Journal of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, No. 6-7, 2016
On the basis of recently published scientific works and sources the authors analyse the perception of one of the most disputed subjects of contemporary national history by the Croatian public – the post-1945 killings of the Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross marches. These events were connected with the withdrawal of the troops of the Independent State of Croatia and involved numerous civilians who became victims of mass executions after they became prisoners of the communist-led Yugoslav army in May, 1945. A large number of prisoners did not survive the exhausting death marches. Different valuations of the number of victims of the tragedy of Bleiburg are given as well as different assessments in recent historiography. The article outlines the way in which the subject of Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross is treated in Croatian historiography. The question of responsibility is discussed as a relevant fact with an emphasis on the role of Josip Broz Tito in this traumatic episode of Croatian history. The main idea of the article is to point out the disagreement about the tragedy of Bleiburg in Croatian academia and in the broader public, along with the need for accepting the fact that all war crimes need to be punished.
Bleiburg; Way of the Cross; victims; responsibility for war crimes; international criminal law; Croatian historiography