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|1st Minister of Armed Forces of the Independent State of Croatia|
10 April 1941 – 4 January 1943
|Prime Minister||Ante Pavelić|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Ante Pavelić|
|Chief of General Staff of the
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
29 October 1918 – 1 December 1918
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
25 August 1878|
Moravice, Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary
|Died||13 June 1947
Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
|Children||Eugen Dido Kvaternik|
|Awards||Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Trefoil 1st Class
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Independent State of Croatia
Yugoslav Royal Army
|Years of service||1896–1921
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Slavko Kvaternik (25 August 1878 – 7 June 1947) was one of the founders of the Ustaša movement, and one of the people most directly responsible for the Holocaust in Independent State of Croatia. Kvaternik was Croatian military commander and Minister of Domobranstvo (Armed Forces). On 10 April 1941 he declared the creation of the Independent State of Croatia.
Kvaternik was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army and was involved in World War I. After collapse of the Austria-Hungary he joined the National Council of State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, and became Chief of the General Staff of the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. As such, he defended the region of Međimurje against Hungarians. He later transferred to the Royal Yugoslav Army and remained there until 1921.
In 1929, he was one of the founders of the Ustaša-Croatian Revolutionary Movement in Italy. After Germany invaded Yugoslavia in March 1941, he declared the creation of the Independent State of Croatia on 10 April 1941 with the support of the Axis. In the newly created state, he became the Minister of the Armed Forces and in 1943 he retired.
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Kvaternik was born in Moravice (then known as Komorske Moravice) in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia of Austria-Hungary on 25 August 1878, the son of Ljudevit, a postman, and his wife, Marija (née Frank), who was of German descent and Catholic by religion. Her father, Josip Frank, was a Catholic convert from Judaism. During World War I, Kvaternik served as an adjutant of field marshal Svetozar Boroević and was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. In 1918 he joined the newly formed National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, becoming the Chief of General Staff. At the end of the year, Kvaternik commanded Croatian troops during the successful campaign in Međimurje against the Hungarian army.
World War II
After the German invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, the Ustaše formed their government with Ante Pavelić as leader. Four days later Kvaternik proclaimed the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and formed the first Ustasha government. At the same time, at Kvaternik's request, Vladko Maček (the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, who had refused to cooperate with the Germans when they requested he lead the new nation) told the people to cooperate with the new regime.
Kvaternik's position at this time was commander-in-chief of the Croatian Armed Forces. This carried the title of vojskovođa (marshal). The Croatian Home Guard was established on 11 April. He stayed at this position until his retirement on 4 January 1943.
After the Second World War's end, Kvaternik was captured by US army, tried and sentenced to death for his crimes during NDH regime, by Yugoslav officials. He was executed in Zagreb on 7 June 1947.
His wife was Olga Frank, daughter of Josip Frank, a Croatian nationalist politician of Jewish descent, who converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism. Their son, Dido, was a general in the NDH army and a member of the Ustasha.
Awards and decorations
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- Iron Cross of 1914, 1st class
- Military Order of the Iron Trefoil, 1st class
- Grand Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit
- Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
- Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle
- History of the Holocaust, Yugoslavia, Yad Vashem, PEI, page 139
- "Tko je tko u NDH", Minerva, Zagreb, 1997; ISBN 953-6377-03-9, str. 226–227.(in Croatian)