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What explains the disintegration of Yugoslavia?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The second Yugoslavia: A mosaic of ethnic groups
  3. Diversity of the traditions and cultures of the Yugoslav nations and the failure to constitute a Yugoslav culture
  4. The unity of Yugoslavia
  5. The death of Tito
  6. Economic problems after his death
    1. The increasing disparities between regions in Yugoslavia
    2. D. Jovic's doubts about the consequences of the economic crisis
    3. An increase in ethnic tensions
    4. Undermining the unity of Yugoslavia
  7. The changing international context
  8. Ethnic hatred and nationalism
  9. The rise of nationalist leaders in the 1980's
  10. Conclusion
  11. Bibliography

The Second Yugoslavia created in 1943, under the name of Democratic Federation of Yugoslavia, was a federal state consisting of six republics -Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia- and two autonomous provinces - Kosovo and Vojvodina. It became the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946 and then the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963. This federation broke up in the early 1990s when Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence on June 25, 1991, followed by Macedonia in October and Bosnia Herzegovina in November. What explains this disintegration? It is impossible to reduce ?the complexity of socialist Yugoslav disintegration to some supposed pre-eminent factor. On the contrary, economics choices, institutional structures, religious cultures, elite dynamics, and deficiencies in system legitimacy all played a role in pushing the country toward violent break-up?. Indeed, ?the disintegration of Yugoslavia had many causes, not a single one?. Yugoslavia was a mosaic of ethnic groups, whose unity was undermined by Tito's death, economic crisis, ethnic tensions, changing international context and the rise of nationalism in the 1980s.

[...] Jovic[26] doubts about the consequences of the economic crisis on disintegration and shows that the Yugoslav disintegration happened at the moment when the economic reforms of Ante Markovic's government ?arrived in power in January 1989- were showing their first positive results (elimination of inflation, sharp increase in personal income of Yugoslav citizens . He thinks economic factors are important per se for the disintegration of Yugoslavia but provided for political leaders who used them to argue that their ethnic or/and political group was disadvantaged?[27]. [...]


[...] of the Yugoslav nations played a major role in the failure to constitute a Yugoslav culture, nation and state. ?Thus cultural diversities (primarily religious and linguistic differences) made nations and promoted their desire to live separately from others in their own states. Cultural, religious, economic, linguistic and historical differences between the Yugoslav nations were simply too large to allow the creation of a Yugoslav nation, which permanently destabilized the Yugoslav state. Fragmentation of the country was hence inevitable and somehow natural?.[6] A. [...]


[...] It urged for a re-examination of the 1974 constitution and the consolidation of Serbia's territories through the reintegration of the provinces. It introduced new nationalist vocabulary like ?genocide against the Serbs?, ?Serbian martyrdom?, the Serbian holocaust?. This Memorandum opened the ?Pandora's Box of nationalism?[37]. Slobodan Milosevic managed to gain popularity among the Serbian population by showing he was preoccupied by the protection of Serbian minorities in Yugoslavia, especially thanks to his patriotic speech to the Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo Polje on April The sentence ?Nobody should even try to beat permitted him to emerge as a new leader in Serbs' eyes. [...]

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