New, revised and expanded second edition of Dr. Srdja Trifkovic's seminal study has just been published. 412 pp, 175 illustrations, 16 maps, with a Foreword by Dr. Thomas Fleming, $29.95 inc. postage. The only comprehensive history of the Ustaša movement in any language. To order go to http://www.balkanstudies.org/books
Chapter XIII: Conclusion (pp. 388-394)
The range of moral and political issues raised by the Ustaša movement and the regime it established in the Independent State of Croatia is akin to that facing a student of the Third Reich. In both cases, a political group, organized into a regime, exceeded the bounds of previously conventional morality by devoting 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, ranging from apathy to Schadenfreude. Many of them subsequently claimed an ignorance of the magnitude of the crimes, regardless of the wealth of evidence to inform the curious. In both cases only a small minority was directly involved in the killing. The members of that minority had reason to believe that many ordinary people shared their eliminationist attitudes yet lacked the stomach for doing what needed to be done. 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 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />
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.
Unlike Fascism and Nazism, which were dynamic, Ante Pavelić aimed for a stable situation: his project entailed the creation of a nationally homogeneous, Serb-free, Croat state. His movement’s ideology was meant to serve that project, not to give it meaning. Its task was to justify and celebrate, rather than explain and develop. That ideologyt had never amounted to much more than a half-baked mix of historical and racial myths peppered with rudimentary geopolitics and sweeping ethno-cultural generalizations. It was produced ad-hoc (mainly in the aftermath of April 10) by some two-dozen men of dubious credentials motivated by nationalist fixations. It was neither interesting nor original.
What also set the Ustašas apart from both Nazis and Fascists was the degree to which their anti‑Serb animus defined their emotional as well as cultural self perception, their very Croatness. This set the movement apart from all other political forces in
The NDH was an Axis creation but it possessed certain attributes of de facto statehood. It was an actor. Although the scope and quality of its statehood kept diminishing as the war progressed, it was nevertheless more than a mere extension of the policy dictated in
The system of occupation in the Yugoslav lands was an improvisation, hastily conceived and weakened by intra‑Axis differences. A destabilizing factor was Hitler’s desire to impose a Carthaginian peace on the Serb nation, but without allocating sufficient resources for the purpose. The fuse was lit, west of the
Hitler’s unwillingness to get rid of Pavelić was initially inspired by the desire to maintain an institutionalized chaos, which the Ustašas duly provided. Later on there was no alternative. The HSS was unwilling to compromise itself in the eyes of the Allies, especially when it became clear that
In the final year of the war the Ustaša regime revived its anti-Serb zeal, confirming that all along it was fighting an anti-Serb, rather than a pro-German war. With the outcome of the war no longer in doubt, in that final year the number of Croats in the ranks of Communist resistance finally exceeded the number of the western Serbs. They saw what the would-be conspirators of the summer of 1944 could not accept: that the NDH was as doomed as Mgr. Tiso’s
His power secure and absolute, 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
While politically expedient for the Communist dictator, this policy assured that there would be no atonement and no internal reconciliation. It curtailed public discussion and scholarly discourse on the Ustaša legacy; “The West, meanwhile, bankrolled prominent Ustaše reborn as anti-communist agents, while
The Serb-Croat conflict of the 1990s grew from elements which should now be familiar. The Communist apparat in
In 1990-91 it was hardly imaginable that the Serbs should not take up arms against a regime in
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
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
Tudjman’s vision behind the Storm, a Serb-free
What happens in the Balkans is seldom due to the Balkans alone. The interests, preferences and strategic designs of the great powers matter as greatly in our own time as they did during the Second World War or during the Seven-Year War. 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
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, cultrual 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
Europe may have moved beyond blood-and-soil atavism, west of the
 Michele Frucht Levy, op. cit.
 “In the Second World War, the Croats won twice and we have no reason to apologise to anyone. What they ask of the Croats the whole time, ‘Go kneel in Jasenovac...’ - we don’t have to kneel in front of anyone for anything! We won twice and all the others only once. We won on 10 April when the Axis Powers recognized
 Speech at the First HDZ Convention, February 26, 1990.
 ICTY Case No. IT-02-54-T, Exhibit No. PC11A of June 26, 2003.
 “Croats Burn and Kill with a Vengeance.” Robert Fisk, The Independent, 4 September 1995.
 “Helsinki Committee Reports on Krajina Operations.” Hartmut Fiedler, Österreich 1 Rundfunk, 21 August 1995.
 Especially problematic is the Tribunal’s use of the concept of Joint Criminal Enterprise – a blunt legal tool with Kafkaesque implications.
 The Croatian Army chief chaplain, Bishop Juraj Jezerinac, compared the predicament of generals Gotovina and Markač to the suffering of Jesus Christ.
 Former U.S. Ambassador in Zagreb Peter Galbraith, testifying at The Hague, dismissed claims that Croatia had engaged in ethnic cleansing, “because most of the population had already fled when the Croatian army and police arrived.”
 Feral Tribune,
 The U.S. Department of State human rights report on Croatia (March 11, 2010) thus states matter-of-factly that Jasenovac was “the site of the largest concentration camp in Croatia during World War II, where thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Roma were killed” [emphasis added]. This claim is the exact moral and factual equivalent of asserting that “tens of thousands” of Jews and others were killed in Auschwitz or Treblinka.
 Wir sind mit Hitler noch lange nicht fertig. John Lukacs, The Hitler of History.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
by Thomas Fleming 5
I The Legacy of Premodernity 13
The Military Border15
The Illyrians 23
The Serb Question 35
II The Yugoslav Experiment 38
The Great War 38
An Unconsolidated Kingdom 45
International Environment 52
III An Émigré Conspiracy 56
Pavelić’s Early Italian Contacts 56
Pavelić Goes Abroad 60
Codification of Ustaša Principles 65
The “Military Nucleus” 67
The Ustaša Movement and Fascism 72
IV Serbs, Croats, and the Axis 78
The Rome-Belgrade Axis 81
Hitler’s Yugoslav Policy 85
The Agreement Cvetković-Maček 97
V The Fall of
Precarious Neutrality 102
Pavelić Reactivated 105
German Pressure 111
Disagreements over the Agreement 115
The Pact, the Coup, the War 119
Germans Seek Croat Allies 127
Tenth of April 136
VI Croatia in Hitler’s New Europe 142
Pavelic’s Return from
Karlovac: First Signs of Axis Rivalry 146
A Newcomer to “New
Hitler’s Croatian Strategy 159
VII The Ustaša Holocaust 179
Ustašism Unleashed 179
“The Last Bullet for the Last Serb” 184
Pavelić at the Berghof 189
“Intolerance” at Work 193
The Role of the Catholic Church 200
The Ustaša and the Holocaust 208
VIII The Uprising 218
Causes and Characteristics 218
Italian Response 223
German Response 234
The Dangić Affair239
German-Italian Discord 243
The Četnik Dilemma 254
German Economic Dominance 257
German Generals vs. Pavelić 264
The Wehrmacht Takes Command 275
Weiss and Schwarz 278
X Accomplices in Coat-Tails 290
Pavelić’s Foreign Ministry 290
The Gaffes 294
Areas of Activity 301
Croatian-Hungarian Dispute 304
Partners in the Holocaust 314
XI The Turning Point 319
German-Partisan Contacts 319
The SS and the NDH 326
Bosnian Muslims and the SS 330
Italian Armistice 338
XII Decline and Fall 351
Zone of Operations
Another Croatian Policy Review 356
The “Affair” Lorković-Vokić 363
Glaise Defeated 369
The Last Ally 374
In Search of a Miracle 382
XIII Conclusion 388
Sources and Bibliography 403