Balkan Holocausts? Serbian and Croatian Victim-Centred Propaganda and the War in Yugoslavia

Balkan Holocausts? Serbian and Croatian Victim-Centred Propaganda and the War in Yugoslavia

Balkan Holocausts? Serbian and Croatian Victim-Centred Propaganda and the War in Yugoslavia

Balkan Holocausts? Serbian and Croatian Victim-Centred Propaganda and the War in Yugoslavia

Synopsis

Balkan Holocausts? compares and contrasts Serbian and Croatian propaganda from 1986 to 1999, analyzing each group's contemporary interpretations of history and current events. It offers a detailed discussion of holocaust imagery and the history of victim-centered writing in nationalism theory, including the links between the comparative genocide debate, the so-called holocaust industry, and Serbian and Croatian nationalism. No studies on Yugoslavia have thus far devoted significant space to such analysis.

Excerpt

This book explores, from both a theoretical and a practical basis, how and why Serbian and Croatian nationalist elites used victim-centred propaganda to legitimate new state creation during the collapse of Communist Yugoslavia and the conflict that followed (1986—99). This often involved applying imagery from the Jewish Holocaust, with overt comparisons between Jewish suffering and the perceived genocides of Serbs and Croats. Chapters 1 and 2 discuss why a rhetoric of victimisation and persecution has been an enduring aspect of national identity, from the ancient Hebrews onwards. This theoretical section develops a model for analysing nationalist teleology, comprising a Golden Age, a Fall from grace, and a Redemption. It also provides a critique of nationalism theory, analysing its successes and failures in understanding the importance of victim-centred propaganda and the impact of the Holocaust in nationalist writings.

Chapters 3 to 8 examine how a fear of genocide was used by Serbian and Croatian nationalists to push their people into wars of `self-defence'. Through a detailed examination of primary source material, these chapters dissect many of the arguments advanced during the conflicts in Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Important comparisons can be made about how history was revised and what purposes these revisions served. Serbian and Croatian propaganda is divided into specific time-periods. the time-periods examined include the earliest eras, from the third to the fifteenth centuries ad, followed by the medieval era, and the nineteenth century. the twentieth century is divided into several periods, beginning with the first kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918), the Second World War, Communist Yugoslavia, the breakdown of the Federation, and the rise of nationalism and violence. a chapter on Bosnia- Hercegovina and the Bosnian Moslems demonstrates how effectively Serbian and Croatian propaganda was applied to a third party.

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