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Summary Article: Tudjman, Franjo
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Croatian nationalist leader and historian, president from 1990. As leader of the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (CDU), he led the fight for Croatian independence. During the 1991–92 civil war, his troops were hampered by lack of arms and the military superiority of the Serb-dominated federal army, but Croatia's independence was recognized following a successful United Nations-negotiated ceasefire in January 1992. Tudjman was re-elected in August 1992 and again in October 1995. Despite suffering from stomach cancer, he was re-elected president in June 1997. He died in December 1999 while still president.

Born in Veliko Trgovisce, Croatia, Tudjman was educated at the Higher Military Academy in Belgrade and studied for a doctorate at the University of Zagreb. During World War II he joined Tito's partisan force and rose to the rank of major general before leaving the army in 1960. He was expelled from the League of Communists of Yugoslavia in 1967 for Croatian nationalist writings and imprisoned for separatist activities 1972–74 and 1981–84. In 1990 he was elected president, having campaigned under a nationalist, anti-Serbia banner. He was criticized for his hesitant conduct during the 1991–92 civil war but, despite many soldiers having opted to fight under the banner of the better-equipped right-wing extremist faction by December 1991, Tudjman retained the vocal support of the majority of Croatians.

In 1993, in violation of the 1992 UN peace accord, Tudjman launched an offensive to recapture Serb-held territory in the disputed Krajina enclave, and further offensives into western Slavonia and Krajina in 1995, which created more than 150,000 Serb refugees and were allegedly accompanied by widespread human-rights violations. In August 1995 Krajina was recaptured from the Serbs, and Serbia subsequently agreed to gradually hand back control over eastern Slavonia. Tudjman called an early election in October 1995, seeking a popular mandate to continue with his militaristic policies, but, although re-elected, his party failed to win the two-thirds majority for which he had hoped.

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