Milovan Đilas and the British Labour Party, 1950-1960

  • Mateja Režek researcher

Abstract

The article deals with Milovan Đilas’ political transformation presented through an analysis of his connections with the British Labourites, and with the reaction of the Labour Party to the Đilas Affair. After the dispute with the Cominform, Yugoslav leaders tried to initiate alternative international contacts through Western socialist and social democratic parties, considering the most suitable partner the British Labour Party. Official contacts with the latter were established in 1950, the key role in the dialogue with the British Labourites played by the head of the Commission for International Relations, Milovan Đilas. In the aftermath of the Đilas Affair, the once warm relations between the British Labourites and Yugoslav Communists grew rather cool, but the leadership of the Labour Party did not wish to compromise their relations with Yugoslavia, and therefore reacted to it with considerable wariness. Although Yugoslavia remained an authoritarian state under the leadership of the Communist Party, in the eyes of the West it continued to represent a significant factor in the destabilisation of the Eastern Bloc, and the friendly relationship between the Labour Party and the Yugoslav Communists were primarily based on foreign policy interests of the two parties. In the second half of the 1950s, the relationship between the Labour Party and the Yugoslav Communists rested, even more than before, on pragmatic geopolitical consideration and not on ideological affinity; the interest of the British Labourites in the Yugoslav self-management experiment decreased significantly, as did the Yugoslav interest in democratic socialism, the idea that Đilas was so passionate about.

References

Sources and Literature

Archival Sources:

• Archives of Yugoslavia:

- AJ 507, IX, 133/II, Komisija za međunarodne odnose i veze CK SKJ, Velika Britanija.

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Published
2018-12-20