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Yugoslavs (Serbo-Croatian: Jugoslaveni, Jugosloveni; Serbian Cyrillic and Macedonian: Југословени; Slovene: Jugoslovani; Bulgarian: Югославяни) is a designation that was originally designed to refer to a united South Slav people. It has been used in two connotations, the first in an ethnic or supra-ethnic connotation, and the second as a term for citizens of the former Yugoslavia. Cultural and political advocates of Yugoslav identity have historically ascribed the identity to be applicable to all people of South Slav heritage, including those of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and the presently disputed region of Kosovo, Slovenia, and the Republic of Macedonia. Efforts were made to incorporate Bulgaria into Yugoslavia, but this did not succeed.
The term ethnic Yugoslavs referred to those who exclusively viewed themselves as Yugoslavs with no other ethnic self-identification. Yugoslavs has also historically referred to a Yugoslav supra-ethnic nation that has tribal ethnicities, such as Croats, Serbs, and others within it.
In the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the official designation for those who declared themselves Yugoslav was with quotation marks, "Yugoslavs" (introduced in census 1971). Quotation marks were meant to distinguish Yugoslav ethnicity from Yugoslav citizenship – which was written without quotation marks. Shortly before the dissolution of Yugoslavia many of those who had identified themselves as ethnic "Yugoslavs" reverted to or adopted traditional nationalities such as Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Muslims by nationality, Slovenes—and other small Yugoslav groups in Yugoslavia not officially represented by the state, including Bulgarians, Janjevci, Bunjevci, and Šokci. Some also decided to turn to sub-national regional identifications, especially in multi-ethnic historical regions like Istria, Vojvodina, or Bosnia. The Yugoslav designation however continues to be used by many.
The term Yugoslavs refers to Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and Montenegrins as a single people. Slovenes and Macedonians are slightly different linguistically, but were an extended and crucial part of the Yugoslav identity— their cultural differences due to empires that ruled their tribes in the past. For instance, Austrian, Venetian, and Hungarian influence on the Yugoslavs is mainly found among the (Catholic) Croatian and Slovene regions, the (Muslim) Bosnian region under the Ottoman influence, and the Orthodox and Byzantine Serbian and Montenegrin region under Greek and Russian influence.
Since the late 18th century, when traditional European ethnic affiliations started to mature into modern ethnic identities, there have been numerous attempts to define a common South Slavic ethnic identity. The word Yugoslav literally translates as "South Slavic".
Before the First World War
The first modern iteration of Yugoslavism was the Illyrian movement from Croatia. It identified southern Slavs with ancient Illyrians and sought to construct an Illyrian language based on the Shtokavian dialect. The movement was led by Ljudevit Gaj, whose script became one of two official scripts used for the Serbo-Croatian language.
Famous Croat sculptor Ivan Meštrovic became a supporter of Yugoslavism and Yugoslav identity after he traveled to Serbia and became impressed with Serb culture. Meštrovic created a sculpture of Serbian folk-legend hero Prince Marko at the International Exhibition in Rome in 1911, when asked about the statue, Meštrovic replied "This Marko is our Yugoslav people with its gigantic and noble heart". Meštrovic wrote poetry speaking of a "Yugoslav race". Those who knew Meštrovic's views referred to Meštrovic as "The Prophet of Yugoslavism".
Jovan Cvijić, in his article "The Bases of Yugoslav Civilization", developed the idea of a unified Yugoslav culture and stated that "New qualities that until now have been expressed but weakly will appear. An amalgamation of the most fertile qualities of our three tribes [Serbs, Croats, Slovenes] will come forth every more strongly, and thus will be constructed the type of single Yugoslav civilization-the final and most important goal of our country."
Vladimir Dvorniković, a famous philosopher, later advocated the establishment of a Yugoslav ethnicity in his 1939 book entitled "The Characterology of the Yugoslavs". His views included eugenics and cultural blending to create one, strong Yugoslav nation. He did not dismiss the differences among people that inhabited Yugoslavia, but stressed that these differences were "contingent and temporary and that they mask a deeper and more profound racial unity". He also believed that "the primary ability of Yugoslavs is their ability to sacrifice themselves for a higher goal".
In the 18th century Hristofor Zhefarovich promoted the idea of unity between South Slavic people, in particular the kinship between Bulgarians and Serbs. This idea was somewhat revived during the late 1940s when Tito and Stalin contemplated extending Yugoslavia to include Bulgaria as well.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the term Yugoslavs started to be used as a synonym for South Slavs, especially to denote those in Austria-Hungary.
Also was the fierce debate and controversies on whether or not the Croats, Bosnians, Montenegrins, Macedonians and Slovenes shared any similarities among each other or are considered part of the Serbian people, thus caused division and friction among Yugoslavian, Serbian and other ethnic nationalists in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
World War I
On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife, in Sarajevo. Princip was a member of Young Bosnia, a group whose aims included the unification of the Yugoslavs and independence from Austria-Hungary. The assassination in Sarajevo set into motion a series of fast-moving events that eventually escalated into full-scale war. After the assassination, Princip was captured. During his trial he stated "I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be free from Austria."
During June and July 1917, the Yugoslav Committee met with the Serbian Government in Corfu and on 20 July the Corfu Declaration that laid the foundation for the post-war state was issued. The preamble stated that the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes were "the same by blood, by language, by the feelings of their unity, by the continuity and integrity of the territory which they inhabit undivided, and by the common vital interests of their national survival and manifold development of their moral and material life." The future state was to be called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and was to be a constitutional monarchy under the Karađorđević dynasty.
Before the Second World War
After the First World War, when South Slavic lands were united in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the term Yugoslavs was used to refer to all of its inhabitants, but particularly to those of Southern Slavic origin. In reality and according to Croatian, Bosnian and other Yugoslav nationalists: the hands of power resided in an ethnic Serb majority who ruled the multi-ethnic kingdom from the capital of Belgrade in Serbia and the demographic fact Serbs were the largest ethnic group: 40–45% of the country's population to hold "majority" status.
In 1929, King Alexander sought to resolve a deep political crisis brought on by ethnic tensions by assuming dictatorial powers in the so-called 6 January Dictatorship, renaming the country "Kingdom of Yugoslavia", and officially pronouncing that there is one single Yugoslav nation with three tribes. The Yugoslav ethnic designation was thus for a time imposed on all South Slavs in Yugoslavia. Changes in Yugoslav politics after King Alexander's death in 1934 brought an end to this policy, but the designation continued to be used by some people.
Second Yugoslavia and later
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|All of Yugoslavia||1.7||1.3||5.4|
After liberation from Axis Powers in 1945, the new socialist Yugoslavia became a federal country, and officially recognized and valued its ethnic diversity. Traditional ethnic identities again became the primary ethnic designations used by most inhabitants of Yugoslavia. However, many people still declared themselves as "Yugoslavs" because they wanted to express an identification with Yugoslavia as a whole, but not specifically with any of its peoples.
The 1971 census recorded 273,077 Yugoslav, or 1.33% of the total population. The 1981 census recorded 1,216,463 or 5.4% Yugoslavs. In the 1991 census, 5.54% (242,682) of the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared themselves to be Yugoslav. 4.25% of the population of the republic of Montenegro also declared themselves Yugoslav in the same census.
The Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1990 ratified a Presidency of seven members. One of the seven was to be elected amongst/by the republic's Yugoslavs, thereby introducing the Yugoslavs next to Muslims by nationality, Serbs and Croats into the Constitutional framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina although on an inferior level. However because of the Bosnian War that erupted in 1992, this Constitution was short-lived and unrealized.
The 1981 census showed that Yugoslavs made up around 8% of the population in Croatia, this to date has been the highest percentage of Yugoslavs within Croatia's borders. The 1991 census data indicated that the number of Yugoslavs had dropped to 2% of the population in Croatia. The 2001 census in Croatia (the first since independence) registered only 176 Yugoslavs.
Just before and after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, most Yugoslavs switched to more conventional ethnic designations. Nevertheless, the concept has survived into Bosnia and Herzegovina (where most towns have a tiny percentage), and Serbia and Montenegro (2003–2006), which kept the name "Yugoslavia" the longest, right up to February 2003.
When the term Yugoslav was first introduced, it was meant to unite a common people the same way the Germans united with Bavaria and other regions of Germany. In the book A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples by Fred Singleton, it states that Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks are one and the same people. "Once the South Slavs had settled in the Balkans they also became separated from each other, partly because of geographical obstacles, and partly because of the historical circumstances of foreign occupations."
Josip Broz Tito expressed his desire for an undivided Yugoslav ethnicity when he stated, "I would like to live to see the day when Yugoslavia would become amalgamated into a firm community, when she would no longer be a formal community but a community of a single Yugoslav nation."
Yugoslavs have affected world history on many occasions. One prime example is the leader, president for life, and founder of second Yugoslavia, Marshal Josip Broz Tito who organized resistance against Nazi Germany in Yugoslavia, he effectively expelled Nazi occupation in Yugoslavia, co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement, and defied Joseph Stalin's Soviet pressure on Yugoslavia.
Other people from Yugoslavia include intellectuals, entertainers, singers and sportspersons, such as:
- Aleksa Đilas
- Ivan Ergić
- Goran Bregović
- Andrej Grubacic
- Lepa Brena
- Ivica Osim
- Božo Koprivica
- Oliver Dulić
- Dževad Prekazi
- Milić Vukašinović
- Milan Milišić
- Đorđe Ðogani
- Branko Đurić
- Branko Milićević "Kockica"
- Ašok Murti
- Ekrem Jevrić
- Joška Broz, the grandson of Josip Broz Tito
- Boris Vukobrat
- Duško Vujošević
- Josip Pejaković
- Branimir Štulić
The Yugoslavs of Croatia have several organizations. The "Alliance of Yugoslavs" (Croatian: Savez Jugoslavena) is an association aiming to unite the ethnic Yugoslavs of Croatia, regardless of religion, sex, political or other views. The Alliance of Yugoslavs was established on 21 March 2010 in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Another pro-Yugoslav organization advocating the recognition of the Yugoslav nation is the "Our Yugoslavia" association (Croatian: Udruženje "Naša Jugoslavija"), which is an officially registered organization in Croatia.
Its main aim is the stabilisation of relations among the Yugoslav successor states.
The pro-Yugoslav non-governmental organization Our Yugoslavia is active on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, its official registration as an association was denied by the Bosnian state authorities.
The probably best-known pro-Yugoslav organization in Montenegro is the "Consulate-general of the SFRY" with its headquarters in the coastal town of Tivat. Prior to the population census of 2011, Marko Perković, the president of this organization called on the Yugoslavs of Montenegro to freely declare their Yugoslav identity on the upcoming census.
The probably most frequently used symbol of the Yugoslavs to express their identity and to which they are most often associated with is the blue-white-red tricolor flag with a yellow-bordered red star in the flag's center, which also served as the national flag of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1945 and 1991.
Prior to World War II, the symbol of Yugoslavism was a plain tricolor flag of blue, white and red, which was also the national flag of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav state in the interwar period.
- Demographics of Yugoslavia
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- Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada
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- Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in Montenegro 2011 Monstat – Statistical Office of Montenegro
- Slovenian census 2002 (in English)
- Croatian 2011 Census, detailed classification by nationality
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- Kako preživeti slavu (in Serbian). Standard. No. 28; 29 November 2006
- Intervju: Magnifico Il Grande. Po domače, Car (in Slovenian). Mladina. Max Modic; 2007/52
- А1 репортажа – Словенија денес (in Macedonian). A1 Television. Aneta Dodevska; 1 January 2009
- Tifa: Navijam za mog Miću (in Serbian). Blic. M. Radojković; 4 March 2008
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