Ante Pavelic

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Ante Pavelić

Poglavnik Dr. jur. Ante Pavelić saluting his troops

Poglavnik of the Independent State of Croatia
In office
10 April 1941 – 8 May 1945
Monarch Tomislav II (1941–1943)
Prime Minister Himself (1941–1943)
Nikola Mandić (1943–1945)
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished

In office
16 April 1941 – 2 September 1943
Monarch Tomislav II
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Nikola Mandić

In office
4 January 1943 – 2 September 1943
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Slavko Kvaternik
Succeeded by Miroslav Navratil

In office
16 April 1941 – 9 June 1941
Monarch Tomislav II
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Mladen Lorković

Member of the Yugoslav Parliament
In office
11 September 1927 – 7 January 1929
Monarch Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Prime Minister Velimir Vukićević (1927–1928)
Anton Korošec (1928–1929)
Constituency Zagreb

Born 14 July 1889(1889-07-14)
Bradina, Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary
Died 28 December 1959 (aged 70)
Madrid, Spain
Resting place Saint Isidore Cemetery, Madrid, Spain
Nationality Croatian
Political party Ustaše (1929–1945)
Other political
Party of Rights (1910–1929)
Croatian Statehood Party (1950)
Croatian Liberation Movement (1956–1959)
Alma mater University of Zagreb
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer

Ante Pavelić (14 July 1889 – 28 December 1959) was a Croatian lawyer, politician and nationalist. He was vice-president of the Croatian Bar Association, the professional body representing Croatian lawyers, and since 1927 vice-president of the Croation Party of Rights. He was organizer of the Croatian Revolutionary Movement "Ustasha" for Croatia's liberation from Yugoslavia, and the Prime Minister and Leader of the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 during World War II, being in alliance with Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler.


The Führer greets guest Ante Pavelić on 18 September 1944; in the background aide-de-camp/adjutant SS-Sturmbannführer Schulze-Kossens.
War-dated document signed in Zagreb, 11 January 1945, in Croatian, decree by which Pavelic awards seven German officers the Medal of Poglavnik Ante Pavelic for Bravery for their "very brave behavior during the struggle against the rebels/partisans", signed by Pavelic as head of state in dark ink "Ante Pavelic", countersigned by Nikola Steinfel.

Pavelic was a major Croatian politician and statesman of 20th century, chief secretary (1919 to 1927) and then Vice-President (1927 to 1929) of the Croatian Right Party, and people's representative in the Yugoslav Assembly in Belgrade (1927 to 1929), then founder and leader of the Croatian Revolutionary Movement "Ustasha" (1929 to 1945), and the leader of the Independent Croatian State (1941 to 1945), then also the founder and first president of the Croatian Liberation Movement (1956 to 1959), and the main ideologist of Croatian nationalism in 20th century.

Early life

He was born in 1889 in the hamlet Bradina on Ivan-Mountain above town Konjic in Herzegovina, where his father Mile as railway worker, and mother Mary justly immigrated from Krivi Put village near Senj at Adriatic coast. He attended his elementary school in some Bosnian towns, and then the Classical college in the native port Senj, and also the Jesuite college in Travnik, and finally in Karlovac and Zagreb, where he graduated in 1910. Even as a young man in his school time, he accessed from conviction to the Croation Party of Rights. After graduating, he studied Law in Zagreb and graduated in 1914, then already 1915 he also obtained a doctorate in law.

Since 1915 to 1918 he worked as an attorney at the president's secretary of the Croatian Right Party, Dr. Alexander Buchanan. After completing his practice to 1918, he continued as an independent lawyer. Pavelic published some political and literary articles, and also two major books: a political novel "Lovely Blonde"/"The Beautiful Blonde" (Liepa plavka, 1934/35[1]), and political discussion "Horrors of politic blunders" (Strahote zabluda, 1938) almost speaking against the communism in the USSR. Also his daughter Vishnya Pavelic then published his posthumous book "Memorial experiences" (Dozivljaji, 1968) which he wrote in the Argentinian exile.

Political activities

From 1918, he participated in the leading of the Croatian Right Party, starting as a member of its Working Committee, then as its Secretary and the Vice-President of that party. From 1921 - 1927, he was elected in the assembly of Zagreb City. From June 1927 he represents the Zagreb city in the congress of European cities in Paris. On his return from Paris, he received in Roma from the Italian government a surrendered promemory composed by Dr. Joseph Frank, in which Italy offers cooperation in the destruction of Yugoslavia for the independent Croatian state.

At the parliamentary elections 1927 he was elected in a representative list of the Croatian Bloc together with I. Trumbic. Then in his speeches in the Belgrade Assembly he spoke against the creation of Major Serbia and for Croatia's independence. Within the Croatian Right Party, he worked mostly with young members. Since the killings by Serbs of both leaders (brothers Radic) of the Croatian Peasant Party in 1928, he accessed to Peasant-Democratic coalition. Then he organized the list for a Croatian Defender program for creating another Croatian state, and on October 1st 1929 he founded the Society for combat operations.

After the proclamation of king's Amexander Karagjordjevic on the royal dictature from January 6th 1929, Pavelic moved from Yugoslavia in emigration. He went firstly to Vienna, then with his collaborator Gustav Perčec in Budapest, and in Sofia on April 20th 1929. There with the anti-Yugoslav leadership of Macedonian National Committee (VMRO) he subscribed a statement of the mutual aid of Croats with Macedonian Bulgarians for the destruction of Yugoslavia, and for the creation of the independent Croatian and Macedonian states. In the meantime, Yugoslav political court in Belgrade on July 17th 1929 sentenced him to death in absence. At the end of 1930, Pavelic from Sofia via Vienna comes to Italy, where he founded the secret Croatian revolutionary movement - "Ustasha" (= Rebels) with the aim of destroying Yugoslavia and establishing the Independent Croatian State with the help of Italy. Then he became its headman (= Poglavnik), and this Ustasha movement was organized on the conspiratonal and military principles, very alike the recent Irish IRA and the Basque ETA. His main collaborators in Italy, who later became Croatian nationalist leaders, were: Branko Jelic, Mile Budak, Eugen Dido Kvaternik, Mijo Babic, etc.

In 1931 he in Italy founded the first Ustasha camp for military training in the province of Brescia, and then also encourages the establishments of other such camps in Italy and Hungary. In 1932 they organized the first Croatian uprising in Velebit mountains. Then in 1934, in collaboration with the Macedonian revolutionaries (VMRO) they organized in Marseille the assassination of Yugoslav king Alexander Karagjordjevic. Thus again in Belgrade he was sentenced for the second time to death in absence.

Under pressure from France, the Italian police arrested Pavelić and several Ustaša emigrants on 17 October 1934. Pavelić was imprisoned in Turin and released in March 1936. After he met with Eugen Dido Kvaternik on Christmas 1934 in prison, he stated that assassination was "the only language Serbs understand". During his time in prison, Pavelić was informed about the situation in Yugoslavia and the 5 May 1935 election, in which a coalition of opposition parties was led by HSS leader Vladko Maček. Pavelić declared the election results as a "success of the Ustaše actions". By the mid-1930s, graffiti with the initials ŽAP meaning "Long live Ante Pavelić" (Croatian: Živio Ante Pavelić) had begun to appear on the streets of Zagreb.

After Pavelić's released from prison, he remained under surveillance by the Italian authorities, and his Ustaše were interned. Disappointed with relations between the Italians and the Ustaše organization, Pavelić became closer to Germany, who promised to change the map of Europe fixed under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. In October 1936, he finished a survey for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the Croatian Question (Croatian: Hrvatsko pitanje; German: Die kroatische Frage). The survey deemed the "Serbian state authorities, international Freemasonry, Jews and communism"’ as enemies and stated that:

"Today almost all banking and almost all trade in Croatia is in the hands of the Jews. This became possible only because the state gave them privileges, because the government believed that this would weaken Croatian national strength. The Jews greeted the foundation of the so-called Yugoslav state with great enthusiasm because a national Croatian state would never suit them as well as Yugoslavia did. ... All the press in Croatia is in Jewish hands. This Jewish Freemason press is constantly attacking Germany, the German people and national socialism."

After the new convergence of Yugoslavia and Italy, and their Stojadinović-Ciano Agreement on 1 April 1937, the Ustasha military camps in Italy were closed, and then moved to Hungary. After that, Pavelić was put under house arrest in Siena, where he lived until 1939. During this period he penned his anti-Bolshevik work Horrors and Mistakes (Italian: Errori e orrori; Croatian: Strahote zabluda) which was published in 1938. It was immediately seized by the authorities. At the onset of World War II he moved to a villa near Florence under police watch until spring 1941. In 1940, Pavelić negotiated with the Italians for military assistance in creating a separate Croatian state which would have had strong ties to Italy, but this plan was postponed by the Battle of France, and subsequently derailed by Adolf Hitler.

After the Yugoslavian overthrow and fall of Milan Stojadinovic, Albania and Italy prepared for the attack on Yugoslavia, and Italians also permitted the entering of about 250 armed Ustasha warriors via Adriatic in Croatia. Then Pavelic was received by Benito Mussolini on 29 March 1941, and shortly the Independent State of Croatia was officially proclaimed on 10 April 1941.

As the head of the Ustasha group and the new Croatian national government, Pavelic returned in a national triumph from the Adriatic coast to Zagreb on 15 April 1941, welcomed by enthusiastic Croats. After nine centuries of different foreign rulers over Croatia, this was the first Croatian national government. Pavelic took here the positions of prime minister and foreign minister. He then renewed the old Croatian Homeguard (Domobrani) from the past centuries, and organized the administrative and diplomatic services of the new state.

Problems of new Croatian state

After the negotiations with Ciano on 25 April 1941 in Ljubljana, and with Mussolini on 7 May 1941, Croatia signed the Treaty of Rome on 18 May 1941. By these agreements the major part of the Croatian coast and islands (part of Dalmatia, Krk, Rab, Korčula, Biograd, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Čiovo, Veliki i Mali Drvenik, Šolta, Mljet and parts of Konavle and the Bay of Kotor) were left to Italy, also with Italian political, economic and military protection of the coastal zone in Croatia. Pavelić tried to retrieve the lost areas, but kept his real feelings and those of the people from the Italians to maintain the pretext of good relations.

Therefore in June 1941, Pavelic for the first time visited Hitler and initiated stronger ties with Germany, and on 15 June 1941, Croatia in Venice joined the Tripartite Pact. Concerning internal relations, on 17 April 1941, legal provision for national defense and state were passed, which also provided the death penalty for crimes against the vital interests of the Croatian people (treason). Also due to war security, all other parties and associations were banned. Croatia became an authoritarian system, and detention camps were established, despite the protests of the Catholic Church headed by the archbishop Aloysius Stepinac.

However, in October 1942, Eugen Dido Kvaternik was removed from his office, being the main implementer of strong-arm policy. After the coup of Marshal Badoglio and Mussolini's fall in Italy, followed the Croatian abolition of the Treaty of Rome with the official return of Dalmatia and Istria with all islands within the framework of the Independent Croatian State from September 1943. Coastal Croatia with islands was not 'liberated' by Tito's terrorists but were forcefully balkanized, and even numerous local non-Slavs and also Croats were killed and rejected in foibe - karst abysses. In September 1944, Pavelic stopped any initiatives of M. Lorkovic and A. Vokić for Croatia's betrayal of and sepeartion from Germany, and to conciliatie with the Allies; therefore to the end, Independent Croatia's fate was connected with the fate of National Socialist Germany.

Croatia's collapse and emigration

Then in April 1945, Pavelic participated in the combinations of Slovenian leader Leo Rupnik and Serbian Draza Mihailovic in a short attempt to create Serbo-Croatian-Slovenian anticommunist block, against Tito's communists threatening all ones. At the end of the Second World War, with most of Ustasha leaders he left Zagreb on May 6th 1945. In 1946 via Austria and Italy, he went by the Red Cross in Argentina 1948, where he lived under a false name Antonio Serdar. Then Argentina's president Juan Perón give him political asylum, and then Pavelic in Buenos Aires organized the new Croatian state government in exile (president Dr. Dzaferbeg Kulenovic), and then founded there also the Croatian statehood party 1949. In 1956. along with other Croatian political emigrants, they established the Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP) as the strongest external opposition to Communist Yugoslavia (this same movement endly initiated the armed separation of Croatia 1991).

After the military coup in Argentina 1955, deposing of president Perón, who protected Pavelic and Croatian Ustashe, this was soon abused by Yugoslav secret police (UDBA) in order to attack and try to execute Pavelic and destroy the Ustasha. UDBA's executor Blagoje Jovovic, from the organization of Yugoslav police under chief Alexander Rankovic, wounded Pavelic in an assasination attempt on 10 April 1957 with two bullets during a local celebration near Palomar Lomas de Buenos Aires, where Pavelic then lived. Due to this attack and without Peron's protection, Pavelic was forced to leave Argentina and go to Chile for his own security, where he lived four months. On 29 November 1957, he again emigrated to a safer Spain under Francisco Franco's government, and there became unattainable for the Yugoslav UDBA killers, because Spain did not recognize the communist Yugoslavia.


Then after some years of suffering from diabetes and from wounding injuries, Ante Pavelic died in Madrid on 28 December 1959. He was buried at San Isidro cemetery in Madrid, that still persists a destination of pilgrimage for many Croatian nationalists up today, devoted to their first president and the founder of independent Croatia.


On 12 August 1922, in St. Mark's Church, Zagreb, Pavelić married Maria "Mara" Lovrenčević. Maria's father, Martin Lovrenčević, was a member of the Party of Rights and a well-known journalist.T hey had three children, two daughters and son Velimir.

  • Višnja (b. 31 May 1923; d. 25 December 2015 in Madrid)
  • Velimir "Braco" (b. 24 May 1924/25; d. 1998 in Madrid)
  • Mirjana Ana (b. 8 November 1926; d. 25 December 2005 in Toronto) ∞ Dr. Srećko Pšeničnik on 26 June 1950 in Argentina

See also

External links


Translated mostly from the Croatian original in Croatian Metapedia: Ante Pavelić.

  1. Although not explicitly referring to Jews, several characters with overtly Jewish sounding surnames, such as Blum, Rosenfeld and Morgenstern, are presented as easily recognizable avaricious Semitic types; the Jews in Pavelic’s book are either very rich or swindlers, often both.