Ante Pavelić (July 14, 1889 - December 28, 1959) was the leader and founding member of the Croat Ustashi movement in the 1930s and later the leader of the Independent State of Croatia.
Pavelić was born in Bradina, a small village in Bosnia and Herzegovina and moved to Zagreb to study law. In his youth he became a member of the Croatian Party of Rights, and was part of the splinter, more nationalist faction led by Josip Frank in 1908. In 1919 he was interim secretary of the Pure Party of Rights. In 1921 he was arrested along with several other members of the party but was released; he defended them at the trial and lost.
In 1927 he was elected for Zagreb city council. He held the position of the party secretary in the Party of Rights until 1929 and the beginning of royal dictatorship in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He then co-founded the Ustaše and went underground. He drafted the principles of the Ustase Movement the same year. The situation in Yugoslavia improved by 1931, but in 1932 Pavelić relocated to Mussolini-led Italy.
In 1934, when Yugoslav king Aleksandar was assassinated in France, Pavelić and other Ustaše members were arrested in Italy under the charges of conspiring to kill the king, but were never extradited and were later released from prison.
Pavelić remained in Italy until the beginning of World War II. In 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded and he became the leader (poglavnik) of the Independent State of Croatia.
Poglavnik Ante Pavelić visiting Hitler at Berghof
In May 1945 he fled via Bleiburg to Austria, where he stayed for a few months before transferring to Rome. His stay in Rome was known to the American Counterintelligence Corps, but they apparently weren't interested in the arrest of any non-Communists from eastern parts of Europe. Six months later, he fled to South America via the rat lines.
Upon arriving in Argentina, he became serawwiki_inboundity advisor to Juan Peron. Peron issued 34,000 visas to Croatians: both the Nazi collaborators and the anti-communists that fled from Communism imposed by Josip Broz Tito.
In April 1957 he was shot twice in an assassination attempt. It was generally considered that the Yugoslav intelligence agency "UDBA" had organized this, but one Blagoje Jovović, a Chetnik also exiled to Argentina, later described himself as having done it. Pavelić was subsequently forced to flee Argentina to avoid arrest and extradition, and he found refuge in Spain, where he died in Madrid in late 1959, from complications of his wounds.
Pavelić gained literary prominence through Curzio Malaparte's famous novel Caput. The author, acting as the novel's protagonist, describes an interview with Pavelić, but with factual errors in certain graphic details. Regardless, the book shows the true character of Pavelić's regime in a touching way.
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