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A falling out twixt Italy and Croatia..

Italy and Croatia do not share a border, but they are near neighbours and seem to have fallen out over the Istrian peninsula. For non-cartographic obsessives, here it is:


The peninsula was controlled by the Italians from 1919 until the end of the second world war when it was awarded to Yugoslavia. As with much of Mitteleuropa, it was ethnically mixed and Fiume / Rijeka was a largely Italian city with a Croat hinterland.



The close of the war and its aftermath got a bit messy, and depending on who you prefer to believe, the Croats regained part of their historic homeland or the Italians were ethnically cleansed, massacred etc etc. Pretty much par for the course with the post-war settling of scores, alas. So far, so sixty years ago.

However, "[Italian President Giorgio] Napolitano said the drama of the Giulian-Dalmatian people had been caused by the "bloodthirsty Slavic hatred and rage". Not very diplomatic, even though he was speaking to a small audience in the wake of having "presented decorations to the families of 30 victims, including the last Italian chief of police of the central coastal city of Zadar, Vincenzo Serrentino, who was shot by the Partisans".

The Croats (from where we get the word 'cravat'. Fascinating, huh?) responded thus: "These claims, in which one cannot but see elements of open racism, historical revisionism and political revenge-seeking...The President of the Republic believes that questioning the Peace Treaty that was signed by Italy in 1947 is appalling and potentially very dangerous. Does anyone need to be reminded what the harangue against the peace treaty from Versailles, which ended the First World War, had triggered off?"

Meanwhile Rijeka / Fiume has a regionalist movement of sorts, seeking Hamburg-style Freistadt status within Croatia, complete with a really messy website.

In the spirit of European reconciliation, perhaps I should draw a veil over the unwilling Sudtyrolers forced into becoming Italians and the enthusiastic emptying of the Krajina of Serbs by the Croats....

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Blogger observer said... 12:42 pm

Remember, the Croatian government is not just taking issue with the somewhat racist words Mr. Napolitano used, but it is the fact that Italy has bestowed upon the former World War II-era police chief of Zadar a medal that seems to suggest a wider attempt at historic revisionism here.

It's ironic that those who claim to be on the Italian 'left' such as Romano Prodi are so quick to defend Italy and Croatia's former fascist regimes.  



Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said... 11:15 pm

Confused me here. Mind you there are some excellent beaches along that coast. And cheaper than La Sud de France, the thieving bastards  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 12:46 pm

Samo cetnik moze pisati takva sranja. Daj molim te procitaj koju knjigu iz "historije". Btw Pokret slobodne rijeke ima tri clana, tek toliko da uzmu lovu namjenjenu udrugama. Ustvari odjebi  



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