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Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's Speech on "Freedom Train" Journey after Driving 250,00 Serbian civilians from the Krajina Section of Yugoslavia

[Posted 17 March 2006]

For Emperor's Clothes articles on the causes of the breakup of Yugoslavia, go to

[Note from Emperor’s Clothes: I have placed the BBC’s notes in brackets. I have used red font to emphasize some of the more revealing paragraphs.

– Jared Israel.]


President's Speeches On Train Journey From Zagreb To Split Via Knin; Tudjman says Serbs fled Knin thanks to the Croatian Army, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, August 28, 1995, Monday, Part 2 Central Europe, the Balkins; Former Yugoslavia; Croatia; EE/D2393/C, 1431 words, Source: Croatian Radio, Zagreb, in Serbo-Croat 1340 gmt 26 Aug 95

The following is a live relay of Tudjman's statement in Knin broadcast by Croatian radio: 

Croatian women and men, dear Croatian youth, Croatian soldiers, dear citizens of Knin, you who have survived here and who have returned and all your guests who have gathered here on this day - and we can accept what Croatian Army Knin commander Gen Ivan Cermak said: that we can call this the day when the Croatian historical cross has been completed.

Usually participants of historical events are not aware of the importance of the events which they take part in. What we have done today by bringing this Train of Freedom from Zagreb, the capital of all Croats, to Knin, the royal Croatian city, on the way to Split in the Croatian Dalmatia, the cradle of the Croatian statehood, this is not just the opening of a railway, this is not just the liberation of the occupied areas, but this is the laying of the foundations for an independent and sovereign Croatian state [Tudjman's voice becomes hoarse and he starts to bellow] from now on for the future centuries. [applause]

As long as they the Serbs were in Knin, as long as Knin was under occupation, the future of the Croatian state was not assured. Since Operation Storm, since today, it is. No one will ever be able to threaten it.

Knin was not just the capital of Croatian king Zvonimir, Knin was the capital of the kingdom of Croatia at the time when we did not have our own rulers from our own blood until 1522, when it was captured by the Turks and when those who were in our Croatian Knin until yesterday came together with them. And from today, this is Croatian Knin.

And [applause] there can be no return to the past, to the times when they the Serbs were spreading cancer in the heart of Croatia, cancer which was destroying the Croatian national being and which did not allow the Croatian people to be the master in its own house and did not allow Croatia to lead an independent and sovereign life under this wide, blue sky and within the world community of sovereign nations.

It is up to Croatian historians to explain today in this free and sovereign Croatia how it came about that Knin became a den of Chetnik anti-Croatianism. Knin, which - as I have said - was the capital of Croatia until 1522, Knin in which, until - despite the fact that the remaining population was given some sort of concessions from Turkish, Austrian and Hungarian times, and they multiplied. [sentence as heard] But nevertheless until the end of the World War I, the Croats formed the majority in Knin. At the time of the unification of Croatia with Serbia into the former Yugoslav community in 1918 , according to the 1910 census, there were 68 per cent of Croats and 32 per cent Orthodox Serbs in Knin. In 1991, there were just 14 per cent of Croats here in the heart of Croatia and 86 per cent Serbs. [applause]

It should be researched and explained to the Croatian people and the world why Knin became a Chetnik den and why they left not just Knin but also took everything with them connected with the idea of a Greater Serbia, the idea of joining Croatian areas to a Greater Serbian Yugoslavia or to a Greater Serbia itself. [sentence as heard]

Maybe the younger generation does not know that in 1941, when the former Yugoslavia the kingdom of Yugoslavia disintegrated, a Knin outlaw name indistinct and priest Momcilo Djuric, compiled a list on behalf of 100 Serb intellectuals and on behalf of 100,000 Serbs and demanded, offered themselves to fascist Italy, so that fascist Italy should join this Knin Krajina and Dalmatia to Italy. [sentence as heard]

You are also not aware of the fact that when Croatian communists, and even those Serbs who were in the communist movement, started an anti-fascist struggle, that here in (?Odric) on 11th August 1941 those citizens of Knin whom I have mentioned, signed an agreement with Italians against the Independent State of Croatia pro-Nazi state and with fascist Italy to fight the Croatdom.

What has happened historically to make Knin become such an anti-Croatian place of horror, which prompted them to start a struggle against an independent and democratic Croatia in 1990, but which also brought about their ignominious disappearance from Knin and the region as though they had never lived here! [tumultuous applause]

In order to achieve this, dear Croatian brothers and sisters, we had to unite the disunited Croathood. We had to muster all Croatian wit and reject all Croatian stupidity. We had to create our own Croatian Army, our own armed force, with which we were capable of defeating the Serbs and convince and prove to the world that we are capable of preserving and ruling our country. [ sound of crowd cheering and shouting "Franjo" for 24 second]

Here in Knin they Serbs were creating their own Serb state in order to unify it with those Bosnian Serbs and Serbia proper and their Yugoslavia. Here in Knin they were saying that they had three Serb pine threes. Here in Knin they were preparing for a long-term war. They were printing their own money and then, owing to the strength of the Croatian Army, the wisdom of our decisions and our leadership, they disappeared in two to three days [applause for 12 seconds] . They didn't even have the time to take with them their filthy foreign currency or their knickers applause .

I have already said today that we paid a very high price, one billion Kunas Croatian currency , for Operation Storm, and before that for the Croatian summer of 95 in the Bosnian hinterland Grahovo and Glamoc in southwest Bosnia were captured by Croatian forces earlier this summer . I have also said that we seized their weapons and military equipment and all the other things we took from factories which are twice as valuable as this.

We should also say this: the liberation of Knin and central Croatian parts, from here to Sisak, they the Serbs were just 28 km away from Zagreb [applause, sentence as received]. We had to pay for it in blood. In this operation some 200 Croatian people lost their lives and over 1,000 Croatian soldiers and civilians were wounded. The Serbs did not just run away. They tried to put up a resistance and they suffered more than three times as many losses.

This also means that we will know how to value what we conquered at the price of Croatian blood and we shall never allow anyone to jeopardize our freedom, our democracy, our beautiful Croatian land in which there must be room not only for all Croatian people here, but also for all those expelled Croats whom I invited to return when I was speaking in Gospic.

It goes without saying that from fertile areas to all these parts we liberated there will be room for all our people, and our nation will celebrate its freedom and build its Croatia for which, since King Zvonimir 11th century , too many Croatian people died and too many of our sons suffered in the dungeons of Venice, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade.

We knew what lessons to draw from our history in order to get to where we are now - freedom - which is truly the end of the Croatian crusade, as what remains to be done - Vukovar, the Croatian symbol applause , eastern Slavonia and Baranja – [continuing applause] are in the east of the Croatian country. The Croatian country is now stronger, not only stronger, but also fully consolidated following the liberation of Knin and central parts of Croatia. God willing, we shall liberate the remaining territory by peaceful means and without loss of life, with help from the international community. If this proves impossible, we shall use our force. [applause]

Dear Croatian brothers and sisters, I invite you to start on the revival of Knin, so we can populate it, and not just Knin, but also Benkovac, Obrovac and all the area up to the Plitvice lakes and Sisak . We must revive and build the whole of Croatia, so it can become a country of which every Croat can be proud, and all Croats can be from today, and a country of wealth and happiness of all Croatian people.

Everlasting glory to all the Croatian heroes and knights who gave their lives so that the Croatian flag can be hoisted on Zvonimir's fortress in Knin , so that Croatian future can be secured. Eternal life to our one and only Croatia. [applause]

LOAD-DATE: August 30, 1995

Copyright 1995 British Broadcasting Corporation  * Reprinted for Fair Use Only


Further reading


1) For Emperor's Clothes articles on the causes of the breakup of Yugoslavia, go to

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