History Location of Eastern Europe created a cultural crossroads of many different ethnicities. 100 AD controlled by Ancient Rome (Catholic) followed by the Byzantine Empire (Orthodox). 1300s controlled by the Ottoman Empire (Muslim). Control by foreign rule made ethnic groups fiercely guard their identities. Nationalism devotion and loyalty to one's own nation or people group.
Basic beliefs and practices are the same and based on the Bible. 395 AD Roman Empire split: West was ruled from Rome (Catholic) East was ruled by the Byzantine (Orthodox) Major differences: Orthodox don’t recognize the Pope Orthodox Mary, mother of Jesus, born with sin and rejected it. Orthodox priests can get married Orthodox vs. Catholic
By 1913, Balkan countries began “balkanization” which refers to the process of a region breaking up into smaller units. After WWI, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia gained independence. After WWII Soviet wanted to set up satellite nations of communist neighbors; crushed political reform and free trade for decades.
4 decades of Soviet control. Gorbechev gave more freedoms in the late 1980s. 1989 Czechloslovakia, Poland, and Romania had free elections and ended communism. 1990 Bulgaria and Yugoslavia had free elections. Instability and ethnic loyalties returned.
Major conflict with the Balkans is that different groups want control of the same land and the causes go back centuries. Slavs migrated in the 500s from Russia and Poland and called themselves the South Slavs. Croats, Slovenes, and Serbs all created different kingdoms. Foreign intervention created differences between the South Slavs. Example Serbs stayed Christian, and Bosnians converted to Islam created differences within the Slavs. Former Yugoslavia
1918, Yugoslavia formed, called the “Land of the South Slavs,” but not all those South Slavs got along anymore. 1946, new Yugoslavia constitution set up 6 republics. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Solvenia. 2 self-governing provinces of Kosovo and Vojvochina.
From 1945-1980, President Tito controlled Yugoslavia. Considered an authoritarian leader, yet he kept the ethnicities united and peace within the region. Yugoslavia experienced relative economic success during his time. After death Yugoslavia goes into chaos and ethnicities become fiercely nationalistic and want independence from Yugoslavia. President Tito
1991 4 of the 6 republics voted to become separate countries and Serbia objected. 1991 Slovenia quickly gained independence. 1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Leader of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, sent in Serbian troops to stop the others from getting independence.
Croatia and Bosnia were ethnically mixed and had a large number of Serbs. Milosevic proposed the creation of a “Greater Serbia” and wanted to expand borders that had Serbian populations. Alarmed, the Croats and Bosnians then declared independence in 1991. Serbian led Yugoslavian army invaded both republics. Croatia led to civil war and claimed thousands of lives before a UN cease fire in 1992. Croatian independence.
1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence. Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats backed independence but Serbs did not. Serbia and Milosevic started a war in Bosnia. Milosevic and Serbs used murder and violence to get rid of Bosnian’s Muslims and Croats. Used ethnic cleansing more than 200,000 died and 2 million became refugees. 1995 U.S. sponsored peace negotiations led to a free Bosnia.
Bosniaks – 40% Muslims Serbs – 31 % Orthodox Croats- 15% Catholic Bosniaks were once Serbs who converted to Islam during the Ottoman Empire (1400s) Bosnia’s ethnic groups
Milosevic tried to get control of Kosovo, which had an Albanian/Muslim majority. Kosovo demanded independence and Serbia began ethnic cleansing. 1999 NATO started bombing Serbia to get them to stop and Milosevic withdrew. Milosevic accused of war crimes and voted out in 2000.
2006 Montenegro (Orthodox) declared independence from Serbia 2008 Kosovo declared independence. Former Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbia Montenegro Croatia Macedonia Slovenia Kosovo
Fertile plains makes it a farming region. After 1989 moved toward a market economy. Slow economic growth due to inflation, unemployment, old equipment, lack of raw materials, shortage of educated workers, civil war. Economy
Cultural diversity makes it difficult to unify the region. Less urban than the rest of Europe, but as industry grows so will cities. Discrimination of minority groups, especially the Jews, leading to anti-Semitism. To obtain true democracy, they need to overcome old hatreds and work together. Culture
South Slavs migrated to the region of Eastern Europe and settled. Conquering empires brought ethnic, cultural, and religious differences to the South Slavs (Croat, Bosniak, Serb, Slovene, etc.) Conquering empires and the USSR created intense nationalism of each ethnicity. USSR influence quelled ethnic tensions due to their common enemy. 1991 with independence ethnic nationalism, ethnocentrism, and ethnic cleansing began. Main instigator of the violence was Serbian led Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia has broken into 6 different countries. In Summary