Franjo Tuđman (14 May 1922 – 10 December 1999), also written as Franjo Tudjman, was a Croatian politician and historian. Following the country's independence from Yugoslavia he became the first President of Croatia and served as president from 1990 until his death in 1999. He was the 9th and last President of the Presidency of SR Croatia from May to July 1990.
- You can take my freedom, even my life, but not my thought, not my truth, not my contribution to the history of the people to which I belong.
- "Excerpts from his diary, written while in prison" (14 August 1984)
- In this difficult moment and at a historical turning point, I call on you, brothers and sisters, to fulfill your sacred duty in defending the homeland. Let us be united in the fight for the freedom of our Croatian country, our sea and sky over our only and eternal Croatia.
- In carrying out our duties we need to always keep in mind the fact that in almost fourteen centuries of written history about Croats there has never been in any other institution of Croatian national life such outstanding declaration for survival, independence and self-determination as in the continued perpetuity and performance of the Croatian parliament.
- It is not only others who are to blame for all our evils. Nor will in any circumstances only others shape our destiny. And for the present situation we all bear part of the responsibility in our own way. And especially for the future: our personal, our vocation and our people.
- Source (1999)
- We live in an exciting and turbulent time. In a time that is filled with many openly present threats and insidious dangers. Many contemporaries were, and some still are, possessed by the nightmare of all kinds of hazards preying upon us along all our roads towards democracy and national sovereignty. Instead of tragic faintheartedness and passive feeling of impasse, I have personally always been more inclined to discovery and noticing those big chances that hid in that dramatic time and in the breaking point of a historical period. The history has already given us the answer, which says that we were in the right when we did not want to reconcile with the prospect of continuing as an object of foreign politics and when we consciously took the risk in becoming the recognized subject and creator of our own destiny.
- The creation of our independent State was the outcome of the indestructible moral strength of the Croatian people, based on a firm national awareness that has burned for centuries as an eternal fire in our hearts. A nation may have existed from time immemorial, but if it lacks the moral strength and an awareness of its unique individual being, of its nationhood and statehood, it will disappear from the stage of world history. The Croatian people yearned for their State and rallied to achieve it.
- "Address at the 47th session of the UN General Assembly" (22 September 1992)
- The fall of Soviet and other European Communist and totalitarian systems has reinforced hope and provided the prerequisites for the comprehensive democratization of the world while simultaneously raising the question of what kind of multilateralism is required and possible in the contemporary world.
- "Address at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly" (28 September 1993)
- Despite the inalienable right of the Croatian people -one of the oldest European peoples - to self-determination and to the renewal of their own State, despite the blatant barbaric aggression aimed at territorial conquest, the genocidal expulsion of the population and the destruction of the most precious cultural heritage of the Croatian people, such as Vukovar and Dubrovnik, the Croats would never have won the right to self-determination, to their State, to freedom and independence, had they not been prepared to make human and material sacrifices, had they not shown a firm nation-building will, with which they have resolutely asserted themselves as a member of the international community, while manifesting their readiness to be a constructive force in the development of the new international order to replace the unviable and failed old system.
- "Address at the 49th session of the UN General Assembly" (28 September 1994)
- But today it is Croatian Knin and never again it will go back to what was before, when they spread cancer which has been destroying Croatian national being in the middle of Croatia and didn’t allow Croatian people to be truly alone on it’s [sic] own, that Croatia becomes capable of being independent and sovereign state...They were gone in a few days as if they had never been here, as I said. They did not even have time to collect their rotten money and dirty underwear.
- "Speech in Knin" (26 August 1995)
About Franjo Tuđman
- Between healthy nationalism and chauvinism, he chose chauvinism; between free-market economy and clientelism, he chose the latter. Instead of the cult of freedom, he chose the cult of the state. Between modernity and openness to the world, he chose traditionalism; a fatal choice for a small state like Croatia that needs to open for the sake of development.
- Ivo Goldstein, historian, "Franjo Tudjman: Strongman Obsessed with Forging Croatia’s Independence" in Balkan Insight (10 December 2019)
- Unlike Milosevic, who was guided by the desire for power, Tuđman was possessed by Croatian nationalism. His devotion to Croatia was of the most primitive type, and he never showed understanding or interest in democratic values.
- It is easy to challenge such views of the past but not to shake the faith of those who wish to believe in them. In the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1980s and 1990s, the old historical myths came to the forefront again. Yet again, the Serbs were fighting on alone in a hostile world. In 1986, a memorandum from the Serbian Academy of Sciences warned that all the gains the Serbs had made since they first rebelled against the Ottomans in 1804 were going to be lost. Croats were terrorizing the Serbs in Croatia, and Albanians were forcing Serbs to flee the province of Kosovo. In 1989, Slobodan Milošević went to Kosovo on the six-hundredth anniversary of the battle and declared, “The Kosovo heroism does not allow us to forget that, at one time, we were brave and dignified and one of the few who went into battle undefeated.” At the same time, in Croatia, nationalists were looking back into their past to argue that a greater Croatia, incorporating hundreds of thousands of Serbs, was historically necessary. History did not destroy Yugoslavia or lead to the horrors that accompanied that destruction, but its skillful manipulation by men such as Milošević and, in Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, helped to mobilize their followers and intimidate the uncommitted.
- Margaret MacMillan, The Uses and Abuses of History, pp. 95-96
- Tuđman is a nationalist leader who made some very bad mistakes early in his presidency toward Croatia's Serbian minority. He also advocated a partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia. He has given at least passive support to Croatian military forces in Bosnia. That said, he is a man who has learned from his mistakes.