“The Collective Memory of a People” Serbia This Time

Srbijadrzavna_zastava_wp_1024 “In Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, demonstrators waved Serbian flags and chanted “Kosovo is ours!” Police tried to keep protesters off the Kosovska Mitrovica bridge over the Ibar River. The bridge, which divides Kosovo Serbs from ethnic Albanians, has long been a flashpoint of tensions in Kosovo’s restive north

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders declared independence from Serbia on Sunday. The province, which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, has not been under Serbia’s control since 1999, when NATO launched airstrikes to halt a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists. A U.N. mission has governed Kosovo since.


Serbian police said one person died and more than 150 people were injured in unrest Thursday, which erupted after a state-sponsored rally. Nearly 200 people were arrested and 90 shops ransacked, police said in a statement.

On Thursday, nearly 200,000 demonstrated in downtown Belgrade against Kosovo independence. Rioters stormed the U.S. Embassy and set fire to offices and police guardhouses on the sidewalk in front of the building. The nearby Croatian embassy was also attacked, and a residential building next door was damaged by fire.

Associated Press


Dr Christine Helms (oft quoted here)was right in observing that the collective memory of a people is like a storehouse of power, a tool shed in which are kept the instruments of struggle, the weaponry stored up for use in expressing group will.

In the collective memory and mind of the Serbian people they are a besieged Christian Orthodox people beset with enemies; Muslim Bozniaks, Catholic Croats,  Albanians of all kinds.  In their minds Serbia is eternal and Kosovo IS Serbia.  Kosovo is where Serbia began.  It is the heart of their national mythos.  The issue of the numerical preponderance of the Albanian “trespasser” means nothing to the Serbs.  In much the same way, the city of San Antonio IS Texas for most Texans because the Alamo is there.

David Habakkuk wrote here recently that the continuing failure of the “Borgian Collective” that is the Bush Administration lies in its inability to accept the limits of American power.  I agree but would add that an often wilful refusal to understand or accept the “tribal” nature of the self image of many peoples is a reinforcing failure of the “Borg.”  This is clearly among the major factors in this ineptly managed and unnecesary new crisis in the Balkans.  We caused this by ignoring and deprecating what the Serbs hold most dear in their souls.  Now people will die for our arrogant meddling.

It is an open question whether or not the neocon jacobin Borg is uniquely unqualified to deal with questions of tribal identity and dreams or if we Americans are generally so afflicted.  Texans are, I think, better at this than most of us, but at the same time display the indifference to other tribes that is a penalty paid in compensation for the gift.  One might suggest other “minorities” in America that still understand tribal identity and values.

In the main, most Americans have been de-racinated to such an extent that the “obscure” loyalties of far away peoples are simply incomprehensible.  As a corollary, those among us in government who do understand such things are often regarded with distrust, and are thought to be “unsound.”

This is a problem .  pl


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29 Responses to “The Collective Memory of a People” Serbia This Time

  1. condfusedponderer says:

    Funny, this thread basically formulates an answer to a question I discussed with friends just a couple of days ago – such timely insights are one of the reasons why I value this blog highly.

  2. Walrus says:

    A comment regarding Serbia from my dear departed (military historian) Father: “Let them kill each other”.
    The genesis of this statement from an otherwise caring man was his understanding that the Balkans were the flashpoint for world war one, and indirectly world war two.
    The critical point is that Russia has a deep and abiding attachment to Serbia because they are regarded as an island of orthodox Slavic Christians in a sea of heathens, exactly like the Christianist right in America regard Israel.
    When Putin expresses outrage over Kosovo and support for Serbia he is not joking. To put it another way, this is serious folks.
    In discussion about the Balkans with any American, an oft repeated sign that you are dealing with an idiot is hearing criticism of Europe for “not doing something” about the Balkans.
    The last time they did, how many was it 40 – 50 million died, and they therefore act with great circumspection since Russian sensitivities are involved. If we are lucky, we will end up with a joint U.N./Russian peacekeeping force and a few hundred dead. If we are unlucky and Putin wants a cause celebre for his own use, Kosovo has just given him one.
    As for “the Borg”, Bush doesn’t have a clue, but I suspect his faceless blood hungry backers do, and they obviously see that a confrontation with Russia over Kosovo and the entanglement of the Europeans as well, would be in their interests.

  3. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Has anyone asked Obama how he would respond as commander in chief if Russia, along with the Serbians, militarily invaded Muslim Kosovo? Such a question, imo, would answer much. And most definitely someone should pose this question to irascible McCain and fading Hillary. (Maybe this question has already been asked at the debates and I missed it).
    But the Obama case is particularly interesting. Based on Prof. K’s rather stunning comment at another thread, odds appear reasonable that several former Russians turned Americans are whispering in Obama’s ear. Based on their collective memory, they may have an axe to grind. And, furthermore, based on the book that Prof. K referenced, I don’t think all of these folks have some needlepoint artwork that says “blessed are the peacemakers” hanging in their offices.
    And to hark back to Col. Smith’s thread on the psychology of killing, one must ask: is it possible that they could make the shift from the second psychological state to the first and turn a tribal collective memory into a premeditated killing from afar. How? By whispering into Obama’s ear that he is the new American messiah. Maybe even the first messiah of the global village. Next step is war to spread freedom, of course. And it may even give NATO something to do.
    Neoconservatives, particularly Christian neoconservatives, successfully pulled this stunt on Bush in the lead up to Shock and Awe. There is the report of a ME meeting subsequent to the launch of Iraqi freedom when Bush claimed that he heard God speak to him. Sounds like his ego was talking to him, but that’s just my opinion and I have little aptitude for religion. (Maybe someone should send Bush a book on what the religious call apophatic contemplation)
    Neoconservatives certainly could pull the same trick on McCain, probably with the greatest of ease. But Obama’s response may be most enlightening. I hope he stands tall.
    By the way, the same dynamic is working on the Serbian side as well. Problem is that because of our imperial hubris, we didn’t respect their culture to begin with not did we consider their collective memory. Hence, I think it is safe to call Kosovo a “hot” spot.
    It will be most fascinating to see if the Catholic Church recognizes independent Kosovo.

  4. stickler says:

    It will be most fascinating to see if the Catholic Church recognizes independent Kosovo.
    Why on Earth should the Vatican get involved in this mess? Don’t forget that Benedict is a German, and old enough to have known people who remembered what happened the last time “some damned fool thing in the Balkans” stirred up trouble.
    It was another German, earlier, who pointed out that the Balkans weren’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Shame his successors didn’t remember that advice.

  5. jonst says:

    Just out of curiosity,how was the Balkans “indirectly” a “flashpoint” for triggering WWII? And for the record I have my doubts as to how much it triggered WWI. That seems like a fight that was waiting to take place. All parties itching to get into, save the British.
    Second, there is no objective way I know to prove it but I suspect that Russian leaders have a “deep and abiding attachment” to go out of their way to proclaim to the world that they have a “deep and abiding attachment to Serbia”. This facilitates their ‘moral’ claims when seeking to exercise their geopolitical will in an area they conclude is in their zone of influence.
    It is a good question to ask regards what Obama, or any American president might do if the Russians were to enter into Kosovo. First off, I sincerely doubt the Serbs WANT the Russians in their nation. Second, I sincerely doubt that the Russians WANT to go to Kosovo via Serbia. Though I have no doubts that they will want many concessions for their so called restraint. But if I were president, I would let both Serbia and Russia choke on the chicken bone that Kosovo will become to those foolish to go in search of the fight. Of course Obama won’t be able to do that. But he would be better served to worry about the chicken bone stuck in OUR throats.

  6. Duncan Kinder says:

    Re: In the main, most Americans have been de-racinated to such an extent that the “obscure” loyalties of far away peoples are simply incomprehensible.
    George MacDonald Fraser ( of Flashman fame ) begins his
    by stating:

    At one moment when President Richard Nixon was taking part in his inauguration ceremony, he appeared flanked by Lyndon Johnson and Billy Graham. To anyone familiar with Border history it was one of those historical coincidences which send a little shudder through the mind: in that moment, thousands of miles and centuries in time away from the Debateable Land, the threads came together again: the descendants of three notable Anglo-Scottish Border tribes–families who live and fought within a few miles of each other on the West Marches in Queen Elizabeth’s time–were standing side by side, and it took very little effort of the imagination to replace the custom-made suits with leather jacks or backs-and-breasts. Only a political commentator would be tactless enough to pursue the resemblance to Border reivers bey9nd the physical, but there the similarity is strong.

    Perhaps, following Fraser’s suggestion, we are not so far removed from our own tribal heritage.

  7. anna missed says:

    Its probably a testament to the depth of our own indigenous tribal identity – exceptionalism – that after the successive failures in:
    and Serbia
    that they would have gotten a clue by now, that their vision for the world is myopic, if not dead blind. The people of these regions all receive the same generic brute force treatment coupled to the same fantastic expectations. That given the opportunity, they will shed their historic identity and embrace the alien. As if Texans would, under the right imposition, willingly switch to Spanish, wear a sombrero, and embrace Mexican cultural and political life.
    What they really miss though, is that the imposition is not simply alien or different, but is easily perceived as a hostile mortal threat. Not unlike the threat all liberal culture presents to traditional culture – that it dissolves the inherited family obligation tribal structure by presenting an alternative to it.

  8. Babak Makkinejad says:

    During the Cold War, Yugoslavia was an un-official member of NATO.
    This was a shameful way of treating an ally.
    I observe here that in the War of Yugoslav Disintegration the Orthodox Christian states of Russia, Bulgaria, and Greece supported the Orthodox Serbians, Muslim states supported Bosnian Muslims, and EU & US, on the whole, supported the Catholics (i.e. Western Christians).
    Furthermore, I think the actions of US, Turkey, UK, France and the other 15 EU members that have recognized Kosovo are going to be rightly perceived as threats to the international system by other state actors.
    US, Spain, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, China, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam are all candidates for the application of Kosovo principle. And I am not even including African states such as Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Congo, Nigeria, and many others.
    This is madness, in my opinion. Just like it was madness for Australia and the other international do-gooders to take 750,000 dirt farmers and make them, on paper, the independent state of East Timor.
    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  9. mike says:

    I suspect that Bush was more worried about Turkish reaction if we had not recognized Kosovo, instead of Russian reaction if we had.
    See the McClatchy article on Kurdish troops surrounding Turks in Iraq and threatening to open fire.
    It is a tragedy that we are now caught in a bind between two allies>

  10. walrus says:

    Johnst, I say Serbia indirectly was the cause of WWII because WWII was caused by WWI, or rather the treaty of Versailles.
    Going back in history, Kaiser Wlhelm gave the Austrians a blank cheque to take on the Serbians, which they did.
    As expected, Russia then declared war on Austria. Germany declared war on Russia, France (who was an ally of Russia) then declared war on Germany. The British might have kept out of it if the Germans hadn’t invaded via the low countries. (not sure I’ve got the exact order right)
    You are correct in that Germany wanted an early war with Russia and the other players were not averse to war either, but Serbia was the Casus Belli. I don’t wish to see it happen again.

  11. Patrick Theros says:

    Some stray comments:
    1) Western Europe supported the political descendants of the Nazi Ustashi against a regime descended from Tito’s anti-Nazi partisans. In the West obligation extends only to what did you do for me lately?
    2) Orthodox Christian soldiers (Russia, Yugoslavia and Greece) killed more Germans in WWII that everyone else put together. Doers anyone care or remember?
    3) Oddly, the EU countries in the Balkans (Romania, Bulgaria and Greece) who actually have something to lose do NOT recognize Kosovo. Isn’t it possible that they know something more than the western EU states and the US don’t?
    4) Holbrooke lied on MSNBC last night claiming that Kosovo lived under Serbian oppression for 800 years. The Serbs lost Kosovo to the Ottomans at the end of the 14th century and Albanians did not become a majority until Tito made them a majority in the fifties. Do we want him as the next Secretary of State? (He has told people that Hillary will do so.)

  12. stickler says:

    Patrick Theros:
    German(ic) policy in the Balkans has been as knee-jerk determinist as any other ethnic group over the last hundred years. Nazi policy preferred the Croats; in 1992 the Germans supported Croatian independence.
    Why? Look at the Militaergrenze between Austria and the Ottomans from about 1680 to 1815. It’s the border of Croatia today.
    Long memories, short on nuance.

  13. china_hand says:

    There are excellent economic reasons for breaking off Kosovo: it is a virtually bottomless source of mineral wealth and one of the foundations of Yugoslavian industry. Without it, Serbia’s industry will slowly grind to a halt, and it becomes a much, much weaker place;
    Those mines in Kosovo were auctioned off to France by Serbia just as the NATO bombing campaign came to an end. One of the pillars of that agreement was that Serbia would be included as a partner in any development of the mines.
    I don’t offer this up as a justification for the Serbian interest; obviously, that is a much more complicated thing. It is, however, a very strategic coup for the forces who wish to isolate the too-neutral, too socialist Serbia within its newly Euro-ized environment.
    My friends in the Macedonian military have informed me that the base the United States has built there is situated on one of the most tactically significant mountains in Europe. The ancient mythology surrounding it in the Balkans is that “the person who controls that mountain controls all of Central Europe”.
    Yes, the Jacobins have broken off Kosovo, and done so against all sane advice.
    But they have done so at the urging of a hawkish military, anxious to isolate Russia — and in the context of such motivations the reasons are unassailable.

  14. Duncan Kinder says:

    3) Oddly, the EU countries in the Balkans (Romania, Bulgaria and Greece) who actually have something to lose do NOT recognize Kosovo. Isn’t it possible that they know something more than the western EU states and the US don’t?
    I don’t know what these countries know but I do know that all of them are Orthodox.
    BTW: sometime last year I posted a comment on this blog to the effect that one of the “sleeper” issues of international policies that would emerge in the 21st century would be an Orthodox revival. Should this thesis be correct, then this Kosovo controversy will be a major precipitant for it.
    An Orthodox revival would have other implications beyond Kosovo. Note that Constantinople ( not “Istanbul” ), is their holy city. And they definitely want it back.

  15. johnf says:

    I had several friends who fought in British Special Forces in the Balkans during the 2nd World War. In their politics they tended to be dissident communists – like the Titoist communists they fought alongside (unlike the Yugoslav Moscow communists who sold out entirely to Uncle Joe while they passed the war in Moscow).
    In the recent Balkan Wars these friends tended – unlike most of the West – to stick to supporting the Serbs (partly, I suspect, out of loyalty to a people who had fought the Nazis so unflinchingly). But there is a case to be made for the Serbian side in the seemingly continuing Balkan civil wars. Its best put by Justin Raimondo, who points out that the people who pushed us into Kosovo – a mixture of neo-cons and liberal imperialists – were precisely the people who backed the Iraq fiasco. Not least Hilary Clinton, who is credited with having been the one who persuaded Bill to invade Kosovo:

  16. jonst says:

    Strictly as an academic matter, and not an attempt to directly challenge you, I have never bought the Versailles Treaty caused the war meme. Germany, specifically, Nazism, caused the war. Nor, possibly anticipating you, do I think Versailles ’caused’ the Nazis. In my opinion

  17. Mike says:

    The victory of the Nazis in 1933 in Germany would arguably not have happened but for the humiliation of Germany in the Versailles Treaty at the end of WW1. Other important contributory factors surely were the Great Inflation of the 1920s and the start of the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
    That said, you are right to question the strange assertion that WW2 started from the Balkans. WW1, yes – Sarajevo. But WW2? The Japanese asszault on China in the 30s and on the US at Pearl Harbour have nothing to do with the Balkans. Mussolini’s annexation of Libya and Ethiopia have nothing to do with the Balkans. Hitler’s ambitions to occupy the Rhineland, reunite Austria with the fatherland, and annex Czeckoslovakia and Poland had nothing to do with the Balkans. When poor deluded Chamberlain made that chill and eerie radio broadcast on September 3 1939 that signalled the start of the war in Europe, no mention was made of Yugoslavia or Albania or Greece or Bulgaria or Romania.

  18. David Habakkuk says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    I agree with you about glass houses.
    I would add to your list Georgia, where Abkhazia and South Ossetia are all too happy to see Kosovo as a precedent; Moldova, where Transdniestra is likewise happy; also Azerbaijan, where Nagorno-Karabakh would also like a complete parting of ways with Azerbaijan. In all these cases, the country concerned already does not have effective control. The precedent could thus easily be followed, which would however further open up the wedge towards a more general destabilisation created by Western policy in the Balkans.
    Putin made explicit his view that Kosovo sets a precedent in relation to Georgia and Moldova in a recent press conference.
    I am however sceptical about the idea that the Russians would want to involve themselves militarily in the Balkans. For one thing, it is an open question quite how much weight traditional links to Serbia actually carry with those currently making foreign policy in Russia. Nicholas Gvosdev had some interesting remarks on the point on his blog last month, suggesting it was ‘important that we move away from the old cliches about “Orthodox-Slavic” unity as a motivator for policy.’ He went on to point out that:
    ‘Russia is cultivating a whole group of new partners in Europe on the basis of good old fashioned self-interest. Hungarians have discovered they can forgive 1848-49 and 1956 to position their country as a major hub for Russian energy exports in the 21st century. No common cultural ties connect Russia with the Netherlands, the Austrians, the Norwegians, or the Italians; and it bears noting that Russia has more of a business presence in Catholic Croatia than in Orthodox Serbia (although that may change).’
    Some time ago, Andrei Tsygankov pointed out the parallels between Putin and Prince Alexander Gorchakov, who managed Russian foreign policy rather successfully after the catastrophic defeat in the Crimean War — and as Tsygankov puts it ‘was brutally honest in his characterization of the weakened Russia as a “great, powerless country.”‘ In concrete terms this implies a realpolitik focusing on diplomacy, obviously with Russia’s role in global energy markets at its centre, and eschewing military ventures.
    In the longer term, however, I remain worried about how the situation in the Ukraine could develop. My sister-in-law comes from the Western Ukraine — but, having a Russian mother, is completely bilingual. The Western Ukraine was part of the Hapsburg Empire up till the end of the First World War, then part of Poland. Ukrainian nationalists commonly looked to Germany, so one consequence is that the Ukraine contains people who had diametrically opposite identifications in one of the greatest and most savage wars in human history.
    When my wife and I were in Kiev with her a few years ago, she time and again addressed people in Ukrainian. In every single instance they replied in Russian. This does not mean that the inhabitants of Kiev want to reunite with Russia. But the Donbass and the Crimea may be a different matter – and after all, the Crimea is only in the Ukraine because of Khrushchev’s 1954 ukaz transferring the area from Russia.
    I think a question worth asking John McCain, for one, would be if indeed he proposes to include Ukraine and Georgia in NATO, what he would do if a few years down the line the local authorities in the Crimea denounce Khrushchev’s action as an example of totalitarian arbitrariness at its worst, and announce they want to open negotiations for reunion with Russia?
    Suppose at the same time stories begin appearing in the Russian press about technical hitches in gas supplies to Europe — and maybe maps showing the radius of Russian INF missiles. The Chief of the General Staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, restated the first-use doctrine which the Russian military adopted back in 1993 somewhat stridently at a meeting last month of the Academy of Military Sciences. The organisation is headed by the former Deputy Chief of the Soviet General Staff, Makhmut Ahkmetovich Gareev.
    A fascinating paper back in 1995 by the invaluable Jacob Kipp of the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth made clear that Gareev sharply disapproved of the repudiation of the Soviet-era no first use doctrine
    (See http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/rusrma.htm.) But such reservations seem to have gone out of the window. It is evident we have successfully converted the Russians to faith in Western ideas of nuclear ‘deterrence’.

  19. jonst says:

    I’m sorry. Perhaps I missed something. Has McCain proposed to include Ukraine and Georgia NATO? That would be sheer insanity from where i sit.
    My point is, right or wrong, I have always believed the “humiliation” of Germany as a result of the treaty, overplayed. I don’t think it imposed the onerous conditions, either in a geopolitical or economic sense, on Germany that the so many had claimed.
    On the other hand the Treaty did a hell of a lot of damage to many other nations and peoples.

  20. David Habakkuk says:

    In the statement he released on February 8, McCain proposed a ‘NATO Membership Action Plan’. The relevant section reads as follows:
    ‘Georgia and Ukraine have expressed their desire for a NATO Membership Action Plan. We should offer it to them at the summit. These two nations have every right to aspire to democracy and security as other states closer to the heart of Europe. Ukraine and Georgia have difficult neighbors and domestic challenges; they are young democracies and their road ahead will be difficult. But they should know that we will support them every step of the way, and we can show them this by supporting their aspirations at Bucharest.’
    From a piece entitled ‘Abkhazia: land in limbo’ by George Hewitt on the Opendemocracy website some times back:
    (See http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-caucasus/abkhazia_future_3983.jsp).
    ‘Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili introduced John McCain, leader of a senatorial delegation to Tbilisi in September 2006, as “the next president of the United States,” a compliment repaid by McCain’s styling the Georgian people America’s “best friends.” As the senators bade Georgia farewell some days later, they expressed the hope that the peoples of the two territories which have maintained a precarious immunity from Tbilisi’s grasp since the conflicts of the early 1990s would “soon learn what it means to live in freedom.”
    ‘In offering this view of Abkhazia (which the senators did not visit) and South Ossetia (which they did), leading figures in Washington demonstrate (once again) an abiding ignorance of the cause they proclaim. A month later, the Abkhazians in particular are left to muse on the political calculations behind such visits: and on how far the current crisis threatening their small republic might owe something to stage-management by a US administration working closely with the tyro politicians who head the government of the Georgia from which the Abkhazians broke away in the 1992-93 war.’
    I like the comment by Anatol Lieven — the best British foreign affairs commentator, perhaps partly because of his truly bizarre ancestry:
    ‘Consider, for example, that at a time when the U.S. is facing crises of truly vital importance in the Middle East, it is also drifting toward a dangerous confrontation with Russia, a key player in the Middle East, over … South Ossetia.
    ‘What next, we wonder? Massive U.S. involvement in a Chilean-Argentine conflict over control of the Beagle Channel? A huge commitment of U.S. energy and resources to help Paraguay recover the Gran Chaco?’
    (See http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-lieven11oct11,0,3605684.story?coll=la-opinion-center.)

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    David Habakkuk:
    Thank you for your comments.
    I agree that Russia will not do anything positive on behalf of Serbia in the matter of Kosovo. [The negative exertion was prevent the affirmation of Kosovo’s independence through UNSC.]
    In regards to Ukraine, you are preaching to the Choir. In my opinion, Russia will reclaim much of Ukraine and Northern Kazakhstan over the next few decades. It is just a matter of time.
    Kosovo & Bosnia will keep the EU do-gooders occupied for a few more years until like all men (really boy with toys) they get tired of playing nation-builder in that part of the world and move on to a new toy (Global Warming anyone?).

  22. Eric Dönges says:

    when you write “I have always believed the ‘humiliation’ of Germany as a result of the treaty, overplayed. I don’t think it imposed the onerous conditions, either in a geopolitical or economic sense, on Germany that the so many had claimed.”, do you have any idea what the treaty of Versailles actually contained ?
    Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Versailles and tell me again that this treaty was not unduly onerous, and completely unacceptable to any sovereign nation. Add to this the fact that France and the UK did everything in their power to make the life of the democratically elected German governments miserable (like the French occupation of the Rhineland, for instance), and then you realize that part of the reason for the rise of Nazism is to be found in London and Paris.
    The French realized that this was a very bad idea after WWII and decided that the best way to deal with Germany was to bind it closely to France economically and politically – which in my opinion, has been a great success for both countries.

  23. jonst says:

    Yes, I read most of the treaty. I find your comments in your second paragraph to be factually incorrect. I would suggest, if you are interested, regarding one, but only one, source for my contentions, you might try
    A Global History of World War II by Gerhard L. Weinberg. I do not wave this title at you as a shibboleth. I offer that this is a very,very technical argument and it does not lend itself to comments on a blog.
    As to last paragraph, I agree. But you will note, the embracing took place after, and only after, the Allies split Germany in two. It was easier, and wiser, to embrace the German Shepard puppy, than the full grown Shepard. And, I will bet, that those who split up Germany, thought they were going to stay split a lot longer than they actually did. After Versailles, however onerous, and however poorly, you say the German state was treated….here is what we know. It stayed one nation. And, within less than two decades Germany had righted itself to the extent that she nearly conquered the combined forces of all of Europe. Blaming Nazism on London and Paris is an old trick. And it has fooled many a man, and many a historian, you want to believe it? Fine. Not I….

  24. Duncan Kinder says:

    Speaking of “Collective Memory,” the role of oral tradition is important.
    The leading text on Oral Tradition is Albert Lord’s The Singer of Tales.
    In The Singer of Tales, Lord analyzes the oral poetry of Jugoslav Muslim oral poets to assert that Homer uses similar techniques to compose the Iliad and the Odyssey.
    Lord, a Harvard professor, was the leading disciple of Millman Parry. Parry, who died in an automobile accident in 1935 and who has been compared to Darwin in terms of his intellectual importance, advance the thesis that Homer’s poetry was composed orally rather than written down – hence is not “literature” in the same sense that, say, Virgil’s Aeneid is. The Singer of Tales is the most concise presentation of the Parry Lord thesis.
    For purposes of our present discussion, The Singer of Tales – through its extensive discussion of Balkan bards – provides much information about how collective memory actually has operated in the Balkans.

  25. Eric Dönges says:

    please read my comment again. I claimed that part of the reason for Nazism is to be found outside of Germany – but only part. That is not “blaming Nazism on London and Paris”.
    And the reason that Germany was able to start WWII was because Hitler simply ignored the Versaille treaty. The British and French didn’t lift a finger to stop him – probably because they belatedly realized that the only thing standing between France (and thus the English Channel) and the Soviet Union was a militarily completely emasculated Germany. By the time they realized that Hitler couldn’t be bargained with, it was too late to do anything about it.

  26. Interesting stuff stirred up by “Balkan Ghosts.” Look back 500 years and not just 100 and the issues argued over on this blog indicate the Balkans ain’t going away as a witches brew. The Ottoman defeats that “saved the West (i.e. Christendom)” are unlikely to be military in the future. Now its just down to the brass tacks of demography, economics, political will matched by capability, and the next 100 years could well see the BALKANS as the see-saw that determines where the European pennisula (s) end up in the world balance. Doubtful that the Asians will allow the West and Islamic world to engage in societal suicide if it could impact Asian culture in any way. No longer is the West and Islam isolated from the EAST. All those Eurocentric historians don’t seem to realize who is in the drivers seat just now. China has over 165 cities of a million or more. How many in the West? How many in the Balkans? What was the Chinese Embassy doing when bombed in the last Balkan war by the US? Watch carefully as Chinese diplomacy works behind the scenes. Although admittedly they (the Han Chinese) are mowing down mosques in western China and encouraging massive immigration of HAN chinese into China’s western regions. Could thing those sturdy mongol hordes don’t have enough horses to ride west.

  27. Serbian Croat says:

    1377 • Stefan Tvrtko I of Bosnia declares himself King of Serbs, Bosnia and the Seaside and the Western Lands in Monastery of Mileševa in Serbia, as a legal successor of the Nemanjić dynasty (closest surviving relative of the dynasty). This title was supported by the most influential Serbian noblemen, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Rascia and Vuk Branković of Kosovo, as well as Kingdom of Hungary and Republic of Venice
    Kosovo field 1389 to the myth, Miloš Obilić established the Order of the Dragon of St George, an alliance of Serb aristocracy against the Ottoman invadors. Out of 12 knights only 1 survives the battle, passing his credentials to Stefan Lazarević and various European draconists (knights of Austria, Naples, Kingdom of Hungary, Spain, etc)
    • 40,000 strong Serbian army led by Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Rascia, Vlatko Vuković of Bosnia, Miloš Obilić and most other prominent nobles faced better equipped and trained Ottoman army in Battle of Kosovo. Casualties on both sides were extremely high – both leaders have died in the battle (Serbian Lazar Hrebeljanović and Ottoman sultan Murad I), and most of Serbian aristocracy became extinct. Most of the Empire was now in Ottoman hands, save for Serbian Despotate, Montenegro and Bosnia that soon followed.
    1679, ruling the state up to 1918 4th Kingdom of Bosnia 1391-1482 Following King Tvrtko’s death in 1391, Bosnian Kingdom begins to fade, but still manages to preserve its crown by the Ottoman conquest in 1463, when the last medieval Serbian King Stefan Tomašević was executed by the Ottomans in a field not far from Ključ.
    .Despot Stefan Lazarević, son of the most prominent hero of the Kosovo battle, Prince Lazar, repopulates his Despotate by Serbian refugees, rebuilds Belgrade, making it the most influential remaining strongholds of Orthodox Christianity in Europe.
    • In 1429, Belgrade was returned to the control of the Kingdom of Hungary following the death of Despot Stefan Lazarević. Đurađ Branković moves his capital to Smederevo in eastern Serbia.
    • By 1459, Ottomans destroy the Despotate by taking over the capital city. Bosnian-Serb King Stefan Tomašević losses his Bosnian Kingdom following the conquest of his primary lands, Serbia and Bosnia
    • In 1456, Byzantine Empire collapses.
    • In 1456, Siege of Belgrade, one of the greatest crusade wars of medieval times, takes place in Belgrade as Sultan Mehmed II besieges the city with 150,000 soldiers and over 100 ships [1]. Joint Hungarian and Serbian troops, aided by other Christian nations, repel Ottoman forces. Pope Calixtus III praises Belgrade and its defendor John Hunyadi as the Saviors of Christianity. Catholic-run Belgrade is now the only bastion of Christianity in the Balkans. Massive reconstruction of the city is under way.
    1521-27 • Belgrade succumbs to the Ottomans following the Second Siege of Belgrade, but retains its cosmopolitism, continuing its growth as the northernmost point of Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Kingdom of Hungary collapses due to Ottoman onslaughts. Vienna is besieged but repels the conquerors
    • Shortlasting Serbian Empire of Jovan Nenad (2nd Serbian Empire) is proclaimed in Subotica. Emperor Jovan Nenad also claims the throne of collapsing Kingdom of Hungary, however he gets killed following a conspiracy among Hungarian noblemen. The Empire collapses
    Adriatic sea 1537/73 • In 1537, Clissa succumbs to the Ottomans, thus enabling Senj to become a Serbian Uskok (pirate) stronghold in the Adriatic sea
    • In 1567, Republic of Venice and Ottoman Empire clash over Uskoks and their alligeance. Kingdom of Spain, Habsburg Empire and Papal States join the war on Venetian/Uskok side, ultimately defating the Turks. Uskoks mostly owe alligeance to Habsburgs and at times, to Venice under leaders such as Stojan Janković, high-ranked Venetian military officer
    Ottoman Serbia 1594-1688 • Banat Uprising against Ottoman rule erupts among Serbs in Vršac led by Teodor Nestorović, the bishop of Vršac. The revolt is put down brutally by the Ottoman authorities after almost one year of unrest. 350 year-old holy relicts of Saint Sava founder of Serbian Orhodox Church are publicly burned down in Belgrade, spreading fear among majority Christians. It was the largest Serb anti-Ottoman uprising to that date.
    • Belgrade is the largest city of Southeastern Europe. Numbering well over 100,000 people, the city flourishes as the centre of trade and culture. New settlers Armenians, Greeks, Ragusans, Italians dwell into the city – Gate of the East and West.
    Dalmatia, Venice, Madrid 1615-17 Uskok war erupts between Republic of Venice and Habsburg Empire over the Venetian supremacy on the Adriatic sea. Uskoks were the main source of jeopardy for this republic’s trade. Peace in Madrid in 1617 puts and end to Serbian Uskoks activity in Venetian territories Habsburg Serbia 1688-1691
    Austro-Ottoman War ravages Belgrade. After the incorporation of Hungary and Vojvodina, Habsburg Empire annexes Serbia, expelling its non-Christian overlords.
    By 1691, however, Ottomans retake Belgrade, forcing Serbs and other Christians into exile. Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor invites Serbs to settle in Habsburg Empire, trigerring the First Great Serbian Exodus across the Danube and Sava rivers, leaving the southern regions and Belgrade itself, underpopulated .
    1699 Members of the Holy League – the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Republic of Venice and the Russian Empire – conclude a peace treaty with Ottoman Empire, by which the territories of modern Vojvodina and Slavonia passed to Habsburg Empire in the Treaty of Karlovci. Following the Congress, Sremski Karlovci and Novi Sad became major hubs of Serbian culture in the Habsburg Empire. Serbs enter the Enlightment period alongside other Western nations, leaving behind the
    Ottoman-imposed values Habsburg Serbia 1718-1739 Treaty of Passarowitz once again cedes Serbia to the Habsburg Empire. Belgrade undergoes a Catholic-like transformation, having its ancient walls and city gates refortified and rebuilt.
    Ottomans however take advance towards the north in 1739, trigerring the Second Great Serbian Exodus into Habsburg Empire and Imperial Russia.
    Belgrade is leveled to the ground by the Ottomans. As Habsburg Serbia capitulates, dark era for the remaining Serbs begins Habsburg Empire
    1748 Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa gives royal city rights to Novi Sad, biggest Serbian settlement in this Empire, following the capitulation of the Habsburg Serbia. The city becomes known as Serbian Athens – place of Serbian national revival. Most of Serbian culture including its patriarchy (Metropolitanate of Karlovci) is now “in exile” across the Danube and Sava rivers, overlooking Ottoman Serbia to the south. More Serbian cities are granted a Free Royal Status in years to come, chiefly by Maria Theresa of Austria: Sombor, Bečkerek, Subotica (Maria-Theresiopolis), etc.
    1755 Serbs permanently settle in the Russian Empire, fleeing from Ottoman onslaughts in the Balkans. Czar gives them territories of Nova Serbia and Slavo-Serbia. Today these Serbs are mostly asimilated into Ukrainians, although their traces still reflect in toponymes such as city of Slovianoserbsk and district of Slovianoserbsk in south-eastern Ukraine Ottoman Serbia
    1739-1804 • Ottoman Empire rules Serbia. The country depopulates due to constant migrations into Serb-populated Habsburg lands, especially majority-Serb Military Frontier in Croatia(but also Dalmatia, Kingdom of Hungary, etc)
    • In 1766, Turks abolish the Serbian Orthodox Church, subjugating it to Constantinople. Two Serbian patriarchs have found its refuge in Habsburg Empire during the preceding migrations. Southern Serbia slowly becomes Muslim in character, following the colonization of Muslim Albanians and Turks
    1804, • Massacre of Serbian knights near Valjevo triggers a national revolution known as First Serbian Uprising. Led by Karađorđe, Serbs have liberated most of Serbia proper in a matter of months.
    Belgrade is retaken from the Ottomans and proclaimed the capital of the independentPrincipality of Serbia. The government (Praviteljstvujušći Sovjet) is formed, prince (Karađorđe) inaugurated and first Serbian University (University of Belgrade) formed as of 1808.
    • The country’s Narodni Zbor (Revolutionarry Parliament) adopts the first constitutional act in this part of Europe in 1808, defining Serbia as a constitutional monarchy under Karađorđe’s supreme rule
    • Napoleon annexes Bay of Kotor to the First French Empire, as a part of the Illyrian provinces. Venetian Republic collapses after almost 1000 years of existence.
    • Serbian Prince Karađorđe seeks aid from Napoleon as the national revolution spreads. Napoleon rejects the idea, fearing the riots among Dalmatian Serbs. Instead he attacks Imperial Russia
    1809• Greatest defeat of the revolutionarry Serbian army in Battle of Čegar. 15,000 die in a clash with Ottoman forces, led by a talented officer Stevan Sinđelić, who himself died in this battle. Serbia has expelled the Turks but weakened significantly. Skull Tower is built by the Ottomans out of 1,000 Serbian skulls in vicinity of today’s Niš as a horrible reminder of this event
    • Revolutionarry Serbia is crushed in 1813, facing the Ottomans as they invade the country with 200,000 soldiers. The lack of support from neither Napoleon nor Imperial Russia, who were at war at the time, has also contributed to Serbian defeat. Wide spread revenge attacks upon civilians, nobles and intelligence trigger a second insurrection
    1815 • Second Serbian Uprising is launched in Takovo by the elite gathered around Miloš Obrenović, following wide-spread revenge attacks upon Serbian civilians.
    • Victorious in battles of Ljubic and Dubalj, Serbian revolutionarry army expels the Ottomans from Serbia.
    • Ottoman governor, Marashli Ali Pasha, aprroves partial autonomy for the rebelled province in 1816, pressured by Imperial Russia and Habsburg Empire- the supervisors and protectors of the Serbian people in the Sultanate.
    • Spring of Nations erupts in Europe. Serbs of Habsburg Empire demand self-rule according to the 1691. charter of Leopold I, Emperor of Austria. Serbs proclaimed creation of autonomous Serbian Vojvodina in Sremski Karlovci as Serb army in the Habsburg Monarchy clashes with the Hungarians. Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat is introduced following the military defeat of the Hungarians in Vojvodina, prompting Serbs and Danube Swabians greater powers in the region.
    • In the Adriatic sea, the Serb National Guard of Kotor rejects unification of Bay of Kotor with Dalmatia, stating that Serbs have to be unified first before uniting with Croats
    • In 1850 in Vienna, Serbian and Croatian linguists agree to create a unified literary language based on Shtokavian dialect. It was known as Serbo-Croatian for the next 150 years. The aim was to establish closer cultural ties between the two closest nations and boost local Serbian support for the Croatian cause. Croats accept Serbian grammar based on Vuk Stefanović Karadžić’s reform
    • In 1860, Franz Joseph of Austria abolishes the Serbian crownland of Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat, igniting a revolt among Serbs, however without any success
    1867 • Habsburg Empire is replaced by the Dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Serbian lands are split between the two.
    • Subotica, one of the biggest Serbian settlements, is connected to the West by railway in 1869.
    • In 1873, Banat Krajina was abolished and included into Transleithania (despite wishes of the majority Serbs and Germans). This was the first step towards extinction of Serb- populated Military Frontier inherited from the Habsburg Empire. By 1883 Military Frontier was entirely abolished and incorporated into Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, save for Bay of Kotor (Austria).
    • Southwards, in the Principality of Serbia, Serbs rebel against Ottoman authorities following the bombardment of Belgrade. Great Britain and France urge Ottomans to withdraw their troops from Serbia. Principality of Serbia is now de facto independent, 50 years after the Second Serbian Uprising
    1875/78 • Russo-Turkish War begins. Majority people, Bosnian Serbs, launch an uprising against Ottomans in Nevesinje, declaring their unification with Principality of Serbia. Nikola Pašić and Nicholas I of Montenegro proclaim formal independence of Serbia and Montenegro. Ottoman Empire declares war on Serbia and Montenegro
    • By 1878, Christian troops besieged Istanbul. Western interference stops the collapse of Ottoman Turkey by ackgnowledging de jure independence of Montenegro, Serbia and Romania with the Treaty of Berlin (all of which have already been sovereign for some time prior to the Congress).
    • Austria-Hungary occupies Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Raška region, preventing the Serbian unification. Bosnian-Serb Uprising is crushed by Austria-Hungary, resulting in a severe discontent among Serbs
    • Kingdom of Serbia is proclaimed in 1882 under austrophile King Milan Obrenović, following a corruption scandal he was involved in.
    • In 1885, Serbo-Bulgarian War results in country’s humiliation following the Unification of Bulgaria, increasing the hostility towards the House of Obrenović.
    • In 1889, King Milan Obrenović abdicates the throne in favour of his minor age son Aleksandar Obrenović. Austrophile policy continues. In 1893 Aleksandar Obrenović assumes power following coup d’état.
    • In 1903, The May Coup d’Etat results in the savage execuction of the royal couple King Aleksandar Obrenović and Queen Draga Mašin by Black hand activists.
    • House of Karađorđević under Peter I assumes power, claiming descent all the way to the first rulers of Serbia (Nemanjić pedigree)
    1906• Pig War between Austria-Hungary and Kingdom of Serbia. Austria imposes economic blocade on Serbia following Serbia’s decision to improve cooperation with France, Britain and Bulgaria. Serbia eventually triumphs thanks to its Western allies
    • At the peak of the economic blocade, in 1908 Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina, triggering Bosnian crisis in Europe.
    • Serbia and Montenegro mobilize their armies in support to Bosnian Serbs, claiming support from Imperial Russia. Russia however drops support to Serbs, forcing Serbia and Montenegro to demobilize their armies.
    • Young Turk Revolution starts within Ottoman Empire. As Bulgaria proclaims independence, Serbia starts looking towards south – Kosovo and Macedonia, having to accept the Bosnian occupation.
    • Kingdom of Montenegro is proclaimed in Cetinje under King Nicholas I of Montenegro in 1910. His long-term programme was the restoration of the Serbian Empire with him as an Emperor. Two rival Serbian dynasties now fight for supremacy among Serbs.
    Balkans 1912/13 • Balkan wars begin, as Montenegro and Serbia declare war on Ottoman Empire, followed by Bulgaria and Greece. Balkan League besieges Constantinople.
    • Serbia and Montenegro divide Raška region, Albania and Kosovo, while Serbia also takes offensive on Macedonia in Battle of Kumanovo and Battle of Bitola. Ottoman Empire capitulates.
    • Albania proclaims independence from the Ottoman Empire, approved in the Treaty of London, thus forcing Serbo-Montenegrin troops to witdraw from the country
    • Bulgarian army attacks Serbian army and Greek army over Macedonia. In a course of a few months Bulgarian invasion is suppressed by Serbia, Romania, Greece and even Ottoman Empire.
    • Kingdom of Serbia has doubled its territory, but lost outlets to the Adriatic sea and Aegean sea due to Austrian intervention. It numbers ca. 4,5 million people.
    July 1914, Assassination in Sarajevo sparks a major European crisis. July Ultimatum was delievered to Serbian authorities, demanding that Austro-Hungarian troops march into Serbia.
    Kingdom of Serbia rejects the proposal, supported by Imperial Russia, France and Great Britain.
    Austria-Hungary and German Empire declare war on Kingdom of Serbia, triggering the outbreak of World War I
    1914 • Battle of Cer marks the First Allied Victory in the War as Serbian First Army under field marshal Stepa Stepanović push the Austro-Hungarian Army across Drina and Sava rivers, expelling them from the Kingdom of Serbia. Serbia suffers 16,000 casualties comparing to 30,000 Austro-Hungarian in this part of the Serbian Campaign
    • Three months later, Austria-Hungary launches the 2nd invasion on Kingdom of Serbia. Belgrade falls from 110,000 to 20,000 following the bombing from the Sava and Danube rivers. Battle of Kolubara begins, resulting in second decisive victory of Serbian First Army and retreat of Austria-Hungary across the rivers a month later. Field marshals Radomir Putnik and Živojin Mišić’s strategy has been hailed throughout the country. Serbia is free for almost a year, but at a terrible cost; it lost aprroximately 170,000 men, almost a half of its entire army.
    Occupied Serbia Oct 1915 • Typhus epidemics begins. 150,000 people die in Serbia| this year alone. The country’s population already dropped 10% since the beginning of the war
    • 3rd invasion of Serbia begins in October. Austria-Hungary conquers Belgrade, marching towards the south. Bulgaria invades Serbia, cutting its supply route from Greece. Serbian First Army is forced to retreat across Albania and Kosovo. Kingdom of Serbia capitulates following the Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian occupations as Serbian Royal Army enters Kingdom of Montenegro
    • Yugoslav Committee, founded by the Austro-Hungarian Serbs and Croats in exile, is proclaimed in London. Its primary goal was the liberation of the South Slavic lands from Austro-Hungary, with a tendence of joining the Kingdom of Serbia
    • Secret London Pact offers western Dalmatia to Kingdom of Italy and eastern parts to Kingdom of Serbia, that would also be combined with Bosnia and Herzegovina, most of Slavonia and large part of Vojvodina and northern Albania.
    1916• Entire Serbian First Army withdraws through the Alpine peaks of Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania, towards allied Greece. Overwhelmed by the harsh Alpine climate, food – and water shortages and clashes with Albanian tribes, another 150,000 soldiers perish during this action.
    Only 100,000 reach Corfu island in Greece. This action is now known as the Serbian Golgotha, and the island of Vido near Corfu and its waters as the Blue graveyard. Another typhus epidemics cripples Serbian population.
    • Several thousand Serbian soldiers are sent to North Africa. Many of them are buried in Bizerta, Tunisia.
    • Yugoslav Committee, made up of exiled Austro-Hungarian Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, signs the Corfu Declaration with the representatives of the Kingdom of Serbia, enabling the creation of the joint state of all Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
    • Consolidation of the Army of the Orient, consisted of Serbian, British, French and Greek forces, aimed at defeating Bulgaria, starts its operations outside Greece. In only a month and a half, Serbian First Army reenters Serbia and defeats Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria.
    Oct 1918 • Austria-Hungary capitulates, disintegrating into several statelets, the largest one being State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs governed from Zagreb
    • Joint Serbian, British and French forces expel Bulgaria from the pre-war Serbian territories (including Kosovo and Macedonia). Bulgaria capitulates.
    • World War I comes to an end, following decissive Entente Powers victory. Contribution to the Entente cause was extreme: Kingdom of Serbia had lost 28% of its entire prewar population, falling from 4,5 down to 3,2 million people.
    • Syrmia breaks off from State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and joins the Kingdom of Serbia
    • Vojvodina (Banat, Bačka and Baranja) joins the Kingdom of Serbia by the decision of the Serb National Board in Novi Sad
    • Kingdom of Montenegro overthrows its dynasty of Petrović and accepts the supremacy of the House of Karađorđević
    First Yugoslavia November 1918 • State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs joins the Kingdom of Serbia, fearing the possible Italian invasion. The newly created South Slavic state is considered a legal successor of the Kingdom of Serbia and is openly labelled as hostile by Kingdom of Italy, that was hoping to annex the rest of Istria, Dalmatia and Montenegro
    • Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, {First Yugoslavia), is proclaimed in Belgrade under Regent Alexander I. Belgrade unites with Zemun and Pančevo (formerly Serb-populated cities in Habsburg Monarchy)
    September 1919 Italian poet and fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio enters the Free State of Rijeka, bringing the two neighbours on the verge of war. Treaty of Rapallo in 1920 recognizes the state’s independence. In 1921 Kingdom of Italy invades Rijeka and annexes it, despite Belgrade’s objections Belgrade
    1920/31 • Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes joins Little Entente, alongside Kingdom of Romania and Czechoslovakia, as a defence union against Hungarian territory claims. The union collapses as Kingdom of SCS refuses to invade the bolsevic state of Hungarian Soviet Republic with Romania and Czechoslovakia
    • St. Vitus Day Constitution is adopted in the National Parliament by the minimal majority principle (ethnic voting). Serbs and Muslims – Albanians, Turks, Bosnian Muslims – vote in favour, while most Croats, Slovenes, Germans and Hungarians rejected the act. The unitary monarchy has led to discontent among Croat and Slovene bourgoasie and constant struggle for power with Belgrade’s elite
    • In 1924, Balkan Entente is formed by Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Kingdom of Romania, Greece and Turkey, as a counterbalance to the revissionists (chiefly Italy and Hungary), but also served as a buffer-zone with the Soviet Union
    • In 1929, The 6th of January Dictatorship is introduced by King Alexander of Yugoslavia, following assassination of the Croatian Peasant Party leader and the most important Croatian politician at the time, Stjepan Radić by a Montenegrin Serb member of the Serbian People’s Radical Party, Puniša Račić. The Constitution is suspended, the Parliament dissolved as the King starts his 2-year dictatorship aimed at restoring order in the ethnicly divided Kingdom. The state is renamed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia and its internal borders reintroduced through 9 banovinas
    • New Constitution of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is introduced by King Alexander in 1931, putting an end to his 2-year long dictatorship. The Croatian question again becomes activated, as many start demanding federalization of the unitary monarchy. Many Croatian politicians end up in prison, including Vlatko Maček, leader of the CPP, under pretext that they dismiss the Constitution.
    •Due to the dictatorship, the Ustaše terrorist movement is formed in Italy and declares as its goal: a Croatia free from Serbian hegemony and oppression.
    Marseille 1934 King Alexander I of Yugoslavia is shot dead by the Bulgarian and Croatian fascists, Vlado Chernosemski and the Ustaše.
    Prince Paul temporarily seizes the throne (Alexander’s son Peter II was a minor at the time) Zagreb 1939 Former political prisoner Vlatko Maček is appointed vice premier of Kingdom of Yugoslavia, following an appeasement policy of the Royal Court towards Croats. Autonomous Banovina of Croatia is carved out of large parts of Croatia, as well as parts of Bosnia and Vojvodina. As Vlatko Maček announces potential independence of the province, a deep crisis in the Kingdom follows.
    Yugoslavia has just started disintegrating Belgrade March 1941 • Prince Paul of Yugoslavia signs the Tripartite Pact of support for Axis Powers on 25th of March in Vienna, fearing an invasion of the Axis Powers upon his weakened Kingdom.
    • Massive demonstrations erupt in downtown Belgrade, as overwhelming majority of the Serbs denounce the Pact Trety. Following a military coup d’ etat, 17-year old Peter II assumes the throne, naming Dušan Simović as his chief general. Kingdom of Yugoslavia withdraws its support for the Axis Powers on March 27th
    1941 • Massive Luftwaffe airstrikes hit Yugoslav capital as Hitler decides to crush the rebellion, causing 17,000 casualties in Battle of Belgrade. Other Serbian cities follow suit, such as Leskovac, Kraljevo and Niš.
    • Kingdom of Italy, Third Reich, Fascist Hungary and Fascist Bulgaria invade and dismantle Kingdom of Yugoslavia, aided by Banovina of Croatia and Albania and some domestic minorities.
    • Kingdom of Yugoslavia capitulates as its royal army disintegrates, following the evacuation of the royal family to Africa and a multi-party occupation.
    Greece succumbs to the Axis 10 days later.
    Operation Barbarossa begins with a month delay, enabling the Soviet Union to regroup during the Axis invasion on Southern Europe[1]
    • Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, guerilla force loyal to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia’s government in exile, is founded on Ravna Gora by Colonel Draža Mihajlović. Until the Yalta conference in 1943 this royal army would be considered a chief ally to Great Britain, the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. Their chief opponents within the country would be the communists (Yugoslav partisans).
    • Serbian division of the Partisan resistance movement, loyal to communists of Josip Broz Tito, launches the uprising in Nazi-occupied town of Užice, proclaiming its free state, The Republic of Užice. Uprisings also erupt in Italian-held Montenegro, Bosnia and Slovenia. Užice succumbs to the Germans 4 months later.
    • First clashes between royalists of Draža Mihajlović and communists of (Josip Broz Tito) occur at this time over the supremacy in Yugoslav resistance movement; these two rival movements fight both each other and the Axis powers and thus expand the civil war to 3 sides: communist partisans, royalist chetniks and fascist Ustaše
    1941-45 • Independent State of Croatia or NDH is officially recognized by the Third Reich as a Nazi state and expanded into Bosnia and Vojvodina
    • Independent State of Croatia (NDH) fully commits to the Nazi ideology by accepting racial laws, aimed at exterminating the Serbs from this state. At the time Serbs comprised 33% of the Greater Croatia’s population[2]. Ante Pavelić calls for genocide by proclaiming “Legal order of races”, followed by the “Legal order of the protection of Aryan blood and the honour of the Croatian people” dated April 30, 1941, as well as the “Order of the creation and definition of the racial-political committee”
    • Serbian Genocide begins as Ustaša government and Ante Pavelić order internship of Serbs and Jews into the newly-built Jasenovac concentration camp. The complex consisted out of 5 detention facilities, out of which two were made in Stara Gradiška concentration camp and one in Sisak. The range of victims in this camp alone range anywhere between 90,000 (currently verified victims) and 700,000 (figures supported by former Yugoslav authorities, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, several Nazi German sources, etc). Overwhelming majority of the casualties were ethnic Serbs, followed by Jews, Roma,Bosniaks and some communist and royalist Croats.
    • In August 1942, tens of thousands of new Serbian inmates, mostly villagers from the Kozara region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, are deported to Jasenovac concentration camp. At the height of murderous orgies, 2 new primitive weapons are officially introduced in the camp, 1st of which was a curve bladed knife. The second weapon – “Malj” (The Mallet) – was used to crush skulls of the prisoners, many of whom were children.
    September 1941 Colonel of the British Royal Navy, Bill Hudson, meets with the commander of the royalists, Draža Mihajlović. The Anglo/Chetnik cooperation would go on all the way until 1944 Bosnia, Herzegovina 1943 • Several joint Axis offensives, made of German, Italian, NDH, Bulgarian and some Chetnik units, is launched in Bosnia and Herzegovina, aimed at crushing the partisan strongholds in the area. Decisive victory of the Yugoslav National Liberation Army (YNLA) in Battle of Neretva results in devastation of Chetnik forces in Bosnia.
    • As Fascist Italy capitulates in October, Nazi troops march into its territories along the coast of Yugoslavia (Dalmatia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Raška, Kosovo)
    • The 2nd Congress of AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia) proclaims the Yugoslav federation, denouncing the King’s right to return to the country after the World War II is over. Next day, the Tehran Conference, a meeting between Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, decides to shift their support from Yugoslav Royal Army to their rivals, communist Yugoslav partisans, and de facto legitimize communist regime in Yugoslavia
    • Aided by the Soviet army, Yugoslav Partisans expel fascist and Nazi forces from the country, ultimately defeating the royalists as well. Ustaše flee the country as well, among whom also Ante Pavelić, Petar Brzica, etc. Yugoslav Danube Swabians are also forced to leave the country, as well as many Hungarians and Italians.
    • In 1946, the National Committee for the War Crimes and Reparations concludes that 1,7 million people have died during World War II in Yugoslavia, many of whom were victims of civil war and the Croatian racial policy.
    Belgrade November 1945 • Federal People’s Yugoslavia or Second Yugoslavia is proclaimed by the Yugoslav Federal Parliament in Belgrade. The monarchy is officially abolished and the royal family banned from entering the country.
    • Serbian lands are dismantled under a pretext of Serbian hegemony and self-determination[5], being given to republic of Montenegro, provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, republic of Macedonia, republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, even to republic of Croatia (Baranja region), leaving Serbia, in form of Serbia proper, crippled in territory and population despite its Allied-orientation. Territories of Croatia are expanded into Baranja, Dalmatia and Istria under Croatian dictator Josip Broz Tito, despite the role of Croatia in the war (ethnic balance policy).
    Moscow 1948 SFRY is expelled from the World Communist League, after refusing to accept Soviet Union’s supremacy in the communist world. Yugoslavia, therefore, has never signed the Warsaw Pact nor has it been, consequently, behind the Iron Curtain, unlike its immediate neighbours.
    1968 Belgrade Spring erupts among studentry of Yugoslavia, ignited by Belgrade and Zagreb’s student demands to improve the conditions in the two largest Universities. Croats also ask for their own literary language apart from Serbian language, for the first time since the Vienna Treaty in 1850 Belgrade
    1974 New federal Constitution awards greater powers to individual republics and provinces, shifting it into a voluntary confederation with a right of self-determination for each of the subjects. Serbian Provinces of Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina are de facto separated from Serbia, as they were awarded state-treatment in the Federal Parliament, where they could veto any Serbian decision.
    1980 Croatian Josip Broz Tito dies in Ljubljana at the age of 88. Ethnic tensions rise across the country.
    Kosovo 1981 Riots erupt among ethnic Albanians of Kosovo, as they ask for the recognition of the State of Kosovo. The uprising was brutally suppressed by the JNA, as Kosovo Serbs fear being pulled into a civil war.
    By this date population share of Kosovo Serbs has dropped down to 15% comparing to 25% a decade earlier Belgrade 1986 Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts is proclaimed in Belgrade, calling for a fundamental change and the country’s reorganization. This document marks the rise of Serbian nationalism within SFRY, at the time the country was battling ever-high recession and unemployment rate.
    Kosovo Serbs and Croatian Serbs are pointed out as the main victims of ethnic hatred, following several clashes with local Albanians and Croats, respectively. The problem also focused on the inferior position of Serbia proper within the SFRY, openly calling for its reunification with the federal provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo .
    1987-89 • Slobodan Milošević is appointed to Kosovo and Metohija by the Serbian chairman Ivan Stambolić, to pacify the Kosovo Serbs who were asking for the reintegration with Serbia proper, and Kosovo Albanians, who were opposing the idea. Slobodan Milošević makes his famous speech in Priština, announcing to the Serbian crowd that No one shall molest you
    • On June 28th, 1989, Slobodan Milošević delieveres his Gazimestan Speech in front of 1,000,000 Serbs at the central celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. He calls for a “full equality among peoples of Yugoslavia”, demanding an end to the “dramatic ethnic and political divisions”. This was basically a message to both his political (democratic) and nationalist (Croat, Bosniak) opponents. His popularity skyrockets among nationalist Serbs, leading to his victory in the elections for the Serbian president few months later
    • Several amendments to the Serbian Constitution deprive Kosmet and Vojvodina of their federal authorities, de facto reintegrating them back into Serbia.
    Unconstitutional Kosovo Parliament declares independence of Kosovo, without any foreign recognition. Following the “Anti-bureaucratic revolution” pro-Milošević regimes emerge in Montenegro, Kosovo and Vojvodina, raising the number of Serbian votes in the Federal Presidency up to 4 (out of 8). Croatia and Slovenia protest this
    Belgrade 1990 League of Communists of Yugoslavia dissolves along ethnic lines, as Slovene and Croatian representatives storm out of the Congress, after opposing the strengthening of the Union. First free elections are held several months later in Croatia (Croatian parliamentary election, 1990) and Slovenia, where separatist options have prevailed overwhelmingly Croatia 1990
    • Parliament of Croatia ratifies a new Constitution, declaring the indigenous Serbs of Croatia (12.2%) a national minority rather than constituent nation. Serbs have enjoyed that autonomy de facto since the Croat-Hungarian Ausgleich in 19th century[9]. Franjo Tuđman, leader of the Croatian Democratic Union, publicly denounces the Serbian Genocide and the extent of the Holocaust[10], spreading fear among minority Croatian Serbs as he assumes power as the president of Croatia
    • Serb-populated regions of Croatia organize a poll on their self-rule within Croatia. The Log Revolution is also launched in the hinterland of Dalmatia, Serbian city of Knin; blocking Croatian roads and splitting the country into two parts. National Council of the Croatian Serbs, led by Milan Babić, declares “the autonomy of the Serbian people on ethnic and historic territories on which they live and which are within the current boundaries of the Republic of Croatia as a federal unit of the SFR Yugoslavia” in form of Kninska Krajina.
    Slovenia 1990 Slovenian independence referendum passes with an 88% support. Independence would have been declared within the succeeding 6 months
    Belgrade 1991 Hundreds of thousands of people gather in downtown Belgrade, peacefully demonstrating against Slobodan Milošević. Government orders “restoration of order” by force, deploying tanks onto the streets of the capital. 2 people are killed and over 300 injured in the clashes that followed; democratic opposition led by Vuk Drašković and Zoran Đinđić is de facto suppressed for years to come.
    Croatia 1991 •Croatian War of Independence begins, following the Plitvice Lakes incident. Security forces of the Republic of Croatia clash with rebel Serbs of Croatia, as they take over the territory of the national park (Serb-populated). 2 policemen die (one from each side). Emergency session of the Federal Parliament decides to send the troops of the JNA into the region. National Assembly of Serbia supports this decision, asking for the protection of Serbs
    •Borovo Selo massacre takes place in the Serb-populated village of Borovo Selo in eastern Croatia, as 4 Croatian police-officers attempt to change the Yugoslav flag with the Croatian one, after which they are captured by Vojislav Šešelj’s troops. Attempting to free them, Croatian policemen are led into an ambush and twelve are killed, some mutilated. Number of the Croatian Serbs killed in the incident varies anywhere between four on one side, and twenty, on the other.
    Slovenia, Croatia June 1991 • A series of Yugoslav wars begin as Croatia and Slovenia declare independence from the SFRY, opposed by the Serbs and the JNA. Slovenia is granted its independence following a Ten-Day War, however conflict in Croatia is bounded to last, as Republic of Serbian Krajina emerges
    •Starting in July, Serb forces and the JNA start to attack Croatian-majority areas. Battle of Dalmatia begins. In August, they attack Vukovar, starting the most bloody battle of the Croatian war.
    • On October 16, 120 Serbs[20] are massacred in the town of Gospić (region of Lika, Croatia), by members of a Croatian paramilitary unit, in what the Croatian human rights activists called the first major massacre of civilians in the Yugoslav civil wars. The mastermind of the massacre, Mirko Norac, was charged with crimes against humanity by both Croatia and the ICTY for his involvement in the mass killings of Serbian civilians during the Croatian War of Independence
    •On November 18, 1991, Vukovar falls and Serb paramilitary forces massacre over 250 civilians and POWs[21].
    Bosnia 1991/93 Contrary to the Yugoslav Constitution of 1974, which gave the right of self-determination only to constituent nations (majority population of republics; Bosnian Muslims in Bosnia) and not nationalities (minorities in republics), Bosnian Serbs proclaim the autonomous region of Bosnian Serb Community and Bosnian Croats announce the creation of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia. Bosniaks under Alija Izetbegović denounce the partition, calling for a unitary Bosnian state, while Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats call for unification with their respective states, led by their nationalist leaders Slobodan Milošević and Franjo Tuđman
    • Bosnian war erupts in 1992, following the ethnically-motivated killings between Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs. Bosnia and Herzegovina declares independence from the SFRY, opposed by the Bosnian Serbs (37%), who in turn proclaim independence of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (65% its territory). Bosnian Croats maintain to govern their lands apart from the Sarajevo government. Bosnia is de facto divided into 3 independent statelets
    • Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by Naser Orić (ICTY-indictee), commits hundreds of ethnically-motivated murders against Bosnian Serbs in eastern Bosnia. Figures range between 1,000 and 3,000 victims.
    • In 1993, Bosniaks and Croats split over the division of Bosnia, as the Croatian State of Herzeg-Bosnia refuses to merge with the Sarajevo-held territories. Open war erupts among all three constituent nations of Bosnia
    FR Yugoslavia 1992 • SFRY (Second Yugoslavia) is abolished following the declaration of independence of Macedonia.
    • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or Third Yugoslavia has come into existence in April.
    Dalmatia Maslenica 1993 Croatian army invades southern regions of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina. In the clashes that followed between different para-military units up to 500 Krajina Serbs and 120 Croats lose their lives. Croatian Army withdrew its forces after a successful campaign
    • Croatian military operation in the Medak Pocket is launched in September 1993, led by Mirko Norac and Rahim Ademi, the Hague Tribunal indictees. The predominantly Serbian population of the several adjecent villages, 400 strong, leaves the area. 16 are killed.
    Croatia 1995 • Operation Flash, conducted by the Croatian Army in May, successfully recaptures Republic of Serbian Krajina-held west Slavonia. Tens of Croatian Serbs have been killed during this action.[27]
    • Operation Storm, a large-scale military operation, is carried out throughout the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina by the Croatian Army, in August 1995, de facto ending the Croatian war which took 20,000 lives. In the aftermath of the operation 200,000 Croatian Serb civilians are forced out and left the area. Hundreds of civilians who had remained in the area were killed by the members of the Croatian army.
    • In a matter of days, RSK was dismantled and reintegrated into Croatia, following the largest post-war ethnic cleansing in Europe. Ante Gotovina, the mastermind of this operation, currently awaits his sentence in the Hague War Tribunal for the crimes against humanity against Serbs of Croatia
    Srebrenica, Bosnia 1995 Srebrenica massacre takes place in a Bosniak enclave within Republika Srpska, following the retreat of the Dutch soldiers from this “UN safe zone”. Several thousand Bosniak Muslim men have been systematically executed by the Army of Republika Srpska, under the command of general Ratko Mladić, who is still at large.
    Dayton, Ohio 1995 Amidst intense pressure by the Contact Group, Dayton Peace Agreement is reached by the three leaders, Franjo Tuđman of Croatia, Alija Izetbegović of Bosnia, and Slobodan Milošević of Yugoslavia, putting an end to a three-year-long Bosnian war.
    Bosnia and Herzegovina is acknowledged as a sovereign state of 2 equal-sized entities – Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska.
    Belgrade 1996/7 Democratic demonstrations erupt in Belgrade following the electoral fraud at local elections. Yugoslav economy is on standstill for 3 months before the government recognizes the democratic victory in the capital. Zoran Đinđić becomes the first democratically elected mayor of Belgrade in the post-communist period
    Kosovo 1998 Clashes between the Yugoslav Army and the separatist terrorist organization of Kosovo Albanians (KLA) escalate into a violent conflict. Civil war between the majority ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs is underway. Belgrade, Priština 1999
    • In January, the Račak massacre occures, in which Serb forces kill at least 45 Albanian civilians.
    • Kosovo war officially begins as NATO starts bombing Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milošević announces the mandatory mobilisation of the troops.
    • Numerous killings of Albanians and Serbs following the armed clashes between the two. NATO bombs major Serbian cities including downtown Belgrade, as well as Niš (city market), bridges of Novi Sad, oil rafinery of Pančevo…
    • 16 technicians are killed following the bombing of the national television RTS in downtown Belgrade, and tens of others in civilian bombings in trains (Grdelica gorge), markets (Niš), hospitals (Belgrade, Varadin) and refugees (north of Priština)
    • Kosovo war ends following an agreement reached in Kumanovo after 98 days of aerial bombardments. Serbian casualties range anywhere between 3,500 and 7,000 (including the ones missing), while Albanian casualties stand at about 10,000 victims overall (including the pre bombing period).
    UN Resolution 1244 acknowledges sovereignty of FRY over the province but puts it under UN-occupation.
    • Ethnic cleansing of Serbian population begins following the expulsion of the Yugoslav Army and the arrival of Albanians, protected by the UN and NATO.
    200,000 Kosovo Serbs are expelled Kosovo, leaving only a fraction of pre-war Serbian population behind (about 140,000).
    Serbs fall down to mere 7% of the overall population, as Albanians repopulate former Serbian houses and take over their businesses. Tens of medieval Serbian Orthodox churches are leveled to the ground. Around 3,000 Kosovo Serbs are killed.
    Belgrade 2000 Slobodan Milošević is ousted following the 5th October Overthrow and 1 million-strong demonstrations in central Belgrade. Vojislav Koštunica assumes power as a first democratic president of Yugoslavia South Serbia 2001 Albanian guerilla forces linked to the KLA attack Yugoslav forces within the ground safety zone between Serbia proper and Kosovo. The conflict went on for several weeks, spreading into Serbia’s municipalities of Preševo, Bujanovac, Medveđa, before the resistance was finally suppressed. Guerilla fighters take refuge in Macedonia, igniting a 2001 Macedonia conflict Serbia and Montenegro 2003
    • Third Yugoslavia is abolished and replaced with a state union of Serbia and Montenegro, with Belgrade its capital
    2003 Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Đinđić, is assassinated in front of the governmental palace in Belgrade, by a criminal .Hundreds of thousands escort the late PM to his burial site
    • State of emergency is declared in Serbia. Operation Sablja would ultimately succeed in bringing to justice hundreds of criminals throughout the country, without serious violations of human rights, according to most European sources.
    Kosovo 2003 • March Pogrom explodes among Kosovo Albanians. 36 medieval Serbian Orthodox Monasteries are burned and leveled to the ground, over 1,000 Serbian houses sacked and torched and thousands of Kosovo Serbs expelled from the province, before the eyes of the UN peacekeepers. The destroyed monasteries included the UNESCO-protected, 12th century Our Lady of Ljeviš in Prizren. 19 Kosovo Serbs are killed during the pogrom.
    2005 Serbia and Montenegro talks with the EU are launched, aimed at providing closer ties with the EU. The state becomes an EU potential candidate country Serbia 2006/07
    • The last of the former Yugoslav leaders to pass away, Slobodan Milošević, dies during his trial in the Hague Tribunal. Croatian Franjo Tuđman and the Bosniak Alija Izetbegović have also passed away before facing any indigtments nor verdicts from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague.
    • Serbia becomes independent following the Montenegrin independence referendum. Serbia and Montenegro is abolished, ending an 88-year long union between the two states.
    • New Constitution of Serbia is approved by its citizens. Kosovo and Metohija are declared an integral part of Serbia, while Vojvodina gains substantial economic autonomy.
    • The NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme with Serbia opens a possibility of the country’s admission as a member of the Alliance.
    • Kosovo negotiation talks are launched in Vienna, aimed at resolving a decade-long dispute between Belgrade and Priština. The talks are still underway.
    • The International Court of Justice found Serbia not guilty of committing nor taking part in the genocide in Bosnia. The court, however, concluded that Serbia had failed to prevent the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995 and violated its international obligations by not handing over individuals accused of the crime.

  28. jonst says:

    You are correct. I should have been employed more specificity to my comment. I disagree with the notion that ANY part of Nazism can be blamed on others. The blame lies with the Germans. I dispute the notion, as well, that the Western Powers “did not lift a finger to stop him.” Though your view is, by far, surely the conventional wisdom on the matter. So, enough of this, we respectfully agree to disagree I hope.

  29. jonst says:

    You are correct. I should have been employed more specificity to my comment. I disagree with the notion that ANY part of Nazism can be blamed on others. The blame lies with the Germans. I dispute the notion, as well, that the Western Powers “did not lift a finger to stop him.” Though your view is, by far, surely the conventional wisdom on the matter. So, enough of this, we respectfully agree to disagree I hope.

Comments are closed.