Allies, Catholics and Nazis

2014 October 28
- Boris Subašić, Večernje Novosti, 2013 December 07 (source)

Even as the Western governments and media continue to dismiss the presence of Nazis in the Ukraine as »Russian propaganda«, outlets such as The New York Times reluctantly admit that over a thousand Nazis have worked for the US during the Cold War.

Nor was Washington the only employer of Nazis and their allies; according to Serbian historian Dragoljub Živojinović, the Yugoslav government of J. B. Tito wanted to hire the Zagreb Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, and to the same office he held under the Pavelić regime! Report from the Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti translated here by the Reiss Institute.

Tito Offered Office to Stepinac

Intermarium -- Vatican's secret project seeking to restore the Habsburg Monarchy * Broz's military mission in Rome maintained frequent contact with the Ustasha.

The secret Vatican organization »Intermarium« was the organizer of »ratlines« for evacuating the Ustasha and Nazis from Europe. Involving the Western allies in its dirty combinations, it attempted to create a Danube Confederation of central European Catholic countries, before they could be taken by the Red Army.

»Intermarium is one of the best-kept secrets of World War Two and the Cold War, because its exposure could have compromised both the Vatican and the Western Allies«, says the historian Dragoljub Živojinović, who researched U.S. and British archives. They contain documents showing that in 1941, the Allies considered the idea of restoring the Habsburg Monarchy. »Most of the information is in the archives of the U.S. military's Counter-Intelligence Corps«, says Živojinović.

»Vatican had long been nostalgic for Austria-Hungary« he continues, »and pondered its restoration. according to many cardinals, that would have protected Catholic lands and peoples from Communism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy. As such a creation would have been a cordon sanitaire [towards the USSR], between the wars it enjoyed great support in Britain and France. It was championed by the secret Catholic organization Intermarium, whose plans were much more ambitious, and saw the future confederation extending to the coasts of the Baltic, Black, Aegean, Ionian and Adriatic seas«.


The project overlapped with French and British interests to use the newly created small and medium-sized stated as a cordon sanitaire, but from a different perspective, notes Dr. Dragan Petrović from the Institute for International Politics and Economics:

»The French wanted Intermarium as a check on Germany, while the British wanted a barrier against the spread of Bolshevism from the Soviet Russia. British secret services and the Vatican backed an independent Croatia and a series of [separatist] movements in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, aiming to weaken the Russian position«.

Propaganda in favor of creating a Danube Confederacy began in the United States in 1941, by the pretender to the throne, Archduke Otto von Habsburg, and his brother Felix. »They started a strong campaign with the help of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States«, says Živojinović. »In June 1941, Archduke Otto gave a lecture at the Library of Congress and declared that the Danubian peoples wanted a Confederacy that would include the Austrians, Bavarians, Slovaks, Hungarians, Slovenians and Croats, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Voivodina would have to decide whether they wanted to join, he said«.

At the time, Bosnia-Herzegovina and parts of present-day Voivodina were part of the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (ISC), which was »solving« the »Serbian question« according to the prescription of Pavelić's Justice Minister Mile Budak: a third to be converted to Catholicism, a third expelled, and the rest killed. When the fortunes of war turned in 1943, Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac and the cleric Krunoslav Draganović launched a ploy to save the ISC.

»Draganović went to the Vatican as a special adviser, in order to establish contact with the Western Allies«, said Professor Dr. Veljko Đurić Mišina. »The plan was to present the genocide of Serbs as the misdeed of a handful of Ustashe, rather than state policy, and then ask the Allies to allow independent Croatia to join the Danubian Confederacy of Catholic countries after the war«.

A testimonial of this mission was found in the recently discovered autobiography of Draganović. He wrote:

»I had meetings in Zagreb with important people, as well as (Pavelić's) Minister Dr. Lorković, Dr Starčević, Dr. Sušić and others; with representatives of the Croatian Peasant Party Dr. Farolfi, Dr. Filipančić, Dr. Krebekom and others. All were most vividly interested in Croatia changing sides, from the Axis to the Allies«.

He wrote a memorandum for the British government and handed it to the British Ambassador to the Vatican, Lord Osborne. The U.S. consul in Istanbul also received the memorandum: »Croatia's Viewpoint of the Peace Agreeement« (»Hrvatsko gledište o mirovnom sporazumu«).

»The memorandum states that the real representatives of the Croatian People are Maček and the CPP [1], viciously attacks General Dragoljub Mihailović [2] and advocates the idea of the Danubian Confederacy«, says Dr Živojinović. »Later, in a memo to Archbishop Spellman, President Roosevelt proposed as one of the solutions for Austria that Archduke Otto von Habsburg could regain the country's throne. At the time, Roosevelt was opposed to the restoration of Yugoslavia, and leaned towards the establishment of independent Croatia and Slovenia«.

Draganović's letters show that he also maintained contacts with the ministers of the exiled Yugoslav government, via the Vatican diplomats. The archives of the U.S. Counter-Intelligence Corps reveal that Miha Krek, a Minister in the royal government in exile in London, was one of the most important associates of Draganović in smuggling out Nazis, and one of the leaders of the Intermarium project. American archives also reveal that Tito had attempted to establish contact with the Catholic clerical leaders in Croatia.

»Aware of the Catholic Church's strength and needing its support, Broz sent an emissary to Stepinac in 1943 and offered him to become 'vicar-general of the Partisan forces'«, says Dr. Živojinović [3] »The Archbishop replied he would accept, if Pope Pius XII appointed him to that position. Stepinac related this story to the New York attorney James Murray, who visited him in 1952 in Krašić [4]. Murray then reported it to Secretary of State Dean Acheson«.

»In August 1944«, continues Dr. Živojinović, »Broz was in Italy, where he met with Churchill on several occasions, but also with the head of the American OSS, General William Donovan. On August 9, Tito and his entourage spent the entire day in Rome, spending several hours just touring the Basilica of Saint Peter at the Vatican. Broz did not allow photographers to take any pictures of the group, says the OSS report«.

After 1944, British and American services reported on visits of members of the {Tito's] Yugoslav military mission in Rome to the Vatican State Secretariat. »They reported that members of the Yugoslav military mission were maintaining connections with Draganović, and visiting the Institute of St. Hyeronimus -- known as the center of Vatican's support for the Ustashe and later the HQ for the 'ratlines'. Certain priests would visit the Yugoslav military mission, while Mission members Arso Milatović continued communication with Draganović later«, says Dr. Živojinović.

The most wanted Nazi criminals could escape justice because Draganović obtained the lists of those to be arrested, and helped them escape across the ocean. The Counter-Intelligence Corps discovered the »ratlines« only in 1947.

»Agent William Gowan discovered that a well-organized network of Nazi emigres from Central and Eastern Europe operated on the edge of Vatican and received secret aid and support from a small but powerful group of conspirators, including the Pope Pius XII personally« -- revealed in 1991 the former U.S. intelligence officer in the Vatican and U.S. state prosecutor John Loftus.

By then [1947] the »ratlines« were fully operational, smuggling out Nazis and the Ustashe through the Institute of St. Hyeronimus. The print shop at the Croatian Brotherhood of St. Hyeronimus produced the false documents for some 30 000 Hitler's henchmen and their allies, potential assets of the West in the coming war against the USSR.

As for Intermarium, the project was stopped by Stalin, who told his American allies in Yalta he would never allow the resurrection of Austria-Hungary. However, the idea was revived at the end of the XX century, this time as a regional conglomerate of small and medium states between Russia and Germany, for the sake of »efficient planning of mutual defense«. The key role was once again envisioned for Poland, where the idea of Intermarium was first proposed after the Polish-Soviet War of the 1920s...

[1] For the policies and goals of Maček and his Croatian Peasant Party, see here.
[2] Colonel Mihailović (promoted to General by the Yugoslav government in exile) was a guerrilla fighter in charge of the royalist resistance, which both resisted Croat massacres of Serb civilians and disrupted German war effort in occupied Serbia (see here).
[3] At the time, Stepinac was the chief vicar of the Ustasha Army.
[4] Where Stepinac was under house arrest at the time.

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