<i>Masking the past: the Second World War and the Balkan</i> Historikerstreit

David Bruce Macdonald

in Balkan Holocausts?

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780719064661
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700198 | DOI:
Masking the past: the Second World War and the Balkan Historikerstreit

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Throughout the Serbian-Croatian conflict, the comparative genocide debate was of particular importance. In general, Serb and Croat arguments apropos World War II were almost identical. Each argued in favour of their own philosemitism, victimisation, and heroism, while denouncing the others for their treachery, anti-Semitism, collaboration, and genocide. The recent revisions of history from both sides suggest uneasiness about the legacies of the past. Continual portrayals of enemies as either Četniks or Ustasa, as well as constant references to World War II atrocities as precursors of events in the 1990s, demonstrated the centrality of German and Italian occupation to contemporary conceptions of national identity. David Campbell's theory of the ‘deconstruction of historical teleologies’ provides a useful method of understanding how certain narratives, or views of history, have been created. This chapter explores World War II and the rehabilitation of the Independent State of Croatia, Serbian views of the Ustas and Četniks, Croatian views of the Četniks, anti-Semitism in Croatia, Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac and the people, Serbian views of collaboration and anti-Semitism, and the myth of Partisan participation.

Keywords: World War II; Croatia; Ustasa; Četniks; anti-Semitism; Alojzije Stepinac; Serbian-Croatian conflict; anti-Semitism; victimisation; Serbian

Chapter.  12763 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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