Article Croatia under the rule of the Ottoman Empire we ended with a message about the decision of the Entente powers to transfer the Croatian lands to the kings of Serbia. But on October 29, 1918 in Ljubljana, the creation of a state was proclaimed, which included Croatia, Slavonia (Slovenia), Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Krajina.
It was not recognized by the "Great Powers". Instead, on December 1, 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes appeared on the political map of the world.
Meanwhile, relations between Serbs and Croats by that time were by no means cloudless. The concept of "Greater Serbia" was gaining popularity among the Serbs, which was destined to unite all the Slavic peoples of the Balkan Peninsula. Ilya Garashanin in his "Inscriptions" (1844) called Croats "Serbs of the Catholic faith" and "a people without self-awareness." The Croats, on the other hand, considered Serbs, at best, orthodox schismatics, and at worst, Asians, who had no right to live on Croatian soil, and even the word “Serb” itself was derived from the Latin servus - “slave”. In particular, Ante Starcevic wrote about this in the book "The Name of the Serb". This is especially surprising if you remember that up to this time for centuries Serbs and Croats lived quite peacefully (this period is often called the "Millennium of Friendship") and even spoke the same language, which was called "Serbo-Croatian". The problems began when politicians with theories of the "racial superiority" of their people and the "inferiority" of their neighbors got into the relations between ordinary people.
As for the relations between Serbs and Croats, things then came to the point that on June 19, 1928, in the parliament of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a member of the People's Radical Party Punis Racic opened fire on Croatian deputies, mortally wounding the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, Stepan Radic.
One of the consequences of this terrorist act was a political crisis that ended in a monarchical coup, when on January 8, 1928, King Alexander I dissolved parliament and eliminated all autonomies. The state was officially renamed and was now called the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia".
Croatian Revolutionary Organization (Ustasa)
After that, the leader of the Croatian extremists, Ante Pavelic, created the underground organization Domobran, whose members killed N. Risovic, editor of the newspaper Edinstvo, which supported the government. On the basis of "Domobran" then the "Croatian revolutionary organization - Ustasa" (Ustasa - "Risen") arose. Its leader ("Ustashki's leader") Pavelic soon fled to Bulgaria, where he established ties with the Macedonian revolutionary organization (it was the Macedonian militant Vlado Chernozemsky who killed the King of Yugoslavia Alexander I Karageorgievich on October 9, 1934 in Marseilles). Then Pavelic ended up in Italy, the authorities of which arrested him after the murder of the Yugoslav king. For 2 years, Pavelic was under investigation, which was never completed.
In 1939, the autonomy of Croatia was restored, moreover, about 40% of the lands of Bosnia and Herzegovina were "cut" to its territory: this not only did not satisfy the "appetites" of the nationalist leaders of Croatia, but even more "whetted" them.
Croatia during World War II
In Italy, Pavelic vegetated until 1941, when after the occupation of Yugoslavia by the troops of Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, a puppet Croatian state was created, which included Bosnia and Herzegovina. A fugitive nationalist became its ruler.
In fact, formally Croatia (like Montenegro) was then considered a kingdom. And unlike the same Montenegro, they managed to find a king for it: on May 18, 1941, the Duke of Spoletta Aimono de Torino received the crown (and with her the name Tomislav II). This monarch never visited his "kingdom". After the proclamation of the Italian Republic, he fled to Argentina, where he died in 1948.
On April 30, 1941, racial laws were passed in Croatia, according to which Croats were declared citizens of the "first class" and "Aryans", and people of other, "non-Aryan" nationalities were restricted in their rights.
One of the leaders of the Ustasha, Mladen Lorkovich, stated in his speech on July 27, 1941:
It is the duty of the Croatian government to make Croatia belong only to Croats ... In short, we must destroy the Serbs in Croatia.
Another "fiery speaker" - Mile Budak, on June 22, 1941 said:
We will destroy one part of the Serbs, we will evict the other, the rest we will convert to the Catholic faith and turn into Croats. Thus, their traces will soon be lost, and what remains will only be a bad memory of them. We have three million bullets for Serbs, Roma and Jews.
However, the Ustashi often preferred to save bullets and used a special knife called "serbosek" ("serborez") for murders, which did not have a constant shape - a handle that was put on the hand and fixed on it was common for this group of knives.
It is believed that the sheaf knife, which has been produced by the German company Solingen since 1926, served as a prototype.
At present, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were killed then (the exact numbers are still disputed, some researchers say about 800 thousand, the most cautious - about 197 thousand), about 30 Jews and up to 000 Roma. So Budak's plan remained "underfulfilled": the Soviet army and the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia, commanded by JB Tito, prevented its implementation.
But Muslims in Nazi Croatia were not persecuted. The same Budak said:
We are a state of two religions - Catholicism and Islam.
"Muslims and Catholics are brothers in the SS." Croatian propaganda poster
On the side of Germany against the USSR during World War II, two divisions and the reinforced 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the "Croatian Legion", fought, the main part of which was killed or taken prisoner at Stalingrad.
Croatian soldiers on the Eastern Front
The pilots of the Croatian Aviation Legion, as well as the Croatian Naval Legion, of which Genichesk became the base, and included coast guard ships and minesweepers, were noted on the Soviet-German fronts.
Other parts of the Croatian army fought in the Balkans against partisan formations and Tito's army. Among them was, for example, the 13th SS Khanjar Volunteer Mountain Infantry Division (Khanjar is a cold weapon, short sword or dagger). It consisted of ethnic Germans of Yugoslavia (who, as a rule, held command positions), Croatian Catholics and Bosnian Muslims. This division was the most numerous in the SS troops: it consisted of 21 soldiers and officers, 065% of them were Muslims. The servicemen of this unit could be recognized by the fez on their heads.
"Grand Mufti of Jerusalem" Amin al-Husseini (after the outbreak of World War II he was expelled by the British authorities and moved first to Italy, and then to Germany) greets the volunteers of the Muslim SS "Khanjar" division
The formation of another similar unit, called "Kama", was not completed, its servicemen were transferred to the "Khanjar" division.
The "Khanjar" division existed until a full-fledged military clash with Soviet troops: in 1944 it was defeated in Hungary and fled to Austria, where it surrendered to the British.
The 7th SS Mountain Rifle Division "Prince Eugen" was mixed (here the Nazis "spoiled the reputation" of the good Austrian commander Eugene of Savoy) - formed in March 1942 from Croats, Serbs, Hungarians and Romanians who wanted to serve the III Reich. It was defeated in October 1944 by the Bulgarian troops that were part of the 3rd Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army.
Bulgarians at a crossroads
In the occupation of Yugoslavia (as well as Greece), Bulgarian troops took part - five divisions, the maximum number of which was 33 people. During this time, the Bulgarians lost 635 people killed, but they themselves killed 697 partisans of Tito's army and Chetniks. The exact number of civilians killed has not yet been counted, but it was very high. It is known that only during the punitive operation in the Pusta River region, 4782 people were shot by Bulgarian soldiers.
However, it should still be said that Bulgaria was the only ally of Germany, on whose territory partisans operated. True, they mostly fought with the Bulgarians too - gendarmes, police, and sometimes, defending themselves, they fought with army units. Only three actions were carried out against the Germans themselves.
On August 22, 1941, Bulgarian partisans blew up seven fuel tanks in Varna, which were on their way to the Eastern Front. In the fall of 1942, a warehouse with sheepskin coats for the German army was burned down in Sofia. Finally, on August 24, 1944, as a result of an attack on the Kocherinovsky rest house, they killed 25 German soldiers.
In addition, two Bulgarian generals worked for Soviet intelligence, the head of military counterintelligence, the head of the surveillance service and even Metropolitan Stephen of Sofia (a graduate of the Kiev Theological Academy, the future exarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church), who in a sermon of June 22, 1941 dared to declare that the attack Germany to Russia is "the greatest fall from sin and a prelude to the Second Coming." It is said that a cache was set up in the ambo of St. Nicholas Church with his permission, and the gospel was used as a container for transmitting messages. To the Soviet intelligence officer Dmitry Fedichkin, the Metropolitan said on this occasion:
If God knows this is for a holy cause, he will forgive and bless!
Exarch Stefan. Monument in the native village of Shirokaya Lyka
Of the 223 Bulgarian political emigrants who fought in the Red Army, 151 were killed.
It is curious that after the news of Stalin's death, a document expressing condolences to the Soviet people was signed by over 5,5 million Bulgarian citizens. And now many Bulgarian veterans who are members of the officers 'Union of His Majesty's Military School Students (one of the two veterans' organizations, the second is the Union of War Veterans), are embarrassed to wear the Soviet medal “For Victory over Germany”, which was awarded to 120 thousand Bulgarian soldiers and officers, because it has a portrait of Stalin.
Medal "For the victory over Germany"
Serbian SS volunteers
In fairness, it should be said that in Serbia, the "puppet government of national salvation" Milan Nedic created the Serbian SS Volunteer Corps, commanded by the Serbian General Konstantin Musitsky, who rose to the rank of Oberführer.
Serbian SS Volunteer Corps soldiers
In September 1941, its number ranged from 300 to 400 people; in March 1945, about 10 thousand people served in it. They fought exclusively against the partisans of I. Tito, but sometimes they entered the battle with the presumptuous Croatian Ustash. But with the Chetniks-monarchists, they had "made peace." Finally, in April 1945, they joined one of the Chetnik units, with whom they retreated to Italy and Austria, where they surrendered to the Allied forces.
White Cossacks Helmut von Pannwitz
Unfortunately, we have to admit that the White Cossacks who fled from Russia after the defeat in the Civil War also "noted" on the territory of Yugoslavia.
The first Cossack division, commanded by German General Helmut von Pannwitz, became part of the 2nd tank Army of Colonel General Rendulich. British historian Basil Davidson incorrectly called Pannwitz "the ruthless commander of a gang of bloody marauders."
Davidson's opinion can be trusted: during World War II, he was an officer in the British Special Operations Directorate and personally liaised the British command with the partisans. In August 1943, for example, he was abandoned in Bosnia, in January 1945 - in northern Italy. "Art" von Pannwitz and his subordinates Davidson saw with his own eyes.
By the way, the Yugoslavs themselves (regardless of nationality) separated the Cossacks from the Russians at that time, calling them "Circassians".
The von Pannwitz division fought with partisans in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Former White Cossacks burned more than 20 villages, in one of which (the Croatian village of Dyakovo) 120 girls and women were raped. Croats - allies of Nazi Germany, sent a complaint to Berlin. Von Pannwitz sided with his subordinates, declaring:
Croats will not hurt at all if the raped Croatians give birth to children. Cossacks are a wonderful racial type, many look like Scandinavians.
Both the new Yugoslavia and the USSR were eager to hang Pannwitz - it happened on January 16, 1947 in Moscow. At the same time, his subordinates were hanged: A. Shkuro, who was recruiting and preparing reserves for Pannwitz's formations, P. Krasnov (head of the Main Directorate of the Cossack Forces of Germany), T. Domanov (marching chieftain of the Nazi Cossack camp) and Sultan Klych-Girey ( the commander of the mountain units as part of the Krasnov Cossack corps).
And then the oddities began. In 1996, this executioner was rehabilitated by the decision of the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation, and only in 2001 this decision was canceled.
In 1998, a monument (marble slab) with a blasphemous name was erected at the Moscow Church of All Saints to these "heroes" - Pannwitz, Shkuro, Krasnov, Domanov and Sultan Klych-Girey:
To the soldiers of the Russian general military union, the Russian corps, the Cossack camp, the Cossacks of the 15th cavalry corps, who fell for their faith and fatherland.
In 2007, on the eve of Victory Day, this slab was broken by unknown persons:
But in 2014 it was restored with a new (equally blasphemous) inscription:
To the Cossacks who fell for Faith, Tsar and Fatherland.
And we are naively indignant at the glorification of Bandera and Shukhevych in today's Ukraine.
"The last battle of the Russian Civil War"
On December 26, 1944, a battle took place on the territory of Croatia at Pitomach, which received the loud name "The Last Battle of the Civil War": the 2nd Cossack Brigade of the Wehrmacht attacked the positions of the 233rd Soviet Division, which was part of the 3rd Ukrainian Front - and managed it from them knock out. The brutality of the parties was so great that the Soviet soldiers without any further ado shot the captured Cossacks (61 people), and the Cossacks - the captured Red Army men (122 people). This local clash had no global consequences: in April 1945, the remnants of the Cossack units of the Wehrmacht fled to Italy and Austria, where they surrendered to the British, who handed them over to the representatives of the USSR (the famous "extradition of the Cossacks to the Soviet regime in the city of Linz"): over the fate of these sadists and Hundreds of Russian liberals shed tears of executioners.
The fate of Pavelic and the Ustasha
The hatred of the Ustasha and the collaborators in Serbia was so great that when Soviet troops entered Yugoslavia in September 1944, the partisans following them in Belgrade alone shot and hanged at least 30 people. In total, about 000 thousand people were executed. Pavelic fled to Argentina, where in April 50 he was found and shot by two Serbs - Blagoe Jovovich and Milo Krivokapic (they managed to escape). Of the five bullets they fired, two hit the target, Pavelic survived, but suffered severely from wounds, from the consequences of which he died in Spain in 1952.
The collapse of Yugoslavia and the emergence of an independent Croatia
However, it soon became clear that interethnic contradictions in Yugoslavia did not disappear, but were only temporarily muted during the reign of JB Tito. Already at the end of the 1960s. in Croatia, there were unrest that included history as "Maskok" ("Masovni will cover" - a mass movement). In areas of Croatia where Serbs lived, inter-ethnic clashes were again noted. The Yugoslav authorities at that time adequately assessed the threat and crushed "Maspok" literally "on the vine." Among those arrested were even two future presidents of Croatia - Franjo Tudjman and Stepan Mesic (who later claimed that “the only Serbian land in Croatia is the one that they brought with them on their soles”).
After the death of J.B. Tito in 1980, a steady growth of nationalist sentiments was noted in Yugoslavia, and the separatists showed themselves more and more actively.
In 1990, even before the independence referendum, the use of the Cyrillic alphabet was banned in Croatia, and texts related to the history of Serbia, as well as the works of Serbian writers, were removed from textbooks. Serbian civil servants were ordered to sign loyalty lists (to the Croatian government). These actions provoked a retaliatory protest from the Serbs (their number in Croatia was then 12% of all citizens), who on July 25, 1990 created the "Serbian Assembly". The "Declaration on the sovereignty of Serbs in Croatia" was adopted, and a referendum on the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina was scheduled for August.
To prevent Croatian police and armed groups from reaching the polling stations, the Serbs blocked roads with felled trees, which is why these events were called the "Log Revolution".
The first clashes between armed groups of Croats and Serbs began in April 1991. And then a war began on the territory of the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, which lasted until 1995 and ended with the creation of an independent Croatian state. The bitterness of the parties then surprised the whole world. Already in 1991, the Serbs were completely expelled from 10 cities and 183 villages (partly from 87). All in all, as a result of the long-term war until 1995, about 30 thousand people of different nationalities were killed, and about half a million were forced to flee from the "enemy" territory (350 thousand of them were Serbs). These losses increased during the operation of the Croatian army "Tempest" to capture the Serbian Krajina and Western Bosnia in August 1995. Employees of the American private military company Military Professional Resources Inc. also took part in this operation.
August 5 is the date of entry of Croatian troops into the capital of Serbian Krajina, the city of Knin (it was fully occupied on August 7), in Croatia it is now celebrated as Victory Day and Armed Forces Day.
The flight of the Serbs from Knin
Diplomatic relations between Serbia (more precisely, the union state of Serbia and Montenegro) and Croatia were established on September 9, 1996.
Let's say a few words about Slovenia. She escaped the Ottoman conquest, but in the XIV century fell under the rule of the Habsburgs and was divided into three provinces - Kranjska, Gorishka and Shtaerska. In 1809-1813. was part of French Illyria. After World War I, the entire coastal part of Slovenia was part of Italy, the rest - in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During World War II, Italy also conquered Ljubljana, and the rest of the land was occupied by Germany. After the end of this war, Slovenia returned the lost lands and became part of the socialist Yugoslavia. In 1987, various enterprises in Slovenia provided 20% of Yugoslavia's GDP and produced 25% of the goods exported.
In May 1989, protesters in Ljubljana adopted the "Declaration" on the establishment of a "sovereign state of the Slovenian people." In September, the decision of the Slovenian Assembly changed the constitution, which now confirmed the republic's right to secede from Yugoslavia. Since September, this republic has ceased to pay taxes to the federal budget, and on December 23, a referendum was held in which the majority of Slovenes voted for the creation of an independent state.
The situation aggravated on June 25, 1991, when Slovenia and Croatia simultaneously announced their secession from Yugoslavia. The President of Slovenia gave the order to take control of the borders and airspace of the republic and seize the barracks of the Yugoslav army. The Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Ante Markovic, in response ordered the JNA troops to take control of Ljubljana.
Thus began the "Ten-Day War", which is also called the "War in Slovenia". During this time, 72 clashes of the opposing sides were noted, the war ended with the signing of the Brioni agreements, according to which the Yugoslav army ceased hostilities, and Slovenia and Croatia suspended the entry into force of the already adopted declarations of sovereignty for three months. And then the authorities in Belgrade were not up to Slovenia - other republics broke out.
Already in 1992, Slovenia became a member of the UN, in 1993 - a member of the Council of Europe, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in March 2004 - joined NATO and became a member of the EU. In 2007, the euro was put into circulation in Slovenia, and it entered the Schengen area.
In the next article we will talk about Macedonia, which was traditionally claimed by Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs in addition to the Ottomans.