Wavian Echoes from WWII

Milena Borden sends this posting:

Last week, the UN war times tribunal in The Hague sentenced General Ratko Mladić, of the Jugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and the military commander of the Bosnian Serb forces in the 1990s, to life imprisonment. He was found guilty of genocide, with the Srebrenica massacre he was responsible for in 1995 being the worst in Europe since the end of the Second World War. The JNA originated from the partisan movement (1941-1945) led by the communist Tito.

Evelyn Waugh took part in the British Special Executive Operations (SEO) mission to Yugoslavia in 1944-45 and wrote the following about Tito’s army:

‘The Yugoslav Army of National Liberation, popularly called ‘Partisans’, is an organised, revolutionary army whose main characteristics are extreme youth, ignorance, hardiness, pride in the immediate future, intolerance of dissent, xenophobia, comradeship, sobriety, chastity.’ (Foreign Office Report,‘Church and State in Liberated Croatia, Part 2. The Party’, 1945).

The report was published in The Salisbury Review, September 1992, p. 10, as “Catholic Croatia under Tito’s Heel.”

The history of the subsequent fifty years saw the recreation of the federation under communist leadership with nationalist, social, economic problems and constitutional crisis creating conditions for Yugoslavia to fall apart with ethnic cleansing and mass terror accompanying the wars in the 1990s. Back in 1945 Waugh questioned the British support for the emerging symbiosis between army and party of which Mladić’s career has been an example.

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