UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The motives of the Croatian-Canadian pro-Communist returnees of 1947-48 Mracevich, Milovan


During 1947 and 1948, over a thousand Croatian-Canadians went to Yugoslavia as part of a larger return movement that was organized by the Yugoslav-Canadian pro-Communist umbrella organization, the Council of Canadian South Slavs. The returnees were strongly encouraged to return by the Council and by its related Croatian-Canadian pro-Communist organization and newspaper, and left Canada aboard the Yugoslav vessel Radnik in a series of voyages. Many of the returnees had been in Canada for some twenty years, and quit jobs, sold houses and business assets, and uprooted their families in order to return. This thesis places the Croatian-Canadian pro-Communist return movement within the context of return migration from North America by examining to what extent the returnees' decision to go back to Yugoslavia is explainable in terms of circumstances specific to themselves, and to what extent it reveals forces that were felt by other ethnic groups of the period. This study draws mainly upon interviews with participants in the return movement and upon the Croatian-Canadian pro-Communist newspaper Novosti in concluding that the returnees were motivated by a powerful and complex combination of forces: "traditional" return migration pressures; radicalizing and anti-assimilationist influences that were typical during the 1930s among the followers of the ethnic pro-Communist movement in Canada; Yugoslav wartime and postwar conditions that encouraged and allowed the returnees to go back; and a highly-organized and skillfully-propagandized return movement that both capitalized upon and created a desire for return among the Croatian-Canadian pro-Communists.

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