David Bruce MacDonald
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Masking the past
The Second World War and the Balkan Historikerstreit
in Balkan holocausts?

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.

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Balkan holocausts?

Serbian and Croatian victim-centred propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia


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