Pogledaj Full Version : Common Sense Thought on WW2

Željko Zidarić
18th-May-2012, 04:27 AM
Allen Milcic - Canada (http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=47228)

Both the NDH and the Partizans were lead by morally corrupt individuals, and had certain elements that committed some horrible deeds. However, the great majority of men (and women) on both sides were honest, honourable soldiers that fought for their ideals or what they saw as righteous, or because they simply had no choice. Most of the men that fought for the NDH were not Fascists, killers or criminals, they were people that believed in an independent Croatian state, or they believed in the inherent evil of Communism, or they were simply called to duty by their homeland. Most of the men that joined the Partizans did not do so because they were Communists or barbarians or killers, but because they were anti-Fascists, or wanted foreign invaders out of their country, or simply because they believed it was their duty to fight for what they saw as their homeland. I think it is a gross miscarriage to call a majority of men that fought for the NDH as criminals; I think it is equally incorrect to equate a majority of the men that fought for the Partizans with warcrimes.

The People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavija in 1945 had over 650,000 men (sources: Jugoslavija 1941-1945, Vlado Strugar, Beograd: Vojnoizdavački zavod, 1969; Narodnooslobodilačka vojska Jugoslavije, Nikola Anić, Sekula Joksimović i Mirko Gutić, Beograd: Vojnoistorijski institut, 1982.). Add to this the number of Partizans killed over the course of the war - 237,000 (source: Source: Vladimir Žerjavić: Gubici stanovništva Jugoslavije u drugom svjetskom ratu, Zagreb, 1989 Publisher: Jugoslavensko viktimološko društvo, Trg Maršala Tita 14, Zagreb). We come up with a total of 887,000 Partizans.

Željko Zidarić
18th-May-2012, 04:32 AM
Michael Mills - Australia


I understand where you, as a person of Croatian ethnic background, are coming from.

After the war, the general impression in most of the Western world (eg here in Australia) was that the Croats in general were a people who had collaborated with the Axis, whereas the Serbs in general had been victims of the Axis and had resisted.

That impression was of course over-simplified and distorted. But now I see different version of history being propagated by Croat sources, which to my mind is equally as distorted.

According to this Croat version of history, the majority of the Coratian people were opposed to the Axis, and supported Tito's partisans, either openly or secretly; only a small minority of fringe extremists supported the Ustasha. By contrast, the Serbs are presented as being for the most paret collaborators with the Axis, either directly via the Nedic Government or indirectly via the Chetniks; it is claimed that only a small minority suported the partisans.

Nothing is gained if one false version of history is replaced by another false one.

In my opinion, the question of collaboration with or resistance to the Axis is not the main issue in interpreting the history of the then Yugoslavia during the Second World War. The main driving force was that the ethnic groups took the opportunity provided by the destruction of the Jugoslav state by the Axis to pursue traditional inter-ethnic rivalries and dreams of expansion, ie the Ustasha wanted to achieve a "Greater Croatia" and the Chetniks to achieve a "Greater Serbia". The different factions either collaborated with the Axis or opposed it, according to which action better suited their conflict with their internal enemies, and most did both at different times; even Tito offered to collaborate with the Germans if they would give him a free hand against his Chetnik rivals.

Allen, you have said that you despise the Yugoslav state and do not think that a "Yugoslav" is a real thing.

You may not be aware that the whole concept of "Yugoslavia" was invented by Croat intellectuals in the 19th century, and was certainly not something devised by Serbs.

It was Croat nationalists living in the Habsburg Empire (mainly those in Dalmatia, which was part of Austria and thus a little freer than Croatia and Slavonia, which were part of the Kingdom of Hungary) who devised the concept of a South Slav state (Yugoslavia), to consist of the parts of the Habsburg Empire inhabited by Croats, Serbs and Slovenes (Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Vojvodina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, parts of Carinthia and Styria). Their expectation was that that state would be dominated by the Croats, as the most culturally advanced of the South Slav peoples.

It was also envisaged that that Yugoslavia formed from parts of the Habsburg Empire could also incorporate the independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro. However, the Croat intellectuals thought that the major role in the new, enlarged state would be played by them and other Croats.

The ideology of the ruling class of Serbia was quite different. Their aim was the expansion of the Kingdom of Serbia to incorporate all lands with a substantial Serb population (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Vojvodina, parts of Slavonia and Dalmatia), forming a "Greater Serbia". They did not want to form a state with Cropats and Slovenes.

During the First World War, there a Yugoslav Committee in exile, consisting of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, but dominated by its Croat members, whose program was the secession of the South Slav lands from the Habsburg Empire to form "Yugoslavia".

In October 1918, the Imperial Government in Vienna granted independence to the provinces inhabited by South Slavs, and the state of Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Yugoslav Committee, with an invitation to Serbia and Montenegro to unite with it. However, the Serbian Army swiftly occupied the territory of the new state, and the Serbian ruling class was able to create a union between Serbia and the former Habsburg territories in a way that gave them domination over the new Yugoslavia, thereby frustrating the ambitions of the Croat intelligentsia, which saw itself as the natural ruling class of the new state.

The disappointment and resentments of the Croat intelligentsia against domination by the Serb ruling class, which had made of the new Yugoslavia an expansion of the Serbian kingdom, created the basis for the ethnic rivalry that eventually tore the artificial entity apart.