World War II

Content was taken with the permission from the Croatian Information Center site

On March 25, 1941, Yugoslavia joined the Tripartite Pact, but soon this was annulled by a putsch organized in Belgrade with the help of England. This provided Germany with a reason to attack, and in twelve days crush, and then partition Yugoslavia with the help of its allies (Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria). The Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was formed 386 from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was sponsored by the aforementioned countries, particularly Italy, which took a large part of the Croatian coast, a majority of the islands and coastal cities.

The government in the NDH was assumed by the Ustasha, a relatively small group, and their leader, Pavelic. The majority, which did not want to cooperate with Germany and Italy and belonged to the Peasant Party of Vlatko Macek, remained neutral. The other, left-oriented group led by the Communists, initiated the Croatian struggle against Fascism on June 22, 1941, when it established the first Partisan unit in Europe. They gradually gained followers among the Croats and Croatian Serbs and, as the Partisans, established their republic (state) in the framework of the future federal Yugoslavia in 1943. The Ustasha government quickly lost the support of the people as it was compromised by its persecution of Serbs, Jews, Communists and other democratically-oriented people. After Italy's capitulation, the Croatian people joined the Partisans en masse, so that Croatia, along with Bosnia- Herzegovina and Slovenia, became the center of the anti-Fascist struggle in this part of Europe.

In 1944, a Quisling government and the Chetniks were still in power in Serbia. At that time, Tito's Partisans, with the help of the Russians, entered Serbia, liberated Belgrade and began the final battles for Croatia and Slovenia. Although the war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945, the Croatian army continued to fight for one more week, and then withdrew to the northwest. They then surrendered themselves, with a great number of civilians who were fleeing before the communist Partisans, to the British at the town of Bleiburg in Austria. The British, violating the laws of war, surrendered them to Tito's army. The majority of them were soon executed without a trial, mostly in death marches led throughout the country. In this "Way of the Cross", it was mostly Croats who were killed, just as it was Serbs who were executed in the Ustasha concentration camps. Then and later Serbian propaganda multiplied the number of Serbian victims, while discussing their victims and those of the Partisans was forbidden. In this manner an inaccurate picture of the genocidal nature of the Croatian people was created.

The Croatian version of the content was taken with permission from the Croatian Information Center site. The english version is taken from the site, which no longer exists, but the content is still available through the service.
The text is the online version of the book "Short overview of the history of the Republic of Croatia", by Mr. Dragutin Pavličević.
We are grateful to the Croatian Information Center for the permission to use the online material.