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Ustasha – Croatian Revolutionary Organization
Symbol of Ustasha movement.png

Letter "U" with blazing hand grenade and Croatian coat of arms on it in the middle is the main movement's symbol

Political position Croatian nationalism
National Socialism
Leader Ante Pavelić
Country Independent State of Croatia
Existence 1929 - 1945
Newspaper Hrvatski domobran
Succeeded by Croatian Liberation Movement
Crusaders (Croatian guerilla)
Colours Red, white, blue, black

Ustasha – Croatian Revolutionary Organization (Croatian: Ustaša - Hrvatska revolucionarna organizacija) was Croatian nationalist organization which was founded on January 7, 1929 in Italy by Ante Pavelić. Organization was founded after the assassination of Croatian Peasant Party leader Stjepan Radić in the Yugoslav National Assembly on June 20, 1928.

Organization was ruled Independent State of Croatia during its whole existence (April 10, 1941 - May 8, 1945) during World War II.




The word ustaša (plural: ustaše) is derived from the intransitive verb ustati (Croatian: rise up). "Pučki-ustaša" (German: Landsturm) was a military rank in the Imperial Croatian Home Guard (1868 – 1918). The same term was the name of Croatian third-class infantry regiments (German: Landsturm regiments) during First World War. Another variation of the word ustati is ustanik (plural: ustanici) which means an insurgent, or a rebel.

Mainstream name for the movement is Ustaše, but this word is properly used for individual (singular: ustaša) and other members of Ustasha movement.

Political "correct" word usage

Today, the word ustaša is mainly used as political newspeak word for all Croatian nationalists in order to be criminalized by political "correct" mass medias and other, ideologically anti-nationalist, ethnomasochistic and anti-Croatian citizens.

In some Croatia's neighbour countries, often in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the word ustaša is used as offensive and insulting word for all members of Croatian people. In Serbia, the word is used as epithet for stigmatization of political opponents and for something anti-Serbian. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, usage of word is similar, but it's also used by Serbs and Bosniaks.

Official names

Year Croatian name English translation
1929 - 1933Ustaša - Hrvatska revolucionarna organizacijaUstasha – Croatian Revolutionary Organization
1933 - 1941Ustaša - Hrvatski revolucionarni pokretUstasha – Croatian Revolutionary Movement
1941 - 1945Ustaša - Hrvatski oslobodilački pokretUstasha – Croatian Liberation Movement



The assassination of Croatian Peasant Party leader Stjepan Radić in the Yugoslav National Assembly in Belgrade on June 20, 1928 and his forthcoming death on August 8, 1928 have created a new political and psychological situation in the Croatian nation within the Kingdom of SHS. The consequence was a revolutionary movement among Croatian youth of various political orientations. Croatian united youth held a large rally in Zagreb on September 30, 1928 where they in the parliamentary resolution state that they fearlessly standing on the defence of the independent Croatian state.

Formation of "Hrvatski Domobran"

During October 1928, organization Hrvatski Domobran (English: Croatian Home Guardian) was formed, and the organization began publishing a same-named newspaper in the same year. Leading Croatian political figures was cooperated in the newspaper, from Vladko Maček to Ante Pavelić. Newspaper are banned around Christmas 1928. After the proclamation of January 6 dictatorship of King Alexander I on January 6, 1929 and after the country name change from "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" to "Kingdom of Yugoslavia", Branimir Jelić, Gustav Perčec and Ante Pavelić has escaped from homeland. They are joined progressively by August Košutić and Juraj Krnjević and a dozen of Croatian students and workers. Ante Pavelić and Gustav Perčec visited Sofia on April 20, 1929 and they with representatives of the Macedonian National Committee signed Sofia Declaration that emphasizes how will manage their lawful activity in the attainment of human and national rights, political freedom and complete independence of Croatia and Vardar Macedonia. Because of that declaration, the Court of National Security in Belgrade was sentenced Pavelić and Perčec to death on July 17, 1929. Since then, Ante Pavelić have public appearances against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and seeks the establishment of an independent Croatian state. By the summer of 1931, there is cooperation between Pavelić, Košutić and Krnjević. In August 1930, organizing of Croatian workers in Belgium, then in South and North America begins. Branimir Jelić founded first branch of Hrvatski Domobran in Buenos Aires on May 12, 1931, and in Europe was estabilished Supreme seniority of Hrvatski Domobran under Pavelić's leadership. Hrvatski Domobran was mass organization which printed two weeklies: Hrvatski domobran in Buenos Aires and Neazvisna hrvatska država (English: Independent Croatian State) in Pittsburgh.

Formation of Ustasha movement

Ustasha - Croatian Revolutionary Organization begins to print the first issue of monthly magazine Ustaša in January 1932. In mid-1932, Constitution of the Ustasha - Croatian Revolutionary Organization (Croatian: Ustav Ustaše - hrvatske revolucionarne organizacije) and Principles of the Croatian Ustasha Movement (Croatian: Načela Hrvatskog ustaškog pokreta) was published in connection with the organization. Work of Ustasha movement was kept secret, while the work of Hrvatski Domobran was public. Since then, name "Domobran-Ustasha movement" steps in use.

In September 1932, the Velebit uprising was organized. Before a new wave of Yugoslav repression, a new wave of escaping abroad and fomation of Ustasha camps in Bovegno (near Brescia) in Italy appears. Procedures and persecution of Croats are everyday at homeland from 1929 till assassination of King Alexander I in Marseilles on October 9, 1934, when dictatorship was ended. Ante Pavelić and Eugen Dido Kvaternik was detained in Italian prison from October 1934 until the end of March 1936.

Assassination of King Alexander I

On December 16, 1933, the Ustashe tried to assissinate King Alexander I during his visit to Zagreb. It should be carried out by Petar Oreb Mijat, but he gave up. He tried to get out, but he has fallen into an armed clash with the police. He was sentenced to death in March 1934, and hanged up on May 12, 1934, together with his partners Josip Begović and Antun Pogorelec.

Illegality and influence expansion

Shortly after the assassination of the King Alexander I, all Domobran-Ustasha organizations and its publications was banned in Europe. After October 1934, centers of Domobran-Ustasha movement was situated in homeland, Argentina and in the United States of America. University student youth in homeland becomes a center of homeland activities. Protests, explosions, leaflets printing and occasional newspapers was the main activities of the homeland department.

Almanac of Croatian students from 1938 is best example of shown political stance of that Croatian youth. From autumn 1934, when treaty of friendship between Kingdom of Italy and Kingdom of Yugoslavia was signed, members of Ustasha movement was detained in the camp on the island of Lipari, and they were dispersed through Southern Italy, Lipari and Sardinia. Consequence of the Italo-Yugoslav friendship was comming of Ustashas in Italy (except Ante Pavelić) under supervision Yugoslav police supervision. In such circumstances, about half of Ustashas returned to homeland from autumn of 1937 till end of 1938; and one of the returnees was Mile Budak. Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Stojadinović was thought to break, or at least disable Ustasha movement, but it's actually the beginning of a significant homeland activity, because of the involvement of returnees in homeland organization. In February 1939, a weekly Hrvatski narod (English: Croatian People) starts out with chief editor Mile Budak and political editor Ivan Oršanić, which became the backbone of the Ustasha Homeland organization. In almost every district, there was an Ustasha representative, who in the case of revolution must take authority. A general mood of Croatian people was for the restoration of the independent Croatian state. Ante Pavelić and Domobran-Ustasha movement could not choose friends among foreign powers. Each state or a great power, that not unconditionally accepted Yugoslavia and Serbian political power in it, was possible Croatian ally. Kingdom of Hungary was the only country that has absolutely helped Croatian political emigration. Kingdom of Italy was the only one of the great powers that had interest in the destruction of Yugoslavia and the renewal of the Croatian state, but she's foreign policy maintain a balance between pro-Serbian or pro-Croatian orientation. United Kingdom and France were to keep Yugoslavia and they helped Serbian political power.

World War II

After World War II

After breakdown of Independent State of Croatia, many officials of Ustasha movement were sentenced to death in communist Yugoslavia. Some of them, under Pavelić's leadership, managed to escape and found refuge in several countries, particulary in Latin America and Franco's Spanish State, while some of them was organized an anti-communist resistance guerilla group Crusaders (Croatian: Križari). Ante Pavelić and rest of Croatian military and state leadership was established a Government of Independent State of Croatia in exile, and was established Croatian Liberation Movement in Argentina in 1956, as direct successor of Ustasha movement, Croatian Armed Forces and Croatian Party of Rights. Some members of movement and officers of Ustasha Militia was persecuted or killed by Yugoslav UDBA's agents, like Vjekoslav Luburić and Ante Pavelić, who was assassinated in 1957 and died in 1959 due to consequences of injuries. A large number of participants and members of Ustasha movement and Ustasha Militia, various officials of Independent State of Croatia, supporters of movement (like individual intellectuals and others) was established Croatian national associations, political parties and organized cultural and scientific activities in Croatian diaspora (Western Europe, Americas, Australia, etc.). All of these pro-Croatian organizations was often proclaimed as "ustashian" and "terrorist" by Yugoslav communist regime. But, one part of associations and movements had armed or peaceful revival of Independent State of Croatia in their programs, and many of them was pro-Ustasha.

See also

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