Croatian Spring (Croatian: Hrvatsko proljeće, also called masovni
pokret or MASPOK, for "mass movement") was a cultural and political
movement that emerged from the
League of Communists of Croatia
League of Communists of Croatia in the
late 1960s which opposed the unitarisation and called for economic,
cultural and political reforms in SFR Yugoslavia and therefore more
rights for SR
Croatia within Yugoslavia. In 1971, the Yugoslav
authorities suppressed the movement by force.
1.2 Political demands
1.3 Economic issues
1.4 Public unrest
6 Further reading
The 1960s and 1970s in
Croatia were marked by a general emancipation
from the Stalinist policies employed in Yugoslavia after World War
II. Despite significant conservative resistance, the country
underwent major reforms, including economic reforms that in 1964/1965
started to introduce a market economy, and the democratization of the
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
League of Communists of Yugoslavia between 1966 and 1969 which led to
giving a bigger role to the Leagues of Communists of each individual
republic and province.
The 1960s also saw the rise of social sciences in the country.
Political science and sociology were introduced to universities
against the resistance of communist hardliners. After studying abroad,
in Western countries, social scientists introduced critical thought to
their home universities, which gradually made them centers of
opposition thought and criticism of the regime, especially in
Zagreb and Belgrade.
After being a target of significant animosity and suppression by the
regime in the 1940s and the 1950s, the Catholic Church's status in
Croatia also improved as a consequence of the democratization of the
country, particularly in the wake of the Second Vatican Council
(1962–65) and the establishment of diplomatic relations between
Vatican and Yugoslavia in 1966. By the mid-1960s, public religious
events were permitted again, and the relationship between the Church
and the state was that of mutual tolerance. The Catholic Church in
Croatia, however, did not take an active role in the national movement
and political events associated with it, even if its leadership was
privately sympathetic with the reformists.
Things were set in motion just nine months after the removal of
Aleksandar Ranković,[further explanation needed] when a group of 130
influential Croatian poets and linguists, 80 of whom were Communists,
published a Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian
Standard Language in March 1967. After 1968 the patriotic goals
of that document morphed into a generic Croatian movement for more
Croatia which received grassroots support, especially
amongst many student organizations which actively started to voice
their support for the cause.
A younger generation of reformer politicians in the republics'
Communist Party organizations gave the movement a momentum in an
effort to overcome the Party monopoly and to expand various civil
rights. The right to take pride in one's history was a prominently
featured topic. This irritated President Josip Broz
Tito's communist government. Among the issues raised was the practice
Yugoslav People's Army
Yugoslav People's Army to send people on mandatory military
service into other republics rather than leaving them in their home
There were also attempts to bring the notion of including Herzegovina
Croatia to the attention of the authorities (similar to the
Croatia that existed within the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia from
1939 to 1941), but this was far from anything that the movement
leaders were proposing. In fact, such red herrings were often used to
denounce the demands related to decentralization and autonomy as
expansionist and ultimately separatist.
In the early days of the movement, the Croatian political leadership
voiced demands for a democratization and decentralization of the
economy, which would have allowed the republic to keep more of the
profits made within Croatia, as opposed to using the income from
tourism and from emigrants to avert economic ruin.
The economic problems in Yugoslavia at the time contributed to
increased economic emigration, and these economic problems
particularly affected Croatia, despite the fact it had been the source
of the majority of the income from tourism and that 37% of all
Yugoslav emigrant workers had come from Croatia.
Croatian economist Vladimir Veselica became known during this period
for writing about the how
Croatia had failed to profit from the
foreign currency that had entered Yugoslavia through Croatia, using a
disproportionately small amount of it. An independent National Bank
Croatia would have allowed for a fairer distribution of profits. By
waiving the right to use the federal bank of Yugoslavia, the republic
would also have to waive its right to use the federal fund for
At the 10th session of the Central Committee of the League of
Croatia held on 15 January 1970, Savka Dabčević-Kučar
presented a quality paper on what she described as petty rhetoric
Croatia was getting harmed in Yugoslavia. Croatian 1968
GDP per capita was 25% above national average, among other positive
Croatia used only 16.5% of the money from the federal
solidarity fund between 1965 and 1970, while the Yugoslav government
used 46.6% mostly for the least developed region Kosovo and
Metohija. Concerns were also raised about the
monopoly of the Yugoslav Investment Bank and the Bank for Foreign
Belgrade on all foreign investments and trade.
Yugoslavia's 1971-75 Five-Year Plan was to be adopted in July 1970 but
was postponed due to inter-republic conflict, high inflation and
administrative reorganization. In the midst of the movement the
Federal Executive Council froze all prices in November 1971 for a
The movement organized demonstrations in 1971 and thousands of Zagreb
students publicly protested.
Three Croatian linguists, Stjepan Babić,
Božidar Finka and Milan
Moguš, published a spelling and grammar textbook in September 1971
called Hrvatski pravopis (Croatian Orthography), rather than the
forced Srpskohrvatski (Serbo-Croatian). It was summarily banned, and
virtually all copies were destroyed. However, a surviving copy found
its way to
London where it was reprinted and published in 1972.
The Yugoslav leadership interpreted the whole affair as a restoration
of Croatian nationalism, dismissed the movement as
chauvinistic and had the police brutally suppress the
demonstrators. In 1971,
Soviet Union leadership
applied additional pressure on Marshall Tito directly by Leonid
Brezhnev and indirectly by its ambassadors to Yugoslavia, to assert
control of the Communist party within Yugoslavia, ostensibly adhering
to the Brezhnev Doctrine.[not in citation given]
After the calls to the student strike, in December 1971 Tito persuaded
to resign some unreliable, in his view, public figures like Savka
Miko Tripalo and
Dragutin Haramija and make a sweep
in Croatian communist party and local administration. According to
Tripalo's estimate, two thousand people were criminally prosecuted in
Croatia in 1972 and 1973 for participation in these events. Among
those arrested at this time were future president of
Tuđman and dissident journalist Bruno Bušić. Others arrested and
convicted include student activists
Dražen Budiša and Ivan Zvonimir
Matica hrvatska members Vlado Gotovac, Marko Veselica,
Šime Đodan, Jozo Ivičević and Hrvoje Šošić. In 1972, more
than 25,000 people were expelled from the League of Communists of
The social and political conservative forces engaged in a repression
that prevented the final reforms that would have made Yugoslavia a
true federation of sovereign republics and provinces, instead reducing
both the Yugoslav political concept and its nomenklatura to a kind of
"real socialism" that lacked potential.
In 1974, a new federal constitution was ratified that gave more
autonomy to the individual republics, thereby basically fulfilling
some of the goals of the
Croatian Spring 1971 movement.
The downfall of the
Croatian Spring marked the beginning of a period
known as the "Croatian silence" (Hrvatska šutnja), in which Croatian
politicians refrained from taking a firmer stance in federal politics,
aligning themselves with the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
This period would last until the late 1980s.
Several student leaders from the
Croatian Spring later emerged as
influential political figures after the collapse of communism. Franjo
Tuđman became the first President of Croatia,
Šime Đodan became a
member of parliament and a one time Minister of Defence, Ivan Zvonimir
Čičak became the leader of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human
Dražen Budiša became the leader of the Croatian Social
Liberal Party. Savka Dabčević-Kučar,
Miko Tripalo and Dragutin
Haramija became founding members of the new Croatian People's Party.
The fourth edition of the Babić-Finka-Moguš Hrvatski pravopis is
used today as a standard definition of the Croatian language, though
other Croatian spelling and grammar manuals have also been published.
^ a b c CPSR 2012, p. 8.
^ Spehnjak & Cipek 2007, p. 260.
^ Spehnjak & Cipek 2007, pp. 260–261.
^ Spehnjak & Cipek 2007, pp. 287–288.
^ a b c d Rusinow, Dennison (October 2012). Translated by Dejan
Jović. "Facilis Decensus Averno". Croatian Political Science Review
(in Croatian). Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. 49
(3): 52–55; 58. ISSN 0032-3241. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
^ a b c d Rusinow, Dennison (September 1972). "Crisis in Croatia: Part
II: Facilis Decensus Averno (DIR-5-72)". American Universities Field
Staff Reports, Southeast Europe Series 19 (5).
^ Matković 2008, p. 1149.
^ a b CPSR 2012, pp. 7-8.
^ Central Intelligence Bulletin, Central Intelligence Agency. 15
^ Central Intelligence Bulletin, Central Intelligence Agency. 29
^ "Babić – Finka – Moguš: Hrvatski pravopis, 1971. (londonac)".
ihjj.hr (in Croatian). Zagreb: Institute of Croatian Language and
Linguistics. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
^ Banac, Ivo (20 November 2011). "Kako su Rusi lomili Tita i slomili
Hrvatsku" [How the Russians pressured Tito and broke Croatia].
Večernji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 20 November 2011.
^ Tripalo 1990, p. 189, cited in Spehnjak & Cipek 2007,
^ Spehnjak & Cipek 2007, p. 281.
^ Spehnjak & Cipek 2007, p. 280.
^ CPSR 2012, p. 9.
^ Petričušić & Žagar 2007, p. 5.
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