Serbs and Croats: The Struggle in Yugoslavia

Alex N. Dragnich, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $22.95 (202p) ISBN 978-0-15-181073-4
This concise, lucid history throws a floodlight on the tragic drama unfolding in Yugoslavia. Dragnich, a political scientist and former officer in the American embassy in Belgrade, charges that the European powers, notably Germany and Austria, contributed to Yugoslavia's destruction in their rush to recognize an independent Slovenia and Croatia even before the substantive negotiations had taken place. Moreover, he writes, Western efforts to find a solution were undercut by an erroneous assumption that the Soviet-style federalist boundaries imposed by Yugoslav president Josip Tito were sacrosant. Tito, who purportedly hated Serbs, ruled through secret police and divided the country into six republics, leaving one-third of the Serbs in territories not their own. After the Nazi invasion in WW II, fascist Croatia was ruled by a terrorist organization, the Ustashi, which slaughtered more than half a million Serbs, Jews and Gypsies--a holocaust that has poisoned Serb-Croat relations, notes Dragnich. He skillfully unravels the longstanding differences that tear asunder South Slavs, Croats, Slovenes, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims in a land whose unification was initially conceived by 19th-century intellectuals aloof from the peasantry who made up the vast majority of the population. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-15-680663-3
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