War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration

By Lilly, Carol S | Canadian Slavonic Papers, December 2001 | Go to article overview

War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration


Lilly, Carol S, Canadian Slavonic Papers


Jozo Tomasevich. War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. xvii, 842 pp. Maps. Bibliography. Index. $75.00, cloth.

Jozo Tomasevich's 800-page opus, War and Revolution in Yugoslavia 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration, is the second volume in what was intended to be a three-volume study of wartime Yugoslavia. The first volume, subtitled The Chetniks and published in 1975, is still by far the best, most detailed, and most balanced treatment of that very controversial topic. This, the second volume, holds its own in comparison to the first and will almost certainly be considered the definitive work on the equally controversial topic of occupation and collaboration regimes in wartime Yugoslavia. This book, though substantially completed in 1994 when Dr. Tomasevich passed away, was put into the computer, edited, and prepared for publication by his daughter, Nina. Regrettably, of course, the posthumous publication of this volume means that we cannot look forward to the third one. The loss of that volume, which was to cover the activities of the Partisan Movement during the war, is a great blow to the scholarly community. We are, nonetheless, grateful now to have available to us two thirds of this masterful work.

In this volume, Tomasevich covered in meticulous and awe-inspiring detail the activities and experiences of those parts of Yugoslavia occupied by or in active collaboration with the various axis regimes during the Second World War. The largest part of the book is, not surprisingly, devoted to the collaborationist NDH regime in Croatia, but it also covers the occupation regimes in Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Kosovo. Moreover, in every case Tomasevich made a clear distinction between each individual area of occupation, so that he dealt separately with those areas of Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia under Italian authority and those run by the Germans, as well as distinguishing those areas of Serbia under German occupation from those controlled by the Hungarians or Bulgarians. In this way, Tomasevich not only gave us a microscopic and accurate description of wartime activities in all occupied areas of the former Yugoslavia, but also provided many insights into the relationships between various occupying powers. He also drew out differences between and policy debates among different occupation officers and the consequences of those disagreements for the region in question.

Beyond this chronological and geographical approach, Tomasevich addressed a number of other pressing and controversial questions in chapters on the role and fate of various religious groups and churches in occupied regions during the war, the extent of the Axis regimes' economic exploitation of Yugoslavia, as well as "Alleged and True Population Losses." Concerning the latter, he dealt in a thorough and entirely professional way with the numerous controversies and debates that have arisen both among scholars of, and politicians in, Yugoslavia concerning the demographic consequences of the Second World War. …

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