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"Macedonia Redux", Eugene N. Borza, page 254

Reader comment on item: Turkey in Cyprus vs. Israel in Gaza
in response to reader comment: MACEDONIA

Submitted by Macedonian1 (Canada), Aug 4, 2012 at 08:57

The development of a Macedonian ethnicity continued apace as an internal phenomenon, During World War 11, the German forces occupying Yugoslavia exploited latent nationalist feelings, most infamously in organizing the fascist Ustashi group in Croatia. Less well known, however, is the German recognition of Macedonian nationalism. When the Allies persuaded Bulgaria to abandon the Axis in the autumn of 1944, the Germans were forced to reorganize the occupation of Macedonia—which hitherto had been under Bulgarian control—and to assume direct occupation themselves. German administration of Macedonia was short-lived, but the fact that Bulgarian postage stamps used in the area were overprinted "Macedonia" in Macedonian suggests that the Germans were consistent in their policy of encouraging local ethnicity in Macedonia, as they had in several other plaices in Europe.

Thus it is clear that Tito did not invent either a Macedonian ethnicity or a Macedonian language—as has been alleged—when he created a Macedonian Republic as a part of the postwar Yugoslav federal state. He rather provided legitimacy and support for a movement that had been under way- since at least the late nineteenth century. Whatever the merits and flaw of Tito's Yugoslavia, it was an experiment in ethnic diversity based on his recognition that the best hope for a unified South Slav state against traditional antagonists was to recognize and encourage ethnic development within the Yugoslav federal system. Tito's imprimatur on a Macedonian state was an attempt to counter traditional Bulgarian influence in the region of Macedonia, From the Yugoslav federal point of view, one of the best safeguards against the Bulgarians, who were traditional enemies of the Serbs, was to give recognition to the Macedonians as a separate south Slavic ethnicity. (As of this writing, the Bulgarians, like the Greeks, still do not recognize the Macedonians as a distinct nationality.) Tito's policy, was the culmination of a process that had been under way for the better part of a century; he provided legitimacy, for Macedonia and accelerated a natural passage of nation-building already well under way.

"Macedonia Redux", Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Frances B. Titchener and Richard F. Moorton, Jr., editors

Page 254


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