Anti-Slavic sentiment, also known as Slavophobia, a form of racism or xenophobia, refers to various negative attitudes towards Slavic peoples, the most common manifestation is the claim that the inhabitants of Slavic nations are inferior to other ethnic groups. Anti-Slavism reached its peak during World War II, when Nazi Germany declared Slavs, especially neighboring Poles to be subhuman (Untermensch) and planned to exterminate the majority of Slavic people.[1]

20th century


At the beginning of the 20th century, anti-Slavism developed in Albania by the work of the Franciscan friars[citation needed] who had studied in monasteries in Austria-Hungary,[2] after the recent massacres and expulsions of Albanians by their Slavic neighbours.[unreliable source?] [3] The Albanian intelligentsia proudly asserted, "We Albanians are the original and autochthonous race of the Balkans. The Slavs are conquerors and immigrants who came but yesterday from Asia."[unreliable source?][4] In Soviet historiography, anti-Slavism in Albania was inspired by the Catholic clergy,[citation needed] which opposed the Slavic people because of the role the Catholic clergy[citation needed] and Slavs opposed "rapacious plans of Austro-Hungarian imperialism in Albania".[5]

An emaciated male inmate suffering from severe malnutrition at the Italian Rab concentration camp on the island of Rab in what is now Croatia. This camp largely detained Slavs (primarily Croats and Slovenes).

Fascism and Nazism

Anti-Slavism was a notable component of Italian Fascism and Nazism both prior to and during World War II.

In the 1920s, Italian fascists hated the Yugoslavs, especially the Serbs. They accused the Serbs of having "atavistic impulses" and they also claimed that the Yugoslavs were conspiring on behalf of "Grand Orient Masonry and its funds". One anti-Semitic claim stated that the Serbs were involved in a "social-democratic, masonic Jewish internationalist plot".[6]

Benito Mussolini considered the Slavic race inferior and barbaric.[7] He believed that the Croats were a threat to Italy because they wanted to seize Dalmatia, a region which was claimed by Italy, and he also claimed that the threat rallied Italians at the end of World War I: "The danger of seeing the Jugo-Slavians settle along the whole Adriatic shore had caused a bringing together in Rome of the cream of our unhappy regions. Students, professors, workmen, citizens—representative men—were entreating the ministers and the professional politicians."[8] These claims often tended to emphasize the "foreignness" of the Yugoslavs by stating that they were newcomers to the area, unlike the ancient Italians, whose territories were occupied by the Slavs.

Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini's son in law, and the Foreign Minister of Fascist Italy who was later executed by Mussolini, wrote the following entry in his diary:[9]

Vidussoni comes to see me. After having spoken about a few casual things, he makes some political allusions and announces savage plans against the Slovenes. He wants to kill them all. I take the liberty of observing that there are a million of them. "That does not matter." he answers firmly.


In Canada, many xenophobic white supremacists were deeply tied to their nation's "Anglo-Saxon" culture, specifically from the early 1900s to the end of World War II. The Ku Klux Klan in Canada was prominent in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, both of which have a relatively high Eastern European ethnic population. Immigrants from Ukraine, Russia and Poland were frequently denounced and targeted.[10]

During World War I, thousands of Ukrainian Canadians were seen as "enemy aliens" as Canadian nativists saw them as a "threat" to Canada's Western European heritage. Due to this, many of them were interned in concentration camps. There was constant discrimination towards Ukrainians who recently immigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[11]

Nazi Germany

Anti-Slavic racism played a significant role within the ideology of Nazism.[12] Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party held the belief that Slavic countries, particularly Poland the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia, as well as their respective peoples, were considered non-Aryan "Untermenschen" (subhumans). According to their viewpoint, these Slavic nations were deemed to be foreign entities and were not considered part of the Aryan master race.[1][failed verification]

Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf was openly anti-Slavic. He wrote: “One ought to cast the utmost doubt on the state-building power of the Slavs.” and from the beginning, he rejected the idea of incorporating the Slavs into Greater Germany.[13] There were exceptions for some minorities in these states which were deemed by the Nazis to be the descendants of ethnic Germanic settlers, and not merely Slavs who were willing to be Germanized.[12] Hitler considered the Slavs to be racially inferior, because, in his view, the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, by his own definition, incapable of ruling themselves but were instead being ruled by Jewish masters.[14] He considered the development of modern Russia to have been the work of Germanic, not Slavic, elements in the nation, but believed those achievements had been undone and destroyed by the October Revolution,[15] in Mein Kampf, he wrote, “The organization of a Russian state formation was not the result of the political abilities of the Slavs in Russia, but only a wonderful example of the state-forming efficacity of the German element in an inferior race.”[16]

Because, according to the Nazis, the German people needed more territory to sustain its surplus population, an ideology of conquest and depopulation was formulated for Central and Eastern Europe according to the principle of Lebensraum, itself based on an older theme in German nationalism which maintained that Germany had a "natural yearning" to expand its borders eastward (Drang Nach Osten).[12] The Nazis' policy towards Slavs was to exterminate or enslave the vast majority of the Slavic population and repopulate their lands with millions of ethnic Germans and other Germanic peoples.[17][18] According to the resulting genocidal Generalplan Ost, millions of German and other "Germanic" settlers would be moved into the conquered territories, and the original Slavic inhabitants were to be annihilated, removed or enslaved.[12] The policy was focused especially on the Soviet Union, as it alone was deemed capable of providing enough territory to accomplish this goal.[19] As part of this policy, the Hunger Plan was developed, and it included the seizure of all of the food which was produced on occupied Soviet territory and the delivery of it to Germany, primarily to the German army. The full implementation of this plan would have ultimately resulted in the starvation and death of 20 to 30 million people (mainly Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians). It is estimated that in accordance with this plan, over four million Soviet citizens were starved to death from 1941 to 1944.[20] The resettlement policy reached a much more advanced stage in Occupied Poland because of its immediate proximity to Germany.[12]

For strategic reasons, the Nazis deviated from some of their ideological theories by forging alliances with Ukrainian collaborators, the Independent State of Croatia (established after the invasion of Yugoslavia), and Bulgaria. Yugoslav general Milan Nedić would also lead Nazi Germany's Serbian puppet government.[21] The Nazis officially justified these alliances by stating that the Croats were "more Germanic than Slav", a notion which was propagated by Croatia's fascist dictator Ante Pavelić, who espoused the view that the "Croats were the descendants of the ancient Goths" who "had the pan-Slavic idea forced upon them as something artificial".[22][23] However, the Nazi regime continued to classify the Croats as "subhumans" despite its alliance with them.[24] Hitler also believed that the Bulgarians were "Turkoman", while the Czechs were Mongolians in their origins.[23] After conquering Yugoslavia, attention was instead focused on targeting mainly the nation's Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) population.[21]


Traditionally,[when?] in Greece, Slavic people were considered "invaders who separated the glory of Greek Antiquity, by bringing an era of decline and ruin to Greece – the Dark Ages".[25] In 1913, when Greece took control of Slavic-inhabited areas in Northern Greece, the Slavic toponyms were changed to Greek, and according to the Greek government, this was "the elimination of all the names which pollute and disfigure the beautiful appearance of our fatherland."[26]

Anti-Slavic sentiment escalated during the Greek Civil War, when Macedonian partisans, who aligned themselves with the Democratic Army of Greece, were not treated as equals and suffered discrimination everywhere, they were accused of committing a "sin" because they chose to identify themselves as Slavs rather than Greeks.[27] The Macedonian partisans were subjected to threats of extermination, physical attacks, murder, attacks on their settlements, forcible expulsions, restrictions on freedom of movement, and bureaucratic problems, among other discriminatory acts.[27] Although they were allied with the Greek Left, due to their Slavic identity, the Macedonians were viewed with suspicion and animosity by the Greek Left.[28]

In 1948, the Democratic Army of Greece evacuated tens of thousands of child refugees, both Greek and Slavic in origin.[29] In 1985, the refugees were allowed to re-enter Greece, claim Greek citizenship, and reclaim property, but only if they were "Greek by genus", thus prohibiting those with a Slavic identity from obtaining Greek citizenship, entering Greece, and claiming property.[30][31]

Today, the Greek state does not recognize its ethnic Macedonian and other Slavic minorities, claiming that they do not exist, with Greece therefore having the right not to grant them any of the rights that are guaranteed to them by human-rights treaties.[32]


Main article: Romania–Russia relations

Romanians, largely surrounded by Slavs, have sometimes manifested anti-Slavic sentiments. Tsarist Russian occupations (1739, 1769, 1806, 1828, 1853), perceived Russian, Soviet and Transnistrian occupations of Bessarabia (1812, 1878, 1940, 1990), squabbling over Dobruja with Bulgaria in the 19th and 20th centuries, and disputes with Ukraine over Snake Island provide instances. Romania became caught up in German slavophobia during World War II, invading the Soviet Union alongside other Axis forces in 1941 and occupying much of south-western Ukraine (1941-1944) as part of "Greater Romania". The regime of Ceaușescu in Romania (1965-1989) exhibited some anti-Soviet attitudes.


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See also



  1. ^ a b Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.
  2. ^ Detrez, Raymond; Plas, Pieter (2005), Developing cultural identity in the Balkans: convergence vs divergence, Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang S.A., p. 220, ISBN 90-5201-297-0, it led to adoption of anti-Slavic component
  3. ^ Koliqi, Ernesto & Rahmani, Nazmi (2003). Vepra. Shtëpía Botuese Faik Konica. p. 183.
  4. ^ Kolarz, Walter (1972), Myths and realities in eastern Europe, Kennikat Press, p. 227, ISBN 978-0-8046-1600-3, Albanian intelligentsia, despite the backwardness of their country and culture: 'We Albanians are the original and autochthonous race of the Balkans. The Slavs are conquerors and immigrants who came but yesterday from Asia.'
  5. ^ Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011. Great Soviet Encyclopaedia of Moscow... (March 1950): "The literary activities of the Catholic priest Gjergj Fishta reflect the role played by the Catholic clergy in preparing for Italian aggression against Albania. As a former agent of Austro-Hungarian imperialism, Fishta... took a position against the Slavic peoples who opposed the rapacious plans of Austro-Hungarian imperialism in Albania. In his chauvinistic, anti-Slavic poem 'The highland lute,' this spy extolled the hostility of the Albanians towards the Slavic peoples, calling for an open fight against the Slavs".
  6. ^ Burgwyn, H. James (1997) Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 1918–1940. Greenwood Publishing Group. p.43.
  7. ^ Sestani, Armando, ed. (10 February 2012). "Il confine orientale: una terra, molti esodi" [The Eastern Border: One Land, Multiple Exoduses]. I profugi istriani, dalmati e fiumani a Lucca [The Istrian, Dalmatian and Rijeka Refugees in Lucca] (PDF) (in Italian). Instituto storico della Resistenca e dell'Età Contemporanea in Provincia di Lucca. pp. 12–13. When dealing with such a race as Slavic – inferior and barbarian – we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy. We should not be afraid of new victims. The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps. I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians.
  8. ^ Mussolini, Benito; Child, Richard Washburn; Ascoli, Max; & Lamb, Richard (1988) My rise and fall. New York: Da Capo Press. pp.105–106.
  9. ^ Ciano, Galeazzo, conte (2015). The war diaries of Count Galeazzo Ciano 1939–1943. Alan Sutton. [Stroud]. ISBN 978-1-78155-448-7. OCLC 910968625.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Eastern European Canadians - Minority Rights Group". 19 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Ukrainian Internment in Canada | the Canadian Encyclopedia".
  12. ^ a b c d e Bendersky, Joseph W. (2007).A concise history of Nazi Germany Plymouth, U.K.: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 161-2
  13. ^ A Ridiculous Hundred Million Slavs: Concerning Adolf Hitler's World-view Jerzy Wojciech Borejsza, page 41, Wydawnictwo Neriton and Instytut Historii Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 2006
  14. ^ Megargee, Geoffrey P. (2007). War of Annihilation: Combat And Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-7425-4482-6.
  15. ^ Bendersky, Joseph W. (2000) A History of Nazi Germany: 1919–1945. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield. p.177.
  16. ^ Martyn Housden, Hitler: Study of a Revolutionary?, page 36.
  17. ^ Housden, Martyn (2000). Hitler: Study of a Revolutionary?. Taylor & Francis. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-0-415-16359-0.
  18. ^ Perrson, Hans-Åke & Stråth, Bo (2007). Reflections on Europe: Defining a Political Order in Time and Space. Peter Lang. pp. 336–. ISBN 978-90-5201-065-6.
  19. ^ Hitler, Adolf (1926). Mein Kampf, Chapter XIV: Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy. Quote: "If we speak of soil [to be conquered for German settlement] in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states."
  20. ^ Snyder, Timothy (2010) Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin. New York: Basic Books. p.411.
  21. ^ a b "Axis Invasion Of Yugoslavia". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 7 November 2022.
  22. ^ Rich, Norman (1974) Hitler's War Aims: the Establishment of the New Order. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p.276-7.
  23. ^ a b Hitler, Adolf and Gerhard, Weinberg (2007). Hitler's Table Talk, 1941–1944: His Private Conversations. Enigma Books. p.356. Quoting Hitler: "For example to label the Bulgarians as Slavs is pure nonsense; originally they were Turkomans."
  24. ^ Davies, Norman (2008) Europe at War 1939–1945: No Simple Victory. Pan Macmillan. pp.167,209.
  25. ^ Curta, Florin (30 January 2011). The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050. Edinburgh University Press. p. 3. doi:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638093.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-7486-3809-3. But during and after the Civil War of 1943-1949, the 'Slavs' themselves became a national enemy. Throughout the Civil War, the Slav Macedonians of northern Greece made an important contribution to the Communist cause. A strong link was thus established between national identity and political orientation, as the Civil War and the subsequent defeat of the left-wing movement turned Slav Macedonians into the Sudetens of Greece (Augustinos 1989: 23). By 1950, those embracing the ideology of the right saw their political rivals as the embodiment of everything that was anti-national, Communist, and Slavic. To hold Fallmerayeran views thus became a crimen laesae maiestatis. Dionysios A. Zakythinos, the author of the first monograph on medieval Slavs in Greece, wrote of the Dark Ages separating Antiquity from the Middle Ages as an era of decline and ruin which was brought by Slavic invaders (Zakythinos 1945: 72 and 1966: 300, 302 and 316). In the United States, Peter Charanis regarded Emperor Nikephoros I as the hero who saved Greece from Slavonicisation (Charanis 1946). The early medieval Slavs thus became a historiographic problem, to slavikon zetema.
  26. ^ Danforth, Loring M (1995). The Macedonian conflict : ethnic nationalism in a transnational world. Princeton University Press. p. 69. ISBN 0-691-04357-4. OCLC 32237371.
  27. ^ a b Rossos, Andrew (1997). "Incompatible Allies: Greek Communism and Macedonian Nationalism in the Civil War in Greece, 1943–1949". The Journal of Modern History. 69 (1): 56. doi:10.1086/245440. ISSN 0022-2801. S2CID 143512864. The terror campaign which was unleashed after Varkiza against the entire Left by the Greek Right was directed with special vehemence against the Macedonians. In addition to the ideological "treachery" of supporting EAM-ELAS, they were attacked for committing the ultimate "sin" of not being, or rather not considering themselves, Greeks. They were condemned as Bulgars, komitajis, collaborators, autonomists, Sudetens of the Balkans, and so forth, and threatened with extermination.
  28. ^ Rossos, Andrew (1997). "Incompatible Allies: Greek Communism and Macedonian Nationalism in the Civil War in Greece, 1943–1949". The Journal of Modern History. 69 (1): 42–43. doi:10.1086/245440. ISSN 0022-2801. S2CID 143512864.
  29. ^ Danforth, Loring M. (1995). The Macedonian conflict : ethnic nationalism in a transnational world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. p. 54. ISBN 0-691-04357-4. OCLC 243828619.
  30. ^ Denying ethnic identity : the Macedonians of Greece. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki (Organization : U.S.). New York: Human Rights Watch. 1994. p. 27. ISBN 1-56432-132-0. OCLC 30643687.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  31. ^ "Press Release".
  32. ^ European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (2009). "ECRI REPORT ON GREECE (Fourth Monitoring Cycle)". Council of Europe: 62.

Further reading