Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From partisans to politicians to punks World War II in Slovenia, 1941-2013
by Gashler, Daniel Josef, Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2014, 441; 3683155
Abstract (Summary)

During the Second World War as many as 200,000 people lost their lives within the borders of present-day Slovenia. Most died as unarmed victims of executioners. Of the many ideologies belligerents used to justify this killing (lebensraum, racial purity, Fascism, National Socialism, defense of national honor, anti-Judaeo-Bolshevism, State Socialism, Communism, militant Clericalism...), none matter in present-day Europe: most are taboo and some even illegal. However, rather than forget a period when people were willing to kill for the sake of faulty ideology, Europeans have been telling stories of World War II ever since. The following examines how a collective tragedy has been reimagined into a largely triumphant national narrative in Slovenia. This Communist-era story has been so successfully constructed that many elements of the collective memory of the war remain dominant in present-day Slovenia. Part I of this dissertation describes the battle to direct mass discourses during the war itself, and shows that for Communist Partisans, directing discourse towards the goal of revolution was as important as gaining political control from the occupiers. Part II deals with the dialectic between Communist leaders' desires to create new socialist men and women, and these leaders' willingness to appease their citizens for the sake of maintaining political control. From this symbiosis, elites and masses constructed a collective story of the war that was broadly appealing. The story appealed most to veterans of the war, who used their role as protagonists in it to demand progressively greater financial rewards from the state; these rewards played a major role in finally bankrupting the entire federation. Part III shows that as state institutions began to collapse, the story of the war became a prime target for those who had been opposed to Socialist Slovenia since its inception. In the years since independence, the story of the War has become affiliated with a center-left view of Slovene political issues. As Slovenes deal with regional dissatisfaction with structures of European governance, the story of the war has taken on new meaning as a symbol of the struggle of a small nation against the impersonal forces of global capital.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kansteiner, Wulf
Commitee: DeHaan, Heather D., Pages, Niel C., Schull, Kent F.
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: History
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: European history
Keywords: Memory, Partisans, Slovenia, World war ii
Publication Number: 3683155
ISBN: 9781321571677
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