Janko Bobetko: Sve moje bitke - A Memoir of a Croatian General
Janko Bobetko was a general of the Croatian Army and the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia from 1992 to 1995. He was one of the key figures in the Croatian War of Independence, leading several successful military operations against the Serb forces. In 1996, he published his memoir, titled Sve moje bitke (All My Battles), in which he recounted his experiences and achievements in both World War II and the Homeland War.
In this article, we will give you an overview of Bobetko's life and career, as well as a summary of his book. We will also provide you with a link to download a PDF version of Sve moje bitke, so you can read it for yourself and learn more about the history of Croatia and its struggle for independence.
Who was Janko Bobetko
Janko Bobetko was born on January 10, 1919, in Crnac near Sisak. He attended high school in Sisak and then enrolled in the Veterinary Faculty in Zagreb. In 1938, he joined the Communist Party of Croatia (KPH), and in 1941, he participated in preparing the uprising in his region. During World War II, he was a member of the Yugoslav Partisans, fighting against the Axis powers and their collaborators. He held various political and military positions, such as commissar of battalions and brigades, political commissar of divisions, and commander of a naval infantry detachment. He was wounded three times during the war (1943, 1944, and 1945), and received several decorations for his bravery and leadership.
After World War II, he remained in active service in the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), serving in different garrisons and roles: commissar in the Supreme Staff of National Defense, commissar of the 45th Division in the Third Army, political commissar of the Infantry Officer School in Sarajevo, chief of staff for supplying military personnel in the State Secretariat for National Defense in Belgrade, commander of the Naval Infantry Detachment in Dubrovnik (Kumbor, Boka Kotorska), and assistant commander for logistics of the Yugoslav Navy in Split. He also served as a representative of the Republic Council in the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia. He was promoted to colonel (1956) and lieutenant general (1967). In 1966, he was appointed chief of staff of the Fifth Military District in Zagreb.
In 1971, he was suspended from duty and forced to retire due to his political involvement in the Croatian Spring movement, which advocated for more autonomy and democracy for Croatia within Yugoslavia. He was also expelled from the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ), and banned from any public appearance.
In 1990, after Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, he joined the newly formed Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and became one of its vice presidents. He also became an advisor to President Franjo TuÄman on defense matters. In 1992, he was appointed chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, replacing Anton Tus. He held this position until 1995, when he retired due to health problems.
As chief of staff, he oversaw and directed several military operations that contributed to liberating Croatian territory from Serb occupation and aggression: Operation Lipanjske zore (June Dawn), Operation Tigar (Tiger), Operation Maslenica, Operation MedaÄki dÅep (Medak Pocket), Operation Bljesak (Flash), and Operation Oluja (Storm). He was also involved in planning and coordinating Croatia's involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina's defense against Serb attacks.
In 2001, he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes allegedly committed during Operation MedaÄki dÅep. He refused to surrender to The Hague tribunal, claiming that he was innocent and that his actions were justified by self-defense and international law. The Croatian government ec8f644aee