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Modern World History Of Yugoslavia History Essay

Yugoslavia is located southeast of Europe and borders on the Adriatic Sea. After the fall of Austria-Hungarian Empire from 1918 to 1929, it was known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. However, it was renamed as Yugoslavia later from 1929 to 1943; Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1991; and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 2003.

After World War II, Yugoslavia became a Communist nation under the leadership of Marshal Josip Tito. Tito was able to keep the country together, organized and developing in many ways (Rosenberg). However, Tito’s death in 1980 caused many problems to emerge, such as inflations, foreign debts, ethnic and religious resentments, nationalism versus communism, and so on (Soprych). When Communism ended in 1990, other regions started to declared independence in 1991; in the following year, Bosnia-Herzegovina also declared its independence. The only countries left in Yugoslavia by 1993 were Serbia and Montenegro, but Montenegro had later declared its independence in 2006.

As it declared its independence, the Bosnian population consisted of 44% Muslims, 31% Serbs, and 17% Croats. In other words, Muslims were largely dominating while the Serbians were not. However, Bosnian Serbs, who are Orthodox Christians, strongly disagreed to give the Muslims and Croats its independence along with the support from Serbia and Montenegro. This was due to the ambition of Serbia; Serbians wanted a one big country, not one that was broken into many others. Therefore, in March 1992, the Bosnian Serbs declared a war against Bosnian Muslims.

Since 1989 to 1997 after Serbia declared its independence, Slobodan Milosevic served as president of Serbia. He was known as “a merciless tyrant” who had only cared about creating a greater Serbia (Doder). Serbs in Bosnia began killing the Muslims and Croats. Serbian military forces applied the policy of ethnic cleansing which is this plan to rid the Muslims by elimination, genocide or deportation. In November 1995, in order to end this conflict between Serbs and Muslims, Americans established the Bosnian Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation, two self-governing groups in Bosnia. This cease-fire of the two groups became to be known as the Dayton Agreement (Soprych).

Yugoslavia was broken up into various countries after World War I. Bosnia was one of these countries which were full of different racial and religious groups but this detail of ethnic variety was what led Bosnia into trouble. Ethnic tensions presented were between the Serbs who represented the Orthodox Christians, the Albanians also known as Muslims and the Croats who represented the Catholic religion and the current struggle between these groups led to a massive genocide leaded by the Serbs. This breakup of Yugoslavia was due to the Nazis of Germany. When the break up took place Josip Tito led a revolt. After many revolts, he was able to reunify Yugoslavia but without his assistance Yugoslavia resulted in a state of chaos. During that same period Slobodan Milosevic a Serbian communist started gaining power and popularity by generating hate between the Muslim and Serbs. It was until April 1992 when the United States of America and the European Community recognized Bosnia as an independent nation that Milosevic attacked the capital Sarajevo. The Serbian and Muslim hate led to the massive killing of more than 3,500 children. Serbian “ethnic cleansing” policy consisted in the everyday shooting in the streets of Sarajevo. The genocide grew to an extent that Muslims would be rounded up like the Nazis did with the Jews and sent to concentration camps, killed in massive shootings and women and girls were threatened by rape. Even though these events surrounded the media the United States, United Nations and the European Community did not take any military action to intercede. On February 6 of 1994 Sarajevo suffered from a mortal shell bomb. The United States presented an ultimatum by the NATO and the Serbs ordered a cease-fire in Sarajevo. In 1995, peace negotiations started between Milosevic, Izetbegovic from Bosnia and Franco Tudjman of Croatia at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Discussions of a new type of Muslim dominated government which consisted on a six member council (two Muslim, two Serbs, and two Croatians lead by two cochairmen “prime ministers.) Yugoslavia had been segregated by World War I forces and the ethnic groups left in Bosnia, a small country who was now independent from it, was raged by religious conflicts between the Serb minority and Muslim majority favorably leading to massive genocide. It was until the mid 1990’s that peace was settled thanks to ultimatums issued by the United States and a peace agreement of the major powers of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.

Milosevic, who was strongly supported by other politicians, restricted rights for the Albanians in the region of Kosovo (Ruga). As a result, the Albanians started to lose their jobs, opportunities for health care and education, and the authority to self-rule the region. Outraged by such change, Albanians demanded for more rights and independence (Ruga). As a result, the government decided to eliminate Albanians in Kosovo (“From the Fall”). Hence, the genocide in Kosovo left bitterness and resentment even upon present-day. For such reason, Kosovo was protected and administrated by the UN from 1999 to 2008 (“From the Fall”). In 2008, the UN stopped its involvement in this conflict, and Kosovo started to fight for independence once again. Yet, this caused much more incidents, such as the fire at the American Embassy in Belgrade (“Serb protesters”). Moreover, as they declared their independence in 2008, which had not been recognized by other countries, the Kosovo people brought up the issue of ethnic cleansing and accused those who were involved (“Profiles: Kosovo”). Many of the ex-Yugoslav and Serbian leaders were, such as Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, and so on were tried for deportation, murder and prosecution and were sentenced for different amount of time to jail (“Profiles: Kosovo”). These recent events that are still happening in Kosovo indicate that the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia has not ended yet.

Asides from these issues, two of the recent events taken place in Yugoslavia were the Milosevic’s trial and the Karadzic’s trial. Slobodan Milosevic served as the president of Serbia from 1989 to 1997 and president of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000. However, in June 2001, Milosevic was arrested and sent to The Hague, the International War Crimes Tribunal Court for Yugoslavia (ICTY), where his trial was taken place. He had been indicted for a total of 66 war crimes and genocide in Kosovo, Croatia, and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Moreover, he was best known and the indicted for the use of ethnic cleansing among Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Slovenes. His reason for using ethnic cleansing was to create a greater Serbia which is only populated only by Serbs. However, Milosevic did not live long enough to end his case; he had several health issues, like heart and blood pressure problems which was why his trials were at times delayed. In spite of this, the Hague officers still made him to attend to all the trials even though he was badly ill. Hence, in March 11, 2006, Milosevic was found dead in the detention centre at The Hague Tribunal in the prison cell, whereas his case ended without a verdict (Allcock).

On the other hand, Radovan Karadzic was a Bosnian Serb leader who is still on trial and accused for his violent actions in Bosnia (Roux). Also, he was blamed for committing atrocities during the conflicts of Yugoslavia’s breakup; he would use any methods of violence to rid Bosnian Muslims and Croats. He then attempted to prevent his region from breaking apart, by ordering Serb troops to massacre Muslims and to attack Sarajevo (Soprych). As a result, Karadzic was arrested and sent to The Hague. Even though he tried his best to defend himself, he was still indicted for a total of 11 crimes; he would tell the judges that he was “protecting his people against a fundamentalist Muslim plot,” and which was why he defended himself against “charges of Europe's worst genocide” (Max). Hence, many of the times, he would boycott his trials because he needed more time for preparation.

Nevertheless, according to the Global Policy Forum, the UN Security Councils are still in search for those who were part of any of the atrocities taken place in Yugoslavia. Not surprisingly, this hunt for those world criminals is not over yet.

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Borland, Sophie. Radovan Karadzic: Poet, Psychologist and Architect of the Slaughter of 8,000 Bosnian Men and Boys at Srebrenica. 22 July 2008. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://www. dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1037120/Radovan-Karadzic-Poet-psychologist-architect-slaughter-8-000-Bosnian-men-boys-Srebrenica.html>.

Branson, Louise and Doder, Dusko. Milosevic: Portrait of a Tyrant. New York: Free Press, 1999. 10 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/branson-milosevic.html>.

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