Serbian nationalism

Serbian nationalism

Serbian nationalism is the Ethnic nationalism of the Serb people. It has deep roots among the South-Slavic, Orthodox, Shtokavian-speaking peoples of the Balkans, who are known as Serbs. It appeared in the Middle Ages during the long process of fall of Byzantine Empire, most notably at the Battle of Kosovo Polje of 1389, which ceded most of the old Serbian Kingdom to the Ottoman Empire.

The renaissance of Serbian nationalism after three centuries of Ottoman control of the Balkans came at the time of the romantic-nationalist Revolutions of 1848 in Western Europe and the 19th-century expansion and rise of a great Slavic Orthodox power, the Russian Empire, which has designed itself as a protector (and later liberator) of Orthodox Christian peoples (among Serbs, Greeks, Montenegrins, Romanians, Bulgarians, Slavic Macedonians) on Ottoman lands.

At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, many Serbian nationalist movements, such as Narodna Odbrana, Black Hand and Young Bosnia, were based more anti-imperialism (specially against Austro-Hungarian Empire) and secular Pan-Slavism than any religious identity; they included both Orthodox and Muslims, such as Muhamed Mehmedbašić, in their membership. [ [ Feature Articles: The Balkan Causes of World War One] , from "", 11 August 2001] [ [ Mohammed Mehmedbasic bio] at Harold B. Lee Library website] On the other side, the monarchist paramilitary movement Bela Ruka (created in 1912) had a more traditionalist approach, and by the 1920s its members became a prominent force in the First Yugoslavia after World War I.

A more radical Serbian nationalism was put in practice for the first time during the early 1920s, under the Yugoslav premiership of Nikola Pašić. Using tatics of police intimidation and vote rigging [ [,9171,846181,00.html Balkan Politics] , "TIME Magazine", March 31, 1923] , he repressed the oppositions (mainly those loyal to his Croatian rival, Stjepan Radić) to his government in parliament [ [,9171,719894,00.html Elections] , "TIME Magazine", February 23, 1925] , centralizing power in the hands of the Serbian politicians. [ [,9171,720153,00.html The Opposition] , "TIME Magazine", April 06, 1925]

At the rise of Nazism and fascism in Europe and the outbreak of World War II, Yugoslavia faced its first dissolution, and for the first time the rise to power of anti-Serbian Yugoslav separatist forces in secessionist territories — the most successful being the fascist Independent State of Croatia, which persecuted Serbs, Jews and Roma people, most notably the massacres of Jasenovac) and forced conversion of Serbs to Catholicism (Bosnian Muslims were tolerated by the Catholic leadership for political reasons of that time).Fact|date=April 2008


Serbian nationalism has been the greatest motivation of the Serb Orthodox citizens of Montenegro to fight the Turks. Many poems, books and songs reflect the feelings of the Serbs under Turkish rule. The term "Srpstvo" (Serbdom) was used denoting ones connection to the Serbian kin.

At the end of World War II, relations between Serbs, Croats and other peoples of Yugoslavia were deeply embittered by what happened during the years of 1941-1945 (like the Jasenovac concentration camp and the battles of Chetniks and Yugoslav Partisans guerrillas for power). To avoid more dividing conflicts, the Communist Slovene-Croat Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito imposed a federalized, socialist and secular composition on the Second Yugoslavia, based mainly on an official policy and the promotion of a Yugoslav cultural identity and a common Serbo-Croatian language. Regional nationalist and religious movements were harshly suppressed.Fact|date=April 2008

When Tito died in 1980, the power sharing of Yugoslavia was resolved by a rotating presidency consisted of the leaders of each Socialist Republic and elected by the eight Yugolsav political entities (Central Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Slovenia and Vojvodina) in a manner somehow similar to the presidency of Switzerland.

The second Yugoslavia had been dominated by the Communist movement. During the popular rise of the Yugoslav Communist Party during the interwar period, and throughout its suppression and public discredit at the hands of the Kingdom's government, the party had been rapidly reaching the cunclusion that in order to maintain a united South Slavic country, internal nationalism would need to be suppressed: the autonomy awarded to Vojvodina and Kosovo; the absence of the Cyrillic script, and other measures reduced the power of Serbian nationalism.Fact|date=April 2008 As the Eastern bloc started to crumble in the second half of 1980s, Serbian nationalism among Yugoslav Serb politicians began to resurface. This time the movement had an overtly religious and militaristic approach, with widely-publicized slogans like “Serbia for the Serbs” and “Only Unity Saves the Serbs”, culminating with the Slobodan Milošević speech in Kosovo in 1989.

The rotating presidency was dissolved in favor of a Serbian-based one; the autonomies of Kosovo and Vojvodina were abolished, and the Serbian cross, which previously didn’t appear even in the Coat of Arms of Socialist Serbia, began to be widely used.

The Serbian Orthodox Church, once neglected, resurged with unprecedented force due to a great Serb religious awakening — expressed in constructions like Saint Sava, an immense Orthodox church built in Belgrade during the 1990s-2000s.

As a consequence of the radicalization of the various populations of Yugoslavia, nationalism reached high levels. Among Serb nationalists, this culminated on the idea that a revised "Greater Serbia" (salvaging all territories where Serbs are relatively populous) would be the new aim for Belgrade once each republic declares independence. Such factors as these ignited the violence that ravaged through the former territory of Yugosavia from 1990 onward.

While Serbian nationalism has somewhat levelled off in recent years, it still exists in the Republic of Serbia. In 2007, Blaško Temunović, leader of the minority Croatian-Bunjevac-Šokac Party, was beaten by Serbian nationalists. [ [ Leader of Croatian party beaten] at B92] In February of 2008, Croatian Serb nationalists vandalized a school in the iconic city of Vukovar, accompanied with chants of "this is Serbia". [ [ Vukovar: Vandals arrested] ]


ee also

*Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire
*Croatian nationalism
*Albanian nationalism
*Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
*Serb propaganda
*Gazimestan Speech
*Breakup of Yugoslavia

External links

* [ Fierce Serb Nationalism Pervades Student Foes of Belgrade Leader] , "The New York Times", 10 December 1996
* [ Antisemitism in Serbia] , Stephen Roth Institute
* [ Serbian nationalism stirs again] , "Christian Science Monitor", 20 March 2006
* [ Serbian nationalism, Michigan State University]
* [ Antisemitism in Serbia] ,
* [ Globalizing the Holocaust: A Jewish ‘useable past’ in Serbian Nationalism - David MacDonald, University of Otago] en icon
* [ Blood and Honour Serbia/Krv i Cast Srbija]
* [ Croatian philosopher/songwriter/musician Darko Rundek beaten by Serbian hooligans]
* [ Serbian Nationalism and the Origins of the Yugoslav Crisis - United States Institute of Peace - USIP]
* [ Serbia's Reluctant Path to Catharsis - Transitions On Line]
* [ Nation as a problem or a solution & Historical revisionism in Serbia-Omladinski centar Novi Sad]
* [ Steven W. Sowards "Serbian nationalism from the "Nacertanije" to the Yugoslav Kingdom"]
* [ Serbian Nationalism and the Origins of the Yugoslav Crisis] , "Peaceworks"
* [ The Memorandum: Roots of Serbian nationalism: An interview with Mihajlo Markovic and Vasilije Krestic] , "Eurozine"
* [ Scaife, Robert. "Serbian Culture of Victimization and Nationalism in a Post-Cold War Europe" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Inter-Continental Hotel, New Orleans, LA, Jan 09, 2005 Online <.PDF>. 2008-04-23]
* [ Veljko Vujacic "Serbian nationalism, Slobodan Milosevic and the origins of the Yugoslav war"] "The Harriman Review", Vol.8, No.4, December 1995]
* [ Engineering Hatred:The Roots of Contemporary Serbian Nationalism-Cristina Posa Harvard Law School]

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