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Croatian nationalism is the nationalism of the people of Croatia. It initially took the form of the aspiration of the for national independence: the creation of a Croatian nation state. The country did eventually achieve independence in the late 20th century (the first time since 1102).

Croatian nationalism is largely based on the concept of the "Croatian historical right". This concept implies that all territories that belonged to Croatia at any point in its history are "rightfully" Croatian and should again be part of the Croatian state.

In the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire conquered most of the lands that formerly belonged to Croatia, and during Ottoman rule, most of these lands were populated by ethnic Serbs. At the end of the 17th century, these lands became part of the Habsburg Monarchy and were included within the Habsburg Military Frontier. The larger part of the population of the Frontier remained ethnic Serbs.

The "Croatian historical right" concept claimed that the territory of the Military Frontier was "rightfully" Croatian, and that it should be "returned" to the Croatian crownland, no matter that a large part of its current residents were ethnic Serbs, and no matter that these Serbs settled there during Ottoman, and not Croatian administration.

Some Croatian nationalists even claimed that Serbs are not a nation at all, but "Orthodox Croats", because according to them "only one political Croatian nation can exist in Croatia".

The "Croatian historical right" concept also claims that Bosnia and Herzegovina is "historically Croatian", since it belonged to the medieval Croatian state at one point in time.

Croatian nationalism reached a critical point in its development during World War II, when the Croatian Ustaše National Socialist movement took to governing the Independent State of Croatia with Adolf Hitler's sanction after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was occupied by the Axis troops in 1941. In accordance with the "Croatian historical rights" concept, the Independent State of Croatia took control over all of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian part of Syrmia, which was followed by persecutions against the ethnic Serb inhabitants who lived in these regions, as well against the ethnic Serb inhabitants in other parts of the fascist state. The Ustasha regime proclaimed that a portion of the Serbs should be killed, another portion expelled, and those who remained should be converted to Catholicism and forced to become Croats.

At the time this looked to be the final culmination of the nationalist dream: the creation of an independent nation state. However, because the country was actually a Nazi/Fascist puppet-state, and because of the atrocities committed by its authorities, the Croatian people eventually rejected that form of "independence" and joined the second incarnation of Yugoslavia.

At this point, further display of Croatian nationalism became a reminder of the horrors of war, and was officially deprecated and suppressed. It resurfaced after the break-up of Yugoslavia, and continues well into the 21st century, by small political parties or groups calling for a "Greater Croatia".

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