By the mid-19th century, the Ottoman Empire had become the dysfunctional "Sick Man of Europe," allowing Serbia to regain its independence through diplomatic means.
attempted to unseat them. The Yugoslavs complained bitterly, and when Spiru came Relief and Rehabilitation Administration immediately after the war but These two remaining republics declared the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 27 April 1992. Karadi, who went into hiding shortly after the war, had been living for part of that time in a residential neighborhood of Belgrade, posing as an alternative-medicine healer named Dr. Dragan David Dabi. Bosnia-Herzegovina was torn apart. How did one of the world's most wanted men effectively disappear in plain sight for 12 years? suggestion, Hoxha pinned the blame for the country's woes on Yugoslavia Though Yugoslavs could not become really rich, through hard work it was possible to attain modest wealth to buy a snazzy car, a vacation home, Western imports, and other niceties. Since the ICTYs closure on 31 December 2017, the Mechanism maintains this website as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunals. economic plan that stressed self-sufficiency, light industry, and
Serbs from Knin and elsewhere began the so-called "tree trunk revolution" blocking important Croatian tourist roads to the coast with logs and other barriers. (While many of these symbols predated the Ustae by centuries, they had become irrevocably tainted by their association with the Ustae.) And yet, nagging questions remain. But it was devastating to separatist Croatian and later Bosnian forces, which were just beginning to build their armies.) This point of view sees an air of inevitability about the recent warsand the potential for future conflict. Observers struggle to comprehend how it was possible for interethnic conflict to escalate so quickly in the Balkans in the early 1990s. By allowing these two provinces some degree of independence including voting rights Tito hoped they would balance the political clout of Serbia, preventing a single republic from dominating the union. The major ethnicities of Yugoslavia Croat, Slovene, Serb, and Bosniak are all considered South Slavs. The Yugoslav crisis concluded in the place where it began: the Serbian province of Kosovo. Assembly members, all known for opposing Yugoslavia, on charges of
Wearing long beards and traditional mountain garb, and embracing a skull-and-crossbones logo adorned with the motto "Freedom or Death" in Cyrillic, the etniks were every bit as brutal as their Ustae enemies. Whatever the cause, in the end Miloevi escaped justice he was never found guilty of a single war crime. Rather, Yugoslavia represented Albania at Cominform meetings. Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. Croatian policemen and Serb irregulars from Knin fired the first shots of the conflict on Easter Sunday 1991 at Plitvice Lakes National Park. The stage was set for a bloody secession.
Their charge allowed them only to feed civilians caught in the crossfire an absurd notion in places like Sarajevo, where civilians were forced to live like soldiers. Even so, many can't help but look for victims and villains. Imagine being a simple Croat farmer in a remote village. Many Croat nationalists supported the Ustae in the hopes that it would be their ticket to long-term independence from Serbia. A Serb told me a similar local saying: "You have to look at the apple from all sides."
But the Serbs deeply believed that losing Kosovo would also mean losing their grip on their own history and culture. The well-orchestrated Karadi forces secretly notified Serb residents to evacuate before they invaded each mixed-ethnicity town. Other Serbs were forced to flee the country or convert to Catholicism. As the people you meet tell you their stories, sometimes it's just as important to listen to the tone and subtext of their tale as it is to try to judge its veracity. During the war, the Serbs fought valiantly jwith the Allies, while their Slovene and Croat cousins citizens of the multiethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire were compelled to take up arms against them.
On 25 June 1991, the declarations of independence of Slovenia and Croatia effectively ended SFRYs existence.
And for many centuries leading up to World War II, the various groups had lived more or less in harmony. endstream endobj startxref The Tribunal was given authority to prosecute persons responsible for specific crimes committed since January 1991 in the territory of what is referred to as the former Yugoslavia. In May 2011, the last "most wanted" criminal of the conflict Karadi's military leader, General Ratko Mladi was found and arrested. He reintroduced symbols that had been embraced by the Ustae, including the red-and-white checkerboard flag and the kuna currency. Militia units would enter a town and indiscriminately kill anyone they saw civilian men, women, and children. But their superiors had even more dastardly motives. In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted and re-named as a State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. aimed to use his choke hold on the Albanian party to incorporate the And so, rather than be absorbed by a non-Slavic power, the South Slavs decided that there was safety in numbers, and banded together to form the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918), later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Land of the South Slavs yugo means "south"). The appealing prospect of European Union membership is a powerful motivator for groups to set aside their differences and cooperate. The Serbs believe that they were the victims first back in World War II, when their grandparents were executed in Croat-run Ustae concentration camps. The Serbs pushed for the creation of a South Slav state, recognizing that a tiny country of a few million Croats or Slovenes couldn't survive on its own. But in 2003, Montenegro began a gradual secession process that ended when it peacefully tiptoed its way to independence in 2006. the liquidation of fourteen members of the party's thirty-one-person Serbia already had a very strong king, Alexander Karaorevi, who assumed that his nation would have a leading role in the federation. Communist Party president and war hero Tito emerged as a political leader after World War II. A bloody war raged for years among the three groups: the Serbs (with support from Serbia proper), the Croats (with support from Croatia proper), and squeezed between them the internationally recognized Bosniak government, with little support from anybody. After months of stockpiling weapons, Slovenia closed its borders and declared independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991.
Bosniaks tended to live in the cities, while Serbs and Croats were more often farmers. The breakup began in the late 1980s, with squabbles in the autonomous province of Kosovo between the Serb minority and the ethnic-Albanian majority. Using clever PR strategies, these organizations convinced Serbians that real change was possible.
Tito's Yugoslavia was communist, but it wasn't Soviet communism; you'll find no statues of Lenin or Stalin here. of petroleum and electricity, and international trade. After Germany's withdrawal from Kosovo The cultural clash between these two groups reverberated for centuries.
One Serb told me, "Kosovo is the Mecca and Medina of the Serb people."
Centuries later, Kosovo today 95 percent Albanian looms large in the Serb consciousness, and their loss of this land still deeply offends many. After a secret trial in May 1949, This classic blitzkrieg maneuver was followed by a ground invasion, and within 11 days, Yugoslavia had surrendered. Once there, he delivered another inflammatory speech. Public support for Kotunica mounted, and when the arrogant Miloevi called an early election in September 2000, he was soundly defeated. Other Bosniak cities were also besieged, most notoriously Srebrenica in July 1995. Six years later, infuriated Croat separatists killed him. Hoxha had had Xoxe sacked as internal affairs minister in
mill in Tiran. Infuriated by this slap in the face, and prodded by Slobodan Miloevi's rhetoric, Serb police officers in Knin refused. During a party Political the Albanians to concentrate on agriculture and raw-material extraction. The standoff lasted until 1995, when the now well-equipped Croatian army retook the Serb-occupied areas in a series of two offensives "Lightning" (Blijesak), in the northern part of the country, and "Storm" (Oluja), farther south. But since you may not have time for that on your visit, here's an admittedly oversimplified, as-impartial-as-possible history to get you started. Overall, the party expelled about 25 percent of its membership. By April 1992, the further declarations of independence by two other republics, Macedonia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, left only Serbia and Montenegro within the Federation. Tito distrusted Hoxha and the other the war. Though Miloevi tried to claim that the election results were invalid, determined Serbs streamed into their capital, marched on their parliament, and like the Czechs and Slovaks a decade before peacefully took back their nation.
Because the Yugoslav People's Army was made up of soldiers from all republics, many Slovenian troops found themselves fighting their own countrymen. On July 18, 2008, Serbian police announced that they had captured Radovan Karadi, the former leader of the Bosnian Serb state who is considered one of the worst culprits in the brutal ethnic cleansing.
Tiran was desperate for (Villagers downstream would see corpses float past, and know their time was coming.) should "swallow" Albania. One of the biggest causes of this ethnic mixing arose in the 16th century. worsened in the fall, however, when Spiru's commission developed an The bloodiest siege was at the town of Vukovar, which the Yugoslav People's Army surrounded and shelled relentlessly for three months.
In 1947 Yugoslavia's leaders engineered an all-out offensive against
Travelers to this region quickly realize that the vast majority of people they meet here never wanted these wars. This expert on what he called "Human Quantum Energy" had his own website and even presented at conferences. companies were created for mining, railroad construction, the production
Like the Slovenian reformers, Tuman and the HDZ wanted more autonomy from Yugoslavia. Economically, Tito's vision was for a "third way," in which Yugoslavia could work with both East and West without being dominated by either. The Balkan Peninsula has always been a crossroads of cultures. In the first several years of his rule, Tito sometimes resorted to ruthless strong-arm tactics to forcibly persuade his subjects. investment in the future of Yugoslavia itself. Over the next few months, tense negotiations ensued. Given how troubled the short Yugoslav union had been between the World Wars, it seemed that no one could hold the southern Slavs together in a single nation.
For nearly a decade, Kosovo remained a UN protectorate within Serbia still nominally part of Serbia, but for all practical purposes separate and self-governing (under the watchful eye of the UN). From the very beginning, the various ethnicities struggled for power within the new Yugoslavia. The Dayton Peace Accords brokered by US diplomats including Richard Holbrooke at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio finally brought an end to the wars of Yugoslav succession. and Yugoslav economies. Meanwhile, Yugoslavs, uniquely among communist citizens, were allowed to travel to the West. neighbor, and launched a virulent anti-Yugoslav propaganda blitz that At a party plenum in February and March, the communist That's the best advice I can offer. By the time Croatia declared its independence (on June 25, 1991 the same day as Slovenia), it was already embroiled in the beginnings of a bloody war. But before long, the fragile union Tito had held together started to unravel. treaty with Bulgaria, and Marshal Tito and Bulgaria's Georgi Dimitrov
Soldiers rounded up families, then forced parents to watch as they slit the throats of their children and then the parents were killed, too. The 600,000 Serbs living in Croatia were mindful that their grandparents had been massacred by the Ustae, and extremists within this community began to rise up. For three and a half years, the capital of Sarajevo still inhabited by a united community of Sarajevans (which included Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs) was surrounded by Karadi's Bosnian Serb army. sugar mills and other factories and to provide Albania agricultural and They reasoned that their claim on this territory was legitimate, because the Ustae had decimated the Serb population there during World War II. This new "country," hardly recognized by any other nations, minted its own money and raised its own army, much to the consternation of Croatia which was now worried about the safety of Croats living in Krajina.
During the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, several prominent and respected reporters began to show things from one "side" more than the others specifically, depicting the Bosniaks (Muslims) as victims. Over the next decade, Yugoslavia broke apart, with much bloodshed. November at the First Party Congress of the Albanian Party of Labor Karaorevi abolished the parliament and became dictator. Before The Ottomans stayed longer in the south and east (today's Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia) making the cultures in these regions even more different. A very wise Bosniak once told me, "Listen to all three sides Muslim, Serb, and Croat.
intellectuals in the Albanian party and, through Xoxe and his loyalists, Within Serbia, Tito set up two autonomous provinces, each dominated by an ethnicity that was a minority in greater Yugoslavia: Albanians in Kosovo (to the south) and Hungarians in Vojvodina (to the north). Cominform. With a Slovene for a mother, a Croat for a father, a Serb for a wife, and a home in Belgrade, Tito was a true Yugoslav. offer than hard-strapped Belgrade. For COVID-19 Travel and RS Tours information, This reawakened an old debate in the journalism community: Should reporters above all remain impartial, even if "showing all sides" might make them feel complicit in ongoing atrocities? So close was the Hoxha, to the core an opportunist, even denounced Spiru for By the time World War II came to Yugoslavia, the kingdom was already on the verge of collapse. The younger generations don't look back teenaged Slovenes no longer learn Serbo-Croatian, have only known life in an independent little country, and get bored (and a little irritated) when their old-fashioned parents wax nostalgic about the days of a united Yugoslavia. This famously kicked off a chain of events that caused Europe, and the world, to descend into a Great War. 5758 0 obj <> endobj Relations between Albania and Yugoslavia declined, however, when the The second resistance group fighting against both the etniks and the Ustae was the ragtag Partisan Army, led by Josip Broz, who was better known by his code name, Tito. Explanations tend to gravitate to two extremes. invite the Albanian party to the September 1947 founding meeting of the The critical component of these wars what made them escalate so quickly and so appallingly was the single-minded, self-serving actions of a few selfish leaders who shamelessly and aggressively exploited existing resentments to advance their own interests. Additionally, 35,000 to 40,000 Bosniak women and children were forcibly removed from the city; many of them, including babies, died en route. But this new union was fragile and ultimately bound to fail (not unlike the partnership between the Czechs and Slovaks, formed at the same time and for similar reasons). Tito had a compelling vision that this fractured union of the South Slavs could function. ("Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battlesthey are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded yet.") The insignificance of Albania's standing in the communist world was Croatia quickly established the borders that exist today, and the Erdut Agreement brought peace to the region. In April 1990, a retired general and historian named Franjo Tuman and his highly nationalistic, right-wing party, the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) won Croatia's first free elections. The first conflicts were in the Serb-dominated Croatian city of Knin. Most significantly, it was the location of the Battle of Kosovo Polje ("Field of Blackbirds"), an epic 14th-century battle that formed the foundation of Serbian cultural identityeven though the Serbs lost to the Ottoman invaders (sort of the Serb Alamo).
After the Ottoman threat subsided in the late 17th century, some of the Balkan states (basically today's Slovenia and Croatia) became part of the Austrian Habsburg Empire. When the Yugoslav People's Army cleared out, they left the Slovenes with their freedom. To many Serbs, this was the most offensive of the many ways in which they felt they'd been victimized by their neighbors for centuries.
The conflicts between the various Yugoslav groups had set the stage for a particularly complex and gruesome wartime experience. Then, in a way, we will all be united once again." Much of today's Serbia was occupied by Nazi Germany, Slovenia had a Quisling-like puppet dictator, and Montenegro was folded into Mussolini's Italy. At the crossroads of Balkan culture, Bosnia-Herzegovina was even more diverse than Croatia; it was populated predominantly by Muslim Bosniaks (43 percent of the population), but also by large numbers of Serbs (31 percent) and Croats (17 percent). A month later, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia's He removed mention of the Serbs as equal citizens of the new nation.
Xoxe was executed. One day your new neighbors move in: big, tough Serb refugees with chips on their shoulders after having been kicked out of their ancestral homeland. The head of Albania's Economic Planning Commission and one of Hoxha's The shift proved to be a boon for Albania because Moscow had far more to Two other, smaller Orthodox ethnicities have been influenced by other large groups: the Montenegrins (shaped by centuries of Croatian and Venetian Catholicism on the coast, while remaining more traditional and Orthodox in the interior ) and the Macedonians (with ties to Bulgarians and Greeks). While most Bosnian Croats and virtually all Bosniaks supported this move, Bosnia's substantial Serb minority resisted it. Yugoslavia was the most free of the communist states. Albania's provisional government. And a Serb might use "Ustae" to really hit a Croat where it hurts.). (A political cartoon from the time shows a Bosnian Serb preparing to murder a Bosniak with a knife. investments led to the construction of a sugar refinery in Kor, a
The Yugoslav government clearly regarded investment in Albania as Fleeing residents crawled on their stomachs for hours to reach cover, even as their family and friends were shot and blown up right next to them. "Brotherhood and unity" was Tito's motto, nationalism was strongly discouraged, and Tito's tight often oppressive control kept the country from unraveling. After years of largely guerrilla fighting among these three groups, the Partisans emerged victorious. Specifically, the six republics that made up the federation - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (including the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina) and Slovenia. (Estimates range from 800,000 the highball figure taught to Yugoslav schoolkids to the offensively low 40,000 posited by nationalistic Croatian leaders in the 1990s.)
In protest, he drank cyanide in the courtroom, dying shortly thereafter. In July 1946, Yugoslavia and Albania signed a treaty of friendship Belgrade to admit Albania as a seventh Yugoslav republic.
Even during the communist era, Yugoslavia remained a popular tourist destination for visitors from both East and West, keeping its standards more in line with Western Europe than the Soviet states. Even the many mixed families were forced to choose sides. Bureau (Politburo) meeting a month later, Xoxe proposed appealing to Apparently
The Habsburgs encouraged Serbs who were fleeing from Ottoman invasions to settle as a "human shield" along today's CroatianBosnian border (known as Vojna Krajina, or "Military Frontier"). Ultimately Tito prevailed, and while many Yugoslavs weren't entirely convinced of his vision, they went along with itfor the time being.
For starters, it helps to have a handle on the different groups who've lived in the Balkans the southeastern European peninsula between the Adriatic and the Black Sea, stretching roughly from Hungary to Greece. The largest group was the Serbs (about 45 percent), followed by the Croats (about 25 percent). While large industry was nationalized, Tito's system allowed for small businesses. Yugoslav-Albanian relationship that Serbo-Croatian became a required By the end of the siege, thousands of Croat soldiers and civilians had disappeared. Some Croats retaliated for earlier ethnic cleansing by doing much of the same to Serbs torturing and murdering them, and dynamiting their homes. The most important religious influences were Western Christianity (i.e., Roman Catholicism, first brought to the western part of the region by Charlemagne and later reinforced by the Austrian Habsburgs), Eastern Orthodox Christianity (brought to the east from the Byzantine Empire), and Islam (brought to the south by the Ottomans). famine.
He returned two years later for the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Polje, arriving by helicopter to evoke old prophecies of a winged savior coming to unite the Serb people. And so, as the rest of Eastern Europe was being "liberated" by the Soviets, the Yugoslavs regained their independence on their own. To legitimize their territorial claims, the Serbs began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Bosniaks and Croats residing in Bosnia. against foreign aggression, and Tito into an imperialist monster. Because of these and other events, several distinct ethnic identities emerged. Then decide for yourself what you think." And it's hard to deny that the residents of the region tend to obsess about exacting vengeance for wrongdoings (real or imagined) that happened many decades or even centuries in the past. Yugoslav advisers poured into Albania's (APL), the former Albanian Communist Party renamed at Stalin's But other parties, who wanted complete autonomy, refused.