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. 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.