Tito - war criminal?

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Kingdom of Montenegro
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Tito - war criminal?

Post by Kingdom of Montenegro » 15 Jun 2004 14:30

[Split from "Croatian Ustashi victims pictures"]


Spy wrote:And Vladimir Dedijer....I have 3 books from him.
"Biografija Josipa Broza Tita" or something like this, in this books he's talking about the war criminal Tito, but he's hiding Tito's genocide-crimes against the Croats and he writes that Tito is a "Hero", "liberator"...
So Vladimir Dedijer is also not credible... :|
Tito was not war criminal.His funeral was most attendanted funeral that any statesman had in Europe in the 20th century.Official mourners came from 123 countries:four Kings,32 Presidents and other heads of state,22 Prime Ministers,more than 100 representatives...Tito was respected by Margaret Thatcher,Martin Luther King,Gerald Ford,Bill Clinton and many others.Jean-Paul Sartr said that Tito's Yugoslavia is realization of his philophosophy.Allmost everyone in SFRJ was sad when he died.People cried for him.He wouldn't be honoured like this if he was war criminal,so I don't think that he was criminal,I think that he was great man.

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Post by Spy » 15 Jun 2004 21:13

Kingdom of Montenegro wrote:
Spy wrote:And Vladimir Dedijer....I have 3 books from him.
"Biografija Josipa Broza Tita" or something like this, in this books he's talking about the war criminal Tito, but he's hiding Tito's genocide-crimes against the Croats and he writes that Tito is a "Hero", "liberator"...
So Vladimir Dedijer is also not credible... :|
Tito was not war criminal.His funeral was most attendanted funeral that any statesman had in Europe in the 20th century.Official mourners came from 123 countries:four Kings,32 Presidents and other heads of state,22 Prime Ministers,more than 100 representatives...Tito was respected by Margaret Thatcher,Martin Luther King,Gerald Ford,Bill Clinton and many others.Jean-Paul Sartr said that Tito's Yugoslavia is realization of his philophosophy.Allmost everyone in SFRJ was sad when he died.People cried for him.He wouldn't be honoured like this if he was war criminal,so I don't think that he was criminal,I think that he was great man.

Please don't talk crap like this. You insult me with this words. According to this you could also say that Hitler wasn't a criminal?!
Kingdom of Montenegro, don't forget that this is the year 2004 and not the year 1983. Have you ever heard about Bleiburg, Jazovka, Goli Otok, Stara Gradiška, even Jasenovac served as an yugo concetration camp!
Kingdom of Montenegro you are ignoring more than 150 000 croatian people that were killed by Tito's army after WW2.

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Post by Spy » 16 Jun 2004 09:52

Kingdom of Montenegro wrote:
Spy wrote:And Vladimir Dedijer....I have 3 books from him.
"Biografija Josipa Broza Tita" or something like this, in this books he's talking about the war criminal Tito, but he's hiding Tito's genocide-crimes against the Croats and he writes that Tito is a "Hero", "liberator"...
So Vladimir Dedijer is also not credible... :|
Tito was not war criminal.His funeral was most attendanted funeral that any statesman had in Europe in the 20th century.Official mourners came from 123 countries:four Kings,32 Presidents and other heads of state,22 Prime Ministers,more than 100 representatives...Tito was respected by Margaret Thatcher,Martin Luther King,Gerald Ford,Bill Clinton and many others.Jean-Paul Sartr said that Tito's Yugoslavia is realization of his philophosophy.Allmost everyone in SFRJ was sad when he died.People cried for him.He wouldn't be honoured like this if he was war criminal,so I don't think that he was criminal,I think that he was great man.

Sorry, but no-one in my family cried for Tito, in spite of that they were celebrating this. BTW my family had some problem with the UDBA. :|
You're saying that people were crying for Tito, didn't people even cry for Stalin when he died?! :roll:

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Post by Kingdom of Montenegro » 16 Jun 2004 13:01

Spy wrote:
Kingdom of Montenegro wrote:
Spy wrote:And Vladimir Dedijer....I have 3 books from him.
"Biografija Josipa Broza Tita" or something like this, in this books he's talking about the war criminal Tito, but he's hiding Tito's genocide-crimes against the Croats and he writes that Tito is a "Hero", "liberator"...
So Vladimir Dedijer is also not credible... :|
Tito was not war criminal.His funeral was most attendanted funeral that any statesman had in Europe in the 20th century.Official mourners came from 123 countries:four Kings,32 Presidents and other heads of state,22 Prime Ministers,more than 100 representatives...Tito was respected by Margaret Thatcher,Martin Luther King,Gerald Ford,Bill Clinton and many others.Jean-Paul Sartr said that Tito's Yugoslavia is realization of his philophosophy.Allmost everyone in SFRJ was sad when he died.People cried for him.He wouldn't be honoured like this if he was war criminal,so I don't think that he was criminal,I think that he was great man.

Please don't talk crap like this. You insult me with this words. According to this you could also say that Hitler wasn't a criminal?!
Kingdom of Montenegro, don't forget that this is the year 2004 and not the year 1983. Have you ever heard about Bleiburg, Jazovka, Goli Otok, Stara Gradiška, even Jasenovac served as an yugo concetration camp!
Kingdom of Montenegro you are ignoring more than 150 000 croatian people that were killed by Tito's army after WW2.
World did not recognized Tito as criminal and you certanly can not compare him to the Hitler(but you can compare Pavelić with Hitler) and allmost every country,both comunist and capitalist honoured him.

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Post by Spy » 16 Jun 2004 20:52

@ Kingdom of Montenegro

Tito is responsible for the death of more than 150 000 people!!! One of them was my grandfather's brother, he was murdered at Bleiburg by Tito's army! Tito knew for this killing of soldiers (POW), women and children.
And now you're saying: "World did not recognized Tito as criminal ", I don't care what the world and other gouverments are thinking. The truth is that Tito allowed the slaugther of thousands and thousends of Croatian people. Kingdom of Montenegro you're denying holocaust


What happend with all these people?! According to you Tito had nothing to do with the massacre of these people:
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kingdom of Montenegro, where are you living?! Still in yugoslavia?! Aren't you allowed to know/talk about Bleiburg and "Križni put"?!

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Post by David Thompson » 16 Jun 2004 21:28

spy -- You said:
Tito is responsible for the death of more than 150 000 people!!! . . . Tito knew for this killing of soldiers (POW), women and children.
And now you're saying: "World did not recognized Tito as criminal ", I don't care what the world and other gouverments are thinking. The truth is that Tito allowed the slaugther of thousands and thousends of Croatian people. Kingdom of Montenegro you're denying holocaust
Because this is a research section of the forum, personal opinions are of interest only to the extent that they're backed with facts. You are the claimant here. If you've got some proof that Tito was a war criminal, let's see it.

(1) It would be nice to have a list of the alleged war crimes involved in this thread.

(2) Who were the partisan commanders who permitted the postwar murder of POWs and civilians?

(3) What evidence establishes Tito's responsibility for the killings?

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Re: Tito - war criminal?

Post by Enkpitt » 17 Jun 2004 00:51

Kingdom of Montenegro wrote:People cried for him.He wouldn't be honoured like this if he was war criminal,so I don't think that he was criminal,I think that he was great man.
People cried when Stalin died, too. That doesn't mean he was a good person.

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Post by Spy » 17 Jun 2004 10:44

The following text is from this site: http://www.sdlusa.com/medialies/sunic01.htm
That are some facts about the UDBA but I'll find something about Tito and Bleiburg...



MARSHAL TITO'S KILLING FIELDS
Croatian Victims of the Yugoslav Secret Police Outside former Communist Yugoslavia, 1945-1990
Posted on February 17, 2002
By Tomislav Sunic and Nikola Stedul

The ongoing legal proceedings in the Hague against Serb and Croat war crimes suspects, including Serbian ex-president Slobodan Milosevic, must be put into wider perspective. The unfortunate and often irrational hatred between Serbs and Croats had for decades been stirred up and kept alive by the communist Yugoslav secret police. The longevity of artificial, multiethnic Yugoslavia was not only in the interests of Yugoslav communists but also of Western states. As a long-time Western darling, the late Yugoslav communist leader Marshall Josip Broz Tito had a far bigger share in ethnic cleansing and mass killings. Yet for decades his crimes remained hidden as well as unreported in the West.

These proceedings must be put into a wider perspective. Otherwise the Hague Tribunal runs the risk of turning into a judiciary kangaroo court. The first part of the following essay represents a brief excursion into the Croat victimology. The second part covers the poor legality of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

When talking or writing about state terror in former Communist Yugoslavia, one must inevitably mention those who were either assassinated or wounded outside the jurisdiction of that state. The Yugoslav secret OZNA or UDBA police agents routinely carried out assassination attempts. Though the decision to "make a kill" had to be first reached at the very top of the late Yugoslav Communist regime, there was the whole spectrum of UDBA victims, particularly among former Croatian political emigres living under foreign Western jurisdictions.

Of course, this sensitive theme can be addressed from a variety of different perspectives historical, socio-political, psychological, ethical, and theological. Statistics or a "body count" of the UDBA terror is very important-- but even far more relevant are the identities of the persons who carried out those killings. Who gave the orders and what were their motives? Hopefully, such a wide-range analysis today can help us in understanding the poor legitimacy of Tribunal proceedings in The Hague.

Moreover, such a broad-based approach is all the more important because the results of UDBA lawlessness went beyond its immediate victims. Each act of silencing a different or dissident-minded opponent or physically eliminating somebody who refuses to pledge allegiance to the given state ideology, more often than not, exacerbates opposing views. Indeed, it can lead to wider armed conflicts that results in wars, mass killings and ethnic cleansing. These end-results recently confirmed by the violent break-up of ex-Yugoslavia and the subsequent Communist party -inspired aggression on Croatia, were also part and parcel of a larger socio-political package. These lead to and were also derived from the spiral of mass psychosis, nationalist mythologies, general insecurity, a culture of resentment and a resurgence of an almost primeval animal instinct amidst broad layers of the population.

The Sense of Victimhood and the Meaning of Forgiveness
Regarding the scope of the Yugoslav secret police terror, one must not attribute the UDBA an excessive importance. In the last analysis, victims in Yugoslavia following World War II, can be counted in the hundreds of thousands. Victims of the recent war in the Balkans were several dozens of thousands. Therefore, attributing special significance to the relatively small number of just over a hundred victims of the UDBA terror in foreign countries may sound biased when one compares this relatively low figure to the much higher figures mentioned above. Yet the difference in significance regarding the volume of the crime does not minimize the gravity of the crime; all victims are equally important. The only difference is how and in which historical circumstances these killings took place, and what is the causal relationship between the post- Word War II victims, UDBA victims, and Croat and Serb victims of the recent war.
It is more or less taken for granted that mass killings occur in a warlike scenario. Yet victims of the UDBA terror happened during peacetime, in free and democratic Western countries, in societies where everybody is entitled to his opinion and his pursuit of happiness. The criminal acts by the UDBA were committed abroad. The Yugoslav Communist government and their recycled followers both in Croatia and Serbia today, bear direct responsibility. Moreover, those post-World War II crimes went beyond the legal framework of Communist ex-Yugoslavia.

The question must be raised of why the Communist regime continued to assassinate its political opponents, including those who lived in Western countries, even after the establishment of Communist Yugoslavia in 1945.

One might believe that political opponents of Communist Yugoslavia living in the West did not pose a tangible threat to the ruling Yugoslav Communist League. This is all the more important considering the fact that Western countries in which Croatian political emigres lived or still live, were by no means sympathetic to the vision of establishing an independent Croatian state. It’s quite the contrary. Western countries often did their utmost to preserve the "unity and integrity" of Communist Yugoslavia. But a threat to Communist Yugoslavia from Croatian emigre Western-based circles did exist. It simply could not rely on the good will of the Croatian people.

This weakness of Communist Yugoslavia did represent a problem to the Yugoslav authorities. Any state and any regime without legitimacy, regardless of its claim to legality, do not have long-term survivability unless founded on the will of its citizens. Regimes are often upheld only by sheer force. Very early on, the Yugoslav Communist regime decided to "neutralize" all Croat separatists in an uncompromising effort to secure its survival, including those in Western countries. This method of "neutralization" took place in a beastly manner.

Today’s new Republic of Croatia does not need to be kept alive by using force against dissidents because its support is solidly anchored amidst the majority of its citizens. No longer does it fear a handful of individuals or small extremist parties. But far more dangerous for the survival of Croatia are the individuals who, in the name of some "ultra-Croatiandom," or some "mega-Croatian" statehood, continue to act in a radically opposite way to their much vaunted agendas. This danger is all the more great because it often operates under the cover of a fake Croat patriotism.

Ringleaders of the Communist machinery realized very early that their policy of "tito-ization" could not have positive effects among the Croatian people. Therefore, they viewed anybody daring to advocate the idea of an independent Croatian state as a mortal enemy. On August 10, 1941, at the very beginning formation of Yugoslav Communist partisans units, late President Josip Broz Tito stipulated that "provocateurs and traitors must be liquidated immediately."

Unfortunately, those who fell into this category were often advocates of Croatian State independence. Only a few months later, following these official Tito-istic stipulations, the leader of Slovenian Communist Partisan units, Mr. Evard Kardelj, under his conspiratorial name "Bevac", sent a written report to Tito regarding the liquidation of opponents carried out by his partisan units. Bevac noted "Our machinery of execution is made up of 50 well trained men, armed with pistols and hand grenades. In view of the much increased terror undertaken by the Italian (Fascist) occupying forces, and local Slovenian "Bela Garda" collaborators, we had to increase the number of our activities. These men are capable of everything. Almost every day collaborators and traitors are eliminated along with members of the occupying (Fascist) units, etc. There is no police protection for those whom our VOS takes for a target...

Classical UDBA Terror
Here is an example of typical Communist terror. On the one hand, Partisan and Communist executions in the Balkans during WWII were carried out in order to scare the local population. On the other, they incited the occupying Fascist and pro-fascist forces to carry out retribution killings, thereby creating additional mass psychosis and a corporate sense of insecurity. This further prompted the local population to join the Partisan movement directed by the Yugoslav Communist Party and the Red International.
The task of carrying out this mission was handed over to the OZNA. Later, after Word War II, its name changed to the civilian police security apparatus, UDBA and the KOS. In fact, the Communist Partisan movement grew stronger as a result of Allied help. On May 13, 1944, the Yugoslav Partisans formally founded the "Section for the People's Protection" (i.e. OZNA). This organization brings back bad memories among the Croatian people. Mass and individual killings were carried out through the OZNA Communist leadership during and immediately after World War II. Following the dissolution of the pro-fascist NDH ("Independent State of Croatia") in 1945, the OZNA received the order to continue eliminating well-known Croats immediately after its first round of killings in the post-World War II era. These Croats had managed to escape and hide in foreign countries after World War II.

The early OZNA chose Dr. Ivan Protulipacas its first victim. Dr. Protulipac was assassinated in Trieste, Italy on January 31, 1946. A founder of "The Eagle and Crusading Youth" in the former Yugoslavian monarchy, he was also successor to Dr. Ivan Merz, the highly praised leader of the "Croatian Catholic Youth."

Two and a half years later, on August 22, 1948, the UDBA tried to kidnap Dr. Mato Frkovicin, in Salzburg, Austria. Dr. Frkovicin held a high-ranking place in government during Word War II, in the short-lived NDH ("Independent State of Croatia"). The same year in Austria, the OZNA (from then on "UDBA"), assassinated Mr. Ilija Abramovic. Only a few months later, on March 16, 1949, the UDBA kidnapped Mr. Drago Jilek in Rome, Italy. Mr. Jilek worked as the interim Head of the Intelligence Service of the NDH during Word War II. After the former Chief of the Security of the NDH, Mr. Dido Kvaternik had been deposed from office, Jilek assumed control of the pro-fascist World War II, Croatian UNS (Ustasha Security Service).

Strangely enough the kidnapping of Drago Jilek by the Yugoslav Communist police agents coincided with the tragic case of Croatia’s most prominent Communist leader, Mr. Andrija Hebrang. It is widely considered that the UDBA wanted to find out what kind of contacts existed during and before World War II between high ranking Croat pro-fascist Ustasha officials and high ranking Croatian Communist, anti-fascist officials and intellectuals. It is apparent that their common goal was the establishment of an independent Croatian state.

Victims of the UDBA (Yugoslav Communist Security Service) included pro-fascist Ustashi, anti-communist Domobran ("Home Guard") individuals and members of former Croatian military units as well as prominent Croatian Communist and Partisan figures. Poet, Ivan Goran Kovacic, Dr. Andrija Hebrang, and a former Croatian Communist military officer - turned dissident - Mr. Zvonko Kucar are also in this number. This further confirms that the main criteria for coming to terms with "hostile elements" for the UDBA and the Yugoslav Communist regime, was not the ideological affiliation of the target-victim ("left vs. right"). Their primary goal was the removal of all those inclined toward any form of Croatian statehood or nationhood.

109 Cases of Assassinations and Kidnapping
Obviously, not all details can be mentioned about every UDBA victim. All the facts leading to the death or kidnapping of the victims cannot be fully covered. Therefore, our focus is only on some of the more salient examples of UDBA state terrorist activity.
From 1946 to 1949 two assassinations were carried out; one failed attempt of assassination; one kidnapping and one person reported missing.

From 1950 until 1959 no assassination took place; two assassination attempts failed against the former Ustashi exiled leader, Dr. Ante Pavelic, and Dr. Branimir Jelic; one kidnapping; one failed attempt at kidnapping.

From 1960 until 1969, twenty assassinations took place; four failed assassination attempts; one kidnapping, Dr. Krunoslav Draganovic, in Italy; two persons reported missing, Mr. Zvonimir Kucar, 1960, and Mr. Geza Pesti, 1965.

From these figures it may be concluded that the number of assassinations by the UDBA increased dramatically during that period. The reason was the fact that Yugoslav President Tito decided to loosen up the repressive tools within Communist Yugoslavia, but sharpen up repression (UBDA killings) of Croatian emigres outside Yugoslavia in Western countries. As a follow-up to the important Plenary Congress of the Yugoslav Communist League held on the Island of Briuni in 1966, Tito fired his chief of the Yugoslav Security, Mr. Aleksandar Rankovic,

From 1970 until 1979 twenty-eight Croat emigres, including the well-known Croatian dissident writer, Mr. Bruno Busic, were assassinated by the UDBA; 13 failed UDBA assassination attempts; the kidnapping of Croatian poet Mr. Vjenceslav Cizek; four failed attempts of kidnapping including the former high ranking exiled Croatian Communist official Franjo Mikulic; one person missing.

Spurred by the crushing of the "Croatian Spring" in December 1971, the Yugoslav Communist regime became particularly intent on eliminating Croatian emigre dissidents - often without any scruples. In 1972, a whole Croatian family, Mr. Stjepan Sevo, his wife and nine-year old daughter were killed in Italy.

In 1975, in Klagenfurt, Austria, 65 year old Mr. Nikola Martinovic was a target of a UDBA assassination. Before his violent death, Mr. Martinovic was known in Croatian emigre circles as a caretaker of the graves of Croat soldiers and civilians who were victims of the Yugoslav Communist units in southern Austria, near the town of Bleiburg in May and June, 1945.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Martinovic was planning to organize large anti-Yugoslav demonstrations in the vicinity of Bleiburg. However, Yugoslav Communist government officials sent a note to the Austrian government requesting the interdiction of the Croatian emigre mass gathering. When it was refused, the UDBA took the matter into it own hands.

From 1980 to 1989, seventeen emigre Croats were assassinated including Mr. Stjepan Durekovic, a former high ranking Croatian Communist and head of the largest state-run oil refinery in ex-Yugoslavia; nine failed assassination attempts - including one against myself, Mr. Nikola Stedul, n.t. and one kidnapping.

These figures show that for the period stretching from 1946 to 1990, the OZNA, the UDBA, and the KOS carried out over one hundred assassinations and/or assassination attempts against Croat emigres. In Western Europe there were eighty-nine UDBA assassination attempts; nine in North America; six in South America; two in Australia; two in Africa. As far as individual countries are concerned, fifty-six assassinations and assassination attempts took place in the Federal Republic of Germany; ten in France; nine in Italy.

The total number of UDBA victims is as follows sixty-seven killed, twenty-nine failed attempts; four successful kidnappings, five failed attempts; four persons reported missing most likely UDBA victims.

Beside UDBA targets of emigre Croats over the same time period, there were also twelve emigre Serbs and four ethnic Albanians killed. The above figures are based on various sources. It is quite certain that all victims have not been counted and the fate of some still remains to be elucidated.

Three Objectives
With each assassination, Communist Yugoslavia aimed at achieving three goals 1) to eliminate a political "trouble-maker"; 2) to scare other dissidents and emigres both at home and abroad; 3) to leave general impression both in Yugoslavia and abroad that Croat emigres were fighting their own turf war among themselves. Appearing in Communist Yugoslavia’s state-controlled journals after each assassination was the word that "Ustashi-Fascist-Croatian nationalists fighting war among their own ranks." The media meta-language of Yugoslav state-sponsored journals must be thoroughly examined. Indeed, as a result of incessant Communist propaganada, many Croats were persuaded that the deaths of emigre Croats were the direct result of underground infighting.
It should be pointed out that any effective organization among Croatian emigres was virtually nonexistent and legally impossible to achieve. Croatian emigre groups were kept under strict surveillance by all foreign security services, especially those Croats intending to overthrow the Yugoslav Communist State.

In many cases, Western-based security and intelligence services worked hand in hand with Yugoslav intelligence services, including the Yugoslav diplomatic corps. Croats abroad, and those in the former Yugoslavia have been well aware of these Western attempts to prevent the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and to making the establishment of the independent state of Croatia quite costly. It is increasingly clear why many Western countries glowingly supported the decades long Yugoslav and Tito-istic experiment. Desiring to keep the status quo in the East-West cleavage, Croatia was used as a country-pawn in the geopolitical gamble of the Cold War, while Communist Yugoslavia played an important role as a non-aligned buffer state.

Just as the world passively witnessed the break up of Yugoslavia, in 1991, so too did the world passively observe serial UDBA killings of Croatian political activists abroad. Even the Libyan leader Colonel Mohamar Khadafi in an interview with the German Der Spiegel once said. "Tito sends his agents to the Federal Republic of Germany in order to liquidate Croatian opponents. But Tito's prestige doesn't suffer at all in Germany. Why should Tito be allowed those things and why am I not allowed to do the same? Moreover, I have never given a personal order to have somebody killed in foreign countries."

The above quotes may be further confirmed by many more killings of Croatian emigre dissidents - which was rarely ever fully covered in the Western media. One hypocritical example should suffice. When Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1973, the entire Western media was deluged with protests aimed at the Kremlin’s handling of this case. In contrast, when Croatian dissident Bruno Busic was assassinated by Yugoslav secret police UDBA in Paris 1977; the event was mentioned as a side story - with the unavoidable speculation that Busic's death may have been the result of Croatian emigre infighting.

The travesty of the current legal International Criminal Court in The Hague is that the judges never wish to examine the root causes of the recent crimes committed in ex-Yugoslavia. It never occurs to Hague prosecutors that there are large-scale infra- and extra- judiciary historical precedents for the more recent crimes that they are obligated to impartially adjudicate.

-- End of Part 1 --

NIKOLA STEDUL & TOMISLAV SUNIC

Dr Sunic is an author, former US professor in political science and a former Croat diplomat. He is the author of Titoism and Dissidence (1995). His website is http//www.watermark.hu/doctorsunic/

Mr. Stedul is a former Croat emigre who was an intended victim of a Yugoslav secret police assassination attempt in Scotland, October 1988. He was also a former president of the Croatian National Democratic Party in Croatia.

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Post by Spy » 17 Jun 2004 10:50

Source: http://www.dalmatia.net/croatia/mcadams ... yalta1.htm
Accessed 06 May 1999
Yalta and The Bleiburg Tragedy

Chapter from the book Od Bleiburga do Naših Dana

YALTA AND THE BLEIBURG TRAGEDY

C Michael McAdams / Home Page
University of San Francisco, California USA
Condensed from the chapter with the same title in:

Od Bleiburga do Naših Dana

Jozo Marovic, Editor

Zagreb: Školska Kniga, 1995

Presented at the International Symposium for Investigation of the Bleiburg Tragedy Zagreb, Croatia and Bleiburg, Austria
May 17 and 18, 1994

We are approaching the fiftieth anniversary of the Yalta Conference which shaped the post-war world and forever changed the history of Croatia and a dozen other nations. In February of 1995 we will have had a half century to reflect on the tragedy of the so-called "Great Powers" dividing up the world and forcing hundreds of thousands seeking freedom to be returned to their captive nations against their will. And yet, in this half century, what have we really learned and how have we gone about the study of forced repatria-tion?

The subject of forced repatriation of hundreds of thousands of human beings at the end of the Second World War is so multifaceted that it presents an array of problems for those who would study it. Unlike the study of the Jewish Holocaust, now considered a single interdisciplinary field, post-war repatriation is still seen primarily in the limited context of the nations involved. There is no field of "Repatriation Studies" and each exploration must rely on a single discipline, such as History or Political Science, to explore a single aspect without really considering the whole. While a multi-disciplinary approach is warranted, History can perhaps best focus on cause and effect. Forced repatriation did not "just happen." While there were many causes, the instrument of implementation, indeed of legalization, was the Yalta Agreement. The effects of repatriation were likewise many and varied, but this brief overview seeks to explore a single effect of the whole: The forced repatriation of Croatians to Yugoslavia in and around the village of Bleiburg, Austria and the events that followed over the next two years.

Next Spring will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II. It is perhaps of interest to look back a decade at how the fortieth anniversary was marked in 1985 to observe how much things have changed in a decade and how some things never change. The Soviet Union noted the fortieth anniversary of World War II as the great victory over Fascism in the "Great Patriotic War" which "liberated" half of Europe into the Commu-nist fold. A decade later, the Soviet Union no longer exists and Communism is on its death bed. The Western Allies remembered those who fell in battle and who served their country and they will do so again next year. But NATO, the true successor to the wartime Western Alliance, will no longer have as its primary mission the containment of Commu-nism. West Germany remembered her dead a decade ago and the horror of Hitlerism never to be repeated while East Germany honored the Soviets for their liberation while claiming that Hitlerism still lived in the West. Next year a united Germany will grapple with how to mark this anniversary as a member of NATO and with rising nationalism and Fascism arising primarily from the former Communist east. Japan remembered her dead in 1985, especially those who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the unwilling ushers into the nuclear age. But Japan did so unbowed. In the past decade, the Japanese government has formally apologized to many of the victims, both people and states, of Japanese aggression. Finally, throughout the world ten years ago, Jews and Gentiles alike painfully noted the liberation of the concentration camps and vowed that such a Holocaust would never happen again. Next year we will again remember these victims but with the knowledge that "ethnic cleansing" has again taken place in the heart of Europe while the so-called "Great Powers" stood silent.

Much of what shaped the post-War world is directly linked to a single word: Yalta. The word first entered the world's common vocabulary on February 13, 1945, when it was reported that a historic meeting had taken place in the Crimea from the fourth through the eleventh of that month at a place called Yalta. At the time it was called the Crimea conference and it is perhaps best to refer to the conference itself by that name since today Yalta has come to mean much more than a place where Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met with their foreign ministers and chiefs-of-staff. Yalta has come to mean the partitioning of Germany, the Nuernberg Trials and the division of Europe between democracy and totalitarianism. Yalta meant the partition of Poland despite the fact that it was supposed to be the partitioning of Poland that started the Second World War. Yalta sacrificed the proud nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and the agreement ratified the Soviet annexation of Rumanian, Slovak and Finnish lands.

By signing the Yalta Agreement, Roosevelt and Churchill became co-signatories of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939. Yalta became synonymous with great power politics and colonialism: three kings dividing up the world without regard to the wishes of the peoples of every nation. The cavalier manner with which the future of nations was decided was best described by Winston Churchill in his book The Second World War: Triumph & Tragedy: "Let us settle about our affairs in the Balkans...how would it do for you to have 90% predominance in Rumania, for us to have 90% in Greece, and go 50/50 in Yugo-slavia?" He then wrote the equation on a half sheet of paper and handed it to Stalin.

Churchill pushed the list to Stalin who made a large check-mark on it with a blue pencil. Churchill then said "Might it not be thought cynical if it seemed we had disposed of these issues, so fateful to millions of people, in such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper."

The Atlantic Charter, for which hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen had died was thus disposed of at Yalta. The words of the Atlantic Charter promis-ed that "All peoples have a right to choose their own forms of government; those forcibly deprived of the right should have it restored." Such lofty words were not to apply to any of the captive nations of the USSR or eastern Europe. These millions of people could not have known, nor would they have believed, that their ancient nations and homelands were dispatched with the flick of a blue pencil.

In a half century it would seem that every aspect of this tragedy would have been explored in detail by historians, political scientists and politicians. Surely, after a half century, there could be no questions unanswered and no factual data unexplored. And indeed there has been some very good scholarly research into this earth changing event.

Some of the blame has been laid at the feet of Stalin, although only in passing. He perhaps deserves the least blame if only because he was open and honest in his motives and did most for his own political interests. We now know that Roosevelt was nearly on his death bed at Yalta, but history tends to forgive those who die in power, as it seldom does for those who die in exile or shame. Roosevelt remains a hero to much of America. Winston Churchill will forever be protected by history as the bulldog who saved Britain. Each of the three had his advisors and aids at his side. Howard MacMillan was hired by Britain to re-shape the Mediterranean in the imperial mold, but stayed on to run the shop. Alger Hiss, Roosevelt's own in-house communist, became something of a folk hero to America's liberal elite. And Brea, Stalin's Chief of Secret Police has taken the ups and downs of historical revisionism with the political mood in Russia.

History has been written and the blame has been put at any number of deserving feet. Yet through it all, one aspect of Yalta has been given little attention by scholarly and popular writers alike. The subject is the planned, pre-ordained murder of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in the months and years after World War II. The victims of Yalta died at the hands of Stalin and his surrogates, but only with the cooperation and active participation of the Western Allies: the United States and Great Britain.

Each nation has its own name for this holocaust. For Croatia the name is the Bleiburg Tragedy after the small Austrian village from which thousands began their long march back into a new Communist Yugoslavia. The American military code-named it Operation Keelhaul from the ancient punishment of keelhauling wayward sailors who were dragged under the keel of a moving ship at the end a rope. By whatever name, this was without question one of the most shameful episodes of the Second World War if only because it occurred after the War ended. The Bleiburg tragedy was murder which began when the legal killing called warfare ended.

In 1945 there was some international law on the subject of forced repatria-tion. In brief, the concept was not acceptable under any international guidelines. The Hague Conven-tions of 1899 and 1907 treat it only by exclusion and by making it clear that prisoners-of-war must be treated humanely. The Geneva Accords of 1929 also did not recognize the concept of forced repatriation. The 1949 Geneva Accords prohibit forced repatriations "during hostilities." Still the wording is vague. Dozens of treaties between the USSR and neighboring states did explicitly prohibit the forced return of any individual against his or her will.

The "Yalta Agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States," later Britain and France, "Concerning Liberated Prisoners of War and Civilians" was signed on February 11, 1945 by U.S. Major General John R. Dene and Soviet Lt. General Gryzlov. This agreement called upon the United States and the Soviet Union to take joint action regarding Soviet and American nationals in the war zone. There were, of course, few American nationals, civilian or military, in Eastern Europe in the final days of World War II. In part, the Agreement read:

"All Soviet citizens liberated by forces operating under United States command ...will, without delay after their liberation, be separated from enemy prisoners of war and will be maintained separately from them in concentration camps until they have been handed over to the Soviet authorities..."1

The Agreement also provided for Soviet control of the camps and "...the right to appoint the internal administration and set-up the internal discipline and management in accor-dance with the military prosecute the laws of their country."

Still, there was no reference to "forced" repatriation in the Agreement although it was implied. The entire agreement was designed to meet Soviet needs and the method of repatriation was left up to the Soviet Union. But the Yalta Agreement did not invent forced repatriation, it simply formalized existing policy. Documents from September 1944 on set a clear direction of action against "...any national of the United Nations who is believed to have committed offenses against his national law in support of the German war effort." Since the act of surrender was a criminal act in the USSR, all prisoners-of-war were criminals subject to the death penalty. These words also applied to any person living on the territory of Yugoslavia who did not support the Partisans during the War. On September 16, 1944, U.S. Political Officer Alexander Kirk sent a cable to U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull which noted that an agreement had been reached between the Soviets and the British for repatriation of Soviet citizens held as prisoners-of-war "...irrespective of whether the individuals desire to return to Russia or not. Statements will not be taken from Soviet nationals in the future as to their willingness to return to their native country." Kirk further noted that "MacMillan is apparently receiving instruc-tions to this effect from the (British) Foreign Office."

Unable to believe this obvious violation of international law, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Averell Harriman wired Hull on September 24, 1944 demanding an explanation how the British government reached its decision. Kirk then met with MacMillan who justified the action by noting that "Since these men will no longer be treated as prisoners, the Geneva Conventions will no longer apply."

All such conversations were "top secret" at the time. Even the text of the Yalta Agree-ment on Repatriation was not released until March 1946. The fact that the agreements were reached only with the Soviets means little. They were equally enforced by each of Stalin's proteges, including Josip Tito before the Tito-Stalin split.

The results of this policy of the West, giving Stalin all he demanded while asking virtually nothing in return, are of such magnitude that they defy comprehension. Nine hundred thousand to one million followers of Russian Liberation Army General Andrei Vlasov were among the first to be forcibly returned. The leadership was executed and the others were sent into the vast system of hard labor camps made famous by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as the "Gulag Archipelago." The next victims were over three thousand Cossack officers at Lienz. Then tens of thousand of officers and men from every nation in Europe who had served their country in wartime. Finally, millions of civilian refugees fleeing the promise of a new Workers' Paradise under Stalin, Tito, Hoxha and a dozen others, were also victims of Yalta.

To Croatians, the tragedy began at the small village of Bleiburg in Southern Carenthia, Austria. Bleiburg is a model for all the forced repatriations in post-war Europe. These post-war massacres of Croatians are almost unknown outside the Croatian com-munity despite the fact that the Bleiburg-Maribor massacres have been documented in such works as Operation Slaughterhouse by John Prcela and Stanko Guldescu, In Tito's Death Marches and Extermination Camps by Joseph Heÿimoviÿ, Operation Keelhaul by Julius Epstein, Bleiburg by Vinko Nikoliÿ, and perhaps best known, The Minister and the Massacres by Count Nikolai Tolstoy. That these massacres occurred is irrefutable. Only the number of deaths and the depth of American and British duplicity are in question.

The story of Bleiburg began in early 1945 as it became clear that Germany would lose the War. As the German Army retreated toward the Austrian border, the Red Army advanced, and the Partisans began their con-solidation of power, anarchy prevailed in what was Yugo-slavia. A dozen or more nationalist movements and ethnic militias attempted to salvage various parts of Yugoslavia. Most nationalists, Croatian, Slovenian and Serbian alike, were anti-Communist and all had visions of the Western Allies welcoming them into the coming battle against Communism. Croatians especially cherished the totally unsup-ported notion that Anglo-American intervention would save an independent Croatian state.

As in every other part of eastern Europe, armies, governments, and civilian populations began moving toward the Western lines. Some were pushed before the retreating Ger-mans, others followed in their wake. Many traveled in small bands, armed or unarmed, while others were well organized into mass movements of people and equipment. Along the trek north they fought the Partisans and ÿetniks. Many surrendered, others fought to the death.



The retreating Germans, usually without bothering to inform their erstwhile allies, took with them much of the material support needed by the Croatian armed forces. Despite conditions, several Croatian generals wanted to defend the city of Zagreb from the Partisan advance and fight to the finish if necessary. The Partisans made it clear that the city, swollen to twice its size with refugees, would be destroyed if they met resistance. A final meeting of the Croatian government was held on April 30, 1945 at which the decision was made to abandon Zagreb and retreat into Austria.

Still quite naive concerning Allied intentions, many Croatian officers hoped that the still sizable Croatian Army would be allowed to surrender to the British to fight again against the Russians. Since both Croatia and Britain were signatories to the Geneva Conventions, it was felt that at worst the Croatians would be treated as prisoners of war.

The exodus from Zagreb began on May 1st. Some 200,000 civilians were flanked by almost as many soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Croatian armed forces. The Arch-bishop-Metropolitan Aloysius Stepinac took charge of the govern-ment for the few hours between the departure of Croatian officials and the arrival of the Partisan Army. State Minister Vranÿiÿ was dispatched to Italy as a peace emissary to the Allies and several high-ranking English-speaking officers headed the main column toward Austria.

The retreat was well ordered and the protecting flank armies insured that all of the civilians arrived safely at the Austrian border by May 7. A number of military units remained behind to fight delaying actions as late as May 12. Still other units, known as Crusaders fled into the hills and fought sporadic guerilla actions until 1948.

The huge column finally came to rest in a small valley near the Austrian village of Bleiburg, where they arrived on May 14th and 15th. Believing in the sense of fair play and justice for which the British had made themselves known, the Croatians surrendered to the British with the promise that they would not be forced back into Yugoslavia.

The leaders had no way of knowing that their peace emissary, Dr. Vranÿiÿ, had traveled as far as Forli, Italy by plane and car under a white flag only to be stopped short of his goal. At Forli, Vranÿiÿ and Naval Captain Vrkljan, who spoke fluent English, were detained by one Captain Douglas of British Field Security who was more interested in their diplomatic grade Mercedes-Benz automobile than their mission to see Field Marshal Alexander in Caserta. He held the emissaries incommunicado until May 20 when he had them thrown into a prisoner of war camp and confiscated the automobile.

In the belief that their envoys had made some arrangement with the British, the multitude of humanity set up camp in the valley to await the outcome of negotiations. One of the first groups to arrive at British head-quarters was a contin-gent of 130 members of the Croatian government headed by President Nikola Mandiÿ. All were told that they would be transferred to Italy as soon as possible by British Military Police. All were then loaded into a train and returned to the Partisans. It was the intent of the British to turn over all Croatians, as well as Serbs and Slovenes, to the Communists from whom they had fled.

When the Croatian military leaders realized that they had led hundreds of thousands into a trap, some committed suicide on the spot. The British extradited at first hundreds, then thousands of Croatians. Some were shot at the border, while others joined the infamous "Death Marches" which took them deeper into the new People's Republic for liquidation. They were forced back, some in trains, some on foot, to the waiting arms of Tito's Partisans. On May 16, 1945, the killing began. It would not end for two years.

The survivors of the initial atrocities were organized into forced marches by the 7th Brigade of the 17th Partisan Division. The Croatians called them the "Death Marches." Tens of thousands of men, women and children were marched, hands tied with wire, through the villages and towns of southern Austria and Slovenia. On their southward trek toward the camps, they were starved, beaten, raped and ridiculed. Those who did not march were shot and dumped into shallow graves or caves. Wounded and ill Croatian soldiers and civilians in hospitals and field camps were loaded onto wagons and sent toward the camps with the southbound sea of humanity. Many would not survive. Those who did live would spend as much as a decade in concentration camps, labor battalions and prisons. Finally, the government of Yugoslavia plowed over Croatian military cemeteries and attempted to erase all traces of the Bleiburg massacres. As late as 1974 graves were removed to block investigation of the tragedy. 2 The total number of people liquidated may never be known. Despite the scholarship and masses of documents proving the contrary, the Yugoslav government denied that the Bleiburg-Maribor massacres or any subsequent liquidation of anti-Communists occurred. As late as 1976 special teams were active in Slovenia and southern Austria cover-ing up evidence of the crimes. The American and British govern-ments, implicated in the forced repatriation that led to the slaughter, also sought to cover-up or at least ignore the crimes.

Unlike Lidece, or Hiroshima, or Dresden, the tragedy of Bleiburg was not a single event, but hundreds of events over a long period of time. And, unlike Hiroshima or Dresden, Bleiburg was not an act of war. It was an act of post-war retribution. The initial killings near the Austro-Yugoslav border were followed by the execution of members of the Croatian government. There were massacres at other sites. Some, like Kamnik involved a few thousand deaths. Others, like Maribor, saw over 40,000 die.

To debate whether the suffering of the Croatians at Bleiburg and beyond surpassed that of the Cossacks, Russians, Ukrainians or the millions of others of all nations during and after World War II, or to attempt to quantify whether the collective fate of the victims of Bleiburg was worse than that of the citizens of Hiroshima or Dresden, serves neither an academic or humanistic purpose. One half century after the fact, continuing to lay blame, access guilt or call for vengeance serves no purpose.

What is clearly needed is further study. Serious, unemotional, study by historians, political scientists, legal scholars, sociologists, psychologists, forensic criminologists and others. The study must be separated from political or ethnic considerations. The task at hand is to learn the true impact of Bleiburg on post-War Croatia, the psyche and self-image of the Croatian nation. The mere recognition that Bleiburg did occur, that ques-tions exist, and that in all things there are causes, actions, and effects, is a giant first step toward understanding the tragedy and healing the wounds still felt by so many.

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Spy
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Post by Spy » 17 Jun 2004 10:53

I have also find some numbers:

1945 - middle of the May

Near the Austrian frontier, in Bleiburg, the massive brutalization of Croats had begun, perpetrated by the Partisan Army with numerous amnested Chetniks from Serbia enlisted. In the last battles and in "death marches" about 50,000 Croats, members of the NDH armed forces, their families and civilians, were killed or died. Many of them fell into the Partisan captivity suffering on the long "Way of the Cross". But, these are the facts based on the demographic estimates of Croatian scientist Zerjavic and Serbian Kocovic.
According to these analyses which give very similiar results, Yugoslavia lost about a million people in the World War II, out of them about 500,000 Serbs, 200,000 Croats and 90,000 Bosnian Muslims. Bosnia and Hercegovina suffered the following losses: 164,000 Serbs, 64,000 Croats, 75,000 Muslims and 9,000 Jews.
But, more recent exhumations which were done on the places of execution in Slovenia after the fall of Communism have brought some doubts about this statistics: against 50,000 Croats killed by the Communists on the whole territory from Austria to Macedonia, the Slovenian Commission for War Crimes identified about 190,000 people killed in Partisan massacres in 1945/1946. As according to the discovery of the Commission, about 10,000 belonged to the members of Slovenian Home Defence Guards, and 180,000 to Croatian soldiers and civilians ,this asks new questions -not bringing into doubt the status of Marshal Josip Broz Tito as the greatest war criminal on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Source: http://www.hercegbosna.org/engleski/ww2.html

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Mostowka
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Post by Mostowka » 17 Jun 2004 11:16

Spy:

It is nice to see that you are backing up your claims with evidence, would be a lot easier for board members if you could highlight or at least take out the most essential bits of proof and statistics from the texts. Rather that reading the whole text. Just a suggestion.

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Kingdom of Montenegro
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Post by Kingdom of Montenegro » 17 Jun 2004 14:48

Spy wrote:@ Kingdom of Montenegro

Tito is responsible for the death of more than 150 000 people!!! One of them was my grandfather's brother, he was murdered at Bleiburg by Tito's army! Tito knew for this killing of soldiers (POW), women and children.
And now you're saying: "World did not recognized Tito as criminal ", I don't care what the world and other gouverments are thinking. The truth is that Tito allowed the slaugther of thousands and thousends of Croatian people. Kingdom of Montenegro you're denying holocaust

Ok,If Tito was a war criminal,than Churchil was also war criminal becouse he supported him.British army handed over these Croatians to Tito's partizans.I am not sure if there was 150 000 people killed,but their fait was well deserved.After all Tito was Croat for god sake.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 17 Jun 2004 15:01

Kingdom of Montenegro wrote:I am not sure if there was 150 000 people killed,but their fait was well deserved.
Which crime deserving the death penalty (without bothering to go through a court of law even) were all those thousands guilty of?

/Marcus

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Jun 2004 16:40

Spy -- Thank you for posting the detailed material, which I enjoyed reading. "Marshal Tito's Killing Fields" was especially informative. Is there any information on Tito's personal responsibility for the massacres at war's end and the foreign assassinations?

Enkpitt
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Post by Enkpitt » 17 Jun 2004 17:10

Kingdom of Montenegro wrote:Ok,If Tito was a war criminal,then Churchil was also war criminal because he supported him.
DUH! Everyone was a war criminal, everyone. They all had skeletons in their closets.

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