European Stability Initiative - ESI - 18 February 2020, 10:54

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Novi Travnik
Marshal Josip Broz Tito in Novi Travnik

Novi Travnik was once known as the "Town of Youth." In 1949, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia's Communist leader, wanted to turn his vision of an independent multi-ethnic Communist Yugoslav state of "brotherhood and unity" into bricks and mortar. It was a year after the split with Moscow, so Yugoslavia needed the means to defend itself.

To serve a new armaments factory, which he named "Bratstvo" (Brotherhood), he ordered the construction of a new town, called Novi (New) Travnik. To make it secure from potential invaders, the new town was located in a distant valley of Central Bosnia, 20 km from the historic town of Travnik. The new town was to become the embodiment of the socialist dream:

"From the first moment that the picks and shovels struck the hard ground," begins the factory's official history written in 1989,

"the voices of past times were overcome, Socialism and Self-management were born within my bosom; a time proud and new. Proud is what my favourite guest and friend was, too: Josip Broz Tito. When he came to see me, I turned into a town of youth, and that's what they named me."

Bratstvo factory gates

Qualified workers came from all over Yugoslavia to build the town and to work in the factory Bratstvo. At its height, 7,000 workers produced cannons, rocket launchers, other military equipment and tractors. Wages were among the highest in the country. The municipality was multi-ethnic

June 2008

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1 June 2008, 00:00