Djilas (was: Re: Questions about "Slobo")

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Fri Feb 15 05:05:39 MST 2002

Macdonald asked:

> Wasn't it technically house arrest?
> Maybe I'm remembering things falsely, but the form of repression against
> Milovan Djilas always seemed to support the image of benevolence for Tito,
> weaken it... it would not have been like that in the other European
> where the Communist Party was in power.

I am not an expert. I just did a quick Google search. There is no question
that repressions in Yugoslavia cannot be compred to those in Romania or
Albania. But to say nothing happened to Djilas after the publication of 'The
New Class' is at best an euphemism...

Here is the full Encyclopedia Britannica article:
Djilas, Milovan
born June 12, 1911, Podbisce [near Kolasin], Montenegro [Yugos.]
died April 20, 1995, Belgrade, Serbia
Djilas also spelled Dilas
prolific political writer and former Yugoslav communist official remembered
for his disillusionment with communism. Much of his work has been translated
into English from Serbo-Croatian.
After receiving his law degree in 1933 from the University of Belgrade,
Djilas was arrested for opposing Yugoslavia's royalist dictatorship and was
imprisoned for three years. In 1937 he met Josip Broz Tito, the
secretary-general of the Yugoslav Communist Party, who was to become the
Communist leader of Yugoslavia. Djilas joined the party's Central Committee
in 1938 and its Politburo in 1940. He played a major role in the Partisan
resistance to the Germans in World War II and with the war's end in 1945
became one of Tito's leading cabinet ministers. He was active in the
Yugoslav communists' assertion of their independence from the Soviet Union
in 1948.
In January 1953 Djilas became one of the four vice presidents of the
country, and in December he was chosen president of the Federal People's
Assembly. Within a month, however, his intensifying criticism of the
Communist Party and his calls for increased liberalization of the regime led
to his ouster from all political posts and, in April 1954, his own
resignation from the party. Djilas also received an 18-month suspended
prison sentence. In 1956 he was imprisoned for writing an article in an
American magazine supporting the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
In 1957 Djilas' book The New Class was published in the West from a smuggled
manuscript. It asserted that the typical governing Communists in eastern
Europe were little different from the capitalists and landowners whom they
had replaced; he later renounced this theory in The Unperfect Society
(1969). Rearrested after the publication of The New Class, Djilas was
released in 1961 but the following year was imprisoned again for the
publication in the West of Conversations with Stalin (1962), which was
critical of the Soviet leader. He received amnesty in December 1966 and
thereafter lived in Belgrade.
Among Djilas' best-known works are his four volumes of political
autobiography-Land Without Justice (1958), Memoir of a Revolutionary (1973),
Wartime (1977), and Rise and Fall (1985)-which chronicle his life to the
mid-1960s. Other works include The Leper and Other Stories (1964), the
biography Tito: The Story from Inside (1980), and the essay collection Of
Prisons and Ideas (1986).

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