Yugoslavia is occupied by Axis forces from Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary. In Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Nazi regime established the quisling state NDH – Free State of Croatia under the formal leadership of the extremist Croatian splinter group Ustascha. In Serbia, which is occupied by German and Bulgarian troops, there is a fascist quisling regime under Dimitrije Ljotićbuilt. The establishment of concentration camps and the mass murder of Jews, Roma and Serbs in the area of the NDH led to a spiral of violence and counter-violence. It takes the form of an armed conflict between Croatian Ustaše, Serbian-royalist Chetniks and the increasingly dominant partisan movement of the communist Yugoslav party under its leader Josip Broz Tito, as well as the fight of the partisans and partly the Chetniks against the occupying powers. With the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht in 1944 and despite the subsequent invasion of the Red Army, the Yugoslav communists in Yugoslavia were the only ones in Eastern Europe to achieve power on their own, and not as a result of Soviet occupation. Under Tito’s leadership the 2nd Yugoslavia, the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, is founded, which is later renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY); it consists of the 6 republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Tito will later be elected President for life. The old bourgeois parties were quickly ousted and a one-party regime based on the Stalinist model was established. Serbia gets
According to businesscarriers, the Yugoslav communists’ refusal to allow themselves to be degraded to a Soviet satellite state, as in the rest of Eastern Europe, led to Belgrade’s historic break with Stalin in 1948. Out of the necessity of international isolation, the regime begins the path to its own socialism, which is later dubbed workers’ self-government socialism. From 1950 onwards, reforms began towards the co-determination of workers in the state-owned companies that were being transferred to “company property”. The collectivization of agriculture is given up after the first resistance from the farmers and private land ownership is tolerated. The centralized power in Belgrade in the party and state apparatus is gradually being decentralized to the level of the republics and autonomous provinces. In the 1960’s, Yugoslavia, including Serbia, went through a liberal phase in politics, business, science and the media. Yugoslavia is experiencing rapid modernization from an initially heavily traditionally agrarian society to an increasingly modern industrial society. Both together make that Yugoslav way of life.
But the development of an alternative socialism remains relative. The decentralization of power in an initially largely agrarian and uneducated society does not lead to the propagated democratization, but to the authoritarian concentration of power at the party-state level of the federal units, which strengthen the centrifugal forces in Yugoslavia. At the same time, many of the economic irrationalities of the Soviet planned economy remain. The regime makes do with pragmatic, “anti-socialist” solutions such as opening up to the capitalist West, western loans and opening up to 1 million Yugoslav guest workers in the end to Western Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland etc.), whose family transfer payments stabilize the country socially without the structural problems of Yugoslav socialism finding a solution. Following the Soviet model, ethnicity is instrumentalized and promoted from above in socialist nationality politics as an instrument for building a new society, through the initially purely formal federal state structure and the affirmation of previously marginalized ethnic groups to peoples with equal rights such as the Macedonians and the Bosnian Muslims. In the development of the more liberal Yugoslav socialism, however, ethnic nationalism is abused by the republic leaders to strengthen their power, which in the experimental phase of the 1960’s brought Yugoslavia to the brink of collapse.Croatian spring Tito deposed the liberal party and state leaderships in Croatia and Serbia; at the same time, in 1974, the last Yugoslav constitution laid down the decentralization of power and competencies from the 1960’s. Serbia’s position within Yugoslavia is characterized by the fact that the republic is the only one to remain directly identified with the idea of Yugoslavia due to its specific institutional structure, while at the same time – apart from the brief phase under the liberal party and state leadership – no affirmation of republic statehood develops. Kosovo, in which, after the suppression of the Albanian majority population in 1966, the dominance of power shifted from the Serbs to the Albanians, is experiencing the increasing strengthening of its independence without this institutionally,
In 1980 the head of state and party leader Marshal Tito dies. In 1981 riots broke out in Kosovo, where political demands for republic status for the autonomous Serbian province were taken to the streets – the beginning of the open systemic crisis of socialist Yugoslavia.