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The Memory Policy of the Second World War in the Post-Yugoslav Republics: Symbolic and Commemorative Aspects

Journal: RUDN Journal of Political Science (Vol.23, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 659-674

Keywords : politics of memory; holidays; memorial days; symbolic politics; revision of the results of World War II; Ustaša; Chetniks; socialist Yugoslavia; the republics of the former Yugoslavia;

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The paper analyses the politics of memory of the World War II (WWII) in socialist Yugoslavia and compares the corresponding commemorative practices in the post-Yugoslav republics. The focus is on the design of holidays and memorial dates that reflect the symbolic and valuable attitudes of society, as well as the trajectory of nation-building. The formation of the state metanarrative in post-war Yugoslavia was closely related to the monopolisation of the leadership roles of the national liberation war by the communists, who united the six South Slavic nations in their struggle against the Nazi invaders. The state holidays and memorial days were derived from the history of resistance to foreign occupiers and internal enemies in order to legitimise and strengthen the triumph of the new socialist order. Alternative Yugoslavian non-communist movements, especially the Ustash and Chetniks who were potentially capable of competing in the symbolic field, were declared class enemies, reactionary elements, and quislings. As the processes of disintegration increased in socialist Yugoslavia, there were several attempts to revise its ideological attitudes and symbolic heritage of WWII. Nevertheless, as the study shows these attempts became, rather, a marginal phenomenon, and most post-Yugoslav states retained the commemorative, albeit de-ideologised, practices of the previous period.

Last modified: 2021-11-26 23:20:22