Djilas, Milovan

Djilas, Milovan mē´ləvän jē´läs [key], 1911–95, Yugoslav political leader and writer, b. Montenegro. A Communist party member from 1932, he helped Josip Broz Tito organize volunteers to fight in the Spanish civil war . He was active in the Yugoslav resistance in World War II and after the war rose to high posts in party and government. As a top political adviser to Tito and an outspoken critic of Russian attempts to bring Yugoslavia into the Soviet orbit, he was widely regarded as a possible successor to Tito. He was about to assume the presidency when, in 1954, he was abruptly dismissed from government service. His support of the Hungarian revolution (1956) brought him a prison term, extended in 1957 when his influential book criticizing the Communist oligarchy, The New Class, was published in the West. Released in 1961, he was jailed again in 1962–66. He also wrote Land Without Justice (1958, repr. 1972), Conversations with Stalin (tr. 1962), The Unperfect Society (tr. 1969), Tito (1980), Fall of the New Class (posthumous, 1998), and a novel, Under the Colors (tr. 1971). Although Djilas welcomed the end of Communist rule in Yugoslavia, he was critical of both Croat and Serb nationalism.

See his Memoir of a Revolutionary (tr. 1973).

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