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Nikola Mijatov, MA
Institute for Contemporary History
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia


THE CASE OF MILOVAN DJILAS AND THE EUROPEAN SOCIALISTS 1954-1958 

Vol. XXXVII, 2/2019, pp. 217–238
https://doi.org/10.29362/ist20veka.2019.2.mij.217-238

 

ABSTRACT/RESUME:

Milovan Djilas, one of the Politburo members specifically responsible for relations with the European socialists, had abandoned Communism and called for the creation of another, social democratic party in Yugoslavia. With the prosecutions of Djilas, social democracy as an idea was also being criticized by the Yugoslav Government. Consequently, the European member parties of the Socialist International intervened on Djilas’s behalf, and indirectly defended social democracy. The British labourists, among them primarily Aneurin Bevan, were mostly involved in the case and the most active in the defense of Djilas. Other parties followed close by with each new trial of Djilas and his imprisonment. Finally, in 1958, after the trial for his book “The New Class,” all of the European socialist parties were united in their criticism of Yugoslavia and the treatment of the now dissident Djilas. The causes were more complex, though. In those years Yugoslavia was building its new Cold War position, later known as the Non-Aligned Movement, and by doing so, distancing itself from Western Europe. The case of Djilas, and the reactions of the European socialists, was merely a reflection of that process. Furthermore, the interventions by the European socialists on behalf of Djilas were a form of specific political pressure on Yugoslavia. Still, the interventions were in vain. Yugoslavia pursued its new role as a non-aligned country and also kept Djilas firmly behind bars.

 

KEYWORDS: Milovan Djilas, European Socialists, Dissidence, New Class

 

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