Overview of the Milovan Djilas papers
Finding aid prepared by Hoover Institution Archives Staff
Hoover Institution Archives© 2008
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
Title: Milovan Djilas papers
Date (inclusive): 1931-1989
Collection Number: 80128
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material: Serbian and English
Physical Description: 49 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 378 digital image files (20.8 linear feet, .007 GB)
Abstract: Writings, translations, correspondence, printed matter and photographs relating to communism, communism in Yugoslavia, and President Josip Broz Tito.
Creator: Djilas, Milovan, 1911-1995.
Collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Milovan Djilas papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1980, followed by a large increment in 2014.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Milovan Djilas (1911-1995) was a Yugoslav communist leader who subsequently became the first prominent dissident in the history of communist Eastern Europe.
Djilas said that he “traveled the entire road of communism,” from a youthful revolutionary, partisan guerrilla fighter against Nazi invaders of his native Montenegro, to a zealous believer in Stalinism, to complete disillusionment and rejection of a system “capable of destroying nine-tenths of the human race to ‘make happy’ the one-tenth.” Djilas was for many years the closest associate of Josip Broz Tito, the founder of communist Yugoslavia. It was Djilas who Tito sent to Moscow early in 1948 to inform Stalin that Yugoslavia would follow its own national development, outside the Soviet bloc. Soon, however, the relationship with Tito soured as Djilas became increasingly critical of the party and its ideology. In 1954 he was expelled from the party and his government job and, in the following year, put on trial for “hostile propaganda.” Djilas spent the next four decades in either prison or official isolation.
In 1957 Djilas was able to smuggle his manuscript of The New Class to the West. It was published in English by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, which was then owned by the author’s friend, William “Bill” Jovanovich. The book made Djilas famous. Eventually translated into sixty languages and having sold three million copies, it was a devastating critique of the communist system. The New Class resulted in another trial and seven-year sentence for “being hostile to the people and the state of Yugoslavia.”
In 1962, Djilas published Conversations with Stalin, which resulted in another prison term. Let out in 1966, he was allowed to travel and spent time in Britain, the United States, and Australia. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 found him a visiting professor at Princeton. He was highly critical of the Soviets, which on his return to Yugoslavia resulted in the revocation of his passport for the next eighteen years and his living in isolation in Belgrade. The domestic ban on Djilas’s publications was not lifted until 1988, with his full rehabilitation the following year.
The collection contains Djilas’s manuscripts and typescripts sent by him to publisher William "Bill" Jovanovich, both published and unpublished, along with correspondence and related materials. There are more than a dozen book manuscripts and numerous essays and articles for the American and Western press. Djilas heavily annotated and corrected most of the manuscripts by hand. Included is the still unpublished translation into English of his three-volume novel Worlds and Bridges, and the original Serbian manuscript. Djilas considered this novel about the bloody conflicts between the Serbs and Muslims after the First World War his life’s main work. The original acquisition contained a typescript of "Nova Klasa: Kritika Savremenog Komunizma," circa 1957, and a photocopy of a typescript of "Druþenje s Titom," 1980, relating to the communist regime in Yugoslavia and to President Josip Broz Tito. They were published under the same titles (Belgrade, 1990; Harrow, England, 1980). The collection also contains many press cuttings and rich correspondence.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Yugoslavia--Politics and government--1945-1980.
Tito, Josip Broz, 1892-1980.
Rest of collection not yet described