The Croatian historical statehood narrative
in The formation of Croatian national identity

In his 1998 state of the nation address, the Croatian President Franjo Tuðman noted that with the restoration of the Croatian Danube region including Vukovar ‘to our homeland’, ‘[t]he centuries-old dream of the Croatian people has thereby been completely fulfilled’. This chapter explores historical claims to self-rule and the ways that Croatian historians and historical narratives have tended to focus on questions of elite politics and sovereignty rather than the ethnic and linguistic claims expected by primordialists and articulated by sections of the contemporary Croatia's nationalist movement. It demonstrates that abstract accounts of national identity draw upon a common stock of narrative about historical statehood. These accounts provide the ‘frames’ of reference used by competing politicians, intellectuals and others in the 1990s to legitimise particular political programmes.

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