Twentieth-Century Yugoslavia

Twentieth-Century Yugoslavia

Twentieth-Century Yugoslavia

Twentieth-Century Yugoslavia

Excerpt

Although the problems which beset socialist Yugoslavia today are in many respects unique to that society and are matters primarily for the Yugoslavs themselves, there are important aspects in which the Yugoslav experience is of more general relevance. The interested outsider may hope to trace the path which the Yugoslavs have followed in their efforts to industrialise an economically underdeveloped country, and to grapple with the problems of cultural diversity within a multinational federation, but he must be wary of offering ready made solutions to problems for which the Yugoslav peoples have not yet found the answers.

When, at the end of the Second World War, the Communists first set out on the road to a socialist Yugoslavia, they consciously trod in the footsteps of Stalin. Later, largely under the pressure of external forces, they abandoned the Soviet model and began to feel their way towards a distinctively Yugoslav path. The system of workers' self-management which evolved during the 1950s has endured now for a generation. It can no longer be called an experiment. Yet there is no agreement either inside Yugoslavia or amongst socialists outside, as to its success. It has been condemned as a revisionist heresy, derided as a sham and praised as an ideal middle road between the evils of authoritarian state capitalism and unbridled private capitalism. Although it has provoked violent reactions, it has found few imitators. Only the Algerians admit to borrowing and adopting ideas from the Yugoslavs.

Yugoslavia's independent road to socialism has, however, given a small, economically weak country a place in world affairs out of all proportion to its size and material power. President Tito's position as the elder statesman of the . . .

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