
town of Knin


Operation Storm a swift and determined action for freedom

Operation Storm a swift
and determined action
for freedom


Victory! Streets in Croatia celebrate Operation Storm  5 August 1995

Victory! Streets in
Croatia celebrate
Operation Storm 


Croat soldiers liberate Knin August 5, 1995

Croat soldiers liberate Knin
August 5, 1995


Tears of joy - Croat soldiers after Operation Storm 5 August 1995

Tears of joy –
Croat soldiers after
Operation Storm 


Operation Storm veteran receives a hug of gratitude

Operation Storm
veteran receives
a hug of gratitude


Operation Storm liberates town of Knin from Serb occupation and Croatia';s president Franjo Tudjman arrives the next day  6 August 1995 to personally shake the hands of the heroes

Operation Storm liberates
town of Knin from Serb
occupation and Croatia’;s
president Franjo Tudjman arrives the next day
6 August 1995 to
personally shake the hands
of the heroes


Franjo Tudjman in liberated Knin August 6, 1995

Franjo Tudjman in liberated Knin
August 6, 1995


Franjo Tudjman kisses the Croatian flag in liberated Knin August 6, 1995

Franjo Tudjman kisses the Croatian flag
in liberated Knin
August 6, 1995


Croat veterans in Knin August 6, 1995

Croat veterans in Knin
August 6, 1995


Franjo Tudjman with his Operation Storm team of Croatia's heroes  6 August 1995 in Knin

Franjo Tudjman with his
Operation Storm team of
Croatia’s heroes
6 August 1995 in Knin


  1. annathrax says:

    Awesome! I was young but remember these images so clear. They are heroes!

  2. How I wish I was in Croatia right now.
    Words are not enough to express my gratitude to the Homeland war veterans. All that can be said is thank you and nema predaje!

  3. Flicking through these photos Ina brings a shiver to my spine, as I recall so vividly the News of this war,.. It brought home how fragile our world was and is at the time..
    I know I sent you the poem I sent the Medical Convoy that a local surgeon had put together to help in relief efforts those wounded and to help the hospitals over there…
    He sent it to the local paper.. They did an interview with me asking my thoughts on the war… I remember saying it could be happening here between peoples with differing cultures..
    No one is ever a winner in a war.. But there is always the side of right.. against that which is wrong.. So many things are only just coming to light about many who suffered..
    War is happening all over again around our globe and I shake my head in despair at the reasons .. Gaza is another country suffering as children seem to be targeted.. And in todays technology with weaponry its no mistakes schools are being hit..
    Its terrible..
    I thank you Ina for your love of your countryman and country that you show others the bare truths of the reality of WAR..
    Many thanks for your continued support over at Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary..

    Love and Blessings Sue xox

    • Thank you, Sue – war touches deeply, suffering touches and it’s so good to know your efforts and care. Those were absolutely awful years and they had to come to an end with determination. I too am so glad that the truth is finally trickling out despite the bent politics circulating. What is happening in Gaza is so very much similar to what happened in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s violence and destruction wise, but also Israel suffers although the scale of violence is tipping over to Gaza. So distressing to watch. Thank you for your support also.

  4. I cannot even see the photos of these people suffering.I dont remeber war because i was very little back then,i just remember than my mother told me that a bomb fell on the house we first had and we had to run to atomic shelter that was on a train station. I hate war and it’s all so horrible that all war needs to stop!

    • What you describe, dani, can be imagined as a picture easily for there was so much suffering and we need to remember that and work for peace for war is truly horrible.

  5. That beautiful operation stopped the people of Bihać in Bosnia from being massacred and finally liberated Croatia and Bosnia from Serbian genocide. The operation finally protected the outcome of the democratic independence referendums which the people demanded self-determination. I wish the operation had destroyed the criminal Serb state in Bosnia as the Croat-Bosniak forces were already shelling the “Serb capital” of Banja Luka only being 20 Km outside Banja Luka but the Americans for some bizarre reason forced us all to stop the Liberation war. Serb forces were only capable of raping children and killing grandmothers but meeting real men they all fled as true cowards. What a wonderful fate they all got in the end as they did the same to us all. I spit on the Yugoslav flag, Liberation yesterday! Liberation tomorrow !

    • True Muhamed, were it not for Croat forces who joined Bihac defence after Operation Storm, Bihac would have been another Srebrenica massacre and genocide. Happy liberty!

  6. therealamericro says:

    A big thanks to all of the soldiers, truck drivers that delivered supplies, ambulance drivers, ambulance workers, military and civilian nurses and doctors who all took part in all of Croatia’s defense, and its crowning, lighting victory Operation Storm.

    Unfortunately, many forget that Storm was made possible to the joint HV-HVO operations Skok I and Skok II, thanks to the Mesicization of Croatia post-2000 and the new regime of contradiction, news-speak and doublespeak that took over.

    Without the HVO, there would have been no Operation Storm as those two operations cut Knin almost entirely off from the VRS and prevented any reinforcements from being able to be sent in by the JNA/VRS, as it was effectively encircled.

    It was an all-Croat, Rep. of Croatia and HZHB/HRHB, soldier and civilian effort, and this must never be forgotten.

    Eternal Peace to the fallen heroes.

    • The reason why the soldiers, veterans and others involved must be the only ones that capture attention on days like this rather than the hopeless politicians who contribute to the sorry state in which many leaders of Operation Storm including Franjo Tudjman have been treated by political rapists such as Stjepan Mesic. I shall always believe in and work towards truth – it comes out regardless of Mesic’s, Josipovic’s Milanovic’s … Thank you pointing out another part of the truth

  7. Veronika says:

    Incredibly important day in the history of Croatia. It should be studied by every child in school there. God Bless these brave men and women. If the operations that fall under the name ‘OIuja’ were put on by a larger Western power, these actions would be studied in history classes and military training centres across the planet. Incredible victory which allowed for western Bosnia to be secured…until the West said no, stop ! If these operations had continued we would not have a divided Bosnia today. Zivjeli.

    • Yes, Veronika, I agree – Operation Storm is among the greatest achievers of freedom for Croatia – this must be taught and remembered everywhere, over and over again. Thank you on your comment

    • God bless our people for their bravery and sacrifice. Celebrate this day and every day that Croatia is free. Let’s now free our minds of the lies and propaganda, the imposed doubt and injustice. Rise up and claim our destiny!

  8. …all is very nice and good luck, but get rid of those chetniks and communists in Croatia!

  9. Who did all that bombing in the picture? It looks like World War 2.. Yikes

  10. Anna Pazin says:

    Ina, thank you for continuing to properly mark this occasion in honour of all the people who participated in liberating this country, Croatia. Unfortunately I think we have a long way to go before it is commemorated nationally in a way that does justice to the memory of what was and how many lost and suffered because of it. Here in the south of Croatia, the day seems to pass without so much as a blink. And as a recently returned Croatian, I find it heart breaking and very disappointing.

    • My dream, Anna, is to see local celebrations and displays, parades etc in every town or municipality… wouldn’t that be great! We need a thorough change of political elite who will put those deserving before their own political point scoring on the backs of those who sacrificed. Thank you.

    • It is indicative of the kind of government we have there. Completely anti-patriotic, ignorant, self-serving criminals.
      Shameful. Look at V Day celebrations and ANY other patriotic celebrations in any country around the world and how they are done. Pomp and circumstance. Flags everywhere. Music. Prayers. Pagentry. On another note, what is wrong with the residents there?!??! If my neighbour does not wish to celebrate then why can’t I proudly fly the beautiful flag of Croatia in honour of the brave men and women who died for the freedom of Croatia!?

  11. Powerful photos. Defending freedom – such a very important cause for each person and every country. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    Wonderful piece. Excellent. Hugs, Barbara

  13. I really enjoy your blog inavukic. Keep doing what your doing for you are making a wonderful impact on lives.

  14. Not everyone was lucky to survive the Serb Death camps Croat patriot Silvije Saric died a terrible death in Omarska

    ” When four guards summoned the president of the local Croatian Democratic Union, Silvije Saric, along with Professor Puskar from nearby Prijedor, for “interrogation,” the female prisoner testified,

    I heard beating and yelling…. At times it sounded as if wood were being shattered, but those were bones that were being broken.
    …When they opened the door …, they started yelling at us, “Ustasa slut, see what we do to them!” …I saw two piles of blood and flesh in the corner. The two men were so horribly beaten that they no longer had the form of human beings. ”

    Why operation storm was justified : 12 year old Almira Bektovic died in the Serb rape camps for her the operation and liberation came too late.

    • Yes, Muhamed, tragedy after brutal tragedy – thank you for the links. So important to remember!

      • 250000 Bosniaks were saved by operation storm from being killed in Bihac after the Serb forces already were close to breaking down the defence of the town. Thousands of 12 year old girls were saved from a death in the rape camps in that operation!

  15. What a noble story. I am getting just a small piece (nothing like what you went through) of a world without basic freedoms and I feel smaller for it. I can understand how soldiers would give everything to get it back.

    • Yes, Jacqui, mostly those who have no freedom or had lost much of it will give everything to get it back. Communism was an awful oppressor and persecutor in modern times and it’s very difficult to get rid of its remnants, but slowly that will come too.

  16. When a war starta ,no side is right as these conflicts are and remaiain evil. Nobody returns from war unInjured. Theres always some mental ,emotional injury thats remains. The International volunteers that enlisted for Croatia, were motivated for different reasons. Some went out as Volunteers on a non combattent but `civilian capacity. Their previous skills or whatebver left a much needed role etc.

    • Surely, JoeGlocken, you are not saying that a nations voting for democracy and secession from communism – as Croatia did – was not right! Croatia did not go about attacking an inch of Serbia’s soil. And yes, UN forces were non-combatants and observers and protectors but surely in the capacity of observer there was plenty of room to at least notify others who could have stopped the bloodshed and genocide, protected the people better

      • Im not saying anything or implying anything against Croatia .The main point Im trying to make is War is always wrong. Even if like Croatia ,you had no choice but to defend against Serbia, then Muslim` s does not make War right. The fact that you have to go to war as a means of defence for a right reason, justifys your cause but wars remain wrong. The UN was formed as a peace keeping force but Political considerations take precedence over its moral responsibility.You cannot force peace. There are plenty of examples where Political correctness does not afford similar towards being morally correct. This reinforces my belief ,that our human nature in moral terms becomes anorther casualty when war starts.
        We see today the UN,s Political actions ,of moral inactions against Israeli atrocities in Gaza. Their powerlessness in Bosnia ,Rwanda ,etcare but a few.
        Political failure leaves war mainly inevitable but doesnt make it right.
        Personally from our similar histories, common faith ,I will always stand with Croatia. That is why “Za slobodu” was first

      • Thank you for the explanation, JoeGlocken

  17. Reblogged this on theconservativehillbilly.

  18. The UN seems nothing more than an international crime organization.

    • So some say and some demonstrate, The Conservative Hill Billy, however there are good points to it but on the whole a hopeless conglomerate, toothless…

  19. Računovodstvo says:

    Ina, I would like to hear your thoughts on this: how much significance would you rate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s visit to General Ante Gotovina’s tuna farm in early August, close to Victory Day? Also, what does this add to her perception as a serious politician, moreover, has any other politician done the same for other generals or military members?

    • I didn’t think much of it, Racunovodstvo as everyone seems to be hurling around the general at one time or another from all political sides – if she was in the vicinity at the time, and I believe she was, then a visit to that new business venture of tuna is fine particularly given that Gotovina has not publicly expressed preference for any side, I believe, so I personally did not read it as belonging to that category, particularly as the news said he invited her to visit…all candidates should be seen among the people and Gotovina is well known and the visit does not add nor take away from her candidacy, I don’t think. I think Josipovic has visited factories etc…Gotovina has made it clear he is a business man now and wants to develop his business, his military past is of interest however not current I think…whether he will “endorse” any candidate that’s yet to be seen but such “endorsements” are not uncommon in democratic election campaigns in the developed world 🙂

      • Računovodstvo says:

        I was curious to hear your thoughts, since I thought it was a savvy move on her part. I get the impression that the government is not giving the military its credit (unfortunately, the same can be said in other countries!).

        In any event, I thought the photos looked nice. A retired military general going on to a new life as a tuna farmer simply had a nice touch, and it implied that she supported the military and entrepreneurial endeavors all in one.

      • I agree, Racunovodstvo

  20. Ante Saric says:

    I read with interest that the looney left (ie Boris Dežulović writing for Yutarnji List) is actually asking why Croatia even needs an airforce when Serbia/Bosnia don’t offer threats and in any case it can be outsourced to NATO allies to patrol our airspace.
    This comes after two of Croatia’s ageing fighter jets basically fell out of the sky.
    When you see those appalling images above you would think that the nations leaders and opinion makers would vow never to go through that again.
    The reason why we performed badly in the first phase of the war was because we had no air power to support our troops. Now the looney left wants to do away with our fighter jets because it cost too much. Don’t these people ever learn anything from history?
    Croatia is in such shocking financial shape that it now has no money to maintain a modern fighter fleet. Nor purchase a submarine to patrol our coast. Remember the anguish caused by Serb naval bombardment of Dalmatian towns?
    I guess supporting “anti fascists” in their retirement takes precedence over building a modern military. We learn from history that we never learn from history. That is the unfortunately the Croatia way. Particularly in Croatia’s left wing.

    • One can expect anything from this appalling government, Ante Saric. Such a sad story about seeming plans to get rid of own aircraft that guard the skies. Hopefully someone will beat sense into the whole disaster.

  21. Ante Saric says:

    Without a strong economy there can be no strong military. For the simple reason it costs big money to buy quality jets and submarines.
    Croatia should learn from Israel. The country has no natural resources and is surrounded by enemies. After the Holocaust it’s leaders vowed “never again” and the military was to be a “shield” for the Jewish people.
    So the nation has F-16s and F-18s fighter jets, modern tanks, German-made submarines and the Iron Dome. In short “a long arm with a iron fist at the end of it”.
    BTW, Israel has more tech companies listed on the Nasdaq than other nation besides America. It also does a great job in attracting young Jews back to the homeland from the Diaspora.
    Compare all this to what modern day Croatia is doing. Our jets fall out of the sky. Our treasury is empty. The current crop of leaders do everything to encourage young Croats not to come back.
    Our entrepreneurs are too busy looking for bailouts to even think of listing on the stock market. We had Nikola Tesla but where are the Croatian Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Zuckerberg of Facebook fame. Nowhere to be seen.
    I guess when you are down and out in the gutter you can’t see up in the sky. Nor Serbian jets flying by.

    • therealamericro says:

      All part of the carrot-and-stick, US/UK globalist agenda.

      A Croatia with a healthy and growing economy, returning Diaspora, growing population and increase in geopolitical significance is a threat to long term instability in the region, and would naturally gravitate back into the Central European fold.

      Big no-no for the Chetnik loving hysterics in the criminal, neo-imperialist Foreign Office.

      Dayton was, and is, half-time.

      In terms of the Diaspora, the government hasn’t passed a blanket law allowing for Diaspora to not be double taxed if Croatia does not have a signed agreement regarding double-taxation. The reason – the Diaspora is too “Ustasa” for the government and would, were they to spend three to six months, or the rest of their retirement in Croatia, break the political balance.

      Also, being shaped by Western democracies and free markets, it would only be a matter of time before people started getting politically active (and political activism is something Croats were globally throughout the 90s) and asking real questions and demanding real solutions and ignoring the multi-annual machinated Red vs. Black scandals that provide the political elites here breathing room.

      The youth are leaving because the government does not know how to bring in foreign direct investment. The tax code is ridiculous, and opening a business is difficult.

      Luckily, this government is failing, and the behind the scenes war between democratic, ready-to-invest Germany and pro-Serb, pro-Yugonostalgia, pro-economic-political status quo neo-imperialist UK is in Croatia’s favor, with Germany pushing and getting the extradition of the murdering Yugoslav Communist maniacs Perkovic and Mustac.

      We are a but a mere square on the geopolitical chessboard. If the anti-democratic, foreign subsidized coup of 2000 didn’t take place, Croatia would be a very different, and somewhat important player in Central Europe.

  22. A wonderful series of pictures. Thank You

  23. Good reminder of the history. Good write up. Thanks for sharing.

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