Friday, 23 June 2017

The construction of children's literature during the Yugoslav first five-year plan.


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

reading lists.

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,

1945: 11-12).

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

Yugoslav anniversaries.

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

of readers:

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

perfect harmony.

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 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

children's consciousness.

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.

The end.

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

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Article Info

Received: April 04 2017

Accepted: April 18 2017

Berislav Majhut (*)

(*) Full Professor, PhD, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Teacher

Education, Email:

(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.'sliteratureduringtheYugoslavfirst...-a0494585402

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