To understand the post-Cold War crisis in Bosnia fully, one would have to trace the history of the region back decades and even centuries. Its immediate origins, however, lay in the pressing need for the six republics that once made up Yugoslavia—Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia—to design a new Yugoslav constitution. In 1974 Yugoslavia's Communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, instituted a constitution that so decentralized political arrangements between the republics and the Yugoslav presidency as to render them unworkable without a unifying leader or ideology. After Tito died in 1980, and as communism loosened its grip on Central and Eastern Europe in the mid to late 1980s, a struggle emerged within the Yugoslav Communist Party between those who wanted to develop a greater tolerance of contrary points of view and nonparty opposition and others who wanted it to become a more coherent, disciplined force under strong central control. The liberal wing was spearheaded by Slovene leader Milan Kucan with the full support of Croatia, while the conservative wing was led by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Ideological differences between the republics extended to economics: As the two most industrially advanced republics, Croatia and Slovenia pressed for more private enterprise in the economy. A concurrent and much more controversial debate also emerged over Yugoslavia's future political structure: Was the objective to be a federal state or a confederation of independent states? While Croatia and Slovenia supported a confederal system, Serbia advocated a more centralized federation.
Disparate views among the republics over ideologies and structures