Serbia History  

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SERBIA & MONTENEGRO

Serbia (Yugoslavia) can be viewed as a collection of disparate ethnic groups who are largely hostile to one another, following a long history of conflict. Though Serbia had been independent at various points in time, the Ottoman conquest in 1389 kept Serbia submissive until 1878, when it reestablished its independence. The Balkans engaged in a series of wars, the last of which led directly to the outbreak of World War I. After the war, Yugoslavia was cobbled together from many small nations and peoples: Serbs, Slovenes, Croats, Bulgarians, Albanians, Macedonians, and more. The uneasy alliance shredded with the coming of the Nazis in World War II as some looked to Germany as liberators and others assumed an anti-German posture. The anti-forces were led by Josip Broz Tito. Though he was victorious, the war had cost millions their lives and left the country in shambles. The federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia endured while Tito lived, thanks to his iron control of the country, and for a short time after. His death in 1980 was not followed by immediate trouble -- it took the fall of communism in 1989 to destabilize the country. At that point, only Serbia and Montenegro voted for Communist rule, while Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina chose the route to independence. The violent civil war that ensued shocked the world and required the efforts of the United Nations and NATO to bring to a still-uncertain conclusion.