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6 The Interwar Ustasha Movement and Ethnolinguistic-Racial Identity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter underlines how misleading it is to define Ustasha ethnic-racial ideas as a negative ideology based on straightforward anti-Serbianism and without 'a coherent elaboration of the Croatian national identity' (Srdja Trifković). The Ustashe were ideologically motivated, first and foremost, by anti-Yugoslavism, as they aimed to eradicate the Yugoslav idea and provide the Croats with a clear ethnolinguistic and racial identity of their own. James Sadkovich, for his part, also provides a distorted picture of Ustasha racial ideology when he claims that 'early Ustaša racism was cultural, not biological, and more akin to Fascist italianità than the more virulent Nazi aryanism'. Race was a matter of cultural identity and residence: according to Budak, to qualify as a Croat, one needed several generations of "graves". The earlier examination of Budak's racial ideas highlights the fact that he placed great stress on racial ancestry as a marker of Croat identity.

Keywords: anti-Serbianism; anti-Yugoslavism; Croat identity; Croatian national identity; Fascist italianità; James Sadkovich; Mile Budak; Ustaša racism; Ustasha ethnic-racial ideas; Ustasha racial ideology



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