Nazi Occupation and the Ustasha Regime
This chapter details the hectic months of war and political transition: the collapse of Yugoslavia in April 1941, the arrival of the German occupation, and the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) under the Ustasha regime. It exposes the inner workings of the NDH from Sarajevo's perspective and introduces the irreparable rift that occurred among local (city), national (Ustasha), and international (German) agendas. After the invasion of Yugoslavia, Germany, Italy, and their Axis partners partitioned the country, annexing regions on their borders and establishing separate occupied protectorates in Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. In the division of the spoils, they combined parts of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to form a new ally. The NDH was thus founded on April 10, 1941. Hitler and Mussolini awarded leadership of the newest satellite to the Ustasha Party, a small, ultraradical pro-Nazi group with a history of terrorism. The Utasha leaders were anti-Serb, anti-Semitic, and anti-Communist and had little support in Yugoslavia. They often based their political fervor on their Catholic faith, especially when seeking support from the Catholic hierarchy in the region, but they promoted a version of Croat national ideology that recognized Muslims as Croats.
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