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Jovan Ilić

The Serbs in the Former SR of Croatia

Source: The Serbian Questions in The Balkans, University of Belgrade, publisher - Faculty of Geography, Belgrade 1995.

Teritorial distribution of Serbs in Croatia
(according to settlements)
according to the population census on March 31, 1981
(click on the image for full size)


Size and Geographical Position

The former Socialist Republic of Croatia, that seceded from Yugoslavia by a violent, anti-constitutional and secessionist act on June 25, 1991, covers an area of 56,538 sq. km. In 1991, it had 4,784,000 inhabitants.[1] By the size of the population, it held the second place in the former Yugoslavia, after the Socialist Republic of Serbia.

On the territory of the former SR of Croatia are situated two republics: the Republic of Croatia (capital Zagreb) and the Republic of Serb Krajina (here below RSK, capital Knin). The Republic of Serb Krajina is constituted of: the Serbian region of Krajina (north-western Dalmatia, eastern Lika, Kordun, Banija, which are the western and southern sections of RSK), the Serbian region of Western Slavonija (middle and northern sections of RSK), and the Serbian region of Eastern Slavonija, Baranja and Western Srem (the eastern section of RSK). RSK covers the territory of about 14,000 sq. km. (about 25% of the total area of the former SR of Croatia) and has about 400,000 inhabitants. The Serbs comprise 92% of the population, the Croats and others 8%.[2]

The greatest portion of the Republic of Serb Krajina borders on the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croatian Federation and Serbia. Hence, the RSK and the Serb Republic are in fact one and the same physical entity with Banja Luka, the largest and most important town in the west Serbian lands which extend from Ravni Kotari to Bilogora and Krndija and from the Kupa river to the Bosna river and Mount Ozren. Most of the RSK territory is protected by the United Nations Forces (UNPROFOR).

Most of the eastern Adriatic littoral belongs to Croatia. It is used as a transport route, for tourism, exploitation of resources (salt, fish) and for other purposes. This means that Croatia, together with Slovenia, emerges on the Adriatic sea which ought to benefit greatly the countries in the hinterland: Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and even Germany. Among them, Germany is economically the most important European country and the principal political protector of the secessionist republics in the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia and Croatia).

Several important international transport routes intersect the territory of the former Croatia. The first one extends along the Sava river in the west-east direction and is part of the route which connects Western and Central Europe with Southeast Europe and the Middle East. The second communication line connects the Pannonian plain (and Budapest) with the Bay of Rijeka on the Adriatic Sea. The third continental line of communication extends along the Adriatic littoral. It is insufficiently modern at present. However, when improved, it will be of great importance for the development of tourism as it will connect Western and Central Europe with southern Balkans and the Middle East. It will rival the Sava-Morava river valley line of communication. Two more international lines of communication of minor importance also run through the former SR of Croatia. One runs from Vienna to Split via Maribor, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, and Knin, and the other runs from Budapest (and the Baltic) to Ploče (Middle Adriatic) via Osijek, Sarajevo, and Mostar. The main centres of communication are Zagreb and Rijeka. Knin is also an important crossroad, as important roads and railway lines connecting the Pannonian and the Middle Adriatic parts of Croatia converge and cross in it. All these five lines of communication pass through the Serb Krajinas.

Considering the physical, cultural, civilisation and ethnic structures of Europe, the former SR of Croatia, inhabited predominantly by Roman Catholics, is the border area towards the Orthodox and Muslim cultural circles. Unfortunately, this contact position of Croatia and of its Catholic population was more often used for provoking conflicts, intolerance, and even genocide over the Orthodox population than for establishing an atmosphere of tolerance, imbuing, and co-operation. The Croatian Catholicism has thus been the major cause of social and political tensions and crisis on the territory of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

By its shape, the former SR of Croatia belongs to the category of the so-called split-in-half countries. Its territory consists of the Pannonian plain, rectangular in shape, and of the markedly elongated Adriatic littoral. The former extends between the rivers of Drava and Sava except Baranja, which lies north of the Drava river. It extends in the NW-SE direction and its air distance Ilok-Sutla is about 315 km. It is between 75 and 90 km wide. It is constituted of the regions of Hrvatsko Zagorje, Medjumurje, Moslavina, Slavonija and Western Srem. The latter, the Littoral with the regions of Gorski Kotar, Lika, Dalmatinska Zagora, and the islands also extends in the NW-SE direction. It is about 530 km long and from 5 km (surroundings of Dubrovnik) to 100 km wide.

The narrowed portion of Croatia, situated in the area where Bosnia and Slovenia draw nearest to each other (Velika Kladuša - Duga Resa - Croatian-Slovenian frontier) is about 47 km wide (air distance). That is the so-called corridor of Kordun and Karlovac. Two thirds of the corridor are situated in the Republic of Serb Krajina. All of the lines of communication run through it, connecting the Pannonian area with the Littoral.

Serbian Territories within the Boundaries of the former SR of Croatia

When one observes and analyses adequate historical and other sources, ethnic maps and statistics before World War I, between the two World Wars and the post-war period, one notices that the Serbs live on a continuous territory within the boundaries of the former SR Croatia, precisely from the close environs of Zadar, Biograd, and Sibenik across the regions of Ravni Koran, Bukovica, the Knin region, the greater part of Lika, Kordun and Banija to the Sava river in the region of Pounje. The Krajina covers most of this territory. This is the vastest Serbian area in the former Croatia.

In this area there are eleven municipalities in which the Serbs constitute absolute majority (Benkovac, Obrovac, Knin, Gračac, Donji Lapac, Korenica, Vojnić, Vrginmost, Glina, Dvor, and Kostajnica) and seven municipalities in which they constitute a considerable portion of the population (Gospić, Ogulin, Otočac, Vrbovsko, Slunj, Karlovac and Petrinja). By the 1981 census, there were 101 Serbian settlements in six Dalmatian municipalities (plus those of Zadar, Šibenik and Drniš). In the same year, there were 224 Serbian settlements in the seven municipalities in Lika and Gorski Kotar, and 283 in the nine municipalities in Kordun and Banija.[3]

The second Serbian region is situated in Western Slavonija, Moslavina, and Bilogora. This compact territory in which the Serbs are ethnically predominant is around Okučani and Pakrac, on the slopes of Psunj and Papuk mountains. Pakrac is the spiritual and political centre of the region. By the 1981 and 1991 censuses the Serbs had relative majority in the municipality of Pakrac and in 1981 in the municipality of Daruvar, too. Together with the Yugoslavs they had relative majority in the municipality of Grubišno Polje in 1981. There were 283 Serbian settlements in this part of the RSK and Croatia in 1981. Unfortunately, many of these settlements were destroyed by the Croatian pro-Ustashi army in the anti-Serbian war which started in 1991.

The third region in the former Croatia with a very high concentration of the Serbian population is the region of Eastern Slavonija, Baranja, and Western Srem. In 1981, there were 71 Serbian settlements, thirty-one of them in the municipalities of Osijek, Vukovar, and Vinkovci. In fact, most of the rural area between Vukovar, Vinkovci, and Osijek is inhabited by Serbs. Still, the Serbian population did not comprise absolute majority in any of these municipalities in 1981 or in 1991 either. The compact Serbian territory was deliberately fragmented among several municipalities in order to avoid creating any territorial unit with the Serbian absolute majority.

Therefore, in 1981 and 1991, there were 11 municipalities (Group I) in which the Serbs constituted absolute majority and 13 municipalities (Group II with Gospić, Ogulin, Otočac, Vrbovsko, Petrinja, Karlovac, Slunj, Grubišno Polje, Pakrac, Daruvar, Podravska Slatina, Vukovar and Beli Manastir) in which they had considerable shares. The area occupied by Group I covers 6977 sq. km. or 12.4% of the area of Croatia. The area occupied by Group II covers 10,123 sq. km. or 17.9% of the area of Croatia. The total area of both groups of municipalities amounts to 17,120 sq. km which is 30.3% of the total area of Croatia. However, the whole area of these municipalities is not included in the ethnic area of the Serbs as there is a considerable number of settlements with the Croatian absolute majority.

The westernmost highly compact Serbian territory is situated in the municipalities of Ogulin and Vrbovsko. A few Serbian settlements still exist in the neighbourhood of these municipalities, in Bela Krajina, Slovenia. The Serbs reached these borders in the 15th-18th centuries during the great movements of the Serbian people, which were primarily caused by historical-political (Turkish war campaigns and conquests) and economic reasons.

In 1981, in the whole of the former SR of Croatia, there were 1019 settlements with the Serbian majority out of the total of 6650 settlements (15.3%). The area was 12,459 sq. km. or 22% of the area of the former SR of Croatia; the area was by 5462 sq. km. larger than the area of the eleven Serbian municipalities. This means that the physical distribution of the Serbs (and other nationalities) in the former SR Croatia is much more precisely and correctly determined on the grounds of settlements, than on the grounds of municipalities. In 1981, 260,166 inhabitants or 49% of all the Serbs in the former SR of Croatia lived in these 1019 settlements.

It is interesting to note that in 1981 the majority of the Serbian settlements 434 (42.6%) belonged to the category of settlements with very high ethnic homogeneity, 343 (33.7%) settlements belonged to the category of high ethnic homogeneity, and 242 (23.7%) to the category of moderate ethnic homogeneity.[4]

The Serbian settlements are most numerous in the eleven municipalities in which the Serbs comprise absolute majority. In each of these, except in the municipality of Glina, there are over 50% of such settlements (municipalities of Vojnić 98%, and of Donji Lapac 100%). Their number is large in 13 municipalities in which the Serbs comprise a major share of the population, particularly in Pakrac (63%), Ogulin (60%), Slunj (48%), Petrinja, Otočac, Vrbovsko, Daruvar, Grubišno Polje, Podravska Slatina and Vukovar. Their number is significant in the municipalities of Karlovac (46.5%), Osijek (37%), Orahovica, Nova Gradiška, Novska, Vinkovci, Slavonska Požega, Virovitica and Sisak.

In 1981, in Croatia, there were 123 settlements in which the Serbs and Yugoslavs together constituted absolute majority. The area of these settlements added to the area of 1019 Serbian settlements amounted to about 24.7% of the coral area of Croatia. There were also 34 settlements in Croatia in which the Serbs and Yugoslavs constituted relative majority. In both of these groups the Serbs had relative majority in 105 settlements, most of these settlements being in Slavonija and Baranja.

There is also a large number of settlements in the former SR of Croatia in which the Serbs have considerable shares, but not relative majority (25.1-50.0%); small shares (10.1-25.0%); and very small shares (less than 10%). Big towns and industrial centres (Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Zadar, Pula, Osijek, etc.) belong to this group. The attached map shows that the Serbs, if small and very small shares are also taken into consideration, are distributed almost all over the territory of Croatia.

We have specified three areas that are significant for the Serbian people in the former SR of Croatia: Group I, eleven municipalities, 6997 sq. km. (12..4% of the area of Croatia); Group II, thirteen municipalities, 10,123 sq. km. (17.9%), and 1019 Serbian settlements 12,459 sq. km. (22%). It is important to note that in 1981 (population census) the Serbs owned 323,162 ha or 18.4% of the total privately owned land in the former SR of Croatia. In the same year the share of the Serbs in the population of Croatia was 11.6%, which means that their share in land ownership was higher by 1.6 times their share in the population.[5]

In the zone of contact between the Serbs and the Croats in the former SR of Croatia as well as in the zones of contact with other peoples, sharply marked ethnic boundaries never really existed, but only narrow or wide ethnically heterogeneous zones. In the western part of Lika the population is considerably mixed. The close surroundings of Slunj near the Bosnian frontier are mostly populated by Croats, while westwards from Slunj, towards Ogulin, the area is inhabited by Serbs. There are similar examples in the region of Bilogora, in Slavonija and in Western Srem. This shows that drawing the ethnic-based dividing lines between the Serbs and Croats in the former Croatia is rather difficult. This principle, though highly justified for the Serbs in the former Croatia, cannot be observed unless other principles of delineation are observed. Economic factors of delineation should also be considered.

As regards the area, and legal and political aspects, the Serbs in the former SR of Croatia are divided in two groups. In one group are the Serbs living in the Republic of Serb Krajina, i.e. the Serbs living on the territories under the control of the United Nations Forces (UNPROFOR). The other, physically highly dispersed group is comprised of the Serbs living in the Republic of Croatia. They are called "Urban Serbs" or "Serbs in Diaspora". These two groups of Serbs now live in different political and legal circumstances. In fact, after 1991 when Croatia forcibly seceded from Yugoslavia and the Serbs living there were proclaimed a national minority and subdued to acts of terror (sacks from work, expelling from their homes, threats, property destruction, murders even) they started to flee from Croatia en masse. They fled to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (F.R.Y.) and other countries.

The above description shows that the ethnic area of the Serbs is not physically integral. It is concave in shape. It borders on the convex-in-shape region of the Bosnian Krajina which is mostly populated by the Serbs. These two Krajinas are complementary from the cartographic, ethnic, legal, political, economic, military, and strategic aspects; they constitute a functional entity of the total area of about 25,660 sq. km. Banja Luka is the biggest and most important urban centre in the area (the Muslim enclave in north-western Bosnia and the municipality of Slunj were also taken into account). The area of the Krajinas is equal to the area of the Republic of Macedonia. Eastern Slavonija, Baranja, and Western Srem border on Vojvodina, Serbia. It is, however, difficult to organise social-economic, legal-political and other forms of life in the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Serb Krajina when there are no economy liaisons and co-operation in other aspects of life. Transport connections, interdependence and links between the regions gravitating towards urban centres are a major problem. Physical and functional requirements of the RSK and of the region of Bosnian Krajina are identical The links ought to be more substantive and comprehensive since one and the same people, the Serbian, live on either side of the border dividing the Bosnian and Serb Krajinas.

This means that immediately after the political and territorial delineation in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, congruous economic financial, communication, and other systems should be established and linked though situated in different political and territorial units. In other words, the separation should be carried out as soon as possible in a democratic way, and economic and other forms of co-operation should be incited immediately after.

The ethnic area of the Serbs on the territory of the former SR of Croatia has no exit on the Adriatic sea, which happens to be a serious economic problem. The reasons are of historical nature: the eastern coast of the Adriatic was in the possession of the Catholic States of Croatia, Hungary, Venice, am Dubrovnik. That is why the Orthodox settlers arriving from hinterland to the coast (15th-19th centuries) were forcibly Catholicized and Croaticized (19th-20th centuries).

The regions in the former SR of Croatia populated for the most part by Serbs are mainly highland and karst, particularly southward from the Sava river.[6] The flysch zones of Ravni Koran and the small karst polyes in Dalmatia and Lika (Kninsko Kosovo, Petrovo, Krbavsko, Lapačko, and Gračačko) are somewhat better for agriculture. The region of Kordun is a rolling terrace built predominantly of limestone and dolomite locks Parapodzol and vrištinsko soil prevail allowing only modest-scale agriculture. Banija is more gentle and fertile than Kordun. It is richer in forests. In Western Slavonija and Moslavina, the Serbian settlements are predominantly located on the lolling hills and slopes of die Slavonian mountains There are good conditions for intense farm production, while hills and gentle mountain slopes are suitable for fruit and vine growing. Almost half of the hilly area is overgrown with rich forests (oak, beech, hornbeam, linden) The region of Eastern Slavonija, Baranja and Western Srem is the plain and flat terrain except for the western, gentle and low spurs of Fruška Gora. This is the most fertile and the best soil for agriculture in the whole of RSK. The region is well known for extensive production of corn, wheat, sugar beet and sunflower. The Danube river connects this pair of the RSK with the countries between the North Sea and the Black Sea.

Arable soil and forests are the main resources in RSK. In normal natural (climate) and social and political circumstances this region can produce enough food for all the citizens of this Serbian country About 1.2 million cubic meters of wood can be extracted from the woods in the RSK by planned annual felling, which means adequate preservation of forest resources. There are good ecological conditions for health food production (wheat, fruit, meat, milk, eggs) and collection of medicinal herbs.

There are diverse but modest ore deposits in the RSK. In the Dalmatian part of the RSK, there are deposits of blown coal, bauxite, mail, kaolin, gypsum. In Lika, there are smaller deposits of bauxite, barite, gypsum, and larger deposits of budding stone. Wood resources are weighty. The water power of the Krka river in Dalmatia and the Lika river in Lika is important, while Plitvice lakes represent a major natural-tourist complex. In Kordun, there are deposits of ferrous minerals, manganese, fire clay, and in Banija, the deposits of magnesite, barite, and kaolin. Topusko is a spa and tourist centre. In Western Slavonija, there die large deposits of brick clay, building stone, quartz sand and smaller deposits of lignite, graphite, petroleum, natural gas In Lipik and near Daruvar there are large thermo-mineral springs.

Therefor, in the Republic of Serb Krajina there is a variety of raw materials for industrial development (agricultural law materials, wood, ores). there was also enough labour. Even so, industry was under developed in the RSK. After World War II when industrialisation boomed in the Yugoslav area, little was invested in the Serbian regions in Croatia The existing industrial structure shows that the enterprises dealing in food, wood, metal and textile are most numerous. The main industrial centres in the RSK are Vukovar, Bell Manastir, Petrinja and Knin.

The entire ethnic area of the Serbs in Croatia was below average level of social and economic development in the Republic. The share of the eleven municipalities (Group I) was 12.4% in the area, 4.1% in the population (1991), and 2.1% (1989) in the national income of the former SR of Croatia. The corresponding values for the thirteen municipalities (Group II) were 17.9%, 9.6%, and 7.5%.[7]

In Group I, the number of the employed was 24,247 in 1971, and 45,679 in 1971; that was 2.5% and 3.2% of the total number of the employed in the former SR of Croatia. In Group II, there were 91,908 and 134,415 employed persons, i.e. 9.3% and 9.4%. In 1990, there were 41,562 employees in Group I and 135,113 in Group II. This accounted for 2.7% and 9.0% of all of the employed persons in the former SR of Croatia.[8] It should be noted that in the years 1971 and 1981, there were proportionally more persons from these two groups of municipalities who were employed abroad than from the whole former SR of Croatia. In Group I, the persons employed abroad counted 33.4% of the total number of the employed (locally and abroad) in 1971. In Group II, this category amounted to 22.1%, while the corresponding number for Croatia as a whole was 18.7%. In the following decade (1981), the share of the employed abroad dropped down to 13.4% in Group I, to 10.1% in Group II, and to 8.6% for Croatia as a whole.

As the quoted indices show these groups of municipalities are below the average for the former SR of Croatia, that is, below their population shares in the total population of Cicada. This especially applies to the majority of the municipalities in. the RSK. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, in the RSK, southwards from the Sava river extend large karst expanses with very little fertile soil, water or ore deposits. However, the main reason for the economic underdevelopment of the ethnic area of the Serbs within the boundaries of the former SR of Croatia lies in unfavourable economic, social and political circumstances and in the conditions of development in the past and after World War II. The Serbian regions longer than any other were left out of a more extensive industrial development. They were far from important industrial centres. In the 19th and 20th centimes, investments in economic, social and cultural development were scanty. The situation has remained the same until the present day The 1989 data give evidence of the shares which are below average for eleven municipalities (Group I) when compared to the former SR of Croatia: 2.6% share in the value of fixed assets, 2.8% share in the volume of investments, 1.4% share in the budget for social sectors, 2.0% share in. retail , 9 trade turnover.[9]

A Short History of the from 1900 to 1945

The former SR of Croatia was constituted of the following historical regions: Western Srem, Baranja, Slavonija, Croatia (Hrvatsko Zagorje, the territory of Zagreb, Banija, Kordun, Lika, Gorski Kotar), Istria and Dalmatia. However, Baranja, Istria (except for the northeasternmost part of the Littoral) and Dalmatia south-east of the mouth of the Neretva river (territory of Dubrovnik) were never constituent units of Croatia before 1939, and before 1945 respectively. The territory of Dubrovnik came under the administration of Zagreb in 1939 (Banovina Hrvatska) and Baranja and Istria as late as in 1945/1946, in the former S. F. R. of Yugoslavia. Until 1918, Istria was an Austrian province and between the two World Wars it belonged to Italy. In 1918, Baranja was liberated by the Serbian army. In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia Baranja was a part of the Danubian province. After the fall of Napoleon's Illyria and the disappearance of the Republic of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia became an. Austrian province. It retained this status until 1918 when it entered the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (SHS). It became a part of Croatia (Banovina Hrvatska) in 1939, i.e. in 1945 when World War II ended.

Having in mind the above facts, it can be seen that the project of the formation, of-a "Greater" Croatia is in question. The territorial aspirations of Croatia are directed towards Bosnia, Herzegovina, Srem, Bačka, the Bay of Kotor.

The authentic Croatia is, in fact, the region of the kajkavian and čakavian (Croatian littoral) dialects. Croatia was considerably expanded in 1881 and also in 1939, 1941 and 1945. And now, its aspirations are the so-called "historical frontiers" on the Drina river for which Croatia waged a war in 1991 against Yugoslavia.

The Slavs began to settle Pannonia and the Balkan Peninsula in the 5th century. Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, settled the Serbs and Croats in the north-western peripheral part of his empire in the first half of the 7th century. Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, in his work De Administrando Imperio, left valuable data on the settling of these peoples on the territory which became Yugoslavia later. This source mentions Livno and the Cetina river as the bordering line of the Serbs and Croats, the Croats settling west of this line and the Serbs east of it.[10,11] The latest archaeological findings show that the western border reached by the Serbs during their settling in the Balkans was on the Una river and west of it.

The presence of the Serbs in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula was first mentioned in the year 822. They also settled in Bosnia, Herzegovina, south-eastern Dalmatia, Western Srem and Eastern Slavonija. This means that the south-eastern part of the Adriatic littoral (particularly the Dubrovnik region) and the easternmost section of the former SR of Croatia were the Serbian countries from the very beginning, i.e. from the settling of the South Slavs on the Balkan peninsula. This was the first Serbian domicile on the territory of the former SR of Croatia. Unfortunately, there are very few Serbs in this coastal Serbian section at present. They perished due to the centuries-long process of conversion to Catholicism, Uniating and Croatization, and genocidal destruction during the war of 1941-1945 and the 1991 war. Intense Croatization, strongly supported by the Catholic Church, was performed in the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th.

For many centuries Dubrovnik traded with its Orthodox hinterland and received immigrants therefrom. The most renowned inhabitants of Dubrovnik Ivan Gundulic, poet (1583-1638), and Rudjer Bošković, scientist and philosopher (1713-1787), famous in the European circles, were of the Serbian origin. The citizens of Dubrovnik called themselves Slavs. In 1890, the Serbian Party won the municipal election in Dubrovnik. They got votes of the Orthodox Serbs and of the Catholic Serbs as well.[12] In Ston, on the Peljesac peninsula, St. Sava founded an eparchy (1219).

The most tragic thing was the loss of Dubrovnik which "breathed Serbian". It is true that the fight of the Serbian people for Dubrovnik in the 19th century was made difficult because Austria was pronouncedly Catholic and under a very strong influence of the Vatican. Croatization was the result of Catholicism in Dubrovnik. The dwellers of the Dubrovnik Republic knew more of Venice, Genoa, Levant and other Mediterranean regions than of the kajkavian Croatia. In spire of that, Dubrovnik had multiple ties with its mostly Orthodox (Serbian) hinterland. It acted as a mediator between the Mediterranean countries and its Balkan hinterland. It should retain this role even today. But, in 1939, the town became a part of Banovina Hrvatska (Croatia) and for the first time in its history came under the direct rule of Zagreb. Then the Serbs, in older to protect the state from the aggrandizing Nazi-fascist peril, readily made concessions to the Croatian side. These concessions were not worthwhile as the Croats in 1941 when the Central Powers attacked our country, sabotaged its defence in every possible way. Zagreb welcomed Hitler's army with open arms. When Dubrovnik became a part of Banovina Hrvatska it was, in fact, a grand victory of the Croatian policy over the Serbian,, History and the current valuation of the geographical position of this town require that the Serbs continue to show interest in this town. It would be best for Dubrovnik and its citizens that the town regains its status of the Republic of Dubrovnik that would be functionally linked with its continental hinterland and the Littoral.

In Dubrovnik and in Dalmatia, there was a good number of the Catholic Serbs because many autochthonous Serbs and Serbian immigrants to the Adriatic coastal region and on the islands were continuously forced to adopt Catholicism. The Orthodox people were rather numerous even on the most remote Adriatic islands, on the island of Vis, for example. They were however, Catholicized, but some of their descendants returned to their "old religion", that is, Orthodoxy in about 1930.

The first migrations from the Dinaric hinterland in Dalmatia began as early as at the end of the 12th century. There were several migratory waves later on.[13] The fact that there were the Orthodox adherents in north-western Dalmatia in the pre-Turkish times is corroborated by the building of two important monasteries in the first half of the 14th century: Krka monastery (Holy Archangel Michael) and Krupa monastery (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin) The first one is situated in the Krka river valley, in the vicinity of Knin, and the other one is situated near Obrovac. In the native village of the author of this paper (Padjene near Knin), the Serbian Orthodox Church was built in 1436, 38 years prior to the discovery of America. In the mid 15th and early 16th century, more than twenty Serbian Orthodox churches were built in the villages in north-western Dalmatia.[14]

Fig. 1 - Croatia at the end of the 16th century
A considerable part of the territory of the former SR of Croatia was devastated and scarcely inhabited during the Turkish invasion of central Europe. The Serbs (border-region guards) were mostly settled on those empty regions. They were the antemurale cristianitis of the Christian Europe against the Turkish Empire for many centuries.
(click on the image for full size)

The greater portion of the ethnic area of the Serb on the territory of the former SR of Croatia was settled by the Serbs from the 15th century to the 19th, at the time of the Turkish-Hungarian, Turkish-Austria and Turkish-Venetian wars. Mass shifting of the people of the Serbo-Croat linguistic provenance took place because of the Turkish conquests on the Balkan peninsula Mass organised and unorganised migrations and flights of the Orthodox and Catholic populations followed. The movements of the population were mostly directed north, north-west, west and south-west (to the Adriatic littoral) They fled from the Turks and moved along with them. In the war zone (north-western Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun, Banija, Slavonija), vast regions became completely or almost completely deserted. In the mid 16th century, the Curia Romana proclaimed Knin and the Krajina to be the in partibus infidelium country since there was not a single Latin church or any Catholics left.[15] The Turks settled the Orthodox and the newly Islamized population there for economic and security reasons. The Orthodox (Serbian) people were also settled on the other side of the border (Hungary, Austria, Venetian Republic) for the same reasons. These people were called frontiersmen. The Military Bolder or Military Frontier was formed in the Balkans and in the Danube Basin (from the Adriatic to the Carpathians) along the Turkish border It was abolished in 1873, that is, in 1881 when Turkey no longer presented a danger.

The Military Border existed on the territory of Croatia Proper and Slavonija all the time until 1881; it encompassed Lika, a part of Gorski Kotar, Kordun, Banija, Križevci and Djurdjevac with environs, and the area along the Sava river to Zemun. The Military Border (Vojna Krajina) or the Military Frontier was formed in the 15th century when the Turks started invading Slavonija and Croatia which were under the Austrian or Hungarian rule at that time. The task allotted to the Military Border and the frontiersmen was to protect the Christian Europe from Turkish invasions and other perils from the south-east (smuggling, epidemics, robbery, ere.) The inhabitants of Krajina took part in war campaigns on behalf of Austria outside their country even. In return, they were free people, that is, they had no obligations of feudal bondsmen. In 1630, Ferdinand II, the Austrian Emperor, granted a charter to the inhabitants of Krajina whereby the district of Krajina was proclaimed an autonomous imperial territory. Since then till 1881, the Krajina was under the direct rule of Vienna Later it was annexed to Croatia in the administrative-political sense. The existence of the Military Border as a territorial and political unit outside the boundaries of Croatia is one of the legal and political factors that supports the existence of the Republic of Serb Krajina as an independent legal-political subject.

Fig. 2. - Western part of the Balkan Penisula and Southern Pannonia at the end of the 18th century
I - Military border under Austrian administartion. II - Zagreb area. III - Austria and Hungary. IV - Hungarian Littoral. V - Turkey. VI - Dubrovnik Republic. VII - Venetian Republic. VIII - The Military border regiments: 1. Lički. 2. Otočki. 3. Ogulinski. 4. Slunjski. 5. Gradiški. 6. Brodski. 7. Petrovaradinski. 8. Križevački. 9. Đurđevački. 10. Glinski. 11. Petrinjski. (Source: Mile Nedeljković, Note 21)
(click on the image for full size)


Thus, the Serb Krajinas mere formed on the territory of the former SR of Croatia. We call them the second Serbian domiciliary region. This region is regarded as domiciliary because of several factors: first, the Serbs have been living there for 300 to 500 years; second, they settled those lands without any force towards Croats, and had some kind of autonomy under the jurisdiction of Vienna till 1881 (only in that year they came under the jurisdiction of the Croatian Parliament); third., at the time when the First (1918) and the Second (1945) Yugoslavia's were being formed, they had the status of a constitutive people; fourth, in World War II, they fought with all their might for their freedom and the freedom of the Croatian people; fifth, everything they now have they acquired through their painstaking efforts. They repaid their debts, often by shedding their own blood, to their "hosts " who invited them to fight on their behalf. For several hundreds of years, the Serbs frontiersmen were the "antemurale" of the Christian Europe, primarily Austria, Hungary and Germany, the very countries that today treat their descendants in a ruthless, fraudulent and aggressive way. We need. to stress that: The Serbs in the Krajinas on the territory of the former SR of Croatia and the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are "masters of their own estates". They have been living there for centuries. Therefore, they are not usurpers, aggressors or occupying power as the majority of the world media present them. One cannot be the occupying power of one's own country!

In the late 19th and in the 20th century, parallel with the population growth in the Serbian rural domiciliary districts and the development of the industrial, commercial, handicrafts and other non-agrarian branches in big towns in Croatia a portion of the Serbian people left the Serbian regions and moved, to those towns and their surroundings. This gave rise to the forming of the third, the so-called urban-dispersed Serbian region on the territory of the former SR of Croatia. These are the so-called "urban Serbs" or "the Serbs in Diaspora". In most cases they are employed in non-agrarian businesses, have higher qualifications than the inhabitants of the domiciliary Serbian territories. A large number of these Serbs live in nationally mixed families. Also, many of them joined the category of "Yugoslavs" when the Yugoslav state existed. These were, in fact, the first steps towards denationalisation and desertion of the Serbian national body. The "urban Serbs" in Croatia most frequently were assimilated and became Roman Catholics and Croats. This process became intensified after the Republic of Croatia was proclaimed an independent state (1990/91) in which clero-chauvinism and Serbophobia were strongly expressed. These so-called "urban Serbs", very scanty in number at present, are in a very difficult legal and political situation. They are very much intimidated and deprived of their ethnic and political rights. In Europe, and in the world, there is probably no nation experiencing a more tragic legal political situation than the Serbian people on the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

The Serbs from Croatia have been emigrating into the European and overseas countries since the middle of the 19th century. The most numerous were emigrants from Lika, Dalmatia, Kordun and Banija. There were also emigrants from Slavonija and Srem, but not as many. The principal reasons for emigration, were poor conditions of living in the Serbian regions, too dense population for an agrarian way of life, particularly in the regions south from the Sava river. At the end and after World War II there were also political emigrants. Before World War II, the Serbs from the former SR Croatia most frequently emigrated to France and to the United States; after the War, to Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and other countries.

The count of affiliates of a certain ethnic body depends on the natural population increase, migration and assimilation processes. These demo-dynamic processes can be spontaneous, semi-forcible or forcible. All three were characteristic of the development of the Serbian people on the territory of the former SR of Croatia and in other districts in which the Serbs lived. For example, one of the serious consequences of the Turkish advances into the Yugoslav area was the extensive change in the ethnocultural structure of the population. It was manifested in the change of religious affiliation, type of buildings and settlements, lifestyles, personal names and other. As regards confessional conversion, two unfavourable processes evolved among the Serbian people. In Bosnia, Herzegovina, in the region of Raška, in Metohia and in Kosovo, a considerable portion of the Serbian people were converted to Islam, the prevailing religion in those regions (the main corridor of the Islamic penetration was: Skoplje-Priština-Novi Pazar-Višegrad-Sarajevo-Cazin). In the region of Dubrovnik, in western Herzegovina, in the surroundings of Makarska, on the islands of Dalmatia, in the surroundings of Šibenik and Zadar, in Lika, Gorski Kotar, Istria, Bela Krajina, the region of Žumberak, in Slavonija, Srem and Hungary, that is, wherever the Serbian people migrated and settled during the Turkish invasion, intense conversion to the Uniate and Roman Catholic religions and the processes of Croatization and Magyarizarion took place. These processes were often violent or life endangering. They were most intense in the contact zone between the Catholic and Orthodox populations and among the Orthodox that lived in the enclaves or were dispersed among the Roman-Catholics. The forcible conversion to Catholicism of the Orthodox population was very much practised in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). The Croatian Catholic Church, that is, the Vatican practices, even today, aggressive proselytism towards the Serbs and other.

It is difficult to establish how many Serbs there were on the territory of the former SR of Croatia earlier. For the period before the first census (mid 19th century) there are only fragmentary data and rough estimates for small parts of the territory. Difficulties also exist in recent times because of frequent changes of administrative boundaries and of census questions. As to the ethnic-based questions, the statistics dealt only with the questions on faith and mother tongue before World War II. However, after the war, the censuses contained questions on nationality instead of those on religion. For that reason, these two groups of data are difficult to compare.

In the middle of the 19th century, numerous eminent foreign travellers and leading Austrian and Hungarian statisticians and scientists did not find at all or found in a very small number the Croats in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Slavonija and Istria. The region in which the Croats lived extended along the Slovenian border, from the region of Gorski Kotar across Zagreb to the Hungarian border (mainly the region of the kajkavian dialect). There were Roman Catholic congregations on this territory, but there were no Croats. These Roman Catholics were regarded as Serbs.

There are two main reasons for such positions and approaches of foreign authors. The first is that the Roman Catholics inhabiting the above mentioned regions did not feel as Croats until the mid 19th century and later. The scientific sources of this view are rather numerous. The Catholics in Dalmatia were even repugnant to their being counted among the Croatian ethnic group. The situation was similar in Slavonija.[16] The second reason is that the Slavs in the above mentioned regions spoke the štokavian dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language except for the inhabitants in the narrow zone of the Adriatic coast that spoke the čakavian dialect. So, they spoke the same language as the Serbs in Serbia and Montenegro. At that time, the concept of the existence of the Serbs of the "three laws" (Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim) was popular. This means that in the 19th and 20th centuries extensive Croatization of the Roman Catholics using the štokavian dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language, took place. It is also important to mention that in the Serbo-Croatian speaking regions the key national dividing line was religion. Thus, the Catholics became Croats and the Orthodox became Serbs. After World War II, the Serbs in Montenegro were proclaimed Montenegrins. In 1967, it was established by the decision of the Communist authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that the majority of the affiliates of Mohammedan faith would form the Muslim nationality (Muslims).[17]

Stronger awakening of the Croatian national awareness and the spiritual, political and territorial forming of the Croatian people occurred in the second half of the 19th century. It was also the period of the national awakening and forming of other nationalities on the Balkan Peninsula, in Europe and elsewhere in the world. The Croatian national awakening began with the Illyrian Movement. The nation forming and the national political orientation had several strata and several facets. Essential for the forming of tin Croatian nation were Illyrism and Catholicism. After the Croats adopted the štokavian dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language as the basis for their culture and education, the physical framework of the future Croatian national character widened and spread over the non-čakavian and non-kajkavian Catholic territories in the Serbo-Croat region. The process of Croatization was diligently carried out by the Catholic Church, leading intellectuals and political leaders of the time, and the Croatian Parliament. Its expansion was strongly supported by the Austro-Hungarian authorities. As regards political parties, the particularly important role in this field was played by the Party of Rights which was in the 19th century led by A. Starčević and later by J. Frank. For the Catholic Church, it was far more important to make the non-kajkavian Roman Catholics become Croats, not Serbs, for the Serbs were followers of the Orthodox Church.

The process of Croatization expanded and strengthened. The relationship between the Croats and Serbs in Croatia was threefold. One portion of the Croatian population was tolerant towards them trying to establish tolerant and satisfactory relations at rimes when the Serbian national rights were concerned. The other, considerable portion of the Croatian population was of anti-Serbian disposition. They were headed by the followers of A. Starčević and J. Frank and the Croatian clero-chauvinists. The third, smaller portion of the Croats were rather tolerant to the Serbs and considered them equal.

At present (1990-1994) there are still three segments in the Croatian population when the attitude towards the Serbs is concerned. The Croats having a tolerant civil-legal attitude towards the Serbs are undoubtedly numerous. They respect their specific ethnic features, but consider them to be a national minority.

In the 19th century, a process of Serbization of the Orthodox population of the štokavian dialect outside Serbia took place. This process, however, was far less intense and worse organised than the process of Croatization. There were two reasons for that. Firstly, at that time, the Orthodox population had already been fully aware of their Serbian identity. They felt and called themselves Serbs. Secondly, the process of Serbization was suppressed by the process of conversion to Catholicism and Uniate.

The attitude towards the Serbs in Croatia was much more favourable whenever the Croats expected some help from the Serbs in solving their difficulties with Austria or Hungary (the 1848 revolution and the war against Hungary, the 186711868 Compromise with Hungary, the national movements of 1883 and 1903). A fine example of the Croatian-Serbian co-operation is the Croatian-Serbian coalition which was the leading political force in Croatia from 1905 to 1918.[18] The partisan movement in Croatia 1941-1945 recognised the Serbs the same rights with the Croats. This movement pleaded for universal equality of lights of all the constitutive peoples in Yugoslavia. National minorities also had considerably greater ethnic lights above those required by international standards. The first article of the Declaration of Basic Rights of the People and Citizens in the Democratic Croatia adopted at the 3rd session of the National Anti-fascist Council of People's Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH) on May 9, 1944, which was the basis of the constitutional and legal development and order first in the People's/Socialist Republic of Croatia and then all the time before the moment when the latest constitution of this republic was adopted (December 22, 1990) reads: "The Croatian and Serbian people in Croatia have entirely equal rights." However, this country was proclaimed the state of Croats in the latest constitution of the Republic of Croatia. The Serbs were reduced to the national minority status It should be emphasised that in World War II on the territory of the former SR Croatia the Serbs fought against the German occupying forces and the Ustashi for a democratic Croatia and their own physical survival. The abolishment of "the status of a constitutive people for the Serbs in 1990 was one of the main reasons of their revolt and rebellion in 1991 Deep in the consciousness of this people was their remembrance of the genocide of 1941-1945 and their great/ear that the same situation might repeat.

Nevertheless, simultaneously with the processes seeming a democratic status to the Serbs in Croatia, strong reactionary, non-democratic and chauvinist-nationalist Serbophobic Croatian forces were also active. To them, hatred towards Serbs was one of the principal tasks and objectives Intolerance towards the Serbs already began to manifest itself at the time of the inauguration of the Military Bolder, particularly in the ranks of the Croatian feudal lords and the Catholic Chinch. These institutions strove to transform the Krajina people, both Serbs and Croats, into serfs and convert the Serbs into Catholics. The Croatian Catholic Church conducted an anti-Orthodox, anti-Serbian and, after the creation of Yugoslavia, an anti-Yugoslav campaign up to the present day based on Catholic proselytism, namely the Roman Catholic (Vatican) intolerance and aggression towards Orthodoxy. Some seminaries and monasteries of the Croatian Catholic Church were nurseries of the Croatian clero- nationalism, Serbophobia and the Ustashi movement.

The second form of the Croatian Serbophobic national-chauvinism developed in the intellectual circles, in some political parties, and in the Croatian Parliament in the second half of the 19th century. It was based on the Croatian state and historical law looted in the laws of feudal fiefs.

The fruits of these two negative processes are manifested in numerous purges of the Serbs in Croatia and everywhere else where the rightist and cleronationalist system could leach. Large scale physical attacks on the Serbs and their property occurred at the late 19th. century and the early 20th and during World War I. There were even elements of an anti-Serbian genocide in the war. Those are wrong who deem that the crimes of the Ustashi done to the Serbs in the course of World War II are sort of vengeance for the alleged crimes done to the Croats in the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia Hatred towards Serbs and the ideas of sole Croatism and pan-Croatism had existed long be fore 1918. An extensive and horrible anti Serbian genocide organised by the Croatian state occurred during World War II. Genocidal seed in the Croats was not uprooted after the war, either. This is evident from the latest events in the Republic of Croatia when ethnic cleansing took place in the Serbian regions, when the Serbs were expelled, dismissed from work and maltreated- in numerous ways on national and religious grounds.[19]

With regard to this it should be emphasised that the main cause of perturbing the tolerable relations between the Croats and Serbs on the territory of the former Croatia, and elsewhere, lies in the aggressive, intolerant, non-democratic and non-Christian actions of the Croatian Catholic Church. Its decade-long, better to say century-long negative "breeding" of the Croatian folk, particularly in the ethnically mixed (contact) Serbo-Croatian districts had as a consequence the advent of a repulsive attitude among the wide strata of the Croatian people towards everything that is Orthodox and Serbian. They are taught that the Serbs, with regard to civilisation and history, are a people of lower rank that are aggressive, prone to conquer and oppress; their features being coarseness, roguery, fraud, infamy, guile, corruptibility, propensity to robbery and murders. Such total demonization of our people by the major portion of the Croatian Catholic Church (with the blessing of the Vatican) and the Croatian nationalists and chauvinists, from Starčević to the present leading establishment, brought about pogroms over the Serbs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the brutal Ustashi raids during World War II, and even in our times.

The solution to the political crisis in the former SFRY primarily depends on the Serbo-Croatian relations. To ensure their steadiness, much higher grade of confidence between the Serbs and Croats should exist. The Serbian side wants co-operation and equitable relations. The Serbian state and the Serbian Orthodox Church have never indulged into any organised conversion of the Croats or genocide. Many times, however, the Croatian side was, unfortunately, extremely intolerant towards the Serbs. This means that the key to the Serbo-Croatian relations is in the hand of the Croats. To have the relations at least correct and worthwhile the Croatian side should accept the Serbs living west of the Drina river as the partner in all the fields of socio-economic, political and other activities and cease claiming ownership over the territories that do not belong to Croatia, i.e. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Baranja, Srem, and the Bay of Kotor.

If only the first post-war Yugoslav leaders Croats (Josip Broz, Bakarić, Krajačić) and the party, spiritual, and state leaders of the Republic of Croatia had bowed to the shades of the innocent victims in Jasenovac, Glina church, Jadovno or other Ustashi-organised scaffold, and if only they had a more civilised and more democratic conduct towards the Serbs in Croatia, the Republic of Serb Krajina would not have likely appeared. If the Croatian state, political and spiritual leaders had publicly pronounced profound condemnation of the Starčević-Pavelić ideology and the Ustashi movement they would have done much more for bringing closer the Serbs and Croats in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina than any tales on brotherhood and unity. The Croats, the Croatian Catholic Church in particular, and the Croatian leading intellectuals and politicians hold the key to the Croatian-Serbian relations and to the bulk of the political crisis in the former Yugoslavia.

It should be emphasised that the genocide committed by the Ustashi over the Serbs in the course of World War II was not publicly condemned as a criminal fascist-racial system either in Yugoslavia or at the international level. A small number of the Ustashi were caught and condemned after the war. Most of them by 'rat canals' fled to the West where they had the opportunity to be more or less active in public. Some of them returned to Croatia after 1990, i.e. after the secessionist separation of Croatia from Yugoslavia and the introduction of "new democracy" in that country. The absence of a trial to the Ustashi movement and failure to disassociate from and repent on the part of the intellectuals and spirituals in Croatia enabled the Croatian separatism and chauvinist Serbophobic nationalism to pronounce themselves more intensely in the 1960s and 1970s and flare up in 1990/1991.

Table 1. Serbs on the Territory of the former Croatia in 1910, 1921 and 1931.[20]


Total Population

















As it can be seen the total population and number of Serbs was lower in 1921 than in 1910. The main. reasons were World War I (deaths of mobilised men, higher death rate due to contagious diseases, lower birth rare) and an intense emigration after the end of the war of the members of some national minorities (mostly Hungarians). It is noticeable that the percentage of the Serbs was constantly decreasing.

In 1921, there were 86 communes and in 1931, 13 districts in which the Serbs constituted absolute majority. Serbs lived mainly in the rural areas.

World. War II was the most difficult period in the history of the Serbs in Croatia. At that time, within the German-Italian Nazi-fascist system, an artificial Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was formed. It was the first Croatian state after the year 1102, when the Croats fell under die Hungarian rule The new State was soundly and joyously received by the majority of the Croatian people The Croatian Catholic Church (particularly Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac) and the leaders of the principal political party - the Croatian Peasant Party put much confidence in this state The NDH was formed on April 10, 1941. It disappeared on May 8, 1945. It was the most loyal Hitler's collaborator

This state was markedly fascist-racial and chauvinist in its interior organisation. The Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were outlawed, i.e. subjected to a systematic and atrocious genocide. In spite of such a character of the Independent State of Croatia, in 1990, the president of the Republic of Croatia Dr Franjo Tudjman. declared that ''it was a historical aspiration of the Croatian people".

The Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia also suffered from the German and Italian occupiers' mob of soldiers because they constituted the main body of the anti-occupying partisan army before autumn 1943 In the most profound negative conscience of the Serbian people remained its suffering inflicted by the Croatian-Muslim Ustashi as the Ustashi movement planned the total extermination of the Serbs in NDH. Their destiny was clearly defined and decided by Mile Budak, -minister of education m NDH He said on July 22, 1941 "Part' of the Serbs we shall kill, part of the Serbs we shall displace, and the rest of them we shall convert to Catholicism and thus assimilate into Croats.[21] The Croatian Catholic Church (and the Vatican) zealously prepared the Ustashi movement before World War II and collaborated with them wholeheartedly during the war. The similarity in ideology and action of these two Croatian institutions was very well described by Artuković, minister of internal affairs in NDH, who at the trial in Zagreb in 1986 stated that everything he and his Ustashi had done was in accord with the principles of the Catholic Church and that his conscience was, therefore, clear.[22]

The Ustashi began to put into practice this infernal plan of theirs at once Mass killings of innocent population including children, women and old people began. Killing of children was their speciality. They were known for throwing people and bodies of the killed into karst holes (Lika) and village wells (Slavonija). That was one of the "European" achievements in "culture and civilisation" of the first Independent Croatian State formed after 840 years. The variety and monstrosity of the killing was so radically "elaborated" and implemented that even the Germans were horrified by the primitive cruelty of their Croatian servants. The executors were most frequently, the so called "domestic Ustashi", i.e. the neighbours from the same or the nearest village. In the latest 1991 war that broke our in the former Yugoslavia they again were first to commit this atrocious crime. The most voluminous ethnic cleansing was performed in Western Slavonija.

Fig. 3 - Destroyed, burnt and ethnically cleansed Serbian villages in the part of Western Slavonija during the first months of 1991.
(click on the image for full size)

It is important to mention that the Ustashi had started the planned genocide of the Serbs more than six months before the Nazis decided to exterminate the Jews.[23] The genocide committed by the Ustashi was the first event of the kind in the world in the 20th century. The Ustashi in NDH also "ethnically cleansed" the territories from the Serbs, so they hold the top place in this crime as well.

It is unknown how many war victims there were in Croatia during World war II since such data were not collected immediately after the end of the war. According to the Croatian researcher Vladimir Žerjavić,[24] there were 204,653 victims of the Fascist terror in Croatia. Of this number 126,056 (61.7%) were Serbs although their share in the total population was about 17%. According to the researcher Bogoljub Kočović, demographic losses of the Serbs in Croatia during World War II were proportionately five times greater than the losses of the Croats.[25]

Table 2 gives the data on locations where genocide over the Serbs was committed in a part of the NDH territory.[26] Large concentration camps and scaffolds (Jasenovac, Jadovno, and other) and the locations in Dalmatia, a part of Lika and Gorski Kotar, northwest and northern Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not included in this Table. In other words the number of the Serbs killed in NDH was far greater.

Table 2 Locations of Genocide over the Serbs in a part of the NDH Territory


Lika, Kordun and Bania

Slavonia and Western Srem


Locations in which the Serbs were killed




Regions of mass massacre




Holes in which the Serbs were thrown




Wells in which the Serbs were thrown




Concentration and collection camps




The cases of killing "at the threshold"





Although incomplete, these data show that in NDH there were many places where the Serbs, Romanies, and Jews were killed. The Jasenovac concentration camp (on the left bank of the Sava river opposite the mouth of the Una river to the Sava) was the largest and the most brutal scaffold. More than 700,000 persons were put to death in it (many children, too). The Serbs were most numerous victims by far. By the number of victims Jasenovac is among the top Nazi-fascist camps in Europe, while by bestiality of extermination of people it ranks first.

The cruel Ustashi terror over the Serbs, besides killings and Catholicizing of hundreds of thousands of the Serbian people, also caused a big flight of this people. A large number of Serbs fled from Lika, south-west Bosnia and northern Dalmatia to a part of Dalmatia (Kistanje, Zadar, etc.) and to the Littoral that were under the Italian occupation.. However, the main stream of the fleeing people went towards Serbia in which hundreds of thousands of refugees congregated from NDH, from Vojvodina (terror by the Hungarians), from Macedonia (terror by the Bulgarians) and from Kosovo and Metohia (terror by the Albanians). The Serbs from Serbia expressed tremendous humanity towards these Serbian refugees. Serbs also received the Slovenes, refugees from Slovenia. Some of the refugees that survived the Second World War returned from Serbia to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia and some of them remained in Serbia. The flight of the Serbs from Croatia unfortunately repeated in 1991-1994 after the formation of the second independent state of Croatia in this century. Obviously, the "Croatian independence" and the freedom of the "Croatian" Serbs are in discord. The reason is: absence of democracy in the Croatian state.

Number Distribution of the on the Territory of the Former SR of World War II

The number of the Serbs on the territory of the SR of Croatia and in the Balkans as a whole was affected by numerous and considerable sufferings in the last 200 years (1804-1994) Tremendous losses of the Serbian people were the consequences of the wars of liberation and defensive rebellions, and genocide. During World War I the Serbs east of the Drina river (in Serbia and Montenegro) were the ones that tremendously suffered, and in World War II the Serbs west of the Drina (in NDH). In this war (1991-1994) the whole Serbian people is suffering. The Serbs west of the Drina river (B&H, Croatia) are fighting in a defensive war for their basic national rights and the Serbs east of the Drina are subjected to cruel, unjust and criminal sanctions by the International community. In World War I the male reproduction, stratum of the Serbian people was crushed in Serbia and Montenegro (more than 50% of mobilised men perished). In World war II, the Ustashi and occupiers (Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Albanians) were engaged in genocide over the Serbs. The Ustashi also killed Serbian children without mercy.[27] It is reckoned that 2.5 to 3 million Serbs were killed between 1804 and 1945. In the world, only the Serbian people has been subjected to brutal destruction three times in this century (1914-1918, 1941-1945, 1991-1994).

After World war II the Serbs from the former SR of Croatia, like the majority of other population in the former Yugoslavia, lived in very hard circumstances. Almost, there was not a single Serbian household on the territory of the former SR of Croatia without casualties, wounded or mutilated members, damaged or destroyed property. Many children became war orphans. Many buildings were damaged and destroyed, such as factories, cultural, school, health, and religious institutions.

In spite of that the Serbian people in Croatia started renovating and building the country with great enthusiasm. They wanted and tried to recover both in material and spiritual respect. They started believing in good nature and democratic transformation of the Croats. They began considering Croatia their homeland. The Serbs in great numbers joined in the process of renewal and. building of the country. The Serbian youth participated in voluntary mass, physical labour. More and more Serbs started moving to the Croatian towns seeking employment and entered into mixed marriages. Taken as proportion, they, more than Croats, found jobs in the army and police and in the administration of the ruling party, because more of them participated in the war of liberation than the Croats. Being frontiersmen, the military and political activity was their tradition. They were proportionately at a lower level of education than the Croats, so it was more difficult for them to get jobs in industry and other non-agrarian activities, which was another reason for their joining the army- and the police. Their relatively higher participation in these "security" activities became one of the reasons and sources of the most recent Serbophobia in Croatia.

The decrease in. the number of the Serbs in the SR of Croatia after World War II was also a consequence of the planned resettlement of the population ("colonisation") from the poor and war-devastated regions into Vojvodina, Baranja, and Slavonija. At that time, 14,709 families from Croatia, mostly from Lika, Banija, Kordun, and Dalmatia were moved to Vojvodina.[28]

It should be mentioned that according to a decision of the supreme state authorities of Croatia, the Croats (Catholics) were colonised in Baranja, eastern Slavonija and Western Srem. At the same time, an intense Croatization of the Bunjevci and Šokci and also of the Hungarians and Germans was conducted, so that the Croats became more numerous in these regions.

The post-war settling in Baranja and its legal and political status are significant. The following facts should be known: First, in the middle of the 19th century when the Serbian Vojvodina was formed, Baranja was apart of it. Second, in the Great People's Assembly of Vojvodina on November 25, 1918, when the decision was passed on joining Serbia, the representatives of Baranja were also present. Third, in 1918 Baranja was liberated by the Serbian army. Fourth, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Baranja was part of the Danubian province with the seat in Novi Sad. Fifth, in 1945, Baranja was liberated by the Serbian units in the Yugoslav National Army. Sixth, for several months after tine end of World. War II it was a part of Vojvodina, Serbia.

However, as the Croats and Slovenes, headed by Josip Broz Tito, had a leading role in the leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and of the Socialist Yugoslavia, it was decided to annex Baranja to Croatia. Then, for the first time in its history, it starred being administered by Zagreb. The Serbian leaders and high state officials of the time, for ideological and career reasons and probably for failing to know historical political and demographic facts regarding Baranja, did not oppose to its annexation to Croatia. Then, in the time of the colonisation process, by planned resettlement of the Croats, Baranja got its Croatian ethnic majority. Therefore, there is much evidence that Baranja should be again incorporated in Vojvodina, i.e. Serbia, or remain, part of the Republic of Serb Krajina. There are many historical reasons and human equity that the expelled Serbs from Western Slavonija and other parts of the Republic of Croatia should settle in Baranja.

Table 3 Number of Serbs and Yugoslavs in the former SR of Croatia in the post-war period


Total number of inhabitants











































1991/1948 index







The data in Tables 1 and 3 show that the total population in Croatia was greater by 38 3% in 1991 than in 1910, while the number of Serbs went down by 4 8% in the same period. The total population went down by 0.5% in 1921 compared to 1910, and by 0.1% in 1948 compared to 1931 The figures for the Serbian population were 0.8% and 14 5% respectively

Even greater percentage of decrease was characteristic of the Serbs in the period 1971 1981 In this period, the total number of the inhabitants of Croatia went up by 175,248 or by 4.0%. The number of Croats went down by 58,986 or 1.7%, and the number of Serbs by 95,287 or 15.2%. The drop in the count of Serbs was proportionally 8.9 times greater than that of the Croats. Then, the Croatian population was six times bigger than the Serbian population. The descending line in the count of Serbs appealed in the period 1953 1981, and in the number of Croats in the period 1961-1981, the decrease of Serbs being more intense. The increase in number was noticed in the last intercensal decade (1981-1991), and the intensity was greater in the Serbian population then in the Croatian. The last increase in the number of Serbs and Croats was primarily due to the declarations of the "Yugoslavs" as Serbs or Croats

The changes in the number of Yugoslavs are interesting They abruptly increased in number in the 1960s, and were most numerous in the 1981 census They were the persons from nationally and religiously mixed marriages and those ones that, for the sake of the state formation and out of their own beliefs, denounced then own national origin, for the benefit of the "Yugoslav nation" In Croatia existed a group of the so called concealed Yugoslavs, better to say the Yugoslavs our of need and of fear since it was much safer and much more comfortable to be a Yugoslav (until 1991) than a Serb Having in mind this and the fact that the Serbs were anxious to have Yugoslavia survive and that many of diem came from mixed marriages, it w-is concluded that a great number of the Yugoslavs in Croatia (around 66%) was of the Serbian origin.[29] When this is applied to the year 1981, there were 782,000 or 17% Serbs in the total population in Croatia.

Table 4 Distribution of the Serbs in the former SR of Croatia after World War II[30]



















Northwest Dalmatia












Lika and Gorski Kotar












Bania and Kordun












Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem












Other part of the former SR Croatia

























It can be seen that of the total number of the Serbs living on the territory of the former SR of Croatia, around 15% live in north-west Dalmatia, around 10% in Lika and Gorski Kotar, one third in Slavonija, Baranja and Western Srem, one fifth in Kordun and Banija, and one fifth in other parts of Croatia. The worst situation is in Lika and Gorski Kotar Only a small number of Serbs live there, the population density is low and the old-age shale is the largest The biodynamics of the Serbian population in Kordun and Banija is also rather unfavourable. Truly, it is the same in the greatest part of the ethnic area of the Serbs on the territory of the former SR Croatia The greatest increase in the number of the Serbs is encountered in the so called "other parts of Croatia", i.e. large urban centres to which rural Serbs migrated in search of better life

Demographic Processes and the Number of Serbs

The number of Serbs in the former SR of Croatia depends on natural increase (reproduction), migrations (balance of migration), and the process of assimilation These demographic processes are related to the process of population ageing, economic conditions, culture, political and security circumstances. When the Serbs in Croatia are concerned, there are, unfortunately, three additional factors: killings for ethnic and political reasons, expelling and forceful assimilation.

The level of economic development in the greatest part of the ethnic area of the Serbs in Croatia is below average. In 1981, 66.8% Serbs in Croatia lived in the municipalities in which the average income per capita was below the republic average, and 62.5% in those in which the level of urban development was below average. Or, in 1981, 34.9% of the total number of the Serbs in Croatia lived in the two lowest-income groups, and 13.6% in the two highest-income groups. For the rest of the population of Croatia, the corresponding numbers were 14.7% and 30.9%. In 1981, per capita income of the Serbs in Croatia was 98,906 Dinars or 13.7% less than the average for Croatia and less than the average for the Croats in Croatia.[31] In the same year, the Serbs in Croatia h ad the lowest per capita income among all the national groups in the Republic. The lower level of social and economic development of the ethnic area of the Serbs resulted from poor natural conditions and historical circumstances, and also from comparatively low investments into the economic and social development after World War II.

The natural increase of the Serbs in Croatia was 17.6%o, in 1950, 10.0%o average in the period 1957-1960, 5.0%o in the period 1970-1974, and 2.5%o in the period 1980-1985. The corresponding values for the non-Serbian population in Croatia were 15.5%o, 12.6%o, 4.5%o, and 2.9%o. For the Croats in Croatia the natural increase rate was 9.0%o in 1961, 4.5%o in 1971, 3.1%o in 1981. In numbers, the natural increase of the Serbs in Croatia was 9949 in 1950, 6699 (average) in the period 1957-1960, 3042 in the period 1970-1974, and 1264 in the period 1980-1985. Foul-years later (1989) the rate of natural increase was negative in 20 out of 24 municipalities in Croatia in which the Serbs mostly constituted majority.[32]

On the basis of the above data the following conclusions can be drawn: a) differences in the natural increase rates of the Serbian and non-Serbian population/Croatian population in Croatia are insignificant; b) the natural increase of the whole population in Croatia kept decreasing after World War II; at present, it is probably negative, especially with the Serbs; c) the biological loss of population is widespread in the ethnic area of the Serbs.

After World War II, the emigrational processes in the village-city and agrarian versus non-agrarian directions were rather intensive in Yugoslavia. The intensity of these processes in Croatia was above average since the processes of industrialisation and urbanisation were also above the Yugoslav average. The low level of social and economic development of the Serbian ethnic area in Croatia made the population move to bigger urban and industrial centres of Croatia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia. This was the reason why the number of Serbs was higher in the so called zone of dispersal, that is, in the Croatian towns.

The largest part of the ethnic area of the Serbs, especially its , was in the grip of the process of mechanical (emigrational) depopulation. This means that the whole ethnic area of the Serbs in the former SR of Croatia suffered front widespread depopulation. The ageing of the population was also advanced. The demographic situation of the Serbian population on the territory of the former SR of Croatia was unfavourable.

It is evident from the statistical data that the migrational flows of the population in the former Yugoslavia were greatly influenced by national, and political factors. The members of some nationalities mostly moved to home regions enhancing the ethnic homogeneity there. For example, of the total number of the Croats that moved from Bosnia and Herzegovina (146,045 according to the 1981 data) 89.1% went to Croatia. The same migrational process was also characteristic of the Serbs. Of 266,625 Serbs that moved from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 77.1% went to Serbia.

The balance of migration of the Serbs in Croatia and in other republics of the former Yugoslavia is shown in Table 5. The number of these migrant' was derived from the "birthplace" category in the population census.

Table 5 Balance of Migration






Serbs, immigrants into Croatia





Serbs, immigrants from Croatia






- 98,314

- 83,301

- 60,938

- 60,188


Table 5 shows that the migratory balance is markedly negative. On the average, Serbs moved into Croatia 2.2 times less than they moved out of it. The Serbs that moved to Croatia came mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina (around 60% according to the 1981 census), and the Serbs that moved out of Croatia mostly went to Serbia (around 88% of the total), i.e. to Central Serbia (51.6% to Belgrade and environs) and Vojvodina (36.1%).

Fig 4 Volume and direction of population migration: Croatia - other parts of the former S.F.R.Y.
Census of 1981

The Croats migrated mainly towards Croatia, while the Serbs mostly emigrated from Croatia. They immigrated mainly into Serbia.

(click on the image for full size)

The ethnic aspect of migrations was both factual and important. A regards the Serbs in Croatia, the migrational component was intensified after 1990 when chauvinist nationalism and Serbophobia culminated in Croatia The ethnic aspect of migrations surpassed in importance economic reasons.

The assimilation of the Orthodox population, i.e. conversion of Serb into Catholics/Croats on the territory of the former SR of Croatia has been going on for centuries. It actually started in the 11th century after Christianity split into the Western Church and the Eastern Church The process was most intensive in the Adriatic region, then in Lika, Gorski Kotar, Slavonija, and ii the kajkavian dialect-speaking Croatia. It was more or less spontaneous before World War II though permanently encouraged by the Catholic Church an< the Croatian nationalists and chauvinists. However, in the periods of genocide cruel and forceful assimilation took place. According to an estimate some 240,000 Serbs were converted into Catholics in the NDH in the course o World War II.[33] In the most recent period 1990-1994, according to the Information Centre of the Serbian Convention in Belgrade and the priests c the Serbian Orthodox Church, thousands of Serbian children were converted to Catholicism "of their own free will".

At present, the number of Serbs in some parts of the former SR c Croatia and some Croatian towns is not known. It is known that they decrease. in number after the secession of Croatia. Many Serbs were killed and bundled of thousands fled to Serbia, Montenegro, and other countries. According t the Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Serbia Bulletin, September 20, 199-S 321,868 refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia reported at the reception centres in Serbia. Out of this number, 186,911 or 58.1% cam from Croatia. They were Serbs. The number of refugees, i.e. the exiled, is much greater since many of them found shelter at relatives' and friends' homes The number of Serbs on the territory of the former SR of Croatia decreased by more than 50% in the course of one year and a half only. According to the data c the Commission for War Crimes and Crimes of Genocide of the Federal, Republic of Yugoslavia and the Information Centre of the Serbian Convention in Belgrade, more than 300,000 Serbs were expelled from the Republic c Croatia. According to the data revealed by the UN General Secretary B. B. Galli, 251,000 Serbs were either exiled or fled from the Republic of Croatia.[34] There is some information that only 20% of the total number of the Serbs that ha lived on the territory of the former SR of Croatia before the war (before 1991 remained there. In any case, the "output" of the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs was very successful These anti-Serbian ''actions" were even more voluminous and fruitful than in the times of the clero-Ustashi Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945).

Life has never been easy for the Serbs in Croatia Most recently (after 1990) after the proclamation of the Independent Republic of Croatia, the Serbs found themselves once again in a very difficult political and economic position. That is the reason why they had to organize themselves and fight for their homes and bare lives. In the domiciliar regions they are on their own land.

Listed below are some of the most important dates in the process of the Serbs' organizing on the territory of the former SR of Croatia.[35]

1. On February 17, 1990, in Knin, the Serbian Democratic Party was founded and became the leading political party of the Serbian people on the territory of the former SR of Croatia Then, the leader of the Serbian people was Jovan Rašković, Member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts.

2. On July 25, 1990, in Srb, the Serbian Convention was held and the Serbian National Council formed. The Declaration of Autonomy of the Serbs in Croatia was proclaimed and the decision, was made to conduct a plebiscite on the autonomy of the Serbs in Croatia on August 19, 1990.

3. On August 17, 1990, in Benkovac, the Police of the Republic of Croatia brutally prevented the Serbian plebiscite. The Serbs raised barricades and thus the war for the Krajina broke out.

4. On December 19, 1991, in Knin, the Constitutional Assembly adopted the Constitution and proclaimed the Republic of Serb Krajina.

5. On February 21, 1992, in New Yolk, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution No. 743 which meant the beginning of the UN (UNPROFOR) mandate in the region Unfortunately, the protection of the Serbian territories was rather weak This was best seen on January 22, 1992, when the Croatian Army Attacked the regions of the Republic of Serb Krajina protected by the UNPROFOR.

6. On January 22, 1993, the Croatian Armed Forces attacked the Republic of Serb Krajina The most violent attacks were launched in north-west Dalmatia. This aggression by the Croatian Army on the Republic of Serb Krajina was condemned by the UN Security Council. But, Croatia was not punished by the UN or any other international organisation for this aggression or the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Contrary to Croatia, Serbia was punished by the UN Security Council for "petty offence " even.

7. On June 19/20, 1993 a plebiscite in the Republic of Serb Krajina was conducted 98 6% of the voices in the ballot, i e. 93 8% of the total number of voters voted for the independent Republic of Serb Krajina and its uniting with the Serb Republic and other Serbian states.

8 On March 31, 1994, in Zagreb, an agreement was signed between the Republic of Serb Krajina and the Republic of Croatia on the cease-fire at the line of contact of the Krajina and the Croatian forces.[36] The agreement came into effect on April 4, 1994.

The Serbs on the territory of the former SR of Croatia should be allowed to decide in a democratic way who and with whom they would like to live. If the Serbs in RSK want to separate from the Republic of Croatia this chance should be given to them, the same as the Croats were given the chance to part with the S.F.R.Y. The Serbs from the RSK and the Serb Republic should be allowed to create, if they wish, a united democratic state which would then by the free will of its population initiate appropriate political (federal, confederal) and other relations with the Republic of Croatia, F.R. of Yugoslavia, and other countries. It is incomprehensible that the U S, Germany, the Vatican, etc do not allow only to the Serbs of all the Yugoslav peoples to form their own state. It is absurd to push the "Bosnian" and the "Croatian" Serbs to live in the same state with the Muslims and Croats and prevent them from living with other Serbs, i e the Serbs from F.R. of Yugoslavia. By such actions, the several centuries' long strive and desire of the Serbian people in the Balkans to live in one state are eradicated. By such an arrangement the Serbs will remain in several states, even living in the state in which in the last 50 years they were twice victims of genocide and in the state in which interior order would be organised on the Islamic fundamentalists grounds. The Serbs in Croatia cannot be treated in the same way as the Tyrols in Italy, the Corsicans in France, the Catalonians and Basks in Spain, the Irishmen in Great Britain, the Croats and Hungarians in Vojvodina, the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia and the Muslims in Raška, etc. The enumerated peoples have never been victims of any genocide whatsoever. The so-called "2K formula" is not acceptable though offered by some foreign powers (US and others) saying that the identical legal and political method would be applied to resolve the problem of the status of RSK and Kosovo and Metohia. One should be aware here that the Serbs of Krajina in 1918 and 1945, at the times when the First and the Second Yugoslavia were formed, had the light of a constitutive people. That right was never possessed by the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia The Albanians, let us repeat, have never been victims of any genocide, and the Serbs of Krajina were both times when the Croats formed their authentic states. The Serbs of the Krajina had autonomy for more than 200 years (till 1881). Let us hope that reason, humanity and justice will win.

At present, the relations between the Serbs and Croats on the territory of the former SR of Croatia and of the former Yugoslavia are very complicated and unfavourable. What will become of them depends primarily upon the attitude and relations of the authorities of the Republic of Croatia, i.e. the Croats towards Serbs. If Croatia becomes a democratic state, the situation can be easily improved and brought back to normal. Now, in the Republic of Croatia instead of real democracy there is unfortunately chauvinist nationalist spirit that emerges from the ideology of Starčević-Pavelić. As soon as the warfare ends it will be necessary to start reconnecting the Republic of Serb Krajina, the Republic of Croatia and other newly formed political and territorial units on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, so that they become a functional whole since they depend upon each other very much. For example, the Republic of Serb Krajina needs an exit to the sea (to use the harbours in Zadar, Šibenik, and Split), while the Republic of Croatia needs the shortest possible route from the Pannonian to the Dalmatian part of its state. It will be necessary to ensure unobstructed flow of people, property, information., and alike among the towns and their environs since these regional wholes are broken in many pairs (Šibenik, Zadar, Gospić, Karlovac, Osijek, etc.). This means that such sort of social, economic, democratic, and political situation should be created that all people on the territory of the former Yugoslavia can live, work and travel freely regardless of their religion, ethnic origin, language, or vocation.

The free exchange of real estate between the Serbs and Croats from the Republic of Serb Krajina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should be made possible. This also understands resettlement of the population and the exchange of territories. If the Serbian exiles are not allowed by the Republic of Croatia to return to their homes, they should settle in Baranja, Eastern Slavonija, and Western Srem, i.e. the eastern part of the Republic of Serb Krajina.

It is necessary that reason and common interest should prevail in the process of the Yugoslav peoples getting together and gaining mutual confidence. The nucleus in the relations between the peoples should be Man, Citizen, namely the equality of rights regardless of national, religious, social and other kind of adherence. Rapid and complex economic development will be particularly significant for demographic development of the Serbian people in the Republic of Serb Krajina and other areas outside the F.R. of Yugoslavia in which the Serbs are in majority. More dynamic and structurally upgraded economy in the above mentioned areas together with the improved political situation and security would bring about more jobs. It would also promote the quality of life, increase natality and reduce emigrations of the Serbs from the territory of the former Socialist Republic of Croatia.


1. Documentation 881 (Zagreb: RZS, 1992)

2. Vojska, 39 (Belgrade, 1993), p.25.

3. Population census 1981, I (Belgrade. SZS. 1991)

4. Ethnic homogeneity is measured by the shares of nationalities in the total population. very low share (below 10 0%), low share (10.1-25 0%), high share (25.1- 50 0%), moderate homogeneity (50.1-75 0%), high homogeneity (75.1-90.0%), and very high homogeneity (90.1-100%).

5. Population census 1981 Documentation Materials (Belgrade SZS, 1982)

6. Jovan Marković, Geografske oblasti Socijalističke federativne Republike Jugoslavije /Geographical Regions of the S.F.R.Y./ (Belgrade. Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva, 1972).

7. Statistical Yearbooks of Yugoslavia for 1983-1991 (Belgrade: SZS).

8. Statistical Yearbook of Yugoslavia 1981 (Belgrade SZS, 1981), pp 641-642.

9. Statistical Calendar for 1991 (Belgrade. SZS, 1991) pp. 155 159.

10. Božidar Milić, Velika Hrvatska na srpskom tlu, Etnološko-istorijska rasprava /Greater Croatia oil tile Serbian Territory/ (Belgrade, 1992), p 7.

11. Sima Ćirković, Obrazovanje srpske države, Edicija Istorija srpskog naroda, I /The Formation of the Serbian State/ (Belgrade- SKZ, 1981), p.147.

12. Lujo Bakotić, Srbi u Dalmaciji od pada Mletačke Republike do ujedinjenja /The Serbs in Dalmatia from the Fall of the Venetian Republic until their Union/ (Belgrade Apolon, 1991/reprint), p 88.

13. Jovan Cvijić, Balkansko poluostrvo, Sabrana dela 2 /Balkan Peninsula/ (Belgrade. NIRO Književne novine, 1987), pp 173-176.

14. Episkop Nikodim Milaš, "Pravoslavna Dalmacija," /Orthodox Dalmatia/ in Istorijski pregled (Novi Sad. Izdavačka knjižarnica A Pajevića, 1901)

15. Lazo M. Kostić, Sporne teritorije Srba i Hrvata /Disputable Territories of the Serbs and Croats/ (Belgrade- AIZ Dosije, 1990), pp 94, 143.

16. Dragoslav Stranjaković, Najveći zločin današnjice /Magnum Crimen of today/ (Gornji Milanovac: Dečje novine, 1991), p.52

17. Dobrica Ćosić, Srpsko pitanje - demokratsko pitanje /The Serbian Question - The Democratic Issue/ (Belgrade Politika-Stručna knjiga, 1992), p.162.

18. Vasilije Krestić, Istorija Srba u Hrvatskoj i Slavoniji 1848-1914 /History of the Serbs in Croatia and Slavonia 1848 1914/ (Belgrade. Politika, 1991).

19. Miodrag Starčević and Nikola Petković, Hrvatska '91 Nasiljem i zločinom protiv prava /Croatia in 1991/ (Belgrade: Vojnoizdavački centar, 1991), p 82.

20. Statistical data in this and oilier tables are taken from the relevant official statistical publications (Population censuses)

21. Mile Nedeljković, Srbi graničari /Serbs Frontiersmen/ (Belgrade Novi dani, 1991), Intro. xiii.

22. Borba (Belgrade, December 26, 1988).

23. Pavle Ivić, "Vazali protiv Srbije," Srbofobija i posledice, I /Serbophobia and its Consequences/ NIN (Belgrade, August 28, 1992), p 54.

24. Vladimir Žerjavić, Gubici stanovništva Jugoslavije u Drugom svjetskom ratu /Population Losses/ (Zagreb: Jugoslovensko viktimološko društvo, 1989), p 154.

25. Bogoljub Kočović, Žrtve Drugog svetskog rata u Jugoslaviji /Victims in the Second World War in Yugoslavia/ (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1990), p. 3l.

26. Strahinja Kurdulija, Atlas ustaškog genocida nad Srbima 1941-1945 /Atlas of the Ustashi Genocide over the Serbs/ (Belgrade- Europublic-Istorijski institut SANU, 1994).

27. Borba, Special edition (Belgrade, February 1988).

28. Vladimir R. Djurić, "Geografski raspored novokolonizovanog stanovništva u Vojvodini," /Distribution of the Newly Colonised Population in Vojvodina/ in Glasnik Etnografskog Instituta II-III (Belgrade. SAN, 1957), pp 741 742.

29. Vlado Strugar, Yugoslavia on die Boundary between East and West (Belgrade: Ministarstvo informacija Republike Srbije, 1992).

30. Documentation 881, p 9.

31. Kosta Mihailović, "Ekonomski položaj Srba u Jugoslaviji," /Economic Position of the Serbs in Yugoslavia/ in Srpsko pitanje (Belgrade: Politika, 1991), p. 185.

32. Ruža Petrović "Prirodno obnavljanje i migracije Srba u Hrvatskoj," /Natural Increase and Migrations of the Serbs in Croatia/ in Zbornik o Srbima u Hrvatskoj, 2 (Belgrade SANU. 1991).

33. Veljko Đ. Đurić, Prekštavanje Srba u Nezavisnoj Državi Hrvatskoj /Conversion of the Serbs in NDH/ (Belgrade. Alfa i Arkade, 1991), p. 127.

34. Borba (Belgrade, July 31, 1993).

35. Mile Dakić, Srpska Krajina, Istorijski temelji i nastanak /The Serb Krajina/ (Knin: Iskra, 1994).

36. Politika (Belgrade, March 31, 1994).

Dr Jovan Ilić is Professor Emeritus of Economic and Political Geography at the Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade. He has published over one hundred and seventy scientific and professional papers, monographs and textbooks. He has also contributed about two hundred encyclopedic entries. His major books and publications arc: Karakteristike funkcionalnih odnosa izmedju grada i okoline sa posebnim osvrtom NA SR Srbiju functional Relations between Town and Its Surroundings with a Special Reference to the SR of Serbia/ (1970); Modelsko predvidjanje transformacija prostornih struktura i sistema /Transformation Predicting Model of Spatial Structures and Systems/ (1973); The Population of Yugoslavia (1974, co-author); Osnovne karakteristike ekonomske geografije kao naučno-nastavne discipline /Basic Features of Economic Geography as a Scientific Discipline) (1975); Regionalna ekonomska geografija Amerike /Regional Economic Geography of America/ (1979, co-author), Pogled na svijet: Azija, Australija i Okeanija /A View of the World: Asia, Australia and Oceania/ (1979, co-author); Neki načini rangiranja i iznalaženja kriterijuma za utvrdjivanje stepena društveno-ekonomske razvijenosti država /Classification and Criteria m Determining the Socio-Economic Development Levels of States/ (1979); Razvoj i osnovne karakteristike stanovništva Jugozapadnog Banata s posebnim osvrtom na opštinu i grad Pančevo /Population Development in Southwestern Banat with a Special Reference to the Town and Municipality of Pančevo/ (1984); Položaj geografije u sistemu nauka /The Place of Geography in the System of Sciences/ (1987), Broj i razmeštaj Srba na teritoriji avnojske Hrvatske /Number and Distribution of Serbs on the Territory of AVNOJ Croatia/ (1993).

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