The Bosnian Muslims in the Second World War
The story of the Bosnian Muslims in World War II is an epic frequently alluded to in discussions of the 1990s Balkan conflicts, but almost as frequently misunderstood or falsified. This first comprehensive study of the topic in any language sets the record straight. Based on extensive research in the archives of Bosnia- Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, it traces the history of Bosnia and its Muslims from the Nazi German and Fascist Italian occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, through the years of the Yugoslav civil war, and up to the seizure of power by the Communists and their establishment of a new Yugoslav state. The book explores the reasons for Muslim opposition to the new order established by the Nazis and Fascists in Bosnia in 1941 and the different forms this opposition took. It de- scribes how the Yugoslav Communists were able to harness part of this Muslim opposition to support their own resistance movement and revolutionary bid for power. This Muslim element in the Communists’ revolution shaped its form and outcome, but ultimately had itself to be curbed as the victorious Communists consolidated their dictatorship. In doing so, they set the scene for future struggles over Yugoslavia’s Muslim question.
Marko Attila Hoare is a Reader in history at Kingston University. He has been researching the history of the former Yugoslavia since the early 1990s.
‘…a book no contemporary historian even remotely interested in Yugoslavia will be able to do without in the future. Hoare has reeled in another major catch.’ — Slavic Review
‘Marko Atilla Hoare’s study of the Bosnian Muslims in the Second World War will make a great contribution to our understanding of this complex history… [he] does a very good job of combining the general picture with detailed accounts, while not losing sight of the complexity of events. He is careful to emphasize both the complicated connections between activists of different groups and the frequent blurring of categories.’—Tea Sindbaek, European History Quarterly
‘This is an outstanding piece of work. Written with Marko Hoare’s characteristic lucidity, analytic force and mastery of a huge range of sources, it will not only be the definitive work on this complex topic for a very long time to come; it will also stand as a model of how to construct, “from the bottom up”, the politico-military history of a modern society plunged into conflict.’ — Noel Malcolm, Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
’Marko Hoare’s brilliant and exciting new book addresses two major questions: how was it possible for the Yugoslav Partisans to recreate a state to which the majority of the local people did not owe primary loyalty, and what tactics did they use to win the war? Focussing on the struggle for Bosnia-Herzegovina, it reveals the full complexity of the Yugoslav theatre of World War Two. A must-read.’ — Sabrina P. Ramet, author of The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918—2005
‘Based on an unparalleled command of original documents, Marko Hoare provides an analytically powerful but richly nuanced study of the role of Bosnia’s Muslims in the Second World War. He challenges the prevailing, stereotype-ridden views of a bipolar conflict won single-handedly by the Yugoslav Communists and shows compellingly that the Muslims were decisive in the eventual triumph of Tito’s Partisans.’ — Robert J. Donia, Research Associate at the University of Michigan’s Center for Russian and East European Studies and author of Sarajevo: A Biography
‘The tragic history of Bosnia during the Second World War is a uniquely rugged and challenging historical canvas that demands a special kind of historian. In this magisterial and profoundly involving book, Marko Attila Hoare deploys a dazzling command of documentary resources to unfold a gripping human story.’ — Christopher Hale, author of Hitler’s Foreign Executioners
‘To fully understand the destruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s we need to grasp the circumstances of its creation during World War II. Marko Attilla Hoare has written a brilliant history of this compelling story. Packed with insights into the micro dynamics of civil wars, it reveals not only the centrality of coalition politics in liberation movements but the power of personal relationships, places and the contingencies of courageous resistance amidst diabolical violence.’ — Gerard Toal, author of Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and its Reversal