Why Were the Balkans Considered a Powder Keg?


The Western Balkans were a source of ethnic tensions primarily due to the fact that Yugoslavia was formed as a federation of distinct ethnic groups. Once the Soviet central leadership failed in Yugoslavia, many of the individual groups within the country saw no reason to remain federated.

The Yugoslavian Civil Wars of the 1990s began when Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence from Yugoslavia, which was followed by a dispute between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia over territory. Kosovo's push for independence and the United Nations' intervention to prevent Serbian ethnic cleansing ultimately resulted in the country fragmenting into several different nations.