Cometh the Hour?

 

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (July 12th 2014)

Wilderness Years Begin

Germanyʼs recent record in major finals is – well – unGerman. Renowned for ruthless efficiency they could be relied on to always be in the mix for major trophies, but the last time Germany lifted a trophy was in 1996. Remember who the successful coach was – a certain Berti Vogts. Argentinaʼs record is even worse. Their last appearance in the final was a losing effort in 1990 – an awful final. 

He inherited Franz Beckenbauerʼs World Cup winning team in 1990 and led then to defeat to Denmark in 1992. He left after eight years in charge after falling in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1994 and again in 1998 to Bulgaria and Croatia respectively.

Erich Ribeck led der Mannschaft (the national team) to a shameful exit in Euro2000 – bottom of their qualifying group. Rudi Völler managed one place better in Euro2004. Latvia finished below them, but two years earlier Völler led Germany to defeat in the final to Brasil. Luiz Felipe Scolari was Brasilʼs manager then.

Overdue

After the failure at Euro2004 Jürgen Klinsmann replaced Völler. Germany reached the semi-final of the 2006 World Cup on home soil as Klinsmann blooded a young team and left the team to his assistant Joachim Löw, but despite the studious approach of Löw trophies continued to elude der Mannschaft. Löwʼs team matched Klinsmannʼs achievement finishing third. On both occasions Germany lost to the eventual winners.

Spainʼs rise to dominance began in 2008 in Austria. The late Luis Aragonés Suárez ushered in six years of unparalleled success by beating Germany 1-0 in the final. They knocked Löwʼs charges out in the semi-final in Durban in South Africaʼs World Cup. And in the Ukraine and Poland, Spain retained their European title, beating Italy 4-0 in the final. Germany had been beaten 2-1 by Italy in the semi-final.

Opportunity Knocks

Spainʼs defence of their world title was one of the worst ever. Sated by their three titles Spain returned home at the first opportunity. Germany continued growing into the competition with every passing match, culminating in a humiliating mauling of hosts Brasil 7-1 in Belo Horizonte – the worst thrashing ever in the semi-final of a World Cup.

The previous worst was 84 years ago in the inaugural World Cup when eventual winners Uruguay beat Yugoslavia 6-1 and the USA lost 6-1 to Argentina. Austria lost 6-1 to West Germany in 1954 as well. It had three times and at least one of them had a very good reason for losing so badly – they played a large portion of the match effectively with eight players. One of the wounded was the goal-keeper.

The USA never had a chance. The rules permitted no substitutions and Argentina had taken no prisoners on their way through to Belo Horizonte. Their goal-keeper was injured after 4 minutes. Another player played on injured and a third played with a broken leg until half time. This was before substitutions were allowed.

Best Chance

Surely Germany will never have a better chance to end almost two decades of trophylessness. They topped their group – one of the most difficult, dismantling Portugal, drawing with Ghana and just beating the USA before Algeria gave them a fright, but fell just short. They deservedly beat France and completely humiliated Brasil.

Nobody can say Germany has not reached the final on merit. They have reached finals and semi-finals, but ultimately this tournament will be viewed a failure if they fail to match Italyʼs achievement and win the World Cup for the fourth time. Germany have done well; theyʼve got close before. Is it Germanyʼs time to win the World Cup?

Arsenalʼs Lukas Podolski thinks so. “Of course”, he said before Arsenal ended their own trophy drought. “Of course we want to win the World Cup, but other teams want that as well and it was not easy. The pressure is big because we would say Germany are the favourites – the people in Germany, the newspapers say we already win the World Cup, but itʼs not easy”.

 

Germany Humiliate Brasil

 

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (July 8th 2014)

Unprecedented

Shorn of the talents of Neymar (injured) and Thiago Silva (suspended) Joachim Löw’s Germany dismantled the host Brasil 7-1. It was the worst defeat in a semi-final of the World Cup ever, beating the three joint best 6-1 – Argentina v the USA, Uruguay v Yugoslavia in 1930 and West Germany v Austria in 1954.

Five nil up within half an hour Germany could have notched a cricket score, but at half time they withdrew Mats Hummels in favour of Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker, having taken a decision not to humiliate their hosts. For ten minutes it was an even contest, but the bane of Brasil’s performance soon became evident as Germany cut through Brasil’s defence with consummate ease.

Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira won a corner off club colleague Marcelo. It was taken by Bayern München’s departing attacking midfielder Toni Kroos. The marking was abysmal as Kroos’ team-mate for club and country Thomas Müller was unmarked at the back post to volley in from 8 yards. Luiz Felipe Scolari’s teams are normally solid at the back. Tonight they were dismal.

Ten Minutes that Scarred a Nation

Brasil conceded the next four goals in less than ten minutes. Manchester City’s Fernandinho may wish that Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo had stayed true to form and remained a fussy disciplinarian referee against Colombia – this proved a good match to be suspended for. Fernandinho ought to have intercepted Müller’s pass to Kroos, but failed to do so. Kroos found Miroslav Klose whose shot was parried back to the German poacher – all his World Cup Finals’ goals were from within the box. Klose pounced on the rebound to become the record-holder with 16. Six minutes later Germany were 5-0 up as Brasil capitulated.

Within two minutes Germany cut swathes down the right flank. Kroos found Arsenal’s Mesut Özil who released Philipp Lahm. Germany’s captain squared for Müller to score der Mannschaft’s third. A minute later a comical defensive lapse by Fernandinho gifted another. Fernandinho made a mess of Dante’s pass, allowing Kroos to pinch possession, surge forward and a one-two with Khedira beat Júlio César Sores de Espíndola, even though the keeper got a hand to it. That was three in as many minutes.

Three minutes later the rout became embarrassing. Khedira was bossing the match and bagged himself a rare goal. David Luiz’ pass was intercepted and after exchanging passes with Kroos, Khedira bagged the fifth with less than half an hour played.

Disgraceful

Captaining his country Luiz’ should never have completed the half let alone match. He elbowed Klose in the face twice. The first time Klose did him a favour and ignored it – the second time he went down. Replays confirmed that Luiz had indeed elbowed Klose twice. Both times referee Marco Rodríguez – the Méxican official who had ignored Giorgio Chiellini’s efforts to show him that Luis Suárez had bitten him – failed to take action.

What do Brasilians have to do to get sent off in this World Cup? In fact even yellow cards are rare. Just over a quarter of an hour into the match Marcelo went to ground wanting a penalty. Lahm’s tackle was well-timed, but Marcelo had dived. He should have been booked. Minutes earlier the same player had cynically blocked Müller and Bernard did the same to Kroos.

Hulk got in on the simulation later as well. Yet again no cards were brandished until after an hour even after the fiasco of the previous match. Luiz should have been shown the yellow card for clattering Müller right in front of the referee. And then there was his reaction to a later foul by Müller. Luiz kicked out at him, but didn’t connect. Germans fouled too, but far less. Luiz Gustavo deserved at least a card and both Fred and Óscar tried to buy penalties cheaply without success.

Consolidation

Both managers made changes at half time. Ramires and Paulinho replaced Hulk and Fernandinho at half time. Defensive frailties persisted – Luiz had a very poor game, but Müller couldn’t profit from his error. Paulinho almost made a quick impact, but Neuer’s double save from point blank range. A minute earlier he denied Óscar. With just under an hour played Júlio César tipped Müller’s shot from just outside the area over the bar.

A couple of minutes later Maicon became the latest to try to con a penalty. He failed, but yet again no card was shown. Finally – after three quarters of the match Rodríguez brandished a card in Dante’s direction for clattering Müller from behind. Chelsea’s André Schürrle had replaced the record-breaking Klose twelve minutes before he put Germany six up.

Lahm and Khedira exploited the weak defending on Brasil’s left. Lahm pulled it back for Schürrle to tap in. The carnage was still incomplete. A quick throw down the left wing found Müller. His reverse pass to Schürrle was sublime. Schürrle continued down the left of the area before lashing it past Júlio César at his near post for the best of Germany’s seven.

With a minute of normal time remaining Özil wasted a golden opportunity to make it eight, pulling his shot wide of Júlio César’s far post. To Neuer’s disgust Germany conceded as added tie approached. Neuer – the sweeper-keeper failed to come and clear the danger as Óscar latched on to Marcelo’s long pass to the left of Germany’s area. He cut to the right and beat Neuer to the keeper’s right. The look of disgust on Neuer’s face was priceless.

It was Brasil’s worst defeat in a tournament for almost a century – a 6-0 drubbing by Uruguay on September 18th 1920 in the Campeonato Sudamericano de Football, which is now known as the Copa América.

 

Argentina Beat Plucky Bosnia-Herzegovina – Just

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 15th 2014)

A Date with History

Bosnia-Herzegovina couldnʼt have had a tougher introduction to the grandest stage of world football. After the trauma of the rebirth of their country in the war that saw the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, football offers a unifying force, especially now. They topped their group with Manchester Cityʼs Edin Džeko playing a starring role. While this team are viewed as heroes in their country Zlatan Ibrahimović is seen as a traitor for choosing Sweden over his Bosnian origins.

Had the mercurial Ibrahimović made a different choice he would have had the chance to settle scores in a different context with former Barçelona team-mate Lionel Messi and his supremely talented Argentinian colleagues. It is a baptism most new-comers to the World Cup could do without. However, they could not be in better hands. They are currently managed by their greatest ever player – also deemed the best ever player Paris Saint-Germain ever had – Safet Sušić, an attacking midfielder of rare ability.

Worst Start

They couldnʼt have had a much worse start, conceding the fastest goal in the tournament so far, as Messiʼs free-kick was headed on by Marcos Rojo after three minutes. It hit the unfortunate defender Sead Kolašinac and deflected off him past Asmir Begović. Since conceding the early goal they held their own. Ten minutes later Sergio Romero was forced into action to deny Izet Harjović when the Bosnian winger beat the off-side trap.

Messi has looked a shadow of the player he is for his club, but his form for Argentina has always been dire at World Cups. He has only scored once in 31 efforts and that was eight years ago in the 6-0 rout of Serbia and Montenegro and that was the sixth when the result was not in doubt.

With chances at a premium Javier Mascherano decided that it was worth taking a pot shot from 30 yards out, but Begović wonʼt be beaten from that distance, especially when itʼs hit straight at him. With less than five minutes of the first half remaining Lazioʼs Senad Lulićʼs header was tipped past the post by Romero. Argentina led, but they barely deserved it.

Cometh the Men

On the hour Messi was gifted possession. He released Sergio Agüero on the right. Agüeroʼs pass for Gonazalo Higuaín was too close to Begović who smothered it. Five minutes earlier Agüero wasted a golden opportunity shooting well over the bar. After a poor night by his high standards Messi reignited Argentina with an excellent finish worthy of the move that created the opportunity.

A one-two with Higuaín carved the Bosnian defence apart after 66 minutes. Messi cut inside and shot from the edge of the area, scoring off Begovićʼs right-hand post. Stoke Cityʼs keeper had no chance – Messi has arrived at the Maracanã and Argentina grow in confidence. Agüero went close again before Mascheranoʼs interception released Messi who ran at the heart of the Bosnian defence before finding Agüero, whose cross was cleared by Emir Spahić at the expense of a corner.

VfB Stuttgartʼs striker Vedad Ibišević wrote his name large in the history of Bosnian sport. He scored his countryʼs first goal in a major finals after 85 minutes. Lulić rampaged down the left flank before a magnificent through ball found Ibišević. Taking nothing away from the Bosnian striker Romero will be disappointed with his effort – it went in off his leg. Argentina held on to win 2-1.

 

Competing Visions – Tito and Tuđman

(Part Four) – Tunnel Vision

Editorʼs Note:

We believe that this series of articles are both timely and necessary, as understanding a nations culture and philosophy on and off the pitch is necessary for football to achieve its potential.

Derek Miller

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar July 9th 2008)

Settling Scores

Tito used football to settle scores. Teams that continued to play under the Ustaše were disbanded. Both Partisan Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb were new teams that received players from the disbanded teams.

Although Red Star was a new team as well it tended to deny its origins, but they inherited the stadium: some players, kit and offices of the pre-Second World War team Jugoslavija. Another team from Belgrade, BSK, was also disbanded by Tito’s government after the war.

Its assets were inherited by OFK Beograd – Belgrade – but unlike Red Star OFK openly acknowledge its roots and even tried to reclaim the name BSK in the 1950s. Red Star’s great rivals are FK Partisan. Franjo Tuđman learned how football could be used as President of Partisan in 1957.

Punishment through Football

Tito reserved harsh punishment for Zagreb teams after the war had been won. Građanski: Hrvatski Akademski Športski Klub1 (HAŠK) and Concordia were disbanded. Građanski’s manager the innovative Hungarian Márton Bukovi was inherited by the new club NK Dinamo Zagreb.

HAŠK in particular had been one of Croatia’s best pre-war teams. Ratko Kacian: Željko Čajkovski, Svetozar Peričić and Dragutin Lojen became regulars at Dinamo. Čajkovski had a decade long career at the new club, but some of the greatest Građanski players were sent to Belgrade to play for Partisan. They included Stjepan Bobek: Miroslav Brozović, Franjo Glaser and Florijan Matekalo.

Glaser also played for BSK before the war. He became a legend of Partisan as did Matekalo who went on to coach Partisan. Despite being Croatian Matekalo continued to live in Serbia after Croatian independence. He died there in May 1995. Dinamo inherited HAŠK’s stadium, played in the colours of Građanski and eventually adopted a club symbol very close to that of Građanski.

The Footballing Partisans

While Jugoslavija: BSK, Građanski, HAŠK and Concordia were punished by Tito and his government at the end of World War II for continuing to play by being disbanded, one Croatian team was treated with great deference by Tito. Hajduk Split was Tito’s favourite team and with good reason.

It was always a politically active team that could play attractive football. In the late 1920s they broke the domination of Belgrade and Zagreb clubs by winning the Yugoslav championship twice. Hajduk’s activities in the Second World War are particularly worthy of mention.

Where others collaborated and continued to play Hajduk steadfastly opposed the Italian occupation and sided with the partisans, eventually becoming a partisan army team – something Tito always held them in high esteem for.

Independence

In the 1970s Hajduk had its most successful period. They won three Yugoslavian championships and five consecutive cups. As Yugoslavia disintegrated they removed the red star from their kit. Dinamo went one stage further. In 1992 they asserted their Croatian identity by changing their name to HAŠK-Građanski, but it didn’t last.

Franjo Tuđman severed ties with the remnants of Yugoslavia in 1991, declaring Croatia independent. The wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina lasted until 1995. Croatian nationalism was rekindled by events at the Maksomir Stadium on May 13th 1990.

Tuđman knew the power of football and how it could be used to bolster the cause of Croatia. Dinamo’s name was changed to Croatia-Zagreb in 1993 at Tuđman’s instigation. It was never accepted by Dinamo’s supporters and in 2000 the club reclaimed its name of Dinamo.

Durable Vision

Tito’s vision of a federal Yugoslavia was dead. Tuđman died in 1999 – still President of Croatia. His legacy is controversial. The War Crimes Tribunal in Den Haag would almost certainly have indicted him had he lived, but in Croatia Tuđman is revered. Despite accusations of anti-Semitism and war crimes regarding the suppression of Serbs in Krajina and also the apparent deal with Milošević to carve up Bosnian territory between them, ultimately Tuđman’s vision proved the more durable.

Tito’s vision of a federal republic and for football too could not survive his passing by much, whereas almost a decade after his death Tuđman’s dream of an independent Croatia is here to stay. They have the more successful national football team too.

 

 

1 Croatia Academic Sport’s Club.

 

Competing Visions – Tito and Tuđman

(Part Three) – Dissident

Editorʼs Note:

We believe that this series of articles are both timely and necessary, as understanding a nations culture and philosophy on and off the pitch is necessary for football to achieve its potential.

Derek Miller

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar July 9th 2008)

Fully Fledged

Tuđman was now a fully fledged dissident at least as far as Croatia was concerned. In 1971 he was sentenced to two years imprisonment. He had come to question what he believed was Pan-Serbianism disguised as Yugoslavian nationalism.

Tuđman also questioned the extent of casualties reported at the Jasenovac concentration camp, although historical accounts tend to verify the official version rather than Tuđman’s. It also seems odd that he would lay himself open to charges of revisionism and anti-Semitism over something that was on any view a crime against humanity regardless of the precise number of victims.

Nevertheless, Tuđman believed that Yugoslav nationalism had become a weapon to allow Serbs to dominate the other members of the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. Economically, he remained loyal as he was regarding the monopoly of power by the Communist Party. His sentence was commuted to nine months, but the rupture with Tito’s vision had already taken root.

Autonomy or Rupture

A decade later Tuđman was jailed again, although this time the writing was already on the wall for Yugoslavia. He served less than a year, but Tito was dead and that had consequences for his vision of Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milošević eventually outmanoeuvred his rivals to seize power, but he was no Tito.

Milošević lacked Tito’s vision, popularity and personality to hold Yugoslavia together. Tito suppressed nationalism, even though Yugoslavs enjoyed some liberties unheard of in the eastern bloc, but even critics like Tuđman didn’t want rupture with Yugoslavia then – all they wanted was greater autonomy for Croatia within Yugoslavia. Milošević played a large part in destroying Tito’s vision.

Tito’s Vision

Under Tito visa requirements were abolished. Yugoslav citizens were allowed to work abroad and return to enjoy their retirements. There was a surprising degree of liberalism compared to the Eastern block governments. Tito died on May 4th 1980. Until the funeral of Pope John Paul II his funeral held a record for foreign dignitaries attending.

His vision of a unified Yugoslavia did not survive him by much. Many of the buildings: squares and streets that were named in his honour have seen their names changed, especially in his native Croatia. Despite their disagreements, which became legion there was one thing Tito and Tuđman agreed on. Football could be used for political purposes.

 

 

Competing Visions – Tito and Tuđman

(Part Two) – The Third Way

Editorʼs Note:

We believe that this series of articles are both timely and necessary, as understanding a nations culture and philosophy on and off the pitch is necessary for football to achieve its potential.

Derek Miller

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar July 9th 2008)

Consolidating Power

Josip Broz Tito won elections in November 1945 and ordered Germans accused of collaboration – the Danube Swabians – out of the country. Tito reorganised the government. The Yugoslav army was made up of partisans. Its leaders appointed generals. A secret police and Department of People’s Security were established to hunt down wartime collaborators.

Croatian catholic priests had collaborated with the Ustaše and helped Ante Pavelić to escape. Peter II was deposed on November 29th 1945 and in March 1946 Draža Mihailović was captured. He was executed on July 18th 1946.

Tito consolidated power with methods characteristic of both dictatorial and democratic means. He was hugely popular after the war, but hunted down collaborators, nationalists and anti-communists in a bid to restore Yugoslavia’s national identity. During his lifetime he succeeded.

He held Yugoslavia together with the force of his personality and where that failed through less pleasant means. Among those to fall foul of Tito’s determination to suppress any nationalism but Yugoslavia’s was Franjo Tuđman, but before the rupture there was a period of cooperation.

Standing Up To Stalin

In 1948 Tito became the only ‘socialist bloc’ leader to stand up to Joseph Stalin successfully as he wanted a strong Yugoslav economy. Stalin took it personally and tried to have Tito killed. Tito’s response is interesting.

“Stop sending people to kill me”, he wrote. “If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow and I won’t have to send a second”! Both Tito and the Yugoslav party were expelled from the Cominform and purges occurred in other countries. After Stalin’s death Nikita Khrushchev’s invitation to normalise relations was rejected until both Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin personally visited Belgrade to apologise.

Tito was a founder member of the non-aligned states along with Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser: India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, Indonesia’s Kusno Sosrodihardjo (Sukarno) and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.

In 1967 Tito proposed a peace plan for the Arab-Israeli conflict that involved Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for the return of land. It was rejected. He also opened Yugoslavia’s borders – the first of the ‘socialist bloc’ to do so.

Relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated again in that eventful year when Tito told Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubček that he would fly to Prague at three hours notice if he needed help facing down the Soviet Union.

Popularity Abroad

Tito became popular abroad because of acts like this. However, he was determined to hold Yugoslavia together and suppressed nationalism to do it. At first Franjo Tuđman acquiesced. He was a loyal party member and rose rapidly because of it, but also on merit. After the end of Second World War Tuđman worked in the Defence Ministry before attending military academy in 1957.

He was also had an interest in football, being President of FK Partisan of Belgrade at this time. He wrote an admired book on guerilla warfare called ‘War Against War’. He became one of the youngest generals in the Yugoslav People’s Army in the early 1960s before becoming Director of the Institute for the History of the Croatian Workers’ Movement – a post he held until 1967.

Loggerheads

Before long he was at loggerheads with Tito due to his criticism of the establishment. This came to a head during the Croatian Spring, which developed into a protest movement. It was originally instigated by Tito as a controlled exercise of liberalisation, but developed into a nationalist movement that tapped into dissatisfaction in Croatia at their position within Yugoslavia.

It was then suppressed by the army and police on Tito’s orders as he feared the spread of nationalism. However, most of the protesters’ demands were incorporated into the constitution of 1974.

 

Competing Visions – Tito and Tuđman

(Part One) – The War Years

Editorʼs Note:

We believe that this series of articles are both timely and necessary, as understanding a nations culture and philosophy on and off the pitch is necessary for football to achieve its potential.

Derek Miller

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar July 9th 2008)

Allies

The political use of Croatian football since the Second World War has been dominated by just two men – Josip Broz Tito and Franjo Tuđman. They began by sharing a lot, but quickly drifted apart. During the Second World War Tito led Yugoslavia’s partisans in their heroic resistance against the fascist Ustaše led by Ante Pavelić and the Nazis.

Tuđman joined the partisans. After the war the Yugoslav army was reorganised under partisan leaders. Tito consolidated power and became President of Yugoslavia. However, Tito and Tuđman were united by circumstances rather than ideology.

Tito passionately believed in Yugoslavia’s national identity; Tuđman didn’t. The cracks took a while to show, but Tuđman was a Croatian nationalist and that meant a falling out was inevitable, but what shaped their opinions?

Titoʼs Rise

Tito was born to a Croatian father and Slovene mother in the 1890s. He fought on the Russian front, but was captured in the First World War. Josip Broz as he was then subsequently joined the Bolsheviks before arriving back in Yugoslavia in 1920. He quickly joined the Yugoslav Communist Party, which was soon banned by King Aleksandar despite electoral success making it the third largest party.

In the 1930s Tito was a loyal Stalinist and purged the still banned Yugoslav party on Joseph Stalin’s orders. He criticised Mussolini’s fascists and Nazi Germany until Stalin signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact. On April 6th 1941 the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia. King Peter II fled. Resistance crumbled quickly and Yugoslavia was dismembered. Tito remained and emerged as the leader of the resistance.

Slovenia was annexed by the Nazis and puppet states were created elsewhere such as Croatia. Tomislav II was made king of Croatia. He never set foot in the country which was ruled by Pavelić. Yugoslav territory was annexed by Albania: Hungary, Bulgaria and Italy as well. The rest was occupied by the Axis powers.

The Resistance

The communist resistance that became known as the partisans was formed in Slovenia on April 28th 1941. Broz emerged as their leader. Two weeks later the anti-Nazi and anti-communist Yugoslav Army of the Fatherland – Chetniks was established – led by General Draža Mihailović. They had British support.

King Peter’s government in exile – a meaningless term given what was then the reality of life in Yugoslavia – had the support of the allies. That changed when the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union resulted in Stalin switching sides. His allies – Communist Parties – did so as well.

After the invasion of the Soviet Union, Tito was named commander of the partisans and issued a call to arms. They proved adept at sabotage. The Nazis retaliated against civilians. For every German killed a hundred civilians would be killed and fifty for every German wounded. Mihailović baulked at the casualties, but Tito didn’t. They continued to resist.

In the first six months of 1943 the partisans withstood a barrage of Nazi pressure. Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin switched support from Peter II to Tito. He was almost killed three times – surviving once because his dog gave its life to save him. Tito had a huge price on his head, but it made no difference.

Post-war

The British air-dropped supplies and towards the end of the war the Red Army helped to drive the Nazis out. Attempts to unite the anti-fascist forces into a national unity government failed. Tito had no intention of allowing others to share power after having taken the risks and shown exemplary leadership and courage.

Tito ordered all foreign forces out of Yugoslavia after the war ended. The Ustaše was banned and Tito’s partisans settled some scores. Among those massacred were conscripts. There is little doubt that reprisals occurred and that among the victims were innocent civilians. There is however no evidence that these atrocities were ordered by Tito or the leadership of the partisans. They seem to have been committed by vigilante partisans intent on revenge at local level.

Nevertheless both the atrocities of the Ustaše and the reprisals by the partisans were used for political purposes nearly half a century later. Among the victims at this time were members of Tuđman’s family.

The official police report at the time claimed that Stjepan Tuđman – an important official in the Croatian Peasants’ Party – killed his wife and then himself. Tuđman originally blamed the Ustaše. However, he later shifted the blame onto communists. This is now the accepted story in Croatia.