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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Yugoslav wars
    Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 09:23
I'm opening a thread on the Yugoslav wars, so anything you're interested in particular, just ask. (I'm particulary interested in the War in Croatia). 
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  Quote Dan Carkner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 11:01
I'm "Interested" in it..

One topic about the wars I find troubling is the influence of diaspora money.  It really should make people think twice about just considering them refugees..  Like, in the case of the Croatian war, Gojko Susak actually lived here in Ottawa working in various businesses, before going back to play an instrumental role in the Croatian side of the war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gojko_%C5%A0u%C5%A1ak

It wasn't exactly a rigorous historical book but I read about it a lot in this book called Homeland Calling: Exile patriotism and the Balkan Wars
http://www.amazon.com/Homeland-Calling-Exile-Patriotism-Balkan/dp/0801441587


In my opinion the best primary source I read was The Destruction of Yugoslavia by Branka Maga, perhaps not everyone would agree with their leftist views but I found it a lot better than a lot of the books written on that topic. (and there is quite a lot of rubbish.)

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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 19:10
What do you PERSONALLY think of the wars that happened in Croatia and Bosnia (unavoidable, stupid, whatsa?) 
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  Quote Dan Carkner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 19:46
Well I don't think they were unavoidable, I think they were planned and executed by nationalist leaders looking to increase their power.  However it's not that simple because they were also carried out by common people who all considered themselves victims of someone else.   And in the end the weaker nationalities got the worst of it.
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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 20:14
What do you make of the still remains of the wars: the controversy about the unsolved status of Kosovo in Serbia (very strong separatist movement) and the braking strengths that are amassing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and threatening (again) the very weak fabric that hold the state together? Do you think a peaceful solution is possible? What do you think about the unique Montenegrin question? (sorry if this poll is turning into my personal interview with, this is my first Forum ever).

Regarding Gojko Susak: yeah; the Serbian side had "Captain Dragan" from Australia.

It is to my opinion that Tito's disappearance was the main cause. Tito died and all his plans were left at the weakest stage possible, so many people even blamed him for ruining Yugoslavia because he left a non-finished cake. His successors were far from able to implement his ideology... *sigh* And because of that we have the worst crimes in Europe after WWII (Srebrenica massacre, Operation Storm,...)


Edited by Yugoslav - 18-Mar-2007 at 20:20
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  Quote Dan Carkner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 20:26
I think that relations can be normalized between all the ex-Yugoslav countries, but then again there could also be another war in the future, who knows :(  I don't feel comfortable saying what should happen to Kosovo or other parts of balkan countries, it's not really my place to say and I've never even been to Serbia or Kosovo or Montenegro. 

Well, it's true Tito "held together" the country, but if he was serious about it and not just his own personal power, he should have also put in place some more lasting positive changes, and yielded power when he was younger in order to have less of a harsh transition.  (like de Gaulle maybe?--or like Castro should be doing now.)
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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 20:39
Perhaps... who knows...

I was referring to the fact that Kosovo might become independent very soon, which would be the undoing of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Serbs and Croats will decide to leave the country).
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 21:02
Originally posted by Dan Carkner

I think that relations can be normalized between all the ex-Yugoslav countries, but then again there could also be another war in the future, who knows :(  I don't feel comfortable saying what should happen to Kosovo or other parts of balkan countries, it's not really my place to say and I've never even been to Serbia or Kosovo or Montenegro. 

Well, it's true Tito "held together" the country, but if he was serious about it and not just his own personal power, he should have also put in place some more lasting positive changes, and yielded power when he was younger in order to have less of a harsh transition.  (like de Gaulle maybe?--or like Castro should be doing now.)
 
The control factor of the socialist-centralist state concept most likely precluded that.  Regions could be called "autonomous" (Kosovo/Voivodina) but were always held in place by the political/military power of the party-state.  The model was the USSR, even though Tito held himself aloof. 
 
The most stable history of the Balkans has been under the Ottoman Turks, and then the influence of the USSR.  Once outside power has been removed, the parochial passions have bubbled over....even 1919-1945.
 
A great deal of that control factor has been the position and credibility of the individual personality of the leader...Stalin, Tito, Ceausescu, Castro...etc.  Castro or his brother can't change the dynamic of the "cult of personality."  When Tito was no longer dominant, it was all over.  And the USSR could not project its influence as in 1948.
 
And France is a very, very centralized state, even though they have a more liberal history and tradition.  The transition from de Gaulle was not so traumatic.
 
In Cuba, after the Castros, who knows?
 
  


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 19-Mar-2007 at 10:04
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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2007 at 16:04
The main theory that is present ex Yugoslavia is that the 1991-1995 war was a CONTINUATION war of World War II (1941-1945) that never really ended in Yugoslavia.

P.S. Note the years.
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  Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2007 at 20:05
I wonder, when Yugoslavia was created by UN after WWII... who favored it? I don't think any of the Balkans were happy about it...
     
   
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2007 at 20:26
Originally posted by pekau

I wonder, when Yugoslavia was created by UN after WWII... who favored it? I don't think any of the Balkans were happy about it...
 
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia came about from the south Slavic regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WW I, and Serbia (Macedonia) and Montenegro.  The obvious leader of the kingdom was Serbia, a victorious ally of the West.
 
The loser was the Kingdom of Hungary (part of the dual monarchy of A-H) which had as components Slovenia, Croatia and the Voivodina.  Bosnia and Herzgovina had been administered by the Austrian imperial government.  Not sure of the Kosovo problem.
 
The problems of the Yugoslavian state and successors have nothing to do with the UN.  These problems date from at least 1389, and, more understandably, from the 1870s.  The integrity of Yugoslavia was challenged in WW II by the "independence" of Croatia (a Nazi satellite), and the anti-Orthodox/anti-Serbian government of the fascist Ustache in Croatia.  Moslems were targeted as well, but Moslems also fought communists.
 
A murderous civil war was carried on in the 1940s by Croatians, royalist Serbs and communists of all types.  The wars of the 1990s were a continuation of same.
 
 
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 20-Mar-2007 at 09:41
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  Quote Dan Carkner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2007 at 21:53
Originally posted by Yugoslav

The main theory that is present ex Yugoslavia is that the 1991-1995 war was a CONTINUATION war of World War II (1941-1945) that never really ended in Yugoslavia.

P.S. Note the years.


I disagree with this theory, it's too conveniant for people who want to write off the wars as "inevitable".  Most people can't be bothered to even educate themselves about Balkan politics and then they say something like
"Age-old hatreds".. (I'm not saying you are ignorant, but I would say most Westerners are.)


Edited by Dan Carkner - 19-Mar-2007 at 21:55
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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 06:35
I was not aiming at the foolish "age-old hatreds", but at the fact that Communist Yugoslavia solved problems by delaying them (and they were finished in 1991-1995). Look what happened then - the ethnic homogenization of Croats and Serbs (and of course, now also Bosnian Muslims). The very process that started in 1941-1945. Harsh, brutal ethnic cleansing that created a "Croat land", a "Serb land" and now also a "Bosniac land" west of the river of Drina.
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 09:38
Originally posted by Dan Carkner

Originally posted by Yugoslav

The main theory that is present ex Yugoslavia is that the 1991-1995 war was a CONTINUATION war of World War II (1941-1945) that never really ended in Yugoslavia.

P.S. Note the years.


I disagree with this theory, it's too conveniant for people who want to write off the wars as "inevitable".  Most people can't be bothered to even educate themselves about Balkan politics and then they say something like
"Age-old hatreds".. (I'm not saying you are ignorant, but I would say most Westerners are.)
 
When people are unaware of history and are only prisoners of it (as most are), the inevitability of this sort of conflict cannot be dismissed.  The Iraqi are dealing with it now; later it will happen somewhere else.
 
It is wishful thinking to maintain that such conflict is avoidable if only everyone would be reasonable and see a bigger picture.  The rift in Islam began right after the Prophet, and what conceivable reason does it have to continue?  Croats and Serbs and Bosnians are virtually identical ethnically; the Turks are long gone, so........?
 
Politics in Serbia, and then in Yugoslavia were pretty brutal.  Assassinations of kings, and foreigners, etc.  Elected officials were being shot on the floor of the parliament in the 1920s by each another.  Serbs maintained control of power and patronage (even under Tito, a croat).  With a background like that, and with the insanity of the 1940s, why were the events of the 1990s avoidable?
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  Quote Ovidius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 15:26
Well the idea that the Yugoslav wars are a continuation of the World War situation is not some 'war was inevtiable' group of people. It spurs from an deep understanding of Yugoslavia in the period following the war and the mentalities of the people up until and following the War.

Age old hatreds is more than just some simplistic overview. The main idea is part of the 'victim status' that is part of the national identity of all the parts of Yugoslavia. Their national identity is based on some sort of struggle, the struggle against the Turks, the struggle against the Nazi's and the struggle against the Communism. However, within there have been struggles created between the peoples, as they see themselves. So Serbs see themselves as victims of Croat agression during the war - by the hand of the Ustasha and this is linked to a continuance when Serbs are targeted in Croat lands, by Serbs. Croats see themselves as victims of Serb aggression and National hegemony, forcing croats to change etc. They also felt victimised by certain parts of hte War.

I think its exceptionally nieve to believe that the War memory didn't play a strong role on the Wars in the early 90's. Its a massive part of the identity of the peoples in the region.

Anyhow, as to the causes of the war. I'd rather not make any grand statements. The whole situation is and was very complex, putting it down to single ideals like 'a continuation of WW2', is like saying WW2 was a continuation of WW1, it really doesn't satisfy anything.


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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 15:59
Now that's just a little too big. I do not see how was the Kingdom of Serbia so terrible as a (in then's opinion) democratic country, and note that it itself brought democracy to the Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian areas in Austro-Hungary.

One thing: both Yugoslavias had terrible (freedom-related) problems, but ya can't count isolated incidents and generate them as (assassination of kings, foreigners, "Elected officials being shot on the floor of the parliament in the 1920s by each another.")

There was one shooting incident in the Parliament and one King was assassinated (perhaps under foreigners you mean the French minister Louis Bartuou, close friend of Alexander?)

I cannot agree that Serbs are just simply "guilty for everything". ;) And btw. Tito was more Slovene than Croat, but he left himself ambiguous as "Yugoslavian" always.

In the Communist Yugoslavia the Republic of Serbia was highly underdeveloped in contrast to the western Republics, like Croatia.

The Communist regime was, as always, anti-religious and thus the Serbian Orthodox Church was hurt the most (the other religions had their respective support from outside the country, unlike SOC which was mostly alone if not the fictional Greek Ecumenical Patriarch). But the Communists of Yugoslavia made an odd exception, creating the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the 1960s (the very institution they fought AGAINST) with Tito himself bowed to the new Patriarch of Macedonia. The MOC was financed by Tito and his Communists thereafter and enjoyed much support, and all to the damage of the SOC, as the SOC completely lost all control over all of the Serbian Churches and Monasteries in the Republic of Macedonia and lost as well all adherents. Some reaction to this has been shown to this in 2002, when the Ochryd Archbishopric (largest Macedonian) was restored to the Serbian Church, and gained canonical autonomy as a return.

Plus, Titoism "supported" (Croatian) nationalisms, or better "tolerated" (Slovene) [not saying that Croatian patriotic songs were banned too, but Serb Communists could only be internationalists, unlike Croats and Slovenes who could freely be Croats and Slovenes, if you know what I mean - one example; Tito purged the Serb Communists in the 1960s that had no international character under blatant accusations of treason], while Serbian nationalism was vividly banned, i.e. "oppressed". This is one of the explanations of the huge Serbian nationalist outburst in the 1980s & 1990s. In some cases, like with Montenegrin, the Yugoslav Communists harshly endorsed ultra-nationalism upon the minority of the people (which was on the damage of the Serbs; more than 90% of Montenegro's population were Montenegrins and after the fall of Communism, only 45% remain, whereas 33% are Serbs).

So it'd be foolish to say that the second Yugoslavia was dominated by Serbs, when it's practically not near that. For example, from 1946 up to Tito's death in 1980 most of the highest Communist leadership were Slovenes and Croats => rather than Serbs. This is the same reason used by the frustrated wing around Slobodan Milosevic in an attempt to centralize the country and "put some Serbs" into authority in the late 1980s and early 1990s that brought the brutal destabilization and fall of Yugoslavia.

If the Communist leadership's demographic/ethnic policy is seen, then one could hardly say that it was dominated by Serbs. Firstly, the Communists BANNED more than 100,000 Serbs expelled by fascist Albanian forces from Kosovo and over 200,000 Serbs that left Macedonia in an exodus to return. In addition to that, the assimilation of the now tiny Serbian minority (not just seen through the removal of the SOC and creation of MOC) that occurred in the Republic of Macedonia throughout socialist Yugoslavia's years - Tito and his buddies totally turned a blind eye to that. Next, it was highly not allowed to be a Serb in Montenegro (at the very opposition of the people) [I already noted this]. It can be seen best as the Orthodox Metropolitans were frequently arrested by the state "for spreading religious opium" and by the fact that the Communists destroyed the symbol of the Serbian element in Montenegro (a beautiful chapel) and placed there a Mausoleum. Tito's Communists also supported the emigration and decreasing of the Serbian population west of the Drina (Bosnia and Croatia in particular). When the Germans were expelled from Vojvodina by Tito he brought only Bosnian and Croatian Serbs to settle their homes. To nationalists outbursts that sometimes came in Croatia (1971) and Kosovo (1960s), the Communists first harshly dealt with the rebels and than subsided to their demands (pulling Kosovo out of Serbia's control and making Croatia nation-state of Croats constitutionally and linguistic change in the Croatian language). It can only be speculated, but hundreds of thousands of Serbs perhaps were removed from Kosovo alone and on one occasion Tito even blamed the Serbs for making a big deal out of it (while at the same time he fought the Albanians with armed weapons, twice).

While on the "other side" Tito and his close associates immediately dismissed all possibilities of certain "minor peoples" not being Croats. For example, there is a small population in Vojvodina, the Bunyevs, they (some circles) demanded recognition of their people - but they were quickly denied the right, immediately calling them a "Serb fabrication" and by the telling that they can be only Croats (remember the dual standards, applied to Montenegrins). All the other small Croat-like peoples as well were considered Croats (Ianyevs in Kosovo) and since then the Carasevans in Romanian Banat have also "become" Croats (Carasevans were historically Serbs).

Anyway, I was simply scratching through history to read all the bad elements (all who read this to the up: Socialist Yugoslavia was a very nice place for Serbs), but just to show you that the Communist Yugo clearly wasn't a Serb domination (like the Royal Yugoslavia perhaps was).
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 18:02
The Serbian king was also assassinated in 1903.
 
The 1928 shooting incident resulted in the elimination of parliamentary government.
 
King Alexander was assassinated by the Ustache (perhaps in league with the Italians - ?).
 
Foreigners would include Barthou, and also Franz Ferdinand.
 
The point was not bashing Serbs, it was that the politics of the Balkans (in this case Serbia/Yugoslavia) have been brutal.
 
I think it was far worse in the 1940s, but the 1990s wars continued the dance.  There is no reason to believe the dance has ended.  There is more reason to believe it is not.
 
 
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  Quote Ovidius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 18:28
I believe that another war is a possibility.

The same rhetoric is coming through, especially from Serbia. Victims of a an external aggressor. The Kosovo issue is huge, its such a big part of their national identity. The increasing popularity of radical parties once again.

I think there could be problems in the future.

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  Quote Kapikulu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 18:48
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

 
King Alexander was assassinated by the Ustache (perhaps in league with the Italians - ?). 
 
 
1934, Marseilles...Shows the complexity of things even more..
 
I believe this complex situation of the Balkans dates back to 19th century.
 
Unhealthy kind of nationalism ruthlessly provoked by other great powers became roots of all these events.


Edited by Kapikulu - 20-Mar-2007 at 18:51
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  Quote Ovidius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2007 at 19:54
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

 
King Alexander was assassinated by the Ustache (perhaps in league with the Italians - ?).
 
 


He was killed by a Bulgarian from the Macedonian region, not by the Ustasha.


 Unhealthy kind of nationalism ruthlessly provoked by other great powers became roots of all these events.


How was Balkan Nationalism any different to nationalism elsewhere? I think the result of 19th century Nationalism, especially the organic romantacised form of nationalism, was fascism - the ustasha for example. However, it cannot be the root of all the events, not really. Nationalism in this region was not different to other regions, with similar ethnic divisions. Look at Romania for example, no massacres of Hungarians there?

So although I'd suggest that nationalism played its part, i think its difficult to trace the transmission from the 19th century to the late 20th century. This did certainly form part of te national identification that reformed itself, based on intellectuals of the 19th century.



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