In the 1990s when Yugoslavia began to fall, many different explanations were put forward including; the failure of communism and nationalism, later the theories were distorted to the extent that a huge number of accounts containing different beliefs now exist. The majority of readily available sources in our Western societal environment will inevitably tell us exactly what our governments want to us to find and no more, this is particularly relevant to a recent area of history surrounding the collapse of the former nation, Yugoslavia. Articles and books alike will discuss intrinsic factors stemming right from the creation of the country leading to an unavoidable disintegration, however, this dissertation aims to expose the alternate argument running parallel to these accounts.
I have taken into account a far wider variety of sources from both Western and Eastern sides of Europe (for example ‘To Kill a Nation’ by Michael Parenti who writes from an Eastern perspective) to come to conclusions in the form of a judgement of reliability and validity. My dissertation precisely analyses each source to determine existence of bias and manipulation as well as examining the origins and timing of their creation to achieve a reliable judgement on which argument is most credible. The overall aim of my project is to discuss potential reasons for the conflict between these two perspectives and the causes of their development; allowing me to gain crucial insight into their legitimacy. I intend to explore each argument carefully in order to understand them equally and arrive at a profound conclusion. 255 words
The former union of nations that made up Yugoslavia and the nature of its eventful and dramatic disintegration that began in 1991 but did not truly come to rest until 1995, is an historical area that has caused huge amounts of debate between historians. This is the reason I found it so fascinating and chose an Extended Project Qualification title based on it, when looking for two sides of an argument in this area to form a discussion I found that the causes of Yugoslavia’s collapse are yet to be decided. There is huge variation of opinions in books and articles describing the reasons behind it, these fit most easily into two possible aspects; intrinsic causes (inevitable from the beginning and concealed in the very nature of the union) and international (focusing on intervention of larger, more powerful nations like the USA and the UK or the influence of the IMF). As I discovered when beginning my initial research, to fully understand the collection of potential causes for the collapse of a seemingly peaceful nation, the formation of Yugoslavia must also be considered. The creation of Yugoslavia was a concept spoken about between South Slavic leaders throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, yet it wasn’t until just after World War One that the ideal union was decided upon. When Habsburg Austria – Hungary collapsed in 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was created, this became known locally as Yugoslavia and in 1929 was officially renamed ‘The Kingdom of Yugoslavia’. This socialist republic contained six nations; Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, as well as two autonomous regions; Vojvodina and the district of Kosovo and Metohija (provinces of Serbia).
Although (as I will examine) some accounts suggest nationalist tension was always present beneath the surface of Yugoslavia, initially, for a long period, the union was very successful with no major disputes. However the period I will be looking at is just after Tito’s death when the union fell apart ‘almost overnight’ and chaos reigned for near to a decade. As successor of Ivan Šubašić, Josip Broz Tito ruled as president of Yugoslavia from 1945 until his death in 1980 and by this point, some historians claim it was becoming clear to leaders that repressed nationalism and potential for conflicts was always present in Yugoslavia. An officer in Tito’s Partisans who was Yugoslavia’s foreign minister, speaker of its parliament, and one of the rotating presidents post Tito’s death, described how ‘the seeds of nationalism were sown in a new constitution in 1974, which loosened the federal structure without introducing necessary economic reforms’. Soon after Tito’s death, the union of Yugoslavia began a steady decline into oblivion beginning as the paradigm of cause explains with Slobodan Milosevic’s rise to power and rallying of nationalist Serbs. After this followed the declaration of Croatian and Slovenian independence in June 1991, Croatia then attempted to gain control of the Serbian population and fighting broke out. From here the republic of Macedonia followed suit and soon independence of these nations became internationally recognised. Bosnia Herzegovina’s independence was declared in 1992 and at this point the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed from the Serbian remnants of the Kingdom.
The well publicised paradigm supposes that under Tito, Yugoslavia was kept strictly in order; he was described as ruling with an ‘iron fist’ by many historians and so conflict was forced underground meaning nationalism and ethnic tension could not cause any issues between countries. When the BBC presented a report looking back on his time as president, the bridge between Yugoslavia during his leadership and after his death was summed up by this statement ‘For 35 years, Josip Broz Tito held Yugoslavia together despite its mix of nationalities, languages and religions. After his death in 1980, simmering ethnic tensions resurfaced, eventually leading to the wars in the Balkan states.’ This is the potential cause that I have spent a lot of time analysing closely due to it being the cause that the media has filled most people’s minds with. But on the other hand I will evaluate it in context, looking at both the history of Yugoslavia and the extreme variety of contrasting or even complimentary views that other historians hold. Although I have two main arguments of international causes and intrinsic causes, each of these categories contain many individual causes; including more obvious ideas like the inevitable failure of communism but also more controversial and elusive ideologies. For example, Micheal Parenti’s passionate portrayal of the USA and UK acting with ‘complete selfishness’ despite their ‘cover story’ of intervening with the intention of helping the people of Yugoslavia. 775 Words
To evaluate each perception of the causes of the fall of Yugoslavia effectively, I must refer to them in relation to the mainstream ideas, as the almost universally held belief on this aspect of Eastern European history, the blaming of intrinsic causes for the fall of Yugoslavia is one area I have greatly focussed on. The obvious location of this paradigm is deeply entrenched throughout Western media coverage of the events I have researched: In 1995, the BBC broadcast a documentary ‘The Death of Yugoslavia’ the opinions and views expressed in it create a powerful microcosm of the Western perception, which revolves around intense nationalism present in the former Yugoslavia. The BBC describes how nationalism was the main cause of the disintegration of the country, focussing on how when Milosevic became president of both Serbia and Yugoslavia, he rallied nationalists into civil war. His ‘embrace of nationalism’ is described and reference to his comment ‘we will impose our will on the rest of Yugoslavia’ is made, he is portrayed as strongly supporting Serbs against the rest of Yugoslavia. This opinion is also linked to the idea that when Tito died, his iron fisted rule ended and formerly crushed nationalism was allowed to redevelop, after his heirs temporarily kept ‘ethnic hatred’ buried, the ‘tragedy’ of Milosevic’s presidency is described. He is referred to as ‘violating’
Tito’s policies that were supposedly so effective and creating riots and fights, the growing distance between two separate policies is described as a significant cause of the collapse, leading to gradual further splits between groups and nations. For example, the potential of Vojvodina and Kosovo to use their independence to ‘gang up’ against Serbia with Bosnia and Croatia. According to the documentary Serbia and Croatia ‘fell under the sway of nationalism’ and Croatia ‘lit the fuse’ for intense rivalry throughout Yugoslavia. The pressure on Bosnians to choose independence after Croatia and Slovenia doing so is mentioned, illustrating the BBC’s opinion that as one country made a move, each of the others had no choice but to follow suit and the course of events was inevitable, demonstrating intrinsic blame. Overall the documentary clearly refers to intrinsic causes as the sole factor in the fall of Yugoslavia.
This media portrayal is reinforced by documents I have found written by journalists under the influence of BBC and British government; one in particular describes how ‘Milosevic led his country on a course of conflict and violent disintegration’. He is portrayed as manipulating Serb national sentiment over Kosovo and sparking the entire collapse of the country, supposedly using a ‘firebrand’ of Serbian nationalism to form his podium from which to dictate. His seizing of Serbia’s Communist Party from Ivan Stambolic has been blamed for its collapse due to his refusal to comply with a congressional vote for ending the one-party system. This meant Slovenian and Croation delegations left the meeting (linking to the later declaration of independence from these countries) and the party broke up. The BBC also states that when Bosnia attempted to declare independence and violence broke out, it signalled ‘the final dissolution of what remained of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’. In addition, another article supports the BBC opinion of Tito’s death resulting in the spread of nationalism; describing how ‘simmering ethnic tensions resurfaced’ and eventually resulted in the Balkan wars. This was written by former BBC correspondent Martin Bell, illustrating the thorough connections made by the BBC throughout publication on the events in Yugoslavia.
International Influence Argument:
The focus throughout the library of BBC coverage is Milosevic’s mistakes and the unmatchable ability of Tito to retain control over the nation, outside impacts are barely mentioned despite the enormous bank of resources suggesting otherwise that has been drawn on from other authors. Historians with contrasting opinions have frequently suggested that both the US and UK governments spent a great amount of time covering tracks they made across Yugoslavia, concerning use of the IMF and unwanted interference in events. Reference has been made to Western talk of ‘Genocide, ethnic cleansing and democracy’ and many have claimed to be revealing a campaign of disinformation used by Western leaders whose motives were based around pursuing free market reforms. This perception challenges media accounts of the collapse of Yugoslavia like the afore mentioned BBC documents, by implying the manipulation of Western media by its government to disguise their involvement. During research, I have particularly focussed on Michael Parenti’s work due to his controversial opinions. Parenti almost purely blames extrinsic causes for the collapse of Yugoslavia; even critics describing his book ‘To Kill a Nation’ explain how he ‘challenges mainstream media demonization of Yugoslavia and the Serbs’. He questions whether the humanitarian concern for Albanians in Kosovo the US national security state claimed was their motive for launching attacks on Yugoslavia was actually truthful, linking it to mistreatment of the Romany people in the Czech republic, British oppression of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, and the Hutu mass murder of a half million Tutsi in Rwanda, all of which the USA did not interfere with.
Parenti describes how, in these cases the US ‘complied with perpetrators and allowed atrocities’ and suggests that the actual motives of the USA were ‘third worldization’ of Yugoslavia which would leave the nation with the following characteristics; ‘incapable of charting an independent course of self-development, possessing a shattered economy and natural resources completely accessible to multinational corporate exploitation, including the enormous mineral wealth in Kosovo, impoverished, but literate and skilled population forced to work at subsistence wages, constituting a cheap labour pool that will help depress wages in western Europe and elsewhere and with dismantled petroleum, engineering, mining, fertilizer, and automobile industries, and various light industries, that offer no further competition with existing Western producers’. This was part of a policy created by western powers in 1989. Parenti also relates Western motives to dividing the ethnic minorities of the nation to gain their support gradually as well as US diplomacy; his theory is that due to the selfishness of the factors behind US involvement in Yugoslavia, they intended to conceal them from the public using control over the media. This also suggests that Western leaders were keen to dismantle Yugoslavia and that aspects of their involvement could be considered as much a cause of the collapse as factors like Tito’s death or Milosevic’s rallying of Serbs, Parenti’s perception includes the idea that the initiated sanctions and IMF destabilization at this time could be held responsible for crushing Yugoslavia’s economy, and therefore was a potential major factor in the collapse of Yugoslavia.
Very similar views to those of Parenti are held by historian Michel Chossudovsky, his writing focuses in a similar way on US and IMF involvement in the economy of Yugoslavia, describing how IMF sponsored programs ‘continued the disintegration of the industrial sector and the piecemeal dismantling of the Yugoslav welfare state’. He also refers to the restructure of debts by the US, which led to increase in foreign debt and currency devaluation, explaining how the IMF gradually slowed the Yugoslav economy and allowed industrial production to decline to a negative percentage of growth particularly due to their control over the Yugoslav bank. Both Chossudovsky and Parenti seem to fixate on the idea that without US and IMF control and manipulation of the economy, Yugoslavia may have stood a better chance of regaining strength after Tito’s death as wealth would have remained closer to constant and attention would not have been removed from control of nationalists. Chossudovsky goes on to suppose that the tight policies of the IMF ‘crippled federal Yugoslavia’s ability to finance its economic and social programs’. Money from the state that should have been spent in the provinces was instead put into paying off foreign debts. Overall, Parenti and Chossudovsky with support from many other historians, for example Warren Zimmerman who condemns US involvement in Yugoslavia, create the argument that Western leaders are responsible for bringing down the former nation and their interference through organisations like the IMF brought about its downfall, particularly by crushing its economy.
The difference between these two strongly opposing arguments is extreme, each does not take into account any of the alternative factors as legitimate causes, only as background influences (for example the idea that intrinsic elements created a difficult situation in Yugoslavia but Western interference actually brought down the nation).
Therefore, taking both sides of the argument into account, my predicted findings would be that because there seems to be supporting evidence for both types of account, factors covered by both perceptions interact and combine to form an explanation as close as historians are able to create, to the full web of causes responsible for the fall of Yugoslavia. 1460 words
The main strength of the theory that intrinsic causes like nationalism and failure of communist leadership led to the collapse of Yugoslavia is its ability to seep into the basis of so many sources, it is difficult to distinguish between the possibility that these factors are indeed the answer, and the idea that the Western media twisted and exaggerated them because of this strength. It means certain accounts of the events have been treated with intense reliability and infrequently questioned purely because the aspects covered by them seem so familiar, as people are slow to argue with information they repeatedly come into contact with. Therefore the main problem with this area of research is that if the majority of this view was truthful, it would explain its frequent appearance but on the other hand, if it was less truthful, (considering the organisations working to persuade people to accept it) it would also explain this. What organisations like the BBC have done in terms of reports and documentation is purely covered facts, so the contrasting argument does not claim that these views are fabricated but that they create false links tying smaller events to larger ones.
Many historians claim that constant reform in Yugoslavia left it structurally weak with no real capital state; a number of countries were simply competing for dominance. As national conflict and tension gradually rose, the communist party began to lose control resulting in the creation of Kosovo in the 1974 constitution, this aroused fear in the Serbs of a weaker Serbia. This in turn led to a series of battles and gradual declaration of independence beginning with Croatia before each country followed suit. As outlined by the BBC article on the death of Tito, Western news reports largely state that Tito kept nationalism under the surface of the nation until his death when it arose to have disastrous consequences, some evidence does support this suggestion, for example in a dissertation on the politics of ethnic conflict regulation by John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, a chapter discussing Yugoslavia describes the main intrinsic problem with the nation to be its lack of one dominant ethnic group, having ‘no durable and convincing construction based on ethnic consensus’ and suggests this meant unavoidable disintegration at some point. This greatly supports nationalism as a significant cause of the collapse of Yugoslavia as it refers to how nationalism prevented a reliable future for Yugoslavia ever existing. This is reinforced by the statement ‘the consequences were predictable’ assuming the collapse was inevitable as the BBC and US news companies state. A great deal of my research for this side of the argument points to Milosevic sparking nationalist conflict with his support of the Serbs and thus encouraging a factor already making break-up of the nation likely, for example an article that describes how his answer to failure of the federal system was a centralised government (considered unacceptable by Slovenia and Croatia which were already looking for independence), therefore irritating these nations and sparking conflict between them and others.
An unidentified blog article on well known and respected website ‘wordpress.com’, states ‘wealthy Slovenia and Croatia began to feel increasingly resentful of the poorer regions of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia’ referring to the period of IMF debt just after Tito’s death, providing support for the idea of nationalism increasing at this point. The same article also describes the inevitability of nationalism from before this period, in a similar way to afore mentioned material. This is repeated in the Wikipedia page for the collapse of Yugoslavia, Wikipedia is a massively unreliable source due to the freedom of access to it, however, this emphasises the schema that has been formed, as Wikipedia tends to present the widely accepted theories on subjects. The fact that this has occurred creates at least a little doubt on the idea of it could be completely untrue, suggesting at least some level of pure fact exists here.
The key point to focus on in this argument is the fact that articles supporting the BBC, PBS and NPR actually exist, showing that this theory is not simply used by them alone, however, a distinct lack of available evidence is clear and the small quantity suggests validity in other perceptions of the events. It could also be supposed that the tendency of historians presenting this view to be British or American diminishes potential nationalistic influence. On the other hand, if these theories are not entirely true and intrinsic issues were not the cause of the actual collapse of Yugoslavia, it is just as likely that American and British media being published would be severely biased under the influence of their government.
Western Encouragement of Nationalism
It seems to make sense that nationalism was at least a contributing factor to the weakening of the nation of Yugoslavia, however it has been suggested that Western intervention aided it in becoming a contributing factor to the actual collapse; for example their supplying of weapons to Bosnia as war began to break out, to allow increased violence towards Serbia. ‘All this was done out of humanitarian concern for Albanians in Kosovo. Or so we were asked to believe’ is a quotation taken from Michael Parenti’s book on the effects of Western intervention in Yugoslavia. Parenti outlines the sceptical view held by many people throughout the West and East, suggesting so called Western ‘aid’ in fact hindered Yugoslavia. Historian John W young accounts that both American and British leaders ‘hoped Tito might point his country in a genuinely democratic direction’ and how instead he chose to pursue his own brand of communism. This suggests that Western leaders were against Tito’s leadership strategies so were perhaps quick to assume his policies would fail without his presence, particularly considering the fact that nationalism did not flair up until Milosevic encouraged the Serbs. This idea is further emphasised by John Young’s description of Tito’s policies as ‘out-spokenly anti – Western’, creating support for the possibility that Western leaders assumed or even hoped for the end of Yugoslavia, perceiving it as hopeless and refusing to selflessly aid the nation. John Young is one of the few renowned historians that have written about this area of history, raising his credibility.
US intelligence agencies also released a National Intelligence Estimate predicting the break-up of Yugoslavia and the eruption of civil war in 1990, this is significant in relation to the fact that civil war did not fully begin until 1991, suggesting the USA thought the collapse inevitable and therefore will not have put much effort into aiding Yugoslavia to help prevent it, it also allows question of US planning behind the break-up. The historians and journalists mentioned are all British or American, but writing against the schemas of their nations, suggesting a smaller chance of bias, many of them are also scholars, particularly John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary who have studied in this field, this creates further reliability for their arguments.
Many historians have also disputed over the impact of NATO bombings on Bosnia and Serbia in attempts to crush Serbian nationalist rebellions, added to the fact that Bill Clinton vetoed bills to end the USA’s part in the international weapons embargo against Bosnia. These events could potentially have led to the breakup of Yugoslavia due to the economic and physical trauma created by intense collateral damage; 2,000 lives were lost, factories, bridges and TV stations were destroyed and mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl from crushed factories leaked into rivers, ruining the fishing industry. This is supported by the blog article on ‘Wordpress.com’ when it mentions how ‘history shows these conflicts are the result of pressure from more powerful nations’, again, as an American website, reliability is created by the fact that American historians are speaking against what they have been told. Another source is the New York Times statement ‘“Ethnic Albanians in the Government have manipulated public funds and regulations to take over land belonging to Serbs. . . . Slavic Orthodox churches have been attacked, and flags have been torn down. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned’ clearly illustrating Western attempts to drive the Yugoslavian provinces against each other.
In addition to this, respected degree and doctorate holders at ‘Geopolitical Minor.com’ present evidence that Milosevic was refused the right to defence at his trial at the Hague with the tribunal claiming he was unwell, Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia James Bissett stated that ‘his guilt was essential if the Germans and Americans who played such a critical role in causing much of the bloodshed and the violence in the Balkans are to be let off the hook’. This points to the idea that nationalism was not necessarily exclusively a factor in the collapse of Yugoslavia; it would seem that other factors played a part and potentially those originating from US leaders. In addition, in 2006 Milosevic’s lawyer described how Milosevic claimed his food was being poisoned, emphasised by the fact that the drug rifampicin was found in his bloodstream two months before his death by doctors. The suspicion that US authorities were responsible was increased by the fact they kept this finding a secret and the official line is that he ‘died of a heart attack in his cell’. In support of this, The New York Times published an article in 2006 mainly describing lack of toxins found to be contributors to the death but near the end a small sentence is inserted suggesting the opposite ‘Even if investigators determine that rifampicin played no part in Mr. Milosevic’s death, the presence of such a potent, non – prescribed medicine in his system suggests some sort of foul play or at least medical manipulation within the walls of the United Nations detention centre.’
This extract of information overall suggests the USA felt the need to hide things from the general public which in itself gives the impression they held some responsibility in the collapse of Yugoslavia (as will be examined later). However, despite the fact that research shows dispute over the extent to which nationalism alone can be held as a factor in the fall of Yugoslavia and much evidence points to US encouragement, evidence that it played a large role at least in the weakening must be considered.
Failure of Communism
On the other hand, there are other intrinsic factors that potentially played a part in the downfall of Yugoslavia, particularly the failure of Communism throughout Eastern Europe. Evidence for this reflects evidence for nationality as an intrinsic cause in that it is sparse and mainly presented by British and American media; ‘The Death of Yugoslavia’ by the BBC outlines how ‘conflict arose between communist Serbs and anti-Communist Albanians’ and how this culminated in war. Many other sources also refer to how the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe that began with the fall of the USSR reverberated onto Yugoslavia by raising doubt of the efficiency and success of Communist regimes. Even John Young describes how the split in Eastern Europe disabled trade, weakening the economy of every country involved; therefore causing uproar and chaos in Yugoslavia as the government argued over how to move forward’. An additional article provides support for the influence of this factor with the statement ‘the failure of communism all over Eastern Europe once again brought Yugoslavia’s inner contradictions to the surface’ meaning economic inefficiencies and ethno-religious tensions, clearly aspects that would have great impact on the smooth running of any nation. One source I found particularly interesting was an extract from the journal of Warren Zimmerman, the last U.S ambassador to Yugoslavia; this could be considered a primary source as someone who was literally involved in the events I am researching wrote it. Zimmerman describes how with the ‘revolutionary’ changes across Europe (referring to the decline of Communism) meant that ‘Yugoslavia no longer enjoyed the geopolitical importance that the United States had given it during the Cold War’ thus explaining how the failure of communism weakened Yugoslavia through lessening it’s support from the USA. He furthers his explanation by mentioning the ‘brand of communism that was more open politically and less centralized economically’ that the USA had used Yugoslavia as a ‘model’ for. Without this, the USA had no use for the nation so temporarily stopped paying attention it, creating an atmosphere of freedom from control within Yugoslavia.
Evidence for influence from the failure of communism also comes from John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary who comment ‘states require cohesive ideology to legitimate themselves’ implying the importance of a common view on desired ideology for a nation to function, this was not possessed by Yugoslavia as Communism began to fall in other countries. In the same article, a description of how the monarchy became viewed as oppressive by non-Serbs in Yugoslavia, leading to their defiance of Communism, this backs up the statement on conflict arising because of anti communist Albanians included in the BBC documentary, showing how other nations within Yugoslavia believed continuation of Communism meant Serbian dominance. Therefore citizens rebelled against the government and Serbia and rivalry broke out. Finally, in the blog I discovered on ‘Wordpress.com’, it is mentioned that Milosevic led a league of Communists to destroy Tito’s policies, suggesting again that the escalating conflict began with the unpopularity of Communism. The power that these factors; ethnic rivalry or a weakening economy when abandoned by supporting nations for example, would hold over any nation makes it clear that the failure of communism must have had a grave impact on Yugoslavia, however a lack of reference to the actual collapse in later years is present.
IMF & US Intervention
The reliability of these sources must also be taken into account, for example the documentary recorded by the BBC was created in 1995, this is just as the conflict came to an end, meaning a possibility exists that the USA and Britain needed to create a strong story to explain what had happened due to questions being raised. This close to the events, it was obvious that the majority of Britain would watch the documentary and so this timing supports the theory of Western intervention as a factor in the fall of Yugoslavia.
On top of this, it has been argued that where Communism weakened the economic structure of Yugoslavia, Western intervention pushed it over the edge it was teetering on, particularly referring to the strict IMF policies that were imposed on the nation with a claim of support and aid. These reforms have been repeatedly criticised for elevating debt issues that arose with the failure of Communist economic policies instead of relieving them. In support of this, Michel Chossudovsky wrote that increased debt created by the IMF destroyed the Yugoslavian economy, he also describes how Yugoslavia were left with no choice but to accept the reforms because the USA refused them assistance if not. The reforms included devaluation of currency, wage freezing and sharp cuts in public spending which Chossudovsky points out were the actions that led to economic collapse, this is logical because these developments have all led to intense poverty in other nations throughout history. The significant thing about this aspect of the Western intervention argument is that even in sources that aim to demonise Yugoslavia and promote the West, hints at negative points tend to exist, potentially showing an unavoidable nature and providing strong evidence for the significance of Western actions. A good example of this phenomenon would be on ‘Wordpress.com’, the article I used was mainly orientated towards a more westernised argument, however it states ‘Yugoslavia fell into dramatic economic decline as IMF payment plans imposed harsh austerity’ emphasising the link between the two events. Andrew G Marshall also bluntly blames the IMF for Yugoslavian chaos when he says ‘IMF reforms wreaked economic and political havoc’ due its total control yet insufficient knowledge of the nation.
On top of these examples of evidence for IMF influence destroying the economy of Yugoslavia, Michael Parenti has put forward a theory on the motivation behind Western intention to bring down Yugoslavia, which increases the logic of this perspective. This is centred on the policy of ‘third worldization’, a policy invented by the USA and other Western leaders in 1989 aiming to transform Yugoslavia into ‘a cluster of weak right wing principalities’ which would have no ability to develop independently, a shattered economy that could be accessed by Western nations for corporate exploitation and be no industrial competition for the West. Parenti indentifies evidence of attempts to control the media with the Serbian Bosnia Radio station that criticised NATO being forcibly shut down. He also accounts how the New York Times took ‘elaborate pains’ to justify that this was necessary for democratic pluralism to develop. Considering these theories, combined with the extent of evidence for the impact of IMF intervention, it would seem the extrinsic influences mentioned played a significant role in the fall of Yugoslavia. Taking western encouragement of nationalism into consideration as well, it is clearly illustrated that where two main intrinsic factors; nationalism and the fall of communism greatly weakened Yugoslavia, additional Western influence is more closely linked to the official end of the former nation. 2867 words
Overall, throughout my project I have come across an enormous variety of sources accounting the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, I have also faced a great deal of criticism of the reliability and validity of each one. After considering this over a prolonged period of time, I have made the presumption that any source used in a project of this sort will have its own cultural and political manipulation dependent on its origin. Bearing in mind this presumption, I have drawn my conclusions based on the levels of potential bias in my research, instead of its existence. Having found that each source presenting intrinsic issues is very closely in line with others, it seems clear that there has been little variation from the schema created by American and British leaders; this tells me that there has been close control inflicted upon these countries. On the other side of my argument, sources originating from Eastern Europe have varied and differed from each other immensely; however purely in that they contain different theories or events, rather than differing in opinion. This shows me reliability through the agreement but also illustrates the contrast in comparison to Western accounts in that historians have not been controlled and so it is likely that this side is more passionately honest, written by people who have experience of these events.
My extended project has allowed great expansion of my referencing skills, as well as teaching me the details of how to arrange a dissertation to include contents, bibliography and evaluation. I have also worked on analytical and writing skills that are relevant to my History and English Literature studies, it will be particularly useful when studying History at University. In addition my ability to present my own work to an audience has been strengthened by both the practise and final presentations; my confidence in this area has been refined as well as physical creation of a presentation. Overall it has provided me with significant benefits that will be important throughout my academic life.
On top of this, the specific area I focussed on relates to a degree in History, helping me consider less researched areas, it has also given me opportunity to speculate over the nature of History as a discipline and the ease with which it is distorted and manipulated by organisations. After seeing a very one sided version of research on Yugoslavia in an AQA History text book, I now know not to strictly believe everything I am taught and to do my own research to form personal opinions and perspectives.
The main problem I experienced during my project was difficulty in finding details of my sources, the majority of articles I have used I came across through intense searching, particularly on the internet as I struggled to find many books available in Britain. This meant they were not readily available and I had to seek out extracts and long forgotten segments of sources, making it very hard to find publishers and dates for some of them. 502 words
Word Count: 5873
Cold War Europe 1945 to 1991 John W Young 2nd edition, Arnold 1996
The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order 2nd edition, Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research 2003
The Last Ambassador: A Memoir of the Collapse of Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman 1995 (Unknown publisher)
To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia New edition, Michael Parenti, Verso Books 2002
Breaking Yugoslavia Andrew G Marshall, 2008
Dutch Autopsy on Milosevic Finds No Evidence of Unusual Drugs Marlise Simons and Elisabeth Rosenthal, 2006 New York Times
How the IMF dismantled Yugoslavia, Michel Chossudovsky, Albion Monitor April 2, 1999
The Break-up of Yugoslavia Wikipedia, 2012
The Legacy of Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito Martin Bell (BBC News) 2010
The politics of ethnic conflict regulation John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, Routledge 1993
The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia Michael Parenti 2008
The Death of Yugoslavia BBC 1995
Wars in the Balkans and a short history of Balkan countries 2007 ‘wordpress.com’
The collapse of Yugoslavia: background and summary, research paper no.14, parliamentary research service, 1995