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Yugoslavism: Some Aspects and Comments

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image of Southeastern Europe

At the April, 1972, Annual Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Social Science Association, which took place in Salt Lake City, five young American scholars presented papers dealing with various aspects of Yugoslavism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The papers and subsequent discussions were interesting from two standpoints. First, the authors belong to the youngest generation of American scholars familiar with the several Yugoslav languages and with Yugoslav archives and other sources. Second, the topic of Yugoslavism is not only complex and provocative, but currently topical as well. It is striking that even today, more than fifty-five years after the creation of the Yugoslav state, we do not have a modern and comprehensive study of the origins and development of the Yugoslav idea and, consequently, of the Yugoslav movement in the past. Inter-war Yugoslav historiography usually approached the problem from the "unitaristic" viewpoint, which corresponded to the political necessities of the time.1 As a reaction to this. post-war Yugoslav historiography espoused the other extreme: a stress on the national histories of the various Yugoslav peoples, to the detriment of the Yugoslav entity.2 When we attempt to study the development of Yugoslavism in the past, it strikes me as necessary to find the answers to three general questions: 1. What caused the origin of the Yugoslav idea? 2. What were the features of its development? 3. What were the internal and external obstacles the Yugoslav movement had to confront?

Affiliations: 1: (Belgrade, Yugoslavia, University of California, Santa Barbara, Cal., U.S.A.


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