The Ustaša in Australia: A review of right-wing Ustaša terrorism from 1963-1973, and factors that enabled their endurance

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From 1963–1973, the Ustaša, a Croatian terrorist organisation, would find
an unlikely safe haven in Australia. There, they established new Ustaša
networks which trained new members, financed chapters overseas,
launched incursions into Yugoslavia, and waged a terrorism campaign
against the Yugoslav migrant community in Australia. In ten years, the
Ustaša was found to be directly responsible for fifteen attacks, and inspired
dozens more. It was not until 1973 that the Ustaša campaign in Australia
came to an end, with a change in government, provoking a review of
Australia’s law enforcement agencies. The Ustaša operated in Australia
due to five major factors. Firstly, there was political sympathy for
Croatian independence, which led to a reluctance amongst some officials
to admit the Ustaša existed. Secondly, there was the political alignment of
the Ustaša, which was favourably right wing at a time when Australia’s
main enemy, communism, was on the left side of politics. Competing
security jurisdictions and obscurity also undermined collaboration and
counterterrorism efforts. Another factor was community relations,
undermined by the language barrier and Yugoslav fear of retribution.
Finally, strategic Ustaša targeting decisions enabled it to avoid provoking
public censure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-58
Number of pages22
JournalSalus Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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