President Mesić's statement regarding the beginning of World War Two
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on Monday released a statement on the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War Two, stressing that remembering the horrors of war obliged everyone in the world to intensify efforts in order to strengthen peace, his office said in a press release.
President Mesic said 50 million people were killed in the nearly six-year-long war and that, apart from its duration, enormous human losses and destruction, the conflict would be remembered for the attempt by "the racially crazed leadership of the Third Reich" to carry out, and in part succeed, a programme for the annihilation of the Jewish people, and for the fact that it ended with the first, and until now only, use of nuclear weapons.
President Mesic stressed he personally remembered the suffering brought on by WW2 and that this had prompted him to do his utmost so that the inevitable break-up of the Yugoslav federation was not accompanied by war. "In the same manner, I invested all my efforts, notably as president of the Republic of Croatia, so that the war wounds from a conflict that was imposed would heal, that those guilty of war crimes, just like after World War Two, would be brought to justice, and so that a climate of mutual confidence and understanding could be created in the region again."
President Mesic said the generation of people who lived through WW2 was slowly disappearing but stressed that what must not disappear under any circumstances was the remembrance of the victims of the criminal Nazi and fascist regimes and their collaborators as well as of the horrible war and the greatness and glory of the just and justified fight for freedom and against occupying forces. "The horrors of World War Two, which we remember on its 70 anniversary and must remember, oblige everyone in the world to intensify efforts in order to strengthen peace and stability and to reduce the huge weapons stocks and, ultimately, to create a world free of nuclear weapons", President Mesic said in his statement.