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

Comparing and contrasting propaganda in Serbia and Croatia from 1986 to 1999, this book analyses each group's contemporary interpretations of history and current events. It offers a detailed discussion of Holocaust imagery and the history of victim-centred writing in nationalist theory, including the links between the comparative genocide debate, the so-called Holocaust industry, and Serbian and Croatian nationalism. There is a detailed analysis of Serbian and Croatian propaganda over the Internet, detailing how and why the Internet war was as important as the ground wars in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and a theme-by-theme analysis of Serbian and Croatian propaganda, using contemporary media sources, novels, academic works and journals.

From universalisation to relativism

Jews that is said to carry universal lessons . . . Individuals from every point on the political compass can find the lessons they wish in the Holocaust; it has become a moral and ideological Rorschach test. (Peter Novick, The Holocaust and Collective Memory)2 ARGUE THROUGHOUT this book that negative imagery has been a crucial building-block in Serbian and Croatian national myths. These myths have been used to legitimate the forced shifting of borders, the ethnic cleansing of populations, and various other violent aspects of state formation. Equally important has

in Balkan holocausts?
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Confronting relativism in Serbia and Croatia

: confronting relativism in Serbia and Croatia root of conflict. In trying to analyse the successes and failures of Serbian and Croatian propaganda, we need to understand clearly whether or not any actual genocides took place in the Balkans, either in history, or during the more contemporary period. This includes the general question of whether the manipulation of Holocaust imagery is a useful means for nations to advance their political agendas. I have argued that general Fall imagery and imagery of the Holocaust have played an extremely important role in rallying

in Balkan holocausts?
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‘Numbers games’ and ‘holocausts’ at Jasenovac and Bleiburg

victim, to cast themselves as martyrs, having suffered not only from genocide, but also a concerted effort by the enemy to cover up the TRUTH. Bleiburg: the Croatian ‘holocaust’ For Croats, the massacre of Croatian, Slovenian and Serbian collaborators by Tito’s Partisans was rich in imagery. It symbolised Croatian repression in the Second World War, and later during the Communist period. That Croats were forbidden to discuss it, let alone debate the numbers killed during Tito’s lifetime, made it a sort of ‘underground’ secret, which had to be discussed carefully with

in Balkan holocausts?
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Towards a teleological model of nationalism

, the manipulation of myths and national history performed an incredibly important role during the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1980s, and the wars of succession that followed after 1990. Before analysing these national myths, and their specific political objectives, it will be useful to understand what species, or general types, of myths have been used – and why. Reviewing the works of many major nationalism theorists, this chapter introduces a useful analytical model to help understand the nature of Serbian and Croatian myths, the types of imagery they invoke, and

in Balkan holocausts?
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histories and legitimating state-building projects. As I will demonstrate from Chapters 3 to 8, Serbs and Croats entered into this timely and controversial debate. Both groups used claims of victimisation and persecution to legitimate their own state-building or state-expanding projects, with often violent consequences. Both the Judaeo-Christian covenantal culture and the instrumentalisation of Holocaust imagery have been of central importance in structuring 6 2441Introduction 16/10/02 8:02 am Page 7 Introduction Serbian and Croatian representations of the past and

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The Moslem question in Bosnia-Hercegovina

concealed an Islamic conspiracy to take over Europe. While the third theme will be discussed later, it is useful to understand the first one clearly. To summarise this argument: while the Moslems of Bosnia had been forced to convert to Islam, certain linguistic and cultural attributes still marked them as either Serb or Croat. Bosnian Moslems were seen to be members of one religious community, while at the same time belonging to an 221 2441Chapter8 16/10/02 8:06 am Page 222 Balkan holocausts? altogether different ethnic group. Because of these highly contested

in Balkan holocausts?
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The Second World War and the Balkan Historikerstreit

Jews there were in Croatia – either before the war, or after. Throughout the 1990s, the use of graphic, lugubrious imagery was an important prerequisite of Serbian propaganda. The more graphic the details, the more horrific the crimes of the Croats would appear to be, and by extension, the more important it would be to stop another Croatian genocide. Among the favoured themes was the slaughter of innocent children, proof 149 2441Chapter5 16/10/02 8:05 am Page 150 Balkan holocausts? that the Croats were truly depraved. One description from Never Again was typical

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hoped to court Western recognition and aid, both of which would prove vital for their self-defence. Such imagery would also play 105 2441Chapter4 16/10/02 8:04 am Page 106 Balkan holocausts? into their hands during Croatian machinations in Bosnia. Myths of persecution and victimisation laid the basis for other forms of mythology – myths proving that Croatia had every right to exist as a separate state, and then myths dealing with the separateness of almost every aspect of national identity, from culture, religion and language, to racial, linguistic and

in Balkan holocausts?

Jewish imagery in the service of nationalism. From the very beginning, it was clear that accusing the Albanians of genocide was the key to legitimating Serbian territorial claims. By 1986, 60,000 Serbs had signed a petition, along with Serbian Orthodox bishops from New Zealand, Europe, and North America, detailing a ‘fascist genocide’ being inflicted on Serbs and Montenegrins.58 Echoing the Jewish case, anti-Albanian propaganda focused on a long 75 2441Chapter3 16/10/02 8:04 am Page 76 Balkan holocausts? history of Albanian genocide in Kosovo. Numerous Serbian

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