Pictures from Krajina – Summer 2008

20 08 2009
Veljun

Veljun

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The Songs that Destroyed Yugoslavia

17 08 2009

Typology of Explanations for the Serbo-Croatian Conflict

As fighting between Serbs and Croats broke out in the Yugoslav Federal Republic of Croatia and spilled over into the neighboring Federal Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Western European and North American journalists, intellectuals and policy makers advanced numerous different views attempting to explain why a bloody civil war had exploded in a region where people of differing ethnic and religious affiliations had lived in relative peace for much of their history and without any major incidents since the end of World War II. The explanations offered for conflict fall into two categories. The first declared that Serbs, Croats and Bosniak Muslims, all of them inherently backward and barbaric peoples, were bound to engage in violence unless their sadistic urges were thoroughly regulated and repressed, as during the lifelong dictatorship of Josip Broz Tito. While the atrocities that the three warring parties proceeded to commit against each other appeared to support a view that blamed ancient hatreds for the bloodshed, several academics and journalists were quick to clarify the flaws in such primordialist accounts. Read the rest of this entry »





World War II in Yugoslavia: A Historiographical Review

17 08 2009

In his The Balkans Since 1453, L.S. Stavrianos outlines a typology of resistance movements for Balkan countries under Axis occupation during World War II. In general, argues Stavrianos, resistance movements within countries differed primarily on an economic basis.[1] While the haves, usually royalists, aspired to restore the pre-war status quo once the occupiers were defeated, the have-nots, who would eventually adopt communist programs, envisioned a new society after the war.[2] Their immediate strategies against the occupiers also differed. The haves had much to lose and thus opted for restraint against the occupier until an armed uprising could be coordinated with an Allied invasion.[3] Subscribing to the theory that guerilla resistances grow by fighting or die out with inactivity, Stavrianos claims that it was the more active have-nots who gained the upper hand.[4] The emergence of a communist program for a social revolution after the war among the have-nots ultimately led many “honest patriots” in royalist ranks to choose collaboration with the Axis as the lesser of two evils.[5]

As a general model, Stavrianos’ typology is applicable to several aspects of World War II Yugoslavia. Yet, a more detailed investigation into Yugoslavia during the war will reveal that a modular approach to Axis-occupied Yugoslavia cannot encapsulate everything that occurred. Yugoslavia’s complex ethnic composition, the varying territorial and political aspirations of the occupying forces and the regularity of atrocities against civilian populations throughout the conflict are only some of the factors that prevent armed groups under occupation in World War II Yugoslavia from being understood through Stavrianos’ single model; a model which may be more applicable to Yugoslavia’s more ethnically homogenous neighboring states.

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