Serbia Compares Croatian 1995 Military Offensive to Nazi Policy in WWII

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a gathering late Saturday that 'Hitler wanted a world without Jews; Croatia and its policy wanted a Croatia without Serbs'

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, July 26, 2018.
Darko Vojinovic/AP

Croatia is celebrating a victorious 1995 military offensive in which it retook lands held by rebel Serbs, but which Serbia's president has compared to the policies of Nazi Germany during World War II.

The starkly conflicting views by the two main Balkan rivals of the August 1995 military blitz that resulted in an exodus of more than 200,000 minority Serbs from Croatia illustrates the persisting divisions in the region stemming from the 1990s' war.

While Croatia on Sunday hailed the offensive as a flawless military victory that reunited the country's territory and ended the war, neighboring Serbia mourned the hundreds of victims killed during the attack.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a gathering late Saturday that "Hitler wanted a world without Jews; Croatia and its policy wanted a Croatia without Serbs."

Croatia split from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and had to fight Belgrade-backed Serb insurgents for four years to establish its sovereignty.

In August 1995, Croatian forces resumed control of large areas of territory that had been occupied by the Serbian minority at the start of the war. The number of people killed in the mission - whether hundreds or even thousands - remains disputed.

Relations between Croatia and Serbia remain volatile and tend to deteriorate in the face of provocations made during anniversary celebrations or the lauding of controversial historic figures.