BELGRADE – The first Croatian president and former JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) general Franjo Tudjman, worked 1942 in the “Ministry of the Croatian Home Guard” of the Independent State of Croatia, according to historical documents obtained and published by Zagreb weekly “Nacional”. This detail from his biography Tudjman hid, and the first clues that led to the discovery revealed Josip Manolic, writes Serbian daily “Vecernje Novosti”.
The journalists of the Zagreb weekly in its research came to the documents which reveal where Tudjman was in those war years, and one of them shows that Tudjman himself claimed that he had been employed in the Ministry of the Croatian Home Guard of the Independent State of Croatia. There are also documents from police archive which show at which address he was registered and where he stayed in Zagreb, while Ante Pavelic was the head of the Independent State of Croatia. So, until now unknown documents reveal that he lived in Hercegovacka street in Zagreb, shared apartment with a journalist, and part of it revealed Manolic in his new book “Spies and homeland” which will soon be published in Zagreb.
This part of Tudjman’s past no one had ever investigated and there was a “hole” in his biography of a year or two. Tudjman himself did not talk much about those first years of war, but only emphasized the detail that he decided to go to the partisans. It was also indicated that, as a leftist, he was detained in 1940, and that his family supported the Croatian Peasant Party.
Officially it was always emphasized that in 1941 Franjo Tudjman quit school and joined the anti-fascist movement, but about him working in the Ministry of the Croatian Home Guard for the Nazi puppet regime so far there was not a word. His biographers have only written that in 1942 he became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and that he acted in the area of Northwest Croatia and was the head of the illegal partisan printing.
Although in the seventies, after “Croatian spring”, Franjo Tudjman was sentenced to prison for nationalism, Josip Broz Tito had always defended him. The Croatian Spring (MASPOK) was a cultural and political movement that emerged from the League of Communists of Croatia in the early 1970s, movement opposed the unitarisation and called for an economic, cultural and political reforms in SFR Yugoslavia and therefore more rights for SR Croatia within Yugoslavia. In 1971, the Yugoslav authorities suppressed the movement by force.
New findings from Tudjman’s biography will certainly cause various controversies in Croatia because Tudjman, as a senior officer in JNA, condemned the Ustasha movement and was highly critical of NDH.
The fact that he himself was working in the system created by Pavelic changes a lot and will open new avenues for historians.
When it comes to Josip Manolic, in the nineties he was one of the closest associates of Franjo Tudjman and his man of confidence. Manolic part ways with Tudjman at the time when Stjepan Mesic also turned his back on him. The first Manolic’s memoirs provoked different reactions, and the second announced book is quite explosive and reveals many unknown details, not only from Tudjman’s life, but also from the time of post-was Yugoslavia, concludes the daily.