Ante Pavelić (Croatian pronunciation: [ǎːnte
pǎʋelit͡ɕ] ( listen); 14 July 1889 – 28 December
1959) was a Croatian fascist general and military dictator who founded
and headed the fascist ultranationalist organization known as the
Ustaše in 1929 and governed the Independent State of Croatia
(Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH), a fascist Nazi puppet
state built out of Yugoslavia by the authorities of
Nazi Germany and
Fascist Italy, from 1941 to 1945. Pavelić and the
many racial minorities and political opponents in the NDH during the
war, including Serbs, Jews, Romani, and anti-fascist Croats.
At the start of his career, Pavelić was a lawyer and a politician of
Party of Rights
Party of Rights in the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia known for
his nationalist beliefs and support for an independent Croatia. By the
end of the 1920s, his political activity became more radical as he
Croats to revolt against Yugoslavia, and schemed an Italian
Croatia separate from Yugoslavia. After King Alexander
I declared his
6 January Dictatorship
6 January Dictatorship in 1929 and banned all political
parties, Pavelić went abroad and plotted with the Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) to undermine the Yugoslav state,
which prompted the Yugoslav authorities to try him in absentia and
sentence him to death. In the meantime, Pavelić had moved to fascist
Italy where he founded the Ustaše, a Croatian nationalist movement
with the goal of creating an independent
Croatia by any means,
including the use of terror. Pavelić incorporated
terrorist actions in the
Ustaše program, such as train bombings and
assassinations, staged a small uprising in
Lika in 1932, culminating
in the assassination of King Alexander in 1934 in conjunction with the
IMRO. Pavelić was once again sentenced to death after being tried in
France in absentia and, under international pressure, the Italians
imprisoned him for 18 months, and largely obstructed the
the following period.
At the behest of the Germans and Italians, senior
Kvaternik declared the NDH's establishment in the name of Pavelić,
the Poglavnik. Pavelić returned and took control of the puppet
government, creating a political system similar to that of Fascist
Italy and Nazi Germany. The NDH, though constituting a Greater
Croatia, was forced by the Italians to relinquish several territorial
concessions to the latter. After taking control, Pavelić imposed
largely anti-Serbian and antisemitic policies that resulted in the
deaths of over 100,000
Jews in concentration and
extermination camps in the NDH, murdering and torturing several
hundred thousand Serbs, along with tens of thousands of Jews
and Roma. These persecutions and killings have been described
as the "single most disastrous episode in Yugoslav history". The
racial policies of the NDH greatly contributed to their rapid loss of
control over the occupied territory, as they fed the ranks of both the
Chetniks and Partisans and caused even the German authorities to
attempt to restrain Pavelić and his genocidal campaign.
In 1945, he ordered the executions of prominent NDH politicians Mladen
Ante Vokić on charges of treason when they were
arrested for plotting to oust him and align the NDH with the Allies.
Following the surrender of Germany in May 1945, Pavelić ordered his
troops to keep fighting even after the surrender. Kvaternik was hanged
in Zagreb in 1947 by Yugoslav officials. The remainder of the NDH
government decided to flee to Austria on 3 May 1945, but Pavelić
instead ordered them to retreat to Austria over the former border of
Third Reich and have the Croatian Armed Forces surrender to the
British Army. The British refused to accept the surrender and directed
them to surrender to the Partisans. The Partisans began carrying out
massacres against the
Ustaše when the latter attacked their position,
killing them in a series of repatriations later known as the Bleiburg
repatriations. Pavelić himself fled to Austria, and later Argentina,
Juan Perón provided sanctuary for German war
criminals and several Ustaše. On 10 April 1957, he was shot several
times in an assassination attempt by Serbian patriot Blagoje Jovović.
Pavelić then left
Argentina for Spain, and he died on 28 December
1959, aged 70, from his injuries and diabetes.
1 Early life
1.1 Birth and education
1.2 Political rise
2 In exile
2.1 Initial exile and trial
2.2 Exile in Italy
Assassination of King Alexander and aftermath
3.4 After the Italian capitulation
3.6 End of the NDH
4.2 Argentina, Chile and attempted assassination
4.3 Death in Spain
5 In popular culture
7 External links
Birth and education
Ante Pavelić was born in the Herzegovinian village of Bradina on the
Ivan Mountain north of Konjic, roughly 15 kilometres
(9.3 mi) southwest of Hadžići, then part of the
Austrian-Hungarian Empire. His parents had moved to the
Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the
Krivi Put in the central part of the
Velebit plain, in
Lika (located in today's Croatia), to work on the
Metković railway line.
Searching for work, his family moved to the village of Jezero outside
Jajce where Pavelić attended primary school, maktab. Here Pavelić
learned Muslim traditions and lessons that influenced his attitude
towards Bosnia and its Muslims. Pavelić also attended a Jesuit
primary[dubious – discuss] school in Travnik, growing up in a
Muslim-majority city. Bosnian Muslim culture was later to become a
major influence on his political views.[need quotation to verify]
Pavelić's sense of Croat nationalism grew from a visit to
his parents where he heard townspeople speaking Croatian, and realised
it was not just the language of peasants. While attending school in
Travnik he became an adherent of the nationalist ideologies of Ante
Starčević and his successor as the leader of the Party of Rights,
Health problems interrupted his education for a short time in 1905. In
summer he found job on the railway in
Sarajevo and Višegrad. He
continued his education in Zagreb, home city of his elder brother
Josip. In Zagreb, Pavelić attended high school. His failure to
complete his fourth year classes meant he had to re-sit the exam.
Early in his high school days, he joined the Pure Party of Rights
as well as the Frankovci students' organization, founded by Josip
Frank, father-in-law of Slavko Kvaternik, an Austro-Hungarian colonel.
Later he attended high school in
Senj at the classical gymnasium where
he completed his fifth year classes. Health problems again interrupted
his education and he took a job on the road in Istria, near Buzet. In
1909 he finished his sixth year classes in Karlovac. His seventh year
classes were completed in Senj. Pavelić graduated in Zagreb in 1910
and entered the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb. In 1912
Pavelić was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attempted
assassination of the Ban of Croatia-Slavonia, Slavko Cuvaj. He
completed his law degree in 1914, and obtained his doctorate in July
1915. From 1915 until 1918 he worked as a clerk in the office of
Aleksandar Horvat, president of the Party of Rights. After completing
his clerkship, he became a lawyer in Zagreb.
During World War I, Pavelić played an active role in the Party of
Rights. As an employee and friend of its leader Horvat, he often
attended important party meetings, taking over Horvat's duties when he
was absent. In 1918, Pavelić entered the party leadership and its
Business Committee. After the unification of the State of Slovenes,
Serbs with the
Kingdom of Serbia
Kingdom of Serbia on 1 December 1918, the
Party of Rights
Party of Rights held a day of public protest claiming that the
Croatian people were against having a Serbian king, and that their
highest state authorities had not agreed to unification. Further, the
party expressed their wish for Croatian republic in a program from
March 1919, signed by president of the party, Vladimir Prebeg and
Pavelić. By 1921 Pavelić was an elected city official in Zagreb
and became a major influence on younger members. At the time he was
the party secretary, and as a leader of the party he began to advocate
Pavelić was a member of the Frankovci faction of the Party of Rights.
Ivica Peršić, a Croatian politician from the competing Milinovci
faction, wrote in his memoir how Pavelić's 1921 election
significantly raised the standing of his law office in Zagreb – a
number of rich Jewish clients paid him to obtain Yugoslav citizenship,
and Pavelić subsequently started to make frequent visits to Belgrade,
where he would procure those documents through his increasing number
of connections to the members of the ruling People's Radical
In 1921, fourteen
Party of Rights
Party of Rights members, including Pavelić, Ivo
Pilar and Milan Šufflay, were arrested for anti-Yugoslav activities,
for their alleged contacts with the Croatian Committee, a Croatian
nationalist organization that was based in Hungary at the time.
Pavelić acted as the defence lawyer at the subsequent trial and was
On 12 August 1922, in St. Mark's Church, Zagreb, Pavelić married
Maria Lovrenčević. They had three children, daughters Višnja and
Mirjana and son Velimir. Maria was part Jewish through her mother's
family and her father, Martin Lovrenčević, was a member of the Party
of Rights and a well-known journalist.
Later Pavelić became vice-president of the Croatian Bar Association,
the professional body representing Croatian lawyers.
In his speeches to the
Yugoslav Parliament he opposed Serbian
nationalism and spoke in favor of Croatian independence. He was active
with the youth of the Croatian
Party of Rights
Party of Rights and began contributing
to the Starčević and Kvaternik newspapers.
Serbian members of the
Yugoslav Parliament disliked him and when a
Serbian member said "Good night" to him in parliament, Pavelić
"Gentleman, I will be euphoric when I will be able to say to you 'good
night'. I will be happy when all
Croats can say 'good night' and thank
you, for this 'party' we had here with you. I think that you will all
be happy when you don't have
Croats here any more."
In 1927, Pavelić became the vice-president of the party.
In June 1927 Pavelić represented
Zagreb County at the European
Congress of Cities in Paris. When he was returning from Paris, he
Rome and submitted a memorandum in the name of HSP to the
Italian ministry of foreign affairs in which he offered to cooperate
with Italy in dismembering Yugoslavia. In order to obtained
Italian support for Croatian independence, the memorandum effectively
made any such
Croatia 'little more than an Italian protectorate'. The
memorandum also stated that the
Party of Rights
Party of Rights recognised the
existing territorial settlements between Italy and Yugoslavia, thus
giving up all Croatian claims to Istria, Rijeka,
Zadar and the
Adriatic islands Italy had annexed after World War I. These areas
contained between 300,000 and 400,000 Croats. Further, the memorandum
also agreed to cede the
Bay of Kotor
Bay of Kotor and Dalmatian headlands of
strategic importance to Italy, and agreed that a future
not establish a navy.
As the most radical politician of the Croatian Bloc, Pavelić sought
opportunities to internationalize the "Croatian question" and
highlight Yugoslavia's unsustainability. In December 1927, Pavelić
defended four Macedonian students in Skopje, who were accused of
belonging to the Macedonian Youth Secret Revolutionary Organization
founded by Ivan Mihailov. During the trial, Pavelić accused the court
of setting them up and stressed the right to self-determination. This
trial received public attention in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
Following his election as a member of the Croatian Bloc in the 1927
election, Pavelić became his party's liaison with Nikola Pašić, the
Yugoslav Prime Minister. He was one of two elected Croatian Bloc
candidates alongside Ante Trumbić, one of the key politicians in the
creation of a Yugoslav state. From 1927 until 1929, he was part of
the minuscule delegation of the
Party of Rights
Party of Rights in the Yugoslav
In summer 1928 the leaders of the Croatian Bloc, Trumbić and
Pavelić, addressed the Italian consul in Zagreb to gain support for
the Croatian struggle against regime of King Alexander. On 14 July
they received a positive response, after which Pavelić maintained
After the assassination of Croatian politicians in the National
Assembly, of which he was an eyewitness, Pavelić joined the
Peasant-Democratic Coalition and started to publish a magazine called
Hrvatski domobran (hr) in which he advocated Croatian
independence. His political party radicalised after the assassination.
He found support in the Croatian Rights Republican Youth (Hrvatska
pravaška republikanska omladina), a youth wing of the Party of Rights
led by Branimir Jelić. On 1 October 1928 he founded an armed group
with the same name, an act through which he openly called on Croatians
to revolt. This group trained as part of a legal sport society.
Yugoslav authorities declared the organization illegal and banned its
Pavelić held the position of the
Party of Rights
Party of Rights secretary until
1929, the beginning of the
6 January Dictatorship
6 January Dictatorship in the Kingdom of
Yugoslavia. According to Hrvoje Matković,[who?] after the
King declared his dictatorship Pavelić's house was under constant
At this time, Pavelić started to organize the Ustaša
(Ustaša – Hrvatski revolucionarni pokret) as an organization
with military and conspiratorial principles. Its official
foundation was 7 January 1929. The
Ustaša movement was "founded
on the principles of racialism and intolerance".
Because of the threat of arrest, Pavelić escaped during a
surveillance lapse and went to Austria on the night of 19/20 January
1929. According to Tomasevich, Pavelić left for
Vienna to "seek
Initial exile and trial
He contacted other Croatian emigrants, mainly political émigrés,
former Austrian-Hungarian officers, who gathered around Stjepan
Sarkotić and refused to return to Yugoslavia. After a short stay in
Austria, alongside Gustav Perčec, Pavelić moved to Budapest.
In March 1929, the
Ustaše commenced a campaign of terrorism within
Yugoslavia with the assassination of Toni Schlegel in Zagreb. Schlegel
was a pro-Yugoslav editor of the newspaper Novosti who was also a
close confidante of King Alexander.
After establishing contact with the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization in April 1929, he and Perčec went to
Sofia in Bulgaria.
On 29 April 1929, Pavelić and
Ivan Mihailov signed the Sofia
Declaration in which they formalized cooperation between their
movements. In the declaration, they obligated themselves to separate
Croatia and Macedonia from Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia protested to
Bulgaria. Pavelić was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to
death in absentia along with Perčec on 17 August 1929.
Because of the Yugoslav verdict, on 25 September 1929 Pavelić was
Vienna and expelled to Germany. Pavelić's stay in Germany
was constrained by opposition from the German ambassador to
Yugoslavia, Adolf Köster, a supporter of Yugoslavia. A friend of King
Alexander, he did his best to prevent Croatian nationalist activity in
Exile in Italy
Pavelić left Germany under a false passport and went to Italy, where
his family already lived. In Italy he frequently changed location
and lived under false names, most often as "Antonio Serdar".[need
quotation to verify] Since he had been in contact with Italian
authorities since 1927, he easily established contact with the
fascists. In autumn 1929 he established contacts with Italian
journalists and Mussolini's brother Arnaldo, who supported Croatian
independence without any territorial concession. Pavelić created
sympathy and understanding of
Croats among Italians.
That autumn Pavelić published a brochure called Establishment of the
Croatian State: Lasting Peace in the Balkans which summarized
important events of Croatian history. The Italian authorities did
not want to formally support
Ustaše or Pavelić, to protect their
reputation;[clarification needed] nevertheless, the group received
support from Benito Mussolini, who saw them as a means to help destroy
Yugoslavia and expand Italian influence in the Adriatic. Mussolini
allowed Pavelić to live in exile in
Rome and train his paramilitaries
for war with Yugoslavia. In the
Ustaša organization of 1929—1930,
Pavelić's closest associates were Perčec, Jelić, Ivan Perčević
Mladen Lorković and Mile Budak.
Ustaše began with the creation of military formations trained for
sabotage and terrorism. With financial help from Mussolini, in
1931 Pavelić established terrorist training camps, first in
Bovegno in the
Brescia region, and encouraged the foundation of such
camps all around Italy. Camps were founded in Borgotaro, Lepari and
Janka Puszta in Hungary. The
Ustaše were involved with smuggling
weapons and propaganda into Yugoslavia from their camps in Italy and
Hungary. At the demands of Italian authorities, the camps were
often moved. The main
Ustaše headquarters was at first in Tornio, and
later in Bologna.
On Pavelić's initiative, his associates established Ustaše
associations in Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Argentina,
Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil and North America. Pavelić also encouraged
publishing magazines in various countries.
The series of bombings and shootings by the
Ustaše in Yugoslavia
resulted in a severe crackdown on political activity as the state met
terror with terror. Impoverished Croat peasants were hardest hit
by the counter-terror, usually meted out by Serb policemen.
In 1932 he started a newspaper named the "
Ustaša – Herald of
Croatian Revolutionaries" (Croatian:
Ustaša – vijesnik hrvatskih
revolucionaraca). From its very first publication, Pavelić announced
that the use of violence was central to the Ustaše:
"The dagger, revolver, machine-gun and time bomb; these are the bells
that will announce the dawn and the resurrection of the Independent
State of Croatia."
According to Ivo Goldstein, there were no instances of antisemitism in
the newspaper in the beginning. Goldstein suggests there were three
reasons for this; the total focus of the
Ustaše on the Belgrade
government, lack of the necessary intellectual capacity within the
Ustaše movement to properly develop their ideology, and the
active involvement of
Jews with the Ustaše. Goldstein points out that
Ustaše ideology developed in later years it became more
At a meeting held in Spittal in Austria in 1932, Pavelić, Perčec and
Vjekoslav Servatzy decided to start a small uprising. It began at
midnight on 6 September 1932 and was known as the
Led by Andrija Artuković, the insurgency involved around 20 Ustaše
members armed with Italian equipment. They attacked a police station
and half an hour later pulled back to
Velebit with no casualties. This
uprising was to scare Yugoslav authorities. Despite the small scale
the Yugoslav authorities were unnerved because the power of the
Ustaše had been unknown. As a result, major security measures were
introduced. This action appeared in the foreign press, especially in
Italy and Hungary.
On 1 June 1933 and 16 April 1941, the
Ustaša program and "The
Seventeen Principles of the
Ustaše Movement" were published in Zagreb
Propaganda Department of the Supreme
The main goal was the creation of an independent Croatian state based
on its historical and ethnic areas, with Pavelić stating that Ustaše
must pursue this end by any means necessary, even by force of
arms. According to his rules he would organize actions,
assassinations and diversions. With this document the organization
changed its name from Ustaša – Croatian Revolutionary Movement
to Ustaša – Croatian Revolutionary Organization (Croatian:
Ustaša – Hrvatska revolucionarna organizacija; abbreviated to
Assassination of King Alexander and aftermath
By killing the king of Yugoslavia, Pavelić saw an opportunity to
cause riots in Yugoslavia and eventual collapse of the state. In
December 1933, Pavelić ordered the assassination of King Alexander.
The assassin was caught by the police and the assassination attempt
failed.[where?][when?] However, Pavelić tried again in October 1934
On 9 October 1934, King
Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Alexander I of Yugoslavia and French foreign
Louis Barthou were assassinated in Marseille. The
perpetrator Vlado Chernozemski, a Bulgarian revolutionary, was killed
right after the assassination by French police. Three Ustaša
members, who had been waiting at different locations for the king,
were captured and sentenced to life imprisonment by a French court.
Pavelić along with Eugen Kvaternik and Ivan Perčević were
subsequently sentenced to death in absentia by a French court.
That the security was lax even though one attempt had already been
made on Alexander's life testified to Pavelić's organizational
abilities; he had apparently been able to bribe a high official in the
Sûreté General. The
Marseilles Prefect of Police, Jouhannaud, was
subsequently removed from office. The
Ustaša believed that the
assassination of King Alexander had effectively "broken the backbone
of Yugoslavia" and that it was their "most important achievement."
Under pressure from France, the Italian police arrested Pavelić and
Ustaša emigrants on 17 October 1934. Pavelić was imprisoned
Turin and released in March 1936. After he met with Eugen Dido
Kvaternik on Christmas 1934 in prison, he stated that assassination
was "the only language
Serbs understand". During his time in prison,
Pavelić was informed about the situation in Yugoslavia and the 5 May
1935 election when the coalition led by Croat
Vladko Maček won. He
stated that his victory was aided by the activity of Ustaše. By
the mid-1930s, graffiti with the initials ŽAP meaning "Long live Ante
Pavelić" (Croatian: Živio Ante Pavelić) had begun to appear on the
streets of Zagreb.
After Pavelić's released from prison, he remained under surveillance
by the Italian authorities, and his
Ustaše were interned.
Disappointed with relations between the Italians and the Ustaše
organization, Pavelić became closer to Nazi Germany, who promised to
change the map of Europe fixed under the 1919 Treaty of
Versailles.[need quotation to verify] In October 1936 he finished
a survey for the
German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
German Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the
Croatian Question (Croatian: Hrvatsko pitanje; German: Die kroatische
Frage). According to Ivo Goldstein, the survey deemed the "Serbian
state authorities, international Freemasonry,
Jews and communism" as
enemies and stated that:
"Today almost all banking and almost all trade in
Croatia is in the
hands of the Jews. This became possible only because the state gave
them privileges, because the government believed that this would
weaken Croatian national strength. The
Jews greeted the foundation of
the so-called Yugoslav state with great enthusiasm because a national
Croatian state would never suit them as well as Yugoslavia
did. ... All the press in
Croatia is in Jewish hands. This Jewish
Freemason press is constantly attacking Germany, the German people and
According to Matković, after 1937 Pavelić paid more attention to the
Ustaše in Yugoslavia than elsewhere, since the emigrants had become
passive after the assassination. In 1938 he instructed the
form stations in Yugoslav towns. The fall of Stojadinović's
government and the creation of the Banovina of
Croatia in 1939 further
Ustaše activity; they founded Uzdanica (Hope), a savings
co-operative. Under Uzdanica,
Headquarters and the illegal association Matija Gubec. However,
Pavlowitch observes that Pavelić had few contacts with the Ustaše
within Yugoslavia, and that his esteemed position within the Ustaše
was partly due to his isolation in Italy.
In the late 1930s, about half of the 500
Ustaša in Italy were
voluntarily repatriated to Yugoslavia, went underground and increased
On 1 April 1937, after the Stojadinović-Ciano agreement, all Ustaše
units were dissolved by the Italian
government.[better source needed] After that, Pavelić
was put under house arrest in Siena, where he lived until 1939. During
this period he penned his anti-Bolshevik work Horrors and Mistakes
(Italian: Errori e orrori; Croatian: Strahote zabluda) which was
published in 1938. It was immediately seized by the authorities. At
the onset of
World War II
World War II he moved to a villa near
police watch until spring 1941.
After Italy occupied Albania and prepared an attack on Yugoslavia,
Ciano invited Pavelić to negotiations. They discussed Croatian armed
revolt, Italian military intervention and the creation of a Croatian
state with monetary, customs and personal unions with Italy, which
Pavelić later refused.[better source needed]
In 1940 Pavelić negotiated with the Italians for military assistance
in creating a separate Croatian state which would have had strong ties
to Italy, but this plan was postponed by the invasion of France, and
subsequently derailed by Adolf Hitler.
On 25 March 1941, Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact, but two days
later the government was overthrown in a bloodless military coup by
opponents who were motivated by a range of factors.
Two days after the Belgrade coup, Mussolini invited Pavelić from
Florence to his private residence in Rome, the Villa Torlonia; this
was their first meeting since Pavelić's arrival in Italy. Pavelić
was escorted by Matija Bzik, but Mussolini received only Pavelić.
Acting Foreign Minister
Filippo Anfuso was present during the
Pavelić and Mussolini discussed Croatia's position after Yugoslav
capitulation. Mussolini was concerned that Italian designs on Dalmatia
be achieved, and in response Pavelić acknowledged the agreements he
had made earlier and reassured him. Pavelić requested the release of
the remaining interned Ustaše, an Italian liaison officer was
allocated to him, and the Italians also lent him a radio station in
Florence so he could conduct late evening broadcasts. On 1 April
1941 Pavelić called for the liberation of Croatia.
On 6 April 1941 the Axis invaded Yugoslavia from multiple directions,
rapidly overwhelming the under-prepared
Royal Yugoslav Army
Royal Yugoslav Army which
capitulated 11 days later. The German operational plan included
making 'political promises to the Croats' to increase internal
The Germans wanted popular support for any government they appointed
for a new Croatian puppet state, so that they could control their zone
of occupation with minimal forces and exploit the available resources
peacefully. The administration of Banovina
Croatia had been under the
control of an alliance of Vladko Maček's
Croatian Peasant Party
Croatian Peasant Party and
the mostly Croatian Serb Independent Democratic Party. Maček was very
popular among Croats, had been vice-premier in the Yugoslav Cvetković
government, was a supporter of Yugoslav accession to the Axis and had
a ready made para-military force in the form of the Croatian Peasant
Party Croatian Peasant Defence. As a result, the Germans attempted to
get Maček to proclaim an "independent Croatian state" and form a
government. When he refused to cooperate, the Germans decided they had
no alternative other than to support Pavelić, even though they
considered that the
Ustaše could not provide an assurance they could
govern in the way the Germans wanted.
It was estimated by the Germans that Pavelić had around 900 sworn
Ustaše in Yugoslavia at the time of the invasion, and the Ustaše
themselves considered that their supporters only numbered some
40,000. The Germans also considered Pavelić to be an Italian
agent or "Mussolini's man", but considered that other senior
Ustašas such as deputy leader (Croatian: Doglavnik) Slavko Kvaternik
were sufficiently pro-German to ensure their interests would be
supported by any regime led by Pavelić.
The official proclamation of the
Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia by
On 10 April 1941, Kvaternik declared an Independent State of Croatia
in the name of the
Ante Pavelić via the Zagreb Radio
Station. Kvaternik was acting on the orders of SS-Brigadeführer
(Brigadier) Edmund Veesenmayer. The proclamation was viewed
favourably by a significant portion of the population, particularly
those living in Zagreb, western
Herzegovina and Lika. The Croatian
Peasant Defence, which had been infiltrated by the Ustaše, assisted
Royal Yugoslav Army
Royal Yugoslav Army units and imposing some control.
Ustaše that had been interned in Italy had been concentrated at
Pistoia, about 50 km from
Florence where they were issued with
Italian uniforms and small arms. They were joined by Pavelić on 10
April and listened to radio broadcasts announcing the proclamation of
the NDH. Pavelić's visit to
Pistoia was actually his first
meeting with the
Ustaše after the assassination in Marseilles. In
Pistoia, Pavelić gave a speech in which he announced that their
struggle for an independent
Croatia was near the end. After that he
returned to his home in
Florence where he heard Kvaternik's
proclamation on a radio broadcast from Vienna. On 11 April, Pavelić
went to Rome, where he was hosted by Anfuso, after which he was
received by Mussolini. During the meeting Pavelić was guaranteed that
his government would be recognized immediately after he arrived in
After a meeting in Rome, Pavelić boarded the train with his Ustaše
escort and went to Zagreb via
Trieste and Rijeka. He arrived at
Karlovac on 13 April with about 250—400
Ustaše where was greeted by
Veesenmayer who was appointed by German foreign minister Joachim von
Ribbentrop to supervise the state's creation. In Karlovac,
Pavelić was asked to confirm that he had not made any commitments to
the Italians, but Mussolini's envoy arrived while he was there and
negotiations ensued to ensure that his messages to Hitler and
Mussolini would deal satisfactorily with the questions of
recognition by the Axis powers. This issue was the first sign of
Italo-German tensions over the NDH.
Ante Pavelić (left) and German Foreign Minister Joachim von
Ribbentrop in June 1941
Diplomatic recognition of the NDH by the Axis was delayed to ensure
that Pavelić made the promised territorial concessions to Italy.
These concessions meant that Pavelić handed to Italy some 5,400
square kilometres of territory with a population of 380,000,
consisting of about 280,000 Croats, 90,000 Serbs, 5,000 Italians and
5,000 others. Once this was completed Pavelić travelled to Zagreb on
15 April, and Axis recognition was also granted to the NDH on that
On 16 April 1941, Pavelić signed a decree appointing the new Croatian
State Government. He was the first to take an oath, after which he
Since 1102, Croatian people didn't have its autonomous and independent
state. And there, after full 839 years, the time has come to form the
responsible Croatian government.[verification needed]
Pavelić thus presented the NDH as the embodiment of the "historical
aspirations of the Croatian people". The decree named Osman
Kulenović as the vice-president of the government, and Slavko
Kvaternik as Pavelić's deputy, and appointed eight other senior
Ustaše as ministers. The
Ustaše made use of the existing
bureaucracy of the Banovina of Croatia, after it had been purged and
"ustašised". The new regime drew upon the concept of an uninterrupted
Croatian state since the arrival of the
Croats in their contemporary
homeland, and reflected extreme Croat nationalism mixed with Nazism
and Italian Fascism, Catholic clerical authoritarianism and the
peasantism of the Croatian Peasant Party.
Ante Pavelić and
Benito Mussolini in 1941 when Italy recognized
Croatia as a sovereign state
Pavelić tried to prolong the negotiations with Italy about the
boundary between the two states. At the time, he was receiving support
from Berlin. Ciano insisted that Italy must annex the whole Croatian
littoral, and after some time the Germans pulled back to protect
German-Italian relations. On 25 April, Pavelić and Ciano met in
Ljubljana again discussing borders. Ciano's first proposal was Italian
annexation of the whole Croatian littoral and hinterland all the way
to Karlovac. Another proposal was somewhat less demanding but with
closer ties with Italy, including a monetary, customs and personal
union. Pavelić refused and instead demanded that Croatian gain the
towns of Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik. Ciano didn't respond, but
promised another meeting. Pavelić was still counting on German
support, but without success. On 7 May 1941, Pavelić and Mussolini
Tržič and agreed to discuss the matter in Rome. On 18 May
1941 Pavelić went to
Rome with his delegation and signed a Treaty of
Rome in which
Croatia gave up part of Dalmatia, Krk, Rab, Korčula,
Biograd, Šibenik, Split, Čiovo, Šolta,
Mljet and parts of Konavle
Bay of Kotor
Bay of Kotor to Italy. A Croatian proposal that Split and
Korčula Island be jointly administrated was ignored. These
annexations shocked the people and led to the only public
demonstration recorded in the Independent State of Croatia's
history.[need quotation to verify]
Hundreds of citizens, members of the
Ustaše Movement and the
Domobranstvo (Army) protested on 25 December 1941.[clarification
needed] Pavelić tried to retrieve the lost areas, but kept his real
feelings and those of the people from the Italians to maintain the
pretext of good relations.
Moreover, Pavelić agreed to name
Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta
Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta as King
Croatia to avoid a union with Italy, but Pavelić delayed the
formalities in the hope of gaining more territory in return for
accepting the new king. However, Aimone declined and never ruled
the Croatian state. Communist propaganda attacked Pavelić over
the Italian annexations.[need quotation to verify] On 10 July
1941, Pavelić accepted the annexation of Međimurje by Hungary.
On 14 April 1941, in one of his first acts after assuming power,
Pavelić signed the 'Decree-Law concerning the Preservation of
Croatian National Property', which annulled all large property
transactions made by
Jews in the two months prior to the proclamation
of the NDH.
He signed the Law-Decree on Protection of the Nation and the State on
17 April 1941, which came into effect immediately, was
retrospective, and imposed the death penalty for any actions causing
harm to the honour or vital interests of the NDH. This law was the
first of three decrees that effectively placed the Serb, Jewish and
Roma populations of the NDH outside the law and lead to their
persecution and destruction.
On April 19 and 22, the Ustashe issued decrees suspending all
employees of state and local governments, and state enterprises. This
allowed the new regime to get rid of all unwanted employess – "in
principle this meant all Jews,
Serbs and all Yugoslav-oriented
On 25 April 1941, he signed into law a decree prohibiting the use of
the Cyrillic alphabet, which directly impacted on the Serbian
Orthodox population of the NDH, as the rites of the church were
written in Cyrillic.
On 30 April 1941, Pavelić enacted the 'Law concerning
Nationality', which essentially made all
Jews non-citizens, and
this was followed by further laws restricting their movement and
residency. From 23 May all
Jews were required to wear yellow
identification tags, and on 26 June Pavelić issued a decree which
Jews for activities against the NDH and ordered their
internment in concentration camps.
See also: Poglavnik
Standard of Ante Pavelić
Poglavnik of the NDH, Pavelić had full control over the state. The
oath taken by all government employees declared that Pavelić
represented the sovereignty of the NDH. His title Poglavnik
represented the close ties between the Croatian state and the Ustaše
movement, since he had the same title as leader of the Ustaše.
Moreover, Pavelić made all significant decisions, including naming
state ministers and leaders of the Ustaše. As the NDH had no
functional legislature, Pavelić approved all of the laws, which made
him the most powerful person in the state. Through the incorporation
of the extreme right-wing of the popular HSS, Pavelić's regime was
initially accepted by the majority of
Croats in the NDH. The
regime also attempted to re-write history by falsely claiming the
legacy of the founder of the HSS Stjepan Radić, and that of Croatian
nationalist Ante Starčević.
Soon afterwards, Pavelić visited
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII in May 1941,
attempting to win Vatican recognition, but failed (although the Papacy
placed an ambassador in Zagreb). The Vatican maintained relations with
the Yugoslav Government-in-exile.
Pavelić greeted by Hitler on 9 June 1941 upon his arrival at the
Berghof for a state visit
On 9 June 1941, Pavelić visited
Adolf Hitler at the Berghof. Hitler
impressed on Pavelić that he should maintain a policy of "national
intolerance" for fifty years. Hitler also encouraged Pavelić to
accept Slovenian immigrants and deport
Serbs to the Territory of the
Military Commander in Serbia. Over the next few months, the Ustaše
deported around 120,000 Serbs.
In July 1941, the German Plenipotentiary General in the NDH, Edmund
Glaise von Horstenau met with Pavelić to express his "grave concern
over the excesses of the Ustaše". This was the first of many
occasions over the next three years during which von Horstenau and
Pavelić clashed over the conduct of the Ustaše. By the end of
1941, the acceptance of the
Ustaše regime by most
Croats had been
transformed into disappointment and discontent, and as a result of the
terror perpetrated by the regime some pro-Yugoslav sentiment was
beginning to re-emerge, along with pro-communist feelings. The
discontent was made worse when Pavelić had
Vladko Maček arrested and
Jasenovac concentration camp
Jasenovac concentration camp in October 1941. By the end of
1941 HSS propaganda leaflets were urging peasants to be patient as the
"day of liberation is near!"
Pavelić speaks at the Croatian Parliament on 23 February 1942
In the public arena there were efforts to create a cult of personality
around Pavelić. These efforts included the imposition of a
Nazi-style salute, emphasising that he had been sentenced to death in
absentia by a Yugoslav court, and repeatedly claiming that he had
undergone great hardship to achieve the independence of the NDH.
Pavelić summoned the
Sabor on 24 January 1942. It met between 23 and
28 February, but it had little influence and after December 1942 was
never called again.
On 3 March 1942, Hitler awarded Pavelić the Grand Cross of the Order
of the German Eagle. Siegfried Kasche, the German envoy, handed it to
him in Zagreb. Eugen Dido Kvaternik, son of Slavko Kvaternik, and one
of the main protagonists in the
Ustaše genocide of the
that Pavelić directed Croat nationalism against the
Serbs in order to
distract the Croat population from a potential backlash against the
Italians over his territorial concessions to them in Dalmatia. The
worst policies directed against minorities were Ustaše-run
concentration and forced labor camps. The most notorious camp was the
Jasenovac concentration camp, where 80,000–100,000 people died,
including around 18,000 Croatian Jews, or around 90% of the pre-World
War II Jewish community.
Pavelić founded the Croatian Orthodox Church with the aim of
pacifying the Serbs. However, the underlying ideology behind the
creation of the
Croatian Orthodox Church
Croatian Orthodox Church was connected to the ideas of
Ante Starčević, who considered that
Serbs were "Orthodox
Croats", and reflected a desire to create a Croatian state
comprising three main religious groupings, Roman Catholic, Muslim and
Croatian Orthodox. There is some evidence that the status of
Serbs improved after they joined the Croatian Orthodox Church
in significant numbers. Through both forcible and voluntary
conversions between 1941 and 1945, 244,000
Serbs were converted to
In June 1942, Pavelić met with General Roatta and they agreed that
Ustaše administration could be returned to Zone 3 except in towns
with Italian garrisons. Pavelić agreed to the continued presence of
Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia
Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia (MVAC) in this zone, and
that the Italians would intervene in Zone 3 if they considered that
was necessary. The result of this agreement was that Italian forces
largely withdrew from areas that the NDH had virtually no presence and
no means by which to reimpose their authority. This created a wide
no-man's land from the Sandžak to western Bosnia in which the
Chetniks and Partisans could operate. By mid-1942, Pavelić's
regime effectively controlled only the Zagreb region along with some
larger towns that were home to strong NDH and German garrisons.
Pavelić loyalists, mainly Ustaše, wanted to fight the Communist-led
partisans while others, unnerved by the idea of a new Yugoslavia, also
supported him.[need quotation to verify] In 1941-42, the majority
of Partisans in
Croatia were Serbs, but by October 1943 the majority
were Croats. This change was partly due to the decision of a key
Croatian Peasant Party
Croatian Peasant Party member, Božidar Magovac, to join the Partisans
in June 1943, and partly due to the capitulation of Italy.
Pavelić and his government devoted attention to culture. Although
most literature was propaganda, many books did not have an ideological
basis, which allowed Croatian culture to flourish. The Croatian
National Theatre received many world-famous actors as visitors. The
major cultural milestone was the publication of the Croatian
Encyclopedia, a work later outlawed under the Communist regime. In
1941 the Croatian Football Association joined FIFA.[need
quotation to verify]
On 16 December 1941, Pavelić met with Italian Foreign Minister Ciano
in Venice and advised him that there were no more than 12,000 Jews
left in the NDH.
In the second half of 1942, the Wehrmacht Commander-in-Chief of the
Alexander Löhr and Glaise urged Hitler to
have Pavelić remove both the incompetent
Slavko Kvaternik and his son
the bloodthirsty Eugen "Dido" Kvaternik from power. When Pavelić
visited Hitler in the Ukraine in September 1942, he agreed. The
Slavko Kvaternik was allowed to retire to Slovakia,
and Eugen went with him. Pavelić then used the Kvaternik's as
scapegoats for both the terror of 1941–42 and the failure of NDH
forces to impose law and order within the state.
In January 1943, Glaise told Pavelić that it would be better for
everyone "if all concentration camps in the NDH were closed and their
inmates sent to work in Germany". Löhr also tried to get Hitler to
remove Pavelić, disband the
Ustaše and appoint Glaise as
plenipotentiary general with supreme authority over the territory of
the NDH. By March Hitler had decided to give the task of pacifying the
NDH to the
Reichsführer-SS (Field Marshal) Heinrich Himmler, who
appointed his own plenipotentiary,
Generalleutnant der Polizei (Major
General of Police) Konstantin Kammerhofer (de). Kammerhofer
7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen
7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen to the NDH
and established a 20,000-strong German gendarmerie with a core of
6,000 Volksdeutsche reinforced by
Croats taken from the NDH Home Guard
and police. This new gendarmerie swore allegiance to Hitler, not
Shortly before the Italian capitulation, Pavelić appointed a new
government led by
Nikola Mandić as prime minister, which included
Miroslav Navratil as Minister of the Armed Forces. Navratil was
suggested by Glaise, and was appointed by Pavelić to placate the
Germans. As a direct result, the 170,000-strong armed forces of the
NDH were reorganised under German control into smaller units with
greater mobility and the size of the
Ustaše militia was also
increased to 45,000.
In September 1944, Pavelić met with Hitler for the last time.
Pavelić requested that the Germans stop arming and supplying Chetnik
units, and asked that the Germans disarm the
Chetniks or allow the NDH
to disarm them. Hitler agreed that the
Chetniks could not be trusted,
and issued orders to German forces to stop cooperating with the
Chetniks and assist NDH authorities to disarm them. However, German
commanders were given sufficient leeway that they were able to avoid
carrying out the orders.
After the Italian capitulation
As soon as the Italians capitulated in September 1943, Pavelić was
quick to amalgamate Italian-annexed
Dalmatia into the NDH, renounce
the offer of the crown to the House of Savoy, and offer an amnesty to
Croats that had joined the rebels. However, the Germans occupied the
previously Italian-occupied zone themselves, including the mines and
key agricultural areas. By November 1943, Pavelić and his regime
controlled little of the territory of the NDH, and by March 1944
SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der
Waffen-SS (Brigadier) Ernst
Fick observed that "In terms of power, Dr.
Ante Pavelić is only mayor
of the city of Zagreb, excluding the suburbs".
One of the key events in the history of the Independent State of
Croatia was the
Lorković-Vokić coup of 1944. Minister Mladen
Lorković and army officer
Ante Vokić suggested a plan whereby
Croatia would change sides in the war and Pavelić would no longer be
head of state in accordance with British demands. At
first, Pavelić supported their ideas but changed his mind following a
visit from a local
Gestapo officer who told him that Germany would win
the war with new weapons under development.
Pavelić arrested Lorković and Vokić along with others involved in
the coup (some representatives of the
Croatian Peasant Party
Croatian Peasant Party and a
number of Domobran officers). Lorković and Vokić were shot at the
end of April 1945 in the Lepoglava prison. After plans for an
"Anglo-American" coup were discovered, from September 1944 until
February 1945 Pavelić negotiated with the Soviet Union. The Soviets
agreed to recognize the Croatian state on condition that the Red Army
had free access and Communists were allowed free rein. Pavelić
refused their proposal and remained allied with
Nazi Germany until the
end of the war.[need quotation to verify]
As leader of the Independent State of Croatia, Pavelić was the main
instigator of the genocidal crimes committed in the NDH, and was
responsible for a campaign of terror against Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and
Bosniaks which included a network of
concentration camps. Numerous testimonies from the Nuremberg
Trials along with records in German, Italian and Austrian war archives
bear witness to atrocities perpetrated against the civilian
In terms of the proportion of the state population killed by its own
government, the Pavelić regime was the most murderous in Europe after
Hitler's Germany, and outside of Europe has only been exceeded by the
Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and some extremely genocidal African
states. As the main instigator of the genocide, Pavelić was
supported by his closest associate
Eugen Dido Kvaternik
Eugen Dido Kvaternik and Minister
of Interior Andrija Artuković, who were responsible for planning and
Vjekoslav Luburić who executed the orders.
In late April 1941, Pavelić was interviewed by an Italian journalist,
Alfio Russo. Pavelić stated that Serb rebels would be killed. In
response, Russo asked him, "what if all
Serbs rebel?" Pavelić
answered, "We shall kill them all." Around this time the first
mass atrocities occurred, the Gudovac, Veljun and Glina massacres,
which were committed by groups of
Ustaše under the direct command of
Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy men, women, and children were literally
hacked to death. Whole villages were razed and people driven into
barns which the
Ustaše then set on fire. General Edmund von
Glaise-Horstenau reported to the German Army Command
OKW on 28 June
... according to reliable reports from countless German military
and civil observers during the last few weeks the
Ustaše have gone
On 10 July, General Glaise-Horstenau added:
Our troops have to be mute witnesses of such events; it does not
reflect well on their otherwise high reputation ... I am
frequently told that German occupation troops would finally have to
Ustaše crimes. This may happen eventually. Right
now, with the available forces, I could not ask for such action. Ad
hoc intervention in individual cases could make the German Army look
responsible for countless crimes which it could not prevent in the
A report (to
Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, dated 17 February 1942)
on increased partisan activities stated that "Increased activity of
the bands is chiefly due to atrocities carried out by
Ustaše units in
Croatia against the Orthodox population." The
Ustaše committed their
deeds not only against males of conscript age, but especially against
helpless old people, women and children.
Between 172,000 and 290,000 Serbs, 31,000 of the 40,000
Jews, and almost all of the 25,000—40,000 Roma were killed
Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia by the
Ustaše and their Axis
Jews and Gypsies were subject to a policy of total
annihilation. According to an official Yugoslav report, only 1,500 out
of 30,000 Croatian
Jews remained alive at the end of World War
II. Approximately 26,000 Gypsies were murdered of
approximately 40,000 residents.
End of the NDH
Seeing Germany's collapse and aware that the Croatian army could not
resist the Communists, Pavelić started a move of his forces to
Austria, causing several groups of tens of thousands of Croatian
soldiers as well as civilians to start a major northward march without
a clear strategy. Pavelić left the country on 6 May 1945, and on
8 May, he convened a final meeting of the NDH government in Rogaška
Slatina. At the meeting General
Alexander Löhr informed the
government of Germany's capitulation and handed command of the NDH
forces to Pavelić. Pavelić subsequently named General
Vjekoslav Luburić commander. Later that day Pavelić's convoy passed
into the Soviet occupation zone in Austria, separate from the rest of
the NDH government which went to the British occupation zone. The
group made it into the American occupation zone and by 18 May arrived
at the village of Leingreith near Radstadt where Pavelić's wife Mara
and their two daughters had been living after leaving the NDH in
On May 8, Pavelić ordered that the columns from NDH continue to
Austria, and that they refuse to surrender to the advancing
Communists, instead planning to surrender to the British. However,
they were instead turned back in the mid-May Bleiburg repatriations,
and many were subsequently killed by the Partisans. The sheer
number of civilians slowed down the retreat, made the surrender
unfeasible to the Allies, and ultimately led to the belief that they
were nothing more than a human shield to the Ustashe. For his
abandonment of Croatian soldiers and civilians, later Croatian
emigrants would accuse Pavelić of cowardice.
The Pavelić family afterwards lived in the American Occupation Zone.
Although Pavelić reported himself to American intelligence, neither
they nor their British counterparts arrested him.
Several members of the NDH government were executed after a one-day
trial in Zagreb on 6 June. Shortly after this, Pavelić moved to the
village of Tiefbrunau closer to Salzburg. In September,
American officials – believing the family were refugees and
unaware of their identity – resettled them in the village of
St. Gilgen. After St Gilgen, Pavelić stayed with the family of a
prewar Macedonian revolutionary for several weeks before settling in
Obertrum. Pavelić stayed there until April 1946.
Pavelić's photo on his false passport under name Pablo Aranjos
He entered Italy disguised as a priest with a Peruvian
passport. Passing Venice and Florence, he arrived in
Rome in the spring of 1946 disguised as a Catholic priest and using
the name Don Pedro Gonner. On arrival in
Rome he was given
shelter by the Vatican and stayed at a number of residences that
belonged to the Vatican while in
Rome where he started to gather
his associates. Pavelić formed the Croatian State Committee
(Croatian: Hrvatski državni odbor) headed by Lovro Sušić, Mate
Frković and Božidar Kavran.
Tito and his new Communist government accused the Catholic Church of
harboring Pavelić who they stated, along with the Anglo-American
"imperialists", wanted to "revive Nazism" and take over communist
Eastern Europe.[need quotation to verify] The Yugoslav press
claimed that Pavelić had stayed at the papal summer residence at
Castel Gandolfo, while
CIA information states that he stayed at a
monastery near the papal residence in the summer and autumn of
1948. In fact, Anglo-American Intelligence used former fascists
and Nazis, as agents against the communists.
For some time, Pavelić hid in a
Jesuit house near Naples.[need
quotation to verify] In the autumn of 1948 he met Krunoslav
Draganović, a Roman Catholic priest, who helped him obtain a Red
Cross passport in the Hungarian name of Pál Aranyos. Draganović
allegedly planned to deliver Pavelić to the Italian police, but
Pavelić avoided capture and fled to Argentina.[need quotation to
Argentina, Chile and attempted assassination
Pavelić arrived in
Buenos Aires on 6 November 1948 on the Italian
merchant ship Sestriere,[need quotation to verify] where he
initially lived with the former
Ustaša and writer Vinko
Buenos Aires Pavelić was joined by his son Velimir
and daughter Mirjana. Soon afterwards, his wife Maria and older
daughter Višnja also arrived.[need quotation to verify]
Pavelić took up employment as a security advisor to Argentinian
president Juan Perón. Pavelić's arrival documents show the
assumed name of Pablo Aranjos,[need quotation to verify] which he
continued to use. In 1950 Pavelić was given amnesty and allowed to
Argentina along with 34,000 other Croats, including former
Nazi collaborators and those who had fled from the Allied
advance. Following this, Pavelić reverted to his earlier
pseudonym Antonio Serdar and continued to live in Buenos
As for most other political immigrants in Argentina, life was hard and
he had to work (as a bricklayer).[need quotation to verify] His
best contact with the Peróns was another former
Benzon, who enjoyed good relations with Evita Perón, wife of the
president. Benzon had briefly been the Croatian ambassador to Germany
World War II
World War II and had known Hitler personally, which
benefited Croatian-German relations. Thanks to Benzon's friendship
with Evita Perón, Pavelić became the owner of an influential
building company. Not long after arriving he joined the
Ustaše-related "Croatian Home Guard" (Croatian: Hrvatski domobran)
At the end of the 1940s, many former
Ustaše split from Pavelić
because they believed that Croats, now under new circumstances, needed
new political direction. Many who split from Pavelić continued to
Ustaše and sought the revival of the Independent
State of Croatia. The most well known of these separatists was the
Ustaše officer and head of the NDH concentration and
extermination camp network, Vjekoslav Luburić, who lived in
Spain.[need quotation to verify] In Argentina, Pavelić used the
"Croatian Home Guard" to gather Croatian political emigrants.
Pavelić tried to expand the activities of this organization, and in
1950 founded the Croatian Statehood Party,[need quotation to
verify] which ceased to exist that year.
On 10 April 1951, on the 10th anniversary of the Independent State of
Croatia, Pavelić announced the
Croatia State Government. This new
government considered itself to be a government in exile. Other
Ustaše emigrants continued to arrive in Argentina, and they united
under Pavelić's leadership, increasing their political activities.
Pavelić himself remained politically active, publishing various
statements, articles, and speeches that attacked the Yugoslav
Communist regime for promoting Serbian hegemony.
In 1954, Pavelić met with Milan Stojadinović, a former Royal
Yugoslav Prime Minister, who also lived in Buenos Aires. The subject
of their meeting was trying to find solution for the historic
conciliation between the
Serbs and Croats. The meeting stirred
controversy, but had no practical significance. On 8 June 1956,
Pavelić and other
Ustaše immigrants founded the Croatian Liberation
Movement (Croatian: Hrvatski oslobodilački pokret or HOP), which
aimed to re-establish the
Nazism and NDH. The HOP saw itself as
"a determined adversary of communism, atheism and Yugoslavism in any
Ante Pavelić in hospital in Ciudad Jardín Lomas del Palomar, Buenos
Aires, recovering after the assassination attempt
On 10 April 1957, the 16th anniversary of the founding of the Nazi
Independent State of Croatia, Pavelić was grievously wounded in an
assassination attempt by the Serbian Blagoje Jovović, a hotel owner
and former Royal Yugoslav officer who had been Montenegrin Chetnik
during the war.
Jovović had tried to assassinate Pavelić multiple times, planning it
as early as 1946, when he learned Pavelić was in hiding inside the
Vatican. Jovović shot Pavelić in the back and collar bone while the
latter was exiting a bus in El Palomar, a
Buenos Aires suburb near his
home. Pavelić was transferred to the Syrian-Lebanese hospital, where
his true identity was established. After Perón's fall from power,
Pavelić fell out of favour with the Argentine government; Yugoslavia
again requested his extradition. Pavelić refused to stay in hospital,
even though a bullet was lodged in his spine. Two weeks after the
shooting, as the Argentine authorities agreed to grant the Yugoslav
government's extradition request, he moved to Chile. He spent four
months in Santiago, and then moved to Spain. Reports circulated
that Pavelić had fled to Paraguay to work for the Stroessner regime;
his Spanish asylum became known only in late 1959.
Death in Spain
He arrived in
Madrid on 29 November 1957. Pavelić continued
contacts with members of the
Croatian Liberation Movement
Croatian Liberation Movement and received
visitors from around the world. Pavelić lived secretly with his
family, probably by agreement with the Spanish authorities; even
though he was granted asylum, the Spanish authorities did not allow
him public appearances. In the middle of 1958, he sent a message from
Madrid to the Assembly of Croatian Societies in Munich.
He expressed his wish that all
Croats unite with the goal of
re-establishing the Independent State of Croatia. Some groups
distanced themselves from Pavelić and others did so after his death.
In his will, he named Stjepan Hefer as his successor as the president
of the Croatian Liberation Movement. Pavelić died on 28 December
1959 at the Hospital Alemán in
Madrid at the age of 70 from the
wounds he sustained from the assassination attempt by Jovović.
He was buried in San Isidro Cemetery, Madrid's oldest private burial
In popular culture
Harry Turtledove's short story Ready for the Fatherland is set in an
alternate history where the
Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia continues to
exist in 1979. Pavelić is revered as the first
Poglavnik and his
image appears on the State's primary currency, but no further details
are shared as to how his life played out in that timeline, which
diverged from ours in February 1943.
In a 2015 Croatian comedy movie National Hero Lily Vidić, Pavelić is
portrayed by Dražen Čuček. The movie follows a group of Yugoslav
partisans, led by a young poet Lily Vidić, who compete in the NDH's
fictional talent show "Factor X" whose winner wins the chance to
perform at the Pavelić's reception for Hitler. Partisans see it as an
opportunity to kill both Hitler and Pavelić, and thus end the
In 2017, the movie was adapted into a theatrical play where Pavelić
was portrayed by Boris Mirković.
^ Tomasevich 2001, pp. 351–352.
^ a b Glenny 2001, pp. 497–500.
^ Hoare 2006, pp. 20–24.
^ "Ustaša". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
^ Tomasevich 1975, p. 10.
^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 32.
^ Glenny 2001, p. 318.
^ Hoare 2006, pp. 20-24.
^ a b Žerjavić 1993, p. 7.
^ a b Hoare 2006, pp. 23–24.
^ a b Glenny 2001, p. 500.
^ a b Hoare 2006, pp. 20–21.
^ Glenny 2001, p. 476.
^ Glenny 2001, p. 487.
^ a b Dizdar et al. 1997, p. 306.
^ a b c Fischer 2007, p. 209.
^ a b Tanner 2001, p. 124.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Sedlar 2009.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Dizdar et al. 1997, p. 307.
^ Tanner 2001, p. 125.
^ Matković 2002, p. 10.
^ Matković 1962, pp. 42–43.
^ Janjatović 2002, pp. 121–139.
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^ Headquarters Counter Intelligence Corps, Allied Forces Headquarters
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