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From Nationalist to Europeanist: the rise and fall of national movements in Slovakia and Croatia

Fisher, Sharon; (2003) From Nationalist to Europeanist: the rise and fall of national movements in Slovakia and Croatia. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Using Slovakia and Croatia as case studies, this work looks at the formation, maintenance, and eventual defeat of national movements in new states. In doing so, it pays special attention to the development of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) and Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) as national movements, examining what the two parties looked like at the time they were established and how they evolved throughout the decade as they responded to new threats and challenges. Because of the policies and rhetoric promoted by the two parties, many analysts have claimed that nationalism was a pivotal element in the establishment and development of the HDZ and HZDS and of Croatia and Slovakia as independent states. Although on the surface nationalism seems to have played a major role, in fact the approach of the ruling parties appeared as much authoritarian as it was nationalist, as everything was subordinated to the state, nation, and ruling parties. Evidence suggests that the ideology of nationalism was simply used by those parties as a tool to build influence and retain power, enabling them to justify the exclusion of unfriendly elements from society. The two parties' national credentials can be called into question because in certain areas - particularly the economy, culture, and foreign policy - the HZDS and HDZ in practice appeared more concerned with the personal gain of party representatives than with fulfilling their promise of promoting the national interest.In the second half of the 1990s, the activities of the independent media, trade unions, and civic associations helped contribute to the development of a more democratically-oriented civil society in Slovakia and Croatia. Despite frequent attacks on them by the HZDS and HDZ, such groups actively pointed out the contradictions between the nationally-oriented rhetoric and self-serving practices of the ruling parties in an effort to bring political change. The political opposition, which was often disunited and ineffective earlier in the decade, finally managed to pull together by the time of the 1998 elections in Slovakia and the 2000 elections in Croatia. Its popularity benefited from the activities of civil society organizations, which helped to ensure that the populations' frustration was not channeled into radical parties or voter apathy, thereby contributing to the nationalists' defeat.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: From Nationalist to Europeanist: the rise and fall of national movements in Slovakia and Croatia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Croatia; Slovakia
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100425
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