The Yugoslavs

The inhabitants of Yugoslavia, members of different nations and ethnic groups living on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.


Slogans “Brotherhood and Unity of the Yugoslav Nations and Nationalities” came about during the Second World War, after a slogan of the French Revolution, “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.


In the Socialist Yugoslavia, the slogan brotherhood and unity was used quite often as a part of any politician’s speech or address and as a motto used in any officially celebrated event of the revolution.


According to the 1981 census, the majority who declared to be Yugoslavs lived in Serbia (36%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (26%). According to the 2002 census,  about 80,000 Serbs stated they were «Yugoslavs».


As a nation, Yugoslavs were mentioned for the first time in 1929, when King Alexander declared the Yugoslavs as one nation of three tribes. The idea was based upon identifying a nation with citizenship rather than with particular ethnicity. Due to a strong nationalistic antagonism between the Serbs and the Croats, the expression was not widely accepted.

The Yugoslav concept gained new value in the socialist Yugoslavia, when the new authorities curbed all the feelings of ethnicity for ideological reasons and in favour of the new state and its international links with other communists in the world. The 1961 census recognised Yugoslavs as a separate national category.  The trend saw its highest point in 1981, when the census numbered even 1 million and 200,000 Yugoslavs. Thence on, the number of Yugoslavs started to decline in favour of the renewed national feelings.

Today, the Yugoslav concept is a symbol of nostalgic feelings of those who remember the good old days in the joint country.