By Mark Biondich
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Additional resources for [Article] Religion and Nation in Wartime Croatia: Reflections on the Ustaša Policy of Forced Religious Conversions, 1941-1942
Nor did religion influence their genocidal policy in any significant way, the collaboration of one segment of the Catholic clergy and many Catholic-oriented intellectuals with the Usta-sa regime notwithstanding. The Usta-sa regime's forced conversion campaign was not motivated by religious fanaticism or fervour. The policy was a belated attempt at forced assimilation by a brutal Fascist regime that had earlier dedicated itself to exterminating Serbs. For the Ustase, Catholicism was really neither a goal in itself nor even a particularly effective mobilizing ideology in most of Croatia; rather it was an instrument designed to strengthen the nascent Croatian state through the elimination of the Serb Question.
95 The prefect of Zenica district reported that the conversion campaign 'had to be stopped with the appearance of the Communists on the borders of the district'. If conditions soon returned to normal, 'the conversion campaign [akcija na prijelazu] would move ahead rapidly'. 96 Even in those areas of Bosnia where the Ustase were able to maintain some semblance of control, their position was too weak to ensure any conversions. In actual fact, it appears that in some areas of Bosnia, the Ustasa authorities never pursued conversions at any point in 1941.
3. For the standard interpretation that this speech presaged a policy shift for the regime, see Jelic-Butic, UstageiNDH, p. I76. 110 RELIGION AND NATION IN WARTIME CROATIA realize, however, in light of the few remaining Orthodox priests in Croatia. The legal status of the Orthodox Serb population was quite another matter, however. 134 The policy of conversion was clearly a deeply resented policy among Serbs and fuelled their resistance to the authorities. 135 By that point the regime had been forced yet again to adopt a tactical shift in its Serb policy.
[Article] Religion and Nation in Wartime Croatia: Reflections on the Ustaša Policy of Forced Religious Conversions, 1941-1942 by Mark Biondich