by Darko SAGRAK
Frequently praised and celebrated, and even more frequently criticized, the Independent State of Croatia has until this day, 60 years after its establishment, remained without a valid historical and scientific evaluation. The former president of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudman, attempted to provide one. In 1941, as a young partisan he fought against that state. However, he changed his views at the time of all-Croat reconciliation, early in the Homeland War, which obviously was not the right time for such serious considerations.
Those same old and new caretakers of the history of the Croatian people dislike it very much when the history of NDH is dealt with soberly and objectively, i.e. based on the scientific evaluation of historical facts. Namely, what is the matter here? During all 45 years of Communist dictatorship, and for the most part during the last ten years as well, NDH received a mono-dimensional, i.e. negative, treatment. Always the discussion dealt with consequences rather than with causes. On purpose the history started on April 10, 1941, with "racial laws", the Rome treaty, Jasenovac camp etc. With such view of NDH it was easy to reach the conclusion about the genocidal character of the Croat nation, about the criminal atmosphere that ruled during NDH etc.
Of course, nothing was said about the reasons that led to the establishment of the Ustashe movement, the role of Dr. Ante Pavelic as a representative of Zagreb in the Belgrade parliament, about numerous bestial crimes committed against Craots by the Greater Serbian cabal led directly by king Aleksandar and Svetozar Pribicevic, the minister of internal affairs between 1918 and 1941. The killing of Croats on Jelacic Square on December 5, 1918 was not discussed, just like the victims from Sibinj and Senj and all the bloodshed at the time of the so-called "branding of cattle" near Zagreb, during the Velebit uprising, murder of the brains of the Croat Starcevic policy and sincere patriots Dr. Milan Shufflay, Dr. Ivo Pilar, Stipe Javor, young Ustashe Soldin and Hranilovic, as well as hundreds and thousands of known and unknown heroes of the Croat national movement...
"Extreme cure for extreme sickness" was the motto of the Croat revolutionary movement, which after the introduction of the January 6 dictatorship was renamed as Ustashe movement. That motto began to be applied after the murder of Croat representatives in the Belgrade parliament (led by Stjepan Radic), as at that moment it became clear that Croats cannot resolve numerous disagreements with Serbs through negotiations. Croats started to fight for their survival and freedom with words and gunpowder. But, as the greater Serbian terror ruled in the country, many Croats were forced into exile. Core cells of the Ustashe movement were formed in Belgium, Hungary, and Italy (on the Lipari islands). The first reprisals started. Bombs were placed in Police stations and courthouses. The Macedonian VMRO and Ustashe together organized an assassination of king Aleksandar in Marseilles in 1934. At the time greatest moral and world authorities (Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mano) raised their voice against the Greater Serbian terror. Europe and the world began to realize that Croats were fighting for their survival and their freedom.
Let us not forget that in April 1941 the German Reich with triumphal victories took control of almost the whole central and western Europe, and it was only the matter of time when it was going to start its conquest of eastern Europe (USSR) and northern Africa. The Poglavnik was a pragmatist and assessed that it was better to be an ally of the Axis forces than an occupied protectorate (such as the Czech Republic, Serbia, Belgium etc.), as the establishment of NDH nevertheless preserved internal organization and independence and own military organization.
Besides, NDH received an international recognition, although today many deny that (forgetting for example that the so-called AVNOJ [Antifascist Council of Popular Resistance of Yugoslavia] was not internationally recognized until the end of 1943, not even by the USSR!). The Independent State of Croatia was, namely, recognized by almost all the European states (except for Great Britain), partly directly and partly indirectly. She was recognized even by some significant Asian countries, then Argentina, and the USA had a consulate in Zagreb until July 1941. NDH signed numerous international conventions, was a member of the International Red Cross, signatory of the Geneva conventions, a member of FIFA etc.
Finally, let us conclude: NDH was by all means the realization of the thousand-years-old dream and yearning of the Croat nation for freedom. The Ustashe movement from the moment of foundation until its coming to power was free of any negative tendencies. However, whatever later happened in the chaos of war can be an object of discussion and criticism and condemnation but can in no way soil the glory of the creation of that state and the Croat national movement for freedom. Besides, all those who mix the state and the regime are not well intentioned. Croats rightfully expect that the Croatian history of the first fifty years of the last century be objectively and scientifically evaluated.
by Ante GUGO
An amnesty for such individuals is nothing but encouragement for all future criminals. Namely, in every war there are prisoners, so that every war criminal can hope to be exchanged even if he is caught.
Secondly, such an act by Mesic's Amnesty Commission can be used by those hardline elements in the Hague Tribunal who doubt the ability of the Croatian judiciary to process war crimes on its own. Thus, it could happen that because of six Serb criminals who will easily get out of jail, the Hague Tribunal loses its trust in the ability of the Croatian judiciary to process some Croats.
Third, if six war criminals must be exchanged for Croat citizens who in FRY were sentenced for alleged spying, then one must wonder what Croat secret services are doing. The meeting of the Amnesty Commission at which the release of six war criminals for the sake of exchange for alleged Croat spies was proposed is nothing but an invitation to the chiefs of Croat secret services to resign.
No one normal in this world can claim that in Croatia at this moment there are not at least 60, let alone 6 Serb spies. What are secret services doing if they are not capable of catching six spies who will then be exchanged for Croats who have been sentenced for alleged spying?
Finally, if such an exchange was agreed with the Serbian, and Yugoslav authorities, respectively, then the silence of the official Zagreb is indeed strange. By accepting six war criminals in exchange for Croat citizens sentenced under suspicious circumstances the official Belgrade simply admits the act of aggression against the Republic of Croatia.
Besides, the official Belgrade also took a clear stand in connection with the processing of war crimes in Croatia. If all of that is placed in the context of Kostunica's persistent refusal to apologize for crimes in Croatia, then it is clear that nothing better than a possible aggression in some, for it more favorable time, can be expected from the eastern neighbor.
Therefore, all collaborators of official Serbian authorities should not be viewed in Croatia as anything but spies who can be exchanged for sentenced Croats, instead of issuing clemency to war criminals.