Slavko Kvaternik
1st Minister of Armed Forces of the Independent State of Croatia
In office
10 April 1941 – 4 January 1943
Prime MinisterAnte Pavelić
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAnte Pavelić
Chief of General Staff of the
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
In office
29 October 1918 – 1 December 1918
PresidentAnton Korošec
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
Born(1878-08-25)25 August 1878
Moravice, Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary
Died13 June 1947(1947-06-13) (aged 68)
Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Political partyUstashe
Spouse(s)Olga Frank
ChildrenEugen Dido Kvaternik
AwardsIron Cross 1st Class
Iron Trefoil 1st Class
Military service
Allegiance Austria-Hungary
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia
 Independent State of Croatia
Branch/serviceAustro-Hungarian Army
Yugoslav Royal Army
Years of service1896–1921
RankVojskovođa (field marshal)
Battles/warsWorld War I World War II

Slavko Kvaternik (25 August 1878 – 7 June 1947) was an Croatian Ustaše military general and politician who was one of the founders of the Ustaša movement. Kvaternik was 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[citation needed].As such, he defended the region of Međimurje against Hungarians[citation needed]. 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.[citation needed] For war crimes, he was executed in 1947.

Early life

Slavko 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 from Bavaria and Catholic by religion.[1]

Slavko Kvaternik married 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 member of the Ustasha. At the end of August 1941, Olga Frank committed suicide, probably because of her Jewish origins and the role of her husband, and especially her son Dido, in the NDH.[2]

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.[3]

He was awarded the 1st Class Cross of the Military Order of the Iron Trefoil during his service to the NDH. This award gave him the title of vitez (knight), which is sometimes included in his name.


After the Second World War's end, Kvaternik was captured by United States Army and extradited to Yugoslavia. In Yugoslavia, he was tried and sentenced to death for his crimes during NDH regime. He was executed by hanging in Zagreb on 7 June 1947.[4]

Awards and decorations


  1. ^ Jareb, Eugen Dido Kvaternik. Uredio: Jere (1995). Sjećanja i zapažanja : 1925-1945 ; prilozi za hrvatsku povijest. Zagreb: Starčević. p. 265. ISBN 953-96369-0-6.
  2. ^ "Spomen područje Jasenovac: Slavko Kvaternik".
  3. ^ "Tko je tko u NDH", Minerva, Zagreb, 1997; ISBN 953-6377-03-9, str. 226–227.(in Croatian)
  4. ^ Skalman. "Nazi War Crimes Trials: Collaborators Trial (May-June 1947)". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 15 December 2020.

Further reading