December 17, 1997
The Honorable Randy Duke Cunningham
Dear Congressman Cunningham:
As a specialist in Croatian and South Slavic Studies of more than twenty-five years, I read with interest the remarks being attributed to you by the Serbian Unity Congress. I hope that you were misquoted. Some observations:
“I attended a banquet where over four hundred allied air force fighters were giving their thanks to the Serbs who rescued them...”
According to OSS records about 500 flyers were rescued by the Serbian Cetniks during the War, about 700 were rescued by Slovenian Partizans, and about 1600 by Croatians and Bosnian Partizans. Those Allied airmen who were captured by the pro-Axis Croatian faction were well treated and none died in captivity as documented in my monograph Allied Prisoners of War in Croatia 1941-1945 (1980).
“While the Serbs reached out to the allies and paid in blood and pain, the Croatians and the Muslims, for the most part, fought with Nazi Germany.”
In the interwar period Hitler supported the Royal Serbian dictatorship and later a number of neo-fascist Serbian-Yugoslav governments. He opposed Croatian independence and wanted to give the whole country to Italy. Please see Dr. Phillip Cohens Serbias Secret War (Texas A&M Press, 1996). You refer to the pro-Axis Croatian group known as the Ustae, which numbered about 70,000 at its height. Yet it was the Croatian Partizans, led by the Croatian Josip Broz Tito, who on June 22, 1941 (still a national holiday in Croatia) near Sisak, Croatia, launched the first, largest, and only successful internal war of liberation against the Nazis. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman was a Partizan who rose to the rank of general and is the only living head of state to have fought in combat against the Nazis. Only five per cent of the Partizans were communists, most came from the Croatian Peasant Party. By 1943 the Partizans numbered 300,000 in 26 Divisions. Over one-half were Croatians. Zagreb was the only capital in Europe liberated by wholly indiginous forces.
While linking the Croatians with Nazis during World War II, despite the fact that they were the largest and only effective resistance force in Europe, you praise the Serbian Cetniks who openly collaborated with the Axis, which is well documented in dozens of historical works including the aforementioned book by Dr. Cohen, and The Chetniks by Stanford Professor Jozo Tomasevich (Stanford University Press: 1975), the definitive work on the subject. The Serbian Cetniks came over to the Partizans in 1944 only after the Allies stopped supporting them because of their open collaboration with the Axis.
“While the Serbs, since before King Peter I, had been rooted in democracy...”
An astounding statement! Serbia has never known a day of democracy since it separated from Turkey in the last century. From the founding of Serbia in 1804 to the founding of Yugoslavia in 1918, there were eleven Serbian reigns. Over this 114 year period the average reign was less than ten years. Of all rulers in modern Serbian history, only one, Milo, died on the throne of natural causes, and he came to power after being in exile. The Karageorgevi˙ “dynasty” was founded by Kara-george (“Black George”) Petrovi˙, a pig farmer who by his own admission killed 125 men with his own hands, his stepfather and brother among them. He was killed by Mi-lo in 1817. Black George's son Alexander returned to the throne in 1842 but was deposed by the rival Obrenovi˙ “dynasty” and died in exile in 1885. Alexander Obrenovi˙ and his queen were in turn brutally murdered in 1903 by Petar I who died under the regency of his son Alexander Karageorgevi˙ who came to power only because his older brother Prince George murdered his valet and was forced to renounce his claim to the throne.
Alexanders followers in the “democratic” Serbian Yugoslav Kingdom gunned down the Croatian pacifist leader Stjepan Radic and four other Croatian leaders on the floor of Parliament. Alexander followed this blow by declaring himself King Dictator on January 6, 1929, abolishing any pretense of constitutionality. Using murder as an instrument of government, he outlawed all political parties, began persecution of Jews and quickly became one of the most hated dictators in Europe. When the famed Croatian intellectual Milan ufflay was brutally murdered by Alexander's secret police, even Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mann joined in the inter-national chorus of condemnation of the regime on the front page of the New York Times of May 6, 1931.
King Alexander Karageorgevic was assassinated in 1934 by a Macedonian named Vlada Gheorghieff, a member of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, not a Croatian as Serbian mythology would have it. Alexander was followed by his cousin Prince Regent Paul who openly admired and was courted by the Axis which he eventually joined in April 1941, bringing war to Yugoslavia. During the war, Serbia was a Nazi puppet state under General Milan Nedic and Belgrade was the first city in the New Order to be declared Judenfrei, “free of Jews.” I have enclosed an illustration from that regime.
Since 1987, Serbia has been ruled by Slobodan Miloevic and his hard-line communist wife Mirjana Markovic. Today a sham election is taking place to elect a new leader of Serbia since Miloevic has elevated himself to President of “Yugoslavia.” The leading contender for his job is Vojislav Seelj, a war criminal who has seriously suggested infecting the entire Albanian population of Serb-occupied Kosovo with the AIDS virus and who promises to re-start the war in Bosnia and Croatia!
“The United States should stay out of the war crimes issue.”
Could that be because 73% of those indicted for war crimes are Serbs? Three, out of 57 have been brought to justice. Of the 18 indicted Croatians, 14 have surrendered them-selves to the Hague. A war criminal like Radovan Karadzic, who is said to have paid six million dollars for a small atomic bomb to destroy Sarajevo in 1995, needs to be brought to justice (the bomb was a fake and the Bosnian Serbs lost their deposit on their $ 66 million bomb). His chief henchman Mladic is strutting around Serbian occupied Bosnia in plain sight of NATO forces. Would you have urged the U.S. to stay out of the “war crimes issue” in 1946?
I have not read the entire text of your remarks to the S.U.C. convention in Pittsburgh. I hope that these quotes, being sent around the world on the internet, are out of context and do not reflect your true understanding of the past or present situation in the former Yugoslavia.
C. Michael McAdams