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Britain, the Cold War and Yugoslav Unity, 1941–1949


Ann Lane is the author of a number of books on southern European history, and teaches at King’s College, London, and the Defence Academy, UK.

In this book, Ann Lane studies Britain’s role in the emergence of Tito’s Yugoslavia, from the German invasion of 1941 until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

Former Yugoslavia was in many respects a microcosm of the complexities of cold war politics in Europe. Simultaneously non-aligned yet ideologically committed, by 1950 it had emerged as an anomalous communist state detached from the Soviet bloc, economically dependent on the West and militarily dependent on NATO, yet diplomatically defiant of formal alliance entanglements. These contradictions were the very essence of cold war politics and given Yugoslavia’s geo-strategic importance this country came to enjoy an important place as a political actor for the cold war’s duration.

Drawing on newly available documentary material from the archives of the UK, the US and the countries of the former Soviet bloc, Ann Lane explores Britain’s entanglements with Yugoslavia‘s civil war and the way in which this experience shaped British thinking about the onset of the cold war in Europe.

Hardback ISBN: 9781898723271
Hardback Price: £45.00 / $67.50
Release Date: May 1996
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by Geoffrey Warner
Foreword by Christopher Cviic

1 Britain in Search of an Ally, 1939–1942
2 Expedients of War: Tito or Mihailovic?
3 Expedients of Peace: the Politics of Yugoslav Unity
4 Yugoslavia between the Allies: Trieste and the Emergence of Cold War Europe, 1945–1946
5 Limited Objectives: Seeking a Balkan Foothold, 1946–1947
6 A New Cold War Perspective: Tito’s Separate Road
7 Limited Commitments: Keeping Tito Afloat, 1948–1949
8 Trieste: Frontier Making in Cold War Europe
9 The Cold War and Yugoslav Unity


Not the least of the merits of Ann Lane's book is that it brings some much needed balance and sanity into this debate.
From the Forewords by Christopher Cviic (The Royal Institute of International Affairs, London), and Geoffrey Warner

A straightforward account of the development of British policy toward Yugoslavia and its rival claimants for power during World War II, and toward the victorious communists before and after the break with the Soviet Union.

There is nothing like a dramatic change in contemporary circumstances to stimulate the rewriting of history. The break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991 with its ensuing fratricide inevitably provoked historians into re-examining the origins of Yugoslavia’s fragility. One aspect of the conflict stood out quite clearly and arguably exacerbated the tragedy. The great powers watched helplessly as Muslim, Croat, and Serb reverted to a tribalism that most observers thought unimaginable in the post-Holocaust era. Critics variously accused NATO and the United States of indifference and irresolution. Yet again the ‘settlement’ of the Second World War was being unravelled as the boundaries were redrawn.
... This exemplarily succinct history of Britain’s involvement in Yugoslav affairs is a major contribution to our understanding of the development of the cold war.
The International History Review

Sheds substantive light not only on British policy, but also on the delicate interplay between the Soviet Union and the US reconstruction in Western Europe. The volume clarifies much speculation about Tito’s communist alliances, his break with the Soviet Union, the support offered to him by the Americans, and the strategic stability Yugoslavia supplied in a notoriously volatile historical period. Book News

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