Homage To Ante Starcevic – An Unforgotten Champion Of Croatian Independence

Dr Ante Starcevic 1823 - 1896 Croatian Rights Movement

Dr Ante Starcevic
1823 – 1896
Croatian Rights Movement


Today, 28 February 2016 marks 120 years since the death of Dr. Ante Starcevic, one of the wisest ever born among the Croatian people. Starcevic is referred to as the father of the free Croatian nation; a well of energy for freedom and democracy that lasted and lasts.
Ante Starcevic (1823-1896) was one of those Croatian politicians who had the strength to strongly resist all political parties in the then Croatia (swallowed as a territory of the Austrian and then Austro-Hungarian Empires in his lifetime). His political ideals and convictions remained consistent throughout his adult life and his assertion of Croatian rights as a distinct nation entitled to freedom and democracy of its own often left him alone and lonely in public circles. However, he did enjoy the support of only a few intellectuals, writers, youth and nationally oriented youth.
In 1861, he was appointed the chief notary of the coastal Rijeka county as well as being elected to the Croatian Parliament as Rijeka Representative; with Eugen Kvaternik, in that year Starcevic founded the Croatian Party of Rights (i.e. state’s rights) and was re-elected to the parliament in 1865, 1871, and from 1878 to his death. The founder and the leader of the Croatian Rights Movement, Starcevic was a persistent and staunch advocate of democracy, uncompromising fighter against slavery, a visionary Croatian freedom and independence, an anti-cleric and a rebel; Starcevic was sharp on the tongue and the pen as no one in his day in Croatia. The program of his Party of Rights was essentially in the tradition of the nineteenth-century nationalism and it called for the formation of an independent state of Croatia. In 1862, when Rijeka was implicated in participation in protests against the Austrian Empire, he was suspended and sentenced to one month in prison as an enemy of the regime. When he was released, Starcevic returned to working at Sram’s law firm in Zagreb, where he remained until 11 October 1871, when he was arrested again, this time on the occasion of the Rakovica Revolt. Croatian armed revolt against authorities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the revolt was soon quashed by the Imperial Austrian troops and Starcevic’s Croatian Party of Rights – abolished. Starcevic was released after two months in prison. He retained followers and after his death in 1896 his followers split and one may say it was by no surprise – the hardline to independence ideas seemed to punch wedges of divide as they did not seem to be capable of deciding which was the greatest enemy of independent Croatia: Vienna, Budapest or Belgrade. Almost a hundred years on Croats would learn, soaked in blood, that Belgrade was and had been the greatest enemy.


Ante Starcevic grave Sestine, Zagreb, Croatia

Ante Starcevic grave
Sestine, Zagreb, Croatia

As Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist after WWI, Croatia was forced into the Serb-led Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later/1929 renamed as Kingdom of Yugoslavia) Starcevic’s Croatian Rights Movement did not of course make any comeback; Croatia was more oppressed under the Serb dynasty than ever before and any whiff of freedom and democracy was fiercely quashed.

Starcevic’s Croatian Rights movement re-emerged during WWII within the complex of Independent State of Croatia movement under Dr Ante Pavelic who considered Starcevic as spiritual father of his Ustashe forces. Pavelic was a part of revitalising Starcevic’s Croatian Rights Movement since 1919, when Croatia was attached to the oppressive Serb-led Kingdom within the former Yugoslavia territory. The success of this attempt for Croatian freedom was doomed from the start as Ante Pavelic decided to side with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy as support for achieving the goal of independence. Hence, Starcevic’s name sunk into deep mud out of which it would not rise again for decades and when it did the mud from being associated with Pavelic’s regime would stick at home and abroad. At the same time Croatian (and Yugoslav) communists led by Josip Broz Tito fought against the Nazi’s, the Fascists and Pavelic’s Ustashi forces towards the aim of keeping Croatia within Yugoslavia and thus deny it independence and freedom. Hence, it was Communist Yugoslavia that once again quashed any ideas or attempts for independent Croatia, which of course, included the outlawing of the Croatian Rights Movement.

Monument by Ivan Rendic 1903 instead of a mere tombstone for Ante Starcevic grave Sestine, Zagreb, Croatia

Monument by Ivan Rendic 1903
instead of a mere tombstone
for Ante Starcevic grave
Sestine, Zagreb, Croatia

The Movement rose again in 1990 as part of multi-party democratic system drive led by dr Franjo Tudjman for a free, independent and democratic Croatia. Starcevic was among Franjo Tudman’s favourite politicians in the history of the Croatian people. Modern Croatian Party of Rights was established in 1990 without Tudjman’s membership, though. The modern Croatian Party of Rights and it’s various alternatives did not manage to muster wide support among Croats since 1990’s and that was perhaps because of the connotation associated with it from the terrible WWII crimes committed by those whose political fodder came from Starcevic’s grand and honourable ideas. An overwhelming number of Croatians chose in late 1980’s and early 1990’s to join Franjo Tudjman’s Croatian Democratic Union and achieve the honourable and deserved dream of freedom and democracy Ante Starcevic dreamed of more than a hundred years before and before him all Croats for more than nine centuries, since the Kingdom of Croatia perished at beginning of the twelfth century.
Given that Croatia is still much influenced by the communist Yugoslavia oppressive rut, there is little done to mark Starcevic’s life and anniversaries of his death. It would seem that Starcevic suffers today still (as he did 150 years ago) – his ideas purposefully misinterpreted and misrepresented in some circles especially the pro-communist or pro-Yugoslavia ones of today. In the space of wide political and ideological divide that has plagued Croatian public discourse and served obstacles and barriers for notable progress in democratic freedom and economic well-being one cannot but think that Croatia today needs politicians of Starcevic’s caliber. In saying that such a politician in the fashion imagined by Starcevic would cut short the politicians (parliamentarians’) preoccupation with political survival and get down to the roots: worry about and act for the betterment of each individual person in the country, regardless of his/her religion or ethnic origin. Talk about Starcevic, Starcevic’s works and thoughts should take a prominent place everywhere in Croatia for, as Starcevic thought, true national independence and freedom can only be sustained with the true independence and freedom of each person.

Ante Starcevic Mature years

Ante Starcevic
Mature years

“…Therefore, survival of the government, of the State and of the Nation depends on people,” Starcevic wrote. “And I judge every system that survives, no matter what kind it is or where it is, by its fruit and that fruit shows itself most clearly in the morality and well-being of the people …States are built and ruined by people, and people are guided by freedom, well-being – fortune. Where these do not exist there can be no survival of the State, no matter how old or recognised it may be. No one has yet succeeded in forming a State or keeping it upon misfortune of its citizens…fortune is, therefore, individual people that form a nation … I do not look to see how many souls there are in a nation or a State – I look to see if all the souls in that make up the nation are happy, that they do not suffer some injustice …”

Lest we Croats forget this champion of freedom, independence and democracy. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Franjo Tudjman Finally Stands Tall As National Unity Deemed Paramount

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Unveils the bust of Franjo Tudjman among Croatian greats 19 February 2016 Photo: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

President of Croatia
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Unveils the bust of
Franjo Tudjman
among Croatian greats
19 February 2016
Photo: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX


President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has Friday 19 February 2016 on the occasion of marking one year in office hosted within “Days of open doors” a ceremony of unveiling at the foyer of the Office of the President in Zagreb a bronze bust by sculptor Kruno Bosnjak of Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman.


bust of Franjo Tudjman by sculptor Kruno Bosnjak placed among Croatian greats at Office of the President of Croatia 19 February 2016

bust of Franjo Tudjman
by sculptor Kruno Bosnjak
placed among Croatian greats
at Office of the President of Croatia
19 February 2016

The bust of Franjo Tudjman unveiled represents the gift given in 1996 to the Office of the President of Croatia by its author way back in 1996 and it had been gathering dust in storage there for almost 20 years. Of course it would have been in bad taste and rather vain had Franjo Tudjman placed it on display there himself while in office; he died in 1999 and since then until a year ago the communist-die-hard presidents Stjepan Mesic and Ivo Josipovic who promoted nostalgia for communist Yugoslavia were not about to bestow the deserved honour to Tudjman as one of the Greats of Croatian freedom by placing his bust among other greats. On the contrary, they went about vilifying him internationally with lies and deceit regarding Croatia’s Homeland war, assisting the international community that was on the trail of equating the victim (Croatia) with the aggressor (Serbia). President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had in both a popular and unpopular move removed the bust of communist Yugoslavia’s dictator Josip Broz Tito from the same spot in the foyer of the Office of the President a mere few weeks into her presidency and instead of that communist criminal Tito there is now the bust of Franjo Tudjman in that hallowed place of Croatian freedom – Tudjman’s bust now sits among Croatian greats that were King Tomislav, Ivan Mazuranic, Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, Ante Starcevic, Stjepan Radic and Blessed Aloysius Stepinac.


What a great day for Croatia 19 February 2016!


Grabar-Kitarovic said that she believes politicians have a duty to spend time among citizens and listen to their assessments and opinions. “Gatherings such as this one with you, which encourage and give me strength to work for the well-being of our Homeland, are most important to me,” said president Grabar/Kitarovic at the ceremony.

She said that the day was also very special because of the unveiling of Franjo Tudjman’s bust and added: “If anyone has deserved for his or her bust to be displayed here, in this house on Pantovcak, it is the first president dr. Franjo Tudjman who in this place had delivered key decisions during hardest of times for the future of our Homeland.” She added further that Tudjman’s politics were those of reconciliation without which it’s difficult to imagine the achievement of those goals we have realised, liberated and built our independent Croatia.

Franjo Tudjman's bust at Office of the President of Croatia in ceremony of unveiling 19 February 2016 Photo: www.predsjednica.hr

Franjo Tudjman’s bust
at Office of the President of Croatia
in ceremony of unveiling
19 February 2016
Photo: http://www.predsjednica.hr


It’s now up to us,” she said, “the new generation to take Croatia further into a better life for all of us in Croatia,” and added that it is actually the politics of togetherness that joins onto the politics of reconciliation. She said that the politics of togetherness she promotes “does not mean single-mindedness but rather that we all work together at goals of better living standards, better opportunities for the youth so they remain in Croatia and joint building and achievement of goals of economic and social development of our Homeland.”


Croatia’s news agency HINA reported Saturday 20 February 2016 that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has said in an interview with the Jutarnji List daily, marking one year in office of president of Croatia, that Croatia needs reforms, she called on the government and the Opposition to invest their energy into improving the life of Croatian citizens and announced that after the first 100 days of this government in office she would launch the initiative aimed at calling a session to discuss critical joint issues of the foreign and defence policy and national strategic and development issues.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that in the atmosphere of political divisions it was difficult to work on the necessary reforms. Commenting on ideological divisions, the president called for calming of tensions adding that Croatia’s society needed a more civilised political communication. She also called on the Opposition to aim their energy towards issues that would improve the life of Croatian citizens.
Of course, the role of the Opposition is to criticise every bad move the government makes, but let’s be objective, the government hasn’t even been in office for 100 days which is a democratic standard for the first assessment of its work,” she stressed.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia unveils a bust monument to Franjo Tudjman Croatia's first president Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia
unveils a bust monument to
Franjo Tudjman
Croatia’s first president
Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

Asked about her objectives for the second year of her term in office, the president said that, in a way, she was starting over. “We have the new government to which I extend my hand of cooperation, just as I have to the previous government,” she added.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that the government led by Tihomir Oreskovic would have an opportunity to carry out a number of initiatives she launched, such as “the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative” which had a potential and was necessary for the process of building infrastructure, transport, energy and other projects connecting the south and the north of Central Europe, as well as for the job creation.
The president said she would continue to focus on the protection of the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and care for the neighbourhood in general so as to secure permanent peace and stability.
The president announced that after the first 100 days of this government in office, she would launch an initiative to call a session which would focus on joint issues of the foreign and defence policy and Croatia’s strategic development issues.

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic meets Croatia's citizens at her office as part of "Days of Open Doors" initiative Foto: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

President of Croatia
Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic
meets Croatia’s citizens
at her office as part of
“Days of Open Doors” initiative
Foto: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

Calling for national unity to help revive the battered economy is a universal concept especially in countries historically divided by differing ideologies and Croatia stands among those. The prominence of ideological divide between anti and pro communists, or better said anti and pro former Yugoslav communists vis-à-vis Croatian independence, its emergence through rivers of blood spilled in 1990’s war of Serb aggression and its constant battles with obstacles from former communists or their loyal descendants mean that adequate unity cannot be achieved in Croatia until the communist past, especially its criminal past is put to a deserved rest, i.e. until a fair degree of lustration is implemented.


Hence the times are here when both the government and president of Croatia, having now acknowledged the blanket damaging to progress ideological disunity represents for the future of Croatia, need to act decisively and firmly on matters of lustration. Taking out of key positions in public administration those who were active in or who keep protecting the communist Yugoslavia ways and regime. This does not of course mean that ideological divide will cease to be once lustration is done, but it does mean that public space in Croatia will no longer be burdened with protecting and justifying the former communist Yugoslavia regime together with its unspeakable crimes and that would surely pave the way for progress in all domains of life in Croatia. So, President Grabar-Kitarovic and the current government of Croatia should put their money where their mouth is and start official lustration rather than giving more speeches about unity and how Croatia needs it.
Croatia needs to look at a future where it embraces the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed. The old approaches to quelling ideological disunity from the past have basically been not doing anything substantial in condemning communist crimes. Croatia needs a future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility – that is what way back in 1990 and before Franjo Tudjman meant with his polices of reconciliation between past ideological opponents and enemies within Croatia. Croatia needs a future where all Croats, whatever their ethnic or religious origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of Croatia.

Franjo Tudjman Photo: http://www.tudjman.hr

Franjo Tudjman Photo: http://www.tudjman.hr

There comes a time in the history of nations when their peoples must become fully reconciled to their past if they are to go forward with confidence to embrace their future.

Croatia has reached such a time.

In a true spirit of reconciliation Croatia needs to open a new chapter in its history – it needs to confront and condemn all crimes committed by the regimes of its WWII and communist Yugoslavia past and particularly those of the communist regime given that crimes of the WWII Ustashe regime have largely been dealt with through the condemnation of the Holocaust and the prosecution of any individuals found to have had a role in it.  Franjo Tudjman died without concluding his Croatian healing mission (reconciliation of the past) and the installing of his bust at the highest of places in Croatia on Friday 19 February 2016 can indeed be seen as a start to completing that reconciliation with history that will lead to prosperity with democratic freedom in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Franjo Tudjman never went as far as Oliver Cromwell

Franjo Tudjman

Election campaigns for leadership of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) are entering the last leg in the race when thick dust gets raised as candidates gallop to the finish line (20 May).

There’s renewed pledges by candidates to return HDZ to its original values set by the late President dr. Franjo Tudjman and to return to membership many members expelled from the party during the period of de-Tudjmanisation particularly marked by the reign of dr. Ivo Sanader (2000 – 2009), currently in court over several significant corruption charges.

While the values Tudjman set for HDZ (over 20 years ago) are still relevant it’s important to separate the person (Tudjman) from the future of HDZ. That is, euphorically chanting the name of Tudjman can easily hide gross incapability to take Croatia well into the 21st century. Hence, it is hoped that HDZ membership will look at the Tudjman era as proud history but vote for the candidates that understand the crucial issues to be addressed for the future.

Future must become a priority.

Monday 14 May 2012: 90th Anniversary of dr. Franjo Tudjman’s birth.

This is an opportune moment to reflect on his political life and I have decided that one of the best ways to do that is to extract passages from James Sadkovich’s (Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, USA) 2004 paper “The Father of his Country?

Whether or not Franjo Tudjman was the father of his country, there can be no denying that he played a pivotal role in the creation of contemporary Croatia. While it can be argued that someone else may have been better able to lead the Croatian people through the wastelands of war, occupation and diplomacy during the early 1990s, it was Tudjman who actually did so. If his Croatia was not the peasant republic envisioned by Stjepan Radic or the Croatian state imagined by Ante Starcevic, it was a viable democratic state with a powerful military, a skilled diplomatic corps and citizens who both fought for its survival and criticized its policies.

Born four years after the creation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, he died (1999) eight years after Yugoslavia’s dissolution.

He joined the Partisans to fight fascism (World War II) and he served in the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). Tudjman fought the German occupation and Ante Pavelic’s Independent State of Croatia (NDH). His younger brother was killed by the Ustashe…

 An ardent nationalist, he wrote history from a Croatian perspective… But he was also an ardent communist and a prominent member of the progressive reform movement in Croatia in the 1960s. Like many Croatians, he paid the price for believing in Tito. And, like most dissidents, he was kept out of public life well into the 1980s…

Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic have repeatedly been paired as Balkan dictators, but the two men were as different as bourgeois nationalism and bureaucratic socialism. When asked about Milosevic, Tudjman responded that the Serbian leader was an imperialist, and that he was defending Croatia from him…

Tudjman believed in the power of communism, and then of nationalism, to transform Yugoslavia. Milosevic made a career in the Serbian communist party. Tudjman was an intellectual and a theorist, while Milosevic was a technocrat and a pragmatist. Tudjman wrote books and gathered honors while Milosevic made money and amassed power.

Tudjman stayed in the Army after the war and moved to Belgrade, where he studied military history. His first book, War against War, was an ambitious study of partisan warfare that reflected the theories of national liberation, which dominated the 1950s. The book brought Tudjman both accolades and criticism for his depiction of the Partisan movement in Croatia as primarily Croatian. Following a bitter exchange with the army’s historical office, he moved to Zagreb to head the new Institute for the History of the Workers’ Movement.

In 1967, after signing a declaration which asserted that Croatian was a distinct literary language, he was forced to resign his posts in the communist party and give up his positions at the university and the institute.

Tudjman spent the next 23 years as a dissident. During that time, he was jailed twice for publicly criticizing the communist regime. He continued to write, including a study of nationalism published in the US in 1981, but his writings only confirmed the regime’s opinion that he was a dangerous nationalist. After he challenged official figures on the number of war dead, he was tarred as an apologist for the Ustasha regime.

In 1989, Tudjman helped to create the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a coalition of dissidents. Tudjman saw the HDZ as a “synthesis of Croatian politics” and believed it would play a “positive role” in creating a new “Yugoslav synthesis.”

Attacked as a nationalist, Tudjman insisted that he was neither a Milosevic nor a (Jean-Marie) Le Pen. Rather, he espoused a combative pluralism. “The essence of democracy,” he said in 1990, “exists in political diversity, and that diversity presupposes political clashes.”

His love of Croatia, his knowledge of Greater Serbia aspirations, “could not have accommodated Serbian nationalists intent on creating a Greater Serbia. After being elected President of Croatia in 1991, he had to contend with espionage, rebellion, war and occupation. In 1993, his party began to splinter under the weight of policy in Bosnia, and Tudjman found himself increasingly isolated. By 1996, with no war to distract people, attention focused on his shortcomings, in particular his heavy-handed treatment of the media, the corruption of HDZ and government officials, the trials of Croatians at The Hague and international pressure to reintegrate Croatia’s Serbian population.

An intellectual who sought to shape reality to conform to his vision of it, Tudjman tended to lecture and to give orders”. However, general elections were always free.

“If Tudjman mimicked Josip Broz Tito in his more autocratic moments and Charles De Gaulle in his more grandiose, he never went as far as Oliver Cromwell or Miguel Primo de Rivera.

He was a nationalist in that he believed that only nation states are authentic political formations, and he championed the right of self-determination of peoples.

Tudjman’s nationalism included a desire to resuscitate old symbols for the new Croatian state. Because the Ustasha had done so in 1941, it was easy to accuse him of refurbishing the NDH. In other instances, he seems to have insisted on certain symbols, despite the controversy, such as when Croatia introduced a coin whose name had been used by both medieval Croatia and the NDH, or when a street in Zagreb was named after Mile Budak, an important Croatian writer but also a leader of the Ustasha.

Croatia’s most powerful—and divisive—symbols were the Ustasha and the Partisans. Tudjman sought to denature and appropriate both by condemning the crimes of the Ustasha and stressing the Croatian nature of the Partisans. He invited the descents of both to build a common Croatian state”…

In 1991, as Slovenia and Croatia were on their path to secession from communist Yugoslavia, “the international community had tacitly encouraged Belgrade (Serbia) to use force to bring Slovenia and Croatia to heel. But like many Croats, Tudjman believed that the world community would intervene, as they had in Kuwait, to prevent a violent redrawing of Yugoslavia’s internal borders…

He continued to put his faith in negotiations and blocked efforts by his Defense Minister, Martin Spegelj, to disarm the Army, in order to avoid antagonizing it and being cast in the role of aggressor. In August 1991 he followed advice from the French and Americans to make concessions to Croatia’s Serbs, and by November he lifted the siege of JNA barracks at the urging of the American ambassador. But Tudjman also wrote a letter to Western leaders, chiding them for encouraging aggression by their inaction, and he built up Croatia’s armed forces.

Croatia lacked the military means to defend itself in 1991. During Croatia’s war, he urged the creation of a court to try war crimes and the deployment of UN troops to Croatia. Only once it was clear that the UN could not enforce the Vance Plan did Tudjman apply force—in 1993 at Maslenica and two years later in Western Slavonija and the Krajina. But he was content to use diplomacy to regain Eastern Slavonija…

He considered Bosnia an imperial creation with three distinct constituent peoples (Croat, Muslim and Serb), none of whom could lay claim to a Bosnian state, and as early as 1990 he suggested a referendum, which would have partitioned Bosnia-Herzegovina by allowing its peoples to choose where they wanted to live. For geopolitical reasons, Tudjman would not allow Bosnia to remain in a rump Yugoslavia, but he warned that Croatia would demand its “historical and natural” borders only if Bosnia disintegrated as a result of Serbian actions. He discussed political countermeasures with Bosnian Croat leaders in June 1991, but he did not follow the Serbian example of creating autonomous communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina until December—after Alija Izetbegovic had sent representatives to talk with Serbian leaders in Belgrade and Pale, and after Serbian forces had occupied a third of Croatia and attacked Croatians in Bosnia.

Tudjman approved military intervention in Bosnia in response to Serbian attacks on Croatia from Bosnian territory. He could not convince Ejup Ganic to reword the referendum of early 1992 to define Bosnia as a state of three “constituent nations,” but Tudjman encouraged Bosnia’s Croats to vote for a Bosnian state in early 1992, Croatian forces fought as part of the Bosnian army, and in July, Tudjman and Izetbegovic signed an accord on military cooperation…

Tensions generated by the movement of refugees and pressure by the war itself triggered an 11-month war between Croats and Muslims, which ended in March 1994 with the creation of the Muslim-Croat Federation. With his borders secure, Tudjman pressed for the return of Serbian-occupied areas in Croatia. When negotiations stalled in the summer of 1995, he opted for military action. By September, Croatian forces in Bosnia and Croatia had occupied areas lost to the JNA in 1991 and relieved the siege of the Muslim safe area of Bihac.

Tudjman’s support of Croatian areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina made it easier for him than for Izetbegovic to accept the peace plans put forward by Jose Cutilheiro, Cyrus Vance, David Owen, and Thorvald Stoltenberg—all of which acknowledged the concept of constituent peoples and effectively partitioned Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Tudjman tailored his actions to the policies of the international community and the actions of Serbian and Muslim forces.

Throughout the conflict, Tudjman sought simultaneously to protect Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina and to isolate Serbian rebels in Croatia.

Tudjman left the Croatian state in disarray, but it was sovereign, secure, and had the institutions necessary to build a modern democracy. In 2002, as the ICTY pressed for the extradition of Ante Gotovina, the general who had led the decisive Croatian offensive in 1995, most Croatians remembered Tudjman as the father of his country. It had been a messy business, but if reality had proved more recalcitrant than theory and Tudjman proved more (Otto von) Bismarck or (Cardinal) Richelieu than (Giuseppe) Garibaldi or (Giuseppe) Mazzini, in the end he had still realized what would have seemed impossible in 1989—a Croatian state”.

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