British-Yugoslav Relations from the Baghdad Pact to the Suez Crisis Cover Image
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Britansko-jugoslavenski odnosi od Bagdadskog pakta do sueske krize
British-Yugoslav Relations from the Baghdad Pact to the Suez Crisis

Author(s): Ante Batović
Subject(s): Diplomatic history, Political history, Post-War period (1950 - 1989), History of Communism, Cold-War History
Published by: Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije
Keywords: Yugoslavia; British-Yugoslav Relations; 1955/56; Baghdad Pact; Suez Crisis; Josip Broz Tito
Summary/Abstract: Despite occasional disagreements, relations between Yugoslavia and Great Britain since the end of the Second World War remained relatively good. In the post-war period, Great Britain was rapidly losing its global influence, with the Suez Crisis representing the final blow. Yugoslav criticisms of British moves in connection with the Baghdad Pact and, somewhat later, of the Israeli-Anglo-French intervention in Egypt have been seriously accepted in Foreign Office, although the risk that these frictions could turn into a major crisis in relations between the two countries actually never existed. Yugoslavia did not have direct interest in these events and criticism served Yugoslav politics to show the consistency of its non-aligned policy. Namely, since the early 1950s, Yugoslavia has acquired a special status in strategic deliberations of Western diplomats due to opposition attitude that it took toward the Soviet Union and anti-Soviet influence it exerted on Eastern bloc countries. Strong and independent Yugoslavia remained a priority for the West even after Stalin’s death in 1953, and after normalization of Soviet- Yugoslav relations in 1955. From the military point of view, Yugoslavia was a buffer which protected Italy and partly Austria on the North and Greece on the South from direct Soviet threat and, although outside military blocs, it could expect NATO support in case of a Soviet attack. From the political point of view, Yugoslavia with its specific road to socialism, served excellently to the West in Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia’s influence on Eastern bloc satellite states was not as big as Tito used to stress. However, the fact that the West supported the maintenance of an independent communist Yugoslavia speaks in favour of the fact that Yugoslavia’s influence on events in Poland, Hungary and later in Czechoslovakia nevertheless existed. With its policy that could be described as balancing on the edge, Yugoslavia developed strong international activity during the 1950s. However, it was caused more by Tito’s attempt to protect his independence in relation to the Soviets and also to justify cooperation with the West, then by declared consistency in avoiding alignment in Cold-War blocs. Non-alignment was a good way to reconcile these two contradictions, and although Tito was certainly aware of its shortcomings and relatively small influence on global political events, there remains the fact that he has excellently used the opportunity presented by the situation he faced in 1948 and given Yugoslavia’s modest geopolitical possibilities turned it into a significant international factor, particularly among Third World countries, which it remained until its break-up in the early 1990s.

  • Page Range: 364-380
  • Page Count: 18
  • Publication Year: 2008
  • Language: Croatian