Chapter 11


It is the duty of any State, independently of its religious or ideological nature, to defend itself when threatened by domestic or external enemies. The Central Government of Yugoslavia, aware of Archbishop Stepinac's activities, past and present, could not continue to watch them indefinitely and aloof. Sooner or later, it had to consider steps to end them.

If the Government had had to deal with a simple political or military leader, the solution would have been ready at hand. But here the issue was complicated by the fact that a political leader was also the head of the Catholic Hierarchy. His arrest would raise complex religious repercussions at Rome, and therefore practically throughout the Western world.

The Yugoslav Government decided to solve the problem tactfully, by removing Stepinac, without raising the religious hornet's nest issue. To that end, it approached Pius Xll, demanding the Archbishop's withdrawal from Zagreb. The Vatican, true to its reputation as a master of Sibylline moves, in October, 1945, charged an American in Yugoslavia, Bishop J.P. Hurley, of Florida, at that time acting as the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio there, to investigate the case and report on it direct to the Pope.

Bishop Hurley made extensive inquiries and wrote a comprehensive memorandum, which was speedily sent to Pius XII. Pius XII read it, mused upon it, and then decided to proceed as already planned with regard to Stepinac. Hurley's findings were promptly pigeonholed, and never heard of again.

The Yugoslav Government waited. As the head of the Government himself testified, "waited four months without receiving any reply."[1]

The Vatican was silent because Pius XII planned a war of his own, in which Stepinac was to play a very prominent role. It was the beginning of a psychological papal cold war. In this war religion would be used as the main instrument, directed at stirring up emotional hatred for political ends. Stepinac had to be sacrificed to the requirements of Catholic world diplomacy.[2] Having embarked on this course, the Vatican first contacted, not the waiting Yugoslav Government, but Archbishop Stepinac, whom it ordered to carry on.

When the War Crimes Commission, which, meanwhile, was collecting documentation on war criminals, produced its evidence concerning the head of the Catholic Hierarchy, and presented it to the Yugoslav Government, the latter, after further vain attempts with the Vatican, decided to act. On September 18, 1946, Archbishop Stepinac was arrested. The utmost care was taken that the trial should be fair, in view of the fact that it was certain to raise all kinds of religious and political complications within and outside Yugoslavia. Although only about one-third of the Yugoslav population is Catholic, the Government saw to it that all the officials at the trial were Croatian Catholics. The world Press was invited to attend, which it did. On October 11, 1946, after a ten days' hearing, the Court—composed, it should be remembered, of Catholics—sentenced Archbishop Stepinac to sixteen years imprisonment.

The Vatican uttered a cry of horror, instantly amplified a thousandfold by the Catholic Hierarchies, Catholic agencies, and Catholic Press the world over. Pope Pius Xll ordered the excommunication of all those who had taken part in the trial, from Tito himself down to the last official connected in any way with Stepinac's indictment. All received a solemn Catholic guarantee of eternal damnation in genuine Catholic brimstone and inextinguishable infernal fire. The thing was made even more fearsome by a papal afterthought, which promised the personal attention of Lucifer himself on all those so excommunicated. The Prince of Devils would torture all the unChristian persecutors of the Archbishop during eons without end. Papal authority had decreed so. Amen.

Had such authority been exercised only in hell, it would have worried fewer Christians than is generally believed. Infernal candidates must first emigrate to the next world, and no case has as yet been authenticated of anybody dying because of the scorching effect of the spiritual papal bolts. With millions of the living, however, this same papal authority is neither problematic nor fictitious. It is real, widespread, and dangerous. It can tap vast sources of power at will, whether to help its friends and allies or to dismay its enemies. Last but not least, it can engender the darkest currents of religious and political emotionalism, to control and use the deceived masses of Catholics and non-Catholics alike to further its own interests. The case of Stepinac once more strikingly demonstrated this.

The Pope set in motion the vast machinery of Catholic propaganda, which in no time flooded the world with such mountainous distortions and such plain dishonesty as to shame the most deceitful of all the devils in hell. Overnight Stepinac, the authoritarian leader, the political plotter, the politician, the promoter of the forcible conversions, the tolerator and indirect instigator of the Ustashi massacres, was made to appear as Stepinac the defender of true democracy, the most holy Archbishop, the courageous champion of religious freedom, the persecuted and the martyr. Millions accepted the Catholic version. The result was that soon large sections of the Western world, who until then had not even bothered with the whole thing, hailed Stepinac as the pitiful victim of anti-Christian barbarism.

The lay Press followed suit, exalting Stepinac as the champion of Christianity fighting the powers of darkness. Religious and political leaders joined in the chorus. Foreign Offices, heads of States, and, indeed, whole Governments of Catholic and non-Catholic lands sent official protests against "such unheard-of religious persecution." Questions were heatedly asked in the British House of Commons, in the French, Italian, and Belgian Chambers of Deputies, in the American House of Representatives and Senate. In the USA. President Truman was subjected to a tremendous pressure to force him to intervene on behalf of the "martyred Stepinac." A worldwide movement was set up to induce the United Nations to come to the rescue of a man who had defended all the religious and civil liberties for which the United Nations was said to stand.

The emotional mass distortion engineered by the master minds at the Vatican soon began to yield its poisonous harvest, not so much in the religious realm as where it was potentially a thousandfold more dangerous: that is, in the political field.

At this period, it must be remembered, the Cold War was still in its earliest stage. The blind emotionalism engendered by the trial and its aftermath was used to widen the growing gap between the Russian Dominated Communist and the American-led capitalist worlds.

Soviet Russia slowed down its demobilization and kept a large standing land army on a war footing. The USA pushed ahead its war preparations to such an extent that, after the Stepinac trial had taken place, it had already spent the colossal sum of almost one billion dollars on stock-piling.[3] By 1947 the military forces of the world numbered 19 million, and were maintained at an annual cost of 27,000 million dollars. This, less than two years after the fall of Hitler. From then onward military expenditure rocketed to astronomical figures. By the time that Yugoslavia—who, meanwhile, owing to ideological developments, had leaned towards the West—partially set Archbishop Stepinac free (winter 1951-2) and Stepinac, from Archbishop, became a Cardinal (1953), the world had been split asunder.[4]

The American factories were made to hum, while the American Air Force, Army, and Navy were posted throughout the world in main strategic places, ready to strike. Colossal expenditures for war were voted by the American Administration—e.g. 129,000 million dollars, voted by Congress within less than two years (1950-2) for military armaments and constructions.[5] By early 1953 in Europe alone the USA. had already built more than a hundred airfields, many specially equipped for atomic operations, as defensive-offensive bases against Russia.[6]

In Communist Russia preparations of the same magnitude as a defensive-offensive war policy were carried out, with impetus to match their Western counterparts. Within a few brief years from the end of the Second World War billions of roubles were appropriated for military purposes. In no time, while Soviet Russia became the arsenal of the East, the USA became the arsenal of the West, and its most powerful political military leader. The nations of the world, although not yet out of the second world massacre, made ready for the oncoming third. Politicians, generals, heads of governments, spoke of atomic wars. Armies reassembled, ready to march. A bloody rehearsal of another global slaughter, in imitation of the Spanish Civil War of 1939, where the USA ideologically hostile armies rehearsed a small conflict to be ready for a big one, was staged in Korea in the summer of 1950.

A gigantic armaments race undermined the economy of whole nations, thus rendering war between the two mighty Eastern and Western blocs not so much probable as inevitable.

While the increasingly powerful militaries asked for ever more colossal appropriations, from Vatican Hill came unctuous slogans for peace mingled with veiled threats, invocations to religion, and sanctimonious condemnations of the "atheistic enemies of Christianity." In cynical betrayal of the masses of honest, humble believers, the Vatican was plotting feverishly in the political-diplomatic fields to further its designs. Then one day, above all this, voices were heard—the official voices of the reorganized bands of Ustashi, calling to their members not to scatter, as the hour when they, the Catholic Ustashi of Croatia, would fight side by side with the democratic defenders of Western civilization was fast approaching. The glorious battalions of the Ustashi had to make ready. But while they were willing to fight for world liberty, they had to prepare to do so only in the name of Catholic Croatia, in Catholic units, and under the Croatian flag. No Ustashi, therefore, was permitted to join a foreign army. The appeal of the resuscitated terrorist bands—with the headquarters in the USA.—ran thus:

Headquarters of the V. assembly of Croatian Armed Forces, having jurisdiction over all subjects of the Croatian Armed Forces (Hr or Sn) living on the territory of the European States. It has been learned that some persons, unauthorized, are endeavouring to persuade individuals to enlist in foreign armies. By the order of the Supreme Command of all Croatian Armed Forces, all subjects living in any European State be notified that no individual person is authorized for such activity, nor is it permitted enlisting in foreign armies in any capacity, without a special authorized permit. The Supreme Command of all the Croatian Armed forces will call its forces to arm against Bolshevism when the time arrives to fight side by side with other anti-Communistic nations, under our own flag and within our Croatian army formations.

Headquarters V. Assembly,

General Drinyanin, August, 1950.[7]

These were noble words. The words of an idealist longing for liberty to prevail on earth. Many acclaimed the new defenders of freedom. In certain quarters, however, they knew better. For General Drinyanin was the alias of former Chief Commandant of all the terrible Catholic concentration camps of Croatia, the leader of the bloody "Ustashi Defense" formations responsible for the massacre of 200,000 prisoners in the camps of Jasenovac, the "protector" of all the jackbooted or soutaned monsters who, a few short years before, had been engaged in the forcible conversions to Catholicism, under the aegis of Stepinac, now Cardinal.

While the Ustashi, protected in the Western Hemisphere, were sounding a new trumpet-call from the north, their leader, Ante Pavelic, was busy in the south on the same type of activity on which he had been engaged prior to the Second World War. For Pavelic had in 1948, thanks again to Vatican help, managed to leave Europe. Supplied with false documents given in Rome on an international Red Cross passport, he went to another Catholic country harbouring Nazi leaders: [8] the Argentine.[9]

The false passport which had brought him to safety was furnished by another Catholic priest, a former Ustashi, Father Draganovic, residing in Rome. Priest Draganovic, to make sure that the former Chief should reach the Argentine safely, accompanied him personally as far as Buenos Aires. There he briefed certain high Argentine Hierarchs, after which he duly returned to Rome (end of 1949). Priest Draganovic had acted not only as a zealous Catholic, as a priest and as an Ustashi, but also as the representative of the Vatican, which was concerned with the future of a man, Ante Pavelic, and of an idea, ruthless Ustashi-ism, both of which, because they had succeeded in establishing a model Catholic State once, might succeed in reestablishing it in a future which was, perhaps, not far ahead.

Pavelic at once became active. Most of his meetings were held in Catholic parish halls in Buenos Aires. Catholic priests and friars participated in them—e.g. at the meeting held on February 5, 1951, five Catholic friars attended.[10] The majority of these meetings and similar activities were organized by priests, prominent among them the Ustashi Catholic Padre, the Rev. Mato Luketa. [11] Pavelic took to the Argentine three things:

(a) Papal blessing, as good an introduction to the Argentine Hierarchy, and hence to the Government, as any;

(b) loot from Croatia;[12]

(c) the Ustashi programme.

While some of his lieutenants kept Ustashi-ism alive in the USA and in Europe, Pavelic set about coordinating it in the Argentine. Meetings were held, papers were published, Ustashi abroad were organized. In 1949 Pavelic established the Hrvatska Drzavotvorna Stranka. In that same year he held six large meetings of the Ustashi, most of them in parish halls such as the Catholic Croat Parish Hall on Avenida Belgrano. Pavelic counseled that "all honest Croats in exile should belong" to his movement. Thereupon he instructed them all not to take Argentine nationality, so that they would be able to leave the country without any hindrance.

Pavelic talked of war and of blood. The titles of his articles told their tale: The Ideological War (La Guerra Ideologica),'[13] and The Call of Blood, the latter being an introduction to the proclamation of the resurrected Party. The basis of Pavelic's new policy was war. Like another pillar of political Catholicism before him—i.e. Cardinal Mindszenty—so also Pavelic hoped for the outbreak of the Third World War. "War will soon break out," he foretold on May 13, 1949, "and then the liberation of Croatia will come."

The next year, as we have already seen, the United States Secretary of the Navy, the secret Chamberlain of the Pope, shocked the world by openly asking the USA to start a "preventive atomic war" against Russia, in order to "liberate" the people of the earth.

The Republican platform adopted in Chicago (July, 1952), after demanding an end to "the negative futile and immoral policy of containment, which abandons countless human beings to a despotism and godless terrorism," [14] asked for a policy directed at the specific promotion of sabotage, raising of resistance movements, industrial disturbances, and, last but not least, the establishment of émigré governments.

The American people went to the polls (November 4, 1952) and sent to power the Republican Party. With few exceptions unbounded rejoicing greeted the Republican victory throughout the Catholic world. The Pope himself, on hearing that General Eisenhower had been elected President, hastened to send by cable his "divine blessing upon yourself and your administration,"15 Pavelic, in the Argentine, asked all the Ustashi to hail the Republican triumph. Ustashi priests gave special thanksgivings in South and North America, as well as in Europe. Te Deums were sung. Divine Providence was again coming to the rescue. It had sent into power an American Government which was determined to create "political task forces" to free "captive" countries. Indeed, to establish "émigré governments." Were not the reorganized Ustashi a "political task force?" Was not Catholic Croatia a "captive" country? Nobody could deny that Pavelic's new Ustashi Government was an "émigré government." For truly, Pavelic had set up a new Ustashi Government. The New Ustashi Government had in fact been officially established by him in 1951, in the Argentine. Its religious and political programme had not changed an iota from that of the old Ustashi dictatorship.With the Republican Administration in the White House, with a General determined on a strong foreign policy as President, with a Soviet Russia preparing ruthless counter-measures, the world continued to move faster and faster towards catastrophe. Fanatical groups prepared and waited for "the day." That is, for the outbreak of a third world war, when the establishment of "émigré governments" would take place, among them the New Government of Croatia, ruled by the Ustashi and the Church.

Ante Pavelic in South America, General Drinyanin in the USA, Father Draganovic in Rome, like hundreds of Catholic priests, friars, and laymen everywhere, had begun once more, as before the Second World War, to pray and work for World War III, so that they might be enabled again to bring "freedom"—namely, to unloose their reign of terror upon a newly devastated Croatia.To such depths can the ideal of Liberty be made to sink.


1. In the words of Marshal Tito:

When the Pope's representative to our Government, Bishop Hurley, paid me his first visit, I raised the question of Stepinac. "Have him transferred from Yugoslavia, I said, for otherwise we shall be obliged to place him under arrest. We waited four months without receiving any reply.

Tito, Zagreb, October 31,1946.[Back]

2. This was later confirmed by Stepinac himself, when, during an interview with C.L. Sulzberger, of the New York Times, having been told that Marshal Tito was willing to set him free or to transfer him to a monastery, Stepinac replied that "whether or not I shall resume my office, whether I go to a monastery or whether I remain here (in prison) depends only upon the Holy Father. Such things do not depend upon Marshal Tito. They depend only upon the Holy Father, the Pope, and upon no one else." See also Universe, November 17, 1950. This policy subsequently led to the breaking of Yugoslav/Vatican diplomatic relations (December 18, 1952) prior to and after Stepinac being made a Cardinal (January, 1953) and the projected visit of Marshal Tito to Britain in 1953. In an attempt to embarrass the British Government and the United Nations, the British Hierarchy attacked the Marshal as a persecutor of Catholics. At the same time an effort was made to whitewash Stepinac. Articles with these aims appeared in the Tablet and were reprinted in pamphlet form by the Sword of the Spirit. These efforts would have been comic, if the British public had not been ready to believe them.[Back]

3. The USA began war preparations less than one year after Hitler's death (1945). These consisted of stockpiling essential raw materials, a 100 percent war measure. On July 23, 1946, the USA passed Public Law 520 of the 79th Congress, approved by both Houses, for this purpose. The combined stock-piling in 1946 stood already at 4,536,000,000 dollars. From 1946 to 1950, before the Korean war began in June, the USA stockpile stood at 8,300,000,000 dollars. No figures were available from the USSR.[Back]

4. Owing to the split of Communist Yugoslavia from Soviet Russia, Yugoslavia became financially and militarily partially dependent upon the USA. American loans were asked for and granted. Tito himself publicly acknowledged that Yugoslavia had received over 1,000 million dollars' worth of aid from the West (Marshal Tito, Belgrade, March 16, 1952). The Vatican attempted to influence the negotiations, via Catholic pressure in the USA, putting as a condition the unconditional release of Archbishop Stepinac. [Back]

5. See The Times, London, November 10, 1952.[Back]

6. Officially disclosed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Paris, November 25, 1952. This did not include the many bases in Britain, North Africa, Greece, and Turkey.See The Times London, Manchester Guardian, November 26, 1952, New York Times, and other papers.[Back]

7. Published in the Ustashi paper, Danitza, Chicago, ILL., No. 13, IX, 1950.[Back]

8. Franco's Catholic Spain, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, gave asylum to numerous Nazi leaders and war criminals—e.g. Dr. Schacht, Hitler's Finance Minister; Otto Skorzeny, the SS Agent who rescued Mussolini in 1943; Von Papen, Vice Chancellor under Chancellor Hitler in 1933. It is noteworthy that Catholic Von Papen, like many Ustashi leaders, used a religious smoke to carry out renewed Nazi intrigues for the revival of European Fascism, e.g. when ostensibly a private participant in the Eucharistic Congress in Barcelona, he had lengthy private interviews with General Franco (May, 1952). See Nazi plot in West Germany, 1953, et sequitur, The Times, etc.[Back]

9. Pavelic reached Buenos Aires on November 6, 1948, on the Italian passenger ship, s.s. Sestiere, under the name of Dal Aranyos. His ticket was No. 16. The Argentine Legation in Rome knew his real identity very well. It had repeatedly been pressed by the Vatican authorities to grant Pavelic a visa. The Argentine Co-ordination Federal, the counter-espionage police, had also been informed in advance of his identity.[Back]

10. Intelligence reports, files of the Yugoslav Government. "Pavelic, Dr. Ante - Some Biographical Notes and Activities since 1945."[Back]

11. This priest served in the Catholic Church in Avenida Belgrano, No. 1151, Buenos Aires. See the Yugoslav Government's official indictment of Ante Pavelic.[Back]

12. Consisting of twelve chests of gold and one chest of jewelry. This according to the official statement of the Yugoslav Government in its indictment of Ante Pavelic. [Back]

13. Dinamica Social, Nos. 5 and 6, 1951.[Back]

14. See Manchester Guardian, July 22, 1952.[Back]

15. Wire sent by Pope Pius XII to General Eisenhower, to which the President-elect replied: "Profoundly grateful to Your Holiness for your blessing and expression of goodwill." See Universe, November 14, 1952.[Back]

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