Yugoslav Themes


This compilation features books of the Central European University Press, published since its establishment in 1993, that have some relevance to Yugoslavia, its history , peoples and culture. After the latest release, titles in the backlist are arranged by content: contemporary topics are on top, older themes below. For more substantial information about the content and availability, please click on the covers of the book, or on the links inserted into the citations.

“In 1918, the Yugoslav Kingdom was born, inevitably dominated by Serbs who, by then, had a hundred-year-old tradition of fully independent modern statehood, unlike all other constituent nations, which had none.”—Globalization, Nationalism, and Imperialism.
“King Alexander suspended parliamentary government and managed the country under the cover of Yugoslavian unity, which often meant equal-opportunity repression of all nationalist forces—a premonition of communist Yugoslavia.”
“Once Yugoslavia became a ‘dissident’ country, Hungary’s and Bulgaria’s traditional hostility to Yugoslavia could easily be exploited by the Soviet Empire.”
“Tito repressed the centralist and hardline faction led by a Serb, Aleksandar Ranković, in 1966, only to turn around and repress the liberalizing mass movement of Croats (‘Croatian Spring’) in 1971.”
“The 45 years of communism did little to dissolve the force of nationalisms in Yugoslavia—in many ways, mistrust and conflicts between constituent nations were ‘frozen’ rather than resolved.”

“Tito’s face did not appear on banknotes until 1985—that is, until five years after his death. This contrasts with the frequent use of his image on postage stamps. Tito’s name rarely appeared on the stamps to identify his face. It might be the result of European traditions that the ruler appears on postage stamps without being named.”—An Older and More Beautiful Belgrade.
“There was a ritual of vital importance in Yugoslavia: sending one’s son to the army. In rural areas, this rite would last a few days, as if it were a wedding.”
„The ’Serbian-Croatian axis’: of Yugoslav ’brotherhood and unity’ would be satisfied by the personality of Nikola Tesla (a Serb who was born in Croatia), who would appear in a series of banknotes. Writer Ivo Andrić also represented the republics’ ’axis of brotherhood,’ so he shows up on one of the last banknotes issued in Yugoslavia.”
“Ante Marković, the last prime minister, made the Yugoslav dinar the only convertible currency in Eastern Europe.’”

Books from the backlist with a Yugoslav focus, going backwards in time:

When published in Belgrade in 1978, Avala is Falling “was greeted as an example of a kind of text described as ‘jeans-prose’ because of the narrative style: a first-person narrator’s rebellious, youthful tone, colored by adolescent slang. She is seen to use her body as a way of understanding herself and her position in the world.”— about the novel in Voices in the Shadows.
The author, Biljana Jovanović (1953-1996), “was among the first women writers to introduce a new kind of self-conscious female character to South-Slavic literature. The novels are peppered with references to everyday life under former Yugoslav ‘soft communism’.”—from the Biographical Dictionary.

“Yugoslav workers tended to contrast the privileges of communist functionaries in their immediate surroundings to the idealized image of communists of the past or the virtues of the highest party leadership. The manual workers’ allegiance was not to the party, but to Tito and the general values of the revolution”—workers' shop floor activities in communist Yugoslavia.
“The youth occupied a sacred place: the prewar communist party had its base in the universities and the partisan battalions during World War Two were made up mostly of young peasants.”
“Slogans such as ‘We want Sloba’ could be heard coming from parts of the crowd. As the police pushed the column away from the Parliament entrance, many workers confronted the uniformed men with cries of ‘Go to Kosovo.’”
“The Yugoslav state started to dissolve and the working class found itself in a desolate position, having to invent new organizational patterns and traditions amidst rampant nationalism, war, and economic breakdown.”

“The most popular local Western hero was Harry Jackson, the ‘cowboy from Bijeljina.’ This was actually Aljuš Musli, the owner of the camera shop named ‘Western’ in that small Bosnian town.”—from a monograph on the Americanization of Yugoslav culture in the sixties.
“Out of all the off-Broadway troupes, Living Theater toured Yugoslavia as early as 1966, giving performances in Sarajevo, Mostar, Zenica, and Banjaluka.”
“Pepsi-Cola was produced in Serbia, this American product had a Yugoslav character, because the bottles were made in a glass factory in Paracin (Serbia), the caps in Ljubljana (Slovenia), and the crates in Ajdovscina (Slovenia) and Kavadarci (Macedonia).”

“The judge begins to explain the difference between the Soviet, namely ‘Cominform’s,’ communism, and ‘our’ communism. Before long the boy interrupted, and excitedly said, with tears in his eyes: ‘But Comrade Judge, I don’t even like our one, let alone that other one!’”
Emblematic lawsuits from the archive of a small-town law office.
“In the ’60s, Trieste somehow became part of our life again because people from all over Yugoslavia would go shopping there. Not only from the Croat and Slovene regions close to Trieste, but even from Serbia, spending a whole night on the train.”
“Under Tito, the restaurant’s name was changed to Zagreb as a symbol of brotherhood between the nations of Yugoslavia. Under Milošević, the name Ruski Tsar was restored. Not long ago, the place was taken over by an international chain of Italian restaurants, and now it is called Vapiano.”

“General Badoglio, the deputy chief of staff, received a ‘plan for action among the Yugoslavs’ from Trieste, which emphasized strong anti-Serbian currents in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, and proposed use of widespread propaganda to incite the local populations’ separatist tendencies.”– from a monograph on the Croatian fascist leader.
“Jasenovac was the symbol of the annihilation policy applied by the Independent State of Croatia during the four years of its existence. Most Croats not only did not take part in the crimes committed by the Ustasha, but also were frequently victims themselves.”

“Unveiling women became the condition, and even the very metaphor, for the integration of Bosnian Muslims into the broader national community, be it Serbian, Croatian or Yugoslav.”—muslim women within the Yugoslav modernization.
“The vigorous pro-Serbian shift affected the activities of the local branches. After repeated calls from the Central Branch, Gajret female volunteers began collaborating regularly with Serbian philanthropic associations, particularly with Kolo Srpskih Sestara.”
“The leaders of the association considered Slavic speaking Muslims to belong to the Serbian nation.”
“By the early thirties, in the universities of the Yugoslav kingdom it was not unusual to receive clandestine flyers rejoicing the ongoing ‘crisis of capitalism,’ while at the same time shouting a ‘hurrah to the Third International, principal guide of world revolution.’”

Other books on the CEU Press back list, going backwards in time:

“National demagoguery flourished and culminated during World War II in a bloody civil war between Yugoslav communist partisans on the one side and Serb royalists and Croat fascist-Nazi collaborators on the other.”
This volume discusses eighteen populists from twelve European countries over the past hundred years.
“Three nationalist demagogues, Slobodan Milosević, Alija Izetbegović, and Franjo Tudman, mobilized three distinct ethnic (in reality ethnically mixed) parts of the country (Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia), and fought a protracted civil war that horrified Europe.”
“Western intervention and the positive influence of the European Union only gradually stabilized the peace and assured the political normalization and democratization in the Balkans. None of this could have happened without ridding the region of its nationalist demagogues.”

(July 1991) Bush: Germany came forward with the recognition of Slovenia. Maybe we should opt for a short statement consisting of two-three declarations. We could note our concern about the events in Yugoslavia, call on everyone to respect the ceasefire, and condemn the use of force to deal with political problems. Let the Yugoslavs decide their own fate through negotiations.
Sentences taken from the last face-to-face conversations of Cold War leaders.
Baker: We should avoid loaded wording like territorial integrity and self-determination. Self-determination is what the Germans are insisting on.
Gorbachev: I will speak on the essence of this issue. Before the start of this conversation, when the President was walking toward the building, Mr. Scowcroft and I had a conversation. I told him that even a partial breakup of Yugoslavia could create a chain reaction that will be worse than a nuclear reaction.

“Unlike their counterparts in the Eastern European and Soviet regimes, who often were unable to publish their work at all and had, instead, to circulate it clandestinely in samizdat editions, the writers in Croatia and Serbia were mostly able, between 1965 and 1991, to publish their work and receive reviews, national awards and other forms of state and public recognition.”—from a book on the transnational dimensions of literature.
“In the Cold War 1960s, Yugoslavia caught the imagination of readers abroad as a socialist country outside the Soviet sphere of influence. This became a magnet for both readers and publishers, especially after Ivo Andrić received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich broke ground, publishing chiefly critical intellectual writers from Serbia and Montenegro.”

“Yugoslavia was the only one we were allowed to visit. The Warsaw Pact countries were off-limits to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty employees.”—Under the Radar.
“Yugoslavia didn’t fit the image of what we thought a communist country would look like. It all seemed normal, not downtrodden, and the people were friendly. After visiting Belgrade and driving through the back country over unbelievably bad roads, we spent a couple of days at the seaside resort of Budva.”
“In 1991, the president of the Radio found the resources to open press bureaus across the region and begin on-the-spot reporting by talented local journalists. A few years later, during the Bosnian war, he persuaded the US government to allow broadcasts to the former Yugoslavia.”

“Many on the Western European left were fascinated with the Yugoslav model of self-management, a potentially viable ‘third way’ between Western-style capitalisms and Soviet-style planned economies.”—from a book on labor under communism.
“Around noon on October 15, 1958, six workers rushed out of the reactor hall and started yelling for help… Less than 24 hours after the accident they were flown to the Fondation Curie hospital in Paris.”
“In February 1969, in the Trudbenik textile factory in Banja Luka, after complaints of low wages, corruption, and harassment towards female workers by the male factory director and his collaborators, the 220 workers were successful in having all the management removed from the factory.”
“Workers who had contact with the West, whether as a guest worker or through tourism, and who were dissatisfied with the failure of redistribution of housing and income, hoped not for a ‘passage to capitalism’ but a deepening of socialism with a stronger market influence.”

“The periodical Seljanka sought to improve peasant women’s position within the patriarchal system without calling for a change of the system itself. On the other hand, the activists connected to the Communist Party offered a solution in terms of political rather than professional education; and ultimately called for social revolution.”—Women, Work, and Activism.
“Decentralized textile plants were not able to provide the kind of facilities (childcare, leisure, continuing education, canteens, socialized housing) that were routine in workplaces which performed better on the market.”
“Sick leave was increasing year-on-year. In 1981, 420 workers (out of some 2,500 in the company) would typically be absent on sick leave on any given day.”
“Yugo­slav workers complained about the procedural and simulated nature of self-management meetings in the factory. For example, a young worker in the Belgrade engine producer, said that ‘we have got into the habit of just raising our hands in agreement at meetings.’”

“After 1948, the Yugoslav leadership was in search for an adequate ideology, inspired in part by the Paris Commune of 1871 and Marx’s idea of the withering away of the state. In 1950, the first Law on Self-Management was imposed.”—Making Sense of Dictatorship.
“We worked a lot voluntarily. In the morning we worked in the mine, then came home and quickly ate something and then off to the voluntary action.”
“Youth work brigades would play a large role in the socialization of those involved. Upon their return they benefitted from some advantages: when enrolling in studies, finding a room in a dormitory, or seeking employment.”
“The local communities could introduce a self-imposed contribution through a referendum. If it was successful, for example, those with a personal income from employment contributed 2% of net personal income.”
“I remember very fondly the times when we arranged almost everything in the town with volunteer work. At that time we knew each other better, and we also knew how to appreciate what we did.”

“In late 1947, the communist authorities in Belgrade pledged to supply its southern neighbor with the necessary technical assistance to establish its sugar refinery with a capacity of 2000 tons of sugar per year.”—Sugarland.
“Tirana claimed that the Yugoslav technicians had consciously sabotaged it with the intention of inhibiting the construction of Albanian industry.”
“The party set as a goal the surpassing of Albania’s two Balkan neighbors in productivity. The constant comparison with Yugoslavia and Greece was a yardstick.” 
“In the early 1970s, the Albanian specialists visited the hated and disengaged Yugoslavia, where they witnessed the cultivation of sugar beet and seed selection and brought some back to experiment with.”
“In 1987–1988, the Yugoslavs returned to the region of Korca after 40 years. This time, they did not come to bring an old rusty refinery but to assemble two turbines for the power plant.”

“Hitler decided to send a large invasion force into Yugoslavia. Local resistance not only delayed the inception of Operation Barbarossa but also required that Berlin station troops in Croatia and Serbia in order to support the local collaborationist regimes.”—from a monograph on alternatives to democracy.
“The Yugoslavs’ divergent path to socialism was both a response to the crisis created by Stalin in 1947–48, and a source for renewed arguments between the Soviet and Yugoslav communist parties.”
“The two multiethnic states which have fallen apart in the past seventy years—Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union—were not democracies but decaying one-party systems operating under communist hegemony.”

“In 1938, the book Ekonomska podloga hrvatskog nacionalnog pitanja by Rudolf Bicanic claimed that in comparison with Serbia the amount of taxes collected for each inhabitant of Croatia was twofold, in Slovenia almost threefold, and in Vojvodina fivefold.”—from a collection of essays on the nationalism-economy nexus.
“In the mid-1980s a group of Serbian members of the Academy presented their outlook on Serbia in the Yugoslav state in a memorandum. The authors stated that in Yugoslavia after 1945, Serbia had been politically and economically inferior, even discriminated against.”
“Serbian politicians introduced an economic boycott against Slovenia.The effect of the boycott in fact had the opposite effect, since it only accelerated the actual disintegration of the Yugoslav state.”

“Despite the split from Stalin, this did not mean Tito wanted to liberalize, and if anything, especially after Stalin’s death, Yugoslavia remained more Stalinist than the Soviet Union.”—One Hundred Years of Communist Experiments.
“The Kremlin despot had been most disturbed by the 1947 attempt to establish a Danubian Confederation which would include Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania (with joining prospects for Albania and Hungary). He was suspicious of the idea put forth by Tito and Georgi Dimitrov.”
“Milovan Djilas, Edvard Kardelj, and Aleksandar Ranković, complied with the Soviet behests and lambasted the Italian and French communists for ‘capitulation’ and ‘lack of revolutionary zeal.’ Imbued with a sense of hyper-activism, the Yugoslavs took the bait and played into Stalin’s trap.”

“The Youth Working Units of Serbia sent a letter to the Serbian Red Cross. The received sugar is going to improve our nutrition and to help us in our efforts working towards the drying of the Posavina swamps. 2,500 youths are thanking most warmly the Irish Government for the generous gift’.”—Ireland's Helping Hand to Europe.
“It would seem rather unlikely that Tito and his followers were going to manipulate or hijack supplies to get some political gain and run the risk of being found out and lose western support. They were firmly in power anyway.”
“Father O’Connor was much impressed by the ongoing reconstruction efforts and he and his colleagues were satisfied that Irish supplies were ‘fairly distributed’. He added that ‘some children, as soon as you mentioned the name ‘Ireland’, said ‘sugar’’’.
“Yugoslav officials had made sure to put up a political welcoming show for O’Connor and Hourihane after the Stepinac trial. But the two Irishmen did not allow themselves to be duped.”

“As its very name suggests, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes faced great complexities. At the general census of 1931, its 14 million citizens did not declare their nationality, only language and religion.”—from the volume on intellectuals and the totalitarian temptation.
“In its Serbo-Croatian (etničko čišćenje) and Romanian form (purificare etnică), the term ethnic cleansing was coined before World War II to further the ethnic homogenization of the Romanian and Yugoslav nation-building projects.”
“Yugoslavia presents a striking case of humiliating dissolution followed by frustration and resentment. In April 1941, it was attacked, defeated, and partitioned by the Axis. What followed was four years best described as bellum omni contra omnes.”
The reader follows the historian Vasa Čubrilović’s road from the Young Bosnia conspiracy in 1914 through an ethnic cleansing campaigner in 1944 to an opponent of the spirit of the SANU Memorandum in 1986.

“There are two dominant topics in recent Serbian historiography on the interwar period, the institutional/governmental apparatus of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the ethnic conflicts, between Serbs and Croats.”—from the collection of excerpts from studies over the precommunist period by younger scholars of the region.
“There exists more or less a consensus in Croatia about royal Yugoslavia. And the consensus is that the first Yugoslavia, and more broadly any Yugoslav state, was bad.”
“World War II-era anti-fascist Partisans, as irregular armed groups, inherited the mantle of the heroic outlaw bands that helped fight for independence in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
“The major part of international funding went to research projects dealing with Yugoslav minorities, but also the region’s mental mapping of mutual perception, self-representation, various stereotypes, et cetera.”

“The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, composed from the southern provinces of Austria-Hungary, alongside Serbia and Montenegro, was a tri-national polity with three official languages until 1921, when Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian were melded into the unitary national language of Serbocroatoslovenian.”—Words in Space and Time.
“In what today is Macedonia, then under Bulgarian occupation, southern Serbian was renamed as Bulgarian. In postwar federal Yugoslavia the wartime southern Serbian-turned-Bulgarian was made into a separate national Einzelsprache of Macedonian.”
“In 1974 the four republican-cum-national-cum-scriptal varieties of Serbo-Croatian were recognized, namely, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian.”
“The term ethnic cleansing was developed during the wars of Yugoslav succession by translating the Serbo-Croatian term etničko čišćenje into English.”

“Belgrade was the first major Balkan stop in the Carnegie Commission fact-finding mission. The Commission’s arrival coincided precisely with the lavish celebrations staged to welcome Crown Prince Alexander and the victorious Serbian I Army to the Capitol.”—Philanthropy, Conflict Management, and International Law.
“Alexander’s integral Yugoslavism was imagined as a supra-national official nationalism rather than an ethnic nationalism. Victorious Serbs’ oppression of Turkish- and Albanian-speaking minorities in 1912–13 could be ideologically reconciled with liberation from the Ottoman yoke for all Yugoslavs.”
“The Tomb of the Unknown Hero (Spomenik Neznanom junaku), designed by Meštrović was intended as an eloquent and powerful symbol of national unity of all Yugoslavs.” 
“By entangling the histories of the Balkan Wars with World War I, Yugoslav interwar historiography avoided discussion of the particulars of the Balkan Wars. Its task was instead to portray the wars as an episode in the project of Yugoslav liberation.”

“The Yugoslavs had no particular fondness for urban life in the Middle Ages and did not found any significant towns. It is commonly acknowledged that they dealt with stockbreeding and agriculture, as well as built pretty and spacious villages.”—The Rise of Comparative History.
“The Yugoslavs stopped assimilating to the Germans or to the Italians. They became conscious of their own rights, especially after the national awakenings of the beginning of the nineteenth century. They became artisans, tradesmen, even bankers, or businessmen.”
“In principle, an entire nation belongs to the same circle of civilization—but only in principle, not in reality. By observing the Yugoslavs we may understand the great divergences between Croatian and Slovenian Catholics, Orthodox Serbs, and Muslims in Bosnia and in Herzegovina.”
“Jovan Cvijić’s construction of the heroic Dinaric type was central to most of the projects seeking to devise a Yugoslav ethno-psychology.”