Same Soil, Different Roots: The Use of Ethno-Specific Narratives During the Homeland War in Croatia
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This work looks at the way interpretations and misrepresentations of the history of World War II changed and evolved and their ultimate consequence on the Homeland War in Croatia from 1991 to 1995 between the resident Serb and Croat populations. Explored are the way official narratives were constructed by the communist regime, how and why this narrative was deconstructed, and by more ethno-specific narratives prevailed that fueled the nationalist tendencies of the war. This paper is organized chronologically, beginning with the historical background that puts the rest of the paper into context. The paper also discusses the nationalist resurfacing before the war by examining the Croatian Spring, nationalist re-writings of history, and other matters that influenced the war. The majority of the paper analyzes the way WWII was remembered and dismembered during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s by looking at rhetoric, publications, commemorations, and the role of the Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Churches. Operation Storm, which was the climax of the Homeland War and which expelled 200,000 Serbs serves as an end-point. The paper concludes by assessing the ways in which Serbs and Croats have behaved since the war and following Operation Storm. Some efforts have been made, such as social media initiatives for reconciliation. Some other incidents, however, still harbor the ill will and ethnocentric interpretations of WWII.