Though a small country, Croatia has quite a tumultuous history which continues into today. In order to comprehend the mindset of modern Croat authors, it's important to understand 6 key historical facts. As the BBC notes:*
- The lands that comprise Croatia were a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until WWI's end.
- In the early 1900s, the Croats, Serbs & Slovenes formed Yugoslavia.
- Then, the Nazis invaded & a Greater Croatia was formed including most of Bosnia & western Serbia. The regime killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs & Jews trying to create a Catholic, all-Croat republic.
- After a bitter resistance campaign by Communist partisans soon after WWII, Croatia became 1 of the 6 republics of the Yugoslav socialist federation.
- In the 1970s, protesters unsuccessfully tried to assert Croat autonomy.
- In 1991, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. However, it took 4 years of bitter, fighting in the Balkans before Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands, along with a majority of Croatia's ethnic Serb population. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave was returned to Croatia in 1998.
More recently, as detailed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,** the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague began trying over 160 people for mass atrocities, genocide & crimes against humanity which took place in Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina committed during the 1990s war in the Balkans. While the most significant number of cases have dealt with crimes committed by Serbs & Bosnian Serbs, the Tribunal has investigated & brought charges against a variety of people including some Croats. As the last major trial is set deliver a verdict next month, these war crimes are still at the forefront of Croat minds.
Now, Onto the Voting
This month, you'll choose among works of history, noir crime fiction, war, literature, essays & a new genre for our book club, psychological horror. Special thanks to Neha Mehta for her suggestion of essays included in this list!
Since this post was delayed due to a family emergency & then technical difficulties, voting will be extended until Sun., Oct. 22 11PM ET in order to provide book club members the full 5 days for voting. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)