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1941–1945: Government-in-exile
Top: 1918–1941
Bottom: 1945–1992
Top: Coat of arms 1918–1941
Bottom: Emblem 1945–1992
Anthem: "Himna Kraljevine Jugoslavije" (1919–1941)

"Hej, Slaveni" (1945–1992)
Yugoslavia during Interwar period and Cold War
Yugoslavia during Interwar period and Cold War
and largest city
44°49′N 20°27′E / 44.817°N 20.450°E / 44.817; 20.450
Official languagesSerbo-Croatian
GovernmentMonarchy (1918–1941)
Socialist republic (1945–1992)
Parliamentary republic (1992-2006)
Historical era20th century
• Creation
1 December 1918
6 April 1941
• Admitted to the UN
24 October 1945
29 November 1945
27 April 1992
CurrencyYugoslav dinar
Calling code38
Internet TLD.yu
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Austro-Hungarian Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Today part of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yugoslavia (/ˌjɡˈslɑːviə/; Serbo-Croatian: Jugoslavija/Југославија [juɡǒslaːʋija]; Slovene: Jugoslavija [juɡɔˈslàːʋija]; Macedonian: Југославија [juɡɔˈsɫavija]; Pannonian Rusyn: Югославия, transcr. Juhoslavija;[A] literally "Land of Southern Slavs") was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918[B] under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (it was formed from territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire) with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and then Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign. The kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris.[2] The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929.

Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers on 6 April 1941. In 1943, a Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Partisan resistance. In 1944 King Peter II, then living in exile, recognised it as the legitimate government. The monarchy was subsequently abolished in November 1945. Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established. It acquired the territories of Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar from Italy. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

The six constituent republics that made up the SFRY were the SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Serbia, and SR Slovenia. Serbia contained two Socialist Autonomous Provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, which after 1974 were largely equal to the other members of the federation.[3][4] After an economic and political crisis in the 1980s and the rise of nationalism, Yugoslavia broke up along its republics' borders, at first into five countries, leading to the Yugoslav Wars. From 1993 to 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia tried political and military leaders from the former Yugoslavia for war crimes, genocide and other crimes.

After the breakup, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro formed a reduced federation, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), which aspired to the status of sole legal successor to the SFRY, but those claims were opposed by the other former republics. Eventually, Serbia and Montenegro accepted the opinion of the Badinter Arbitration Committee about shared succession.[5] In 2003 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed to State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The union peacefully broke up when Serbia and Montenegro became independent states in 2006, while Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ The Breakup of Yugoslavia
  • ✪ Feature History - Fall of Yugoslavia (1/2)
  • ✪ What If Yugoslavia Reunited Today?
  • ✪ Yugoslavia - the Good Old Days of Tito-style Communism
  • ✪ Why did Yugoslavia Collapse ?


For most of the 20th century, there existed a country in Southeastern Europe called Yugoslavia. Today, however, what used to be Yugoslavia is now 6 fully independent countries… plus one self-declared independent country, but more on that later. So why exactly did Yugoslavia split up? Well… before looking at why it split up, let’s first look at how it came to be. For this, we need to go back to 1918 and the end of the World War 1. Yugoslavia was created from the Kingdom of Serbia, the Kingdom of Montenegro, and what used to be territories of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. The country was originally called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, but later changed its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This lasted until about 1941, when Yugoslavia was occupied by Axis the powers of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during World War II. The Axis powers installed their own puppet governments which effectively ended the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1945, after the Allied victory in World War II, Yugoslavia was re-established, this time as Socialist state, a federation of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. After initially siding with Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia remained neutral throughout the Cold War, and even went on to become one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Throughout Yugoslavia’s existence, there had always been ethnic tensions among the various ethnic groups. This would ultimately lead to the country’s collapse, but under the rule of their first president, Josip Broz Tito, these tensions were largely kept under control, as he promoted “Brotherhood and Unity” between the six republics, and always tried to suppress nationalism, sometimes by force. The death of Tito in 1980 is often viewed as the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia. During the 1980s Yugoslavia’s economy took a turn for the worse, ethnic tensions began to rise, and nationalism began to grow among some of the individual republics. This, coupled with the fall of Communism around the world.. all contributed to what would become the Yugoslav Wars and the breakup of Yugoslavia. The ruling political party in the country was the League of Communists. There were 8 members… the six republics, as well as the two autonomous provinces of Serbia: Vojvodina and Kosovo. In 1986, Slobodan Milošević became leader of the Serbian branch. Milošević and his supporters were uncomfortable with the autonomous provinces of Serbia, as Belgrade had very little control over the politics in these parts of the country. Supporters of Milošević, through large protests, known as the “Rallies of Truth”, managed to overthrow the political leaders in Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Montenegro, which were replaced by allies of Milošević. Serbia had effectively created a voting bloc, having 4 of the 8 votes. The other Yugoslav republics, especially Slovenia, openly criticised these actions. In 1989, the autonomy of the province of Kosovo was abolished. Kosovo was about 80% ethnic Albanian, with ethnic Serbs being in the minority. Unsurprisingly, the Albanian majority were extremely unhappy with this motion.. and this led to the Kosovo miners' strike, in which more than 1300 Albanian miners went on a hunger strike. During what would become the last meeting of the League of Communists, there was a heated debate between the Slovenian and Serbian leaders about the structure of Yugoslavia. Slovenia called for more autonomy for the individual republics, while Serbia wanted more unity and centralization. The Slovenian delegates left the congress meeting in protest, and were soon followed by the Croatians and Macedonians. After the the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was dissolved, multi-party elections were held in all 6 of the republics for the first time. The Croatian people voted into power the newly established Croatian Democratic Union party and their leader Franjo Tuđman.The new Croatian flag was raised as the country moved towards its declaration of independence which later followed. Croatia’s population was mostly ethnic Croats, but the country also had a large minority of Serbs, and large regions of Croatia had Serbian majorities, especially along the border with Bosnia. For many Croatian Serbs, the newly elected government was something that caused serious concern. Many Serbs remembered the last time Croatia was an independent country - the Independent State of Croatia, during World War 2, governed by the ultranationalist, fascist group, Ustaše, allied with Nazi Germany. The extremist group of Croats took part in the Holocaust, carrying out a genocide campaign against ethnic Serbs. So in 1990, many Serbs had all-too vivid memories of the atrocities committed to their people just half a century before, and many worried about the newly elected government in Croatia. In a Serb-majority town of Knin, the local Serbs started a rebellion, blocking off key roads throughout Croatia. Croatian Special Force helicopters were sent to resolve the rebellion by force. However, while en route, Yugoslav Army fighter jets flew alongside them, ordering them to turn around or be shot down. They returned back to base. This was when the gravity of the situation became apparent. This wasn’t just some local Serbian rebellion, they were being assisted by the Yugoslav National Army. In the following weeks and months, the army also provided the rebels with weapons. Many more of the Serb dominated areas in Croatia started rebellions, taking control of Serb-majority towns, seeking to join Serbia. 3 separate rebel groups proclaimed themselves independent from Croatia. These 3 groups would later join together and seek unification with Serbia. On June 25th, 1991, Slovenia and Croatia both officially declared their independence. Of course by this point, the Yugoslav Wars had already begun, but were thus far mostly confined to Croatia, between the Croats and Serbs. However, with Slovenia declaring their independence, this brought them into the war as well. The Yugoslav Army travelled to Slovenia, with the goal of asking them to… politely reconsider their independence. Two days after their declaration of independence, began what became known as the Ten-Day War, between Slovenia and the Yugoslav Army. Relative to the other wars within Yugoslavia, there were very few casualties. After these ten days of war, under the sponsorship of the Europe Community, an agreement was signed between Slovenia, Croatia and Yugoslavia. The document sought to open up negotiations between the parties to resolve things peacefully. Yugoslavia withdrew their army, but the agreement did very little to actually stop the fighting. Yugoslavia were preparing a massive attack on Slovenia, with tanks, air force and artillery. Their military power was far superior and they could easily take control of Slovenia. However, Serbia’s authorisation was required, but Serbia refused. The Serbian representatives within Yugoslavia didn’t care if Slovenia left. Slovenia was a country of almost entirely ethnic Slovenes. Because there were very few Serbs within Slovenia, Serbia didn’t care if they left. Croatia, on the other hand, was a different story. Therefore Serbia were unwilling to let them leave so easily. The Croatian President publicly stated that he would “defend every inch of Croatia” Serbian nationalists in Croatia had already taken control of a dozen towns and villages, but things took a turn for the worse in the Croatian border town of Vukovar, where the conflict escalated between Croatia and the rebel Serbs. The Yugoslav Army sent a huge force to the Croatia-Serbia border, claiming to be a neutral peacekeeping unit. Together, the Yugoslav Army and the Croatian Serbs pushed forward taking control of more and more villages. Some of which had been entirely populated by Croats. They were no longer just taking control of Serb dominated parts of Croatia. Due to the escalating violence in Croatia, the presidents of all six of the republics were called to The Hague, by the European Community, to discuss possible peace plans. Croatian president, Franjo Tuđman, claimed that Croatia had every right to succeed from Yugoslavia. Serbian president, Slobodan Milošević, responded by saying that if Croatia had the right to succeed, then Serbs in Croatia had the right to join Serbia. Europe Community peace negotiator, Lord Carrington, presented Milošević with a question: would you be willing to accept the independence of Croatia, subject to the human rights of Serbs outside of Serbia. To Lord Carrington’s surprise, he said yes. In the meantime, the Yugoslav Army were planning a massive attack on the Croatian capital, Zagreb. But such an attack carried huge risks, of sanctions or even outside intervention. Carrington was eager to get this verbal agreement in writing. However, when it came time to sign the document, there was one key difference. The agreement would not simply accept Croatia’s independence, but would make all six republics independent nations. Milošević refused to sign, as he didn’t want to dissolve Yugoslavia. The Carrington Plan, was not just for Serbia and Milošević, but all of the republics, who voted on the plan. The plan needed 5 votes to pass. Serbia voted no, but all 5 other republics voted yes. This was surprising given that Montenegro was strongly allied with Serbia. As it later turned out, Italy had offered Montenegro a large aid program if they accepted the Carrington Plan. The plan was set to go ahead, but Serbia later blackmailed the Montenegrin president to send a letter to Lord Carrington and change his vote, or be outed to the public as a traitor to Yugoslavia. The letter was sent, and the plan broke down. Around this time, Macedonia held a referendum on independence, which was 95% in favour. Macedonia was the the only republic which broke away from Yugoslavia completely peacefully. Meanwhile in Croatia, the Croatian stronghold in Vukovar was under siege. The small Croatian defense force managed to hold the town for 87 days, before it finally fell to the much larger Yugoslav Army. The Serbs held around ⅓ of Croatian land. In January of 1992, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the Croats and the Serbs. But the war in Yugoslavia was not just between Croatia and Serbia. In fact, by far the bloodiest war in Yugoslavia was the Bosnian War. Bosnia and Herzegovina was the most multicultural of the republics, and had three main ethnic groups. The largest were the Bosniaks, often referred to as “Bosnian Muslims”, but there was also a very large minority of Serbs, and a smaller minority of Croats. The Bosnian Serb party leader issued a firm warning to the Bosnian government not to pursue independence, but in February 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina held a referendum. Most Bosniaks and Croats voted in favour, while the majority of Serbs boycotted the vote. The very next day, a Serb civilian in Bosnia was killed by a Bosniak, and Serbs retaliated by setting up roadblocks in nation’s capital, Sarajevo, and large parts of the city quickly came under the military occupation of the Bosnian Serbs. Demands were made that Bosnia and Herzegovina stop seeking international recognition. Serbs in Bosnia had declared their own independent republic: the "Republika Srpska". All Bosnian Serbs in the Yugoslav Army were transferred to the Bosnian Serb Army. On the 27th of April, 1992, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia officially came to end as a new constitution was adopted with the proclamation the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, consisting of just two of the six republics - Serbia and Montenegro. The United Nations denied their request to automatically continue membership as Yugoslavia. Bosnian Serbs began to take control of all Serb-majority areas of Bosnia, as well as Muslim towns near the Serbian border. As well as this, they also began sporadic mortar attacks on Sarajevo. The Bosnian capital would be under siege for nearly four years. In the beginning of the Bosnian War, Bosniaks and Croats were allied with each other, as they were fighting against a common enemy. However, Bosnian Croats had similar ideas to the Bosnian Serbs, to take control of the Croat-majority parts of Bosnia and join Croatia. Like the Serbs however, the Croat forces also didn’t just take control of Croat towns. Bosnian Croats proclaimed The Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, a separate state from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In May of 1993, a United Nations Commander was sent to the town of Srebrenica, which had become a refuge for Bosnian Muslims who fled their home. He was welcoming with open arms, but when it came time for him to leave, a crowd of people wouldn’t let him. They wanted him to guarantee their safety and demanded help from the West. The Bosnian Serbs already had the town surrounded. The Commander went against UN policy and announced the town was under UN protection. Later, a unanimous UN resolution was adopted which declared Srebrenica and other Muslim populated regions as a “Safe Area”. The international community devised a plan, the Vance-Owen plan, which would divide the country into ten ethnic provinces: 3 Bosniak, 3 Serb, 3 Croat, as well as the neutral capital, Sarajevo. The Bosnian president, the Croatian president, and the Bosnian Croats, had all agreed to the plan. The Serbian president urged the Bosnian Serbs to agree to the plan, but through their military conquests, they had taken control of about ⅔ of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Accepting the Vance-Owen Plan would mean giving up about 25% of their currently held territory, so the plan ultimately broke down. The Bosniaks and the Croats signed a peace treaty in Washington, as the Americans demanding that Croatia stop their war against Bosnian Muslims or face sanctions. They agreed to this as they wanted help from the West to re-take their own land in Croatia. In February of 1994, a mortar attack on Sarajevo’s marketplace caused the death of 68 civilians. In response to this, NATO issued the Bosnian Serbs with an ultimatum: withdraw your heavy weapons from the hills or Sarajevo within 10 days. The Bosnian Serbs rejected the ultimatum. The Bosnian Serbs wanted to show their military superiority over the Bosniaks, and show that they could not be bullied by the West. They launched a mortar attack at a hospital in the town of Goražde, a UN safe area, NATO responded with an airstrike of Bosnian Serb command post, and they retaliated by surrounding and taking hostage 150 UN personnel. One of the other UN safe areas, Srebrenica, while under UN military protection, was forcibly taken in what became known as the Srebrenica Massacre where thousands of civilians were killed. With the violence at an all-time high in Bosnia, another mortar attack on Sarajevo and another 37 civilians killed, was the final straw, and a full-scale NATO bombing campaign began against the Bosnian Serbs. President Milošević of Serbia, demanded that the Bosnian Serbs allow him to negotiate a peace treaty on their behalf, cutting all ties and support from Belgrade. Meanwhile, back in Croatia, the Croatian government had been preparing for several years to retake their land. In May and August of 1995, Croatia launched two large-scale military assaults on the Serb-controlled parts of Croatia. By this point, the Croats had a far stronger military. The vast majority of Serbs fled the country, even communities that had lived in Croatia for centuries. Many Serb villages were burnt to the ground, to ensure the Serbs never returned. With the Bosnian Serbs weakened, Croats and Bosniaks worked together in Bosnia taking as much land as they could. Serbs fled to Serbia and Montenegro. The Americans urged them to stop, as they wanted a peace treaty to be signed. Peace talks took place in Dayton, Ohio, USA. The plan was to keep Bosnia and Herzegovina as one country, but divided into two distinct legal entities: the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska. After 17 days of negotiating and several redrawn maps, the peace treaty was finally signed between all parties. This peace treaty which put a stop to the wars in Yugoslavia, was not quite the end of the violence. In the late 90’s, war broke out between the Albanian majority in Kosovo, against Serbia, as they seeked their independence. Backed by NATO, the Kosovo Liberation Army took effective control of Kosovo. The war ended in 1999 and in 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared itself an independent nation, but the situation still remains unresolved to this day. In the year 2000, after the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević, Serbia and Montenegro gave up on its desire to continue as the sole legal successor of Yugoslavia, they joined the UN as new member, and in 2003 changed their official name to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This only last three more years though, because in 2006, Montenegro passed a narrowly won independence referendum. Yugoslavia was a country that was built on Brotherhood and Unity, but fell apart from internal struggle and civil war. The country may not exist anymore but its legacy lives on. Unfortunately, the most prominent memories from Yugoslavia’s history are the extremely unpleasant ones … but today all of the former Yugoslav republics are peaceful and prosperous nations. However, with the still unresolved situation in Kosovo, another war in Balkans is always a possibility. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, and that the situation can be resolved peacefully. I’m happy to announce this video has been sponsored by, the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 250,000 titles. You can get a free audiobook and a 30-day free trial if you sign up at, and that’ll let them know you came from this video, which helps support the channel. The fall of Communism is one of the factors that led to the breakup of Yugoslavia, and for that reason I’m going to recommend “Revolution 1989” about the fall of the Soviet Union. You can download this audiobook for free, which is yours to keep even if you don’t continue with the service after the free trial. So I just want to say a massive thank you to for sponsoring this video, and thank you for watching.



The concept of Yugoslavia, as a single state for all South Slavic peoples, emerged in the late 17th century and gained prominence through the Illyrian Movement of the 19th century. The name was created by the combination of the Slavic words "jug" (south) and "slaveni" (Slavs). Yugoslavia was the result of the Corfu Declaration, as a project of the Serbian Parliament in exile and the Serbian royal Karađorđević dynasty, who became the Yugoslav royal dynasty.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Banovinas of Yugoslavia, 1929–39. After 1939 the Sava and Littoral banovinas were merged into the Banovina of Croatia

The country was formed in 1918 immediately after World War I as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by union of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and the Kingdom of Serbia. It was commonly referred to at the time as the "Versailles state". Later, the government renamed the country leading to the first official use of Yugoslavia in 1929.

King Alexander

On 20 June 1928, Serb deputy Puniša Račić shot at five members of the opposition Croatian Peasant Party in the National Assembly resulting in the death of two deputies on the spot and that of leader Stjepan Radić a few weeks later.[6] On 6 January 1929 King Alexander I suspended the constitution, banned national political parties, assumed executive power and renamed the country Yugoslavia.[7] He hoped to curb separatist tendencies and mitigate nationalist passions. He imposed a new constitution and relinquished his dictatorship in 1931.[8] However, Alexander's policies later encountered opposition from other European powers stemming from developments in Italy and Germany, where Fascists and Nazis rose to power, and the Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin became absolute ruler. None of these three regimes favored the policy pursued by Alexander I. In fact, Italy and Germany wanted to revise the international treaties signed after World War I, and the Soviets were determined to regain their positions in Europe and pursue a more active international policy.

Alexander attempted to create a centralised Yugoslavia. He decided to abolish Yugoslavia's historic regions, and new internal boundaries were drawn for provinces or banovinas. The banovinas were named after rivers. Many politicians were jailed or kept under police surveillance. The effect of Alexander's dictatorship was to further alienate the non-Serbs from the idea of unity.[9] During his reign the flags of Yugoslav nations were banned. Communist ideas were banned also.

The king was assassinated in Marseille during an official visit to France in 1934 by Vlado Chernozemski, an experienced marksman from Ivan Mihailov's Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization with the cooperation of the Ustaše, a Croatian fascist revolutionary organisation. Alexander was succeeded by his eleven-year-old son Peter II and a regency council headed by his cousin, Prince Paul.


The international political scene in the late 1930s was marked by growing intolerance between the principal figures, by the aggressive attitude of the totalitarian regimes and by the certainty that the order set up after World War I was losing its strongholds and its sponsors were losing their strength. Supported and pressured by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Croatian leader Vladko Maček and his party managed the creation of the Banovina of Croatia (Autonomous Region with significant internal self-government) in 1939. The agreement specified that Croatia was to remain part of Yugoslavia, but it was hurriedly building an independent political identity in international relations. The entire kingdom was to be federalised but World War II stopped the fulfillment of those plans.

Prince Paul submitted to the fascist pressure and signed the Tripartite Pact in Vienna on 25 March 1941, hoping to still keep Yugoslavia out of the war. But this was at the expense of popular support for Paul's regency. Senior military officers were also opposed to the treaty and launched a coup d'état when the king returned on 27 March. Army General Dušan Simović seized power, arrested the Vienna delegation, exiled Paul, and ended the regency, giving 17-year-old King Peter full powers. Hitler then decided to attack Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, followed immediately by an invasion of Greece where Mussolini had previously been repelled.[10]

World War II

Partisan Stjepan Filipović shouting "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!" shortly before his execution
Partisan Stjepan Filipović shouting "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!" shortly before his execution

At 5:12 AM on 6 April 1941, German, Italian and Hungarian forces invaded Yugoslavia.[11] The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) bombed Belgrade and other major Yugoslav cities. On 17 April, representatives of Yugoslavia's various regions signed an armistice with Germany in Belgrade, ending eleven days of resistance against the invading German forces.[12] More than 300,000 Yugoslav officers and soldiers were taken prisoner.[13]

The Axis Powers occupied Yugoslavia and split it up. The Independent State of Croatia was established as a Nazi satellite state, ruled by the fascist militia known as the Ustaše that came into existence in 1929, but was relatively limited in its activities until 1941. German troops occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as part of Serbia and Slovenia, while other parts of the country were occupied by Bulgaria, Hungary, and Italy. From 1941–45, the Croatian Ustaše regime murdered around 500,000 people, 250,000 were expelled, and another 200,000 were forced to convert to Catholicism.

From the start, the Yugoslav resistance forces consisted of two factions: the communist-led Yugoslav Partisans and the royalist Chetniks, with the former receiving Allied recognition only at the Tehran conference (1943). The heavily pro-Serbian Chetniks were led by Draža Mihajlović, while the pan-Yugoslav oriented Partisans were led by Josip Broz Tito.

The Partisans initiated a guerrilla campaign that developed into the largest resistance army in occupied Western and Central Europe. The Chetniks were initially supported by the exiled royal government and the Allies, but they soon focused increasingly on combating the Partisans rather than the occupying Axis forces. By the end of the war, the Chetnik movement transformed into a collaborationist Serb nationalist militia completely dependent on Axis supplies.[14] The highly mobile Partisans, however, carried on their guerrilla warfare with great success. Most notable of the victories against the occupying forces were the battles of Neretva and Sutjeska.

On 25 November 1942, the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia was convened in Bihać, modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina. The council reconvened on 29 November 1943, in Jajce, also in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and established the basis for post-war organisation of the country, establishing a federation (this date was celebrated as Republic Day after the war).

The Yugoslav Partisans were able to expel the Axis from Serbia in 1944 and the rest of Yugoslavia in 1945. The Red Army provided limited assistance with the liberation of Belgrade and withdrew after the war was over. In May 1945, the Partisans met with Allied forces outside former Yugoslav borders, after also taking over Trieste and parts of the southern Austrian provinces of Styria and Carinthia. However, the Partisans withdrew from Trieste in June of the same year under heavy pressure from Stalin, who did not want a confrontation with the other Allies.

Western attempts to reunite the Partisans, who denied the supremacy of the old government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the émigrés loyal to the king led to the Tito-Šubašić Agreement in June 1944; however, Marshal Josip Broz Tito was in control and was determined to lead an independent communist state, starting as a prime minister. He had the support of Moscow and London and led by far the strongest partisan force with 800,000 men.[15][16]

The official Yugoslav post-war estimate of victims in Yugoslavia during World War II is 1,704,000. Subsequent data gathering in the 1980s by historians Vladimir Žerjavić and Bogoljub Kočović showed that the actual number of dead was about 1 million.

SFR Yugoslavia

On 11 November 1945 elections were held with only the Communist-led National Front appearing on the ballot, securing all 354 seats. On 29 November, while still in exile, King Peter II was deposed by Yugoslavia's Constituent Assembly, and the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was declared.[17] However, he refused to abdicate. Marshal Tito was now in full control, and all opposition elements were eliminated.[18]

On 31 January 1946, the new constitution of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, modelled after the Soviet Union, established six republics, an autonomous province, and an autonomous district that were part of SR Serbia. The federal capital was Belgrade. The policy focused on a strong central government under the control of the Communist Party, and on recognition of the multiple nationalities.[18] The flags of the republics used versions of the red flag or Slavic tricolor, with a red star in the centre or in the canton.

Coat of Arms
Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1946–1992).svg
Coat of Arms of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg
Socialist Republic of Croatia Zagreb
Flag of Croatia (1947–1990).svg
Coat of Arms of the Socialist Republic of Croatia.svg
Socialist Republic of Macedonia Skopje
Flag of Macedonia (1946–1992).svg
Coat of arms of Macedonia (1946-2009).svg
Socialist Republic of Montenegro Titograd
Flag of Montenegro (1946–1993).svg
Coat of arms of Montenegro (1945–1994).svg
Socialist Republic of Serbia
Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo
Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina
Novi Sad
Flag of Serbia (1947–1992).svg
Coat of arms of Serbia (1947–2004).svg
Socialist Republic of Slovenia Ljubljana
Flag of Slovenia (1945–1991).svg
Coat of Arms of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia.svg

Tito's regional goal was to expand south and take control of Albania and parts of Greece. In 1947, negotiations between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria led to the Bled agreement, which proposed to form a close relationship between the two Communist countries, and enable Yugoslavia to start a civil war in Greece and use Albania and Bulgaria as bases. Stalin vetoed this agreement and it was never realised. The break between Belgrade and Moscow was now imminent.[19]

Yugoslavia solved the national issue of nations and nationalities (national minorities) in a way that all nations and nationalities had the same rights. However, most of the German minority of Yugoslavia, most of whom collaborated during occupation and had been recruited to German forces, were expelled towards Germany or Austria.[20]

The 1948 Yugoslavia-Soviet split

The country distanced itself from the Soviets in 1948 (cf. Cominform and Informbiro) and started to build its own way to socialism under the strong political leadership of Josip Broz Tito.

All the Communist European Countries had deferred to Stalin and rejected the Marshall Plan aid in 1947. Tito, at first went along and rejected the Marshall plan. However, in 1948 Tito broke decisively with Stalin on other issues, making Yugoslavia an independent communist state. Yugoslavia requested American aid. American leaders were internally divided, but finally agreed and began sending money on a small scale in 1949, and on a much larger scale 1950–53. The American aid was not part of the Marshall plan.[21]

Tito criticised both Eastern Bloc and NATO nations and, together with India and other countries, started the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961, which remained the official affiliation of the country until it dissolved.

In 1974, the two provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija (for the latter had by then been upgraded to the status of a province), as well as the republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, were granted greater autonomy to the point that Albanian and Hungarian became nationally recognised minority languages, and the Serbo-Croat of Bosnia and Montenegro altered to a form based on the speech of the local people and not on the standards of Zagreb and Belgrade. In Slovenia the recognized minorities were Hungarians and Italians.

Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija formed a part of the Republic of Serbia but those provinces also formed part of the federation, which led to the unique situation that Central Serbia did not have its own assembly but a joint assembly with its provinces represented in it.


Yugoslavia had always been a home to a very diverse population, not only in terms of national affiliation, but also religious affiliation. Of the many religions, Islam, Roman Catholicism, Judaism and Protestantism, as well as various Eastern Orthodox faiths, composed the religions of Yugoslavia, comprising over 40 in all. The religious demographics of Yugoslavia changed dramatically since World War II. A census taken in 1921 and later in 1948 show that 99% of the population appeared to be deeply involved with their religion and practices. With postwar government programs of modernisation and urbanisation, the percentage of religious believers took a dramatic plunge. Connections between religious belief and nationality posed a serious threat to the post-war Communist government's policies on national unity and state structure.[22]

After the rise of communism, a survey taken in 1964 showed that just over 70% of the total population of Yugoslavia considered themselves to be religious believers. The places of highest religious concentration were that of Kosovo with 91% and Bosnia and Herzegovina with 83.8%. The places of lowest religious concentration were Slovenia 65.4%, Serbia with 63.7% and Croatia with 63.6%. Religious differences between Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats, Muslim Bosniaks and Albanians alongside the rise of nationalism contributed to the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991.[22]


On 7 April 1963, the nation changed its official name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Josip Broz Tito was named President for life. In the SFRY, each republic and province had its own constitution, supreme court, parliament, president and prime minister. At the top of the Yugoslav government were the President (Tito), the federal Prime Minister, and the federal Parliament (a collective Presidency was formed after Tito's death in 1980). Also important were the Communist Party general secretaries for each republic and province, and the general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Tito was the most powerful person in the country, followed by republican and provincial premiers and presidents, and Communist Party presidents. Slobodan Penezić Krcun, Tito's chief of secret police in Serbia, fell victim to a dubious traffic incident after he started to complain about Tito's politics. Minister of the interior Aleksandar Ranković lost all of his titles and rights after a major disagreement with Tito regarding state politics. Some influential ministers in government, such as Edvard Kardelj or Stane Dolanc, were more important than the Prime Minister.

First cracks in the tightly governed system surfaced when students in Belgrade and several other cities joined the worldwide protests of 1968. President Josip Broz Tito gradually stopped the protests by giving in to some of the students' demands and saying that "students are right" during a televised speech. But in the following years, he dealt with the leaders of the protests by sacking them from university and Communist party posts.[23]

A more severe sign of disobedience was so-called Croatian Spring of 1970–1971, when students in Zagreb organised demonstrations for greater civil liberties and greater Croatian autonomy, followed by mass manifestations across Croatia. The regime stifled the public protest and incarcerated the leaders, but many key Croatian representatives in the Party silently supported this cause, lobbying within the Party ranks for a reorganisation of the country. As a result, a new Constitution was ratified in 1974, which gave more rights to the individual republics in Yugoslavia and provinces in Serbia.

Ethnic tensions and economic crisis

The Yugoslav federation was constructed against a double background: an inter-war Yugoslavia which had been dominated by the Serbian ruling class; and a war-time division of the country, as Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany split the country apart and endorsed an extreme Croatian nationalist faction called the Ustaše. A small faction of Bosniak nationalists joined the Axis forces and attacked Serbs while extreme Serb nationalists engaged in attacks on Bosniaks and Croats.

Yugoslav Partisans took over the country at the end of the war and banned nationalism from being publicly promoted. Overall relative peace was retained under Tito's rule, though nationalist protests did occur, but these were usually repressed and nationalist leaders were arrested and some were executed by Yugoslav officials. However, the "Croatian Spring" protest in the 1970s was backed by large numbers of Croats who claimed that Yugoslavia remained a Serb hegemony and demanded that Serbia's powers be reduced.

Tito, whose home republic was Croatia, was concerned over the stability of the country and responded in a manner to appease both Croats and Serbs, he ordered the arrest of the Croat protestors, while at the same time conceding to some of their demands. In 1974, Serbia's influence in the country was significantly reduced as autonomous provinces were created in ethnic Albanian-majority populated Kosovo and the mixed-populated Vojvodina.

These autonomous provinces held the same voting power as the republics but unlike the republics, they could not legally separate from Yugoslavia. This concession satisfied Croatia and Slovenia, but in Serbia and in the new autonomous province of Kosovo, reaction was different. Serbs saw the new constitution as conceding to Croat and ethnic Albanian nationalists. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo saw the creation of an autonomous province as not being enough, and demanded that Kosovo become a constituent republic with the right to separate from Yugoslavia. This created tensions within the Communist leadership, particularly among Communist Serb officials who resented the 1974 constitution as weakening Serbia's influence and jeopardising the unity of the country by allowing the republics the right to separate.

According to official statistics, from the 1950s to the early 1980s, Yugoslavia was among the fastest growing countries, approaching the ranges reported in South Korea and other miracle countries. The unique socialist system in Yugoslavia, where factories were worker cooperatives and decision-making was less centralized than in other socialist countries, may have led to the stronger growth. However, even if the absolute value of the growth rates was not as high as indicated by the official statistics, both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were characterized by surprisingly high growth rates of both income and education during the 1950s.

The period of European growth ended after the oil price shock in 1970s. Following that, in Yugoslavia an economic crisis erupted, and that as a product of disastrous errors by Yugoslav governments, such as borrowing vast amounts of Western capital in order to fund growth through exports.[24] At the same time, Western economies went into recession, decreasing demand for Yugoslavian imports, creating a large debt problem.

In 1989, according to official sources, 248 firms were declared bankrupt or were liquidated and 89,400 workers were laid off. During the first nine months of 1990 directly following the adoption of the IMF programme, another 889 enterprises with a combined work-force of 525,000 workers suffered the same fate. In other words, in less than two years "the trigger mechanism" (under the Financial Operations Act) had led to the lay off of more than 600,000 workers out of a total industrial workforce of the order of 2.7 million. An additional 20% of the work force, or half a million people, were not paid wages during the early months of 1990 as enterprises sought to avoid bankruptcy. The largest concentrations of bankrupt firms and lay-offs were in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo. Real earnings were in a free fall and social programmes had collapsed; creating within the population an atmosphere of social despair and hopelessness. This was a critical turning point in the events to follow.


Breakup of Yugoslavia
Breakup of Yugoslavia

Though the 1974 Constitution reduced the power of the federal government, Tito's authority substituted for this weakness until his death in 1980.

After Tito's death on 4 May 1980, ethnic tensions grew in Yugoslavia. The legacy of the Constitution of 1974 was used to throw the system of decision-making into a state of paralysis, made all the more hopeless as the conflict of interests had become irreconcilable. The Albanian majority in Kosovo demanded the status of a republic in the 1981 protests in Kosovo while Serbian authorities suppressed this sentiment and proceeded to reduce the province's autonomy.

In 1986, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts drafted a memorandum addressing some burning issues concerning the position of Serbs as the most numerous people in Yugoslavia. The largest Yugoslav republic in territory and population, Serbia's influence over the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina was reduced by the 1974 Constitution. Because its two autonomous provinces had de facto prerogatives of full-fledged republics, Serbia found that its hands were tied, for the republican government was restricted in making and carrying out decisions that would apply to the provinces. Since the provinces had a vote in the Federal Presidency Council (an eight-member council composed of representatives from the six republics and the two autonomous provinces), they sometimes even entered into coalition with other republics, thus outvoting Serbia. Serbia's political impotence made it possible for others to exert pressure on the 2 million Serbs (20% of the total Serbian population) living outside Serbia.

Serbian communist leader Slobodan Milošević sought to restore pre-1974 Serbian sovereignty. After Tito's death, Milosevic made his way to becoming the next superior figure and political official for Serbia.[25] Other republics, especially Slovenia and Croatia, denounced this move as a revival of greater Serbian hegemonism. Through a series of moves known as the "anti-bureaucratic revolution", Milošević succeeded in reducing the autonomy of Vojvodina and of Kosovo and Metohija, but both entities retained a vote in the Yugoslav Presidency Council. The very instrument that reduced Serbian influence before was now used to increase it: in the eight-member Council, Serbia could now count on four votes at a minimum: Serbia proper, then-loyal Montenegro, Vojvodina, and Kosovo.

As a result of these events, ethnic Albanian miners in Kosovo organised the 1989 Kosovo miners' strike, which dovetailed into ethnic conflict between the Albanians and the non-Albanians in the province. At around 80% of the population of Kosovo in the 1980s, ethnic-Albanians were the majority. With Milosevic gaining control over Kosovo in 1989, the original residency changed drastically leaving only a minimum amount of Serbians left in the region.[25] The number of Slavs in Kosovo (mainly Serbs) was quickly declining for several reasons, among them the ever-increasing ethnic tensions and subsequent emigration from the area. By 1999 the Slavs formed as little as 10% of the total population in Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Slovenia, under the presidency of Milan Kučan, and Croatia supported the Albanian miners and their struggle for formal recognition. Initial strikes turned into widespread demonstrations demanding a Kosovan republic. This angered Serbia's leadership which proceeded to use police force, and later even the Federal Army was sent to the province by the order of the Serbia-held majority in the Yugoslav Presidency Council.

In January 1990, the extraordinary 14th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was convened. For most of the time, the Slovenian and Serbian delegations were arguing over the future of the League of Communists and Yugoslavia. The Serbian delegation, led by Milošević, insisted on a policy of "one person, one vote", which would empower the plurality population, the Serbs. In turn, the Slovenes, supported by Croats, sought to reform Yugoslavia by devolving even more power to republics, but were voted down. As a result, the Slovenian and Croatian delegations left the Congress and the all-Yugoslav Communist party was dissolved.

The constitutional crisis that inevitably followed resulted in a rise of nationalism in all republics: Slovenia and Croatia voiced demands for looser ties within the Federation.

Following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, each of the republics held multi-party elections in 1990. Slovenia and Croatia held the elections in April since their communist parties chose to cede power peacefully. Other Yugoslav republics—especially Serbia—were more or less dissatisfied with the democratisation in two of the republics and proposed different sanctions (e.g. Serbian "customs tax" for Slovenian products) against the two, but as the year progressed, other republics' communist parties saw the inevitability of the democratisation process; in December, as the last member of the federation, Serbia held parliamentary elections which confirmed former communists' rule in this republic.

The unresolved issues however remained. In particular, Slovenia and Croatia elected governments oriented towards greater autonomy of the republics (under Milan Kučan and Franjo Tuđman, respectively), since it became clear that Serbian domination attempts and increasingly different levels of democratic standards were becoming increasingly incompatible. Serbia and Montenegro elected candidates who favoured Yugoslav unity.

The Croat quest for independence led to large Serb communities within Croatia rebelling and trying to secede from the Croat republic. Serbs in Croatia would not accept a status of a national minority in a sovereign Croatia, since they would be demoted from the status of a constituent nation of the entirety of Yugoslavia.

Yugoslav Wars

The war broke out when the new regimes tried to replace Yugoslav civilian and military forces with secessionist forces. When, in August 1990, Croatia attempted to replace police in the Serb populated Croat Krajina by force, the population first looked for refuge in the Yugoslavian Army barracks, while the army remained passive. The civilians then organised armed resistance. These armed conflicts between the Croatian armed forces ("police") and civilians mark the beginning of the Yugoslav war that inflamed the region. Similarly, the attempt to replace Yugoslav frontier police by Slovenian police forces provoked regional armed conflicts which finished with a minimal number of victims.

A similar attempt in Bosnia and Herzegovina led to a war that lasted more than three years (see below). The results of all these conflicts are almost complete emigration of the Serbs from all three regions, massive displacement of the populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and establishment of the three new independent states. The separation of Macedonia was peaceful, although the Yugoslav Army occupied the peak of the Straža mountain on the Macedonian soil.

Serbian uprisings in Croatia began in August 1990 by blocking roads leading from the Dalmatian coast towards the interior almost a year before Croatian leadership made any move towards independence. These uprisings were more or less discreetly backed up by the Serb-dominated federal army (JNA). The Serbs in Croatia proclaimed "Serb autonomous areas", later united into the Republic of Serb Krajina. The federal army tried to disarm the territorial defence forces of Slovenia (republics had their local defence forces similar to the Home Guard) in 1990 but was not completely successful. Still, Slovenia began to covertly import arms to replenish its armed forces.

Croatia also embarked upon the illegal import of arms, (following the disarmament of the republics' armed forces by the federal army) mainly from Hungary, and were under constant surveillance which produced a video of a secret meeting between the Croatian Defence minister Martin Špegelj and the two men, filmed by the Yugoslav counter-intelligence (KOS, Kontra-obavještajna služba). Špegelj announced that they were at war with the army and gave instructions about arms smuggling as well as methods of dealing with the Yugoslav Army's officers stationed in Croatian cities. Serbia and JNA used this discovery of Croatian rearmament for propaganda purposes.

Guns were also fired from army bases through Croatia. Elsewhere, tensions were running high.

In the same month, the Army leaders met with the Presidency of Yugoslavia in an attempt to get them to declare a state of emergency which would allow for the army to take control of the country. The army was seen as an arm of the Serbian government by that time so the consequence feared by the other republics was to be total Serbian domination of the union. The representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Vojvodina voted for the decision, while all other republics, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, voted against. The tie delayed an escalation of conflicts, but not for long.

Following the first multi-party election results, in the autumn of 1990, the republics of Slovenia and Croatia proposed transforming Yugoslavia into a loose confederation of six republics. By this proposal, republics would have right to self-determination. However Milošević rejected all such proposals, arguing that like Slovenes and Croats, the Serbs (having in mind Croatian Serbs) should also have a right to self-determination.

On 9 March 1991, demonstrations were held against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade, but the police and the military were deployed in the streets to restore order, killing two people. In late March 1991, the Plitvice Lakes incident was one of the first sparks of open war in Croatia. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), whose superior officers were mainly of Serbian ethnicity, maintained an impression of being neutral, but as time went on, they got more and more involved in state politics.

On 25 June 1991, Slovenia and Croatia became the first republics to declare independence from Yugoslavia. The federal customs officers in Slovenia on the border crossings with Italy, Austria, and Hungary mainly just changed uniforms since most of them were local Slovenes. The following day (26 June), the Federal Executive Council specifically ordered the army to take control of the "internationally recognised borders", leading to the Ten-Day War. As Slovenia and Croatia  fights towards independence,  the Serbian and Croatian forces indulged into a violent and perilous rivalry. [25]

The Yugoslav People's Army forces, based in barracks in Slovenia and Croatia, attempted to carry out the task within the next 48 hours. However, because of misinformation given to the Yugoslav Army conscripts that the Federation was under attack by foreign forces and the fact that the majority of them did not wish to engage in a war on the ground where they served their conscription, the Slovene territorial defence forces retook most of the posts within several days with only minimal loss of life on both sides.

There was a suspected incident of a war crime, as the Austrian ORF TV network showed footage of three Yugoslav Army soldiers surrendering to the territorial defence force, before gunfire was heard and the troops were seen falling down. However, none were killed in the incident. There were however numerous cases of destruction of civilian property and civilian life by the Yugoslav People's Army, including houses and a church. A civilian airport, along with a hangar and aircraft inside the hangar, was bombarded; truck drivers on the road from Ljubljana to Zagreb and Austrian journalists at the Ljubljana Airport were killed.

A ceasefire was eventually agreed upon. According to the Brioni Agreement, recognised by representatives of all republics, the international community pressured Slovenia and Croatia to place a three-month moratorium on their independence.

During these three months, the Yugoslav Army completed its pull-out from Slovenia, but in Croatia, a bloody war broke out in the autumn of 1991. Ethnic Serbs, who had created their own state Republic of Serbian Krajina in heavily Serb-populated regions resisted the police forces of the Republic of Croatia who were trying to bring that breakaway region back under Croatian jurisdiction. In some strategic places, the Yugoslav Army acted as a buffer zone; in most others it was protecting or aiding Serbs with resources and even manpower in their confrontation with the new Croatian army and their police force.

In September 1991, the Republic of Macedonia also declared independence, becoming the only former republic to gain sovereignty without resistance from the Belgrade-based Yugoslav authorities. 500 U.S. soldiers were then deployed under the U.N. banner to monitor Macedonia's northern borders with the Republic of Serbia. Macedonia's first president, Kiro Gligorov, maintained good relations with Belgrade and the other breakaway republics and there have to date been no problems between Macedonian and Serbian border police even though small pockets of Kosovo and the Preševo valley complete the northern reaches of the historical region known as Macedonia (Prohor Pčinjski part), which would otherwise create a border dispute if ever Macedonian nationalism should resurface (see VMRO). This was despite the fact that the Yugoslav Army refused to abandon its military infrastructure on the top of the Straža Mountain up to the year 2000.

As a result of the conflict, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 721 on 27 November 1991, which paved the way to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia.[26]

In Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 1991, the Bosnian Serbs held a referendum which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of forming a Serbian republic within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and staying in a common state with Serbia and Montenegro. On 9 January 1992, the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb assembly proclaimed a separate "Republic of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina". The referendum and creation of SARs were proclaimed unconstitutional by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and declared illegal and invalid. However, in February–March 1992, the government held a national referendum on Bosnian independence from Yugoslavia. That referendum was in turn declared contrary to the BiH and the Federal constitution by the federal Constitutional Court in Belgrade and the newly established Bosnian Serb government.

The referendum was largely boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs. The Federal court in Belgrade did not decide on the matter of the referendum of the Bosnian Serbs. The turnout was somewhere between 64–67% and 98% of the voters voted for independence. It was not clear what the two-thirds majority requirement actually meant and whether it was satisfied. The republic's government declared its independence on 5 April, and the Serbs immediately declared the independence of Republika Srpska. The war in Bosnia followed shortly thereafter.


Various dates are considered the end of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia:

  • 25 June 1991, when Croatia and Slovenia declared independence
  • 8 September 1991, following a referendum the Republic of Macedonia declared independence
  • 8 October 1991, when the 9 July moratorium on Slovenian and Croatian secession ended and Croatia restated its independence in the Croatian Parliament (that day is celebrated as Independence Day in Croatia)
  • 15 January 1992, when Slovenia and Croatia were internationally recognised by most European countries
  • 6 April 1992, full recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina's independence by the U.S. and most European countries
  • 28 April 1992, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is formed
  • 14 December 1995, the Dayton Agreement is signed by the leaders of FR Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia

New states

Succession, 1992–2003

Yugoslavia at the time of its dissolution, early 1992
The state of affairs of the territory of the former Yugoslavia, 2008

As the Yugoslav Wars raged through Croatia and Bosnia, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro, which remained relatively untouched by the war, formed a rump state known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in 1992. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia aspired to be a sole legal successor to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but those claims were opposed by the other former republics. The United Nations also denied its request to automatically continue the membership of the former state.[27] In 2000, Milosevic was prosecuted for atrocities committed in his ten-year rule in Serbia and the Yugoslav Wars.[25] Eventually, after the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević from power as president of the federation in 2000, the country dropped those aspirations, accepted the opinion of the Badinter Arbitration Committee about shared succession, and reapplied for and gained UN membership on 2 November 2000.[5] From 1992 to 2000, some countries, including the United States, had referred to the FRY as Serbia and Montenegro[28] as they viewed its claim to Yugoslavia's successorship as illegitimate.[29] In April 2001, the five successor states extant at the time drafted an Agreement on Succession Issues, signing the agreement in June 2001.[30][31] Marking an important transition in its history, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was officially renamed Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.

According to the Succession Agreement signed in Vienna on 29 June 2001, all assets of former Yugoslavia were divided between five successor states:[31]

Name Capital Flag Coat of arms Declared date of independence United Nations membership[32]
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
later renamed to
Serbia and Montenegro
Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (2003–2006).svg
Coat of arms of Serbia and Montenegro.svg
27 April 1992
date of the proclamation of FR Yugoslavia
1 November 2000
membership succeeded by Serbia on 3 June 2006
Croatia Zagreb
Flag of Croatia.svg
Coat of arms of Croatia.svg
25 June 1991 22 May 1992
Slovenia Ljubljana
Flag of Slovenia.svg
Coat of arms of Slovenia.svg
25 June 1991 22 May 1992
Macedonia Skopje
Flag of Macedonia.svg
Coat of arms of Macedonia (1946-2009).svg
8 September 1991 8 April 1993
Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg
Coat of arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg
1 March 1992 22 May 1992

Succession, 2006–present

In June 2006, Montenegro became an independent nation after the results of a May 2006 referendum, therefore rendering Serbia and Montenegro no longer existent. After Montenegro's independence, Serbia became the legal successor of Serbia and Montenegro, while Montenegro re-applied for membership in international organisations. In February 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, leading to an ongoing dispute on whether Kosovo is a legally recognised state. Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, but 115 states, including the United States and various members of the European Union, have recognised Kosovo as a sovereign state.


In 2009, The Economist coined the term Yugosphere to describe the present-day physical areas that formed Yugoslavia, as well as its culture and influence.[clarification needed][33][34]

The similarity of the languages and the long history of common life have left many ties among the peoples of the new states, even though the individual state policies of the new states favour differentiation, particularly in language. The Serbo-Croatian language is linguistically a single language, with several literary and spoken variants since the language of the government was imposed where other languages dominated (Slovenia, Macedonia). Now, separate sociolinguistic standards exist for the Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian languages.

Remembrance of the time of the joint state and its positive attributes is referred to as Yugonostalgia. Many aspects of Yugonostalgia refer to the socialist system and the sense of social security it provided. There are still people from the former Yugoslavia who self-identify as Yugoslavs; this identifier is commonly seen in demographics relating to ethnicity in today's independent states.

See also


  1. ^ also, Albanian: Jugosllavia; Hungarian: Jugoszlávia; Slovak: Juhoslávia; Romanian: Iugoslavia; Czech: Jugoslávie; Italian: Iugoslavia [juɡozˈlaːvja]; Turkish: Yugoslavya; Bulgarian: Югославия, transcr. Jugoslavija
  2. ^ The Yugoslav Committee, led by Dalmatian Croat politician Ante Trumbić, lobbied the Allies to support the creation of an independent South Slavic state and delivered the proposal in the Corfu Declaration on 20 July 1917.[1]


  1. ^ Spencer Tucker. Encyclopedia of World War I: A Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2005. Pp. 1189.
  2. ^ "". Archived from the original on 16 May 2009.
  3. ^ Huntington, Samuel P. (1996). The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order. Simon & Schuster. p. 260. ISBN 0-684-84441-9.
  4. ^ "History, bloody history". BBC News. 24 March 1999. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b "FR Yugoslavia Investment Profile 2001" (PDF). EBRD Country Promotion Programme. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011.
  6. ^ Ramet 2006, p. 73.
  7. ^ Indiana University (October 2002). "Chronology 1929".
  8. ^ Indiana University (October 2002). "Chronology 1929".
  9. ^ The Balkans since 1453. p. 624.
  10. ^ "April 6: Germany Invades Yugoslavia and Greece". Archived from the original on 15 October 2009.
  11. ^ Dr. Stephen A. Hart; British Broadcasting Corporation (February 17, 2011). "Partisans: War in the Balkans 1941–1945".
  12. ^ History Channel (2014). "Apr 17, 1941: Yugoslavia surrenders".
  13. ^ Indiana University (October 2002). "Chronology 1929".
  14. ^ 7David Martin, Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich, (New York: Prentice Hall, 1946), 34.
  15. ^ Michael Lees, The Rape of Serbia: The British Role in Tito's Grab for Power, 1943–1944 (1990).
  16. ^ James R. Arnold; Roberta Wiener (January 2012). Cold War: The Essential Reference Guide. ABC-CLIO. p. 216.
  17. ^ Jessup, John E. (1989). A Chronology of Conflict and Resolution, 1945–1985. New York: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-24308-5.
  18. ^ a b Arnold and Wiener (2012). Cold War: The Essential Reference Guide. p. 216.
  19. ^ John O. Iatrides; Linda Wrigley (2004). Greece at the Crossroads: The Civil War and Its Legacy. Penn State University Press. pp. 267–73.
  20. ^ Portmann M (2010). "Die orthodoxe Abweichung. Ansiedlungspolitik in der Vojvodina zwischen 1944 und 1947". Bohemica. A Journal of History and Civilisation in East Central Europe. 50 (1): 95–120. doi:10.18447/BoZ-2010-2474.
  21. ^ John R. Lampe; et al. (1990). Yugoslav-American Economic Relations Since World War II. Duke University Press. pp. 28–37.
  22. ^ a b "Yugoslavia – Religious Demographics". 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  23. ^ Žilnik, Želimir (2009). "Yugoslavia: "Down with the Red Bourgeoisie!"" (PDF). Bulletin of the GHI (1968: Memories and Legacies of a Global Revolt). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2013.
  24. ^ Baten, Jörg (2016). A History of the Global Economy. From 1500 to the Present. Cambridge University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-107-50718-0.
  25. ^ a b c d Hunt, Michael (2014). The World Transformed 1945 to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 522. ISBN 978-0-19-937102-0.
  26. ^ "Resolution 721". N.A.T.O. 25 September 1991. Retrieved 21 July 2006.
  27. ^ "Participation of Former Yugoslav States in the United Nations". Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (PDF). pp. 241–243. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2010.
  28. ^ 1999 CIA World Factbook: Serbia and Montenegro
  29. ^ "CIA -- The World Factbook 1999 -- Serbia and Montenegro". 16 August 2000. Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  30. ^ "Yugoslav Agreement on Succession Issues (2001)". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  32. ^ "Member States". United Nations.
  33. ^ "Former Yugoslavia patches itself together: Entering the Yugosphere". The Economist. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  34. ^ Ljubica Spaskovska (28 September 2009). "The 'Yugo-sphere'". The University of Edinburgh School of Law. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2011.

Further reading

External links

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