Ideology and Politics of Dimitrije Ljotić and the ZBOR Movement

Kurzydlowski, Christian. 2017. Ideology and Politics of Dimitrije Ljotić and the ZBOR Movement. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The main focus of this thesis focuses on deconstructing and analysing the evolution of the different aspects of Dimitrije Ljotić’s ideological formation to show its relationship to his ZBOR movement and its development until his death in 1945. Ljotić’s ideological development and expression would show a marked syncretic and contradictory nature. This contradiction and incoherence stymies any definitive classification and categorisation of his politics. This creates difficulties in attempting to place ZBOR as a specific mono-ideological movement. This problem of categorisation will be reinforced through identifying and deconstructing the ideology of Ljotić and his ZBOR movement. It also will look at pre-existing ideological discourses that contributed to Ljotić’s ideas, including those of a wider European context of existing anti-democratic, anti-modernist, monarchist, and nationalist currents. The ideological and intellectual course of Ljotić, personified through the existence of ZBOR will be discussed in order to analyse the evolution of his ideology, and to understand the different influences contributing to his ideology as a basis for evaluating ZBOR as a movement. This analysis raises a number of questions. What contextual trends, if any, does the man, his philosophy, and movement represent, and how did they impact political life in interwar Yugoslavia? Where was ZBOR in relation to similar radical right, and fascist movements throughout interwar Europe, and to what extent are they parallel with each other? What was the nature of ZBOR’s ideology and what were its major influences?

A more thorough approach to answer these questions, and indeed to ZBOR, is needed (a) because the subject has not been particularly well-explored among historians (especially in English language historiography) and (b) because of the rise of nationalist ideology and rhetoric in post-socialist Serbia. Through this thesis, the gap in literature regarding the evolution of Ljotić’s ideology, in relation to both the non-fascist radical right and the various definitions of fascism will be explored. This will show that Ljotić’s ideological and intellectual base, while possessing similarities to fascism, also showed differences, allowing for greater ambiguity in interpretation, as evidenced through among others, the terminology of ‘generic fascism’, as defined by Roger Griffin and Stanley Payne. The main contribution of this study to literature is the detailed deconstruction and analysis of the evolution of Ljotić’s ideology and its relevance or relationship to his ZBOR movement. ZBOR will be shown as syncretic, incoherent, and at times contradictory. This thesis provides in-depth discussion of both the political development of Ljotić as a personality, and the development of ZBOR as a movement in relation to Ljotić’s ideology and European trends. Thus, providing an analysis on the ideology of Ljotić and ZBOR with the use of the elements of both political biography and intellectual historical analysis, as represented by Ljotić and ZBOR. The study will show that Ljotić’s ideologies and ZBOR are inevitably interrelated with each other, and linked with a wider pre-fascist ideological and intellectual current. While focusing on Ljotić and ZBOR, this thesis places him and his movement in the wider context of interwar Yugoslavia and interwar Europe with discussions of a wider context of relevant theories. In contrast to other studies that included ZBOR and/or Ljotić, this thesis is different in the sense that the ideological evolution of Ljotić is discussed and analysed, with a focus on the interwar life of ZBOR, rather than relying on ZBOR’s collaborationist stance during the Second World War, as a means of explaining its ideological evolution.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


Fascism, nationalism, collaboration, Dimitrije Ljotić, ZBOR movement, ideology

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Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2017 15:34

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:46


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