Yugoslavia


Figure 1.--As Yugoslavia split apart into its contiuent parts (1990s), it makes more sence to archive available images into the countries which now exist. Here there are connections with both Serbia and Macedinia which make archiving here the most sense. We see two Yugoslav boys feeding their pooch (October 1931). The boys are dressed alike except that one boy looks to be wearing knee socks and the other boy long stockings. Actully I think the boys both wear the same stockings, only one has simply rolled down his long stockings. (Notice how they are rolled down rather thn turned over.) We at first though they were French boys wearing berets, but if you look closely you can see that they are wearing sailor caps. The double breasted coats are also a sailor style. This was a snapshot used as postcard. The postmark over the stamp says it was posted October 16, 1931. It was posted from the Serbian city of Sonbor to an address in Krapa in Macedonia. (There were a lot of Jew executed in Sonbor during World War II.) The connection with both Serbia and Macedonia shows how ethnically mixed Yugoslavia was. The message reads, "Love from your aunt and love from my son." We thought that the writing suggested one of the boys wrote it, but apparently it was the mother. Click on the image to see the back.

Yugoslavia was created after the end of World War I (1914-18). It means land of the southern Slavs, uniting various Slavic principalities in the Balkans. It was built around the Serbian Kingdom which had been part of the Allied coalition which won the War. The Slavic populated provinces of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia) were added to form Yugoslavia. Serbia was the dominant component which was resented by the minority regions, especially Croatia. There were also minority non-Slav groups (Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and Kosovars/Albanians.) We do not yet have a page for Yugoslavia which only lasted as a nation for seven decades. We we are working on pages for the modern countries which developed out of Yugoslavia: Bosnia, Croatia Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. All have histories that predate Yugislavia and which now continue after the breakup of Yuglslavia at the end of the Cold War. We also have a page on Kosovo, the future status of which is still undecided. We have a page on Yugoslav history. Yugoslavia disentigrated in the 1990s resulting in a bitter series of internal wars as Serbia attempted to prevent withdrawl of the various constiuent parts. Until Putin with great support by the Russian people invaded Ukraine, these were the last wars in Europe.

Geography

Yugoslavia is a mostly mountaneous country in the Balkan Peninsula. The Julian Alps and Karst are located in te northwest. The Dinaric Alps parallel the Adriatic coast creating a region known as Dalmatia. Mount Triglav is the highest peak. The country is largely drained by the Danube and its tributaries which flows through to Romania and the Black Sea. The principal Yugoslav population centers were the fertile lowlands and along the Adriatic maritime frontage. Yugoslavia unlike serbia had a coasline.

History

The history of Yugoslavia and other Balkan states is less familar to many than the countries of Western Europe. We thus are providing some basic historical information to put the Yugoslav/Serbian royal family in historical perspective. With the decline of the Roman Empire, epic migrations took place, resulting in ethnic mixtures. One of the most important was the movement of Slavic tribes into the Balkans creating the Southern Slavs. After Chistinization, Serbia began to develop as an important Christian kingdom. This changed with the Ottoman defeat of the Serbs (1389) and a 500-year occupation of the Southern Serbs in the Balkans. The Ottomans thus ende the rapid development of the South Slav civilization which at the time was on a level with Western Europe. This separated the Southern Slavs from Christendom just at the time that the West was begnning its remarkavle rise with tthe Renaisance, Reformation, Enlightement and the invention of science. The Balkans became a cultural and technological backwater. The Slavs were subjugated and prevented from publicly using their language and literature and developing their culture. Unlike many other regions coming under Muslim rule, the Southern Slavs mostly retained their religion and their culture, although inflenced by Ottoman rule. Other powers coveted the lands of the South Slavs. The Republic of Venice (later Italy) sought a foothold on the Dalmatian coast. The Austrians and Hungarians moved in from the North and West. Serbia obtained its independence from the Ottomans and became the primary champion of the Southern Slavs. Several Balkan Wars followed leading up to World War I and the formation of Yugoslavia around the Serbian Kingdom (1923). Intellectual ferment, ethic-based political struggle, and internal strife plagued the country in the first two decades of its history (1920s-30s). This ended with World War II and the German invasion (1941). Ethniclly diverse Yugoslavia became one of the horrendous killing fields of the War. The Communist Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, composed of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia was established (1945). Partisan leader Tito was a rare Eastern European Communist to defy Stalin. Although initially a doctraine Communist after freeing his country from Soviet control soon adopted a pragmatic approach to ruling the country. While he supressed ethnic differences, after the fall of Communism, the country imploded along ethnic lines

Economy

Yugosalvia before World War II like the Balkans in general was a largely agricultural country with limited industry. There wasa major economic divide between the mor advanced north (Slovenis and Croatia) and the less developed south (Serbia and Macedonia). This was a basically historical matter. The southern areas were the areas controlled by the Ottomans and liberated by the Serbs (19th century). The northern areas were the areas conrolled by Austria. These economic differences persisted throughout the seven decades Yugosklavuia exisred (1920s-1990s) and were one of the issues leading the the independence wars (1990s). There were some important mineral reources (aluminum (bauxite), coal, copper, iron, lead, mercury, and zinc). The economy was dominated by agriculture, primarily peasant agriculture. There were differences, not geographic based but because Yugoslavia was cobelled together after Worls War I primarily from Serbia and regions of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The economic changes were limited. The econmy continued to be dominated by peasant agriculture. There was some limited industry. And a great feal of what night be called artisan manufacturing. There were in sharp contrast t the post-World War I era, major economic changes after Word War II. The Communist Government immediatelu began implementing a Sovirt model. which seized control of private holdings was an effort to industrialize the country. All industry was nationalized and converted to state ownership. These socialist enterprises had some success, at least within the other largely inefficent countries of COMECON. Few if any could compete with Western cpitalist industrues, but within the Soviet bloc did reasonbly well. The new Yugoslavs Communist Government upon seizing power also began to implement a collectivization process, again following the Soviet model. Tito and his assoociates were committd Communists who believed that Communism and Socialist economics actially worked. Stalin;s efforts to arrest Tito and the experience of runningb the economy, adjusted their thinking. And we have some of the earlist experints with market reforms, albeit minimal. With the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of COMECON, few Yugoslav industries were efficent enough to compete on the world market or against imports from Western countries on the domestic market. The Government following Markist doctine and Soviet practices also began collectivizing agriculture, but the resulting drop in harvest levels convinced authorities to discontinue this process.

Chronology

We have chronological information on Yugoslavia began with its creation in the post World I era (1920s). Before the 1920s, what is now Yugoslavia consisted of Serbia including Macedonia), Montenegro, and areas held by Austria and Italy (Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia). These different agencies became Yugoslav provinces. At the time of Yugoslav. All of these different arras, especially in the south, still had large rural areas where people still dresed in traditional clothing. People in cities wore modern European styles heavily influenced by Germany. The country went through wrenching political change from a royal regime (1923-41), to World War II German occupation (1941-44) to Communist rule (1945-91). And the first Communist years was a Stalinist regime until Tito broke with Stalin (1948) and a more modrate outlook gradually took hold. All of this of course affected socirty and fashion. And there is an extensive photographic record. Many of the available images are not identified. When they are idenified as Croatin, Serbian, Slovenian ect. If so we will archive them there. Once that cannot be so identified we will archive in the Yugoslav section here. Finally the fall of the Berlin Wall led to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and eventually break up of the Soviet Union. The old Coomunist leaders held on for a few years. Their corupt rule only exacerbated nationalist sentiment. This led to the breakup of the country (1991). Serbia's efforts to hold the country together by force led to tragic civil wars. After the break up of Yugoslabia, our coverage under the various independent countries.

Ethnic

The Yugoslav population was primarily Slavic people. The country was known as the Kingdom of the Southern Slavs. 'Yug' mean south in Serbo-Croatian. The Yugoslav population was primarily Slavic peoples, incuding Serbs (40 percent), Croats (25 percent), Slovenes (10 percent), and Macedonians (5 percent). In addition there were non-Slavic minorities: Germans, Hungarians, Italians, and Jews.

Regions

Yugoslavia was created after the end of World War I (1914-18). It means land of the southern Slavs, uniting various Slavic principalities in the Balkans. It was built around the Serbian Kingdom which had been part of the Allied coalition which won the War. The Slavic populated provinces of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia) were added to form Yugoslavia. Serbia was the dominant component which was resented by the minority regions, especially Croatia. Serbian and Coatian nationalism proved to be major dusrupting problems. There were also minority non-Slav groups (Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and Kosovars/Albanians.) We we are working on pages for the modern countries which developed out of Yugoslavia: Bosnia, Croatia Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. All have histories that predate Yugislavia and which now continue after the breakup of Yugoslavia at the end of the Cold War. We also have a page on Kosovo, the future status of which is still undecided. Yugoslavia disentigrated in the 1990s resulting in a bitter series of internal wars as Serbia attempted to prevent withdrawl of the various constiuent parts. Until Putin invaded Ukraine, these were the last wars in Europe.

Garments

Yugoislavia only existed for a relatively short period (1920s-80s) and that was divided between a Royal and Communist era, both of which affected fashions. We do not yet have much information about Yugoslav garments. This is largely due to our limited archive. And also because we have tended to archive images we have found in the constiuent republics because they eventually became the modern independent countries. We now beieve that we should have linked them here as well to give an idea of Yugoslav garments as a whole and many images do not identify the constituent republics. We do not yet have much information on shirts, but we note T-shirts becoming popular after World War II. We note various types of suits. They were the popular styles we see throughout Europe and Amerrica. A good example is a Croatian Kindergarten boy wearing a junior Eton short pants suit in 1959. The garments and styles were influebced by Austrian/German styles. In the early years we still see traditional garments in rural areas of Yugoslavia, especially in Macdeonina and Serbia. We notice a lot of boys wearing suits. We notice short pants suits in the pre-World War II War Royal era. We see some sailor suits, especially in Croatia and Slovenia. We still see some suits in the Communist era. Short pants were commonly worn through the 1950s, but then tended to be more of a casual summer garment. Short pants seem very common. We see some knockers, but they were very common. As was the case in the rest of Europe, long pants gradually became more common in the post-war era.

Activities

Boys of course were involved in a wide of activies. Not a many as modern boys but we see dufferent activities. Historically work was a mjor activity. And this was particularly important as Yugoslavia until after World War II was a still largely agricultural country. The most important activity by the 20th century when Yugoslavia ws created was of course school. The Yugoslavs had a well developed public school system, heavily influenced by the German education system. We have limited information on other activities such as athletics, choir, dance, games, parties, play, sports, youth groups, and much else. We note a range of outings. Visits to parks was popular. Many Yugoslav cities had what are more correctly described as plazas in the town center. This was common in southern Europe and Latin American because of the Portuguese and Spanish colonial period. This is not to say there were not all parks, but plazas were very common.

Religion

Religion was important in pre-World War II Yugoslavia, at least until the Communists seized control of the country and launched an atheism campaign. There were definite differences between the various constituent republics, but the notable aspect of the country was the degree to which ethnicity and releigion were mixed. Bosnia in particular was an ethnic and religious stew of Serb, Croat, Orthodox, Catholic, along with Muslims and a few Jews. Orthodox Christianity was the most important religion (over 40 percent). The religion was heavily determined by ethnicity. Orthodox Christianity dominated in Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Roman Catholocism was next most imprtant (30 percent), concentrated in Croatia and Slovenia. Muslims were concentrated in Kosovo and Bosnia (over 10 percent). There were outbreaks of ethic and religious violence in the area of Yugoslavia, but during the period of Royal Yugoslavia there was relative peace (1918-41). This changed during the Axis occuopation. Led by the Germans and their Croatian allies, the country becnme an ethnic and religious killing field. Yugoslav Jews were largely murdered, often with the aid of the Yugoslav collaborationists. Not only the Jews were murdered. Orthodox Serbs were targeted by the Ustache in Croatia and Bosnia. The Serbs targeted Muslims in Kosovo. The Germans formed Muslim SS groups which tatgeted Serbs and Jews. The ethnic and religious conflict combined with the the Resistance led by guerrilla fighters, Yugoslavia had one of the highest death rates of the NAZI occupied countries. With the advent of the Communists (1945), the importance of relgion in national life significantly declined. Religion wss not banned, but there was an atheist campaign. Proselytization was sharply discouraged, but without the brutality used in the Soviet Union. Monasteries and churches were seen as part of the national heritage. Children were taught about religion in the schools. All religious schools were closed. The lessons on religion were part of history classes. They were taught that religion was a fiction and a way of keeping the peantry happy so they could be exploited. The fall of Communism (1989) resulted in a religious revival, but religion is much less important today than before the War and Communists.

Photography

The history of Yugoslav photography is strongly oriented to the snapshot. This is because the country was not founded until after World War I. It was formaly founded a few years after the War (1923), but actually came into exitence, built around the Serbian monarchy a few years earlier. Thus there is no 19th century photogtaphic history. Of course there is a 19th century photographic history for Serbia and the other constituent Yugoslav provinces. For Yugoslavia itself we have basically a record of snapshots and studio portaits. Many of the pre-Wold War II photographs were done with postcard backs. This included both snapshots and studio portraits. We have found quite a number of Yugoslav photographs. We are not enirely sure that this is an accurate reflection of actual prevalence. A factor here is some active interet dealars. We see less activity in France and Italy. This affects our access to the photographic record. Yugoslavia is located south of Austria and much of the country was Austrian provinces. The photographic industry was strobnly inflenced by Germans. We note many photographic studios in what became Yugoslavia were opened and operated by Germans in the 19th century. This was the general pattern throughout Central and Eastern Europe. And even after Yugoslavia was formed, large numbers of studios continued to be operated by ethnic Germans.






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Created: 12:40 PM 10/15/2016
Last updated: 1:44 AM 3/9/2019