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Yugoslavia Before War

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The Former Yugoslavia “…79 this is 72….72A has just exploded…..Theyjust 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 carrierstruck a TMA-3 anti-tank mine, although his comrades had thought them dead, theyboth survived the ordeal with little or no injury. The next day a CombatEngineer by the name of Sgt. Mike Ralph was killed on the same road whileclearing the road for mines by another anti-tank mine, laid by one of theopposing factions to destroy there enemy’s vehicle’s.

Sgt. Mike Ralph leftbehind his wife, and two daughters. This story has been told countless times inthe former Yugoslavia, not only by Cannadians, but by the French, British,Nepalease, and dozens of other countries who committed thmselves to ending thebitter fighting in the former Yugoslavia. The fight for independence by variousethnic and religious factions has gone on in wha tis now known as the formerYugoslavia, since the early 19th century; fighting to gain control of the balkanstate has gone on since the late 13th century.

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For over 700 years there havebeen large scale conflicts faught in the former Yugoslavia. (Communist state)There is now a large concerted effort to end the centuries of fighting by theInternational community. The root of the problem in the balkans is the longevityof the issue and centuries of ethinic and religious hatred that have been passedalong from genreation, to generation. Is it really possible for the internaionalcommunity to quell this hatred? Sober second thoughts suggest that the type ofpeace imposed on the Balkans by the Dayton Accord continues to fuel these flamesof discontent. This political agremant was quickly crafted in the waning days ofthe Clinton Administrations first mandate and To understand the weaknesses ofthe current peace accord it is necessary to examine the past in more detail. Aswith manuy complex historical issues the problems that are in question, stem notfrom recent history, but lie in the seeds of the past. This is the case in theformer Yugoslavia. One can date back fighting in the region back to 1371at thebattle of Maritsa, and the battle of Kososvo in 1389. Both were critcal battlesfaught by the rising Ottoman-Turkish empire, which subdued the then serbianstate. In 1453 Constantinople (Istanbull), fell the Turks this marked thedecisive estblishment of their foot hold in Europe. On two occasions, the newEuropean power laid seige on Veienna. Although they drove that far north theresuccess against the Austrians, and Hungarians was futile, in large part to alarge military frontier, populated mainly by Serbs. Those Serbs were largley thesame serbs who had fled from the Turks in the past two centuries. TheHungarians, espeacially had a keen liking to the serbs, who they gave refugetoo. The hungarians gave them land, freedom of religion, and the power to electtheir own officials. All this came at price, the serbian willingness to fightthe Turks. The favorable conditions produced by the Hungarians produced a largeflux of migration from the serbian population and thousands left their homeland.

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

These similarities were also seen by the two powers at the time(Austria-Hungary, Ottoman-Turkey). At this time the two powers sowed the seedsof distrust in to the southern slavs who the craving for independence thatserbia had. This was directed mainly at Serbia whom both empires feared. At thesame time the then young and fragile serbian state realized that largepopulations of serbs and other slavs were living not in the state of Serbia butmainly abroad. They also realized in order to strenghten themselves. In 1844 theSerbs created a foreign polocy document known as the “outline” whichwas a call to unite al the neighbours of Serbia, into one united country. Thisplan 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 theywould come to realize they’re dream of total rule of all serbs. Towards the endof the 19th century the large group of southern slavs began to split into threemajor 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 Serbiawere courageous, and valiant, but they were to never succeed.. They were nevermeant to succeed, because Austria and Hungary, wanted the whole Balkan region tothemselevs. Austria, and Hungary wanted control of the region, in order toaccompolish this, they gave themselves the right to annex the region of Bosniaand Herzogoniva into a new province. The Alliance was so keen on this because itdrove a wedge, between the strong Serb area of Montenegro, and Serbia. In thelong run the Alliance could easily take the whole region. Although there weresubtule diffrences between the native enhabitants such as Language, religion,and ethnicity, the difrences were onlyminimal, and because of the seeds ofdistrust which were sowed earleir these diffrences began to grow into a smallshrub. On the 28th of June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was asaisinated bya Bosnian-Serb student. The Archduke was the aire to the throne of the dualmonarchy of Austria-Hungary. He was on a state visit, to the Austrian territoryof Bosnia-Herzogvina. Austria and Hungary immediatley sent an ultimatum to toBelgrade, 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 theaction was strictly a one person effort. Only weks before the AssasinationAustria 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 forSerbias own salvation. Germany agreed and would support any move made byAustria, and Hungary. The Serbian Prime Minister Pasic, realized that Austriawas going to invade eventually, and went the Russian Tsar pleading forprotection. Russia agreed, and became Serbias new ally. On July 28th of July1914 just one month after the assasination of the Archduke Ferdinad Austriadeclared war on Serbia. Austria however did not inform Belrin of their rashdecision, Berlin did not wnat to proceed this way, but they then also declaredwar on Serbia.The rest of coarse is history, Britian of coarse feeling tied toRussia, supported them, and thus the First World war began, all over Austriasgreed over Serbia. When Austria invaded, the native population faught back, andressited until 1915. In 1915 Germany committed troops to the region, and Serbiafell. After the war with the defeat of Germany, and Austria, the Slavs couldonce again try to form a united country. Great Britian mediated the talksbetween the different factions in the region, Serbian, Croatian, Slovevian,Montenegran, and Macedonain. The mediator found that the Serbs just wantedcontrol of everyhting, espeacially other Serbs, and if the Croats, wanted tojoin voluntarilly that was just fine, because it meant a larger empire. TheCroats did not see things the same, because if they were under Serb rule theywould once again be under foreign rule, not there own. With all this said anddone 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 announcedthata state would be created named the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

In February 1919 the state gained international recognition from the UnitedStates of America.It quickly became clear that the Kingdom was existed primarilyfor Serbs, and not for the Croats, and Slovevenes. Every thing form foreignpolocy, to the running of local constabularies was run by the Serbs.The Croatsentering the state believing they would be granted home rule, had none.In 1928chaos broke lose in the national parlimant, when two Croatian politicians wereshot dead. King PeterI immediatley closed parliament, and took dicatorial powerof the state. In 1929 the name of the state was changed to Yugoslavia(state ofsouth 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 formedcalled the Yugoslav National party. The attempts to melt the deffernet groupsfailed, and afterthe cloud settled Serbs considered themselves Serbs, and Croatsconsiderd themselves Croats. By the mid 1930’s attempsts were being made tosetttle the rivalry between the Serbs, and the Croats. In August 1939 the Stateof Croatia was put on the map/. This move by the countries leader, infuruatedthe Serb population. Before anyhting else could be donethe Second World Warbegan, and all hopes of settling the fuming rivalries died. In April 1941, themassive German war machine rolled into the Balkans, and took the region indeciesive two weeks, overcoming any hasty resistance, with ease.This marked thebeginings of one of the countries darkest hours. The Nazi party installed puppetgovernments into Croatia, and Serbia. The germans choose anybody who wouldfollow their orders, this resulted in the rising of fanatics, who would doanyhting for power.In Croatia a fascist government was put into place named theUstatsa. The Ustasa went on a spree of Killing. The Croatian governmentpersecuted and killed over a quarter of a million Serbs.As in any militaryoccupation resistance groups, began to surface. There were two main guerillagroups one the Chetniks, made up of mainly Serbs whose goal was re-establish theSerbian royal family, of which all fled abroad, and a new serbian state. Theother 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 JosepBroz Tito. Tito being a member of the comunist party, in Yugoslavia, nourishedit, from a couple of dozen clubs, with low membership, to a party with over10,000 members. With this experiance in mind he raised an army of well over150,000 resistance fighters, in fifteen months. As a surprise the Chetniks didnot fully engage the German forces, this was in large part the German reprisalmethod all over its occupied teeritory, from France, to Norway. The order issuedstated that for every german soldier killed by the locla population, one-hundredcitizens would be killed. This order dettered the Chetniks from engaging theGermans. The Partisans had their own doctrine. They believed the killing of thelocla population would only swell their ranks. This doctrine also included alimited war agianst the Ustasa government, and the puppet government inBelgrade. Toward the end of the war Tito’s forces were mainly fighting a civilwar, not a war of resietance. Tito’s injenuity set him up as the next leader ofthe 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. TheSopviets 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 everexerianced. In march 1945 tehallies compelled the royal family to appoint Titoas leader. This was done, and immeaditley Yugoslavia was a communist state withabsolute dictatorial power given to Tito.Tito was an admirer of the thenpowerful Soviet Union. Tito realized as Stalin did that industrialism was neededin order to equalize the gap between the peasentry, and the aristocrat. Titoformulated a five year plan similar to that of the Soviet Union. This planincluded industrializing the provinces of Bosnai and Herzgovina, macedonia, andmontenegro. This plan was done in large part to modernise Yugosl;avia, but alsoto equalise the Yugoslav economy. Joseph Stalin became increasingly irritated byTio’s actions. He wantred Yugoslavia to become a grain farm for the SovietUnion. In 1948 Yugoslavia was expelled from the Soviet Union, and left toflounder. Tito, was a leader an had great ambitions for his kinsmen. AfterYugoslavias expelltion from the union Tito went to the west for help. The westgave him loans, new trade allainces, and armaments. With the loans , and newtrade Tito could build the country of his dreams. The state of Yugoslavia wasdream. The econmy was subsidised by massive international loans, the inflationrate was always rising, and unemployment, was rampent. Tito hoped that the newprosperity 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 equalisedYugoslavia, Croats, and Slovenes earned twice the wages of a Serb, and threetimes as much as a Macedonian, and Montenegran. The Slovenenians, and Croatsbecame resentfull of the fact that they had to support the poorer south. TheSerbs, and other Slavs felt they desreved more from the rich Croats, andSlovenes. Tito’s idea, and ambition had failed like so many others in the regionhad before. Half way through the decade on calls of renewed nationilism bySerbs, Croats , slovenes, and montenegrans, Tito reorganized the state into sixrepubloics. This move only widened the divisions in the region, every republichad resentment toward one another. After the death of Tito, in 1980 thesituation in the region went from bad to worse. During the 1980’s Europe,experianced an economic resurgence, and their economies grew. Yugoslavia on theother hand never felt this, and went farther into debt. To divert the blame mostyugoslav politicians brgan to convince their respective peoples that the othergroups were at fault. Serbians blamed Albanians, Croatians blamed Muslims etc.

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

Bsonia-herzcegovina followed suite in 1992. Serbia and Monetnegro stayed inYugoslavia, and claimed that what Croatia, slovenai, and Bosnia had commited wasillegal. At the heart of the issue was that ten percent of Croatia populationwas Serbian. In June 1991 under the authority of Yugoslavia the yugoslav armywas sent into Kraijina, and had control of it by January 1992. At that point, acease fire was signed. In the aftermath thirty percent of Croatia was left tothe Serbs. In 1992 when Bosnia- Herzcegovina seperated from the serbian republicseris was outraged. Bosnia as Croatia had a large Serb populatuion, and therforemust belong to Serbia. Croatia to made this argument. As a result both armiesentered Bosnia, on the preminishen of gainig more territory. Serbia wanted alinkto the sea, and Kraijina, and croatia wanted to gain what it had lost tohe serbsin Kraijina. Caught in the middle was the Muslim population Bosnia, which fiaghtto hold their land. Each faction committed horendous atrocities, ethniccleansing was rampent , and was not committed only by the Serbs as the media hasshown, but also by croatians, and Muslims. The conflict grew and grew, until theinternational community said “Stop”. In August 1991 the United Nationssecutriy council passed a resolution, calling for a force to enter the enbattledregion, and separate the warring factions. The force was to fail from thebegining for three main reasons. The first was that they entered the regionassuming that the boundries of Tito’s yugoslvia were adequete, and sustainable.

This was not true, because in Bosnia, and Croatia there was a large Serbpopulations. So when UNPROFOR(United Nations Protection Force), entered theregion they were defending the wrong borders, and seperating the people at thewrong 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 theywould attack one side the other would become resentfull to the U.N. thusexpanding 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, theirwere no helicopters for Medical evacuation, and the U.N. possessed no heavyArmour(Main Battle Tanks). The force was only aglorified police force withlightly armoured APC’s. This set the stage for disaster, little to nothing wasacomplished, except losing the lives of our soldiers. Most Aid convoys, weresacked and the food was used to feed soldiers.

European History

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Yugoslavia Before War. (2019, Feb 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/yugoslavia-before-war/

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