Horror! Ustase Massacres
The Lesser-known Crimes of the Evil Croatian Fascists
Rise: Kingdom of Yugoslavia Collapses
We start with the First World War which pitted Serbia against the Austro-Hungarian empire and Germany. Soon to follow though, would be France, Russia, Italy, and England on the side of the Serbs. They eventually won, but they did not honor a crucial piece of the treaty they had signed in order to get Italy on their side. They promised to create a separate land for the Croats – Croatia – and expand Serbia and Montenegro’s territory. They also promised Italy an expanded territory, none of this happened. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was born at the insistence of US president Woodrow Wilson, although his generals advised him that it would only exacerbate the ethnic conflicts.
And that’s exactly what it did. When the Kingdom tried to split itself into two separate parts and then the Royal family appealed to the Germans and Italians (traditional rivals) the Serbs revolted. The Serbs were more inclined to stay true to their western allies like the UK, although faith that England would intervene if they were to be attacked was rightfully wavering. The Serbs took over the government for a few weeks but the Germans and Italians crushed them after just 11 days of battle. The Croats, Albanians, and some others welcomes the German soldiers, but the Slovenes, Jews, and Serbs were absolutely terrified.
The royal family took refuge in England, where the King promised to avenge the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The Nazis dismembered the Serbian and Slovene provinces and divided up the rest of the land – they gave some to Albania, some to Bulgaria, Hungary, allotted some coastal lands to Italy, and of course greatly expanded the Croatian territory. The Picture below is a map of what the Kingdom looked like after the partitioning.
The Croatian independent state was proclaimed on April 10, 1941 and they already had the support of their own militia, the archbishop of Zagreb, and the Pope. I should mention here that the Croats were generally Catholic, Jews were Jewish (obviously) and Serbs were Eastern Orthodox.
The Croatian brutality that followed was unprecedented and even disgusted the Nazis. The Croatian army, the Ustase, were atrocious in their murders. The Italians (who were their allies) even had to step in and close some of their brutality down.
After Serbians were so brutally treated they began to be accepted by Italians in their barracks to the point that the Italians and Croats had unpleasant words. The Italians persisted though (they were actually pretty good people all around on all fronts)and they moved the border forward.