Important Role of former Nazis in Eastern Germany." 

November 21, 1950
Central Files Decimal Number 762B.00

Socialism and National Unity in Yugoslavia, 1945-63: Records of the U.S. State Department Classified Files

Date Range: 1945-1963
Content: 85,002 pages
Source Library: U.S. National Archives


During World War II, Yugoslavia was divided between the Axis powers and their allies. Royal army soldiers, calling themselves Chetniks, formed a Serbian resistance movement, but a more determined communist resistance under the Partisans, with Soviet and Anglo-American help, liberated all of Yugoslavia by 1944. In an effort to avoid Serbian domination during the post-war years, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro were given separate and equal republican status within the new socialist federation of Yugoslavia; Kosovo and Vojvodina were made autonomous provinces within Yugoslavia. Despite the attempts at a federal system of government for Yugoslavia, Serbia played the leading role in Yugoslavia's political life for the next four decades. Yugoslavia remained independent of the U.S.S.R. as Marshal Tito broke with Stalin and asserted Yugoslav independence. Tito went on to control Yugoslavia for 35 years. Under communist rule, Yugoslavia was transformed from an agrarian to an industrial society.

By the last quarter of the 20th Century, Yugoslavia, “the land of the South Slavs,” had become an international metaphor for ethnic strife and political fragmentation. The metaphor was based on diversity in almost every aspect of Yugoslav national life--historical experiences, standard of living, the relationship of the people to the land, and religious, cultural, and political traditions--among the six republics and the two provinces that constituted the federal state.

In spite of ongoing conflict and fragmentation, many aspects of life in the country as a whole underwent significant improvement in the post-World War II period. A fundamentally agrarian society was industrialized and urbanized, and standards of living rose dramatically in most regions after 1945. The literacy rate increased steadily, school instruction in the country's several minority languages became widespread, and the university system expanded. A national health care system was developed to protect most Yugoslav citizens, although serious defects remained in rural medical care. The traditional patriarchal family, once the most important social institution in most regions, lost its influence as Yugoslavs became more mobile and as large numbers of women entered the work force. In these same years, Yugoslavia adopted a unique economic planning system (socialist self-management) and an independent foreign policy (nonalignment) to meet its own domestic and security needs. In these ways, by the 1960s, Yugoslavia had assumed many of the qualities of a modern European state.

This collection features a wide range of primary source materials, including:

  • Instructions sent to and correspondence received by the U.S. State Department
  • U.S. State Department's internal documentation
  • Correspondence between the State Department and other federal departments and agencies, Congress, and private individuals and organizations
  • Telegrams, airgrams, and instructions
  • Inquiries and studies
  • Memoranda
  • Situation reports, translations, special reports, and plans
  • Official and unofficial correspondence
  • Military Intelligence and Command Headquarters correspondence, memoranda, and reports

Socialism and National Unity in Yugoslavia, 1945-63: Records of the U.S. State Department Classified Files provides a wealth of information necessary for research in European Studies, Diplomatic Studies, Global Studies, Political Science, Conflict Studies, and Military History.

An intuitive platform makes all collections on the Archives Unbound platform cross-searchable by subject or collection.

Help us create