Knjižnica Filozofskog fakulteta
Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Institutional Repository

Croatian spring and the Croatian political emigration


Downloads per month over past year

Krašić, Wollfy. (2016). Croatian spring and the Croatian political emigration. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of History.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij moderne i suvremene hrvatske povijesti u europskom i svjetskom kontekstu) [mentor Banac, Ivo].

PDF (Croatian)
Download (2MB) | Preview


In modern and contemporary times, political migrants were thought to be people cut off from their homelands, without the necessary capabilities for accepting social change, and with the added weight of lives permanently entrenched in their own pasts. Alongside this, the different opinions on who was the primary guilty party for their exile, on how to end their exile, or how to fulfil their political goals, resulted most oftenly in their fights and divisions. This thesis attempts to define the notions leading to these two attributions within the scope of the Croatian political emigrant community, whose members left their homeland after World War Two or at a later time. It seeks to analyse events in the Croatian emigrant community during the so-called Croatian Spring. This time of political, cultural and social upheaval, supported by a part of the Croatian League of Communists in the later 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s with the aim of creating a space of greater autonomy in relation to the federal center, putting forward ideas that were broadly and more radically accepted by the wider populace, was a time when certain parts of the Croatian political emigrant community attempted to follow the rapid political and social changed in the country, keeping in mind their own agenda and visions. One of the most revolutionary ideas brought forth from the Croatian political emigrant community was perhaps the idea of a Croatian peace, or the need of cooperation between all Croats for creating an independent Croatian state and the overcoming of political differences. Although this idea was formed at an earlier time, its two basic modes gained their basic features during this period, with the backdrop of the changes and reforms in the homeland. The fact that there were two versions of one idea testifies about the diversity and vitality of political thought among the emigrant community. A group of men based around the Croatian National Resistance group (Hrvatski narodni otpor) felt that the primary task of Croatian patriots was the formation of a Croatian state, and alongside this the extension of a hand of peace towards disappointed Croatian communists, as well as to all those who felt that this option was a lesser evil than a flagrantly Greater Serbian guise of Yugoslavia. What's more, an independent communist Croatia was more acceptable for them than Yugoslavia, notwithstanding any form of social arrangement. On the other hand, a group of men around the journal New Croatia (Nova Hrvatska) saw the process of democratization and liberalization in Yugoslavia as a resource for demolishing Yugoslavia, in accordance with their belief that any type of Yugoslav state was a kind of tyranny. One should note that a whole slew of groups and individuals accepted these two modes of approaching Croatian communists or their more or less reformed factions, that were forming and disbanding in accordance with the current state of affairs in Yugoslavia and the world. Branimir Jelić is certainly an „innovator“ in the ranks of the political emigrant community, as he set himself apart from the rigid anti-communist principles held during this time by many exiles. Although he softened his positions towards a part of Croatia's communists, he based his hopes for a redefinition of the current state not on intra-national reforms, but on external influences and partners for the creation of an independent Croatia. The specific time of the late 1960s, with the fraying of relations between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the occupation of Czechoslovakia and burgeoning reform movements in Yugoslavia and Croatia, all these judged as heretic in Soviet eyes, led Jelić to question whether there was a possibility for the USSR to take an interest in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and bring about a solution that would suit their, his, and the West's purposes. Jelić's idea met and had many pitfalls, and the chances for realization were minimal at best, but it broke the ice as a new contribution to the foreign policy of the Croatian political emigrant community. This was, namely, the first and most concrete attempt at brokering a deal with the East. All later acts were purely of a declarative (Croats were ready to accept any help – even the Soviet's – in the destruction of Yugoslavia) or propagandistic nature (in order to irritate the Belgrade regime). The Croatian political emigrant community was intrigued by the shape of changes in Croatia and this is testified by the fact that the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (Hrvatsko revolucionarno bratstvo) performed an armed incursion into Yugoslavia in the spring of 1972. There was a widespread belief that guerilla fighting would lead to a wider uprising, followed by a war. A part of the community of exiles, in particularly the younger ones, were taken by a revolutionary fervor. A series of emigrants wanted to participate in this struggle, from giving monetary donations, demonstrating or manifesting their desire to return to their homeland and join in the struggle. However, the guerillas were rapidly captured and an uprising was an unrealistic option in this situation. However, the opinion that the emigrant community could not continue along their political path up to that time was manifested by the disappearance of the trend of division among the emigrant community, present since the beginning. This opinion was formed in part due to their being taken aback by the 1972 breakdown of the Croatian reform movement. The trend of division was not only halted, but there was a new trend of unification between many emigrant organizations, groups and individuals through the formation of the Croatian National Council (Hrvatsko narodno vijeće). The idea of a common organization had been a mainstay of many political programs during previous times, with few results, gained traction and speed during the mid-1970s after the failure of the reform movement. One might conclude after a careful reading of the relevant sources, that this unification would not have occurred if there had not been this interpretation of events of the early 1970s. The best evidence that a part of the political emigrant community tried to maintain their connections with the homeland was a large number of connections that the exiles organized and maintained with their political counterparts in the homeland, as well as with those persons who might become their ideological counterparts. After the breakdown of the Croatian reform movement, the regime used those contacts against defendants in the country, saying that they had conspired with a „fascist“ and „hostile“ emigrant community with the aim of detaching Croatia from Yugoslavia. On the other hand, it is indicative that the regime knew about many of these contacts, some were realized through the Croatian Matrix (Matica hrvatska) or the Institute for Migration and Nationalities (Zavod za migracije i narodnosti). Some emigrants contacted various libraries. Had any of these contacts been a threat to national security, while one must remember that the goal of the reform faction in the Croatian League of Communists was not the detachment of Croatia from Yugoslavia, the guilty parties would have been swiftly sanctioned. Some accusations were so surreal that they did not hold up in the show trials. The political emigrant community was supposed to serve as one of the guilty parties for the turbulent state of the country. It was much easier to level this charge against fascists and terrorists who were connected to a handful of separatists inside Croatia, than admit the fact that the outpouring of dissatisfaction was deeply rooted in Yugoslavia itself. The most prominent leaders of the Croatian reform movement did not leave into political exile, but several journalists, intellectuals and lower-level Party functionaries who were threatened with arrests did so. A larger part of the political emigrant community greeted them with a wishfor sincere cooperation, as representatives of the latest political options in the homeland. After this testing period for the Croatian postwar political emigrant community, one can deduce that it was not uniformly backwards, turned to the past, or torn apart into various factions. Certain sections were distinguished by these features, but this thesis shows that this was not so in all cases. To make the situation more complex, one cannot draw a clear line between older men who followed past ideals, or younger men who formed and followed new political goals. The extent to which a large part of the political emigrant community was ready to leave behind old dissenting opinions and differences, as well as bloody conflicts, all for the goal of creating an independent Croatian state, was only partly visible during the duration and downfall of the Croatian reform movement. It grew into full stature twenty years later, in the time of Yugoslavia's breakup. However, the basic ideological and political tenets were formed during the period covered by this thesis.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hrvatska politička emigracija, hrvatski reformni pokret, ideja o hrvatskom miru, Vjekoslav Luburić, Jakša Kušan, SSSR, Branimir Jelić, akcija Feniks 72, Hrvatsko narodno vijeće, Bruno Bušić, Hrvatski književni list, Hrvatska revija
Subjects: History
Departments: Department of History
Supervisor: Banac, Ivo
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij moderne i suvremene hrvatske povijesti u europskom i svjetskom kontekstu
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2016 11:31
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2016 11:31

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item