Evolution in Jugoslavia

Courtesy Reuters

THERE are three basic problems in the political life of present-day Jugoslavia, two of them in domestic policy, the third in foreign policy. Together they form the starting point for all our country's political and social efforts. They are, first, to extricate the country from its previous backward state and find the most suitable forms of economic relations based on social ownership of the means of production; second, to continue building a political structure which corresponds to the country's new social and economic foundations; third, to ensure that Jugoslavia's international position is such that she can achieve her aims under conditions of peace and independence and at the fastest possible pace. A brief analysis of these problems may reveal the main features of Jugoslavia's domestic and foreign policy and the interests which shape her relations with other countries, including the United States.


Jugoslavia's Socialist revolution was confronted with two basic tasks. The first was to bring into play the forces which were to grapple with the country's economic, social and political backwardness. The second was to start the process of the Socialist transformation of society, because under the existing conditions it was along Socialist lines, and along Socialist lines alone, that the first question could be solved in our country.

I would like to give a few examples to show how backward prewar Jugoslavia was.

According to the official census of 1921, 80 percent of the economically active population was engaged in agriculture, while ten years later (in 1931) the proportion was still above 76 percent--a figure which remained more or less unchanged until the war. The per capita consumption of commercial energy in Jugoslavia in 1937 amounted to only one-tenth of the average European consumption (not including the Soviet Union) and was 33 times below that of the United States. Thus agriculture, even though backward, primitive and at a very low level of productivity, was the basis of the country's economic life. Agricultural products were exported and industrial consumer goods imported.

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