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Croatian Politicians Divided Over Proposal to Revive WWII-Era Salute

Historical commission issues recommendations that Ustashe-era salute could be used under certain circumstances, while some argue that it should be buried altogether.

1 March 2018

Croatia’s wartime legacy continues to rile present-day politicians, who were divided over a recommendation to revive a World War II salute called “Ready for the Homeland” in certain specific situations, according to HINA, the Croatian news agency


Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardic spoke out against the initiative yesterday, after a historical commission said that the Balkan nation should punish any form of glorification of fascist regimes, but still allow the salute for commemorations of victims who died in the 1991-1995 Balkan wars, HINA reports in another article.


After Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, the Nazis established a puppet Croatian state and handed power over to the ultranationalist Ustashe organization, which were in control of the country until 1945. The “Za dom spremni” (Ready for the Homeland) salute originated during that time among elite military units of the Ustasha regime. In 2015, a deputy war veterans minister found himself at the center of a controversy after proposing that the World War II-era fascist pledge of loyalty be revived for the modern Croatian army.


Bernardic has deemed the resolution “shameful,” HINA writes, and, in a press release, SDP said that it “condemned in the strongest terms the decision. Once again, the defeated and pernicious Ustasha ideology is allowed to destroy Croatian society in the most perfidious way.”


Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (pictured) said yesterday that the salute is contrary to the Croatian constitution.


The commission is composed of 17 experts in various scientific fields, with different political views, and their recommendations are non-binding. Their work resulted in two documents with recommendations, one of them about historical issues, and the other one containing legal solutions to those issues.



  • Last month, Serbia's defense minister Aleksandar Vulin said that he was "not sure that Ustashism was making a return in Croatia – because Ustashism and Ustashas never left Croatia's politics and public life," B92 reported. Speaking ahead of a visit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to Croatia, Vulin voiced his objection to the visit on the grounds that “Ustashas will gather in squares and demonstrate against his (Vucic’s) visit, as if he begged to come, as if his visit could bring some evil." 


Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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