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Type: Journal article
Title: Croatian anti-fascism in the Second World War: an Australian perspective
Author: Drapac, V.
Citation: Australian Journal of Politics and History, 2017; 63(2):163-186
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0004-9522
Statement of
Vesna Drapac
Abstract: The historiography of the Second World War in Yugoslavia rests on the dichotomous resistance/collaboration paradigm pitting “Yugoslav” resisters against extreme nationalist collaborators. This historiography also presents us with a Balkanist interpretation of the war as exceptionally savage and brutal. The collapse of Yugoslavia led to the collapse of the Partisan Epic. It also led to the rise of nationalist historiographies of the war and the rehabilitation of collaborators, notably the Serbian Chetniks. A corrective to the exceptionalism of many standard studies of the war in Yugosalvia may be found in an analysis of the experiences of Australian Yugoslavs and their perceptions of resistance and collaboration. Based almost entirely on hitherto underutilised archival sources, this article traces the differences between two rival Yugoslav groups in Australia: (mostly Serbian) royalist supporters of the Chetniks and the old centralist regime, and Croatian supporters of Tito's Partisans and the idea of a new, federative Yugoslavia. It demonstrates that both groups were adept at mobilising opinion and actively engaging in the political process to advance their cause. However, the Croats and their organisational structures had a wider reach. Furthermore, they were able to demonstrate that they were contributing more to the Allied cause - which was their own - than their rivals. This had an impact on their standing in Australian society and on attitudes towards Yugoslavs and Yugoslavia. Finally, this article sheds new light on the Australian home‐front, revealing the generally civil and tolerant attitude of state and commonwealth governments towards “friendly aliens” in their desire both to be connected to their country of birth and integrated into their adopted homeland.
Rights: © 2017 The Author. Australian Journal of Politics and History © 2017 The University of Queensland and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1111/ajph.12352
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