Blumenfeld, Callie


World War II was a total war that lasted from 1939-1945. The war is historically said to have started on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. The war waged on throughout the world, encompassing thirty different countries and involving over 100 million people. In April of 1941, the combined Axis powers invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The invaders created a puppet regime known as the Independent State Croatia and put in place some genocidal policies against the Romanis, Jews, and Serbs living in the country. The Serbian Genocide refers to the widespread persecution of Serbs during World War II. Serbians were subjected to being expelled or ethnically cleansed, exterminated and forced to convert religions. Over 200,000 Serbs were forcibly converted to Catholicism from 1941-1945, greatly altering their social systems through the restructuring of their ideologies.

The Ustase was a Croatian Revolutionary Movement, and its members were responsible for the forced conversion of thousands of Serbs to Catholicism. This group was fiercely Catholic, and they identified Catholicism with Croatian nationalism. The Catholic and Muslim faiths were declared as the national religions of Croatia. Those Serbs that were not practicing the Catholic faith were forced to change their previous ideologies to those deemed relevant to Catholicism. In this way, the day to day activities and social exchanges experienced by the Serbs were totally altered in a negative manner. Everything that these citizens had been raised to believe in and place their faith in was shattered by the implementation of a new faith. The Serbs were forced to worship in unfamiliar settings, and this altered their perspective on reality and society. Forcibly substituting a new type of G-d, a new faith and new beliefs for old ones altered the social interactions that the Serbs experienced daily. Ideology and religious beliefs structure the way that societies view the world, and when these ideologies are changed, the world changes. Serbs were now forced to worship something that they did not believe in and were forced to alter the structure of their lives to understand this new ideology. Serbian society had to restructure the foundation principles of government, business and education in order to accommodate this new ideology, again altering their social environment. The forcible implementation of Catholicism on the Serbian peoples by the Ustase changed their ideologies and their social environment in a negative manner, shifting their daily lives and the very foundation of their society.


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