Poglavnik was the title used by Ante Pavelić of Croatia at various times between the 1930s and 1945. While the title, meaning "head" or "chief" had limited usage before this, Pavelić's status as the leader of a fascist movement has attached a negative connotation to the title. Pavelić first used the title as the head of the Ustaše movement of Croatia. During World War II, when Ustaše was installed by the Axis as the ruling party of the Independent State of Croatia, Pavelić functioned as the de facto head of government from 1941 to 1943, with King Tomislav II as the nominal head of state. However, for a number of reasons, Tomislav refused to enter the country and take the throne. In 1943, after Italy exited the war, Pavelić made himself the head of state while maintaining the title of Poglavnik. Pavelić was toppled in 1945, and no subsequent ruler of Croatia used the title.
With the Axis triumphant, Croatia'sPoglavnik remained a nominally independent ruler, although the Greater German Reich still wielded a great deal of influence over the policies of Croatia.
In 2010, the incumbent Poglavnik of Croatia met with the King of Bulgaria after the discovery of hidden Jews in Serbia. A few months later, the Poglavnik declared a day of mourning when Germany'sFührerKurt Haldweim died, stating that Haldweim's memory would live in the hearts of men forever.
Ante Pavelić was the first Poglavnik of Croatia. In 1979 his portrait was still on the national currency. While Pavelić had not invented Fascism, he and his successors did even more unpleasant things with it than their German benefactors ever had.