Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the outside world looks on with sympathy for the sufferers but is unwilling to act.

The United Nations (represented by an American diplomat, Cyrus Vance, and a British statesman, Lord Owen) worked out a precarious peace proposal at Geneva, according to which Bosnia-Herzegovina would be carved up into ten autonomous provinces, each with ethnically as pure a population as possible. But the plan was unsatisfactory for the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslin Slavs as well as for the Serbs. In addition, the new American administration of President William Clinton objected to the plan as giving the aggressor Serbs what they wanted. The war, therefore, continues as intensely as before.


Bibliography

Andrejevich Milan, "Bosnia-Herzegovina: A Precarious Peace," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 1.9 ( February 28, 1992), pp. 6-14; -----, "Bosnia-Herzegovina in Search of Peace," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 1.23 ( June 5, 1992), pp. 1-11; Dyker Davis, and Bojicic Vesna, "The Impact of Sanctions on the Serbian Economy," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 2.21 ( May 21, 1993), pp. 50-54; Moore Patrick, "Islamic Aspects of the Yugoslav Crisis," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 1.28 ( July 10, 1992), pp. 37-42; -----, "Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia: Outrage but Little Action," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 1.34 ( August 28, 1992), pp. 1-7; -----, "The London Conference on the Bosnian Crisis," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 1.36 ( September 11, 1992), pp. 1-6; -----, "The Widening Warfare in the Former Yugoslavia," Radio Free Europe Research Report, 1.1 ( January 1, 1992), pp. 1-11.

Civil War in Post-Communist Yugoslavia. In its seven decades of existence, the Yugoslav state has not been able to create a single nation out of the many ethnic groups and nations living within its borders. The imposition of communist rule and the prestige of Tito (see Tito, Josip Broz), himself a mixture of Croatian and Sloven ancestry, kept the lid on the long-standing resentments and hostility that existed among the ethnic groups.

Four factors were instrumental in keeping peace in Tito Yugoslavia: Tito's personal prestige as a statesman of international stature, the federal nature of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, the large federal bureaucracy, and the federal army. An added factor whose weight, however, cannot be ascertained was the secret police under the personal command of Tito. President Tito had died in 1980. His legacy was a collective leadership whose members had been selected from among the various ethnic groups, but who were also all communists. A rotating presidency was intended to prevent any one individual from gaining sole control over the federal government. But there were signs that the long-suppressed nationalism of the Croats and Slovenes was about to burst through the confines of communist federalism.

The collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and the other East European countries shook the Yugoslav system also, but the communist successors to Tito succeeded in evading major changes in their system. They changed the name of the party

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