Ante Pavelić

Ante Pavelić (14 July 1889 – 28 December 1959) was a Croatian fascist leader and politician who led the Ustaše movement and who during World War II ruled the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a puppet state of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in part of the occupied Kingdom of Yugoslavia, pursuing genocidal racial policies against minorities.

Pavelić was a lawyer and politician of the Croatian Party of Rights in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia known for his nationalist beliefs about an independent Croatia. By the end of the 1920s, his political activity became more radical as he called on Croats to revolt against Yugoslavia, and schemed an Italian protectorate of Croatia separate from Yugoslavia. After King Alexander I declared his 6 January Dictatorship in 1929 and banned all political parties, Pavelić went abroad and plotted with 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, was 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, and culminating in the assassination of King Alexander in 1934 in conjunction with 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 Ustaša organization in the following period.

Soon after the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, having failed to convince Vladko Maček, the leader of the mainstream Croatian Peasant Party to form a puppet government, the Germans had the senior Ustaša in Yugoslavia Slavko Kvaternik declare the establishment of the NDH in the name of the Poglavnik, Pavelić, who then returned, took full control of the government and soon created a political system similar to Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Under his leadership, the NDH constituted a Greater Croatia but was forced to make significant territorial concessions to Italy. The brutal regime he led was responsible for genocidal persecution of Serbs, Jews and Roma living in the NDH, including mass murdering several hundred thousand Serbs, and tens of thousands of Jews as well as 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.

At the end of the war Pavelić fled to Austria, eventually making his way to Argentina where he remained politically active. He was wounded in a 1957 assassination attempt by an unknown assassin, after which he went to Spain where he died from his wounds on 28 December 1959.

Read more about Ante Pavelić:  In Exile

Other related articles:

Ante Pavelić - Post-war - Spain
... Pavelić continued contacts with members of the 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 ... Some groups distanced themselves from Pavelić and others did so after his death ...

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