|Abstract (english)|| |
The aim of the study is to show the political action of the Croatian Peasants' Party 'Hrvatska seljačka stranka' (HSS) in the diaspora in the period from 1945 up to the year 1990 which until now has been poorly investigated. The political action of the HSS is observed chronologically according to three aspects, these being, from the point of view of the activity of leadership of the HSS within the Croatian diaspora, the aspect of activity of leadership of the HSS in the organisations of emigrants from Central and Eastern Europe which were operated under the political and financial patronage of the United States of America and the aspect of cooperation with political emigrants from Yugoslavia. The leadership of the HSS was directly governed by its two dominent leaders: the president of the HSS, Vladko Maček and the Secretary General Juraj Krnjević. Both having emigrated out of the Former Jugoslavia. Macek's first emigrated in May 1945 to Paris where he lived and worked until August 1947. He then emigrated to Washington where he lived and worked until his death on 15 May 1964. Krnjević immigrated to London in April 1941 where he remained until his death on 8 January 1988. The actions of the leadership of the HSS's in the Croatian diaspora was demonstrated primarily on the basis of the unexplored material of the Yugoslav secret service, published and unpublished written correspondence of the HSS leadership and HSS's emigrant newspapers. An overview of HSS's political activity in the period from 1945 to 1990 contributed to a better understanding of the work of the HSS leadership in emigrant conditions. The aforementioned time period in the reconstruction of HSS's history until now remained unexplored, given that historiographic research of the HSS was previously focused on the period of the first half of the twentieth century, when the HSS was at the height of its political activity, the Second World War and the first post-war years in Croatia. Analysis of the actions of the HSS in the diaspora from 1945 to 1990 has also contributed to a better understanding of the impact of Croatian political emigrants in general, given that the HSS was an important factor in the Croatian political diaspora. The HSS worked among the Croatian diaspora primarily through the wide-spread network of its emigrant organisations in North and South America, Europe and Australia. The leadership of the HSS enjoyed a great reputation within the Croatian diaspora and among Croatian political emigrants for two key reasons, first because the HSS leadership had political legitimacy based on the votes received by Croatian people in elections in the interim period, and secondly because Croatian emigrants were aware of the support that the leadership of the HSS had among the political factors of the western democractic countries, as opposed to the part of the Croatian political diaspora that was compromised by cooperation with the Nazis and fascists during the Second World War. The leadership of the HSS was well aware of these factors, which made it difficult for the participation of the HSS in the constant efforts of the Croatian political diaspora towards gathering into a unified organisation. Namely, the leadership of the HSS, during all periods of emigration, felt that the HSS was the only legitimate representative of the Croatian people and that the Croatian diaspora and Croatian political emigrants could only be brought together on the basis of the HSS program and within the HSS. Such an exclusive stance was the reason why the leadership of the HSS only participated in one period in the gathering of organisations of Croatian emigrants, and that was in the first postwar years from 1946 to 1949, in the organisation of the United Croatians of America and Canada. Maček's activity in this gathering of Croatian emigrants was also related to his anti-communist work to suppress the sympathy of Croatian emigrants for communism and the new Yugoslav regime. At the gathering of the Croatian emigrants, the leadership of the HSS presented the problem and the political emigrants who were connected with the Ustasha movement and the movement for an Independent State of Croatia 'Nezavisna Država Hrvatska' (NDH) did not want political cooperation with them. Given that the HSS throughout the whole emigration period acted independently within the Croatian diaspora, its work was based on encouraging the activities of its own emigrant organisations and their mutual cooperation. The most materially and financially organised were the HSS organisations from Canada, whose financial resources were largely the financial backbone of the HSS leadership in the diaspora. The HSS leadership has since the late 1950s convened party congresses, first in Europe in 1957 and 1960, and from 1969, they were known as the World Congress of the HSS, attended by delegates of the HSS organisations from around the world. In 1980, the Central Committee of the HSS was established, which has since then been the largest party body and which took over the leadership of the party after Krnjević's death in January 1988. Emigrant HSS organisations suffered great and irreparable damage following the February 1979 conflict which broke out between Krnjević and the president of the Canadian HSS, Mladen Zorkin, which was reflected by a division among members and lead to lengthy court disputes and party rupture. In 1953 as part of its activities among the Croatian disapora and under the sponsorship of the HSS, the Federation of Free Croatian Workers (FSHR) was founded which since 1961 had the prewar title of the Croatian Workers' Union (HRS). This organisation which served in the HSS demonstrated that they represent the interests of the workers as well as the peasants and that HSS was not only a peasant party. The leadership of the HSS was aware that the workforce in Croatia after 1945 had grown numerically, and also the vast majority of HSS members in the disapora belonged to the working class. Regarding the attitude towards the political power of the Croatian diaspora, Maček and Krnjević shared a common view regarding the question of the political change of the situation in Croatia and Yugoslavia, that they will have a decisive role for the Croatian people in their homeland and that the diaspora will only support the people in their homeland. With regard to such attitudes of Krnjević since the beginning of his emigration, he proactively worked from the diaspora towards the homeland, while Maček did not engage in such activities. Krnjević's political activity from the diaspora towards the homeland lasted permanently throughout his emigration period and consisted of maintaining ties with HSS officials and sympathisers in the homeland and sending propaganda material to the homeland. Presentation of the until now unexplored political activity of the HSS in the diaspora is complemented by part of the political history of Central and Eastern Europe in regards to the HSS leadership co-operating with political emigrants from that part of Europe and acting in joint organisations based on the fight against communism. In this context, the historical work of the HSS leadership becomes part of the history of the Cold War from the perspective that this political and financial support to diaspora organisations formed part of the United States of America's foreign policy strategy in the Cold War bid with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Precisely for American foreign policy reasons, the HSS and other emigrants from Yugoslavia had a special status in relation to other emigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, from 1948 when Yugoslavia, regardless of the communist political system, had a special position in relation to other communist countries. The most significant activity of the HSS leadership in disapora organisations was related to the action of the International Peasantry Union (MSU). Vladko Maček was one of the founders of the MSU in 1947 and the vice president of the MSU until the end of his life 1964. Maček and the HSS leadership acted in the MSU in order to present to the international public their program and criticism of communism and the then Yugoslav regime. Maček considered communism and Marxist materialist ideology as a counterclaim to peasant ideology, and peasantry was considered the only force in the region of Croatia and Central and Eastern Europe which was capable of collapsing communism in that area. Maček and a part of the HSS group were also connected to the American National Committee for a Free Europe / Committee for a Free Europe (NOSE/OSE), from which came financial and political support from the US State Department and the US intelligence agency, the CIA. At the same time Krnjević in Europe joined the work of the European Movement and the European federalists, whose work was attended by leading Western European politicians at that time, who also enjoyed American support and advocated for a united Europe. The HSS leadership's role in the organisations of emigrants of Central and Eastern Europe had been passivated since the early 1970s, considering that from that point the US financial and political support had declined, and in 1971 stopped as did the work of the OSE, which financially supported the work of emigrant organisations. This work also covers the, until now, poorly researched part of Maček's activities regarding the question of cooperation and attempts to enter into negotiations with Serbian and Slovene political emigrant communities, where it was visible that Maček's endeavours to reach an agreement and solve the Croatian question in the Yugoslav framework was modelled on Banovina Croatia. Maček considered that only a joint Serbian-Croatian cooperation could bring down the communist regime in Yugoslavia, and he also felt that Croats needed to insist on the agreement, otherwise he was afraid that the Western democratic countries would blame Croatians of failing to reach an agreement and the collapse of Yugoslavia would allow the territorial division of Croatia by it neighbours, primarily Italy and Hungary, and on the basis of experience with various contracts from the first half of the twentieth century, beginning with the secret London Treaty of 1915 until the Treaty of Rome in May 1941. Maček was aware of the fact that the US and Western countries were not inclined to partition Yugoslavia into smaller states and generally create smaller state units in Central Europe. The most intense of Maček's activities pertaining to the achievement of agreements with the Serbian and Slovene political emigrant communities, were in the first post-war years, while that activity disappeared in the early 1950s. There were more reason for the failure to reach agreement, primarily the reasons lay in various solutions around the concept and content of the agreement and about the territorial delimitation between Croatia and Serbia, as well as the fact that the Serbian political emigrant community was divided and did not have authority with great political support from the Serb people in the same manner that Maček and HSS had from the Croatian people. There were still over the years emigrants from civilian parties of pre-war Yugoslavia who increasingly raised the question of of their own legitimacy in the representation of the people in whose name the agreement should be signed. Furthermore, in favor of the failure to reach an agreement, the Yugoslav secret service also acted in accordance with its capabilities. The issue of reaching an agreement also existed within the HSS, with respect to this issue Krnjević disagreed with Maček. Presumably the most influential reason why Maček did not arrive at an agreement with the Serbs and Slovenes and that the establishment of a joint Yugoslav diaspora committee was lacking in support from the US was because of the efforts to maintain good relations with Josip Broz Tito and Yugoslavia after 1948 when Tito broke away from Stalin. In the event of a failure to reach an agreement with the Serbs and Slovenes, Maček viewed as the final solution, an independent Croatian state with which was always emphasised that the state did not exist for its own purpose, but it could be sustainable only if all human and social rights were guaranteed, and not if it is governed by dictatorship and terror over the population. Maček's views on how to solve the Croatian question were shared by a part of the prominent HSS leadership led by Branko Pešelj and Ilija Jukic, who in March 1963, with Maček's knowledge, signed a joint document with a part of the Serbian and Slovene political emigrant communities, under the title Proposed Draft Democratic Alternatives, in which the Yugoslav constitution proposal was defined, and that Croatia would remain within the Confederation of the Yugoslavian community. Maček's attitudes, and the views of a part of the prominent group of the HSS, were in opposition to the views of Krnjević, who opposed agreement with the Serbs, and saw the solution of the Croatian question in a stand-alone and independent Croatian state. Krnjević considered that Croats and Serbs could live in peace only if each nation had their own independent state, and if in independent Croatia was the guarantee of political as well as economic stability. Krnjević considered Yugoslavia as a Serbian hegemonic creation in which Croats did not have the same rights as Serbs and equalled Tito's Yugoslavia with Karađorđević's pre-war Yugoslavia. Krnjević's attitude to the resolution of the Croatian question and the agreement with the Serbs became the only official position of the HSS after 1965, since Krnjević, after Maček's death, took over the leadership of the HSS and removed the prominent members of the HSS who promoted the survival of Yugoslavia. Just before the end of Krnjević's life in 1987, the Central Committee of the HSS, at the HSS World Congress, re-approached Maček's requirements of discussion and agreement with the Serbs and Slovenes. The only concept of the solution to the Croatian question in which Maček and Krnjević agreed on was the creation of a Central European Community of states and nations on the territory of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea, within which the Croatian state would also be located. This type of concept was also represented by emigrant organisations from Central and Eastern Europe where Maček and Krnjević were active, behind which the US stood. The concept of the Central European Community was more strongly advocated by Krnjević in the late 1940s and 1950s. Maček's and Krnjevic's opinions differed in relation to the question of the territorial scope of Croatia, which was primarily related to the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Muslims from BiH. Maček was more inclined to the solution that would divide BiH into the borders of Banovina Croatia, although Maček considered Muslims to be Croats of Islamic religion, and at the same time he felt that Muslims from BiH had developed their own national consciousness and wanted an independent BiH. Unlike Maček, Krnjević considered that BiH, as an autonomous unit, was part of Croatia, and the Muslims from BiH were considered exclusively Croats of Islamic religion. Following this, the presentation and analysis of the HSS's work in the diaspora also leads to the re-examination and demolition of stereotypes and prejudices about the Croatian political diaspora as politically one-dimensional and exclusively extreme Ustasha, which was the result of Yugoslav propaganda from 1945 to 1990. The demonstration of the HSS's work shows that it was not just a difference between positions between the HSS and other Croatian emigrant organisations, rather that within the HSS itself there were different views on key political and state issues, above all in relation to solving the Croatian question. Although the HSS through emigration action in the period from 1945 to 1990, kept its continuity, this was not enough to achieve more significant results in the first multiparty elections in Croatia in April 1990. Although the HSS had a poor result in the elections, "Radićevština" was part of the program of the then-winning Croatian Democratic Union 'Hrvatske demokratske zajednice' (HDZ) with Franjo Tuđman and also, at that time, part of the emigrant HSS had joined the HDZ. The emigrant HSS officially ceased to act on 21 May 1991, after the HSS Central Committee led by Josip Torbar joined all factions of the homeland HSS at the united assembly.