Yugoslavia – Origins and Breakup

The Yugoslavic people have a history stretching back centuries to the Ottoman Empire, but the concept of a “Southern Slav” national identity was first developed in the 20th century while within Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yugoslavia came into existence in 1918 after the end of WWI as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as a reward for fighting on the side of the Entente, and following fascist invasion in WWII emerged after the war as a communist country under the leadership Josip Broz Tito until his death in 1980. Shortly thereafter, moves by the different ethnic nationalities to assert more autonomy began, and as economic troubles mounted in the ‘80s and after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, secession of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and later Kosovo from the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav federal government began, kicking off the Yugoslav Wars. After the Dayton agreement in 1995 and later NATO bombing campaigns against Serbia in 1998-99, Kosovo and later Montenegro were the last regions to declare independence. Today, the former Yugoslavic republics remain at an uneasy peace, but maintain trade relations and no longer openly engage in ethnic conflict. Their complex relationship and breakup to this day gives the rest of the world the concept of “Balkanization” when describing a process whereby a once unified country fragments along ethno-nationalist lines.

Timeline:

– 1914- Serbian nationalist Gavarilo Princip shoots Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary
– 1914-1918- WWI and the destruction of Austria-Hungary
– 1918- Yugoslavia formed after WWI
– 1941-43- WWII fascist occupation
– 1948- break between Tito and Stalin
– 1974- constitutional reform
– 1980- death of Tito
– 1981- Kosovo protests
– 1990- breakup of the Soviet Union
– 1991- Slovenia leaves (Ten-Day War)
– 1991-95- Croatia War of Independence
– 1992-95- Bosnian War
– 1995- Dayton accords
– 1998-99- Kosovo War

References:

– The Breakup of Yugoslavia, Department of State, Office of the Historian, (1990-1992)
– The Balkans – Nationalism, War and the Great Powers – 1804-2012, Misha Glenny (2012), https://history.state.gov/milestones/1989-1992/breakup-yugoslavia
– The Balkans, Slavoj Žižek (2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYnda5JhOMM
– A House of Cards – The Collapse of Yugoslavia, Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History (2014), http://adst.org/2014/06/a-house-of-cards-the-collapse-of-yugoslavia/
– The USA Cannot Balkanize, Mark Yuray (2016), http://www.socialmatter.net/2016/04/22/the-u-s-a-cannot-balkanize/
– The USA Cannot Balkanize, Part II, Mark Yuray (2016), http://www.socialmatter.net/2016/05/31/usa-cannot-balkanize-part-ii/
– Interview with Mark Yuray (2017), http://www.socialmatter.net/author/markyuray/
– Consultation with Anton Silensky (2017), http://www.socialmatter.net/author/anton-silensky/

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