Jörg Roesler: The influence of fundamental economic change on ethnic rivalries in multinational states: The cases of Yugoslavia and Soviet Union.


In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2012. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 381-388.

Were the ethnic clashes and – in the case of Yugoslavia – even ethnic wars after 1990 the result of long standing rivalries? Had they only been suppressed for decades by the threat of the retaliation of a well functioning police regime? Or was a charismatic leader like Tito able to persuade, temporary at least, these rivalries by his insistence on ‘fraternity and unity’? This article engages with these questions. Previous studies by Calic et.al. and Ihlau and Mayr, which focus on the Soviet case as well as Yugoslavia, give different answers. According to Calic, the disintegration of the Yugoslav federation was the result of the inability of the Yugoslav Communist and the Soviet leadership to cope with the challenges of a post-Fordist society, which ended the period of modernisation as mass (heavy) industrialization – as existed in Yugoslavia from the 1950s and the Soviet Union from the 1930s. According to Ihlau and Mayr, however, the decay of Yugoslavia was the result of long standing ethnic rivalries, which got out of control as a consequence of Tito’s death in 1980. His skilful handling of the ethnic question had not been continued by his non charismatic successors, and thus provoked the outbreak of ethnic wars.

Über den Autor

Jörg Roesler, Dr. rer. oec, geb. 1940 in Berlin, 1959–1964 Studium der Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsgeschichte und Neueren Geschichte, 1968 Promotion, 1975 Habilitation, 2003 Professur. Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (1964–1974) bzw. Forschungsleiter an der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR (1974–1991) in Berlin; 1992–1995 Mitarbeiter des Zentrums für Zeithistorische Forschung in Potsdam (ZZF). Gastprofessuren in Montreal (1992), Toronto (1994/95) und Portland/Oregon (2006). Veröffentlichungen u.a.:

  • Die Herausbildung der sozialistischen Planwirtschaft in der Industrie der DDR, Berlin 1978
  • Zwischen Plan und Markt. Die Wirtschaftsreform in der DDR 1963–1970, Freiburg/Br. 1990
  • Momente deutsch-deutscher Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte 1945–1960. Eine Analyse auf gleicher Augenhöhe, Leipzig 2006