Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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4.5 million by 1990; Serbs increased to nearly 9.5 million. The number of Macedonians and Montenegrines also increased. The Muslim Slavs of Bosnia-Herzegovina came to close to a million. There were about 500,000 Hungarians and nearly 2 million Albanians in the Yugoslav state. About 100,000 ethnic Turks and about the same number of ethnic Romanians also lived within the state's borders. Jews numbered only a few, but there were large numbers of Gypsies, although they were not counted by Yugoslav officials. The mini-multinational state of Yugoslavia succeeded in postponing the struggles over nationality and ethnic rights until well after the death of Tito (see Tito, Josip Broz), but, in 1991, civil war broke out and, it continued with great ferocity well into 1994.

During the 1960s, the birth rate in the federal Yugoslav state was still 20.2 per 1,000, and the death rate was 8.0 per 1,000. This was one of the highest rates of increase and lowest of decrease in Europe. Marriages came to 8.5 per 1,000. Such a high expansion of the population was somewhat balanced by a high rate of emigration from the country (about 10,000 in 1966). In the 1970s and 1980s, the birthrate declined somewhat, and the latest Serb policy of "ethnic cleansing" has resulted in the violent deaths of tens of thousands of citizens (some estimates put the death-toll at 200,000). It seems clear that nation-building has never been very successful in Yugoslavia. This mini-multinational state seems to be following the pattern set by the great multinational empires of the Habsburgs, the Romanovs, and the Ottoman sultans, where nationalism ultimately led to the destruction of unified state organizations.


Bibliography

Hoffman George W., and Neal F. Warner, Yugoslavia and the New Communism ( New York, 1962); Johnson Ross A., Yugoslavia in the Twilight of Tito ( Beverly Hills, CA, 1974).

Djilas, Milovan (1914-1992) . True intellectuals, although they do fall captive to totalitarian ideologies, seldom remain long in their embrace. This was exactly the case with the Serb thinker, Milovan Djilas. He was born in Montenegro to middle- class parents. At the age of eighteen, he was admitted to Belgrade University where he soon became known for his short stories and poetry. He also acquired a reputation as an enfant terrible for championing the cause of the poor of the capital city and his rebellion against the abuse of social privileges.

In 1932, he joined the illegal Communist party. Government agents quickly discovered and arrested him, and he was put on trial and sentenced to three years in prison. But jail did not stop Djilas. After his release, he continued his illegal activities. By 1938, when Tito (see Tito, Josip Broz) had reorganized the Communist party, Djilas was already considered an important party leader. He was unwaveringly loyal to Tito, who used Djilas' organizing ability in attracting new members to the party. By 1940, just before the German invasion of Yugoslavia, Djilas was included in the Politburo, the highest organ of the Communist party of Yugoslavia.

During the Second World War, Djilas fought in Tito's Partisan army as a high- ranking officer. He demonstrated great savagery against the communists' opponents.

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