The Fall of Yugoslavia
As with any fast-moving, inconclusive news story, the constant stream of headlines about death and destruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina can have a numbing effect on a reader’s understanding and curiosity. In years to come surely many books will attempt to unravel the web of political, historical, and cultural factors that led to that region’s devastation. In the meantime, BBC Central Europe correspondent Misha Glenny has written a lucid, helpful account.
Mixing first-person narrative and analysis, Glenny argues that all parties’ failure to effect a looser Yugoslav federation led first to war between Serbia and Croatia, and ultimately (and inexorably) to the bloodletting in Bosnia. The European Community bears much of the blame, he says, for its ill-considered and premature December, 1991 decision to recognize Slovenia and Croatia as independent states. (The decision was made at Germany’s insistence.)
“Supporters of Croatia’s cause claimed that the war was between [Serbian president Slobodan] Milosevic’s Bolshevism and the free-market, democratic spirit as embodied by [Croatian president] Franjo Tudman,” writes Glenny. “Serbs countered this by saying that the war had begun with the onset of genocide against Serbs in Croatia which prefaced a fascist offensive in the Balkans, executed by Tudman’s Ustashas (many Serb leaders were absolutely convinced that the Tudman administration was fascist) on behalf of their paymasters in...
(The entire section is 318 words.)
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