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Maspok (after Masovni pokret (Croatian), i.e. Mass movement) or Croatian spring was a nationalistic and a secessionist movement in the Socialist Republic of Croatia, Yugoslavia during the year of 1971. The movement demands were initially around exclusion of Serbian language use and the exclusive use of the Croatian language in Croatia, declaration of Croatia as a national state of Croats and Croatia as a sequel of the medieval Croatian kingdom. The ultimate Maspok goal was independent Croatian state. The Maspok movement was supported by a great part of the Croatian Communists, Croatian republic political leadership, and the Ustaše emigration in the West.

Movement political demands

There were three basic points the Maspok used to attack the Yugoslavia's federal state: distribution of the Croatia's tourism industry revenue in Yugoslavia, the amount of money Croatia contributed to the underdeveloped Yugoslav republics fund and the question of the official Croatian language in Croatia. Maspok demanded recognition of the Croatian language as the official language in Croatia, its exclusive use in education, media, and the state affairs which meant expulsion the Serbian language from Croatia . Maspok insisted on specific nature of the Croats and their culture and the civilization and cultural differences between Croats and other ethnic groups and ethnic minorities in Yugoslavia. The movement, broadly supported by Croats, demanded a separate national Croatian bank, Croatian army, and, separate of the Yugoslavian, Croatian representative in the United Nations. Matica hrvatska (a Croatian cultural organization) and Hrvatski tjednik (Croatian Weekly newspaper) went so far to publish a constitution draft of the new Croatian state.Matica hrvatska published (November 1971) a full list of the Maspok's demands: Croatia defined as the state of Croatian people only, Croatian representative in the United Nations, Croatian national bank and national currency, Croatian army and Croat conscripts serving only Croatian army, Croatian language used in the army, Croatian state affairs, education, and media. Matica hrvatska, at the time the Maspok movement culmination, cancelled the work on the Serbo-Croatian dictionary and rejected the Novi Sad Agreement (about the common Serbo-Croatian language). The Novi Sad Agreement based Serbo-Croatian language orthography was replaced by the Croatian language orthography written by S. Babic, B. Finka, and M. Mogus and printed by the Matica hrvatska the same 1971. year. Zagreb University provided a broad and a public support to the Maspok political demands. The Zagreb University students staged mass demonstrations in Croatia in order to express their support to Maspok.

Maspok development and demise

According to some historians, Maspok was an Ustaše insurgency in Yugoslavia mentored, guarded and supported by Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Miko Tripalo and Pero Pirker, the political leadership of the Croatian Communist League. That time the Croatian Communist League general secretary, Miloš Žanko, publicly denounced the destructive nationalism of Matica hrvatska, Dabčević-Kučar, Tripalo, and Pirker. Žanko, on the Tenth plenum of the Croatian Communists (January 1970) accused Dabčević-Kučar, Tripalo, and Piker claiming that these three worked along with Matica hrvatska against the Yugoslav socialism and on the destabilization of Yugoslavia. By the Josip Broz approval and the Bakarić's help, Žanko was excommunicated from the Croatian Communist League on the same plenum. Another strong opposition to Maspok came from the members of the Zagreb Praxis group (Rudi Supek, Milan Kangrga, most notably).

Some minor actions against Serbs in Croatia were demonstrated by defacing or destroying Cyrillic signs and by outbreaks of violence at soccer matches. The Croatian leadership persuaded Broz that they had the situation under control. When Broz visited Croatia in July 1971 the Croatian anthem was played after the Yugoslav one.

Josip Broz suppressed Maspok and, at the same time, made a great concession to the Croatian nationalism. Broz allowed use of the Croatian language in Croatia and confederalized Yugoslav Constitution in 1974, giving a veto rights to the Yugoslav republics when eventually attempting to change the Constitution. The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution was a source of a great dissatisfaction and concern of the Serbs in Yugoslavia. The Croatian Communist League leadership, Dabčević-Kučar, Tripalo, and Pirker were forced to resign from their state and the Communist League positions and some of the Maspok leaders were arrested and imprisoned. Among the arrested Maspok leaders were Franjo Tuđman and Bruno Bušić.

Broz's persecution of Serbian academia and liberals in other Yugoslav republics

During the year of 1972. Broz removed from the politics and state affairs Serbian Communists Marko Nikezić and Latinka Perović, Slovene Stane Kavčič, and Macedonian Krste Crvenkovski. According to historians, the rule of the for-life Yugoslav President were more dangerous Yugoslav liberals than the Croatian Maspok.

In order to consolate Croatian nationalists, Broz persecuted Serbian academics who pointed at subordinated position of the Serbian people in Yugoslavia. The two leading Serbian intellectuals, Dobrica Ćosić (prominent Serbian writer) and Mihailo Đurić (Belgrade University Law School professor) questioned justification of the Albanian autonomy on the historic Serbian province Kosovo and asked why the Serbs in Croatia did not have any autonomous status, and why Vojvodina had the autonomous status despite the fact that the majority of her inhabitants were the Serbs. These two intellectuals were publicly denounced by the Broz's regime and persecuted. Professor Đurić, seeing the escalation of the Maspok nationalism and secessionism in Croatia, warned that at that time Serbia's status in Yugoslavia was highly discriminatory and that Serbia was mercilessly and unjustly accused for advocating centralism and unitarianism. Đurić warned further that it was forbidden to raise questions about responsibility of those who committed the genocide of Serbian people in the Independent State of Croatia during the WWII. He said that the borders of the Socialist Republic of Serbia are not national nor historic borders of the Serbs in Yugoslavia. The Prof. Đurić trial and verdict were the part of the Broz's regime political equilibrium in the time of the Maspok activity culmination in Croatia and the time of the Maspok's leadership trial and imprisonment.

Croatian Spring and dissolution of Yugoslavia

Croatian Spring played a significant role in the drafting Yugoslav Constitution of 1974. The Constitution paralyzed the federal power of Yugoslavia by shifting the state administrative power to the Yugoslav republics. The Constitution, being insufficiently unclear and already the result of compromises with various nationalist groups in the republics and provinces, was a blueprint for secession.

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