Monday, May 27, 2013

Yugoslavia: A Concise History by Leslie Benson



  • Pronunciation
    • c : tsar, ć : mixture, č : church
    • dj : duke, dž : jug
    • : loch
    • j : yet
    • lj : million, nj : new
    • š : shoe, ž : treasure
  • Prologue: The Road to Kumanovo
    • 1389 - Ottoman victory at Kosovo Field; "a mortal blow to the crumbling Serbian empire carved out by Stefan Nemanja and his successors over two centuries. Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina came under Ottoman sway for half a millennium, leaving the Croatian and Slovene lands under Habsburg rule." - 1
    • 1815 - Miloš Obrenović leads a rebellion against against Ottomans; "Within two years, the Serbs of the Šumadija, the forest fastness south of Belgrade, had driven out all foreigners" - 1
    • November 1817 - "an assembly (skupština) of the people acclaimed Miloš as hereditary Prince of Serbia" - 1
    • "Two dynasties locked in blood feud (Karadjordjević and Obrenović) alternated in power in a cycle of assassination and exile" - 2
    • Vuk Karadžić (1787 to 1864) - 2,3
      • "codified and rationalized the Serbian language"
      • "his sympathies were all with the Serbs, with no trace of pan-Slavism"
      • "argued that the Serbs were the most ancient inhabitants of the Balkan lands"
    • 1690 - "exodus of Serbs from their native Kosovo...led by their Patriarch northwards to escape Turkish reprisals, following an invasion by Austrian forces." - 3
    • "The Croats appear as an organized, independent community in the tenth century, but their fortunes later became entwined with Hungary, whose king was offered the crown of Croatia in 1102, beginning a connection that lasted for 800 years" - 4
    • "Hungarian assimilationist policy [produced in response to 'the onslaught of revolutionary France'] kicked modern Croatian nationalism into life." - 5
    • 1878 - "the Congress of Berlin created a new order in the Balkans [following a Russian defeat of the Ottomans in January]. Montenegro and Serbia became sovereign kingdoms in 1882, and Serbia made some territorial gains to the south-east." - 7
    • "Growing hostility towards the Serbs living in Croatia found a voice in Ante Starčević, the leader of the Croatian Party of Right (that is to say the historical and constitutional right to independent statehood)... Starčević ended as an ideologue of Croatdom, which he identified quite simply as all the South Slavs." - 14
    • Bishop Josip Strossmayer - helped found South Slav Academy of Arts and Sciences (1867) and the Croatian National University (1874) at Zagreb - 15
    • "Slovenian nationalism remained at heart a social movement aimed at greater acceptance of the use of the Sloven language in education and administration."  - 15
    • 1904 - Stjepan Radić (along with brother Ante) founded the Croatian People's Peasant Party (CPPP); "Russian populist beliefs lay at the heart of his claim that the soul of the Croat nation was carried through the centuries by the enduring virtues of the suffering peasantry." - 16
    • "It was in the battle for hearts and minds in Bosnia-Hercegovina that Croatian and Serbian nationalism first confronted each other on the ground." -17
    • 1911 - formation of the "Unification or Death" organization, better known as the "Black Hand", a group dedicated to revolutionary violence towards a Greater Serbia -18
    • October 12, 1912 - Montenegro declared war on Turkey to "forestall the creation of an Albanian state...followed by Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece." - 19
    • June 28, 1914 - "the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia a month later (July 28)" - 20
  • War and Unification - Ch. 2
    • April 1915 - secret Treaty of London signed; the treaty "gave Serbia Bosnia-Hercegovina, and a portion of southern Dalmatia where there was a concentration of Orthodox faithful"; fate of Croats and Slovenes undecided - 21
    • July 20, 1917 - Corfu Declaration created "an independent constitutional monarchy of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, under the Serbian Karadjordjević dynasty" - 23
    • December 1, 1918 - "Prince Aleksandar proclaimed in Belgrade the formation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" - 25
    • "The paramount aim of the [Yugoslav Muslim Organization] leadership for the next 20 years was to prevent the partition of Bosnia-Hercegovina between Serbs and Croats, the most likely outcome of a federalist form of government." - 28-9
    • "The Serbs were widely scattered, and this demographic fact was decisive for arguments about the constitution of the new state." - 33
  • The Brief Life of Constitutional Government - Ch. 3
    • "In effect, the constitution established the dual sovereignty of the Peoples' Assembly and the Crown, yet the King could not be called to account for his political acts." - 38
    • Pašić said, the King "who cares for the whole people, and we who have striven and died that Serbia should give freedom to Croatia and Slovenia, have always and will always take care to maintain our triune people, and show them that they are happier and more contented living in our free state than when they lived under Austria-Hungary." - 39
    • "Radić claimed independent status within the new state for the Croats and that he included Bosnia-Hercegovina within the Croatian sphere of influence. Nothing could be better calculated to antagonize the Serbs." - 40
    • "The name 'Chetnik' derives from the Serbian word for 'band', and was originally applied to the mountain guerrillas who rebelled against the Turks in the nineteenth century." - 43
    • "neither Slovenes nor the Bosnian Muslims welcomed the idea of an independent Croatian republic [advocated by Radić] the first for reasons of military security, the second for fear of the partition of Bosnia-Hercegovina...both groups...[acted] as power brokers within the system" - 48
    • 1881 - Serbia gains independence - 48
    • Constitution of September 1931 - "A bicameral legislature was introduced...candidates for election had to collect 60 signatures from every electoral district in the country, plus 200 signatures from the candidate's own district, a hurdle which in practice excluded all except government-sponsored aspirants. Candidates had to foreswear membership of any organization based on religious, ethnic or regional interests, and to promise that they would uphold national unity." - 54
    • March 1933 - "the government declared a moratorium on all peasant debts, which lasted until late October, and introduced drastic exchange controls. Yugoslavia was broke." - 56
    • October 1934 - King Aleksandar travelled to Marseille, on his way to meet French allies, and "he was shot dead by agents with connections both to" IMRO and Pavelić's Ustasha (insurgent) movement, together with Barthou, France's Foreign Minister." - 56
  • Encirclement and Destruction of the First Yugoslavia - Ch. 4
    • "Even when their protector was Russia, Serbs looked to French institutions for models of state-building...The fall of the Romanovs lefts France pre-eminent in Serbs' affections." - 57
    • "Stojadinović aspired to be Yugoslavia's strong man, and because of it he ended up an Axis stooge." - 65
    • "It was the Kosovar Albanians who caught the full force of the racial bigotry that surfaced during the 1930s...The aim now was no longer to keep Kosovo backward and deprive the Kosovars of their language, but to remove them altogether." - 67
    • "nothing in the brief life of the Banovina of Croatia suggests that Croatian nationalism carried within itself the seeds of liberal democracy. Maček established in Croatia a scaled-down version of the centralist state from which he received authority." - 70
    • April 6, 1941 - "Palm Sunday in the Orthodox calendar, the Luftwaffe reduced much of Belgrade to burning rubble, causing many thousands of deaths and casualties." - 72
  • War, Civil War and Revolution - Ch. 5
    • April 10, 1941 - "Croatian fascists rushed to proclaim the Independent State of Croatia (NDH in its Croatian acronym)...the NDH was administered under license from the Axis by Ante Pavelić" - 73
    • "Pavelić's Ustasha followers treated the Serbs as the Nazis treated the Jews, as vermin to be exterminated...This...sprung out of the Ustashas' own ideology, which incorporated a conception of Croats as a pure Aryan race." - 78
    • "The Communists wanted a Soviet victory in the Balkans which would secure their grip on Yugoslavia, even if that meant keeping the Nazis fighting long enough for the Red Army to arrive as saviours." - 82
    • "Establishing the constitutional principle of absolute equality between peoples and republics was the Party's way of wiping the slate clean...The problem of nationalism was, for the moment, contained. The essential task now...was to force the pace of industrialization, to create the material preconditions of a socialist Yugoslavia which would transcend ethnic and national jealousies" - 90
    • "It was assumed in Belgrade that Yugoslavia would swallow Albania (this was the advice Stalin gave to Djilas on one occasion), and Tito's plans also included the incorporation of Bulgaria as a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, together with a united Macedonia, to form a Balkan communist federation." - 92
  • The Long March of Revisionism - Ch. 6
    • June 28, 1948 - "Cominform states issued a Resolution in Bucharest expelling the Communist Party of Yugoslavia." - 94
    • "The doctrine of 'self-governing socialism' became the orthodox discourse of political life under Titoism" - 97
    • "The elevation of the commune to the place of honour was another calculated appeal to the untainted sources of libertarian Marxism. It was also the means by which 'direct democracy' was tamed and made safe." - 98
    • "In the face of mounting resistance, the notion of 'Yugoslavism' was quietly laid to rest -- it was indispensable in foreign affairs, but too burdened with historical memories of Serbian centralism for domestic consumption." - 102
  • Reform -- and Reaction - Ch. 7
    • December 1968: Amendments VII - XIX, "reserved defense, security and foreign affairs as the domain of the federal government, while decisions affecting social and economic development were to pass to the constituent members of the federation." - 117
    • "The governments of the republics became primarily concerned to foster the growth of their 'own' economies, and the lurch towards autarky [sp] was rapid." - 119
    • "The key institutional innovations here were the drastic reduction in the large number of communal banks, in favor of fewer and larger ones; and the creation of a network of 'chambers of commerce'...to coordinate investment policy. The machinery of power was being lubricated by money, not driven by Party directives." - 120
    • "the fate of a system driven neither by markets nor by central planning was the feudalization' of the economy." - 128
  • The End of Titoism - Ch. 8
    • "Serbia's leaders, headed by Ivan Stambolić...tied the question of economic reform to the constitutional status of Kosovo and the Vojvodina. They wanted the re-incorporation of the two autonomous provinces within a unitary Serbia, the project that Slobodan Milošević was to carry through in 1989 by force." - 135
    • "The Party maintained a rigid constitutional line that harked back to the mentality of the first Yugoslavia. The Kosovar Albanians were not a constituent people (narod) of the Republic of Serbia or Yugoslavia, but a 'national minority' (narodnost), a branch of the Albanian people which had its own state outside Yugoslavia (the ethnic Hungarians in the Vojvodina being an analogous case)." - 138
    • "Tito had once boasted that Slovenia's frontiers were the most open in Europe, but they were now slamming shut." - 142
    • "A full-blown metaphysics of nationalism preached the doctrine of Kosovo as the Holy Land of the Serbs, a 'heavenly people' (nebeski narod) whose soul resided their in perpetuity." - 143
    • "Yugoslavia's internal debt, though at least as serious a threat to stability as foreign borrowing, was simply unknown, because no one wanted to construct a mechanism for monitoring it. The system stood Marx on his head -- politics determined the character of the economy." - 148
    • September 23-24, 1987 - "At the Eighth Plenum of the League of Communists of Serbia...[Slobodan] Milošević became effectively sole ruler of the republic...with the sympathetic silence of the military." - 149
    • "Every nation has a love that eternally warms its heart. For Serbia it is Kosovo."  - Milošević, 152
    • February 22, 1989 - "unanimous adoption in Belgrade of the amendments to the Serbian constitution which extinguished Kosovo's autonomy." - 153
  • Back to Kumanovo - Ch. 9
    • "Overwhelmed by the completeness of their victory in the Cold War...western governments were also overweening in their conviction that the Yugoslav crisis could be resolved by 'banging heads together'...and telling the Yugoslavs to sort things out by negotiation. They spoke almost exclusively to Marković, encouraging his misplaced optimism that a short, sharp military shock and a dose of the market could pull the federation together." - 162
    • "The west...assumed the role of fairy godmother, bestowing sovereignty upon deserving applicants." - 163
    • June 10, 1999 - "in a tented NATO encampment near Kumanovo, the Yugoslav Army commanders signed a document authorized by Belgrade, which set in motion the immediate withdrawal of their forces from Kosovo." - 177

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