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Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia, 1918-1945


Mark Biondich a
a
Department of Justice Canada, Ottawa

Online Publication Date: 01 June 2007

To cite this Article Biondich, Mark(2007)'Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia, 1918-1945',Totalitarian Movements and Political
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Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions,
Vol. 8, No. 2, 383–399, June 2007

Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia,


1918–19451

MARK BIONDICH
Department of Justice Canada, Ottawa
MarkBiondich
Totalitarian
1469-0764
Original
Taylor
8202007
mbiondic@justice.gc.ca
000002007
& Article
10.1080/14690760701321346
FTMP_A_232030.sgm
andFrancis
(print)/1743-9647
Movements
Francis Ltd and Political
(online)Religions

Since it was first coined in 1924, the term ‘clerico-fascist’ has gained wide
currency in political and scholarly discourse in reference to Catholic support for
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fascism.2 The term has eluded an exact definition, is often employed with consid-
erable imprecision and, much like fascism, remains open to critical interpretation.
Is ‘clerical fascism’ (or ‘clerico-fascism’) a subspecies of clericalism, or was it a
peculiar form of fascism, which encompassed a number of dissimilar movements
across interwar Europe? Indeed, at what point – if at all – did interwar clericalism
become fascist and cease being essentially a conservative political ideology? How
are we to distinguish between clericalist movements that developed fascist
tendencies and evolved into ‘clerico-fascist’ movements, and genuine fascist
movements that simply attracted Catholic support and were thus labelled by
association ‘clerico-fascist’? Was there even a meaningful difference? In East
Central Europe, Slovakia, Romania and Croatia are commonly cited as typical
examples of the ‘clerico-fascist’ phenomenon. In the Croatian case, there appears
to be broad consensus that the Ustaša movement was a representative exemplar
o
acsrn
[]

of ‘clerico-fascism’.3
This article will attempt to address some of the issues associated with Catholic
clericalism in interwar Croatia. It makes the case that clericalism – or radical
Catholicism, the preferred term of its contemporary proponents – was quite
distinct from Croatia’s fascist Ustaša movement. Although there is a tendency in
o
acsrn
[]

the literature to see the Ustaše as rabid ‘clerico-fascists’, the Ustaša movement
o
acsrn
[] o
acsrn
[]

was a secular, nationalist movement which, from 1941 to 1945, attempted to


mobilise Catholic support for its own political purposes and very survival. It
enlisted and indeed co-opted the Catholic movement, which had dissimilar ante-
cedents and possessed a different social constituency. In the late interwar period,
the proponents of radical Catholicism articulated a distinct ideology that was
nevertheless closely related to the one espoused by Ante Pavelic´’s Ustaše. During
cau
[e]t o
acsrn
[]

the Second World War, however, they cast their lot with Pavelic´’s regime. cau
[e]t

Croat Catholic Clericalism in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,


1918–1929
Organised political Catholicism in Croatia originated in the late Habsburg period.4
The seminal event came in March 1913, with the formation of the Croat Catholic
Seniory (Seniorat). The Seniory was an association of Catholic intellectuals and

ISSN 1469-0764 Print/ISSN 1743-9647 Online/07/020383-17 © 2007 Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/14690760701321346
384 M. Biondich

elders, drawn principally from Croat Catholic academic clubs (e.g. Hrvatska,
Domagoj) and theological associations (e.g. Akvinac, Bakula).5 It served as the Cath-
olic movement’s executive branch, gave it ideological guidance and oversaw the
organisation of Catholic lay societies. It was only in November 1918, during the
last days of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, that the Seniory determined to
establish a political party. This occurred in May 1919, with the formation of the
Croat People’s Party [Hrvatska puč ka stranka, HPS].6 It was not until June 1920,
o
acrn
[]

however, that the ‘Populists’ [puč kaši], as they were commonly known, succeeded
oacn
r[] o
acsrn
[]

in forming a centralised party organisation; at that point, they consolidated, under


a Supreme Council, the heterogeneous regional party councils of pre-war Croatia-
Slavonia, Dalmatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.7 Thus was born the first modern
Catholic political party in Croatia.
The Populists were strongest in Dalmatia, where they attracted some promi-
nent intellectuals, clergy, peasants and landless agricultural labourers, in addi-
tion to recruiting amongst the Catholic peasants of Backa province, i.e. the
Bunjevci and Šokci. Yet they never managed to make serious inroads among
S[oacn
r]

Catholic Croats in pre-war Croatia-Slavonia or Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is


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because, with the formation in December 1918 of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats
and Slovenes (Yugoslavia),8 Croatian politics coalesced around the issue of
opposition to Serbian centralism. Stjepan Radic´’s Croat Peasant Party [Hrvatska
cau
[e]t

seljač ka stranka, HSS] became the dominant political force in interwar Croatia,
oacn
r[]

represented the mainstream variant of Croat nationalism and led the resistance
to Serbian state centralism.9 The other Croat parties, namely, the Croat Union
[Hrvatska zajednica] and Croat Party of Right [Hrvatska stranka prava], were
quickly marginalised. While the Croat Union represented Croatia’s nascent
middle class and intellectual elite, and the historicist Croat Party of Right of Ante
Pavelic´ the lower middle class and nationalist intelligentsia, the HSS everywhere
cau
[e]t

captured the peasant vote. This left the Populists in a rather precarious position,
as a result of which they were compelled, in the 1920s, to follow the political lead
of Anton Korošec’s Slovene People’s Party, a Catholic party with a mass follow-
o
acsrn
[]

ing in Slovenia. In the November 1920 elections to the Constituent Assembly, the
Croat Populists gained nine seats, but were decimated in the 1923 and 1925
parliamentary elections; in the 1927 elections – the last before the imposition of
the royal dictatorship – they won only one seat in parliament and gained 2% of
the popular vote in Croatia. The Croat Populists thus remained on the margins
of Croatian politics.10

Croat Catholicism and Yugoslavism


The Croat Populists supported the creation of Yugoslavia even as they
resisted state centralism as implemented by the National Radical Party and the
Democratic Party, the two leading parties of the 1920s. The National Radicals
were a Great Serbian party who supported state centralism as the best way of
preserving the recently obtained unity of all Serbs. The Democrats, on the other
hand, attracted Serb, Croat and Slovene supporters, and espoused the theory of
narodno jedinstvo [national oneness], according to which these peoples were
‘tribes’ of the trinomial Yugoslav nation. Together the National Radicals and
Democrats successfully promulgated the Vidovdan Constitution (June 1921),
which enshrined a highly centralised state system on the logic of Yugoslavist
unitarism. The Croat Populists’ Yugoslavism was not of the integral variety.
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 385

While acknowledging the validity of narodno jedinstvo in principle, the Croat


Populists denied its unitarist implications. They supported the gradual elimina-
tion of existing ‘tribal’, confessional and historical differences between ‘individual
parts of the trinomial nation’. In the interests of the new Yugoslav state as well as
communal peace and tolerance, they supported the maintenance of historical
frontiers. Unity should not be imposed from above, they argued, for if the process
of Yugoslav state-building were forced it would invariably fail by inciting resent-
ment. That is why the Populists held that the strict centralisation ‘of all branches
of administration is wrong and detrimental and harmful to the state’. The historic
provinces should ‘maintain their self-administration and regional councils should
be formed, which will provide initiatives to governments and supervise their
work’.11 Accordingly, the Croat Populists supported the continued existence of
local and regional autonomies, in light of the extensive cultural and socio-
economic incongruities of the new state.12
The Populists opposed the federalisation of the new Yugoslav state, however.
They believed that federalism would necessitate a precise demarcation of territo-
ries between the Croat and Serb ‘tribes’, but since this was impossible in many
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areas, they feared that the dominant Serb ‘tribe’ would affect a federal model to
its territorial advantage. In short, the Populists’ opposition to state centralism
was rooted in Yugoslavist ideology and opposition to Great Serbian hegemony.
Their support for narodno jedinstvo reflected the popularity of Yugoslavism in
Croat intellectual and middle class circles at that time.13 The Catholic episcopacy
had also endorsed the new state, believing that Catholic Croats and Slovenes
would have a greater role in Yugoslavia than had been their lot under the Dual
Monarchy.14 The Populists even proposed that the state be named ‘Yugoslavia’
rather than the ‘Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes’,15 lest the official state
nomenclature exacerbate ‘tribal’ conflict.16 This is why the Croat Populists,
together with their mentor, the politically stronger and more influential Slovene
People’s Party, pursued an autonomist platform that placed them in the ranks of
the soft opposition to state centralism. In effect, they occupied a middle ground
between the Serb proponents of state centralism (National Radicals, Democrats)
and the predominantly federalist Croat hard opposition (HSS, Croat Party of
Right). As Serb–Croat relations deteriorated, the Populists increasingly blamed
Great Serbian policy, which antagonised non-Serbs and ensured the popularity of
the hard opposition such as Radic´’s Croat peasant movement.17 In this regard,
cau
[e]t

the Populists were opposed to both the Great Serbian and Great Croatian
programmes; they insisted on the equality of all three ‘tribes’ and two Christian
religions; namely Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.

Corporatism and Christian Socialism


On social and economic issues the Populists advocated a centrist policy, but their
rhetoric was noticeably anti-Communist and anti-liberal. Aware of the impor-
tance of the social question, the Populists rejected class warfare in principle as
detrimental to the national community. Among their stated objectives were the
promotion of class cooperation and social harmony and protection of private
property and personal liberties. They supported an extensive land reform, but
one in which the existing landed elite – including the Catholic Church – would be
compensated by the state rather than by peasants. The peasantry and landless
agricultural labourers would then pool their resources through cooperatives and,
386 M. Biondich

with the assistance of the state, be in a position to determine their own social and
economic future.18
The Populists were, in essence, Christian Socialists, and even their party organ-
isation reflected this character. The Croat People’s Party was a synthesis not so
much of regional entities as it was of social corporations (or curias); peasants,
workers and the bourgeoisie/townsfolk each had a distinct place within the
party. It advocated a system in which social groups would organise into social
chambers (or corporations) that would serve as vehicles through which these
groups could have their concerns addressed.19 It proposed the formation of a
bicameral legislature, with one chamber for political issues and the other for
socio-economic matters. The party advocated the creation of staleške komore [estate
oacn
rs[]

chambers] for peasants, workers, crafts and trades workers, merchants, industri-
alists, clerical workers (the civil service) and others, which would provide each
estate with its own forum to address issues germane to that group. These cham-
bers would then propose, to the state-level, economic chamber legislation rele-
vant to that group.20 This was, in short, a corporatist model.
The Populists hoped to fill the void between the extremes of communism and
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liberal capitalism. At their October 1920 congress they proclaimed their support
for ‘peasant democracy’, cautioned against the dangers of liberalism and unfet-
tered capitalism, and railed against the perils of communism. However, their
political philosophy remained rooted in Christian principles, which they hoped to
incorporate into civic life. The Populists supported the creation of a Christian
peasant state, on the simple premise that most people in the new state were both
peasants and practising Christians. They also supported a ‘positive’ Christian
world view and ‘Christian justice and love’. All social and political movements
had to be instituted on ‘a religious-moral foundation’, for it was inconceivable to
them that there could be a secular morality. 21 Were Christian principles adopted
in civic life, they would gradually transform society, putting an end to corruption,
deceit, exploitation of the common people, and rivalries between different ethno-
religious communities.22 The Populists thus presented themselves as a party of
the poor – especially of the peasant and worker – which was opposed to the
abuses of liberal capitalism and evils of communism. Politics could not be
divorced from a Christian spirit, ‘because it is the only spirit of truth, justice and
honesty’.23 The application of Christian principles, coupled with state decentrali-
sation and regional autonomy, would bring meaningful reform across political,
social and economic relations. A Christian social state would facilitate improved
social relations and dilute class tensions. All social groups, organised along social-
class lines, would have a voice in their autonomous regions and, at the national
level, in an economic chamber or parliament where their concerns would be
addressed. This autonomist and Christian social programme, the Populists main-
tained, would reduce if not eliminate ‘tribal’ tensions, social ills and the evils of
corruption and deceit.
The Populists’ programme set them apart from the Croatian political main-
stream. For the liberal intelligentsia of the Croat Union, the Populists’ were a cler-
icalist clique. For the HSS, which had a long tradition of anti-clericalism, the
Populists’ supposedly perfunctory commitment to peasant democracy and their
autonomist nationalist platform were their central flaws. For the integral national-
ists of Ante Pavelic´’s Croat Party of Right, the Populists were simply too ‘soft’ on
cau
[e]t

the national question. The Croat Party of Right which, in the 1930s, was trans-
muted into the Ustaša Party, believed that it was engaged in a struggle against a
o
acsrn
[]
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 387

Great Serbian policy ‘which with unbending consistency is working to destroy


Croatdom’,24 and acted as the vanguard of an uncompromising struggle against
Serbian centralism.25 When, in August 1921, the HSS, the Croat Union and Croat
Party of Right – the three Croat national parties in pre-war Croatia-Slavonia –
formed the ‘Croat Bloc’, under the aegis of Stjepan Radic´ in order to present a cau
[e]t

common Croat front against Belgrade, the Populists stood on the sidelines. They
attacked the Croat Bloc and Radic´ not only for exacerbating tensions within the
cau
[e]t

new state, but also because they believed that Radic´ was an amoral demagogue cau
[e]t

whose anti-clericalist rhetoric was leading the Croat masses and intelligentsia
astray. The Croat Bloc was ‘a checkered society which has given itself over to the
mercy and disgrace of Stjepan Radic´’.26 Radic´ was a morally destructive force,
cau
[e]t cau
[e]t

they felt, far more dangerous than any liberal party, who fomented hatred of the
clergy and ecclesiastical institutions, and undermined the faith of the masses.
The Croat Populists’ programme, encapsulated in the slogan ‘Croatdom, the
Cross and the Plow’, did not appeal to a significant segment of the Croat elector-
ate. During the 1920s their fortunes waned as Radic´’s HSS established itself as a cau
[e]t

Croat national movement. In the 1927 national elections the Populists managed to
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elect only one deputy, their party leader Stjepan Baric´. Following the June 1928 cau
[e]t

assassination of Radic´, the country entered a protracted political crisis from


cau
[e]t

which it would emerge over six months later, in January 1929, as a royal dictator-
ship. On 27 July 1928, a new government was formed in Belgrade under Anton
Korošec of the Slovene People’s Party. As a party ally, the Croat Populists joined
o
acsrn
[]

the government and Baric´ became Minister of Social Policy. Long committed to a
cau
[e]t

platform of Croat autonomy and constitutional reform, the Populists now found
themselves starkly at odds with Croat public opinion. Indeed, in late June 1928,
the Croat Peasant Party and its Croatian Serb ally, the Independent Democrats of
Svetozar Pribic´evic´, withdrew from Belgrade to Zagreb, from where they called
cau
[e]t cau
[e]t

for a major reform of the country’s political system. They were joined by Pavelic´’s cau
[e]t

Croat Party of Right and many of Radic´’s former Croat political opponents incau
[e]t

what amounted to a show of Croat and Croatian Serb political solidarity against
Belgrade. The Populists’ participation in a Belgrade government after June 1928
proved both embarrassing and costly, leading to the departure of some of their
most prominent figures, like Msgr Don Frane Bulič, who refused to associate with o
acrn
[]

them any longer. The feeble Korošec cabinet would resign in December 1928. On
o
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[]

6 January 1929, King Aleksandar Karadordevic´ proclaimed the imposition of a


o
d
rk[t]s o
d
rk[t]s cau
[e]t

royal dictatorship.

Radical Catholicism, the Crusaders and the Shift to the Right, 1929–1941
The year 1929 marked a watershed in Yugoslavia’s history. The imposition of the
royal dictatorship ended Yugoslavia’s democratic experiment.27 Unlike the HSS,
which retained and even enhanced its organizational structures in the 1930s, the
Populists never recovered politically. The Catholic movement now consisted of
Catholic Action, youth organisations, academic societies like Domagoj (the locus of
the Seniory) and several periodicals; it was a heterogeneous and politically divided
movement. Nonetheless, an important shift occurred after 1929. Many Croat
Catholic activists were more readily prepared to abandon democracy in favour of
a more assertive and authoritarian policy. After all, democracy in Yugoslavia had
failed and had not brought about the Catholic movement’s ascendancy. Many of
the Catholic students who came to maturity in the late 1920s and 1930s had
388 M. Biondich

experienced only dysfunctional parliamentary democracy or dictatorship, as a


result of which their own commitment to democracy was frail. What is more, the
Yugoslav dictatorship (1929–34, but really to 1939) was, to all appearances, Serbian
Orthodox and thus inimical to Catholic and Croat interests. Catholics in Fascist
Italy and Nazi Germany might, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, accommodate
themselves to these regimes, in the interests of the nation and with the blessing of
the Vatican, but this was impossible in Yugoslavia. There was no Concordat
between the Vatican and Belgrade and therefore no tacit or overt blessing on the
part of the former to submit to the latter.28 Nor could Croat Catholics, after the
experiences of the 1920s and the subsequent royal dictatorship, readily accommo-
date themselves to a Yugoslav state that seemed to them to be working for Serb
national and Orthodox religious supremacy.

The Crusaders
It was within this context that the Catholic movement developed its local organi-
sations, particularly its student wing, into a potent force at the same time as it was
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marginalised as a national political party. The most successful initiative under-


taken by the movement was its youth group which, at its peak in 1938, had an
estimated following of 40,000.29 Catholic youth mobilisation took two successive
organisational forms in the interwar era: from 1923 to 1929, the Hrvatski orlovski
savez [Croat Eagles’ Union]; and its successor in all but name, the Veliko križarsko
n
ora]cz[

bratstvo i sestrinstvo [Great Crusader Fraternity and Sorority] from 1931 to 1945.
Although both organisations claimed to be apolitical, their mission was to
confront the threat posed by liberalism, communism and Great Serbianism with a
radical brand of redemptive Catholic ideology. As such, they were anything but
apolitical.
The Eagles were a response to Pope Pius XI’s (1922–39) encyclical of 1922, Ubi
arcano, which gave added impetus to Catholic Action, the purpose of which was
the renewal of Catholic life, securing the status of the church and enacting
moral-religious principles in civic life. Although a lay movement, the clergy was
also involved and the church hierarchy exercised considerable influence.30 The
Eagles’ leader, Ivo Protulipac, and their chief ideologue, Ivan Merz, both long-
time members of the Seniory, hoped to nurture a new generation of Croat Catho-
lics, through religious instruction, group solidarity and physical discipline,
which would spearhead Catholicism’s victory over both liberalism and commu-
nism in Croatia. To that end, the Eagles adopted an elaborate methodology,
structure, outward trappings (including uniforms, emblems, flags and songs),
slogans (‘Sacrifice, Eucharist, Apostolate’) and a salutation (‘God lives!’), to
manifest their integral and radical Catholicism.31 Indeed, ‘radical Catholicism’
was a favourite term of the movement, which Protulipac interpreted as a public
and engaged profession of the faith; a way of infusing civic life with Catholic
values.32 The religious moment was, from the beginning, more important than
the national in the Eagles’ programme. Throughout the 1920s, their stated objec-
tive was the ‘re-Christianisation’ of public life rather than national autonomy.
The Eagles were required to live strictly religious lives and to publicly profess
their faith as a way of restoring religion to public life; they did this through vari-
ous public manifestations, including group exercises and marches, which were
also designed to instil the bond of community and a sense of belonging to the
nation.33
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 389

The royal dictatorship reconfigured the political landscape, however. All parties,
the party-affiliated press and any organisations based on ‘tribal’, religious or
regional affiliations were banned. This even extended to gymnastic organisations,
which were replaced by an officially sanctioned ‘Falcon of the Kingdom of Yugo-
slavia’ that disseminated an ideology of integral Yugoslavism.34 By 1931 the Eagles
were reconstituted as the Crusaders, now registered under the auspices of
the Catholic Church, albeit still under the control of lay activists. The charismatic
and authoritarian Protulipac, who served a brief stint in prison, was again First
Secretary, assisted by several veterans of the Catholic movement, like Ivan Merz,
Avelin Čepulic´, Milan Beluhan, Ivan Or šanic´, Dušan Ž anko and others.35 Despite
C
[o
acrn] cau
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[] cau
[e]t o
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[] Z
[o
acrn]

far greater state supervision after 1931, Protulipac’s Crusader organisation rebuilt
itself into an austere hierarchical association that retained a corporatist structure of
class-based units. The mission remained the same: to reshape society by producing
a new generation of Catholic youth through indoctrination in the liturgy and faith,
in Croatian history, and in Catholic social teaching. The pedagogical role of the
Crusaders was instrumental, since the vast majority of its membership (such as
peasants and workers) had only a primary education.36 Their educational activities
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included discussions of social issues – typically in the form of lectures on the perils
of communism to family, religion and society. The membership was also trained
to be active, to defend the faith and conquer the faithless. One Crusader, pointing
to the dangers of Communism, issued an impassioned plea to the membership: ‘Be
Crusaders, that is, defenders and conquerors!’.37
Because most public manifestations were proscribed by the dictatorship, at
least until the 1935 elections, Crusader activities in the early 1930s were largely
private and affiliated with local parishes. Weekly meetings and lectures were
designed to create committed and active Catholics, to enlighten them about
current social issues, as well as to develop their confidence and public-speaking
skills, all of which served to encourage the membership to defend Catholic ideas
against their opponents. Charitable projects were undertaken, such as ‘Christmas
Action’ and ‘Easter Action’, used to distribute food and clothing to poor workers,
in an attempt to recruit working class Catholics, deemed most susceptible to
communist propaganda.38 As the dictatorship’s grip loosened after 1935, public
manifestations were increasingly common: uniformed parades, public rallies
during major Catholic holidays, collective communion; all of these served to keep
the Crusaders in the public eye as guardians of Catholicism and the Croat
national community.

State, Nation and the National Question


In the course of the 1930s, the nationalist component became far more pronounced
in the Crusaders’ ideology. Their nationalism was no longer merely of the auton-
omist variety: Yugoslavism was completely abandoned. The Crusaders adopted
an integral Great Croatian ideology, which envisaged Croatia not just as pre-war
Croatia-Slavonia (with Srijem) and Dalmatia, but also as Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Backa. The Crusaders reached into all these regions, with the objective of solidify-
ing a Catholic identity and Croat national consciousness. The earlier ties to the
Slovene Catholic movement also virtually disappeared, as the Crusaders sought
to separate their membership from Yugoslavist and non-Croat influences.39 As a
state, ‘Yugoslavia’ was rarely mentioned in Crusader publications, nor was there
much discussion of non-Catholic citizens, whether Serbian Orthodox or Bosnian
390 M. Biondich

Muslim. Instead, the emphasis was always on the ‘homeland’, understood as


(Greater) Croatia and its history, represented through symbols and narratives
commemorating medieval Croatian monarchs and Croatia’s relations with the
Papacy. The Crusaders’ slogan of ‘God, Church, Homeland’, blended radical
Catholicism and integral Croat nationalism.
The Crusaders were invariably drawn into contemporary politics and debates
surrounding the vexed national question in Yugoslavia. But where were the
Crusaders and the Catholic movement to turn: to the HSS of Vladko Maček, who o
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[]

succeeded Radic´ in August 1928; or to the émigré nationalists of Ante Pavelic´,


cau
[e]t cau
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who founded the Ustaša movement in 1930 and carried on the cause of Croat inde-
o
acsrn
[]

pendence from Fascist Italy? Could the Crusaders’ nationalism be accommodated


within Yugoslavia, a course essentially pursued by Maček, or was complete inde-
o
acrn
[]

pendence the logical course, as dictated by their programme of militant Catholi-


cism and integral Croat nationalism? Protulipac courted Maček and the HSS, o
acrn
[]

which became more conservative and less anti-clericalist in the 1930s. Protulipac’s
policy was resisted by many Crusaders and Seniory, whose long-standing antipa-
thy to the HSS ran deep, and eventually caused a schism within the Catholic
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movement. In 1933 Ivan Oršanic´, Kerubin Š egvic´ and several other prominent
o
acsrn
[] cau
[e]t So
ac[rn] cau
[e]t

intellectuals associated with the Crusaders left the organisation and affiliated
themselves with a nationalist periodical, Hrvatska smotra [Croatian Review, 1933–
45]. Beginning in 1935, they launched a concerted campaign against Maček, whom o
acrn
[]

they believed to be committed to Yugoslavia.40 By the late 1930s, these former


Catholic intellectuals had virtually become sworn Ustaše to a man; they believed o
acsrn
[]

that the HSS’s policy was not leading in the direction of an independent state, and
that the Ustaše were therefore the logical (and only) choice.41 They also
o
acsrn
[]

believed that, given Croatia’s political circumstances, only an authoritarian


system would facilitate the national unity needed to achieve independence.42
This political factionalism within the Crusader organisation prompted the
Catholic episcopacy to intervene. In 1936 Protulipac had been appointed head of
Catholic Action, theoretically the umbrella organisation of all lay Catholic
groups, although he was dismissed two years later due to internal opposition.
The Catholic bishops were troubled both by Protulipac’s charismatic persona and
the growing factionalism within the Catholic movement.43 Protulipac’s ousting
led to the formation of a supposedly politically neutral Catholic Action, now
dominated by the Seniory and more loyal to Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac. The
episcopacy’s concerted purge of Catholic Action, the Crusaders, and Catholic
press, did not, however, stem the movement’s growing politicisation or its move-
ment to the right.44
Such an ideological shift coincided with the political crisis surrounding ratifica-
tion of the Concordat. The Catholic Church had supported the Yugoslav state in
the early 1920s, but differences between the church and the Yugoslav state began
to set in, first over education and land reform; then, perhaps more importantly,
over the Concordat. The Yugoslav authorities generally suspected the church of
being insufficiently loyal to the new state. Distrust grew on both sides. The single
most contentious issue was the abortive Concordat. Negotiations were initiated in
1922, but a draft agreement was concluded only in 1935. Despite the fact that the
full terms of the Concordat were never publicly disclosed, the Serbian Orthodox
Church launched an attack on the government of Milan Stojadinovic´ (1935–39), cau
[e]t

accusing it of favouring the Catholic Church. When Stojadinovic´ submitted the cau
[e]t

Concordat to Parliament in the summer of 1937, an acrimonious debate and


Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 391

serious political crisis ensued. The Serbian Orthodox Church led a public
campaign against ratification, including street demonstrations that occasionally
became violent, eventually compelling the government to withdraw the Concor-
dat from further deliberation.45 Although the Catholic episcopacy remained rela-
tively silent during the acrimonious debate, there is little doubt that it believed,
more than ever, that it was in a disadvantageous position in Yugoslavia. In May
1938, the Croatian Catholic Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter expressing their deep
disappointment over the government’s failure to ratify the Concordat, as well as
listing some of the alleged injustices suffered by the church.46
The 1937 crisis fuelled the Catholic movement’s belief that Catholic and Croat
interests could not be accommodated within Yugoslavia. While some within the
Catholic movement were still prepared to support the HSS, both the radical
youths and intellectuals rejected this course as feeble and ineffective.47 The
Spanish Civil War further served to unify them and the heterogeneous Croatian
political right, which together used that conflict to attack the HSS’s passivity and
commitment to democracy. For the Croat nationalist right, democracy was no
longer viewed as a viable option in societies like Spain or Croatia; ‘authoritative’
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solutions on a corporatist model were seen as the only practicable course. The
Catholic intellectual Ivo Bogdan would note in 1937 that Spain was a typical exam-
ple of the failure of liberal democracy to address not only the national question,
but other pressing social and political problems as well.48 Bogdan echoed the
mood of the younger generation of the Catholic youth and intelligentsia: a tren-
chant critique of both capitalism and the shallowness of what many pejoratively
called ‘formal democratism’, which supposedly lacked spirituality and meaning.49
Many Catholic publications increasingly expressed their sympathies for authori-
tarian regimes on the right, hailed the anti-communism and militant patriotism of
the nationalists in Spain, and saw in the Spanish example the potential for using
Axis support to achieve Croatian independence. Between 1936 and 1939, main-
stream democrats in Croatia, under the leadership of Vladko Maček, were assailed
o
acrn
[]

for their supposedly futile policy of neutrality, pacifism and negotiation.50


In weighing the political options of the day, a significant segment of the
Catholic movement made the choice for independence and an authoritarian polit-
ical system. They also rejected the HSS’s socio-economic model and liberal capi-
talism as an ideology, moving closer to the fascist model of social corporatism and
economic autarky. They discarded the HSS’s social programme – with its empha-
sis on the peasantry to the exclusion of other social groups in Croatia – as redun-
dant and weakening the Croat national front. It also failed to address the
problems of liberal capitalist society. Catholic intellectuals were in accord in their
view that corporatism was the most appropriate model, although they did not
necessarily believe that the Italian example, with its glorification of state power,
was entirely successful. Christian corporatism was supposedly different and
would succeed where the fascist model had failed.51
The Catholic intelligentsia’s views on nationality and identity in Great Croatia
most ascetically demonstrate the degree to which their thinking had radicalised.
The Catholic intelligentsia’s integral Croat nationalism of the 1930s profoundly
shaped their treatment of Serb and Bosnian Muslim identities, just as it was
reflected in a more pronounced antisemitism.52 The Ustaša movement denied the
o
acsrn
[]

existence of Serb and Bosnian Muslim peoples in Great Croatia, on the premise
that there could only be one historic political nation on the territory of Great
Croatia. In reality, however, Ustaša national ideology vacillated between
o
acsrn
[]
392 M. Biondich

exclusionist and assimilationist tendencies with the former – which accepted only
the Catholic and Muslim populations as ‘Croat’ – being the stronger of the two.
The Catholic intelligentsia came around to a similar view; namely, the Orthodox
of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were not Serbs at all but ‘Croats’ who had
adopted a Serb consciousness in the late nineteenth century on account of their
religious affiliation and the ‘nationalising’ work of the Serbian Orthodox
Church.53 The theory originated in the belief that the Orthodox of Great Croatia
were descended from the native, pre-Ottoman Catholic (and thus supposedly
Croat) population which had converted to Orthodoxy under Ottoman rule. This
was comprehensively articulated in several works, particularly those of Ivo Pilar
and Krunoslav Draganovic´.54 For the Catholic intelligentsia, Orthodoxy in the
cau
[e]t

Western Balkans was increasingly viewed as an agent of Great Serbian ideology.


When Pilar suggested that ‘Serbdom’ was an imperialist programme and ideol-
ogy in which religion and nationality were inseparable, he was one of the first
intellectuals in Croatia to suggest that the ‘South Slav Question’ was in essence a
religious question. Superficially at least, this may not have seemed like a radical
departure from their earlier position – after all, they had previously claimed that
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Croats and Serbs were ‘tribes’ of the same people, and now that the Orthodox
were simply ‘Croats’ rather than ‘Yugoslavs’ – but in actual fact, it was a serious
digression which betrayed a far less tolerant and inclusive position on the ques-
tions of nation and identity.
Although the Catholic movement desired independence, it maintained
certain reservations about Nazism and Fascism. For the Catholic intelligentsia
the Catholic Church, rather than Nazism or Fascism, was the only bulwark
against Communism. When Ivan Oršanic´ wrote of the Bolshevik Revolution
o
acsrn
[] cau
[e]t

and its assault against ‘cultured Europe’, he saw Europe’s salvation not in
Nazism or Fascism, but in the tenets of Catholicism.55 Another Catholic intellec-
tual, Don Ivo Guberina, writing about the German invasion of Poland in 1939,
saw the Polish defeat as a Catholic tragedy: ‘The responsibility for this [tragedy]
lies in the very system of National Socialism, towards which we as Catholics
have and must have our reservations’.56 A series of Catholic editorials in 1938–
39 dismissed Nazi racial theories as unscientific and morally ‘completely
wrong’, cautioned against ‘the danger of false theories about race and blood’
and noted that the Church ‘categorically condemns the National Socialist world
view’.57 The Francophile Catholic intellectual, Krsto Spalatin, writing about the
defeat of Catholic France in 1940, pondered whether democracy, moral bank-
ruptcy, ‘unbridled individualism’ or a combination of these factors was to
blame.

In the chaos of contemporary life, in the confusion and conflict of political


interests, it was hitherto difficult, and remains difficult today, to discern
the new order, the new world. Daily we listen to some sonorous declara-
tions about the new order, about the new Europe. The certain collapse of
capitalism and egotistical individualism is opined, but it is in no way
clear, how a new world will be built on these ruins. Both sides [Fascism
and Communism] are destroying the old and promising something new.
Both refer to the principles of justice, freedom and order. As if we are
going at once to cross over from the chaotic present to a better, to an
ordered future. As if a new political arrangement of the world will bring
also a new man. This is, regrettably, a facile illusion.
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 393

Where Spalatin and many like him saw salvation, for France and Europe, was in
the Catholic Church. Vichy France was now ‘seeking new paths to Christianity.
Besides materialism, which has found its perfected form in Marxism, there is no
other platform on which a new world could be built … we have only Christ and
Marx’. Family, Fatherland and God were the only viable principles of any new
order.58 Spalatin’s and Guberina’s words reveal serious misgivings, feelings
shared by many intellectuals of the Catholic persuasion about the Nazi New
Order. They rejected Nazism’s atheism, its cult of the racially pure Übermensch,
and its cult of the secular state. What blinded them to the perils of Nazism was
their conviction that Axis support was the sine qua non of Croatian independence.

Radical Catholicism, the Ustaše and the Independent State of Croatia,


oan
rcs][

1941–1945
It is perhaps not surprising, then, that during the Second World War a sizeable
segment of Croat Catholic clergy and laity sided – some openly and others with
several qualms – with the Ustaša regime. In the heady days of April 1941, when
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o
acsrn
[]

the Croatian state was born as a result of Axis invasion, many Catholic activists
saw Ante Pavelic´ as ‘the hero of the day’ and ‘the avenger of a martyred past’.59
cau
[e]t

Oršanic´ became head of the Ustaša Youth, while Guberina and Milivoj Magdic´
o
acsrn
[] cau
[e]t o
acsrn
[] cau
[e]t

became propagandists and leading apologists for the Ustaša regime. Despite their o
acsrn
[]

reservations, most Catholic intellectuals undeniably preferred a Catholic Croatian


State to a Great Serbian Yugoslavia. From 1941 to 1945 the Catholic movement
largely committed itself to Croatian statehood.
The interwar nationalism and growing radicalism of the Catholic movement in
Croatia invariably led to this outcome. This has led to allegations, particularly in
Communist historiography, that the Ustaša movement and state had the backing o
acsrn
[]

of a majority of the Catholic clergy and hierarchy, which was itself held complicit
in the Croatian government’s wartime atrocities and genocidal policies.60
The reality was far more complex. The Church episcopacy, led by Archbishop
Alojzije Stepinac of Zagreb, was increasingly troubled by the Ustaša regime, o
acsrn
[]

which over time increasingly flouted Church prerogatives.61 The Ustaša state, o
acsrn
[]

rather than the church, conducted forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs to


Catholicism with little regard for church prerogatives; it persecuted Catholicised
Serbs and Jews despite repeated Church interventions, and it ignored Stepinac’s
pleas for moderation. The wartime experience only confirmed the interwar
trajectory of the fragmented Catholic movement and its relationship to fascism.
Moreover, the Catholic movement’s divisions were all too apparent during the
war. The episcopacy split on the question of collaboration, with Stepinac increas-
ingly opposed to the Ustaša regime (even as he hoped the Croat state would
o
acsrn
[]

survive the war), and Archbishop Ivan Š aric´ of Sarajevo supportive of it, while
So
ac[rn] cau
[e]t

the other bishops followed their lead depending on their personal convictions
and local circumstances. The church and Catholic movement were also torn by
generational and regional fissures. The younger generation of radical Catholics,
particularly those reared in the Crusader organisation, supported the Ustaša o
acsrn
[]

regime with considerable enthusiasm, while the older generation of Croat


Populists was more reserved and in some cases overtly hostile. Catholic support
for the regime also varied according to region: support was strong in Bosnia and
Herzegovina (more so in the latter province), where national identity had devel-
oped late, religious sentiment was still relatively strong and the Croat Catholic
394 M. Biondich

element felt weak vis-à-vis Serbs; it was weak in Dalmatia, which suffered as a
result of Italian occupation; and it was divided in Croatia proper. Support also
varied depending on religious order (such as Franciscans, Jesuits, and so on).
These fissures often overlapped, creating a far more complex picture than is
painted in the existing literature.

Conclusions
What conclusions may we draw, then, about radical Catholicism and fascism in
Croatia? Native fascism in Croatia did not result from a structural crisis of soci-
ety – the weakness of the bourgeoisie and liberal ideology, rapid social change,
or fear of communist revolution – but was a by-product of the nationalist strug-
gles arising from Yugoslavia’s vexing and increasingly acrimonious national
question. Pavelic´’s group deliberately modelled itself on Italian fascism, hoping
cau
[e]t

to utilise Italian sponsorship and Croat popular opposition to the Belgrade


regime in order to achieve independence; by 1941, the Ustaše were completely
o
acsrn
[]

‘fascistised.’ Radical Catholics also increasingly opted for more authoritarian


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models, whilst retaining (unlike the Ustaše) certain reservations about both
o
acsrn
[]

Fascism and Nazism. It is important to remember that they originally belonged


to the moderate, Yugoslavist political centre; nationalism and the national ques-
tion facilitated their path to the radical right. Nevertheless, the ideological and
political transformation of clericalism in Croatia, from moderate centrism to a
movement of the radical right, is less well understood than the wartime history
of collaboration.
In the 1920s, Croatia’s clericalists, represented by the Croat People’s Party,
Catholic Action and affiliated youth groups, were politically quite distinct from
the Croat Party of Right, the progenitor of the Ustaša movement. The Catholic
o
acsrn
[]

movement was always heterogeneous, politically weak and divided on many


political issues – even as it migrated to the radical right. Although the Catholic
episcopacy was the movement’s centre of gravity, the laity – the Seniory,
Crusaders – operated independently and was far more radical than the bishops,
who eschewed this radicalism. This makes it difficult to ascribe a uniform ideol-
ogy to the Catholic movement, let alone one that can be termed ‘clerico-fascist’.
Nor did the Catholic movement ever become a mass movement, the popularity
of the Crusaders notwithstanding. Unlike Romania, where the agrarians were
co-opted by the ruling elites who together provided ‘clerical fascists’ in the Iron
Guard with a large and frustrated social constituency; in Croatia, both the cleri-
calists and Ustaše generally remained on the social margins as a result of the
o
acsrn
[]

Croat Peasant Party’s continued dominance.


It may be tempting to conclude that the Crusaders were ‘clerico-fascist’ because
of their methods and style. However, apart from their radical Catholicism they
were not remarkably dissimilar to other Croat, Serb and Yugoslavist nationalist
youth organisations in interwar Yugoslavia. In terms of form and modus operandi,
if not necessarily content, the Crusaders did not represent a radical departure,
even within the Yugoslav context. To apply the ‘clerico-fascist’ label to that organ-
isation simply because of its accoutrements thus seems rather problematic. Nor
was there a truly charismatic leader who dominated the movement, one who
embodied its ideals and spirit, and around whom the movement could coalesce.
Protulipac appeared to possess these attributes, but after his dismissal from
Catholic Action he ceased to be a serious political force.
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 395

That having been said, there is little doubt that Croat radical Catholicism
became more authoritarian and anti-democratic during the interwar period. Its
autonomist Yugoslavist platform gave way to integral Croat nationalism. Its
youth wing and the younger clergy, reared during a period of dysfunctional
democracy (1919–29) and dictatorship (1929–34/39), ceased having any mean-
ingful commitment to democracy. Unlike traditional conservatives, however,
they were not afraid to engage with the masses. On the contrary, it was
precisely their growing ideological militancy and efforts to recruit a mass move-
ment comprised mainly of youth, which ultimately gave radical Catholicism in
Croatia a ‘clerico-fascist’ tenor. The movement also became less tolerant and
inclusive of others; namely, Orthodox Serbs, Jews, and to a degree, even
Bosnian Muslims. Its mission for transforming society along Catholic lines
became linked to radical solutions of the Croat Question. The trajectory of Croat
radical Catholicism from political centrism to the radical right was mediated by
nationalism.
The role of nationalism was vital and needs to be further emphasised. After all,
both the Croat and Slovene Catholic movements had similar antecedents and
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drew on comparable inspirations from the Habsburg era. The influences of


Austrian Christian Socialism and Italian Populism were discernable in both, and
given their Yugoslavist orientation, Croat and Slovene Populists evolved in
tandem as political allies in the 1920s. However, nationalism proved to be the
decisive dynamic and this explains why, after 1929, Slovene and Croat clericalists
parted company. The Slovene clericalists concluded that, for reasons of national
interest, namely the threat posed by Italy and Germany to the Slovene lands,
Slovenes would be better served in Yugoslavia. The Croat clericalists, despite
certain ideological reservations, saw in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany potential
allies in the pursuit of independence. The ever-increasing importance of national-
ism took the Croat radical Catholics down a path quite different to their Slovene
counterparts. Thus, while the Slovene People’s Party continued to cooperate with
the authorities in Belgrade throughout the 1930s, the Croat Catholic movement
contributed to the centrifugal political tendencies in Croatia. This demonstrated
that nationalist principles outweighed religious considerations when political
interests were at stake.
The other area of ideological convergence between the Croat Catholic move-
ment and Ustaše/Italian Fascism was corporatism. In the 1920s, Croat Populists
o
acsrn
[]

adopted what was essentially a corporatist model as a way of regulating social


conflict and competing economic interests. Most Catholic intellectuals in Croatia
supported a hierarchical, organic view of social rights and obligations; each level
of society enjoyed rights and exercised duties commensurate with its station. The
interests of individuals and classes had to be subordinated to the good of the
community, which should be guided by the tenets of the Catholic Church.
Corporatism would supposedly ensure the harmonious collaboration of classes,
the neutralisation of socialism, and would insulate society against destructive
revolutionary forces. This model was never abandoned: the Populists’ Christian
social critique of the liberal capitalist system only intensified with the onset of the
Great Depression. In this respect, the Catholic movement’s socio-economic
programme remained basically conservative, although it showed ever greater
similarity to fascist models elsewhere. The Ustaše, too, would adopt a corporatist
o
acsrn
[]

model. Their early programmatic documents were not corporatist in nature, and
as the socio-economic programme of the movement was generally poorly
396 M. Biondich

developed. In the course of the 1930s, however, and largely in deference to their
Italian patrons, the Ustaše adapted the Italian Fascist model to Croatian condi-
o
acsrn
[]

tions. In the case of corporatism, as on the national question, there was an


unmistakeable convergence of views between the Ustaše and radical Catholics. o
acsrn
[]

In the final analysis, therefore, many of Croatia’s radical Catholics became


fascist fellow travellers rather than the genuine article. They undeniably
belonged to the East Central European radical right, but theirs was an abortive
movement which was, in the final analysis, co-opted by the Ustaša state, which o
acsrn
[]

had become truly fascist from 1941. The radical Catholics tried after 1941 to use
(but were themselves used by) the Ustaša movement to realise some of their most
o
acsrn
[]

basic objectives; namely, the affirmation of statehood and Catholic rejuvenation.


The nature of the wartime Ustaša state being what it was, this project was imme-
o
acsrn
[]

diately jeopardised and then dashed: the Communist insurgency was soon seen
as the far greater evil, and despite the reservations of many Catholics about the
Ustaša regime, they committed themselves to the preservation of Croatian state-
o
acsrn
[]

hood. This was perhaps the primary reason why there was no public condemna-
tion of the regime by the episcopacy; such a condemnation was seen as
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potentially detrimental to the fragile Croatian state and beneficial to its enemies,
be they Great Serbian royalists or Yugoslav Communists. Thus, several promi-
nent Catholic figures either joined the Ustaša regime or passively tolerated its
o
acsrn
[]

policies. Some members of the Catholic episcopacy, like Archbishop Š aric´, So


ac[rn] cau
[e]t

openly embraced the Independent State of Croatia although most kept their
distance, either out of disgust with its methods or simply out of pragmatism.
Despite some reservations about the Axis, the reality was that a predominantly
Catholic Croatian state was formed in April 1941. The new regime banned abor-
tion, pornography and many other ills that the Catholic movement had long
sought to eradicate. Furthermore, the brutal Ustaša policy of eradicating the o
acsrn
[]

Serbian Orthodox Church in Great Croatia halted its ‘nationalising’ mission and
gave greater space to the Catholic Church. The Ustaše also denounced decrepit o
acsrn
[]

liberalism, capitalism and Communism. The Ustaša regime paid lip service to o
acsrn
[]

Catholicism’s role in the Croat national movement and courted Catholic support
for the new state. This has given rise to claims that the Ustaša regime was itself o
acsrn
[]

‘clerico-fascist’, but in actual fact, the Ustaše had little interest in remaking Croats
o
acsrn
[]

into radical Catholics or in revivifying Croatia through Catholic principles. What


the Ustaše desperately sought was legitimacy, and they hoped that Catholic
o
acsrn
[]

support would confer a measure of it on their regime.


The wartime reality showed that the Ustaše increasingly flouted the interests of
o
acsrn
[]

the church, which led to a problematic relationship with the episcopacy, notably
Archbishop Stepinac of Zagreb. For many radical Catholics, however, once the
marriage between their movement and Ustaše had been consummated in 1941, o
acsrn
[]

there was little serious thought of a divorce. By 1941–2, the rapacious Ustaša o
acsrn
[]

regime was confronted by an armed Communist insurgency which threatened


the survival of the new state and – in the eyes of the Ustaše and radical Catholics o
acsrn
[]

alike – the very existence of the Croat nation. Confronted with a choice between
the Ustaše and Axis on the one hand, and ‘Judeo-Bolshevik’ dictatorship on the
o
acsrn
[]

other, most if not all clericalists opted for the former. For Croatia’s ‘clerico-
fascists’, the dream of Croatian independence very quickly gave way to the night-
mare of Communist Yugoslavia. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the
Communists were the most frequent abusers of the term ‘clerico-fascist’. It suited
their postwar political and ideological interests, and they used it to good effect to
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 397

discredit the church. As a result of the relatively small number of genuine ‘clerico-
fascists’ during the war, the entire Catholic intellectual and political movement
suffered irrevocable damage, not least because of their silence in the face of
Ustaša atrocities.
o
acsrn
[]

Notes
1. I wish to thank Dr Marius Turda and Dr Christian Axboe Nielsen for reading earlier drafts of this
paper and for their constructive comments. The views expressed in the article are solely my own.
2. John Pollard, “Conservative Catholics and Italian fascism: the Clerico-Fascists”, in Martin
Blinkhorn, ed., Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-
Century Europe (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), p.31.
3. Not all of the works cited here view the Ustaša movement as ‘clerico-fascist’, although in Yugoslav o
acsrn
[]

historiography this was the standard interpretation. See Jozo Tomasevich, War and Revolution in
Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: Occupation and Collaboration (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001),
pp.233–579; Fikreta Jeli c´-Buti c´, Ustaše i Nezavisna Država Hrvatska (Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 1977);
ca[cu
e]t ca[cu
e]t oacn
rs[] zoacn
r[] So
ac[rn]

Aleksa Djilas, The Contested Country: Yugoslav Unity and Communist Revolution, 1919–1953
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp.103–27; Holm Sundhaussen, “Der Ustascha-Staat:
Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 14:37 7 May 2009

Anatomie eines Herrschaftssystem”, Österreichische Osthefte, 37/2 (1995), pp.497–533; Edmund


Glaise von Horstenau, Ein General im Zwielicht: Die Erinnerungen Edmund Glaise von Horstenau,
Vol. III (Vienna: Böhlau, 1998); and the works of Bogdan Krizman: Ante Pavelić i Ustaše (Zagreb: cau
[]et oacn
rs[]

Globus, 1978), Pavelić izmed u Hitlera i Mussolinija (Zagreb: Globus, 1980), Ustaše i Treć i Reich, 2 Vols
cau
[]et dork[t]s oacn
rs[] cau
[]et

(Zagreb: Globus, 1982).


4. On the early history of the Catholic movement in Croatia, see Bonifacije Perovi c´, Hrvatski katolički ca[cu
e]t oacn
r[]

pokret: Moje uspomene (Rome: ZIRAL, 1976), pp.15–46; Jure Krišto, Prešuć ena povijest: Katolička crkva o
acsrn
[] oacn
rs[] cau
[]et oacn
r[]

u hrvatskoj politici, 1850–1918 (Zagreb: Hrvatska sveučilišna naklada, 1994); Mario Strecha, Katoličko o
acrn
[] o
acsrn
[] oacn
r[]

hrvatstvo: počeci političkog katolicizma u banskoj Hrvatskoj, 1897–1904 (Zagreb: Barbat, 1997); and
oacn
r[] oacn
r[]

Antun Bozani c´, Biskup Mahnic’ i crkvena gibanja u Hrvatskoj (Zagreb: Kršc´anska sadašnjost, 1991).
ca[cu
e]t o
acsrn
[] ca[cu
e]t o
acsrn
[]

Among the English-language works worthy of mention, see Stella Alexander, “Croatia: The
Catholic Church and the Clergy, 1919–1945”, in Richard J. Wolff, Jörg K. Hönsch, eds, Catholics, the
State, and the European Radical Right, 1919–1945 (Highland Lakes: Atlantic Research and
Publications, 1987), pp.31–66; Pedro Ramet, “Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslavia”, in Pedro
Ramet, ed., Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics (Duke: Duke University
Press, 1989); and Vjekoslav Perica, Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2002). There is considerable disagreement over terminology in the exist-
ing literature. Some authors refer to the ‘Catholic movement’ or ‘political Catholicism’, while
others employ the term ‘clericalism’ to refer to any involvement by clergy and Catholic laity in poli-
tics. Viktor Novak’s polemical 1948 book on clericalism in Croatia is a representative work of
communist Yugoslav historiography, which sees politically engaged Catholics of the interwar era
and the Second World War as ‘clerico-fascists’; Magnum crimen: Pola vijeka klerikalizma u Hrvatskoj
(Belgrade: Nova knjiga, 1986).
5. Perovi c´ (note 4), pp.54–58. ca[cu
e]t

6. On the Croat People’s Party, see Zlatko Matijevi c´, Slom politike katoličkog jugoslavenstva: ca[cu
e]t oacn
r[]

Hrvatska pučka stranka u političkom životu Kraljevine SHS, 1919–1929 (Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za
oacn
r[] oacn
r[] zoacn
r[]

povijest, 1998)
7. “Treba li nam nova stranka”, Jadran, no. 79, 24 May 1919.
8. On interwar Yugoslavia, see Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins History, Politics
(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984); John Lampe, Yugoslavia as History: Twice there was a country
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Ferdo Čulinovi c´, Jugoslavija izmedju dva rata, C
o
[an
rc] ca[cu
e]t

2 Vols (Zagreb: JAZU, 1961); and Branislav Gligorijevi c´, Parlament i političke stranke u Jugoslaviji ca[cu
e]t oacn
r[]

1919–1929 (Belgrade: Institut za savremenu istoriju, 1979).


9. On the Croat Peasant Party, see Mark Biondich, Stjepan Radić , the Croat Peasant Party and the Politics cau
[]et

of Mass Mobilization, 1904–1928 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000); and Ljubo Boban,
Maček i politika HSS, 1928–1941, 2 Vols (Zagreb: Globus, 1974).
oacn
r[]

10. Banac (note 8), pp.349, 354.


11. “Naš program”, Narodna politika, no. 123, 9 May 1919, p.1.
o
acsrn
[]

12. “Za autonomiju i ravnopravnost naroda”, Narodna svijest, no. 5, 1 February 1921, p.1.
13. “Više bratstva”, Narodna svijest, no. 20, 19 May 1920, p.1.
o
acsrn
[]
398 M. Biondich

14. Radmila Radi c´, “Religion in a Multinational State: The Case of Yugoslavia”, in Dejan Djokic, ed.,
ca[cu
e]t

Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918–1992 (Madison: Wisconsin University Press, 2003),
pp.196–207; and Zlatko Matijevi c´, “Politika katoličkog jugoslavenstva, 1912–1929”, in Hans-Georg ca[cu
e]t o
acrn
[]

Fleck, Igor Graovac, eds, Dijalog povijesničara-istoričara (Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, 1998), zoacn
r[] zoacn
r[]

pp.155–71.
15. “K potpunom jedinstvo”, Narodna svijest, no. 6, 9 October 1919, p.1.
16. “Jugoslavija”, Narodna svijest, no. 20, 18 May 1921, p.1.
17. “Dubrovnik redivivus”, Narodna svijest, no. 39, 11 September 1923, p.1.
18. “Naš program”, Narodna svijest, no. 25, 21 May 1921, p.1.
o
acsrn
[]

19. “Politika”, Narodna politika, 9 May 1919, no. 123, p.1.


20. Što je Hrvatska pučka stranka i što ona hoć e? Načela i program stranke (Zagreb: Pučka štamparija, 1927).
n
oSra]c[ n
ora]c[ oacn
rs[] cau
[]et n
ora]c[ o
acrn
[] o
acsrn
[]

21. “Vjera i politika”, Narodna svijest, no. 9, 28 February 1922, p.1.


22. “Kršc´anstvo temelj politike”, Narodna svijest, no. 35, 1 September 1927, p.1.
o
acsrn
[] ca[cu
e]t

23. Što je Hrvatska (note 20).


n
oSra]c[

24. Stjepan Sarkoti c´, Radić evo izdajstvo (Vienna: unknown, 1925), p.27. ca[cu
e]t cau
[]et

25. Eugen Dido Kvaternik, Sjeć anja i zapažanja, 1929–1945: Prilozi za hrvatsku povijest (Zagreb: Hrvatski cau
[]et zoacn
r[]

institut za povijest, 1995), p.271.


26. Jadran, no. 55, 27 July 1922, p.1.
27. On the dictatorship as a watershed in Yugoslav history, see Christian Axboe Nielsen, One State,
One Nation, One King: The Dictatorship of King Aleksandar and His Yugoslav Project, 1929–1935
Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 14:37 7 May 2009

(Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University: 2002).


28. Most Catholic political parties disappeared in the interwar era due to the rise of fascist dictator-
ship and Pope Pius XI’s seeming indifference to their fate. Pius XI believed that Catholics should
work through schools and “Catholic Action”, rather than through Catholic political parties, to
transform society. In signing concordats with Italy (February 1929) and Nazi Germany (July 1933),
Pius XI accepted the dissolution of Catholic parties in those countries in return for the continued
existence of Catholic Action and parochial schools.
29. Perovi c´ (note 4), p. 110. See Sandra Prlenda, “Young, Religious, and Radical: The Croat Catholic
ca[cu
e]t

Youth Organizations, 1922–1945”, in John Lampe, Mark Mazower, eds, Ideologies and National
Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe (New York and Budapest: Central
European University Press, 2004), pp.82–109.
30. Perovi c´ (note 4), pp.92–101. ca[cu
e]t

31. Prlenda (note 31), p.86.


32. Ivo Protulipac, Hrvatsko orlovstvo (Zagreb: n.p., 1926), pp.18–20.
33. See Ivan Merz, Orlovstvo i prilike u Katoličkom pokretu (Zagreb: n.p., 1927). n
ora]c[

34. See the discussion in Nikola Ž uti c´, Sokoli: Ideologija u fizičkoj kulturi Kraljevine Jugoslavije, 1929–1941 Z
[o
acrn] ca[cu
e]t n
ora]c[

(Belgrade: Angrotrade, 1991).


35. Perovi c´ (note 4), pp.107–108. ca[cu
e]t

36. Prlenda (note 29), pp.91–93.


37. Ibid.
38. Ibid.
39. Ibid.
40. Perovi c´ (note 4), p.182 n. 67. ca[cu
e]t

41. Ivan Oršani c´, Vizija slobode (Buenos Aires: Hrvatska revija, 1979), pp.6, 20.
o
acsrn
[] ca[cu
e]t

42. Ibid., p.25.


43. Perovi c´ (note 4), p.227. ca[cu
e]t

44. Ibid., pp.195–208, 225. In 1939 Protulipac formed, in collaboration with the Croat Peasant Party
and some former Crusaders, a new youth organization known as “Croat Hero” (Hrvatski junak),
which was militantly nationalist and exhibited fascistic tendencies.
45. See the discussion in Raki c´, “Religion in a Multinational State”, pp.201–202. The events are ca[cu
e]t

retold in Miloš Mišovi c´, Srpska crkva i konkordatska kriza (Belgrade: Sloboda, 1983); and Ivano
acsrn
[] o
acsrn
[] ca[cu
e]t

Muži c´, Katolička crkva u Kraljevini Jugoslaviji: Politički i pravni aspekti konkordata izmedju Svete
o
acrn
[] ca[cu
e]t cau
[]et n
ora]c[

Stolice i Kraljevine Jugoslavije (Split: Crkva u svijetu, 1978).


46. See Rafo Rogiši c´, Stanje Katoličke Crkve u Jugoslaviji do sporazuma (Šibenik: unknown, 1940), o
acsrn
[] ca[cu
e]t n
ora]c[ So
ac[rn]

pp.44–7, 65–9.
47. Perovi c´ (note 4), pp. 214–5. ca[cu
e]t

48. Ivo Bogdan, Španjolska u krvi i plamenu: Dalji i bliži uzroci gradjanskog rata (Zagreb: MOSK, 1937),
n
oSra]c[ zoacn
r[]

p.13.
49. Perovi c´ (note 4), pp.193–194. ca[cu
e]t
Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia 399

50. Matija Kovači c´, Od Radić a do Pavelić a: Hrvatska u borbi za svoju samostalnost (Munich: Knji žnica
o
acrn
[] ca[cu
e]t cau
[]et cau
[]et zo
acr[n]

Hrvatske revije, 1970), p.78.


51. J. Š., “Načela korporativnoga uredenja društva po enciklici ‘Quadragesimo anno’”, Luč 30, nos. 9–
So
ac[rn] o
acrn
[] o
d
rk
[ts] o
acsrn
[] n
ora]c[

10 (1934–35), pp.7–8; Karlo Grimm, “Korporacijski uredeno društvo”, Život 15, nos 8–9 (1934), o
d
rk
[ts] o
acsrn
[] Z
n
o[ra]c

pp.354–62, 398–408.
52. See Luka Vinceti c´, “Antisemitizam u hrvatskoj katoličkoj štampi do Drugoga svjetskog rata”, ca[cu
e]t o
acrn
[] o
acsrn
[]

in Ognjen Kraus, ed., Antisemitizam, Holokaust, Antifašizam (Zagreb: Ž idovska op c´ina, 1996), oacn
rs[] Z
[o
acrn] ca[cu
e]t

pp.54–64.
53. For a representative sample see, for example, M. S., “Srpski apetit”, Nezavisna Hrvatska Država, 24 zoacn
r[]

December 1938, p.4; and “ Ž ivot katolika pod turskim gospodstvom u hrvatskim krajevima”, Z
[o
acrn]

Hrvatski narod, 7 April 1939, p.10.


54. Krunoslav Draganovi c´, Katolička crkva u Bosni i Hercegovini nekad i danas (Zagreb: n.p., 1934); and, ca[cu
e]t n
ora]c[

Ivo Pilar, Južnoslavensko pitanje: Prikaz cjelokupnog pitanja (Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1943), pp.112,
zoacn
r[]

215. The latter was originally published as L. von Südland, Die Südslawische Frage und der Weltkrieg
(1918, reprint Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1944).
55. Ivan Oršani c´, “Posljedice Versaillesa”, Hrvatski narod, 5 May 1939, p.1.
o
acsrn
[] ca[cu
e]t

56. Ivo Guberina, “Naš katolicizam i poljska tragedija”, Hrvatski narod, 10 November 1939, p.3. o
acsrn
[]

57. See, for example Andrija Ž ivkovi c´, “Rasizam u svijetlu katoličkih nazora na svijet i život”, Z
[o
acrn] ca[cu
e]t o
acrn
[]

Katolički list, 18 August 1938, p.1; and, “Katolici i novopogani”, Katolički list, 1 December 1939, p.1.
n
ora]c[ n
ora]c[

58. Krsto Spalatin, “Prvi glasovi iz Francuske”, Hrvatska revija, 14/7 (1941), pp.382–384.
Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 14:37 7 May 2009

59. Dragutin Kamber, Slom NDH: Kako sam ga ja proživio (Zagreb: Hrvatski informativni centar, zoacn
r[]

1993), p.5.
60. For the standard Yugoslav Communist works on the role of the Catholic Church in wartime
Croatia, see Jo ža Horvat, Zdenko Štambuk, eds, Dokumenti o protunarodnom radu i zločinima jednog
zcao
[rn] So
ac[rn] n
ora]c[

dijela katoličkog klera (Zagreb: n.p., 1946); Branko Petranovi c´, “Aktivnost rimokatoličkog klera
n
ora]c[ ca[cu
e]t o
acrn
[]

protiv sredjivanja prilika u Jugoslaviji (mart 1945. - septembar 1946.)”, Istorija XX veka: Zbornik
radova, Vol. V (1963), pp. 263–313; Sima Simi c´, Tudjinske kombinacije oko NDH (Belgrade: Kultura, ca[cu
e]t

1990); R. V. Petrovi c´, Genocid sa blagoslovom Vatikana: Izjave Srba-izbeglica (Belgrade: Nikola Tesla, ca[cu
e]t

1992); Veljko D. Djuri c´, Prekrštavanje Srba u Nezavisnoj Državi Hrvatskoj: Prilozi za istoriju verskog ca[cu
e]t oacn
rs[] zoacn
r[]

genocida (Belgrade: Alfa, 1991); Milan Čubri c´, Izmed u noža i križa (Belgrade: Knji ževne novine, C
[o
acrn] ca[cu
e]t dork[t]s zoacn
r[] zoacn
r[] zcao
[rn]

1990); Milorad Lazi c´, Krstarski rat Nezavisne Države Hrvatske (Belgrade: Knji ževne novine, 1991); ca[cu
e]t zoacn
r[] zcao
[rn]

Vladimir Dedijer, The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican: The Croatian Massacre of the Serbs During
World War II (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992); and two books by Milan Bulaji c´, Misija Vatikana u ca[cu
e]t

Nezavisnoj Državi Hrvatskoj, 2 Vols. (Belgrade: Politika, 1992) and Ustaški zločini genocida i sudjenje
zoacn
r[] oacn
rs[] n
ora]c[

Andriji Artuković u 1986. godine (Belgrade: Nova knjiga, 1988). Generally speaking, these views are
cau
[]et

also expressed in Hervé Laurière (pseud. of Branko Milju š), Assassins au nom de Dieu (Lausanne: o
acsrn
[]

Editions l’Age d’Homme, 1951); and Edmond Paris, Genocide in satellite Croatia, 1941–1945: A record
of racial and religious persecutions and massacres (Chicago: American Institute for Balkan Affairs,
1961). The most recent defense of Stepinac and the Church is provided by Jure Krišto, Katolička o
acsrn
[] n
ora]c[

crkva u Nezavisnoj Državi Hrvatskoj, 2 Vols. (Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, 1998). zoacn
r[]

61. On the controversial Stepinac, see Mark Biondich, “Controversies surrounding the Catholic
Church in wartime Croatia, 1941–45”, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 7/4 (2006),
pp.429–457.