Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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sations With Stalin was published in Great Britain in 1962, he was rearrested.

After spending four more years in prison, Djilas was released, but his passport was revoked, and he was ostracized by his former friends and comrades. In his autobiography, published in 1978, Djilas talks frankly about his life and struggles. He was finally permitted to travel in the early 1980s, and he was received in universities in the United States and Western Europe as a hero. He died in 1992 in Belgrade.


Djilas Milovan, My Life ( New York, 1978), 2 volumes.

Economic Policies in Communist Yugoslavia. In 1945, the communist government followed the Stalinist pattern of building socialism in Yugoslavia. This pattern was based on the wholesale nationalization of industrial enterprises, central planning for the entire economy, and the beginning of collectivization of agriculture. The devastations caused by World War II, as well as the death or emigration of owners of private businesses, contributed to a relatively smooth takeover of industrial properties by the communist government. The Germans confiscated many firms during the war, and these were now proclaimed to be state property. Collaborators with the enemy, as well as "war profiteers," also lost their properties to the state. The latter term was, of course, broad enough to include any one who opposed the communist government. But there was practically no resistance to nationalization. The law of December 1946 made the process legal. It declared the nationalization of all significant industrial enterprises and banks. A five-year plan, adopted and started in 1947, was based on plans developed by the federal planning office. It envisaged the transfer of over I million people from agriculture to urban-based industries.

Industrialization completely changed Yugoslavia's social structure. In 1948, 67.2 percent of the population made their living from agriculture. By 1981, only 19.9 percent did so. The tremendous influx of rural folks into the cities created the regionwide problem of inadequate infrastructures. Housing, food supplies, transportation, and communications were all overburdened and inadequate. All sorts of tensions emerged as a result. After the break with Joseph Stalin, Tito (see Tito, Josip Broz) ordered a review of all previous socialist policies. At the same time, travel restrictions were eased, and thousands left for various Western countries in search of work. The Yugoslav economy benefited from the exodus in several ways. First of all, a safety valve was opened and excess population was drawn off. Second the income that the Yugoslav guest workers sent home in hard currency helped those who stayed home and, indirectly, the economy as a whole.

The great innovation introduced into the Yugoslav economy was worker self-management. Edvard Kardelj (see Kardelj, Edward) was the ideological "father" of worker self-management. This provided workers in industrial firms a voice in running their factories and made management accountable for profitability. Part of the profits were then retained by the firms in question, providing further incentives to all concerned. This worked quite well in the case of small- and medium-sized enterprises.


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Dictionary of East European History since 1945
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