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Geography and Demographics. 6 republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia 2 autonomous regions in Serbia: Vojvodina and Kosovo. Geography and Demographics. Many ethnic groups: Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, etc. Serbs largest in country, but not majority

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Geography and Demographics

  • 6 republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia

  • 2 autonomous regions in Serbia: Vojvodina and Kosovo

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Geography and Demographics

  • Many ethnic groups: Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, etc.

  • Serbs largest in country, but not majority

  • Complications: boundaries of ethnic groups not the same as boundaries of republics!

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Ancient History

  • Prior to WWI: Area dominated by Austro-Hungarian (in NW) and Ottoman (in SE) Empires.

  • No history of fighting, groups not enemies.

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First Yugoslav State

  • Formed at the end of WWI.

  • Marriage of convenience, entered into willingly by all parties.

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First Yugoslav State

  • BIG challenges:

    • Economic

    • Political: what would this new state look like?

      • Serbs: wanted strong, centralized state to protect Serb minority populations in other regions.

      • Others: wanted decentralized state to protect against Serb domination.

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First Yugoslav State

  • Solution: a strong, centralized state

    • Serb preferences won out (this time).

    • Other groups not happy, but try to work together to iron out problems.

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  • Hitler invades Yugoslavia in 1941

    • Installs puppet regimes in Serbia and Croatia.

      • Croat state (Ustasha): cleanse Croatia of Serbs.

      • Serb paramilitaries (Chetniks) organize and fight Ustasha.

    • Horrific fighting, bitter memories. Irony: Ustasha not popularly chosen.

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  • Tito and the Partisans

    • Communists.

    • Integrating force.

    • Fought with Allies

    • Fought civil war against Ustasha and Chetniks

    • Won, took power at close of WWII

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Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Inherited a tough situation:

    • Economic devastation

    • Bitter memories of civil war

    • Demographic snake pit: what to do about Serbia?

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Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Use the CP as an integrating force.

  • Promote ideology of growth and development.

  • Stomp out nationalism.

  • Rely on personal popularity and charisma.

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Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Give republics autonomy over own affairs, veto power over central decisions.

  • Make Vojvodina and Kosovo autonomous regions, give them veto power also.

  • Consociationalism: keep the power of the largest group (Serbs) in check.

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Tito’s Yugoslavia

  • Happy Days:

    • Country experienced economic growth into the 1970s.

    • Peace!

  • But: costs of stifling alternative political voices, vacuum when Tito died.

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  • 1980s: Economic slowdown

  • CP bureaucrats paralyzed by crisis:

    • What was good for one region was bad for another.

    • Regions used veto in Federal Presidency to block any policy that hurt them.

    • Stalemate!

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Post Tito

  • Political crisis also:

    • Serbian leaders unhappy about status of Kosovo and Vojvodina.

    • Tried to address problem legally, but were blocked by veto power of other republics.

    • Deadlock!

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Moves by Serbia

  • Serb politicians look for way around the deadlock: appeal to Serb grievances in Kosovo.

    • Serbs a minority in Kosovo (largely for economic reasons).

    • Kosovo: historical significance to Serbs.

    • Politicians: Serbs are being run out of their homeland! (exaggerated claim, but effective).

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Moves by Serbia

  • Enter Slobodan Milosevic

    • 1988: President of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, sends Milosevic to Kosovo to hear out the complaints of the Kosovo Serbs

    • Was supposed to stick to CP anti-nationalist line.

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Moves by Serbia

  • Instead, took the side of the nationalists.

  • Famous words, addressing crowd:

    “You will not be beaten again.”

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Moves by Serbia

  • “Rallies for Truth”

    • Orchestrated by politicians

    • Demanded end of autonomy of Vijvodina and Kosovo

    • Dramatized situation of Serbs in Kosovo

  • Non-Serb leaders continue to refuse to negotiate with Milosevic.

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Moves by Serbia

  • Milosevic topples leaders in Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Montenegro, installs men loyal to him.

  • Radical effect on balance of power in Yugoslavia: Milosevic now controls 4 out of 8 votes in the Federal Presidency.

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Response of Slovenia and Croatia

  • Leaders of Slovenia and Croatia very nervous, set about trying to weaken the federal authority of Yugoslav state.

  • Slovenia:

    • Backed Albanian resistance in Kosovo

    • Refused to allow rally for truth

    • Pulled out of Yugoslav CP

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Response of Slovenia and Croatia

  • Croatia:

    • At first: try to broker compromise, preserve Yugoslavia

    • Strategy changed abruptly with election of Franjo Tudjman in May 1990.

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Response of Slovenia and Croatia

  • Tudjman and cronies: provocative nationalists.

    • Checkerboard flag.

    • Serbs: secondary minority status.

    • Talked big about taking Croatia out of Yugoslavia.

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  • Serb minority in Croatia: scared. Fears played up by Serb politicians.

  • Summer 1990: Serbs in Krajina (area of Croatia) armed themselves and declared self-rule.

  • Tudjman: formed own paramilitaries

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  • June 1991: Slovenia and Croatia declare independence.

  • Serbia lets Slovenia go without fight.

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  • Not so Croatia. Serbia, plus Yugoslav National Army (JNA), fight to keep it in.

  • Large-scale war erupts in Croatia. Fighting spread from there to Bosnia.

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Implications for Ethnicity Theories

  • Contrary to expectations of Primordialism, war in Yugoslavia not the result of ancient hatreds. Peace, not conflict, was norm.

  • And yet, the population responded quickly and emotionally to the provocations of politicians. Ethnicity was a “hot button.” Hard for instrumentalism to explain why.

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Implications for Conflict Theories

  • Yes, grievances existed. However, they were nothing new. Why did they suddenly flower into conflict? Societal explanations important, but insufficient.

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Implications for Conflict Theories

  • Politicians played a critical role: whipped up emotions, initiated conflict.

  • At national level, change in political leadership important: Tito suppressed nationalism, his successors encouraged it.

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Implications for Conflict Theories

  • But also key: the weakness of the Yugoslav state after Tito.

    • Communist Party: unable to cope with challenges.

    • Veto power of republics => deadlock.

    • State unable to contain nationalist politicians, gave them critical window of opportunity.