Balkan holocausts? : comparing genocide myths and historical revisionism in Serbian and Croatian nationalist writing, 1986-1999
This thesis explores, from both a theoretical and practical basis, how and why Serbian and Croatian nationalist elites used victim centred propaganda to legitimate new state creation during the collapse of Communist Yugoslavia (1986-1999). This often involved applying imagery from the Jewish Holocaust, with overt comparisons between Jewish suffering and the imagined genocides of Serbs and Croats. Chapters 'One' and 'Two' discuss why a rhetoric of victimisation and persecution has been an enduring aspect of national identity, from the ancient Hebrews onwards. This theoretical section develops a model for analysing nationalist teleology, comprising a Golden Age, a Fall from grace, and a Redemption. It also provides a critique of nationalism theory, analysing its successes and failures in understanding the importance of victim centred propaganda and the Holocaust in nationalism writings. Chapters 'Three' to 'Nine' examine how a fear of genocide was used by Serbian and Croatian nationalists to push their people into wars of "self defence". Through a detailed examination of primary source material, these chapters dissect many of the arguments advanced during the conflicts in, Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Important comparisons can be made about how history was revised and what purpose these revisions served. Serbian and Croatian propaganda is divided into specific time periods. The time periods examined include the earliest eras, from the 3rd to the 15th centuries AD, followed by the medieval era, and the 19th century. The 20th century is divided into several periods, beginning with the first kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918), World War II, Communist Yugoslavia, the breakdown of the Federation, and the rise of nationalism and violence. A chapter on Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Bosnian Moslems demonstrates how effectively Serbian and Croatian propaganda was applied to a third party.