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The Croatian Party of Rights (HSP=Hrvatska Stanka Prava)

Origins
The HSP traces its founding to June 26, 1861 when Ante Starčević and Eugen Kvaternik first presented the policies of the "Party of Right" to the Croatian Parliament calling for greater Croatian autonomy and self-rule at a time when Croatia was divided into several crownlands within the Habsburg Monarchy.

In early October 1871, Kvaternik and several other HSP members disavowed the official party position advocating a political solution and instead launched a revolt in the village of Rakovica, Kordun. The rebels declared the following aims:

  • freedom of the Croatian people from Austrian and Magyar (Hungarian) oppression
  • proclamation of an independent Croatia
  • equality under law
  • municipal self-government
  • abolition of the Military Frontier and introduction of free counties
  • respect for both religions in love and unity 

The rebels also sought to encourage participation of Orthodox Serbs in the revolt, and some of them did, but the uprising was soon crushed by the authorities. Most of the rebels were killed, including Kvaternik.

After World War I
The HSP welcomed the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in the wake of World War I as a means toward achieving Croatian independence. Accordingly, the party opposed the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the king of Yugoslavia banned all political parties, and the militant wing of the HSP went underground to organize the National Socialist Ustaše movement, led by former party secretary Ante Pavelić.

During World War II the Ustaše assumed power by forming the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a puppet state of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The Ustaše committed atrocities and forced conversion to Catholicism against ethnic Serbs and others. HSP affiliation with the Ustaše during the war severely damaged the party's reputation, from which it has yet to recover.

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