Milovan Djilas and Vladimir Dedijer: Power and Dissent in Communist Yugoslavia

Wynes, Benjamin (2017) Milovan Djilas and Vladimir Dedijer: Power and Dissent in Communist Yugoslavia. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis focuses on the careers of Milovan Djilas and Vladimir Dedijer - the only men in the communist world who, at the height of their power, repudiated the system they helped install. Taking a largely chronological approach, the thesis presents the roles of both men in establishing and then undermining communist rule in Yugoslavia. Fundamental change in any society does not occur without the introduction of new ideas. More than any other work in the field, this thesis emphasises the link between the changing ideologies of both men and political developments within Yugoslavia.
The study also represents the first effort at comprehensively analysing the roles of both men in power and dissent. Much of the existing literature has taken a hagiographical approach, focusing on their fall from power in 1954. By taking a more holistic and critical stance, the thesis cuts through some of the vague heroic aura that currently surrounds the figures of Djilas and Dedijer, instead seeing them as products of a particular web of personal, societal and cultural circumstances.
While the thesis is a historical case-study of both men, it makes contributions to other fields such as: dissidence in communist regimes, the role of ideas in driving societal change, politics in multi-ethnic societies, and the (mis)interpretation of history for ideological purposes. Using published memoirs and primary sources, the thesis reconstructs the lives of Djilas and Dedijer. Its main originality is in presenting new sources and offering new interpretations of the roles played by both men in the analysed period. It also corrects some misconceptions in the debate about how the Yugoslav communists dealt with their country’s problematic past after 1945, and the extent to which ‘liberal’ pro-Yugoslav intellectuals undermined the communist state, paving the way for nationalists to emerge in the 1990s.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Bruce Beckett
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 14:20
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2021 00:45


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