Yugoslavia came into existence as a result of World War I. In 1914 only Serbia (which included the present Republic of Macedonia) and Montenegro were independent states; Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. (The earlier histories of Yugoslavia's six component republics are treated in more detail in their respective articles.)A Sketch of Yugoslav History before World War I
Slavs settled (6th-7th cent.) in the Balkans and were Christianized in the 9th cent. Slovenia was under Frankish (8th cent.), Bavarian (9th cent.), and Austrian (14th cent.) rule until 1918. A Croatian kingdom existed from the 10th to 11th cent., when it was conquered by Hungary, and Croatia was subsequently under Hungarian rule until the end of World War I. Bosnia was independent from the 12th to 15th cent., when it fell under Turkish rule. In the late 19th cent. it passed to Austria-Hungary, and its formal annexation (1908) was one of the irritants that led to World War I.
Macedonia was contested between the Byzantines, Bulgarians, and others until conquered by Serbia in 14th cent., and like Serbia it fell to the Turks (late 14th cent.). Serbia gained control over the region during the Balkan Wars. A Serbian kingdom emerged (13th cent.) and under Stephen Dušan (r. 1331-55) became the most powerful Balkan state. Defeat (1389) at Kosovo Field brought Serbia under Turkish domination from the 14th to 19th cent., with Serbia securely in Turkish hands by 1459.
At the time of the defeat at Kosovo Field what is now Montenegro was the virtually independent principality of Zeta in the Serbian empire. The mountainous principality continued to resist the Turks, but by 1499 most of it had been conquered; Venice held the port of Kotor, and the Montenegrin princes ruled their remnant stronghold from Cetinje. Montenegro's independence was recognized by the Ottoman Empire in 1799, and in 1829 the Turks granted the Serbs autonomy under a hereditary prince. Montenegro and Serbia were recognized as independent by the European powers at the Congress of Berlin (1878). Serbia was proclaimed a kingdom in 1882, and it emerged from the Balkan Wars (1912-13) as a major Balkan power.
A movement for unification of the South Slavs (see also Pan-Slavism) was led by Serbia and was a major cause of World War I. When a Serbian nationalist assassinated (1914) Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Bosnia, Austria declared war on Serbia, thus precipitating World War I. Serbia and Montenegro were overrun by the Central Powers, but Serbian troops were evacuated to Allied-held Corfu, Greece, where representatives of the South Slavic peoples proclaimed (July, 1917) their proposed union under Serbian king Peter I. Montenegro's last monarch, Nicholas I, was deposed in 1918, and Montenegro was united with Serbia. In Dec., 1918, the "Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes" was formally proclaimed.Founding to World War II
The Paris Peace Conference (see Neuilly, Treaty of; Saint-Germain, Treaty of; Trianon, Treaty of) recognized the new state and enlarged its territory at the expense of Austria and Hungary with Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and other territories. King Alexander, who had been regent from 1918 for his invalid father, ascended the throne on Peter I's death (1921). In order to protect itself against Hungarian and Bulgarian demands for treaty revisions, Yugoslavia entered (1920, 1921) into alliances with Czechoslovakia and Romania, the three states forming the Little Entente in close cooperation with France. With its western neighbor, Italy, relations were strained from the first over the Fiume question (see Rijeka). Although this was settled in 1924 with Fiume given to Italy, Italian nationalists continued to entertain hopes of appropriating part or all of Dalmatia, which had been secretly promised to Italy in 1915 by the Allies in exchange for joining them in World War I. Yugoslav nationalists, on the other hand, claimed parts of Venezia Giulia on ethnic grounds, and relations remained tense.
Internal problems were still more acute. Late in 1920 the Serbian Pašić became premier and obtained enactment of the centralized constitution of 1921. The Croats, led by Radić, demanded autonomy. In 1928 Radić was shot and killed in parliament. After the Croats had set up (1928) a separate parliament at Zagreb, King Alexander in 1929 proclaimed a dictatorship, dissolved the parliament, and changed the name of the kingdom to Yugoslavia (sometimes spelled Jugoslavia). The royal dictatorship officially ended in 1931, but the new parliamentary constitution provided for an electoral procedure that insured victory for the government party. Troubles with Croatian and Macedonian nationalists culminated (1934) in Alexander's assassination at Marseilles, France. His son, Peter II, succeeded under the regency of Alexander's cousin, Prince Paul. The Croatian problem had been eagerly exploited by Hungary and Italy, which encouraged particularist movements against the Serbian centralists.
Prince Paul's gradual rapprochement with the Axis powers thus had the paradoxical effect of leading to the restoration (1939) of a more democratic government and the establishment of Croatian autonomy. In Mar., 1941, Yugoslavia adhered to the Axis Tripartite Pact. Two days later a bloodless military coup ousted the regent. The new government proclaimed a policy of neutrality, but in Apr., 1941, German troops, assisted by Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Italian forces, invaded Yugoslavia. Striking swiftly, the Germans joined with the Italians in Albania; a week later organized resistance was over. A Croatian puppet state was proclaimed under the leadership of Ante Pavelić, chief of the Ustachi (a fascist Croatian separatist organization; see Croatia). Dalmatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia were divided among Italy, Hungary, and Germany; Serbian Macedonia was awarded to Bulgaria. Serbia was set up as a puppet state under German control. Atrocities were committed by the Axis occupation forces and by the Ustachi.
While Peter II established a government in exile in London, many Yugoslav troops continued to resist in their mountain strongholds. There were two main resistance groups: the chetniks under Mihajlović and an army under the Communist Tito. In 1943 civil war broke out between the two factions, of which the second was more uncompromising in its opposition to the Axis. Tito was supported by the USSR, and he won the support of Great Britain as well. King Peter was forced to transfer the military command from Mihajlović to Tito. By late Oct., 1944, the Germans had been driven from Yugoslavia. The Soviet army entered Belgrade. Tito's council of national liberation was merged (Nov., 1944) with the royal government. In Mar., 1945, Tito became premier. Lacking real power, the non-Communist members of the government resigned and were arrested. In Nov., 1945, national elections—from which the opposition abstained—resulted in victory for the government. The constituent assembly proclaimed a federal people's republic.Tito and Communist Rule
The constitution of 1946 gave wide autonomy to the six newly created republics, but actual power remained in the hands of Tito and the Communist party. The Allied peace treaty (1947) with Italy awarded Yugoslavia the eastern part of Venezia Giulia and set up Trieste as a free territory; conflict with Italy over Trieste ended in a partition agreement (1954). Within Yugoslavia a vigorous program of socialization was inaugurated. Opposition was crushed or intimidated, and Mihajlović was executed. Close ties were maintained with the USSR and the Cominform until 1948, when a breach between the Yugoslav and Soviet Communist parties occurred and Yugoslavia was expelled from the Cominform.
The Tito government began to pursue an independent course in foreign relations. Economic and military assistance was received from the West. In 1954, Yugoslavia concluded a military defense pact (independent of NATO) with Greece and Turkey. More cordial relations with the USSR were resumed in 1955, but new rifts occurred because of Soviet intervention in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). Domestically Yugoslavia's "national communism" or "Titoism" included the abandonment of agricultural collectivization (1953) and the centralization of administrative and economic controls. Important economic power was given to workers' councils, and the republics were subdivided into communes. In 1966, Aleksander Ranković, the vice president and Tito's long-time associate, was purged for having maintained a network of secret agents and for opposing reform. Friction with the Roman Catholic Church ended with an accord with the Vatican in 1966.
Yugoslavs under Tito possessed greater freedom than the inhabitants of any other Eastern European country. Intellectual freedom was still restricted, however, as the jailings and harassment of Milovan Djilas and Mihaljo Mihaljov showed. In the early 1970s, agitation among the nationalities revived, particularly among the Croats, and controls over intellectual life were stiffened. The autonomy of the six republics and two autonomous provinces of Serbia slowly increased through the 1970s as the economy began to stagnate. With the death of Tito in 1980, an unwieldy collective leadership was established. The economic problems and ethnic divisions continued to deepen in the 1980s, and the foreign debt grew significantly.The Disintegration of Yugoslavia
In 1987, Slobodan Milošević, a Serbian nationalist, became the Serbian Communist party leader. To the alarm of the other republics Milošević and his supporters revived the vision of a "Greater Serbia," which would consist of Serbia proper, Vojvodina, Kosovo, the Serb-populated parts of Croatia, large sections of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and possibly Macedonia. In early 1989, Serbia rescinded Kosovo's autonomy and sent in troops to suppress the protests of Kosovo's largely Albanian population. Slovenia and Croatia elected non-Communist governments in early 1990 and, threatening secession, demanded greater autonomy. Serbia and Montenegro were the only republics to retain Communist leadership; Milošević was elected president of Serbia in 1989.
After attempts by Serbia to impose its authority on the rest of the country, Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence on June 25, 1991. Fighting immediately broke out as the federal army (controlled largely by Serbs) moved into Slovenia. A fragile peace was negotiated by a European Community (EC) delegation, but fighting soon resumed. By the end of July, 1991, however, all federal forces had left Slovenia, although fighting continued throughout the summer between Croatian forces and the federally backed Serbs from Serb areas of Croatia. In Sept., 1991, Macedonia declared its independence, and the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for independence that October.
In Jan., 1992, with Serbs holding 30% of Croatia, a cease-fire was negotiated in that republic, and the United Nations sent in a peacekeeping force. In that same month the EC recognized Croatia and Slovenia as independent states, and in April the EC and the United States recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty. The Serbs, with about 30% of the population, seized 65% of the latter republic's territory and proclaimed the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croats, with about 20% of the population, seized about half the remainder of the land and proclaimed the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. The poorly armed Muslims, who comprised more than 40% of the population, held the rest of the republic's territory, including the capital. In a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" carried out mostly by the Serbs, thousands of Muslims were killed, and many more fled Bosnia or were placed in Serb detention camps.
In May, 1992, the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro and called for an immediate cease-fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Macedonia was widely recognized the following year (though Greece withheld recognition and imposed an embargo until after an agreement was reached with Macedonia in 1995). Although Serbia and Montenegro declared a new Yugoslavian federation, the EC announced in June, 1992, that the new government could not claim the international rights and duties of the former Yugoslavia, because those rights and obligations had devolved onto the different republics. This opinion was affirmed by the United Nations in Sept., 1992.
The United Nations also imposed a naval blockade on Yugoslavia, which along with the sanctions resulted in severe economic hardship, including hyperinflation for a time. After Serbia reduced its support for the Bosnian Serbs, the United Nations eased sanctions against Yugoslavia. In late 1995 Yugoslavia (in the person of President Milošević of Serbia) participated in the talks in Dayton, Ohio, that led to a peace accord among Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia (Yugoslavia). Milošević became president of all Yugoslavia in 1997.
Tensions increased in Kosovo in 1997 and 1998, as a period of nonviolent civil disobedience against Serbian rule gave way to the rise of a guerrilla army. In Mar., 1999, following mounting repression of ethnic Albanians and the breakdown of negotiations between separatists and the Serbs, NATO began bombing military targets throughout Yugoslavia, and thousands of ethnic Albanians were forcibly deported from Kosovo by Yugoslav troops. In June, Milošević agreed to withdraw from Kosovo, and NATO peacekeepers entered the region. Demonstrations in the latter half of 1999 against Milošević failed to force his resignation. Meanwhile, Montenegro sought increased autonomy within the federation and began making moves toward that goal.
In July, 2000, the national constitution was amended to permit the president to hold office for two terms and to institute direct presidential elections; the changes were designed to permit Milošević to remain in power beyond a single term and reduce Montenegrin influence in the federal government. When elections were held in September, however, Milošević was defeated by Vojislav Koštunica, who was supported by a coalition of 18 opposition parties (Democratic Opposition of Serbia; DOS). The election commission initially refused to certify Koštunica as the outright victor, but Milošević conceded after a general strike was called, demonstrators took over the federal parliament building, and Russia recognized Koštunica.
A coalition consisting of the DOS and Montenegrin Socialists formed a national government, and in early Serbian elections (Dec., 2000) the DOS won control of the Serbian parliament. Koštunica replaced several top military officers—a move designed in part to placate Montenegro—but he initially refused to hand Milošević over to the international war crimes court in the Hague. In early 2001 Milošević and some of his associates in the former government were arrested on various charges. The former president was turned over to the war crimes tribunal by the Serbian government in June, prompting the Montenegrin Socialists to resign from the federal coalition. Relations between Koštunica and Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjić became strained, with the former concerned more about preserving the federation with Montenegro and the latter about winning Western foreign aid and reforming the economy.Serbia and Montenegro (2003-6)
By 2002 Montenegro's drive for greater autonomy had developed into a push for independence, and a referendum on the issue was planned. In Mar., 2002, however, Serbian and Montenegrin representatives, under pressure from the European Union and other nations opposed to immediate Montenegrin independence (fearing that it could lead to further disintegration and fighting), agreed on a restructured federal union, and a constitutional charter for a "state community" was adopted by the Serbian, Montenegrin, and federal parliaments by Feb., 2003. Following the federal parliament's approval of the charter, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted as Serbia and Montenegro.
Most governmental power shifted to the two republics, as the union became a weak federal republic. Although the two republics shared a common foreign and defense policy, they had separate currencies and customs regulations, and after three years either republic could vote to leave the union. Svetozar Marović, of Montenegro, was elected president of the union in March, and was its only president.
Despite the increased autonomy accorded Montenegro, Montenegrin leaders generally avoided any moves that would be supportive of the union and continued to call for Montenegro's independence. In May, 2006, after three years had passed, Montenegrin voters approved independence in a referendum, and Montenegro declared its independence on June 3. The government of Serbia and Montenegro then dissolved itself and, on June 5, Serbia declared itself a sovereign state and the political heir to the union. Serbia's proclamation brought to an end the prolonged dissolution of Yugoslavia into the constituent republics that had been established by Tito following World War II.
For a personal account of Yugoslavia see R. West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941, repr. 1968). See also J. B. Hoptner, Yugoslavia in Crisis, 1934-1941 (1962); S. Clissold, ed., A Short History of Yugoslavia (1968); J. Alexander, Yugoslavia before the Roman Conquest (1972); W. R. Roberts, Tito, Mihailović and the Allies, 1941-1945 (1973); W. Zimmerman, Open Borders, Non-Alignment and the Political Evolution of Yugoslavia (1987); H. Lydall, Yugoslavia in Crisis (1989); M. Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia (3d rev. ed. 1996); D. Owen, Balkan Odyssey (1996); L. Silber and A. Little, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation (1996).
Former federated country situated on the west-central Balkan Peninsula of southern Europe. Between 1929 and 2003, three federations bore the name Yugoslavia (“Land of the South Slavs”). After the Balkan Wars of 1912–13 ended Turkish rule in the Balkan Peninsula and Austria-Hungary was defeated in World War I, a Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was established, comprising the former kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro (including Serbian-held Macedonia), as well as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austrian territory in Dalmatia and Slovenia, and Hungarian land north of the Danube River. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia, officially proclaimed in 1929 by King Alexander I and lasting until World War II, covered 95,576 sq mi (247,542 sq km). The postwar Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia covered 98,766 sq mi (255,804 sq km) and had a population of about 24 million by 1991. In addition to Serbia and Montenegro, socialist Yugoslavia included four other republics now recognized as independent states: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia. The “third Yugoslavia,” inaugurated on April 27, 1992, had roughly 45percnt of the population and 40percnt of the area of its predecessor and consisted of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro, which in 2003 abandoned the name Yugoslavia and renamed the country Serbia and Montenegro. By 2006 the republics had become separate countries.
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Yugoslavia (Serbo-Croatian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian: Jugoslavija; Cyrillic script: Југославија; literally in English: "South Slavia" or "Land of South Slavs") is a term that describes three political entities that existed successively on the Balkan Peninsula in Europe, during most of the 20th century.
The first country to be known by this name was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which before 3 October 1929 was known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It was established on 1 December 1918 by the union of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and the Kingdom of Serbia. It was invaded by the Axis powers in 1941, and because of the events that followed, was officially abolished in 1945.
The second country with this name was the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, proclaimed in 1943 by the Yugoslav Partisans resistance movement in World War II. It was renamed to the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established. In 1963, it was renamed again to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). This was the largest Yugoslav state, as Istria and Rijeka were added to the new Yugoslavia after the end of World War II. The constituent Socialist Republics that made up the country, were: SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Serbia (including the autonomous provinces of SAP Vojvodina and SAP Kosovo and Metohija, later simply SAP Kosovo) and SR Slovenia. Starting in 1991, the SFRY disintegrated in the Yugoslav Wars which followed the secession of most of the republic's constituent entities.
The last country to bear the name was the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) established on March 27, 1992. It was a federation on the territory of the two remaining (non-secessionist) republics of Serbia (including the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo) and Montenegro. On February 4, 2003, it was renamed to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and officially abolished the name "Yugoslavia". On June 3 and June 5, 2006 respectively, Montenegro and Serbia declared independence, thereby ending the Yugoslav state.
During the early period of World War I, a number of prominent political figures from South Slavic lands under the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire fled to London, where they began work on forming the Yugoslav Committee to represent the Southern Slavs of Austria-Hungary. These Yugoslavs were citizens who identified themselves with the movement toward a single Yugoslav or South Slavic state and the committee's basic aim was the unification of the South Slav lands with the Kingdom of Serbia (which was independent although occupied at the time).
With the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, various South Slavic territories were quickly grouped together to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which was proclaimed on 1 December 1918 in Belgrade .
The new kingdom was made up of the formerly independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro (which had unified in the previous month), as well as a substantial amount of territory that was formerly part of Austria-Hungary, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. The lands previously in Austria-Hungary that formed the new state included Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina from the Hungarian part of the Empire, Carniola, part of Styria and most of Dalmatia from the Austrian part, and the crown province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Alexander attempted to create a genuine Yugoslavia. He decided to abolish Yugoslavia's historic regions, and new internal boundaries were drawn for provinces or banovinas. The banovinas were named after rivers. Many politicians were jailed or kept under tight police surveillance. The effect of Alexander's dictatorship was to further alienate the non-Serbs from the idea of unity.
The king was assassinated in Marseille during an official visit to France in 1934 by an experienced marksman from Ivan Mihailov's Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization in the cooperation of the Ustaše, a Croatian separatist organization. Alexsandar was succeeded by his eleven year old son Peter II and a regency council headed by his cousin Prince Paul.
Prince Paul submitted to the fascist pressure and signed the Tripartite Treaty in Vienna on March 25, 1941, hoping to still keep Yugoslavia out of the war. But this was at the expense of popular support for Paul's regency. Senior military officers were also opposed to the treaty and launched a coup d'état when the king returned on March 27. Army General Dušan Simović seized power, arrested the Vienna delegation, exiled Paul, and ended the regency, giving 17 year old King Peter full powers.
The Axis Powers occupied Yugoslavia and split it up. The Independent State of Croatia was established as a Nazi puppet state, ruled by the fascist militia known as the Ustaše that came into existence in 1929, but was relatively limited in its activities until 1941. German troops occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as part of Serbia and Slovenia, while other parts of the country were occupied by Bulgaria, Hungary, and Italy. During this time the Independent State of Croatia created concentration camps for anti-fascists, communists, Serbs, Gypsies and Jews. One such camp was the Jasenovac concentration camp. A large number of men, women and children, Jews, Serbs, and Croat resistance members, were executed in these camps.
The Partisans initiated a guerrilla campaign which was developed into the largest resistance army in occupied Western and Central Europe. The Chetniks were initially supported by the exiled royal government as well as the Allies, but soon focused increasingly on combating the Partisans, while cooperating with the occupation forces to an ever greater extent. By the end of the war, the Chetnik movement transformed into a collaborationist Serb nationalist militia, completely dependent on Axis supplies. The highly mobile Partisans, however, carried on their guerrilla warfare with great success. Most notable of the victories against the occupying forces we the battles of Neretva and Sutjeska.
On November 25, 1942, the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifašističko Vijeće Narodnog Oslobođenja Jugoslavije) was convened in Bihać, Bosnia. The council reconvened on November 29, 1943, in Jajce, also in Bosnia and established the basis for post-war organization of the country, establishing a federation (this date was celebrated as Republic Day after the war).
The Yugoslav Partisans were able to expel the Axis from Serbia in 1944 and the rest of Yugoslavia in 1945. The Red Army provided limited assistance with the liberation of Belgrade and withdrew after the war was over. In May 1945, the Partisans met with allied forces outside former Yugoslav borders, after taking over also Trieste and parts of Austrian southern provinces Styria and Carinthia. However, the Partisans withdrew from Trieste in June of the same year.
Western attempts to reunite the Partisans, who denied supremacy of the old government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the emigration loyal to the king, led to the Tito-Šubašić Agreement in June 1944, however Marshal Josip Broz Tito was seen as a national hero by the citizens, and was elected by referendum to lead the new independent communist state, starting as a prime minister.
On January 31, 1946, the new constitution of Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, modeling the Soviet Union, established six Socialist Republics, a Socialist Autonomous Province, and a Socialist Autonomous District that were part of SR Serbia. The federal capital was Belgrade. Republics and provinces were (in alphabetical order):
In 1974, the two provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija (for the latter had by then been upgraded to the status of a province), as well as the republics of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro, were granted greater autonomy to the point that Albanian and Hungarian became nationally recognised minority languages and the Serbo-Croat of Bosnia and Montenegro altered to a form based on the speech of the local people and not on the standards of Zagreb and Belgrade.
Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija form a part of the Republic of Serbia. The country distanced itself from the Soviets in 1948 (cf. Cominform and Informbiro) and started to build its own way to socialism under the strong political leadership of Josip Broz Tito. The country criticized both Eastern bloc and NATO nations and, together with other countries, started the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961, which remained the official affiliation of the country until it dissolved.
In the SFRY, each republic and province had its own constitution, supreme court, parliament, president and prime minister. At the top of the Yugoslav government were the President (Tito), the federal Prime Minister, and the federal Parliament (a collective Presidency was formed after Tito's death in 1980).
Also important were the Communist Party general secretaries for each republic and province, and the general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party.
Josip Broz Tito was the most powerful person in the country, followed by republican and provincial premiers and presidents, and Communist Party presidents. A wide variety of people suffered from his disfavor. Slobodan Penezić Krcun, Tito's chief of secret police in Serbia, fell victim to a dubious traffic incident after he started to complain about Tito's politics. The Interior Minister Aleksandar Ranković lost all of his titles and rights after a major disagreement with Tito regarding state politics. Sometimes ministers in government, such as Edvard Kardelj or Stane Dolanc, were more important than the Prime Minister.
The suppression of national identities escalated with the so-called Croatian Spring of 1970-1971, when students in Zagreb organized demonstrations for greater civil liberties and greater Croatian autonomy. The regime stifled the public protest and incarcerated the leaders, but many key Croatian representatives in the Party silently supported this cause, so a new Constitution was ratified in 1974 that gave more rights to the individual republics in Yugoslavia and provinces in Serbia.
The ethnic violence was only ended when the multiethnic Yugoslav Partisans took over the country at the end of the war and banned nationalism from being publicly promoted. Overall relative peace was retained under Tito's rule, though nationalist protests did occur, but these were usually repressed and nationalist leaders were arrested and some were executed by Yugoslav officials. However one protest in Croatia in the 1970s, called the "Croatian Spring" was backed by large numbers of Croats who claimed that Yugoslavia remained a Serb hegemony and demanded that Serbia's powers be reduced. Tito whose home republic was Croatia was concerned over the stability of the country and responded in a manner to appease both Croats and Serbs, he ordered the arrest of the Croat protestors, while at the same time conceding to some of their demands. In 1974, Serbia's influence in the country was significantly reduced as autonomous provinces were created in ethnic Albanian-majority populated Kosovo and the mixed-populated Vojvodina. These autonomous provinces held the same voting power as the republics but unlike the republics, they could not legally separate from Yugoslavia. This concession satisfied Croatia and Slovenia, but in Serbia and in the new autonomous province of Kosovo, reaction was different. Serbs saw the new constitution as conceding to Croat and ethnic Albanian nationalists. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo saw the creation of an autonomous province as not being enough, and demanded that Kosovo become a constituent republic with the right to separate from Yugoslavia. This created tensions within the Communist leadership, particularly amongst Communist Serb officials who resented the 1974 constitution as weakening Serbia's influence and jeopardizing the unity of the country by allowing the republics the right to separate.
An economic crisis erupted in the 1970s was the product of disastrous errors by Yugoslav governments, such as borrowing vast amounts of Western capital in order to fund growth through exports. Western economies then entered recession, blocked Yugoslav exports and created a huge debt problem. The Yugoslav government then accepted the IMF's conditionalities which shifted the burden of the crisis onto the Yugoslav working class. Simultaneously, strong social groups emerged within the Yugoslav Communist Party, allied to Western business, banking and state interests and began pushing towards neoliberalism, to the delight of the US. It was the Reagan administration which, in 1984, had adopted a "Shock Therapy" proposal to push Yugoslavia towards a capitalist restoration.
In 1989 Jeffrey Sachs was in Yugoslavia helping the Federal government under Ante Marković prepare the IMF/World Bank "Shock Therapy" package, which was then introduced in 1990 just at the time when the crucial parliamentary elections were being held in the various republics.
One aspect of Yugoslavia's "Shock Therapy" programme was both unique within the region and of great political importance in 1989-90. The bankruptcy law to liquidate state enterprises was enacted in the 1989 Financial Operations Act which required that if an enterprise was insolvent for 30 days running, or for 30 days within a 45 day period, it had to settle with its creditors either by giving them ownership or by being liquidated, in which case workers would be sacked, normally without severance payments.
In 1989, according to official sources, 248 firms were declared bankrupt or were liquidated and 89,400 workers were laid off. During the first nine months of 1990 directly following the adoption of the IMF programme, another 889 enterprises with a combined work-force of 525,000 workers suffered the same fate. In other words, in less than two years "the trigger mechanism" (under the Financial Operations Act) had led to the lay off of more than 600,000 workers out of a total industrial workforce of the order of 2.7 million. A further 20% of the work force, or half a million people, were not paid wages during the early months of 1990 as enterprises sought to avoid bankruptcy. The largest concentrations of bankrupt firms and lay-offs were in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo. Real earnings were in a free fall, social programmes had collapsed creating within the population an atmosphere of social despair and hopelessness. This was a critical turning point in the events to follow.
But Marković had coupled his Yugoslavism with the IMF "Shock Therapy" programme and EC conditionality and it was this which gave the separatists in the North West and the nationalists in Serbia their opening. The appeal of the separatists in Slovenia and Croatia to their electorates involved offering to repudiate the Marković-IMF austerity and by doing so help their republics prepare to leave Yugoslavia altogether and "join Europe". The appeal of Milošević in Serbia was based around the idea that the West was acting against the Serbian people's interests. These nationalist appeals were ultimately successful: in every republic, beginning with Slovenia and Croatia in the spring, governments ignored the monetary restrictions of Marković's stabilisation programme in order to win votes.
The newly elected regional government then turned their efforts to the break-up of the country. They were aided by the US government's stance of sidelining Yugoslav cohesion in favour of pushing ahead with the "Shock Therapy" programme. The few European states with strategic interests in the Yugoslav theatre tended to favor fragmentation.
There were also other specifically Yugoslav, structural flaws which helped to generate the collapse. For instance, many would argue that the decentralized Market Socialism was a disastrous experiment for a state in Yugoslavia's geopolitical situation. The 1974 Constitution, though better for the Kosovar Albanians, had given increased power to the republics, whilst dampening the institutional and material power of the federal government. Tito's authority substituted for this weakness until his death in 1980, after which the state and Communist Party became increasingly paralyzed and thrown into crisis.
After Tito's death on 4 May 1980, ethnic tensions grew in Yugoslavia. The legacy of the Constitution of 1974 was used to throw the system of decision-making into a state of paralysis, made all the more hopeless as the conflict of interests had become irreconcilable. The constitutional crisis that inevitably followed resulted in a rise of nationalism in all republics: Slovenia and Croatia made demands for looser ties within the Federation, the Albanian majority in Kosovo demanded the status of a republic, Serbia sought absolute, not only relative dominion over Yugoslavia. Added to this, the Croat quest for independence led to large Serb communities within Croatia rebelling and trying to secede from the Croat republic.
In 1986, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts drafted a memorandum addressing some burning issues concerning position of Serbs as the most numerous people in Yugoslavia. The largest Yugoslav republic in territory and population, Serbia's influence over the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina was reduced by the 1974 Constitution. Because its two autonomous provinces had de facto prerogatives of full-fledged republics, Serbia found that its hands were tied, for the republican government was restricted in making and carrying out decisions that would apply to the provinces. Since the provinces had a vote in the Federal Presidency Council (an eight member council composed of representatives from six republics and two autonomous provinces), they sometimes even entered into coalition with other republics, thus outvoting Serbia. Serbia's political impotence made it possible for others to exert pressure on the 2 million Serbs (20% of total Serbian population) living outside Serbia.
Serbian communist leader Slobodan Milošević sought to restore pre-1974 Serbian sovereignty. Other republics, especially Slovenia and Croatia, denounced this move as a revival of great Serbian hegemonism. Milošević succeeded in reducing the autonomy of Vojvodina and of Kosovo and Metohija, but both entities retained a vote in the Yugoslav Presidency Council. The very instrument that reduced Serbian influence before was now used to increase it: in the eight member Council, Serbia could now count on four votes minimum - Serbia proper, then-loyal Montenegro, and Vojvodina and Kosovo.
As a result of these events, the ethnic Albanian miners in Kosovo organized strikes, which dovetailed into ethnic conflict between the Albanians and the non-Albanians in the province. At 87% of the population of Kosovo in the 1980s, ethnic-Albanians were the majority. The number of Slavs in Kosovo (mainly Serbs) was quickly declining for several reasons, among them the ever increasing ethnic tensions and subsequent emigration from the area. By 1999 the Slavs formed as little as 10% of the total population in Kosovo.
Meanwhile Slovenia, under the presidency of Milan Kučan, and Croatia supported Albanian miners and their struggle for formal recognition . Initial strikes turned into widespread demonstrations demanding a Kosovan republic. This angered Serbia's leadership which proceeded to use police force, and later even the Federal Army was sent to the province by the order of the Serbia-held majority in the Yugoslav Presidency Council.
In January 1990, the extraordinary 14th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was convened. For most of the time, the Slovenian and Serbian delegations were arguing over the future of the League of Communists and Yugoslavia. The Serbian delegation, led by Milošević, insisted on a policy of "one person, one vote", which would empower the majority population, the Serbs. In turn, the Slovenes, supported by Croats, sought to reform Yugoslavia by devolving even more power to republics, but were voted down. As a result, the Slovenian, and eventually Croatian delegation left the Congress, and the all-Yugoslav Communist party was dissolved.
Following the fall of communism in the rest of Eastern Europe, each of the republics held multi-party elections in 1990. Slovenia and Croatia held the elections in April since their communist parties chose to secede from power peacefully. Other Yugoslav republics - especially Serbia - were more or less dissatisfied with the democratization in two of the republics and proposed different sanctions (e.g. Serbian "customs tax" for Slovenian products) against the two of the union but as the year passed other republics communist parties saw the inevitability of the democratization process and in December as the last member of the federation - Serbia held parliamentary elections which confirmed (former) communists rule in this republic. The unresolved issues however remained. In particular, Slovenia and Croatia elected governments oriented towards greater autonomy of the republics (under Milan Kučan and Franjo Tuđman, respectively), since it became clear that Serbian domination attempts and increasingly different levels of democratic standards are becoming increasingly incompatible. Serbia and Montenegro elected candidates who favoured Yugoslav unity. Serbs in Croatia wouldn't accept a status of a national minority in a sovereign Croatia, since they would be demoted from a constituent nation of Croatia and this would consequently diminish their rights.
The war broke out when the new regimes tried to replace Yugoslav civilian and military forces by the secessionist forces. When in August 1990 Croatia attempted to replace police in the Serb populated Croat Krajina by force, the population first looked for refuge in the JNA caserns, while the army remained passive. The civilians then organised armed resistance. These armed conflicts between the Croatian armed forces (“police”) and civilians mark the beginning of the Yugoslav war that inflamed the region. Similarly, the attempt to replace Yugoslav frontier police by the Slovenian police provoked regional armed conflicts which finished with a minimal number of victims. A similar attempt in Bosnia and Herzegovina led to a war that lasted more than 3 years (see below). The results of all these conflicts are almost complete emigration of the Serbs from all three regions, massive displacement of the populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and establishment of the 3 new independent states. The separation of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was peaceful.
Serbian uprisings in Croatia began in August 1990 by blocking roads leading from the Dalmatian coast towards the inland almost a year before Croatian leadership made any move towards independence. These uprisings were more or less discretely backed up by the Serbian dominated federal army (JNA). The Serbs proclaimed the emergence of Serbian Autonomous Areas (known later as Republic of Serb Krajina) in Croatia. Federal army tried to disarm the Territorial defence forces of Slovenia (republics had their local defence forces similar to Home guard ) in 1990 but wasn't completely successful. Still Slovenia began to covertly import arms to replenish its armed forces. Croatia also embarked upon the illegal importation of arms, (following the disaramament of the republics armed forces by the federal JNA) mainly from Hungary, and were caught when Yugoslav Counter Intelligence (KOS, Kontra-obavještajna Služba) showed a video of a secret meeting between Croatian Defence Minister Martin Špegelj and two men. Špegelj announced that they were at war with the army and gave instructions about arms smuggling as well as methods of dealing with the Yugoslav Army's officers stationed in Croatian cities. Serbia and JNA used this discovery of Croatian rearmament for propaganda purposes.
In March 1990, during the demonstrations in Split, Croatia, a young Yugoslav conscript was pushed off a tank after driving it through a crowd of people. Also, guns were fired from army bases through Croatia. Elsewhere, tensions were running high.
In the same month, the Yugoslav People's Army (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija, JNA) met with the Presidency of Yugoslavia in an attempt to get them to declare a state of emergency which would allow for the army to take control of the country. The army was seen as a Serbian service by that time so the consequence feared by the other republics was to be total Serbian domination of the union. The representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, and Vojvodina voted for the decision, while all other republics, Croatia (Stipe Mesić), Slovenia (Janez Drnovšek), Macedonia (Vasil Tupurkovski) and Bosnia and Hercegovina (Bogić Bogićević), voted against. The tie delayed an escalation of conflicts, but not for long.
Following the first multi-party election results, in the autumn of 1990, the republics of Slovenia and Croatia proposed transforming Yugoslavia into a loose confederation of six republics. By this proposal republics would have right to self-determination. However Milošević rejected all such proposals, arguing that like Slovenes and Croats, the Serbs (having in mind Croatian Serbs) should also have a right to self-determination.
On March 9, 1991, demonstrations were held against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade, but the police and the military were deployed in the streets to restore order, killing two people. In late March 1991, the Plitvice Lakes incident was one of the first sparks of open war in Croatia. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), whose superior officers were mainly of Serbian ethnicity, maintained an impression of being neutral, but as time went on, they got more and more involved in the state politics.
On June 25, 1991, Slovenia and Croatia became the first republics to declare independence from Yugoslavia. The federal customs officers in Slovenia on the border crossings with Italy, Austria and Hungary mainly just changed uniforms since most of them were local Slovenes. The border police was already Slovenian before declaring independence. The following day (June 26), the Federal Executive Council specifically ordered the army to take control of the "internationally recognized borders". See Ten-Day War .
The Yugoslav People's Army forces, based in barracks in Slovenia and Croatia, attempted to carry out the task within the next 48 hours. However, because of the misinformation given to the Yugoslav Army conscripts that the Federation was under attack by foreign forces, and the fact that the majority of them did not wish to engage in a war on the ground where they served their conscription, the Slovene territorial defence forces retook most of the posts within several days with only minimal loss of life on both sides. There was a suspected incident of a war crime, as the Austrian ORF TV station showed footage of three Yugoslav Army soldiers surrendering to the Territorial defense, before gunfire was heard and the troops were seen falling down. However, none were killed in the incident. There were however numerous cases of destruction of civilian property and civilian life by the Yugoslav Peoples Army - houses, a church, civilian airport was bombarded and civilian hangar and airliners inside it, truck drivers on the road Ljubljana - Zagreb and Austrian journalists on Ljubljana Airport were killed. Ceasefire was agreed upon. According to the Brioni Agreement, recognized by representatives of all republics, the international community pressured Slovenia and Croatia to place a three-month moratorium on their independence. During these three months, the Yugoslav Army completed its pull-out from Slovenia, but in Croatia, a bloody war broke out in the autumn of 1991. Ethnic Serbs, who had created their own state Republic of Serbian Krajina in heavily Serb-populated regions resisted the police forces of the Republic of Croatia who were trying to bring that breakaway region back under Croatian jurisdiction. In some strategic places, the Yugoslav Army acted as a buffer zone, in most others it was protecting or aiding Serbs with resources and even manpower in their confrontation with the new Croatian army and their police force.
In September 1991, the Republic of Macedonia also declared independence, becoming the only former republic to gain sovereignty without resistance from the Belgrade-based Yugoslav authorities. Five hundred U.S. soldiers were then deployed under the U.N. banner to monitor Macedonia's northern borders with the Republic of Serbia, Yugoslavia. Macedonia's first president, Kiro Gligorov, maintained good relations with Belgrade and the other breakaway republics and there have to date been no problems between Macedonian and Serbian border police even though small pockets of Kosovo and the Preševo valley complete the northern reaches of the historical region known as Macedonia, which would otherwise create a border dispute if ever Macedonian romantic nationalism should resurface (see IMORO).
As a result of the conflict, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 721 on November 27, 1991, which paved the way to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 1991, the Bosnian Serbs held a referendum which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of forming Serbian republic in borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and staying in a common state with Serbia and Montenegro. On January 9, 1992, the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb assembly proclaimed a separate "Republic of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina". The referendum and creation of SARs were proclaimed unconstitutional by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and declared illegal and invalid. However, in February-March 1992 the government held a national referendum on Bosnian independence from Yugoslavia. That referendum was in turn declared contrary to the BiH and Federal constitution by the federal Constitution court in Belgrade and the newly established Bosnian Serb government. The referendum was largely boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs. It is interesting that the Federal court in Belgrade did not decide on the matter of the referendum of the Bosnian Serbs. The turnout was somewhere between 64-67% and 98% of the voters voted for independence. It was unclear what the two-thirds majority requirement actually meant and whether it was satisfied . The republic's government declared its independence on 5 April, and the Serbs immediately declared the independence of Republika Srpska. The war in Bosnia followed shortly thereafter.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was formed on April 28, 1992, and it consisted of the former Socialist Republic of Serbia and Socialist Republic of Montenegro. The new constitution of Yugoslavia was voted by the rest of MPs, elected on federal one-party elections in 1986.
In Kosovo, throughout the 1990s, the leadership of the Albanian population had been pursuing tactics of non-violent resistance in order to achieve independence for the province. In 1996, Albanians formed Kosovo Liberation Army. The Yugoslav reaction involved the indiscriminate use of force against civilian populations, and caused many ethnic-Albanians to flee their homes. Following the Racak incident and unsuccessful Rambouillet Agreement in the early months of 1999, NATO proceeded to bombard Serbia and Montenegro for more than two months, until an agreement was brokered between NATO and Milošević's government, with Russia acting as intermediary. Yugoslavia withdrew its forces from Kosovo, in return for NATO retracting their pre-war demand for NATO forces to enter Serbia, resulting in 250 000 Serbian and other non-Albanian refugees. See Kosovo War for more information. Since June 1999, the province has been governed by peace-keeping forces from NATO and Russia, although all parties continued to recognize it as a part of Serbia until 2008. Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, but is not yet a member of the United Nations and is only recognised by 50 governments.
Milošević's rejection of claims of a first-round opposition victory in new elections for the Federal presidency in September 2000 led to mass demonstrations in Belgrade on October 5 and the collapse of the regime's authority. The opposition's candidate, Vojislav Koštunica took office as Yugoslav president on October 6, 2000. On Saturday, March 31, 2001, Milošević surrendered to Yugoslav security forces from his home in Belgrade, following a recent warrant for his arrest on charges of abuse of power and corruption. On June 28 he was driven to the Yugoslav-Bosnian border where shortly after he was placed in the custody of SFOR officials, soon to be extradited to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. His trial on charges of genocide in Bosnia and war crimes in Croatia and in Kosovo and Metohija began at The Hague on February 12, 2002, and he died there on 11 March 2006, while his trial was still ongoing. On April 11, 2002, the Yugoslav parliament passed a law allowing extradition of all persons charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal.
In March 2002, the Governments of Serbia and Montenegro agreed to reform the FRY in favour of a new, much weaker form of cooperation called Serbia and Montenegro. By order of the Yugoslav Federal Parliament on February 4, 2003, Yugoslavia, at least nominally, ceased to exist. A federal government remained in place in Belgrade but assumed largely ceremonial powers. The individual governments of Serbia and of Montenegro conducted their respective affairs almost as though the two republics were independent. Furthermore, customs were established along the traditional border crossings between the two republics.
On May 21, 2006, 86 percent of eligible Montenegrin voters turned out for a special referendum on the independence of Montenegro from the state union with Serbia. They voted 55.5% in favor of independence, recognised as above the 55% threshold set by the European Union for formal recognition of the independence of Montenegro. On June 3, 2006, Montenegro officially declared its independence, with Serbia following suit two days later, effectively dissolving the last vestige of the former Yugoslavia.
The first former Yugoslav republic to join the European Union was Slovenia, which applied in 1996 and became a member in 2004. Croatia applied for membership in 2003, and could join before 2010. Macedonia applied in 2004, and will probably join by 2010–2015. The remaining four republics have yet to apply so their acceptance generally is not expected before 2015. These states are signatories of various partnership agreements with the European Union. Since January 1, 2007, they have been encircled by member-states of EU (and Albania, which is encircled with them). See also: Enlargement of the European Union.
Remembrance of the time of the joint state and its perceived positive attributes is referred to as Yugonostalgy (Jugonostalgija). A lot of aspects of Yugonostalgia refer to the socialist system and the sense of social security it provided and inertness it allowed.