Full Text

Anti-war activism, Yugoslavia, 1990s

Boris Kanzleiter


Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Europe » Eastern Europe

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics civil disobedience, ethnocentrism, peace, revolution, war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00109.x


Extract

The outbreak of war in the former Yugoslavia in 1991/92 was a first reminder that the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War would not lead to a period of prosperity and peace, as many had hoped, but to a world of increasing conflict and social destruction. During the military conflicts in Slovenia in 1991, Croatia 1991–5, Bosnia-Herzegovina 1992–5, Kosovo 1996–9, Serbia 1999, and Macedonia 2001, an estimated 150,000 people were killed and millions were made homeless. The breakup of the multinational state, war atrocities, and images of “ethnic cleansing” were widely interpreted as signs of a new era of a “clash of civilizations” and “ethnic conflict.” A closer look at the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, however, reveals that the wars were much more linked to social and institutional crisis, the rapidly changing international power relations after the end of the precarious stability of bloc-confrontation, and the political agendas of local power elites than to “ancient ethnic hatred” among different peoples in the country that was destroyed. Although nationalist political forces in a different scale gained mass support in all of the former Yugoslav republics, there was also widespread active and passive resistance to violence and the forceful breakup of the society on ethnic lines. According to opinion polls in the summer of 1990, only one year before ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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