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Yugoslavia Before War Essay, Research Paper

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.

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.


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