Collection of the Ideological Commission of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia (1956 - 1965)
In the collection of the Ideological Commission of the League of Communists of Croatia (IC LCC) (1956-1965), a number of documents illustrate the IC LCC's view of ideologically inappropriate occurrences in cultural creativity (art, literature, film), the media (the press, radio and television), education and science in Croatia. This commission had the task of monitoring, analysing and directing overall activity in these areas, issuing its directives and establishing staffs in all major institutions and organizations. In this way, it also reacted to ideological currents that did not align with the accepted direction, and it thereby became the deciding factor in cultural policy in Croatia.
Zagreb Trg Marka Marulića 21, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
Ideological Commission of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia (1956 - 1965)
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection, through a multitude of documents, clearly illustrates the role of the League of Communists of Croatia (LCC), and its Ideological Commission in particular, as a crucial factor in overseeing and directing cultural creativity (art, literature, film), the media (the press, radio and television) and ideological activity in education and science in Croatia. All activities that did not comply with Party guidelines and its ideological line were considered a form of cultural opposition. There is mention in the collection, for example, of the “petit bourgeois mentality“ and the "Western understanding of freedom and democracy," as well as a lack of understanding of the proper political line or the absence of a socialist stance.
The Communist Party of Croatia (CPC), i.e., the League of Communists of Croatia (LCC), as part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) was the only ruling political party in Yugoslavia and Croatia during the period of socialism (1945-1990). Its members assumed lead positions in all the fields of state and social life. The confluence of party bodies, public administration, judiciary and the repressive apparatus at that time was deemed natural in and of itself, and the unlimited power of the LCY/LCC was unquestioned. The highest party body in Croatia was the Politburo/Executive Committee (EC) of the Central Committee of the LCC, which issued directives to all lower committees of the Party, but also supervised activities across the whole of society through its many working bodies. One of the CC LCC's working bodies was the Ideological Commission which, with changes in its name, functioned until 1990.
In the COURAGE registry, the Commission's work will be described in the period from 1956, when it was formed, until 1965, when it was reorganized and temporarily sub-divided into several commissions. Although the work of the League of Communists in the field of ideology through its working bodies was undoubtedly important in the subsequent period from 1965 to 1990, because of the overwhelming scope of the archival records, the decision was made to describe the work of this commission over a limited period.
Following the establishment of the Commission on ideological issues of the CC LCY in May 1955, in late April 1956, the Commission on ideological work of the CC LCC was formed. Obviously, after the abolition of the 1952 Agitation and Propaganda Commission and the short period of gradual democratization, the party leadership saw the need for the formation of bodies within the League of Communists to oversee all ideological activity at federal and republic levels.
During the observed period, the Commission changed its name: first it was called the Commission on Ideological Issues, and from 1961 to 1965 it was the Ideological Commission of the CC LCC, which was its most commonly used name. The Ideological Commission of the CC LCC consisted of several members of CC LCC, headed by its chairperson. The composition of the Commission did not remain the same for the entire period of its work, but some members changed. The members were also employed in the most important administrative and judicial bodies, educational and socio-political organizations, institutions and the media in the Socialist Republic of Croatia.
The Commission was a sort of successor to the Agitation and Propaganda Commission, and its jurisdiction included monitoring overall ideological activity in Croatia by analysing phenomena from all areas of social life, and proposing to the LCC Central Committee to adopt the appropriate stance on them. This encompassed culture (film, literature, art), education (primary, secondary and higher education), science, sports, the media (the press, radio and television), the activities of religious communities, especially the Catholic Church and its relationship with the state, Marxist education of the LC membership, and also the staff in the network of institutions under their control. The task of the Commission was to suppress foreign propaganda by both Cold War blocs and also to monitor the expression of specific ethnic traits.
The Party’s directives were conveyed from the center to the lower levels by the Commission itself in a variety of ways. The commission organized ideological action for the wider public through workshops and adult education universities. In broader terms, the implementation of party instructions and directives was carried out through mass organizations: the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Croatia (SAWPC), the People's Youth of Croatia (PYC) and the trade unions, among which LCC worked in especially close cooperation with the SAWPC, which was the top socio-political organization and had several collective members in its group.
Also, through the aforementioned groups of the Commission, direct contacts with cultural workers were achieved and members of the groups gained insight into the conceptual issues of culture by monitoring publications and artistic achievements. The group members also co-ordinated contacts and received materials from the related committees of the SAWPC, CC PYC, the University Committee, the Education Council, the Society of Writers, the Journalists Association, the Information Office, the Council on Culture and Science, the Education Council, etc. The LCC always took care to place its people in all important, in this case, cultural and scientific institutions, in key places, to implement its guidelines.
This Commission's archival records were turned over to the Croatian State Archives (CSA) in 1995 (acquisition 52/1995), following a decision of the Croatian Government, which incorporated the archives of the Institute of Contemporary History, where the archival records were kept until then, into the CSA. The CC LCC archives, including the records of this Commission, were created within the Party organization and were held at the Institute for History of the Labour Movement of Croatia (IHLMC), which after 1990 became the Institute of Contemporary History. The archival records are arranged, described, and treated as a public archive. They recently became completely available for public use, without any restrictions.
Namely, the records of the CC LCC, of which this commission was a part, were only partially accessible for public use until the adoption of the Amendments to the Archives and Archival Institutions Act on May 4, 2017. According to the Archives and Archival Institutions Act (NN 105/97), the Regulations on Use of Archival Records (NN 67/1999) and the Transfer Protocol between the Croatian State Archives (CSA) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) from 1995 and 2008, access to certain record collections was limited. The limitation applied to all documents marked as confidential (classification of the label "confidential" or "strictly confidential") and to a few complete sets of documentation. If researchers wanted to use such materials, the CSA had to obtain written consent from the SDP, whose response was generally negative.
The records of this Commission were regularly used by researchers.
Description of content
The records of the Ideological Commission of the CC LCC in 19 boxes (about ten thousand documents) consist of directives, instructions for work and circular letters of the Ideological Commissions of CC LCY and CC LCC, the minutes and materials from Commission meetings, special meetings and consultations organized by the Commission, operating reports and plans, minutes of meeting materials of the CC LCY Ideological Commission and of communists in certain professions, the files of district and municipal committees and basic organizations of LCC. There are also documents and reports filed by socio-political organizations, institutions and authorities, reports, analyses and information on institutions in the field of culture and the media, then programs of the ideological and political work of educational and scholarly institutions as well as the curricula of political schools. The records are interesting because they show the Commission's stance on suspect cultural and artistic work in Croatia. The members of the Commission, for example, frequently faulted journalists, writers, and employees in cultural, artistic and intellectual circles for their so-called “petit bourgeois mentality“, "Western understanding of freedom and democracy,", and they also resented demoralization, responsiveness, criticism of the policy on the USSR, the dissemination of reactionary jokes, servility to foreigners, and also travel abroad.
The records show how the Ideological Commission of the CC LCC functioned and the influence it wielded in the sphere of ideological direction of overall cultural creativity, education and scientific research, as well as media activities.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- Materials and minutes of the session of the Ideological Commission on the culture sections of daily papers and Radio Zagreb, 1961
- Report for the Ideological Commission's session "About Some Problems of the University's Ideological Work," 1957
- Report on the work of the Commission on Ideological Work of the CC LCC in the period from the 4th to 5th Congresses of the LCC, 1964
- Stenographic Minutes from the Meeting of the Ideological Commission and the Commission on Cultural and Educational Issues of the CC of the SAWPC, 1956
- “The Condition, Problems and Programs of Scholarly Research in the Social Sciences,” study, 1960
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Šarić, Tatjana
- Bonfiglioli, Chiara; Koroman, Boris ur. Socijalizam: izgradnja i razgradnja (Socijalizam na klupi 2015.) (Socialism: the construction and decommissioning (Socialism on the bench). Zagreb i Pula: Srednja Europa i Sveučilište Jurja Dobrile u Puli, 2017.
- Duda, Igor. ur. Stvaranje socijalističkoga čovjeka. Hrvatsko društvo i ideologija jugoslavenskoga socijalizma (Making of the Socialist Man. Croatian Society and the Ideology of Yugoslav Socialism). Zagreb & Pula: Srednja Europa i Sveučilište Jurja Dobrile u Puli, 2017.
- Goldstein, Ivo. Hrvatska povijest 1918. – 2008. (Croatian history 1918 – 2008). Zagreb: Europapress holding, Novi Liber, 2008.
- Horvat, Branko. ABC jugoslavenskog socijalizma (ABC of Yugoslav Socialism). Zagreb: Globus, 1989.
- HR-HDA-1126.96.36.199. Centralni komitet Saveza komunista Hrvatske (1941. – 1990.), Ideološka komisija CK SKH (Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia 1941 – 1990, Ideological Commission of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia
- Koren, Snježana. Politika povijesti u Jugoslaviji (1945. – 1960.): Komunistička partija Jugoslavije, nastava povijesti, historiografija (Politics of History in Yugoslavia (1945 - 1960): Communist Party of Yugoslavia, history teaching, historiography). Zagreb: Srednja Europa, 2012.
- Najbar-Agičić, Magdalena. Kultura, znanost, ideologija. Prilozi istraživanju politike komunističkih vlasti u Hrvatskoj od 1945. do 1960. na polju kulture i znanosti (Culture, science, ideology. Contributions to the Research of the Policy of the Communist Government in Croatia from 1945th to 1960th in the Field of Culture and Science). Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 2013.
- Radelić, Zdenko. Hrvatska u Jugoslaviji 1945. – 1991.: od zajedništva do razlaza (Croatia in Yugoslavia 1945 - 1991: from community to dissolution). Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest [etc.], 2006.
- Risch, William Jay. Youth and Rock in the Soviet Bloc: Youth Cultures, Music, and the State in Russia and Eastern Europe. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014.
- Romijn, Peter; Scott-Smith, Giles; Segal, Joes. Divided Dreamworlds?: The Cultural Cold War in East and West. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012.