NDH, 1941-1945 1980-1991

Croatia within Tito's Yugoslavia

During the brief existence of the NDH, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina had seen a level of atrocities against the civilian population extraordinary even in the age of the Holocaust. Liberation, in 1944-1945, brought a significant level of retribution, against collaborators, both real and alleged. Ethnic German residents of Yugoslavia were blamed for the crimes of Nazi occupation altogether. Most of those who did not fall victim to acts of violence immediately after liberation emigrated; the remainder was forcefully assimilated. Similarly, most of the ethnic Italian residents emigrated - Dalmatia, Rijeka (former Fiume) and Istria (1947, without the region around Triest) were annexed into Croatia, which - by comparison to the 1939 borders, ceded Eastern Srijem (extreme eastern Slavonia) to the Vojvodina and Croatian Herzegovina to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Within the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia formed one of six states; the constitution of 1946 foresaw a considerable level of state autonomy. Yet Yugoslavia, like the Soviet Union, in practice was an autocratic state; Tito (a Bosnian Croat) held quasi-dictatorial power.
The communist state took a stand hostile to organized religion; party members were forbidden to participate in religious ceremonies; religious schools closed down; the Archbishop of Zagreb, A. Stepinac, sentenced to 15 years in prison for 'subversive actions' (1946), an act Catholic Croats regarded an affront. Transition to a communist society brought with it the persecution and imprisonment of 'enemies of the state.
With Croatia having seen an extraordinary level of civil strife during the war, the economy had suffered badly and things only could improve, irrespective of the constitution chosen. In 1947 the first 5 Year Plan was passed, following the Soviet model. Economic enterprises were nationalized. Mandatory education was extended from 4 to 7, shortly after to 8 years, and a campaign against illiteracy was launched; Yugoslavia being a country with two alphabets used - the Latin Alphabet in Croatia and Slovenia, the Cyrillic Alphabet in Serbia and Montenegro.
Forced collectivization of farmland in 1949 was widely resented and in a number of instances openly resisted; the policy was discontinued in 1951. With Tito's Yugoslavia openly breaking with Stalin, Yugoslavia accepted Marshall Plan Aid. She also liberalized her economic policy, permitting (nationalized) economic enterprises to manage their own affairs.
A reform passed in 1965 aimed at promoting economic development by the means of decentralization. Unemployment rose, and many Croats moved abroad in search of labour - to capitalist countries such as West Germany, but, in fewer numbers, also to socialist East Germany. The labour emigrants were an important factor, as they maintained contact, sent money home. Some returned and invested their savings and acquired know-how in a new enterprise. Within Yugoslavia, Croatia and Slavonia were the most industrialized regions, having had a more developed industry before the establishment of communism, and responding better to the freedom provided by the decentralization of economic policies than the industries in the central and southern republics.
In the decades under Tito's rule, ethnic confrontation was suppressed and Yugoslavia enjoyed internal peace. Political activity was discouraged. The country and her economy was reconstructed; the Croatian economy, in contrast to that of socialist Eastern Central Europe, accustomed to competing on the market of capitalist Western Europe.

Note : The links listed below are intended to lead users to sites which provide more detailed information. The webmaster of WHKMLA is neither responsible for the information given nor for the views expressed there.

Croatia, History of, from Discover Croatia, from croatia.net , from dalmatia.net, illustrated
Yugoslavia, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
Italians by Titoists in Trieste, Istria and Dalmatia, 1945-1954, from Genocides and Eathnic Cleansings in Central and Eastern Europe ..
DOCUMENTS Historical Maps of Croatia, from dalmatia.net, bilingual
The Pavelic Papers
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Ivo Goldstein, Croatia - a History, (1999) McGill-Queen's UP 2001 [G]
Tihomir Cipek, The Croats and Yugoslavism, pp.71-83 in : Dejan Djokic (ed.), Yugoslavism. Histories if a Failed Idea, University of Wisconsin Press 2003, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7103 D626y

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 7th 2003, last revised on May 20th 2006

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