Avengers of Bleiburg: Émigré Politics, Discourses of Victimhood and Radical Separatism during the Cold War

Original scientific paper

Mate Nikola Tokić ; Department of International Relations, Central European University, Hungary

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Bleiburg was at the center of a deeply-ingrained national victim-complex that served as an integral component of post-war Croatian émigré identity discourse. This article explores the relationship between this victim-complex and the radicalization of a small but active group of Croatian émigrés in the 1960s. It examines how discourses regarding “Serbo-communist” genocide first at Bleiburg and later within socialist Yugoslavia both radicalized many young emigrants to the West and was used to justify acts of terrorism against the regime in Belgrade. More specifically, the article explores how disputes within the émigré community itself concerning responsibility for Bleiburg contributed to the radicalization process. While not the only factor leading to an embrace of political violence by younger radicals, this generational schism surrounding the memory politics of Bleiburg proved central to the development of a campaign of émigré separatists terrorism aimed at the hated Yugoslav state that lasted more than two decades.

Political Violence; Radicalization; Separatism; Generational Conflict; Émigrés

Hrčak ID: 201783