The first Croatian state was the Kingdom of Croatia, unified from two dukedoms in AD 925. In 1102, Croatia united with Hungary. In 1526, it became part of the Hapsburg-dominated Austrian Empire. With Austria-Hungary's defeat in World War I, Croatia reasserted its independence long enough to become part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. However, this relationship proved detrimental to ethnic Croats, who were persecuted at several levels by the Serbs. The Axis took advantage of the oppression of the Croats and carved out a puppet Croatian state during World War II, which was ruled by the Ustaše, a party heavily influenced by the Nazis.
After the war, Croatia was once again integrated back into the now communist Yugoslavia. With that state's disintegration at the end of the Cold War, Croatia once again became independent.