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- Aloysius Stepinac;
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Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Result: the blatant use of the spiritual authority of the Church for the promotion of political and military designs. Stepinac, backed by most of the bishops, issued a pastoral letter. After duly praising Ante Pavelic, their lordships attacked the Yugoslav National Liberation movement with all the pious venom of which they were capable.
Thereupon they ordered all Croats to help the Ustashi bands to fight the Yugoslav troops. Only thus they thought would Ustashi Croatia survive. As the situation worsened it became necessary to take another step. Following hasty consultations with the Vatican shortly before the total disintegration, Ante Pavelic asked a trusted friend to take hold of the reins of Ustashi Government. His name?
Archbishop Stepinac. A last desperate attempt to unite the Ustashi State into a truly compact unit. The move neither stopped the swiftly advancing Yugoslav Army nor saved from total collapse the fast-tumbling European Fascism. The Ustashi State had been doomed long before Stepinac tried to save it. In a losing battle to prevent its inevitable fate, Pavelic and his bloody bands, months before, had unloosed such a reign of terror as almost to surpass the previous ferocity.
People were hanged, executed, or liquidated as hostages on the slightest suspicion. To take the city of Zagreb and its immediate environs, in the course of only seven months From August, , to February, hostages were publicly hanged.
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On August 7, , between the villages of Precec and Ostrono, ten persons were hanged; on August 26, at Jablanac, near Zapresic, thirty-six persons; on September 30, on the railway between the stations of Pusca Bistra and Luka, ten persons; on October 4, at St. Ivan, twenty-nine persons; on October 5, again at Zapresic, five persons; on October 6, at Cucerje, twenty persons; on October 9, at Velika Gorica, thirteen persons; on October 28, at Djurinac, twenty persons; on the same day at Sveta Nedjelja, near Samobor, eighteen persons; on December 1, at Brezovica, ten persons; on December 20, at Odra, thirteen persons; on December 28, at Krusljevo Selo, fifty persons; on January 4, , at Zitnjak, twenty-five persons; on January 25, at Konscina, forty persons; on February 3, again at Zitnjak, ten persons; on February 10, at Remetinac, thirty persons; on February 13, at Vrapce, twenty persons; on February 22, again at Vrapce, another twenty persons.
Notwithstanding all this, the end approached fast. Within a few days, Zagreb, the Croatian capital, was liberated. The Ustashi tried to save what they could. Then, when the collapse was complete, having entrusted to the care of Stepinac himself their most important documents,  the Ustashi ran for their lives. Some were executed. Many escaped. Pavelic fled to Austria, where he was made a prisoner by the American forces near Salzburg.
While preparations for his official trial were well on their way, a "mysterious intervention" stopped the proceedings. Pavelic was released unconditionally. Pavelic, rendered immune by the powerful papal protection, traveled to Italy and found it in the Vatican City, where he waited for easier times. After a while, to avoid scandal, the Pope, now a pillar of the victorious democracies, required Pavelic to quit Rome. Pavelic went from one monastery to another in monkish disguise under various aliases, Father Benares, or Father Gomez.
The Ustashi, instead of disbanding, became guerrillas. They were, as in olden times, to fight in the hills and woods of "occupied Croatia. Their new terrorist activities were to be cloaked again in innocent-sounding religious organizations. The old name of "The Crusaders" was adopted. Once more their Graces, claiming to be men of peace, incited to war. In a pastoral letter they asked the people in so many unctuous words to rise and overthrow the Government.
Before such battle orders were issued, a flag, a symbol of the great holy army of the Ustashi, was consecrated to the Ustashi Crusaders' forces. Where did the ceremony take place? In Stepinac's chapel. The pledges of the surviving Ustashi, the activities of Archbishop Stepinac, were no shadow of resistance, but concrete and real. Stepinac employed dangerous, ruthless individuals. To cite only one, the former Ustashi Chief of Police. This individual launched a programme of sabotage and of assassination of the officials of the New Yugoslav Republic, with the Archbishop's approval.
Stepinac furthermore established contact with the scattered armed bands of the Ustashi, directing priests and monks to act as liaison with them. These holy men traveled all over the country, keeping the illegal Crusader groups in communication with one another. They zealously reported their position, strength, and equipment to Stepinac in Zagreb. The Archiepiscopal Headquarters saw to it that such reports reached the Vatican, which, as a genuine champion of all democracies, forwarded them to the USA.
It was something more: a bait to induce certain Allied forces to promote a timely military intervention against Yugoslavia.
The Case of Archbishop Stepinac
For, indeed, Stepinac and his illegal bands based their hope of ultimate success upon that. The Vatican, far from counseling moderation, encouraged the Ustashi resistance, and added continual fuel to their burning hopes with repeated assurances of forthcoming military intervention. The Allies would come to their help.
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They must hold on, as the international situation was bound to change in their favour. The Western Powers were going to turn against their recent ally, Soviet Russia. A war of liberation was in preparation. Once that had begun, Yugoslavia would be wiped out, and Ustashi Croatia would spring again to the fore.
The Ustashi guerrillas talked of nothing else. Stepinac saw to it that their expectations were maintained at the highest level, lest their enthusiasm change to despair, and thus cause the total collapse of organized military resistance.
To this effect, the prestige and authority of religion were once more unscrupulously employed. The British and Americans were just coming. But they must be patient, as, naturally, to plan a good military expedition took time. The assurances of the Catholic padres were repeated day in and day out, until they became a refrain for the Ustashi loops, expecting "the day" as, simultaneously, their day of deliverance and the new birthday of a more glorious Ustashi Croatia. This was not merely the conviction of the underground Ustashi formations or that of the priests.
It was that of Stepinac himself, sure that once the Allies intervened, the Ustashi would be given help by the peasants, who "one day will rise. The Archbishop, however, was not content only with wiping out Yugoslavia as a political unit in order to ensure the resurgence of a new Catholic Croatia. The issue, according to conservative forecasting, rested on conventional military weapons. Stepinac, however, although a Catholic Archbishop, was a man of progressive ideas.
He believed in the power of scientific achievements, such as the recently discovered atomic energy. The atom bombs dropped without a warning on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had in a few seconds blotted out of existence , men, women, and children.