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The Dissolution Of Yugoslavia And The Path To The Bosnian War.

2253 words - 9 pages

The series of conflicts which plagued the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (hereafter Yugoslavia) for over a decade from 1991 can be divided into two distinct phases: The conflicts that took place in the earlier half of the 1990s immediately following Yugoslavia's dissolution; and those conflicts that occurred in that latter half of the 1990s and revolve largely around Albanian separatism. Given the enormous complexity of this series of conflicts, it is the intention of this essay to focus primarily on the earlier phase with a particular focus on the causation and general nature of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It will be argued that the disintegration of Yugoslavia was the result of confluence of factors and was the impetus behind a civil war involving several ethnically defined factions that would last three years, cost nearly 40,000 lives and remind the world, once again, of the horrors of which mankind is capable. There exists a tendency to conclude that the dissolution and subsequent conflict was inevitable given the irreconcilable animosity borne of the region's ethic diversity. The second task of this essay therefore, is to challenge the "inevitably" of ethnic conflict by arguing that the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or at least the particularly horrific nature of the conflict may have in fact been avoided had a different path been taken at any one of a number of different historical crossroads.In 1946, following the end of the Second World War the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was established, with hero of the resistance, Josip Tito at the helm. Initially established in the Soviet model, the "second" Yugoslavia was a federation of 6 Socialist Republics, and two Autonomous Provinces with the federal capital in the Serbian capital of Belgrade (Lampe, 1996: 229-231). Tito's Yugoslavia was a state forged on an idea; namely that the multi-ethnic people of the Balkans would not remain weak and divided, squabbling among themselves and easy prey to outside imperial interests. Together they could form a substantial territory capable of its own economic development forged on the principle of bratstvo i jedinstvo (brotherhood and unity) between the "four equalities" (Djilas, 1991: 150, 174). Tito's Yugoslavia was largely successful in this objective, becoming a viable nation and an economic success. In fact, between 1960 and 1980 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had a socialist economy that while largely publicly owned, met the standard for Western competition, according to the US Department of Commerce (Lampe, 1996: 286-287). So what changed? Why in the early 1990s did the multi-ethnic federation begin to disintegrate? Perhaps the causation of Yugoslavia's violent dissolution lies in the precarious foundation upon which the federation was built.According to James Graham, "Yugoslavia was re-established by Tito using a skilful blend of communist ideology and social repression" (2002: [online]). The...

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