Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges

By Minton F. Goldman | Go to book overview

dream of achieving a Western level of material well-being, one that was impossible as long as its was in the old Yugoslavia with its fate linked closely to Serbia.

But there is a cloud in Slovenia's political sky. It is a small but potentially significant ethnic problem. Slovenia was over 90 percent homogenous, in sharp contrast to its multiethnic neighbors in the former Yugoslavia. But, while the government in Ljubljana was willing to acknowledge the special cultural identity of its small Hungarian community, it refused to act equivalently toward Slovenian citizens of Serb or Croat origin. The result was growing interethnic tensions in the early 1990s. While this situation did not threaten a crisis in Slovenia's relations with Croatia and Serbia, it could lead to difficulties with those countries, where there is some resentment over the way in which Slovenia escaped the worst of the wars attending Yugoslavia's disintegration and, indeed, prospered while they suffered.143


Conclusions

The explosion of civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was truly the coup de grâce for Tito's Yugoslavia. Divided as it was among three large minorities-Muslims, Serbs, and Croats--two of which, the Croats and the Serbs, had powerful and mutually antagonistic patrons outside the republic, namely, Croatia and Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina was an eternal land mine in Yugoslavia. It was in many respects an artificial administrative entity that had survived as long as it did because it was part of Yugoslavia, which was responsible for its territorial integrity and political stability. Once Tito was gone, and once the Yugoslav state started disintegrating, Bosnia's survival became precarious. As Yugoslavia disintegrated, a partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia became logical, if not inevitable. Resentful of control by a predominantly Muslim government in Sarajevo, the Serb and Croat minorities looked to their patrons abroad. With the Serb Republic's response, which was immediate and took the form of active encouragement of the Bosnian Serbs to emancipate themselves from Muslim control and join Serbia, civil war exploded in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Bosnian civil war was the worst of the conflicts attending the disintegration of Yugoslavia for five major reasons: (1) the opposition of the Serb minority to Bosnia-Herzegovina's independence under the leadership of a central government dominated by a Muslim plurality and its use of violence to escape Muslim control; (2) the determination of the Muslim-dominated government of Bosnia- Herzegovina to preserve the republic's territorial integrity or as much of it as they could without destroying themselves in the process; (3) Milošević's substantial help, especially in the form of weapons, to the Bosnian Serb campaign for independence; (4) the political, economic, military, and diplomatic weaknesses of the Bosnian government, denying it victory over the Serb side, accompanied by a strong emotional commitment to continue the fight until a time when such a victory may be possible; and (5) the failure of the international commu-

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Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Roots and Causes of Communist Collapse 3
  • Conclusions 22
  • 2 - Problems of Postcommunist Development 23
  • Conclusions 51
  • 3 - Albania 53
  • Conclusions 82
  • 4 - Bulgaria 83
  • Conclusions 111
  • 5 - From Czechoslovakia to the Czech and Slovak Republics 113
  • Conclusions 152
  • 6 - East Germany 155
  • Conclusions 178
  • 7 - Hungary 181
  • Conclusions 216
  • 8 - Poland 219
  • Conclusions 263
  • 9 - Romania 265
  • Conclusions 298
  • 10 - Yugoslavia-----Collapse and Disintegration 299
  • Conclusions 331
  • 11 - Yugoslavia--The Bosnian Civil War 341
  • Conclusions 389
  • Conclusions 391
  • Notes 405
  • Bibliography 453
  • Index 471
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