Anti-Fascist Resistance Day is held on 22 June each year and marks the uprising of Partisans in 1941 to free Croatia from fascist rule.
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From 9 AD to the seventh century, Croatia was under the influence of Greece then Rome. In the centuries following, France, Bulgaria and Hungary each had times of rule over the changing borders of Croatia, which only entertained a short period of real independence around the end of the tenth century.
From the conclusion of World War I until 1939, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia were part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (also known as the Kingdom – or State – of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes). World War II brought significant changes to the region, including two strong fascist regimes: Germany under Adolf Hitler and Italy under Benito Mussolini.
In April 1941, Germany and Italy, part of the Axis group of countries that fought the Allies, invaded Yugoslavia and formed the new Independent State of Croatia. This new state included parts of original Croatia plus Herzegovina, Syrmia and Bosnia and became a puppet state for Hitler’s campaign in Europe.
The fascist regime compelled changes to government policies and tens of thousands of people lost their lives because of the changes. In religion, Jews, Orthodox believers and others were forced to become Roman Catholic and many were executed when they refused.
A group of anti-fascists, called the Partisans, began an uprising around the date of 22 June 1941. They were led by Josip ‘Tito’ Broz. The Partisans were one of the strongest groups to rebel against the Nazis and sought to free Yugoslavia (hence Croatia) from Axis control.
By 1944, a large amount of Croatia had been freed and many Croatians were added to the very strong Partisan front. On 28 April 1945, Mussolini was executed by Partisans and, two days later, Hitler committed suicide. In Croatia, Anti-Fascist Resistance Day is a day of memorial and celebration. It falls during the summer and people take advantage of the weather and gather at outdoor feasts to remember the freedom that was fought so hard for.