This book is the first in Russian to analyze major themes in Croatian history over 1400 years. The history of this small Slavic people, living in the Balkans, South-East Central Europe and on the Mediterranean, is exceptionally complex. Among its features are peaceful and belligerent contacts with many peoples, political partition lasting several centuries, and intermixture with Serbs on some territories. The geography of Croatian lands hindered the development of internal links. Varying dialects, and the politics of Magyarization and Germanization were additional obstacles to nation-formation. Overcoming these is central to Croat history. Uninterrupted contact with the centers of European civilization contributed to the creation of distinctive Croatian culture.
Except for short periods, Croats have struggled for extension of autonomy and full sovereignty. Their resistance for two centuries to Ottoman invasion is replete with heroism. In the 19 th century, under Hapsburg rule, Croats formulated a national ideology. The Yugoslav monarchy, from 1918-1941, despite its contradictory features,offered additional, favorable conditions for the Croat national liberation movement. After attacking Yugoslavia in World War II, the fascist regimes of Germany and Italy created a puppet «Independent State of Croatia» on the territory of Croatia and Bosnia. But Croats, along with other peoples of Yugoslavia, defended freedom against Nazism and national traitors. The authoritarian Yugoslav federation, from 1945-1991, was the last stage in the development of the Croatian people to independent statehood. The book discusses the complex path of the Croatian people in the 20th century.
The author based his study on primary sources from archives in Zagreb and Moscow, on published archival documents, and on research in Russian (including his own), Croatian and other languages.