Karadzic; a one-man fin de siecle

It’s strange, really; looking back at Radovan Karadzic’s career, the thing that strikes me is how he seems to have recapped most of Europe’s 20th century in his own life, barking his shins on the bits that didn’t fit.

First of all, he wanted to be a romantic poet, itself a dated idea. According to Tim Garton Ash’s interviews with old student friends, he was obsessed by Viennese decadent poets of the 1890s and 1900s, especially Georg Trakl. That atmosphere of stifling conventions and strange new ideas, the motif of curling, growing plants as a symbol for sex and worshipped youth.

Then he thought he would be a psychiatrist. Well, what do you say – it’s not just Freud. Charcot fits in the same period, as does Emil Kraepelin, who founded most of the classical psychiatric diagnoses. Failing the empathy required of psychoanalysis and the rigour of medical psychiatry, what did he do?

Of course, he became a romantic authoritarian nationalist. Like Lanz von Liebenfels and so many others, he worshipped the race and the leader, who would come up like the lifegiving sun of the north when war swept away all that conventional clutter. In his case, the conventional clutter included an awovedly communist state that also practiced free trade and something you could describe as multiculturalism; a total package to provoke an Edwardian/Wilhelmine madman.

And as you might have expected, when he got his hands on the controls, he delivered something very like Europe in the great wars, before going down at the hands of the great world seapowers’ planes and tanks (well, more accurately their light infantry and guns – but people like Karadzic loved to imagine their enemies as degenerate weaklings).

1 thought on “Karadzic; a one-man fin de siecle

  1. i strongly recommend all YU-war interested persons to read dubravka ugresic’s book(s), mainly “KULTURA LAŽI” – The Culture of Lies. there you can find in depth psychoanalytical and almost magical thoughts and explanations of the wars in southslavia! it is enlightening.
    after hte lecture of this book one may even understand better persons like r. karadjic, fr. tudjman etc.
    see as well: http://www.dubravkaugresic.com/

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