Robert McCormick, chair of the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy and American Studies at the University of South Carolina Upstate, recently published a book through I.B. Tauris & Co., Ltd. titled “Croatia Under Ante Pavelic: America, the Ustase and Croatian Genocide.”
Pavelic was the leader of a paramilitary and terrorist force, the Ustase, who, on Adolf Hitler’s instruction, became the leader of Croatia after the Nazi invasion of 1941.
“Ante Pavelic was one of the most significant war criminals from World War II to never answer for his crimes,” McCormick said. “With Allied and Vatican assistance, he successfully escaped to Argentina and ultimately died in 1959 in Spain.”
McCormick’s book, examines the relationship between the United States and Pavelic from when he masterminded the assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in 1934 to his death in 1959.
For much of the 1930s, extremist Croatian-Americans were important supporters of Pavelic and the Ustase, helping to keep his Croatian nationalist message alive in America and Europe.
After gaining power in wartime Croatia, Pavelic’s regime killed about 330,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma, while operating a series of concentration camps. After the war, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Vatican conspired to help Pavelic and many of his allies avoid arrest and escape from Europe to the safety of Argentina.
Tracing Pavelic’s escape to Argentina, McCormick argues that American authorities protected Pavelic, because he was a devout Catholic and anti-Communist, who held the potential to be useful in the emerging Cold War. McCormick also examines the consequences of American decisions by studying Pavelic’s place in contemporary Croatian society.
“Pavelic’s legacy was influential in the Balkan Wars of the early 1990s and continues to be a factor in Croatian politics and society,” McCormick said.
A native of North Carolina, McCormick received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Wake Forest University. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of South Carolina. He has published articles ranging from reform in Macedonia in the early 20th century to genocide in World War II Croatia to an evolution controversy in 1884 Greenville.