Miloš Mladenović

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Miloš Mladenović (1903–1984) was professor emeritus of History at McGill University in Montreal, and an expert on Cold War politics of the day.

Biography[edit]

Miloš Mladenović was born in Valjevo, Serbia, in 1903. He studied at the University of Belgrade's Law School between 1922 and 1926, and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and Law. At that time he seemed to be destined to a long, diplomatic career, however, World War II intervened. After World War II, Miloš Mladenović settled temporarily in Western Europe. Unwilling to return to a Yugoslavia under a Communist regime, Mladenović chose to settle in Canada permanently. A polyglot and with degrees (in law and economics) from the University of Belgrade in Serbia and a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris, respectively, Mladenović joined the Department of History at McGill University as a specialist on Eastern Europe as soon as he landed as an immigrant in Canada in June 1950. He immediately proceeded to expand the department's offerings in Russian and Byzantine history. Six months later, he was also joined by his wife (Gertrud) and stepson (Peter Schaal, now a prominent Toronto surgeon).

Witness to the Slav tragedy of World War II, German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Nazi attempt at invading Russia, Mladenović aroused not only a desire but a need for better understanding of Slav people and their countries among the McGill staff and students he taught. He is credited at revitalizing the Department of History at McGill with his lectures and life's experiences. Mladenović was not only a scholar but a diplomat in the service of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia before the war. He was a staunch anti-Communist.

As an émigré professor, Mladenović brought with him a more intimate understanding of cultures that Canadian scholars had viewed from the perspective of the outsider, who can observe external forms more readily than their inner spirit. Not only Slavic and Russian Studies, but also many other neglected fields of knowledge benefited. Under Mladenović the history of warfare and of science became important branches of professional historical scholarship. At McGill, Mladenović had the oldest program in military history in Canada outside of the service colleges, having set up the beginnings of its program with two other McGill professors – C. C. Bayley and Robert Vogel (1929–1994)-- in 1957.

J. Larry Black, PhD (McGill), a former student who went on to great distinction himself, wrote the following obituary in English in a Serbian publication (Spomenik: Srpske Pravoslavne Crkve Svete Trojice: 1954-Montreal-1984, p. 26):

"Mladenović's first years were taken up in organizing his courses on East European history which previously had been treated at McGill as a minor dimension of general European history. He endeavored to organize a department and show students that Eastern Europe was specific political and economic, as well as social and cultural, part of the world and that it was formed under the influence of both Roman and Byzantine inroads. The Mongols, Turks and Western Europeans also left traces of their civilizations in Eastern Europe. In addition to examination of general historical developments, Mladenović introduced the study of war and society in which he attempted to demonstrate that war is a result of a complex interplay of reciprocal influences.

"As a result of his efforts, over 30 students obtained Master degrees and 15 earned doctorates. Of these, eleven now serve Canadian universities as professors of East European history. Several have been departmental chairmen, and one is currently the director of the Institute for Soviet Studies at Carleton University. Most of them are active in the Canadian Association of Slavists, of which Mladenović is an honourary life member."

McGill University's biographer Stanley Brice Frost wrote: "Miloš Mladenović, who came to this country in 1950 as a refugee, originally from Yugoslavia, and who almost singlehandedly introduced the serious study of Russian and East European history, not only to McGill but also, through his former students, to many other Canadian universities."

Professors Veljko Lalich and Dr. T. Domaradski, Mladenović's counterparts at the University of Montreal, often invited him to offer courses at their Department of Russian and Slavic Studies. Mladenović was a sought-after speaker outside of the academic community, too. The Canadian Forces, in collaboration with McGill University, invited Mladenović to conduct seminars on Soviet Law for the Faculty of Law, and arrange conferences at various units stationed in the Province of Quebec.

In his spare time, Mladenović prepared and published a series on Eastern Europe, as well as early articles on the Serbs in Canada for the Canadian Encyclopedia, book reviews for The Montreal Star, and a study of East European Law in Canada for Bulletin zur Ostforschung. He also edited, together with one of his pupils, The New Review, Canada's only scholarly journal expressly dedicated to East European history.

In 1969, his students presented Professor Mladenović with a Festschrift to commemorate his 65th birthday. Entitled "Eastern Europe: Historical Essays," the book contained essays from nineteen current and former students. "At one time in the 1970s, seven departments of history, two of political science, and one of Byzantine studies were chaired by his former students," wrote J. L. Black about Mladenović in The Canadian Encyclopedia (volume 2, page 1146).

Miloš Mladenović was the beloved teacher and mentor to hundreds of students during his two decade plus tenure at McGill.

Oeuvre[edit]

Mladenović authored several books and published numerous studies and articles in various magazines and journals of learned societies. His books and manuscripts were published mainly in French, Serbian, German and English and include:

  • Le caractere de l'etat serbe au moyern age (1930);
  • L'etat serbe au Moyen Age (1931);
  • Stanoje Stanojevici i istorija srpskog srednjevekovnog prava (1938);
  • Zakonik Leke Dukacina (1938);
  • Dve srpske geopoliticke studije: Sta je geopolitika?;
  • The New Yugoslav Historiography and the Problem of Feudalism in Medieval Serbia (1956);
  • Serbische Familiennamen osmanischer Herkunft" (1960);
  • Die Herrschaft der Osmanen in Serbien im Licht der Sprache (1961);
  • Lazni idoli i varljivi ideali (1965);
  • Family Names of Osmanli Origin in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1976);
  • Kako su dvojica siromaka postali politicki emigranti (1984);
  • Selo Do u ratu i revoluciji: Roman (1984);
  • Samostalan i organizovan zlocin: Roman (1984);
  • Andjeo unistenja;
  • Umece letenja;
  • Geopoliticke sile na Sredozemnom moru (1994).

References[edit]

  • Donald Presgrave Little, Essays on Islamic Civilization: Presented to Niyazi Berkes, 1976: E. J. Brill, Leiden, Netherlands, p. 245
  • A. Donald MacLeod, W. Stanford Reid: An Evangelical Calvinist in the Academy, McGill-Queen's University Press 2004, p. 119
  • Stanley Brice Frost, McGill University for the Advancement of Learning (Volume II, 1895–1971), McGill-Queen's University Press 1984, p. 321.