Gerard Baudson: The New World Order And Yugoslavia
The Yugoslav Space
"It is a story told by a fool, full of noise and fury, and which means nothing."
Shakespeare - MACHBETH
War is a negation of civilization, and the civil war is the most atrocious of all the wars. There is a profound difference which exists in the nature of wars waged by the nations and those conducted by citizens of one and the same country amongst themselves. Therefore, it is relatively easier to understand the motives of an imperial, colonial, expansionist or liberation war, and so much more difficult to comprehend profound reasons, psychological, religious, moral or economic of a conflict in which brothers of the same origin and of the same family are opposing each other. A civil war is always a point of convergence of two forces: the first one, intrinsic, leading to the implosion of society; the second one, exterior tending to disperse the country. Thus the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was most of all an expression of secular rivalry between two Spains, the one of the plateaus and the one of the plains, of the religious against anti-religious, the one of rich against the poor, of royalists against the republicans. But it will also be "the general rehearsal" for the second world conflict, with the intervention of the Italian troops, of the Luftwaffe (Legion Condor) and of the international brigades.
It was the Spanish - in fact the army - who started the civil war which would have been stopped a few days after the failure of the insurrection of July 18 in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, etc... if the Moroccan troops of Rio Del Oro were not transported by an air bridge with the aid of the 52nd German yunkers. What would have happened to Spain if the OUN existed at that time and intervened? The Spain would have either been divided into two parts or the civil war would have continued for years to come...
In the case of war in Yugoslavia, from 1991 until the Dayton Accords in the end of 1995, there was at the same time the wish of Croats and Slovenes to leave the Federation, of Serbs in Croatia not to live in an independent Croat state and intervention of Germany, of Austria and Vatican in favor of the two Catholic republics which are Slovenia and Croatia.
Never would have Bosnia achieved an independence without a deliberate wish of the Americans to create a Muslim state in the heart of the Balkans. Even the independence of Bosnia would not have provoked the civil war, Serbs, Croats and Muslims having signed in February-March 1992 the Lisbon Agreement, only a bit later to be rejected by President Izetbegovic at the advise of the American Ambassador in Belgrade, Mr. Zimmermann.
The tragedy which has immersed in blood the former Yugoslavia is neither a war of aggression nor a tribal war. It is a succession of civil wars with the origins going back to the very creation of that state, but with the successive eruptions from the beginning of the year 1991 being directly linked with the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the reunification of Germany, with dismantling of the Soviet empire, with the American expansionism, an expression of the New World Order.
The war in Yugoslavia is the "general rehearsal" of a multitude of conflicts which may in the near future, explode in Europe and of which some are already in the making for years.
Those who do not know history risk to see it repeated and the time of cowardice - even through an intellectual laziness - is always preceding the time of tragedy. Yugoslavia has also died because of the ignorance of facts. It is this failure to honor history which will cover in a succinct matter the second part of this work.
A Bit of History
"Jewish people has too much history and too little geography.
Serbian people has too much history and too much geography".
The Slavs settled in the territory of Yugoslavia in the second half of the 6th century. The Slovenes and Croats were very soon christianized (630-880) under the influence of the Roman Church. Serbs were converted a bit later by the Byzantine evangelists and will become the part of the Christian Orthodox world after the great schism of 1054.
In the year 925 Tomislav became king of Croatia and extended his territories from Drava river to the Adriatic Sea. In the year 1097 the last Croat sovereign was killed in battle, and King Kalman of Hungary was crowned the King of Croatia (in 1102). Croatia will remain linked with Hungary until 1918.
The territory of the medieval Croat kingdom corresponds to the present-day Croatia less the islands and some cities on the Adriatic coast which were dependents of Venice, and plus some parts of Bosnia.
In the year 924 the King of Bulgaria extended his domination over Serbia. During almost one hundred years Bulgarians, Macedonians and Serbs united their forces for opposing the Byzantium. Emperor Basil II will crush their resistance in 1014 and the kingdom will collapse.
The Bulgarians will control for the second time the eastern part of the present-day Serbia for a good part of the 13th century.
Under the leadership of Stefan Nemanja, starting with the year 1151 Serbia will confront progressively Byzantium and will rapidly become a powerful and prosperous kingdom. The extent of this kingdom corresponds to the present-day territories of Kosovo, Montenegro and the south-west of Serbia. Under Emperor Dusan (1331-1355), the empire extended up to the Danube River in the North and covered Herzegovina, Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and one part of Thracia. But the successors of Dusan did not know how to preserve this empire and neither could repulse Turks who defeated Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Certain Serbian principalities still survived for several decades but they were all incorporated in the Ottoman Empire from the year 1459. The liberation from the Turkish occupation will not be completed until the year 1913 (The Second Balkan War).
Under the Ottoman Dome
Until the beginning of the 16th century, the borders of the Ottoman Empire were marked by the Danube river and a line passing grosso-modo between Belgrade and Split. But from the year 1520, under the leadership of Suleyman the Magnificent, Turks continued their progression and occupied one part of Croatia and of Hungary. In 1526 Hungary, incapable of facing Turks all by itself, submitted itself to the protection of the Habsbourgs and lost its independence. From that date on Austria will have a preponderant weight on the developments in that region.
For over one century the South of Croatia and of Hungary will become an arena of constant fighting between Turks and Austro-Hungarians. When Austria in the year 1690 finally took the upper hand, this region remained desolate and uninhabited.
Undertaking again an old tradition of repopulation of the devastated zones, practiced by the Hungarian kings for centuries, the emperor called upon the colones from all the parts of the empire: Germans, Slovaks, Rumanians and Serbs. The Empire entrusted its brilliant General Prince Eugene of Savoy, to organize a sanitary cordon, le kordun, between its empire and the one of the Ottoman Turks. Eugene, an excellent scholar of the value of military technic of its different peoples, preferred to select Serbs for populating the outposts and of the most exposed zones: The Krajina, which in the shape of an arc is encircling the Bosnian frontier, stretching through Slavonia and Srem and spreading along the left-bank of Sava river up to Belgrade. The colones were freed from feudal obligations, but were obliged not only to defend the frontier but also to supply the soldier force which will fight for Austrians in all the battle fields of Europe for over one century.
At the end of the 17th century, Serbian refugees flooded over. They were coming from everywhere, but mostly from Kosovo. It is necessary to say that their fate under the Ottoman rule was not an enviable one. The Orthodox Serbs constituted a population devoid of any rights, the "Rayah", as the Turks called them; they were allowed to practice their religion, but had no rights and could not hold any public offices; they had to pay taxes and especially they were forced to supply boys which would be taken to Istanbul to become janissaries which their families will never see again.
Conversely, the autochthonous Islamized population gained a privileged status. When their protector weakened, they were forced to protect their status by reaffirming their implacable authority over rayah. This relationship is well interpreted by an ancient Serbian saying of that region: "An Albanian is worse than ten Turks; an Albanized Serb is worse than ten Albanians". It is not just by chance that a migration flood of Serbs increased every time when the authority of the Supreme Porta weakened, as happened by the end of the 17th century and in the 19th century.
The tactics of conversion into Islam of a minority which will distinguish itself from the rest of the population of the country, conquered by its own ethnic brothers and its own religions, was a general policy of the Ottoman power in the Balkans. And it proved itself to be very efficient: the creation of a privileged social class became the best guarantee for safeguarding the authority of the Sultan. This will be the case of Bosnia.
The Revolution 1804-1815
From the year 1790 a general assembly of the Serbian states was held in Timisoara, strongly inspired by the general principles of the French Revolution, and raised for the first time, the Serbian question in the midst of the Austrian and the Ottoman Empires. A distinguished Serbian aristocrat, Sava Tekelija, proposed in 1804 to Napoleon, the formation of a broad Slav state in the South, under the French protectorate, which was not interesting for the Emperor, anxious at that time to preserve good relations with the Supreme Porta. From the year 1803 in Sarajevo, secret negotiations planned a joint resurrection between Serbs from Bosnia, Herzegovina and Serbia, with the aid of Serbs from Vojvodina and Austria. The rebellion erupted in the Belgrade Pashaluk in February 1804, populated at that time by 200,000 Serbs and 40,000 "Turks" (Albanians and Islamized Serbs). Serbs from Hungary and Krajina came in masses to the aid of their brothers in Serbia. Bosnia and Montenegro also revolted. A certain number of Greeks and Bulgarians participated in the insurrection in Macedonia, and the Serbian example will serve as a model for Greeks who will become independent in 1830 through the London Treaty. This insurrection, finally drowned in blood, will be the first manifestation of independence of a Christian people in the Balkans, and the first application of principles of the French Revolution, notably that of the sovereignty of peoples, as opposed to the principle of legitimacy of the royal power.
Also for the first time the question of the East, meaning the division between European nations of the lands abandoned by Turks during their retreat from Europe, which will finally end in 1913 with the Second Balkan War, will be confronted with the national liberation movements of the small Balkan peoples. This antagonism will end in the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 and will start the World War One. From 1804 to 1914 Serbs will try by all means to reunite themselves in one and the same country.
From Autonomy to Independence
The question of autonomy of Serbia was inscribed in the Peace Treaty of Bucharest in 1812 by Turkey and Russia, but Russia suspended its support to the rebels immediately after signing of the Treaty, and Belgrade was taken over again by the Turks in 1813. This will not be the last time that Russians will abandon Serbs. In 1815 Montenegro (The Black Mountain) is an independent principality while Serbia acquires progressively from 1817 to 1830 an autonomous status, placed under the leadership of one merchant and a pig-breeder, Milos Obrenovic, who had good understanding with Turks and on July 27, 1817 will have the head chopped off of the legendary leader of the resurrection against Turks in 1804, Karadjordje (The Black George). This will neither be the last time that Serbs will kill each other. Sultan Mahmoud II signed on October 30, 1830 the decree on autonomy, and the Supreme Porta recognized Milos as a hereditary prince under the Turkish sovereignty. This autonomy obtained in progressive stages, and without the revolutionary needs, will integrate itself in the system established by Metternich at the Vienna Congress for carefully watching over the respect for legitimacy in Europe.
The revolution of the year 1844 will start in Vienna in March and will from the beginning oppose Metternich. At that time, 970,000 Serbs were living in Serbia, while at the same time more than one million of them were living in Austro-Hungary, or 900,000 in the provinces under the Hungarian administration. Within the military confines (Krajina) the Serbs represented 32.43% of the overall population. Centers of Serbian culture were first in Vienna, Budapest and the present-day Novi Sad in Vojvodina. Belgrade is to come later. Therefore, it is false to pretend that the Serbian culture is essentially an outcome of the Orthodox world. It is as attracted to Western Europe as it is to the Eastern Europe. There was a Serbian insurrection in Austro-Hungary aided by the Serbian volunteers coming from Serbia. This insurrection was broken down and 100,000 Serbs from Vojvodina were killed.
Still in mid-19th century Montenegro counted more than 100,000 Serbs and the Ottoman Empire over one million, from this number 300,000 in South Serbia, 450,000 in Ancient Serbia (Sandzak, Kosovo, Metohia) and 500,000 in Bosnia.
From 1850-1878, the year of the Berlin Congress, the main objective of the Serbian foreign policy was the union with Bosnia-Herzegovina for which Serbia created the Balkan Alliance. The first accord was signed in 1866 with Montenegro whose Prince Nikola the First Petrovic-Njegos accepted, in case of unification with the two Serbian states, to renounce the right to his throne in favor of the Serbian sovereign. The second accord signed in August 1867 with Greece prescribed that in case of a joint war, Greece will obtain Epirus and Thessalia, while Bosnia and Herzegovina will be returned to Serbia. The assassination of Prince Michael (Mihailo) son of Milos in 1868, will mark the end of projects for a great insurrection against the Turks in the Balkans. Furthermore, the Austrian defeat in Sadowa in 1866 against Prussia, will definitely separate Austria from the Northern Germany and will lead it to re-center its foreign policy and its interests on the South of Europe, in the Balkans, still under the Turkish rule, but under a very feeble Turkey. In its projects Austro-Hungary will hurt itself against Serbia.
"The Crisis of the Orient" started in 1876 by the entry into the war of Serbia and Montenegro against Turks, parallel to the great insurrection in Bosnia. The war was lost by Serbs and a Serbo-Turkish peace treaty signed in March 1877, immediately brought under a question mark by the entry into the war of Russia against Turkey, in end-April of the same year. Finally, in March 1878 the Treaty of San Stefano was signed.
Russia, dealing directly with Turkey, imposed on it the independence of Romania, of Serbia and Montenegro, considered until that date as vassal states, and the autonomy of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A Greater Bulgaria was also organized, opening for Russia an access to the Mediterranean.
England and Austria, supported by Prussia, raised themselves against the excess pretensions of Russia which threatened the balance of forces in the Balkans. A Congress was held in Berlin from June 13 to July 13, 1878. The Greater Bulgaria was reduced to the part situated in the North of the Balkans. Independence of Romania, of Serbia and of Montenegro were recognized, but between these two last states they created a Muslim district, a Vilayet of Novi Pazar, occupied by the Austro-Hungarian troops, which obtained among others, also "a provisional title" of the right to administer Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Serbia increased for 11,000 square kilometers and reached the size of 48,400 square kilometers (+ 30%). Montenegro doubled itself in size, from 4,900 to 8,600 square kilometers. Nevertheless, the Berlin Congress did not allow liberation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (51,000 square kilometers) inhabited with majority of Serbian population (42.0% in 1879) against 38.7% of Muslims. An insurrection erupted immediately in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Austro-Hungarian troops had a total of 218,000 soldiers!
The Berlin Treaty is embodying in itself the first seeds of the world conflict. It reduced to nothing the aspirations of the Serbian people, nurtured throughout the 19th century: to establish on both banks of Drina river a single national space.
It marked the start of Germanic politics of "Drang nach Osten" in the direction of the straights. By concluding in 1879 an alliance with Germany, which is to be joined three years later by Italy, Austro-Hungary oriented its future ambitions towards the South. Thus, the Austrian politics envisaged crushing down of the nationalist Serbian movement, the primary precondition for the Germanic dominance in the Balkans and the Near East, through the railway line linking Berlin-Vienna-Constantinople-Baghdad.
It will make official the conflict between Russia and Austro-Hungary in view of their diametrically opposed interests in the Balkans: the Russian trust towards Constantinople (Istanbul) and the free seas could not be reconciled with the aspirations of Habsbourgs on Thessaloniki and the estuary of the Danube river. The Russian Pan-Slavism favoring the emancipation of the Balkan Slavs and of Greeks in the name of the Orthodox religion, could not be reconciled with the vital need of Austro-Hungary to occupy this region (protectorate over Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878 then annexation in 1908). This antagonism is still actual today.
The Balkan Wars
From the Berlin Congress up to the two Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913, the politics of Austro-Hungary is marked by its will to extend its power in the Balkans - Annexation of Bosnia -Herzegovina in 1908 - and to break-down Serbia, this later one orienting its efforts towards the South, meaning towards the liberation of Kosovo and Macedonia, while at the same time seeking an alliance with Russia and France.
In the year 1906 Austro-Hungary engaged in a customs war with Serbia known under the name "The War of Pigs", when Serbia was prohibited the access to the Austro-Hungarian market. Thanks to the assistance of France, Serbia successfully resisted the economic embargo and succeeded in exporting its merchandize via the Port of Thessaloniki. In order to show its gratitude to France, Serbia armed itself with the Schneider-Creusot French cannons. In 1907 the Austrian government prepared itself for war with Serbia and its partition between Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and since the creation of Albania in 1912, by giving Kosovo and Metohija to this latest one. Ever since the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908, Vienna piled up on the frontiers of Montenegro and Serbia an army of over one million soldiers.
In search of possible support - outside of France and Russia - in the Balkans, Belgrade approached Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. The Italian-Greek war in 1911-1912 which gave Tripolitain to Italy and allowed Albania to become independent, entrained the formation of the second Balkan alliance between Bulgarians, Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks, supported by Russia. On October 18, 1912, Serbian, Bulgarian and Greek armies crossed the frontier and fought the Turks at Kumanovo on October 24th and entered Skopje. In end-October, Kosovo was liberated and Sandzak with Novi Pazar - returned to Turks by Austria in 1908 - occupied by Montenegrin troops. While the Serbian troops were stationed on the Albanian coast, Austro-Hungary hurried to encourage, by its Albanian allies, proclamation of an Albanian independent state which it immediately recognized (on November 28, 1912) and prepared for the war with Serbia which was then avoided thanks to the intervention of the great powers. On May 30, 1913 in London, Turkey signed a peace treaty which withdrew from its power its quasi-totality over European territories. The second war, because of the Macedonian frontiers, erupted with Bulgaria which was defeated and the Serbo-Greek coalition established. The peace treaty was concluded in Bucharest in August 1913. Serbia grew in size for one part of Macedonia and for one part of Sandzak with Novi Pazar which it divided with Montenegro. The Serbian military success encouraged in the Austro-Hungarian territories all those wishing to see the establishment around Serbia, of Yugoslavia, or the unification of the Slav peoples. The World War One will erupt with the assassination in Sarajevo of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914.
The Route to Sarajevo
"Serbs are a race of enterprising warriors, full of vital energy. It would be quite a just reward for their sacrifice in blood for the holy cause to place the autonomy of Bosnia under the protection of their energy and their already five-centuries old experience in government."
Year 1876 - Letter of the Croat Bishop Strossmayer (1815-1905), founder of the Academy and University of Zagreb, to the British Prime Minister Gladstone.
The name of Bosnia appeared for the first time in the 10th century, in the Byzantine sources. The history of Bosnia until the 12th century is little known.
This Bosnia, centered around Sarajevo, was autonomous from Hungary since the year 1180 and ruled by Kulin Ban. The kings of Hungary preached Catholicism, but the greatest part of Bosnia is populated by the Orthodox Serbs. The medieval kingdom consolidated itself there and achieved its heights during the reign of Tvrtko First who will proclaim himself King of Serbia and of Bosnia on the grave of Saint Sava in 1377, will engage on the side of Serbs in the fight against Turks - the defeats at Marica in 1363 and at Kosovo in 1389 and will die in 1391.
Throughout the Middle Ages the South of Bosnia and Herzegovina was very much influenced by the Bogumili heresy which refused to submit to any feudal authority and obey any religious authority. The Bogumiles (who are known in the West as Cathares) were persecuted both by the Catholics and by the Orthodox. When Turks arrived in the 15th century, these "heretics" converted in mass into Islam.
The region called Herzegovina was known under the name of Hum, and started to take up the name of Herzegovina in the 15th century. This name of the German root Herzog, meaning Duke, derives from Stephan Vukcic Kosaca, called the Duke of Saint Sava, indicating well its Orthodox and Serbian origin. At the same time, in this period the King of Bosnia reigned only over the Central Bosnia, while the rest of the country belonged to the great terrenian properties. Weakened by the Bogumili heresy and conflicts between the local masters, the country was obliged to pay tribute to the Turks since the year 1436. Sultan Mehmed II conquered this region in 1463 with the exception of Herzegovina which will fall under Turkish rule in 1482.
Bosnia will experience a process of Islamization which will last until the 18th century. Bosnian Muslims are 100% Slavs. The first converts were the great land-owners of vast territories wishing to preserve their privileges. Christian population was subjected to slavery and excluded from many professions. Thus, when the country came under the domination of Austro-Hungary in 1878, over 90% of owners of all assets were Muslim, while 90% of serfs were Christian, mainly Orthodox, thus Serbs. This economic situation and this social adjustments will have numerous consequences which still prevail today and will explain the anti-feudal revolts of Serbs all along the 19th century, which will be combined into a national emancipation struggle with always one and the same aim: unification with Serbia.
For Serbs and Croats, a "Turk" means a traitor, the one who denied his religion for material benefits. Serbs were farmers living on the lands of Muslim masters; 64% to 65% of the Bosnian territory in 1992 belonged to Serbs. During the war they occupied up to 70% before it was adjusted to 49% in Dayton. Conversely, Muslims are concentrated in towns, along the route axis and in the garrison-villages. Under the Ottoman rule, the aristocracy was not a hereditary one and every generation had to prove its fidelity to the Sultan, which assured the Muslim support to the Turkish troops for breaking down Serbian insurrections... It is necessary to specify, however, that the conversion to Islam was not a forcible one and that there existed a rather strong religious freedom, in any case superior to the one existing - or non existing? - in Christian Europe...
Starting with the year 1699 by the Katlowitz Peace, Porta ceded Hungary and Dalmatia to Vienna and the Ottoman frontier was definitely fixed at Sava river, thus at Bosnia-Herzegovina until 1878.
From 1804 to 1878
Serbian insurrection in 1804 was the first national revolution in the Balkans. It had an immediate an important repercussion in Bosnia where two insurrections erupted and were rapidly suppressed. The first one was in 1807 along the Drina river and the second one in the region of Banja Luka (Krajina).
Bosnian Muslims, still faithful to the Sultan, together with the Islamized Albanians, were the most adapt for the modernization reforms of Sultan Mahmud II and took an active part in the repression of Christian peoples of the Balkans, Serbs and Greeks. The abolition in 1833 of the state property over land (in the Ottoman Empire the land could be only the property of the state and of the Sultan who granted the domains for use during life-time to his faithful servants who could not leave it as heritage to their heirs), did not put an end to the dependence of the Christian serfs on their Muslim masters. In the Ottoman Bosnia, Muslims spoke exclusively Serbian and used the Cyrillic alphabet. Towards the middle of the 19th century Bosnia-Herzegovina numbered 400,000 Orthodox inhabitants, 328,000 Muslims and 178,000 Catholics. Travnik was the capital city.1
The insurrections of Orthodox Christians followed in 1834, 1842 and 1848. Muslims revolted in 1831 (revolt of Beys) and also in 1851 to oppose the reforms of Porta. It was a Serb from Krajina, Omer Pasha Latas, who engaged his services with the Sultan, who will savagely suppress the revolt in 1851. More than 6,000 beys and members of their families will loose their lives. According to the testimony of one witness of those times "the hatred and persecution which reigned among the people of the three religions, but of a single language, of the same blood and of the same soil, are something terrible and beyond comprehension". The relations will further deteriorate under the Hungarian domination from 1878 to 1918.
Bosnia Under the Austrian Domination
Crisis in the Orient of 1875 started with one Serbian resurrection in Bosnia or more precisely of a resurrection located in North-Western Bosnia and Eastern Herzegovina. All the insurrections were always initiated in these two regions. By concluding in 1879 an alliance with Germany, then with Italy in 1882, Austro-Hungary oriented finally its future ambitions towards the South. With the Berlin Treaty, Vienna obtained all of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also Sandzak with Novi Pazar, a region of mixed Muslim and Serbian population which is separating Serbia from Montenegro.
From 1879 to 1910 the Serbian community remained a relative majority: 42,88% and 43.49% by reason of the superior birth rate of Serbs over Muslims (of which 140,000 was exiled in 1878). After a new insurrection in 1881, Vienna nominated a governor of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a Hungarian nobleman who was the ambassador to Belgrade from 1868 to 1875, Benjamin Kallay. From 1882 to 1903 Kallay developed the idea of "the Bosniac nation", whose representatives should be Muslims, decedents of Bogumils. He invented the name "Bosniac", created a Bosniac flag and systematically suppressed the Cyrillic alphabet. He went even so far that he banned his own book, written while he was the ambassador, "The History of Serbian People", in which he spoke of "the Serbian character in Bosnia". Colonization by Catholics started of the Serbian zones along the Drina river, for purpose of interrupting the Serbian continuity between Bosnia and Serbia. Catholic population of Sarajevo increased for 200% between the years 1878 and 1914. From 1878 to 1910 Muslim population was very much anti-Austrian and close to Serbs. Until the year 1908 Muslims were nursing hope of seeing Bosnia return to the Ottoman rule. Annexation of 1908 will lead them to a revision of their position and will push them to obtain a religious and educational autonomy (Bosnian Diet created in 1910). Croats in Bosnia were the favorites of Austro-Hungarians and demanded their re-attachment to the Kingdom of Dalmatia and Croatia (yet to be created).
Between the annexation in 1908 and the Sarajevo assassination Serbs were subjected to systematic persecution: political trials, prohibition of their newspapers and magazines, depriving of the right to association. The assassination of hereditary prince Francis Ferdinand on the very day of his arrival, on June 28th, the day of the greatest Serbian holiday (Vidovdan) by a young Serb, Gavrilo Princip, was the response to the state of exception proclaimed in Bosnia since 1912. For Vienna, this was finally an occasion to finish with Serbia, the only obstacle on the Germanic "Drag nach Osten" and to whom the wish for union of all the Slav peoples in a single state presented a lethal danger for the dual monarchy.
Bearing in mind that between 1815 and 1914 there were no less than 14 Serbian insurrections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as soon as the war was declared, persecution started against Serbs: mass arrests, firing squads and massacres of civilians, of women, children and aged. Austro-Hungarians created the concentration camps where they detained entire families, in Arad and especially the prison camp in Doboj (46,000 persons from which 17,000 women and children) and the ones at Neszider, Talesdof, Soprniek. In May 1917, some 40,000 Serbs, of this number a lot of children, were interned in Austria. Repression and massacres were the daily fate of Serbs between 1915 and 1918, during the occupation of Serbia. The Catholic Church brought its support to persecutions, deportations and internment in prison camps. Pope Pious X, at the beginning of conflict, proclaimed an anathema on Serbia in order to be able to declare such a definition of it as a "contagious disease which is risking... to place in danger all the vital nerves of the Monarchy".
The Zagreb Archbishop Monseigneur Bauer, declared in August 1914 that the war against Serbia is a holy war and Archbishop of Bosnia, Monseigneur Stadler, as well as Bishop Misic of Mostar, expressed the same feeling. Turkey proclaimed a holy war, the Jihad, relayed by the Mufti of Tuzla.
During the World War Two, the Catholic hierarchy and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, will even surpass their illustrious predecessors...
"Croatia is the step by which Austria is descending into the Balkans"
Joseph Franck, disciple of Starcevic
Friedreich Naumann (1860-1919) creator in 1896 of a National-Socialist Party, published in October 1915 in the middle of the war, a book entitled MITTELEUROPA with considerable success. In this book he described a political system aimed at the unification of Germany and Austro-Hungary in a single economic block and with feudal incorporation therein in the East of the states situated between the North Sea and the Persian Gulf, including Turkey. The Austro-German defeat in 1918 ended this political and economic project which did not express any new idea but presented Great Germany as an "Empire of the Middle". The care of NAUMANN was to respond to the block of central powers, established by the allies, which would end up by asphyxiating Germany and Austro-Hungary and which would instigate, by the end of the year 1918 under the blows of the snout of the offensive FOCH, Berlin revolution.
Twice the Germans tried to realize the project MITTELEUROPA. Twice they failed.
Ever since the year 1989 the third attempt has been in progress. Like the two previous ones, it has knocked its head against the Balkans, against the Greek and Serbian people.
During World War One, Germany from the beginning of the conflict, occupied Belgium and the North of France, before having its army defeated at the Battle of the Marne. In the Balkans, Austro-Hungary which comprised Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, annexed in 1908, invaded Serbia in August 1914 along a front 150 kilometers long. General PUTNIK repulsed them at the Battle of Mount Cer (August 24, 1914). The Austrians, who had occupied Belgrade on November 6th, were chased away on December 13th after the Serbian victory at Rudnik where they left 50,000 prisoners. In October 1915, after the entry into the war of Bulgaria, the general offensive of MACKENSEN, commander of the united German-Austrian-Bulgarian forces, overcame the Serbian army of 250,000 men, which made its retreat towards Corfu across the mountains of Albania. Like a true Phoenix arising from its ashes, a new Serbian army emerged in only three months. In July 1916, 125,000 men constituting 7 divisions were reassembled in Greece, incorporated into the Eastern Army, and participated in the Franco-Serbian victory at Dobro Polje (1918), thus liberating their homeland from the Austro-German-Bulgarian occupation.
The war cost 1,200,000 dead Serbs, of this 322,000 soldiers, or one-third of the population of 4.5 million inhabitants. The Serbs erected in Belgrade, in front of the Embassy of France, a monument to the glory of France, bearing these words: "Let Us Love France As She Loved Us in 1914-1918"
Germany, which had conquered the East in 1917, was beaten in the West and in the South in the Autumn of 1918. The French and Germans drew from this, totally opposed conclusions. The former by encircling Germany with a true security belt, by creating the three new states: Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia; the latter by abolishing the Treaty of Versailles and St-Germain, the cornerstone of their exterior policy (Articles 2 and 3 of the program of 25 points elaborated by the Nazis in 1920 and revised by HITLER in 1928). Alain DECAUX, French academician, in his book "The Assassins", published in 1986, reminds us (p.93): "But since 1933 HITLER was in power. He never made any mysteries of his program. He proclaimed it aloud in the "Mein Kampf". He wanted the abolition of the Treaty of Versailles. Every country born through that shameful Treaty appeared in the eyes of Hitler as an intolerable insult. Yugoslavia was one of those countries".
The three new states were presenting a problem. The thirteenth item of President WILSON pertaining to the creation of "a Polish state, united and independent, with free access to the sea" was accepted by the Central Empires when they were asking for peace (October 5,1918), but DANTZIG, elevated to the status of a free city in 1920 and the Polish "corridor" separated Eastern Prussia from the rest of Germany. Czechoslovakia - a union of Czechs and Slovaks -obtained advantages through the Treaty of Versailles (1919), of Saint-Germain (1919) and of Trianon (1920) which established its frontiers with Germany, Austria and Hungary encompassing from them 3,200,000 Germans, 700,000 Hungarians and 500,000 Ruthenians, therefore 32% of its population. Furthermore, the Slovaks, peasants in general, poorer and dominated by the Catholic clergy, had only a mistrust for the Czechs, protestants, who in number and wealth held the supremacy in the new State.
The Yugoslav idea was brought to life by the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on December 1, 1918, which was to become Yugoslavia in 1929. It is useful to stop and consider here the conditions which prevailed in the creation of this State, because they are of fundamental importance for understanding the ease with which Hitler invaded the Balkans in April 1941, and the profound reasons for the civil war in Yugoslavia since the summer of 1991.
One of the paradoxes of Yugoslavia is that during the war from which it emerged, the future countrymen were fighting in the opposite camps. When the war was over in 1918, Serbia and Montenegro were on the side of the winners. This was not the case, however, with the Croats and Slovenes who were fighting within the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army, therefore on the side of the vanquished, and having an even greater interest to push forward the creation of a "Yugoslav" entity. The main reason was the secret treaty of April 26, 1915, concluded between Italy and the powers of the Entente, which prescribed that Italy should enter the war with a delay of one month against the territorial gains: secession of one part of the Adriatic coast, of the Dalmatian islands, of Istria, of Trentin and of the southern Tyrol.
The interest of the Serbs was a completely different one: they could have obtained the frontiers recognized by the Allies in 1915 (London Agreement) as a reward for their contribution to the war effort, comprising Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slavonia, Srem with Zemun and the region of Backa, and the Dalmatian coast from the Cape of Planka to the South of Dubrovnik. The western frontier of Serbia, - according to the engagement of the Allies of World War One - covered almost totally the territories inhabited by Serbs and corresponds to those for which they are now fighting.
Instead of a "Greater Serbia", the Serbs decided to take the path of the creation of the State of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. They were encouraged in these efforts by the Croats, concerned to escape the destiny of the vanquished and to have the aid of Serbia - and therefore of France - in their fight against the London Pact of 1915 which had allotted to Italy the largest part of the Dalmatian and Croat coast. The Croats - and the Slovenes as their accessories - entered by calculation and with a lot of ulterior motives into the new State of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. They did not have any other choice, except to remain in the camp of those defeated. The Serbs did have a choice between a "Greater Serbia" and the creation of the joint State within "the Yugoslav territory". They decided in favor of the second possibility, encouraged by the French to whom they "could not refuse anything", France being considered by the entire Serbian people as "a second motherland".
From the very beginning of his rapprochement to the Fascist Italy of Mussolini with which he created the Rome-Berlin Axis in 1936, Hitler started with annexations which were to lead to World War Two. First he carried out the annexation of Austria or the Anschluss in March 1938. This was only the first stage towards the constitution of this "Mitteleuropa" desired by the Pan-Germanists. England and France almost not reacting at all, the Fuehrer reclaimed the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, annexed the Sudetenland (October 1938). Monsignor TISO proclaimed the independence of Slovakia (March 14, 1939) Poland grabbed the territory of Teschen; Ruthenia and the entire South of Slovakia were given to Hungary. In March 1939 Bohemia and Moravia became German protectorates. Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, abandoned by France, itself having been abandoned by England. Russia would know how to take a lesson from this.
On September 1st Hitler invaded Poland where the Russians occupied the eastern part, in conformity with the Russian-German Pact on Neutrality of August 23, 1939. World War Two had started. The destruction of Yugoslavia would take place only in April 1941, but the process of dislocation of the country was already prepared beforehand by Mussolini and the "Ustashi", the Croats of Ante PAVELIC. The creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had deprived Italy of its benefits under the secret agreement of the London Treaty (April 26, 1915). It is true that it had obtained Trentin and the Alto-Adige, Trieste, Istria and the Dalmatian city of Zara (Zadar). Nevertheless, in spite of the strike of D'ANNUNZIO and his "artditi" (September 12, 1919), Fiume was elevated to the rank of a free city and the Dalmatian coast, which used to belong to Venice, was now allotted to the Kingdom.
MUSSOLINI detested King ALEXANDER I of Yugoslavia, an obstacle to his territorial ambitions in Europe. First he entered into relations with an anti-Yugoslav terrorist organization - the Organization of Interior Macedonian Revolution, with its seat in Sofia in Bulgaria, which brought him in contact with Ante PAVELIC and his "Ustashi" for the purpose of assassinating the King: this assassination would take place in Marseilles on October 9,1934, where the French Foreign Minister Louis BARTHOU will also find his death during the assassination. The Ustashi were a Croat terrorist organization led by Ante PAVELIC (1889-1959), with an ideology close to that of Nazism and which strived to create a Croat State, inspired by the racist theories of Ante STARCEVIC.
Croat historian Ante STARCEVIC (1823-1896) was the founding father of the Croat nation. He elaborated the national Croat doctrine and dreamed of creating Croatia as the most important state in the Balkans. This Croat State was to have been founded on two essential principles: union with Austro-Hungary and anti-Serbian racism. The political target of Starcevic was to realize a grand Croat State, free and utilitarian, but linked with Austro-Hungary. We are indebted to Ante STARCEVIC for a thesis which, to say the least, is fantastic and according to which the Croats are of Iranian origin, therefore, "Aryans"! He was the first to write that the only remedy against Serbs was "the axe to the neck" and that for "that impure race, everyone is the judge and executioner, like for a rabid dog". Therefore, he was the apostle of genocide of the Serbs. The impact of the thought of Starcevic on Ante Pavelic, the leader of the Croat State, a pro-Nazi and the executioner of the Serbian people, was very strong.
After the assassination of Alexander I at the end of 1934, his son PETER, only 11 years old, came to the throne of Yugoslavia under the regency of PRINCE PAUL, and the President of the Council STOJADINOVIC (May 1935-February 1939), establishing an autocratic regime. His policy, favorable for the dictatorship, led to the reconciliation with Bulgaria (January 1937) and Italy (March 1937) and to an economic agreement with Germany (October 1938). Prince Paul also signed an accord with the Pope and granted large autonomy to the Croats (banovina). In the face of Hitler's threats, the regent and the government adhered to "the new order". Finally, Yugoslavia joined in March 1941 "The Tripartite Pact" - Germany, Italy, Japan - (March 25, 1941) which was already joined by Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
In accordance with this Treaty, Hitler demanded transit for his troops through Yugoslavia en route to the invasion of Greece. The population of Belgrade judged it inconceivable to bow before the man it considered its enemy; tens of thousands of people went out in the streets shouting: "Better War Than Pact - Better Grave Than Slave"; and the government of the Regent was overthrown on March 27, 1941. Peter II came into power and a pact with Moscow was concluded (April 6,1941). The armies of the Axis invaded Yugoslavia and forced its army to capitulate (April 8, 1941) after air attacks and bombardment of Belgrade, without a military objective, causing death of thousands. The spontaneous revolt of the population of Belgrade was one of the imponderable developments which probably had an important significance for the further course of history. On the one hand it precipitated Yugoslavia and more particularly the Serbian people, into the ravages of war and a bloodbath. It also, indirectly, created a situation which allowed the rise of Tito in 1944. On the other hand, in spite of its military insignificance, the resistance of the Yugoslav army (actually, a Serbian one, because the predominately Croat and Slovene units refused to fight) had nevertheless disturbed the plans of Hitler and prolonged the campaign in the Balkans more than he had envisaged. The invasion of the USSR, scheduled for May 1941, was not launched before the end of June. The German army was stopped in front of Moscow in December; and it was certainly the intervention of the brave "general winter" that saved the regime of Stalin. If Hitler had arrived in Moscow two months earlier, he might not perhaps have won the war, but the conclusion of the conflict would have been different. In Germany they remember this well. Since the proclamation of the NDH, the Independent State of Croatia in Zagreb on April 10, 1941, Ante PAVELIC, started almost immediately with the execution of the STARCEVIC program. The Ustashi executed and assassinated in the most atrocious manner almost 750,000 Serbs, 50,000 Jews and 25,000 Gypsies at Jasenovac and in the other death camps. Herman NEUBACHER, "a personal envoy of HITLER" for South-Eastern Europe and the Balkans, writes:
"'The Orthodox recipe' of Ante Pavelic, leader of the Ustashi and the chief of Croatia, reminds us of the religious wars by their bloody aspect: one third of Serbs should be converted to Catholicism, one third should leave the country and one third should die. The third part of this 'recipe' was realized. After the Ustashi leaders declared that they exterminated one million Serbs (including new-born babies, children, women and the aged), I think that they are exaggerating in order to boast. According to the reports that I have received, I estimate that the number of defenseless persons that have been massacred is not more than three quarters of a million" (Sonderufrag Suedosten 1940-1945): Bericht eine fliegenden Diplomats (Gottingen, 1956), p.31).
This extermination was done with the consent and support of the Catholic Church headed by the Zagreb Archbishop Mgr Alois STEPINAC. The majority of Catholic bishops: Mgr SARIC of SARAJEVO, Mgr BONEFACIC of SPLIT, Mgr PUSIC of HVAR, Mgr SREBENIC of Krk, Mgr BURIC of SENJ, Mgr AKSAMOVIC of DJAKOVO, Mgr GARIC of BANJA LUKA, Mgr MILETA of SIBENIK, all have openly collaborated with the regime of Ante PAVELIC, and a certain number of priests and monks were wearing Ustashi uniforms and were taking part in the atrocious massacres of the Serbia population.
"A Directorate of State for novices" was engaged in the conversion of Serbs to Catholicism. The most terrible were the Franciscans from Bosnia who participated directly in the crimes. French Cardinal Eugene TISSERAND speaks with indignation "of the lamentable behavior of Franciscans in Bosnia-Herzegovina" (Report of Dr. Rusinovic, representative of Croatia in Rome - Letter of May 9,1942). All the human madness of the Ustashi and the active participation of the Catholic clergy in the genocide of Serbs are related in a letter that a distinguished Croat politician, Prvoslav GRIZOGONO addressed on February 8, 1942 to the Archbishop of Zagreb, Dr. Alojzije STEPINAC, through the intermediary Dr. VUJCIC, the Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade.
"I am addressing you, as a man to man, as one Christian addresses another Christian. For many months now, I have had the intention to do this, but I was waiting for the terrible news which reached us from Croatia, to stop in order to reassemble my spirits and to write to you in serenity. During the last ten months, the Serbs have been killed and exterminated in Croatia in the most brutal manner and their property worth billions (of dinars) is being destroyed. The blush of shame and of anger covers the face of every honest Croat. The extermination of Serbs has begun on the same day of establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (in the towns of Gospic, Gudovac, Bosanska Krajina, etc...) and is being pursued without interruption until this day. (Follows a detailed description of massacres).. Why am I addressing you, since you are not a political personality and have no responsibility whatsoever in all this? Here is why:
In all these crimes of unprecedented barbarism, much worse than those committed by the pagans, our Catholic Church is participating in two manners. A large number of ecclesiastic personalities, priests, religious persons and members of the Catholic youth organizations have taken as active part in all this. It has even happened that the Catholic priests have become guardians of camps and accomplices of the Ustashi, approving thus the torture and massacres of the Christians. One Catholic priest has even personally slit the throat of an Orthodox priest. They would have never acted in this manner had they not had the approval of their bishops; otherwise they would have been dismissed from their functions and judged for those acts. Since this has not happened, it is clear that their bishops have given them the permission to act.
Secondly, the Catholic Church has profited from this situation in converting surviving Serbs, and with the soil still fuming from the blood of innocent victims, with the cries still uttered from the breasts of victims, the priests, the religious persons and monks; were holding in the one hand the Ustashi slaughter knife and in the other their gospel or rosaries. The entire region of Srem is inundated with tracts written by the Catholic bishop Aksamovic and printed in his own printing house in Djakovo, calling the Serbs to save their lives and property by converting to Catholicism. This seems like our Church (the Catholic one) wanted to prove that it can destroy the souls just like the Ustashi authorities can destroy the body. This is a stain and so much the greater for the Catholic Church because at the same time many Orthodox churches, and all of the Orthodox monasteries have been confiscated, their property pillaged as well as the historical treasure and the one that they were safeguarding. Patriarchal Church in Sremski Karlovci was also not spared.
All this violence against the conscience and against the spirit has inflicted and even greater disgrace on the Croat nation and on the very name of Croats. "
Towards the end of the war, Ante PAVELIC and many thousands of Nazis and Ustashi were able to escape thanks to the network construed by the Vatican. "Franz STANGL, a former commander of the camp at Treblinka, Gustav WAGNER, the former commander of the camp at Sobibor, Adolf EICHMANN, the primary responsible man for genocide, Walter RAUFF, Chief of the SS for Northern Italy, Ferenc VAJTA, chief of Fascists in Hungary and Ante PAVELIC, Croat dictator, all of them succeeded in escaping thanks to the escape routes of the Vatican. This network was at the beginning directed by the Austrian bishop Alois HUDAL, but was soon placed under the authority of the Croat priest Krunoslav DRAGANOVIC, a secretary of the confraternity of San Girolamo in Rome. Draganovic had placed in the service of Rome a secret organization called "Intermarrium", founded in the thirties. Thanks to this very well organized and professional network, 3,000 former Nazis of the prison camps in Austria and Germany escaped to America and Australia. The quasi-totality of these criminals passed through Rome. The quasi-totality of those who helped them were the Croat Catholic priests! This is well known in Belgrade and it is not forgiven". (Jacques MERLINO, "All the Yugoslav Truth Is not Good to Tell").
There was never a Nuremberg trial for the Ustashi crimes! The communist regime did its best to conceal this genocide of almost one million human beings. The mass graves in pits and trenches were covered with concrete. Such was the price to pay for the Titoist normalization and equality of the Yugoslav peoples. In the year 1952, Pope Pius XII promoted Archbishop Alois STEPINAC to the rank of cardinal and the diplomatic relations between Vatican and Yugoslavia were broken. The Pope never preached reconciliation in Yugoslavia. On the contrary, since the beginning of the Yugoslav crisis, John Paul II supported the nationalistic aspirations and the independence of Slovenes and Croats. Rome has always considered as unacceptable for the Catholic Croatia and Slovenia to be united in the same state with the Orthodox Serbia.
The Return of Turkey
This third MITTELEUROPA now in the course of reconstruction, differs in two points from the previous attempts of William II and of Adolf Hitler. On the one hand the Austro-Hungarian Empire which disappeared on the morrow of World War One is replaced by Turkey which is no longer an extension of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, but one of the sides of the tongs, grabbing Serbia and Greece. On the other hand, this arrangement of space in the European East and South is done with the agreement and support of the Americans.
With all the changes which have occurred over the last few years, the United States have been having in one of the vital parts of the planet, at the geographic and historical conjunction of several civilizations, one privileged ally: Turkey. One should not minimize the importance now acquired by the relations between the United States and Turkey regarding the Near East, the extremely sensitive problems in the Caucasus, the relations with Russia and in general the Black Sea basin, without forgetting perhaps the most important problem of them all: the problem of Central Asia. There is a rivalry between the secular state of Turkey and of the fundamentalist Iran regarding this region. The majority of the population of Central Asia are the "Turkophones" extremely expectant of Turkey. In all respects, Turkey has become the major counterpart and not only for the United States. However, we have witnessed the events which were not expected by the specialists for Turkish affairs, convinced most of the time that the Turkish foreign policy will not interfere in the affairs of the Arab countries, and neither will it mingle in the situation in the Balkans. But this is exactly what is happening: a reverse of the "Kemalist" tradition, at the same time in respect to the Arab countries, in particular in the Kuwait-Iraqi conflict, in respect to the countries of the Caucasus, and especially regarding the ex-republics of the Soviet Union in Central Asia. This has become one of the essential preoccupations of the Turkish leadership. Regarding the Balkans, the tendency is to show a particular interest in the region. The interior Turkish policy here plays a very precise role. The present government is not particularly interested in the events which are taking place there, but it is confronting an opposition which is basically pro-Islamist, a very active one, defending very rigid positions and is enraged like a battle-horse for the defense of Muslim communities in the Balkans. This has already been the case in the recent past, for the Turkish minority living in Bulgaria. The same now applies to the Albanian community in Macedonia and in Kosovo, and especially to the Muslims in Sandzak and in Bosnia. This is creating a real problem for the Turkish government. No government, no matter what it is, can remain indifferent to the question of the Balkans. Therefore, on May 4, 1992, S. DEMIREL, Turkish Prime Minister, while returning from a trip to the Caucasus and Central Asia, could declare the following: "No one can deny that there exists a Turkish world which spreads from the Adriatic to the Great Wall of China!".
This was also the reason for the trip of Mrs. TANSU CHILLER the then-Prime Minister of Turkey on February 2, 1994 to Sarajevo, accompanied by Mrs. Benazir BHUTTO, the Prime Minister of Pakistan. But why Pakistan? A Muslim non-Arab country (like the Muslim Bosnia consisting of the Slavs: Serbs and Croats converted to Islam), Pakistan is the model-state selected by President IZETBEGOVIC, expressed in this form in his manifesto "The Islamic declaration", published in 1970, in which he does not make any mystery of his fundamentalist and anti-secular conceptions: "When asked: what is the Muslims society?, we answer: it is a community consisting of Muslims, and we consider that by saying this we have said it all or almost all." "The first and the most important of these conclusions is, beyond any doubt, the one on the impossibility of links between Islam and the other non-Islamic systems. There can be neither peace nor co-existence between the Islamic faith and the non-Islamic social and political institutions".
"Having the right to govern by itself its own world, Islam has clearly excluded the right and possibility of the practice of a foreign ideology in its territory. Therefore, there is no principle of secular government, and the State should be an expression of and support to the moral concept of the faith".
"But we continue to believe in Pakistan and in its mission in the service of worldwide Islam. Because there is no Muslim heart which does not beat faster at the mention of a country as dear as Pakistan, although this love, like any other love, also knows fear and anxiety. Pakistan is our great hope in the midst of so many temptations."
The third MITTELEUROPA has as its aim the re-composition of Central Europe, after the retreat of the Soviets. Reunited Germany, 80 million inhabitants strong, is to occupy Central and Eastern Europe; Turkey, with its present-day 60 and tomorrow 75 million inhabitants, is to have its voice heard in the Balkans and to maintain order first of all in Kurdistan, then in the nations that were at one time Turkophone, only yesterday Sovietisized, and which should not fall under the pressure or Iranian fundamentalism. All the means are being used to that end. Dislocation of Yugoslavia, separation of Czechs and Slovaks, encouragement of Hungarian separatists in Romania and in Vojvodina, in favor of Budapest and to the detriment of Bucharest and Belgrade. Envisaged by Mussolini and Hitler, Greater Albania which was created from 1941 to 1945 would again be "revived" by absorbing Kosovo, Sandzak and the North of Macedonia (with 40 % Albanians).
Just like in the year 1914 and 1941, Serbs and Greeks are opposed to this recomposition of Central Europe and are making appeals increasingly pressing to the "Big Russian Brother", who has begun since the middle of 1993, the recomposition of its empire dislocated in 1989, and has prepared its return to the international scene in February 1994 on the occasion of the NATO ultimatum given to the Serbs in Bosnia.
The Communist Yugoslavia (1945 -1989)
"A strong Yugoslavia. A weak Serbia."
Orders of the Comintern
The second Yugoslavia, created on the still fuming ruins of a country ravaged by war, both with foreigners and the civil war, genocide of Serbs, massacres and settling of accounts of the Liberation, at the beginning will become a Party-State, governed by the Yugoslav Communist Party, in which Tito would continuously weaken and degrade Serbia and Serbs, this people "of historical hegemony".
Yugoslavia will become a federal state composed of the republics, with the frontiers determined in 1943 and administratively drawn by the politburo of the central committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia; frontiers arbitrarily cut, conditional, provisional, having as the only aim to disperse Serbian population into six republics to which in 1974 two autonomous regions will be added: Kosovo and Vojvodina.
Settling of Accounts
The end of war is marked by a repression exercised on all those who were considered by the new regime, rightly or wrongly, as the war criminals, collaborators or simply persons to be removed for the better comfort of the regime.
These purges were carried out in all the republics and the resentment that they have provoked left profound marks.
The number of victims of these purges is the subject of polemics, at least as fierce as those concerning the massacres organized during the war. The maximalistic estimates (confirmed by the Croat nationalists and by the more radical opponents of the Titoist regime) are claiming the figure of 450,000 victims, of this number 300,000 Croats.
Both the massacres of civilians during the war and repression which followed after the war were the taboo topics of the Titoist regime, which did not officially deny them but prohibited all investigation and strictly filtered relevant information.
When I launched myself in everything that I could hear and read about this matter (all being susceptible to criticism, it is important to note), I think that the figures quoted further in this text are largely exaggerated. I will proceed by retaining the following order of magnitude regarding the war victims (and I insist that all the figures be followed by a question mark):
- massacres of civilians during the war: over 700,000 (?)
- death for causes of war (German invasion, partisan war, liberation, bombardments): around 700,000 (?)
- purges after the end of war: less than 300,000 (?)
The totality of these victims, or at least three quarters of them are Serbs.
Among the victims of purges, there were criminals and collaborators; but there was a large number of innocent people.
Some of the commentators even today are placing on the same footing the massacres of civilians organized during the war and the postwar purges, or which is even worse, are quoting victims of purges without mentioning victims of massacres. Such a presentation of facts constitutes an inadmissible disinformation for two reasons: first, the order of magnitude of victims is not the same, secondly the criteria of the choice of victims is neither the same. In the first case, the victims always adult persons and most often male, were chosen in the function of their past activities (according to often unjust criteria). In the second case, it was actually a question of a genocide: the victims, men, women, children and aged, were uniquely chosen in the function of their belonging to the given "national" or religious community.
The counting is still going on on this grim balance sheet, on the one hand, and political exploitation by different parties in the presence of the other parties, on the other, which actually is one of the sources of the present-day civil war.
The Federal People' s Republic of Yugoslavia I. The New State
The new state comprised six republics and two autonomous regions (Vojvodina and Kosovo). The republics as well as the autonomous provinces had their regional assemblies, with only a symbolic power for the first twenty years of the regime, to be progressively reinforced and finally taking charge, during the seventies, of the quasi-totality of the responsibilities pertaining to their economic and social management. The defense, foreign policy and one important part of budget remained within the competencies of the federal government.
Until the year 1989, only the Communist Party (later the League of Communists) could present candidates for both the regional and the federal elections.
Tito remained President of the Republic until his death in 1980. Although his politics has been strongly criticized, he enjoyed considerable prestige and was symbolizing in his person the union of the federation. Throughout his very autocratic reign, he was systematically eliminating all persons capable of holding power and after his death, no man of any stature could succeed him.
After the demise of Tito, executive power was managed by a collective group of six members comprising representatives of each republic, each one of them in turn holding the presidential function for one year. This President of the Republic practically had the same prerogatives as the other members of the collective presidency, but in addition he was the chief of the army.
II. Principle Orientations of the Foreign Policy
In the year 1948 Yugoslavia broke up with the Soviets. A purge of pro-Stalinist elements in the party comprised some 10,000 persons, mostly Serbs and Montenegrins (there were no executions, but extremely hard conditions of detention; some of them will remain for almost ten years in prisons or prison camps). For fear of a Soviet invasion, the regime made great efforts to reinforce its military potential; for over thirty years it will remain the most important one in the Balkans. Yugoslavia obtained an economic aid from the United States, but remained neutral in the military field.
At the end of the forties, the Archbishop of Zagreb Stepinac, accused of collaboration with the Ustashi, was condemned to a sever penalty of imprisonment (which he will spend under house surveillance). Pie XII was openly supporting Stepinac and appointed him cardinal. Diplomatic relations with Vatican were broken and were never again established.
Stepinac is still today considered as a martyr of the Communist regime by the Catholic hierarchy. In the opinion of Serbs (both Communists and anti-Communists), personal role of Stepinac is very controversial; conversely, the position of Vatican is unanimously condemned: it is reproached for failing to persecute Catholic clergy in the years following the war and of totally ignoring the genocide committed against the Orthodox population.
Beginning with the year 1955, Tito together with Nehru, Soekarno and Nasser became one of the champions of the politics of neutrality of the third world in relation to the two blocs.
In 1961 Albania broke diplomatic relations with the USSR. But this did not bring it any closer to Yugoslavia. Since that time, diplomatic conflicts and frontier incidents will become almost continuous between the two countries.
In return, until the year 1991 the relations of Yugoslavia with all of its other neighbors were good.
III. The Principal Orientations of the Interior Policy
Tracing of frontiers between the republics was done by men in power, without consulting the population (there is talk that Tito personally greatly contributed to them). Serbs are of the view that this alignment of frontiers was done with the obvious wish to weaken Serbia: creation of the autonomous provinces at the expense of Serbia (Vojvodina, where Serbs represent over 60% of population and Kosovo where they are some 18%); conversely, there were no autonomous regions in Croatia, the regions where Serbs are the majority. Some 40% of the population proclaiming itself as Serbs was living outside of Serbia.
During the first twenty years of the regime, centralism and federalism were largely dominant, not only in politics, but also in the minds of the generation growing in the years after the war.
The young ones from the end of the forties and fifties not for a moment had imagined that Yugoslavia could disintegrate forty years later. In spite of the official taboo regarding the massacres and the fratricidal conflicts from the war times, the facts were known by everyone. These facts, however, did not make any problems for the young, who accounted them as madness of the preceding generation and believed themselves totally immune against the virus of homicidal nationalism. An important gap existed between those who though that they should conform with the "Communist shell" and those who always refused that; contrary to that, the antagonism between communities was unanimously rejected in favor of a federal spirit, and even the most outspoken anti-Communists recognized that the regime merits praise for having succeeded in creating a united Yugoslavia.
It should be admitted that the mistrust between communities remained more alive in the previous generations.
If for twenty initial years the federal spirit prevailed, it was much more the effect of the reaction of one generation in the face of absurdities and horrors of conflicts, than a fruit of a wise policy. Communists led a Machiavellian national politics having as the sole objective to dive and rule.
Since the changes in 1948, the regime established the system of "communities": every citizen had to declare himself as belonging to one community and this community appeared of his identity card. The criteria of belonging to various communities are to say the least heterogeneous; and for many people, progeny of the mixed marriages and/or those who traveled, the choice was rather arbitrary since it was obligatory to define ones self in respect to the categories artificially imposed. This should certainly not be understood as meaning that in Yugoslavia there are no strong differentiations between cultures and traditions, but this differentiation was poorly applied to individuals who were most often feeling themselves simultaneously attached to a number of different traditions. In such a case, it is necessary to support and maintain the development of each one of the traditional cultures (what the Communist regime did do, to render it justice); but it is perverse to force individuals to opt for one or the other between them.
The other fundamental error was not to have completely clarified the events which had taken place in the last war. Germany recognized in 1945 the existence of the concentration camps; "the demon of genocide" was thus exorcised which allowed the post-war German generations to behave without complex vis-a-vis the rest of Europe. The ambiguous attitudes of the Tito's regime and of Vatican in this field led to the situation that Croats and Serbs even today react in a passionate way at the mention of the events of the last war.
The ambiguity on the estimation of massacres and repression which followed, did not appear that grave in the aftermath of the war, because everyone knew what had happened, even if it was forbidden to talk about it. Today, all mention of this subject becomes vehement: everyone wishes to interpret history in his own way and use it as a political weapon. When this refers to a genocide, such a manipulation becomes monstrous because it can generate only hate.
The same ambiguity had its effects as disastrous on the relations between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.
There was incoherence, concerning the degree of autonomy that the regime was granting to the republics and provinces. After a period of strict centralization of the forties and fifties, the decision-making power in the field of economy and local administration progressively was decentralized starting with the sixties. In practice, this de-centralization often led to a growth of inconveniences of management and savings and launched itself in some absurd investments: every territory wanted to have its own railway, its own heavy industry, etc. Regime complied with this economic disorder, but when it was accompanied by aspiration to a political autonomy, the reaction was brutal: a wave of imprisonment in Croatia in 1971, repression of the demonstrations in Kosovo in 1981.
IV. Economic Orientation
In 1945 industry and the quasi-totality of trade were nationalized; conversely, agriculture was still in private hands. During the fifties, the notion of state ownership was replaced by the notion of social ownership and self-management; a bit later, the notion was also introduced of profitability and of the self-managed and profit-making enterprises. In fact, it was during the first twenty years after the war that the system functioned the best: the initial needs were such that, in spite of imperfections, the production and the standard of living were growing is a very satisfactory fashion.
During the sixties, the system started to shake. The analysis of the causes of such progressive degradation are complex:
Raise of the standard of living was not accompanied by a sufficient technological development: the result was that Yugoslavia was inclined to import more and more of the consumer goods and to export less and less of the locally produced ones.
The image of industrial development incited the public and enterprises to engage themselves in inconsiderate investments which will very fast place the country in the danger of all the most indebted countries. This tendency of "the race before the chart" is characteristic for our entire world planet during the decades of the sixties and seventies, but the developing countries suffered the hardest counter-strike. Decentralization and self-management newly introduced will even further magnify this phenomenon in Yugoslavia. Self-management proved itself to be in most cases catastrophic for the matters of management of enterprises: new debts were made for the new projects, benefits were distributed; but the maintenance was neglected, and no renewal or improvements made.
The most economically developed republics - Slovenia and Croatia - were getting better fare from this game than the others, which allowed them to increase their advance in respect to the others. On the one hand they had the advantage of belonging to a federation where the other members were economically less advanced, which allowed them in turn to purchase from these latter ones raw materials at low prices, and to kept the market reserved for their industry. On the other hand, they considered themselves neglected, because they had to contribute one part of the fund which appeared to them excessive for the federal expenditures.
At the end of the queue there was to be found (just like before the war) Montenegro, Macedonia and even much further down Kosovo.
Bosnia-Herzegovina rather gained its relative position; Serbia experienced a net decline.
The Role of the Party
Although the Tito's regime did not have the implacable character of a Stalinist rule - with mass executions limited to be first months of the regime and mass imprisonment to the first years - the Communist Party of Yugoslavia did not retain any fewer strings of power in its hands, either at the federal level, at the level of the republics or at the level of enterprises.
In order to prove this it suffice to know that it was a must to become a member of the party in order to:
- become eligible for any of the assemblies;
- make a carrier in the army or in the police forces;
- enter the judiciary or hold an important post in the administration;
- become a full-time university professor;
- hold a senior staff position in industry and major enterprises; and
- become a trade union representative.
Party membership card enormously facilitated enrollment in certain faculties and success in the studies. Party members were favored throughout their carrier and benefited from a large number of material advantages: holiday houses, mutual sharing, etc. It was well known that the vast majority of those taking their membership card were doing it for opportunistic reasons; thus the party never tried to indoctrinate its members, but demanded an absolute obedience and conformity to its dogma officially pronounced in public. In this sense, members of the party were much less free to speak and act. With a bit of experience, one could in only a few minutes learn whether his unknown counterpart is a member of the party - whatever the subject of conversation - because he was paying great attention to affirm what he was stating and was losing all spontaneity. Therefore, there was a habit of saying that those who became party members "were selling their souls to the devil".
Communists formed a privileged group, but rather integrated into population because they were large in number and presented all the strata. In most of the families there were individuals who had chosen that path in life, but many others had always refused it.
The party nomenclature learned how to use words as a weapon for attaining political objectives and was generally acquiring a certain skill in the art of disinformation.
It should be known that all of the actual political leaders, whether they declare themselves as democrats or social democrats, whether they are Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosniacs, Montenegrins or Macedonians, were educated in this school. How could it have been different, when the quasi-totality of the nomenclature of the country are the ancient Communists (this experience nevertheless not having marked much their political ideal of which, most of them, did not bothered much, but it did accustomed them to a certain type of behavior).
After the death of Tito in 1980, the country slowly became ungovernable. Not only each one of the six republics had the right of veto, but this right was also granted to the "autonomous provinces" of Serbia: Vojvodina and Kosovo. The Presidency became a collective body and the President was changed in turn every year. In the federal matters, Serbia and Montenegro confronted themselves more and more often with the revendication of Kosovo, Croatia and Slovenia.
At the end of the eighties, in full economic disaster and when Marxism was placed under a question mark, when Perestroika was in full bloom in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia was threatened by dislocation, with nationalist revendications becoming as numerous as they were strong.
Slovenes were the fiercest adversaries of the Yugoslav system. Slovenia was the richest of the republics. With two million inhabitants, 1/5 of the national product, one quarter of all the exports, the highest income per capita, Slovenia considered itself exploited. The electoral victory of the DEMOS coalition and the referendum of December 1990 led it to break unilaterally its links with the Federation.
The Croats were also discontented. In fact, they were discontented ever since the creation of the kingdom at the end of the World War One. Although the rejection of the London Treaty of 1915 by Serbs allowed them to preserve Dalmatia, that the Titoist Yugoslavia gave them again in 1945 Istria and the Dalmatian islands and that economically Croatia was the second prosperous Yugoslav republic, the Croats aspired at having their own state. After the demise of Tito, a sort of a Serbophobia developed which tended to reconsider their further stay in Yugoslavia. With Franjo Tudjman, they started minimizing the Ustashi climes and rewriting history. The ascend to power of the "Croat Democratic Union" (HDZ), led by Tudjman and the support of the "Croat Party of Right" of Paraga, openly anti-Semite and Neo-Nazi, on December 22, 1990 constitution of the Republic of Croatia was proclaimed which made of the Serbian minority in Croatia the second rate citizens.
After the first Balkan war and the defeat of Turks, the division of Macedonia caused the Second Balkan war in 1913. A peace treaty was signed in Bucharest and Macedonia was divided into three parts: the southern part for Greece, the northern and central parts for Serbia, and the eastern part for Bulgaria. The Versailles Treaty of 1991 confirmed this division.
Macedonians were partitioned again between Germans, Italians and Bulgarians at the beginning of the World War Two. During the session of the National Liberation Committee held in Jajce on November 29, 1943, Macedonia was for the fist time in its history recognized as a nation in its entirety and proclaimed one of the federal units of the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
It is thanks to the liberation struggle of the Serbian people during the two world wars and to the Yugoslav government after the war that Macedonians experienced recognition both of their national identity and of their state. Although it was submitted in Bulgaria and Greece to a policy of assimilation, it is by developing anti-Serbian sentiments that they were able to achieve their independence, after the referendum of September 8, 1991. This independence, obtained without firing a single shot, was made possible by the attitude of moderation of Belgrade.
Serbs in Disarray
Reduced to biological and cultural misery under the Turkish Empire amputated from one quarter of their population during the World War One, assassinated during the World War Two, humiliated by Tito, surrounded by misunderstanding and hatred, Serbian people, deceived, anguished, saw the rise of the new dawn of a prosperous era raising at the end of the eighties.
In the face of a vast separatist and secessionist movements appearing in the clear the entirety of the Serbian people of all the social categories and political parties together, started asking the question of its own freedom and of its own right of existence based on a spiritual cultural and historical identity in the interior of the Yugoslav space for which it had struggled so much and for which it had so much hoped.
Serbs, more than any other Yugoslav people were attached to the safeguarding of Yugoslavia. If it was to disintegrate, one quarter of the Serbian people, of some two and a half million of persons, would become a national minority in Croatia and Bosnia and would be exposed to nationalistic and anti Serbian tendencies of the new governments derived from the free elections.
Under the hypothesis where the new frontiers could appear, what was to become of the Serbian people? This was the question that was raised. What did become of Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina under the Ustashi State of 1941 1945 came to mind and the forced exile of Serbs living in Kosovo will provoke a true crisis of consciousness in Serbia and allow paradoxically - certain communist leaders to preoccupy the Serbian national feeling for purpose of assuring better their own power.
- Travnik Chronicles, by Ivo Andric, Nobel Price for Literature.
Albanian Occupation in Kosovo
"The tree can not live without a root and neither a man without a memory" Universal proverb
The situation in Kosovo is one of the keys for understanding the actual events taking place in former Yugoslavia, The rebellion in the country started since 1981 with the Albanian revolt in Kosovo and its direct repercussions on Serbia.
There is a saying: "Everything started in Kosovo. Everything will end in Kosovo."
Contrary to what has been said and written about Kosovo and a veil of mystification covering that much easier the ignorance of even a minimum of historical facts which remain about this matter - this region is not Albanian, and Serbs are not exercising there any despotism whatsoever over the autochthonous population which would be repressed, whose basic rights were not respected and which will be forced to exile. The situation is lather reverse. The Albanians are not the oppressed minority in Kosovo but rather the oppressing majority.
There was falsification of the history of that region, of the conditions for its settlement and of its usurpation. There was a willful search for obscuring certain facts although completely contemporary ones. There was an attempt at erasing - or rather a search but in vain - of the historical memory of Serbian people, repression to forget the fundamentals of its national identity and of placing the burden of imaginary crimes on its conscience or more precisely of the crimes of others, Albanians as it happened.
It is necessary to approach this problem from the historical point of view, which is rather easy because there is no lack of objective facts and they have always been presented by the historians, geographers, writers, men of politics, diplomats. But they are not being taken into consideration any more since the year 1941, the date when Albanian troops invaded Kosovo and a great Communist lie which followed.
A Bit of History
Kosovo is a Serbian land since the times of great migrations of the South Slavs, that is to say, since the 7th century.
At their arrival, the Slavs, who were farmers, settled in the plains and valleys, leaving the mountains of Albania to the population which was already there. Starting from the end of the 12th century, the Albanians were integrated in the Serbian state and Serbian Emperor Dusan (1331-1353) took the title of "The Emperor of Serbs, Greeks and Albanians".
At that time the region of the present-day Kosovo and Metohija was inhabited by a homogeneous population, exclusively composed of Serbs. All the documents from that era are confirming this fact - charters of Serbian sovereigns, toponymies, etc. It is this ethnic homogeneity of Kosovo, densely populated in the Middle Ages, that will permit its economic growth and make of it the historical, cultural and religious center of the Serbian people. The national Serbian Orthodox Church, founded in 1219, will contribute to this growth. Monasteries of Gracanica, Bogorodica Ljeviska, Banjska, Decani, which are enclosing the "genealogical tree of the Nemanjic dynasty" and the relics of the canonized sovereigns, constitute the basis on which is defined national and cultural identity of Serbs. Monuments of this region constitute at the same time the cornerstones raising the limits of historical territory of the Serbian people and making the foundation marks in its collective memory.
The Battle at Kosovo
Certain battles have a capital importance in the history of the peoples: The Thermopile (year 480 BC) where the Greeks saved their independence; the Fields of Catalauniques (451) where the Huns were stopped; Poitiers (732) where Charles Martel stopped the Arabs.
What would have become of the Kingdom of Francs if Charles Martel was defeated and the entire Loire River Valley conquered? The Arab armies on the Rhein during four or five centuries? This is the importance that must be given to the Battle of Kosovo of June 15, 1389. Prince Lazar found his death there, but also the Turkish Sultan Murad; and in the conscience of the Serbian people the heroic death of Prince Lazar took the significance of a martyr who suffered so that he may ascend "to the kingdom of heaven", for a spiritual victory and for the defense of the Christian civilization. The consequences of the Serbian defeat were substantial for the Balkans, the Turks pushing gradually up to the Danube River and making the siege of Vienna (1683).
"For the Serbian people, Kosovo is the symbol of its identity, the key which allows full understanding of the message of its history, the banner of national liberty. It is not a myth, but a historical vision"'.
Turkish Domination and Serbian Migrations
The Turkish domination - as everywhere else - was extremely hard and provoked mass migratory movements. Nevertheless, Kosovo was little influenced during the 15th and the 16th centuries. Until the end of the 18th century, Serbian population resisted and the Orthodox Church took the leadership of the movement. This is very important in the history of the Serbian people. Separation was not possible between the Orthodox Church, the State, the Nation and the survival of the Serbian people.
During the two wars between Austria and Turkey (1683-1690 and 1717-1737) Serbs fought against Turks. After the Austrian defeat - and let us remember that Turks came until Vienna - Serbs suffered terrible reprisals and emigrated in masses. There were two major migrations of the Serbian people towards the Austrian territories where they will settle in what is called "Krajina". These migrations were led by two Patriarchs: Arsenije III Carnojevic in 1690 and Arsenije IV Jovanovic Sakabenta in 1737.
The Arrival of Albanians
Islamization of Albanians which took place in the 15th century, led them in the 18th century to penetrate into the regions emptied of its population. They started for the cities of Nis and Sofia, then Skopje in Macedonia, towards Bosnia and crossed Sandzak and Novi Pazar. There were two reasons for this first arrival of Albanians: the economic situation in the Albanian mountains and the political circumstances. Actually, the Ottoman policy consisted in organizing a massive colonization of Kosovo and Metohija by Albanians, and this for strategic reasons: this region was an obligatory passage for the Turkish military formations on their way to Austria and the entire central Balkans. Islamized, the Albanians represented a force on which Turks could rely. They were privileged in comparison with Christians deprived of their rights like in all the other regions of the Turkish Empire.
Migration of Serbs is therefore not a natural process, but a result of Turkish violence from which the Albanians will profit. This process will be repeated after a Serbian insurrection in 1804-1813. The main instrument of Turkish reprisals was, yet another time, settling of Albanians. Their destiny was linked with Turks, and Albanians will oppose all reforms or attempts at Europeization of the Ottoman Empire, for fear of losing their dominant economic and social status. It is to be mentioned that the same phenomenon will produce itself in Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Bosnian Muslims. A certain number of pogroms took place at the beginning and the middle of the 19th century and were the reason for consultations between European consuls seated in Skopje, Prizren and Pristina.
The two wars fought by Serbia and Montenegro against Turkey (1877-1878) will allow only for a partial liberation of Kosovo. The growing weakness of Turkey will lead Albanians to conceive "greater Albania", organized by the Albanian League of Prizren in 1878. From 1878 to 1912 - the date of the First Balkan War systematic persecutions were exercised against Serbs: 150,000 among them escaped from Kosovo and Metohija (from the total population of 600,000 persons).
Here is the testimony by Pierre Leon-Caroler, the Consul of France in Skopje of June 18, 1912, submitted to Raymond Poincare, President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs:
"... I had the opportunity of verifying myself through interrogation of priests and peasants, the intolerable situation to which the unfortunate Serbs are submitted in the caza (a Turkish name for an administrative district) of Kumanovo, Old Serbia, Upper Albania and in the cazas of Kalkandelen and Gostivar. The Albanians are subjecting Serbs to the worst sufferings and are taking away from them their cattle and their lands. In the past, mountains were the domain of Albanians, but now that they are descending into plains they are finding life sweeter and are settling there at the expense of Serbs who are completely dispossessed: here, there is nothing left for Serbs, who are always proclaimed guilty by the authorities and are never protected against Albanians who are enjoying a complete immunity, but to become serfs of the Albanians, to immigrate to America or to escape into the Serbian territory...".
The Balkan Wars and the World War One
The first Balkan War of 1912 achieved liberation of the entire region of Kosovo. Nevertheless, Serbia was forced to oppose the Austrian pretensions aimed at the territories of Kosovo-Metohija. On that occasion, Serbian memorandum addressed to the European powers of January 21, 1913 points out that "there is no Serbian or Montenegrin government that can or wishes to cede to Albanians or to anyone else this 'Sacred Land' of the Serbian people". The present-day Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic is exactly in the same position as the Serbian government in 1913!
Furthermore, from 1920 to 1940 Serbian government will try to establish an ethnic and national equilibrium in Kosovo - but also in Macedonia - by an agrarian reform and by colonization. Both have failed and a number of Serbian settlers did not exceed 60,000.
Albanian Invasion and Titoist Politics
During the World War Two the eastern parts of Kosovo were given to Bulgaria, while the remaining part of Kosovo, Metohija and Macedonia was rejoined on August 12, 1941 to the "Greater Albania" under the Italian protectorate. An Albano-Italian administration was established there, schools became Albanian and the Albanian flag was hoisted everywhere. By the end of 1943 "The Second Albanian League" was created and in spring of 1944 Albanian forces were assembled in the 21st SS division "Scanderbeg" which started with massacres of Serbian civilian population. Almost 100,000 Serbs of an estimated total population of 800,000 were forced to escape. Conversely, almost 100,000 Albanians entered Kosovo between 1941 and 1945. They remained there after a decree issued by Tito on March 16, 1945 prohibiting Serbs to return to Kosovo. For reasons of friendship between Enver Hoxha and Tito, founding a project of unification between Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, "entrance facilities" were granted to another 60,000 Albanians between 1945 and 1948; after this date more Albanians will be welcomed, those who were "political refugees" escaping from Albania which supported Stalin against Tito!
Between 1971 and 1981 - the date of two censuses - 50,000 Serbs or one quarter of the total number, left Kosovo. In the year 1974 Kosovo was detached from Serbia and became an autonomous province with Albanian administration and Albanian schools. This was an open door for secession. In 1981 a campaign started for the creation of an Albanian republic. Beginning with the year 1985, Albanians in Kosovo started with terrorism - assassination and rape - of the Serbian population; some 10,000 Serbs took the path of exile. But this was too much and the Serbian minority of Kosovo called for help its brothers in Serbia.
It had started.
In fact, Kosovo invaded in 1941 by the Albanian army allied with Italians and Germans, is a territory under Albanian occupation and was never liberated by the will of Tito! Taking into account the explosive demography of Albanians, Serbs passed from 23.6% of population according to the census of the year 1948 to 13.2% in 1981, while at the same time the Albanians passed from 68.4% to 77.4%. They represent actually 88% in Kosovo which had 728,000 inhabitants in 1948, was having 1,585,000 in 1981 and almost 1,900,000 in 1990 (estimates).
The gravity of the situation, scope of persecutions against Serbs started to be known by the entire population of Yugoslavia after the demise of Tito. Protests were taking the form of citizens' petitions and appeals will be launched by the Orthodox monks and priests. Thus on the Orthodox Good Friday on April 16, 1982 "an appeal for the defense of Serbian people and sanctuaries of Kosovo and Metohija" was launched by 21 Serbian monks and priests. The response in Serbia was enormous.
One man will then undertake the defense of Serbs in Kosovo and will turn to his advantage the Serbian nationalist movement.
The Serbian Revival
This man is Slobodan Milosevic who in 1987 was the first secretary of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. He will undertake and develop Serbian nationalist feelings and will turn them against Communists. He accused Tito, a Croat, and Kardelj, a Slovene, of having dismantled Serbia and left Serbs become hostages in their own country.
The "de-Communisation" of Eastern Europe thus started in 1987 in Serbia, well before perestroika and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is because of the explosive situation in Kosovo that the Communist regime was attacked in Serbia. The disappearance - slow but true - of Communism in Serbia preceded that of the other republics. It is possible to debate the motivations, not the facts. To claim today that Serbia is the last Communist country in Europe is completely opposed to the truth. Serbia was the first country to be rid of Communism, for the national reasons and not the economic, social, political or ideological ones.
Having become a leader of patriot Serbs, Slobodan Milosevic, in order to insure the defense of Serbian people, decided to reunite Serbia and "re-integrate" the two autonomous provinces: Kosovo and Vojvodina. He organized large-scale patriotic rallies in all the large towns in order to proclaim that never again the Serbs will be oppressed, killed or chased from their homes. This campaign culminated on June 15, 1989 in the plain of Kosovo, on the anniversary of six centuries since the defeat of Prince Lazar by the Sultan Murad I. One million Serbs assembled there.
Tribune of great talent, Milosevic easily charmed the masses and became the champion of the idea of the Serbian revival.
The success of Milosevic is explained by the fact that the Serbian people is dispersed throughout the Yugoslav space: in Croatia 12% of Serbs and 77% of Croats. In Bosnia-Herzegovina 31% of Serbs, 44% of Muslims, 17% of Croats, in Montenegro 9% of Serbs, 12% in Kosovo, 57% in the province of Vojvodina and 87% in Serbia. In some of the republics, like Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbs are considered as a threat by their very existence.
- Dimitrije Bogdanovic, The Kosovo Question, 1984
PART THREE: The Yugoslav Wars of Secession >>