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Mile Budak (1889 - 1945) was an Ustashe, best known as one of the chief ideologists of the Croatian nationalist Ustaše movement, which ruled the Independent State of Croatiamarker, or NDH, from 1941-45 and waged a genocidal campaign against its Serb, Roma and Jewish minorities. He created the Croatian national plan to get rid of Orthodox Serbs by killing one third, expelling one third and assimilating the rest.

Mile Budak was born in Sveti Rokmarker, in Likamarker, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He attended gymnasium in Sarajevomarker and studied law at University of Zagrebmarker. In 1912 he was arrested by Austro-Hungarian authorities over his alleged role in attempted assassination of Croatian ban (vice-roy) Slavko Cuvaj. In 1914, after the start of World War I, he was drafted in Austro-Hungarian Army where he received the rank of NCO In 1915 he was captured by the Serbian Army and witnessed the Serb retreat through Albaniamarker in 1915-16

After the end of war Mile Budak returned to Zagreb. In 1920 he received a law degree at University of Zagreb in 1920 and became clerk in the office of Ante Pavelić. He became active in Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) and was elected in Zagreb City Assembly. In 1920s he was the editor of political magazines close to HSP.

In 1932 he survived an assassination attempt from men close to the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker. After, he emigrated to Italy, in order to join Ustaše and become commandant of an Ustaše training camp. In 1938 he returned to Zagreb, where he started Hrvatski narod, a weekly newspaper. In 1940 authorities had that magazine banned, and Budak arrested Review of International Affairs: Politics, Economics, Law, Science, Culture by Federation of Yugoslavic Journalists, Savez novinara Jugoslavije, Socijalistički savez radnog naroda Jugoslavije, published by The Federation, 1953 (page 25)
On March 4, 1940 Stepinac intervened with Šubašić, at the request of Prof. Lukas and A. Starčević, in favour of arrested Ustasha criminal, later Pavelić's minister, Dr. Mile Budak, who was sentenced to death by hanging after the war, as a war criminal (Book II, page 440). On March 31, 1941 - in a joint letter to Hitler, Pavelić and Budak asked him "to help Croatian people establish an independent Croatian state that would encompass the old Croatian regions, among them Bosnia and Herzegovina."

When the Independent State of Croatia was formed, Mile Budak became chief propagandist and Minister of Education and Cults. As such he publicly stated that forcible conversion, expulsion and extermination of the ethnic Serb minority was the official national policy. Croatian novelist Miroslav Krleza marked Budak as "a minister of culture with a machine gun". For instance in a widely documented speech at Gospić on 22 July 1941 he declared: "The movement of the Ustashi is based on religion. For the minorities we have three million bullets. We shall kill one part of the Serbs, expell the second part, and covert to Catholicism the third part of them " Stella Alexander attributes this exposition of Ustaše policy to Budak and notes that he spoke in similar terms on several other occasions.

He later became Croatian ambassador to Nazi Germany (November 1941 - April 1943) and foreign minister (May 1943 - May 1945). When the Independent State of Croatia collapsed, Mile Budak was captured by English military authorities and handed to Josip Broz Tito's Partisans - on May 18 1945. Court-martialed (before the military court of the 2nd Yugoslav army) in Zagreb on Jun 6th 1945, sentenced to death the same day and executed next day. During the trial, Budak behaved cowardly, constantly weeping, and claiming that he was not guilty of anythingHrvatska 1945 by Bogdan Radica, published by Knjižnica Hrvatske revije, 1974 (page 185)
Svojim ravnodušnim, da ne kažem ciničkim glasom, kaže mi da se na procesu najsramotnije i najkukavičkije držao Mile Budak. Neprestano je plakao govoreći da on nije ni za što kriv.

Budak was also known for his literary work, especially novels and plays in which he had glorified Croatian peasantry. The best known of his work are: "Ognjište" (The Hearth), "Opanci dida Vidurine" (Granpa Vidurina's Shoes), "Rascvjetana trešnja" (The Blossoming Cherry Tree). About his writing, E. E. Noth wrote: Here we find the stubborn, spiritual-realistic conception of man and his relation to the soil on which he lives and which Mile Budak symbolizes as "the hearth"

After the war his books were banned by Yugoslavmarker Communist authorities. Because of that, many Croatian nationalists viewed Mile Budak as great figure of Croatian literature, equal, if not superior to left-wing Miroslav Krleža. Following Croatian independence in early 1990s, in Croatia, where the ruling Croatian Democratic Union badly wanted to reinterpret the fascist Ustasha quislings of World War Two as a Croatian patriotic force. Hence, the reissue in early 1993 of the collected works of Mile Budak,the second-in-command in the Ustasha regime. Commenting, at the time of this reissue, Croatian writer Giancarlo Kravar wrote: "... Ustashism, in its history, was undoubtly also a positive political movement for the state-building affirmation of Croatianism, the expression of the centuries-long aspiration of the Croatian people"

As of August 2004, there were seventeen sities in Croatia which streets named after Budak. The archbishopric of Zagreb, declared at one point that it had no objection to the erection of a monument to the dead fascist . Croatian Radiotelevisionmarker aired a dramatisation of Budak's autobiographical account of the 1915-16 Serb retreat through Albania. The official line was that Budak should be viewed as an important literary figure, independently of his controversial role in World War II. This caused reaction from the left-wing, liberal minority of the Croatian public, most notably Feral Tribune, which launched a year's long campaign to have Budak-named streets renamed.

In 2003, Ivo Sanader's government decided to finally deal with the issue which resulted in renaming all the streets bearing Budak's name save one; the Mile Budak street in Slavonski Brodmarker. In 2004 a plaque commemorating Budak's birth in Sveti Rok was removed by Ivo Sanader's government, in an attempt to show that his government is distancing itself from the controversial policies of the late Tuđman.


  1. German Counterinsurgency Policy in Independent Croatia, 1941-1944. by Jonatan Guzm, The Historian September 22, 1998 issue
  3. Contemporary Croatian literature by Ante Kadić, published by Mouton, 1960 (page 50)
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Second World War by Enver Redžić, published by Routledge, 2005 ISBN 0714656259, 9780714656250, page 68
  5. Yugoslavia as History: Twice There was a Country by John R. Lampe, published by Cambridge University Press, 2000 ISBN 0521774012, 9780521774017 (page 208)
  6. This is Artukovic by Devon Gaffney, B. A. Starcevic, published by s.n., 1958 (page 51)
  7. Ustaše: Croatian Separatism and European Politics, 1929-1945 by Srdja Trifkovic, London 1998 (page 141)
  8. Magnum Crimen by Viktor Novak, Zagreb 1948 (page 605)
  9. Triple Myth by Stella Alexander, Columbia University Press 1987
  10. The war we lost: Yugoslavia's Tragedy and the Failure of the West by Constantin Fotitch, published by Viking Press, 1948 (page 122)
  11. War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration by Jozo Tomasevich, published by Stanford University Press, 2001 ISBN 0804736154, 9780804736152 (page 317)
  12. Politička i ekonomska osnova narodne vlasti u Jugoslaviji za vreme obnove by Branko Petranović, published by Institut za savremenu istoriju, Beograd 1969 (page 201)
  13. Petition on Mile Budak, once again
  14. Herdfeuer. Roman. [Berecht. Uebersetzung aus d. Kroatischen von Franz Hille.] by Mile Budak, published by K. H. Bischoff Verl., 1943
  15. Opanci dida Vidurine by Mile Budak, Sandra Belčić, published by Zagrebačka stvarnost, 2001 ISBN 9531920710, 9789531920711
  16. Books Abroad: A Quarterly Publication Devoted to Comments on Foreign Books by Roy Temple House, Ernst Erich Noth, published by University of Oklahoma, 1940 (page 329)
  17. ibidem: Contemporary Croatian literature by Ante Kadić
  18. Social Currents in Eastern Europe: The Sources and Consequences of the Great Transformation by Sabrina P. Ramet, Edition: 2, published by Duke University Press, 1995 ISBN 0822315483, 9780822315483 (page 418)
  19. To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia by Michael Parenti, published by Verso, 2002 ISBN 1859843662, 9781859843666 (page 45)
  20. Democratic Transition in Croatia: Value Transformation, Education & Media By Sabrina P. Ramet, Davorka Matić, published by Texas A&M University Press, 2007 (page 17)
  21. Meter: Pa Budakov je vozač bio Židov! Novi List September 19 2004 Rijeka [1]

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