Anti-Slavic sentiment

Anti-Slavism, also known as Slavophobia, a form of racism or xenophobia, refers to various negative attitudes towards Slavic peoples, the most common manifestation being claims of inferiority of Slavic nations with respect to other ethnic groups. Its opposite is Slavophilia. Anti-Slavism reached its highest peak during World War II, when Nazi Germany declared Slavs to be subhuman and planned to exterminate the majority of Slavic people.[1]

20th century


At the beginning of the 20th century, anti-Slavism developed in Albania by the work of the Franciscan monks who had studied in monasteries in Austria-Hungary.[2] They imitated and transposed the national epics of the literature produced there, as Gjergj Fishta did with his Lahuta e Malcís, but they substituted the struggle against Ottoman Empire with the struggle against the Slavs, propagating anti-Slavic feelings.[3][4] Albanian intelligentsia proudly asserted, "We Albanians are the original and autochthonous race of the Balkans. The Slavs are conquerors and immigrants who came but yesterday from Asia".[5] In Soviet historiography, anti-Slavism in Albania was inspired by the Catholic clergy, which opposed the Slavic people because of the role the Catholic clergy had in preparations "for Italian aggression against Albania" and Slavs opposed "rapacious plans of Austro-Hungarian imperialism in Albania".[6]

Fascism and Nazism

An emaciated male inmate suffering from severe malnutrition at the Italian Rab concentration camp on the island of Rab in what is now Croatia. This Italian concentration camp largely detained Slavs.

Anti-Slavism was notable in Italian Fascism and Nazism prior to and during World War II.

In the 1920s, Italian fascists targeted Yugoslavs, especially Serbs. They accused Serbs of having "atavistic impulses" and claimed that Yugoslavs were conspiring together on behalf of "Grand Orient masonry and its funds". One anti-Semitic claim was that Serbs were part of a "social-democratic, masonic Jewish internationalist plot".[7]

Benito Mussolini viewed the Slavic race as inferior and barbarian.[8] He identified Yugoslavs as a threat to Italy and as competitors over the region of Dalmatia, which was claimed by Italy, and he claimed that the threat rallied Italians together at the end of World War I: "The danger of seeing the Jugo-Slavians settle along the whole Adriatic shore had caused a bringing together in Rome of the cream of our unhappy regions. Students, professors, workmen, citizens—representative men—were entreating the ministers and the professional politicians".[9]

Anti-Slavic racism was an essential component of Nazism.[10] Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party movement regarded Slavic countries (especially Poland, Serbia and Russia) and their peoples as non-Aryan Untermenschen (subhumans), they were deemed as foreign nations that could not be considered part of the Aryan master race.[1] There were exceptions for some minorities in these states deemed by the Nazis to be descendants of ethnic German settlers and not Slavs who were willing to be Germanised.[10] Hitler considered the Slavs to be inferior, as the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, by his own definition, incapable of ruling themselves but instead being ruled by Jewish masters.[11] Because according to the Nazis, the German people needed more territory to sustain its surplus population, an ideology of conquest and depopulation was formulated for Eastern Europe according to the principle of Lebensraum, itself based on an older theme in German nationalism which maintained that Germany had a "natural yearning" to expand its borders eastward (Drang Nach Osten).[10] The drive was focused especially towards the Soviet Union, as it alone was deemed capable of providing enough territory to accomplish this goal,[12] but they reached a much more advanced state in Occupied Poland because of its immediate proximity to Germany. According to the resulting genocidal Generalplan Ost, millions of German and other "Germanic" settlers would be moved into the conquered territories, and the original Slavic inhabitants were to be annihilated, removed or enslaved.[10]

Hitler considered the development of Modern Russia had been the work of Germanic, not Slavic, elements in the nation, but those achievements had been undone and destroyed by the October Revolution.[13]

The Nazis' policy towards Slavs was to exterminate or enslave the vast majority of the Slavic population and repopulate their lands with millions of ethnic Germans and other Germanic peoples.[14][15] To deviate from ideological theories for strategic reasons by forging alliances with Croatia (a puppet state created after the invasion of Yugoslavia) and Bulgaria, the Croats were officially described as "more Germanic than Slav", a notion supported by Croatia's fascist dictator Ante Pavelić who maintained that the "Croatians were descendants of the ancient Goths" and "had the Panslav idea forced upon them as something artificial".[16] Hitler also deemed the Bulgarians to be "Turkoman" in origin.[17]

See also


  1. 1 2 Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.
  2. Detrez, Raymond; Plas, Pieter (2005), Developing cultural identity in the Balkans: convergence vs divergence, Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang S.A., p. 220, ISBN 90-5201-297-0, it led to adoption of anti-Slavic component
  3. Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. Fishta was not uninfluenced or unmoved by the literary achievements of the southern Slavs in the second half of the nineteenth century... the role played by Franciscan pater Grga Martic whose works served the young Fishta as a model... by the writings of an earlier Franciscan writer, Andrija Kacic-Miosic... by the works of Croatian poet Ivan Mazhuranic... the Montenegrin poet-prince Petar Petrovic Njegos... His main work, the epic poem, Lahuta e Malësisë (The Highland Lute),... propagates anti-Slavic feelings and makes the struggle against the Ottoman occupants secondary.
  4. Detrez, Raymond; Plas, Pieter (2005), Developing cultural identity in the Balkans: convergence vs divergence, Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang S.A., p. 220, ISBN 90-5201-297-0, ... substitution of the central motif of the fight against the Turks by that of the fight against Slavs.
  5. Kolarz, Walter (1972), Myths and realities in eastern Europe, Kennikat Press, p. 227, ISBN 978-0-8046-1600-3, Albanian intelligentsia, despite the backwardness of their country and culture: "We Albanians are the original and autochthonous race of the Balkans. The Slavs are conquerors and immigrants who came but yesterday from Asia."laysummary=
  6. Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. Great Soviet Encyclopaedia of Moscow... (March 1950): "The literary activities of the Catholic priest Gjergj Fishta reflect the role played by the Catholic clergy in preparing for Italian aggression against Albania. As a former agent of Austro-Hungarian imperialism, Fishta... took a position against the Slavic peoples who opposed the rapacious plans of Austro-Hungarian imperialism in Albania. In his chauvinistic, anti-Slavic poem ‘The highland lute,’ this spy extolled the hostility of the Albanians towards the Slavic peoples, calling for an open fight against the Slavs".
  7. Burgwyn, H. James. Italian foreign policy in the interwar period, 1918-1940. p. 43. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997.
  8. Sestani, Armando, ed. (10 February 2012). "Il confine orientale: una terra, molti esodi" [The Eastern Border: One Land, Multiple Exoduses]. I profugi istriani, dalmati e fiumani a Lucca [The Istrian, Dalmatian and Rijeka Refugees in Lucca] (PDF) (in Italian). Instituto storico della Resistenca e dell'Età Contemporanea in Provincia di Lucca. pp. 12–13. When dealing with such a race as Slavic - inferior and barbarian - we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy. We should not be afraid of new victims. The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps. I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians.
  9. Benito Mussolini, Richard Washburn Child, Max Ascoli, Richard Lamb. My rise and fall. Da Capo Press, 1998. pp. 105-106.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Bendersky, Joseph W. (2007). A concise history of Nazi Germanyp. 161-2. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., Plymouth, United Kingdom
  11. Geoffrey P. Megargee (2007). War of Annihilation: Combat And Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-7425-4482-6.
  12. Hitler, Adolf (1926). Mein Kampf, Chapter XIV: Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy. Quoting the text: "If we speak of soil [to be conquered for German settlement] in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states."
  13. Joseph W. Bendersky. A history of Nazi Germany: 1919-1945. Plymouth, England, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2000. p. 177.
  14. Martyn Housden (2000). Hitler: Study of a Revolutionary?. Taylor & Francis. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-0-415-16359-0.
  15. Hans-Åke Persson; Bo Stråth (2007). Reflections on Europe: Defining a Political Order in Time and Space. Peter Lang. pp. 336–. ISBN 978-90-5201-065-6.
  16. Rich, Norman (1974). Hitler's War Aims: the Establishment of the New Order, p. 276-7. W. W. Norton & Company Inc., New York.
  17. Hitler, Adolf; Gerhard, Weinberg (2007). Hitler's table talk, 1941-1944: his private conversations, p. 356. Enigma Books. Quoting Hitler: "For example to label the Bulgarians as Slavs is pure nonsense; originally they were Turkomans."
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