Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter One [7 continued]


I've already summarized the contents of this section in my previous post. In a nutshell, Johnstone portrays the rise of Tudjman and the HDZ as having occured in a total vacuum. The events in Kosovo and Serbia during the 1980s, the rise of Milosevic, the rumblings of nationalism coming from Cosic and the Serbian Academy; none of these things, apparently, meant much. In Johnstone's telling, Croatia rediscovered a fascist past and sought to restore the Ustasha regime beginning around 1990. For no reason, other than those Croatians are just bad people.

Again, it is not that these events did not happen. Nor is it false that the HDZ was needlessly provocative and belligerent. If I were a Serb in Croatia in 1990, I would have been nervous as well.

But while Tudjman certainly stirred the pot and made the situation worse, it is dishonest to portray resurgent Croatian nationalism as the driving factor behind the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Johnstone has not, at this point in her book, discussed Slovenia at all, other than one quick mention in this section. Yet at the time events in Croatia were very much reactions to, and attempts to keep up with, the leadership in Ljubljana. Politicians in Croatia were reacting to the same situations and events that the Slovenian leadership were dealing with. But there had been no fascist Slovenian government in WWII; small Slovenia makes a sad excuse of a bogeyman for Johnstone.

1 comment:

Katja R. said...

Slovenia is hardly given any attention in discussions of the recent wars in the Balkans! Part of it was their time actively at war was short.
In WWII, there was a substantial German minority in Slovenia, and these people were massacred and expelled at the end of WWII.
No one talks much about that, it wasn't quite like in Croatia where there was a NAZI puppet state, or even Serbia where there was a NAZI puppet state.
Somehow Slovenians and Slovene involvement in the break up isn't as interesting to outsiders to the region. What was going in in Kosovo really is a more visible cause for the break-up.