Bringing in Earthly Redemption: Slobodan Milosevic and the National Myth of Kosovo

Jason Edwards, Bridgewater State University


Slobodan Milosevic’s rise from a minor Communist Party figure to the eventual Serbian president was bound up in rhetoric. Specifically, I examine how Milosevic rhetorically recast and modified the myth of Kosovo. The myth of Kosovo is one of the fundamental pillars of Serbian identity. I argue Milosevic modified the fundamental themes of the myth—disunity and unity—to bring an earthly redemption to Serbs in the late 1980s. Milosevic’s use of the Kosovo myth cemented his hold on presidential leadership in 1989 and is an important example of how past events are fruitful topoi for political leaders trying to build nationalist movements.