Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dillman, C. Daniel||Villmow, Jack

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geography


Land tenure--Yugoslavia; Yugoslavia--Population; Yugoslavia--Rural conditions


The Vojvodina of Yugoslavia has been historically characterized by a marked diversity in both the ethnic composition of its agricultural population and its land tenure structure. During the past century, political, economic and social forces have brought renewed changes to these rural systems. Three major agrarian reforms have taken place in Yugoslavia within the past fifty years. Following their enactment, rural population composition and land ownership systems in Vojvodina were dramatically transformed. The most pronounced alterations in rural population composition occurred under the reforms instituted at the conclusion of each World War. Land ownership systems were changed concurrently during both post-war periods, but were particularly broad and far-reaching under the socialist reform movements. The findings of the study show that a major aim of the Reform was to strengthen the South Slav element in Vojvodina while lessening the influence of its estate-owning foreign minorities. This was achieved by expropriating land from the large estates while resettling some of its landless and small landed peasants coming from the overpopulated mountainous areas south of the Danube. Bureaucratic mismanagement, along with shortsighted programs caused the reform to fall short of its objectives. The changes brought about however, were basic ones, in terms of the extent to which the rural population and land tenure structure were transformed. The conclusion of World War II marked the emergence to power by the socialist regime which enacted new reforms designed to bring about a socialist transformation of the rural landscape. The Agrarian Reform of 1945 was much broader than its interwar predecessor, bringing even greater changes to the rural systems in Vojvodina. The new government stressed the development of a form of collectivization which closely resembled the Soviet kolkhoz. The collective system was abandoned by the early 1950's due to organizational and operational defects, and due to increased peasant resistance. A new series of reform measures were introduced in 1953, whereby the collectives were reorganized, while at the same time further reducing the maximum limit of private holdings. In spite of these restrictions, private land holdings increased markedly In number and size as more peasants withdrew from the collectives. The mid-1950's was a period of transition during which time government and peasant attitudes alike were changing. The government was in the process of a major policy shift regarding the national economy which included an expansion of its market oriented cooperatives. At the same time the government was trying to win the confidence of the peasant by providing him with vital agricultural services. The peasant was reluctant at first to accept the new system due to earlier held suspicions of socialist planned programs. As the new cooperative system began to expand, the peasantry became aware of the advantages it provided. The importance of collectivization steadily declined as the cooperatives continued to attract participants from the private peasant sector.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes maps.


viii, 117 pages




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