15 Pages


When researching Yugoslav documents from the early 1950s, which for the most part have received very little attention from historians of the Cold War, I was immediately drawn to the subject of the normalization of Yugoslav-Soviet relations between 1953 and 1957. The wealth of documental evidence revealed the significance of this process for wider regional and global developments of the early Cold War. The Yugoslav-Soviet normalization had a profound impact on the process of de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, on the relations within the international Communist movement, and on the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. As much as the 1948 Tito-Stalin break up did receive considerable attention, the subsequent period of Yugoslav-Soviet relations remained largely outside historiographical focus. The precious little that has been written on the subject is found either in the studies on the general history of post-1945 Yugoslavia or in several articles addressing Yugoslavia’s role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 written by ex-Yugoslav historians, such as Branko Petranović, Ljubodrag Dimić, Miroslav Perišić, Dragan Bogetić, Darko Bekić and Djoko Tripković.1 Among nonYugoslav historians, Leonid Gibianskii and Johana Granville wrote on aspects of Yugoslavia’s involvement in the Hungarian events of 1956.2 More recently, two books by a Czech, Jan Pelikán,3 and a Russian historian, A. Edemskii,4 addressed the issue of Yugoslav-Soviet relations after 1953. Although a welcome and valuable contribution to the understanding of the subject, both studies, however, are focused on the early phase of the process of normalization, up to Tito’s June 1956 trip to the USSR. Pelikán’s attention is centred on relations between Yugoslavia and the Eastern European countries in the early 1950s. Furthermore, both authors obviously lacked access to a number of important Yugoslav documents, in particular those found in the Archives of President Tito, which are crucial for the understanding of Yugoslav-Soviet relations during this period. Edemskii’s presentation ends before Tito’s visit to the USSR in June 1956. In my opinion, it is impossible to understand the multifaceted aspects of the process of the normalization between Moscow and Belgrade without understanding the reasons behind its breakdown, in particular the impact and consequences of Tito’s visit and the dramatic deterioration of Yugoslav-Soviet relations after November 1956.