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(E) Letter to Woodrow Wilson Center
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  02/8/2002 | Media Watch | Unrated
(E) Letter to Woodrow Wilson Center
 
Mr. Martin Sletzinger 
Director 
East European Studies 
Woodrow Wilson Center 
Washington, D.C. 20523 
 
Dear Sir: 
 
It is rather appalling to see so much false information coming from a 
history professor. I am referring to the article "The Fear of Islam in 
Croatian Politics" by professor Marko Prelec. 
 
He mentions the Balkan war of 1912-13 as "a war of South Slavs with the 
element of explicitly racial hatred of Islamic Albanians" and Islam in 
general. The war was not waged by "South Slavs", by which he would have 
to include Croats and Slovenes. The war was waged by Serbia and its ally 
Greece against Bulgaria, a Slav nation. They took and divided among them 
Macedonia which was part of Bulgaria. Croats and Slovenes were at that 
time part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and had nothing to do with that 
war. In fact, Islam hating was not particularly long lasting in Croatia 
after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. 
 
Professor Prelec seems to arrive at his opinions from strictly the Serb 
point of view, such as writing that "the Balkan wars taught the South 
Slavs the political technique used in 1990: the tarring of European Great 
Power perfidy". Croatians always considered themselves Central Europeans 
and putting them into the Balkans since they became part of 
Yugoslavia/Serbia was not to their liking, as can be seen even to this 
day. It should be pointed out here that on May 4th, 1919 at the Paris 
peace conference, the Croatian Parliament submitted a petition to 
President Wilson calling for an independent Croatia. It was relying on 
President Wilson's famed Fourteen Points, calling for "the freest 
opportunity of autonomous development for the nations of Austria Hungary 
and "international guarantees of independence and territorial integrity". 
The petition was ignored. 
 
Furthermore, Croats never perceived themselves as identical parts of a 
single national community with the Serbs, as Mr. Prelec writes. Again, 
this view is strictly the Serb one, as Serbs tried to convince Croats 
that they and Serbs are one and the same. Serbs subjugated Croats by 
every means possible, even changing the name of the country from "The 
Kingdom of Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia" to "Yugoslavia" and the language 
to "Serbo-Croatian" which never existed before. Let me assure you that 
even after 72 years they never succeeded Serbianizing Croatia, but they 
did succeed advancing their point of view in the rest of the world, since 
they held all the power and with it all the strength of propaganda. I 
would hope that well-known Studies Centers such as yours would in the 
future contact Croatian historians for a Croatian point of view and a 
true picture of Croatia. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Hilda M. Foley 
Media relations 
National Federation of Croatian Americans 
 
 
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