The Rise and Fall of the Bosnian Republic
The Communists began their resistance to the Axis occupiers and their collaborators in Yugoslavia in 1941 as a marginal political movement, and ended it as masters of the country. This journey required them to pursue a diverse strategy and make numerous compromises. The all-Yugoslav Communist party and Partisan movement provided an umbrella under which the Communist organisations in each Yugoslav land could organise an autonomous Partisan movement, subject to its own conditions. In Bosnia-Hercegovina, this meant waging a Bosnian national-liberation movement that from the start spoke in Bosnian-patriotic terms and championed liberty for Bosnia, and that culminated in the establishment of a Bosnian republic. It meant the Communists had to lead both the predominantly Serb and peasant armed resistance to the Ustasha regime in the countryside, and the initially quieter but ultimately equally significant resistance among the predominantly Muslim and Croat urban population, NDH officials and soldiers and Bosnian elite. The first part of this dual strategy enabled the Communists to build up a powerful Bosnian Partisan army; the second enabled them to conquer the towns and NDH armed forces and bureaucracy from within. Both were ultimately necessary for the Communists to become masters of Bosnia, and both were achieved.
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