Volume 3, 2012
Communism, Nationalism, and State Building in Post-War Europe
20.Oktobar – Narratives of Identities in the Celebrations for Belgrade’s Liberation Day (1945-1961)
The aim of this paper is to explore the relationships and interactions between socialist ideology and national narratives in Tito’s Yugoslavia, focusing on the peculiar case of Belgrade. Taking into account the representative role of the capital city, narratives of identity are analysed from the point of view of the ideology involved and displayed in the celebration of the post-war city’s holiday: the 20th of October, anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation during the Second World War. Using both archival material and reports published in different newspapers as primary sources, the research studies these celebrative practices as an extremely concentrated expression of the state’s ideology but also as occasions of tension and negotiation between different representative meanings: from the attempt of Sovietization of the country – reinforced also by the role of the Red Army in the liberation of the city – to the strengthening of the Yugoslav socialist patriotism after the split between Tito and Stalin and the permanence of Serbian and local identity’s narratives.