Yugoslavia was constructed, promoted and sustained by a combination of international and transnational forces. Nothing remotely resembling the state as it had been imagined either in 1918 or 1945 ever existed. Just as Europe’s history is much more than a history of nations and nation-states,1 so too is Yugoslavia’s history much more than the history of a state in isolation. Yugoslavia was never outside the strategic and diplomatic orbit of European and global politics. In this book I have exposed the hollowness of the exceptionalist approach to Yugoslav history. Exceptionalism focuses not simply on Yugoslavia’s difference from European historical trends but on its fundamental incompatibility with them and its allegedly unique experience of particular phenomena, such as nationalism, and events, such as the Second World War. Throughout I have emphasized the role of outsiders in the construction of Yugoslavia and how their perceptions of its various political and national actors influenced perceptions of the state as a whole. From the outset Yugoslavia was deemed a necessary state, one that would promote peace and stability in the region dubbed the ‘powder keg’ of Europe. Over time, the Yugoslavs themselves began to take greater prominence in the construction of this history, as was evident in the Second World War.
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