The radical elimination of bourgeois children's literature in
1945, coupled with the need to start educating children in a new
Communist spirit, created in Yugoslavia a huge gap that could not be
filled with the works of local authors. These are the reasons for a
strong reliance on the massive translation of Soviet children's
literature. Soviet children's literature compensated for the lack
of tradition in certain literary genres and provided to Croatian (at
that time, Yugoslav) children's literature narrative models. At the
same time, it provided guidelines and correctives to social practices.
While highly socially engaged works of children's literature by
local authors were published before World War II, following the war they
were revised and adjusted to new circumstances. In a similar manner, the
translations of Soviet authors published before World War II were
retranslated and ideologically adapted. After World War II, the books by
Soviet authors made up more than half of all published books. The
Russian origin of a book confirmed its ideological correctness, so that
even Russian manuals for growing fruits and vegetables, related to a
different climate, were translated. However, after the 1948 the break-up
of Yugoslavia with the Soviet Union, children's literature was
affected by a wave of revisionism. Although books were still translated
from Russian (as Yugoslav production still did not reach the satisfying
levels), only those that could fit in the new Yugoslav situation were
selected for translation. The works translated earlier were thoroughly
revised in order to be compatible with the new circumstances. Therefore,
not only did the Communist ideology radically change the picture of
children's literature but also continually revised its own
production in line with the changing circumstances. Under the Communist
regime the task of adjusting timeless works of art to the special needs
of a particular political moment was never completed, and thus these
literary works could never acquire their final form.
Keywords: Soviet children's literature, Yugoslav
children's literature, ideology in children's literature,
ideological adaptations of translated literature, Croatian
children's literature after Second World War
In 1947, Viktor Cvitan and Dragutin Frankovic published a booklet
titled What Should My Child Read? (Sto da cita moje dijete?) containing
a list of books recommended as good reading for children and youth. The
list of 196 books contained a hundred books by Soviet authors and eight
by Russian authors. Seven years later, in 1954, Ljudevit Krajacic
published a booklet titled Let us Offer Children a Good Book (Da jmo
djeci dobru knjigu) that had a similar purpose. Krajacic recommended 166
titles, among them eleven works by Russian authors, and not a single one
by Soviet authors. The aim of this paper is to shed light on what
occurred in the seven-year span between 1947 and 1954 with Soviet
translated literature in former Yugoslavia. In other words, our aim is
to examine the way Soviet translated literature made from absolute
domination to its complete disappearance from Yugoslav school required
In former Yugoslavia, the end of World War II and the victory of
the National Liberation Army did not entail only the victory over
Fascism and Nazism but also the victory of the social revolution. New
circumstances and the building of a socialist society created an urgent
need to educate new generations in the communist spirit. Something
unprecedented was occurring: a new soci ety was being built, a society
that completely denied tradition, instead of using it as its basis. The
past was denounced as a deceptive manipulator in the service of the
governing class and could not be used as a groundwork on which a new
reality would be built.
In our country, to educate means to revolutionize, that is to
emancipate the manner of the child's thinking from the technical
customs of thinking determined in the past, to emancipate it from
delusions. At the basis of these delusions lies a centuries-old
experience of a conservative life, based on a class struggle and an
ambition of individuals to protect themselves and to fix individualism
and nationalism as "eternal forms" and laws of social life.
The education of children should be organized in such a manner that
from their early childhood children are resolutely, even when playing,
forced t o suppress conscious and unconscious desires for the past.
To be more precise, the entire aristocratic and burgeois past and all
its fundamental values should be rejected. What is valid for the whole
of society should be valid for children's literature, as well (Gorky,
The attitudes expressed by Gorky were embraced in Croatian/Yugoslav
practice. In children's and youth literature, entire genres
vanished: classical fairy tales, trivial adventure novels, books with
religious content. After a fierce attack in the Yugoslav daily Borba
(Combat), the cartoon was considered Western consumer goods.
In February 1948, the manager of the Municipal Library in Zagreb
submitted a report on the reorganization of the library's
collection of books. The library conducted the reorganization of its
collection in order "to become a genuine library for the
people". The purging of the library's collection, which
contained 70,000 book copies, was carried out in March 1947.
All harmful and worthless books had to be removed from the library...
[...] About 16,000 copies of various no-good, reactionary,
ideologically uncommitted, atrocius, pseudo-scientific literature,
were eliminated from the library's collection. (Kancijan, 1948: 47)
However, in addition to the disappearance of entire literary
genres, a large number of authors also vanished, either because they
were banished from public life or were even physically eliminated. A
list of authors for children who were allowed to publish contained about
ten authors. Therefore, owing to the urgent need to provide adequate
reading for children, who had to be raised in the new, communist spirit,
there appeared an enormous gap that had to be filled with appropriate
content. The only viable solution was t o rely on those who had already
had more experience with similar problems: Soviet children's
literature. In almost no time, the libraries and bookshops were flooded
with books for children by Soviet authors. This made it possible to
satisfy a need for large production of books that were published in
printing runs of 15 to 20 thousand copies and printed in several
editions. In addition, this made it possible to satisfy a need for
literary models that could be followed by Croatian authors and used as
models in practical life.
In the years following World War II, the unquestionable authority
of the Soviet Union was essentially indispensable. The victory of the
communist Soviet Union over Nazi Germany provided legitimacy to the
Yugoslav communist regime in the eyes of the majority of the population,
who were either apolitical or highly frightened and antagonistically
disposed towards the communist government. Such a mood was, inter alia,
a result of decades-long propaganda that represented communists as the
greatest social evil. In the eyes of the skeptical or indifferent local
population, the powerful Soviet infrastructure, able to produce
thousands of tanks and aircraft and crush the German military machine,
provided legitimacy to the Yugoslav Communist Party that had no
experience in managing a peacetime economy. Therefore, in the post-war
period, the Sovietization of Yugoslav society, which aimed to become a
communist society, was indispensable and had to be conducted on all
levels: not only on the strategic level of society management but also
on the level of everyday life .
A good illustration of this might be found in the schedule of
holidays to be celebrated in schools, which was published in
People's Education (Narodna prosvjeta) on January 18 , 1946. Of 15
days that were marked as holidays, six referred to Soviet holidays, two
to international holidays, four to Croatian anniversaries and three to
Libraries were also deeply involved in carrying out their
educational tasks. In addition to the "passive" imposition of
the Soviet content through the selection of books available in libraries
and their prominent status in various exhibitions organized by
libraries, Soviet books were "actively" pushed into the hands
The activity of librarians--agitators is evident in the following
episode: a 15-year old boy, asked for The Idiot by Dostoevsky, as he
had no idea what to choose for reading and the title intrigued him. At
last, he was glad to leave the library with How the Steel was Tempered
under his arm (Kancijan, 1948: 48)
At the time when Yugoslav literary heroes had not yet entered the
scene, i.e. prior to 1953 (1), giving prominence to Soviet heroes and
their superiority over other literary heroes was sorely needed in
children's literature. For example, Son of the Regiment (Sin puka),
a novel by Valentin Kataev, first published in the Soviet Union in 1945,
was published in Yugoslavia in 1946. Its hero, Vanya Solntsev, an orphan
adopted by the military unit at the frontline, was a perfect literary
realization of the child-hero, a concept which, though very present in
Yugoslav society in the Best Home Improvement College Station years following World War II, was not depicted
in literature. A large number of children joined Partisan units during
the war. After the war they were perceived in the same manner as during
the war: as being equal to adults.
War victors and those who took up the task o f building a new
society imposed the picture of the child they created during the war:
this is a picture of the child-hero who performed war tasks even in the
fiercest battles. In the new circumstances, during the period of the
post-war reconstruction, this child stood shoulder to shoulder with
adults during the reconstruction of the country.
Pioneer units were formed with the aim of taking part in the
reconstruction that was under way all over the country. The image of the
heroic child, a relevant participant in society, is particularly
noticeable in the pioneer press. The first pages of children's
magazines were most often reserved for resolutions and reports from the
congresses of the Alliance of the Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (Savez
komunisticke omladine Jugoslavije) or the Communist Party of Yugoslavia
or for addresses by the Party leaders. The lexis, syntax and
ar gumentation used in these articles were not in the least different
from those used in articles addressed to adult readers.
However, a considerably larger number of children had not taken
part in war operations but had lived their lives in urban or rural
environments. It was urgently necessary to introduce these children to
their new social role and to provide them with heroes they had to look
up to. Large masses of children, who could not be easily influenced by
political speeches and meetings, or various forms of pressure or
promises of a better social status or employment, had to be mobilized.
To a certain extent, this was achieved through school curricula.
In the circumstances of war poverty, the easiest and most efficient
way of mobilizing children was to offer them mental dolls of love and
hate. These mental dolls offered protection in inhuman conditions in
which such childre n lived. Often, the only crutches the child could rely
on in the struggle for survival were, on the one hand the personalities
of loved commanders or of Comrade Tito and on the other, the
personalities of demonized inhuman enemies. However, in the post-war
period, such mental dolls proved to be a highly efficient means of
mobilizing the children who were not involved in war operations. They
were also taught how to love Comrade Tito on the one hand and how to
"relentlessly hate" other protagonists they became familar
with at school, in particular in the classes of native tongue and
history. To whom was this "relentless hate" targeted? From
1945 to 1947, "towards enemies of the homeland, towards all those
who try to destroy our national-liberation struggle"; in 1948,
"towards the enemies and oppressors of the working people"; in
1950, "towards all that is reactionary and inhuman"; i n 1951,
"towards the enemies of our homeland and destroyers of peace";
in 1956, "towards imperialists and other enemies of our socialist
However, in order to be able to efficiently love and relentlessly
hate, one has to take a certain standpoint, to take over a certain role,
identify with a particular character, from whose position one can love
and hate. In an article by Croatian children's writer Danko Oblak
How Vojkan Defeated Winnetou (Kako je Vojkan pobijedio Vinetua),
published in 1947 in Pionir (The Pioneer), a boy called Vojkan stands in
a bookshop. Suddenly, he imagines that popular literary characters from
the children's books lying on the bookshelves have become real
people involved in a fight.
"But you cannot give real adventures, exciting and true adventures",
says angrily "Son of the Regiment" and steps, along with "Druzina Pere
Kvr zice", in front of Old Shatterhand. "Look at him? Nothing but an
idle vagrant. What a gun he has, an ancient cannon! And look at my
brand new machine gun, it can fire 70 bullets at a time. I'll kill you
all like flies! The Apache stirred. Their eyes flashed with a
belligerent glow... (Oblak 1947: 12.)
In this fictional direct confrontation the characters from trivial
literature (such as Winnetou) are completely inferior to the machine
guns of the heroes of Soviet children's literature. While
Croatian/Yugoslav literature could not offer protagonists who could
inflame children's imagination and make children identify with
them, such heroes could be found in Soviet literature. Soon Timur and
His Squad (Timur i njegova ceta) by Gaidar, Boy with Narva Frontier
(Djecak iz Narve) and Pantelijev were published (2). Soviet novels
provided protagonists who could be used as literary depictio ns of the
child-hero or its derivations, such as pioneers, boys from semi-military
collectives or collectives similar to the military. The main idea in
Gaidarov's novel Timur and His Squad (3) is that Timur and the boys
he organized into a closely knit gang are doing good deeds and
protecting families whose fathers and husbands are in the Red Army.
Pionir (1947)6:1 published a picture of young people working on the rail
tracks, accompanied with the following text: "Let us organize full
and continuous help to the families of the youth who take part in youth
worker brigades and go to work on the youth rail track Samac - Sarajevo.
Let us help their families to cultivate their fields and farms."
However, at the beginning of 1948, the relations between former
Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union suddenly changed for the worse.
According to Bilandzic's interpretation (see Bilandzic 1985: 151
and further), the conflict was caused by Stalin's ambitions to
achieve complete control over Socialist countries and consolidate his
position in the aggravated Cold War circumstances. Stalin managed to
control the countries in which the Red Army defeated Nazism. However,
Yugoslavia, where by the end of World War II the resistance movement
grew into the Yugoslav People's Army, a respectable military power,
expected equality and partnership relations among communist countries.
The conflict escalated with the Resolution of the Communist Information
Bureau (Cominform) adopted on June 28 1948. The Resolution stated that
due to complete misconduct of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav
Communist Party, the Yugoslav Communist Party was expelled from the
union of brotherly Communist Parties. The Yugoslav Communist Party was
called to dismiss its Central Committee and elect a new
internationalistically oriented leadership.
On its Fifth Congress held in Belgrade from July 21 to July 28
1948, the Yugoslav Communist Party rejected the qualifications of the
Cominform. Suddenly, the warm brotherly relations of Yugoslavia and the
Soviet Union became so tense that they were on the verge of an armed
conflict. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia was in a great trouble. That
the situation was serious is evident from the fact that all segments of
society were mobilized, even the Pioneers' Union. The magazine for
children, Pionir, on the cover page of its issue published on August 15
1948 had a picture of children bathing and jumping to the sea. The
second page had a full page portrait of Comrade Tito, "the
Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Yugoslavia". Below the headline "Long Live the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Yug oslavia led by Comrade Tito"
there followed a list of all members of the Central Committee, a list of
all candidates for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Yugoslavia and a list of the members of the Central Revision Commission.
On the fourth page (4) a speech delivered by Comrade Tito after the
election of the members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
of Yugoslavia was printed:
Long Live the Communist Party of Yugoslavia! (A long and loud applause
and chanting Tito-Party).
Long Live the Soviet Union led by the great Stalin (A long applause
and several rounds of chanting Stalin-Tito. All the delegates rise and
sing The Internationale) (Pionir (1948)14: 4).
This period was marked with the concept of the child-hero. In other
words, the child was perceived as a little adult and the children's
magazine addressed children as if they were adults. However, at no point
were the motives and purposes of the Communist Party Congress hinted at.
No clue was given that the reason for the Congress is the attack of the
Soviet Union and the countries of the people's democracy against
the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. On the contrary, readers of Pionir
must have been convinced that the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia lived in
In the field of children's literature, "a long applause
and chanting Stalin-Tito" resonated for some time, at least for a
year. Only in the middle of 1949, the authorities mustered the courage
to speak about what really occurred in the relations with the Soviet
Union. An article published in June 1949 in Pionir (5) may be a good
illustration of how great the shock and collective trauma were:
You knew that we were under attack by imperialists because they lost
control, b ecause the society that we build, eradicates any form of
abuse and fights for peace and socialism. But at school you learnt
different things about the socialist state, the Soviet Union, about
the countries of people's democracy and it must have come as a
surprise that the attacks against our country and the Party came from
these countries. It has been a year since the historical Congress of
our Party [the Fifth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia,
held from 21 to 28 July 1948], which gave a decisive and clear answer
to all slenderers, which proved that Yugoslavia was able to build
socialism relying on its own powers. [...]
Among other things, some leaders in these countries are saying that
our Party raises the children to hate the Soviet Union and other
peoples, that it teaches them to love only their own people. The love
of our pioneers towards the Soviet Union , its Army, and Soviet
pioneers need not be explained http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/topics/remodeling in many words (6).
At the third meeting of the Cominform held in November 1949 a new
resolution titled "Yugoslav Communist Party run by murders and
spies" was passed. One of the conclusions reads:
The spy group led by Tito, Rankovic, Kardelj, Dilas, Pijade, Gosnjak,
[...] represents the enemy of the working class and peasants, the
enemy of the people of Yugoslavia (Bilandzic, 1985: 160).
At this time, the Yugoslav Communist Party had already conducted
the most brutal purges of all its members who gave any sign that they
might have any understanding for the attitudes expressed by the
Cominform. The notorious detention camp on the island of Goli was opened
and according to some statistics about 40,000 people were detained
there. One of the theses of this study is that, despite the radical and
brutal destalinization of Yugoslav society, prompted by the
confrontation between the communist parties in the Cominform and the
Communist Party of Yugoslavia, this process ran considerably slower and
more discreetly in children's literature. Thus, after the split
with the Cominform, titles by Soviet authors continued to be published
until 1951, when the publishing of the books by contemporary Soviet
authors was abruptly stopped and publishers shifted their focus on
publishing of world and Croatian/Yugoslav classic works. The leadership
of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia managed to resist the pressures and
remained in power. Having rejected the thesis that there is only one,
Soviet road, towards a classless society, Yugoslavia announced it would
take its own road to socialism, according to which the state-owne d
property became social ownership and workers' self-management was
introduced. In art, the doctrine of social realism was rejected, in
particular after the legendary speech of Miroslav Krleza at the Congress
of Yugoslav Writers in Ljubljana in 1954. The process of destalinization
of the Party and Yugoslav society was unrelentless and rigorous.
However, on the surface, in particular in the children's world
these processes were considerably slower and mitigated. Thus, at the
same time when Yugoslav writers responded to Soviet writers (January 15
1949) and their criticism that the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist
Party betrayed the interests of the working class and international
proletariat, Pionir in its issue of January 1 1949 published an article
(7) with a picture of Stalin surrounded with children. The text below
the picture reads: "In the Soviet Union, man is highly appre ciated
and that is why enormous attention is paid to the education and life of
man. Pioneers have the opportunity to enjoy various entertaining
activities, since the Bolshevist Party and Stalin take care of it. Every
citizen of the USSR takes loving care of the life of pioneers, as they
are seen as future adults that will be able to build Communism."
(Pionir (1949)1) (8).
It is evident that the developments in the relations between
Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union ran at two speeds: at the faster speed
in the adult world and at the slower speed on the level of
The first book by Sergei Mihalkov to be published in Croatian
translation was The Red Neckerchief (Crvena marama), a drama piece
published on June 30 1949. Elena Prokhorova defines the literary efforts
of Sergei Mihalkov in the following way: "If the subject of
Mihalkov's works is sta te iconography, the target is the child who
is learning the fundamental lexicon of the empire and its everyday
practices." (2008:288) Therefore, at the time of the fiercest
attacks of Stalin against the Yugoslav Communist Party leadership, Novo
pokoljenje (New Generation), the largest Croatian publisher of
children's literature, published a book by a children's author
who was Stalin's ideological follower. Taking into account general
circumstances at the time, it is hardly possible to interpret this as
ignorance or an oversight of the publisher. In particular, if we know
that in the following year, 1950, another book by Mihalkov, A Special
Task (Posebni zadatak), whose aim also was to glorify Stalin, was
published by the same publisher. These decisions must have been brought
with the blessing of the Party leadership, with the aim of sending the
message that there were no deviation s from the Communist road and that,
through the messages inculcated in children, the Yugoslav and Soviet
future were fundamentally linked.
The Red Neckerchief is a drama piece devoted to the 25th
anniversary of the Organization of Young Pioneers ([TEXT NOT
REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) that was established on May 19 1922. Therefore,
it abounds in ideological axioms. For example, in Dunja's
Neckerchief (Dunjina marama), a story by Danko Oblak, Dunja is a
pre-school child. She has an 11-year old brother, Bojan, who no longer
wants to wear a blue neckerchief, a symbol of belonging to pioneers
since some older boys mocked him that he was a kid. Dunja is distressed
because of this and at the end of the story she manages to convince her
brother that it is important to wear a blue pioneer neckerchief.
However, in Mihalkov's drama piece, the reader learns that the
pioneer neckerchief is "part of our red communist flag"
(Mihalkov1949:83), and that to be a pioneer means that one wants to
become a communist. So it is completely unclear how Bojan's blue
pioneer neckerchief fits into this.
Mihalkov's drama piece is actually an answer to the question
what constitutes "a happy childhood". A happy childhood is not
about "eating bottled fruit, going to the cinema every other day
and going to the seaside every summer" "(56). Happiness is
when you become what you want to become. "(57)! Some time ago, in
capitalism children had to work hard and had no opportunity to become
what they wanted to become. In America, if you are born as a black, you
are not a human at all. In the Soviet Union, however, irrespective of
the material status of your family, or even if you have no family, the
state will help you to make your dreams come true. It is enough that you
have a wish. That is why at the admission ceremony for new pioneers the
cheers "Young pioneers, be ready for the Lenin-Stalin cause!
Hurray! " are heard. (131)
Let us now sketch the third period, in which children's
literature by Soviet authors lost its unquestionable authority. In 1952,
Croatian editor and poet, Grigor Vitez, referring to the past years
noted: "In the years following our Liberation we had an unusually
large number of translated foreign books for children, almost
exclusively by Russian authors: publishers were of the opinion that
choosing these works they could not fail in terms of the purity of ideas
expressed. Thus, in addition to truly valuable works, quite a number of
works which were of average, or even poor, value were translated and
published." It should be noted that Vitez refers to "the
purity of ideas expressed" which made it possible to translate and
publis h even low quality works, without any questions raised.
In the period of the Sovietization of Croatian/Yugoslav
children's literature every word of Soviet authors was piously
absorbed. Works by Soviet authors depicted the reality that was desired
by the Yugoslav Communist regime. On the other hand, the works of
Croatian/Yugoslav socially engaged authors who wrote before World War II
were republished in the post-war period and had to be adapted to the
demands of the new reality. Let us quote several randomly selected
examples: Poletarci, a novel by Josip Pavicic, published in 1937, had to
be completely adapted before it was republished in 1949. In a similar
way, Deca Velikog Sela, a novel by Mate Lovrak, was first published in
Belgrade in 1933 and underwent considerable changes in its first
post-war edition in 1946.
Books by Western authors were censored and adapted to the needs of
Yugoslav Communist society. Thus, Bambi, Heroes of Paul Street,
Winettou, and Heidi were heavily adapted, with no guilt feelings on the
part of publishers. In the period after 1951, books by Soviet authors
shared a similar destiny, this time because of different ideological
motives. The attitude towards Soviet authors was deprived of the respect
characteristic for the period of Sovietization.
The whole process from the glorification of Stalin to radical
destalinization may be revealed if we examine the translation of Son of
the Regiment, a novel by Kataev, and a drama piece under the same title.
In 1947, Belgrade-based Prosveta published a translation from
Russian of Son of the Regiment: a drama piece in three acts. At the very
end Enakiev dies on the stage and addresses his last words to Vanya.
Enakiev: Thank you!... Vania, come here, lean to me, listen what I am
going to tell you. You were a good son of the scouts. You were a good
son of the artillerymen. You were my dear, good son. But, in the first
place, always and everywhere, you must be a true son of your
mother--your Fatherland! You must be a true son of the best son of our
Motherland--the great STALIN!... [...]
Enakiev: Vanjusha! Go! Go! .Bravely, the bugle calls! Bidenko, give
him a hand, help him! Go, Vania! Step bravely forward! ..
Vania and Bidenko climb the ,,stairs of the Suvorov Military Academy."
Banners, trumpets, music.
In this drama piece, as in the novel published a year before,
Stalin's leading role in war is repeatedly emphasized. Thus, in the
Croatian translation of the novel from 1946 the artillerymen yell:
Fire on damned German soil--fire!
Hold on! Fire!
For the Motherland! For Stalin! Fire!
Death to Hi tler! Fire! !" (Kataev, 1946: 104) (9).
Both in the Serbian edition from 1973 and the Bosnian one from
1971, the words ,,For Stalin!" are omitted.
At the end of the novel Son of the Regiment, the commander of the
regiment presents Vanya with the captain's shoulder straps from the
uniform of his beloved dead captain Enakiev, telling him " But,
listen: always and everywhere in the first place you must be a true son
of your mother--your Motherland! You must be a true son of the best son
of our Motherland--the great STALIN!" (128).
In all the editions of Son of the Regiment published after 1948 the
words of the best son of our Motherland--the great STALIN!" were
In later editions, the entire end of the novel full of pathos is
completely changed. At the end of the novel, Vanya climbs the staircase
decorated with red flags to meet an old war general.
It was hard for him to run. But the old man gives him a hand. The old
man is clad in a grey military coat, laid over the shoulder, in boots
with spurs and a diamond star on his chest, a grey lock over his
beautiful, frowned forehead. He takes Vanya by the hand and leads him
up the staircase to the top, where among the potrgani war banners from
four victorious wars, stand Stalin with a brilliant marshall star,
glittering and glowing under his army coat.
Under the flat brim od the cap protruding, blinking eyes look at Vanya
with a demanding expression. But under the dark moustache Vanya
notices the firm and fatherly smile and it seems that Stalin is
telling him:"Come on, shepherd boy. Step lively!" (Kataev, 1946: 132).
In the later editions, the entire end of the novel (from the words
"It was hard for him to run...") is omitted. To conclude, we
have portrayed three periods in the reception of Soviet children's
literature in Croatia/Yugoslavia: a) the period of strong Sovietization
of Yugoslav children's literature that lasted from 1945 to 1948.
This period was marked with a strong presence of Soviet authors, whose
works provided models both for the future literary production and for
everyday practices (demobilization of children who participated in the
war, the organization of the Pioneers' Union, the relations between
pioneers and the youth; b) the period of cooling in the relations with
the Soviet Union that lasted from 1949 to 1950. In this period, the
number of the books Home Improvement College Station by Soviet authors decreased but still the minimum of
relations with the Soviet Union were maintained; c) the period after
1951, when the works by Soviet authors were published again, but they
lost the status of authority which provides model s for literature and
everyday life. Rather, the choice of the books, as well as the
interventions into the texts, show that the main concern was to adapt
them to the demands of the reality, as shaped by the Communist regime in
In histories of Croatian children's literature, overviews of
the decades following World War II are scantily written. As a rule,
overviews of this period boil down to the pejorative qualifications of
the propaganda literature, lacking any wish for a closer analysis.
Usually, the later period of children's literature spanning from
1956 is analyzed, without the critical examination of the prior period,
an exceptionally turbulent and unprecedentedly experimental period. As
if the later period was not built on the groundwork of the prior,
suppressed time. How can we, then, really understand the later period
built up on the previous one and al l the later periods if we do not try
to critically examine the beginning?
*** (1946). Plan i program za strucno usavrsavanje nastavnika
osnovnih i opsteobrazovnih srednjih skola za godinu 1946/47. (The Plan
and Program for Professional Development of Teachers in Primary and
General Education Secondary Schools for the Year 1946/47).
*** (1948). Film "Crvena marama" (The Film "The Red
Neckerchief). Pionir (20), 10.
*** (1948). Govor druga Tita na zavrsetku kongresa (The Closing
Speech of Comrade Tito at the Congress). Pionir, (14), 4.
*** (1949). Odgovor jugoslovenskih knjizevnika sovjetskim
knjizevnicima F. Gladkovu, N. Tihonovu i drugima (Reply of Yugoslav
Writers to Soviet Writers F. Gladkov, N. Tikhonov and others). Brazda,
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Received: April 04 2017
Accepted: April 18 2017
Berislav Majhut (*)
(*) Full Professor, PhD, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Teacher
Education, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) The first Croatian war n ovel for children, Pirgo by Andelka
Martic, was published as late as 1953. It was followed by Modri prozori
(Blue Windows) by Danko Oblak, published in 1958, and Courier from Psunj
(Kurir s Psunja) by Gabro Vidovic, published in 1959.
(2) A large number of other works by Soviet authors appeared. For
example, My Dear Boys (Moji dragi djecaci) by Lav Kasilj, Hearts of the
Brave (Srca smjelih) by Kotov and Ljaskoski, Adventures of a Little Boy
(Dozivljaji "malog") by Likstanov, etc.
(3) The novel was published in Belgrade in 1946 by Nopok publishing
house, and readers of Pionir could learn about this new book in issue
39, p. 10.
(4) On page five a speech by pioneer Brane Markovic, leader of the
platoon "Danilo Jaukovic" held at the Fifth Congress of the
Party was printed.
(5) Even after 1949 in children's literature the connection
both with the Soviet Union and Stalin was retained.
(6) Pionir (13-14), pp. 3 Pero Ivacic: At the Anniversary of the
Fifth Congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party.
(7) This was the last article in Pionir devoted to Stalin.
(8) In the same issue of Pionir the Resolution of December 16 1948
on the merging of the Association of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia and
the People's Youth of Yugoslavia into one organization was
published. Actually, this meant that all youth in Yugoslavia were
communist. The system, feeling endangered, tried to take over absolute
(9) Both in the Croatian and Serbian editions from 1946 all
references to Stalin were retained.