Contemporary Southeastern Europe
The Croatian State Theatre in Zagreb and Cultural Policy in the Period of the NDH 1941 - 1945
This paper explores the hitherto underexplored activity of the Zagreb theatre in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which served as a central point for the presentation of the regime’s arts and culture. The aim of the paper is to further explore the developmental tendencies of the closely monitored cultural politics in the Independent State of Croatia which placed the theatre high on the list of priorities of ostensibly authentic Croatian artistic expression. Numerous examples are listed in order to illustrate how, despite frequent spectacular performances and intense international cooperation, artistic freedoms were limited by the narrow principles of the Ustasha movement and the new “moral outlook of the Croatian people” that was valid at the time. The goal of this article can be summarised as an exploration of the complexity of theatrical activity conforming to the programmatic guidelines of the new “propaganda, education and morals” of the Ustasha state. In conclusion, the paper suggests an extremely important role for theatre as a crucial educational and propagandistic institution in NDH.