Brotherhood and unity

Brotherhood and unity

Brotherhood and unity ( _sh. "Bratstvo i jedinstvo"/Братство и јединство, _mk. Братство и единство, _sl. Bratstvo in enotnost, _sq. Bashkim dhe Vëllazërim) was a popular slogan of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia that was coined during the Yugoslav People's Liberation War (1941-1945), and which evolved into both a guiding principle of Yugoslavia's post-war inter-ethnic policy and a national motto of the country. [Mesic, Stipe. 2004. The Demise of Yugoslavia: A Political Memoir. Central European University Press. Pp. 246.]

After the dismemberment of Yugoslavia by Axis forces in April 1941, the occupying powers and their helpers sought to systematically incite hatred among the many national, ethnic and religious groups of Yugoslavia. The creation of puppet states, most notably the so-called Independent State of Croatia, and mass killings of Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is claimed by Yugoslav CommunistsFact|date=May 2008 to have led to attempts by the Serbian bourgeoisie to turn the armed resistance into a fratricidal war.Fact|date=May 2008 Aware that only a liberated Yugoslavia could guarantee national freedom, the Yugoslav Communist Party successfully publicized the brotherhood and unity of Yugoslavia's nations ("narodi") and national minorities ("nacionalne manjine", later renamed to "narodnosti") in their struggle against the fascist enemy and domestic collaborators. The decision of the II. Session of AVNOJ on the federalization of Yugoslavia in 1943 was regarded as the realization of the principle of brotherhood and unity.

After the war, the slogan designated the official policy of inter-ethnic relations in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as embodied in its federal constitutions of 1963 and 1974. The policy prescribed that Yugoslavia's nations (Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Macedonians, Slovenes, Montenegrins) and national minorities (Albanians, Magyars, Romanians, Bulgarians and others) are equal groups that coexist peacefully in the federation, promoting their similarities and interdependence in order to overcome national conflicts and hatred. The policy also led to the adoption of national quota systems in all public institutions, including economic organizations, in which national groups were represented by their republic's or province's national composition.

Throughout Yugoslavia many factories, schools, public venues, folklore ensembles and sporting teams used to be named "Brotherhood and unity", as well as the Ljubljana-Zagreb-Beograd-Skopje highway (Highway "Brotherhood and Unity").

Several prominent persons from former Yugoslavia were convicted for activities deemed to threaten the brotherhood and unity, such as acts of chauvinist propaganda, separatism and irredentism. Among the convicts were the former presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović) and Croatia (Franjo Tuđman), the current Croatian president Stjepan Mesić, Croatian army general of Albanian descent Rahim Ademi and many others. One Kosovo Albanian, Adem Demaci, former agent of the Yugoslav Secret Service UDBA, was imprisoned for almost 30 years for allegations of espionage and irredentism.


* "BRATSTVO I JEDINSTVO", Politička enciklopedija, Beograd 1975.

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