Yugoslavia Before War

The Former Yugoslavia “…79 this is 72….72A has just exploded…..They
just disapeared. They must have hit a mine. I think they’re all dead……”
On the 15th of the September 1992 Sgt. James Davis’ armoured personel carrier
struck a TMA-3 anti-tank mine, although his comrades had thought them dead, they
both survived the ordeal with little or no injury. The next day a Combat
Engineer by the name of Sgt. Mike Ralph was killed on the same road while
clearing the road for mines by another anti-tank mine, laid by one of the
opposing factions to destroy there enemy’s vehicle’s. Sgt. Mike Ralph left
behind his wife, and two daughters. This story has been told countless times in
the former Yugoslavia, not only by Cannadians, but by the French, British,
Nepalease, and dozens of other countries who committed thmselves to ending the
bitter fighting in the former Yugoslavia. The fight for independence by various
ethnic and religious factions has gone on in wha tis now known as the former
Yugoslavia, since the early 19th century; fighting to gain control of the balkan
state has gone on since the late 13th century. For over 700 years there have
been large scale conflicts faught in the former Yugoslavia. (Communist state)
There is now a large concerted effort to end the centuries of fighting by the
International community. The root of the problem in the balkans is the longevity
of the issue and centuries of ethinic and religious hatred that have been passed
along from genreation, to generation. Is it really possible for the internaional
community to quell this hatred? Sober second thoughts suggest that the type of
peace imposed on the Balkans by the Dayton Accord continues to fuel these flames
of discontent. This political agremant was quickly crafted in the waning days of
the Clinton Administrations first mandate and To understand the weaknesses of
the current peace accord it is necessary to examine the past in more detail. As
with manuy complex historical issues the problems that are in question, stem not
from recent history, but lie in the seeds of the past. This is the case in the
former Yugoslavia. One can date back fighting in the region back to 1371at the
battle of Maritsa, and the battle of Kososvo in 1389. Both were critcal battles
faught by the rising Ottoman-Turkish empire, which subdued the then serbian
state. In 1453 Constantinople (Istanbull), fell the Turks this marked the
decisive estblishment of their foot hold in Europe. On two occasions, the new
European power laid seige on Veienna. Although they drove that far north there
success against the Austrians, and Hungarians was futile, in large part to a
large military frontier, populated mainly by Serbs. Those Serbs were largley the
same serbs who had fled from the Turks in the past two centuries. The
Hungarians, espeacially had a keen liking to the serbs, who they gave refuge
too. The hungarians gave them land, freedom of religion, and the power to elect
their own officials. All this came at price, the serbian willingness to fight
the Turks. The favorable conditions produced by the Hungarians produced a large
flux of migration from the serbian population and thousands left their homeland.

At the same time most south slavs living under Turkish rule were forced to
convert to the faith of Islam, most times under death. This is the point were
one can begin to see the beginings of the large split in the baltic state. In
the early 19th century the subjugated Serbs statred two uprisings against the
waning Ottoman-Turkish power, in 1805, and 1815. By 1850 there was once again a
Serbian rule, and in 1878 Serbia recieved International recognition. The south
slavs being politically concious, because of foreign rule, became aware of the
new Serbian self rule. As a result many Slavs visited the new state. This
visitors discovered that they spoke a cousin language, very similar to
serbo-croation which was spoken in Serbia. Next they they discovered they were
Christian, they themselves being mainly, Roman catholic, and many Islamic. Among
all the salvs there was a strong sense of subjugation which was a uniting power.

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These similarities were also seen by the two powers at the time
(Austria-Hungary, Ottoman-Turkey). At this time the two powers sowed the seeds
of distrust in to the southern slavs who the craving for independence that
serbia had. This was directed mainly at Serbia whom both empires feared. At the
same time the then young and fragile serbian state realized that large
populations of serbs and other slavs were living not in the state of Serbia but
mainly abroad. They also realized in order to strenghten themselves. In 1844 the
Serbs created a foreign polocy document known as the “outline” which
was a call to unite al the neighbours of Serbia, into one united country. This
plan never materialised formally, but was in the back of the minds of many serbs,
and ambitious Southern slavs. By the end of the century Serbia thought they
would come to realize they’re dream of total rule of all serbs. Towards the end
of the 19th century the large group of southern slavs began to split into three
major groups. The Croation , Muslim, and of coarse Serbain groups of people.

These three groups all had there own ideas of what a unified country should be.

This made the job of unification three times more difficult. The goals of Serbia
were courageous, and valiant, but they were to never succeed.. They were never
meant to succeed, because Austria and Hungary, wanted the whole Balkan region to
themselevs. Austria, and Hungary wanted control of the region, in order to
accompolish this, they gave themselves the right to annex the region of Bosnia
and Herzogoniva into a new province. The Alliance was so keen on this because it
drove a wedge, between the strong Serb area of Montenegro, and Serbia. In the
long run the Alliance could easily take the whole region. Although there were
subtule diffrences between the native enhabitants such as Language, religion,
and ethnicity, the difrences were onlyminimal, and because of the seeds of
distrust which were sowed earleir these diffrences began to grow into a small
shrub. On the 28th of June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was asaisinated by
a Bosnian-Serb student. The Archduke was the aire to the throne of the dual
monarchy of Austria-Hungary. He was on a state visit, to the Austrian territory
of Bosnia-Herzogvina. Austria and Hungary immediatley sent an ultimatum to to
Belgrade, that they must give Austria the power to investigate the assasination,
and prosecute any Serb citizen. Serbia agreed, out of a feeling of remorse.

Austria found thta there had been no plot to assasinate the Archduke, and the
action was strictly a one person effort. Only weks before the Assasination
Austria had asked for the support of Germany in a premempive strike on Serbia.

The Austrian government argued to the German governemnt thta it was needed for
Serbias own salvation. Germany agreed and would support any move made by
Austria, and Hungary. The Serbian Prime Minister Pasic, realized that Austria
was going to invade eventually, and went the Russian Tsar pleading for
protection. Russia agreed, and became Serbias new ally. On July 28th of July
1914 just one month after the assasination of the Archduke Ferdinad Austria
declared war on Serbia. Austria however did not inform Belrin of their rash
decision, Berlin did not wnat to proceed this way, but they then also declared
war on Serbia.The rest of coarse is history, Britian of coarse feeling tied to
Russia, supported them, and thus the First World war began, all over Austrias
greed over Serbia. When Austria invaded, the native population faught back, and
ressited until 1915. In 1915 Germany committed troops to the region, and Serbia
fell. After the war with the defeat of Germany, and Austria, the Slavs could
once again try to form a united country. Great Britian mediated the talks
between the different factions in the region, Serbian, Croatian, Slovevian,
Montenegran, and Macedonain. The mediator found that the Serbs just wanted
control of everyhting, espeacially other Serbs, and if the Croats, wanted to
join voluntarilly that was just fine, because it meant a larger empire. The
Croats did not see things the same, because if they were under Serb rule they
would once again be under foreign rule, not there own. With all this said and
done it was still in the best interst of the Croats, and slovenes to sign on ,
it gave them the best chance of self rule.On October 29 1918 it was announced
thata state would be created named the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

In February 1919 the state gained international recognition from the United
States of America.It quickly became clear that the Kingdom was existed primarily
for Serbs, and not for the Croats, and Slovevenes. Every thing form foreign
polocy, to the running of local constabularies was run by the Serbs.The Croats
entering the state believing they would be granted home rule, had none.In 1928
chaos broke lose in the national parlimant, when two Croatian politicians were
shot dead. King PeterI immediatley closed parliament, and took dicatorial power
of the state. In 1929 the name of the state was changed to Yugoslavia(state of
south slavs)this was one to give the people the idea of not being Serbian,
Muslim, or slovenian, but being Yugoslavian.A new ploiticla party was formed
called the Yugoslav National party. The attempts to melt the deffernet groups
failed, and afterthe cloud settled Serbs considered themselves Serbs, and Croats
considerd themselves Croats. By the mid 1930’s attempsts were being made to
setttle the rivalry between the Serbs, and the Croats. In August 1939 the State
of Croatia was put on the map/. This move by the countries leader, infuruated
the Serb population. Before anyhting else could be donethe Second World War
began, and all hopes of settling the fuming rivalries died. In April 1941, the
massive German war machine rolled into the Balkans, and took the region in
deciesive two weeks, overcoming any hasty resistance, with ease.This marked the
beginings of one of the countries darkest hours. The Nazi party installed puppet
governments into Croatia, and Serbia. The germans choose anybody who would
follow their orders, this resulted in the rising of fanatics, who would do
anyhting for power.In Croatia a fascist government was put into place named the
Ustatsa. The Ustasa went on a spree of Killing. The Croatian government
persecuted and killed over a quarter of a million Serbs.As in any military
occupation resistance groups, began to surface. There were two main guerilla
groups one the Chetniks, made up of mainly Serbs whose goal was re-establish the
Serbian royal family, of which all fled abroad, and a new serbian state. The
other group were the Partisans, who were made up of mostly Serbs, and non-serbs.

The partisnas were organised, by their leader , a communist by the name of Josep
Broz Tito. Tito being a member of the comunist party, in Yugoslavia, nourished
it, from a couple of dozen clubs, with low membership, to a party with over
10,000 members. With this experiance in mind he raised an army of well over
150,000 resistance fighters, in fifteen months. As a surprise the Chetniks did
not fully engage the German forces, this was in large part the German reprisal
method all over its occupied teeritory, from France, to Norway. The order issued
stated that for every german soldier killed by the locla population, one-hundred
citizens would be killed. This order dettered the Chetniks from engaging the
Germans. The Partisans had their own doctrine. They believed the killing of the
locla population would only swell their ranks. This doctrine also included a
limited war agianst the Ustasa government, and the puppet government in
Belgrade. Toward the end of the war Tito’s forces were mainly fighting a civil
war, not a war of resietance. Tito’s injenuity set him up as the next leader of
the region, and this was his goal from the time he joined the communist party.

In October 1945 A joint Soviet, partisan force liberated the Belgrade. The
Sopviets left it up to the partisans to mop up the remaining German forces.

After the war came the most drastic political swing he region had ever
exerianced. In march 1945 tehallies compelled the royal family to appoint Tito
as leader. This was done, and immeaditley Yugoslavia was a communist state with
absolute dictatorial power given to Tito.Tito was an admirer of the then
powerful Soviet Union. Tito realized as Stalin did that industrialism was needed
in order to equalize the gap between the peasentry, and the aristocrat. Tito
formulated a five year plan similar to that of the Soviet Union. This plan
included industrializing the provinces of Bosnai and Herzgovina, macedonia, and
montenegro. This plan was done in large part to modernise Yugosl;avia, but also
to equalise the Yugoslav economy. Joseph Stalin became increasingly irritated by
Tio’s actions. He wantred Yugoslavia to become a grain farm for the Soviet
Union. In 1948 Yugoslavia was expelled from the Soviet Union, and left to
flounder. Tito, was a leader an had great ambitions for his kinsmen. After
Yugoslavias expelltion from the union Tito went to the west for help. The west
gave him loans, new trade allainces, and armaments. With the loans , and new
trade Tito could build the country of his dreams. The state of Yugoslavia was
dream. The econmy was subsidised by massive international loans, the inflation
rate was always rising, and unemployment, was rampent. Tito hoped that the new
prosperity would calm the waters of the past. He invisioned that Serbs, Croats,
macedonias would think themselevs not by their ethnicity, but as consumers.

During the 1970’s Yugoslavias econmy baegan to falter. In Tito’s great equalised
Yugoslavia, Croats, and Slovenes earned twice the wages of a Serb, and three
times as much as a Macedonian, and Montenegran. The Slovenenians, and Croats
became resentfull of the fact that they had to support the poorer south. The
Serbs, and other Slavs felt they desreved more from the rich Croats, and
Slovenes. Tito’s idea, and ambition had failed like so many others in the region
had before. Half way through the decade on calls of renewed nationilism by
Serbs, Croats , slovenes, and montenegrans, Tito reorganized the state into six
republoics. This move only widened the divisions in the region, every republic
had resentment toward one another. After the death of Tito, in 1980 the
situation in the region went from bad to worse. During the 1980’s Europe,
experianced an economic resurgence, and their economies grew. Yugoslavia on the
other hand never felt this, and went farther into debt. To divert the blame most
yugoslav politicians brgan to convince their respective peoples that the other
groups were at fault. Serbians blamed Albanians, Croatians blamed Muslims etc.

One such politicain was Slobodan Milosevic. He was president of Serbia, and he
was in essence a fear mongar and propoganda maghine. He told the Serbian people
that the Croatia was planning a war of genocide against them, and that Albania
was gouing to invade the province of Kosovo. The divisions, in Yugoslavia went
from the size of a creek, to the size of the Atlantic, overnight. After the
crumbel of the berlin wall in 1989, the pot of water which is yugoslavia boiled
over. In 1990 the communist party disloved, and the politicaly the country
split. Croatia, and Slovenia decided to move in their own direction. In 1991
Croatia, and slovevia held a referendums to decide wether they should each form
independant states. Each republic did and broke away from Yugoslavia.

Bsonia-herzcegovina followed suite in 1992. Serbia and Monetnegro stayed in
Yugoslavia, and claimed that what Croatia, slovenai, and Bosnia had commited was
illegal. At the heart of the issue was that ten percent of Croatia population
was Serbian. In June 1991 under the authority of Yugoslavia the yugoslav army
was sent into Kraijina, and had control of it by January 1992. At that point, a
cease fire was signed. In the aftermath thirty percent of Croatia was left to
the Serbs. In 1992 when Bosnia- Herzcegovina seperated from the serbian republic
seris was outraged. Bosnia as Croatia had a large Serb populatuion, and therfore
must belong to Serbia. Croatia to made this argument. As a result both armies
entered Bosnia, on the preminishen of gainig more territory. Serbia wanted alink
to the sea, and Kraijina, and croatia wanted to gain what it had lost tohe serbs
in Kraijina. Caught in the middle was the Muslim population Bosnia, which fiaght
to hold their land. Each faction committed horendous atrocities, ethnic
cleansing was rampent , and was not committed only by the Serbs as the media has
shown, but also by croatians, and Muslims. The conflict grew and grew, until the
international community said “Stop”. In August 1991 the United Nations
secutriy council passed a resolution, calling for a force to enter the enbattled
region, and separate the warring factions. The force was to fail from the
begining for three main reasons. The first was that they entered the region
assuming that the boundries of Tito’s yugoslvia were adequete, and sustainable.

This was not true, because in Bosnia, and Croatia there was a large Serb
populations. So when UNPROFOR(United Nations Protection Force), entered the
region they were defending the wrong borders, and seperating the people at the
wrong borders. Secondly UNPROFOR had no right to interceede in the conflict,
unless their personell or equipment was at risk, and even if they did if they
would attack one side the other would become resentfull to the U.N. thus
expanding the problem. Thirdly the force sent was outnumbered, and out gunned.

In 1991 there was no Artillery available for the defence of U.N. soldiers, their
were no helicopters for Medical evacuation, and the U.N. possessed no heavy
Armour(Main Battle Tanks). The force was only aglorified police force with
lightly armoured APC’s. This set the stage for disaster, little to nothing was
acomplished, except losing the lives of our soldiers. Most Aid convoys, were
sacked and the food was used to feed soldiers.

European History