The Racial Idea in the Independent State of Croatia

Origins and Theory


This book traces the intellectual origins of race theory in the pro-Nazi Ustasha Independent State of Croatia, 1941-1945. This race theory was not, as historians of the Ustasha state have hitherto argued, a product of a practical accommodation to the dominant Nazi racial ideology. Contrary to the general historiographical view, which has either downplayed or ignored the important place of race, not only in Ustasha ideology and politics, but more generally in modern Croatian and Yugoslav nationalism, this work stresses the significant role that theories of ethnolinguistic origin and racial anthropology played in defining Croat nationhood from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Upon the basis of older ideological and cultural traditions, the Ustasha state constructed an ideal Aryan racial type.

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Nevenko Bartulin, Ph.D. (2006) in History, is visiting academic at the Department of International Studies (Croatian Studies), Macquarie University, Sydney. He is the recent author of Honorary Aryans: National-Racial Identity and Protected Jews in the Independent State of Croatia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
"The great contribution of the young historian Nevenko Bartulin is to connect earlier history to the Ustasha without making 1941 seem a necessary outcome [...] a brilliant and original first academic work by a student of European racism."
John Connelly in The Nation, September 2014.


1 Language and race: Croats, Illyrians, Slavs and Aryans
The Indo-Europeans
Pan-Slavism and the Illyrian movement
Yugoslavism and the Serbs of Croatia

2 Ante Starčević: Historic state right and Croat blood
The Slavoserbs and the Vlach question
Blood and race (‘breed’)

3 Race theory in Habsburg Croatia 1900-1918
Germanic rulers, Slav subjects and Asiatic nomads
Racial anthropology: The Dinaric race
Balkan anthropology and Ćiro Truhelka: Fair-haired Slavs and dark-skinned Vlachs
The socio-historical theory of Ivo Pilar: Race and religion
Serbian-Yugoslavist racial ideas
Racial Yugoslavism and the Croatian Peasant Party

4 Yugoslavist and Serbian racial theories in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The trinomial South Slavic nation
The patriarchal Serbian/Yugoslav Dinaric type
The South Slavs and German racial anthropology
Boris Zarnik: Nordic-Dinaric racial admixture

5 Interwar Croatian ethnolinguistic-racial theories
Filip Lukas: The Western-Eastern Croats and the Dinaric race
Milan Šufflay: Croatia as a frontier of the White West
The Iranian and Gothic theories of Croat origins
Croatian racial discourse and the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina

6 The interwar Ustasha movement and ethnolinguistic-racial identity
The Ustasha principles
Ustasha ideology: Croat ethnic-racial history

7 The Ustasha racial state
The national community
The race laws

8 The ideal racial type: The Aryan Croat
The new (old) Croatian man
A cultured warrior nation
The Dinaric race and the Nordic racial strain
The Nordic Slavic-Gothic-Iranian Herrenschicht
The Croats of Catholic and Islamic faith
National Socialist race theory and the Croats

9 The racial counter-type: The Near Eastern race
The Serb-Vlachs
Religious conversion and racial restrictions
The Croatian Orthodox Church
The Jews




Students, academics and lay people interested in the history of race theory and racial anthropology, the history of fascism, and East-Central and Southeast European history.