Chapter 6. Contested pasts, contested red-letter days

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Commemorations (and counter-commemorations) of the World War Two antifascist resistance movement in Croatia continue to be a source of debates over both political and ethnic identities. This chapter examines the transformation of several red-letter days in Croatia during the post-communist transition, in particular focusing on the content of the speeches given at commemorations. The new official Antifascist Struggle Day (22 June) replaced the former Uprising Day (27 July) after 1990, essentially erasing the latter from Croatia’s commemorative culture because it was considered to be too “Serbian.” The debate over these World War II commemorations, and their significance in contemporary political and ethnic identity construction will be examined by analyzing the discourse of political speeches delivered at the commemorations, the polemics present in a broad spectrum of the Croatian press, and field research (including interviews) conducted at the actual sites of memory.


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