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THE BALKANS

Zones of V iolence
General Editors: Mark L evene and Donald Bloxham
Also available in the Zones of Violence series
Alexander V. Prusin, The Lands Between: Conflict in the East European
Borderlands, 1870-1992
Richard J . Reid, Frontiers of Violence in North-East Africa: Genealogies of
( 'onflict since c. 1800
THE BALKANS
Revolution, War, and Political
Violence since 1878
MARK BI ONDI CH
OXFORD
UNI VERSI TY PRESS
OXFORD
UNIVKR8ITY I*It HNS
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Mark Biondich 2011
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Preface
Over the past two centuries the ethnic cartography of the Balkans has been
altered dramatically. The underlying causes of this transformationthe
movement of peoples and resulting ethnic homogenizationare to be
found in the rise of nationalism and the modern nation-state. Until the
eighteenth century the Balkan imperial borderland was a heterogeneous
mlange of several religious, ethnolinguistic, and cultural groups. The
regions present day relatively heterogeneous ethnic structure notwithstand
ing, millions of people have been uprooted over the last two hundred years
as a result of the decline of empire and the rise of the nation-state.
In the Balkans, 1804 marked the birth of what came to be known as the
Balkan revolutionary tradition. National revolts in Serbia, Greece, and
Bulgaria between 1804 and 1876 were directed at the Ottoman Empire.
Their eventual success, due largely to Great Power intervention rather than
popular support, also sealed the fate of millions of indigenous Muslims of
diverse nationality, who became deliberate targets of violence and often had
little choice other than mass flight. The unseemly reality of national liber
ation in the Balkans was enormous humanitarian catastrophe and forced
ethnic migration.Travelling through the Balkans in 1875, the American jour
nalist William James Stillman encountered a long procession of refugees,
mostly women and children, a dribbling stream of wretched humanity, car
rying such remnants of their goods as their backs could bear up under, with
a few old men, too old to fight, all seeking some hiding-place until the storm
should be overwretched, ragged, worn out by the fatigues of their hasty
flight from the abomination of desolation (The Autobiography of a Journalist
(iyoi),ii. 113). Stillman was describing the movement of displaced Christians
in Herzegovina during the early phases of what later became known as the
1,astern Crisis. His vivid description could easily have been applied to civilian
victimization, both Muslim and Christian, during earlier conflictsGreece
in the 1820s, Crete in the late 1860sand those that followed in the dec
ades after 1875. Having experienced several Balkan insurgencies, Stillman
VI I' li I I A ( 1
had heard stories of things wlm h were too horrible to be repeated (ibid.
40). Civilians were often killed on masse, regardless of gender or age. What
struck many foreign observers was the overt, cruel, and indiscriminate assault
on civilian populations and the ensuing mass Hight.
In the nineteenth century alone, the Balkans witnessed the movement
of millions of people and the deaths of hundreds of thousands more. The
Eastern Crisis of 18758 dramatically shifted the ethnic picture of the
Balkans as the cartography of homogenization began to transform ethni
cally heterogeneous regions into far more homogeneous spaces. Between
1804 and 1878 the primary cause behind this population movement was
political violence associated with insurgent warfare and the creation of
nation-states. However, as the Balkan nation-state took form in the nine
teenth century, especially after 1878, the state apparatus the nationalist
elite, bureaucracy, and militaryassumed prominence and played an ever
more decisive role. Over time the popular violence which in the national
revolutions largely lacked a nationalist component, the preferences of elite
leaders notwithstandingwas placed under state control and became
more systematic. Popular revolutionary bands gave way to state militaries
.i i k I st.tie sponsored paramilitaries and militias.The modernizing Balkan
nation state or to be more prec ise, the nationalizing state exerted ever
gicater control over its population and the fate of its subject ethnic min-
orities; nationalizing policies wore pursued, designed to transform these
ethnically homogeneous polities into genuine nation-states.
I his study does not attempt to essentialize Balkan violence, but it does
argue that former imperial borderlands such as the Balkans were more
susceptible to the carnage of politically driven mass violence in the era of
nationalism and the nation-state. It attempts to situate this violence as a by
product of the modernization process and part of the broader transformation
of modern European society. As the people came to form the basis of
sovereignty everywhere in Europe in the course of the nineteenth century,
the composition of the population became the most vital element in defin
ing the polity.This was problematic in ethnically heterogeneous societies and
borderlands, where several groups had laid claim to shared territories. While
all modern nation-states have emphasized uniform identities, the way in
which hotnogeny is attained is dependent on who controls the polity. Some
of the worst instances of mass violence in modern Europe have occurred
during transitional periods of political reconfiguration, when societies were
undergoing state-building, democratization had not vet established genuine
P REFA CE Vl l
democratic governance, or when overtly authoritarian elites have been in
possession of political authority. In the end, the role of political elites in
initiating violence and ethnic cleansing is crucial. The argument presented
here is that mass violence and ethnic cleansing stemmed from underlying
patterns associated with modernity, nationalism, and the very nature of the
modern state. As European states became national and worked to homoge
nize their societies,otherness was rarely viewed as desirable.
The study also endeavours to distinguish between elite and popular
violence. The former was motivated by nationalism and was designed to
carve out nation-states from the Ottoman Empires Balkan possessions. It has
long been a fixture of Balkan nationalist historiography that the nineteenth-
century national revolutions were the product of fixed collective national
identities. What this study proposes instead is that identities remained fluid
and were more the product of the national revolutions and their associated
violence rather than their cause. Nationalism was from its birth an elite
phenomenon. Balkan peasant communities did not join these revolutions
spontaneously, nor were they yet animated by nationalist ideals. They were
drawn in wittingly and unwittingly, willingly and unwillingly, often depending
on the changing circumstances arising from insurgent warfare and largely in
defence of their local community and faith.Viewed in this light, elite-driven
violence possessed an instrumental function and often compelled or led
communities to choose sides and thus helped forge new collective identities.
This was demonstrated yet again at the turn of the twentieth century in
Macedonia, as the Balkan states dispatched paramilitaries to the region to
nationalize the Macedonian Slav peasantry and secure the region for
themselves.Violence was in many respects crucial to the completion of the
nation-building process and the destruction of tradition. During the centuries
of Ottoman rule, there emerged in the Balkans a sense of community rooted
in Orthodoxy. This Balkan Orthodox commonwealth was undermined by
the advent of nationalism and the nationalization of religion. Orthodox
national churches increasingly came to serve the cause of their respective
nation-states. The violence of the Balkan Wars (191213), which was the first
instance in modern history of intercommunal warfare between Orthodox
peoples in the Balkans, completely shattered the remnants of the Balkan
Orthodoxy commonwealth. In earlier Balkan revolutionary wars, Muslims
had been the primary victims of nationalist violence.The violence perpetrated
between Orthodox Christians in ethnically heterogeneous Macedonia prior
to and during the Balkan Wars, at a time when most indigenous Orthodox
Vl l l P R E F A C E
peasants remained nationally undifferentiated, served to assert the primacy of
national loyalties over religious, transnational identities. Violence compelled
people to choose identities and to opt for competing nationalist programmes
sponsored by nationalizing states.
Balkan political elites have generally seen themselves as victims of History,
whose glorious historical traditions had been interrupted by the Ottoman
caesura. This assertion of victimhood has served repeatedly as a warrant for
discriminatory practices and nationalizing policies. The periods of enor
mous political and ethnic reconfiguration in the Balkansnotably 18758,
191213, 191823, 1941-9, and 19919were attended by ethnic cleansing
which victimized many communities and ever broader segments of civilian
society. National identities in the Balkans have thus been profoundly shaped
by the experiences of collective trauma. What has emerged is a narrative of
victimization that has over time become part of the collective memory of
most groups. Muslims remained the earliest and primary victims of these
ethnic reconfigurations, but the twentieth century witnessed the prolifer
ation of several regional national questions which involved multiple groups.
With each successive calamity and period of political transformation, local
memories of past discrimination and atrocities were transmitted by ordinary
people from one generation to the next and were increasingly vulnerable to
elite manipulation. The authoritarian political experience of the Balkans in
the twentieth century only made these grievances more potent and open to
instrumentalization by elites.
The primacy of nationalism did not go unchallenged in the Balkans.
While the new Balkan nation-states were dominated by elitesdynasties,
nationalist intelligentsias, and politicized bureaucracieswhich were increas
ingly committed to the nationality principle, national homogeneity, and
small power imperialisms, important segments of political societythe early
socialists and later the social democrats and agrariansrejected the hegemony
ol the nationality principle even i f they acknowledged its legitimacy as a
I ' . i si s ol identity. Since Balkan society was ethnically heterogeneous and
overwhelmingly rural, social egalitarianism and political republicanism
remained powerful ideas, as did vague notions of Balkan (con)federalism.
These ideas had several prominent political and intellectual advocates across
the Balkans, particularly among the South Slavs. They recognized that states
founded solely on the basis of the nationality principle in the ethnic mosaic
lli.it was the Balkans would invariably have to be achieved by conquest,
engendering militarism and 111turn endangering political liberties and social
P R E F A C E I X
development. It was acknowledged in many quarters that nationalism could
become an obstacle to the advancement and liberty of all Balkan peoples.
During the antebellum period (190314) Balkan social democracy had a
pronounced anti-militarist component alongside its dedication to multi
ethnicity and federalism. In short, this study suggests that the hegemony of
nationalism was never absolute. But it also makes clear that the question of
who controls the statein addition to their ruling ideology, the regimes
relative strength, and the international contextwas always critically import
ant in determining the nature and scale of the violence that did occur.
In the twentieth century, the great ideological contest between Liberal
Democracy, Fascism, and Communism shook European society to its very
foundations. The Balkan case is no exception, as the region experienced
unprecedented degrees of foreign occupation during the two world wars
and after 1945.The worst instances of mass violence and ethnic cleansing in
the twentieth century occurred, with the notable exception of the recent
war in former Yugoslavia, while the region experienced foreign occupation.
During the Second World War several areas of the Balkans were exposed to
brutal occupation administrations under Nazi rule while client regimes, such
as the Ustasa state in Croatia and the National Legionary State in Romania,
became overtly genocidal.This study explores both the dynamics of destruc
tion under these conditions and the motives of seemingly ordinary people
in perpetrating atrocities in the name of these regimes. Following the vicious
experience of occupation and civil war, and with the exception of Greece,
the entire region succumbed to Communist rule. The advent of National
Communismin the Balkans after 1945 demonstrated the resilience of nation
alism, as Communist elites appropriated the bourgeois nationalist discourse
in an attempt to buttress their regimes. Nationalism has thus proven to be a
remarkably pliable elite ideology and was in fact central to the democratic,
Fascist, and Communist projects alike.
Lastly, this study emphasizes the important role of the Great Powers in
Balkan affairs.While this author certainly does not attribute all the regions
problems or the violence that it has experienced to Great Power inter
vention, this involvement has rarely been benign. Without Great Power
intervention, it is unlikely that the Balkan national revolutions would have
succeeded in achieving independence when they did.This came at a price,
however. The Great Powers had a decisive role in shaping the nascent
political systems of the Balkan nation-states, and this was not always in the
direction of greater democratic governance. When the Great Powers
X PHHPA CE
assembled to delineate state frontiers, they rarely considered the interests of
the regions peoples or the long-term consequences of their decisions.
What is more, the international conventions and treaties which codified
Balkan independence occasionally contained clauses sanctioning the pro
cess of ethnic homogenization. This was true of Greece in 1830 and Serbia
in 1862, as Muslim populations were henceforth forbidden from residing
in these states and were compelled to leave. It was equally true in 1923,
when Greece and Turkey undertook the first formal population exchange
in modern European history. Foreign occupation during both world wars
led to mass civilian displacement and victimization. The Soviet presence in
the eastern Balkans after 1945 secured the victory of Communism in the
region. The international protectorates established in Bosnia (1995) and
Kosovo (1999) are the most recent manifestations of this historical tendency.
No discussion of war, revolution, and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans would
be complete without reference to the dominant role and influence of the
Great Powers.
This study is organized into chronologically structured chapters.
Chapter 1 is an introduction which discusses the rise of nationalism and
nation-states, the roots of modern political violence, and broadly outlines
the contours of Balkan national ideologies and national movements to 1878.
It emphasizes the elite nature of nationalism and the long process of nation-
building, which followed the creation of nation-states in the region.
Chapter 2 looks at the rise of the politically independent Balkans and the
unmixing of peoples between the treaties of Berlin and Lausanne, that is,
the period from 1878 to 1923. Chapter 3 examines the evolution of the
Balkans during the interwar era and the Second World War, while Chapter
4 looks at the Balkans under Communism. Chapter 5 assesses the causes
and consequences of the Yugoslav War and traces the problematic post-
Communist transition in the region as a whole since 1989.
I have benefited greatly from the support and advice of numerous
colleagues over recent years. It is thanks largely to Mark Levene and Donald
Bloxham that I became involved in the Zones ofViolence project and have
benefited enormously from their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this
work. I am also grateful to Oxford University Press and especially to Matthew
Cotton for his forbearance during the drafting stage. Many of the ideas
expressed in this study began to crystallize during my involvement in the
research projectBetween Nationalism, War and Communism: Reappraising
the 1Iistory of Southeastern Europe in tlu twentieth ( entury, at the Central
P REFA CE XI
European University in Budapest. I profited immensely from my frequent
and lively interaction with John R. Lampe, Robert C. Austin, Maja Brkljacic,
Marko Bulatovic, Ildiko Erdei, James Frusetta, Rossitza Guentcheva, Dejan
Jovic, Predrag Markovic, Sandra Prlenda,andAndrewWachtel. I am especially
grateful to both Robert C. Austin and Christian A. Nielsen for providing me
with extensive comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. I wish also to
thank the staff of the Carleton University Library, the Robarts Library of the
University of Toronto, and the Library of Congress for their assistance. Last
but by no means least 1am indebted beyond words to Karen H. Loofs for her
indefatigable support and patience during the writing of this manuscript. It
is to her that I dedicate this book.
M B.
Ottawa, Canada
28 March 2010
.
Contents
List of Maps and Tables
XV
I . Nations, Nationalism, and Violence in the Balkans 1
2. From Berlin to Lausanne:The End of Empire and the
Demarcation ot National Communities, 18781923
45
3. Democracy, Dictatorship, and War, 19231945
95
4. National Communism and Political Violence, 19451989
155
5. War and Transition since 1989
193
Conclusion: Whither the Balkans?
255
Chronology 269
Notes 277
Bibliography
343
Index
373
List of Maps and Tables
Map i. The Balkan Peninsula: ethnolinguistic
distribution, c. 1910
4
Map 2. The Balkan Peninsula, 18171877
17
Map 3. The Balkan Peninsula, 18781912 48
Map 4. The Interwar Balkans, 19231941
97
Map 5. The Balkans, 19471991
157
Table 2.1. Estimated population of Macedonia, 1882 and 1904
67
Table 2.2. Population of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1879 and 1910 68
Table 2.3. Nationality composition of areas conquered
78
by Greece in the Balkan Wars
Table 2.4. Nationality composition of areas conquered
79
by Bulgaria in the Balkan Wars
Table 2.5. Nationality composition of areas conquered
79
by Serbia in the Balkan Wars
Table 4.1. Ethnolinguistic and national composition 166
of Romania (1930, 1992)
Table 4.2. Ethnolinguistic and national composition
174
of Bulgaria (1926, 2001)
Table 4.3. Nations and nationalities in Yugoslavia (1981)
185
I Nations, Nationalism, and
Violence in the Balkans
T
he Balkan Peninsula has long served as a place of encounters among
different peoples, religions, and civilizations, resulting in the formation
of a distinct cultural tapestry and mosaic of nationalities. For centuries it was
an imperial borderland, a meeting point of multinational empires, which
ensured that it was subjected to intermittent warfare and a high degree of
insecurity. This extended history as an imperial borderland has undeniably
shaped local patterns of development. In the modern period, the Balkans
have been burdened by a traumatic post-colonial experience; the transition
from failed empires to modern nation-states has been accompanied by
significant bouts of political violence. The complex multicultural and
ethnolinguistic mosaic, which was produced over the centuries by a combi
nation of geography and political history, has come under astonishing duress
over the past two hundred years. Indeed, the Balkans as a term and spatial
category were born in the modern era, conceived in the nineteenth century
as a post-imperial space and legacy of Ottoman decline emerging from the
confluence of revolution, war, and Great Power fiat.
The Balkans have long evoked remarkably negative connotations in the
Western imagination, as a site of seemingly endless cycles of violence, fore
doomed to conflict springing from heterogeneity.1Instability, aggression, and
cruelty have been viewed in several quarters as defining and intrinsic traits of
the region. While a bountiful literature over the last two dccades has successfully
challenged this view, the Balkans still bring to mind images of fragmentation
and volatility.2This study seeks to explicate the origins of conflict and politi
cal violence in the Balkans, focusing on a number of interrelated phenom
ena, including nationalism and national ideologies, modernity and state
formation,none of which can be divorced from the wider European experience.
2 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
It views the experience of the Balkanscomprised of the nineteenth-century
Ottoman successor states (Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania)
and the adjoining territories of the Habsburg Empire (principally Croatia,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Transylvania)as an integral part of the history of
modern Europe, shaped by the same forces and intellectual stimuli, and sug
gests that, when assessed in this comparative framework, political violence and
ethnic cleansing were hardly unique to the Balkans.1
The Setting: The Balkans as Borderland
A multiplicity of factors has shaped the modern history of the Balkans. O f
these, geography has been among the most imperative. The region has long
been a borderland where successive empires and civilizations have encoun
tered one another. Over the last millennium. Orthodox Byzantium, the
Sunni Mushm Ottoman Empire, and Catholic Europe have each shaped in
some way the region and its peoples, leaving an ineffaceable mark. No
single civilization prevailed completely, and the resulting 'cultural layering
gave the region its distinctive character within Europe.4 Byzantium and
the Ottomans each maintained a long imperial presence, the former in the
medieval period while the latter dominated much of the Balkans from
the fifteenth century to the early twentieth. As a result, Orthodoxy and
Islam were historically the two largest rehgious denominations in the region,
with Catholicism relegated to the western and northern peripheries.
Geography has left an indelible mark on Balkan ethnography and explains,
at least in part, the uncommon pastiche of nationalities found in the region
and why so many peoples have managed to preserve their identities for so
long. The Balkan Peninsula is bounded by the Central European plain in
the north and the Aegean, Adriatic/ I onian, and Black Seas in the south, the
west, and the east, respectively. Unlike the Iberian and Italian peninsulas,
the Balkans have no defensive mountain ranges to shield the region from
invasion.The Peninsula has always been accessible, via the Central European
plain in the north and in the north-east, where only the Dniester River
serves as a weak barrier between Romania and the Steppe.The Straits to the
south-east have never served as an effective obstacle to the outside world.
Moreover, the Danube River cuts through the Peninsula and has served as a
transit route,as have the Morava andVardar valleys leading south to Salonika.
The regions principal rivers .mil valleys have thus been links rather than
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
3
barriers between the Balkans and outside world. The existence of these
avenues running through the peninsula has facilitated penetration and made
the formation of stable states unusually difficult. In those periods when
the Balkans have known political unity, it has been imposed from outside the
region rather than from within. As a result of its rugged topography, the Balkan
Peninsula has never been a self-contained unit. The region is divided intern
ally by long mountain ranges. Topographical conditions have hampered both
internal communication and political consolidation. The mountain chains
compartmentalized the region into smaller units, while leaving the valleys and
rivers as pathways to other parts of Europe and Asia.3
Over the centuries, foreign invasions have prompted migrations and
demographic shifts that have left a visible mark on Balkan ethnography. The
upshot of the medieval Slavic invasions was the dislocation of the older
Greek, Albanian, and Romanian populations. The later Hungarian invasion
resulted in a new dispersion and the intermixing of groups. The location
and rugged topography of the Balkans may have hindered cultural assimi
lation, while the long periods of imperial rule added to the cultural layering
even as they deepened some existing cultural cleavages.6 It is most pro
nounced in places like Macedonia and Transylvania, where nationalities of
diverse languages and rehgions inhabited separate villages side by side, and
occasionally coexisted within the same village (see Map i). Under the
circumstances, drawing neat lines of separation between ethnolinguistic
communities has always been impossible.
The striking heterogeneity of Balkan societya synthesis of several
ethnolinguistic groups, including Greeks, Albanians, Romanians, South
Slavs,Turks,Jews, and othersreflected not only geographic influences, but
to a considerable degree the deliberate policies of various rulers. The medi
eval Balkan states (Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Serbia) were, as was the
case everywhere else, constructed on the dynastic principle rather than
around culturally or ethnically defined national groups.7These medieval
rulers occasionally encouraged German colonization to help develop their
towns and economies, conferring on the settlers a broad measure of civic
autonomy and contributing to the ethnolinguistic mosaic of the region.
I lie Ottoman invasions resulted in new migrations between the fifteenth
and seventeenth centuries. Ottoman Turks settled in the plains and river
basins of the central and eastern Balkans, particularly in Macedonia and
llulgaria, and in towns throughout the peninsula. By 1700 one-fifth to one-
tliml of the population of the eastern Balkans may have been linguistically
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Turkic,8 while significant segments of the indigenous population had
adopted Islam. The Habsburgs in turn colonized their liberated territories
in Hungary and Croatia along the Military Frontier in the eighteenth
century. Imperial rule thus led to the creation of a borderland where the
mixing of peoples was often encouraged.
These empires were hierarchical, often oppressive, and occasionally
practised violence against their subject peoples when their authority was
challenged. However, given their vast size and sheer diversity, forced to
govern widely separated peoples and realms, most empires have over time
become universal, cosmopolitan societies.9The Ottoman Empire was no
exception. For much of its existence, it was broadly tolerant of ethnolinguistic
and religious diversity. While Islam was central to the legitimacy of the
Ottoman ruling class, this elite was cognizant of the need to integrate non-
Muslims into Ottoman society. It did not attempt to impose on the Balkan
peoples a single linguistic, social, or cultural system, nor did it expel or kill
those populations that were religiously distinct. Ottoman rule unquestionably
altered the demographic, religious, and to a degree the ethnic composition
of parts of the Balkans, but the Ottoman state also afforded its subject peo
ples substantial latitude in their daily affairs.l0The fifteenth-century letter of
Rabbi Isaac Zarfati ofEdirne (Adrianople) to the Jews of Central Europe
which predated the expulsion of the Sephardic Jews from Iberiareferred
to thetranquillity and abundance which holds sway in these lands [Ottoman
Balkans].11 In 1574 the French traveller Pierre Lescalopier observed Jews
and Muslims kissing a Serbian Orthodox relic, apparently with the same
reverence as local Christians, at the Uvac Monastery.12 Such incidents
demonstrate that, notwithstanding the cultural cleavages that may have
existed, the protracted cultural interactions under Ottoman rule engen
dered some shared traditions and customs. Whatever the dissimilarities
among local populations, and their awareness of such distinctions, these dif
ferences did not prevent these peoples from living together in relative peace
under Ottoman rule.
Unlike the states of Western Europe, which began coalescing around
dominant nations in the early modern period, the multiethnic Ottoman
Hmpire organized its subject peoples along religious lines and offered
them a considerable degree of local autonomy. While the indigenous
Christian populations remained overwhelmingly rural under Ottoman
rule, Balkan towns were predominantly Muslim and Jewish. Under these
circumstances, Ottoman rule enabled the preservation of a multicultural
6 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
society and the mixing of peoples and customs. The various peoples who
inhabited the region did not conduct their daily hves in isolation from
one another.They lived side by side, often in mixed ethnic and confessional
communities, interacting with each other in social life and economic
affairs. The Balkans thus evolved as a remarkably diverse and culturally
stratified borderland, rather distinct from Western Europe with its relatively
homogeneous nation-states. Geography, history, and politics combined to
produce a surprisingly complex cultural and ethnolinguistic Balkan
mosaic.
On Modern Political Violence
This mosaic came under remarkable duress in the modern period, as a result
of nationalism, the emergence of nation-states, and the concomitant
territorial claims made on historical and ethnolinguistic grounds. The proc
ess began around the turn of the nineteenth century, as local Balkan elites
became increasingly attuned to the revolutionary European ideology of
nationalism and gradually attempted to apply the idea of the nation to the
multifarious Balkan setting. The nation was conceived almost everywhere
in the Balkans, as in Central Europe, along cultural lines, as an ethnic
community sharing a common language, religion, and identity allegedly
rooted in an unbroken historical continuity stretching back more than a
millennium. As nations did not exist, they had to be created by native Balkan
elites first through national awakenings and then revolutions leading to
politically sovereign nation-states.
This occurred against the background of imperial decline. The long
nineteenth century witnessed the eventual demise of the Ottoman,
Habsburg, and Russian Empires, with fateful consequences for borderlands
such as the Balkans. Ethnic cleansing was conterminous with the decline of
empire.13The ethnolinguistically and culturally diverse borderlands separ
ating these empires experienced dramatic episodes of mass violence and
ethnic cleansing. The vulnerability of these borderlands to state and
communal violence during periods of rapid modernization stemmed both
from their diversity and the incongruity of ethnic and state frontiers.14While
incongruous ethnic and state boundaries are but one (albeit a significant)
factor in the complcx set of circumstances that permitted violence to occur,
transforming former imperial borderlands into putative / ones ot violence,
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
7
the problem is broader in scope, linked to the modernization process and
modernity itself.
Over the past two decades, primarily as a result of the advance of genocide
studies (the Holocaust, Armenian genocide), the war in formerYugoslavia, the
Rwandan genocide, and the conflicts in the former Soviet Union, there has
been a prodigious production of academic tracts on political violence in its
various forms, from ethnic conflict and ethnic cleansing to genocide. Scholars
across multiple disciplines have offered a wide spectrum of theories pur
porting to explain the underlying causes of these phenomena.15By definition
these theories aspire to universal explanations, applicable across time and
space, and none claim that the violence they seek to elucidate is geo
graphically or culturally specific. Similarly, this literature generally eschews
the view that these conflicts are primordial, the result of ancient tribal
hatreds. While the tendency to essentialize Balkan violenceto see it as
being determined by cultural traits specific to the region has not altogether
disappeared, its contemplative advocates remain few.
In the scholarship on mass political violence, including ethnic cleansing
and genocide, the phenomenon is often explained either in terms of
illiberal or revolutionary elites and ideologies, or by reference to structural
problems inherent in the modern system of nation-states, and thus as a
by-product of the modernizing process. The nation-state, which was
conceived in the French Revolution and thereafter became the normative
model in European political affairs, was premised on the political sover
eignty of one nation to the exclusion of others. It emphasized uniformity,
although in many cases, as in the Balkans, these emerging nation-states
were nationally and culturally heterogeneous.16Where the early modern
European state had emphasized religious uniformity, the major ideologies
of modern European societynationalism and socialismemphasized the
uniformity of nation and class. As Mark Levene has argued, the concepts
of nation (or race) and class have in the modern era served as utopian ideals
to reformulate the social organism, or body pohtic in a quite unpre
cedented fashion.17The origins of modern political violence and with it,
.1range of eliminationist projectsare thus linked closely to the struggle of
societies towards some form ofnational, territorially grounded coherence.18
In those instances when national minorities were perceived by dominant
elites to stand in the way of the sovereignty of the nation-state or were held
responsible for past national humiliations, they often became targets of
mass violence.1'1
8 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
Since the people now formed the basis of sovereignty, the composition
of the population became the most vital element in defining the modern
polity. This has been problematic in heterogeneous societies and border
lands, where several groups have laid claim to shared territories. As popu
lations came to be defined in ethnic termsas the demos became the ethnos,
to borrow Michael Manns terminologythe basis was laid for the
exclusion, by various means, of minority groups. While all modern nation
states have emphasized uniformity, the way in which homogeny is
achievedand whether recourse to violence is contemplated or attempt
edis dependent on who controls the polity. Some of the worst instances
of mass violence in modern Europe have occurred during transitional
periods when societies were undergoing state-building, democratization
had not yet established genuine democratic governance, or when overtly
authoritarian elites have been in possession of political authority. In the
end, it is the political elite which initiates violence and ethnic cleansing,
relying on a core constituency that is mobilized in support of the leadership
to perpetrate the violence.20
Mass violence and ethnic cleansing in modern Europe thus stemmed
from underlying patterns associated with modernity, nationalism, and the
evolution of the modern state.21Twentieth-century violence in Europe was
the scourge of modernity, the nefarious underside of Western societies
since the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. The modernity of
violence and ethnic cleansing stemmed from the combination of new tech
nologies of warfare, enhanced state powers of control, and the ideology of
integral nationalism which drew ever finer lines between dominant nations
and others.22As European states became national and worked with vary
ing degrees of success to homogenize their societies,otherness was rarely
viewed as desirable. The facility of modern states to intervene in society,
made possible by advances in communication, transportation, and tech
nology, was eventually applied to mass killing, first on the batdefield and
eventually to civilian populations. Mass violence and ethnic cleansing
stemmed from the modern states compulsion to homogenize, its technical
.ibility to do so, and the willingness of democratizing or authoritarian ehtes
to pursue the appropriate policies. The modern European state possessed a
monopoly on the use of armed force on its territory, and when its assertion
of this monopoly was challenged, in particular by non-dominant groups,
the likelihood of violence against minority populations increased significantly.
Political violence served as .1crucial element of the modern nation-states
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
9
construction of territorial monopolies of force and its enforcement of
systems of social differentiation.23
The decisive turning point was the Great War, the crucible for the dev
elopment of the modern nation-state and its willingness and ability to
engage in mass population policies.24States now assertedtotal claims over
the lives of their citizenry and for the first time engaged in large-scale
population displacement.25A considerable body of recent scholarship has
argued that the role of political ehtes in instigating mass violence and plan
ning ethnic cleansing was paramount. As a result of the Great War, violent
forces came to the fore across Europe possessed of a project of modernity
revolving around militarism and mass murder, contesting alternative visions
of modernity centred on civil society and liberal democracy.26The victory
of the latter was hardly preordained, and forms the basis of discussion in
subsequent chapters. Where the Balkans differed in the decades after 1878
was in the relative strength of the state, whose ehtes lacked the infrastructure
of the more advanced European countries while sharing generally similar
ends. Modern political violence is thus not a phenomenon isolated to
particular cultures, but should be located in the broader context of the rise
of the nation-state.2'
The so-called Balkan revolutionary tradition, which was born in 1804
with the Serbian Uprising, was certainly predicated on violence. But this
tradition and related nineteenth-century Balkan developments must be
viewed within the comparative framework of modern European history. In
this case the notion of the Balkans alleged (greater) predisposition to
violence becomes problematic. In the period between 1804 and 1878, when
the Balkan national movements launched insurrections against Ottoman
rule, much of Europe was convulsed by revolutionary violence France
and Belgium (1830), the Revolutions of 1848, the Polish insurrections (1830,
1846, and 1863)and then by the wars of Italian and German national
unification. Moreover, notwithstanding debates over definition and typol
ogy, nations and nationalism are products of modernity. They are relatively
recent phenomena, cultivated by intelligentsias (or states) and acquiring a
mass following only towards the end of the nineteenth century in most
cases, and much later in some. I f nations and nationalism are understood to
be relatively recent phenomena then ethnic cleansing needs to be viewed as
historically contingent. It is not an ahistorical constant attributable to
pi imordialism, but is inextricably associated with modernity.Violence in the
modern Balkans (as elsewhere in Europe) was initiated by latecomer states
1 0 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
dominated by elites committed to national homogeneity and the assertion
of their states positions within a highly competitive system of nation-states.
What set the Balkans apart from much of Europe during the long nine
teenth century was the mass displacement of peoples which attended the
wars of national liberation.
Nineteenth-century Balkan political elites were unquestionably pos
sessed of a nationalizing mindset and sought to marshal their peoples in
order to challenge their earlier imperial masters. This meant, first and fore
most, the Ottoman Empire. The ideational primacy of the nation, coupled
with the imperative need to institutionalize state and societal moderniz
ation, led to policies of ethnic cleansing. Although nineteenth-century
Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria were relatively homogeneous societiesat
least until the Balkan Wars of 191213 the nationalist discourse gave way
to the codification of discriminatory practices and nationalizing pohcies
that targeted most minorities. Local Muslims were the first group to be
targeted in this respect, as they were almost universally regarded by Balkan
nationalist ehtes as an internalized enemyregardless of their ethnicity they
were seen as Turkswho were also associated with painful legacies of
imperial subjugation. As a result, the Ottoman and later the Habsburg
Empires, which had historically accommodated considerable ethno-
linguistic diversity, would succumb to nationalist pressures. But much like
the nationalizing Balkan nation-states, both the Habsburg and Ottoman
Empires resorted to eliminationist violence in their death throes during the
First World War; the former adopted brutal occupation policies in Serbia,
while the latter perpetrated genocide against the Armenians. In the nine
teenth and early twentieth centuries, however, the Balkan Muslim was the
principal victim of the Balkan national movements and states.
Nations and Nationalism
Nations and nationalism have produced such a copious interdisciplinary
literature that it is imperative for the sake of clarity to articulate some basic
definitions.28Nationalism should and for the purposes of this study will be
regarded as an ideology based on the notion of popular sovereignty, where
the people are understood to constitute a community (nation) linked by
common language, culture, religion, history, and/ or identity.29 It is not a
sense of identity or belonging (national const lousnoss) or pride in ones
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e II
land (patriotism), nor is it strictly speaking a political movement. As an
ideology, nationalism glorifies the nation and elevates it as the supreme
object of loyalty for its citizens, and typically insists that the nation have
political sovereignty. Nationalism is intimately linked to and a derivative of
modernity and has produced the nation.30In the Balkan setting, nationalism
has drawn on European models and intellectual stimuli beginning with the
Enlightenment. As such, and notwithstanding attempts to typologize the
phenomenon, Balkan nationalism has never been unique or original, but
merely reflected European trends.31
As an ideology, and much like liberalism and socialism, nationalism has
taken a variety of forms over the last two hundred years. In the early nine
teenth century liberalism and nationalism were virtually synonymous, but
towards the end of the century nationalism became increasingly illiberal,
influenced by Social Darwinism and the advent of mass politics. Integral
nationalism eventually became the norm in the European West and East;
increasingly illiberal, it asserted that individuals existed primarily as part of
a collective national group with little space for the other. The common
element remained the emphasis on collective rights, as the nationality
principle was asserted as the only legitimate basis for the sovereign state.
This would have revolutionary implications for the organization of ethni
cally heterogeneous states and societies. In the diverse Balkans, where
nations were dominated by empires, nationalism characteristically took the
form of protest against empire, be it the Ottoman or Habsburg, and
developed in a region of remarkable ethnolinguistic multiplicity. This
became problematic insofar as political and national frontiers were typically
incongruent. Nationalism was thus by definition a revolutionary force
everywhere in Europe, not least of all the Balkans.
In the West, the terms nation and state are virtually interchangeable,
although they are in fact distinct concepts. The state is a political and legal
entity, while the nation is a community of people. In the West, nations since
the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and especially since the French
Revolution have been defined in political terms, as a group of people
(regardless of social status or creed) inhabiting an area within specific borders
and having allegiance to one government. Nation and state became nearly
synonymous in Western Europe, where at the dawn of the modern era states
possessed centralized regimes based around a dominant nation. In most
other parts of Europe, including the Balkans, nations were defined under
considerably different circumstances. The German and Italian lands were
12 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
politically fragmented while East Central Europe and the Balkans were at
the time of the French Revolution dominated by the Russian, Habsburg,
and Ottoman Empires. The ruling elites of these empires were often
culturally distinct from the peoples they governed; the civic element was
weakened, and the cultural element proved more significant. Nations were
conceived chiefly in cultural terms, as communities of people defined by a
common language, history, and tradition, regardless of their social status,
creed, or other criteria. The main characteristic of a nationwhat set it
apart from all otherswas its language rather than citizenship.
Nations are a product of modernity and of a long and comphcated pro
cess of historical development in Europe. They are social groups integrated
by a combination of several objective relationshipspolitical, linguistic,
cultural, historical, and otherbut also, as Miroslav Hroch and others have
observed, by their subjective reflection in collective consciousness. Three
f actors are exceptionally important: a memory of a common past; linguistic
and cultural ties enabhng a higher degree of social communication; and a
conception of the equality of all members of the group organized as a civil
society.32 Nations are thus imagined political communities, as Benedict
Andersen has observed, with finite i f elastic boundaries. Ernest Renan
proposed that a nation is a soul, a spiritual principle, constituted by the
possession of a rich legacy of memories rooted in a common past and a
desire to live together in the present.33 In short, the nation is a modern
phenomenon and the product of national ideologies, which are an expression
of modern society.34
Hroch has articulated a comparative model of nation-formation that
is germane to the history of Balkan national movements.35 Hroch dis
tinguished between two different stages in the process of nation-building.
The first stage, beginning in the medieval period, produced two outcomes.
One was the growth of the early modern state under a dominant culture
associated with a ruling people, as in France and Britain. The old order was
eventually transformed into a modern civil society in parallel with the con
struction of a nation-state as a community of citizens. The other outcome
occurred in cases when a foreign ruling class dominated several nationali
ties occupying a compact territory but lacking their own nobilities or
political units, as in the Balkans. Here Hroch delineated three successive
phases in the history of national movements: a scholarly phase, when an
intelligentsia initiates the study of language, culture, and history; a national
agitation phase, when the patriotic intelligentsia seeks toawaken national
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
13
consciousness among members of the nation and begins a political campaign
for this idea; and the era of mass national movements, when national con
sciousness becomes a social phenomenon. The transition to the last phase
occasionally occurred before the creation of a national state but typically
took place as a consequence of the state. Thus, modern nations are formed
over a lengthy period of time, in a process frequently lasting decades or
more than a century depending on individual circumstances.
The Balkan Setting
The development of nationalism and nation-state-building in the Balkans is
a phenomenon of the past two centuries. This process was associated with
the spread of national ideologies leading in due course to the creation of
sovereign nation-states. In the Balkans, where between the fourteenth and
sixteenth centuries the Ottomans had destroyed native Christian landed
eliteswith the exception of the Romanian Principalities (Wallachia, Mol
davia), Transylvania, and the Croatian city-state of Dubrovnik (Ragusa)
native leadership was vested in three Orthodox churches, namely, the
Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the autocephalous Serbian
and Bulgarian churches centred at Ped and Ohrid, respectively.36Orthodox
prelates were the bearers of historical memory and native culture. By the
dawn of the modern era, Balkan society was politically subordinate to the
Ottomans but culturally united under the banner of Orthodoxy. The
notion of a Christian Orthodox Commonwealth, born in the medieval
period but nurtured under Ottoman rule, persisted well into the nineteenth
century. In culture and commerce, Greek served as the lingua franca of a
nascent merchant class and the Orthodox Patriarchate at Constantinople,
especially following the subordination of the Pe<f Patriarchate (1766) and
Ohrid Archbishopric (1767) to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.This tendency
was reinforced by the Phanariots,37a group of powerful Greek merchants in
Constantinople who emerged as a result of Ottoman decline. By the eight
eenth century the Phanariots played a leading role in the empire s merchant
trade and diplomatic corps, dominated to a large degree the Ecumenical
Patriarchate and served as princes (hospodars) of the Romanian Principalities
between 1711 and 1821. The spread of national ideologies tore this fabric
asunder: on the one hand, Ottoman rule was gradually contested by all
Balkan nationalities while on the other the Orthodox confessional
14
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
community (millet-i Rum),38the institutional locus of the subject Christian
peoples in the Ottoman Balkans, was challenged as nations became the foci
of identity. The nineteenth-century national uprisings against the Ottoman
state were thus by definition both confessional and national.
The early origins of nationalism in the Balkans are to be found in the
European Enlightenment, with its emphasis on secularization, historicism,
and use of the vernacular. In the Balkan setting, the receptors of Enlighten
ment thinking were primarily the Orthodox merchants and nascent
intelligentsias which they spawned. By the late eighteenth century, the
polyglot Greek merchant class, in addition to Armenian and to a lesser
extent Jewish middle men, dominated the Ottoman Empires foreign and
domestic trade. Although this merchant class had profited from Ottoman
decline, the increased arbitrariness and lack of security of Ottoman rule
proved progressively more intolerable and contrasted negatively with their
encounters elsewhere in Europe. Engaging ever more in literary and cul
tural pursuits, and schooling in European centres of learning, they provided
the Balkans with a nascent, secular intelligentsia open to European intel
lectual stimuli and opposed to the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
which was a pillar of the Ottoman system in the Balkans. It is thus hardly
surprising that early Balkan nationalisms were secularist in form. They
were also republican, a reflection of both European intellectual influences
and native social realities.The steady Ottoman decline led to the introduc
tion of an oppressive land-holding regime in the Balkan countryside,
known as the (iftlik (farm) system. Peasant obligations became more oner
ous as Muslim notables claimed arable land and employed local Ottoman
officialdom to enforce the peasants compliance. The shift to the (iftlik sys
tem and the Ottoman centre s ever greater need for tax revenues stemming
from repeated Ottoman military defeats spawned the appearance and rapid
growth of banditry by the end of the eighteenth century. Peasant bandits,
known variously as klephts (Greece), hajduks (Serbia), haiduci (Romania),
and hajduts (Bulgaria), became a considerable problem in the late eight
eenth-century Balkan countryside.39 Although possessing no political
programme they created a new source of resistance to Ottoman authority.
The first Balkan revolutionsthe Serbian Uprising (180413) and the
Greek War of Independence (18218)resulted from the confluence of
Ottoman decline and new intellectual stirrings from Europe.
The Balkan Enlightenments Greek archetypes were Adamantios Korais,
Rlitgas Pheraios.and Dimitrios Katart/is, and their Serb counterparts,Jovan
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
15
Raj id and Dositej Obradovid, all of whom expressed a deep interest in their
languages, national cultures, folklores, and histories. As early as 1761, Iosipos
Moesiodax, a Hellenized Vlach, called on Greece to remember its glorious
antiquity and show the world that, i f nothing else, she is still inhabited
by Greeks.40The following year, the Bulgarian monk, Father Paissii of
Hilandar, wrote his Slavo-Bulgarian History (1762) in a mixture of Church
Slavonic and the Bulgarian vernacular. It was a fervent entreaty exalting the
value of the native language and national history, full of praise for the com
mon Bulgarian folk and their customs.41Katartzis took up Moesiodax s call
and was among the first Phanariot thinkers to use the vernacular, in his
Advice to the Youth (1783).42 Rhigass many political tracts, above all the
Declaration of the Rights of Man and The New Political Constitution (1797),43
reflected the influence of the French Revolution and envisaged the creation
of a Hellenic Republic occupying the same expanse as the former Byzantine
Empire. While Rhigas acknowledged that many tongues would be spoken
within this Hellenic Republic, Greek would serve as its lingua franca, with
the Greek ethnos clearly predominating. Among the Serbs, the diaspora of
the Habsburg monarchy provided a dynamic cultural centre. In his four-
volume History of Various Slavic Peoples, Particularly the Bulgarians, Croats and
Serbs (1794-5), the Serbian archimandrite Jovan Raj id expounded on Serb
history while advocating Orthodox-Catholic unity among the South Slavs.
His contemporary, Obradovid, extolled the value of the native language,
which he saw as a unifying agent transcending sectarianism.44 Obradovid
saw the Serbian language as being spoken across the historic lands of the
South Slavs, by Orthodox, Catholic, and Muslim, and his secularized defini
tion of Serbdom was later expanded by Vuk Stefanovid Karadzid. Among
the Bulgarians, Paissiis pioneering influence on later Bulgarian awakeners
was decisive, extending to SofroniiVrachanski and Neofit Rilski; the former
published the first printed work entirely in the Bulgarian vernacular (1806)
while Rilski published the first modern Bulgarian grammar (1835).45
The Birth of the Balkan Revolutionary Tradition
Surmounting the divide between intellectual rumination and revolutionary
action did not always require decades of prodigious effort. The Greek
Society of Friends (Philiki Etairia) was formed in Odessa (1814) among
the large diaspora of that town, under Alexandras Ypsilantis (17921828),
a Phanariot educated in the Danubian principalities and an officer in Russian
service.46Its stated purpose was the promotion of Hellenic culture but in
actual fact its objective was the creation of a Greek state through a Balkan
insurrection against the Ottoman Empire. The Society of Friends initiated
the Greek War of Independence, giving birth to the modern Eastern
Question. Condemned by both the Great Powers and the Ecumenical
Patriarch in Constantinople, the revolution broke out in two centres. One
was in Moldavia where, in March i82i,Ypsilantis crossed from Russia with
a small force to launch a war of liberation of Balkan Christendom. His
Manifesto, issued from the Moldavian capital Iai, proclaimed a struggle to
dismande the crescent in order to raise the symbol [the Cross] that gives us
always the victory, and to take revenge for the Homeland and for our
Orthodox faith.47
The abortive revolt in the Principalities demonstrated the precariousness
of Orthodox unity, however. Ottoman troops suppressed the rebellion and
Ypsilantis fled to Transylvania, where he was detained by the Habsburg
authorities and later died in prison. The insurrection in the Peloponnese
proved more effective. The Easter Day 1821 Ottoman execution of the
Patriarch, Gregory V, for failing to maintain the loyalty of the Orthodox
millet, triggered outraged European intervention.Violence soon engulfed
entire communities. Within months of the start of the revolution, Greek
insurgents turned against all local Muslims, even though many were Greek
speakers. The Ottoman forces and irregulars reciprocated in turn.48This
violence was often indiscriminate and cruel. Upon taking the fortresses of
Malvasia (Monemvasia),Navarin,andTripolitsa,the Greek rebels massacred
Muslims regardless of gender or age, which confirmed that the
revolutionaries believed there was no room for Muslims in an independ
ent Greece. Between 15,000 and 25,000 of the 40,000 Muslims in the
Morea were killed during the revolution, while the survivors were forced
to flee.49The Greek revolution would assuredly have been crushed without
Great Power intervention. Coordinating their efforts, Britain, Russia, and
France intervened to mediate a solution.The inadvertent battle at Navarino
May (October 1827), where the combined Allied fleet destroyed the
( )ttoman navy, proved to be the turning point of the revolution. Following
Russias victorious war against the Ottoman Empire (1828-9) and the
Treaty ofAdrianople (September 1829), the London Protocol of February
1830 secured formal independence for Greece under Great Power
protection.
16 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
i 8 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
Greece was the first independent nation-state to be carved out of the
Ottoman Empire (see Map 2). Muslims were excluded from the Greek
Kingdom. Greek territory was finalized with the Convention of London
(1832) which appointed the Bavarian Prince Otto von Wittelsbach as the
first King of Greece, based at Nauplia and after 1834 at Athens. The Greek
state was a pale shadow of the empire that Greek national awakeners had
envisioned when they launched their revolution. It is hardly surprising that
the leadership of the new state had a problematic relationship with notions
of Greek identity and the nation. Greece had fewer than one million
inhabitants, while the majority of ethnic Greeks remained in Ottoman
Thrace, Anatolia, the Aegean Islands, and Macedonia. Despite the stringent
objections of the Greek revolutionaries, King Othon became the King of
Cireece rather than the King of the Hellenes, given the implications of the
latter title. Created as a rump state, with roughly a quarter of ethnic Greeks
inhabiting a poor and devastated land, in subsequent decades Greece devel
oped as a protectorate of the three Great Powers, making slow social and
Economic progress but dominated by a powerful irredenta.50
Rhigas had envisaged in 1797 a Hellenic Republic occupying much of
the Balkans and Anatolia, encompassing all the Orthodox peoples inhabiting
those lands but guided by Hellenic principles. It would incorporate various
races and religions.51This early Greek nationalism had a component of
cultural mission. But the Megali Idea (Great Idea), the ideology of Greek
irredenta first articulated in 1844 by the Greek politician Ioannis Kolettis,
raised several questions which may not have seemed problematic in the
lialkan world of the early nineteenth century but became contentious over
I line. What was the Greek nation? Had the Greek revolution succeeded in
recreating Byzantiumunderstood as much of the southern and eastern
Italk ans and western Anatoliathe Greek ethnos would have constituted a
minority even within its Orthodox constituency. From the beginning
religion and nationality were conflated and Orthodoxy was seen as a central
criterion of Greek identity. This helps to explain why the Greek
revolutionaries perpetrated violence against all Muslims, even those who
spoke the local Greek idiom. According to the Greek revolutionary draft
constitutions of 1822 and 1827,Greeks were defined as those who believe
in Christ and were either born in the country or came to Greece from
( )ttoman-held territory.52Many educated Greeks simply could not yet sep
arate the Balkan peoples on the basis of language. Theodore Negriss 1824
compilation on the Greeks' counted Serbs .uul Bulgarians among their
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
19
ranks.53That is hardly surprising and was a legacy of the millet system and
Greek cultural predominance at the time. In the early nineteenth-century
Greek mindset, Balkan Orthodoxy was identified with Hellenic cultural
leadership. As a result, embryonic Greek nationalism saw the political rebirth
of Greece as intimately linked to the liberation of Balkan Orthodoxy, under
the cultural banner of Hellenism.
The Megali Idea evolved considerably over the nineteenth century, going
through two distinct phases.54Until the middle of the century, it remained
rooted in programme of cultural mission, namely, the Hellenization of the
Orthodox peoples of the southern Balkans and western Anatolia. The ulti
mate objective remained the expansion and transformation of the Greek
state into a modern Byzantine Empire, with Constantinople as the restored
capital of a multinational, Hellenized Orthodox state.55The Greek Roman
tics established an allegedly unbroken line of continuity of the Hellenic
nation from antiquity to modern times. From that point forward, Byzantium
was regarded as a Hellenic Empire and link between Greek antiquity and
modernity. But as Serbia and Romania matured as autonomous princi
palities, and as the Bulgarian awakening aggressively asserted its ecclesiastical
prerogatives and national rights at mid-century, from the 1870s integral
nationalism increasingly gained sway and the Megali Idea narrowed in scope.
This Greek integral nationalism exhibited Slavophobic tendencies, in light
of the successes of the Bulgarian national movement under its Russian
benefactors and the conflict over Macedonia. Greek nationalism increas
ingly accentuated a more narrowly conceived ethnos, with a concomitant
redefinition of the Greek nation, one in which the spoken language
(demotic) of the Greek peasantry became the defining criterion of the
nation.The nascent educational system of the nationalizing Greek state pro
moted the Megali Idea, and modern Greece was seen as the heir to splendid
classical and medieval roots. An 1881 document establishing the guidelines
for historical instruction in Greek schools declared one of the primary pur
poses to be the instillation of national consciousness so as to mould worthy
members of this glorious nation.56This historical pedigree the magnifi
cence and glory of the forefathersserved to justify contemporary territo
rial claims to several Balkans lands. By the time of the Balkan Wars (191213),
Greek elementary school primers were already describing Orthodox
Bulgarians and Muslim Turks as the nationstwo greatest enemies, with the
former being the more dangerous, inhuman, and simply wild people.'
The ideological shift within Greek nationalism, from liberal cultural mission
2 0 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
to integral nationalism, did not result in the abandonment of the Megali
Idea, however. The late nineteenth-century proponents of Greek nation
alism now envisioned a Great Greek ethnic state the liberation of the
unredeemed Greeksrather than a Greek-led Orthodox Byzantium.
The Greeks achieved the first independent Balkan nation-state, but the
first triumphal rebellion against Ottoman rule occurred among the Serbs.38
The First Serbian Uprising (180413) under Djordje Karadjordje Petrovid
began as a spontaneous uprising against the misrule of the Dahisthe
leadership of the local janissaries (Ottoman infantry)rather than a care
fully planned revolution. At first the insurgents generally maintained good
relations with local Muslims, the majority of whom were South Slavs, and
made common cause against the Dahis.59 The amalgamation of social
discontent and harsh reprisals, which bred new resentments, and the aid of
Serb elites in the Habsburg monarchy, eventually transformed the uprising
into a war for national autonomy and an indiscriminate assault against all
Muslims. As in the Greek case, success was contingent on European devel
opments. The First Serbian Uprising coincided with and was prolonged as
a result of the Russo-Turkish War (1806-12), during which Karadjordje
manoeuvred between Napoleonic France, the Austrian and Russian Empires.
The Uprisings demise was linked to Napoleons invasion of Russia in
1812, which led to an Ottoman counter-offensive in 1813; Serb resistance
was crushed with great vengeance and prompted Karadjordjes flight
from the land. The Second Serb Uprising (1815) under Milos Obrenovid
(1780-1860) proved more successful. Obrenovid appealed to Russia, the
dominant continental power after the Congress of Vienna, while presenting
the Ottoman Sultan with moderate demands. In 1817 he secured a princely
title for himself and self-rule for Serbia.
The semi-autonomous Serbia which emerged in 1817 was largely a Serb
entity, denuded of much of its Muslim population. As a result of the Greek
Revolution and the Treaty ofAdrianople (1829), from August 1830 Serbia
was recognized as an autonomous Principality under a hereditary prince.
According to the privileges conferred on Obrenovid in 1817 and 1830,
Muslims could dwell only inside the towns of the Serbian Principality. Based
.11Kragujevac (after 1841,Belgrade), the Serbian Principality paid an annual
tribute to the Porte and endured a token Ottoman garrison until 1867.The
subsequent decades of autonomous development saw the slow but sure
transformation of the traditional system of local self-governing communities
into a centralized bureaucratic state. Serbia remained agrarian and
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e 21
relatively poor; only in the last quarter of the nineteenth century did the
pace of modernization intensify.
The ideological trajectory of Serb nationahsm had been set by Obradovid
but was refined by Vuk Karadzid.60The latter was instrumental in linking
nationality and language, and in fact secularizing Serb nationality by
decoupling it from Orthodoxy and fixing it firmly to language on the
model of German Romanticism. As a result of his efforts, by the middle of
the nineteenth century virtually all Serb intellectuals, with some honourable
exceptions, had adopted the Stokavian dialect as the Serbian literary lan
guage. Serb intellectuals, whether in the Serbian Principality or Habsburg
monarchy (Hungary and Croatia), regarded the Stokavian dialect as purely
Serbian and anyone speaking it as a Serb. In effect, much of the Catholic
population of Croatia, the Mushms and Catholics of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and the Orthodox of Montenegro and Macedonia, were henceforth
regarded as Serbs. Since the Serbian Principality was largely a Serb entity,
Serb leaders felt no need to think in supranational termssuch asIllyrianism
or Yugoslavism, which originated and found resonance in multinational
Croatiaand instead concerned themselves first and foremost with Serbian
state interests. The appearance of the Serbian state and the innovative,
linguistically rooted definition of Serbdom created the basis for potential
conflict between the Serbs and their South Slavic neighbours.
The ideology of Serb irredenta received its concrete form under the
Serbian statesman Ilija Garasanin, whose Nacertanije (The Outline, 1844)
articulated an embryonic plan of Serb national expansion.61The Nacertanije
envisioned a modern restoration of the medieval Serbian empire of Stefan
Dusan through the unification of all lands deemed to be supposedly Serbian
on the basis of Karadzids linguistic frontiers. Garasanin recalled the glories
of medieval Serbia, cogitated on a revival of Serbias fortunes, but clearly
demarcated the core areas of Serb national interest. Serb conceptions of the
other South Slavs increasingly left little doubt that almost all the South Slav
lands of the Habsburg monarchy and many of the lands of the Ottoman
Balkans were in actual fact Serbian domain.
This ideological trajectory was first challenged by Svetozar Markovid,
who posited Balkan federalism and Slavism as competing ideational cur
rents in Serb nationalist discourse. In several works Great Serbia (1868),
Serbia in the East (1873), and Socialism and the Social Question (1874)
Markovid observed that the revolutionary ideals of political freedom and
soci.il justice had been subverted in the course of the Serbian Principalitys
2 2 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
brief history.The social issue rather than the creation of a highly centralized,
nationalizing Serbian state was of paramount concern. This was an indict
ment of monarchism and bureaucracy, which according to Markovid stifled
the democratic inclinations of the peasant masses. He posited the idea of
socialist federalism, a union of Balkan peoples, linking Serbs to the other
nations of the region, in particular to the other South Slavs. Markovid
argued that the territorial expansion of Serbia under its ruling bureaucracy
would lead not to greater freedom but merely strengthen the power of
vested social interests. His influence on the early Serbian radicalism and
subsequently on Serbian social democracy is undeniable, but his sway over
the general trajectory of Serb national ideologies was less obvious.62
O f great importance to the dissemination of the Serb national idea was
the Orthodox Church. After the Great Migration (1690), the flight of Serbs
under Patriarch Arsenije III Crnojevid to the Habsburg lands during the
Austro-Turkish War (168398), the Serbs transferred their autocephalous
church organization from Fed (Kosovo) to Sremski Karlovci in the Habsburg
monarchy. The destruction of the Ped Patriarchate by the Ottomans (1766)
left the Serbian Orthodox metropolitans of Sremski Karlovci as the leaders
of the Orthodox community in the Austrian lands, settled primarily in
Croatia, Dalmatia, and southern Hungary (Banat and Backa). (The Cetinje
Metropolitanate in Montenegro, ruled since 1697 by the Prince Bishops
(vladikas) of the Petrovid-Njegos family, also claimed succession to the
defunct Ped Patriarchate.) But they were also heirs of the medieval Serbian
kings. Serbian church hierarchs regarded the provinces under their juris
diction as Serbian lands regardless of the ethnic composition of those
domains. The cult of Serbian royal saints the sacred stock of Nemanja
served as a reminder of imperial heritage and glory and made the Serbian
church the bearer of historical memory.63In the nineteenth century, as Serb
nationalism gained sway among the Serb intelligentsia (especially the
Orthodox clergy) of the Habsburg lands, the Serbian Orthodox Church
assisted immensely the spread of Serb national ideology and consciousness.
In Serbia proper, this role fell primarily to the nascent state, although
here too the Serbian Orthodox Churchwhich declared autocephaly in
1832, recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate only in 1879played an
important role. The Serbian Principality won control over ecclesiastical
appointments, and the church and nascent school system had parallel
nationalizing missions through the promotion of the Serbian language,
history, and nation.il consciousness.'* Nikola Pasid, one of the luminaries of
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
23
Serbian radicalism and leading statesmen of Serbia after 1903, observed in
1890 that Orthodoxy was closely tied to and united with the soul of the
people.65Although Serb nationalism had by that point largely been secular
ized, the link between Serbdom and Orthodoxy remained vital.The Serbian
Principality still had an internal other as a foil for Serb identity, and as a
result Serb nationalism continued to possess strong anti-Muslim tendencies.
These were nurtured on the Kosovo myth the 1389 Serbian defeat at
Kosovo Polje to the invading Ottomansand reflected in some of the most
important literary works of the time, such as Petar II Petrovid-Njegoss The
Mountain Wreath (1847), with its anti-Ottoman and anti-Muslim themes.66
The main symbolic node of Serb nationalism was the legend of the Battle
of Kosovo, which was employed as part of the nation-building process and
to mobilize opinion in the struggle against Ottoman Turks and their Balkan
progeny, to reclaim a lost imperial heritage.67
The Serbian Principality worked assiduously to emancipate itself from
the vestiges of Ottoman rule, which also entailed the removal of the
remaining Muslims. Tensions between the Serbian authorities and the
Ottoman garrisons and local Muslims within the Principality did not
remain far beneath the surf ace. Although the Muslim population of Serbia
had been significantly reduced through murder, expulsion, and flight
between 1804 and 1815, a sizeable community remained. At mid-century
the Serbian Principality had more than 12,000 Muslims, many of them
South Slavs, including nearly 3,000 Ottoman soldiers.68 In the towns of
Belgrade and Uzice, and a few smaller settlements, the Muslim population
still maintained a plurality.
A violent altercation in June 1862 between Ottoman soldiers and local
Serbs in Belgrade quickly turned into an armed conflict.69 In September
1862 an international conference was convened near Constantinople, where
the Serbian authorities, with Russian and French support, obtained a signifi
cant victory. The conference resolved that the Ottoman fortresses at Uzice
and Soko were to be dismantled though four garrisons were to remain
but more significant was the decision to sanction the removal of Serbias
remaining Muslims. The Mushm exodus began within weeks, as nearly
8,000 Muslims were uprooted from the towns of Belgrade, Uzice, Sabac,
Smederevo, and Soko.70The Uzice and Soko fortresses were dismantled
and their mosques destroyed. Muslims left their homes and businesses, many
of which were looted and destroyed. The majority of these Muslims settled
in eastern Bosnia, although some moved to Nis in south-eastern Serbia,
24 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
from where they would again be uprooted within a generation. In April
1867 the Ottoman authorities withdrew their remaining four garrisons,
at which point the last physical traces of Ottoman rule were removed.
Writing in 1872 from exile in Habsburg Vojvodina, Svetozar Markovid
remarked that evidendy the Serb people did not recognize any right to its
fellow citizens the Turksmembers of the same stateto live on Serb soil.
The Serb people sought simply to annihilate the Turks. Markovid attributed
this to particular notions of popularjustice when dealing with local Muslims
(Turks), which had been conditioned by earlier experiences of Ottoman
misrule and insurrectionary violence. It was as i f their [the peoples] con
science did not trouble them in the least in committing all kinds of evil acts,
according to our contemporary understanding, i f only they avenged all the
violence perpetrated by the Turks throughout the centuries.71Markovid s
observations were equally applicable to the Greek and Bulgarian cases, but he
surmised that the popular violence was driven not by nationalist or even
entirely by religious considerations, but primarily by social grievances. To be
sure, Balkan Muslims were both the religious other and a historically privi
leged social group. Where nationalist elites were driven by a desire to cleanse
their societies of Muslims in pursuit of the creation of modern nation-states,
for the peasantry, for whom ethnicity remained a rudimentary idea in the
nineteenth century, social grievances and resentments merged with religious
identity as key drivers behind violence.
In the neighbouring Croat lands, national leadership fell to the native
gentry, who constituted the pre-modern political nation and provided the
stimulus for national awakening at the end of the eighteenth century in its
resistance to the centralizing reforms of Joseph II (r. 1780-90). The Croat
national awakening had two main characteristics.The first was a pronounced
emphasis on historicism.The Croat gentry had traditionally defended their
social privileges, identity, and political liberties by invoking the rights of the
Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. Nineteenth-century Croat nationalists,
whether of a South Slavic (e.g. Ljudevit Gaj, Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer)
or purely Croat (e.g. Ante Starcevic) orientation operated within a frame
work of Croatian historic state right. To a significant degree, this historicism
reflected the fragmentation of the historic Croat lands (Croatia-Slavonia,
I )almatia, and the Military Frontier) and served as the basis of their inte
gration. The second factor shaping Croat nationalism was the identification
witli other (Southern) Slavs. This identification with Slavdom had a long
pedigree, having been articulated by Pavao Ritter Vitezovic (1652-1703) and
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
25
others,72but was in essence a reflection of Croat numerical inferiority in
relation to the Habsburg monarchys dominant nations, the Magyars and
Germans. It also stemmed from the fact that there was a numerically signifi
cant Serb minority in Croatia.
State historicism and Slavism were both manifest in the first stage of
modern Croat nationalism, Ljudevit Gajs Illyrianist movement (183648).
Like national awakeners elsewhere in East Central and South-Eastern
Europe, the Illyrianists used language to define the Croat nationality. By
doing so they ran into a conundrum. O f the three spoken dialects and
literary traditions in CroatiaStokavian, Kajkavian, and CakavianCroats
employed all three while Serbs, Montenegrins, and Bosnian Muslims spoke
Stokavian.The Illyrianists opted for Stokavian as the literary language, but
i f Croats were to be defined as the speakers of this dialect then what of the
Orthodox Serbs, who shared this language and comprised one quarter of
the population of Croatia? To get around this peculiar dilemma two
peoples sharing one language the leaders of the Croat national awaken
ing adopted the Illyrian name to appeal to and unite culturally the Croat
and Serb intelligentsias in Croatia. Illyrianism thus postulated the cultural
unity of South Slavs, but its political objectives remained confined to the
borders of the Habsburg monarchy. Its programme was the unification of
the South Slavs around an autonomous Triune Kingdom (Croatia-Slavonia
with the Military Frontier and Dalmatia) within a federalized Habsburg
monarchy, and the enactment of various social and economic reforms.
During the 1848 Revolutions they made common cause with Croatian and
Hungarian Serbs (and other Habsburg Slavs) against the perceived threat of
the Magyar national revolutionaries, who asserted their own patrimony to
the Croat lands.73
After the failure of 1848, Illyrianism gave way to two competing national
programmes in Croatia.The first was associated with Ante Starcevic and the
other with the Catholic Bishop of Djakovo, Josip Juraj Strossmayer. Basing
their programme on historic state right, Starcevic and his Party of (Croatian
State) Right (1861) claimed that the Croatian kingdom throughout its exist
ence had been de jure independent, though in practice this independence
had been undermined by the despotic Habsburg dynasty. Starcevic delin
eated historic Great Croatia as the Triune Kingdom, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and the Slovene lands, and adopted a political concept of nation, inherited
from the noble political nation, defining Croats as all persons in Great
( Croatia, be they Catholic, Muslim, or Orthodox.The existence of'political
26 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
Serbs was denied in historic Great Croatia, for there could only be one
nation on the territory of the Croatian state.74
This political programme revealed the powerful hold of historicism
on Croatias nineteenth-century elites. Even Strossmayers National Party,
which supported a policy of cultural Yugoslavism and recognized the
genetic distinctiveness of Serbs, refused to recognize them as a political
nation in Croatia. To do so would have meant opening the door to sepa
rate Serb rights in or even demands for territorial autonomy within
Croatia. Nevertheless, Strossmayers Yugoslavist movement continued to
endorse the cultural unity of the South Slavs, hoping to achieve Croatian
autonomy within a federalized Austrian Empire. Strossmayer promoted
cultural reciprocity through sponsorship of several cultural and educa
tional initiatives, including the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Science
(1866) and University of Zagreb (1874).75 Nevertheless, the thinking of
Croat political elites conformed to the Central European pattern of con
ceptualizing the region as being inhabited by historic and non-historic
nations. This approach entailed the continued assertion of political
Croatism: all persons in Great Croatia, regardless of creed, were Croats.
By the late nineteenth century, the Croat national movement had made
important cultural strides but was politically frustrated and remained on
the defensive. The Ausgleich (1867) between the Habsburg Crown and
Magyar ruling oligarchy divided the empire into two halves, dashing the
federalist aspirations of Slavs and Romanians. The following year, the
Croato-Hungarian Nagodba (Agreement) created an autonomous Croatian
kingdom as part of Magyar-dominated Transleithania. Between 1868 and
1918, Croat nationalists worked unsuccessfully to unify Croatia with
Dalmatia and, after the Austro-Hungarian occupation of 1878, Bosnia-
Herzegovina,but with little success.Between 1883 and 1903,the Hungarian
magnate and ban (governor), Karoly Count Khuen-Hedervary (1849
1918), successfully enforced Hungarian domination in Croatia.
While there was no violence between Croat and Serb in the nineteenth
century, belying notions of a discord stemming from ancient tribal hatreds,
the incongruities in their respective national ideologies were already dis
cernible. Notwithstanding the fact that Croat and Serb nationalists had put
down claims either in whole or in part to many of the same territories, such
as Bosnia-Herzegovina, the basic dispute stemmed from national ideologies
which denied the existence of other groups on these same territories. In the
last quarter of the nineteenth century, as integral nationalism supplanted
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
27
earlier liberal variants, the peculiar situation of the South Slavs arising from
their linguistic and cultural affinities resulted in one of two trajectories:
confirmation of integral nationalism or some variant of Yugoslavist ideol
ogy. While the former tendency generally was stronger, in the decade before
the Great War various Yugoslavist currents gained credibility among a new
generation of Croat and Croatian Serb intellectuals who were educated
mainly in Western Europe. In 1905 these groups formed an alliance of Croat
and Serb parties in Croatia, known as the Croato-Serb Coalition, which
dominated Croatian politics until 1914.76During the Great War some of its
sympathizers chose exile to advocate among the Entente the creation of a
Yugoslav state. This generation ofYugoslavist integralists was ideologically
distinct from its cultural progenitors and increasingly thought in terms of
creating a Yugoslav state, amalgamating the Habsburg South Slav lands with
Serbia and Montenegro. Their intellecmal rationale was an innovative
though in retrospect flawed belief in the narodno jedinstvo (national oneness)
of the South Slavs, premised on the notion that Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes
constituted a trinomial nation. Some of the younger and more radical
Yugoslavist integralists formed revolutionary societies in the decade before
1914, employing political violence against Habsburg officialdom in Bosnia-
Herzegovina and Croatia. In the period between 1905 and 1914, the South
Slav Question emerged as more than a Habsburg domestic issue; it had
salience for Balkan and Great Power diplomacy.
The first period of Bulgarian nationalism, from the late eighteenth
century until the 1820s, was characterized by the appearance of several
histories of the Bulgarian people, the first printed works in the Bulgarian
vernacular, grammars, and dictionaries.77The first Bulgarian school was
opened in Gabrovo (1835), which is widely celebrated as the genesis of the
modem Bulgarian educational system. Bulgarian students increasingly
travelled abroad, to Russia and Western Europe. This period witnessed
significant publishing activity and cultural production. By the 1860s the
Bulgarian national movement centred on the twin struggles for ecclesiastical
and political emancipation. The former was primarily a political movement
for a separate church and was initiated with the Easter action (i860),
when the Bulgarian community in Constantinople declared ecclesiastical
independence under the leadership of the recently consecrated Bishop
Ilarion Makariopolski (1812-75).78 In 1870 the Ottoman Sultan officially
recognized the Bulgarian Exarchate, which was promptly excommunicated
by the Greek Patriarch. O f the seventy-four Orthodox dioceses in the Ottoman
28 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
Balkans, twenty-five immediately joined the Exarchate while eight were
divided. In 1874 the Skopje and Ohrid bishoprics voted overwhelmingly to
adhere to the Exarchate.79This only exacerbated tensions between Greek
and Bulgarian nationalists.
The creation of the Bulgarian Exarchate was a seminal event in the
evolution of Bulgarian nationalism. Bulgarian leaders defined the Bulgarian
nation on the basis of language and rehgion: all speakers of Bulgarian and
adherents of the Exarchate were deemed to be part of the nation. Although
ethnically heterogeneous, the Exarchates ecclesiastical frontiers were hence
forth regarded as the natural boundaries of the Bulgarian nation and its
future state. The Bulgarian revolutionary movement, centred in Bucharest,
took up the cause of statehood by way of revolutionary violence on the
Serbian and Greek pattern. It was associated with Georgi Rakovski, a
professional revolutionary and poet who dreamt of Bulgarian independence
and possibly a Balkan Orthodox federation.80From Bucharest he organized
armed detachments, which he hoped would instigate an anti-Ottoman
uprising. His followers, notably Liuben Karavelov,Vasil Levski,81and Khristo
Botev, organized the disparate political groups into a Bulgarian Revolutionary
Central Committee in Bucharest which was to lay the groundwork for
revolution.82While Rakovski considered the eviction of at least some i f not
all Muslims from a future Bulgarian state83in 1866 he had explicitly urged
vengeance, Let Turkish heads roll84Karavelov and Levski were more
moderate and believed that a Bulgarian democratic republic would grant all
citizens, regardless of nationality or creed, equality before the law. In the
event, these Bulgarian revolutionaries still lacked broad social appeal. Many
patriotic Bulgarians were not keen to challenge the Ottoman authorities in
a direct confrontation and preferred instead a gradualist approach, while the
C)rthodox peasantry largely stood on the sidelines.
The abortive May 1876 rebellion (the April Uprising, Old Style), follow
ing on the heels of Christian revolts in Bosnia-Herzegovina the previous
year, sparked what came to be known as the Eastern Crisis (18758).
Bulgarian detachments turned on the local Muslim population and per
petrated several massacres. As the revolt spread, internecine violence between
communities intensified.85 Already engaged in the suppression of the
Bosnian revolt, the Ottoman authorities turned to batjibazuk irregulars to
suppress the Bulgarian uprising. Recruited mostly from among the local
Muslims, many of whom were recendy settled Circassian and Tatar refugees
expelled by the Russians from the Caucasus and the ( -rimea, these irregulars
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
29
drew few distinctions between insurgents and the Orthodox peasantry and
killed at least 4,000 Bulgarians during their suppression of the uprising.86
The massacre of Bulgarians at Batak epitomized the brutality of the conflict.
More than 100,000 Bulgarians took flight for fear of reprisals. Like the
Serbian and Greek revolutions, the Bulgarian uprising involved the brutal
ization of large numbers of civilians. But unlike the Serbian and Greek
precedents, much of the anti-Muslim violence was dictated by direct Russian
intervention. The bloody suppression of the Bulgarian uprisingknown to
the British and American public as the Bulgarian Horrors drew European
attention to the Balkans and caused a wave of favourable public opinion for
the Bulgarian cause. It also prompted Serbia and Montenegro to go to war
against the Ottoman Empire that same year. Their rapid defeat and the
demise of the Bulgarian uprising led to Russian intervention and the Russo-
Turkish War (1877-8).
As the Russian military advanced and captured Pleven (December
1877) and Sofia (January 1878), a mass exodus of Muslims ensued,
mainly towards Thrace, Macedonia, and Anatolia. Contemporary ob
servers commented on the desolation of entire villages and communi
ties.87The violence visited upon the Muslims of Bulgaria was shaped to
a considerable degree by the Russian presence. In the previous decade
Russia had perpetrated systematic violence against Muslim groups in its
conquest of the Caucasus.88 In Bulgaria the Russian military adopted a
similar approach, encouraging or engaging directly in expulsions of
Muslims and Jews. I n many instances, Bulgarian detachments had a par
allel role, either initiating assaults against Muslims or serving as Russian
auxiliaries. Bulgarian peasants were encouraged to attack Muslims and
occasionally Jews, and often did so without prompting; properties were
pillaged and symbols of Ottoman rule, such as mosques, were destroyed.89
Many Muslims, who had already experienced brutalities at the hands of
the Russians in the Crimea and Caucasus, fled before the arrival of the
Russian military. By early 1878 thousands of Muslims had been killed,
dozens of villages had been razed to the ground and hundreds of thou
sands of Muslims had been displaced. So extensive was this displacement
of peoples that it may even have led the Ottoman authorities to con
template a population exchange. In February 1878 an Ottoman negotia
tor proposed to the Russians that the Muslims who remained north of
the Balkan Mountains be moved south to Ottoman territory, while the
Bulgarians in the south would be moved north. This abortive proposal
30
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
was the first suggestion for population exchange made by the Ottoman
Empire in the modern era.90
Outside the Ottoman capital, in the village of San Stefano, the victori
ous Russians dictated terms. The Treaty of San Stefano (3 March 1878)
called for the creation of a Great Bulgarian state, encompassing Bulgaria,
part of Thrace, and all of Macedonia, and independence for Montenegro,
Serbia, and Romania, whose territories would be enlarged. The Russian
military began establishing a rudimentary administration in Bulgaria after
March 1878, while their soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers, occasionally
with the participation of local peasants, perpetrated atrocities against the
remaining Muslims. As many as a quarter million Muslims may have died
in the processeither through direct violence, during their flight, or from
disease and more than half a million were expelled or fled with the
retreating Ottoman military.91As a result of Great Power concerns, in
particular the tear that Bulgaria would become a faithful vassal of the
Russian Empire, the Congress of Berlin (13 June to 13 July 1878) was
convened which abolished the Treaty of San Stefano, replacing it with the
Treaty of Berlin (13 J uly 1878). Bulgaria became an autonomous Principality
of the Ottoman Empire, with greatly reduced boundaries, its own prince,
and a national assembly. A second Bulgarian territory, called Eastern
Rumelia, became a semi-autonomous province of the empire under a
Christian administrator, while Macedonia remained an integral land of the
Ottoman Balkans. Autonomy was achieved in 1878 but Bulgarian national
ists were deeply shocked by the failure to achieve the San Stefano
boundaries. In the decades after 1878 they continued to regard these
borders as the countrys natural and true frontiers.
The Bulgarian discourse of national history portrayed the five centuries
of Ottoman rule as one in which the Bulgarian nation had been incessantly
persecuted and much weakened. The Ottomans were held responsible for
the forced conversion of many Bulgarians (i.e. Pomaks) to Islam, and in this
respect Bulgarian nationalism was little different from its Serbian and Greek
counterparts. While anti-Muslim tendencies were generally less pro
nounced among Bulgarians than Serbs or Greeks, they were problematic
insofar are there were several internal Muslimothers in Bulgarian society,
all of whom were ready foils against which Bulgarian identity could be
defined.92These others were also to be found on those unredeemed ter
ritories regarded as historically Bulgarian, such as Macedonia and Thrace.
The Bulgarian drive towards nation-building and modernization demanded
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
31
a negation of all that was Eastern withinan explicit rejection of Bulgarias
Ottoman past and its Muslim minority presence.93The Muslims con
stituted the colonial other against which Bulgarian national identity was
formed, although in practice the policies of Bulgarian elites towards
Muslims oscillated between sameness and difference, brother and enemy.94
Whatever the nationality of individual Muslims in Bulgaria, all were popu
larly referred to as Turks and some were perceived as potential threats to
the nascent nation-state. This was the starting point of the national ques
tion in Bulgaria, where Orthodoxy remained a key facet of identity.93
During the period from 1880 and 1911, approximately 350,000 Muslims
emigrated from Bulgaria to the Ottoman Empire. However, the linguistic
criterion enabled Bulgarian nationalists to claim as their own and assimilate
Pomaks, who in 1878 had resisted inclusion in the new Bulgaria, while
excluding Turks.96
The Macedonian national movement evolved in tandem with the
Bulgarian national movement, but parted ways after the Congress of Berlin.
After 1878, as Macedonia became the focus of irredentist claims by Bulgaria,
Greece, and Serbia, local elite identity crystallized in a distinct trajectory.97
Gjorgjija Pulevskis Dictionary of Three Languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish
(1875) was the first work publicly to claim that Macedonian was a distinct
South Slavic language,98 while even more significant was Krste Petkov
Misirkov, whose On Macedonian Matters (1903) was a call for Macedonian
nationality.99The political struggle for Macedonian autonomy was taken up
by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (I MRO)also
known by the generic name Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
founded in 1893 by a handful of Macedonian intellectuals, including Hristo
Tatarcev, Ivan Hadji-Nikolov, Dame Gruev, and others but under the leader
ship of Gotse Delcev. Its 1896 congress called for full political autonomy for
Macedonia, to be achieved in the Balkan revolutionary tradition, as the
nucleus of a future Balkan (con)federation. The Macedonian movement
suffered critical defeats following the abortive Ilinden (St Elijahs Day)
Uprising (1903) and the Balkan Wars (191213), as a consequence of which
Macedonia was partitioned by Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. As late as 1917,
Dimitrija Cupovski continued to call for the creation of a Balkan Federal
Democratic Republic, including a Macedonian state, which would respect
the right to national self-determination of all its component nations.100
The Romanian case exhibited several dissimilarities from the general
Balkan pattern. The Romanian Principalities were never incorporated into
32
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
the Ottoman EmpireWallachia (1415) and Moldavia (1498) were both
reduced to vassalageand retained their own nobilities. These provinces
had appeared relatively late and, unlike other Balkan peoples, the Romanians
had no image of a splendid but frustrated state development curtailed by the
Ottoman caesura. By the late eighteenth century the Romanian elite in the
Principalities already possessed a Romanian consciousness and believed that
Moldavians andWallachians, as well as Transylvanians, had a common origin.
However, Romanian identity was still regional and powerfully influenced, as
elsewhere in the Balkans, by religion and social status. Although Dimitrie
Cantemir had spoken in 1716 of love of country, this was a reference only
to Moldavia rather than Romania. By 1831, however, when Bishop
Inochentie of Ramnic wrote ofall parts that form a Romanian homeland,
he demonstrated that the concept of homeland had extended beyond the
boundaries of the Principalities.101
The roots of nationalism in Wallachia and Moldavia are traceable to the
reaction ot the Romanian gentry (boyars) to the cultural Hellenization and
political hegemony of the Phanariot Greeks between 1711 and 1821.102The
Phanariots had replaced Old Church Slavonic with Greek in the liturgy and
subordinated the Romanian church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Resentment bred a cultural awakening leading to an examination of the past
and a debate about Romanian origins. In the Principalities, this awakening
possessed both anti-Slavic and anti-Greek characteristics. The theory of
Latin origin, foreshadowed by Cantemir in 1716 and articulated by the
Latinist school in late eighteenth-century Transylvania, saw the fifteenth-
century adoption of Old Church Slavonic as a cultural break between the
Principalities and the West. Later scholars would see Old Church Slavonic
and Greek as foreign forms applied to a Latin culture.
Instrumental for the rise of Romanian nationalism was Transylvania,
which had submitted to Ottoman vassalage from 1526 to 1699. Thereafter
the Habsburgs acknowledged the Transylvanian compact (1437) which had
recognized only three nations in Transylvania (i.e. Magyars, Hungarian
speaking Szeklers,and Saxons) and three religions (Catholicism,Lutheranism,
and Calvinism), effectively disenfranchising the most numerous group, the
( )rthodox Romanians. In 16991700 part of the Orthodox clergy recognized
the union with Rome and formed the Uniate Church, which provided a
space for the Romanian Uniate clergy to articulate the ideology of Latinism.
This ideology introduced the theory of Daco-Roman descent, claiming
for the Romanians an ancient origin and positing their role as a Latin
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
33
outpost among a sea ofbarbaric Slavs, Magyars, and Germans, and gave the
impetus to Romanian linguistic purism. By the end of the eighteenth cen
tury, this Latinist cultural movement called for political recognition. The
memorandum presented to the Emperor Leopold II (r. 17902) the
Supplex Libellus Valachorum (1791)sought for the Romanians the corporate
status of a recognized nation.103The Supplexs historicism and emphasis on
the vernacular reflected the intellectual climate of the period. By the early
nineteenth century, the nascent Romanian intelligentsia in Transylvania
began standardizing the language, adopted the Latin script in favour of
Cyrillic, and purged it of Slavic and Greek loan words, thus ostensibly
purifying it to reflect the supposed Latin soul of the people. By the
1820s, Transylvanian Latinism spread to the Principalities and was adopted
by the boyar elite. Historicism became a powerful nationalizing tool and
by 1829 the Romanian language was secured as the lingua franca. In the end,
however, the vernacular was adopted as the basis of the literary language,
with Latin officially replacing Cyrillic only in 1859.104
Debates about the national essence of the Romanian people became
more prominent and continued well into the twentieth century. Opinion
remained divided. The aforementioned Latinist camp saw Romanians as
lineal descendants of the Roman legions and colonists who had conquered
these lands in the second century and named them Dacia. The Dacian
camp held that Romanians were descended from the indigenous, pre-
Roman population.The Daco-Roman camp represented a synthesis of sorts
of these two views.105These debates were not without political significance,
as Romanian elites often couched their appeals for Great Power assistance in
terms of a self-image rooted in their interpretation of the past. Indeed, all
three camps argued that Romanians had a longer pedigree in the Balkans
than their neighbours, whether the Magyars in Transylvania or Slavs who
surrounded them on all remaining sides.106
As a result of Greek independence, Russia became the protector of the
Principalities autonomy (182958) and enforced the quasi-constitutional
Organic Statutes in Wallachia (July 1831) and Moldavia (January 1832).The
Organic Statutes were the first modern constitutions in the Balkans,
introduced by enlightened representatives of autocratic Russia.107While
they signified a partial confirmation of traditional government, including
rule by the hospodars (princes) and representation based on class, several
modernizing reforms were facilitated; representative assemblies were formed,
administrative, fiscal, and economic reforms were introduced, and both
34
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
Principalities now possessed the same type of government. The ruling boyar
oligarchy went unchallenged until the Revolutions of 1848, which wit
nessed the articulation of a range of national and liberal reform proposals,
from unification to representative government and civil equality.108 The
April 1848 revolution in Moldavia, in which the future Romanian leader
Alexandra loan Cuza was a participant, proved to be abortive. The June
1848 revolution in Wallachia would last four months, until Ottoman and
Russian forces occupied Bucharest in September. In July 1848 the Romanian
revolutionary A. G. Golescu-Arapila proposed a confederation of Romanians,
Hungarians, Slavs, and Austrians centred in Vienna.109Similar proposals were
raised at the time in Romanian circles, but they were all dashed because of
the incongruent nationalist claims of the different revolutionaries and
Russian intervention. After the failures of 1848, Romanian nationalists
generally opted for a gradualist course leading to the unification of the
Romanian lands under a foreign prince. The liberal agenda, and with it
the social and agrarian reform programme, was set aside. Romanian national
ists henceforth opted to work within the European states system.
The opportunity arose with the Crimean War (18536), which replaced
the Russian protectorate with collective Great Power tutelage. The double
election of Alexandra loan Cuza in 1859 as prince created a personal union
between Wallachia and Moldavia (collectively, the Regat or Old Kingdom),
formally proclaimed as the autonomous principality of Romania in
December 1861, with the official sanction of the Porte.110 Cuza was forced
to abdicate in 1866 and replaced by a foreign prince, Prince Karl of
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who became Prince (after 1881, King) Carol I
(r. 18661914). By 1866 the personal union had become a state union and
a constitutional regime was in place. While Romania was still an auton
omous land of the Ottoman Empire, it exercised de facto independence
until it was formally acknowledged by the Congress of Berlin.111The irre
dentist dream of unification with Transylvania would have to wait until
after the Great War.
Romanian nationalism continued to exhibit anti-Russian tendencies,
even as it held staunchly to its anti-Magyar positions over Transylvania.
However, it had to contend with an internal other. Unlike most Balkan
societies, in Romania the fundamental social axis was the noblepeasant
relationship. The landowning nobility was the political nation and, together
with the emerging intelligentsia, the embodiment of the incipient modern
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
35
Romanian nation. The middle and highly urbanized stratum of Romanian
society was solidly Jewish, however, and stood apart from the Romanian
nation both in cultural and religious terms. The Romanian political elite
generally saw little need for compromise with its Jewish minority, which
comprised roughly 3 per cent of the population.112 This became a point of
contention after the Treaty of Berlin, which compelled the newly inde
pendent Balkan states to provide legal equality to all religious minorities.
Article VI I of the Romanian Constitution (1866) restricted citizenship to
Christians, thereby excluding Jews and Muslims. The Romanian elite
resented this foreign interference but, unable to resist indefinitely, form
ulated a compromise amendment to the contested article which granted
rights to some Jews.113 In actual fact, this was never enacted. Only after the
Great War and the promulgation of a new Romanian constitution did Jews
achieve full civil emancipation and political rights. Thus, the only significant
internal other, the Jewish population, was denied citizenship until 1923.
Among the predominantly Muslim Balkan peoples-Albanians and
Bosnian Muslims national movements were belated phenomena. 1hese
communities drew on medieval states or personages for inspiration; among
Bosnian Muslims, this was the medieval Bosnian kingdom, while Albanians
looked to instances of resistance to Ottoman rule as exemplified by the
Albanian Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeg (140568). In the case of Albanians,
hereditary elites included tribal chiefs in the mountainous north and
landowning beys of the central plains. In Bosnia these were the captains.
In both lands, resistance to central authority was pronounced. Husein-
kapetan Gradascevic, the Bosnian Muslim aristocrat known as theDragon
of Bosnia, served as the head of the Gradacac military captaincy (182132)
and in 1829 opposed the concessions granted by the Porte in the Treaty of
Adrianople, which transferred several districts from Ottoman Bosnia to the
Serbian Principality. In 1831 Gradascevic became de facto ruler of Bosnia
but was defeated by Ottoman troops in May 1832. The Albanian Ah Pasha
ofjanina (Ali Pashe Tepelena) offered similar resistance to central authority.
These Muslim notables served as paradigmatic symbols and precursors of
the modern national movements because of their resistance to central
encroachments, although neither Ah Pasha nor Gradascevic possessed a
nationalist outlook in the modern sense. They were primarily driven by
the defence of local privilege and custom, rather than a desire to defend
the still inchoate Albanian and Bosniak national programmes.
36
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
The obstacles to Albanian national integration were significant. The
modern Albanian national revival (Rilindja or Renaissance) began in the
second half of the nineteenth century and had to overcome multiple imped
iments, including local tribal structures, linguistic differencesthe Tosk and
Gheg dialectsand religious fissures, as Albanians were predominandy
Muslim with significant Orthodox and Catholic constituencies. According
to the Ottoman millet system, Muslims were educated in Turkish and Arabic,
the Orthodox in Greek, and Catholics in Italian and Latin. As such, there
was no recognition of Albanian culture or language. The national revival
began in the 1860s among the diaspora in Italy, which was influenced by the
Italian Risorgimento. By the following decade cultural revival already went
hand in hand with a desire for autonomy. A case in point in Semsettin Sami;
haihng from the Muslim landowning elite in Albania, he became a
leading Ottoman writer who, following the Congress of Berlin, was also an
advocate of Albanian rights through the Albanian Cultural League in
Constantinople.114 In addition to the Muslim beys, the Albanian movement
drew support from the Italian diaspora and Christian merchants in Shkoder,
Berat, and Elbasan. Despite significant religious, cultural, and social cleavages,
Albanian ehtes were united after 1878 by fear of partition.115
At the Congress of Berlin the Great Powers began awarding
Albanian-populated territory to the newly independent Balkan states. The
first political manifestation of a modern Albanian national movement
appeared in June 1878 in the form of the League of Prizren.116 It had been
convened as an assembly ofall Albanian lands, although several districts were
unrepresented and some Bosnian delegates were present, as was the Ottoman
administrator of Prizren sancak (district), bestowing the tacit approval of the
Ottoman regime. The League demanded several reforms, in particular the
creation of a unified Albanian administrative district within the Ottoman
Empire, encompassing the Albanian populated vilayets (provinces) of Iskodra
(Shkoder), Kosova, Monastir (Bitola), and Yenya ( Janina). Following the
assassination in early September 1878 of Mehmet Ah Pasha, the Ottoman
delegate to the Berlin Congress who was sent to Kosovo to implement the
Montenegrin claims reached at Berlin, the League turned openly against the
( )ttoman state and Sultan Abdiilhamid (r. 18761909). Its purpose was now
to defend Albanian (rather than Muslim) land. In April 1881Ottoman troops
suppressed the League and in 1886 even the use of the Albanian language was
prohibited.117 At that stage, the role of the Albanian diaspora became more
pronounced, as did that of the Groat Powers. In 1897 the French-educated
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
37
Faik Konitza (18751942) obtained Flabsburg support for his migr
newspaper Albania,118 as Vienna increasingly worked to establish a presence
among the Albanians. All the major programmatic documents of the Albanian
national movement after 1878 demanded the unification of the four vilayets
into an Albanian administrative entity. This was the case in the 1896 petition
of the Assembly of Albanian Chieftains to the Porte, and in 1904 at the
Albanian Congress in Bucharest.
Albanian nationalism generally remained autonomist, too weak to achieve
its programme unilaterally and fearful of Greek and Serbian expansionism.
As a result, Albanian national elites continued to work with the Ottoman
state. Several Albanians, hke IbrahimTemo and Ahmet Niyazi, were involved
in the Young Turk movement and its pohtical wing, the Committee of
Union and Progress (CUP), beheving that constitutionahsm would address
the concerns of the Ottoman minorities. But Ottomanism in Young Turk
practice after their 1908 revolution meant modernizing the empire, which
entailed the centralization of authority in Constantinople and suppressing
all nationalisms that undermined their unitarist conceptions. Resistance to
Young Turk centralization resulted in an Albanian revolt in 1909, centred on
Kosovo under the leadership of Hasan Prishtina. Ottoman reprisals were
harsh and only brought new support to the insurgency, joined in 1911 by
the Catholic Albanian tribes of the north. In an attempt to calm the situation,
in June 1911 the Sultan travelled to Kosovo where he granted the rebels
amnesty.119 Nationahst revolutionary groups such as the Black Society for
Salvation (May 1911) continued to demand, through armed rebellion, the
unification of the four vilayets and a representative assembly. The Ottoman
government in August 1911 agreed to most of these demands but the
Tripolitanian War convinced the Albanians to press for more. By June 1912
Albania was again in revolt and in early September 1912 the Ottoman
government was forced to concede to the Albanians a broad administrative
and cultural autonomy. The following month the first Balkan War began and
much of the newly autonomous Albania was occupied by Serbian,
Montenegrin, and Greek armies. With the partition of the Albanian lands
imminent, in November 1912 an Albanian National Assembly at Vlora
proclaimed independence and elected Ismail Kemal Bey (18441919) as
president.120 As a result of the diplomatic support of both Italy and the
Habsburg monarchy, an Albania state was born. So too was the modern
Albanian Question.The Albanian revolts between 1878 and 1912 are instructive.
They demonstrated, certainly to the Young Turk movement but also to other
3
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
contemporary observers, that in the age of nationalism it would be
remarkably difficult i f not impossible to conciliate different national interests
within an imperial framework such as that of the Ottoman Empire.121
In Bosnia-Herzegovina the indigenous Muslim elite similarly asserted its
prerogatives and generally resisted centralization and reform during the
Tanzimat era (183976). The decisive turn came in 1875, when social dis
content incited the Christian peasantry to revolt, thus setting the stage for
the Eastern Crisis. The Habsburg occupation of Bosnia (1878) as part of the
Berlin setdement and subsequent annexation (1908) saw the beginnings of
a modern Bosnian Muslim nationalist revival. It was in the circumstances of
Habsburg occupation that a modern Bosnian Muslim identity asserted itself,
primarily in the cultural realm. In June 1882 Benjamin Kallay was appointed
Finance Minister and Imperial Administrator of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a post
he held until his death in 1903. Having travelled through the Balkans and
served as Austro-Hungarian Consul General to Belgrade (186775) and
envoy to the International Commission in Eastern Rumelia, Kallay was
acquainted with Bosnian conditions.122Kallay had to tread carefully and, in
a bid to maintain order, retained much of the existing social system, including
Christian peasant subservience to the Muslim landed elite. Limited reforms
were undertaken and significant strides made in improving communication
and infrastructure. Railways, mining, and the steel industry were devel
oped.123 In his policy towards the three ethno-linguistic groups, Kallay
promoted the concept of a Bosnian political nation, a civic concept which
he hoped would appeal to Muslim, Orthodox, and Catholic alike and
neutralize Serb and Croat nationalist claims. This policy rested on courting
above all the Bosnian Muslim ehte and emphasizing Bosnian cultural his
tory and uniqueness. All three religious organizations were tolerated and
even courted by the authorities to a degree. In this way, the regime hoped
the religious hierarchies would remain loyal and immunized against nascent
national ideologies. The regime-sponsored programme of Bosnianism
(boinjastvo) failed to resonate among the three communities, however.124
After 1903 the Habsburg authorities liberalized their pohcies; political
parties and newspapers were tolerated and Serbs and Croats could openly
use their national names in political discourse. In 1906 the Muslim National
Organization emerged as a de facto political party and institutional base of
the Mushm cultural awakening and autonomist movement. Already by the
late nineteenth century Bosnian Muslim intellectuals had begun increas
ingly to use Bosnian, rather than Turkish, in public discourse and literature.
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
39
The first translation of the Koran into Bosnian appeared in 1875. In 1891 a
leading Muslim intellectual, Mehmedbeg Kapetanovic Ljubusak, wrote that
the Bosnian Muslims shall never deny that we belong to the South Slavic
family, but we shall remain Bosniaks hke our forebears and nothing else.125
The Bosnian Muslim autonomist movement was not overfly anti-Habsburg;
it emphasized Muslim religious rights and Bosnian territorial integrity, but
its political edge was tempered by the fact that the Habsburg administration
never fundamentally threatened Muslim prerogatives. The dynasty and
Muslim elite thus tolerated one another, the former demanding loyalty
while the latter contented itself with religious rights and the preservation of
its socio-economic privileges. This set the stage for a brief constitutional
period (1910-13), based on a highly restrictive franchise. Alarmed by Serbias
success in the first Balkan War, in May 1913 the Habsburg authorities effec
tively suspended the constitutional experiment. Nationalist discontent
remained just beneath the surface; revolutionary societies such as Young
Bosnia, most of them with a Serb nationalist agenda, nurtured links to
Serbian clandestine societies such as the Black Hand and Peoples Defence.
Their activities were spurred on by discontent with Habsburg rule and the
growing antagonism between the Dual Monarchy and Serbia after 1903. In
the antebellum period, two conflicts were played out over Bosnia-
Herzegovina. The first and more serious was between the Dual Monarchy
and the Serbian state, which came to a head in 1914 and was resolved at
great cost in the latter s favour four years later.The second was between Serb
and Croat nationalisms and became significant only after 1918, with the
creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
Conclusion
Balkan national movements followed a similar trajectory beginning with
cultural revival leading eventually to political agitation for national liber
ation, although the particulars of each case varied depending on local
conditions. For all these movements, historicism was used to legitimize
contemporary national claims through the invocation of a glorious past.The
Greek national movement produced the first independent Balkan nation
state, with a powerfully articulated ideology of irredenta. Similarly, Serb
nationalism developed powerful messianic traits as the unifier of the South
Slavs under the banner of Serbdom. As the other national movements
40 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
emerged, incongruities among the diverse national ideologies became ever
more apparent. In practice, however, these incongruities rarely led to inter
necine violence prior to the creation of independent Balkan states in 1878.
In this period, violence was directed almost exclusively at local Muslims
who were viewed as Ottoman progeny and an internalized enemy.
The Balkan national movements were by definition republican in
oudook,from the Greek War of Independence (1821) to the Bulgarian April
Uprising (1876). But Balkan revolutionary repubhcanism was repeatedly
thwarted by the intervention of the European Great Powers, who foisted
monarchical regimes (with the exception of Serbia and Montenegro, all
foreign dynasties) upon their newly liberated states. It is litde wonder that
the Balkan obsession with historic gloriesin the event, hardly unique to
(he Balkanspersisted well beyond the period of initial cultural awakening.
This historicism reflected the influence of European intellectual trends and
served to buttress the validity of the Balkans peoples historical experience
which had been interrupted by the Ottoman caesura. Similarly, Balkan
national ideologies were avowedly secularist. This is not meant to suggest
that religion was insignificant in shaping identityit assuredly was,
particularly in places hke Bosnia-Herzegovina, where linguistically related
pre-modern confessional communities were progressively nationalized into
distinct nationsbut nationalist leaders everywhere eschewed religion as a
guiding principle, even as they acknowledged its significance. This was true
from the time of the Greek awakeners to their Albanian counterparts a
century later, who sought to overcome confessional cleavages in order to
construct a modern nation. Language rather than religion became the prin
cipal focal point around which nations coalesced and occasionally, as in the
case of Croat Yugoslavism, provided the basis for supranational constructs.
The foreign factor and stimuli were of paramount significance for Balkan
nationalism. As nationalism challenged Ottoman rule, the European Great
Powers involved themselves with the distribution of spoils. The Russian and
I labsburg empires were most immediately concerned with Ottoman
decline, but Britain and France too were compelled to intervene for the
sake of the European state system. One or more of the European Great
Powers would intercede to mediate disputes between the Ottomans and
their subject peoples, conferring autonomy on the latter as they deemed
necessary, partitioning territory and enforcing reforms. As the nineteenth
century progressed,European statesmen were forced increasingly to contend
with the Eastern Question. At the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) die
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
41
Balkans did not matter at all in the diplomatic deliberations, but it was quite
different at the Congress of Berlin (1878) where Balkan matters figured
prominently. Without Great Power intervention, either through collective
diplomacy or military involvement, none of the Balkan national movements
would have achieved independence. Serbias autonomous status was achieved
largely through Russian diplomacy (1817,1829), Greek independence (1830)
through Anglo-FrenchRussian intervention, and Bulgarian autonomy
through direct Russian military intervention followed by Great Power
diplomatic fiat (1878). The unification of the Romanian Principalities
(183066) and the countrys independence (1878) were similarly contingent
of Great Power sanction, as was Albanian independence (1913). In each of
these cases except the Albanian, Russian military intervention against the
Ottoman Empire sealed the success of Balkan national movements. The
Dual Monarchy and Italy were the midwives of Albanian nationhood. The
political fate of all Balkan nation-states was thus intimately linked to the
European states system and Great Power interests. This influence has not
always been positive. Indeed, foreign intervention has often been seen in the
region as invasive, an insidious legacy of the Eastern Question. The deter
mination of political frontiers in the nineteenth-century Balkans followed
neither the nationality principle nor popular wishes, but exclusively Great
Power deliberation and interests. Similarly, and with the exception of Serbia
and Montenegro, the form of government in each Balkan state was deter
mined by the Great Powers; European monarchies were forced on Greece
(1833),Romania (1866), Bulgaria (1879), and, however briefly, Albania (1913),
despite the fact that the revolutionaries who initiated liberation struggles
were decidedly republican.
It is worth noting that from their birth almost all Balkan national move
ments proffered supranational formulas for the region. Rhigass views could
be seen as an early form of Balkan federalism, and in the nineteenth century
all the South Slav national movements advocated (con)federalist projects at
one point or another: Hristo Botev and Vasil Levski among the Bulgarians,
Svetozar Markovic andVasa Pelagic among the Serbs, Rrste Petkov Misirkov
and Dimitrija Cupovski among the Macedonians, amongst others. Although
more limited in scope, the promoters of Croat Yugoslavism, particularly its
unitarist practitioners, aspired to build a supranational edifice. Even among
Romanians, particularly those in Transylvania, supranational formulas were
articulated during and immediately after the 1848 Revolutions and found
their most coherent expression in Aurel C. Popovicis (18631917) federalist
42 n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
United States of Great Austria (1906).126 Following the formation of social
democratic parties around the turn of the century, Balkan federalism
remained a fundamental ideological tenet, acquiring strong anti-militarist
tendencies in the process and winning broad acceptance at the 1910 Belgrade
conference of Balkan Social Democracy. The ideology of Balkan federalism
suffered inordinately during the era of integral nationalism, relegated to the
ranks of the politically marginalized democratic left (social democracy,
agrarianism). It is not at all insignificant, particularly when considering the
roots of political violence in the region, that the most ardent adversaries of
balkanization were to be found in the Balkans.
I f war makes states, as Charles Tilly famously argued in his study of
patterns of state formation in Europe, it is undoubtedly also of equal
significance in the formation of modern nations.127The Balkan national
revolutions against Ottoman rule were decisive in this regard. Their vio
lence demarcated the frontiers of the nation. As religion and nationality
were still conflated in the nineteenth century, it was initially assumed by
Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian national elites that only the Orthodox could
belong to their respective nations. There was generally little room for
Muslims, even i f they were of Greek or South Slavic stock, and they were
typically ruthlessly attacked as a consequence. All three national revolutions
had some degree of popular participation, but it would be imprudent to
conclude that popular violence was driven by nationalist hatreds. The
dynamics of this popular violence remain under-researched but were likely
far more complex, driven less by nationality than by resentments rooted in
religion and social grievance and always shaped by local circumstances.This
helps to explain why popular violence was not directed at non-dominant
Orthodox communities, such as the Roma and Turkic-speaking Gagauz, but
victimized Muslims regardless of nationality. Once the violence was
unleashed, it was virtually impossible for local communities, whether
Muslim or Orthodox, to remain neutral even i f they had desired to do so.
Local conditions were thus important. As the Ottoman Empire lost ground,
its remaining Balkan possessions became home to displaced and traumatized
Muslims from the new Balkan states, the Crimea, and the Caucasus. The
growing presence of these Muslim refugees in the nineteenth century likely
altered local dynamics and relations between older communities. The
popular violence was therefore not ethnic as such, although it nevertheless
served the objectives of the national revolutionaries.
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
43
The Balkan national revolutions of the nineteenth century had the
characteristics of modern insurgencies and replicated the conditions of civil
wars, with armed groups contesting state authority to achieve political
independence. Such conflicts are by their nature a process of severe disruption,
destroying existing allegiances whilst simultaneously giving rise to new
identities. They have the potential, as Stathis Kalyvas had observed, to alter
the arrangement of cleavages and generate realignments in identity affiliations.
In these cases, the national consciousness of the still largely illiterate and
nationally undifferentiated peasantries could be moulded.128The dynamics
of armed conflict had the potential to generate new political identities. Many
of these communities did not involve themselves in the revolutions
immediately, nor did they participate instinctively and indiscriminately in
violence against Muslims, but on both counts did so selectively and depending
on changing circumstances. Instead of attributing the popular participation
and action in these revolutions to fixed national identitiesas is so often the
case in Balkan nationalist historiographiesit would be more appropriate to
focus on the consequences of these revolutions for identity formation.129
After 1878, when fully independent Balkan nation-states finally emerged,
violence between Orthodox peoples would become more common and
served to undermine religious identities in favour of national loyalties.
Religion was nationalized only gradually through the creation of national
churches in Greece (1833), Bulgaria (1870), Romania (1872), and Serbia
(1879).130 Orthodox ecclesiastical institutions, now under state jurisdiction
and in effect extensions of the state, overtly served the cause of the nation.
However, in those heterogeneous regions which remained under Ottoman
rule until 1913, which were swamped by Muslim refugees, and where the
bulk of the Orthodox peasantry remained nationally undifferentiated and
typically identified themselves simply as Christians, conflict served as a way
of forcing people to choose sides and identities.131
Throughout the nineteenth century and particularly in the period
between 1878 and 1923, when the Balkans experienced some of its worst
political violence, the bulk of the population, the peasantry, still lacked a
strong national consciousness. For the nineteenth-century Balkan peasant,
religion rather than nationality remained the focal point of collective
identity. In a region where national boundaries were in a state of flux and
where socio-economic modernization was not yet well advanced, nationality
still had little resonance. Popular identities continued to be shaped by
44
n a t i o n s , n a t i o n a l i s m , a n d v i o l e n c e
traditional rural societyreligion, locality, and regionrather than language
or ethnicity. The sense of a wider national community or common home
land remained elusive for most peasants well into the late nineteenth or
early twentieth century.132 It is therefore not at all clear that the socially
dominant but politically marginal countryside actively supported the
nationalist agendas of their ruling elites or broadly condoned their
state-sponsored violence of this period. The interaction of state-directed
and popular violence acquired greater salience over time,133as communities
were progressively nationalized and as modern nation-states asserted their
authority, mobilizing ever greater segments of society in pursuit of various
ideological schemes, among which the nationalist project remained the
most important.
The political history ot the Balkans since 1878 involves democratizing
and modernizing nation-states succumbing in the interwar era to dictator
ships of the right, which in turn submitted at the end of the Second World
War to dictatorships of the left. Throughout these successive periods the
Balkan proponents of democratic governance, civil society, and multi-
culturalism were increasingly marginalized. The history of war, revolution,
political violence, and ethnic cleansing in the modern Balkans is therefore
by necessity a narration on the travails of this marginalization.
2
From Berlin to Lausanne
The End of Empire and the Demarcation
of National Communities, 18781923
The Balkans at the beginning of the present century made one think of a
prospective gold rush. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that
they resembled communities living on the edge of a large tract of very
desirable public land that was about to be opened up and given to whom
soever managed to put their stakes down first.1
(R. H. Markham, 1931)
I
n the sixty years between the Serbian revolt (1804) and the consolidation
of a unified, autonomous Romanian state (1866), national movements
had arisen throughout the Balkans and rebellions had been launched with
the purpose of creating sovereign states. These were achieved because of
Ottoman decline and Great Power intervention in Balkan affairs. The fol
lowing five decades, the period bracketed by the Treaties of Berlin (1878)
and Lausanne (1923) which concluded the Eastern Crisis and Greek-Turkish
War, respectively, is a seminal one in Balkan history. Most of the Balkan
peoples gained independence, but this entailed profound upheaval, enor
mous frontier changes, and the collapse of empire and movement of peoples.
In the many conflicts of this period, the Great War was, viewed from a
Balkan perspective, but one of many and not necessarily the most devas
tating; the Balkan Wars (191213) and GreekTurkish War (191923) were
more decisive in terms of shaping political frontiers and the ethnographic
mosaic of the region, as they were accompanied by mass violence designed
to reorder the region s fundamental national fabric. In some cases, entire
communities were expelled from large swathes of Balkan territory; Muslim
populations disappeared or were reduced in number either through ethnic
46 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
cleansing or formal population exchanges. It was in this tumultuous period
that the Balkans became the malignedpowder keg andcockpit of Europe,
acquiring a dubious image in the Western imagination as a zone of endennc
violence, instability, and perfidy.2
The Balkans in the Shadow of the Congress
of Berlin
The year 1878 represents a watershed in Balkan political history, the birth of
the independent Balkans. Greece had achieved independence in 1830, but
only in 1878 was independence conferred by the Great Powers on Serbia,
Romania, and Montenegro. Bulgaria gained autonomy. For all practical pur
poses the Treaty of Berlin ended the Ottoman Empire as a significant
European power. The European possessions of the Ottoman Empire
consisted of a narrow piece of territory south of the Balkan Mountains
extending from the Black Sea to the Adriatic; this was a far cry from the
potent empire that had once reached to the gates of Vienna. None of the
leaders of the Balkan states believed in 1878 that their national unifications
had yet been completed. Expansionist foreign policies after 1878 reflected
the prevailing view among ruling nationalist elites that independence was
unfinished, and laid the groundwork for conflict because of the increasingly
incongruous claims stemming from discordant national ideologies. Each
Balkan state aspired to further territory, demanding lands ruled by its people
in the distant past regardless of the legitimacy of comparable historical
claims by others or the fact that these lands were inhabited by peoples of a
different religion or nationality. The result was latent belligerence directed
at the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and war over how the
spoils should be divided.
The Congress of Berlin cast a long shadow over the Balkans, its decisions
setting in motion forces that shaped Balkan politics well into the interwar
period. The Berhn settlement failed to provide long-term solutions to the
national aspirations of the Balkan peoples. The Dual Monarchy occupied
Bosnia-Herzegovina while Great Britain acquired Cyprus, in order to bal
ance presumed Russian influence in newly autonomous Bulgaria. Serbia
was denied an opportunity to appropriate Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and the sancak (district) of Novi Pazar, and instead found itself in a lasting
albeit initially latent confrontation with the Dual Monarchy, which
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
47
eventually led to the Sarajevo assassination in June 1914. Greece had gained
new territories in Epirus and Thessaly, but the determination of the new
borders was left to negotiation with the Ottomans. In July 1881 the Great
Powers compelled the Ottomans to surrender most of Thessaly and part
of Epirus, but Greek nationalists had hoped for Crete and the Aegean Islands,
and continued to dream of Constantinople and much of Anatolia. Bulgarians
were deeply aggrieved by the loss of Eastern Rumelia and Macedonia,
which remained under Ottoman rule, the former as a semi-autonomous
province under international supervision and the latter as an integral com
ponent ol the Sultan s remaining Balkan possessions. The Bulgarian state
was squeezed between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains, with access
to the Black Sea but denied the same to the Aegean. Notwithstanding the
impermanent nature of San Stefano Great Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece were
sufficiently troubled by the possible emergence of such a state at their
expense that they subsequendy pushed with new vigour their own claims
in Macedonia, with an eye to a future crisis that might necessitate the
redrawing of Balkan frontiers.The Berlin setdement was greeted in Romania
with equal bitterness. Romania had declared war on the Ottoman Empire
in 1877, during the Russo-Turkish War, but nationalist opinion was incensed
by Russias desertion at both San Stefano and Berlin. Romania ceded to
Russia the province of Bessarabia, a major grain-producing region which
commanded the Danube delta. This was seen as a violation of Romanian
sovereignty, while the proffered compensation, the much poorer northern
Dobrudja populated by Muslim Tatars and Turks, was little recompense (see
Map 3). I he predominantly Muslim Albanians initiated their own national
movement in 1878, fearing the future partition of their lands by Great Power
fiat. The Treaty of Berlin had ended the Eastern Crisis but laid the under
pinnings for new frictions.
The Eastern Crisis also greatly contributed to the ethnic reordering of
the Balkans and to the growth of intercommunal tensions. A significant seg
ment of the Muslim population of the Bulgarian landsbe it Turkish,
Bulgarian, Circassian, or Tatarnow became a displaced population. Many
were resetded in other parts of the Balkans, like Macedonia and Kosovo,
while others fled to Anatoha. Likewise several Orthodox Macedonians and
Bulgarians left Macedonia for autonomous Bulgaria.3As a result of the
Eastern Crisis, Serbia expanded to the south-east, acquiring the town of Nis
and adjoining territories. This resulted in an exodus of 70,000 Mushms, the
majority oi whom were Albanians.They moved primarily to Kosovo, where
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FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
49
relations were strained with local Orthodox Serbs, some of whom departed
for independent Serbia.4 In 1881 Greece acquired Thessaly, which at the
time had at least 35,000 Muslims. Although the Greek government osten
sibly worked to integrate these Muslims, within years they had all left for
Ottoman territory.5Intercommunal tensions undoubtedly intensified across
the remaining Ottoman territories in the Balkans. Muslim refugees brought
with them tales of persecution, while Orthodox communities recalled their
own recent victimization at the hands of Ottoman troops and irregulars.
These personal memories of recent traumas formed the basis of new
collective memories.The desire for vengeance and a willingness to participate
in violence may have been stronger as a result, as the bonds between old
communities were shattered and new cleavages were formed.
Throughout much of this period, the Dual Monarchy was the dominant
power in the Balkans. It used the Berlin settlement to extend its influence
through its occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (1878), secret alliances with
Serbia (1881) and Romania (1883, renewed in 1902 and 1913) by which it
offered protection in return for economic and political concessions. It also
exercised considerable influence in Bulgaria and among the Albanians.
Extending its commercial influence, the Dual Monarchy erected a network of
railways that culminated in the opening of the Orient Express (1888), giving
it a stronger position than Russia until at least 1903. Russia was the least satis
fied with the Berlin settlement. It had based its entire position in the Balkans
on support of Bulgaria, but this proved problematic as Bulgarian domestic
developments undermined Russian influence in the short term. In 1881Russia
renewed with Germany and the Dual Monarchy the Three Emperors League.
Although it lapsed in 1886, Austro-Russian cooperation in the Balkans con
tinued into the early twentieth century. In April 1897 the Habsburg and
Russian emperors, Franz Joseph and Nicholas II, reached an understanding of
far-reaching significance.They agreed in the short term to maintain the status
quo and advocate reform to mitigate the risk of upheaval, even as they agreed
that Ottoman rule would eventually end. The disposition of Bosnia-
Herzegovina and Novi Pazar was discussed, the creation of an Albanian state
envisaged, and the partition of the remaining Ottoman territories by the
Balkan states anticipated.6Austro-Russian cooperation found expression in
the MuravievGoluchowski agreement (1897), which effectively placed the
Balkans on ice for the next decade.7But as the Great Powers drifted into
adversarial alliances by 1907, the escalation of their rivalries gave Balkan devel
opments greater salience and ultimately set the stage for the events of 1914.
50
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
The Politics of Modernization in the Balkans
After 1878 the formidable tasks of state- and nation-building in the Balkans
were carried out simultaneously with economic modernization; the former
took precedence over the latter as the nation-state worked to create the
preconditions for economic transformation. State- and nation-building
were costly enterprises, entailing an expensive commitment to creating and
sustaining administrations and militaries, providing for mass education and
modern communication networks. As one contemporary observer remarked,
commenting on Bulgarian circumstances: The realization of this liberating
ideal [Macedonian liberation] constituted one of the chief motives
stimulating Bulgaria toward the very rapid progress it made during the
quarter of a century [after 1878]. The countrys domestic social and
economic development was driven by the conviction that the nation must
move forward to a position where it would be able to fulfil its national
mission, namely the freeing of all the Bulgarians and the uniting of them in
a single, self-governing kingdom.8In the late nineteenth-century Balkans,
political elites with tew exceptions viewed economic modernization and
national integration as simultaneous pursuits, which meantredeeming their
irredenta in the Ottoman Balkans. Under conditions of foreign domination,
notions of development and progress in the Balkans became closely
intertwined with and in fact inseparable from the nationalist project. Only
a powerful nation-state could serve as an institutional framework within
which development could take place.9
Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the independent Balkan states
participated in the modernization process. This was reflected in the growth
of towns, impressive public works projects, the creation of communication
networks (railways, roads, telegraphs), the commercialization of national
economies and expanded foreign trade, the spread of schools, literacy, and
higher education. While industrialization was slow and handicapped by the
overwhelmingly agrarian nature of Balkan societies, which lacked the neces
sary raw materials, technical skills, and domestic capital, the beginnings of
industrial development date from this period. Romania was an exception in
so far as it managed to attract foreign investment for its lucrative oil
industryin 1914 Romania was the fifth largest oil producer in the world
which in turn stimulated the iron, machine, and timber industries.The nature
of modernization in the Balkan setting entailed growing government indebt
edness, eventually leading to greater foreign control ovei national budgets
.inti economies.
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
51
State borrowing was at first directed to the construction of railways and
conformed to European Great Power interests. Railroad construction was
enthusiastically pursued after 1878; every Balkan state established a state
railway companyRomania in 1882, Bulgaria in 1884, and Serbia in
1887resulting in state-owned railways built by foreign concerns. Between
1885 and 1912, the total length of railway lines in service increased dramati
cally throughout the region, by 841 per cent in Bulgaria, 613 per cent in
Greece, 285 per cent in Serbia, and 160 per cent in Romania.10This entailed
assuming ever more foreign debt and greater economic dependence on
European capital markets. European lenders often insisted that revenues
from specific domestic taxes be attached to the repayment ofloans. Ottoman
state revenues were attached in this way in 1881, Greeces in 1897, and
Bulgarias in 1902. In the decade before 1914 foreign loans were directed
increasingly to military modernization. State revenues were invested in
state-building, namely, the formation of modern militaries, gendarmeries,
and state administrations. By 1911 public debt expenses accounted for a
significant share of Balkan state budgets, but they were still below the
French level, while per capita military expenditure was far lower than in
Great Britain, France, and Germany.12The region was exposed to intensive
European capital and economic penetration, and was progressively inte
grated into the European capitalist economy. While it may be true that the
Balkans had by 1914 experienced only the beginnings of industrialization
and an uneven pattern of development, it is undeniable that the path to
modernity had been entered upon.
Balkan political and intellectual elites, with some notable exceptions,
were deeply impressed with the achievements of Europe, which was their
paragon of modernity and progress. Modernization was virtually equated
with Europeanization, the advance of technology, the spread of industry
and commerce, secularization, urbanization, and the establishment of cen
tralized power and institutions of parliamentary democracy. The Balkan
states thus attempted to make the leap towards modernity and to share in
the progress being experienced by Europe. By the turn of the century, most
Balkan capitals no longer resembled the Ottoman towns of decades past and
looked like modern European cities. O f the dozens of mosques that had
once existed in these towns, only one survived into the twentieth century
111each of Belgrade, Sofia, and Athens: the Bajrakli Mosque (1575), the Banva
Bashi Mosque (1576), and the Fethiye Mosque (1458), respectively, although
the last of these was no longer a place of worship.13Visitors to the Balkans
were often impressed with the outward trappings of progress. An American
52
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
diplomat remarked in 1901 that Bulgaria was a fine diversified country,
which had made remarkable progress in view of the fact that but little more
than twenty years ago nearly every substantial thing upon it was laid waste
by devastating armies.14
The Balkan state also actively promoted national identity, through public
education, national churches, military service, and national holidays. While
the Balkans may have remained overwhelmingly rural by 1914, with numer
ically insignificant and socially marginal proletariats and bourgeoisies,
urbanization, the advent of new technologies, and the establishment of
modern bureaucratic states had nonetheless undermined traditional society.
Political power in the Balkan states was not wielded by bourgeois elites, but
the dominant intelligentsias and politicized bureaucracies were committed
to modernity and determined to conform to the organizational patterns of
the European state. As state-building was integral to the modernist project
in the Balkans, the result was centralized states with relatively large admin
istrations.15The political elites were dependent on the power and prestige of
the state. The only viable avenue of employment for many educated Greeks,
Serbs, Bulgarians, and Romanians was the state bureaucracy, whose growth
intensified noticeably at the turn of the century. In Bulgaria public-sector
employment was nearly 28,000 in 1904 but almost 50,000 in 1911, while in
Greece the state apparatus grew from 23,000 to 33,000 between 1870 and
1889, an increase of about 43 per cent.16 By 1910 state employees exclusive
of the military exceeded 5 per cent of every Balkan labour force, double
that of industrial labourers.17The emergence of bureaucratic ruling elites
had a powerful impact on political culture, as existing social realities rein
forced the vertical exercise of political authority.18
Even in Romania, where the nobility controlled much of the land, the
state was dominated by liberal nationalists drawn largely from the intell
igentsia and gentry, both of whom associated their social prestige with
Romanias political modernization. Their avowed cause was modernization
under state protection, by encouraging the growth of commerce, a
Romanian middle class, and a modern bureaucracy.19 The debate over
modernization was less pronounced in Romania than elsewhere in the
Balkans; Westernization was generally supported, with only the pace of
reform being open to debate. Theodor Rosettis On the Direction of Our
Progress (1873) called for the rediscovery of the vital kernel, the recovery of
original values, and the rejection of imitation. Rosetti and other conserva
tives feared the political and social consquences of rapid change, while the
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
53
Liberal intelligentsia urged a much faster pace of progress as there was no
choice but to adopt unhesitatingly the model of Western development.20
In all the Balkan states, political elites were an outgrowth of national
liberation struggles that relied, even in Romania where independence came
through diplomatic bargaining rather than revolutionary struggle, on the
state for social status and power.The decidedly centralized state apparatuses
and politicized bureaucracies that governed them proved to be attractive
instruments of social advancement. The Balkan state was the only agent
capable of mobilizing the necessary resources needed to pursue social
and economic reform and the concomitant tasks of state-building and
national integration.
The Bulgarian Turnovo Constitution (1879) created a unicameral parlia
ment, provided for fundamental civil rights, local self-government, and
granted the franchise to all adult males over 21. However, the monarch was
the constitutional head of state, commander-in-chief of the armed forces,
with the power to promulgate laws and exercise considerable control over
the executive branch, without bearing any liability for its decisions.The first
prince of autonomous Bulgaria, Alexander von Battenberg (r. 187986), sus
pended the constitution while his successor, Ferdinand von Saxe-Coburg-
Gotha (r. 18861918), adroidy navigated its articles to establish a personal
regime. The Bulgarian political establishment and governmental parties
were not fundamentally divided by ideology; their domestic policies scarcely
differed and they supported rapid modernization through state-building.
Under Prime Minister Stefan Stambolov (188794) the power of the exec
utive increased a great deal, control over the military was established and the
democratic components of the electoral system were muted.21The absence
of significant social divisions and Ferdinands control of the military and
foreign policyand the right to appoint the Ministers of War and Foreign
Policymeant that there was little over which the political parties could
fight other than the rewards of office. By the late nineteenth century, parties
were held together by prominent personalities and were distinguished by
their pursuit of office. As the supply of educated persons began to outstrip
the number of public offices available to them, the trafficking of public
office became a serious problem and a weapon at the disposal of the exec
utive.22As in other Balkan states, changes in government were occasioned
by extensive personnel modifications in the central and local bureaucracies.
Using patronage to exercise his influence over political leaders, Ferdinand
could topple governments by orchestrating the resignation of his two
54
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
dependent ministers and then reconstruct the executive. This was the basis
of his personal regime.
The considerable progress the country made by the early twentieth cen
tury prevented widespread peasant discontent. There was, however, an
intellectual current of anti-modernization (and anti-Occidentalism),
expressed by the playwright Dobri Vojnikov in his Civilization Wrongly
Understood (1871) and others, who glorified the purity of peasant life which
supposedly stood apart from the dangers of the modern city.23Only after
Bulgarias growth slowed, however, and particularly after the disastrous mili
tary defeats of 1913 and 1918, which facilitated massive peasant mobilization
and the emergence of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU) as
a serious political force, were these official policies openly questioned.
Between 1879 and 1911, the share of the Bulgaria budget devoted to mili
tary expenditures fell from 40.6 per cent to 21.7, but military spending
accounted for the single largest share of the budget, followed by debt servic
ing and public works. Spending on public education as a share of the budget
increased from 1.5 per cent in 1879 to 11.2 in 1911.24Bulgarias profligate
borrowing resulted in a 70 per cent increase in debt between 1901and 1912.
Much of this money went to the military, which was widely regarded as the
best in the region; the size of the military by the eve of the Balkan wars was
87,000. Unlike its Serbian and Greek counterparts, after its birth in 1888 the
Bulgarian army never openly contested the political system. It remained an
influential and visible agent in the countrys politics, however, witnessed by
the fact that General Racho Petrov Stoyanov served as Prime Minister in
1901and 1903-6.25
King Othon (r. 183362) of Greece had ruled without a constitution or
legislative assembly, relying on a Bavarian Council of Regents and Bavarian
troops to maintain order. The foundations of an administration, military,
judiciary, and educational system were established, but with little Greek
input. Discontent erupted in the 3 September Revolution (1843), which
compelled Othon to grant a constitution (1844) and convene a bicameral
legislature.The 1844 constitution was a liberal document by the standards of
the day, but it did not recognize the notion of popular sovereignty and the
king retained considerable authority.26His continued interference in gov
ernment provoked in 1862 another military rebellion and prompted his
(light from the country. He was succeeded by King Georgios I von
( ;liicksburg (r. 18631910) who in 1864 issued a constitution which acknow
ledged popular sovereignty, abolished the Senate, extended the franchise
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
55
practically to all adult males, and reduced royal prerogatives, although
these were still considerable. Greek politics remained heavily dynastic,
however; political parties were highly personal and functioned as loose
coalitions grouped around powerful leaders. As in Bulgaria, competition
centred on the pursuit of office, which was needed to satisfy the demands
of voters-clients.27
The Greek state apparatus was appropriated predominandy by
Peloponnesian notables, whose political power was based on their role dur
ing the revolution and in subsequent decades on state patronage. As the
Greek state progressively became more centralized, these oligarchies con
solidated their influence within the political system. The introduction of
parliamentary politics in 1864 in no way impeded their authority, as they
thrived through clientage networks. This led the satirist Emmanouil Roidis
to remark in 1875 thatwhat causes parties to come into existence and com
pete with each other [in Greece] is the admirable accord with which all
want the same thing: to be fed at the public expense.28The state thus
assumed great importance as a source of employment; the resultant mag
nified bureaucracy stemmed both from political modernization and the
need for politicians to dispense patronage. Voters looked to politicians for
employment and protection from the exactions of the state, which was
perceived by much of the population as basically hostile. As a consequence,
changes in administrations resulted in frequent modifications within the
bureaucracy. Political parties lacked rudimentary structure. Significant
reforms came only after the August 1909 military coup, which led to the
ascent of Eleftherios Venizelos and the Liberal Party in 1910 and the
constitutional and social reforms of the following year.29
The Greek military, which emerged following the Berlin Congress,
became a significant actor in politics and the nationalist cause. Rigorous
military training was introduced and universal conscription was established
between 1879 and 1882, leading to a standing army of 30,000. Military
officers and veterans were equally important in the national cause; military
officers comprised about 80 per cent of the National Society (1894), which
was active in Crete and Macedonia. In 1908, after the Young Turk Revolution,
these officers formed the Pan-Hellenic Organization and associated Military
League, which launched the 1909 coup.30The ascent ofVenizelos and of the
I iberal Party, rather than being the result of a triumphant liberalizing bour
geoisie, reflected far more the personal popularity ofVenizelos in the
aftermath of Greeces humiliating 1897 defeat at the hands of the
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
Ottoman Empire. By 1909, parliamentary government was widely seen as
passive and elitist while political parties were viewed as causes of national
decline. Venizelos consciously promoted himself as an agent of national
regeneration, and his political rise was an expression of a new and more
vigorous Greek nationalism, which reinforced the personality-driven nature
of Greek politics.31
Serbias trajectory under the Obrenovices (r. 181743, 18581903) was
similar. Society remained poorly differentiated, predominantly agrarian and
patriarchal, into the second half of the nineteenth century.32Several con
stitutions were issuedthe Presentation Constitution (1835), the Turkish
Constitution (1838), and theGovernors Constitution (1869)but the pre
rogatives of the Crown remained considerable, even after the birth in
October 1858 of the modern Serbian National Assembly. The 1869
Constitution still conferred on the Prince (King) important powers,
including much of the legislative and budgetary authority and the ability to
influence the composition of the National Assembly. It was also highly
restrictive in the definition of personal rights and political freedoms.33Only
in the 1888 Radical Constitution were legislative powers confirmed; the
sitting of the National Assembly was extended to three years, secret ballot
ing was introduced, and suffrage was extended to most adult males. The
1903 Constitution was promulgated without royal assent following the regi
cide of that year, and was a revised version of the 1888 document.
Modernization in Serbia produced a fissure within the political elite.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the ruhng establishment,
grouped into loose coalitions of Liberals and Progressives, favoured mod
ernization along European patterns.34Under the Progressives, led from 1881
to 1886 by Milan Pirocanac, together with Cedomilj Mijatovic, Stojan
Novakovic,andMilutin Garasanin,a gradualist approach to liberal reform
the extension of civil rights and political freedoms through representative
governmentwas adopted, under the institutional leadership of the intel
ligentsia. From 1880 to 1883 Pirocanac served as premier and initiated several
modernizing reforms, including a new army and the first Serbian railways
(BelgradeNisPirot).35 Much of the younger intelligentsia opposed this
form of modernization, however. The populist Radical Party, formed in
1881, emerged as Serbias first modern political party. It became the leading
Serbian political party for the next half century, originally combining social
ist, anarchist, and peasantist elements into a militant programme marked by
uncompromising opposition to the absolutist political system and personal
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
57
regime of Milan Obrenovic. Early Radicalism professed a programme
designed to transform the state into an organic society rooted in traditional
Serbian institutions, such as the extended family household (zadruga) and
the commune (opstina). As such, it challenged the urban and intellectual base
of both Liberals and Progressives. The primary role of the state was to safe
guard the prosperity of the people as a national community rather than
individual rights or civic freedoms. This early programme was overdy anti
capitalist, but its appeal and the partys organizational deftness enabled the
Radicals to mobilize a significant segment of the peasantry, thereby playing
an important role in Serbian national integration in opposition to the exist
ing constitutional order. The early Radical leadership constructed their
political identity on a negation of the very principles of the modern
European state. Following the abortive Timok Rebellion (1883), in which
several Radicals were implicated, Radicalism progressively moderated its
political programme; it was responsible for the 1888 Constitution and under
Nikola Pasics leadership, emerged as the dominant political party in the
country and remained in almost uninterrupted power during the first three
decades of the twentieth century.36
After 1903 political parties generally became more important in Serbian
political life.The Radical Party was no longer a peasant party, its self-portrayal
as defender of the peasants interests notwithstanding. It was run by intel
lectuals and professional politicians whose increasingly etatist ideology was
committed to national consolidation through state modernization and
territorial expansion. The Serbian political system of the antebellum period
was certainly more democratic than it had been under the Obrenovic es, but
in practice the 1903 Constitution still provided for significant executive and
royal powers; the king possessed considerable leverage over the parliament
and state budget. In the first years of the constitutional regime, King Petar I
Karadjordjevic (r. 190321)without the consent of the National Assembly
but with the support of the army that brought him to powerinterfered in
the formation and work of government.The period between 1903 and 1914
was one of greater political pluralism but too brief to allow for a meaningful
expansion of parliamentarism. As a result, Serbian politics remained highly
personalized and divisive.37 Moreover, the political role of the military
increased significantly after 1903, as did that of societies like Peoples
Defence (1908) and Unification or Death (1911), better known as the
1Mack Hand, under Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic-Apis.38Much as in Greece
after 1909, the military was more assertive, its younger cadre nationalist
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in orientation and committed to the ideology of Serb irredenta and ani
mated by dreams of Serbia as a South Slav Piedmont.
Montenegro entered the modern period as an autonomous theocracy
under the Orthodox metropolitans of the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty. The
Principality of Montenegro formally emerged in 1852 under Vladika Danilo
II who ended the theocracy and assumed the title of Prince Danilo 1
Petrovic-Njegos (r. 185260). Following his assassination, his nephew Prince
Nikola I (r. 18601910, king, r. 191018) succeeded in winning indepen
dence and enlarging the principalitys territory. State modernization was
slow and uneven. While a Constitution was promulgated in 1905 and a rudi
mentary party system emerged, the principality (after 1910, kingdom) was
run more like an absolutist state than a constitutional monarchy.39
The Romanian political system was remarkably stable i f less representative
than the other Balkan states, with the possible exception of Montenegro.
The long reign of Carol I (r. 18661914), which began with parliament
unanimously adopting a new constitution (June 1866) that remained in
force until 1923, contributed to this stability. The Romanian political elite,
still dominated by a few prominent personalities, organized itself into two
parties that alternated regularly in office. The luminary of the Liberal Party,
formed in 187$, was I on C. Bratianu, while the Conservatives, constituted
in 1880, were originally led by Barbu Catargiu and later Lascar Catargiu.
Bratianu served as prime minister from 1876 to 1888, during which time
Romania achieved independence (1878), became a kingdom (1881), and an
extensive amount of modernizing legislation was passed on a range of issues,
from ministerial responsibility and village structure to the organization of
education and a modern army.40Between 1888 and 1895 several Conservative
cabinets governed the country, and thereafter they rotated almost auto
matically with Liberals until 19L8, with the Conservatives generally
representing the interests of large landowners and Liberals the gentry,
intelligentsia, and nascent middle classes. As elsewhere in the Balkans, the
kings role was important. Between 1881 and 1914, every government
supported by the king won at the polls.41In addition, the political system
remained restrictive. Several electoral reforms after 1884 expanded the
franchise, but in 1913 less than 2 per cent of the population had a direct vote
lor t he Senate and Chamber of Deputies. I f one adds those with an indirect
vote (fewer than 1.2 million), only 17.6 per cent of the population could vote
in one way or another. Despite reform and several advances over the previous
century, and notwithstanding the stability of the constitutional system, the
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59
Romanian political system was clearly imperfect and served too small a
segment of society.42
The growth of state power, which was clearly discernible in the Balkans,
was one of the most palpable facets of late nineteenth-century European
society. Nationalists across Europe understood that the state alone possessed
the power and apparatus needed to mobilize national resources, carry out
modernizing reform, safeguard the national interest, and overcome region
alism and thus achieve national integration.The expansion of state authority
reflected both the spread of nationalism and the concomitant commitment
to modernity, all of which was accompanied by new state demands on its
citizenry, necessitating an enormous expansion of bureaucracy everywhere
in Europe. The Balkans were no exception. Modernity was measured in
terms of achieving the standards of European civilization. Balkan intellec
tuals wished to participate in the European century of technological and
industrial progress as well as social and economic transformation. A strong
state was perceived as integral to modernity and nation-building. But in a
region where the peasantry comprised a majority of the population, state-
building entailed coercing peasants into supporting modernization. While
the progress that was achieved from the last two decades of the nineteenth
century onwards was financed by foreigners and high taxation, it was nec
essarily borne by the Balkan peasant.The state was the engine of modernity
in the Balkans and was increasingly seen by Balkan elites as the only genuine
actor in social life; the politicized bureaucracy and intelligentsia, with some
honourable exceptions, compelled peasantries to conform to state struc
tures in the name of modernity. Although the condition of the Balkan
peasant varied considerably from one country to the next, the typical
peasant remained by 1914 quite poor, with small and inefficient plots
predominating. In Bulgaria and Serbia the peasants owned the land and
small holdings were the norm, whereas in the Romanian lands,Transylvania,
and much of Croatia, the native nobilities held tide roughly to half the
arable land. Modernization and the penetration of the market into the
countryside wrought significant changes to traditional rural life and customs.
The confluence of state-building and the European-wide Great Depression
(1873-95) made for growing social tensions and generally reinforced the
vertical exercise of political power.
The Serbian Timok Rebellion (1883) is emblematic of popular resistance
to state-building in the Balkans. The Treaty of Berlin conferred independ
ence on Serbia but required that Belgrade modernize its communications,
6o FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
through the development of a railway system, and raise a standing army. In
June 1883 the increasingly unpopular authoritarian regime of King Milan
Obrenovic ordered the military to collect old firearms from the peasantry.
When the authorities implemented the order in early October 1883
shordy after the recent Radical electoral victory had been annulleda
rebellion occurred in the Timok region and its environs. Local officialdom
was attacked and state authority temporarily neutralized. In many places,
the Radicals assumed a leadership role but the newly formed and better
equipped Serbian military crushed the rebellion by November 1883. That
same year the so-called national movement occurred in Croatia, which was
largely motivated by difficult rural economic circumstances and a sub
stantial increase in taxation resulting from the growth of an autonomous
Croatian state apparatus.43The prolonged agrarian crisis, combined with a
substantial growth in rural population, gave way to rapid socio-economic
differentiation in the village. The traditional peasant way of life began
increasingly to dissolve under the operation of market forces. The new
bureaucratic state collected taxes in money, forcing peasants into the market
and increasing their need for credit. The peasants struggle against exploit
ation quickly became a clash against the city,44where the modernizing state
bureaucracy had replaced the gentry as a veritable new scourge. While the
1883 rebellion in Croatia possessed a nationalist component, the underlying
causes were social and economic. In several districts, Croat peasants attacked
the local intelligentsia and threatened all government officials with death
for allegedly being in the pay of the Magyars.45The disturbances were soon
quelled and between September and December 1883 a commissariat gov
erned the countryside. A government official who investigated the causes of
the 1883 rebellion concluded that the new state taxes and other burdens
feed upon the wretched peasant, who saw every civilized person as his
enemy and torturing demon. That is why one heard the slogan during the
disorders, All kaput asi [wearers of city coats; townsfolk] should be killed.46
These scenes were reprised in the autumn of 1918, in the waning days of the
( ire at War, as peasant rebellions and the revolutionary green cadre swept
across much of eastern Croatia.
A similar situation prevailed in Romania, where the confluence of state-
building and economic power was exercised upon a despondent peasantry.
The enormous divide between landed elite and peasant, greater in Romania
than elsewhere in the Balkans, led to several jacqueries, as in 1888, in which
peasants responded with an elemental anger. The great peasant revolt of
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March 1907 began in Moldavia with attacks against Jews and subsequendy
all landlords, eventually spreading to Wallachia. The following month over
120,000 troops were mobilized and the rebellion was gradually suppressed
but with great brutality. According to official statistics more than 1,000
peasants were killed, although most contemporary observers and scholars
place the number at several times the official count.47 Even in Bulgaria,
where rural conditions were more favourable, the situation of the peasants
deteriorated. Large tracts of formerly Mushm-owned land had been made
available for purchase after 1879, but the absence of banks led to usurious
financial practices by private money-lenders. By the turn of the century,
hundreds of villages were indebted to usurers at a time (188797) when state
taxes had nearly doubled. Most peasants believed they were overtaxed com
pared to the towns while receiving few benefits in return, harbouring a
deepening resentment against the town and bureaucracy.48These social
fissures suggest that the identification of the socially dominant Balkan
countryside with the nationalizing mission of its respective states was by no
means certain. Peasants had little influence on state policy and their percep
tions of national interests were difficult to assess. Most peasants were likely
suspicious of (or even apathetic i f not inimical to) the Greater nationalist
projects of their modernizing elites, whether in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia,
or Greece.49Leon Trotsky was hardly alone in observing during the Balkan
Wars that while educated Serbs were generally enthusiastic about the war
against the Ottoman Turk, Serb peasant conscripts generallywere depressed
and extremely homesick for their villages.50It is hardly surprising that, in
light of these growing social crevices within modernizing Balkan society,
the years around the turn of the century witnessed the proliferation of peas
ant parties: the Romanian Peasants Party (1895, recast in and after 1918)
originally under Constantin Dobrescu-Arge; the Bulgarian Agrarian
National Union (18991901) of Aleksandur Stamboliiski; and the Croat
Peoples Peasant Party (1904) of the brothers Radic.51
Late nineteenth-century parliamentary regimes in the Balkans were thus
based on relatively liberal constitutional systems by the standards of the time,
although in practice these regimes restricted popular participation. The mod
ernizing Balkan states were controlled by oligarchs or professional politicians,
even while maintaining some pluralism through legislative assemblies, which
were in most cases, with the exception of Romania and Montenegro,
theoretically elected through universal manhood suffrage. These restrictive
parliamentary governments were reformed to varying degrees only after
62 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
military coups in Serbia (1903) and Greece (1909) or following the Great War,
as in Bulgaria, Romania, and the Balkan provinces of the former I Iabsburg
monarchy. In the Balkan milieu modernization accordingly entailed strong
government and legitimized the unquestioned role of the centralized state
bureaucracy and army as saviours of the nation. But i f political moderniza
tion in the Balkans is understood as the implementation of the European
model of the modern statea centralized bureaucracy, standing professional
army, and legislature representing popular sovereigntythen Balkan patterns
after 1878 were not markedly dissimilar from wider European trends. Indeed,
the Balkan states compare favourably with Hungary (including Croatia and
Transylvania) and several southern European states, notably Italy and the
Iberian countries, and even Sweden and Belgium, where the franchise
remained highly restrictive or was broadened relatively late. In the event, the
extension of the franchise everywhere in pre-1914 Europe tended to perpetu
ate traditional elites.52While there remained a discrepancy between modern
political institutions and traditional social structures in the Balkans before
1914, even in countries where these incongruities were absent or far less pro
nounced, as in Imperial Germany, the political outcome was not necessarily
liberal. Moreover, political modernization in the Balkans was handicapped as
much by the requirements and impositions of the European states system as
by indigenous social developmental constraints. The monarchical regimes
foisted upon the Balkan states by the Great Powers as a condition of their
independence often frustrated and occasionally subverted democratizing
tendencies. Despite their limited economic abilities, the Balkan states
did achieve a degree of political and cultural modernity, whether in terms
of state expansion, commercialization, educational policies, and even
political mobilization.
Whatever the form of government and no matter the level of commit
ment to constitutional liberalism, what all Balkan elites had in common was
a commitment to the nationalist project, the homogenization of their societies,
and the ideology of irredenta. Here too Balkan patterns were not at vari
ance with broader European trends. The seeming bellicosity and nationalist
militancy of the Balkan states in the antebellum period was not markedly
out of step with European attitudes and developments, particularly i f one
recalls that the Congress of Berlin, which gave birth to the independent
Balkans, also inaugurated the new European imperialism which in short
order partitioned the African continent.The emergence of integral nation
alism, Social Darwinism, and mass politics at the turn of the century gave
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63
nationalism an illiberal and aggressive hue across the continent. The Italian
advance into Ottoman Libya in 1911 was greeted by a domestic nationalist
enthusiasm which rivalled that of the Balkan states the following year and
European public fervour for war in 1914.53While European public opinion
was outraged at the regicide of the Obrenovices (1903)in particular the
unfortunately cruel manner in which the royals were murderedand King
Georgios of Greece (1913), political violence and assassination were hardly
unique to the Balkans. At the turn of the twentieth century, assassinations
were pervasive and claimed President Marie Franois Sadi Carnot of France
(1894), King Umberto of Italy (1900), President William McKinley of the
United States (1901), King Carlos of Portugal (1908), and Premier Jos
Canalejas of Spain (1912).54What made the Balkan borderland distinct was
its remarkable ethnic heterogeneity, which was especially true of the regions
remaining contested zones. It is this heterogeneity which made the policies
of national homogenization and ideologies of irredenta problematical in the
Balkan context; citizenship was everywhere subordinated to the dominant
nation. The weakness ofcivil society exacerbated this problem;55the auto
cephalous Orthodox churches were from their inception subordinate to the
state and served as nationalizing instruments, while bureaucracies, the
press, and autonomous social institutions were insufficiently strong to act
independently of vested political interests. As the prevailing discourse of
nationhood was institutionalized by the native intelligentsias and political
elites, by the first decade of the twentieth century the attempts of the Balkan
states to achieve national homogenization produced intense interstate rival
ries, leading eventually to violence, discriminatory practices against national
minorities, and forced population exchanges.
Balkan Imperialisms: The Macedonian Question,
1878-1914
Balkan rivalries between 1878 and 1914 centred on three regions and their
resultant Questions: the Macedonian, Albanian, and South Slav. At the
end of the twentieth century, during Yugoslavias dissolution, these same i f
somewhat reformulated questions still bedevilled the western Balkans.
I hey revolved around the national character and ultimate disposition of the
remaining Ottoman territories in the Balkans, from Bosnia-Herzegovina in
the north-west t hrough the sancak of Novi Pazar and Kosovo to Macedonia
64
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
in the central Balkans. The Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia (1878)
pushed the South Slav Question into the background, at least until
Annexation Crisis (19089) and Balkan Wars (191213), at which time the
Albanian Question also emerged as a diplomatic issue. In the decades im
mediately after the Berlin Congress, the most complicated and salient
problem in the Ottoman Balkans was the Macedonian Question. From
1878 to 1912 it occupied Ottoman and European statesmen alike more than
any other single diplomatic problem, contributing significantly to regional
instability and violence.
Macedonia was of great strategic importance, commanding the com
munication route down the Morava andVardar valleys and offering both
Bulgaria and Serbia a vital oudet to the sea. It also possessed fertile plains
and considerable agricultural wealth. Control of Macedonia would give any
Balkan state the requisite strength to be the dominant regional power. To
the Ottomans, Macedonia meant not only rule over more than one million
Muslims but also substantial tax revenues and agriculture to feed the empire.
In light of Macedonias proximity to the Straits, the Great Powers could not
ignore the looming regional conflict. Among the Balkan contenders,
Bulgaria and Greece appeared to have the advantage. Although militarily
weaker than Bulgaria, the Greek position was seemingly buttressed by the
traditional role of the Orthodox Church. However, the formation of the
Bulgarian Exarchate created a level playing field that, when coupled with
Bulgarias military resources and seeming ethnographic advantage, appeared
to portend Bulgarias eventual triumph. Serbia seemingly had the weakest
position, as it lacked an ecclesiastical presence in Macedonia comparable to
the Greeks and Bulgarians and, according to most contemporary census
figures, had few co-nationals in the region. Romania too entered the
Macedonian context by claiming the Romance-speaking Vlachs as co
nationals, but this was merely an attempt to constrain Bulgarian influence.
It was far from clear to the Great Powers which i f any Balkan state had the
most legitimate claim, insofar as legitimacy entailed stability. Reliable census
data were absent, while Balkan nationalists offered contradictory and often
questionable statistics.
Macedonia became the focal point of Balkan rivalries following two
events: Bulgarian unification with Eastern Rumelia (1885) and the Greek
Ottoman War (1897), resulting from the Greek nationalist claim to Crete.
The semi-autonomous Ottoman province of East Rumelia was admin
istered by an international commission and provided willi a substantial
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65
regulation (April 1879) detailing its management.The Christian governor,
appointed by the Ottoman Sultan with the sanction of the Great Powers,
ruled with the assistance of European administrators. A provincial
assembly was established, with a combination of elected, appointed and
ex officio representatives. The Muslims probably possessed a majority
before 1875, but the massacres of 18768 and forced emigration there
after created an Orthodox Bulgarian majority. Bulgarian, Turkish, and
Greek were the official languages. In September 1885 a Bulgarian nation
alist revolt in Eastern Rumelia declared union with Bulgaria. The
Ottomans hesitated to intervene without Great Power sanction, despite
the clear violation of the Berlin Treaty. The Great Powers failed to abide
by their obligations, however. In an attempt to avoid a wider regional
conflict, a conference of ambassadors was convened in Constantinople
(November 1885) where significant differences emerged. Only Serbia
contested unification, declaring war on Bulgaria to gain territorial com
pensation, but the Bulgarian victory over the better equipped Serbian
army at Slivnitza (17- 19 November) ensured that the conflict would be
brief. Peace was concluded in March 1886, with a personal union
between Bulgaria and East Rumelia. Thereafter, Bulgarian attentions
centred almost exclusively on Macedonia.
Greek policy after 1878 was driven by a powerful ideology of irredenta,
as Greeks constituted the largest single minority in the Ottoman Empire,
with absolute or relative majorities in several strategically important
provinces.56 Greek nationalist opinion almost unanimously supported the
Megali Idea, which entailed expansion into Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia,
and south into the Aegean Islands, including Crete. With the exception of
Macedonia, most of these territories had sizeable Greek-speaking
populations. When Bulgaria achieved unification in 1885, Athens tried to
secure the rest of Epirus in compensation, but was compelled by the Great
Powers to desist. Thereafter, especially with the formation of the National
Society (1894), Athens focused nationalist ambitions on Crete.
As part of the Berlin settlement, in October 1878 the Ottoman governor
of Crete and European diplomats concluded the Haleppa Pact, which
provided for a representative assembly with a Greek majority. However,
Greek brigands, supported by nationalist elements in Greece, continued to
infiltrate the island and conduct attacks against Ottoman officialdom. In 1889
the Porte suspended the Organic Regulation (1868) and the Haleppa Pact,
ruling directly through a Muslim governor and abandoning representative
66 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
institutions. In late January 1897 a group of Cretan rebels, joined by Greeks
from the mainland, launched a revolt against the Porte and declared enosis
(union) with Greece. In February 1897 a Greek force was sent to occupy
the island under the leadership of Prince Georgios.This force cut a swathe
of destruction, killing thousands of Muslims; Ottoman troops responded in
kind against Greeks. Nationalist opinion in Greece prompted the govern
ment to intervene, thereby provoking a brief but disastrous war. In earlv
April 1897 Prince Constantine led a small force into Ottoman territory
near Janina, which the Ottoman army of Monastir routed before moving
deep into GreekThessaly.The Great Powers imposed an armistice and peace
agreement by which the Ottomans agreed to abandon Thessaly and the
Greeks promised to pay a war indemnity to Constantinople. Great Power
intervention saved Greece from a humiliating peace and compelled the
Porte in December 1897 to grant a new autonomous government in Crete
under a Christian governor. This turned out to be Prince Georgios of
Greece. While he was obliged to protect the remaining Muslim population,
the predominandy Greek militia secured de facto Greek influence. Crete
would not be formally annexed until October 1912, but this did not stem
the exodus of Muslim refugees after 1897. According to the 1881 census,
there were approximately 75,000 Muslims and 200,000 Orthodox Christians
on Crete; by 1923, the Muslim population numbered fewer than 40,000.57
Despite their diplomatic victory, the Greek monarchy and government suf
fered the stigma of military defeat. They responded by recoiling from direct
confrontation with the Ottomans, renewed their emphasis on military
modernization, and competed with the Bulgarians and Serbs for control of
Macedonia. The events of 1885 and 1897 demonstrated that the status quo
imposed by the Berlin settlement could be challenged successfullythe
Great Powers responded to both crises by subverting the letter of the treaty
they had craftedand focused Balkan rivalries on Macedonia.
Macedonia did not exist as an administrative entity within the Ottoman
Balkans but was organized after 1878 into the three provinces (vilayets) of
Salonika, Monastir, and Kosova. It stretched between Thrace and Albania,
bounded in the south by the Aegean, in the north by the Sar Mountains, and
in the west by Lake Ohrid. It had a remarkably heterogeneous population,
with no single nationality possessing a majority. According to Ottoman cen
sus data, Macedonia was equally divided between Muslims and Christians
(see Table 2.1). Since 1870 the Ottoman authorities counted two Orthodox
millets in the Balkans, the Greek Orthodox and Bulgarian l.xarchate, with
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Table 2.1 Estimated population of Macedonia, 1882 and 1904
1882 1904
Muslim 1,083,130 1,508,507
Greek Orthodox
534.396
307,000
Bulgarian Orthodox
704,574 796,479
Catholic (Greek)
2,3H
Vlachs - 99,000
Serbs - 100,717
Jews et al. 151,730 99.997
Total 2,476,141 2,911,700
Note: The 1882 figures are derived from the regular Ottoman census while the 1904 figures stem from
a special survey conducted in Macedonia by Ottoman Inspector Hiiseyin Hilmi Pasha. Macedonia is
defined as the Ottoman vilayets of Salonika (Selanik) and Monastir (Bitola) and the district (sattcak) of
Uskup (Skopje), which after 1878 was part of Kosova vilayet.
Source: Stanford Jay Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey:
Reform, Revolution, and Republic:The Rise of Modern Turkey 1808-1975 (Cambridge: CUR 1977), 208.
the latter possessing a majority among the non-Muslim population. The
towns were in the main Muslim and Greek or, in the case of Salonika, largely
Jewish, while the countryside was predominantly Slavic and Muslim. The
Muslim population consisted primarily of Turks, Albanians, Pomaks, and
Roma, reinforced by thousands of new refugees after 1878. In Macedonia, as
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the linguistic criterion did not easily lend itself to
ethnographic clarity. While in Bosnia the three Slavic communities were
linguistically virtually identical but differentiated by religion (seeTable 2.2).
the situation in Macedonia was far more labyrinthine. Macedonian Slavs
were of the same faith as Bulgarians and Greeks, but linguistically related to
the former. Many foreigners who visited Macedonia assumed that the local
Slavs spoke a dialect of Bulgarian, although more astute observers were far
less certain and concluded that the Macedonian Slavs were neither Serbs
nor Bulgarians.58
The political struggle for Macedonian autonomy was taken up by the
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (I MRO), founded in
1893 by a handful of Macedonian intellectuals under Gotse Delcev. They
sought the territorial integrity of Macedonia and the equality of its citizens,
regardless of nationality or creed.59Operating under the slogan Macedonia
for the Macedonians, I MRO envisaged an autonomous Macedonia as
part of a wider Balkan federation. In late 1894 a rival organization known
is the Supreme Committee (Vrhovists) was formed in Sofia, largely as an
68 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
Table 2.2. Population of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1879 and 1910
1879
1910
Orthodox 496,485 (42.88%)
825,418 (43-49%)
Muslim
448,613 (38.73%)
612,137 (32.25%)
Catholic 209,391 (18.08%) 434,061 (22.87%)
Jewish 3,426 (0.29%) 11,868 (0.62%)
Other 249 (0.02%) 14,560 (0.77%)
Total 1,158,440 1,898,044
Note: Until 190$ the Orthodox population was enumerated as Greek Orthodox. Until 1901 the term
Mohammedan was used to refer to members of the Islamic community.
Source: Srecko M. Dzaja, Bosnien-Herzegowina in der sterreichisch-ungarischen Epoche, 1878-1918: Die
Intelligentsia zwischen Tradition und Ideologie (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1994).
instrument of the Bulgarian ruling elite. In the event, by 1897-8 I MRO had
organized regional committees in Macedonia and launched a campaign of
violence; clashes between I MRO detachments (chetas) and the Ottoman
gendarmerie became commonplace.
Nationalist leaders in Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria put forth their claims
to Macedonia in a myriad of ways. Since the mid-i88os, the Balkan nation
states pursued their interests in Macedonia by promoting relief agencies,
sympathetic churches, schools, and various cultural activities; combined
they constituted missionary enterprises in Macedonia.60Nationalist propa
ganda was disseminated by the Bulgarian Cyril and Methodius Committee
(1884), the Serbian Saint Sava Society (1886),and the Greek National Society
(1894).61 Denying the existence of a Macedonian Slav nationality, these
organizations based their claims on a combination of ethnographic, cultural,
and historical proofs.62All three claimed to have a plurality in Macedonia,
although the politics of statistics revealed enormous anomalies.63
Cultural propaganda was followed by the activities of militant societies,
particularly after 1897, which dispatched irregulars to Macedonia under the
guise of brigandage. Supporting these groups were the Balkan governments
and their consuls in Macedonia, who provided money, weapons, and
diplomatic protection.
Adopting the tactical offensive, I MRO initiated an insurgency which
became a war of attrition against the Ottoman state. The ensuing conflict
evolved into an irregular civil war in which the insurgents launched a gradual
process of state-building. Between 1896 and 1903 I MRO employed guerrilla
tactics to good effect; small-scale operations conducted by I MRO detach
ments initially focused on selected targets to prevent punitive reprisals.These
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE 69
included Ottoman installations, troops, irregulars, or individuals, either oppo
nents of the organization or abusive officials, thereby establishing its creden
tials as guardian of the people.64 I MRO had virtually established a state
within a state, to the point of collecting taxes in some areas to support its
activities.65In many respects, this irregular civil war and accompanying pat
terns of violence resembled the post-1945 wars of decolonization and
national liberation. Violence against civilians occurred on both sidesand
was perpetrated by irregulars sponsored by the neighbouring statesbut
prior to 1903 the violence was rarely i f ever indiscriminate. During I MROs
1903 Ilinden (St Elijahs Day) Uprising, centred on Monastir vilayet and last
ing from August to October, violence was designed to stir mass support for
the liberation cause by fomenting inter-communal tension, with the
expectation of Ottoman repression, and to incite international opprobrium.
I M ROs declaration to the Great Powers called explicidy for a Christian
governor of Macedonia, independent of the Porte, and collective interna
tional control over all aspects of administration.66As many as 15,000 I MRO
irregulars fought 40,000 Ottoman troops over a period of seven weeks. The
Ottoman response entailed various tactics in the countryside, including
collective punishment by regular and irregular forces, but was constrained by
European intervention. In the event, more than 100 Macedonian villages
were destroyed and 5,000 fatalities recorded on all sides. I MRO never recov
ered from the suppression of the Ilinden uprising, resorting thereafter to
more systematic forms of terrorism.67As I MRO came increasingly to employ
violence, it wielded it as a mechanism to induce indigenous mobilization
and attract foreign intervention. After 1903 this violence was directed at
civilians, as a form of intimidation to deter collaboration either with the
authorities or detachments from the neighbouring states. Irregular war in
this context had a signalling character, primarily used by both sides to shape
the populations political behaviour. In short, political violence served as
an essential resource and possessed a strategic importance; it was seldom
gratuitous and almost always calculated.68
The political violence witnessed in Macedonia in this period possessed a
sociological dimension, reflecting existing divisions within Macedonian
society. But i f the Macedonian struggle is understood as one of national
liberation, its ideological character predisposed it to political violence. After
all, the Balkan revolutionary tradition had a triumphant pedigree: the
Serbian (1804), Greek (1821), and Bulgarian (1876) revolutions had, despite
their vicissitudes and tribulations, ultimately met with success.This tended
70
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only to reinforce the instrumental function of violence for I MRO. What
gave the violence in Macedonia its seemingly pernicious character, at least
to contemporary European observers, was the absence of structures of
authority which might have otherwise served to constrain (civilize) fight
ing in the first place and minimize civilian victimization. As an irregular
civil war, the very nature of the conflict in Macedoniawith legitimate
authorities and competing armed insurgents contesting the former and
each othermade for a complex and fluid environment where frontlines
were absent and where it was increasingly difficult to distinguish between
civilian and combatant. In this context, violence against civilians addressed
a basic problem associated with irregular war. In the Macedonian setting,
violence came to possess its own logicnot dissimilar from similar situa
tions before and since but was hardly driven by 'irrational, tribal, or
ethnic hatreds or by the characteristics of local culture.
By the turn of the century Macedonia had become a zone of insur
gency and political violence where I MRO contested on the one hand
detachments (chetas, andartes) sponsored by Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece
and on the other the Ottoman authorities. I M ROs abortive Ihnden
Uprising prompted, as its plotters had hoped, European intervention.
Austria-Hungary and Russia imposed the Miirzsteg Programme (October
1903), a reformist agenda which dictated that European officials would
supervise the local Ottoman gendarmerie and civilian administration.
The Miirzsteg Programme was never fully implemented and conditions
improved only marginally. Between 1904 and 1908 Serbian and Bulgarian
chetas and Greek andartes continued to contest Macedonia, clashing at the
same time with Macedonian detachments and Ottoman officialdom. This
violence would continue until external circumstancesthe Young Turk
Revolution (1908), the fall of Sultan Abdiilhamid II (1909), and the Bosnian
Annexation Crisis (1908-9)brought the insurgencies to an end.
Much of the literature on violence in the nineteenth-century Balkans
emphasizes the importance of the bandit tradition in the region. Banditry
was hardly unique to the Balkans, however, as political and economic con
ditions across southern Europe facilitated the phenomenons existence.
Known variously as hajduks or haiduts (among the South Slavs), klephts
(among the Greeks), haiduci (among the Romanians), and kafaks (among the
Albanians), the bandit symbolized, depending on ones perspective, either
the struggle against oppression or simply lawlessness. In Balkan nationalist
historiography; the bandit has generally served .is .1national hero. But the
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71
existence of banditry raised issues of how the new nationalizing Balkan
states were to deal with rural lawlessness and private power.69The well-
publicized 1870 incident in Greece, known as The Dilessi (Marathon)
Murders, which involved the murder by Greek brigands of English travel
lers, provoked a bout of scathing commentary throughout Europe on the
inability of Greece to become a civilized, modern state. Thereafter the
Greek state set about to eradicate the phenomenon while brigandage was
increasingly represented in nationalist discourse as an epidemic transmitted
to Greece from the Ottoman Empire.70 By the turn of the century, all
the Balkan states had largely eradicated brigandage as an autonomous
social phenomenon.
Where banditry still possessed an important role for the Balkan state was
in its mobilization and utilization beyond state frontiers, in contested
zones such as Macedonia and Crete. The slow development of professional
militaries, which emerged only after the Congress of Berlin, was paralleled
by the indirect violence sponsored by nationalist organizations, volunteer and
veterans groups financed by these states. Balkan governments and nationalist
opinion generally extolled banditry in Macedonia as a continuation of an
honoured national tradition.The Serbian, Bulgarian, and Greek detachments
operating in Macedonia adopted the habits and dress of the bandit, in order
to conceal what was essentially state-sponsored violence.71The Serb, Greek,
and Bulgarian officers who led irregular units into Macedonia all believed,
largely because of their own states nationalist propaganda, that they would
find compatriots of the same tongue who would greet them as liberators.
They were conditioned to believe in the existence of a Serbian or Greek or
Bulgarian Macedonia, but the reality they confronted proved to be quite dif
ferent and far more complex. Invariably this led to the conviction that
Macedonia must become Serbian, Greek, or Bulgarian and the corrupting
influence of competing propagandas should be eliminated. In practice, this
meant that the indigenous proponents of competing claimstypically the
intelligentsia (clergy, schoolteachers, etc.)should be driven from the land.
During the Balkan Wars they acted on this conviction.
The Balkan paramilitary units active in Macedonia until 1908 were
generally led by professional army officers. Many of the Bulgarian chetas
were headed by officers of Macedonian descent,72while the Serbian officers
Kosta Milovanovic Pecanac and Pavle Blazaric Bistricki73 distinguished
themselves as leaders of the Serb Chetniks. The Greek state had since
the Crimean War attempted to use irregulars to stir revolt among Greek
72
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
irredenta, drawing on the sizeable and distinct social group of refugees who
had settled in Greece from Macedonia and Thessaly. During the Crimean
War, Greek nationalists incited revolt in Epirus and Thessaly and sent thou
sands of irregulars across the border to support the rebels.74This was repeated
in Crete and Thessaly in 18667.The Eastern Crisis produced another wave
of Greek irredentism and brigandage, with hundreds of Greek officers and
soldiers joining the rebels in Ottoman Macedonia, Thessaly, and Crete.
Already by 1878 a pattern had emerged in Greece of forming and leading
bands of irregulars, drawn mainly from nationalist circles and refugee ranks
(Macedonia, Crete, Epirus, and Thessaly), with the participants playing pre
scribed roles. When Greek units returned to Macedonia in the late 1890s,
many of them were recruited from among refugees from Macedonia.
Originally dispossessed by Turks and Albanians they were more likely, as
John Koliopoulos has observed, to dispossess others rather than lose yet
again. Greek nationalist societies found fodder among their ranks.75Like the
Bulgarians, Greek nationalists realized that local klephts were the sole
medium through which to reach their irredenta. Consequently, when con
sidering the question of political violence in the Balkans, the importance of
banditry as a legacy of the Ottoman era should not be overstated. By the
early twentieth century the phenomenon had largely disappeared within
the independent Balkan states and persisted principally as a means to con
ceal what was in effect state-sponsored violence.
The conflict in Macedonia represented the first instance of modern
political violence between Orthodox peoples. The importance of this fact
should not be underestimated. As Dimitris Livanios has argued, the violence
was in some respects crucial to the completion of the nation-building pro
cess in the Balkans. In the earlier Balkan revolutionary wars, Muslims had
been the primary victims of nationalist violence. For broad segments of the
rural population, religion still remained a far more formative reality than
nationality. The violence perpetrated between Orthodox Christians in
Macedonia served to assert the primacy of national loyalties over religious
identities.76 One of the primary objectives of the guerrilla war that was
pursued in Macedonia between 1904 and 1908 by Greek, Bulgarian, and
Serbian irregulars was to compel the local Macedonian Slav peasantry to
declare themselves Greeks,Bulgarians, orSerbs.This was no simple task,
as the peasantry obdurately refused to identify with these nationalist causes.
One Greek activist was met with incomprehensible stares when he asked
a group of Macedonian peasants i f they were Greek or Bulgarian. The
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73
bewildered peasants made the sign of the cross and answered, Well, we are
Christians, what do you mean by Romaioi [Greek] or Voulgaroi [Bulgarian]?77
The insurgent warfare between fellow Orthodox Christians gradually
shattered the common identity rooted in Orthodoxy in favour of the
state-sponsored national identities. How and whether these peasants decided
in favour of the competing claims was influenced significantly by both
coercion and opportunity. A Greek military officer who led a guerrilla unit
in Macedonia observed thatviolence thepersuasionofthegunultimately
determined whether a village community opted for a Greek or Bulgarian
identity.78In actual fact, the process was more complex and depended on a
range of considerations that often had little to do with the national orienta
tions of local communities. Nonetheless, these choices slowly but surely
produced national identities in the region.
Macedonia at the beginning of the twentieth century thus presented a
complex set of problems. The Ottoman leadership under Abdiilhamid II
failed to implement meaningful reform, while the majority of Balkan
Christians under Ottoman rule no longer believed that reform would pro
vide either meaningful or lasting solutions to their problems. The Balkan
states had no longer term interest in Ottoman stability and promoted instead
revolutionary violence when it suited their interests. The Great Powers,
while advocating reform at critical junctures, were guided by their own
imperial interests rather than a long-term concern in successful reform as
an end in itself. The confluence of failed Ottoman reform, Balkan state
rivalry, and Great Power competition meant that revolution and violence
would remain driving forces in Macedonia and indeed in the Balkans in the
antebellum period.
What made this problematic was that the Balkans became in the ante
bellum period one of the main theatres of Great Power rivalry.The conclu
sion of the Anglo-French (1904) and Anglo-Russian (1907) ententes gave
Balkan issues greater salience within Great Power rivalries. The Young Turk
revolution (J uly 1908) led the Dual Monarchy formally to annex Bosnia-
Herzegovina, which set off the Annexation Crisis (1908-9) and heightened
tensions between Vienna and both Belgrade and St Petersburg. After the
June 1903 regicide in Belgrade, and the emergence of the Karadjordjevic
dynasty, the Radical Party, and the military, Serbias foreign policy under
went a basic reorientation, premised on cooperation with Russia and
Bulgaria, as a basis for a possible future Balkan confederation.79From 1903
until the February Revolution (1917), Serbia remained in the Russian
74
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
diplomatic orbit. But Serbian-Bulgarian rapprochement proved difficult,
even though it was supported by elements in both countries. The central
issue dividing Belgrade and Sofia after 1903 was the Macedonian Question.
In Bulgaria the Macedonian Question was the primary preoccupation of
Bulgarian nationalist discourse since 1878, and neither the crown nor the
political and military elites were prepared to renounce the Bulgarian claim.
Belgrade wished to prevent the creation of a Great Bulgaria at virtually any
cost, but had more limited objectives in Macedonia. Like Athens, Belgrade
was amenable to partition, but even Greece and Serbia, which conducted
talks on the subject in 18923, failed to reach an agreement over respective
spheres of influence.
The Serbian government initiated talks with Sofia in early 1904, which
led to the conclusion of a Friendship Treaty (April 1904) and a customs
union (June 1905).When the latter was publicly disclosed by Bulgaria, the
I labsburg monarchy responded with harsh economic reprisals against Serbia
and the so-called Tariff (Pig) War of 1906-11. The Serbo-Bulgarian
rapprochement was briefly derailed by the Annexation Crisis, during
which Bulgaria declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire with
the tacit approval ofVienna. The Annexation Crisis deeply shocked both
Serbia and Russia and ended the decade-long Austro-Russian condominium
in the Balkans. Russia now looked to craft a regional alliance to check
Viennas influence, which emboldened Bulgaria and Serbia to contemplate
a Balkan solution to the Eastern Question. Protracted negotiations between
Russia, Serbia, and Bulgaria on the one hand and between Serbia and
Bulgaria on the other eventually culminated in the Serbian-Bulgarian
Treaty of Alliance (March 1912). In March 1911 Athens had proposed to
Bulgaria a pact against the Ottomans, which culminated in a loose alliance
between the two in May 1912 and a subsequent military convention.80In
August 1912 Bulgaria and Montenegro concluded a verbal agreement, while
Serbia and Montenegro signed a formal alliance in October 1912. Despite
significant odds, a Balkan League was born.
The purpose of the Serbian-Bulgarian alliance and Balkan League was
clear from the outset. A Secret Annex to the Serbian-Bulgarian alliance
provided for a territorial settlement based on the division of Macedonia
into Serbian and Bulgarian zones, with a contested sector to be reserved for
future Russian arbitration. Macedonia would prove to be the alliances
Achilles heel; the Serbs and Bulgarians were never able to resolve their ter
ritorial disputes, while the Greeks and Bulgarians merely side-tracked them.
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75
But the prospect of gaining at the Ottoman Empires expense was a power
ful inducement for action. The political uncertainty caused by the Young
Turk Revolution and the Annexation Crisis only weakened the Ottoman
governments position in the Balkans.The 190910 Albanian revolt and the
1911 Italian defeat of the Ottomans in Libya fuelled the widespread percep
tion that the empire was in its final throes.
The Balkan Wars, 19121913
The first Balkan War began on 8 October 1912, with Montenegro declaring
war on the Ottoman Empire and being joined by its three Balkan allies
within weeks. In his proclamation to the nation, King Georgios I declared
that Greece was undertaking the holy struggle of justice and freedom
for the oppressed peoples of the Orient. The war was a justified struggle
of civilization. King Ferdinand called the Bulgarian nation to arms by
invoking our brothers in blood and religion [who] still do not have the
happiness to live with human dignity even now, thirty-five years after our
Liberation. The Bulgarian cause was sacred, Ferdinands proclamation
declared, a struggle of the Cross against the Crescent, of freedom against
tyranny.81The proclamation of King Petar of Serbia stated that recent
events had placed on the agenda a resolution of the fate of the Balkan
Peninsula.This was a war of liberation to free our brothers by blood, by
language, [and] by custom. King Nikola of Montenegro called on his peo
ple to rally to the liberation cause, as the sorrowful cry, which beckons from
Old Serbia from our oppressed brethren, cannot be endured any longer.82
Within days of the initiation of hostilities, Serbia and Bulgaria together
had mobilized nearly 600,ooo troops. Eventually the combined forces of the
Balkan League fielded more than 700,000 men from among a combined
total population of over 10 million. Additional levies of reservists and
officially sanctioned irregulars would increase these numbers over the ensu
ing months. They confronted two Ottoman Balkan armies, one in Thrace
and the other in Macedonia, which had a combined strength of perhaps
250,ooo.83The Greek navys seizure of several Aegean islands effectively
prevented the Ottomans from reinforcing their Balkan garrisons. The su
periority in numbers and Western technology (modern field artillery, aerial
reconnaissance, wireless telegraphy, ships) dictated the disastrous outcome
tor the Ottomans, who for the first time confronted modern Balkan armies
76 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
rather than mere insurgents. The Bulgarians directed their main attack in
the direction of the Ottoman capital, moving quickly into eastern Thrace,
defeating the main Ottoman force at Kirklareli and besieging Edirne
(Adrianople) by late October. The Bulgarian army advanced to Catalca, the
last Ottoman defensive line before Constantinople.The Serbian army joined
the Montenegrins in taking Pristina and Novi Pazar.The decisive battle in
Macedonia occurred at Kuraanovo, where the Serbian army inflicted defeat
on the main Ottoman force. Kumanovo decided the outcome of the war in
Macedonia, and was immediately hailed as a great symbolic victory and
revenge for the Ottoman defeat at Kosovo polje (1389); it has been com
memorated ever since by Serb nationalists.84Kumanovo opened the way to
Skopje and the occupation of Kosova vilayet. By mid-November the Serbian
army had advanced to Bitola and Ohrid, where it linked up with the Greeks.
The Montenegrins had laid siege to Shkoder. In the south the Greeks
pushed into Macedonia, taking Salonika in early November, and Epirus,
where Preveze was occupied and Janina besieged. By 3 December 1912,
when the Great Powers established a two-month truce, the Ottomans had
lost their remaining territories in Europe with the exception of a few
besieged towns. On 16 December parallel peace negotiations began in
London under British mediation; the Great Power diplomats met separately
from the representatives of the Balkan states and Ottoman Empire. When
the truce expired on 3 February 1913 without a negotiated solution, hos
tilities resumed. The Bulgarian army initiated a campaign of ethnic cleans
ing in Thrace. When Edirne fell to the Bulgarians on 28 March, a reign of
terror descended on Muslim and Christian alike. Janina fell to the Greeks
on 6 March and Shkoder to the Montenegrins on 22 April. By the spring
of 1913 Ottoman rule in the Balkans had effectively come to an end.
The first Balkan War created a problematic situation in Albania, where it
became clearer with each passing day that Ottoman rule was nearing its end
and that the intention of the Balkan League was to partition the Albanian
lands. The political initiative was taken by the Black Society for Salvation.
On 14 October 1912 it organized a meeting of national leaders in Skopje,
appealed to the Great Powers, and organized an armed resistance to the
Balkan states.Two days later a declaration was issued to European consuls in
Skopje, demanding a unified government for the Albanian lands. On 28
November 1912 a National Assembly at Vlora (Vlore) declared Albanias
independence and chose a Provisional Government; the declaration called
on the Balkan states to recognize the new government and cease all
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77
operations on Albanian territory.85 The Austro-Hungarian and Italian
consuls at Vlora met with Ismail Kemal Bey, who assured them that the
Provisional Government exercised control on all unoccupied territory.86
The Albanians won the diplomatic support of Italy, which hoped to use the
new state to extend its influence in the Adriatic, and the Dual Monarchy,
which was determined to keep Serbia from securing a direct oudet to
the sea. In December 1912 the Great Powers assembled at the London
conference accepted in principle Albanian independence.87
On 30 May 1913 the Great Powers imposed the Treaty of London on the
combatants. The settlement granted Kosovo and parts of north-western
Macedonia to Serbia while frustrating Belgrades hopes of a corridor to the
Adriatic. Greece acquired southern Macedonia with Salonika but was
denied its ambitions in Albania. Bulgaria gained part ofThrace but most of
Macedonia remained in Serbian and Greek hands. Denied access to the
Adriatic, Serbia sought compensation in Macedonia and found an ally in
Greece, which still hoped for additional gains in Thrace and Macedonia.
The two sides concluded a secret alliance in the spring, aimed at imposing
on Bulgaria a new arrangement in Macedonia that reflected the de facto
military reality on the ground. Russian efforts at mediation proved abortive.
The Bulgarians, who had done the bulk of the fighting against the Ottoman
army, believed that their erstwhile allies were attempting to satisfy their own
ambitions at Bulgarias expense. On the night of 2930 June the Bulgarians
launched a surprise attack on Serbian and Greek positions in Macedonia,
initiating the second Balkan War.88
The assault proved disastrous, as Serbia and Greece were joined by
Romania, Montenegro, and the Ottoman Empire. The fighting ended by
31July and was formally concluded on 10 August 1913 with the Treaty of
Bucharest, between Serbia, Greece, Romania, Montenegro, and Bulgaria.
Greece extended its gains in Macedonia and Epirus while Serbia added
more Macedonian territory, at the same time as partitioning Novi Pazar
with Montenegro. Bulgaria received only a small part of eastern Macedonia,
but managed to secure an Aegean coastline. The new frontiers were sub-
sequendy ratified in a series of separate treaties between the Ottoman
Empire and Bulgaria (29 September 1913), Serbia (14 November 1913), and
Greece (14 March 1914).These treaties also regulated the status of Ottoman-
owned property and of Muslim minorities in the Balkan states, who were
given four years to decide i f they wished to remain under Christian rule or to
emigrate. (See lables 2.3-2.5.) I f they opted to leave, they were theoretically
78
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
permitted to sell their property and transfer their assets to the empire. Those
who chose to remain were promised civil equality and political rights, with
the freedom to practise their religion and culture. These provisions were
never implemented, in part because the Great War created a new set of cir
cumstances where Serbia and later Greece found themselves at war with the
Ottoman state. In 191213 alone at least 177,000 Muslims emigrated to the
Ottoman Empire, most of them forced to flee.89 In the event, the Balkan
Wars brought the Macedonian Question to an end. The Albanian Question
was only deferred, as a third of the Albanian population found itself outside
the new state, primarily in neighbouring Serbia. By late 1913, the political
geography of the Balkan Peninsula had been set and, with the minor excep
tion of the Bulgarian territories on the Aegean which were ceded to Greece
in 1919, these frontiers have largely been maintained to the present day.
The Balkan Wars put an end to Ottoman rule in the Balkans. The empire
lost 83 per cent of its land and 69 per cent of its population in Europe. By
contrast the Balkan states had experienced enormous gains. Serbias pop
ulation had swelled from an estimated 2.9 million to 4.5 million (an increase
of 55 per cent) and her territory had been enhanced to 33,891square miles
(an 81per cent increase).The corresponding percentage gains in population
and territory for Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro were significant: 67.6
and 63.6 per cent; 2.9 and 28.7 per cent; and 100 and 61.2 per cent, res
pectively.90As the Balkan states consolidated their new possessions, mosques
and schools in Anatolia overflowed with refugees from the Balkans. It is
impossible to understand Ottoman policy after 1913 without appreciating
the traumatic effect the disaster of the Balkan Wars had on the Ottoman
Table 2.3. Nationality composition of areas conquered by Greece in the Balkan Wars
1911
1923
Change (%)
Muslim 746,000 124,000
1
0
0
0
0
Greek 797,000 1,774,000 +131
Bulgarian 145,000 o - i oo
Jewish 75,000 66,000
- 13
Other 8,000 7,000 I I
Total 1,770,000 1,971,000 + I I
Note: The 1911 figures for Greek and Bulgarian are estimates for members of the two officially
recognized Orthodox millets (the Patriarchate and Exarchate, respectively) and do not necessarily
correlate to nationality, as many Macedonians (and Serbs) were counted as members of one of the two
millets. Similarly, the data for Muslims include Turks, Pomaks, and Albanians.
.Sourer.Justin McCarthy, 77w Ottoman Peopbs and the find of Empire (Iondon: Arnold, 2001), i j i .
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE 79
Table 2.4. Nationality composition of areas conquered by Bulgaria in the Balkan Wars
1911 1920 Change(%)
Muslim 328,000 179,000
-45
Greek 29,000 o - i oo
Bulgarian 205,000 193,000 - 6
Jewish 1,000 1,000 - 23
Other 19,000 1,000
- 95
Total 582,000 373,000
- 36
Note: See the note toTable 2.3. In 1920 all adherents of Orthodoxy (including Macedonians and
others) were enumerated as members of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and regarded officially as
Bulgarians.
Source: Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (London: Arnold, 2001), p. 151.
Table 2.5. Nationality composition of areas conquered by Serbia in the Balkan Wars
1911 1921 Change (%)
Muslim 1,241,000 566,000
45
Greek/ Serbian 286,000 949,000 +232
Bulgarian 782,000 o ioo
Jewish 9,000 6,000
- 38
Other 22,000 18,000
- 17
Total 2,341.000 1,540,000
- 34
Note: See the notes to Tables 2.4 and 2.5. In 1921 all adherents of Orthodoxy (designated as Greek/
Serbian) were enumerated as members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and regarded officially as
Serbs. Unlike the Patriarchate and Exarchate, in 1911 the Serbian Orthodox Church had no official
recognition on Ottoman territory.
Source: Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (London: Arnold, 2001), 151.
psyche. The Ottomans had lost lands that had been the lifeblood of the
Empire for centuries. In June 1913 the Young Turk Committee of Union
and Progress (CUP) established a dictatorship that would lead the Ottoman
state to the end of the Great War.91The Great Powers had stood by, even as
they proclaimed their support for the status quo. An Italian journalist report
ing on the Balkan Wars thought that the Ottoman government was in a
state o f putrefaction and attributed military incompetence to the simple
fact that Turks were Muslims.92
Several Western contemporaries and later observers attributed the wide
spread brutality directed against civilians during the Balkan Wars to the
regions backwardness. In actual fact, it is the very modernity of the violence
which marks one of the most striking hallmarks of the Balkan Wars. These
8o FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
wars prefigured twentieth-century warfare, combining attributes of modern
technology (wireless telegraphy, aerial reconnaissance), national liberation,
and war on the enemys culture and civilian population. The ideology of
integral nationalism was combined with the revolution in fire power and
communications with lethal consequences, drawing in, as Alan Kramer has
noted, ever broader swathes of society as victimsand as perpetrators.93
The widely reported atrocities were not a discrete phenomenon nor mere
by-products of the fighting, but part of the longer term project of nation
state-building and served as a prelude to the far greater carnage that befell
Europe in i9i4.94The Balkan Wars were the Ottoman states firsttotal war,
while the Balkan states mobilized nearly three-quarters of a million men to
prosecute the war effort.95Soldiers and civilians alike suffered the appalling
effects of modern warfare, but without the infrastructure of modern medi
cine. During the wars, Habsburg medical officers noted the appalling injuries
caused by French-manufactured Serbian artillery, but they also observed that
the Bulgarian military lacked the equipment to combat lice or the bandages
needed to treat the wounded. Outbreaks of cholera and malaria were reported
in theatre.96A French officer with the Bulgarian army reported that sanitary
conditions were poor and basic preventative hygiene was absent.97
The violence perpetrated by the belligerents was widespread and system
atic. As Serbian troops moved into Kosovo and Macedonia in October 1912,
they proceeded to wipe out entire Albanian villages. Leon Trotsky provided
a vivid account from Serb acquaintances, who reported that in the environs
of Kumanovo, on the SerbianOttoman border, entire Albanian villages had
been turned into pillars of fire. This picture was repeated the whole way to
Skopje, which was littered with dead Albanians, many of whom had never
seen battle. Trotsky attributed much of the worst violence to irregulars and
reservists, although he believed that Serbian officers were ordering the
execution of prisoners.98In their liberated territories, the Serbian authorities
treated the population harshly, directing most of the violence at Muslims
generally and Albanians specifically. O f Prizrens thirty-two mosques only
two were being used for worship in 1914, while the others had been
converted into stables and barracks.The Habsburg envoy in Belgrade alleged
that the Serbian authorities sponsored or tolerated violence against Muslims
and non-Serbs in the new territories, including pillage, arson, and executions,
prompting a large exodus.99 Edith Durham witnessed the war around
Shkoder during the Montenegrin siege, travelling through villages that had
been razed to the ground and aiding those Albanian peasants who had been
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE 8l
expelled or fled. She noted, The most piteous thing of all was that few of
the unhappy victims had any idea why this ruin had fallen upon them.100
The International Commission on the Balkan Wars of the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace detailed a litany of atrocities and cruel
ties committed on all sides. Reporting on conditions in territories under
Serbian and Montenegrin control, it found whole villages reduced to ashes,
unarmed and innocent populations massacred en masse, incredible acts of
violence, pillage and brutality of every kind. It understood these methods
as part of official policy, with a view to the entire transformation of the
ethnic character of regions inhabited exclusively by Albanians.101When the
Bulgarians captured Edirne in late March 1913, their violence was directed
at combatants and civilians alike, Muslim, Christian (Greek, Armenian), and
Jew.102On the Thracian front, retreating Ottoman forces exacted revenge in
several villages.103In one case, 600 Greek men, women, and children were
massacred by local Muslims with every conceivable circumstance of
barbarity.104 The British vice-consul in Macedonia, H. E. W. Young,
reported extensively on Bulgarian atrocities against civilians in Serres,
Cavalla, and Xanthi, despite the fact that the authorities had surrendered to
the Bulgarians without a tight.105 During the second Balkan War, as the
erstwhile allies wrestled for control of Macedonia, dehumanizing propa
ganda incited brutal forms of violence; Greek posters in Athens and Salonika
depicted a Greek soldier gouging out the eyes of a Bulgarian.106The Greek
officer Ippokratis Papavassiliou wrote to his wife at the start of the second
Balkan War of the unimaginable picture of destruction: Everywhere we go
we come across desolation and misery.There was always a burning village
in sight. He was unmoved by the plight of the Bulgarians, however, whom
he described as scoundrels and monsters.107
As occupation regimes and rudimentary administrations were established,
various pressures were exerted on the population to conform to the new
nation-states. Orthodox priests were employed to persuade survivors to
convert. The British consul, Young, reported of an incident of forced con
version of Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks by Bulgarian Orthodox priests and
irregulars. When Young complained to the Bulgarian authorities, he was
told that these fanatical Muslims had signed a petition requesting con
version. 108The Carnegie Commission concluded that the Exarchate, with
the support of the military and civilian authorities, conducted the policy
systematically and on a massive scale, through violence and intimidation.109
The British consul in Monastir (Bitola) reported a similar phenomenon. In
82 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
this case, the Serbian authorities compelled the remaining Macedonian and
Bulgarian intelligentsia and villagers to sign a declaration of loyalty to their
new king and to state that, since their forefathers had allegedly been Serbs,
they were merely asserting their patrimony by declaring themselves Serbs
in the present.110 As the Serbian administration was extended to Macedonia,
the Serbian Orthodox Church replaced the Exarchate as the dominant
nationalizing institution, which entailed the cultural assimilation of the
non-Serb Orthodox population of the region. The Bulgarian and Greek
churches performed the same function in their respective territories.
The primary objective of the Balkan combatants had been to eliminate
potentially hostile populations through ethnic cleansing. This was to be
achieved by various means, including murder, intimidation, and expulsion.
The actions of all the Balkan combatants were additionally driven by trepi
dation that Great Power intervention would dictate a settlement at
variance with their own plans, as had occurred in the past; expelling Muslims
and others from their occupation zones served to buttress their diplomatic
claims. The result was the wholesale destruction of villages and the murder
or expulsion of many of their inhabitants. The Carnegie Commission took
the burning of villages, the forced exodus of defeated populations, and the
war on their culturesethnic cleansingas a normal and traditional
incident of all Balkan wars and insurrections. It saw a seemingly unbreakable
cycle of revenge being played out: What they have suffered themselves,
they inflict in turn upon others.111While Mushm civilians of different
nationality were the primary victims of this concerted campaign, the
Carnegie Commission found the belligerents treatment of enemy
combatants to be equally harsh and a violation of the laws and customs of
war, in particular the Hague Convention (1907).112 The Balkan Wars
contributed immensely to the regions reputation in the Western imagin
ation as a zone of endemic violence and brutality, as conveyed by the
Carnegie Commissions report and other contemporarv observers. What is
remarkable is that this reputation persisted, in light of the far greater carnage
which befell Europe in 1914 and the fact that patterns of warfare and
political violence experienced during the Great War were not dissimilar
from those of the Balkan Wars.
The enormous scale of violence visited upon the populations of
Macedonia, Kosovo, and Thrace during and immediately after the wars left
.1bitter legacy; the seeds of revenge had been planted and would be har
vested at various critical junctures in later years. I lundrcds of thousands of
FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE 83
Muslim refugees (muhajir) fled to the relative safety of Anatolia and within
another decade only 38 per cent of the pre-1912 Balkan Muslim population
remained.113The Balkan Wars proved decisive for identity politics and the
treatment of minorities. Despite this exodus, the Balkan states now possessed
significant minority populations; they ceased being, as Serbia and Greece
had been until 1912, relatively homogeneous nation-states. The ruling
political ehtes of these states were unaccustomed to governing multiethnic
societies. Moreover, as the second Balkan War had been the first modern
armed conflict between Balkan Orthodox nation-states, with a high level of
popular mobilization, nationalist rhetoric, and killing on an unprecedented
scale, it could be said to mark the final victory of secular nationalism and the
modern nation-state in the Balkans.114
It is noteworthy that some segments of Balkan political society opposed
the march to war. Both the socialists and peasantists voiced principled oppo
sition to the conduct of the Balkan Wars. The Serbian Social Democratic
Party (SSDP), founded shortly after the 1903 coup, supported liberation
from Ottoman rule but favoured social revolution and Balkan federalism.lls
In 1912, two party leaders,Trica Kaclerovic and Dusan Popovic, supported
the formation of the Balkan League as a means of liberating the Balkans
from Ottoman rule, while others, notably Dimitrije Tucovic and Dragisa
Lapcevic, were opposed. Lapcevic remarked in the Serbian National
Assembly in October 1912, shortly after the Serbian entry into the war, that
his party was for the elimination of the status quo in the entire Balkan
Peninsula, but warned strenuously that partitioning the Balkans into indi
vidual small countries will precisely create new sources of friction among
the Balkan nations and statelets. He opposed war between Balkan peoples
not only because it would be bloody and terrible for us, but also because
it would, he feared, make them even more susceptible to the machinations
of Great Power imperialism. By placing boundaries on nationally hetero
geneous and undifferentiated Macedonia, the Balkan Wars would invariably
lead to new conflicts and undermine the prospects of Balkan federalism.
Tucovic told an anti-war rally in late 1912 that the Serbian Socialists want
the freedom of our people while not destroying the freedom of others.116
The second Balkan War and the introduction of crude political regimes in
the newly liberated territories confirmed the Socialists worst fears. The
Serbian attempt to access the Adriatic via Albanian territory was criticized
.is dwarfish Balkan imperialism, mimicking the worst excesses ofWestern
imperialism. They presciendy argued that the Serbian governments
4
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violation of the rights of other peoples reflected its disdain of democracy,
which ultimately would imperil the freedoms of all citizens, including Serbs.
In 1914 the SSDP was the only member of the Socialist Second International
to vote against military credits in its own parliament.
The Bulgarian Labour Social Democratic Party was also opposed to the
Balkan Wars. In November 1912 it questioned whether the Balkan League
would survive the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, and wished
to include Turkey in its plans for a Balkan federation in light of the existence
of millions of Balkan Muslims. On the eve of the first Balkan War, the
Bulgarian peasantist leader, Aleksandiir Stamboliiski, clearly oudined his
principled opposition to war: We are not seeking war with Turkey, because
we know how the horrible consequences are borne by working peasants,
who fill the barracks and who will sacrifice the most capable of their
children on the battlefield.117 The Socialist Federation of Salonika, founded
in 1909 and consisting mainly ofjewish but also Bulgarian, Greek, and Muslim
members, supported a regime of total national equality. The partition of
Macedonia and Thrace would merely lead to new conflicts between Greece,
Bulgaria, and Serbia. After the first Balkan War, the Federation supported, in a
report to the International Socialist Bureau of the Second International, an
autonomous Macedonia.118 Indeed, much as Balkan socialists had feared, what
ensued in the immediate aftermath of the wars were state policies of national
homogenization directed at undesirable minorities.119
The Great War and the Balkans
The Balkan Wars may have closed the Macedonian Question and deferred
the Albanian, but they brought to the forefront the South Slav Question.120
The Bosnian Annexation Crisis had much to do with the South Slav
Question, the most difficult nationality problem in the Habsburg monarchy.
In particular, the monarchy was concerned that its large Serb minority in
Hosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and southern Hungary, was a dangerous
irredentist force. Between 1882 and 1903, when Serbia had been a client state
of the Dual Monarchy, the South Slav Question was hardly pressing. But
after 1903, as Austro-Serbian relations deteriorated, the idea of settling scores
with Serbia, preferably through war, became a familiar one in Habsburg mili
tary and political circles. The outcome of this situation was the decision to
put an end to the ambiguous status of Bosnia-I lerzegovina by annexing
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85
the provinces, closing the door to Serbias irredentist hopes while risking a
European diplomatic crisis by unilaterally violating the terms of the Treaty
of Berlin. The significance of the Bosnian Annexation Crisis is thus con
siderable, but it was the Balkan Wars which left behind them an important
train of consequences. One of the most important of these was the exacer
bation of Austro-Serbian hostility. The Habsburg monarchy concluded that
Serbia was a threat, a dangerous focal point of attraction to her South Slavs.
For her part, Serbia deeply resented the frustration of her aims, first in
Bosnia (1908) and then Albania (1912), for which the Habsburg monarchy
was mainly responsible.
The South Slav Question provided the immediate pretext for the chain
of events leading to the Great War. The assassination on 28 June 1914 of the
heir to the Habsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, precipitated
the actions leading to war. The Habsburg monarchy blamed Serbia for the
assassination and used the occasion to try to suppress Serbia as a Balkan
power and to forestall any possibility of having its rule in Bosnia undermined.
The Serbian government had not planned the assassination, although some
officers of the Serbian army had connections to the assassin, Gavrilo Princip,
and probably knew of his plans. In the summer of 1914, both the Habsburg
monarchy and Serbia believed that their domestic and international prestige
were in jeopardy. After gaining Germanys promise of support, on 28 July
1914 the Austro-Hungarian authorities declared war on Serbia, setting off a
chain of events that led to the Great War. For the Serbian regime, the
humiliating terms of the Austrian ultimatum would have undone the
progress made since 1903 in achieving independence from Habsburg
influence.121Both sides believed that they were in a strong position to win
a limited war while neither side considered the possibility of a wider
European conflict, nor did they believe that their differences could be settled
by negotiation. There was generally too little fear of war.
Patterns of warfare and violence in the Balkans during the Great War
remained unchanged from the Balkan Wars. The only significant difference
was the participation of the Great Powers and the occupation of much of
the region by them. The Austro-Hungarian campaign against Serbia was
waged with considerable ruthlessness and devastating lethality, the violence
being directed against both Bosnian Serbs and the civilian population of
Serbia during the occupation. The Habsburg authorities openly persecuted
the Serb population as a fifth column. During the war more than 5,000
Bosnian Serbs were interned in camps, of whom between 700 and 2,200
86 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
died, and in order to pacify eastern Bosnia thousands of Serb families were
resetded.The wartime Habsburg reprisals marked the first time in modern
Bosnian history that a significant number of people were killed for
their national affiliation.122The virulent anti-Serbianism of the pre-1914
Viennese nationalist press helped condition the brutal occupation policies
of the war.123The Austro-Hungarian invasion at the end of J uly 1914 failed
miserably, but a renewed offensive in the autumn led to the temporary
occupation of Belgrade. By mid-December 1914 the Serbian counter
offensive successfully repulsed the Austro-Hungarian military, with brief
forays into both Habsburg and Albanian territories.124
The inability of the Austro-Hungarian military to effect a decisive vic
tory led to a wider campaign against all perceived internal enemies. A wave
of arrests had been made in the aftermath of Franz Ferdinands assassination,
but following the initiation of hostilities these were amplified to draw in
much broader segments of Bosnian Serb society. By the summer of 1914, at
least 150 detained Bosnian Serbs were executed. The pursuit of internal
enemies soon resembled a cultural war against Serbs in Bosnia, with Cyrillic
being banned and Orthodox schools closed. Moreover, as rumours spread in
the Austro-Hungarian military of civilians and irregulars perpetrating atroc
ities against soldiers, troops took it upon themselves to respond in kind,
perpetrating violence against Serb soldiers and civilians alike. In 1914 as
many as 4,000 Serb civilians may have been killed in executions and acts of
random violence by Habsburg troops.
When the Austro-Hungarian military launched a renewed offensive in
1915, with German and Bulgarian assistance, the Serbian government and
army were forced to retreat across Albania to Corfu in the Adriatic.
Accompanied by tens of thousands of civilians and prisoners of war, the
retreat to the Adriatic proved fatal for thousands. Occupied Serbia was par
titioned between the Habsburg monarchy and Bulgaria, which regained
coveted Macedonian territory. Both occupation regimes proved remarkably
harsh. By 1916 the Bulgarian occupation regime in Macedonia had replaced
the Serbian administration and staff, the intelligentsia and clergy were
muzzled, and more than 2,000 persons were allegedly executed for resisting
the new regime. Resistance did not acquire a serious political character until
the autumn of 1916, when the Habsburg military had to contend with Serb
irregular detachments in Montenegro attacking military installations and
railways. Resistance culminated in the month-long Toplice Uprising
(February and March 1917) under the Serbian officer Kosta Milovanovic
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87
Pecanac, a veteran of the Macedonian conflict and Balkan Wars. Even before
the uprising, both the Habsburg and Bulgarian occupation authorities had
exacted reprisals, including deportations and executions, against the civilian
population. O f the 5,000 insurgents who participated in the Toplice
Uprising, half were killed while thousands of civilians were victimized dur
ing anti-partisan operations.125By the following year, reprisals increased in
scope.126 The scale of the suffering is testified to by the losses suffered by
both sides. O f the nearly 450,000 Habsburg troops deployed to Serbia
during the war, 273,000 casualties were suffered, while Serbian losses were
proportionally significantly larger: 300,000 civilians and 250,000 soldiers.127
The Great War in the Balkans was by intent a war of annihilation against the
Serbian state which, given the anti-partisan warfare accompanying the
occupation, entailed the victimization of ever larger numbers of civilians.
As in the Balkan Wars, the regions weak and depleted infrastructure resulted
in massive casualties resulting from disease and hunger.128
A similar pattern was discernible in the Ottoman Empire, although the
tragedy played out there was greater in scale. Since June 1913, following the
disastrous first Balkan War, the Ottoman Empire was governed by a CUP
dictatorship which retained power until the last days of the realm.The mag
nitude of the loss suffered during the Balkan Wars at the hands of former
subjects was a painful pill to swallow. The widespread atrocities perpetrated
against Balkan Muslims dealt a shattering blow to Ottomanist ideals and
invigorated those with aTurkist outlook.129The CUP leadership concluded
that the assurances of the Great Powers as a collective were worthless, as
their previous declarations in support of the territorial status quo were
proven to be hollow.130This led the Ottomans to seek an alliance with a
Great Power patron. Initially rebuffed by each of the Great Powers, the July
Crisis altered matters considerably and in August 1914 a GermanOttoman
alliance was concluded. The empire initially declared armed neutrality as a
prelude to direct participation, in autumn 1914.131Even before the entry
into the war, in 1913, negotiations were started with the Greek government
for the voluntary exchange of populations. The Great War prevented these
transfers, however. Nevertheless, in early 1914 over 100,000 Greeks and
Armenians were expelled or fled from the Izmir (Smyrna) region, Thrace,
and the Aegean coastline to Greece, with the approval of Ottoman auth
orities.132After the Ottoman Empire entered the Great War, thousands of
Greeks and other Christians were deported to the interior of Anatolia and
the islands and used as forced labour.133The Turkist element saw the Great
88 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
War as an opportunity to augment their control and hasten the process of
turkification.This entailed the continuation of an anti-Greek policy in the
Aegean littoral, where according to the Greek government dozens of Greek
villages were destroyed and 30,000 Greeks uprooted between December
1916 and February 1917.TI S pohcy could be interpreted as part of a cam
paign of modernization; not only were food and other goods requisitioned
from the Greeks, contributions were exacted in money for the purpose of
erecting barracks, installing telephones, and other infrastructure.134
Elsewhere in the Balkans, the mood in 1914 was generally sombre and
the wave of popular enthusiasm for war seen in Paris, London, and Berlin
was almost entirely absent. Serbia had no choice and there, as in Montenegro
which sided with Serbia, the war was seen as defensive and a struggle for
national survival. War aims were articulated early on and the Serbian pol
itical establishment hoped that an Entente victory would lead to Serb
national unification, through Serbian expansion to Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Dalmatia at the very least. In Croatia, most Croat politicians initially
supported the Habsburg war effort in the hope that it would lead to a
reorganization of the monarchy along federalist orTrialist lines.135 But in
late 1914 a number of Croat politicians, led by Ante Trumbic and Frano
Supilo, chose exile and established in 1915 the migr Yugoslav Committee,
which propagandized among the Entente the cause ofYugoslav statehood.
Its activities were spurred on by fears, subsequently proven correct, that the
Entente had made extensive territorial concessions to Italy in Dalmatia
and elsewhere as inducement for the latters entry into the Great War.136 At
an early point, these migrs, like their Czech and Polish counterparts,
conceptualized the Great War as a national liberation struggle. In June 1917
( he Yugoslav Committee and exiled Serbian government signed the Corfu
1)eclaration outhning the principles of a post-war union of Serbs, Croats,
and Slovenes.137
In Sofia, Bucharest, and Athens, politicians were divided. While initially
opting for neutrality, none of the Balkan states could ignore the war and the
opportunities it seemingly provided. All three weighed the decision for war
in terms of the potential to realize long-standing nationalist programmes.138
Under Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov (r. 1913-18), Bulgaria moved away
I mm its earlier pro-Russian course. The flood of refugees from Macedonia
and Thrace served as an ever present reminder that the Treaty of Bucharest
would not remain the final settlement of the Eastern Question.139 Bulgarian
opinion remained divided as long -standing Russophile sentiment competed
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89
with the painful trauma of the Balkan Wars. Bulgaria thus negotiated with
both sides. In late May 1915 the Entente promised most of Macedonia and
eastern Thrace, on the condition that Serbia gained Bosnia at the end of the
war. However, a combination of Entente battlefield setbacks and Serbian
refusal to concede territory in Macedonia turned Bulgaria towards an alli
ance with the Central Powers, which agreed to Bulgarian terms. In October
1915 Sofia entered the war and soon occupied most of Macedonia, where a
harsh occupation regime was implemented.140
In Romania, which had been formally allied since 1883 to the Habsburg
monarchy, the war produced a fissure among the political class. The
Conservatives were divided i f sympathetic to the Central Powers while the
Liberals under Ion Bratianu were united and supportive of the Entente.141
Bucharest adopted neutrality and was eventually courted by both sides. In
late June 1916, the British and French issued a joint threat to Bucharest that
i f it failed to enter the war on the side of the Entente, it would lose all
prospect of winning Transylvania. Nationalist groups similarly pressured the
government to intervene on the side of the Entente.142 In light of recent
Russian battlefield successes against the Habsburg monarchy, Bratianu
consented to a military convention with Britain and France on 17 August
1916. Despite some political opposition, King Ferdinand (r. 191427) sup
ported the decision and on 27 August 1916 Romania declared war on the
Dual Monarchy. While the choice for war had been made by Bratianu and
the Liberal establishment, the pressure exerted by the Entente was consider
able. In the short term, the decision seemed disastrous as the Central Powers
succeeded by December 1916 in occupying Wallachia (with Bucharest) and
Dobrudja. The Romanian government and army retreated to northern
Moldavia, but the Russian Revolutions of 1917 isolated Romania and a new
Conservative government sued for peace on 7 May 1918. On 10 November
1918, on the eve of the armistice, Romania re-entered the war on the side
of the Entente.143
The Greek decision to enter the war was the most difficult and con
voluted of all. The country had barely digested its recent territorial
acquisitions from the Balkan Wars, remained involved in southern Albania,
where Athens continued to support Greek irregulars against the nascent
Albanian state, and the political class was divided.144Greeces territorial gains
had stoked hopes in nationalist circles of achieving the Megali Idea. The
debate was never over which side to support, but whether to join the Entente
or remain neutral.145King Constantine I (r. 191317,19202) and many senior
90 FROM BERLIN TO LAUSANNE
military officers sympathized with the Central Powers, while Venizelos was
decidedly pro-Entente. The Ententes occupation of Salonika (autumn 1915)
and Corfu (January 1916), which was used as an asylum for the retreating
Serbian army, was deeply resented in Athens.146 In May 1916 Bulgarian
troops occupied the area north of Salonika, without Greek resistance. Both
sides thus violated Greek neutrality. In August 1916 a group of pro-Entente
officers staged a coup in Salonika with Venizeloss knowledge. He joined
them in October 1916 and proceeded to establish a parallel government and
army. A national schism ensued. In December 1916 an Anglo-French force
landed in Athens, but strong resistance by the Greek army and irregulars
compelled its retreat under heavy casualties. This led to an Anglo-French
naval blockade and increased occupation in the north, leaving Athens with
only the Peloponnese and southern Thessaly under its control. On 10 June
1917 the allies issued an ultimatum calling on the king to abdicate under
threat of a renewed occupation of Athens. The king complied and Venizelos
assumed control. Greece formally declared war on the Central Powers on 30
June 1917, the last European country to enter the Great War.147
In the end, the decision to enter the war was prolonged and difficult but,
as in the Balkan Wars, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece sought the realiza
tion of their national aspirations and the fulfilment of their ideologies of
irredenta. Both the Entente and Central Powers exerted considerable pres
sure on the Balkan states, including the violation of their neutrality, but
ultimately the Great Powers did not force the politicians in question
Venizelos, Bratianu, and Radoslavov to act against their inclinations.148
They merely offered terms compatible with the Balkan leaders nationalist
aspirations. Only in the case of Romania were these aspirations fulfilled, in
the settlement dictated at the Paris Peace Conference (1919),149 while those
of Bulgaria were completely dashed. The peace treaties stemming from the
Paris Peace Conference shaped the post-war European order and new
Balkan frontiers. National self-determination was adopted as the guiding
principle, on the basis of Woodrow Wilsons Fourteen Points, but drawing
new frontiers in the heterogeneous Balkans proved problematic. The Paris
peacemakers were in the end driven by practical considerations of a strat
egic nature and a purposeful level of vindictiveness was inevitable. Enemy
states and peoples, like the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, faired poorly and
the resultant settlement was thus hardly ideal. The principle of national self-
determination was violated on several occasions, leading to new conflicts,
population exchanges, and several states with large minority populations.
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91
According to the Treaty of Neuilly (27 November 1919) Bulgaria was forced
to cede Dobrudja to Romania, western Thrace to Greece, and Macedonia and
other territories to the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
(Yugoslavia). In addition to Dobrudja, Romania acquired coveted
Transylvania with its large Magyar minority, the predominandy Romanian
speaking Bessarabia (Moldova) from Russia, and the former Austrian province
of Bukovina.The only new state to emerge in the Balkans was the Kingdom
of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, formed on 1December 1918 and consisting of
the South Slavic regions of Austria-Hungary and pre-war Balkan states of
Serbia and Montenegro.
Greek-Turkish War and the Treaty of Lausanne
The Greek leadership under Venizelos had grand territorial ambitions at the
end of the war, which were pursued with great vigour at the Paris Peace
Conference. However, Greeces entry into the Great War resulted only in the
acquisition of western Thrace and Bulgarias Aegean coastline. Venizelos had
hoped for additional territory at the expense ol Albania and the Ottoman
Empire. In July 1919 Greece and Italy reached agreement over the partition of
Albania, but the Paris Peace Conference had rejected their pretensions to
Albanian territory. Thereafter, Greek leaders directed their attention to
Ottoman land, their most important goals being the acquisition of
Constantinople and the Greek-populated littoral of Anatolia. At the
Paris Peace Conference, the overwhelmingly frank, genial and subde150
Venizelos lobbied assiduously for Greek claims. These were based on a
combination of historical proofs and inflated population statistics, extended to
southern Albania, all of Thrace, and the Aegean islands, in addition to western
Anatolia.These had long been the treasured domain of the Megali Idea.
Despite the objections of their experts, in May 1919 the Big Three at
Paris endorsed a Greek occupation of Smyrna (Izmir), which had a
larger Greek population than Athens, in advance of a peace treaty with
the Ottoman Empire. The abortive Treaty of Svres (10 August 1920)
forced the greatly reduced Ottoman state to cede Smyrna and its environs
to Greece, and much of southern Anatolia to Italy and France. The
Greeks and Allies simply ignored the ethnography of Anatolia and the
principle of national self-determination. Venizelos was helped consider
ably by Lloyd Georges dislike of the Muslim Turk, which he made
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known in no uncertain terms. The British Foreign Secretary Lord
Curzon, in a document entitled The Future of Constantinople,
expressed his loathing of the Turk: For more than five centuries, the
presence of the Turk in Europe has been a source ... of oppression and
misrule. Lord Curzon wanted an I nternational Commission to rule
Constantinople, the Sultan expelled, and the great Byzantine basilica of
St Sophia reconsecrated. The Turk should be treated severely: Let not
this occasion be missed of purging the earth of one of its most pestilent
roots of evil.151
The Greek occupation, under British protection, was welcomed by
much of the local Greek population. Although it had been spared warfare
during the Great War, western Anatolia experienced shortages of food and
livestock while hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees had settled there,
many of them from the Balkans. Animosity between Greek and Turk had
already intensified as a result of the Balkan Wars, but tensions mounted
following the arrival of the Greek army. The Greek occupation policy was
predicated on the assumption that the Megali Idea could be secured and
made permanent only through the expulsion ot Muslims. A harsh occu
pation regime ensueddocumented by several Allied officialsas Greek
control was gradually extended further inland, provoking a massive
displacement of new refugees.152In the summer of 1920 the Greeks pushed
into eastern Thrace and further into Anatolia in search of empire. News of
atrocities against the Muslim population stirred resentment and resistance,
which coalesced around the Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal
Atatiirk and his revolutionary government. The August 1922 Turkish
counter-offensive turned into a rout, as an increasingly demoralized Greek
army beat a hasty retreat, joined by streams of refugees, to the western
littoral. Even before the war ended, Turkish forces had adopted a ruthless
scorched-earth policy, torching Greek villages and conducting their own
policy of ethnic cleansing. The ghastly denouement came in September
1922, as tens of thousands of refugees crowded into heterogeneous
Smyrna.153 Turkish revenge for earlier Greek atrocities was pitiless,
culminating in the four-day Great Fire that began on 13 September. The
number of dead remains contested, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to
more than ioo,ooo.With the destruction of Smyrna, observed passively by
the Great Powers who had authorized the occupation of 1919, the Greek
presence in western Anatolia, which had a history spanning nearly three
millennia, came to an abrupt and brutal end.
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93
The Lausanne Convention (January 1923), negotiated between Greece
and the new Turkish Republic under the auspices of the newly formed
League of Nations, specified the first ever compulsory exchange of pop
ulationsethnic cleansing in all but namewhich was internationally
endorsed in the Treaty of Lausanne (23 July 1923).The ethnographic map of
the Aegean zone was altered radically and permanently. Approximately 1.5
million Greeks (and other Christians) left Turkey for Greece and nearly
400,000 MushmTurks migrated in the other direction.154 A GreekBulgarian
agreement for voluntary exchange of populations was included in a pro
tocol to the Treaty of Neuilly (1919),155making provision for the removal of
nearly 200,000 Slavs (Bulgarians and Macedonians) to Bulgaria. The Treaty
of Lausanne merely confirmed on paper what had already become a well-
advanced project on the ground; by July 1923, more than a million Greeks
had already fled Anatolia.156 In a broader sense, it marked the inglorious end
of empire and culmination of the unmixing peoples that had started a dec
ade earlier with the Balkan Wars.
Conclusion
The destruction of the Greek community of Smyrna had its immediate
roots in the Great War and the Greek effort to take possession of the spoils
of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire in pursuit of the Megali Idea. It
marked the logical though hardly inevitable conclusion of a process
initiated at the Congress of Berlin. Whereas the Berlin settlement had
conferred independence on the nascent Balkan nation-states, the Lausanne
settlement confirmed the primacy of the nationality principle: the homo
geneous nation-state won out over other possible types of polity. The road
from Berlin to Lausanne was littered with millions of casualties. In the
period between 1878 and I 9i2,as many as two million Muslims emigrated
voluntarily or involuntarily from the Balkans. When one adds those who
were killed or expelled between 1912 and 1923, the number of Muslim
casualties from the Balkan far exceeds three million. By 1923 fewer than
one million remained in the Balkans.157 More than 300,000 Greeks and
other Christians may have perished between 1919 and 1922, with over one
million refugees resettled to Greece. I f one includes Bulgarian, Romanian,
and Serb casualties in the decade before Lausanne, the number of victims
(dead, wounded, and refugees) exceeded six million. The ideology of
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nationalism and modern patterns of warfare tore asunder the mosaic that
was the Ottoman Balkans.
The Balkan Peninsula of 1923 was in many fundamental respects quite
dissimilar from the Balkans of 1878 or even 1912. The most obvious dif
ference was reflected in political geography, specifically the disappearance of
the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires and the emergence of two new states,
Albania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The new political
geography may have conformed more faithfully to the nationality principle
than the one crafted by the Berlin settlement, but the ethnolinguistic
demographics of the region had been reshaped in an essential way. Whole
populations had been removed from their ancestral homes through war,
revolution, and violence. Some could not be moved, becoming minorities
in the new states. Integral nationahsm had exacted a heavy price. The
violence and ethnic cleansing of this period were hardly sui generis Balkan.
Patterns of violence, from the Macedonian conflict to the GreekTurkish
War, remained consistent and were determined by modernizing states.
Nevertheless, as a result of the Balkan Wars relations between the regions
nation-states and minority populations stood at their nadir. Serbian-
Albanian relations still have not fully recovered from these conflicts. In the
event, the state-sponsored Balkan violence differed little from the brutalities
inflicted by the Habsburg authorities during the Great War on segments
of its own population and in occupied territories, and certainly pales
in comparison to the wartime Armenian genocide. The Great War had
radicalized mentalities and policies across Europe. Moreover, the 'small
power imperialisms of the Balkan states seem pallid in relation to the far
more grandiose imperialist projects which were articulated during the Great
War by both Imperial Germany and the Entente, and implemented by the
latter after 1919 in former Ottoman lands and elsewhere. Reuben Markhams
remark, quoted at the beginning of this chapter, that the early twentieth-
century Balkans resembled communities living on the edge of a large tract
of very desirable public land that was about to be opened up and given to
whomsoever managed to put their stakes down first, thus seems remarkably
apt.Viewed in this light, the anti-Turkish views expressed by Lloyd George
and Lord Curzon in 1919 may not be particularly surprising. They were not
dissimilar to those ofVenizelos or other Balkan staesmen but ultimately they
were far more dangerous as they facilitated the ensuing disaster.
3
Democracy, Dictatorship,
and War, 1923-1945
Hitlers invasion unearthed the long pent-up shadows of ages past and gave
them a new dress, a new motivation: neighbours who might have lived out
their lives side by side were now all of a sudden plundering and annihilating
one another! I wondered i f this were not some kind of socially conditioned
human malady which would disappear in a society free of oppression. That
thought was adequate for fighting a war, but not for ones peace of mind.
T
he interwar era was one of the few albeit short periods when a
semblance of genuinely democratic governance existed in the
twentieth-century Balkans.The introduction of universal manhood suffrage
and agrarian reform provided a stimulus to political democracy, social
transformation,and economic development. Political systems were redefined
and new constitutions were promulgated as a result of the Great War and its
attendant costs. Crafting new political systems was no simple task given
existing ideological and nationality divisions. All key issues, from the nature
of government to state organization were hotly debated and contested.
Every Balkan state had to address questions of citizenship and identity, land
ownership, and many other problems arising from the creation of new states
and societies. By 1924 the political system of every Balkan state had been
decided upon and new constitutions were drafted where they did not pre
viously exist. Bulgaria, Albania, and Romania remained monarchies, as did
the new Yugoslav state under a Serbian dynasty, while Greece alternated
between monarchism and republicanism. Debates over centralism and
federalism proved most vexing, in light of the complex nationality
composition of new states like Yugoslavia and Romania.
(Milovan Djilas, 1977)
All the interwar states opted for highly centralized political systems,
since political elites saw centralism as essential to modernity and the sur
vival of their nation-states.2 (See Map 4.) The political history of the
interwar Balkans is in many respects the history of nationalizing states
trying with varying degrees of success to pursue national integration and
to construct homogeneous societies.3All the Balkan states were built
around core nations construed along ethnolinguistic lines which not
only laid claim to ownership of their respective polities but attempted to
enforce nationalization in politics, culture, and in social and economic
life. Romania and Yugoslavia were the most ethnically heterogeneous
societies but were nationalizing states all the same. Multiethnic Yugoslavia
was, according to the logic of Yugoslavist integralism, the state of the
trinomial Yugoslav nation. In the event, between 1923 and 1945 the
nationalizing Balkan states employed practices and pursued policies
designed to achieve homogeny, although these varied in scope and
intensity from one state to the next.
Interwar Balkan political developments followed a discernible pattern. In
the early post-war years, a revolutionary mood prevailed almost everywhere
and the previously marginalized left (Agrarians, Social Democrats, and
Communists) attempted to implement an ambitious programme of reform.
The ascent of the left and loss of faith in pre-war political elites were
hallmarks of the Great War with its unprecedented destruction and social
dislocation. The influence of the Russian Revolution was reflected in the
formation of Communist parties; in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia they emerged
as major parties in the immediate post-war period. In both countries
agrarian or peasantist parties either held poweras was the case with
Stamboliiskis BANUor emerged as leading advocates of reform, as in the
case of the Croat Peasant Party in Yugoslavia. In the event, the left was gradually
suppressed everywhere. The Communists were officially banned in Yugoslavia
(1921), Bulgaria and Romania (1924), Albania (1928), and Greece (1936). In
Bulgaria, the 1923 coup led to the murder of Stamboliiski and the suppression
of his Green movement; the country was thereafter led by traditional
conservative regimes, culminating in military and then royal dictatorship in
934- 5 In Yugoslavia, the assassination of the Croat peasant leader Stjepan
Radic in 1928 similarly served as a death knell of parliamentary democracy
and led to the royal dictatorship of January 1929.111Romania, the old Liberal
elite oversaw the implementation of significant reforms and were then
replaced briefly in government by the National Feasant Party. I lowever, the
9 6 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
Map 4. The Interwar Balkans, 19231941
Reprinted with permission from Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central
Europe, revised and expanded edition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002)
countrys political fragmentation along ethnic and ideological lines, and the
factionalism within its two leading parties, ended in royal dictatorship in
February 1938. In Greece, the disastrous Anatolian war culminated in ran
corous ideological divisions, the toppling of the monarchy, and then its
eventual restoration (1935), followed by royal dictatorship the next year. In
Albania the liberal reformist current briefly predominated in 1924 but the
experiment ended in Ahmed Zogus royal dictatorship.
Totalitarian movements in interwar Europe took the twin forms of
Communism and Fascism. Both intended to fashion the New Man, to
create social purity through class revolution or a national renaissance, and
in equal measure regarded violence and terror as legitimate and indeed
necessary tools of political struggle and for the reordering of social relations.
They promoted a culture of intolerance and exclusion, whether on class or
national (even racial) lines, over a culture of diversity and tolerance.
Political power was to be held by the party, which would dominate in toto
state and society. Both Communism and Fascism offered radical critiques
of modernity, understood as the liberal capitalist experiment in Europe to
the Great War. In the interwar Balkan setting, the politicization of the
masses and the eventual demise of liberal democratic institutions, in an
international context shaped by the ideological extremes of Communism
and Fascism, produced an environment advantageous to the totalitarian
discourse. Traditional conservative elites in the Balkans were contested
by totalitarian movements of the left and right but typically responded
to political crisis by strengthening monarchical authority and imposing
conventional dictatorships rooted in predictable national ideologies that
harkened back to a supposedly glorious past. Only during and after the
Second World War, under and resulting from the conditions of Axis
occupation, did the Communist movement manage to prevail everywhere
except Greece.
Yugoslavia
The most complex state in the Balkans after the Great War was the Yugoslav
state formed on i December 1918 and known officially until January 1929
as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It was comprised of multiple
historically distinct lands,4including the Slovene lands (Carniola, parts of
Styria and Carinthia), Croatia-Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
Vojvodina, all of which had formerly belonged to the Habsburg monarchy,
in addition to Montenegro and Serbia, which included Kosovo (Old
Serbia) andVardar Macedonia (Southern Serbia).These lands were ethni
cally remarkably heterogeneous.5 Determining the precise nationality
composition of the interwar Yugoslav state is problematic, but it is estimated
that Orthodox Serbs (with Montenegrins) comprised 43 per cent of the
population, while Croats (23 per cent), Slovenes (8.5 per cent), Macedonians
(5 per cent), and Bosnian Muslims (6 per cent) comprised the remaining
South Slav population. The remaining 14.5 per cent of the population con
sisted of non-Slavs, the most numerous of whom were Albanian andTurkish
Muslims, Germans, Magyars, and Jews."
y 8 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
99
The two leading Serbian political parties of the interwar era were the
National Radical Party of Nikola Pasic and the Democratic Party of
Ljubomir (Ljuba) Davidovic, although the Democrats attracted many non-
Serb unitarists. The Radicals were the party of the Serbian establishment
(middle class, bureaucracy, and army) and pursued a policy that can legit
imately be characterized as Great Serbian: they wished to maintain Serbia's
pre-eminence and expunge non-Serb identities through a policy of cultural
assimilation. State centralism was seen as the most effective way of doing
this and of preserving the recently obtained unity of all Serbs. Radical
national ideology was rooted inVuk Stefanovic Karadzics notion of linguis
tic Serbianism and possessed a powerful assimilationist strain, which assumed
that state centralism would eventually result in the cultural serbianization of
the non-Serbs, particularly the linguistically kindred Bosnian Muslims and
Croats. Radical nationalism was complemented by an equally important
statist element.They venerated the state as an entity unto itself, and saw the
need to protect it at any cost. The Democrats were a party of narodno jedin-
stvo (national oneness) who believed that there was only one, trinomial
Yugoslav nation composed of the Serb, Croat, and Slovene tribes. Their
Yugoslavist unitarism convinced them that the end result of state centralism
would be a hybrid Yugoslav nationality. They therefore rejected as artificial
Yugoslavias historical provinces, which only heightened the tribal div
isions within the nascent Yugoslav nationality rather than nurturing its
oneness. Democrats thus opposed federalism as a matter of principle and,
in the immediate post-war period, their two luminaries, Davidovic and
Svetozar Pribicevic, supported state centralism.7Whatever the differences in
principle between Radicals and Democrats, in the immediate post-war years
both sought a centralized state system and formed a coalition government
in the states formative period, from January 1921 to December 1922.
The Communist Party ofYugoslavia also supported a centralized state
system in the immediate post-war years.8It too supported narodno jedinstvo,
and in practice the Communist variant differed little from the one espoused
by the bourgeois Democrats; its common denominator was a disavowal of
all national and historic individualities among the South Slavs. After the
Communists were outlawed in August 1921 they began to reconsider their
position on the national question. The process engendered a series of fac-
donal disputes, which culminated in the partys Resolution on the National
Question (1924).This document asserted that the 1918 unification was in
the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat, but concluded that
I OO d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
federalism should be adopted so that South Slav union fulfilled its historical
mission. Since unification had been carried out by the South Slav bour
geoisies in a monarchist form and for their class interests, and was then
usurped by the Serbian bourgeoisie, the process of building a Yugoslav
nation had stalled.9Throughout the interwar era, the Yugoslav Communists
would continue to debate the national questioninfluenced to a signif
icant degree by Communist International (Comintern) directivemoving
from centralism to federalism to separatism and then back to an advocacy
of federalism.
The main non-Serb party was Stjepan Radios Croat Peasant Party, which
emerged after 1918 as both a peasant social and Croat national movement.10
It believed that the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
was unconstitutional and undemocratic, as unification had neither been
ratified by the Croatian Diet nor subsequently sanctioned by Croats in a
referendum. In the months following unification, as the Serbian state and
military apparatus were extended to Croatia, the Croat Peasant Partys pos
ition hardened. Only in 191920, when Radic realized that the Paris Peace
Conference would not act on behalf of Croat popular wishes, did the party
abandon independence in favour of a federalist platform. However, the
Croat Peasant Party adopted a policy of abstention from the Constituent
Assembly (19201) and National Parliament (19214) in Belgrade, since
participation was deemed tantamount to legitimizing the unification act.
Abandoned in 1924, the policy of abstention was used repeatedly through
out the interwar era. The Croat bourgeois parties, the Croat Union and
Croat Party of Right, were seriously debilitated by the introduction of uni
versal manhood suffrage. In 1921 they deferred to the Croat Peasant Party
and formed the Croat Bloc, a united front against Belgrade that supported
Croatian state sovereignty. The Croat Peasant Party remained the only sig
nificant political party in Croatia until the Second World War. The leading
interwar Slovene and Bosnian Muslim political parties were Anton Korosecs
Catholic clericalist Slovene Peoples Party and Mehmed Spahos Yugoslav
Muslim Organization. Initially both were autonomist parties,but by the late
1920s they became de facto supporters of the state system and participated in
various Radical-led governments. In the early years of the royal dictatorship,
both courted the opposition but again entered government after 1935.11
The significant anomalies in national ideologies and political programmes
between the dominant Serb and Croat parties meant that a negotiated sol
ution to the national question essentially, the issue of how the new state
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r I O I
would be organizedrepeatedly eluded the new kingdoms political leaders.
The elections to the Constituent Assembly did not occur until November
1920, nearly two years after the states formation, and in the interim the pre
war Serbian state and military apparatus were extended to the former
Habsburg territories and rigorously enforced. The suppression of the
Communists and abstention of the Croat Peasant Party, the third and fourth
largest parties in the Constituent Assembly, respectively, enabled the central
ist parties to enact theVidovdan Constitution (1921) by a small majority.12
In addition to confirming state centralism, theVidovdan Constitution gave
far-reaching powers to the Serbian (now Yugoslav) monarch.The new king
dom was a parliamentary monarchy, but the Constitution did not require
King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic (r. 192134) to name ministers from the
National Parliament or even to respect the will of parliamentary majorities.
Since the form of parliamentarism enshrined in the 1921 Constitution was
derived from the 1903 Serbian Constitution, both king and National
Parliament shared legislative authority. In actual fact, the king was the more
important factor, possessing the right to sanction or reject parliamentary
bills and to call to session or dissolve the National Parliament at any time.
Moreover, he controlled the army, conducted foreign policy, made admin
istrative appointments and wielded considerable authority over the judiciary.
Between 1921 and 1928 governments were formed not in the National
Parliament but at the court, as the king brought down governments
possessing parliamentary majorities and sustained those lacking them.13
Throughout the 1920s the centralist parties, and in particular the Radicals,
dominated government. The Radicals led a coalition government with the
Democrats (19212), governed alone (19234), and then again in coalition
with the Independent Democrats (1924-5). In July 1925, when Radic finally
recognized the Vidovdan system, the Radicals formed a coalition govern
ment with the Croat Peasant Party (19257). Between early 1927 and late
1928, the Radicals dominated a series of cabinets which enjoyed the backing
of the Democrats, Slovene Peoples Party, andYugoslav Muslim Organization.
Between January 1921and December 1928, the Radicals were out of govern
ment only for a few months in 1924.Their major domestic political victory
in this period was bringing Radic to heel in July 1925, by using his visit to
the Soviet Union as pretext to imprison him and dissolve his party; the
tactic succeeded in forcing Radic to abandon his programme of Croat peas
ant republicanism. In the event, it was a Pyrrhic victory. From that point
forward, the Radicals, hitherto the strongest Serbian party and the main
1 0 2 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
defender of theVidovdan order, became ever more factionalized.The most
salient trait characterizing Yugoslav political life after 1925 was the growing
influence of King Aleksandar over political life.
The Radicals and Democrats had always been divided over leadership
disputes and on matters of principle. Some elements in both parties were
committed to genuine parliamentary government and opposed the courts
growing influence, but were repeatedly obstructed by more conservative
elements.14The increasingly bitter factional struggles within the two Serbian
parties were closely tied to the kings growing political assertiveness. While
he had earlier been compelled to work with Pasic for the states consol
idation, in light of the threat posed by Radics movement, he was cognizant
of the fact that the Radicals lacked a charismatic figure who could replace
the elderly Pasic. Moreover, he remained suspicious of Davidovic, whom he
regarded as liberal and naive, and believed that none of the other party lead
ers could bring order to the state. It is hardly surprising that the king
believed that he personally had to exert greater influence over political hfe.
Shortly before his death in 1926, even Pasic acknowledged that the Radical
party he had helped to build after 1881 was in disrepair and hopelessly
factionalized. In the event, Pasic was ousted in a carefully orchestrated cam
paign originating with one faction of the party linked to the court. By early
1927 several competing factions, grouped primarily around Vehmir (Velja)
Vukicevic and Nikola Uzunovic, operated under the Radical banner.
Increasingly factionalized, the oldest Serbian political party clung to power
even as the king emerged as the arbiter of the countrys political fate.
From that point politics were in a greater state of flux. From July 192$ to
January 1927, the Radicals and Croat Peasant Party formed an uneasy coal
ition government but neither party was particularly enthusiastic about the
arrangement, which came to an end following the January 1927 local elec
tions. In 1927-8 competing Radical factions formed administrations with
the backing of Democratic factions and the Slovene and Bosnian Muslim
parties. In opposition stood a new political alliance, the Peasant Democratic
Coalition, formed in November 1927 by Radic and the Croatian Serb pol
itician and leader of the Independent Democrats, Pribicevic.This Coalition
represented a united political front of Croats and Croatian Serbs, which in
early 1928 launched a reformist campaign emphasizing the inequalities in
the state system. The political debates in 1928 became so bitter that parlia
mentary sessions often degenerated into chaos. At the 20 June session, the
Montenegrin Serb Radical deputy, Punisa Racic, shot five Croat Peasant
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 103
deputies, killing two instantly. Radic was seriously wounded and died on
8 August. At that point, the country reached a crossroads. The Peasant
Democratic Coalition withdrew to Zagreb, refusing to participate further
in the National Parhament or to negotiate with the government. It demanded
sweeping changes to the Vidovdan state system. There was no common
ground between the government parties and court in Belgrade and the
Peasant Democratic Coalition in Zagreb. On 6January 1929,King Aleksandar
proclaimed the imposition of a royal dictatorship.TheVidovdan Constitution
was suspended; the National Parliament and all political parties were
dissolved. A new administration was formed under the leadership of General
Petar Zivkovic, the commander of the Royal Guard.
The attempt at parliamentary government failed not only because a
strong monarchical authority handicapped it, but also because substantial
segments of the population did not accept the constitutional basis on which
the Yugoslav state had been founded. King Aleksandar used the political
crisis to establish the January 6th dictatorship, evidently concluding that he
had no alternative but to govern by decree. As Christian Axboe Nielsen has
shown, the dictatorship systematically laboured to indoctrinate the pop
ulace into an abandonment of their old tribal identities in favour of a new
Yugoslav identity; the ideology of integral Yugoslavism was now promoted
with renewed vigour.15The local administration was reformed into nine
large provinces (banovine), which took the names of geographical features
rather than historic and cultural entities. The borders of the new provinces
cut across the historic pre-war frontiers of provinces like Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Croatia, and Montenegro, while their governors were appointed by royal
decree and directly responsible to the king. In October 1929 the states
name was officially changed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and on
3 September 1931 the king issued his octroyed Constitution, which guar
anteed personal liberties but simultaneously forbade most forms ot political
activity. The king and executive were given extensive powers, while elec
tions to the National Parliament were no longer by secret ballot and half the
members of the Senate were nominated by the king. The state apparatus,
army, and judiciary remained firmly in Serb hands and the new government
party, the Yugoslav National Party, was predominantly a Serb affair. In the
same period, many of the moderate non-Serb leaders were detained; the
new Croat Peasant Party leader,Vladko Macek, spent nearly six months in
detention in 1931 and the better part of 1933-4 in prison for his alleged
anti-state activities. The radical opposition, notably Ante Pavelic, the leader
104
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
of the Croat fascist Ustasa movement, fled abroad to enlist the support of
Fascist Italy and other revisionist states and to work for the destruction
of Yugoslavia.16
King Aleksandars Yugoslavist project began to unravel even before his
October 1934 assassination in Marseilles by an I MRO terrorist working for
the Ustase. His political experiment in dictatorship resulted in the construc
tion of an elaborate police state and undermined the project of establishing
a widely shared unitary Yugoslav identity, which was one of his stated
objectives. Although the regime seemingly attempted to reduce interethnic
distrust, its methods resulted in further alienation and resentment. There
was a nearly universal shift to the political right among all the Yugoslav
peoples, although this shift reflected the spirit of the times in Europe. As
such, the royal dictatorship undoubtedly contributed to an increase in
interethnic tensions.1'
After October 1934 a Regency Council was established under Prince
Pavle Karadjordjevic, the late kings cousin. Much of Aleksandars system,
like the 1931 Constitution, was retained, although the reins of dictatorship
were loosened. Prince Pavle combined a reactionary attitude towards
parliamentary pluralism and socio-economic reform with a desire to reach
a political compromise with the Croat Peasant Party, now led by Vladko
Macek. Attempts under Bogoljub Jevtic (19345) and then Milan
Stojadinovic (19359) to consolidate the political situation failed. A signifi
cant change occurred only in early 1939, when Dragisa Cvetkovic was
appointed premier. In August 1939, he and Macek negotiated the Sporazum
(Agreement), which created a semi-autonomous Croatian banovina that
included pre-war Croatia-Slavonia, Dalmatia, and those parts of Bosnia-
Herzegovina with a clear Croat plurality. The conclusion of the Sporazum
was prompted by the looming European crisis but was contested on all
sides. For Croat nationalists around Pavelic, who were committed to inde
pendence, the Sporazum was too little, too late. In Serb nationalist circles, the
Sporazum was rejected for supposedly weakening the state while simultane
ously jeopardizing the status of Croatias Serb minority. Since the Sporazum
diil not institute a federalist system, Slovene and Bosnian Muslim leaders
also opposed it. In the event, when war came to Yugoslavia in April 1941, the
Axis had little difficulty in breaking asunder the politically fragile structure
of royal Yugoslavia.
Ihere is little doubt that by 1941 the Yugoslav state was torn by grave
fissures. Although Yugoslavia was the creation of Serb, Croat, and Slovene
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 105
political elites, it was not the Yugoslavia desired by two of the three
co-founding peoples, namely, Croats and Slovenes. Serb predominance and
Croat resistance, and the concomitant growth of SerbCroat tensions,
became the principal theme of political life. One consequence of this dis
enchantment was the delegitimation of the Yugoslav idea among most
non-Serbs, many of whom experienced Yugoslavia as the negation of their
political individualities and historical identities. The Serb political elite gen
erally remained insensitive to the rights of non-Serbs and as a consequence
the Yugoslav kingdom never effectively came to grips with the national
question. The official ideology of integral Yugoslavism was in due course
rejected by broad segments of intellectual opinion.The pronounced Serbian
political character of the interwar state, which was seen by many non-Serbs
to be serving Serbian (Orthodox) interests, only helped to strengthen
national consciousness among non-Serbs. In many cases, national conscious
ness was solidified in the context of bitter political struggles against the Serb
other, in opposition to Belgrade and the Serbian political establishment.
Heavy-handed Serbian government policies outside Serbia-whether in
the former Habsburg lands, Kosovo, or Macedoniagradually fomented
bitterness against Serbs generally, who were collectively identified with the
oppressive centralist Yugoslav state, just as many Serbs began to nurture a
distrust of Croats and other non-Serbs for undermining the unity of the
new state, which Serbs viewed as the culmination of the nineteenth-century
struggle for Serb unification.
Ideological positions remained seemingly non-negotiable and political
leaders intractable throughout the interwar period. This reflected to a sig
nificant degree the influence of national ideologies. State centralism was a
key component in Serb national ideologies, rooted in the fact that Serbs had
long been scattered across so many different lands, for example, Serbia
proper, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Vojvodina. Since Serb
leaders viewed the creation of the Yugoslav state primarily in terms of the
completion of Serb national unification, a protracted process that had been
started in 1804, they were loath to abandon their centralist convictions. On
the other hand, Croat leaders, who had struggled to affirm their nationality
in the Habsburg monarchy and had been recognized in 1868 by the Magyar
ruling oligarchy and Habsburg crown as a political nation, were unprepared
to abandon this individuality in a politically centralist and ideologically
unitarist state. The Great War undoubtedly contributed to a hardening of
attitudes. For Serb leaders, the Great War had been a painful victory and
their leaders felt entided to make decisions in the new state. But the Great
War had radicalized much of Croatias peasantry, as demonstrated by the
1918 rural disturbances, which made the Croat Peasant Party equally reluc
tant to compromise; it had to contend with its own politically and socially
radical constituency. National ideologies and post-war circumstances were
not conducive to compromise. The way in which unification had been
achieved complicated matters. Serb support for unification was universal
and virtually unqualified, while in Croatia and elsewhere unification had a
narrower social and political base, limited largely to the intelligentsia. In
light of the relatively narrow national, social, and political base of support
for unification, it is not difficult to understand why many non-Serbs saw
unification as a Serbian fait accomph and why they believed that the Yugoslav
state was a Serbian project. This conviction was fuelled by the fact that uni
fication was never sanctioned by popularly elected regional assemblies or in
referenda in the constituent regions of the country. Only the threat of war
and possibility of invasion in 1939 compelled the political elites to com
promise, but even then agreement was contested on all sides by broad
sections of public opinion.
Romania
In several respects, Romania had changed fundamentally as a result of the
Great War and the Paris peace settlement.This was most visible in Romanias
new borders, which had expanded to include Transylvania, Bessarabia,
northern Bukovina, and the Banat. The new Great Romania was demo-
graphically quite distinct from the pre-war Regat, which had been over
whelming Romanian. According to the 1930 census, only 71.9 per cent of
the population was Romanian, with Magyars (7.9 per cent), Germans
(4.4 per cent), Jews (4 per cent), and Ukrainians (3.2 per cent) accounting
for the most of the remaining population. In Transylvania, which since the
nineteenth century had been the source of MagyarRomanian nationalist
disputes, Romanians comprised only 57.8 per cent of the population, while
Magyars (24.4 per cent) and Germans (9.8 per cent) constituted the two
largest minorities. In the newly acquired territories, many of which had
long served as imperial and ethnic borderlands, the principle of national
self-determination was used to justify Romanian claims. In actual fact. Great
Romania (Romania Marc) now resembled in several respects the new
1 0 6 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 107
Yugoslav state, had to contend with an acute minority problem, and was in
fact a fragile polity.18Romania emerged from the Great War seemingly with
great promise and as one of its main beneficiaries. Romanian national uni
fication had been completed; all Romanians now lived in one state, albeit
alongside millions of non-Romanians. And yet, as Irina Livezeanu has
argued, Romanians entered the Great Romanian state with varied oudooks
formed through diverse imperial experiences of governance.
While Romania remained after 1918 predominantly agrarian, and the
peasant question the main issue, much of the Liberal agenda of the pre-war
period was finally realized between 1917 and 1923.The Agrarian Law (1921)
subdivided many of the great estates and turned Romania into a country of
small landowners. The accompanying electoral reform saw the introduction
of universal manhood suffrage which was enshrined in the new constitution
(1923).These two reforms had an immediate impact on the political land
scape. The old Conservative Party dissolved, with the Liberalsthe party of
the intelligentsia and bourgeoisienow the dominant political party; they
governed from 1922 to 1926, briefly in 1927-8 and again from 1933 to 1937.
However, starting in the late 1920s the party grew weaker as its old leader
ship Ion I. C. Bratianu,Vintila Bratianu, and Ion Gheorghe Ducapassed
away and it split into factions. As a result, and notwithstanding the primacy
of the Liberals, the Romanian political system became ever more frag
mented. By 1937, when Romania held its last democratic elections, thirteen
major parties contested the vote. The main opposition party, the National
Peasant Party (1926), resulted from the merger of Iuliu Manius National
Party of Transylvania and Ion Mihalaches Peasant Party. Despite its broad
social base and reformist appeal, the National Peasant Party never emerged
as a governing partyit held office only briefly, in 1928-31 and 19323
and its leadership proved less adroit than its Liberal peers. It was their
misfortune to govern during the Great Depressions most difficult years.
Other parties emerged after 1919, including the Peoples Party of Marshal
Alexandru Averescu, the National Democratic Party of Professor Nicolae
lorga, and the National Christian Party of Alexandru C. Cuza, all of which
enjoyed brief stints in power.
The Liberals crafted a highly centralized state system, which they hoped
would integrate Transylvania and the other new territories as firmly as
possible into the Regat. Governing institutions in these territories were
dissolved and centrally appointed officials were installed in regional admin
istrations. Minority officials were dismissed while schools were nationalized
to serve the cause of romanianization. While the 1923 constitution guaran
teed minority rights, proportional representation in government, and civic
freedoms, the implementation of the law proved problematic. Similarly, the
progressive nature of the Agrarian Reform was muted in Transylvania and the
other new territories where it was often used to divest minorities of land.
The expropriation of ecclesiastical property and its redistribution, often to
Romanians, de facto weakened the position of minority groups. The leading
minority party in Romania was the Hungarian Peoples Party (192238),
which unified the ideologically and confessionally diverse Magyar elite. The
Romanian political class refused cooperation, however. As a result of exclusion,
the party and its Magyar constituency remained unreconciled to the
Romanian state. Following the rise of National Socialism in Germany and
the imposition of King Carols dictatorship (1938), many Magyar politicians
no longer had an interest in political solutions within Romania.The Munich
setdement (1938) convinced Magyar elites that Transylvania would revert to
Hungarian administration in the near future.1'
Parties of the extreme right and left emerged early in the interwar era.
The Romanian Communist Party (1921) was a marginal political force,
whose relatively small membership was led throughout the interwar era by
first secretaries drawn from the countrys minorities.20Its support for the
Comintern position that Romania was an artificial multinational creation
of Western imperialists, in 1924 prompted the Romanian authorities to
declare the party unconstitutional. During the interwar period Romanian
Communism remained an insignificant force, with little impact on politics
or society. The Social Democratic Party, which in 1921 probably had only
about 1,000 members but indirectly exercised control over a large labour
movement, reconstituted itself in 1927 by merging with social democratic
groups in the new provinces. However, ideological disputes and factional
ism debilitated the Social Democrats, who in 1937 gained less than 1 per
cent of the popular vote. On the extreme right, the so-called Legionary
Movement originated in 19223 under Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, who
formed the Association of Christian Students and then the National
Christian Defence League, the latter together with Alexandra C. Cuza. In
1927 Codreanu established the Legion of the Archangel Michael, popularly
known after 1930 as the Iron Guard, the name of its paramilitary wing.
Although the Iron Guard was banned in 1931 and again in 1933, it
reappeared in 1935 under the banner ofAll for the Fatherland and saw a
dramatic increase in popular support in the 1937 elections.
i o 8 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 109
In Romania, as elsewhere in the region, domestic political fragmentation
occurred in the context of a general shift to the right and facilitated the
eventual move towards dictatorship.The death of King Ferdinand (r. 191427)
and leading Liberal troika between 1927 and 1933, combined with the inef
fectual leadership of the National Peasants, opened the door to King Carol
II (r. 1930-40) and eventually to the Iron Guard. The Iron Guards assassin
ation of Duca in December 1933 prompted the authorities to suspend some
fundamental rights; censorship was introduced and the authorities began
governing by decree. The Liberal faction headed by Gheorghe Tatarascu
(19337) was closely tied to King Carol and increasingly dependent on him.
With the exception of a few prominent Liberal figures who opposed the
crowns escalating role, the Liberals became progressively more ineffectual
and unpopular.21This was exploited by King Carol, whose main objective
was to strengthen his own hand by co-opting Liberal and National Peasant
factions. Although the Liberals still emerged in the 1937 election with the
largest share of the vote (36 per cent), the radical right Iron Guard (AH for
the Fatherland Party) emerged as the third largest group (16 per cent). King
Carol offered a mandate to the National Christian Party, but its prime
minister-designate Octavian Goga began talks with the Iron Guard about a
new government. On 10 February 1938 Carol II dissolved parliament and
all political parties, thus establishing a royal dictatorship in fear that the right
would consolidate against him.
Great Romanias imperfect democratic experiment gave way to a dictators
hip for the first time in the countrys modern history.The royal dictatorship,
which lasted less than three years, employed arbitrary measures, nationalism,
and anti-Semitism, but never enunciated a coherent programme apart from
political stability and social harmony. Although it attempted to form a mass
organization, the National Renascence Front (later, the Nations Party),
this was really an ad hoc affair rather than a systematic enterprise of mass
indoctrination and mobilization.22King Carols regime remained author
itarian in a traditional rather than a fascist sense but continued to drift
ever further to the right, in part because of Nazi pressure but also to pre
empt the Iron Guard, which continued to assassinate government offi
cials. Never enjoying a broad base of social or political support, King
Carols regime was undermined by Great Power politics. In June 1940, as
part of the RibbentropMolotov Pact, the Soviet Union occupied
Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. In August 1940, under considerable
German pressure, Romania was compelled to cede, in the Vienna Diktat,
I 10 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
northern Transylvania to Hungary, and later southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria.
Confronted by general opprobrium and an Iron Guard insurgency, in
September 1940 General Ion Antonescu demanded Carols abdication in
favour of Mihai I (r. 192730, 19407), and assumed control of the admin
istration with the Iron Guard. The royal dictatorship yielded to a short-lived
National Legionary State, really an incipient military dictatorship.
Bulgaria
Bulgaria was unique in the post-First World War Balkans insofar as it was
the only defeated party. On 3 October 1918 King Ferdinand abdicated in
favour of his son Boris and left the country, prompted by the abortive
Radomir military rebellion and the 29 September armistice which had been
signed at Salonika.23The peasant leader Stamboliiski, who had been released
from prison in late September, rode a reformist wave which transformed the
political landscape. The August 1919 elections gave the left a resounding
victory. The largest party was BANU with eight-five seats and 28.22 per
cent of the vote. The Bulgarian Communist Party, which had been
constituted in May 1919 from the former Narrow socialist faction,
significantly improved its vote while the formerly Broad socialist faction,
who now formed the Social Democratic Party, also faired respectably.24
Stamboliiski received a mandate to form a government, but after being
rejected by the socialist left in October 1919 he formed a coalition
government with the moderate right.
The Stamboliiski government acted immediately to neutralize the court
and distance itself from the old order, in the eyes of both domestic opinion
and the Western allies. Stamboliiski had long believed that the court, the
officer corps, and the robust state bureaucracy were ills plaguing Bulgarian
society. His government asserted civilian control of the Ministry of War and
arrested several members of the wartime government. The Treaty of Neuilly,
which was signed on 27 November 1919, thus came as a shock. Bulgaria lost
Macedonia and Thrace and with them more than 90,000 Bulgarianswas
compelled to pay considerable reparations, and had limits placed on its
military.25The Treaty of Neuilly also obliged Bulgaria to respect the rights
of its ethnolinguistic and religious minorities, namely, its ethnically diverse
Muslim population.The authorities were to provide equality before the law
to all citizens regardless of nationality, language, or religion, and to allow the
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 111
public use of minority languages, whether in religious practice, the
media, or in the courts. Minorities were also to be given access to
education in their mother tongue. Moreover, Bulgaria was forbidden
from passing legislation contravening the minority rights provisions
stipulated in the Neuilly Treaty.
As the old regime seemingly crumbled, the Bulgarian left descended
into a struggle over the political spoils. Although the Stamboliiski
government began immediately to enact reforms, the Communist-inspired
urban strike of 191920 provoked a conflict between the Agrarians on the
one hand and the Social Democrats and Communists on the other. When
a general strike was declared in late December 1919, Stamboliiski declared
martial law and called on the army and police to restore order. Dissolving
parliament, Stamboliiski called new elections for 28 March 1920 which
turned into a contest between the Agrarians and Communists. BANU and
the Communists emerged as the two largest parties, with 38.8 and 20.3 per
cent of the popular vote, respectively, while the Social Democrats were
effectively marginalized. Stamboliiski annulled the election of nine
Communist and four other deputies, resulting in a BANU parliamentary
majority. Stamboliiski s progressive reform agenda notwithstanding, his
political tactics in 1920 undermined his movements moral authority.26
Beginning in 1920 the Stamboliiski government introduced a series of
major reformsland and judicial reforms, progressive taxation, expanded
education, reform of lending practices, and a compulsory labour service,
among othersdesigned to produce a socially and politically more egali
tarian society.27The administration was purged of senior officials. His for
eign policy initiatives were equally bold. Stamboliiski abandoned any dream
of territorial expansion, either in Macedonia orThrace, and was determined
to establish good relations with the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and
Slovenes. In part this move was ideological, as Stamboliiski continued to
believe in an eventual Balkan (peasant) federation.28It was also a practical
necessity, at a time of momentous domestic upheaval. His foreign policy led
to Bulgarias admission to the League of Nations and a significant reduction
in war reparations. In the event, Stamboliiskis foreign policy proved unpop
ular among broad segments of Bulgarian nationahst opinion, who still
longed for the Great Bulgaria briefly brought into existence by the Treaty
of San Stefano. By the time the population movements accompanying the
Great War and its aftermath were completed, Macedonian and Thracian
refugees, who accounted for 11 per cent of Sofia s population, formed an
I I 2 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
influential lobby.29More importantly, the Macedonian nationalist cadre in
Bulgaria, organized around I MRO, employed violence against domestic
opponents and continued to contest Yugoslav and Greek rule by staging
raids from their Bulgarian stronghold at Petrich. In May 1921the Stamboliiski
government decided to move against I MRO and its patrons in the Bulgarian
army, which led in October 1921to the assassination of his Minister of War.
In November 1922 Stamboliiski travelled to Belgrade, where he renounced
territorial revisionism and denounced I MRO, and in March 1923 Sofia and
Belgrade concluded the Nis Convention by which both parties agreed to
contain terrorist organizations.
The combination of foreign and domestic factors led to Stamboliiskis
untimely and fateful demise. Although Stamboliiski initially had to con
tend with a challenge from the Communist left (1919-20), the forces of
the pre-war orderthe military and newly constituted Military League
(1922), the bureaucracy, and Macedonian extremistsconstituted a graver
threat. In 1922 the political right coalesced around the National Alliance,
an association of leading party politicians, nationalist academics, and the
Military League. When this group planned major anti-government rallies
in autumn 1922, the Stamboliiski government mobilized its party militia,
the Orange Guard, and arrested most of the National Alliances leadership.
This provoked I MRO violence against government officials, including an
unsuccessful assassination attempt against Stamboliiski in early February
1923. Stamboliiski responded by calling for new elections in April, based
on a revised electoral law, which produced an absolute majority (53.9 per
cent) for Stamboliiskis BANU, with the Communists a distant second
(19.3 per cent).30
Stamboliiskis success in suppressing the left and the traditional right led
to a loose coalition, soon after the April 1923 vote, of the National Alliance,
Military League, I MRO, and some Social Democrats, in all likelihood with
the complicity of King Boris III (r. 191843). On 9 June 1923 these groups
staged a coup against the Stamboliiski government. Stamboliiski was
detained on 14 June and murdered by I MRO extremists, as were several of
his closest aides. At least 3,000 of his followers were detained although the
number of killed is unknown.31Despite its command of the socially dom
inant countryside, BANU s peasant constituency remained isolated and
unarmed against a better equipped and organized opposition. Stamboliiskis
alienation of the left and right left him with no domestic allies. In the event,
the June 1923 coup marked the victory of the town over the countryside
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 113
and the pre-war elites over the forces of change. The Bulgarian Green
Revolution and its political arm, BANU, were effectively crushed.
Agrarianism never recovered from the defeat. In light of the lefts ideologi
cal divisions and the rights lack of popular support, the army and the
monarchy were again the arbiters of Bulgarias political fate.32
The new Bulgarian administration of AlexandurTsankov was a coalition
of those forces which had ousted Stamboliiski, but lacked ideological unity
or popular support. The new regime maintained several Agrarian reforms,
but in September 1923 temporarily imposed martial law ahead of an abor
tive Communist insurrection.33The Tsankov government staged elections
in November 1923 which provided a majority to the ruling coalition, and
was followed on 1April 1924 with a decree formally banning the Communist
Party and its trade unions.34The effect of this decree was to strengthen the
hand of the ideological hardliners under the leadership of Georgi Dimitrov
and Vasil Kolarov. Communist activities intensified, culminating in a failed
assassination plot against King Boris in April 1925.The authorities responded
with remarkably harsh reprisals. In the ensuing crackdown, thousands of
suspected Communists were detained and hundreds killed. These repressive
policies were relaxed after January 1926, when Tsankov stepped down and
was replaced by Andrei Liapchev, who headed the longest cabinet during
the interwar era (1926-31).
Under the Liapchev administration, Bulgaria, much like its neighbours
experienced the progressive parcellization of party politics.35 The per
secuted Agrarians and Communists were torn by party factionalism, while
the bourgeois parties eventually fragmented into more than two dozen
groups. The political system relied more than ever on unwieldy coalitions
arranged by leaders who sought little input from their memberships. As a
result, faith in the workability of the system declined precipitously. This was
compounded by the Great Depression, which occasioned severe labour
unrest in 193031. The elections of June 1931 produced a new government
coalition, known as the Peoples Bloc, which consisted of four separate party
fractions headed first by Democratic leader Aleksandar Pavlov Malinov and
then his party colleague Nikola Mushanov.This government has been called
the last hope for the Turnovo system and Bulgarian democracy,36 as it
attempted to rally remaining Agrarian fractions of the moderate left with
parties of the moderate right into a centrist platform.The remarkable success
of the Communists, now known as the Bulgarian Workers Party, in the local
and municipal elections of November 1931 and February 1932, respectively,
U 4
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
confirmed that the political beneficiaries of economic crisis and political
paralysis were on the left. As the Great Depression hit home, political
fissures within the ruling government over an amnesty for exiled
Agrarians and party political appointmentsfurther called into question
the systems effectiveness.
The Peoples Bloc government (19314) brought to its culmination a
process which had started with Stambuliiskis demise, whereby virtually
every political group in the country was discredited and the system itself
lost legitimacy. Although they were hardly without culpability, only the
army and King Boris appeared to remain immune. On 19 May 1934 a group
of army colonels led by Damyan Velchev and Kimon Georgiev, fearing for
Bulgarias political stability and international isolation, staged a coup dtat.
The military government improved relations with the royal dictatorship in
Yugoslavia the army suppressed I MRO in Petrich districtand royal vis
its between Belgrade and Sofia were arranged. In July 1934 the government
established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and worked to build
bridges with Britain and France. On the domestic front, and notwith
standing its suppression of I MRO, the military dictatorship suppressed the
parliament and political parties.TheTrnovo Constitution (1879) was never
formally abrogated, but tor all intents and purposes it ceased to function.
Professional associations were purged of known or suspected Communists
and opponents of the regime. In 1935 the regime established the Bulgarian
Workers Union. Structured along corporatist lines, it included industrial
workers, peasants, intellectuals, merchants, civil servants, members of the
free professions, and others. The internal administration of the country was
reorganized with the stated aim of producing a more efficient and central
ized state administration. Elected local officials were dismissed and replaced
by appointed agents of the centre. A short-lived Directorate for Social
Renewal was established in Sofia as a vanguard of cultural and intellectual
life, to direct a programme ofunity and renewal.
Notwithstanding the military dictatorships broad reform efforts and for
eign policy initiatives, it lacked any ideology apart from domestic stability
and never enjoyed mass support. Furthermore, some elements of the mili
tary continued to harbour republican views which eventually prompted
monarchists in the army and King Boris to intervene. On 21 April 1935
King Boris reintroduced civilian rule with the goal of restoring orderly
and peaceful life. This was the beginning of his royal dictatorship. The
I )irectorate for Social Renewal was abolished but many of the reforms of
the military dictatorship were retained. The army was purged of its overtly
political elements, in particular those republican officers associated with the
Military League. King Boriss controlled democracy brought together
ostensibly apolitical figures to manuvre the country towards some sem
blance of stability based on an imprecise centre.The royal dictatorship main
tained the faade of electionsboth local (January 1937) and national
(March 1938, December 1939January 1940)but under stricter regu
lations. As the Second World War began, the royal dictatorship was firmly in
control, albeit without clear ideological direction in domestic affairs.
There was a noticeable shift in the treatment of minorities, however.
While minority rights were generally respected throughout the 1920s,
after 1934 the status of Muslims deteriorated appreciably and discrim
ination became the norm.37 State subsidies for Muslim schools were
cancelled soon after the 1934 coup. The Muslim Turkish population was
placed under regular police surveillance, viewed with growing suspicion
in nationalist quarters as a potential fifth column. Until 1935 neither the
Pomaks nor the Turks were permitted to perform regular military service
in the Bulgarian army; in that year, the ban against Pomaks (but not Turks)
was lifted. The Bulgarian authorities now increasingly differentiated
between Turks and Pomaks, who had earlier been treated simply as part of
the larger Muslim community. By the 1930s the Pomaks were officially
designated as Bulgarians and, according to Maria Todorova, a sustained
campaign was launched to accept Pomaks as such.38 State-sponsored
organizations, like the Rodina (Motherland) movement which was
founded in 1937, worked to instil a Bulgarian identity among Pomaks.39
In November 1938 the authorities issued a statute restricting the juris
diction of Sharia courts. From the late 1930s, Muslim Turkish emigration
was seen by the authorities as the preferred option and voluntary depar
ture encouraged. It has been estimated that as many as 198,688 Muslims
emigrated from Bulgaria to Turkey between 1923 and 1939, while an
additional 21,353 followed between 1940 and 1944.40 Discriminatory
practices intensified during the Second World War.
Greece
It has been suggested that 1922 represents a caesura between the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries in Greece. After that date the Greek state and
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 1 1 5
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
political elites were no longer concerned with national unification and
irredenta. However, the political divide between Venizelos and the royalists
remained acute.The former had been responsible for initiating the Anatolian
debacle (191922), which had been resisted by King Constantine and the
royalist parties. Venizelos s defeat in the 1920 elections and the failure of the
royalist government to halt the military campaign in Anatolia enabled
Venizelos to evade responsibility for the Catastrophe that was suffered in
Smyrna in 1922 and the population exchange of the following year.41The
Greek National Schism culminated in 1922 with the execution of five
anti-Venizelist politicians and the commander of Greek forces in Anatolia,
who were accused of high treason. From that point the anti-Venizelist forces
were in disarray, and over the next decade different Venizelist Liberal Party
factions competed for political power, challenged periodically only by
military interventions.42
The massive influx of refugees from Anatoliawho comprised about
20 per cent of interwar Greeces populationhad a profound impact on all
facets of Greek life. Both indigenous Greeks and the new immigrants
many of whom spoke only Turkish or local Greek dialectsexperienced a
sense of culture shock, with mutual prejudices persisting for generations.
Former urban immigrants often found their new milieu provincial, offer
ing fewer opportunities and making them susceptible over time to social
and political radicalism. In political terms the refugees altered the face of
Greek party politics.The introduction of 300,000 new male voters strength
ened the Venizelist Liberals; the newly acquired territories and refugees
remained solidly Venizelist, despite his responsibility for their fate, ensuring
Liberal pre-eminence until 1932.Old Greece remained generally royalist in
its political sympathies, deeply concerned that the introduction of millions
of dispossessed would contribute to the radicalization of politics. In the
event, clientelism, social isolation, and the electoral system in the short term
tempered this radicalism, as the refugees never constituted an independent
political force.43
The population exchanges reinforced Greek control over Aegean
Macedonia and Thrace, where a programme of compulsory hellenization
was strictly enforced. Greek administrations laboured to do away with the
non-Hellenic ethno-cultural presence in Aegean Macedonia, targeting the
indigenous Slav population, officially referred to asSlavophone Greeks, for
particular attention in light of the ongoing threat posed by I MRO in
Hulgaria. The Greek authorities were never entirely convinced that their
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 117
policies were succeeding, which contributed to a persistent sense of threat.
Relations with Bulgaria remained strained, as Greece suffered repeated
I MRO incursions from Bulgaria. A brief Greek invasion of south-west
Bulgaria to crush I MRO in Petrich district (October 1925) inflicted consid
erable damage on the local population, but was stopped by the League of
Nations, and the I MRO attacks resumed.
A sense of national defeat pervaded interwar Greek politics, resulting in
a succession of administrations demonstrating numerous institutional forms,
namely, the caretaker military regime of General Theodore Pangalos
(19234), constitutional republic (192435) following the removal of King
Georgios II (r. 19224, 193547), the constitutional monarchy of
King Georgios II (19356) and, finally, the military dictatorship of General
Ioannis Metaxas (193641).Throughout the interwar era, under the consid
erable strains of national, ideological, and socio-economic pressures, liberal
democratic institutions gave way to authoritarian modes of governance.
Political instability was reflected in the factionalism of the Liberal camp.
During the period of the constitutional republic (1924-35), dominated by a
Liberal parliament, Greece experienced nearly two dozen cabinets and
repeated military interventions in political affairs. Politics continued to
revolve around personalities, with Venizelos dominating affairs. Venizeloss
return to power in the August 1928 elections contributed significantly to
improved relations with Greeces neighboursfriendship pacts were con
cluded with Italy (1928) and Yugoslavia (1929), he visited Ankara (October
1930) to settle remaining issues stemming from the Treaty of Lausanne, and
hosted the first Balkan Conference in Athens (October 1930)a key com
ponent of his agenda. He sponsored land redistribution, the provision of
additional credit to the countryside, and industrial development. However,
the manipulation of electoral laws was not uncommon, designed to ensure
republican majorities in parliament. In 1929 his government introduced the
so-calledspecial act {idionymon), designed ostensibly to preserve social order
by restricting certain civil liberties and authorizing repressive measures
against the communists and trade unionists.
The effects of the Great Depression undermined his government and
contributed to the 1932 victory of the conservative Peoples Party ofPanagis
Tsaldaris. The pro-royalist tendencies of the Tsaldaris government and a
failed 1933 assassination attempt against Venizelos provoked further instab
ility. Two abortive Venizelist coup attempts, first under General Nikolaos
Ilastiras (1933) and then by Venizelos himself (March 1935), failed and
ultimately sealed the fate of the Hellenic Republic. Venizelos fled Greece,
where trials of several of his prominent supporters ensued, while Tsaldaris
dissolved parliament and called for new elections. The Liberal-dominated
opposition abstained, citing the new electoral law passed by the Tsaldaris
government and the special tribunals which had sentenced to death two
Venizelist generals. The already considerably weakened Hellenic Republic
was defacto abolished in the October 1935 military coup of General Georgios
Kondylis, which forced Tsaldariss resignation. Following a gerrymandered
November 1935 plebiscite. King Georgios II returned from exile and a con
stitutional monarchy was restored. Disagreements between the king and
General Kondylis prompted new elections in January 1936 which, given the
ascent of the Communists, hardly clarified matters. On 4 August 1936,
General Ioannis Metaxas assumed the premiership and established a military
dictatorship. The 4th of August regime, endorsed by King Georgios, sus
pended the constitution, dissolved parliament and political parties. Its
repressive Compulsory Law expanded upon Venizeloss 1929 idionymon,
and all pretence of liberal democratic government ended. The dictatorship,
both nationalist and populist in character, relied on an official ideology
called Third Hellenic Civilization,44 which accentuated conservative
Orthodox principles alongside populist rhetoric with some social reform
and public works. While the Metaxas dictatorship attempted mass indoctri
nation which superficially resembled the strategies of some fascist regimes,
it had few genuinely fascist elements.45In foreign affairs, the Metaxas regime
continued the policies of earlier Greek governments, namely, adherence to
the Balkan Entente and cooperation with Turkey, even as Greece, like the
other Balkan states, drifted into the German economic orbit.46
Albania
The situation in Albania was even more confused than elsewhere. Born by
diplomatic fiat in 1913 amid war and occupation, subsequently occupied
by the Central Powers, Albania achieved statehood with great difficulty
only after the Great War. The countrys first years of independence were
fraught with political instability. Albania was the object of tensions between
Italy and the new Yugoslav state, in addition to Greek claims in the south.
In 1920 an uprising pushed out the Italians under the leadership of
Ahmed Bey / .ogu,a wealthy Muslim landowner.The rudimentary Albanian
I r 8 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 119
administration, theoretically a regency serving under a collective council
and national assembly, was initially dominated by Zogu.47
Albanias first genuine political parties emerged only after the Great War,
but they represented prominent personalities and their cliques rather than
clearly defined political ideologies.The two leading personalities were Zogu
and the Christian Orthodox Bishop of Durrs, Fan S. Noli. It has been said
that the Harvard-educated Noli was an idealist while Zogu was a pragma
tist, but in fact both were patriotic modernizers. They believed that Albania
needed a paternal government guiding it to modernity, one that would
enact reform, introduce a functioning state administration, local institutions,
and constitutional government; in short, they believed in the urgency of
Albanias state-building project. To achieve this they had to contend with
political factionalism, clientelism, and deep social fissures, pitting the trad
itional Muslim landed elite against both the nascent intelligentsia and the
bourgeois reformers in the Orthodox south. In the early 1920s Zogu
wielded authority equally through local clan elders, landowners, and by
positioning himself in several key governmental posts. Although initially
collaborating with Noli and the liberal nationalistVatra (Hearth) movement,
Zogus authoritarian tendencies forced a rupture. A powerful but divided
nationalist reform movement, led by Noli, Vatra, and the Kosovo National
Committee, formed the Opposition Party of Democrats, which served as a
nexus for Zogus many personal and ideological opponents.These included
Orthodox peasants in the southern lowlands who loathed Zogu for his sup
port for the Muslim landed eh te, in addition to Albanian nationalists and
Kosovo migrs, who believed that Zogu would abandon Albanias claims
to Kosovo. Zogus party came to power in early 1924, but he was forced to
step down months later in the wake of scandal and an assassination attempt.
Political instability culminated in the June revolution that facilitated the
rise of Noli, who became Prime Minister as Zogu fled to Yugoslavia. Nolis
government lasted barely six months, from July to December 1924, as it
encountered resistance at every turn. His seeming abandonment of irre-
dentism alienated nationalist support among the Kosovo migrs, while his
flirtation with the Soviet Union concerned many domestic supporters and
foreign enemies alike. In Belgrade, Zogu recruited a mercenary army with
the assistance of the Yugoslav authorities and in December 1924 crossed into
Albania and successfully overthrew Nolis government.
In late January 1925 Albania became a republic with Zogu elected its first
president by the Constituent Assembly. Notwithstanding its superficial
1 2 0 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
constitutional accoutrements, the Albanian Republic was from the outset
Zogus informal personal regime. His authoritarian methods and clientelism
won the allegiance of influential beys and tribal chiefs, while his foreign
policy, centred on a rapprochement with Fascist Italy, was designed to dis
tance himself from his former Yugoslav patrons. Under Zogu, Albania's
international frontiers were finally determined (1926), while the Treaty of
Tirana (November 1926) secured Italian economic support and recogni
tion of the territorial status quo. Zogus rise put an end to Albanian parlia
mentary democracy, however. Opposition parties and civil liberties
disappeared, and opponents of the regime were occasionally assassinated. In
September 1928 Zogu compelled parliament to declare Albania a kingdom
and to appoint him the monarch, as King Zog I (r. 192839). Despite his
authoritarian inclinations, Zogu implemented a limited programme of
modernization, ranging from the expansion of the state administration and
educational system to the prohibition of Sharia law and its replacement
with a modern civil code. Only the Italian invasion of April 1939 removed
him from power.
The Rise of the New Right
By the beginning of the Second World War the drift toward authoritarian
ism in the Balkans had been confirmed everywhere. While this develop
ment reflected multiple and overlapping indigenous political, social, and
economic problems, the reality is that in the aftermath of the Great War
liberal democracy was remarkably fragile in much of Europe, discredited in
the eyes of many i f not rejected by all. National questions and minority
problems existed everywhere in the Balkans but overtly accounted for the
demise of democracy only in Yugoslavia. The Great Depression certainly
accentuated the regions weaknesses and instabilities, but in both Albania
and Yugoslavia dictatorships were established before the Great Depression.
The claim that relative socio-economic backwardness was a causal factor
that Balkan societies were unprepared for successful democratic revol
utions may seem superficially plausible, until one recalls that more
advanced European societies succumbed to authoritarianism and civil war:
Italy (1922), Portugal (1926), Austria (1934), Germany (1934), and Spain
(1936), in addition to the Baltic states and every East Central European state
save Czechoslovakia, not to mention the Soviet Union. Under the strain of
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 121
nationality problems, socio-economic weaknesses, and ideological contest
ation, liberal democracy appeared to offer few viable solutions. The demise
of democratic governance had much to do with the profound ideological
divisions which made building political consensus exceptionally difficult.
In some Balkan states, as in Bulgaria and even Greece, defeat in 1918 and
1922, respectively, discredited or seriously compromised the ruling estab
lishments. Elsewhere the traditional ruling elites were primarily interested
in retaining power and their privileged social status. Consisting for the most
part of politicized bureaucracies, militaries, and nascent middle classes, they
had 110 vested interest in democracy as such and abhorred the mob and mass
mobilization. When their political control was seriously imperilled, as in
Bulgaria in 1923 or Romania in 1937, they responded with violence and by
eventually imposing dictatorships. The democratic and Communist left
were either marginalized or suppressed everywhere. Reformers were unable
to harness the resources to overcome entrenched elites. As a consequence,
interwar political dynamics centred on a contest between traditional con
servative elites and the radical right or fascist movements that had adopted
the banner of populism and national rejuvenation.
The emergence and success of the new right stemmed from the Great
War and the Bolshevik Revolution. One of the most significant conse
quences of the Great War was the ascent of mass parties. The traditional
right eschewed mass political mobilization, but the suppression of the left
meant that only the extreme right, impatient with the existing elites and the
slow pace or failure of reform, was left to take up the banner of transform
ation. As the European crisis undermined the legitimacy of liberal
democratic institutions, which seemed incapable of addressing complex
national problems after 1918, the radical right proposed a wholly new politi
cal movement, one that would be able to manage the role of the masses in
pohtics. Rejecting the sham of parliamentary democracy, the radical right
looked to inspire and mobilize millions, as a means of raising their nations
to new heights of greatness.
Corporatist, radical right, or fascist parties emerged in virtually every
Balkan country. While there is still considerable debate over the meaning of
fascism, Robert Paxtons proposition that fascism was a form of political
behaviour remains apt. Fascist movements were characterized by obsessive
preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by
compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based
party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective
122 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and
pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints
goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.48Fascist or radical right
groups were strongest in those societies where universal manhood suffrage
came late and where traditional elites, be they liberal or conservative, resisted
mass mobilization or simply did not know how to appeal to the masses.This
was the case in Italy and Germany, but also in Hungary, Romania, Croatia,
and several other European societies. In those places where government
remained reasonably effective, where viable alternatives to Communism
existed, and where the rule of law acted to constrain extremist violence, the
appeal of fascism remained marginal.
The Bulgarian Zveno (Link) group was founded in 1927 and preached
national regeneration through strong (modern) government. The frag
mentation of the traditional bourgeois partiesnineteen groups by 1926,
twenty-nine by 1934contributed to a widespread sense of disillusion
ment. The Zveno group believed that most of the countrys problems
stemmed from its dysfunctional politics. Although Zveno never possessed
more than a few hundred core members, it did attract prominent figures
who were authoritarian nationalist modernizers but hardly fascists, their
corporatist orientation notwithstanding. Zveno and the Military League
provided the nucleus of the group which staged the May 1934 coup,49and
the subsequent pro-Zveno dictatorship dissolved political parties and trade
unions, and introduced a corporatist system modelled on Fascist Italy. The
movement was always divided between republican and monarchist
elements, lacked a towering leadership figure and, while advocating a total
itarian model and rejecting democracy, it never developed a coherent fascist
doctrine nor did it aspire to construct a mass movement as a means of but
tressing its political agenda.50 King Boris I I I used these weaknesses to
orchestrate a coup through one of its monarchists, General Pencho Zlatev,
and to establish his dictatorship. The disenchantment of many Zvenari
with Bulgarias trajectory after 1935 led them in 1943 to join the anti-
Axis resistance. There were other groups which might more legitimately
be labelled as fascist,such as theKubrat, theFighters for the Advancement
of the Bulgarian Spirit, the Bulgarian Homeland Defence, and
Aleksandur Tsankovs National Social Movement, but none developed
significant followings.
In Serbia the political right coalesced around several groups. The fore
most body of Serb nationalist dissidence was the Serb Cultural Club (1937),
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
123
which brought together intellectual luminaries such as Slobodan Jovanovic,
Milos Crnjanski, DragisaVasic, Nikolaj Velimirovic, and others. Disillusioned
with the nature of the interwar state and prevailing discourse of integral
Yugoslavism, the Serb Cultural Club opted for a reaffirmation of the Serb
national idea.51It did not articulate a fascist programme as such, although its
ideology was integral nationalist and increasingly intolerant, emphasizing
Orthodoxy and Serb identity to the exclusion of others.52Some of its influ
ential members, like its vice president Vasic and the head of its Banja Luka
(Bosnia) chapter, Stevan Moljevic, emerged during the Second World War
as leading ideologues of the Great Serbian Chetnik movement. The other
major group of the Serbian political right was Dimitrije Ljotics ZBOR. A
former Radical and Minister of Justice (1931) under the dictatorship, Ljotic
participated in a number of integral Yugoslavist organizations before form
ing, in January 1935, the Yugoslav Peoples Movement ZBO R. Its name
was derived from the Herzegovina-based newspaper ZBO R which defined
itself as the United Militant Organization of Labour (ZBOR, Zdruzena
borbena organizacija rada). Unitarist in political orientation, the group advo
cated a corporatist system and adopted a populist rhetoric, calling for the
election of peasants and workers, the prosecution of corrupt officials, and
respect forjustice andhonesty. In the May 1935 and December 1938 elec
tions, ZBOR won only 0.84 and 1.01 per cent of the vote, respectively,
handicapped in part by repeated government harassment. In late October
1938 Ljotic and thirty party activists were briefly detained. Subverted by the
authorities, Ljotic and his followers became increasingly critical of the
regime and Regent Prince Paul, attacking him for concluding the Sporazutn,
allegedly opening the door both to a federalist system and the countrys
bolshevization. In late October 1940 the authorities banned ZBO R and
detained hundreds of its members. ZBO Rs anti-Communism and general
trajectory since 1935 invariably led it to collaborate with the German occu
pation authorities after 1941.
The two Balkan fascist archetypes are the Romanian Legionary and the
Croatian Ustasa movements. They were the only two indigenous fascist
movements to hold power: in Romania, from September 1940 to January
I 94i,and, in the Croatian case, from April 1941 to May 1945. In both cases,
their access to government was facilitated by and intimately linked to inter
national developments involving Nazi Germany.
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu gave birth to the Legion of the Archangel
Michael (1927), commonly known after 1930 by the name of its paramilitary
124 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
wing, the Iron Guard, and the mass political party, All for the Fatherland'
(1934). The Iron Guard derived its political strength from popular dis
illusionment with the leading political parties. The Liberals demise
undermined Romanians confidence in liberalism, but the inability of the
National Peasants to resolve the economic crisis associated with the Great
Depression produced a loss of confidence in democratic principles and dis
illusioned broad strata of the peasantry. The political establishment had
promised the spoils of modernizationaffluence, democracy, and national
unitybut failed to dehver.
The Iron Guard possessed a multifaceted ideology but defined itself pri
marily as a radical opponent of liberalism, political parties, and democratic
consensus.53Democracy had institutionalized political parties and bred dis
unity, undermining the integrity of the nation. The national community
was further undermined by multiple alien elements, above all the Jews,
who because of their blood or creed could never legitimately claim an
affiliation to the nation.The Iron Guard combined a traditional critique of
modernity centred on Orthodoxy and integral nationalism with a discourse
that was totalitarian. While the emphasis on Orthodoxy and integral nation
alism was not unique in the Romanian contextthis was the vocabulary of
traditional political societythe political solutions the Iron Guard offered
were new. The charismatic Codreanu mistrusted political parties and writ
ten programmes, calling on legionnaires to engage in propaganda of work
and deed.This entailed going to the village, helping peasants with the har
vest, building roads and bridges, and assassinating corrupt officials and
prominent minority figures. While it believed that Romanians were heirs to
a brilliant history, which in itself seemed to legitimize exclusion and intol
erance, it looked to a future where the Romanian nation would no longer
be endangered by corrupt ehtes or polyglot minorities. O f these internal
others, the Jews always figured prominently in Legionary discourse as the
racially impure, religiously distinct, and socially parasitic enemy who served
as an agent of international Communism. Legionary propaganda spoke of
values and concepts, work and sacrifice all of which were readily familiar
to the village and workersrather than written programmes.
Within a relatively short period, the Iron Guard managed to harness
popular discontent into an extraordinary movement, beginning with
students, young intellectuals, and disenfranchised peasants in the poorest
areas of the Regat. It brought together distinct constituencies on the basis of
a populist programme of Orthodoxy, anti-Semitism, and animus of the city
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 125
and modern liberal society, as embodied in the traditional Romanian politi
cal elite and Jewish bourgeoisie. I f Jews represented a social threat to
Romanian interests, the ineffectual Romanian establishment represented a
moral threat to the Romanian nation. The Iron Guard thus called for a
violent purge of Romanian society and regeneration through spirituality,
discipline, and work. The Iron Guard and its mass political party, All for
the Fatherland, possessed a clear hierarchy, disciplined following, and an
all-encompassing ideology.
The Legionary cause was in essence a movement of young men and
claimed for the youth a messianic mission. One Legionary figure claimed
that only the youth, who were not called into power and are not guilty at
all for the bad state of affairs, were capable of effecting change.54In 1934 the
Legionary core leadership was in its twenties and early thirties: Codreanu
was 35; the deputy leader, Ion Mota was 32;Vasile Marin was 30; Mihai
Stelescu was 27; and, Horia Sima, Codreanus successor in 1938, was only
26.55The commander of the elite Mota-Mann Corps of the Iron Guard,
Alexandru Cantacuzino, was 33 in 1934. O f the 226 Legionaries who found
exile in Nazi Germany in 1941, following the suppression of the National
Legionary state, the average age was 27, with three-quarters still in their
early twenties.56The movements leadership was also drawn overwhelm
ingly from the provincial, recently urbanized intelligentsia. Codreanu and
Sima were both from the ethnically mixed Romanian borderlands, the
former from eastern Moldavia and the latter from Transylvania.57
Political violence held a central place in Legionary ideology, while the
discourse on violence evolved considerably over time and according to its
shifting political fortunes.^Violence was originally motivated by the desire
to punish treasonable behaviour and to avenge their public humiliation at
the hands of officialdom. But as the Iron Guard preached an ideology of
rejuvenation, of a newly unified and homogeneous nation, systematic vio
lence came to be seen as an appropriate response to political treason and
religious conversionboth of which undermined the national
communityand as a weapon against Jews and other minorities. Police and
administrative officials were assassinated to demonstrate the Legionary com
mitment to regeneration. Even as the movements leadership debated the
meaning of violence, the Iron Guard formed death squadssuch as the
Nicadori, Decemviri, and Razbunatoriwhich perpetrated several
high-profile assassinations between 1933 and 1939; the movement glorified
its martyrs for cementing the future Legionary Romania with their blood.
126 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
Initially their violence was selective and demonstrative, directed at prom
inent individuals, but as the Iron Guard became a mass movement in the
1930s it articulated a more sophisticated interpretation of violence. It
wrapped itself in a cult of redemptive violence, which was to play a central
role in social and national rejuvenation. Alarmed by the success of the Iron
Guard, King Carol ordered in April 1938 the arrest of Codreanu and several
party colleagues, who were murdered in prison in November 1938. The
Iron Guard went underground or fled to Nazi Germany, but Codreanu s
death only fuelled the movements belief in their alleged right to violent
justice. Between February 1938 and September 1940 they continued to
wage a harsh struggle against the royal regime assassinating the Prime
Minister in September 1939but at the price of having virtually its entire
leadership eliminated. The decimation of the Legionary leadership in
19389, through murder and imprisonment, brought to the fore a com
pletely new group of provincial leaders. By the time they came to power in
September 1940, violence had escalated to unchecked heights, evolving into
organized terror and arbitrary killing.59
The Iron Guard exacted its revenge in September 1940, after King Carol
had been forced under German pressure to cede northern Transylvania to
Hungary. Faced with an Iron Guard insurgency, King Carol granted dic
tatorial powers to General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu, who forced the
kings abdication and in mid-September 1940 invited the Iron Guard to
participate in government. The National Legionary State of Horia Sima
and the Iron Guard lasted barely four months, from mid-September 1940 to
late January 1941. Liberated from all constraints, violence was no longer
selective but grew into organized terror directed at the movements political
opponents and minorities. The ensuing chaos forced the Romanian army to
suppress the movementmore than 9,000 Legionaries were arrested, sev
eral were executed, while others fled to Nazi Germanyand establish a
military dictatorship under General Antonescu. After January 1941 the Iron
Guard ceased being a serious political factor, but it had made a significant
contribution to Romanian politics all the same. Given their commitment to
.1totalitarian state and concomitant methods, the Legionaries habituated
the Romanian body politic to violence and the institutionalization of
political murder.
In Croatia the extreme right coalesced around Ante Payelics Ustasa
movement. In 1918 a significant segment of the Croat intelligentsia and
middle class had supported Yugoslav unification. Only two political groups
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 127
emerged in opposition to the new state: Radies Croat Peasant Party and
Pavelics Croat Party of Right. The former was rooted in the socially dom
inant countryside while the far weaker Croat Party of Right never polled
more than 2 per cent of the Croat vote; it was rooted in the urban petite
bourgeoisie, nationalist intelligentsia, and some Catholic clergy in Croatia
and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It beheved that Croats were engaged in a struggle
against a Great Serbian policy which with unbending consistency is work
ing to destroy Croatdom.60Radics role in mobilizing the Croat peasantry
to the national cause was hailed, but his political capabilities and pacifism
were summarily dismissed as ineffectual. The Croat Party of Right stood for
the affirmation of the historic Croat nation and the hberation of Croatia,
which in 1918 became an occupied land.61It beheved that a new move
ment was needed to serve as the bearer of an uncompromising and revol
utionary struggle [against Belgrade].62Such a struggle seemed unlikely in
the 1920s, as Radics peasant movement became a mass movement, but his
assassination in 1928 ultimately set the stage for Ustasism. With the impos
ition of the royal dictatorship in January 1929, Pavelic fled the country to
find support for the independence of a Great Croatian state. After 1930 he
emerged as the Poglavnik (Leader) of the Ustasa movement, known officially
as Ustasa: Croat Revolutionary Organization.
The defining characteristics of the Ustasa movement were anti-
Serbianism, anti-Communism, and its cult of Croatian statehood.63From
the middle of the 1930s, anti-Semitism became more pronounced in
party rhetoric.64 Croatian independence was the goal and was to be
achieved at any cost; from the beginning the Ustase made clear their
predilection for revolutionary violence. One prominent Ustasa activistin
one of the most explicit invocations of revolutionary violence called
on Croats to give vent to their protest. Bombs and revolvers were in fact
an imperative of the times. Only with revolutionary violence could the
Ustase bring down the shaky walls of the bloody dungeon that is called
Yugoslavia.65With this penchant for revolutionary violence, the Ustase
combined an integral nationalism which became increasingly exclusionist
and intolerant. They denied the existence of Serb and Bosnian Muslim
nationalities in Great Croatia, although their attitude towards the latter
remained relatively benign. The denial of Serb existence was normally
expressed in one of two ways. The Orthodox of Great Croatia (Croatia
and Bosnia-Herzegovina) were either Croats who had adopted a Serb
consciousness in the nineteenth century because of the assimilationist
128 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
work of the Serbian Orthodox Church, or they were a foreign element
in Great Croatia, different by blood and distinct from the autochthonous
Croat (i.e. Catholic-Muslim) population.66 Ustasa ideology continued
to vacillate between exclusion and assimilation, but the former tendency
was stronger and they believed that Serbs in Great Croatia were colonists,
a tumour in a foreign body.67During the Second World War, this view
was manifested in the genocidal practices of the Ustasa regime.
One of the noteworthy characteristics of the Ustasa leadership and cadre,
which undoubtedly contributed to its militancy, was its remarkable youth.
Apart from Pavelic and a few senior figures (notably Mile Budak, Andrija
Artukovic, and Slavko Kvaternik), who were in their fifties or older in 1941,
the partys broader leadership circle was remarkably young. Many important
Ustasa ministers and party officials, like Mladen Lorkovic, Eugen Dido
Kvaternik, and Josip Rozankovic, were only in their late twenties or early
thirties in 1941. Pavelics trusted wartime inner circle consisted of the so-
called rasovithe term was an adaptation of the Italian Fascist ras (bosses),
the powerful provincial party chiefswho had been in Italian exile with
the Ustasa leader and formed after 1941 his trusted military-party cadre.
These menparticularly Eugen Dido Kvaternik, Ante Moskov, Vilko
Pecnikar (Pavelics son-in-law), Ivo Herencic, and Erih Lisakwere young
militants generally born between 1909 and 1915; almost all of them were in
their late twenties or early thirties when the Croatian state was formed in
1941. Their proven loyalty to Pavelic gave them considerable operational
latitude and influence.The cadre of rasovi was gradually expanded to include
the likes ofVjekoslav Maks Luburic and the deputy commander of the
Ustasa Black Legion, Rafael Boban.68These young militants were the
architects of Ustasa Croatia and formed the core constituency of per
petrators, who were primarily responsible for most of the horrors per
petrated in the wartime Croatian state.
Several members of the second tier of the Ustasa party and militia were
equally young, as was the rank and file.The Ustasa official Jure Francetic was
appointed in 1941at the age of 29 the party commissioner for Bosnia-
Herzegovina. He later served as commander of the Ustasa Militias Black
l egion, a special unit formed in late 1941 and comprised largely of dis
placed Muslims from eastern Bosnia who fled Chetnik massacres. Three
other notorious figures, Luburic, the defrocked Franciscan monk Miroslav
Filipovic, and Dinko Sakic, all of whom served at different times as com
mandants of the Jasenovac camp system or its various subunits, were 30, 26,
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 129
and 20 years old in 1941. Ljubo Milos, the deputy commander of Jasenovac
in 19423 and later head of the Ustasa secret police, was only 22 in 1941.
The Ustasa leadership and cadre were also drawn heavily from the Croatian
borderlands, the most ethnically heterogeneous but also socially under
developed provinces of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, hke the Lika
region of Croatia and western Herzegovina. The Ustasa Militia, the shock
troops of the movements nationalizing war after 1941, consisted mosdy of
young volunteers who were indoctrinated in Ustasa ideology; upon joining
the movement they swore a lifetime oath of allegiance to Pavelic personally
and to the party. The Ustasa Militia was extraordinarily unruly and undis
ciplinedvery few of its officers had any professional military training
but otherwise possessed tough combat soldiers who typically fought to the
end and rarely deserted.69The size of the Ustasa Militia fluctuated over time;
it had 40,000 troops in late 1942 and 22,500 in autumn 1943.70
Native fascism in Croatia did not result from a structural crisis of society
but was a by-product of the nationalist struggles arising from Yugoslavias
vexing and increasingly acrimonious national question. The Ustase mod
elled themselves after Italian Fascism, hoping to utilize Italian sponsorship
and Croat popular opposition to the Belgrade regime to achieve independ
ence, and by 1941 they were completelyfascisized.The Ustasa movements
early programmatic documents were not corporatist in nature, as its socio
economic programme generally remained poorly developed. In the course
of the 1930s, however, and largely in deference to their Italian patrons, the
Ustase adapted the Italian Fascist model to Croatian conditions, melding it
with social rhetoric borrowed heavily from the Croat peasant movement. In
his monograph Errori a orrori (The Misconceptions of an Error, 1938),71
Pavelic identified international Communism as the gravest threat confront
ing European civilization and glorified Italian Fascism as the only
programme capable of counteracting the Bolshevik menace. In the end,
the Ustase opted not merely for an authoritarian model but one that was
totalitarian. Although they eventually co-opted the Croat Catholic clericalist
movement and its mass institutions, the Ustase never evolved into a mass
movement, remaining on the social margins as a result of the Croat Peasant
Partys continued dominance.72The abortive Ustasa insurrection in Croatia
(1931) demonstrated both their limited capabilities and appeal; by 1941
the movement likely had fewer than 10,000 sworn members. As
noted, the majority of the rank and file were recruited from the most
ethnically heterogeneous and socially impoverished parts of Croatia and
130 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a result, their violence took the form of assassin
ation of Yugoslav officials, by far the most important of whom was King
Aleksandar (1934).Thereafter Fascist Italy constrained Ustasa activities and
confined their leadership. Pavelic might well have ended up in relative
obscurity were it not for the Axis invasion ofYugoslavia, which catapulted
his movement to power.
The Second World War in the Balkans
The Second World War which broke out on 1 September 1939 proved far
more destructive than the Great War and profoundly shaped the Balkans.
Beginning with the April 1939 Italian invasion of Albania and ending with
the German-led invasion ofYugoslavia and Greece in April 1941, the Axis
extended its control to the entire Balkan Peninsula. In some cases, this con
trol was exercised direcdy, through Italian and/ or German civilian or
military occupation regimes, in other cases indirectly, through Axis allies or
satellites. In September 1939 both Romania and Bulgaria declared neutrality
although they were already firmly in the German economic orbit. In
November 1940 and March 1941Romania and Bulgaria respectively adhered
to the Axis. Greece was the victim of an abortive Italian invasion in October
1940. The Yugoslav authorities at first reluctantly adhered to the Axis, but in
March 1941 a military coup overthrew the government and installed a pro-
British government. On 6 April 1941Germany, with Italian, Hungarian, and
Bulgarian assistance, invaded Yugoslavia and Greece and occupied both
within weeks.73
Nazi occupation policy varied enormously from one country and region
to the next, based on a combination of racial prejudice, opportunity, and
circumstance. It was no different in the Balkans.The Nazis remained ambiva
lent about the region, as it never factored prominendy in their conception
of Lebensraum. What is more, they had to contend with Fascist Italy and its
manifold ambitions in the region. The Nazis immediate objective in the
Balkans was to exploit economically the conquered territories, which were
to serve their continuing war effort in the East. Both Greece and the
Yugoslav lands suffered enormous exploitation, deprivation, and repression.
Romania and Bulgaria managed throughout the Second World War to
preserve a considerable degree of autonomy. After suppressing the National
Legionary State in January 1941, General Antonescu governed a military
r
D E M O C RA CY , D I CT A T O RSH I P , AND WAR I 3 I
dictatorship as conducator (Leader) until 1944.74The mainstays of his regime
were order and stability rather than grand schemes of ideological rejuven
ation, and in this regard he was fully supported by Berlin; anti-Semitism
became official policy from summer 1940 and German troops were permit
ted to enter the country in October 1940 to safeguard Romanian oilfields.
Antonescu ordered Romanias participation in Operation Barbarossa after
22 June 1941, to regain Bessarabia and in the hope that Germany would
facilitate the return of northern Transylvania. By late July 1941 Bessarabia
had been reclaimed, but Antonescu pushed the fight deeper into Soviet
territory. On 6 August Hitler granted Bucharest the administration of the
lands between the Dniester and Dnieper Rivers (Transnistria), although
the extension of the Romanian occupation to these lands was opposed
within military and civilian circles.75In the event,Transnistria became a vast
killing field. Jews were summarily executed by Romanian troops, as were all
alleged or suspected Communists, Russians, and Ukrainians.70
The atrocious violence perpetrated in the name of the Romanian state
during the Second World War was not the handiwork of the ideological
fanatics of the Legionary movementthe participation of many Legionaries
notwithstandingbut by the ordinary men of the Romanian military and
police administration. Between 1941 and 1944, Bessarabia and Transnistria
witnessed systematic deportation and extermination, which was directed
first and foremost against Jews. Bessarabia had witnessed extensive violence
as early as June 1940, when Romania was forced to cede the province to the
Soviet Union; retreating Romanian military units killed hundreds of Jews
between 29 June and 6 July 1940, in at least two locations.77But the scale of
the violence in 1941 overshadowed anything seen previously. The Iai
pogrom of 279 June 1941was a prelude to Transnistria, the culmination of
decades of official anti-Semitism and various restrictions directed against
Jews, who were seen by much of the political establishment and even a seg
ment of the populace as racially inferior and degenerate.78Roughly half of
the population of Iai, about 45,000 people, was Jewish. While many ordi
nary Romanians participated in the pogrom, as neighbour turned against
neighbour, some intervened in an attempt to save Jews but were themselves
attacked and even killed.79Radu Ioanid has shown that the local Romanian
police and military administration unleashed the pogrom, employing local
members of the now illegal Legionary movement to instigate violence and
mobilize sympathetic members of the local populace.80The Romanian
army, gendarmerie, and local police force consisting of professional
132
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
officers, police, and conscriptswere the core perpetrators of the pogrom.
As many as 14,850 Jews were killed in the Iasi pogrom.81
The Romanian occupation regime in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and
Transnistria employed systematic killing and deportation against the Jews.
In early September 1941, as Romanian armies advanced deep into Soviet
territory, Antonescu told his Council of Ministers that the war in the east
was a fight to life or death. He pledged to undertake a work of complete
cleansing, of Jews and of all others who have sneaked up on us. He informed
his ministers that our policy in this regard is to achieve a homogenous
whole in Bessarabia, Bukovina, Moldavia, and...in Transylvania.82In short,
this was a Romanian nationalizing war designed to achieve a homogeneous
nation-state.83As a rudimentary occupation regime was established, a seg
ment of the Roma population of Romania was deported to Transnistria and
killed. The Romanian occupation authoritiesconsisting of regular mil
itary, police, and gendarmeriewere the most important perpetrators of
the Holocaust, in terms of both planning and implementation. Between
mid-October 1941 and mid-March 1942, the Romanian military in Odessa,
assisted by detachments of the gendarmerie and regular police, murdered as
many as 25,000 Jews and deported more than 35,000.84 In all, between
280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered or died
during the Holocaust in Romania and the territories under its control.
Decades of official anti-Semitic discourse had already conditioned much of
the Romanian military and police and the peasant conscripts orordinary
men who perpetrated the violence to view Jews as a threat to the
Romanian nation and state.This undoubtedly helped condition military and
police recruits to participate in mass murder, in what was perceived to be a
fight to life or death against the threat o f Judeo-Bolshevism. Only after
October 1942 did Romanian policy begin to change, as battlefront defeats
prompted a reconsideration of these policies in Bucharest. Earlier plans for
the deportation of the Jews of Romania proper were definitively abandoned
in MarchApril 1943, because of a combination of military setbacks and
domestic pressure from the Orthodox hierarchy and some civilian poli
ticians. As a result, at least 290,000 Romanian Jews survived the Holocaust.
About 7 per cent of all victims of the Holocaust, more than 400,000 Jews,
were to be found in the Balkans, the majority of them from territories
under Romanian occupation.
Bulgaria followed a somewhat similar trajectory after 1935. The deeply
irredentist nature of Nazi foreign policy held open to all those dissatisfied
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
133
with the Paris Peace Settlement the promise of redress through an alliance
with Berlin against the status quo.The Balkan conferences of 19303 which
led to the creation of the Balkan Pact seemed only to have deepened
Bulgarian isolation. Following the Munich settlement and the demise of the
so-called Little Entente (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania), the
Third Reichs ascent progressively eroded Sofias isolation and earlier com
mitment to peaceful revisionism. A major rearmament programme was
launched in 1936 based exclusively on German equipment and thereafter
Bulgaria glided smoothly into the German camp.85Upon aligning their
country with the Axis, the Bulgarian leadership understood that a stipu
lation accompanied the territorial gains awarded by German mandate.
Under considerable German pressure, Bulgaria was required to implement
anti-Semitic measures. The Bulgarian Jews thus became a touchstone for
the BerlinSofia alliance, their fate resting more on the military fortunes of
the Wehrmacht in Europe than on the political fortunes of the anti-Semites
in Sofia.*The Law for the Defence of the Nation (1940) was introduced
following Bulgarias acquisition of southern Dobrudja from Romania. This
law defined who was a Jew, severely weakened their civil rights, purged
them from the professions, and subjected Jewish men to forced labour.
Between early 1941and September 1944, approximately 9,000 Jewish males
were mobilized into labour battalions while the remaining Jewish popu
lation was ghettoized, beginning in Sofia in late October 1942. Participation
in the Axis was rewarded in spring 1941 through the restoration of
territoryVardar and Aegean Macedonia, Thrace and south-east Serbia
widely regarded in nationalist circles as rightfully Bulgarian.87
The Second World War saw the culmination of the worst discriminatory
practices against Bulgarian Muslims, which ended in the short-lived but
violent attempt in 1942 at the forced renaming and concomitant conversion
of Muslim Pomaks.This policy had the overt or tacit support of the king,
the Orthodox Church, and a segment of the political establishment.88The
forced renaming campaign reflected the progressive radicalization of the
interwar nationalist discourse under increasingly authoritarian leadership.
Minority rights were seriously diluted through state action, demonstrated
above all by the anti-Semitic Law for the Defence of the Nation. In 1942
several Muslim imams were dismissed from their duties, while Islamic cus
toms, Muslim cultural practices, and dress were publicly profaned or
prohibited. In April 1942 the use of Turkish and Arabic was proscribed in
Muslim religious services. Usage of the term Pomak was banned; social
134
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
restrictions were imposed on the Pomak community and their Bulgarian
roots were vigorously promoted. To instil in the Pomak community a
Bulgarian identity, in the spring and summer of 1942 the authorities began
renaming Pomaks, replacing their Muslim names with Christian names.89
By July 1942 the central and local authorities, assisted by Rodina activists,
moved forcibly to assimilate the Pomak population, employing coercive
administrative practices, intimidation, and even direct violence. It is
difficult to determine conclusively the number of Pomaks who were
renamed in this fashion and even forced to convert to Orthodoxy, but the
figure may have reached 8o,ooo. This was the second attempt in thirty
years at the forced conversion and renaming of the Pomak community,
although the wartime policy was reversed by the Communist authorities
in September 1944.90
A nationalizing policy was also pursued by the Bulgarian authorities in
their occupation zones in Yugoslavia and Greece.91Bulgarianization was the
norm in both civil and ecclesiastical institutions. Greek officials and intel
ligentsia were targeted for deportation, properties were expropriated, and
colonization officially promoted as a means of altering the national compo
sition of these territories. An unplanned Greek revolt in Drama spread to
Aegean Macedonia, resulting in brutal repression, reprisal executions, and
the flight of thousands of Greeks.92The net result of Bulgarian occupation
policies was misery and bitterness, and a legacy of hatred which was seized
upon by the Macedonian Communists. Bulgarian occupation forces in
Vardar Macedonia and Thrace also participated in the deportation of the
indigenous Jewish population. In 1942 the Third Reich insisted on the
deportation of Bulgarian Jews, to which the Bulgarian authorities initially
agreed. In the end Bulgarian Jews were saved, but the Bulgarian occupation
authorities in Thrace and Macedonia deported 11,393 Jewsmore than
4,000 from Thrace and 7,000 from Macedoniaprecisely because they
were not Bulgarian, excluded on the basis of the 1940 law.93In late May
1943, King Boris rescinded the deportation order for Bulgarian Jews. He
was under considerable domestic pressure from the opposition in parlia
ment and several bodies from within Bulgarian civil society, including the
Orthodox Church, who voiced their objections both in private and public.
The survival of the Bulgarian Jewish community reflected the general
absence of anti-Semitism in Bulgaria and proactive intervention of several
groups in Bulgarian civil society, although the authorities decision to pro
tect the Jews was not based purely on ethical grounds.94Many of the groups
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
135
which spoke out against the deportation of Jews simultaneously supported
the regimes coercive policies against native Muslims.
Both Yugoslavia and Greece experienced partition and were forced to
endure cruel Axis occupation regimes. In the Yugoslav case, Germany and
Italy partitioned Slovenia, while Serbia and the Banat were placed under
German military occupation. Italy annexed Dalmatia and Kosovo, which
was incorporated into an Italian-controlled Great Albanian state.95Hungary
reoccupied territories (Backa, Baranja, and Medjimurje) it had lost in 1918,
while Bulgaria annexed Aegean andVardar Macedonia in addition to south
east Serbia.The remaining territories were transformed into a Great Croatian
state, consisting of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.The Croatian state was
placed under Ustasa administration but was in actual fact an I talo-German
condominium, divided into separate Italian and German occupation zones.96
Greece too was divided into German and Italian spheres of influence,
with a separate Bulgarian zone. The German military dominated strategi
cally important centres hke Athens, Salonika, and Crete, in addition to the
border with Turkey, and played the decisive role in occupied Greece as in
partitioned Yugoslavia.
The worst violence in the Balkans was witnessed in the Ustasa-administered
Croatian state and particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since its core mem
bership barely reached 10,000 in April 1941, the Ustasa authorities were in
no position to govern a country of more than six million people, barely half
of whom were Croats. The Bosnian Muslims were regarded as Muslim
Croats and courted by the authorities. In those areas that were part of the
pre-war autonomous Croatian banovina, the Ustase had little choice but to
rely on the ideologically unreliable civilian and police administration whose
personnel were often sympathetic to or drawn from the Croat Peasant Party.
Otherwise Pavelic ruled by fiat, his orders implemented by the Ustasa militia
and centrally appointed party oificials in the provinces. With barely a rudi
mentary administration in place, and exploiting the advantage afforded by
Nazi conquest, the Ustasa authorities moved to settle scores, launching a
brutal campaign to rid Great Croatia of all undesirables, the most obvious
of whom were Serbs but also Jews and Roma, in an attempt to safeguard
Croatias recently obtained independence.
The Serb Question was certainly not the only important question of the
day, but the Ustase were determined to force its resolution at any cost.
Indeed, from its inception in 1930, anti-Serbianism had been the quin
tessence of the Ustasa doctrine, its raison detre.97This was problematic in
136
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
light of the fact that the newly formed Croatian state had approximately
1.9 million Serbs. From April to August 1941, Ustasa leaders heralded in
rhetoric and deed a newly cleansed Great Croatian state. Anti-Serb legis
lation was decreed and much of the Serb intelligentsia detained. In mid-
May 1941the German Foreign Minister noted that the Croatian government
apparently is anxious to be able to reduce the exceedingly strong Serbian
minority in Croatia, and seems to be ready to receive a corresponding
number of Slovenes [from the Third Reich] in order to achieve this goal.98
On 4 June 1941 a Croato-German resetdement agreement was concluded
in Zagreb. The two parties agreed that, in addition to 5,000 politically
tainted persons and intellectuals who were to be resettled immediately from
Slovenia to Serbia, another 170,000 Slovenes would be deported in two
stages to Croatia by October 1941. It was further agreed that a corresponding
number of Serbs are to be transferred from Croatia to Serbia.99Two days
later, Pavelic travelled to Salzburg for his first audience with Adolf Hitler.
When their conversation turned to the nationality composition of the new
Croatian state and the recently concluded agreement to resetde nearly
350,000 people by years end, Hitler admitted that this type of resettlement
was naturally painful at the moment, but was better than lasting harm. He
pointedly remarked that i f the Croatian State was to be really stable a
nationally intolerant policy had to be pursued for fifty years, because only
damage resulted from too much tolerance in these matters.100Pavelic must
have concluded that the German authorities would not interfere with his
regimes nationally intolerant policy.The deportations commenced at the
end of June 1941 as the Ustasa authorities turned to a systematic cleansing
of predominantly Serb-populated regions. Ustasa massacres of Serbs now
became widespread.
The first instances of Ustasa violence against Serbs were carefully cal
culated but limited in scope: at Gudovac in late April 1941, when 196 Serb
males were executed in reprisal for the killing of a Croatian soldier, and at
Veljun and Glina in early May, where together more than 600 Serb males
were killed. Only in July 1941, following the Croato-German resettlement
agreement, did Ustasa violence become indiscriminate, widespread, and sys
tematic, no longer limited only to the Serb intelligentsia and males.101Since
the Ustasa militia was too weak to carry out massacres everywhere, it per
petrated them primarily in those areas where it believed it could do so most
effectively and where it felt they were most necessary. This was in hetero
geneous zones with a large Serb population, such as the Lika, Kordun, and
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
137
Banija provinces of Croatia and parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Ustasa
leadership determined that the ethnic demography of these provinces would
be radically altered through violence and the high concentration of Serbs
broken as a consequence. Detachments of the Ustasa militia typically entered
Serb villages and killed indiscriminately, shooting peasants and torching
their homes in the process. The first large-scale massacres in the Lika region
took place in Gospic district between late July and early August 1941.
Reprisals were indiscriminate, with as many as 3,000 Serb civilians killed.102
Kordun and Banija witnessed equally extensive massacres while the deport
ation of Serbsethnic cleansingreached drastic proportions.103 In late
June 1941 Ustasa units deported virtually the entire Serb population of
Plitvicki Ljeskovac commune, approximately 2,500 people, to neighbouring
Drvar district, from where they were to be deported to Serbia.104 Local
Orthodox churches were typically destroyed.105According to a Croatian
Interior Ministry police report, in Vojnic district (Kordun) the Ustasa militia
had adopted drastic measures against Serb civilians, killing roughly 400
Serb men, women, and children, prompting the flight of the remaining
population.106 When the Ustasa militia captured the village of Banski
Grabovac (Banija) on 245 July 1941, it murdered virtually the entire
Serb population of 1,100 peasants.07The massacre atVlahovic (Banija) on
24 July 1941claimed upwards of 800 Serb civilians.108Five distinct massacres
were perpetrated against Serbs in Glina district (Banija) in 1941, with 2,394
victims (1,864 men, 425 women, and 15 children).109
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, mass violence was initiated in eastern
Herzegovina and then in the Bosnian Frontier (north-west Bosnia), both
of which had large Serb populations.110 On 24 June 1941 the Ustase began
a cleansing operation against Serbs of Bihac district, but as the deportation
campaign degenerated into chaos, Serbs were increasingly killed regardless
of gender or age.111In eastern and north-eastern Bosnia, where the Ustase
had a n egl i gi b l e presence, there were relatively few mass atrocities against
Serbs in i94i.The largest single massacre in the area occurred at Brcko in
December 1941, when the entire local Jewish population of 300 was executed
en masse.112 In Slavonia and Dalmatia, the Serb population was generally
spared the type of massacres seen in Lika, Kordun, Banija, the Bosnian Frontier,
and Herzegovina, in light of the deployment of the Ustasa militia to more
sensitive provinces. Deportation was the main instrument of ethnic cleansing
in these areas. Roughly 5,000 Serbs from among a population of 102,000
were deported from ten Slavonian districts in 1941; their properties were
13
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
subsequently nationalized by the Croatian state.113 In late September iy4i,as
the situation became increasingly more chaotic, the German authorities put
a definitive halt to further deportations. While the number of Serbs who had
been deported from Croatia by that point had not been determined conclu
sively, the German military command in Serbia estimated that at least 118,110
had been resetded.114
The degree of popular participation in Ustasa violence varied from
region to region, but judging by the reports filed by the local Croatian civil
ian officials, regular police units, and the Home Guard, the poorly equipped
Croatian conscript army, the violence was perpetrated almost entirely by
detachments of the Ustasa militia and was initially met with incredulity on
the part of Serb victims and the local Croat population. Many of these
officials attributed the incipient Serb armed revolt and resulting chaos to
Ustasa massacres. On 21July 1941 the Command of the Croatian Home
Guard concluded that the local Serb rebellion was caused by incompetent
Ustasa officials as well as the capricious disturbances of the Ustase in
general.115 The regular army commandwhich the Ustasa leadership
always regarded as ideologically suspectsoon realized that it was incapable
of coping with the nascent insurrection.116 The head of the Croatian gen
darmerie detachment in Gospic (Lika) reported in late July 1941 that much
of his area of responsibility had succumbed to disorder. The local insurgents
were Serb peasants who had fled to the woods purely as a reaction to the
cleansing [operations] against them by our Ustasa formations. He added:
Under cleansing one must understand extirpation the killing and slaugh
ter ofSerbs.117The commander of the First Croatian Gendarmerie Regiment
provided a forthright account of the July 1941 killings in his district.
Following the sabotage on 27 July 1941 of the railway tracks in Vojnic dis
trict, which the gendarmerie attributed to local communists, Ustasa forces
launched a cleansing operation: This provoked a panic among the Serb
population. The Ustasa militia pillaged and killed indiscriminately and
openly, including the elderly and children. The cleansing operation lasted
until 8 August, following which the gendarmerie commandant reported:
like the gendarmes in general, I was completely helpless. Everything was
done against our knowledge with great distrust toward us. Much of the
local population was still in disbelief, because many [Serbs] were cleansed,
lor whom it is known that they committed no harm against Croats.118
Similar reports were filed in Bosnia. The commander of the Croatian
gendarmerie detachment in Sokolac reported in early August 1941 that the
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
139
Ustase of the Sarajevo region were with their unconscionable work terrify
ing the majority of peasants.119 The commander of the Fourth Croatian
Gendarmerie Regiment (Sarajevo) delivered a similar message:With respect
to their use in the public security service, he reported to the I nterior
Ministry in early August 1941, the Ustase should be placed exclusively
under the command of the gendarmerie, because as younger and less
experienced people they frequendy do more than is required. He even
proposed that local Ustasa ranks be purged. Rather than entering into an
open struggle against the insurgents, that is, with those who had rebelled,
they undertook the destruction of their villages and the killing of their
families, and pillaging and the like, which led to fiercer resistance, so that
even those who never thought of doing it, have joined the insurgents.This
police official urged that the Serb peasants who had taken to the woods be
amnestied and their personal security and property should be guaranteed.
He also urged that the practice of taking hostages be abandoned, because
these measures provoke a strong reaction, create indisposition toward and
hatred of Croats and everything Croatian.120 The following day the civilian
prefect ofVlasenica district (south-east Bosnia) delivered a strongly worded
report to his superiors in Sarajevo, blaming Ustasa officials for the massive
local Serb rebellion:Above all, I accuse the Ustase of this region, ...who, by
killing, beating, pillaging, raping women and by other means, drove Serbs
into the woods and forced them in desperation to take up arms.They com
mitted such crimes that every honest man had to be disgusted. He claimed
that he had attempted to intervene to prevent these crimes from occurring,
but I did not succeed.121
Despite the alarming nature and escalating incidence of these reports, the
commander of the Croatian Home Guard, Marshal Slavko Kvaternik, a
former Habsburg officer who was also a sworn member of the Ustasa
movement, issued in late July and early August 1941 a series of draconian
orders that were to be adopted against civilians found to be in possession of
firearms and Croatian military deserters. On 31July he ordered all units to
prevent the dissemination o f alarming news and to calm down the pop
ulation and the different civilian functionaries. Regular military officers who
showed softness and indecision were threatened with harsh punishment,
while deserters were to be summarily executed regardless of rank. On
2 August he ordered that all persons captured in battle or found to be assisting
Serb insurgents were to be shown no mercy.Those adult males who had not
assisted the insurgents were nevertheless to be sent to collection camps,
although women and children were to be spared.122 It is therefore hardly
surprising that the many civilian, police, and local military reports detailing
Ustasa atrocities had no effect. Political authority was vested in the central
Ustasa leadership and its local party and militia functionaries, rather than
the civilian and police administration or even the regular military. It may
not have been immediately apparent to these local officials who
documented the atrocities that what they regarded as the reckless behaviour
of local Ustasa officialdom was in actual fact part of official policy,
sanctioned at the highest levels of the Ustasa party-state in pursuit of its
nationalizing war.
As the countryside degenerated into chaos, systematic mass killing
increasingly shifted to Ustasa camps explicidy established for that purpose.
The first two camps, designed to eliminate undesirable national elements,
were situated in remote locations far removed from large population centres.
These were the Jadovno camp near Gospic and Slano and Metajna on the
island of Pag in the northern Adriatic, which operated for approximately
two months beginning in late June 1941. Following the Italian military
occupation of these regions in late summer 1941, the Ustasa authorities
established the Jasenovac camp, which evolved beginning in late August
1941 into a complex of five camps. The Jasenovac camp system was situated
near a major railway junction, which facilitated the arrival of large numbers
of inmates, and in a heavily Serb-populated area, although most of the sur
rounding Serb villages had been razed to the ground in the summer of
1941.123The vast majority of inmates were Serbs and Jews, but in 1942 the
number of Roma increased dramatically, as did the number of Croat and
Bosnian Muslim political opponents of the regime. Several other makeshift
camps were established in 1941-2, such as the Danica camp near the town
of Koprivnica and the Loborgrad andTenja camps, but the Jasenovac camp
complex served as the primary killing centre of the regime. The entire camp
system was subordinated to the Ustasa security service.
Like all Ustasa camps, the Jasenovac camps were hastily assembled,
atrociously run, and extremely unhygienic.124 Inmates were killed by vari
ous methodsshootings, beatings, hangings, or with knives and axesbut
often died of disease or were simply worked to death in labour detachments.
Killing was done en masse but occasionally on an individual, highly person
alized basis. The Jasenovac system had a limited capacity and inmates were
routinely killed when that capacity was exceeded. During his post-war
interrogation, a former commandant, Ljubo Milos, claimed that the largest
14 0 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 1 4 1
camp (Camp III) had a steady inmate population of 3,000; when it exceeded
that number, the excess population was simply murdered.125The Ustasa
camp administration consisted of young men and some women. The
Jasenovac survivor Egon Berger witnessed about ten Ustasa guards, all from
western Herzegovina, who were no older than 14; all of them had part
icipated in executions.126Many of the perpetrators drank heavily before and
during the killings. Another camp survivor, Djordje Milisa, claimed that on
the night of 1November 1942, thirty Ustasa guards executed approximately
1,000 women and children outside the camp grounds; they returned to the
camp bloodied and heavily inebriated.127A former Ustasa camp comman
dant admitted during his post-war interrogation to the desensitizing nature
of prolonged killing: after a time the destruction made no impression.
I became used to it.128 Milisa provided a sociological profile of the camp
perpetrators, whose brutality and sadism he attributed to the fact that
the majority came from primitive regions, principally from western
Herzegovina and Lika.These men (and women) were, he believed, generally
uneducated, radicalized young people from some of the poorest provinces
of the land.129Another former Jasenovac inmate, Mirko Persen, has esti
mated that as many as 120,000 people were killed in the Ustasa camps, most
of them (perhaps 80,000) in the Jasenovac camp system. At the two Ustasa
camps at Jadovno and Pag, which operated for little more than two months
in the summer of 1941, between 15,000 and 25,000 people were killed.The
majority of all camp victims were Serbs and Jews.130
The worst Ustasa violence occurred in i94i-2.The growth of the armed
insurrection, the extension of the Italian occupation regime in Croatia, and
mounting German military engagement compelled the Ustasa authorities
to moderate some of their policies, even as they maintained their killing
apparatus in the camps. In September 1941 the Ustasa leadership adopted
the policy of forcibly converting Orthodox Serbs to Catholicism, which
was in effect a mechanism of assimilating the Serb peasantry. As such, the
policy was simply another aspect of the Ustasa regimes nationalizing war.
By February 1942 the Ustase abandoned forced conversion as a result of
continued armed insurrection, public criticism by leading Bosnian Muslim
intellectuals of Ustasa crimes, and increased Italo-German pressure. In early
1942, the Ustasa regime formed the Croatian Orthodox Church. From
that point to the end of the war, Orthodoxy was recognized as a state religion
and the Orthodox were regarded as Croats, although on the ground the
Ustasa militia continued to conduct a blanket policy of reprisal against
142 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
Serbs.131Ustasa policy towards the Jewish population was far less nuanced.
O f the nearly 40,000 Jews in Great Croatia in 1941, at least 30,000 perished
in the Holocaust; approximately 23,000 were killed in the Ustasa camp
system while 7,000 were deported to Nazi death camps in 1942-3. By that
point the Ustasa regime was already in rapid decline. In late 1942 the
Croatian gendarmerie was placed under German command while the reg
ular military, the Home Guard, served as a poor auxiliary of the Wehrmacht
in German-led anti-Partisan operations. The Ustasa regime left brutal scars
on the peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. O f the approximately
one million Yugoslavs who died in the Second World War, roughly 60 per
cent died on the territory of Great Croatia.132The number of dead exceeded
the combined wartime population losses of Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece.
The violence experienced in wartime Croatia cannot be attributed
entirely to ideological motives, even i f the Ustasa case is paradigmatic of
ideologically inspired violence.The recruitment of the Bosnian Muslims by
the Waffen SS represents a distinct case. In February 1943, as the security
situation in Croatia continued to deteriorate, the German leadership agreed
to the formation of a Muslim SS division. Known officially as the Thirteenth
Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Flandschar (Croatian Number 1),
this unit operated in eastern Bosnia between March and November 1944.133
Bosnian Muslim participation in the Waffen SS had little to do with ideol
ogy. Although many Bosnian Muslims had sided with the new Croatian
regime in April 1941, within months they became deeply disillusioned.
Some Muslims undeniably participated in the anti-Serb violence of the
Ustase. Several motives may have been at play, but throughout the interwar
era the Bosnian Muslim political elite had blamed Serbs for the difficult
plight of Muslims in Yugoslavia. The elite s views found resonance among
the Muslim population, some of whom (encouraged by the Ustase, who
played on local resentments) turned against local Serbs. The ensuing Serb
armed revolt soon took the form of revenge against Muslim and Croat
civilians. By the winter of 1941-2 thousands had been killed in Serb Chetnik
massacres in eastern Bosnia.134 The increasingly precarious status of Muslims
in wartime Croatia gave rise to a Bosnian Muslim autonomist movement
whichcaught between competing visions and violence of Ustasa Great
Croatia and Chetnik Great Serbiaturned to the Third Reich in a vain
attempt to establish a German protectorate in Bosnia.
The core membership of the 13th SS Division was drawn from the
roughly $,ooo-strong Muslim militia of eastern Bosnia, which had been
formed in 1942 by Muhamed Hadziefendic to defend local Muslim villages
against Chetnik and Partisan attacks.135These men were recruited on the
understanding that they would serve in their native region.The majority of
the remaining Bosnian SS recruits were conscripts.136 In March 1944 the
13 th SS Division, commanded by a German officer corps, was deployed to
eastern Bosnia to pacify the region. It is perhaps ironic that the Waffen SS
relied on a Bosnian Muslim unitwhich hoped to protect its own pop
ulation through collaborationwhilst simultaneously liaising with local
Serb Chetnik detachments which controlled the region and had perpe
trated atrocities against local Muslims. In the event, the 13 th SS Division,
centred principally in the towns of Brcko and Bijeljina, committed several
atrocities against non-combatants in the name o f pacification. While this
violence, under strict German command, was not ethnically motivated as
such, the nature of German anti-Partisan operations drew few distinctions
between legitimate combatants and non-combatants. Since a significant
segment of the local population was of Serb nationality, a great deal of the
13th SS Divisions violence in rural eastern Bosnia was invariably perpe
trated against Serb civilians; it took the form of and was likely perceived by
both sides as ethnic violence, since many rank-and-file perpetrators and the
victims were from the same region.137
The purveyors of mass violence seldom have difficulty rationalizing it.
Wehrmacht anti-Partisan operations in the Balkans serve as a case in point.
In dealing with the insurgency in wartime Croatia,Wehrmacht command
ers applied great lethality against clearly defined operational spaces, with
incredibly devastating consequences for the civilian population regardless of
nationality, gender, or age. In the context of these anti-Partisan clearing
operations, all civilians were viewed as legitimate targets of Wehrmacht
reprisals. The anti-Partisan operations in north-western Bosnia of the sum
mer of 1942 wiped out a significant segment of the local civilian population,
victimizing non-combatants regardless of gender or age. But Wehrmacht
references to violence repeatedly emphasized its technocratic and clinical
nature: this was pacification for the purpose of establishingorder. By con
trast, Ustasa violence against civilians was characterized as primitive anti
lawless. In short, it wasuncivilized.While the intentions underlying Ustasa
and Wehrmacht violence may have been quite dissimilar, both wreaked
colossal havoc and indiscriminately claimed the lives of thousands of civil
ians. This language served in part as a psychological mechanism designed
both to rationalize and insulate Wehrmacht officers from their own violent
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 1 4 3
144
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
methods, even i f the victims of this violence were deemed to be racially
inferior peoples.138This discourse of violence is telling, particularly in light
of what is now known of the Wehrmacht s participation in the Holocaust
on the Eastern Front and in Serbia, where in 1941the Wehrmacht executed
more than n,ooo civilians over a three-month period in the name of
pacification.139 The character ofWehrmacht anti-Partisan operations was
no different elsewhere in the Balkans, notably in Greece.
The Wehrmachts characterization of its own violence certainly helps
shed light on the mechanisms employed by many perpetrators to describe,
rationalize, and legitimize their own brutalities. The Ustasa regime waged a
brutal nationalizing war, but in describing the insurgency they confronted
and their own counter-measures, the regimes military and party officials
employed terminology that was often remarkably similar to that of the
Wehrmacht. Both Ustasa and regular Croatian army officers frequently
referred in their reports to insurgents as bandits, rabble, and criminals,
and to their own military counter-measures as pacification (smirimnje) and
cleansing operations (akcije ciZcenja). A similar vocabulary was employed
with reference to population displacement: deportation increasingly gave
way to evacuation. This terminology implied the removal of people from
danger zones to places of safety, but many of those who were evacuated
invariably ended up in work and collection camps, such as Jasenovac. The
Ustasa state was never a model of bureaucratic efficiency. It was in fact a
weak state, which only further fuelled its violence. But its officialdom
employed a language which characterized the states enemies as a criminal
element intent on undermining the Croatian nation-state, thereby rational
izing the adoption of the most brutal methods. This was hardly unique. As
Mark Levene has noted, perpetrators typically characterize their victims in
the same light, not as victims but as perpetrators who pose a dire threat.
Victims are defined as a monolith, whose one and only purpose is allegedly
to destroy the perpetrator group.140
The case of the Bosnian Muslims is in some respects similar to that of the
peasant recruits of the Serb Chetnik movement. Leadership of the Serb peas
ant rebellion of summer 1941 was contested by two politically disparate
movements, the Great Serbian Chetniks and the Communist Partisans. The
( 'hetnik movement in Bosnia was a highly decentralized and conservative
affair that emphasized Serb nationalism: it advocated a Great Serbian political
strategy that was aggressively anti-Croat and anti-Muslim.141Two of the
dominant intellectual entities of the Chetnik movement, 1Jragisa Vasic and
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
1 4 5
Stevan Moljevic, articulated a wartime programme premised on the
creation of a Great Serbian state cleansed of most non-Serbs. In February
1942 Moljevic wrote to Vasic of the need to incorporate all of Bosnia-
Herzegovina and Dalmatia into a post-war Serbian state, which would be
followed by the cleansing of the land of all non-Serb elements.142The
Chetnik political struggle was thus never narrowly focused on the Ustasa
regime nor was a serious effort made to distinguish in 19412 between that
regime and the Croat and Bosnian Muslim populace. By the late summer
and autumn of 1941, the incipient Serb uprising against the Ustasa state
increasingly became a sweeping Serb onslaught against Muslims and Croats.
According to Marko Attila Hoare, in the Chetnik conception, the unfolding
war was waged against the Ustase (Croats) and Turks (Bosnian Muslims).143
In 1941 the Chetniks managed to exploit the resentments and desire for
revenge among desperate Serb peasants that had been created by Ustasa
violence, to perpetrate widespread violence against non-Serb civilians.
Indeed, not even the Partisan movement, which recruited heavily from
among the Serb population, was immune to chauvinistic calls for mass
reprisals against non-Serbs.144Starting in the late summer of 1941, and again
during the winter of 1941-2 and summer of 1942, several large-scale atroc
ities were perpetrated primarily by Chetnik detachments against non-Serb
civilians in the districts of eastern Bosnia and in eastern Herzegovina. While
the nationalist core leadership of the Chetnik movement in Bosnia viewed
violence against and ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs as an ideological tenet, for
many rank-and-file peasant recruits the desire for vengeance or simply for
self-defence were probably the most important i f not the sole motives behind
their participation in violence. The struggle between the Serb Chetniks and
the Communist Partisans in Bosnia-Herzegovina was therefore a struggle
over the political direction of the Serb rebellion. It was by extension also a
struggle over the proper use of political violence: whether it would be
employed for mass killing and ethnic cleansing, or the construction of a
multiethnic republic in a widerYugoslav federation.145In the event, the local
perpetrators of violence likely had multifaceted motives, ranging from
coimnitment to nationalist projects and the elimination of other communities
to the desire to defend the local community and to exact retribution for past
crimes.Victims frequently became perpetrators and just as often shifted from
one ideological camp to another.
The Second World War in occupied Yugoslavia was thus in actual fact a
series of overlapping conflicts.The Axis powers imposed multiple occupation
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
regimes, several collaborationist movements emerged across the partitioned
country, and two resistance movements surfaced to contest the occupiers,
their collaborators, and each other. What ensued was a succession of often
remarkably brutal wars. The worst violence was experienced in Bosnia-
Herzegovina, which was forced to endure the vicious rule of the Ustasa
regime and the occupation policies of the German and Italian forces, while
also serving as a central battlefront between Yugoslavias two resistance
movements. It is hardly surprising that Bosnia suffered greater human losses
than any other Yugoslav republic, accounting for nearly a third of the one
million Yugoslavs killed during the Second World War.146
The resistance in Yugoslavia was a contest between Josip Broz Tito's
Communist Partisan movement and Colonel (later General) Dragoljub
Draza Mihailovics politically disparate Chetniks. The latter, led by Serb
army officers loyal to the exiled government in London, represented an
amorphous phenomenon which acquired structure thanks largely to
Mihailovic. Lie organized armed resistance in central Serbia as the Yugoslav
Army in the Homeland, but even as his movement took shape it was torn
by political divisions, lacked a coherent political strategy, and was made
militarily ineffective pardy because of differences over tactics.147Even more
problematic was the fact that the movement had limited appeal among non-
Serbs. Under the circumstances and in light of the failure of the interwar
Yugoslav state, the emergence of pan-Yugoslav, non-Communist resistance
was virtually impossible.
The harsh German occupation regime in Serbia and the appearance of
the Communist resistance confronted Serb leaders with a fundamental
dilemma. Serbia proper was permitted its own administration under General
Milan Nedic, although the Serbian state was effectively ruled by the German
military and known officially as the District of the Military Commander of
Serbia.148In addition to General Nedics Serb Volunteer Guard, the German
military command occasionally deployed Serb auxiliaries drawn from
Ljotics ZBO R movement. General Nedic believed that collaboration might
prevent further reprisals on the part of the German occupation authorities
and even prompt Berlin to reconsider the territorial setdement imposed in
1941. Collaboration was seen primarily as a form of survival. Mihailovic too
feared that Serbs would suffer inordinately and preferred to keep his forces
intact until such time as the Allies landed in the Balkans, but in the interim
several of his commanders collaborated with the Italian military authorities
in Croatia and Montenegro, while others opted for tactical agreements with
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
14 7
the Wehrmacht. Several Chetnik groups openly collaborated with the Nedic
regime, offering a truce in exchange for a free hand against the Partisans.
Titos Partisans proved to be the only group, through a combination of
determined leadership, ideological commitment, tactical nationalist appeals,
and sheer ruthlessness, capable of managing, i f not necessarily solving, the
national question.149In the first two and a half years of the war, the Partisan
movement in Bosnia was principally a Serb movement. By mid-1942 Bosnia
was an intricate and confused patchwork of competing fiefdoms. The
increasingly marginalized Croatian fascist regime controlled the larger
towns while the countryside was held by different insurgent groups, either
Partisans, Chetniks, or, in some cases, local Muslim militias. The Bosnian
Partisans, despite their predominantly Serb base, led an uprising on non
sectarian Bosnian lines. This was no simple undertaking, for in the first year
of the revolution much of the Serb rank and file continued to shift between
the Partisans and Chetniks. The tenuous initial alliance that had existed
between the two movements collapsed in spring 1942.The Partisan leader
ship now saw the Chetniks as their principal enemy and placed greater
emphasis on educating its followers to renounce Great Serbian nationalism,
to adopt the brotherhood and unity of Serbs, Muslims, and Croats on an
all-Bosnian basis, with the goal of building a patriotic Bosnian conscious
ness within a Yugoslav socialist framework. The Partisans upheld the model
of a secular and modern Bosnia as the common, self-governing home
land of Serbs, Muslims, and Croats, within a wider federation of Yugoslav
peoples. This model appealed to a large segment of the Bosnian Serb pop
ulation, and many Muslims and Croats. The Partisans secular modernist
programme also promoted gender equality and social change, speaking to
modernizing tendencies in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The multinational appeal
of this programme gave the Partisans a decisive political advantage over
their Chetnik adversary, whose support was limited to a segment of the
Bosnian Serb rural population, and ultimately sealed their victory.
In April 1942 the Partisan central leadership downplayed class warfare in
favour of a national liberation struggle, appealing to all the South Slavic
nationalities. At the town ofBihac (Bosnia) in November 1942,Tito organ
ized the Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation ofYugoslavia
(AVNOJ) as a patriotic national front. The following year, after I talys
withdrawal from the war and Partisan seizure of considerable Italian war
materiel, the AVNOJ assumed the title of provisional government.With the
help of the Red Army, on 22 October 1944 the Partisans entered Belgrade as
148 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
liberators and cleared Serbia of the Wehrmacht. The fall of Zagreb to the
Partisans on 8 May 1945 marked the symbolic (though not the actual) end
of war in Yugoslavia.
The situation in Greece was similarly complicated. With a frail economy
and exposed to three occupation regimes, all of which requisitioned every
thing from raw materials to foodstuffs, the Greek population was reduced to
a subsistence level.150 As resistance intensified from late 1942, reprisals
became considerably more punitive. As in Serbia, collaboration was gener
ally limited to military men, beginning with General GeorgiosTsolakoglou
(19412), who beheved they were protecting Greece from catastrophe by
acting as a buffer between the Axis and Greeks. Under Ioannis Rallis
(19434), the most distinguished Greek collaborator, a more ambitious
attempt was made to rally Greek political society against the nascent
Communist resistance. To that end, Rallis s administration formed under
German direction the Security Battalions.
The main resistance movement was the National Liberation Front
(EAM), formed in September 1941 with the Greek Communist Party
(KKE) at its core alongside several leftist and republican groups.151From
the autumn of 1941, EAM s political influence spread across much of
Greece and in due course it became a significant social movement offering
resistance through its military arm, known from 1942 as the National
Peoples Liberation Army (ELAS).The non-Communist Greek National
Democratic League (EDES) was led from September 1941 by Colonel
Napoleon Zervas, a retired Greek officer of republican and Venizelist
sympathies. Drawn largely from the pre-war army, EDES was from its
inauguration weaker than EAM-ELAS. Based in the mountains of Epirus
along the Albanian border, EDES maintained contact with the British
authorities but was avowedly republican and thus had strained relations
with the exiled government. Both EAM -ELAS and EDES resisted the
Axis occupation but were divided over the issue of Greeces post-war
organization. After 1943 EDES was increasingly engaged in a contest with
the EAM and to that end struck tactical arrangements with the German
military authorities. The EAM, in control of much of the rural mainland,
established in March 1944 a provisional government known as the Political
( Committee ofNational Liberation.By the time of the German withdrawal
in September 1944, EAM -ELAS had established the trappings of an
underground administration and possessed a military force capable of
enforcing its directives.
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 149
Following the Lebanon Conference (May 1944) the EAM participated in
a national unity government with the Greek government in exile, but after
the liberation disputes over the disarmament of ELAS led to the resignation
of the EAM ministers in the government.152 EAM suffered a calamitous
setback following the violence of the December events, following which
ELAS was disbanded and EAM was abandoned by its non-Communist
allies. This marked the beginning of its gradual dechne and persecution at
the hands of the Allied-sponsored Greek government. By wars end,' only
the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) remained to contest the Greek
authorities, setting the stage for the Greek Civil War (19469).
The Yugoslav and Greek experiences make clear that Balkan resistance
movements were as concerned with eliminating their ideological rivals as
they were with fighting the Axis. Resistance overlapped with civil war, as
Communist and nationalist forces vied for power in anticipation of the
German defeat. Since collaboration discredited governments and broad seg
ments of pre-war political establishments, the war was an imperative medium
of change, facilitating both social and political revolution. The spoils of war
in Yugoslavia and Albania were solely the property of the indigenous
Communists, while the outcome in Greece was decided only during the
Civil War (19469). In Romania and Bulgaria, Soviet occupation in 19445
sealed the fate of both societies and ensured the consolidation of
Communism. The most significant development of the Second World War
in the Balkans was thus the advent of Communism, which needed the tur
moil of war to subvert traditional elites.
Conclusion
The political history of the interwar Balkans is a record of abortive
democratic revolutions. Following the Great War, political elites embarked
on a process of constructing modern polities. In most countries new consti
tutions were adopted which extended the franchise, guaranteed basic civil
rights, and even minority rights. Admittedly, these constitutions did not
ensure the supremacy of national assemblies over executive and in particular
monarchical power. The result was a strengthening of monarchical authority
in the form o f personal regimes, which were ostensibly imposed to ward
off threats to the constitutional order. But even after dictatorships were
established, neither the monarchs nor the military officers who guided
150 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
them felt they could entirely ignore parliaments or the electoral process. As
a result, an admittedly limited public space remained for debate and the
expression of a degree of popular opinion. The Balkan dictatorships were
never particularly stable and almost everywhere lacked clear ideological
direction. Although they adopted repressive and discriminatory practices
and occasionally sanctioned the assassination of prominent opponents,
these regimes never adopted mass violence as part of grand schemes of
social or ethnic reordering. It is noteworthy that, notwithstanding the case
of the Iron Guard, even as political discourse migrated to the right and the
number of indigenous fascist and radical right groups proliferated, the
fascist phenomenon remained marginal. Extremists of the radical right
never gained an electoral majority anywhere in the Balkans. Even the Iron
Guards dramatic ascent in 1937, which provoked the imposition of royal
dictatorship, barely constituted one-sixth of the electorate; it is impossible
to know whether this success would have been sustained over repeated
electoral campaigns had the dictatorship not been established. In the final
analysis, however, the drift towards authoritarianism was in no way peculiar
to the Balkans and needs to be contextuahzed within the broader framework
of interwar European history. As noted earlier, in the interwar era Italy,
Austria, the Iberian countries, all the East Central European states except
Czechoslovakia, Germany, and the Soviet Union would succumb to
authoritarian regimes, in the last two cases to quite distinct totalitarian
regimes. Viewed in this hght, it is difficult to authenticate the case for
Balkan exceptionalism.
But can the same be said of mass violence in the Balkans in the period
between 1923 and 1945? After 1923 the Balkan states were status quo pow
ers, which marked a significant reversal of pre-1914 patterns. Only Bulgaria
was intent on territorial revisionism, but Bulgarian governments of varying
political orientations were committed, at least until the late 1930s, to peace
ful revisionism through the League of Nations. Albania was simply too weak
to contest the status quo.153The desire for stability and cooperation among
the Balkan states led to a series of regional conferencesin Athens (October
1930), Istanbul and Ankara (October 1931), Bucharest (October 1932), and
Salonika (November 1934)and bilateral pacts of friendship concluded
between 1928 and 1933. The culmination of this dialogue was the so-called
Balkan Pact (1934) between Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia,
which proclaimed their commitment to a peaceful resolution of disputes in
accordance with the principles of the League of Nations. The Balkan Pact
was eventually subverted by developments tar beyond the control of the
regions governments.
For much of this period, political violence was wielded by irredentist
groups against established governments for control of clearly defined ter
ritories. The zones of contestation and violence after 1923 were the same
as before the Great War, namely, Macedonia and Kosovo but eventually
Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. I MRO continued to employ violence against
Yugoslav and Greek officialdom in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, respec
tively, where Belgrade and Athens denied the existence of Macedonians
and had instituted harsh nationalizing policies designed to assimilate the
indigenous Slavic population. Similarly, in the early 1920s Albanian nation
alists and kafaks contested Serbian rule in Kosovo, where the Albanian
population was denied legitimate channels to express its identity or politi
cal preferences. Neither Macedonia nor Kosovo experienced a genuine
democratic process in the interwar era, which only generated resentment
and contributed to the radicalization of some segments of society.! he pre
war violence of the Croat Ustase was similarly irredentist, designed to
liberate Croatia from Serbian rule through assassination and armed insur
rection. The most spectacular act of interwar political violence was the
assassination in Marseilles of King Aleksandar (1934), the joint handiwork
of the Ustase and I MRO. In the event, once these groups were neutralized
by the states which harboured themby Ahmed Zogu in Albania (1925),
Fascist Italy in the Ustasa case (1934), and the pro-Zveno dictatorship in
Bulgaria (1934) they became marginal phenomena. In all likelihood they
would have remained on the political margins had not the Second World
War enabled their reactivation.
Only in the context of war and occupation did violence once again
become a mass phenomenon. Not all wars bring about mass victimization
of civilians. The Second World War in the Balkans was a particular kind
of war, pursued by nationalizing states and movements committed to
reshaping their territories into relatively homogeneous national polities.154
Nazi occupation authorities dispensed brutality with litde regard for the
conventions of war. Their collaborators, whether genuine fascists or not,
adopted violence to eliminate ideological opponents. More often than not,
however, violence was employed against traditional minority populations
that were deemed by nationalizing states and movements as a threat to their
constituent nations or impediments to their consolidation. The experience
of war accelerated the implementation of discriminatory practices and
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r 1 5 1
152 d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
conditioned the use of violence, including genocide, against traditional
others. Many Romanians saw the Second World War as an opportunity, as
Antonescu put it in September 1941, to undertake a work of complete
cleansing of Jews and to achieve a homogenous whole in the Romanian
lands. The Bulgarian government deported Thracian and Macedonian Jews
to the Nazi death camps, expelled Serb and Greek officials from its occupa
tion zones, and pursued nationalizing policies against Macedonians and par
ticularly against their own Muslim population. For the Ustasa regime in
Croatia, which combined stern fanaticism with preposterous incompetence,
violence was purposeful, designed simultaneously to affirm their radical
ideology and to build a new national state through ethnic cleansing and
genocide, that is, the destruction of national communities deemed to be
impediments to its future viability. Like the National Legionary State in
Romania, which was rapidly undermined by its own uncontrolled regime
of vindictive violence, the murderous practices of the Ustase consigned the
illegitimate and weak regime to a few outposts already by autumn 1941,
dependent more than ever on their Axis sponsors.
Equally important was the radicalizing experience of total war.Tomislav
Dulic has suggested that very few Ustasa and Chetnik perpetrators in war
time Bosnia participated in mass murder for purely ideological reasons. The
dynamics of conflict created a revolutionary situation that resulted in rad-
icalization and an ever escalating killing process.55In these circumstances,
Communists waged revolutionary class warfare under the rubric of national
liberation wars. War, occupation, and ideological contestation encouraged
intolerance, exclusion, and dehumanization which, when coupled with the
lack of legal constraints, increasingly eroded the moral inhibitions against
widespread killing. It is hardly surprising that much of the worst violence
was experienced in nationally heterogeneous contested zones like Bosnia.
While the conflicts in these zones were shaped by wider ideological and
nationalist projects, the often confused local conditionsseveral occupation
entities, resistance movements, and even autonomist militiasblurred dis
tinctions between civilians and combatants. This milieu amplified the pre
disposition to violence of some groups, either as a way of eliminating the
threat from other nationalities and ideological opponents, or as a means of
inducing cooperation or forestalling collaboration with others. Violence
against civilians, rather than being indiscriminate, was often purposefully
cruel as a way of asserting power, exacting revenge, and securing through
intimidation a populations allegiance to a particular cause.156 In short, the
d e m o c r a c y , d i c t a t o r s h i p , a n d w a r
153
prevalence or absence of violence was shaped as much by the existence and
strength of ideological agendas as it was by the preferences of local elites.
Recent studies of the local dynamics of violence in wartime Bosnia suggest
that a reciprocal relationship existed between local and national preroga
tives whereby local identities could and did affect state genocidal policies.157
Collaboration and resistance were shaped by local circumstances, with
implications both for the incidence and dynamics of mass violence.
In the event, in many parts of the Balkans civilian populations escaped
widespread brutalization. In Albania and Bulgaria, the overwhelming major
ity of the dead were armed combatants killed in military operations. In
Romania, the majority of dead were victims of the Holocaust.The Romanian
civilian population suffered harsher treatment toward the end of the war, as
the Red Army swept through the country in late 1944.The picture in Greece
and Yugoslavia was considerably different. Here the occupation had been
harsh and resistance considerable. In both countries the majority of those
killed were civilians and Holocaust victims rather than armed combatants.
It is remarkable that, in such a brutalized setting, voices of moderation
and tolerance could on occasion be heard at all.The repeated protestations
of both the Bulgarian Holy Synod and parliamentary deputies against the
anti-Semitic legislation and planned deportation of Bulgarian Jews, and the
public resolutions of Bosnian Muslim ulema and intellectuals against Ustasa
atrocities, stand out as remarkable acts. Writing about the Bulgarian inter
ventions, Tzvetan Todorov observed,'I t seems that, once introduced into
public life, evil easily perpetuates itself, whereas good is always difficult, rare
and fragile. And yet possible.158 These interventions were striking but
unfortunately not the norm. Years of dictatorship had already weakened
the organizations of Balkan civil society and the political parties of the
democratic left and moderate centre. The war and occupation finally
incapacitated them. In an age of ideological extremes, the forces of
revolutionary change invariably dominated the political stage. In the Balkans,
the great European civil war ended not in the triumph of liberal democracy
but in its untimely demise.
4
National Communism and
Political Violence, 19451989
The world centre of Communist ideology no longer exists; it is in the
process of complete disintegration. The unity of the world Communist
movement is incurably injured. There are no viable possibilities whatso
ever that it can be restored. However,just as the shift from Stalin to collec
tive leadership did not alter the nature of the system itself in the USSR, so
too national Communism has been unable, despite ever increasing possi
bilities for liberation from Moscow, to alter its internal nature, which con
sists of total control and monopoly of ideas, and ownership by the party
bureaucracy. But national Communism neither desires nor is able to trans
form itself into something other than Communism...I n reality, national
Communism is Communism in decline.
(Milovan Djilas, 19571)
No one can claim a monopoly of absolute truth as regards the develop
ment of social life; and no one can claim to have the last word in the realm
of practice as well as in social and philosophical thought.
(Nicolae Ceauescu, March 19682)
Over the past ten years or so this idea of shifting people from one area to
another has developed into a refined mechanism for the manipulation of
dissenters among the Bulgarian humanistic intelligentsia. I n addition, it
enables officials to avoid creating martyrs, which might happen in the case
of the open suppression of ideas. The officials control the money and the
press, and they are able to arrange things so that the slamming of a door in
someones face is always accompanied by the opening of another one
through which the victim may discharge whatever creative energy he still
has left. And, of course, once you have given up your distinctive creative
identity, you become a passive good conductor for their manipulations,
just another copper wire in the state machine.
(Georgi Markov, 19733)
i.S6 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
T
he year 1945 was more than an ideological watershed in the history
of the modern Balkans. The political institutions that had been
adopted in the nineteenth century and steered the evolution of the penin
sula had brought the Balkans closer to Europe, even i f the region still
remained a peripheral zone of Europe. Parliamentary government and
capitalist development had, whatever their flaws in practice, determined
Balkan patterns in a decidedly European direction. State- and nation-
building in the Balkans were part of the wider European phenomenon.
The Second World War altered the circumstances radically and shaped
in profound ways the nature of Balkan politics and society. The victory
of Communism was seen by many in the region as a caesura that had
interrupted the natural course of Balkan history and the organic devel
opment of its societies. The nature of the political displacement that
occurred in 1945 was multifaceted.4What followed was the imposition of
unparalleled authoritarianism, rigid economic planning, and unprece
dented social mobilization in the pursuit of the creation of a socialist
society. Political violence was employed on an exceptional scale.
Communist rule traumatized every Balkan society and attempts at com
ing to terms with this period of Balkan history and initiating national
dialogues have only just been initiated.
Under Communism, the Balkans seemingly disappeared as a meaningful
entity from Europes political landscape as the continent witnessed an
unprecedented ideological partition reflecting Cold War realities. In 1947
Greece accepted US economic aid under the Marshall Plan and in 1952
joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).The Soviet Union
sponsored the creation of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(CMEA, Comecon) in 1949 and the Warsaw Pact in 1955, which were
joined initially by Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania. By 1949 the main out
lines of Balkan Cold War geography were already in place. (See Map 5.)
The Soviet military presence was not particularly substantial in the Balkans,
as the Red Army never reached Albania and merely passed through north
eastern Yugoslavia. It withdrew from Bulgaria in 1947 and Romania in
1958. In the event, much of the region found itself a periphery of a non-
Western centre for the first time since the Ottoman period. Following the
Civil War (19469), Greece was set apart from its neighbours as the only
non-Communist Balkan state. Following the Tito-Stalin split (1948),
Yugoslavia became the first Communist state outside the Soviet bloc, frag
menting theIron Curtain. Albania followed Yugoslavias example in 1961,
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contributing further to the political fragmentation of the Balkans. The
result was a peninsula overwhelmingly Communist in form, but with an
experience that was very much rooted in local dynamics. Since the
Communist system that emerged after 1945 was intimately associated with
the Soviet Union, it is hardly surprising that resistance to Moscow was to
all intents and purposes national in form. Yugoslavia was the first to resist
successfully in 1948, but its example was followed by Albania and Romania
in the 1960s.
Throughout the Balkans and indeed across East Central Europe, the
new Communist elites were cognizant of the authenticity of the
nationalist discourse and the legitimizing role of nationalism. In those
countries, such as Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968), where
Soviet intervention suppressed reformist tendencies, nationalism was no
longer the domain of party elites who were henceforth regarded by
their populations as appendages of Moscow. In the Balkans, on the other
hand, the Communist regimes became increasingly nationalist in char
acter and deportment. They married local tradition and the nationalist
discourse with Communist ideology, to produce distinct experiments in
National Communism. The nationalist discourse was not necessarily
intended as a means of overtly challenging Moscow this was the
Romanian and Bulgarian casebut was designed to forestall reform and
democratization through co-optation of intellectual and popular
opinion. The result was a form of what I vo Banac has called bureau
cratic nationalism, which strengthened in direct proportion to the
intensification of the systemic crisis of socialism. Particularly in Bulgaria
and Romania, over time this officially sanctioned bureaucratic nationalism
increasingly integrated several characteristics of the pre-war bourgeois
national ideologies.5
As a consequence, the crisis of the socialist system resurfaced old
national questions. What was significantly different after 1945 was the
ability of authoritarian totalitarian in intent, i f not in practice
party-states to homogenize their territories and societies, in ways that
were unimaginable to pre-war bourgeois political elites. As a conse
quence, minorities such as Bulgarias Muslims, Romanias Magyars and
few remaining Jews, and even Albanias Ghegs, suffered persecution at
the hands of state authorities as part of socialist-sponsored campaigns of
national homogenization. The Balkan experience between 1945 and
1989 dispels the widely held myth that Communists did away with or
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
kept a lid on nationalism. In actual fact, the Balkan Communist regimes
were nationalizing states and instrumentalized nationalism almost every
where. Stalinist coercion and violence hardly unique to the Balkan
Communist regimeswere integral components of these campaigns,
just as they were vital aspects of socialist modernization, which entailed
the gradual extinction of peasant society and the rapid acceleration of
industrialization. In the end, Stalinist methods resulted in both a
misguided form of modernization and the exacerbation of national
questions, each of which took a heavy toll in life and distorted these
societies in ways that are still felt in the present.
Stalinism as Modernism: Albania,
Bulgaria, and Romania
The consolidation of Communist power in Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania
between 1944 and 1947 followed a similar trajectory, notwithstanding the
absence of Soviet troops in Albania. In all three countries Communist-
sponsored popular frontsthe National Democratic Bloc in Romania, the
Fatherland Front in Bulgaria, and the Democratic Front in Albania
assumed control almost immediately and then gradually excluded,
eliminated, or co-opted non-Communist opposition. Elections were staged
in all three countries to legitimize this process and sanction the seizure of
power. By the time of the TitoStalin split, all three were solidly in the
Soviet sphere.
By September 1944 the Soviet Red Army had swept through Romania
and in October of that year the Communist-dominated N ational Democratic
Front emerged as a loose political coalition spearheading radical change.
From early 1945 it assumed a controlling stake in the Romanian government
and by 1947 the Communists had eliminated or co-opted the political
opposition.6In October 1945, at the Communist Partys first national con
ference, a Central Committee and Politburo were elected, with Gheorghe
Gheorghiu-Dej (r. 194865) as General Secretary and Ana Pauker and
Teohari Georgescu as secretaries, although Pauker was the de facto leader in
19445. These three figures and their allies governed Romania with Soviet
assistance until 1952, by which time they had initiated the Stalinization of
both the party and society. The internal power struggle over tactical dif
ferences, the pace of collectivization, and other reformsculminated in the
i 6o NATIONAL COMMUNISM AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE
elimination of the Muscovites, Pauker and Georgescu, who were purged
from the party leadership in May 1952.7
The context within which this occurred was a new Stalinist campaign of
anti-Semitism, unleashed in 19523 in both the Soviet Union and Eastern
Bloc states. The catchphrases of anti-Zionism and anti-cosmopolitanism
were employed in Romania and elsewhere by different factions in party
power struggles as part of a broader political purge.The purge of Pauker and
other prominent Jews was the most visible manifestation of this tendency in
Romania, as Gheorghiu-Dej sponsored a crude anti-Semitic line.The events
of 1952 marked the disappearance of the old Romanian party guard, much
of whichPauker, Luka Laszlo aka Vasile Luca, and Vanda Nikolski (Sheina
Averbuch)was ethnically non-Romanian; Stalin sanctioned the consol
idation of a new Stalinist elite, comprised largely ofnatives.8
In addition to his role as Secretary General, in June 1952 Gheorghiu-Dej
became President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister), thus com
bining party and state leadership. The leading party intellectual Lucrefiu
P2tr5canu, incarcerated since 1948, was prosecuted and executed in 1954.
Stalins death introduced a period of uncertainty for the Romanian leader
ship, and Nikita S. Khrushchevs February 1956 secret speech to the
Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which
sharply criticized Stalins cult of personality and crimes against the party, put
Gheorghiu-Dej on the defensive. Attributing Stalinist excesses in Romania
to his purged party colleagues, he reasserted control over the Securitate,
since 1948 the partys security police and main instrument of political con
trol, and resorted to a temporary collective leadership (19534) to forestall
the possibility of Khrushchev installing his own allies.
Gheorghiu-Dejs position as leader was secured by his ardent support
for the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. At the Second Congress of the
Romanian Workers Party (December 1955), he assumed the title of First
Secretary and added two new members to the expanded Politburo, one of
whom was his associate Nicolae Ceau^escu. Gheorghiu-Dej resisted in
practice Khrushchevs sanitized socialism and thus the Romanian party
never experienced de-Stalinization, which only reinforced Gheorghiu-
Dejs authority.9In 1956 the last joint SovietRomanian economic enter
prise was closed and Soviet economic advisers left the country. Two years
later, the last Red Army troops were withdrawn from Romania. In order to
allay Soviet concerns and to solidify his own position, Gheorghiu-Dej
approved the introduction of rigorous internal security controls and
legislation to assert the partys authority. The new measures marked the
beginning of a new purge and led to a rapid increase in the number of
political prisoners. According to official figures, in 1955 there were 6,400
persons imprisoned for offences against state securitythere are no official
figures for those imprisoned without trial, although they probably num
bered between 150,000 and 250,000 but by i960 the official number had
grown to 17,600. The wave of arrests and the purges of party and govern
ment ranks served as a signal to Romanians that the regime of terror would
not be relaxed.10
Gheorghiu-Dej made a clear distinction between the Soviet model and
the Soviet Union, and opted categorically for the former. As a result, he led
the Romanian party in an autonomist direction after i960 by supporting,
following the Sino-Soviet split, the Chinese position of the equality of all
socialist states. In 1961 he refused to accept the Soviet line that Romanias
role within Comecom should be that o f breadbasket and supplier of raw
materials for the industrialized members of the Soviet Bloc. The fissure with
the Soviet Union came gradually, but it stemmed from Gheorghiu-Dej s
commitment to Stalinist modernization and Marxist-Leninist theory. The
split with Moscow, however measured, led increasingly to the appropriation
of a nationalist discourse which played on traditional anti-Russian themes,
designed to increase the partys popularity, and a refinement of institutional
ized terror and development of additional modes of control.11In December
1964, at the request of the Romanian authorities, the last Soviet security
(KGB) advisers were withdrawn from Bucharest; Romania was the only
Warsaw Pact country to rid itself of Soviet security counsellors in the his
tory of that alliance.12This course set by Gheorghiu-Dej after i960 was
followed faithfully by Ceauescu, who became First Secretary in March
1965 following the formers death.
Under Gheorghiu-Dej and Ceauescu the Romanian party tapped a
deep reservoir of anti-Russian sentiment that dated to the early nineteenth
century. Several anti-Soviet measures were introduced in 1963, including
the closure of the Russian Institute in Bucharest, the elimination of Russian
as a compulsory school subject, and the removal of the names of Soviet
figures from boulevards and public buildings.13As autonomy was asserted
and nationalism increasingly appropriated, the security regime became
more subde even as it remained ubiquitous. Between 1963 and 1965, thou
sands of political prisoners, including alleged former Iron Guardists and
members of the cultural intelligentsia, were amnestied. Ceauescu continued
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 1 6 1
NATI ONAI I I I MMI I MSM ANI l POI I I 1CAL VI OI KNCI
tliis course after March 1965, asserting greater autonomy in foreign policy
and intensifying the regimes nationalist rhetoric.14 Under Ceauescu,
Romania was the first country in the Soviet Bloc to establish diplomatic
relations with West Germany (1967), refused to sever diplomatic relations
with Israel after the Six-Day War (1967), and condemned the Soviet-led
invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968). Ceauescus foreign policy largely con
sisted of symbohc acts of defiance of the Soviet line, but disobedience to
Moscow won Western approval. US President Richard Nixon paid a state
visit in 1969, reciprocated by Ceau^escu the following year, after which
Romania gained admission to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs
((iATT, 1971), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank
(1972). Already by the late 1960s, the West had surpassed the Soviet Union
as Romanias dominant trading power.
All this occurred as Ceau$escus regime began to exhibit more blatantly
its neo-Stalinist characteristics in domestic affairs; he had little reluctance in
perpetuating the Stalinist system and demonstrated remarkable insensitivity
to the needs of the population.15Between 1967 and 1969, Ceauescu purged
much of the remaining old guardin particular the I nterior Minister and
head of the Securitate, Alexandru Draghiciand populated the partys
executive positions with key supporters and family members.16 Thereafter
he was for the most part uncontested within the party leadership and in
1974 assumed the office of President of the Council of Ministers, assuming
formal leadership of party and state. A nascent personality cult was soon
discernible. Following his visit to China and North Korea, in July 1971
Ceauescu articulated seventeen proposals (July Theses) calling for renewed
political and ideological activity by the party, in what is often described as a
Romanian cultural revolution. Although embedded in socialist rhetoric,
the July Theses emphasized the great national achievements of the Romanian
people in the construction of socialist society. Thereafter bureaucratic
nationalism entered its mature phase.
Henceforth, Ceauescu sought to increase production and motivate
producers through ideology rather than material incentives. Historians and
members of the cultural intelligentsia were assigned a special role as van
guard of the revolutionary transformation of society. Historical scholarship
now emphasized the themes of continuity and independence, while several
authors of the interwar era were rehabilitated. Historical anniversaries and
myths were commemorated with renewed vigour. In 1980 the Romanian
authorities celebrated the 2,030th anniversary of Dacia, which was hailed
N AT I ON AI ( ( I M M I I N I S M A N D P O L I T I C A L V I O L E N C E
as the first unitary state on Romanian territory.17 The appeal to patriotism
and increasingly nationalist discourse, which in the 1980s possessed overtly
anti-Magyar and occasionally anti-Semitic themes, emphasized Romanian
historical greatness and the resistance to foreign enemies. This stemmed
from several factors, particularly the need to co-opt the intelligentsia and
forestall dissent, whilst simultaneously maintaining worker mobilization.
It has also been suggested that the Romanian party was compelled to
adopt the nationalist discourse by the intelligentsia and others, which is
a testament to the powerful hold of nationalism over the Romanian
cultural body.18
The appropriation of nationalism was demonstrated also in the rein
terpretation of the countrys modern history, in particular the interwar
period and the Second World War. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, textbooks
and histories asserted that fascism had been a marginal phenomenon in
Romania, and contained only ambiguous references to Romanian wartime
anti-Semitic policies and atrocities. The primary victims of fascism were
held to be the toiling masses and their revolutionary leaders; the persecution
of minorities was rarely mentioned.19 Beginning in the 1960s, as the
Romanian regime distanced itself from Moscow and sought to mobilize
intellectual and popular support, the official discourse rehabilitated several
nationalist themes. There was now renewed emphasis on national history.
Party guidelines issued in the late 1960s emphasized continuity between the
Communist and pre-war periods.20 Following the July Theses, Romanian
historiography even initiated the gradual, albeit discreet, rehabilitation of
Antonescu, although it continued to dismiss the Legionary movement as a
marginal phenomenon and fascism as a foreign ideology. The negation of
the Holocaust and the denial of Romanian complicity remained, however.
The violence and mass atrocities of the Antonescu dictatorship were
relativized, presented as the product of wartime exigencies, while the
suffering of Jews, Roma, and others was minimized. Antonescu s fascist
dictatorship was recast by the late 1970s as a military-fascist dictatorship
and then, in the 1980s, as apersonal regime; the repressive measures wielded
by that regime were supposedly not motivated by anti-Semitism or
discriminatory tendencies associated with Romanian nationalism, but by
military circumstances.21The revival of the nationalist discourse necessarily
required the sanitization of Romanias modern history, as the regime worked
to exonerate the Romanian state and society of any complicity in wartime
crimes, including the Holocaust.23
In the event, Ceauescus project could not mask the growing prob
lems in Romanian society as Romanian Communism entered its systemic
crisis. The remarkable growth rates and rapid urbanization of the 1960s
and early 1970s gave way to stagnation and then irreversible decline. The
policy o f systematization, officially launched in 1974, was an ambitious
and costly attempt at urban reordering through rural resettlement, which
called for the destruction of thousands of existing but economically
irrational villages as part of the wider objective of transforming
Romania into a multilaterally developed socialist society. Systematization
resulted in the destruction of hundreds of villages, monuments, and
churches, and in thousands of people being uprooted.23 By 1976
Ceauescu had exhausted most of Romanias oil-refining capacity and
was forced to import crude oil at a time of elevated global prices.
Romanias foreign debt nearly tripled between 1977 and 1981. Imports
were soon reduced and austerity measures, including food rationing,
were introduced. The mounting economic privation sparked sporadic
strikes between 1977 and 1983 by miners and industrial workers. A
period of systemic crisis was unmistakable.
The Ceauijescu regime was no longer able to respond with incentives,
opting instead for continued austerity, ideological mobilization, repression,
and violence, including the legal codification of intimidation. 24The degree
to which the Ceauescu regime intruded into the private lives of its
citizenry is demonstrated by its draconian reproductive policies, including
the criminalization of abortion which was deemed a crime against the
state, as it was held to undermine the size of the future labour force and
thus the pace of the countrys industrialization.25I n order to encourage an
increased birth rate, the authorities introduced punitive tax measures
against childless couples. In the 1980s, the Securitate blackmailed thousands
of children to serve as informants. In the Transylvanian town of Sibiu,
which was run in the late 1980s as a fiefdom by Nicu Ceauescu, the First
Secretarys son, the Securitate recruited 830 informants, of whom 170
were minors.26As of December 1989, on the eve of the regimes demise,
the Securitate employed 13,275 officers and 984 civilian personnel, with
144,289 active informants.27By the 1980s the regimes policies demonstrated
remarkable indifference to ordinary citizens and stripped them of their
basic dignity. The Ceauescu regime thus remained Stalinist in practice
and national in substance, with a remarkable degree of centralization based
on various modes of control.
164 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 1 6 5
The appropriation of Romanian nationalism led invariably to less toler
ant policies towards all the countrys minorities but in particular the Magyars
in Transylvania. The Romanian Communists initially adopted the Soviet
model in dealing with their minorities. At first glance, this did not seem
particularly problematic given the significant pre-war association between
the party and minorities, who provided much of its leading cadre and rank
and file in the interwar era. During the period of consolidation (19446),
the Romanian Communist Party enjoyed the support of the associated
minority parties, the Hungarian Peoples Union, and Jewish Democratic
Committee. The latter was dissolved during the anti-Zionist campaign of
Stalins last years, while the former was abolished in 1953.
In 1952 the Gheorghiu-Dej regime established the Magyar Autonomous
Region, which consisted of ten administrative districts with a collective
Magyar plurality of 75 per cent, where Hungarian-language schools and
cultural institutes were permitted. In reality, the autonomous region was
self-governing in name only and differed little from the other provinces in
the highly centralized party-state.28 Hungarian-language instruction was
permitted in schools and some semblance of proportional representation
was maintained, however. This began to change following the Hungarian
Revolution. After 1956 the sole Hungarian university in Romania, Bolyai
University in Cluj, was merged with the Babe University, as the bilingual
Babe^-Bolyai University. Separate primary and secondary schools were
gradually integrated into the Romanian educational system and the teach
ing staff was progressively romanianized, although Hungarian remained an
optional category of instruction in several schools.29 In i960 the autono
mous province was renamed the Mure^-Magyar Autonomous Province and
territorially reorganized, reducing the Magyar plurality to 62 per cent. It
was formally abolished under Ceauescu in 1968, at the time of the Soviet
invasion of Czechoslovakia and its territory divided into three districts
(Covasna, Harghita, and Mure) which were further integrated into the
centralized state system. While the Romanian authorities sanctioned the
creation of several ostensibly autonomous Magyar workers and cultural
institutions, the community lost its formal corporate autonomy and there
after was largely excluded from the state-party apparatus.30
The bureaucratic nationalism of Ceauescu resulted in a populist dis
course that once again emphasized and celebrated the Romanian character
and history of Transylvania, which necessarily omitted the role of Magyars.
Official national ideology accentuated the nation-building myths of the
I 6 6 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
pre-war period: the Romanian nation and its state represented an organic
unity.This left little space for Magyars or others; Magyars in particular were
depicted as historical impostors in Transylvania. Cultural, administrative, or
territorial autonomy within Romania was now rejected out of hand; such
notions were deemed unsocialist and fundamentally anti-Romanian. By the
early 1980s, overtly anti-Magyar themes were not uncommon in the official
media.31The evolution of minority policy under Ceauescu suggests that
the regime wished to rid Romania of as many minorities as possible. The
German and Jewish minorities were permitted to emigrate as long as West
Germany and Israel paid per capita ransom. In 1967, when Romania estab
lished diplomatic relations with West Germany, it signed a secret agreement
with Bonn whereby the German authorities paid a head tax for every
ethnic German who was permitted to emigrate. Nearly 200,000 Germans
emigrated between 1967 and 1989.32This was not an option for most
Magyars, who regarded Transylvania as an ancestral home, or the countrys
large Roma population. Although not specifically directed at these minor
ities, the policy of systematization nevertheless served in multiethnic
regions through its demolition of cultural monuments and historic
sitesto do away with the relics of the pre-socialist, non-Romanian cultural
heritage.The nationalist discourse of Romanian Communism, which played
on and exacerbated historically rooted stereotypes and antipathies, alienated
the Magyar minority en masse even as it struck a responsive chord among
some segments of the Romanian population.33By 1989, however, the regime
had lost legitimacy in the eyes of the vast majority of its citizens regardless
ot ethnicity. It is not at all coincidental that the cradle of the Romanian
Table 4.1. Ethnolinguistic and national composition of Romania (1930,1992)
1930 1992
Romanians 12,981,000 (71.9%) 20,325,000 (89.3%)
Magyars
1,426,000 (7.9%) 1,619,000 (7.1%)
Germans 745,000 (4.1%) 111,000 (0.5%)
Jews 728,000 (4.0%) 9,100 (0.0%)
CJthers 2,177,000 (12.1%) 695,900 (3.6%)
Iotal i 8,o s 7,o o o 22,760,000
Sourer. Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (London: Arnold, 2001), 151.
Source: Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central Europe (Toronto: University ofToronto Press,
2002), 150.
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
Revolution of December 1989 was Timisoara in the multiethnic region of
Banat.The regimes attempt on 15 December 1989 to arrest Laszlo Tokes, a
local pastor of the Hungarian Reformed Church, prompted protests first by
local Magyars and then by members of all segments of the multiethnic
town.34A Magyar protest became a Romanian revolution, which in just
over one week led to the violent demise of the Ceau^escu regime.
The regimes treatment of the Jewish population, the historic internal
other in Romanian society, always remained ambiguous. The early
Communist support for [ewish emancipation was followed by the anti-
Semitism of the late Stalin era. Thereafter, the Romanian authorities
permitted large-scale emigration to Israel, with which they maintained
diplomatic relations. According to the 1948 census, which enumerated
the population according to mother tongue, there were 138,800 Yiddish
speakers in the country, although the number of Jews was likely twice
that number.35 Over the next decade, the [ewish community went into
rapid decline as a result of emigration. By December 1989, there were
fewer than 19,000 Jews in Romania.36 While anti-Semitism persisted,
Ceau^escus unease about his foreign image meant that anti-Semitism
was formally repudiated.37
The transition to Communism drastically altered the status of the Roma
in Romania, although this was not immediately apparent.The Roma com
munity, long excluded by the Romanian political elite and much of
society, became in the socialist period the target of forcible integration.
During the first two decades of Communist rule, the authorities generally
ignored their existence and no serious efforts were made at their social
integration.38 They also lacked the constitutional status of a national
minority. According to the Romanian census of 1977, there were 227,398
Roma in the country representing more than 1per cent of the total popu
lation. Most independent estimates placed the actual number at several
times the official count, at perhaps 3 to 4 per cent of the population. Two-
thirds of the Roma population was rural.39 Only after 1977 did the
Communist authorities change course, treating the status of the Roma as a
social question. In 1977, the Central Committee of the Romanian
Communist Party issued a directive calling for renewed efforts at the inte
gration of the Roma population. What prompted this decision is unclear,
but the persistence of traditional Roma lifestyle may have been increasingly
viewed within the party as an anomaly in socialist Romania, a legacy of a
bygone era.40 Forced integration and assimilation of the backward and
168 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
uncivilized Roma now became policy. The cornerstone of this policy was
compulsory dispersion through systematizationresettlement in indus
trial housing projects and cohabitation with other Romanian citizens
and integration through assimilation.41
Over time the governments assimilationist policies gave rise to popular
anti-Roma prejudices, which became all too apparent after 1989. This was
likely due to the growing and visible presence of Roma in the towns and
mixed settlements; as the Communist authorities banned voluntary move
ment and began resetding the Roma under the systematization policy, their
numbers often increased dramatically in several Romanian setdements.The
overall Roma population also increased more rapidly than the general popu
lation. More visible than before and competing for ever shrinking resources
in late Communist Romania, the Roma became easy scapegoats for popular
frustrations, even as the authorities continued to promote their forcible
assimilation into Romanian socialist society.
Political violence remained an integral fixture of regime control in
Romania between 1944 and 1989. I n its early years, the Romanian party
wielded violence as a necessary tool in its consolidation of power.
Although certainly controlled by Romanian elites and reinforced by the
Soviet presence, the violence was part of a vigilantly orchestrated strategy
of popular mobilization against the old order that played on existing
social grievances.42Once the party had consolidated its rule, it remained
Stalinist in practice; under Gheorghiu-Dej the Securitate engaged in
police violence (mass arrest, summary execution, deportation) while
under Ceau^escu the security apparatus grew in size even as it adopted
more subtle modes of control and intimidation, for example, by publicly
discrediting and co-opting opponents. As security practices were refined,
they were briefly supplemented in the 1960s with economic incentives.
Beginning with the J uly Theses (1971), the preferred mode of control was
first and foremost symbolic: ideological, heavily based on the nationalist
discourse, and supplemented once again by coercion in the regimes last
decade. The appropriation of the nationalist discourse and various modes
of control led to the development of widespread networks of intellectual
collaboration.
It is difficult to assess how many people were victimized by the
tiheorghiu-Dej and Ceauescu regimes, but the legacies of Communism
are still felt and being debated in Romania. This was exemplified by
the controversy surrounding the Tismaneanu Report (2006), which
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
estimated the total number of victims of Romanian Communism to be
between 500,000 and 2 million.43The Tismaneanu Report emphasized
the considerable elements of continuity from Gheorghiu-Dej to
Ceauescu, centred on the utilization of political violence. What became
more pronounced over time was bureaucratic nationalism, that is, the
strengthening of the nationalist discourse. As a result, the Communist
regime was consistently Stalinist in form but increasingly Romanian in
execution, as it reinvented itself as the bearer of national identity and the
sentinel of independence in the face of Soviet encroachments. In
the final analysis, therefore, the form of Communism that evolved in the
country over four decades was, as Charles King has argued, adroitly
wrapped in the Romanian tricolour. Although imposed through Soviet
force of arms, Communism became over time more and more a distinctly
Romanian affair.44
Bulgaria followed a roughly analogous trajectory. Party leadership passed
from the prominent Georgi Dimitrov (19469) toVulkoVelev Chervenkov
(19504) and finally Todor Zhivkov, who served as First Secretary of the
Central Committee from 1954 to 1989.45Alongside Tito, Dimitrov had been
the most distinguished Balkan Communist in his capacity as the last General
Secretary of the Comintern (1934-43). l n 1946 he endorsed the abstract
idea of a Balkan federation that would have seen the unification of at least
Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Although this plan originally enjoyed Soviet sup
port, Sofia and Belgrade had quite different understandings of the nature of
this federation. In August 1947 the two leaders concluded the Bled
Agreement, which envisaged a customs union as prelude to political amal
gamation. In the event,Yugoslav and Bulgarian leaders were summoned to
Moscow in early 1948, where Dimitrov was berated by Stalin and both par
ties were accused of plotting behind the back of the Soviet Union.46The
TitoStalin split later that year ruined any prospect of a Balkan federation.
Within one year of the split, the three leading figures of Bulgarian
Communism, Georgi Dimitrov, Vasil Kolarov, and Traicho Rostov, were
dead, the last of them executed following a show trial in Sofia. Thereafter,
leadership passed to a Stalin appointee, Chervenkov, whose consolidation of
power was marked by purge and the Stalinization of the party.47 As in
Romania, violence was internalized within the party and a cult of person
ality was transplanted to Bulgaria. Stalinist modernization was now
intensified on a significant scale, while Bulgarian national memory was
suppressed in favour of all things Soviet.48Bulgaria became increasingly isolated
from the outside world. By 1950 the borders with Yugoslavia, Greece, and
Turkey were sealed.
Stalins death in 1953 and the emergence of a New Course in Moscow
were reflected in Bulgaria in major internal party rivalries. In March 1954,
Chervenkov relinquished his position as First Secretary, and was replaced by
the young and litde-knownTodor Zhivkov, one of five native Communists
on the nine-person Politburo. A thaw set in and conditions were relaxed.
When Khrushchev delivered his famous speech in February 1956, denounc
ing the crimes of Stalin against party loyalists, the old Stalinist guard in
Bulgaria was slowly marginalized as Zhivkov emerged as Khrushchevs
protg and the victor in the internal party struggles, finally consolidating
his position in 1962.49 In the event, de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union
did not lead to political liberalization in Bulgaria. Zhivkov stood close to
the Soviet line even after Khrushchev was succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev
(r. 196482), probably in order to secure his own position within the
Bulgarian party but also for reasons of economic self-interest.
The transformation ofBulgarian society and economy had been launched
already in September 1944, intensifying markedly under Chervenkov, and
then, finally, with Zhivkovs Great Leap Forward, announced in 19589.
The partys most frequendy invoked claim to legitimacy was that it had
transformed a relatively backward agrarian society into a modern, industrial
country. This was an implicit recognition that Stalinization served as mod
ernization, at least until the 1960s. In the years from 1951to 1967, Bulgarias
national income grew at nearly 10 per cent annually, declining only slighdy
in the years between 1967 and 1974. The industrial labour force more than
doubled in size, with the share of industry in national income rising from
37 per cent (1950) to 58 per cent (1979).50At the same time, party member
ship grew from a few thousand during the Second World War to 250,000 in
January 1945 and 463,000 in 1948. Despite a decline resulting from the
purges of 194853, membership began to grow again from the late 1950s,
reaching more than 825,000 members in 1981.51 By the late 1970s and
especially after 1984, the Bulgarian economy entered a period of structural
crisis resulting from high foreign debt, an ever increasing technological gap,
a growing labour shortage, declining trade, and rising oil prices.52 In the
Bulgarian context, as in Romania, Stalinization served as a gigantic attempt
at modernization. The end result was a planned economy overseen by a
centralized administrative structure, emphasizing heavy industry to the
detriment of all others.
1 7 0 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 171
This transformation had massive social and demographic conse
quences. The enormous shift from a rural to urban base the urbanized
share of the total population grew from 24.7 per cent (1946) to 66.4 per
cent (1987) in such a relatively short period had major social ramifi
cations, including a drastic decline in birth rates and a skewed
demographic picture. Within four decades, the population of Sofia
increased by 161 per cent, to nearly 1.2 million. Population decline took
on significant proportions, falling rapidly ever since the late 1960s. Mass
education and rising literacy contributed to the creation of a well-
educated workforce, but the large influx of the rural population to the
cities contributed to a dramatically different intellectual climate.53As
Maria Todorova has observed, Bulgarias isolation during the Cold War
and the absence of a substantial intellectual immigration bred parochial
ism. The nascent socialist intelligentsia was relatively young and began
to reach maturity only in the 1980s. It was a product of the socialist
system and benefited from the partyspaternalism. Whatever dissidence
existed in the last decades of Bulgarian Communism was not overtly
political; for the most part, opposition revolved around issues that were
relatively harmless from a political perspective, such as the environmen
tal movement. Direct criticism of the Bulgarian regime was generally
avoided.54Popular discontent without intellectual leadership was bound
to dissipate with time or simply remain internalized.
In part this reflected the Zhivkov regimes successful co-optation of the
intelligentsia, and in particular the cultural intelligentsia, through its bureau
cratic nationalism. Beginning in the 1960s, Zhivkov worked to win over the
cultural intelligentsia through material incentives and by lavishing time and
even personal attention on its leading figures. In 1967 he began emphasizing
the need for patriotic education of youth and claimed that the party had
neglected the Bulgarian past and its glorious revolutionary traditions.55
Zhivkovs unexpected turn to Bulgarian nationalism may have been
designed in part to compensate for the partys earlier neglect, but more
important was the conscious effort to establish common ground with the
intelligentsia and populace. Historical personalities and institutions, once
officially scorned by the party as bourgeois and reactionary, were suddenly
rehabilitated and appropriated by the regime. This extended to some mem
bers of the non-Communist opposition (notably BANU) and the Bulgarian
Orthodox Church, which was recast as the defender of Bulgarian national
interests before 1944.56In 1981 the regime celebrated with great pomp the
172 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
i ,300th anniversary of the Bulgarian state, at which time Zhivkov claimed
that ardent patriotism is one of our peoples outstanding qualities.57
The worst aspects of the revival of nationalism were reflected in the
regimes policies towards its Macedonian and ethnically diverse Muslim
minorities; the latter comprised roughly 10 per cent of the total population.
The Bulgarian Communists had initially recognized a Macedonian nation
ality, but outright denial of their existence and concomitant assimilationist
policies increasingly became the norm under Zhivkov. In 1946 there were
probably more than 150,000 Macedonians in Bulgaria, but the 1965 census
counted fewer than 9,ooo.58More problematic was the status of Bulgarias
Muslims, in light of the size of the community and historical legacies dating
to the nineteenth century. Muslims were exposed to official policies of dis
crimination under the guise of socialist modernization. Initiated by the
party and enacted through its many social and cultural organizations, in
addition to the state apparatus, policy towards the Muslim minorities oscil
lated between integration and forced assimilation. In the early years of
Bulgarian Communism (1944-9), and following the Soviet model, the
authorities recognized the existence ofTurkish and Pomak communities as
distinct ethnic minorities. The Bulgarian Constitution (1947) officially
acknowledged the reality of multiethnic Bulgaria. Religious freedoms were
codified in the Law on Religious Denominations (1949), although religious
institutions suffered as the practice of Islam (like Orthodoxy) was discour
aged. The authorities ostensibly worked, under the guidance of the Soviet
model and advisers, to improve the social and economic status of the minor
ities whilst enhancing their cultural development within the framework of
the socialist project of modernization.59
As a result of the TitoStalin split and Chervenkovs ascent, the seemingly
tolerant policy gradually gave way to repressive measures. During the last
months of the Greek Civil War, in the winter of 19489, the Bulgarian
authorities forcibly resettled several Pomak villages from the Greek border
to the interior. In 1950 they began actively to encourage the emigration of
ethnic Turks; by the end of the following year, according to the Bulgarian
authorities, as many as 155,000 Bulgarian Turks had departed for Turkey.60
The policy ended only after Turkey closed its border with Bulgaria. In April
1951 the Politburo abruptly changed course and again emphasized cultural
development and integration.To that end,Turkish-language instruction was
permitted in primary schools and became compulsory in some schools until
the fourth grade. Ethnic Turks were encouraged to pursue higher education.
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
1 7 3
as the Bulgarian party promoted the creation of a secular Turkish intel
ligentsia which would serve to integrate the Muslim community into the
socialist system.61
Following Zhivkovs ascent, Bulgarian policy moved incrementally
towards coercion and assimilation. At its April 1956 Plenary Session, the
Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party adopted a new
policy which held that Turkslike Muslim Pomaks and Romawere an
integral component of the Bulgarian nation. The partys duty was now to
remove all appearance of their religious and national individuality. The
Bulgarian 'cultural revolution after 1956 sought to eradicate the economic
and cultural anomalies in the countryside; the party collectivized rural
properties in Mushm districts and concomitantly commenced an offensive
against everyday Islamic practices at the local level.62This entailed the partys
penetration of the most intimate areas of the Muslim household, in an
attempt to create a newly socialist consciousness.63
There were several indicators of the new course in minority policy.
Starting in the 1958-9 school year, Turkish-language instruction was
gradually phased out. In the early 1960s, pressure was applied by party and
state officials on the Pomak and Roma communities to adopt Bulgarian
(national, non-Muslim) names.64This was often done through coercive
measures and even physical violence, occasioning in 1964 unrest in several
Pomak villages. In 1969 an agreement was concluded between Bulgaria and
Turkey which led to the emigration over the next decade of more than
100.000 ethnic Turks, representing 10 per cent of the entire Turkish minority.
By this point, coerced assimilation was the objective of Communist policy
and emigration was deemed an appropriate ancillary strategy.65 In 1970 a
series of Central Committee resolutions affirmed the correctness of earlier
name-changing campaigns, leading to renewed attempts between 1971 and
1973 to rename the Pomak community; this campaign was backed by state
militia and armed groups of party activists.66It was the third major attempt
in the twentieth century by the Bulgarian state to rename its Pomak popu
lation. The ensuing determined resistance to state policy resulted in 1974 in
the deportation of hundreds of Pomaks to labour camps, while more than
200.000 were officially renamed.67 By 1972 all Turkish-language courses
were prohibited, with the exception of those offered at the University of
Sofia.The new constitution (1971) made no reference to minorities, while in
1974 the Communist Party introduced the term unified Bulgarian socialist
nation. Three years later it declared that Bulgaria consisted almost entirely
174 N A T I O N A L C O M M U N I S M A N D P O L I T I C A L V I O L E N C E
Table 4.2. Ethnolinguistic and national composition of Bulgaria (1926, 2001)
1926 2001
Bulgarians 4,455,000 (81.3%) 6,655,210 (83.9%)
Pomaks 102.000 (1.9%)
H
Turks 578,000 (10.5%) 746,664 (9.4%)
Roma 135.000 (2.5%) 370,908 (4.6%)
Others 208,500 (3.8%) 156,119 (2.1%)
Total 5,478,500 7,928,901
Sources: Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central Europe (Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
2002), 171 (for 1926); and Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (www.nsi.bg) (for 2001).
of one ethnic type and is heading towards complete homogeneity.68This
required the intensification of existing assimilationist policies directed at the
countrys Muslims. By the 1970s Bulgarian bureaucratic nationalism and its
attendant policies of national homogenization increasingly employed a
rhetoric that was similar to and in fact rooted in pre-socialist, nationalist
foundations.69
The culmination of the Communist Partys assimilationist policies since
1956 came in 19845 in the form of the so-called Revival Process. The
entire party-state apparatus was mobilized to impose a Bulgarian identity
on the Turkish population. The Revival Process was initiated between late
1984 and February 1985 in the Rhodope region, where Turks and other
Muslims were compelled to adopt Bulgarian names. By mid-January 1985,
more than 300,000 Bulgarian Turks had beenrenamed.Thereafter the pol
icy was extended to the rest of the country.70While there were marked
parallels between the Revival Process and earlier campaigns, such as the
1913 and 1942 renaming (and conversion) operations, it superseded them in
scale and ambition.The Bulgarian authorities may have believed that assim
ilation could be achieved within fifteen to twenty years.71 The entire
campaign involved the mobilization of the regimes extensive security appa
ratus, which often sealed off Muslim villages and enforced the exchange of
official documentation. Identity cards were issued bearing Bulgarian names,
while new birth and marriage certificates were issued only in Bulgarian
(non-Muslim) names. In villages and towns of mixed population, violence
was less overt but in more isolated areas clashes occurred between the Turkish
minority and security forces. About forty Turks were reportedly killed at
Mihaylovgrad in December 1984, six in the village of Gorski Izvor, and at
least two at Benkovski that same month/ The total number of civilian
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
1 7 5
fatalities is difficult to establish. The Revival Process similarly encompassed
the elimination of all outward signs ofTurkish cultural and religious identity.
Several scholarly tomes were published to demonstrate the Bulgarian origin
of the Turkish population, which had supposedly been forced to convert to
Islam during Ottoman rule. As domestic resistance intensified and foreign
pressure mounted, in summer 1989 the Bulgarian authorities opened the
border with Turkey and attempted to compel as many Turks as possible to
emigrate. Over 370,000 did so by years end.73
A quarter century later, many unanswered questions remain about the
Revival Process, even as it continues to be a contentious issue in Bulgarian
politics.74What seems apparent is that the policy was closely associated with
Zhivkov, who opted for a drastic reversal of the generally integrationist and
progressive policies of 1947 to 1956. The timing of the Revival Process sug
gests that it stemmed both from the domestic structural crisis of the regime
and wider regional developments. The serious economic crisis and pro
nounced demographic decline since the late 1960swhich affected
Bulgarians far more than rural Turksmay have prompted Zhivkov and his
inner circle to radicalize their earlier assimilationist approaches, even in the
face of stiffer resistance, as a means of rallying public support through
nationalist slogans. Contemporaneous events in neighbouring Yugoslavia
the Albanian riots in Kosovo (1981) and the prosecution in Bosnia of Alija
Izetbegovic and a group of Muslim intellectuals (1983) forIslamist nation
alismmay have contributed to Zhivkovs decision to redouble Bulgarian
assimilationist efforts. In the event, the policy created new resentments and
prompted international opprobrium. The Communist project of modernity
and national homogenization in Bulgaria served only further to divide
Bulgarian and Turk, alienating the latter from the state and heightening
ethnic tensions.75Where Bulgarian bureaucratic nationalism differed from
its pre-socialist antecedents was in its complete renunciation of territorial
expansionism. As Bulgarian nationalism became internalized and its lang
uage was appropriated by an authoritarian regime committed increasingly
to national homogenization, it invariably became less inclusive and ever
more officious.
Unlike Romania and Bulgaria, Albania did not possess significant minor
ity populations although internal fissures were pronounced. The Communist
regime of Enver Hoxha (r. 194485) worked diligently to consolidate its
power, fashion a feasible independent nation-state, and effect the mono
lithic unity of the Albanian people.70This it did by resorting to political
violence on an extensive scale and by appropriating the nationalist
discourse. Viewed in a broader context, Hoxhas resort to nationalism stemmed
from his narrow base of support and served as a powerful mechanism of affirm
ing political control and mobilizing opinion in the broader project of con
structing a modern nation-state.77While Zog had made some strides in
nation-building, these were modest at best. The state-building project in
Communist Albania was thus equally an exercise in national integration.
This was a daunting challenge indeed. O f Albanias one million inhabit
ants in 1945, nearly 73 per cent were Muslim, 17 per cent were Albanian
Orthodox, and 10 per cent were Catholic. Approximately two-thirds of the
population were northern highland Ghegs, both Catholic and Sunni
Muslim, who were divided into more than a dozen tribes, while the south
ern lowlandTosks, both Albanian Orthodox and Sunni and Bektashi Muslim,
were mainly impoverished peasants who were socially subordinated to the
Muslim beys. The situation in 1945 was little changed from 1913, when
Albania gained its independence. Ghegs and Tosks formed distinct cultural
types with different dialects and social structures.78The general absence of
Gheg-Tosk communal stability continued to plague the nascent state
throughout the interwar era; the Ghegs had historically been the socially
and politically dominant group, while the much smaller Tosk community
generally felt marginalized.The Gheg-Tosk rivalry gradually acquired ideo
logical overtones, as most royalists and nationalists were drawn from the
Gheg northwho desired the unification of Albania with Kosovo and
western Macedonia, which by 1945 had two million Gheg Albanians
while Communist support was rooted in the Tosk south.
On the eve of the SecondWorldWar, Albanias three distinct Communist
tactions the Kor^e group, the Shkoder group, and youth wingwere
unable to build a united party. Only in November 1941, at a meeting in
Tirana mediated by Yugoslav party representatives, did the three groups
agree to form the Communist Party of Albania (after 1948, the Albanian
Party of Labour) with a provisional Central Committee under Secretary
Enver Hoxha.79Hoxhas National Liberation Movement (NLM), founded
in September 1942 as a Communist front of national resistance, successfully
contested the liberal nationalist Balli Kombetar (National Front), which
had been formed in November 1942.80Much of the Gheg northmem
bers of the landholding elite, several tribal representatives, and the Balli
Kombetarcollaborated first with the Italians (193943) and then the
Germans (19434).81 It was the predominantly Tosk Kor^e group from
1 7 6 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 17 7
whose ranks the leading cadre of the Communist party were drawn. Under
Hoxha, the state- and nation-building projects were rooted in the partys
Tosk base.82
On assuming power in November 1944, Hoxha strengthened his legit
imacy within the Tosk-dominated party by exploiting identity politics. By
1946 the countrys first post-war elections resulted in an overwhelming
endorsement of Communist rule, and led to the abolition of the mon
archy and the proclamation of a Peoples Socialist Republic. Too weak to
eliminate his immediate party rivals, notably Kofi Xoxe and his associate
Pandi Kristo who were close to the Yugoslav party, Hoxha linked the war
time anti-Gheg sentiment that had been directed at the Balli Kombetar
and royalists with feeling against those Ghegs within the popular front and
within the Communist Party. Leading moderates such as Sejfulla Maleshova,
a Gheg, Politburo member, and president of the Writers Union, who had
advocated the expansion of the wartime coalition to include non-
Communists, were purged in early 1946. Following the TitoStalin split,
Xoxe and several others were purged as Titoists. Between late 1944 and
1948, Stalinist practices were the norm as political opponents of all stripes
were liquidated. By 1948 Hoxha had established a highly personal and
reasonably stable regime as totalitarian as any other in the Eastern Bloc.
Thereafter the regime turned increasingly to the countrys social and
economic transformation.83
Draped in the language of modernization, the project of national
integration and the attempt to homogenize Albania by integrating Ghegs
and Tosks took on the qualities of Tosk cultural imperialism. I nitially
this party-state violence was applied to known collaborators and mem
bers of the non-Communist resistance, but the authorities expanded
their assault to include Gheg nationalists, tribal leaders, and Catholic
clergy. War crimes trials and public retribution gave way to show trials
of internal party enemies in the 1950s, all of which served as a reminder
to all Albanians of the power of the new state. Hoxhas state was unlike
its predecessors, be it the Ottoman state or Zogs bourgeois reactionary
edifice.84The new Communist state asserted its authority over all areas
of Albanian society; this authority was enforced by the security forces,
later known as the Sigurimi, through a calculated policy of political
terror and intimidation.
The mass violence of the early Hoxha regime was not simply a manifes
tation of ideological commitment to Stalinist modernization, but embodied
i 78 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
in several respects the imposition of the Tosk south over the historically
dominant Gheg tribes. Abas Kupi, the Gheg leader of the Legalist Party,
characterized Hoxhas political and social revolution as the ascent of the
Tosk south: We Ghegs have exploited the Tosks for i ,ooo years; now it is
their turn to exploit us.8s Hoxhas Communist Party had laid the basis of a
modern national state which for the first time ever extended its authority
into areas that had traditionally been beyond the jurisdiction of the Albanian
state. Coercion and violence through show trials, forced labour battalions,
the public humiliation of prominent political opponents and leading figures
of the Gheg communitywere all designed to reinforce in the Albanian
consciousness the new power of the state. Pubhc displays of systematic state
coercion created an air of collective fear which permeated deep into the
consciousness of the citizenry.86Viewed in this context, violence and cru
elty were demonstrative symbols of the power of the state and its ability to
assert its prerogatives over all aspects of society. The violence of Hoxha's
revolution thus drew both on ideological collaborators and segments of
Tosk society who saw in Communism an end to their previous social and
political marginalization.
Although Hoxhas regime proscribed all organized religion in 1967,
during the period of consolidation it instrumentalized Tosk sentiment and
religious sensibilities. Bektashi sheikhs and Orthodox priests played a legit
imating role for the regime in its formative period. The Catholic Church,
which had a prominent role in the propagation of Gheg culture, was openly
attacked between 1945 and 1951. Already in 1945, the Catholic clergy were
incarcerated en masse, church property was nationalized, while places of
worship were destroyed and the religious press banned. The leading
Cathohc prelates were simply murdered. Archbishop Gasper Thafi of
Shkoder died in 1946 under house arrest, while Archbishop Vincenz
Prendushi of Durres died in a labour camp in February 1949. Only one
Catholic prelate, Bishop Bernardin Shllaku, survived beyond 1949, a year
that saw the liquidation of thirty Franciscans, thirteen Jesuits, and dozens
of clergy and nuns.87In July 1951, following lengthy negotiations, the Hoxha
regime formed a national Catholic Church under Bishop Shllaku and the
few remaining clergy; by this time the number of parishes had been reduced
from 253 to about ioo.88The violence of this campaign neutralized an
overtly hostile institution and served to discourage continued Gheg resist
ance through the church. The manipulation of external threatsthe
CCatholic Church as agent of the Vatican and West, the abortive US-sponsored
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 179
attempt to topple the regime in 195189served the needs of an increasingly
repressive state. The regime was able to legitimize much of its repression as
an effort to foil subversion not only against the Communist system but the
very independence of Albania as a state.
The break with Yugoslavia (1948) and the Soviet Union (1961) led
Hoxha into an alliance with the Peoples Republic of China. After
October 1965 he initiated an Albanian cultural revolution (19659).90
In February 1967 Floxha announced a new campaign against bourgeois
attitudes that was spearheadedunlike the Chinese equivalentby the
party and its social organizations. While persecution of the Catholic
Church had subsided in the 1950s, the cultural revolution brought a
renewed assault against religion, culminating in the 1967 decision to ban
all organized religion and to declare the country an atheist state. By May
1967 all 2,169 places of worship in the country were closed, many of
them vandalized or demolished by party-sponsored youth groups.91
Thereafter families were actively discouraged from giving their children
names with overtly religious associations, but were pressed to use
national (supposedlyI llyrian) names appropriate to socialist Albania.92
As part of the cultural revolution, in 1967 the authorities approved an
official orthography for a unified Albanian literary language based on
the Tosk dialect, which largely ignored the much older Gheg literary
tradition. The nationalist discourse became increasingly salient. The
heroes of Albanian nationalism, in particular Skenderbeg and even Ismail
Kemal Bey, the scion of one of Albanias greatest feudal families, received
official sanction. So too did the commemoration of pre-socialist national
holidayssuch as the date of the formation of the League of Prizren
(1878) while national monuments and historic towns were preserved.93
In 1984 Hoxha declared that our peoples state power and the mono
lithic unity of our people were the two main achievements of the party
and Albanian socialist revolution.94
The radical transformation of Albanian society since the Second
World War was an ideologically driven campaign to achieve modernity.
The brutalities of Stalinist modernization in Albania may have intensified
the process of national integration through mass literacy, a unified liter
ary language, and secularization as a means of eroding existing religious
differencesbut they played on existing, deeply rooted fissures within
Albanian society, in particular the GhegTosk divide. The traditional
social structure, based on familial, tribal, and regional loyalties, was
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
undermined over time by Communist modernization: the collectiv
ization of agriculture; forced industrialization; the shift from a rural to
an urban base; and the suppression of religion. The relative relaxation of
the 1950s gave way to a cultural revolution that exhausted and likely
bewildered an already resentful population. I solation bred intellectual
parochialism and nurtured a siege mentality, as the Stalinist contours of
the system never faded away. The second Albanian Constitution (1976)
is emblematic in this regard, as it proved to be a far more uncompromis
ing and restrictive document than the original (1946), codifying the
prohibition of religion and making the rights of citizens contingent on
the partys definition ofthe general interest.95Only after Hoxhas death
in 1985 and the succession of Ramiz Alia were the first signs of diffident
change apparent. But there is little doubt that the way in which
Communist modernization was effected left a collective scar on Albanian
society, which has persisted well into the post-Communist era.
The Communist Exception: Yugoslavia
O f all the Balkan Communist states, Yugoslavia was the sole exception to
the bureaucratic nationalist norm. The leadership of the Communist Party
of Yugoslavia (after 1952, the League of Communists of Yugoslavia) was
ever mindful of the failure of interwar integralYugoslavism and thus rejected
the formula of narodno jedinstvo, which was predicated on the amalgamation
and oneness of the South Slav peoples. During the Second World War, the
Yugoslav Communists had promoted the idea of a Yugoslav federation of
six historic, peoples republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. This stemmed from their realization
that one of the reasons why the first Yugoslavia had failed was the policy of
state centralism buttressed by the ideology of Yugoslavist unitarism, which
had been promoted by the Serbian political elite and alienated virtually all
non-Serbs.96When Titos Partisans emerged victorious in May 1945, they
pursued a policy of state federalism even as they wielded a highly central
ized party which served to cement the political edifice ofYugoslavia. In the
aftermath of the Second World War, which was more violent in Yugoslavia
than anywhere else in the Balkans, the Communist authorities faced the
task of governing a multinational society torn by complex divisions that
had been exacerbated by horrifying wartime atrocities.
The consolidation of power occurred with great speed and the settling
of wartime scores began even before the cessation of hostilities. Real and
perceived enemies were liquidated in the last months of the war and first
months of the peace. Retribution was exacted almost immediately against
the indigenous German, Italian, Hungarian, and Albanian populations. In
November 1943 the Partisans had formed the State Commission for the
Determination of Crimes of the Occupiers and their Collaborators to
investigate war crimes perpetrated on the territory of wartime Yugoslavia.
By September 1947 the State Commission had identified 64,969 war
criminals49,245 Yugoslav and 15,724 foreign nationalsand determined
that the larger part of the confirmed war criminals have been brought
before our peoples courts.97 Although thousands were legitimately
suspected of collaboration and war crimes, these also served as convenient
tools for discrediting political opponents.
The final consolidation of Communist power was inextricably inter
woven with Partisan policies of retributive justice, engendering considerable
fear and terror in the country. In mid-May 1945, Ustasa and Croatian
Home Guard units, accompanied by tens of thousands of civilians, retreated
towards the Austrian-Slovenian border, fleeing in advance of the Yugoslav
Partisan army. They were joined by some Serb Chetnik detachments and
Slovenian Home Guard troops, who hoped to surrender to the Allies in
Austria. When the British Army refused their surrender, these various
collaborationist formations and civilians were repatriated to the Partisans,
who began summarily executing them. Thousands were killed within days
at various sites in northern Slovenia, while survivors were forced to march
great distances to camps and penal facilities in other Yugoslav republics,
many of them getting killed along the way. The number of victims is still
unknown and remains a matter of contention, but judicious estimates place
the number of those killed along the AustrianYugoslav frontier in Partisan
reprisals at about 70,000. The late Jozo Tomasevich has concluded that the
closing actions of the war on the YugoslavAustrian border were operations
of destruction and annihilation and thus very costly in lives.98 Sensible
and impartial estimates of the total number of victims of Communist
retribution in Yugoslavia vary enormously, from a low of 100,000 to a high
of 250,000."
During the last stages of the war, the exiled King Petar II Karadjordjevic
(r. 194145) had surrendered power to a three-person regency. On 7 March
1945 a provisional government took office with Tito as Prime Minister and
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 181
l 8 2 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
War Minister, and with a representative of the exiled government as foreign
minister. In August 1945 a Communist-dominated Provisional Assembly
was convened, which laid the groundwork for elections to a Constituent
Assembly the following month. The new election law barred alleged war
time collaborators from voting. Furthermore, all candidates had to be
nominated by the Communist-controlled Peoples Front. Harassment of
non-Communist politicians and suppression of their press during the elec
tion campaign precluded a fair election. The non-Communist ministers
resigned in protest, while the major non-Communist parties boycotted the
September 1945 election. The candidates of the Peoples Front won over
90 per cent of the vote. The Constituent Assembly dissolved the monarchy
and established the Federative Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia on 29
November 1945.Two months later it adopted a constitution that provided
for a federation of six republics.The country was firmly in the hands ofTito
and the Communist Party ofYugoslavia.
Once power had been consolidated within the country, Tito and the
Yugoslav leadership notably Milovan Djilas,Edvard Kardelj,and Aleksandar
Rankovicpursued a confrontational line against the Allies over claims to
the port city of Trieste, while supporting the Greek Communists in the
Civil War and establishing a veritable protectorate over Albania. More worri
some from the Soviet perspective, the Yugoslav leadership evidently hoped
to build a Communist Balkan federation with Dimitrovs Bulgaria, without
consulting Moscow at each stage of the process. Stalin expected the Yugoslav
leadership to subordinate itself to the needs of Moscow. In February 1948,
Stalin proposed his own plan for a federation between Bulgaria and
Yugoslavia, under Soviet guidance. When Tito rejected the proposal, Stalin
recalled Soviet advisers in March 1948.The ensuing split between Moscow
and Belgrade did not lead to the overthrow ofTito, who initiated his own
party purge while intensifying Stalinist practices: forced collectivization of
agriculture; industrialization; and an internal purge and heightened controls
within the party. In the event, the TitoStalin split marked the first overt
national resistance to Soviet domination and inaugurated the era of National
Communism in the Balkans.100
For several years after the break with Moscow,Titos regime continued to
pursue Stalinist policies in central planning, industrialization, and collect
ivization. It only gradually began charting ideologically innovative ground.
The party was renamed the League of Communists (1952) and the com
mand economy was theoretically superseded by the system of workers
self-management. In 1954 Communist Yugoslavia signed a defensive Balkan
Pact with Greece and Turkey, both of which were NATO member states.
Restrictive limits remained on political expression, however, demonstrated
by the purge in January 1954 of Djilas for his critique ofthe new class, that
is, the new ruling Communist party establishment.101On the national ques
tion, the Yugoslav party dealt with minority issues in an equally innovative
way. It recognized the existence of five (later six) constituent South Slav
nationsSerbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, and Montenegrins (and,
after 1968, Bosnian Muslims)each of which possessed its own socialist
republic. With relatively minor exceptions, the countrys other peoples
namely, Albanians and Magyarswere recognized as nationalities. In effect,
very few groups were relegated to the status of aminority, which generally
possessed disparaging overtones. As a result, Yugoslavias successive federal
constitutionsand their republican equivalentsavoided references to
minorities in favour of six nations and eighteen nationalities.102This
system was not without its problems, for the Albanian nationality out
numbered by 1981 both the Montenegrin and Macedonian nations but
lacked the same constitutional rights. Similarly, the Serb and Croat nations
possessed their own republics, but 25.6 per cent of all Serbs and 20 per cent
of all Croats lived outside Serbia and Croatia, respectively.103In the event,
the party rejected integralYugoslavism and tendered a decentralized system
of workers self-management that would supposedly respect the rights of
all nations and nationalities within the socialist framework, under the
banner of brotherhood and unity. Workers self-management and the
federalist system were designed to distinguish the Yugoslav socialist state
from both its royalist progenitor and Soviet socialism, with its emphasis on
bureaucratic centralism.
Tito evidently concluded that unitarism would undermine the equality
of the countrys nations and nationalities, upset the equilibrium between
the republics, and possibly even halt the progress of reform.To that end, after
1962 several liberalizing tendencies emerged. In the face of dissent and
internal debate, in 1966 the Yugoslav leadership embarked on a major polit
ical shift: decentralization of political and economic authority and decision
making. Tito opted for toleration of limited dissent and accommodation of
regional interests. Party and state centralism were progressively restricted
while greater rights were conceded to Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and
the Albanians in Kosovo, culminating in the removal of Rankovic from the
security apparatus and party leadership (1966). This was widely seen as a
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 1 8 3
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
defeat of Serb nationalist propensities in the Serbian wing of the League of
Communists. Institutional decentralization now became the norm, as more
authority was transferred to the republics and their parties. This proved
problematic in practice, as the dechne of central planning contributed to
republican competition for resources and prerogatives.104It also gave rise to
liberal (and nationalist) tendencies in both Croatia and Serbia. In the former,
the party leadership of Savka Dapcevic-Kucar and Miko Tripalo presided
over a liberal nationalist reform movement, the Croatian Spring, that raised
fundamental issues related to the nature of the federation and Croat national
rights. In Serbia, the liberal leadership of Latinka Perovic and Marko Nikezic
proposed reforms that similarly questioned the nature of the existing federal
system and party mechanisms. Titos intervention and purge of both party
leaderships in 19712 proved tragic on many levels, as it marked the over
throw of some of the most progressive and moderate elements in the
Yugoslav party.105The suppression of the Croatian Spring proved singularly
important. On the one hand, it alienated many Croats from socialist
Yugoslavism and was seen as proof that Croat national rights could not be
genuinely accommodated within socialist Yugoslavia. The purge ushered
in a period o f bitter quiescence in Croatia. More importantly, however,
it contributed to Titos decision to promulgate a new constitution (1974)
that addressed many of the grievances voiced in Croatia and elsewhere
in the late 1960s.106
The new constitution significantly diluted the power of the federal
centre and devolved authority to the six republics and two autonomous
provinces of Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina. Decentralization prevailed as
party policy thanks largely to Edvard Kardelj, the main theoretician of
Yugoslav socialism, who insisted that the ideology ofanti-statism (that is,
anti-bureaucratic centralism) was intimately linked to Yugoslav socialist
identity. Only through decentralization could Yugoslavia distinguish itself
from the countrys own historical legacies and the Soviet model.107In the
event, the Yugoslav state progressively yielded to its six constituent republics
and their party elites. Tito continued to represent the Yugoslavist centre,
ensuring that party and state presidencies were rotated and proportional
representation respected. But the inevitable disappearance of the Partisan
old guardwhether through purge (Djilas in 1954, Rankovic in 1966) or
death (Kardelj in 1979,Tito in 1980)gave rise to increasingly heterodox
forces and transformed the national question into a contest over the
structure of the federation.108
n a t i o n a l c o mmu n i s m a n d po l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 185
Table 4.3. Nations and nationalities in Yugoslavia (1981)
Number %
Serbs 8,137,000
36.3
Croats 4,428,000 19.7
Bosnian Muslims 1,999,000 8.9
Slovenes 1,753,000 7.8
Albanians 1,730,000
7-7
Macedonians 1,341,000
5-9
Yugoslavs 1,215,000
5-4
Montenegrins 577,000
2-5
Magyars 425,000
19
Others 806,000
3-9
Total 22,411,000
Source: Slobodan Stankovic,Yugoslavias Census: Final Results, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty,
Background Report, 59, xo May 1982.
Yugoslavias evolution to 1974 defied the wider Balkan Communist pat
tern of bureaucratic nationalism. There was no comparable appropriation
of nationalism in Yugoslavia nor did the authorities attempt the forcible
assimilation of minority groups.109 On the contrary, both the Bosnian
Muslims and Macedonians won recognition as distinct nations, while the
previously persecuted Gheg Albanians of Kosovo were encouraged to join
the League of Communists and given improved access to education and
cultural institutions. After 1974 they obtained provincial autonomy and
greater administrative representation. According to the 1981 census,
1.2 million people or 5.4 per cent of the population declared their national
ity as Yugoslav. The highest concentration o f Yugoslavs was to be found
in some of the most heterogeneous regions, such as Croatia (8.2 per cent)
and Bosnia-Herzegovina (7.9 per cent), while the lowest concentration was
in the most homogeneous regions, as in Slovenia and Kosovo (under 1 per
cent). Although multiple motives were undoubtedly at play in the decision
to declare ones Yugoslav nationality, the majority were the product of
mixed marriages.110
In the event,Yugoslavias complex constitutional mechanisms clearly
exacerbated nationalist tensions. The purge of the Serbian liberals in
1972 and, far more importantly, the 1974 Constitution, created a power
ful intellectual reaction in Serb nationalist and some party circles which
eventually culminated, after 19867, in an overt campaign against Titos
186 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
bureaucratic decentralization.111In the end, the Serbian party leadership
under Slobodan Milosevic appropriated a Serb nationalist discourse and
espoused a type of bureaucratic nationalism directed against the Yugoslav
federation, in what ironically became known as the anti-bureaucratic
revolution (19879). The process of decentralization thus fuelled Serb
nationalist grievances, even as most non-Serbs continued to believe that
they were handicapped by a system in which Serbs were still prop
ortionally overrepresented in federal state and party institutions, as well
as in some republican parties. With the exception of Macedonians and
Bosnian Muslims, who were recognized for the first time ever as distinct
nations by the Yugoslav party, virtually all the other national commun
ities had grievances that were never fully resolved by the Communist
system.The Albanian protests in Kosovo (1981) and calls for the elevation
of the province to the status of a constituent republic, galvanized Serb
nationalist opinion and eventually facilitated Milosevics rise to power.
As Yugoslavia entered its own structural crisis in the post-Tito years,
Kosovo became the decisive terrain in the countrys national question.
The Non-Communist Exception: Greece
In the period between 1936 and 1949, Greece had endured a series of
calamities including dictatorship, occupation, and Civil War, which
marked the continuation of the wartime conflict between Communist
and non-Communist resistance movements. The wartime EAM -ELAS
resistance, with its Greek Communist Party (KKE) core, effectively con
trolled much of the country but opted for participation in a British-
backed government of national unity that included representatives of
the migr bourgeois parties. This frail coalition soon collapsed over
the issue of the armed forces of the post-war Greek state. The K KE-
inspired strikes and demonstrations in Athens in December 1944 led
to clashes between ELAS and government forces, backed by
anti-Communist irregulars and British troops. Defeated in Athens,
I I AS withdrew to its strongholds in the countryside and conducted
talks with the authorities on free elections and an amnesty. In 19445
the tide had turned suddenly against the Greek left. The Varkiza
agreement (February 1945) led to the demobilization of ELAS but did
not provide for a general amnesty.
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
1 8 7
The ensuing White Terror (19457) led to the purge of EAM sympath
izers from the administration and police and to the arrest of thousands
of suspected Communists. Nationalist paramilitaries in the countryside
engaged in widespread atrocities. As a result, the March 1946 elections were
boycotted by the left, which enabled the new Greek government to orches
trate a rigged plebiscite (September 1946) that secured the return of the
exiled monarch. Thereafter official policy became increasingly brutal,
including courts martial, the execution of political prisoners, the expropria
tion of property, and the withdrawal of Greek nationality of suspected sym
pathizers of the left. This set the stage for a protracted and brutal Civil War,
in which the KKE and Democratic Army of Greece were eventually
defeated."2The violence and brutality of the Civil War were driven to a
significant degree by ideology but shaped by local dynamics, circumstances,
and leaders. Stathis Kalyvas has shown that Communist violence was sys
tematic and cruel, as local vendettas became intertwined with ideological
agendas in pursuit of broader political programmes.113Similarly, John Sakkas
has argued that some of the worst violence of the wartime resistance and
Civil War was shaped by local leaders, who were often ideologically fanati
cal.114 In remote, poor, and multiethnic western Aegean Macedonia, with its
diverse population of Macedonians,Vlachs, and Greeks, many of whom had
setded in the region after 1923, years of occupation and resistance had
eroded the legal and moral constraints to violence, which was wielded by
different groups to enforce Communist, nationalist, and local agendas.115 In
the event, the Greek Communists had been significantly weakened by the
TitoStalin split and the loss of Yugoslav patronage, unable to contend with
a Greek military that was buttressed after 1947 by US assistance. In a sense,
1949 brought to a close the period of violent contestation that had started
during the Axis occupation.116
Thereafter a semblance of democracy and stability were restored, at least
until 1963. However, the political system, its seeming stability notwithstand
ing, was dominated by conservative nationalist elements deeply imbued
with anti-Commurusm. Members of the wartime resistance and the losing
side in the Civil Warincluding several minoritieswere persecuted and
effectively marginalized. Many of those convicted of collaboration with the
Axis were subsequently amnestiedthe Civil War had marginalized the
issue of wartime collaboration117while participation in the resistance was
retrospectively criminalized as unpatriotic. Greek society thus remained
deeply divided.*18 Only after the anti-Communist right was discredited
1 8 8 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
following the failure of the military dictatorship (196774) was Greece able
to initiate the process of solidifying its political democracy and reinter
preting its recent past.119 After 1974 it was the Greek right, long supported
by the United States, which stood accused of subordinating the nation to
foreign interests. The new democratic left under Andreas Papandreous
Pan-Hellenic Sociahst Movement (PASOK) advocated a leftist nationalism
that sought to appropriate the legacy of wartime (EAM-ELAS) resistance,
divesting it of its Communist elements and reinterpreting it as a broad,
popular centre-left movement.120 This tendency was naturally resisted by
both the recently discredited right and the newly legalized KKE, which
opposed PASOK s denial of the significant Communist role in the wartime
resistance.121When PASOK finally assumed office in 1981, and in an effort
to foster national unity, it sponsored legislation officially recognizing the
role of EAM -ELAS in the Greek resistance. In doing so, however, PASOK
ignored both the deep ideological divisions within EAM-ELAS and the fact
that the resistance possessed significant non-Greek elements, including
Jews and Macedonians, tens of thousands of whom were expelled, along
withVlachs and Albanians, during and after the Civil War while others were
relocated.122The democratic lefts appropriation of memory and national
ism after 1974 left httle room for non-Greeks.
Since 1974 Greece has achieved relative political stability and been gov
erned by two parties,PASOK and Konstantinos Karamanlis New Democracy.
The divisive issue of the monarchy was finally resolved in December L974
when, in the sixth and final referendum of the twentieth century on that
question, Greek voters rejected the monarchy in favour of a Hellenic
Republic.123Despite the divisions between left and right, the political trans
ition from New Democracy (19748t) to PASOK (L9819) rule was smooth.
New Democracy led Greece into the European Economic Community
(EEC) in 1981, but PASOK continued this course and kept Greece in
NATO despite earlier promises to the contrary. Throughout the 197489
period and even beyond, the two leading Greek political parties continued
to dominate and mould the state bureaucracy and often employed various
mechanisms to monitor civil society, with the left in particular sponsoring
several social movements. Greek civil society has undoubtedly grown
stronger, however, as the number of civil society groups without political
affiliation has continued to grow. Despite lingering problems, Greece has
enjoyed since 1974 the longest period of political stability and democracy in
its modern history.
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
Despite the consolidation of democratic governance since 1974, Greece
has been unable or unwilling to acknowledge the existence of minority
issues. Given the sustained conflation of citizenship and nationality, in the
period after 1949 the Greek political establishment, whether of the right or
left, continued to regard any political mobilization by minoritiessince
1923 only a Muslim minority in western Thrace has been officially acknow
ledgedas a threat to the territorial integrity of the state. The Greek
Nationality Code of 1955, which was amended in 1984 and redrafted in
2004, merely systematized rather than altered earlier nationality legislation.
What remained problematic was the fact that the law (and hence Greek
administrative practices) retained the criterion of genos as an instrumental
distinction between citizens. The 1955 law allowed for the deprivation of
citizenship, in the form of voluntary renunciation (Article 16) and anti
national activities (Article 17), which could be applied to those without a
Greek national consciousness or not of Greek descent. Furthermore, accord
ing to Article 19, which remained in force until 1998, non-Greeks who had
emigrated with no intention of return were stripped of their citizenship. It
has been estimated that between 195$ and 1998, approximately 60,000
persons lost their citizenship in this way.124 The concept of allogeneis
Greeks of non-Greek descentwas the most common method of depriv
ing minorities (lurks and other Muslims, Macedonians, Vlachs, and Jews) of
Greek citizenship since the 1930s, and indeed since 1955.125As Konstantinos
Tsitselikis has observed, depriving individuals of their citizenship has been
Greek state policy since the interwar period, employed as a mechanism for
eliminating what was or was considered to be non-Greek or anti-Greek
elements and thus to minimize the presence of alien (i.e., non-ethnic
Greek) population groups inside Greek territory.126 Although the socialist
government passed legislation in 1982 reinstating the citizenship of political
refugees who fled during or after the Civil War, the law applied only to
Greeks by genos rather than to minorities.127
The existence of a Macedonian minority inside Greece was dismissed as
an attempt to undermine Greek territorial integrity, and anyone espousing
a Macedonian identity became an undesirable element. Similarly, in Greek
(as in Bulgarian) nationalist discourse the very existence of a Macedonian
nationality in the Balkans was denied, attributed to Titos expansionist
designs.128 The 1951 census recorded only 47,000 Slavophones in Greece,
although the actual number was likely higher. Between 1945 and the end of
the Greek Civil War, at least 45,000 Macedonians fled Greece.129Their
properties were confiscated by the Greek state in 1953, which in that year
began promoting the colonization of Aegean Macedonia to strengthen the
regions Greek character. The use of Macedonian in public was strictly
forbidden,130 and in 1955 they were stripped of their citizenship on the basis
of the Nationality Code. These policies were shaped in no small part by the
fact that Macedonian Slav participation in the Greek Communist move
ment had been significant.131The Greek state thus continued after 1949,
regardless of the government in power, to conduct an assimilationist policy
towards Macedonians, as it had between 1913 and 1941. As Anastasia
Karakasidou has argued, Greek nation-building in Macedonia has attempted
to relegate Slavo-Macedonian ethnic culture to the status of regional
variation within a national Greek culture. This marginalization denigrates
Slavo-Macedonian culture, denying it an autonomous existence apart from
the Greek nation. It has also led to the obliteration of any distinguishing
cultural traits that manifest such differences.132Even after the consolidation
of democracy in the years since 1974, the question of minorities remained a
problematic issue in Greek politics. In 1986 the socialist Prime Minister,
Papandreou, denied the existence of a Macedonian minority.133In addition
to the political class, the Greek Orthodox Church, the judiciary and scholar
ship have uncritically sanctioned Greek state authority, which was viewed
as the guardian of the nation, and as a result failed to provide adequate
protection to dissenting minority voices.134 This was demonstrated in
November 1987, when the Greek High Court ruled that the adjective
Turkish could not be used by the Turkish Teachers Association and the
Turkish Youth Association of western Thrace.135 Only after the collapse of
Communism and the former Yugoslavia between 1989 and 1991 did the
minority issue emerge as a salient matter on the Greek political scene, in hght
of the geopolitical implications of the emergence of an independent
Macedonian state.
Conclusion
Democratic governments in the Balkans had disappeared long before
Communism consolidated itself as the new political reality. Every Balkan
country experienced dictatorship, occupation (either Axis or Soviet), or
civil war. The years between 1939 and 1948-9 should therefore be viewed
as a continuum, in which Communism ultimately prevailed everywhere
19 0 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
except Greece. Dictatorship, occupation, and civil war habituated elites to
violence, although some were already ideologically predisposed to its
efficacy and necessity. But to conclude that the violence and brutalities of
this period were caused by some inherently Balkan traits would do litde
to inform our understanding of what actually transpired.
Dictatorship, occupation, and conflict were a common European exper
ience in the great European civil war that ended in 1945. An exhausted
Western Europe was able to reconstruct itself in the aftermath of war and
Anglo-American occupation, and to initiate a sweeping transformation of
its political habits in a decidedly democratic direction in the decades that
followed. After 1975, Spain and Portugal finally joined in this transform
ation.The Balkans and East Central Europe found themselves in remarkably
different circumstances after 1945, the unfortunate laboratory of yet another
ideological experiment..116 Coercion and intimidation were necessary tools
of the Communist parties and new Peoples Democracies, given the limited
(although not insignificant) appeal and legitimacy of these parties. Political
violence was not simply unleashed by Communist parties on society at
large; in the formative period of Communist consolidation, these parties
clearly sought to enlist mass support as part of their campaigns of retributive
justice (against enemies of the people, that is, collaborators and the old
order), social justice, and economic transformation. Only after these parties
had consolidated their power, and were in turn methodically Stalinized
through purge and internalized violence, did mass coercion become a main
stay. In the event, there was nothing peculiarly Balkan about any of this, as
all the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe adopted the Stalinist model.
Where the Balkan Communist regimes were distinct was in their suc
cessful instrumentalization of nationalism and concomitant development of
individual forms ofNational Communism. Ceauescus 1968 assertion that
no one could claim a monopoly on absolute truth was little more than a
thinly veiled assertion of the validity of the phenomenon, which by that
point was already well advanced in all four Balkan Communist states even
as it was being suppressed by the Soviets in Czechoslovakia. As the phe
nomenon matured, each of these regimes (save Yugoslavia) developed forms
of bureaucratic nationalism with various modes of symbolic-ideological
control and mobilization. Coercion and violence remained important but
were hardly the only methods of control. As these regimes increasingly
wrapped themselves in national colours and monopolized the political
and creative process, they succeeded in silencing or co-opting significant
n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e 1 9 1
192 n a t i o n a l c o m m u n i s m a n d p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e
segments of intellectual opinion. Georgi Markov eloquently described this
process, just as his 1979 assassination by the Bulgarian security service exem
plified the inherent dangers of dissent. In the event, the appropriation of the
nationalist discourse may have been intended as a way of forestalling democ
ratization but it also represented the resilience of national ideology. The
more acute the crisis of socialism became, the more this officially sanctioned
bureaucratic nationalism resembled its pre-socialist bourgeois forms.
National homogeneity became the model, coerced assimilation of and vio
lence against minorities the norm. It is little wonder then that nationality
problems were exacerbated almost everywhere in the Balkans under
Communism, as minorities remained objects of persecution and forced
assimilation. The tremendous resilience of nationalism after 194$ was dem
onstrated by its appropriation on both sides of the Iron Curtain in the
Balkans.Whether in the Communist Balkans or in non-Communist Greece,
nationalism remained a potent force in politics and society; in the era of the
Cold War, the Balkan states remained nationalizing states.
Milovan Djilas, one of the chief architects of Yugoslav Communism and
its most prominent dissident, proved to be remarkably prescient. He correcdy
surmised that the unity of the Communist movement could no longer be
enforced, just as he deduced that the systemic crisis of one of its constituent
parts necessarily threatened the whole enterprise. It is litde wonder then that
the appearance of the reformist Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 spelt the end not
only of the Soviet Union and its satellites in Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, and
East Berlin, but of National Communism in the Balkans, although a case
could be made for its continued existence, albeit in attenuated form, in
Milosevics Serbia in the 1990s. O f the three ideological experiments launched
in the twentieth-century BalkansLiberal Democracy, Fascism, and
Communismthe last one came to an abrupt end in 1989. Only nationalism
has proven more resilient, adapting with each successive experiment and
surviving them all.
5
War and Transition since 1989
Regarding the Serb people, they want to live in one state. Thus any kind
of separation into multiple states that would divide part of the Serb people
and distribute them into various sovereign states cannot, from our
viewpoint, be acceptable.
There is a justice which demands a life for each innocent life, a death for
each wrongful death. It is, of course, not possible for me to meet the
demands of such justice. I can only do what is in my power and hope that
it will be of some benefit, that having come to the truth, to speak it, and to
accept responsibility. This will, I hope, help the Muslim, Croat, and even
Serb innocent victims not to be overtaken with bitterness, which often
becomes hatred and is in the end self-destructive.
T
he transition to post-Communism has been far more problematic in
the Balkans than among the former Communist states of East Central
Europe. The highly personalized nature of the Balkan Communist regimes
Hoxhas Albania, Ceauescu s Romania, and Zhivkov s Bulgariacoupled
with the appropriation of nationalism as a mechanism of control and
co-optation, meant that none of these countries had developed strong
indigenous dissident movements or powerful reformist currents within their
ruling parties. This would have lasting and potent consequences for their
post-Communist political cultures and transitions.The changes brought about
in 1989-91 were effected by segments of the ruling establishments, but the
nomenklaturathe old party machineryretained significant leverage over
the state bureaucracy, security apparatus, and the economy. In the former
(Slobodan Milosevic, 19901)
There will be no war in Bosnia.
(Alija Izetbegovic, 19922)
(Biljana Plavsic, 20023)
194
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
Yugoslavia, which was comparatively far more liberal than the other Balkan
Communist states before 1989, elites entrenched in the constituent repub
lics resorted during the crisis of Yugoslav socialism to nationalism as a means
of averting political marginalization. This proved to be a successful strategy7
particularly in Serbia and Montenegro, but in most Yugoslav successor states
much of the old apparatus remained in place well into the late 1990s. After
1989 all of these societies were traumatized and deeply divided, either along
ideological or ethnic lines, in some cases both.
Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the Balkan trans
itionunderstood as the entrenchment of stable multiparty political systems,
liberal capitalist economies driven by market forces, civil society, and the
rule of lawwas a protracted phenomenon. The transition process in the
Balkans remains under-researched, however, with most of the literature
devoted to Yugoslavias complex and dramatic fate, which can hardly be
compared to the transitions in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and
Albania.4As a consequence of the Yugoslav war the term ethnic cleansing
was again associated with the Balkans; in the popular imagination and even
in policy circles, the region was again understood as a cauldron ofancient
ethnic hatreds, instability, and vicious cruelty.3
The Balkan experience since 1989 generally belies these myths. While the
former Yugoslavia might be regarded as an exception, the Yugoslav war was in
actual fact the culmination of a process of state-building that had been initiated
in the nineteenth century. This process had as its corollary the practice of
ethnic homogenization leading to the emergence of relatively homogeneous,
nationalizing successor states. In this sense, the Yugoslav war should not be
regarded as anomalous or exceptional but rather as the final although not
necessarily inevitable victory of the nation-state in the Balkans.
The Yugoslav War
Yugoslavia was born and died in war. Debates surrounding its failure and the
reasons for the particularly brutal form its demise assumed will undoubtedly
continue well into the foreseeable future. A comprehensive and dispassionate
study of the Yugoslav war still awaits its historian, but the legal proceedings at
the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (I CTY) in The
I lague will undoubtedly continue to provide valuable information in recon
structing the drama of state collapse and concomitant brutalization. These
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
195
proceedings and the evidentiary material have shed important light on the
nature of the war and in particular on the role of elite actors who employed
a nationalist discourse as a legitimizing vehicle during the most acute phase
of the systemic crisis of Yugoslav socialism.'1
Pinpointing the start of Yugoslavias demise is no simple matter, but the
Revolutiohs of 1989 will serve as a natural starting point. The result in the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was not the creation of liberal
democratic, Western-oriented regimes but the revitalization of political
estabhshments, often led by former Communists, committed to overtly
nationalist agendas. These agendas were not necessarily undemocratic, but
more often than not liberal democratic principles were suppressed in prac
tice in pursuit of the realization of nationalist projects. Old debates about
state organization and the nature of federalism had 110 more been resolved
in socialist than in royal Yugoslavia; there were tensions based on cultural
factors; and, there was economic decline and concomitant competition for
resources.Titos passing in May 1980 emphasized the departure from leader
ship of a Partisan generation united by resistance in the Second World War,
whose belief in the benefits of unified socialist endeavour was not shared by
their successors or at the very least was conceived differently under chang
ing circumstances. By the 1980s Communist leadership was already subject
to public scrutiny in Yugoslavia. After 1989, as the international status quo
had drastically been altered, political elites turned increasingly to nationalist
discourse, as nationalism undeniably had strong psychological appeal in a
time of political uncertainty, social transformation, and economic decline.
The descent into war was conditioned by the confluence of several fac
tors, none of which had anything to do with ancient ethnic hatreds. The
turn to violence was influenced dramatically by what Stuart Kaufman has
labelled symbolic politics, the process by which existing myths and stereo
types are employed to legitimize violence against other groups.7 Several
conditions had to be met in the Yugoslav context before the country could
descend into war: myths justifying ethnic hostility were required; the pres
ence of fears about the survival of an ethnic group (or groups); and the
availability of an opportunity for these groups to mobilize. Violence resulted
from these preconditions as a result of mounting mass hostilities, chauvinist
mobilization by elites invoking symbolic appeals, and a security dilemma
between groups. In the Yugoslav context, political elites were willing to
exploit existing popular stereotypes and nationalist myths to mobilize pub
lic opinion, while in many republics the public believed that it faced real
196 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
threats to its security, whether in terms of political status, corporate (national)
rights, socio-economic well-being, or even its right to exist. The protracted
nature ot Yugoslavias demise atforded elites sufficient time and opportunity
to mobilize. Had these conditions not been met, conflict might have been
avoided and the Yugoslav state, even i f it had not survived the transition
from Communism, may well have dissolved peaceably along Czechoslovak
lines. While this model explains how populations were mobilized and con
ditioned to resort to or simply accept the necessity of violence, there is a
risk of conflating the causes of hatred and the causes of violence. Symbolic
politics were instrumental to the former, but only determined political
elites, backed by functioning state bureaucracies, standing armies, and a
security apparatus, could mobilize the necessary resources to initiate and
sustain violent conflict. In the absence of these elites and the requisite
supporting infrastructure, the impediments to mass violence were too
significant to result in unrelenting warfare.
Communist Yugoslavias complicated constitutional arrangements have
often been cited as a principal factor leading to systemic crisis and paralysis.
Between 1945 and the mid-1960s, the country was run as a centralized state
through the League of Communists under the charismatic leadership of
Josip BrozTito. Decentralization prevailed as policy because of the League
of Communists ideological need to distinguish itself from both the Soviet
Union and its interwar bourgeois progenitor. This tendency was formally
institutionalized in Yugoslavias last constitution (1974), which also addressed
political grievances raised by regional elites over the previous decade.8
However, after 1974 the Yugoslav state progressively gave way to its constitu
ent parts the six republics and two autonomous provinceswhich were
dominated by local party elites whose interests rested in their respective
republics rather than the federation. After 1980 the Yugoslav state was no
longer able effectively to challenge republican governments, the primary
locus of national identity for the countrys six dominant peoples. Indeed,
after 1974 the republics behaved as de facto independent states, with their
own political and institutional priorities, including in the critical area of
internal affairs (policing).9In this setting of institutional drift and waning
l aith in the state idea, the re-emergence of an overtly nationalist discourse
invariably proved problematic. In the cacophony of multiplying grievances
that began to be voiced, almost all of which were nationalist in tone and
substance, the only common theme was suffering stemming from exper
iences with the state.10This contributed to a paradoxical situationnot
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 197
unlike that in the Kingdom of Yugoslaviawhere communities with
mutually antagonistic national programmes all staked claims to victimhood.
In the last days of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, nation
alism posed the most potent challenge to the prevailing ideology of state
socialism.11 This nationalism took two forms, either hegemonic or
separatist, and reopened old debates. Hegemonism was associated with
Serb nationalists, led after 1987 by Slobodan Milosevic, who was himself
not a nationalist. The other nationalisms, but chiefly the Slovenian and
Croatian manifestations, were either confederalist or separatist. These
nationalisms, and the leaders who were their exponents, nurtured one
another. Serb nationalists, with their hegemonist dreams of recentraliza-
tion as prelude to safeguarding Serb national interests, further fuelled
separatist forces which universally rejected centralizing tendencies. In the
same way, manifestations of separatism were regarded in Belgrade and
among Serb leaders in Bosnia-FI erzegovina and Croatia as necessitating
greater power at the centre.
Long-standing discontent with decentralization was voiced in Serb intel
lectual circles, beginning with the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy
of Arts and Sciences (1986) through to the Congress of Serb Intellectuals
(1992), held in Sarajevo on the eve of the Bosnian war, and beyond. The
nationalist narrative focused exclusively on the sacrifices and sufferings of
the Serb nation since 1918.12 This discourse contained an underlying
theme of treachery, namely, that Serbs, who had paid dearly for Yugoslavias
creation, were repeatedly betrayed by their fellow South Slavs and the other
peoples of the country. It found its most provocative expression in discus
sions about the fate of Serbsand in particular the number of Serbs
killedat the hands of the Croat Ustasa in the Second World War. But in
the mid-1980s Serb intellectual and political dissidence centred primarily
on the status of Kosovo. The Serb grievance was that the province, long
regarded as an integral component of Serb national territory and historical
patrimony, had inexplicably been removed from Serbian jurisdiction. Serb
nationalist opinion believed that the Albanian demographic ascendancy in
Kosovo to the detriment of Serbs, and the alleged discrimination against
Serbs by local Albanians which was tantamount to genocide, reflected the
existence of various plots. The Memorandum, which soon emerged as one
of the most controversial texts in modern Serbian history, spoke of Serb
victimization and decline under Communism, claiming thatTitosYugoslavia
had discriminated against Serbs; Kosovo was emblematic of this institutional
198 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
discrimination, as the Albanians gained autonomous status in 1974 while
Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia remained without similar guarantees. The
importance of the Memorandum as a Serb nationalist text lay in the
extreme language it used to depict the situation of Serbs and in the con
spiracy theory it relied on to explain it. Its claims made it difficult to
envisage how a common state was possible with peoples who were allegedly
perpetrating genocide against Serbs. The document openly challenged
some of the basic tenets of Yugoslavias political system and called into
question the ability of Serbs to cohabit with others in anything other than
a centralized, Serb-run state.
Most non-Serb nationalities believed that they were handicapped by a
system in which Serbs were proportionally overrepresented in federal
institutions, whether in the Yugoslav Peoples Army (J NA), the security
apparatus, or in some republican Leagues of Communists, as in Croatia
and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Croat nationalism in particular, suppressed at
the end of the liberal nationalist Croatian Spring (196671), was nurtured
on the belief that Yugoslavia, whether royalist or socialist, was merely a
chimera for Serbian hegemony. Where Serbs obsessed over their wartime
sufferings, claiming that their anguish was officially downplayed for the
sake of brotherhood and unity, Croat nationalists alleged that Ustasa
crimes were deliberately exaggerated to denigrate Croat aspirations, while
Serb Chetnik and Partisan atrocities were minimized or denied.14 For
Croat nationalists, the Bleiburg massacre of 1945 became the symbolic
counterpoint to Jasenovac, proof of a conspiracy of silence about Croat
victimization in socialist Yugoslavia. What is more, they claimed that Croats
were economically exploited by Belgrade and exposed to cultural policies
designed to undermine Croat individuality, particularly in the realm of
language policy. In several respects, the December 1971 suppression of the
Croatian Spring, and purge of the League of Communists of Croatia of its
liberal elements, marked the end of Croat enthusiasm for Yugoslavia
among other things, it delegitimized the Partisan legacy in Croatiaand
signified the beginning of the end for Yugoslavia.15 While the 1974
Constitution enshrined many of the goals of the Croat reformists, it
initiated the process of decentralization. The other constituent nations
Slovenes, Bosnian Muslims, Macedonians, and Montenegrinsall
possessed their own narratives, but their grievances were generally less
pronounced and not nearly as potent a threat to the stability of Yugoslavia
as Serb and Croat nationalisms.
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 199
Elites and the Mobilization of Nationalism
On 24 April 1987, Slobodan Milosevic, then head of the League of
Communists of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, visited the Autonomous
Province of Kosovo at the behest of his mentor, the President of the Socialist
Republic of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, in an attempt to restrain tensions
between the Serb minority and Albanian majority.16 His brief sojourn
proved to be a decisive event in the history of Yugoslavias demise. During
the visit, and despite his assigned mission of calming local Serb feelings,
Milosevic declared his support for local Serbs who rallied during the visit
to demand that Serbian authorities intervene in the province to rescue them
from alleged imperilment at the hands of the local Albanian Communist
leadership. In one of his most memorable moments, Milosevic told a group
of Serb protesters that no one has a right to beat you.17What lent these
words their revolutionary significanceand demonstrated his blend of
opportunism and tactical astutenesswas that Milosevic had in point of
fact sided with protesters against legitimate authority and, in the process and
probably inadvertendy, stirred up nationalist feeling. Milosevic had chal
lenged the Albanian party leaderships right to govern Serbs and, in the long
run, made nationalism his own vehicle. This de facto endorsement of the
Kosovo Serb position transformed Milosevic from a seemingly unexcep
tional Serbian party official into a Serb national champion.18
By September 1987, at the Eighth Session of the League of Communists
of Serbia, Milosevic outmanoeuvred his former mentor, Ivan Stambolic, to
solidify his position within the League of Communists of Serbia and as
Serbias most important political figure. He had become a champion of Serb
nationalism against a Serbian party leadership that had supposedly passively
observed or wilfully ignored the violation of Serb rights in Kosovo.19 The
significance of the April 1987 demonstrations in Kosovo and September
1987 consolidation of Milosevics power within the party became clear the
following year, when circumspectly orchestrated protests were employed to
subvert existing institutions in Vojvodina, Montenegro, and Kosovo. As a
result, regional Communist party elites were successfully undermined in
what came to be known by its supporters as the anti-bureaucratic revol
ution.This clever (but misleading) moniker referred to an ostensibly popu
list movement against corrupt governing structures and their elites. The
leading personality of this project was Miroslav Solevic, the organizer of the
200 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
April 1987 protests in Kosovo and president of the Board for Protest and
Solidarity with Kosovos Serbs and Montenegrins, and later the Committee
for the Organization of Protest Rallies.20The anti-bureaucratic revolution
was a popuhst attempt to rally Serbs outside Kosovo around Milosevic and
his programme of centralization.
The first victim of the anti-bureaucratic revolution wasVojvodina, where
in early July 1988 thousands of Serb protesters came to the provincial capital,
Novi Sad, ostensibly to enlighten the local public about the endangered
status of Kosovos Serbs. In actual fact, the protests were directed at the
Vojvodina party leadership, which had criticized Milosevic for utilizing
Serb nationalism.21The local party leadership, supported by federal party
and state officials, initially resisted the protesters calls for resignation.22
Milosevic denied any direct involvement but there is evidence indicating
that he maintained direct contact with Solevic and the leaders of the dem
onstrations.23In early October 1988 the protesters again converged on Novi
Sad. On 6 October, party leaders submitted their resignations to the Central
Committee. The process of Gleichschaltung began as the leadership were
replaced by Milosevic appointees.24Protests were planned the same day in
Titograd (now Podgorica), the capital of the Socialist Republic of
Montenegro, but the authorities declared a state of emergency in the repub
lic. This only deferred their reckoning, as a massive protest on 11January
1989 culminated in the resignation of the local party leadership and the
ascent of the pro-Milosevic faction under Momir Bulatovic. By January
1989 the anti-bureaucratic revolution had swept away the Vojvodina and
Montenegro party leaderships and buttressed Milosevics authority.
Throughout these events, Milosevic repeatedly denied personal involve
ment in manufacturing dissent.25However, the central role of the Board for
Protest, the common slogans, the invocation of Milosevics name, and his
refusal to censure the revolutionaries contributed to a pervasive feeling that
he stood behind them.
Thereafter attention reverted to Kosovo, where local strikes rallied Serb
nationalist sentiment in Belgrade in support of the Serbian authorities. Calls
were heard for the arrest of AzemVllasi, since 1986 the leader of the League
of Communists of Kosovo. In November 1988, following the success of the
anti-bureaucratic revolution in Vojvodina, Vllasi and Kaqusha Jashari were
forced from the Kosovo party for failing to approved constitutional amend
ments diminishing Kosovos autonomy.Vllasi was almost universally regarded
m Belgrade as the leader of the secessionist movement in Kosovo, and Ins
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 201
detention followed in 1989. On 28 March 1989 constitutional amendments
were enacted which eliminated Kosovos constitutional guarantee of auton
omy. Three months later, in June 1989, Serbia commemorated the 6ooth
anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, in what became one of the most
carefully choreographed, largest, and dramatic manifestations of Serb
nationalism in Yugoslavias history. Official representatives from the other
republics and federal institutions attended the ceremonies. Delivering the
defining address, Milosevic told a crowd numbering in the several hundreds
of thousands that while the Serbs contemporary struggles were not armed
battles,such things should not be excluded yet.26Serb nationalism had by
now prevailed in the official governing bodies of the republics of Serbia
(and its two autonomous provinces) and Montenegro, while the nationalist
message was already being carried to Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Croatia. Milosevics former mentor and Serbian party boss, Ivan Stambolic,
would later remark that Milosevic had instrumentalized the Kosovo issue in
1989 in order to Kosovize the Serbs on the other side of the Drina [River,
i.e. BosnianSerbian border] as the most suitable element for the unitariz-
ation of Yugoslavia.27By inciting Serb nationalist sentiment to the point of
revolt against the system, he hoped to recentralize the state.
In Serbias emerging symbolic politics, the 6ooth anniversary commem
oration of the Battle of Kosovo sparked related demonstrative exercises
in remembrance. In 1989 the earthly remains of Prince Lazar, the Serb
hero of the 1389 battle, were removed from the Serbian Orthodox
Patriarchal Church in Belgrade and taken on a tour of Serbian Orthodox
monasteries in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo, where
his body was reinterred in the Ravanica Monastery on 10 September
1989.28This was a powerfully symbolic act. Prince Lazars skeleton set the
boundaries of greater Serbia, on the principle Serbian land is where
Serbian bones are.29At the same time,Serb nationalists reburied thousands
of anonymous corpses removed from pits in Herzegovina, victims of the
wartime Ustasa regime. In the summer of 1991 the exhumed remains
were moved to Belgrade and reburied in a common grave, in a ceremony
attended by the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Serbian poli
ticians, and Serb nationahsts from Bosnia.30This episode was of equally
great symbolic importance, serving as a reminder of Serb suffering at
Croat hands during the Second World War, a topic that received ever more
attention in a steady stream of atrocity propaganda generated by the
Serbian state media and nationalist intellectuals.31The Serbian writer and
202 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
leader of the Serb Renewal Movement (SPO),Vuk Draskovic, suggested
that in the event ofYugoslavias dissolution, borders should be redrawn
using the ethnic map from 6 April 1941, the date of the Axis invasion
of Yugoslavia: Those regions in which Serbs were a majority before a
holocaust was perpetrated against them, cannot remain within the
Croatian state.32
By the time the League of Communists of Yugoslavia collapsed in
January 1990 and the individual republics began transitioning to new admin
istrations, the Serb nationalist narrative and symbolic politics had raised the
public spectre of renewed threats. Following the elections in Croatia (April
1990) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (November 1990), and the rise of nationalist
parties in those republics, the Serb nationalist discourse was instrumental-
ized by political elites. Serbs were allegedly confronted with a repetition of
1941and an imminent genocide at the hands of neo-fascism in Croatia and
Islamist fundamentalism in Bosnia.33This rhetoric was later employed as
justification for JNA-Serbian military operations in Croatia (1991) and
Bosnia (1992), which Serbian propaganda claimed was to protect the
Serb people and their rightful lands. This rhetoric was reductionist in the
extreme, alleging a relentless drive by Catholic Croats and Bosnian Muslims
to annihilate Serbs.
This was the intellectual and political milieu within which the League of
Communists of Yugoslavia convened the Fourteenth Extraordinary
Congress in Belgrade in January 1990. The Congress assembled on the heels
of the dramatic collapse of Communist regimes in East Central Europe and
the violent demise of Nicolae Ceauescu in Romania, and was supposed to
address the question of Yugoslav transition. It immediately became apparent
that there was no consensus and hence virtually little basis for compromise.
On 23 January, the Slovenian delegation withdrewfollowed shortly there
after by their Croatian counterpartsand with this act the League of
Communists of Yugoslavia, the leading political institution since 1945,
came to an abrupt demise.
Each of the socialist republics subsequently moved forward with plans for
multiparty elections, which were scheduled between April and December
[990. The first of these occurred in April 1990 in Slovenia and Croatia. The
Slovenian elections resulted in the victory of DEM OS (Democratic-United
Opposition of Slovenia), a seven-party coalition, and of Milan Kucan, leader
of the reform Communists now known as the Party of Democratic Renewal,
.is President. The new Slovenian authorities favoured autonomy and in July
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 0 3
1990 the Slovenian Assembly declared the republics sovereignty.34In Croatia,
the nationalist Croat Democratic Union (HDZ) led by former Partisan
genera] and nationalist dissident Franjo Tudjman, won 41 per cent of the
popular vote but, as a result of the electoral law drafted by the Croatian
Communists, received a majority of seats in the tricameral legislature.35In
February 1990 Serb nationalists in Croatia formed the Serb Democratic
Party (SDS) under Jovan Raskovic. Based at the town of Knin, Croatia, the
SDS established itself as the undisputed leader of Croatias Serbs.36Fearing
marginalization in the newly elected Croatian legislature, however, on 20
May 1990 the SDS declared a boycott.
In heterogeneous Bosnia-Herzegovina, which according to the March
1991 census had 4.3 million citizens, of whom 44 per cent were Bosnian
Muslim, 31 per cent were Serb, and 17 per cent were Croat, the electoral
process was shaped in the summer of 1990 by the local League of
Communists. They had decided on a seven-member collective Presidency
as the republics supreme executive body, with two Bosnian Muslims, two
Serbs, two Croats, and one minority representative, and a bicameral legis
lature consisting of a Chamber of Citizens (130 deputies) and a Chamber
of Municipalities (no).37 In addition, each municipality was to have an
elected assembly.
O f the dozens of political parties which appeared in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
only five seemed to be legitimate contenders. Two were explicidy multi
ethnic in orientation and rooted in Partisan socialist values: the League ot
Communists-Social Democratic Party (SK-SDP) and the Alliance of
Reformist Forces of Yugoslavia (SRSJ). They were challenged by three
major nationalist parties.The Party of Democratic Action (SDA) was formed
in May 1990 by Alija Izetbegovic, a Bosnian Muslim dissident who had
been sentenced in 1983 for alleged anti-state activities but was released in
1989 after serving six years of a fourteen-year sentence.The SDA supported
a unitary Bosnia-Herzegovina in which Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Croats
would remain the three constituent state peoples. In July 1990 the Serb
Democratic Party (SDS) was formed on the model of its Croatian Serb
counterpart, headed by Radovan Karadzic and three vice presidents,
Momcilo Krajisnik, Nikola Koljevic, and Biljana Plavsic.38 The Croat
Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (HDZ BiH), led first by
Stjepan Kljuic and then Mate Boban, was founded in August 1990 as an
offshoot of Tudjmans party, identical in rhetoric and the nationalist
symbols it employed.
2 0 4 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
During the election campaign, the leaders of the three nationalist parties
in Bosnia agreed to refrain from direct public attacks and to cooperate in
the division of spoils i f they emerged collectively with a majority.
Deliberately intended to forestall victory by the two sociahst parties, these
agreements were on the whole respected during the electoral campaign.39
This early cooperation among elites never entirely obscured the essential
differences on the central issue of Bosnias constitutional relationship to
Yugoslavia. The SDA was a party of Bosnian unitarism, committed to the
repubhcs territorial integrity and affirmation of Bosnian Muslim (after
1993, Bosniak) national rights under a strong central government. Neither
the H DZ nor the SDS supported the unitarist model. On the question of
Bosnias status within Yugoslavia, the former favoured the confederal
model espoused by Croatia and Slovenia, while the latter supported a
strong federal Yugoslavia.
The SDA, SDS, and H DZ won decisive victories in the 18 November
1990 elections, with 86, 72, and 44 seats, respectively, of the 240 seats in the
bicameral legislature. The remaining 38 seats were distributed among eight
different parties. The three parties similarly dominated the new Presidency,
with the SDA controlling three positions and the SDS and H DZ two each.
As a result of pre-election agreements, Izetbegovic was chosen President of
the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, SDS Vice President Momcilo
Krajisnik became President of the Bosnian Assembly, and Jure Pelivan of the
HDZ became Prime Minister. Ministerial appointments to the Council of
Ministers were approved by the Bosnian Assembly on 30 January 1991.40
In Serbia and Montenegro, the last of the republics to hold elections,
Milosevic and Bulatovic swept to victory in December 1990. In preparation
for those elections, the Milosevic-led League of Communists merged on
16 July 1990 with the Sociahst Alliance of Working People of Serbia to
become the Sociahst Party of Serbia (SPS), a mass party that was sociahst in
nomenclature but nationalist in pubhc appeal. A similar fusion occurred in
Montenegro under Bulatovic. Reform Communists retained their dominant
role, buttressed by the fact that they had co-opted the nationalist discourse in
advance of the non-Communist opposition. In Macedonia, which went to
the polls in November 1990, reform Communists, known as the Social
1)emocratic League of Macedonia, also retained a major role.They formed a
coalition government with Macedonian liberals and the largest Albanian
party, even though the Macedonian nationalist party, theInternal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National
Unity (IMRO-DPMNE), won the single largest share of the vote.41
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 205
Crisis in Croatia, 19901991
In Croatia, Tudjmans H DZ came to power riding a nationalist wave.
Although a diverse polity, consisting of reform Communists, liberal demo
crats, and others, its programme was premised on an affirmation of Croat
national rights which necessarily required reducing the power of the fed
eration and transforming it into a confederation. In this it shared an ally in
the new Slovenian authorities, but unlike Slovenia, Croatias new leaders
were confronted by the escalating claims of the Serb minority, which in
1991 numbered approximately 6oo,ooo and accounted for 12 per cent of
the population. In July 1990 the H DZ government proposed constitutional
amendments which would have relegated Serbs from their earlier status of
a constituent nation in Croatia to that of a minority. This issue became a
serious bone of contention. Similarly, the socialist adjective was dropped
from Croatias official nomenclature and the communist flag was replaced
by traditional nationalist symbols.
The Croatian authorities displayed a good deal of insensitivity to Croatian
Serb concerns and failed to appreciate the powerful character of their collec
tive fears. In 1990, at the First General Congress of the H DZ, Tudjman
claimed that the Croatian state during the Second World War was an
expression of the political desires of the Croat nation for its own independ
ent state.42This remark was significant on several levels, coming as it did not
just from a historian and former participant in the Partisan resistance, but
from the future president of the Croatian state. In the event, it represented
the first step in Tudjmans effort to reconcile Croats competing historical
memories, and culminated six years later in his proposal to transform the
Jasenovac memorial into a collective monument for all Croat victims of the
Second World War in addition to non-Croat victims of the Ustasa regime.
The proposal was inordinately insensitive but symbolized Tudjmans attempt
at a historic reconciliation between Croats in Ustasa and Partisan ranks. To
that end, contemporary Croatias wartime Partisan resistance roots were
emphasized and Titos role still acclaimed, while at the same time the Ustasa
state was gradually rehabilitated as the incarnation of the Croats desire for
statehood. This revival of memory was publicly manifested through the
renaming of academies, institutes, and boulevards, but assumed more negative
traits when a general remodelling of history commenced, one in which
Croat victimization was the central theme.43The H DZs symbolic politics
reflected the frustrations that simmered in the aftermath of the suppression
2 0 6 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
of the Croatian Spring.They were also undoubtedly a response to the revival
of Serb nationalism under Milosevic. In the event, they played directly into
the hands of Serbian propagandists who alleged that a neo-Ustasa regime
had been installed in Zagreb.
The SDS boycott of Croatian parliamentary institutions and the nation
alist rhetoric of the Croatian authorities made compromise difficult from
the outset. Indeed, within weeks of the Croatian elections the two sides
charted completely different trajectories. His nationalist rhetoric not
withstanding, Raskovic was a moderate who was prepared to accept
constitutional guarantees that would have ensured Serb cultural autonomy
in Croatia. Despite the TudjmanRaskovic talks of 23 July 1990 in Zagreb,
an agreement on cultural autonomy never materialized. The abortive
negotiations occurred in a climate of escalating polemic between the Serbian
and Croatian state media, negating the possibility of serious dialogue.44
Raskovic precipitously lost ground to the hard nationalist faction within
the SDS and by October 1990 the party moderates were completely mar
ginalized. He was succeeded by Milan Babic, since 1990 the SDS mayor of
Knin, who emerged at the time as the leading public advocate of a more
assertive Serb pohcy and the architect of a campaign for a separate Serb
territory in Croatia.45 In June 1990 he launched the Community of
Municipalities of Northern Dalmatia and Lika, based at Knin, which even
tually expanded to encompass eleven municipalities in Croatia with Serb
pluralities. On 26 July 1990, as the Croatian legislature ratified several con
tentious constitutional amendments, the SDS declared that Serbs had a right
to hold a referendum on autonomy and endorsed a Declaration on
Sovereignty and Autonomy of the Serb People in Croatia. A Serb National
Council was formed, ostensibly as the supreme coordinating authority of
Serb autonomous institutions.46
It is not coincidental that Babic won the backing of Milosevic and the
Serbian state leadership. He visited Belgrade on 13 August 1990 and met
with Borisav Jovic, President of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, from whom he seemed to win support for his
territorial initiative and vague assurances of aid.4' Babic: was more amenable
than Raskovic to collaboration with the Serbian leadership, without whose
support his initiative for territorial autonomy would have been stillborn.
With the backing of the Serbian leadership secured, Babic and his support
ers moved to build theirCommunity of Municipalities by gaining control
of local institutions of administration and in particular the police. This was
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 20 7
achieved in Knin in early July 1990, where Serb protesters forced the
resignation of the Croat police chief.48Control of the local police services
passed to a local police inspector, Milan Martic, who joined Babic as one of
the key architects of the incipient Serb rebellion. Within four months of
Croatias first multiparty elections, CroatSerb relations were already seriously
deteriorating and the room for compromise had narrowed significantly.49
This was demonstrated in mid-August 1990, following an abortive
Croatian police operation to retake control of police stations under local
Serb control. The move played into the hands of Croatian Serb hardliners.
Babic declared a war situation and formed a crisis staff at Knin, now the
de facto capital of Serb autonomists. The Croatian government dispatched
another police unit to the area, but it was turned back by the Yugoslav
military. As tensions escalated in late August and early September 1990,
Croatian Serb leaders moved ahead with a plebiscite on the status of Serbs,
the overwhelming majority of whom voted for territorial autonomy. On 30
September 1990 the Serb National Council at Knin proclaimed Serb auton
omy on the ethnic and historical territory on which they live, without
defining the extent of that territory. Beginmng on 21 December 1990, the
SDS announced the creation of the first of three Serb Autonomous
Districts: Krajina, followed by Western Slavonia and Slavonia, Baranja
and Western Srem. In all, the three autonomous districts included, either in
whole or part, twenty municipalities possessing less than half the Serb popu
lation in Croatia and a significant number of non-Serbs.50
The implementation of Croatian Serb territorial autonomyestab
lishing control of local government and policewas accompanied by
the first instances of violence. In spring 1991 this violence typically
involved short but intense clashes between local Serb police and Croatian
I nterior Ministry detachments for control of local municipal infra
structure.The real objective of the campaign, Babic would later acknow
ledge, was to precipitate a state of emergency that would enable the
federal authorities and J N A to suspend Croatian authority in those
municipalities inhabited predominantly by Serbs.51The violence esca
lated with each successive incident. The worst incident occurred in May
1991 at Borovo Selo in eastern Croatia. Serb paramilitaries seized the
local police station on 2 May 1991, wounding several Croatian police
men. When Croatian reinforcements arrived they were ambushed and
twelve policemen were killed.The J N A intervened, ostensibly to separate
the parties, and sealed off the village.52Already in May 1990 the J N A ,
2 0 8 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
with its predominantly Serb and Montenegrin officer corps, had suc
ceeded in appropriating the arms depots of Territorial Defence (TO)
units in Slovenia and Croatia, a measure intended to deprive these gov
ernments of materiel for their own armed forces.53As Croatia staged its
19 May 1991 sovereignty referendum, in which 93 per cent of those
voting opted for independence, its authorities were hurriedly purchasing
arms from former Eastern Bloc states. In spring 1991 the J N A was
distributing infantry weapons, mortars, and ammunition to Serb
separatists in Croatia.54
Bosnia followed a similar trajectory. The elite consensus that existed in
1990 collapsed comparatively quickly over the highly contentious issue of
Bosnias internal organization and associated Bosnian Serb plans forregion
alization. The regionalization campaign was an SDS effort to secure its
political domination and Serb control in those municipalities with a Serb
plurality. It entailed the formation of parallel institutions of authority as
prologue to the removal of territory inhabited by Serbs from the juris
diction of the Bosnian authorities. Modelled on the Serb experience in
Croatia, the Bosnian Serb campaign was multifaceted and began with the
configuration of regional* Communities of Municipalities.This was followed
by attempts to carve out Serb-dominated territories from municipalities
where Serbs lacked a clear majority, and the establishment of parallel Serb
governing bodies. The SDS was certainly not the only political party in
Bosnia to pursue single-party domination of select territory under the
rubric of regionalizationon 18 November 1991 the H DZ formed the
Croat Community of Herceg Bosnabut it initiated the process and
pursued it consistently and with great determination.35
The first steps were taken in January 1991 in a region of north-west
Bosnia known historically as the Bosnian Krajina. In January 1991 the
heads of twenty-one SDS-led municipal assembhes commenced the forma
tion of the Community of Municipalities of the Bosnian Krajina, which
was officially proclaimed on 25 April 1991. The following month two new
Communities of Municipalities were formed: Romanija (8 May) and
Eastern and Old Herzegovina (27 May). In early September 1991, after war
had already begun in neighbouring Croatia, the Communities of
Municipalities were renamed Serb Autonomous Regions and three
additional regions were formed.56 By the spring of 1991, SDS leaders in
both Croatia and BH were codifying local institutions to resist the jurisdiction
of their respective republics.
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 0 9
War in Slovenia and Croatia
As the constitutional crisis in Yugoslavia became ever more palpable, with
armed clashes in Croatia and regionalization well advanced in Bosnia, the six
elected republican presidents held a series of meetings in early 1991to discuss
Yugoslavias constitutional crisis and future. These talks occurred in the con
text of federal paralysis. On 15 May 1991 the Croatian representative to the
Federal Presidency, Stjepan Mesic, was supposed to succeed the Serbian rep
resentative, Borisav Jovic, as President of the Presidency. His candidacy was
blocked by the representatives of Serbia,Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Montenegro,
who constituted four of the eight members of that body. This had been one
of the fruits of the anti-bureaucratic revolution, enabling Milosevic to exer
cise de facto control of the Federal Presidency or neutralize its effectiveness as
the need arose. At this point federal constitutional mechanisms ceased func
tioning. During the ensuing republican presidential negotiations, Milosevic
and Bulatovic advocated the strengthening of existing federal structures,
using the presence of large Serb minorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina (31 per
cent) and Croatia (12 per cent) to buttress their position. Kucan andTudjman
sponsored a confederal arrangement that would have eviscerated the already
dysfunctional federation and reduced it to litde more than a customs union.
The Bosnian and Macedonian presidents, Izetbegovic and Kiro Gligorov,
sought a middle ground to no avail.57
With negotiations stalled, on 25 June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia declared
their independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.Two
days later the J N A moved to assert federal control over Slovenias inter
national border-crossings and airports. The Slovene Territorial Defence
proved remarkably effective at immobilizing the J N A and its operations.
The Brioni Accord, mediated by European Community officials on 18
July 1991, formally ended the Ten Day War in Slovenia.The J N A agreed to
withdraw from Slovenia, while Slovenia and Croatia agreed in turn to defer
independence by three months, until 8 October i99i.The EC deployed
unarmed military observers to Croatia to monitor implementation, but the
Brioni Accord did not address the future role of the J N A in Croatia, where
the conflict now escalated into open warfare.58
The war that was waged from July to December 1991 in Croatia proved
remarkably brutal and foreshadowed what was to come in Bosnia. Much of
the fighting was initially concentrated in ethnically mixed parts of central
210 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
and southern Croatia, but from late August 1991it spread to eastern Croatia,
where some of the worst brutalities were witnessed. Several towns, such as
Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Karlovac, endured repeated shelling and significant
damage.59The case of Ilok in eastern Croatia was indicative of the nature of
the unfolding conflict. In mid-September 1991 the town, defended by a
small detachment from the recently formed Croatian National Guard
(ZNG) and the local police, was besieged by the J NA. After sustained shell
ing, on 14 October 1991 the town council accepted an ultimatum and for
mally surrendered to the J N A in the presence of the EC observer mission
to Croatia. Three days later more than 5,000 non-Serbs were evacuated
from I lok under the eyes of EC observers. But the most devastating exam
ple of wilful destruction and ethnic cleansing was the multiethnic town of
Vukovar, which was besieged by J N A forces from 24 August until 18
November 1991.60 Repeated heavy shelling razed the town and inflicted
more than 1,000 civilian deaths. When |NA troops, supported by Serbian
Territorial Defence units and paramilitaries, entered the town they detained
several hundred prisoners of war and rounded up non-Serb civilians. In one
well-documented incident, several hundred wounded Croat soldiers were
handed by J N A officers to a Serbian Territorial Defence unit. They were
taken to a farm in nearby Ovcara, where at least 194 were executed and
buried in a mass grave. At the same time, more than 20,000 non-Serbs were
ethnically cleansed from Vukovar and its environs.61The same pattern was
discernible elsewhere.62The J N A had become, in the words of General
Veljko Kadijevic, the Federal Secretary of Defense in 1991, a defender of
the Serb people in Croatia so as to liberate, in every respect, all areas with a
majority Serb population from the presence of the Croatian military and
Croatian authority.63By December 1991, the J N A and Serb forces had
ethnically cleansed more than 80,000 non-Serbs from eastern Croatia and
caused the flight of at least an equal number in other parts of the country.64
In January 1992 the last US ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman,
undoubtedly echoed the sentiments of a growing body of foreign diplomats
and observers when he remarked that the [Yugoslav Peoples] Army is
primarily responsible for the war in Croatia.65
International diplomatic engagement in the former Yugoslavia began
in July 1991 with EC efforts to mediate a ceasefire. Attempts at a com
prehensive solution were arranged through the EC Conference on
Yugoslavia between September 1991 and August 1992, at which time il
was superseded by the International Conference on the FormerYugoslavia.
r
The EC Conference on Yugoslavia sponsored a series of meetings under
the chairmanship of former British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington.66
Former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance served as an observer in his
role as the Personal Representative of the U N Secretary General. In the
first weeks of the conference, attention centred on a resolution of the
Croatian war. The participants agreed in principle to grant diplomatic
recognition to Croatia, provided that appropriate guarantees were granted
to its Serb minority.67 Based on the conferences work and extensive
mediation undertaken by Cyrus Vance, on 2 January 1992 representatives
of the ]NA and the Republic of Croatia signed an agreement in Sarajevo
establishing a ceasefire, providing for the withdrawal of the J N A from
Croatia and the deployment of a peacekeeping force known as the United
Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), headquartered at Sarajevo.
The UNPRO FO R mission merely froze the territorial status quo and
deferred a political solution. On 1$ January 1992, the EC extended diplo
matic recognition to Slovenia and Croatia.
On 19 December 1991 the Croatian Serb leadership under Milan Babic
proclaimed the existence of the Republic of the Serb Krajina (RSK). For
opposing the deployment of UNPROFOR troops to Serb-held areas of
Croatia, Babic earned a public denunciation from Milosevic, who accused
him in an open letter published on 10 January 1992 in the Serbian media of
endangering the most basic interests of the Serb people. Like Raskovic
before him, Babic was removed in early February 1992 and replaced by
Goran Hadzic as President of the RSK.68In early 1992 the RSK stood at its
apogee but remained a dependency of the Serbian regime, which bankrolled
the local authorities and even dictated political and military appointments
in its structures.69
The war in Croatia fundamentally altered political dynamics in Bosnia.
In early 1991 the Bosnian Muslim leader, Izetbegovic, had raised the possi
bility of introducing a declaration on Bosnian sovereignty in the Bosnian
Assembly.70In this he was supported by the Bosnian Croat leader, Stjepan
Kljuic, who believed that Yugoslavia can no longer survive.71The SDS
leaders rejected the idea of Bosnian sovereignty outright. In early August
1991, Momcilo Krajisnik, one of the SDS vice presidents and Speaker of the
Bosnian Assembly, declared that the secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an
independent and sovereign state is impossible without the consent of the
Serb people.72A decisive moment came on 1415 October 1991, during a
heated session of the Bosnian Assembly. One week earlier, on 8 October
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 211
212 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
1991, the EC-sponsored moratorium on Slovenian and Croatian indepen
dence that had been negotiated as part of the Brioni Accord came to an
end. Slovenia and Croatia had already achieved de facto independence,
although Zagreb controlled barely two-thirds of Croatian territory. At the
contentious 14 October session of the Bosnian Assembly, Radovan Karadzic
made an excited speech, raising the possibility that Bosnian Muslims would
disappear as a group i f they dared declare Bosnias independence: Do not
think that you will not lead Bosnia-Herzegovina into hell, and do not think
that you will not perhaps lead the Muslim people into annihilation, because
the Muslims cannot defend themselves i f there is war.73Once the session
had been adjourned and the Serb delegates had withdrawn, the Bosnian
Croat (HDZ) and Muslim (SDA) deputies reconvened and passed a
Declaration of Sovereignty which made obvious their intent to move
Bosnia toward independence. On 24 October 1991 the SDS responded by
forming the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia-Herzegovina. One of
its first acts was to order a plebiscite for 910 November 1991 to determine
whether Bosnian Serbs wished to remain in Yugoslavia. In the event, few
non-Serbs voted in the referendum, which resulted in an overwhelming
endorsement for Yugoslavias preservation.74
By autumn 1991, the Bosnian Serbs on the one hand and Bosnian
Muslims and Croats on the other were on two opposing trajectories. On 17
December 1991.EC foreign ministers adopted a mechanism whereby each
Yugoslav repubhc could apply for independence. The ECs Badinter
Arbitration Commission was tasked with assessing these applications based
on several criteria, including the existence of legal provisions safeguarding
civil and minority rights.75Three days later, on 20 December, the Bosnian
Presidency voted to submit an application to the Badinter Commission.
This move was roundly condemned by the SDS, which claimed it violated
the Yugoslav constitution, and on 21 December 1991 the Bosnian Serb
Assembly announced plans for the creation of a Serb Repubhc in Bosnia.
Three weeks later, on 9 January 1992, the Bosnian Serbs proclaimed the
Serb Repubhc of Bosnia-Herzegovina. On 1$ January 1992, the Badinter
Commission issued a written opinion recommending that Bosnia-
l lerzegovina stage a referendum to determine the extent of popular support
for independence. Held on 29 February and 1 March 1992 in the presence
of international monitors, the referendum provided a strong endorsement
for independence but was boycotted by Bosnian Serbs. O f the two
million ballots cast, representing 64.3 per cent of eligible voters, the
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
213
official count showed 99.4 per cent support for sovereignty.76On the eve of
the vote, the Bosnian Serb Assembly promulgated a Constitution of the
Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When the EC Conference on Yugoslavia reconvened in February 1992
in an effort to forestall war in Bosnia, its approach was to safeguard the
territorial integrity of the republic while arranging for its internal reorgani
zation into three autonomous entities under nominal central control.77
These entities were to be based on the nationality principle, with each of
the three peoples in Bosnia possessing separate units. Given Bosnias com
plex composition, each of the entities would have possessed significant
minority populations. An agreement in principle along these hnes was con
cluded in mid-March 1992 at Lisbon, and was signed by the leaders of the
three communities. Within two weeks, however, the Bosnian Muslim lead
ership reversed its decision and backed out of the agreement, which appeared
to undermine the idea of a unitary state. In the event, negotiations were
overtaken by events. With a popular referendum endorsing independence
legitimizing its decision, the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina
declared independence on 6 April 1992 and was recognized by the EC. The
United States accorded diplomatic recognition the following day, and so did
much of the international community in the following weeks.78
As the crisis veered towards armed conflict in early 1992, all three parties
formed paramilitary organizations. The Bosnian authorities relied initially
on several informal, SDA-affihated but poorly equipped militias, such as the
Green Berets and the Patriotic League, formed in late 1991. Following
Bosnias declaration of independence, in April 1992 the authorities formed
the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina (ABiH) from the existing Bosnian
Territorial Defence units and by incorporating groups such as the Green
Berets. Bosnian Croats began forming local militias in 1991, during the war
in Croatia, with the direct assistance of the Croatian authorities. In April
1992 the Bosnian Croat leader, Mate Boban, decreed the formation of the
Croat Defence Council (HVO).79The existence of the system of Territorial
Defence (TO) forces, which the Yugoslav authorities had instituted in 1969
following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, facilitated the formation of
national armies in the successor states. The TO had functioned as a decen
tralized military reserve force, based in and funded by each of the six
constituent republics, but ultimately under J N A command and control,
which was exercised through a Council for Territorial Defence subordinate
to the Federal Secretary for National Defence. TO units were organized
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
around lighdy armed infantry whose primary purpose was to serve as an
auxiliary force to the J N A in the event of war. Arms depots were stored
throughout the republics, in or near municipal buildings, state factories,
industrial enterprises, and elsewhere, and were to be distributed by local
authorities in coordination with the J NA. In principle, the TO could draw
on all male citizen-soldiers, who already possessed basic military training,
for service either in the reserve militia, the reserve police, or in the civilian
defence agency.80Although the J N A managed to seize several arms depots
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia on the eve of the war, the TO
system enabled the rapid mobilization of reservists and the escalation of
violence in 19912.
The Bosnian Serbs relied largely on the J NA. While Milosevic resorted
to plausible deniability, his collusion in arming the Bosnian Serbs was
demonstrated in late May 1991 when Karadzic telephoned Milosevic and
asked him i f he could arrange for the weapons of the Territorial Defence in
Sipovo and Mrkonjic Grad (Bosnia) to be placed at his disposal. Milosevic
agreed to facilitate the deal with the J NA.The intercepted conversation was
made public at a news conference in August 1991 by federal Prime Minister
Ante Markovic.81By early 1992 the J N A had in all but name been trans
formed into a Serbian body, an institutional instrument of Serb nationalist
objectives.82 In September 1991, when the J N A mobilized reservists in
Bosnia, only the Serb population responded in significant number.83That
same month J N A reservists from the Uzice Corps (Serbia) were deployed
to Mostar (Herzegovina), supposedly to calm local tensions. Within weeks
they had engaged local non-Serb police and paramilitaries in shootouts. In
early December 1991 Milosevic ordered that all J N A recruits who hailed
from Bosnia but were stationed in other republics should be transferred
back to Bosnia, while non-Bosnian recruits were to be withdrawn from the
republic. The authorities in Belgrade evidendy concluded that, with the
international recognition of several republics imminent, the J N A in Bosnia
should appear to resemble a native force rather than an occupying army.84
By Christmas 1991only days after the Bosnian Presidency had applied to
the Badinter Commission for recognitionthese transfers had nearly been
completed.85 Indeed, Serbias representative on the Yugoslav Presidency,
Jovic, informed the foreign media that by April 1992 nearly 90 per cent of
J N A troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina were native to that republic.86 In the
event, Bosnian Serb police and paramilitary groups had been equipped with
light arms from Territorial Defence stockpiles. When the J N A withdrew
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 215
from Bosnia-Herzegovina in May 1992, much of its personnel and heavy
weaponry was transferred to the newly constituted Army of the Serb
Republic (VRS) under General Ratko Mladic.87In a report submitted later
that year to the Bosnian Serb Assembly, General Mladic stated,Our army is
one of the rare ones in history to have started a liberation war with a very
sohd material base.88As war began in Bosnia, the Bosnian Serbs possessed a
vital advantage in firepower i f not in manpower.
Ethnic Cleansing: The Unmixing of Peoples
From the beginning of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in April 1992, the
Bosnian Serb leadership pursued the creation of a nationally homogeneous
state. In eastern Bosnia, in ethnically mixed municipalities with a large
Bosnian Muslim population, such as Zvornik, Bijeljina, and Foca, the J NA,
Bosnian Serb police detachments, and Serbian paramilitary forces pursued a
policy of ethnic cleansing which involved the use of physical terror to
intimidate non-Serbs into submission and voluntary flight. This was rep
licated in the Bosnian Krajina of north-west Bosnia and in Posavina, which
served as a corridor linking the Bosnian Krajina and eastern Bosnia. Between
April and June 1992 the territories liberated by Bosnian Serb forces were
incorporated in the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The policy of
ethnic cleansing took varied forms, including deliberate killings, deporta
tion, and induced flight. The primary targets were males of military age,
who were killed or deported to makeshift detention facilities and concen
tration camps, the most infamous of which were Manjaca, Keraterm,
Omarska, andTrnopolje in the Bosnian Krajina.89Women were particularly
vulnerable. Police, paramilitary, and regular armed forces perpetrated
indiscriminate attacks and mass rape. In some instances, as in the infamous
rape camps at Foca, rape was used as a systematic tool of ethnic cleansing.90
Cultural and rehgious monuments were systematically destroyed.91In some
areas, such as Sarajevo, Bihac, Tuzla, Gorazde, Zepa, and Srebrenica, the
Bosnian Serbs were unable in 1992 to expel the non-Serb population,
resulting in besieged enclaves whose civilian populations were exposed to
repeated shelling.92The following year these enclaves became UN-protected
safe areas.
The 16th Session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly of 12 May 1992
concerned itself primarily with this separation of communities. Both the
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic and the speaker of the Bosnian
Serb Assembly Momcilo Krajisnik declared this to be one of the most
important strategic objectives of the Bosnian Serb leadership. Within weeks
of this session, the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) and Interior Ministry (RS
MUP) began reporting on the implementation of the policy of ethnic
resettlement. Some of the worst violence was experienced in the ethnically
heterogeneous Bosnian Krajina, a geographic zone bounded by the Sava,
Una, andVrbas rivers. This region was centred on the town of Banja Luka
and consisted of more than twenty municipalities, with no single nationality
possessing a majority; Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, and Croats accounted for
roughly 43, 40, and io per cent of the local population, respectively. The
events of 1992 in this region will be discussed to illustrate some of the
dynamics of violence in Bosnia.
During the initial phase of population expulsions it became apparent that
those non-Serbs who were expelled would not be permitted to return
this was made patently clear in Bosnian Serb documentationwhich
indicates that their exodus was the principal aim of the conflict.93Several
VRS military reports attempted to portray this as a peaceful operation, that
is, that non-Serbs were leaving voluntarily or that they were merely refu
gees fleeing the military conflict.94However, as the Morale Officer attached
to the VRS 6th Brigade, 1st Krajina Corps, whose area of responsibility was
the Bosnian Krajina, noted early in the war,considering the pressures being
exerted on the Serbs outside the envisaged borders of the Serbian Republic
of BH , the belief prevails among the members of the units that it is neces
sary to take reciprocal action in exchanges, that is, in resetding the
population of other nationalities.95The RS M UP chief of police in Kljuc,
Vinko Kondic, reported to his superiors in Banja Luka that extensive
pressure had been applied against Muslims to emigrate.96
This operation was from the outset a remarkably brutal process. According
to a mid-June 1992 report from the 1st Krajina Corps, the most difficult
situation concerns the Muslims and Croat refugees in the area of the AR
(Autonomous Region of Bosnian] Krajina.. The attempt to expel them to
Central Bosnia failed because of transportation difficulties and their
resistance to leaving their places [of residence]. This is giving rise to
vindictiveness and revenge and is resulting in the enemy closing its ranks.97
The fact that non-Serbs did not wish to leave and that the VRS and RS MUP
were assisting in their removal, unmistakably demonstrates the violent nature
of the removal process and that the violence (vindictiveness and revenge)
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 17
escalated as resistance was encountered. There is litde in the way of critical
commentary in VRS or RS MUP documentation on the merits of the pol
icy of ethnic cleansing; when criticisms were raised, they dealt for the most
part with logistical matters and non-Serb resistance.98
In light of the scale of this operation, considerable planning and coordi
nation were necessary between the Bosnian Serb civilian authorities (both
central and local), the VRS, and RS MUP. Non-Serbs were permitted to
leave only i f they agreed to depart permanently and voluntarily from their
places of domicile. I f they agreed, the RS M UP would certify that they
were not suspected of committing any crimes. Non-Serbs were required to
submit requests to unregister from their municipalities and transfer owner
ship of their moveable and immoveable properties; they could take with
them only DM 300. In this fashion, thousands of non-Serbs were evacuated
by the RS MUP and the military police.99Warehouses were established to
store non-Serb moveable property, while abandoned homes and apartments
were duly registered by the police authorities.100The ethnic cleansing of
entire municipalities was often recorded in great detail. The VRS brigade in
the town of Kljuc recorded the departure of 16,806 non-Serbs from several
local municipalities, which before the war had Muslim pluralities. In the
town of Kljuc only 884 non-Serbs remained as of February 1993, but are
getting ready or are ready to leave.101It is also evident through VRS docu
mentation that all Muslim civilians were collectively treated as members of
the Green Berets, a reference to the Bosnian government forces, and that
thousands were detained. A report filed by the 1st Krajina Corps on 1June
1992 noted that, in Prijedor municipality alone, more than 7,000 Green
Berets were believed to be in the Omarska andTrnopolje detention camps.
In the town of Bosanski Novi, the local militia (Territorial Defence force)
and military police units assembled a train consisting of twenty-two catde
wagons, which were used to deport roughly 4,000 inhabitants of Blagaj
Japra and environs to Bosnian government territory.102
The RS M UP centre in Banja Luka reported in August 1992 on the vast
scale and systematic nature of the ethnic cleansing that had occurred in
ethnically mixed Prijedor, Sanski Most, and Bosanski Novi municipalities,
all in the Bosnian Krajina. It estimated that nearly 5,000 non-Serbs had
departed from Prijedor municipality on the eve of the conflict, but between
May and August 1992 another 20,000 non-Serbs had simply left without
following the legally prescribed procedure for unregistering citizens legal
places of residence. Another 13,180 persons, mainly Muslims, had submitted
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
applications to unregister their place of residence, and were awaiting
approval to depart as of August 1992. (On 29 September 1992, the Prijedor
police station reported that it had officially processed 15,280 applications for
emigration from the municipality.103) In Sanski Most municipality, about
3,000 non-Serbs hadmoved out since May 1992, without prior registration
with the Serb police authorities. Between May and mid-August 1992,
another 12,000 Muslims and Croats applied to the local police to unregister
their place of residence. These persons declared that they wished to leave
the municipality in order to resettle, gave statements that they would either
sell or give away their real estate, their moveable and immoveable assets, and
put their moveable property down on a list for transport.104 In Bosanski
Novi municipality, about 500 Muslims had fled the region in May 1992,
while 3,500 left the municipality in early June 1992 with the agreement of
the local Serb authorities. Another 5,680 persons unregistered their resi
dency in Bosanski Novi and departed on 23 July 1992. Before leaving,
according to an RS MUP report, these citizens gave statements before the
competent municipal organs that their resettlement was voluntary, [and]
indicated the status of their immovable and moveable property. Another
1,200 Muslims left that same day, escorted by UNPROFOR and the U N
High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), but without proper documen
tation from the Serb authorities. Within three months, more than 10,000
non-Serbs had left the municipality.105 Some non-Serbs declared their
loyalty to the Bosnian Serb regime in an attempt to avoid resettlement. An
RS MUP report of 21July 1992 from Sokolac noted that the last remaining
Muslim family in the town had been murdered by unknown perpetrators,
despite its declaration of loyalty. The same report observed that all Muslim
houses had been plundered.106
Ethnic Cleansing: The Detention Centres
The VRS, RS MUP, and various paramilitaries participated in the mass
detention of the non-Serb civilian population. Most of the non-Serb civil
ians detained during VRS military operations were processed through local
police stations or investigative and collection centres for interrogation by
the RS MUP. The formation of detention centres was linked closely to the
Bosnian Serb capture of several ethnically mixed municipalities. The seizure
of Prijedor serves as a case in point. Once the Bosnian Serbs had asserted
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 19
control, most non-Serbs were removed from positions of responsibility. The
local Muslims and Croats attempted on 30 May 1992 to retake the town,
which led to the roundup of the entire non-Serb population and harsh VRS
attacks against several local Muslim villages, such as Hambarine and Kozarac.
Several atrocities were perpetrated during these operations. The mass deten
tion of non-Serb civilians led to the creation of the Omarska, Keraterm, and
Trnopolje camps, all three of which were formed by order of Simo Drljaca,
the Serb police chief of Prijedor. Planned initially to function only for a few
weeks, the Omarska camp remained in operation until late August 1992.107
In Sanski Most municipality, at least three detention centres existed, one
at a sports hall and two at commercial facilities. The guards were typically
local police and military reservists. In Bosanski Novi municipality, many
non-Serbs were held at a football stadium, while in the town of Bosanski
Samac a school served as the primary detention facility.108 In Prijedor
municipality the Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje camps were the main
detention facilities. Prisoners of war were sent to the Manjaca camp, which
was under VRS jurisdiction.109The Omarska camp was formed at the end
of May 1992, but quickly reached its capacity; the Keraterm and Trnopolje
camps were opened the following month. After prisoners had been crimi
nally processed at Omarska, they were dispatched either to Trnopolje and
Keraterm or to Manjaca. The Omarska and Keraterm camps were under
police administration and the guards were under strict orders not to disclose
any information about the camps. Some of the guards at the Trnopolje
camp were military personnel.110 An RS M UP police report from August
1992 noted that, between 27 May and 16 August 1992, 3,334 persons under
went criminal processing at the Omarska camp.111According to the same
source, nearly 6,000 non-Serbs were officially processed through Omarska,
Keraterm, and Trnopolje, which were guarded by just under 200 RS MUP
regular and reserve police.112 A total of 1,655 non-Serbs were officially
processed through the Sanski Most camps.113 Omarska and Keraterm were
dismantled on 21 August 1992,Trnopolje in November 1992, and Manjaca
in December 1992.114
After arriving at the camps and other detention centres, prisoners were
placed in priority groups. In Sanski Most, they were categorized either as
politicians'/ nationalist extremists, or as people unwelcome in Sanski Most
municipality.115 A Bosnian Serb police report on Omarska camp similarly
referred to three categories of detainees, who were sorted according to the
degree of their personal responsibility in the armed conflict.The third and
220 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
largest category included non-Serb civilians who had been detainedbecause
their extremists had prevented them from withdrawing to a secure place
[stc], but who had no direct role in the conflict.116 The available documen
tation demonstrates that both the VRS Main Staff and the RS MUP were
aware of the atrocious conditions in the camps, including mass killings.117 In
late July 1992, the international community became aware of the existence
of these camps and, as a result of escalating international opprobrium, the
Bosnian Serb authorities moved to close them.118
According to its own records, the VRS understood that most civilian
detainees in the camps had not participated in the armed conflict and had
committed no crimes. These camps were thus not merely processing
centres, where prisoners were vetted to determine their criminal culpability
in the war or, as was the stated purpose of the Trnopolje camp, to protect
civilians who had found themselves trapped in a combat zone.119 The high
degree of coordination between the Bosnian Serb civilian authorities, the
RS MUP, and VRS in establishing and overseeing these camps, in addition
to the fact that a significant number of prisoners were regularly transferred
between camps, demonstrates a considerable degree of planning and coordi
nation.The fact that prisoners were forced to endure horrendous conditions
and not permitted to return to their homes, reveals that the camps were part
of a policy of planned expulsion.120 The abuse of camp detainees began
immediately upon their arrival, and thereafter was constant and widespread.
They were beaten as they were led from the buses which brought them to
the camps and often had their identity documents and money stolen from
them. Many were forced to sing Serb nationalist songs and to sit on the
burning asphalt for hours without being allowed to move. All were inter
rogated and many were repeatedly tortured. Scores of detainees, probably
several hundred, were killed. Detainees were held in crowded conditions,
with little food or water and with no real toilets. The sick and wounded
received little or no medical treatment. Some women were molested and
raped. There was a pervasive climate of violence and fear. The I CT Y Trial
Chamber concluded, in a case against several former camp personnel, that
the crimes of persecution, murder, torture, and cruel treatment were wide
spread. The factual evidence shows that Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje
camps were the result of an intentional policy to impose a system of dis
crimination against non-Serbs. While none of the perpetrators subsequently
prosecuted at the I CT Y were architects of the camp system, they were fully
aware of the system of persecution and participated in the commission of
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 22 1
various cruelties. None of the defendants contested the facts surrounding
the camps or the abuses perpetrated there, only the degree of their indi
vidual responsibility.121
Ethnic Cleansing: The Killing
As the Bosnian Serb military campaign and ethnic cleansing commenced
after April 1992, both the VRS and RS M UP documented a number of kill
ings and retaliatory actions against non-Serb civilians and prisoners. The
scale of the violence clearly went far beyond what was reported, but those
cases that were documented shed light on the killing process. The Koricanske
Stijene (Koricani Cliffs) massacre involved the murder of more than 200
Bosniak and Croat men on 21August 1992 by members of a special detach
ment of Bosnian Serb police from Prijedor, known as the Intervention
Squad. It was commanded by a regular policeman, Miroslav Paras, who was
killed later in the war.122On that day, a group of about 1,200 civilian detain
ees, including men, women, and children, were released from the Trnopolje
camp and transported in a convoy of sixteen buses, tractors, and trailers
under Bosnian Serb police escort towards Travnik municipality in Bosnian
government-controlled territory. When the convoy approached Mount
Vlasic, at least 200 male prisoners, many of them infirm because of the
abuses they had suffered at Trnopolje, were diverted from the convoy by the
Intervention Squad.The convoy continued to Travnik, but the male prison
ers were robbed of their few remaining personal possessions, separated into
smaller groups, and taken to the Koricani Cliffs, where they were shot at
close range with automatic weapons, their bodies dumped over the cliffs
into the deep ravine. Before leaving, the perpetrators threw grenades down
the ravine to ensure there were no survivors. According to one of the sur
vivors, during the killing one of the policemen had shouted, You Turks
got what you deserved!123Twelve prisoners survived by jumping into the
ravine when the shooting started. Seven were later found by a unit of the VRS.
In October 1992 they were handed to the Internationa] Committee of the
Red Cross.
When the local VRS military commander learnt of the massacre, he
compiled a special report to the 1st Krajina Corps. He observed that several
refugees were taken out and genocide [sic] against the civilians was com
mitted by killing them in various ways and throwing them into the [illegible!
222 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
river canyon. The report made clear that the perpetrators were Bosnian
Serb police and that the victims were civilians. The VRS military command
later criticized the local Serb civilian authorities for failing to notify them
of the convoy, presumably because the VRS presence might have helped to
avert the atrocity, but it did not criticize them for their lack of action in
prosecuting the perpetrators. Another VRS report from early September
1992 about the Koricani Cliffs massacre simply noted that it is very fortu
nate that the international community did not find out about it in more
detail.124 The VRS report prompted the I nterior Minister Mico Stanisic to
order an investigation. However, the Prijedor police chief, Drljaca, whose
men had committed the killings probably on his orders, dragged the matter
out into October, claiming that his men were deployed in combat oper
ations and that an investigation could not be carried out at the time. The
Bosnian Serb authorities never took disciplinary action against any of the
perpetrators.12'
The perpetrators of the Koricani Cliffs massacre were archetypal
ordinary men, not unlike the Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje camp
personnel. They were all regular or reserve policemen. For the most part,
they were young, mostly in their twenties, and of seemingly unremarkable
backgrounds. The Intervention Squads deputy commander, Petar Civcic,
was only 22 at the time of the massacre, while another ringleader, Darko
Mrdja, was 25. A local man who had been employed as a worker at the
Omarska mines before the war turned him into a low-ranking reserve
policeman, Mrdja had personally participated in the selection and killing of
the prisoners, even i f the order to commit the killings had been issued by
Drljaca and his deputy, Dusan Jankovic, neither of whom was present at the
scene. The de facto commander of the Omarska camp was Zeljko Mejakic,
a 28-year-old professional police officer, who was found guilty by the
I CT Y Trial Chamber of several counts of crimes against humanity, includ
ing murder, torture, sexual violence, and other inhumane acts. Two of the
camp shift conunanders at Omarska, the regular policemen Momcilo
(iruban (31) and Dusko Knezevic (25), also participated in the murder and
torture of detainees. The commander of Keraterm security, Dusko Sikirica
(28), and the deputy commander of the guard service, Miroslav Kvocka (35),
were also regular policeman who actively engaged in a variety of abuses.
Two police reservists stood out for their brutality in the camps: Dragoljub
Prcac (55), a retired policeman and former crime technician, served as the
administrative aide to the Omarska camp commander but participated 111
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 2 3
the murder ot several detainees; and Zoran Zigic (34), a civilian taxi-driver
who was mobilized into the reserve police and worked as a guard at
Keraterm, Omarska, andTrnopolje camps, where he murdered at least two
detainees and participated in the beatings of many others. Many of these
men raped female detainees.126
At his trial in The Hague, where he plead guilty, Mrdja claimed that he
had acted under the duress of his superiors orders and that, had he not car
ried them out, he would have suffered serious consequences and possibly
death.127Furthermore, he alleged that as a young, low-ranking member of
the Intervention Squad he had been subjected to the steady anti-Muslim
indoctrination and hate propaganda of his superiors. He asserted that propa
ganda led him to believe that we [Serbs] were faced with the same threat as
Jasenovac was in the past...I wanted to defend my people.128 The I CT Y
Trial Chamber, while not ruling out that circumstance may have had some
influence on his behaviour, was not persuaded by the argument that Mrdja
had acted under duress. It noted the lack of evidence of any meaningful
attempt by Mrdja to dissociate himself from the killings.129 In subsequent
cases against other perpetrators of Koric'ani Cliffs massacre, it emerged that
at least one policeman, the 24-year-old Gordan Djuric, did not want to
participate in the massacre and became visibly ill during the killing; he was
ordered instead to guard the location during the executions, but avoided
direct participation.130 He was never punished by his superiors for refusing
to participate in the killings. Other alleged perpetrators, like the 22-year-old
policeman Radoslav Knezevic, reportedly had little difficulty killing.
He remained an active duty police officer for more than a decade after the
massacre and even perpetrated the murder of a Muslim family in Prijedor
in 1994, for which he was convicted only after being stripped of his duties
in 2003.131
A second large-scale massacre, in KotorVaros in November 1992, involved
the troops of the 1st Krajina Corps, which had earlier labelled the Koricani
Cliffs massacre as an act ofgenocide. The only area of KotorVaros munici
pality which remained until November 1992 outside VRS control was the
hamlet of Vecici. The VRS had enveloped Vecici and initiated negotiations
for the surrender and removal of the non-Serb population. On the night of
23 November 1992, the villages defenders, about 400 to 500 Bosnian
Muslims and Croats, attempted to fight their way through VRS lines to
Bosnian government territory, while the women and children surrendered.
The VRS stopped the advance and captured, according to the 1st Krajina
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W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
Corps combat report of 4 November 1992, a large number of Ustasa-
Muslim soldiers; the women and children were referred to simply as
members of the Green Berets.The 1st Krajina Corps further noted that a
brutal massacre of the [roughly 200] captured members of the Green Berets
started because of the wounding of four and killing of one soldier of the [1st
Krajina Corps] Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade.132 The report
claimed that unspecified measures had been taken to prevent such actions
in future, and that the women and children had been evacuated to Bosnian
government territory. Within days, however, VRS documents no longer
referred to a massacre, but only to combat deaths, nor is it clear that any
action was taken to punish the perpetrators who had massacred the prisoners
of war.133
In both the Koric'ani Cliffs andVecici massacres, the victims were non-
Serb men and the perpetrators were either Serb pohce or soldiers. A variety
of motives may have been at play. In the Vecici incident, retaliation for the
death and wounding of fellow soldiers, who had fought for months to take
the hamlet, was the declared cause. At Koricani Cliffs the pohce perpetrators
were evidently ordered to carry out the massacre, although revenge and
theft may have played a part. In both cases, however, the nationalist com
ponent and hatred were clearly contributing factors.
After the fall otVecici, the Muslim women and young boys were taken to
the Serb village of Grabovci, where they spent the night in a school before
joining a convoy of Muslim and Croat refugees leaving for central Bosnia
the next day. The following morning they were allowed to board a bus for
Bosnian-held territory, but first they were ordered to walk through a cor
ridor of local Serb civilians,so that they could beat us with wooden sticks
and throw stones at us. The 14-year old Elvedin Pasic later recalled that
I was the last one to go. They beat me hard on the back and when I
finally reached the bus, a Serb woman all dressed in black grabbed a knife
and said she would kill me. I was petrified. A soldier pushed her away and
threw me into the bus.134 This incident served as a powerfully symbolic act
of subjugation and humiliation of the other, just as it is a testament to
the shattering impact of war on communal relations and its associated
social polarization.
Another incident, this one from the war in Croatia, serves further to
illustrate the nature of wartime violence and the perpetrator phenomenon.
The town of Gospic and its environs in the Lika region of Croatia witnessed
two well-documented massacres, the first in October 1991 and the other in
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 225
September 1993. The Lika region had until 1991 a mixed population of
Croats and Serbs, while a third of Gospics 9,000 inhabitants were Serbs.
Most of eastern and southern Lika were occupied in 1991 by the J N A and
Croatian Serb forces, which expelled virtually the entire Croat population.
The other areas of Lika, including Gospic, remained under Croatian con
trol. Many Serbs had fled, either to Croatian Serb territory or larger Croatian
cities, while some, mainly those in mixed marriages, stayed behind. In the
summer of 1991, Gospic became a frontline town which sustained consider
able damage through repeated shelling. It had several J N A garrisons, which
were seized by the local Croatian forces in mid-September 1991. On 6
October 1991, a meeting was convened of the Gospic Crisis Staff, an ad hoc
provisional administration which had been formed earlier in the war to
coordinate the towns defence against the J N A and Croatian Serb forces.
The nominal head of the Crisis Staff was Ante Karic, a former Communist
who gradually lost influence to Tihomir Oreskovic, the Crisis Staffs sec
retary and real authority. Oreskovic had called the 6 October meeting, the
purpose of which was to compile a list of the remaining Serbs of Gospic
who were to be arrested and killed, presumably because they formed a fifth
column. The ostensible pretext for the 6 October meeting was the recent
expulsion and killing of several Croat civilians by Serb forces and the
destruction by shelling of the towns church. Oreskovic emerged as the key
architect of the 1991 operations, although the local commander of Croatian
forces, Mirko Norac, directed the actual executions.135
Within days of the 6 October meeting, dozens of Serbs and some Croats
were rounded up by the police in Gospic and surrounding locahties. They
were taken by military vehicles to a forest near Pazariste and other sites
where between 16 and 18 October, they were executed by members of a
pohce unit of the Croatian Interior Ministry (MUP) under Noracs com
mand. Norac directed the executions, personally killing one woman in
order to incite his men to kill. The number of civilians who were killed has
not been established conclusively, but more than 100 Serbs and about forty
unpatriotic Croats, who had Serb spouses and were thus deemed unre
liable, may have been murdered.136 The perpetrators also went to great
lengths to conceal all evidence of the crime.137Although they had not ordered
the killings, the Croatian authorities at Zagreb, including the Defence and
Interior Ministers and the president FranjoTudjman, were soon made aware
of the massacre through various channels. The head of the Gospic Crisis
Staff, Ante Karic, who had not participated in the 6 October meeting, wrote
22 6 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
directly to Tudjman claiming that, although the town had been successfully
defended,various groups of nationalists and volunteers had appeared in the
town and rallied around Oreskovic, who had emerged as the boss of an
unsavoury local regime. Tudjman evidently believed that there was some
truth to these claims and ordered an investigation.138Oreskovic was briefly
detained, but neither he nor the other perpetrators were punished for
their crime.139
Several of these local actors subsequently participated in the Medak
Pocket operation between 9 and 17 September 1993, when the Croatian
Army attempted to breach a large Serb salient just south of Gospic. After
several days of fighting, the Croatian Army routed the local Serb force but
also perpetrated crimes against Serb civilians and prisoners of war and
looted more than 300 properties. When the UN forces secured the area,
they uncovered unambiguous signs of a massacre and of a hasty attempt to
conceal the evidence. I CT Y investigators later determined the identity of
twenty-nine Serb civilian victims but estimated that more than 100 had
been killed. The two most senior Croatian military commanders in Gospic,
Brigadier Rahim Ademi and General Mirko Norac, were indicted in 2001
and 2004, respectively, by the I CT Y for these killings.140At the time, how
ever, Norac continued his steady rise through the ranks and was later even
promoted to the rank of Major-General in the Croatian Army.
As in the case of the Koricani Cliffs massacre, the perpetrators of the
Gospic and Medak Pocket massacres were in many respects ordinary men.
At the time of the 1991 killings, the two young ringleaders, Oreskovic (34)
and Norac (24), headed the local civilian and military administrations,
respectively. Oreskovic was an obscure migr who had returned to Croatia
to participate in the countrys defence, while Norac had been a waiter
before the war. Both rose quite rapidly through the ranks of the nascent
Croatian police/ military and civil administrations in 1991, despite their
obvious lack of qualifications and training. They clearly understood the
conflict as a war of independence and, given their actions at Gospic, as an
opportunity to rid the country of Serbs.141A nationahst component was
certainly at workthey saw their victims as Chetnik aggressors, just as
the killers at the Koricani Cliffs saw only Turks and Ustasealthough
personal gain may also have played a role, given the fact that they and their men
participated in extensive looting of abandoned Serb properties. While many
local citizens were appalled by the nature of the OreskovicNorac regime in
Gospic, no one 111 the provincial frontline town dared publicly to protest
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 227
at what had happened. Only after the war did some, hke the former soldier
Milan Levar, speak out against the violence, only to be killed in August 2000
by unknown assailants for providing statements to the press and I CT Y
investigators against his former commanders. Levar recalled how in the
atmosphere of the war euphoria [in 1991], it was easy to rule desperate
people. Given the pervasive atmosphere of fear and insecurity,you could
do whatever you wanted with the few remaining people.142
Janine Natalya Clark has highlighted, in her study of perpetrator conduct
in the Bosnian war, the complexity of perpetrator behaviour, the limitations
of personality-based approaches, and the importance of circumstances.143
This assessment is shared by Slavenka Drakulic in her profile of several per
petrators. She believes that the brutalities perpetrated during the war had
more to do with circumstances than with character. What transformed
brutality and murder into seemingly legitimate behaviour was the successful
construction of the other as both a threat and an object of hatred. Myths,
prejudices, and collective memories were successfully exploited by elites to
this end, as they were rooted in reality, either in the history of earlier wars
or in cultural and religious differences.144This process was critically impor
tant in order to condition segments of the population to commit violence;
dehumanizing the other created a psychological detachment from the vic
tims and made easier their elimination. Perpetrators are seldom indifferent
to their victims, whom they portray not as victims but as the other, that is,
as perpetrators who pose a dire threat.Victims are thus defined as a mono
lith, whose sole purpose is allegedly to destroy the perpetrator group.143As
a result, the behaviour of perpetrators towards their victims is rarely
dispassionate but, as Mark Levene has argued, often extremely intimate,
gratuitous i f not sado-erotic.146Perpetrators are driven, as Michael Mann
has argued, by the many motives that are normally found among ordinary
people participating in more mundane social movements. They are led
along by a core of radical militants to perpetrate the murder of civilians
because of their sense ofrighteousness, by their fundamental belief that they
are serving the cause of their nation at a time of crisis.147Jacques Semelin has
similarly argued that people become killers for several reasons, whether out of
ideological conviction, opportunism, chance, or other factors.148He has sug
gested that individual action in such cases should be understood on two levels.
The first is the official public arena, that of ideology, security, and the imagi
nary construct. Many perpetrators sincerely believe that the brutalities they
indict are committed in pursuit of some civilizing mission, typically in
2 2 8 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
defence of their nation when it is perceived to be under siege. In this context,
mass killing may be seen as a necessity. The second is the unofficial arena
consisting potentially of a multitude of reasons, be it greed, careerism,
revenge, self-defence, or other factors.149As Semehn notes,Individuals join
in the murderous dynamic not as automata droning on with the same
stereotyped ideological discourse, but with different histories, and hence
with different expectations and personal motivations.150
Whether in the Balkans or elsewhere, perpetrators typically possess varying
motives, such as commitment to the nationalist cause, obedience to orders,
peer pressure, fear, or even the opportunity for material gain. Circumstances
are important, as individuals who normally might never consider commit
ting such acts or have the opportunity to commit them are given the means,
permission, and encouragement to do so. Once they have entered into what
Ervin Straub has labelled a continuum of destruction, their actions certainly
transform their values.151Prolonged involvement in killing desensitizes per
petrators and does away with any sense of pity for the anguish of the victims.
Some of the perpetrators at the Koricani Cliffs had previously served as
guards at Omarska and elsewhere, while those at the Medak Pocket had
participated in the killings at Gospic two years earlier. In the context of war
and the increasing dehumanization of the other, the restraints on the use of
violence are few or absent and killing may become routine. In the cases cited
above, local actors took it upon themselves to perpetrate killings which,
while not direcdy condoned by their respective ministries, were understood
to be permissible in light of the security threat, prevailing nationalist dis
course, and systematic discrimination against the other. In short, they had
licence to operate with impunity.
Another example from the Bosnian Serb war campaign may serve to illus
trate this point further. The RS M UP formed several special detachments
after April 1992 that engaged in combat and ethnic cleansing. Some local
police stations had their own special units.152The RS M UP Banja Luka
Special Brigade, a heavily armed combat unit of some 150 policemen,
gained notoriety for its cruel behaviour. According to Bosnian Serb regular
police reports, in May 1992 the Special Brigade stole DM 18,000 and other
goods from a prominent Muslim in the town of Bosanski Novi, and days
later assaulted a Muslim cleric.153TheVRS and Serb civilian authorities in the
town of Kotor Varos both complained about the behaviour of the same unit.
When in July 1992 two of its officers were arrested by the regular police for
driving a stolen vehicle, the Special Brigade demanded the release of its
honourable men.The regular police authorities refused, at which point the
Special Brigade threatened to storm the prison where the two officers were
being held. They were promptly released. The commander of the regular
police in Banja Luka, Vladimir Tutus, complained to his superiors in late July
1992 that the incident had seriously damaged the rule of law in the nascent
Bosnian Serb state, calling attention to the fact that the state cannot be built
on violence. Indeed, the same unit continued to perpetrate various crimes,
including the murder of civilians and, according to a Bosnian Serb police
report from 1993, the massive plundering of deserted Muslim homes.154
And yet there is no evidence that attempts were made by the Bosnian Serb
authorities to punish those responsible.155Judging by the available Bosnian
Serb documentation, these special detachmentsat Banja Luka, Bijeljina,
Zvornik, Trebinje, and elsewherewere involved in many of the most
terrible crimes (described variously as cleansing the terrain, mopping up,
and the like) associated with ethnic cleansing.156 Indeed, in its annual report
for 1992, the RS MUP commended its personnel, the concerns of some
senior staff about the behaviour of individual units notwithstanding, for their
active engagement in ethnic cleansing:In addition to participating in armed
conflict on the frontlines, the police direcdy carried out a cleansing (cifcenje)
of the terrain of the remaining enemy groups and individuals.157It is there
fore hardly surprising that none of the perpetrators, whether of the Banja
Luka Special Brigade or other armed groups, were reprimanded by or suf
fered any disciplinary action from their superiors.
Ethnic Cleansing: The Expropriation of Property,
Looting, and Paramilitaries
The expropriation of property belonging to a victim group is a central
component of ethnic cleansing campaigns, as the state moves to assert con
trol of assets abandoned by those groups which had been expelled or forced
to flee. On 8 June 1992 the Bosnian Serb leadership issued the Instructions
on Mandatory Surrender of War Booty and Booty Acquired by Other
Means to the Reserves of Goods, which served as guidelines relating to
the expropriation of non-Serb property.158 On 13 July 1992 they ordered the
mandatory surrender of all war booty to the state reserve, formalizing the
gathering, management, and storage of all assets seized during the campaign
of ethnic cleansing. The assets seized by theVRS and RS MUP were to be
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 2 9
230 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
transferred to competent local and republican political authorities for
further handling; the civilian authorities were to register and safeguard the
assets, either in warehouses or at local financial institutions. These directives
contained no mechanisms whereby property could be reclaimed by its
previous owners.159As Ewan Brown has noted,it is clear that an organized
and systemic process was adopted by which the non-Serbs would, not only,
be removed from their home area and be unable to return but by which
their property would be taken from them with the intention of it being
placed in the Bosnian Serb coffers for use by and the funding of the new
Bosnian Serb state.160 At a very early stage, however, this process was
endangered by mass looting and violence.
As early as April 1992, the RS MUP experienced difficulty maintaining
law and order on Bosnian Serb territory. On 1$ and 17 April 1992, the
Interior Minister ordered the police to act against anyone committing loot
ing, theft, and other unauthorized activities. By late May 1992, both the RS
MUP and Bosnian Serb civilian authorities were gravely concerned about
the striking increase in criminal activity.161The RS MUP Bijeljina centre
attributed on 30 May 1992 the dramatic spike in the incidence of crime to
the deployment of the police to combat operations and away from regular
policing. On 31 May 1992, the RS MUP station inVraca, a Serb-controlled
suburb of Sarajevo, attributed the rise in criminal activity to persons who
were earlier predisposed towards the commission of criminal acts. Now,
they are doing this under the protection of the uniform.162 Several RS
MUP stations ascribed looting and other crime largely to the presence of
paramilitaries and the widespread distribution of illegal firearms.163However,
a July 1992 assessment from the RS M UF Banja Luka station noted that
large-scale disciplinary problems (including looting) existed within the
police force.164On 2 J uly 1992, aVRS military police report from the town
of Bosanska Krupa referred to the massive involvement of military con
scripts in plundering.165
There is recurring mention in VRS and RS M UP documentation of
looting andwar profiteering by soldiers, the police (active and reserve), and
others, which was acknowledged to be a significant problem. On 23 June
1992 the VRS Main Staff observed several incidents of the misappropriation
of military material, as well as civilian property, particularly vehicles, elec
tronic equipment and household appliances, money, jewellery and the like.
A police report from Sanski Most in early summer 1992 observed that, in
those villages cleansed by the VRS, there was large-scale plunder and
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
looting of property, both by members of the army and the civilian
population.166TheVRS Main Staffissued orders to all units to rein in looting.167
While the VRS Military Prosecutors Office did charge several military
personnel for the theft of property, the problem persisted throughout 1992.168
The Military Prosecutors Office reported in September 1992 that crimes
against property occur most frequendy in zones caught up in combat
operations. It concluded that the perpetrators are usually conscripts.169 In
early September 1992, Interior Minister Stanisic issued strict orders to the
police, reminding them that only authorized personnel could confiscate war
booty in accordance with official guidelines.170Judging by subsequent police
reporting, looting remained a considerable problem. In October 1992 the RS
MUP Banja Luka centre submitted a revealing report which cited the presence
of several paramilitary groups, which had stolen everything that they could
get. These groups had a halo of untouchability given their role in the war,
leaving the regular police in a very delicate situation.171
The fact that the VRS and RS MUP recorded such incidents, and
occasionally intervened to stop individual or group action by their person
nel, speaks to the authorities distinction between legitimate and illegitimate
violence, and the need to curtail the latter. The Bosnian Serb leaders had
established regulated procedures for the expropriation of non-Serb prop
erty, which were legalized through formal political channels. They were
determined to allocate this property by directive and through official chan
nels to military personnel, veterans, war widows, and those Serbs fleeing or
forced from non-Serb territory. Officially sanctioned seizures, as was the
case with killing, were not criticized by the military or police as such,
whether out of nationalist conviction or because these institutions stood to
benefit from the process.172But informal seizureslooting andwar profit
eeringwere deemed to contribute to rising discontent among the popu
lation, to be unpatriotic, and harmful for morale. Looting was also seen as a
disciplinary weakness, undermining the chain of command and the VRSs
and RS M UPs ability to carry through with its assigned tasks. Perhaps most
important, however, was the perception that individual and group looting
robbed the Bosnian Serb authorities of legitimate war booty, which was to
be allocated according to the needs of the Serb people in Bosnia.173There
is in the official reporting a clear i f not always explicit distinction, between
officially sanctioned policies of violence and unsanctioned violence, which
had to be reined in. The former entailed the politically sanctioned removal
of non-Serbsa process that was often characterized and legitimized as a
2 3 2 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
struggle against fascism174 and/ or for national liberation175by state
entities and the expropriation of their properties, which were to become
state assets. Unsanctioned violence seemingly undermined the nascent state
and nationalist project. Neither the VRS nor the RS MUP were troubled by
the fact that these goods were obtained from non-Serbsthat this was war
booty derived from ethnic cleansingbut only how this was achieved and
who was to benefit from it.176
The increase in looting and crime was linked in part to the presence of
Serb paramilitary groups, many of which worked closely or in parallel with
the RS M UP from the first months of the war. The Serb Defence Forces
(SOS) paramilitary group was subordinated to the RS MUP Banja Luka
centre, while the Bijeljina police in north-eastern Bosnia worked intimately
with Zeljko Raznatovic Arkans Serbian Volunteer Guard (Tigers), which
operated its own prison in Bijeljina.177 These paramilitary groups were
actively engaged in ethnic cleansing. The Bosnian Serb central authorities
eventually concluded that most paramilitaries had a negative impact on
operations and, in mid-June 1992, ordered their dissolution. This was an
attempt to impose institutional structures over informal violence as part of
the consolidation of the Bosnian Serb state and its assertion of a monopoly
of violence. Henceforth, all paramilitaries were to be incorporated either
into the reserve police or regular military. However, on 28 July 1992 the
VRS reported the existence of at least sixty active paramilitary groups on
Bosnian Serb territory. The same report claimed that these paramilitaries
were composed of criminal and pathological elements, were of poor com
bat quality, devoted most of their efforts to criminal activity, and often
exhibited extreme hatred of non-Serbs.The VRS report recommended that
every armed Serb should be placed under the exclusive command of the
army.178 Some of these paramilitary units were in fact subsequently incor
porated into the VRS and their commanders given ranks.179 In late July
1992, the VRS military police and RS M UP forces were deployed to Zvornik
to eliminate the notorious Yellow Wasps. Sixty-five paramilitaries were
detained, criminal investigations were initiated against eleven, and the others
were mobilized into the VRS. An RS MUP investigation uncovered that the
Yellow Wasps, who had perpetrated killings of Muslims in the Zvornik area,
bad cooperated extensively with the local police. It should not surprise,
therefore, that none of the Zvornik paramilitaries were ever prosecuted by
Bosnian Serb authorities for their crimes.180Indeed, despite belated attempts
by the RS MUP leadership to co-opt paramilitary groups and rein in
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233
informal violence, in several localities the police continued to cooperate
with these groups. The Serb police chief of Ilidza insisted, in an early August
1992 report to the Interior Minister, that local circumstances necessitated
cooperation with Serb volunteers, to whom he had distributed arms.The
Serb chief of police in the Sarajevo region claimed that month that many
reserve policemen had joined paramilitary groups.181This same official
summed up the problem in November 1992, when he noted that at the start
of the war these paramilitary formations had gained informal legitimacy
alongside the regular military. Over time, however, they became strong and
independent and presented a hindrance and a real object of derision in the
overall front of the organization of Serbian forces.182
What this official failed to note was that many of the most powerful
paramilitary groups, like Arkans Tigers, had been armed and financed in part
by the Serbian state and thus enjoyed tacit endorsement. However, the
paramilitary phenomenon in general was yet further testament to the fact
that, once the Bosnian Serb leadership had unleashed the whirlwind of war
and ethnic cleansing, wartime violence (killing, looting, plunder) frequendy
acquired a dynamic of its own and was shaped by local actors who, while
operating in support of the strategic goals articulated by nationalist elites,
frequendy pursued their own agendas, interests, and vendettas. O f course,
these local agendas were not necessarily inimical to elite objectives. On the
contrary, in all the cases discussed here, and especially in instances involving
the killing of civilians, none of the local actors, be they paramilitaries, reserve
policemen, or active duty police and military, were punished by the authorities
for crimes ostensibly committed in pursuit of the state-building project. The
emergence of the paramilitary phenomenon exemplifies how the disin
tegration of Yugoslavia, and its monopoly of violence, was attended by
various lower level initiatives which contributed significandy to the decen
tralization of physical force and shaped the dynamics of local violence.
From Ethnic Cleansing to Dayton
In April 1993, the increasingly frail coalition between Bosnian Croats and
Muslims collapsed. The two sides had supported independence and were
united in opposition to the J N A and Bosnian Serb forces throughout 1992.
In some areas, as in Herzegovina, the HVO even had separate Muslim
detachments. A decisive turn came in January 1993, during the peace talks
234
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chaired by Vance and Lord Robert Owen.The proposedVanceOwen Peace
Plan called for the creation of ten provinces in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with
three assigned to each of the constituent peoples and a tenth with special
status. The Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban signed the plan in January
1993; while a reluctant Izetbegovic signed on behalf of the Bosnian govern
ment in late March 1993.The Bosnian Serbs rejected the agreement. In the
event, the Bosnian Croat leadership decided to implement the proposed
territorial provisions of the VanceOwen Plan unilaterally; this entailed
enforcing HVO authority over ABiH units and the Muslim population in
the designatedCroat provinces. By mid-April 1993, a full-scale armed con
flict was initiated by the HVOwith the tacit support of the Croatian
authoritiesin central Bosnia and parts of Herzegovina.183In August 1993
the Croat Community of Herceg Bosna was renamed the Croat Republic
of Herceg Bosna. In the context of this armed conflict, HVO units perpe
trated several atrocities against Muslim civilians, notably at the villages of
Sovici and Doljani in (ablanica municipality and Ahmici in Vitez munici
pality (April 1993), the town of Mostar (May 1993), the village of Rastani in
Mostar municipality (September 1993), and at Stupni Do in Vares munici
pality (October 1993).184In the process, the Bosnian Croats also established
detention camps in which non-Croats were abused. Only in February 1994,
following US mediation, was a ceasefire established and a framework
adopted for a nominal MuslimCroat coalition as the future basis of the
Bosniak-Croat Federation.
While Serb and Croat forces were the main protagonists of ethnic
cleansing in Bosnia-LIerzegovina, Bosnian government forces also engaged
in ethnic cleansing albeit to a lesser degree. This included the establishment
of detention camps for and expulsion of non-Muslims from selected
areas, particularly in Sarajevo and central Bosnia. However, unlike the
Bosnian Serb and Croat states, the Bosnian persecution of non-Muslims
did not assume the character of official policy and was often shaped by
local commanders.185
The two most brutal years of the Bosnian war were its first and last, when
major military offensives were conducted. In an attempt to eliminate the
remaining Muslim enclaves and thus secure their grip on eastern Bosnia, in
spring and summer 1995 the Bosnian Serbs commenced a series of coordi
nated attacks on these territories. In the most violent of these assaults, the
VRS, supported by special police units of the Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry
and Serbian State Security, overran the Srebrenica enclave on 10- 11 July
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
235
1995. Almost immediately upon taking Srebrenica, and lasting from roughly
10 to 19 July, Bosnian Serb forces massacred all teenage and adult males,
estimated at 7,000 to 8,000 victims. In the multiple prosecutions at the
I CT Y stemming from the Srebrenica massacre, the most important, that of
General Radislav Krstic' of the VRS Drina Corps, resulted in April 2004 in a
conviction of aiding and abetting genocide, among other crimes.186The
Dutch UN battalion in Srebrenica, responsible for its safety, failed to inter
vene. Muslim females and young boys were deported to territories under
the control of the Bosnian authorities. The Srebrenica massacre provoked
worldwide opprobrium and helped to galvanize the international com
munity into military intervention. It also provided an opportunity for the
Croatian authorities to commence an offensive against the Croatian Serb
forces, which at the end of July 1995 participated in a joint operation with
the Bosnian Serb VRS against the Bihac enclave in north-west Bosnia, which
had a larger Muslim population than Srebrenica. On 4 August 1995 the
Croatian military launched Operation Storm, the single largest military
operation in the Yugoslav war that involved more than 130,000 Croatian
troops and police supported by Bosnian Croat HVO and ABiH units. Over
the next four days Croatian forces completely overran Serb-held territory
in Croatia.In the Balkans, there is now a whole new war to die in is how
one observer summed up the situation.187It is believed that between 120,000
and 150,000 Serb refugees fled or were expelled from Croatia to Serb-
controlled Bosnia and Serbia during the operation. Private dwellings and
Orthodox churches were deliberately vandalized or destroyed, while at least
700 Serbs were killed and twice that number disappeared.188 Tudjman
allegedly remarked at the end of August that the Serbs had disappeared
ignominiously, as i f they had never populated this land. We urged them to
stay, but they didnt listen to us and, well, bon voyage.189
l'he foreign factor, especially the role of the US, in the events of 1995 and
the conclusion of the war proved decisive. European Community efforts at
conflict resolution had failed in 19912, and thereafter the international
communitys attempts at mediation evolved through several stages and
involved a number of peace proposals. In 1993 both the VanceOwen Peace
Plan and later the OwenStoltenberg Plan involved preserving Bosnia-
Herzegovina as a state while dividing it internally along ethnic lines. The
territorial and other provisions of both proved contentious, however, with
the Bosnian Serbs rejecting the former plan and the Bosnian government
the latter. In spring 1994 the newly constitutedContact Group, consisting
236 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
of the US, UK, France, Russia, and Germany, assumed the lead. From that
point, both the US and Russia were actively engaged for the hrst time in
diplomatic discussions to end the war. In spring 1994, the US negotiated a
ceasefire between the Bosnian Croats and Muslims in addition to a feder
ation between the two parties. The 1994 Contact Group peace proposal
called for a single state with two entities, with the newly constituted
Bosniak-Croat Federation controlling 51 per cent and the Bosnian Serb
entity 49 per cent of the territory. This proposal provided the basic outlines
of the setdement that was eventually adopted at Dayton in November
1995.190However, the Contact Groups 1994 peace plan was rejected by the
Bosnian Serb leadership and thereafter the Contact Group was unable to
agree on measures to bring the Bosnian Serbs to the peace table. The US
advocated a policy of lift-and-strike, that is, lifting the UN arms embargo
against the Bosnian government and using NATO airpower against the
Bosnian Serbs. The UK and France threatened to withdraw their
UNPROFOR contingents from Bosnia i f the US adopted this strategy,
while Russia was similarly opposed to the policy.191
In the event, in addition to mediating an end to the Bosniak-Croat war,
in 1994 the US signed a military cooperation agreement with Croatia, pro
viding for increased contacts between the US and Croatian armed forces,
including access to US Defense Department training programmes. Shortly
thereafter, retired US military personnel began providing training to the
Croatian military in preparation for its August 1995 Operation Storm
against Croatian Serb forces.192As the violence and brutality of the Bosnian
war escalated in 1995as a result of the Bosnian Serb attack against UN
safe areas in eastern Bosnia (July 1995) and the Sarajevo market massacre
(August 1995)Western policy moved towards direct military intervention.
NATO deployed 10,000 troops to Bosnia as part of a Rapid Reaction Force,
ostensibly to protect UNPROFOR personnel, and at the end of August
1995 launched Operation Deliberate Force, a massive air bombing cam
paign against Bosnian Serb positions and the first offensive mission in
NATO history. In August and September 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army
suffered its first serious military reversals since April 1992. Direct foreign
intervention, driven primarily by the US, radically altered the military
balance of power in Bosnia and Croatia and paved the way to Dayton. As in
the nineteenth-century national liberation wars, so too in 1995 did foreign
intervention prove decisive in terms of crafting a political and
territorial setdement.
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237
In light ot the new military balance on the ground and vigorous NATO
involvement, Milosevic compelled the Bosnian Serb leadership to accept a
ceasefire.This set the stage for a peace deal. On i November 1995, the United
States convened an international conference on the Bosnian war at Dayton,
Ohio, attended by the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia; the latter two
served as representatives of their Bosnian Croat and Serb proxies, respectively.
The Dayton Accords (21 November), or General Framework Agreement for
Peace, were formalized in Paris on 14 December and officially ended the
forty-three-month-long war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The country was
divided into two entities: the Republika Srpska, with 49 per cent of the
territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina; and the Bosniak-Croat Federation. Despite
repeated pronouncements by the international community that policies of
ethnic cleansing would not be rewarded, the Dayton Accords codified ethnic
segregation even though they contained provisions for the return of refugees
and displaced persons. A NATO peacekeeping mission, known initially as
Implementation Force (I FOR), was deployed to enforce the Accords. As part
of the Dayton negotiations, the Croatian and Serbian governments con
cluded the Erdut Agreement (12 November) whereby the last remaining area
of Croatia under Serb control was demilitarized under UN administration.
The region reverted to Croatian jurisdiction in 1998.
The most extensive examination of war casualties to date, published by
the Bosnian Research and Documentation Centre (I DC) in Sarajevo, sug
gests that at least 97,207 combatants and non-combatants were killed and
1.8 million persons displaced in Bosnia-Herzegovina between April 1992
and November 1995. The majority of the victims were Bosnian Muslims
(65 per cent), followed by Serbs (25 per cent) and Croats (8 per cent),
although among the non-combatants 83 per cent of documented victims
were Bosnian Muslims.The I DC research suggests that the highest rates of
civilian victimization occurred in besieged towns,in addition to the Podrinje
(Drina River basin), the region of eastern Bosnia with the ethnically mixed
towns of Foca,Visegrad, and Zvornik, and in the Bosnian Krajina, both of
which were ethnically cleansed by Bosnian Serb forces in 1992.193The
number of deaths in Croatia, where the war was fought mainly in 19912
and 1995, is probably around 15,000, with half a million refugees and
displaced persons. These figures do not include the tens of thousands
of wounded, nor do they convey the extent of destruction of cultural
monuments and heritage sites, which was a deliberate component of
ethnic cleansing.
238 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
The Albanian Question: Kosovo and Macedonia
The Dayton Accords did little to ease the strained relations between Kosovo
Serbs and Albanians, who by 1995 had already endured nearly seven years of
centralist rule and discrimination; they lived segregated from official insti
tutions and Serbian political society. Following the 1989 constitutional
amendments, which were subsequently enshrined in the new Serbian con
stitution (1990), the Kosovo Albanian political elite boycotted Belgrade and
local institutions of government.1*'4They participated in the elections of the
1990s in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, reconstituted in April 1992 as
a union of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro, but under the pacifist
intellectual Ibrahim Rugova and his Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK)
they adopted a policy of passive resistance and established parallel cultural
and social institutions.195To a significant degree, this reflected the fact that
neither the Serbian authorities nor the Serbian democratic opposition made
any serious effort to accommodate the Albanians under Rugova or to bring
them into the political process. In the eyes of Serbian political society, the
Kosovo Albanians remained dangerous separatists who wanted the creation
of a Great Albanian state in the Balkans.196 Dayton disillusioned Kosovo
Albanians and the Serbian opposition equally; for the former, it failed to
recognize their autonomist demands and treated Milosevic as a legitimate
peacemaker, and for the latter, deeply disheartened by Serb reverses in
Croatia and Bosniacomparable psychologically i f not in scale to the
Smyrna disaster for Greek nationalismit served to focus resistance
against the Milosevic regime. For many Kosovo Albanians, impatient with
Rugovas pacifism, Dayton appeared to legitimize the use of violence. The
Serbian opposition, on the other hand, increasingly took to the streets to
contest the regime.
The creation of theKosova Liberation Army (UCK) marked an ominous
phase in the evolution of Kosovos political history and Serb-Albanian rela
tions.The U CK resorted to political violence, entering into a terrorist cam
paign by assassinating Serbian police and officialdom. Harsh Serbian police
and military counter-measures ensued, often out of all proportion to the
initial attacks. A crucial moment came in March 1997, when civil govern
ment in Albania collapsed as a result of failed financial pyramid schemes.
Military barracks and depots were plundered and many of these weapons
invariably made their way to Kosovo, where in 1998 the nascent U CK
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
239
engaged the Serbian authorities in a full-fledged war for independence.
Throughout this period, Rugovas LDK remained committed to non
violence even as it was sidelined by events.
The international communitys response to the crisis, formulated initially
through the Contact Group, now expanded through the inclusion of Italy,
was to call for a cessation of armed hostilities and dialogue. Notwithstanding
differences between Russia and the other members, the Contact Group
assigned much of the responsibility for the violence to Milosevic and the
Serbian authorities. The Racak massacre (January 1999), in which at least
forty Albanians, many of them civilians, were killed by Serbian security
forces, galvanized international opinion. International human rights groups
and NGOs alleged that the killings were part of a deliberate policy targeting
civilians, reminiscent of the Bosnian war, while the Serbian authorities
claimed the dead were U CK terrorists. The UNSC, US, European Union
(EU), and several foreign governments condemned the violence, pressed for
renewed negotiations and the deployment of an observer mission. In late
October 1998, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) had formed the Kosovo Verification Mission, which was permit
ted to deploy nearly 1,500 unarmed personnel in Kosovo in February 1999
to monitor conditions in the province. They would be withdrawn before
the end of the following month, however.197
In February 1999 the Contact Group staged peace talks at Rambouillet
near Paris, attended by Yugoslav officials and Albanian insurgents, where it
presented what was in effect a non-negotiable peace proposal for Kosovo.198
The proposal granted Kosovo considerable autonomy, well beyond what it
had enjoyed between 1974 and 1989, while keeping it de jure part of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, the Yugoslav authorities rejected
the technical annexe to the proposal, which contained provisions for unfet
tered NATO access to Kosovo and Yugoslav territory to enforce the plan.
The Albanian side insisted on a referendum within three years on the ques
tion of independence. Whereas at the Dayton talks the three parties accepted
de facto partition of Bosnia, at Rambouillet the two sides remained divided
on the eventual resolution of the conflict and refused even to meet. The
likelihood of agreement was exceptionally slight. As a result, the plan that
was presented to the parties took the form of an ultimatum, accepted by the
Albanians only under considerable US pressure. In the end, the purpose of
Rambouillet was not so much to conclude an agreement, which few of the
participants thought possible, as it was to build consensus within NATO
2 4 0 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
that diplomacy without the use of force would fail to bring lasting peace
in Kosovo.'99 The Yugoslav rejection of the plan, in particular its
military clauses, and the escalation of the fighting in Kosovo led to direct
NATO intervention.
Initiated on 24 March 1999, the NATO campaign was intended to com
pel the Serbian authorities to cease its security operations in Kosovo and
make political concessions to the Kosovo Albanians. As David Rieff has
claimed, when the Kosovo crisis came to a boil once more in 1998, the
NATO powers were fully prepared to fight the Bosnian war against the
Serbs.200Serbian forces responded by stepping up their assault on the UCK,
in the context of which they brutalized broader segments of civilian society
and destroyed cultural and religious monuments.201The pattern seen in
Bosniathat of planned and coordinated assaults by military, police, and
paramilitary units against civilianswas repeated in Kosovo in 1999. Here
the task was made easier by the fact that Serbs and Albanians for the most
part lived in separate communities. In the most detailed study to date,
Human Rights Watch has estimated that Serbian forces expelled 862,979
Albanians from Kosovo into Macedonia and Albania, and that several hun
dred thousand more were internally displaced.The sudden Hood of refugees
overwhelmed and destabilized these neighbouring states. Several atrocities,
including the killing of civilians and mass rape, perpetrated predominandy
by Serbian special police units like the Scorpions, were documented.202
The final death toll among civilians in Kosovo, either as a result of Serbian
policy or U CK actions, remains unknown. The I CT Y has exhumed the
bodies of more than 4,300 victims, most of whom are presumed to be
Kosovo Albanians. More than 3,500 persons remain missing.203
The Serbian authorities relented 011 5 June 1999, at which time the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO signed an agreement, according
to which Yugoslavia withdrew its military, police, and paramilitary forces
from Kosovo. The agreement allowed for the entry of a NATO-led peace
keeping mission, known as the Kosovo Protection Force (KFOR), under
the auspices of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMI K). The
agreement between NATO and Belgrade was formalized by U N Security
Council Resolution 1244, which was adopted on 10 June 1999. UNSCR
1244 established the right of return of refugees and displaced persons, and
committed member states to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integ
rity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, of which Kosovo de jure remained
.1 part. UNSCR 1244 also called for a political process providing for
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 241
substantial self-government for Kosovo. It was recognized by all sides in
1999 that this was not a permanent solution to the Kosovo crisis. Indeed, at
the Rambouillet and Paris negotiations that preceded NATO intervention,
the international community had proposed a three-year timeframe for a
political solution to the future status of Kosovo.
Developments in Kosovo had an immediate impact on neighbouring
Macedonia.204Although contemporary MacedonianAlbanian relations did
not suffer from a legacy of recent political violence, comparable to that of
Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo or Croats and Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia,
Kosovo fundamentally altered political dynamics in Macedonia. It is impos
sible to consider the seven-month long conflict in 2001 between the
Macedonian authorities and Albanian National Liberation Armyknown
by its Albanian acronym, U CK, although distinct from its Kosovo name
sake-without reference to the Kosovo conflict. The 2001 conflict took at
least eighty lives and displaced more than 120,000 people from their homes.
By the standards of the Yugoslav wars, these figures seem deceptively unim-
posing. In a relatively small country like Macedonia, with only two million
citizens, the violence was in fact shattering.205
When the Republic of Macedonia seceded in September 1991 from the
Yugoslav federation, the Macedonian Question was reborn i f overshad
owed by the violence in Croatia and then Bosnia. Without the protection
of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonian elites believed
that their republics security had been weakened considerably. In response
both to Bulgarian and Greek nationalist attitudes and the policies of the
latter, a more aggressive strain of Macedonian nationalism soon asserted
itself.This was reflected in the new Macedonian Constitution (1991) which
declared the republic to be the state of the Macedonian nation, clearly
implying that Macedonians were the primary owners of the state. After
i99i,the Macedonian political leadership laboured to preserve the exclusive
link between the Macedonian nation and the Macedonian state, both from
outside threats and from within the Macedonian republic, where the
Albanian minority posed the greatest challenge to the consolidation of a
Macedonian nation-state.
Unlike Greece and Bulgaria, Albania never rejected the existence of a
Macedonian nation. But in light of the presence of a large number of
Albanians in the country, it did object to the constitutional structure of the
state which made Macedonia a state of the Macedonian majority while
relegating Albanians to the status of a minority, which was perceived as
242 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
being akin to second-class citizenship. Albanian political elites in Macedonia
continued to demand the status of a constituent nationas had their
Albanian and Serb counterparts in Kosovo and Croatia, respectivelyon an
equal footing with the Macedonian nation. These demands only fuelled
Macedonian fears that their state would disintegrate, which in turn
would threaten Macedonian national identity. What kept tensions in check
after 1991 was both the absence of a history of AlbanianMacedonian
communal violence historically both Albanians and Macedonians in
Vardar Macedonia had been subjected to Serbian rule and defined themselves
in opposition to Belgradeand the perceived threat posed by Milosevics
regime in Belgrade.206Following the Kosovo crisis (March-June 1999) and
Milosevics ouster (October 2000), the dynamics of political conflict in
Macedonia were suddenly altered and overt violence erupted already in
early January 2001.
The relatively brief Macedonian conflict did not witness the widespread
and systematic abuses seen in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. There were several
incidents of violence directed against civilians, however. The single worst
occurrence was the Macedonian police assault on the Albanian village of
Ljuboten on 12 August 2001. Under the command of Johan Tarculovski, at
least sixty to seventy well-armed reserve policemen, including several men
from a private security company, entered Ljuboten and indiscriminately
attacked its residents. Fourteen Albanian males were killed; dozens were
detained and abused, while property was destroyed indiscriminately. The
primary objective of the operation appears to have been retaliation against
Albanians in the village for actions of the UC,K, which the village was thought
to have harboured. Two days before the police assault, eight Macedonian
soldiers were killed and several wounded by land mines near Ljuboten. But
the police operation was also intended as a warning to all local Albanians of
the consequences of supporting the U ^K .207The Ljuboten incident, despite
its brutality, was not part of an official policy of ethnic cleansing. In the absence
of deeply ingrained historical myths, resentments, and political elites deter
mined to resolve disputes by violence and ethnic cleansing, and in light of
early and concerted Western engagement and mediation, the outcome in
Macedonia was considerably better than elsewhere in former Yugoslavia. In
August 2001, the leaders of what were then Macedonias four governing par
ties, two of which were Macedonian and two Albanian, signed the Framework
Agreement or Ohrid Peace Accord. The Ohrid Peace Accord granted the
Albanian minority several concessions, including an amnesty for U ^K recruits;
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
243
the use of Albanian as a second official language in administrative districts
where Albanians comprised more than 20 per cent of the population; equal
opportunity in higher education; and proportional representation in the state
administration and security forces. The Ohrid Peace Accord also envisioned a
series of laws designed to decentralize the Macedonian administration.
While the peace accord has been contested by nationalists on both sides,it has
maintained the peace since 2001.2m
Assessing the Yugoslav War
The weight of documentary evidence and witness testimony that have
hitherto emerged from the criminal prosecutions at the I CT Y in The
I lague suggest that the war in former Yugoslavia was not the result of
ancient ethnic hatreds but the handiwork of political elites who sought to
realize nationalist projects by invoking symbolic politics to mobilize their
populations in a time of systemic crisis. These elites made conscious deci
sions leading to war.The Serbian leadership under Milosevic brought into
play the dynamics of symbolic politics and mass protest after 1987 to solid
ify their institutional power and to sustain their popular support. Following
the collapse of the federal League of Communists and multiparty elections
in 1990, the Serbian leadership forged an alliance with democratically
elected Serb leaders in Croatia and Bosnia and intervened repeatedly to
support them i f not to guide their every action. The ultimate objective of
this alliance was the consolidation of Serb polities in Bosnia and Croatia
and their eventual affiliation in a confederal arrangement with Serbia and
Montenegro. The Serbian leadership attempted to halt Yugoslavias frag
mentation by stepping into the Yugoslav power vacuum, striking a note of
Serb national hegemony which collided with a broad range of nationalist
forces in the other republics.The Serb national revolution of 1987 to 1992
was inspired from above by a determined political elite employing
symbolic politicsbut advanced and effected from below by popular,
indigenous Serb nationalist movements.
Several leading figures in the Yugoslav drama have provided important
testimony against former allies, while some have acknowledged their com
plicity and offered moving statements of contrition. Some, like Biljana
Plavsic, retracted their statements shortly after their release from prison.209
The former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic, who committed suicide
2 4 4
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
while in I CT Y custody, testified against his colleague Milan Martic, accusing
him of deliberately stoking Serb rebellion in Croatia in 1990i , provoking
armed incidents with the Croatian authorities and drawing the J N A into
the incipient conflict. Babic depicted the implementation of a policy of
persecution directed at non-Serbs which in the context of war escalated
into a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. He emphasized the role of elites,
claiming that the campaign in which he was a participant originated with
Milosevic, who ultimately orchestrated the rebellion from Belgrade, which
deliberately played on real fears within the Serb community.210 Indeed, in
November 1992 both Goran Hadzic, as President of the RSK, and Milan
Martic, as RSK I nterior Minister, travelled to Belgrade to meet with
Milosevic, who agreed to a draft plan on the RSKs defence. In June 1993
Hadzic and Martic submitted separate letters to Milosevic, asking for
additional military equipment for the RSK militia.211According to a former
J N A Counterintelligence Service officer, Slobodan Lazarevic, who served
from February 1992 to August 1995 as a liaison officer with the Croatian
Serb army (SVK), the most important structures of the RSK were under
Belgrades control.212 Fven Milosevics former confidant, Borisav Jovic,
testified that he was the absolute authority.213The role of political elites
was decisive in the origins and course of the Yugoslav war. In the former
Yugoslavia, the dictatorship of the proletariat was replaced by the dictator
ship of the nation. In both instances, the vanguard was drawn almost entirely
from the former League of Communists.
Paramilitary groups proliferated and gained notoriety during the
Yugoslav War, both for the scope and cruelty of the violence they per
petrated. The case of the Serb paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions is
particularly instructive. Originating in Croatia in 1991, the Scorpions were
co-opted into the Croatian Serb military and then deployed in July 1995
to Srebrenica to assist the Bosnian Serb Army and police detachments in
operations against the enclave. After the town had been taken, the Scorpions
perpetrated several killings of unarmed Bosnian Mushm males at Trnovo,
video recording many of their executions. In 1996 the unit was transferred
to Serbia and functioned as a reserve detachment of the Serbian polices
Special Anti-Terrorist Unit. It was reactivated again in March 1999 and
deployed to Kosovo, where on 28 March 1999 the unit perpetrated a mas
sacre of fourteen women and children in the town of Podujevo.214
The Scorpions are in several respects emblematic of the paramilitary
phenomenon, which was co-opted by state machineries to become an
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 245
instrument of state-sponsored programmes of conquest, pacification, and
ethnic cleansing.
Far more than hatred, money and resources are a sine qua non for the
prosecution of wars. From the beginning of the war in Croatia and Bosnia,
the Belgrade authorities financed local Serb political elites, their incipient
states, officialdom, and in particular their military officer corps. Evidence
introduced in the Milosevic and other trials indicates that a single financial
plan existed whereby all three armiesthe Army of Yugoslavia (VJ, after
April 1992), the VRS, and SVKwere centrally funded. The flow of funds
began to slow only after Belgrade began curtailing its profligate printing of
money from January 1994, which had fuelled hyperinflation in Serbia.215
Radovan Karadzic admitted Belgrades crucial significance to the Bosnian
Serb war effort, informing the Bosnian Serb Assembly in early May 1994
that without Serbia, nothing would have happened, we dont have the
resources and we would not have been able to make war.216 Similarly, the
Bosnian Croat assault in April 1993 against their erstwhile Muslim allies
would have been inconceivable let alone sustainable without the logistical,
financial, and political support of the Croatian authorities, which condoned
11VO actions in 1993-4 in pursuit of the creation of a Bosnian Croat para-
state in Bosnia-FIerzegovina.
In multiethnic Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo, the only means of attaining
nationally homogeneous polities was through policies of ethnic cleansing.
This was by necessity a violent process, invariably vicious and personal.
It was the goal rather than a side-effect of the conflict. In a country where
1.2 million citizens declared themselves in 1981to beYugoslavsof whom
more than 700,000 were in Bosnia and Croatia, representing nearly 8 per
cent of the population of the two republicsit could not be otherwise.217
The conditions of war afforded political elites, whether at the state or local
level, an opportunity to impose violent solutions on civilian populations,
often beyond the scrutiny of their own public and international opinion,
while simultaneously habituating perpetrators to follow orders and
participate in killings. In some localities, neighbour undeniably perpetrated
violence against neighbour. Quite apart from the wider ideological motives
at play, war is a transformative phenomenon and civil conflict often
transforms local and personal grievances into lethal violence.This violence
often assumes quite brutal forms.218 Elsewhere it was outsidersarmy
recruits and reservists or paramilitary thugswho swept through villages
terrorizing the civilian population and prompting its flight. Multiple and
2 4 6 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E I 9 8 9
varied motives were often at play, as in earlier instances of mass violence,
including ideology, necessity, and fear (the perceived sense of threat, and
belief that extreme solutions were required), in addition to local vendettas
and opportunity to settle grievances, among others.219 But the worst
occurrences of mass violence in the Yugoslav warVukovar, Srebrenica,
Operation Storm, and Kosovoinvolved modern armies with professional
officers who were prepared to implement policies of ethnic cleansing and,
at Srebrenica, even genocide when directed by their political masters. The
all-too-pervasive conviction among broad segments of intellectual and
public opinion amongst each of the communities in former Yugoslavia, but
in particular among Serbs and Croats, that they were victims waging
defensive and therefore just wars left little room either for dialogue or an
acknowledgement that crimes had been perpetrated by their side.
On Balkan Exceptionalism
Why did the rest of the Balkans avoid sustained periods of violence after
1989 in the face of traumatic historical legacies and painful episodes of past
discrimination? After all, both Romania and Bulgaria had large minority
populations and, alongside Albania, experienced structural crises and eco
nomic collapse comparable in scale to Yugoslavias in 1989-90. While the
Romanian Revolution of December 1989 was certainly violent, political
elites there and in Bulgaria eschewed political violence and discrimination
as viable policy options in favour of dialogue and democratic discourse.220
Part of the answer undoubtedly lies in the nature of National Communism
in these countries. In Romania and Bulgaria, the nationalist discourse was
appropriated by Communist regimes and increasingly employed to buttress
ruling establishments. In Yugoslavia, the multiethnic nature of society and
the ruling ideology o f brotherhood and unity precluded a similar trajec
tory. UnderTito all manifestations of nationalism, in particular among Serbs
and Croats, were suppressed whenever they were deemed detrimental to
state stability and the partys rule.The dismissal ofRankovic (1966), the head
of the state security service, marked the defeat of centralizing tendencies
associated with Serb national hegemonism,just as the demise of the Croatian
Spring (1971) sidelined Croat nationalism. Thereafter, both Serb and Croat
nationalism evolved in opposition to the state and, as a result, the failure
of socialism did not translate into delegitimization of that ideology. The
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 4 7
collapse of the Ceaujescu and Zhivkov regimes may not have discredited
nationalism entirely, but the ideology had certainly been compromised by
the old regime s misappropriation of historical memory and its sheer brutal
ity. In 1989, nationalism was thus a significantly more potent force in the
former Yugoslavia than in Romania and Bulgaria.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that the territorial integrity
and security of the Romanian and Bulgarian states were never at risk
after 1989. Although many Bulgarians may have harboured fears about
Turkey and its perceived ability to mobilize the Turkish (and Muslim)
minority, these fears were never substantiated. Nor did either country
have a tradition of fratricidal violence in recent historical memory
involving its largest minority. To be sure, in Romania and Bulgaria dis
criminatory practices had been codified by both nationalist and
Communist regimes after 1918, with important consequences for their
post-Communist political cultures. But neither Romanians and Magyars
nor Bulgarians and Turks possessed traumatic experiences based on
communal violence in recent historical memory comparable to those of
Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and Albanians during the Second World War and
after, which later contributed to the production of historical myths,
popular grievances, and resentments.
In Romania and Bulgaria, political elites may have played to existing
stereotypes and popular prejudices, which certainly continue to exist, and
even invoked nationalist myths as part of the post-Communist political dis
course, but they did not believe that their countries faced real threats to
their security necessitating a return to repressive and discriminatory policies.
Similarly, minority politicians eschewed political violence. They lacked the
inclination to organize themselves outside established political systems and,
in the event, never had foreign patrons prepared to support political agendas
outside existing institutional mechanisms. Separatism and secession were
never viable alternatives in Romania and Bulgaria. The inclusion of leading
minority parties in governmentin Romania after 1996 and in Bulgaria
after 2001served as a moderating influence in ethnic politics.
In the immediate aftermath of the Romanian Revolution, interethnic
relations in Transylvania unquestionably worsened. Violent clashes
between local Romanians and Magyars at Targu Mure? in March 1990
led to the deaths of five civilians and hundreds of wounded, and the
governments use of miners in June 1990 to suppress political opposition
did not appear to augur well for the future.221In the event, and despite
248 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
the resilience of nationalism during the I on Iliescu presidencies (19906)
and after, these incidents did not evolve into consistent patterns. The
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), an association
of several Magyar groups, emerged in 1990 as the second largest party in
Romania and leading spokesperson of Romanias 1.4 million Magyars,
who comprise 6.6 per cent of the total population.222Although orig
inally intransigent, the UDM R with time moderated its position and
after 1996 became a partner of most coalition governments in Bucharest.
In 2004 it participated in the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA) which led
Romania into the EU on 1January 2007. Several improvements have
been made since 1989, in terms of the use of the Hungarian language in
local administration and in the cultural sphere. The more radical ele
ments within the UDM R have demanded territorial autonomy in those
counties constituting theSzekelyfold (Szekel Land), approximating the
area of the former Hungarian Autonomous Province, but moderates
working towards political strategies of compromise have prevailed.
Nevertheless, the spectre of territorial autonomy continues to unnerve
many Romanians, which undoubtedly contributed to Bucharests
opposition to Kosovos unilateral declaration ofindependence in February
2008. Whatever problems may still exist, relations between Magyars
and Romanians have improved steadily since 1989, demonstrating the
resilience of the multicultural model.
More problematic has been the status of Roma. Popular violence and
patterns of discrimination against Roma became more widespread after
1989, officially tolerated for much of the 1990s. Violence was recorded in
March 1990 in both Bucharest andTargu Mure?, and the Hadareni pogrom
in Mure? county of September 1993 led to the deaths of three Roma and
the destruction of several homes.223The Roma have long been under
reported in Romanian population figures.The 2002 census recorded 535,000
Roma, a sharp increase over the 1997 and 1992 figures; unofficial estimates
place the figure at three times the official count.224The violence and dis
crimination reflected, at least in part, the difficult economic transition in
Romania, where Roma served as a collective (and traditional) scapegoat for
many of the countrys social ills. Their difficult predicament was also
emblematic of the rise of a nationalist and xenophobic political right, which
rehabilitated the symbols of the pre-Communist era. In 19912, the
Romanian Senate commemorated the anniversary of Marshall Ion
Antonescus death, while in 1997 the General Prosecutor of Romania
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 2 4 9
recommended to the Supreme Court the posthumous rehabilitation of
the members of the Antonescu government who had been convicted of
war crimes. This recommendation was never adopted, but in October 1999,
the Romanian Chamber of Deputies approved legislation rehabilitating
and compensating those who had resisted the Communist regime after
1944, which included members of the Iron Guard. In post-Communist
Romania, as in many other formerly Communist states, historical revisionism
became prevalent.225
Bulgaria has followed an analogous trajectory, despite a problematic
transition in the 1990s and a painful legacy arising from the last two
decades of Communist rule. The Movement for Rights and Freedoms
(MRF), founded in January 1990, has emerged as the leading party of
Bulgarias nearly one million strong but ethnically diverse Muslim
communities.226It has also established itself as an integral component of
Bulgarian politics.227 I nstances of popular opposition in the immediate
post-Communist period to signs of minority resurgence were not
uncommon. The new Bulgarian Constitution (1991) guaranteed civil
rights to all persons regardless of nationality or ethnic belonging,
including the use of their native languages, but made no explicit refer
ences to minorities as such. Moreover, the Constitution forbade politi
cal parties based on the ethnic or religious principle. Nevertheless, in
19912 the Turkish language was introduced as an optional subject in
schools, the socialist era Chi ef Mufti and seven regional muftis were
dismissed as illegitimate and replaced by MRF-supported candidates,
the Socialists legal motion against the MRF as a violation of the con
stitutional prohibition against ethnic and religious parties was dismissed
by the Constitutional Court, and a special law was passed expediting
the restoration of Turkish names of those Muslims victimized by the
former regime.
In the June 1990 and October 1991 parliamentary elections, the MRF
emerged as the third largest party in the National Assembly, behind the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP, reform Communists) and the ideologically
disparate but anti-Communist Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). After
October 1991, the MRF became a parliamentary powerbroker, sustaining
the UDF government in parliament and supporting its candidate, Zhelio
Zhelev, in the January 1992 presidential elections. This alliance proved
short-lived but the M RFs inclusion in parliamentary politics initiated a
constructive process. In the 2001 parliamentary elections, the MRF made a
2 5 0 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
significant breakthrough and formed a coalition government with the.
recently constituted National Movement for Stability and Progress (NDSV),
also known as the National Movement Simeon II, headed by the last
Bulgarian monarch, Simeon Sakskoburggotski. The MRF received two
ministerial portfolios, seven deputy minister positions, and appointed three
country governors and several senior state administrators. Following the
June 2005 elections the BSP formed a minority coalition government with
the MRF, which gained five ministerial portfolios. This government led
Bulgaria into the EU on I January 2007. The MRF has effectively con
solidated its role as political spokesperson of the Muslim community
Turkish, Pomak, and Romaand won acceptance from Bulgarian political
elites. While segments of Bulgarian society remain sensitive to public expres
sions of Islamic faith and custom, since 1989 mosques have been reopened,
new ones have been built, and religious schools are functioning once again.
Muslim religious and cultural activities have undeniably experienced a
renaissance. In sharp contrast to Bosnia and Kosovo, where Islamic monu
ments were dehberately targeted for destruction, Bulgaria has more than a
thousand mosques with several extant monuments of Ottoman rule,
including the Eski Jamiya (1409) and Banya Bashi (1576) mosques in Stara
Zagora and Sofia, respectively.
Conclusion
Surveying the Balkan landscape two decades after the fall of Communism,
there is cause for cautious optimism.The transition proper in the Balkans
did not truly commence until around the turn of the century, but
important strides have been made since then. In Romania the highly
improvised National Salvation Front of Ion Iliescu governed essentially
until 1996, while in Bulgaria the BSP and anti-Communist UDF alter
nated in power until 2001.228 In both countries, economic collapse set in
by the mid-1990s. Only in 19967 was significant economic transforma
tion initiated, with decidedly pro-reform currents prevailing under the
NDSV in Bulgaria (2001) and the DA ofTraian Basescu in Romania
(2004). In Albania the transition began ostensibly in 1992 with the vic
tory of the Democratic Party of Sali Berisha, but degenerated into a
contentious quarrel with the Socialists and culminated in the collapse of
civil government in 1997 as a result of the pyramid investment schemes.
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9 251
Only since 2005 have tentative improvements been visible. The trans
itions in the Yugoslav successor states with the exception of Slovenia,
where it began earlier were initiated after the death ofTudjman in
Croatia (1999) and the ouster of Milosevic in Serbia (2000).229The 2003
assassination ot the reformist Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic,
shocked public opinion and galvanized the moderate political establish
ment. Despite problems with corruption, organized crime, and the
sensitive Kosovo issue, in the May 2008 elections Serbia demonstrated a
preference for reform and rapprochement with the EU. Since becoming
independent in June 2006, Montenegro has remained politically stable
while relations with the ethnically diverse Muslim minority, which
accounts tor nearly 18 per cent of the population, remain good.
Macedonia has been a relative success story since 2001, as the inclusion
of Albanian minority parties has moderated ethnic politics.230
Several serious problems persist in the region. Organized crime and
corruption, which are linked to the related issues of security, borders,
and weak states, and relatively weak civil society, remain significant
barriers to the successful completion of the transition process in the
western Balkans.231 Nationalism remains a force in many quarters and
should not to be underestimated.The transition has been most challeng
ing in Bosnia-I lerzegovina and Kosovo, both of which remain under
international administration, the former by the Office of the High
Representative (OHR) and the latter by UNM I K, which is transitioning
to the EU Rule ot Law Mission (EULEX).232 Bosnia remains deeply
divided along ethnic lines and on the issue of constitutional reform.
Kosovos unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 did
not ignite renewed violence, but a defacto partition exists on the ground.
Macedonia is still engaged in a dispute with Greece over its constitu
tional name; the latter has used its veto to bloc Macedonian entry into
NATO and to prevent the initiation of accession talks with the EU. In
broad terms, however, real progress is discernible and democratic stand
ards are gradually becoming entrenched. The EU accession of Slovenia
(2004) followed by Romania and Bulgaria (2007), represents a significant
achievement which will undoubtedly help over time to solidify
democratic institutions, civil society, and the rule of law. All three joined
NATO in 2004, followed by Albania and Croatia in 2009.
Over the past twenty years, the role of the international community in
the Balkans has evolved considerably.The incontrovertible fact remains that
2$2 W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
there was little desire in 19912 for direct Western intervention in Yugoslavia
and, by association, the Balkans. The US decision to yield to the EU (at the
time, the EC) on Yugoslavia became untenable once European failure
became apparent. In most European countries, public opinion favoured
humanitarian assistance under UN auspices but not direct military inter
vention, the calls of some public intellectuals and media for such action
notwithstanding. Indeed, Bosnia was increasingly regarded as a humani
tarian problem and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was desig
nated the official international lead agency. The Srebrenica massacre changed
matters noticeably, leading to greater engagement by the US, EU, and
NATO, first in Bosnia (1995) and then Kosovo (1999). The intercession of
the West in these two conflicts simply confirmed a historical pattern of
foreign intervention in the Balkans, which began with the Greek War
of Independence, to regulate the dissolution of empire and to facilitate the
emergence of nation-states. What was different in Bosnia and Kosovo was
the fact that the peoples in whose name these interventions occurred were
Muslims rather than Orthodox Christians.
Since the Kosovo conflict the EU and international community have
adopted a more proactive approach. This has taken the twin forms of the
Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (1999) and the Stabilization and
Association Process (SAP).233 The former, superseded in 2008 by the
Regional Cooperation Council, was the first comprehensive conflict pre
vention strategy adopted by the international community in the Balkans,
with the objective of strengthening democracy, human rights, and regional
peace through multilateral dialogue. The SAP marked a significant shift in
EU strategy, one premised on conditionalitywhereby accession is made
conditional on the fulfilment of a series of criteria set out by the European
Commissionwhich has served as a multifaceted policy mechanism to
stimulate further reform. Whatever the pitfalls of the EU approach in prac
tice, it has served to anchor the region firmly in a reformist direction since
accession remains a national priority for all the Balkan states. At the Helsinki
Kuropean Council (1999) the EU decided to initiate accession talks with
Romania and Bulgaria, which joined on 1January 2007. At the Zagreb
Summit (2000) the EU initiated a new era in its relations with the western
Balkans. The key impetus for this change was the Kosovo crisis, and in its
aftermath the bilateral SAP and the multilateral Stability Pact were
employed to strengthen reformist currents. Since then the EU has signed
Stabilization and Association Agreements (SAAs) with all the remaining
W A R A N D T R A N S I T I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 9
253
Balkan states except Kosovo. At no other point in its history have the
Balkans been as integrated into European political institutions and security
arrangements as they are today. As a result of a combination of domestic
tendencies and more direct international engagement, the prospects of
liberal democracy, rule of law, and civil society appear more solid today
than at any point since 1989.
Conclusion
Whither the Balkans?
The cultural unity of Europe, the allegiance of educated persons all over
this continent to an overarching idea of Europe, grew all through the nine
teenth century, and especially in its last decades and in the first of this
century. And side by side with it grew its negation: healthy natural devo
tion to individual national cultures, variant flowerings of an overall
European culture, became perverted into nationalist fanaticisms; defence
and self-defence of the disinherited and the oppressed became perverted
into the fanaticism of unlimited class hatred; and boredom with routines of
civilian life and yearning for the heroic was perverted into dreams of puri
fying blood-baths. And the dreams came true; nightmares were surpassed
by real life. And the nightmares are still with us.
(Hugh Seton-Watson, 1985')
The means for expressing cruelty and carrying out mass killing have been
fullv developed. It is too late to stop the technology. It is to the psychology
that we should now turn.
(Jonathan Glover, 20002)
As long as national identity is defined almost solely by the hatred of others,
the unhappy will outnumber the happy among peoples in the region.
(Charles Simic, 2008)
T
he twentieth century was the most brutal in recorded history. The
two world wars, the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, not to
mention the many lesser wars and instances of ethnic cleansing and mass
murder, took the lives of tens of millions of people and led to the forced
displacement of several times that number. Viewed in this perspective, the
Balkan experience in the twentieth century should not strike the keen
observer as particularly remarkable or unique within the European context.
The three great ideological experiments of the twentieth centuryLiberal
256 C O N C L U S I O N : W H I T H E R T H E B A L K A N S ?
Democracy, Fascism, and Communismwere played out in the Balkans as
in the rest of Europe with enormous lethality.
The story that has been told in this studyone of war, revolution, and
ethnic cleansingsuggests that the Balkans have been, since at least the turn
of the nineteenth century, consistently animated by European ideas and
their realization.This was true of nationalism and state-building in the nine
teenth century, and also of Liberal Democracy, Fascism, and Communism in
the twentieth. The impact of these ideologies has been far-reaching in the
Balkans, a diverse mosaic of peoples, religions, and civilizations emerging
from centuries of Ottoman domination. The transition from traditional
multinational empires to modern nation-states, predicated on the ideational
hegemony of nationalism, in such a remarkably diverse borderland was
bound to be attended by large-scale political violence. The end of empire
is typically an untidy affair, even more so in multiethnic settings. But it
has also been suggested in this study that the Balkans were no more violent
than Europe in general, and that the worst instances of violence in the
region were closely associated with major crises and wars afflicting the
entire continent.
The Balkan encounter with nationalism in the nineteenth century
generally resulted in one of two trajectories in domestic politics. On the
one hand, the nation-states that eventually emerged were dominated by
elitesdynasties, intelligentsias, and politicized bureaucracies that were
increasingly committed to the nationality principle, national homogeneity,
and small power imperialisms predicated on Great state solutions. In the
decades before the Great War, Balkan political and intellectual elites, always
deeply enamoured of the progress of Europe, attempted to follow its exam
ple and made the leap towards modernity. By the time of the Great War they
had made significant i f measured strides in both state- and nation-building
projects; socio-economic modernization had been initiated and attempts
were made to enforce a uniform identity on their societies. State-building
entailed the creation of strong, highly centralized bureaucracies headed by
executives in command of robust and technologically proficient militaries.
Nation-building involved identity politics, instilling in peasant populations
a national consciousness and the supremacy of the national idea, and assimi
lating minority populations.The Balkan states were in the main what Rogers
Brubaker has referred to as nationalizing states, that is, polities which are
ethnically heterogeneous yet conceived as nation-states, whose dominant
elites promote (to varying degrees) the language, culture, demographic
c o n c l u s i o n : w h i t h e r t h e Ba l k a n s ?
257
position, economic flourishing, or political hegemony of the nominally
state-bearing nation.4The nationalizing policies pursued by political elites,
often drawn from quite dissimilar and opposing ideological tendencies,
aimed to transform these states into genuine nation-states.
Important segments of Balkan political societyin particular the early
socialists and later the social democrats and agrariansrejected the hegem
ony of the nationality principle even i f they acknowledged its legitimacy
as a basis of identity. Since Balkan societies were overwhelmingly peasant
societies and lacked, with the exception of Romania, native landed nobili
ties or bourgeoisies, social egalitarianism and political republicanism
remained powerful ideas, as did admittedly inchoate notions of Balkan fed
eralism.This trajectory had many prominent intellectual and political advo
catesSvetozar Markovic and Dragoljub Jovanovic in Serbia, Hristo Botev
and Aleksandur Starnboliiski in Bulgaria, and Stjepan Radic in Croatia,
among others.They recognized that states founded solely on the basis of the
nationality principle in the ethnic mosaic that was the Balkans would invar
iably have to be achieved by conquest, which would alienate the resultant
minorities in addition to neighbouring states. Conquest would engender
militarism, which in turn would jeopardize political liberties, social devel
opment, and cultural enlightenment. In short, the nationality principle had
the potential of serving as an obstacle to the advancement and liberty of all
Balkan peoples, regardless of their creed or ethnicity. It is little wonder that
Balkan social democracy of the antebellum period (1903-14) had such a
pronounced anti-militarist component alongside its dedication to multi-
ethnicity and federalism. In other words, the hegemony of nationalism was
never absolute, but the federalist paradigm suffered inordinately as integral
nationalism grew ever more ascendant. It was sustained to a degree in the
interwar period by the regions Communist parties, whether out of convic
tion or Comintern directive, but was delivered a final blow in 1948.
Thereafter only the Yugoslav Communists adopted a federalist solution.
Following the Great War, Liberal Democracy became the new ideological
project. This era was one of the few periods of genuinely democratic gov
ernance in the twentieth-century Balkans. The introduction of universal
manhood suffrage and agrarian reform provided a stimulus to political
democracy, as new constitutions were promulgated and more progressive
political systems adopted. The formerly marginal but deeply divided left
agrarians, social democrats and communistsnow attempted to implement
an ambitious programme of domestic reform. Agrarians and Communists
c o n c l u s i o n : WHITHER THE BALKANS?
alike generally supported multiethnicity and regional cooperation, the latter
under Moscows direction. In the event, the left was suppressed everywhere
and traditional conservative regimes asserted their prerogatives through
military or royal dictatorships between 1928 and 1938.This occurred within
a broader European context of liberal decline.
In the interwar Balkan setting, the politicization of the masses and the
failure of hberal democratic institutions, in an international environment
shaped by ideological contestation, produced a milieu increasingly condu
cive to the totalitarian discourse. Both the Communist left and newradical
right regarded violence as an indispensable apparatus of the political strug
gle and promoted a culture of exclusion, whether on class or national lines.
Traditional conservative elites in the Balkans were constantly on the defen
sive, first against the left and then the radical right. Although these elites
generally eschewed ideological sloganeering and mass mobilization, they
nevertheless attempted to assert their control over areas of society in ways
previously unimaginable. In the process, and despite the preservation of
constitutions and gerrymandered electoral processes under the dictator
ships, the nascent institutions of Balkan civil societysocial, professional,
religious, and otherwere seriously weakened on the eve of the Second
World War. Political rights were suspended and opponents were incarcer
ated, while discriminatory practices (in particular against Jews and other
minorities) were codified. All the Balkan countries entered the war suffer
ing from profound fissures and unresolved social and ethnic problems. The
Second World War in the Balkans was thus largely a contest between author
itarian extremes, the Communist left and undemocratic right, whether in
traditional or radical right garb. Balkan society would emerge from the
Second World War deeply scarred and radically altered.
I f violence was really no more frequent in the Balkans than elsewhere,
was its character any different? Much of the literature on Balkan violence has
emphasizedusing the conflict in Macedonia (1894-1908) and the Balkan
Wars (191213) as archetypeseither the importance of banditry and law
lessness, which allegedly contributed to the proclivity to violence and its
cruelty, or the regions relative socio-economic backwardness and cultural
traits. The case has been argued here that these instances of violenceand
indeed all conflicts between 1878 and 1923were shaped and pursued
aggressively by modernizing states committed to the ideology of irredenta.
What often struck foreign observers as aggressive behaviour and cruelty
rooted in lawlessness stemming from centuries of Ottoman (mis)rule, was 111
c o n c l u s i o n : w h i t h e r t h e Ba l k a n s ? 2 5 9
actual fact state-sponsored violence designed to further the state- and
nation-building projects. By the early twentieth century all the Balkan states
had for the most part eradicated brigandage as an autonomous social
phenomenon and to varying degrees asserted their authority over rural
society. Thereafter brigandage persisted principally as a vehicle to conceal
what was in effect state-sponsored terrorism. Insurrectionary movements,
such as I MRO in its early incarnation, wielded violence as a way of inducing
indigenous mobilization and attracting foreign intervention; political vio
lence served as an essential resource and possessed a strategic importance.
Similarly, the Balkan Wars (191213) and their attendant brutalities are hardly
proof of some abstract predilection to violence rooted in ancient hatreds.
They were planned conflicts involving coordination between four allied
states that possessed modern armies led by professional officers. A recent
body of literature has convincingly argued that it is the very modernity of
the violence combining modern technology, national liberation, and war
on civilian populationswhich marks one of the most striking features of
these wars, prefiguring in fact twentieth-century warfare. War has clearly
been central to the unmixing of the Balkan peoples. This is not to suggest
that war per se was responsible for the unmixing of peoples, but, as Rogers
Brubaker has argued,it was rather a particular kind of war, undertaken by
states bent on shaping their territories in accordance with maximalistand
often fantastically exaggeratedclaims of ethnic demography and commit
ted to molding their heterogeneous populations into relatively homogene
ous national wholes.5 In the event, during the Great War the remarkably
brutal I Iabsburg occupation regime in Serbia serves as a reminder that the
Balkan states had no monopoly on brutality or cruelty.
The role of the Great Powers has been a steady and critically important
theme of Balkan political history since the nineteenth century. The Great
Powers have repeatedly intervened, first to confer sovereignty, delineate ter
ritories, and then to enforce compliance with the norms of the European
states system or what later became the international community. It is dif
ficult to imagine the Balkan national movements achieving independence
without Great Power involvement, either through collective diplomacy or
military intervention. Between 1830 and 1913, beginning with Greece and
ending with Albania, Great Power intervention secured the independence
and established the territorial parameters of all six Balkan states. This was
repeated again under considerably different international circumstances at
the Paris Peace Conference (1919) and during the Second World War, as
2 6 O c o n c l u s i o n : w h i t h e r t h e Ba l k a n s ?
Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin reached their percentages agreement
(1944) dividing the Balkans into respective spheres of influence. The
international condorninia established in Bosnia (1995) and Kosovo (1999)
represent the most recent manifestation of this tendency.
The political fate of all Balkan nation-states has thus always been intimately
linked to Great Power interests, but this influence has not at all times been
positive. It has often been invasive, shaping not only political frontiers but also
domestic politics from 1830 to 1945 and beyond. Great Power interventions
have in the main been guided by the interests of those powers. Even in 1919,
when national self-determination served as the guiding principle of the
Paris Peace Conference, the nationality principle was repeatedly violated in its
application and popular wishes were therefore ignored. More insidious has
been the tendency of Great Powers to impose systems of government on
Balkan states, whether in the form of European monarchies in the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries, Axis satellite regimes in 1939-41, or Communist
regimes after 1945. These decisions were fateful but made with little or no
consultation on the part of local leaders and populations. The Great Power
tutelage of the pre-1914 era gave way to Great Power ideological contestation
and attempts at direct exploitation, all of which invariably shaped the actions
and preferences of domestic political actors. Henry Roberts was undoubtedly
correct when he suggested that the Balkan states small power status in a
region of prolonged and intense international pressures has had significant
effects on both the operation of their domestic politics and the style and atti
tudes ot their political elites.6This is not to suggest that the Great Powers are
entirely to blame for the Balkan states inability to establish orderly political
communities. The failure of interwar constitutionalism was certainly con
ditioned by wider European ideological trends, but was hardly the result of
Great Power intervention.The same might be said ofYugoslavias fate between
1989 and 1992. However, during much of the modern history of the Balkans,
the region was insecure and vulnerable to external threats, which meant that
domestic politics could not be played out for too long as an autonomous
pastime. Foreign interventions have only intensified the conflicts between the
Great Powers and the Balkan states, whose nationalist elites believed that they
had repeatedly been robbed of their legitimate lands by the Great Powers
who conspired against them. This set relations between the Balkan states and
the European powers on a problematic trajectory. It also contributed to an
unhealthy tendency of ascribing blame for the regions problems to foreign
meddling and of eschewing responsibility.
c o n c l u s i o n : w h i t h e r t h e Ba l k a n s ? 26 1
The Balkans have failed to achieve stability since 1989 in no small
measure because local elites have been incapable of building a regional
consensus in this direction, a failure that has only reinforced the need for
foreign intervention to enforce stability. Compounding the conundrum is
the fact that foreign intervention since 1989 has been largely an improvised
affair, often contradictory and inconsistent. Western military intervention
in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a belated attempt to end the war and ethnic
cleansing, but sanctioned existing ethnic divides in the form of the Dayton
Accords and only deferred a final political reckoning of that countrys
future.The NATO war in Kosovo did much the same. Although the inter
national community has repeatedly pronounced on matters of principle, it
has temporized and prevaricated in practice. The US and EU have dictated
terms in both Bosnia and Kosovo, occasionally ruling by fiat, in the process
divesting ownership from local elites and fundamentally altering political
dynamics, all in the absence of lasting solutions.7The increasingly acute
crises in Bosnia and Kosovo risk leading these countries into permanent
stagnation and dysfunction. What is more, the Balkans have again emerged
as a space of Great Power contention. It is the only region of Europe where
a resurgent Russia, which during its difficult transition of the 1990s was not
a serious force in the Balkans, has reasserted its political prerogatives against
Western interests.
The linkages between Great Power diplomacy and Balkan domestic
politics are certainly germane to any study of political violence, war, and
ethnic cleansing. After all, the question of who controlled the state is rele
vant to an understanding of why discriminatory practices were codified and
murderous policies enacted. The worst instances of mass violence and
civilian victimization in the twentieth-century Balkansthe period
between 1912 and 1923,and the Second World Waroccurred either during
periods of international crisis or under conditions of foreign occupation.
The highly dissimilar Habsburg and Nazi regimes felt little compunction in
adopting ruthless policies against enemy peoples in the Balkans. While
Italian occupation policies between 1939 and 1943 were far less ruthless
than those pursued by Nazi civilian and military administrators, they were
not without their brutalities. The violence perpetrated against civilians dur
ing the Second World War far exceeded the brutalities of the Great War.
The two most violent regimes in the Axis BalkansPavelics Ustasa
Great Croatia and the National Legionary State in Romania, which was
quickly succeeded by Antonescus military dictatorshipwere sustained by
2 6 2 C O N C L U S I O N : W H I T H E R T H E B A L K A N S ?
the Third Reich, whose direct intervention facilitated the emergence of
both. Neither one of these regimes was representative of the political hopes
of the respective peoples they claimed to represent. In the event, Jasenovac
and Transnistria became synonymous with and emblematic of these geno-
cidal regimes. The Ustasa state was illegitimate and weak from its birth, a
fact which made it all the more violent as it sought to preserve its tenuous
survival in the face of Communist insurgency. The Antonescu regime was
considerably strongerit possessed a functioning state bureaucracy and
professional militarybut pursued violence selectively: in Transnistria,
which was gained as compensation for the loss of northern Transylvania to
Hungary in 1940, it unleashed mass murder and ethnic cleansing against
Jews, Roma, and Slavs, while eventually relenting to domestic pressure and
opting not to deport its Jewish population to Auschwitz. Selectivity of
course suggests careful planning and forethought on the part of elites, who
pronounced judgement on matters of exclusion and inclusion. In the same
way, the Bulgarian authorities agreed to the deportation of Macedonian and
Thracian Jews to Auschwitz even as they refused to hand over the Bulgarian
Jewish population. Who controlled the state in addition to their ruling
ideology, the relative strength of the regime, and the international climate
was therefore always critically important in determining the resort to and
timing, nature, and scale of the violence.
Equally important was the character of the organized resistance to these
regimes. Under the harsh conditions of Axis occupation, both Communist
and nationalist resistance groups typically employed violence against civilian
populations, which was predicated largely although not exclusively on
ideology. For the Communists, resistance to the Axis was synonymous with
class revolution and violence. Among nationalist resistance groups, violence
was directed at ideological foes and other ethnic groups. Local conditions
often decisively shaped the violence. Writing of the Serb Chetnik move
ment, Milovan Djilas observed that in places such as Foca (eastern Bosnia),
where Ustasa violence in 1941 had resulted in hundreds of Serb deaths, the
urge among local Serbs for retribution and to exterminate other faiths and
peoples was ever present. Chetnik massacres in the region claimed thou
sands of Muslim lives, even as tradition preserved some tolerance and
humanity.8Many of the perpetrators of this violence may have been moti
vated by grand ideological projects, but just as often they were driven by
highly personal motives. Several recent studies of wartime Croatia and the
( ireek Civil War have emphasized the importance of local dynamicsthe
c o n c l u s i o n : W H I T H E R T H E B A L K A N S ?
state of interethnic relations, social and economic conditions, even personal
vendettas and the preferences of local leaders, among other factorsin
determining the scope and brutality of the violence.9The violence experi
enced during the wartime occupations and Greek Civil War, in particular
the victimization of non-combatants, possessed its own logic and was seldom
irrational. It may have been initiated by ideologically motivated elitesand
ultimately benefited their utopian projectsbut violence in the circum
stances of occupation, resistance, and civil war often tends to be highly
brutal and deeply personal.There was nothing essentially Balkan about this
violence, however, as similar patterns were discernible in Spain during the
Civil War, Central Europe during and immediately following the Second
World War, and elsewhere.
In the event, the defeat in 1945 o f the men of violence who sought to
create industrial warrior states, opened the way for an alternative model
based on civilian society, representative government, and liberal capitalism.10
This is the model that prevailed in much ofWestern Europe in the years after
1945in addition to Greece after 1974 and the Iberian Peninsula after
1975but not in East Central Europe and the Balkans until after the collapse
of the Berlin Wall. Here the consolidation of Communist regimes between
1944 and 1948 and the Stabilization of their ruling parties resulted in the
institutionalization of political violence. The appearance of National
Communism in the Balkans notwithstanding, the ubiquitous nature of polit
ical violence was hardly unique to the region even i f its Communist regimes
employed it to solidify local agendas. In Albania, Stalinist violence was con
sciously employed to complete the state- and nation-building projects. In
Romania and Bulgaria it was used to realize socialist modernization and
national homogeneity. Violence was employed against political opponents,
minorities, and, through grandiose industrial projects, even against the
environment. Throughout the era of the cold war, all the Balkan states, with
the exception of Yugoslavia, were in fact nationalizing states. The Com
munist appropriation o f bourgeois nationalismand of national memory,
myths, and symbolshas produced a convoluted historical narrative. The
intensity of the state- and nation-building projects under authoritarian
auspicesfirst by regimes of the right and then by the left, in Albania (1928
91), Bulgaria (193489), and Romania (193889)has blurred distinctions
between left and right. It is hardly surprising that the post-Communist transi
tions were problematic in these traumatized societies, accompanied by
historical revisionism and a new discourse of victimization.
2 6 4
c o n c l u s i o n : w h i t h e r t h e B a l k a n s ?
Yugoslavia followed a distinct trajectory, opting for limited political
reform and federalism. However, the purge of the countrys leading liberal
national reformers in 19712 and its institutional reform in 1974 had dis
astrous consequences. Ever sensitive to the national question, the Yugoslav
Communists had strengthened federalism but rejected genuine democratic
reform. The resihence of multiethnicity in this period was demonstrated by
the number of persons opting for Yugoslav nationality. But the events of
19714 only fuelled intellectual dissidence, particularly in Serbia; democratic
reform in both Serbia and Croatia was now increasingly seen as inseparable
from a fundamental reform or even complete rejection of the Yugoslav
system. In the end, the Serbian party leadership under Slobodan Milosevic
appropriated a Serb nationalist discourse and espoused a type of bureau
cratic nationalism, similar in some respects to its Romanian and Bulgarian
counterparts, against the Yugoslav federation.
The Yugoslav War was not the result o f ancient ethnic hatreds but the
work of political elites who invoked myths and symbolic politics to mobil
ize their populations at a time of systemic crisis. These elites made conscious
decisions leading to war, with an understanding of the consequences of
their actions i f not necessarily the longer term viability of their projects.The
Serbian leadership under Milosevic brought into play the dynamics of sym
bolic politics after 1987 to solidify their institutional power and to sustain
their popular support. It forged an alliance with democratically elected Serb
leaders in Croatia and Bosnia and intervened repeatedly to support them
between 1991 and 1995. The Serbian leadership struck a note of Serb
national hegemony which collided with a range of nationalist forces in the
other republics.The policies of ethnic cleansing pursued during the Yugoslav
War were therefore not a by-product but the objective of the war, employed
first by Serb leaders and then increasingly by the Croatian leadership to
solidify their nationalist projects.
The Yugoslav War single-handedly revived traditional Western notions of
Balkan barbarism, when in fact the conflict and its brutalities had little to do
with any peculiarly Balkan traits. The argument that has been presented in
this work is that, when viewed in the context of Europes modern history,
the Yugoslav conflict is not an anomaly but rather the belated and
final phase of the European cartography of homogenization that began
two centuries ago and took the lives of nearly 50 million Europeans in the
twentieth century alone.nThe Yugoslav War and associated policies of ethnic
cleansing, which were linked primarily although not exclusively to
c o n c l u s i o n : W H I T H E R t h e B A L K A N S ? 265
Milosevics Serbian state programme, also destroyed the last vestiges of
federalism in the Balkans and brought to a close what was once referred
to as the Balkan revolutionary tradition, which in reality was the process,
initiated in 1804, of creating nation-states out the Balkans multifarious and
rich ethnolinguistic milieu. In eight of the eleven states of the present-day
Balkans, the dominant nation now comprises more than 80 per cent of the
population. Only Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro are
exceptions. In other words, the nation-state is no longer simply the norma
tive model in Balkan affairs but a decided reality. The last decade of the
twentieth century thus witnessed the triumph of national homogenization
in the Balkans, and with it the confirmation of modernity, which is to say
the primacy of the modern nation-state. To see the Yugoslav conflict other
wise would be to misconstrue the underlying historical processes at work in
the Balkans over the last two centuries.
Despite the ascendancy of the nation-state in the Balkans, in the course
of the twentieth century, virtually all Balkan nationalisms have experienced
crushing defeats in pursuit of their'Greatstate projects. Greek nationalism
or rather the Megali Ideaperished in Smyrna in 1922. The Second
World War delivered a devastating setback to Bulgarian and Romanian
nationalisms, which thereafter lost their irredentist tendencies. Croat
nationalism suffered moral opprobrium and nearly irreparable harm because
of the genocidal crimes of the Ustasa regime and association with the Third
Reich. Serb nationalism, despite its heavy losses in the Great War and Second
World War, remained until the 1990s the most potent nationalism in the
Balkans because it had never truly suffered real defeat. But as Latinka
Perovic observed already in 1994,All signs indicate that the dream of the
final unification of Serbian lands will end in the deep division of the Serbian
nation.12Indeed, the conclusion of the Yugoslav War, specifically the events
in Croatia (1995) and Kosovo (1999), and the subsequent secession of
Montenegro (2006), suggest that the Great Serbian idea may have suffered
the same fate as the Megali Idea.
This study has suggested that, in order to understand the dynamics of
war, revolution, and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans one must necessarily
treat the Balkan experience as an integral part of the history of modern
Europe. When viewed in this comparative framework, political violence
and ethnic cleansing were scarcely inimitable to or essential characteristics
of the Balkans. I ndeed, for the better part of the modern era, the nationality
principle was undoubtedly the hegemonic paradigm everywhere in
2 6 6 c o n c l u s i o n : W H I T H E R T H E B A L K A N S ?
Europe. The cartography of homogenization had its origins in the
European West but was concluded in the European South-East in
the 1990s. Modern political violence stemmed from modernity and the
ideology of integral nationalism, employed by latecomer, nationalizing
states dominated by democratizing and later authoritarian elites which
were committed to national homogeneity. During much of the twentieth
century, beginning in the interwar period and ending in 1989, the
political history of the Balkans has been one of authoritarianism. The
history of war, revolution, political violence, and ethnic cleansing in
the modern Balkans is in actual fact a narration of the demise of democratic
governance, civil society, and multiculturalism.
The solution for the regions remaining problems lies in its complete
integration into multilateral security and political arrangements. While there
will be no small measure of irony i f the Pax Ottomanica is eventually sup
planted in the Balkans by the Pax Europaea, this process would help to
transform historically contested frontiers into relatively symbolic borders,
and alleviate the severity of, i f not resolve, the regions remaining national
questions, appreciably diminishing their potential to destabilize while afford
ing minority populations appropriate guarantees of their national and civil
rights. Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there is cause for cau
tious optimism.The Balkans have finally started down the path that Western
Europe experienced in the decades after 1945. During much of the 1990s,
the Westboth the US and EUlacked a coherent vision for the Balkans.
Only in the aftermath of the Kosovo intervention did the EU belatedly
elaborate such a vision, one that included the entire region as part of Europe
and the EU s future. In his posthumously pubhshed essay of 1985, Hugh
Seton-Watson emphasized the need for a European ideal that spanned the
continents regions and was fundamentally rooted in cultural pluralism.
European culture is not an instrument of capitalism or socialism; it is not a
monopoly possession of EEC [EU] Eurocrats or of anyone else.13For the
first time in modern Balkan history, a majority of Balkan states have been
integrated into a democratic, multilateral security arrangement (NATO),
while four are EU member states. There is good reason to believe that the
remaining western Balkan states may join the EU over the next decade.
These societies are today literate, industrial, and highly urbanized. The
institutions of political democracy and civil society have undeniably grown
stronger since 1989. A reversion to the violence of the early 1990s thus
seems improbable.
c o n c l u s i o n : W H I T H E R T H E B A L K A N S ? 267
None of this is meant to suggest that serious problems do not persist.
Organized crime and corruption remain among the foremost concerns.
Minority rights also continue to be problematic across the region. Bosnia-
Herzegovina and Kosovo remain in serious crisis despite the fact that they
are de facto international (and increasingly EU) protectorates. I f some sem
blance of the Balkan traditions of multiethnicity and tolerance are to be
preserved well into this century, then these two contested states will
undoubtedly have to be strengthened and maintained. On the eve of the
Great War, the South Slav and Albanian Questions were among the most
pressing in the Balkans and in European diplomacy. So they remain to this
day.Then as now, the solution lies in political democracy, the rule of law, and
social development rather than renewed partition. As the centenary of the
Sarajevo assassination draws near, it would only be appropriate i f this event
were to be commemorated both in the Balkans and in Europe as the shared
inheritance of a destructive century and its ideological projects. It is after all
as much a part of the history of Europe as of the Balkans.
Chronology
1878 Treaty of San Stefano (3 March), imposed by Russia on Ottoman Empire
Congress of Berlin (June-July)
Treaty of Berlin (13 July 1878) grants autonomy to Bulgaria, independence
to Serbia,Romania, and Montenegro (alongside Greece,
independent since 1830)
League of Prizren ( June) established in Kosovo
Habsburg occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russian occupation of
Bessarabia
1879 Trnovo Constitution (Bulgaria)
1881 Romania becomes a kingdom under Carol I (r. 18661914)
1882 Serbia becomes a kingdom under Milan Obrenovic IV (r. 1882-9)
1883 Timok Rebellion (Serbia)
1885 Unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia
Serbo-Bulgarian War
1888 New Constitution promulgated in Serbia
1893 Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) established
1897 Greek insurrection in Crete against Ottoman rule (January)
Greek-Turkish War (April)
Goluchowski-Muraviev Agreement (April)
Treaty of Constantinople (Istanbul) ends GreekTurkish War (December)
Crete obtains autonomy within Ottoman Empire
1903 Regicide in Belgrade (June), Obrenovices replaced by Karadjordjevic
dynasty
New Constitution promulgated in Serbia
Ilinden Uprising (August) initiated by IMRO in Macedonia
Austria-Hungary and Russia impose Mr/steg Programme of reforms in
Macedonia (October)
1905 Prince Nikola I Petrovic-Njegos promulgates Montenegrin Constitution
1906 Start of Tariff (Pig) War between Habsburg Monarchy and Serbia
1908 Young Turk Revolution (JuneJuly) in Istanbul (Constantinople)
Bulgaria declares independence, becomes a kingdom (October)
Habsburg annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (October)
1909 Albanian autonomist revolt against Ottoman Empire (spring)
Military coup in Greece (August)
1910 Montenegro becomes a kingdom (August), under King Nikola I (r. 1910-18)
1912 Balkan League formed (March to October) by Bulgaria, Greece,
Montenegro, and Serbia
Montenegro issues ultimatum to Ottoman Empire (8 October)
Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece launch first Balkan War against
Ottoman Empire (October)
Albanian National Assembly declares independence from Ottoman Empire
(28 November)
London Conference convened to resolve the Balkan War (12 December)
1913 K i ng Georgios I of Greece assassinated (March)
Treaty of London (30 May) concludes the first Balkan War
Bulgaria attacks Serbia and Greece (June), initiating second Balkan War
Treaty of Bucharest (August) ends second Balkan War
1914 Assassination of Habsburg Archduke Franz Ferdinand (28 June) in Sarajevo
Habsburg Empire declares war on Serbia (28 J uly)
Germany declares war on Russia (1August), start of Great War
Ottoman Empire enters Great War on the side of the Central Powers
(October)
1915 Formation ofYugoslav Committee in London (April)
I taly enters the Great War on the side of the Entente (April)
Bulgaria enters the Great War on the side of the Central Powers (October)
Entente occupation of Salonika (autumn)
1916 Serbia and Montenegro occupied by Central Powers (January)
Entente occupation of Corfu (January)
Bulgarian occupation of part of Aegean Macedonia (May)
Romania enters the Great War on the side o f the Entente (August)
Pro-Entente coup in Greece (August), start of National Schism
Central Powers occupy Wallachia (with Bucharest) and Dobrudja
(December)
1917 Greece enters the war on the side of the Entente (June)
Corfu Declaration between Serbian Government and Yugoslav Committee
(July)
1918 Treaty o f Bucharest (May), Romania forced out of the war by Central
Powers
Radomir military rebellion (September) and abdication of K i ng Ferdinand
of Bulgaria (October)
Collapse of Habsburg Empire and Armistice (November)
Communist Party of Greece formed (November)
Proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia)
(December)
270 c h r o n o l o g y
c h r o n o l o g y 271
1919 Paris Peace Conference convenes (January)
Communist Party of Yugoslavia formed (April)
Greek military occupation of Smyrna (May)
Paris Peace Conference imposes Treaty ofVersailles on Germany (28 June)
Formation of Communist Party of Bulgaria (May)
Elections in Bulgaria, new Stamboliiski government (August)
Paris Peace Conference imposes Treaty of Saint Germain on Austria (10
September)
Paris Peace Conference imposes Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine on Bulgaria
(27 November)
1920 Paris Peace Conference imposes Treaty of Trianon on Hungary (4 June)
Greek military invasion of Anatolian interior (June)
Paris Peace Conference imposes abortive Treaty of Svres on Ottoman
Empire (August)
First post-war Albanian government formed under Ahmed Zogollu (Zogu)
(September)
1921 Communist Party of Romania formed (May)
Yugoslav Constitution promulgated ( |une)
1923 Romanian Constitution promulgated (March)
Stamboliiski government overthrown in coup (June)
Treaty of Lausanne (23 July)
1924 King Georgios II of Greece deposed, Greek Republic proclaimed (March)
Fan Noli leads revolution against Zogu, assumes power in Albania (June)
Noli deposed (December)
192$ Albanian National Assembly proclaims a republic, with Zogu as first
president (January)
1928 Stjepan Radie wounded in assassination attempt (June, dies August)
Albania becomes a kingdom under King Zog I (September)
1929 King Aleksandar imposes royal dictatorship in Yugoslavia (January)
1930 First Balkan Conference in Athens (October)
1934 Balkan Pact signed by Greece, Romania,Turkey, and Yugoslavia (February)
Military coup in Bulgaria (May)
Assassination of King Aleksandar ofYugoslavia (October)
1935 King Boris imposes royal dictatorship (April)
Constitutional monarchy under King Georgios II of Greece restored
(November)
1936 Military dictatorship under General Metaxas imposed in Greece (August)
1938 King Carol establishes dictatorship (February)
1939 Italian occupation of Albania (April)
Sporazum (Agreement) signed by Belgrade and Croat Peasant Pam*
(August)
1940 King Carol abdicates, formation of National Legionary State (September)
I talian invasion of Greece (October)
1941 Marshall Antonescu suppresses I ron Guard, imposes military regime
(January)
German invasion of Yugosl avi a and Greece (April)
Proclamation of independent Croatian state (April)
Communist-led National Liberation Front (F.AM) formed in Greece
(September)
Non-Commumst Greek National Democratic League (EDES) formed
(September)
Albanian Communist Party founded under Enver Hoxha (November)
1942 National Peoples Liberation Army (ELAS) formed in Greece (June)
Fatherland Front formed in Bulgaria (July)
Enver H oxhas National Liberation Movement (NLM ) founded
(September)
Balli Kombetar (National Front) formed (November)
Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ )
(November)
1943 A V N O J holds second conference at J ajce (Bosnia), assumes executive
authority in Yugoslavia (November)
1944 National Uprising in Bulgaria (9 September)
M oscow Armistice (12 September), Romania capitulates and is occupied
by Soviet Red Army
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej becomes First Secretary of the Communist
Party of Romania
Churchill and Stalin reach percentages agreement on Balkans (October)
Fighting in Athens between EL A S and Greek authorities (December)
1945 Yugoslav Provisional Government under Tito formed (March)
Yugoslav elections (September)
Yugoslavia becomes a Federative Peoples Republic (29 November)
Albanian elections lead to victory by Communist Democratic Front
(December)
1946 Albania proclaimed ai peoples republic (January)
Yugoslav Constitution (January)
Greek Ci vi l War begins (March)
National referendum in Bulgaria opts for republic and peoples republic
(September)
Bulgarian elections lead to victory by Communist Fatherland Front
(October)
Romanian elections lead to victory by Communists (November)
1947 Paris Peace Treaty (February)
Communist seizure o f power in Bulgaria (June)
2 7 2 c h r o n o l o g y
c h r o n o l o g y
27
Soviet Red Army withdraws from Bulgaria
Greece receives Marshall Plan aid
Romania proclaimed a peoples republic (December)
1948 Tito-Stalin split (June)
Securitate (Romanian security police) established (August)
1949 Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA, Comecon) formed
(January)
Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania join Comecon
North Adantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed (April)
Greek Civil War ends (September)
1952 Greece joins NATO
Romania promulgates first Communist Constitution
Magyar Autonomous Region formed in Romania
Communist Party of Yugoslavia renamed League of Communists of
Yugoslavia
1953 Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia sign Balkan Pact (February)
Stalin dies (March)
1954 Todor Zhivkov becomes First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist
Party (March)
1955 Warsaw Treaty Organization (Warsaw Pact) formed
Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania join Warsaw Pact
1956 Nikita S. Khrushchev addresses Twentieth Congress of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union, denouncing Stalin (February)
1lungarian Revolution (October)
1958 Soviet Red Army withdraws from Romania
1961 Albania breaks with Soviet Union, aligns with Communist China
Yugoslavia hosts first conference of the Non-Aligned Movement
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej becomes president of Romania (March)
1965 Death of Gheorghiu-Dej, succeeded by Nicolae Ceau^escu as First
Secretary of Romanian party (March)
1967 Military coup in Greece (Colonels Regime) (April)
Albania declared Albania to be the first atheist state in history
1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia
Magyar Autonomous Region in Romania abolished
1971 Zhivkov becomes President of Bulgaria (July)
Purge of Croatian League of Communists, Croatian Spring ends
(December)
1972 Purge of Serbian League of Communists
1973 Military regime suppresses student strike at Athens National Technical
University (17 November)
1974 N ew Yugoslav Constitution promulgated (February)
End of the military regime in Greece (July)
Referendum in Greece rejects monarchy in favour of republic (November)
1980 J osip Broz Tito dies (May)
1981 Greece joins the European Economic Community (EEC) ( January)
Albanian riots in Kosovo (March)
PASO K elected in Greece (November)
1984 Revival Process launched in Bulgaria
1986 Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences
1987 Slobodan Milosevic consolidates control of Serbian League of Communists
(September)
1988 Start o f anti-bureaucratic revolution in Serbia (June)
1989 Slobodan Milosevic becomes president of Serbia (May)
Commemoration of 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo (June)
Mass emigration ofTurks from Bulgaria (summer)
Zhivkov removed as First Secretary and President by the Central
Committee (November)
Romanian Revolution and overthrow of Ceaujescu (December)
1990 Extraordinary Session of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (January)
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) formed in Bulgaria (January)
Multiparty elections in Croatia and Slovenia (April)
Multiparty elections in Romania (May)
Multiparty elections in Bulgaria (June)
Multiparty elections in Macedonia (October)
Multiparty elections Bosnia H erzegovina (November)
Multiparty elections Serbia and Montenegro (December)
1991 Croatia and Slovenia secede from Yugoslavia (June)
Yugoslav peace conference opens in The Hague under Lord Carrington
(September)
1992 Macedonia holds independence referendum (January)
U N SC unanimously approves the deployment of an advance force of
peacekeepers to Yugoslavia, known as the U N Protection Force
(U N PRO FO R) (January)
Bosnia-H erzegovina holds independence referendum (29 February and 1
March)
Bosnia-H erzegovina secedes from Yugoslavia (6 April)
Serbia and Montenegro form Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (27 April)
U N SC adopts Resolution 757 imposing sanctions against Yugoslavia
(30 May)
Permanent conference on Yugoslavia established at Geneva under Lord
Owen and Cyrus Vance (September)
274 c h r o n o l o g y
c h r o n o l o g y 2 7 5
U N SC authorizes the deployment of U N observers to Macedonia
(December)
1993 Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance propose new Bosnian peace plan (January)
Start of conflict between Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims (April)
U N SC adopts Resolution 824 creating five safe areas in Bosnia (Sarajevo.
Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde, and Bihac)
U N SC establishes the I nternational Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia (I CT Y) (May)
Vance-Owen peace plan rejected (June)
Lord O wen and Stoltenberg propose new peace plan for a tripartite
partition o f Bosnia- Herzegovina (August)
1995 Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) seizes Srebrenica (July)
Croatian Army launches Operation Storm (August)
N A T O bombing of Bosnian Serb positions (September)
Dayton Accords provide general setdement to war in Bosnia-Herzegovina
(November)
Dayton Accords formally signed in Paris, ending Bosnian war (December)
N ATO - l ed deployment to Bosnia, as I mplementation Force (I FOR)
Office of High Representative (Ol I R), headed by Carl Bildt, formed to
oversee implementation of Dayton Accords (December)
1996 NATO -led mission in Bosnia renamed SFO R (December)
1997 Collapse of civil government in Albania
Carlos Westendorp named new head ofO H R in Bosnia (June)
1998 Armed conflict in Kosovo between K L A and Serbian authorities
1999 Contact Group/ N AT O conference at Rambouillet on Kosovo conflict
(February)
N ATO intervention in Kosovo, bombing of Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia (March)
U N SC adopts Resolution 1244 calling for deployment of U N Mission in
Kosovo (U N M I K ) and N ATO - l ed Kosovo Force (KFO R) (June)
Wolfgang Petrisch named new head of O H R in Bosnia (August)
Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe launched (June)
President Franjo Tudjman o f Croatia dies (December)
European Helsinki Council approves accession talks with Bulgaria and
Romania (December)
2000 Bulgaria and Romania begin accession talks with EU (February)
President Slobodan Milosevic o f Yugoslavia is ousted (October)
EU holds Zagreb Summit (November)
2001 Conflict in Macedonia between K L A and Macedonian government
(January)
Former Serbian/ Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, arrested by
Serbian authorities (March)
276 c h r o n o l o g y
Macedonia signs Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the
EU (April)
Milosevic extradited to the I CTY in The Hague (June)
Ohrid Framework Agreement ends conflict in Macedonia (August)
Croatia signs Stabilization and Association Agreements (SAA) with the EU
(October)
2002 Lord Ashdown named new head of OHR in Bosnia (May)
Bosnian elections and emergence of reformist groups (October)
2003 Assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic (March)
Alija Izetbegovic dies (October)
2004 Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Romania join NATO (March)
Slovenia joins the EU (May)
2005 Croatia becomes EU candidate country (October)
Macedonia becomes EU candidate country (December)
EU Force (EUFOR) replaces SFOR in Bosnia (December)
2006 Christian Schwarz-Schilling named new head of OHR in Bosnia (January)
Montenegro secedes from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro
(June)
Albania signs SAA with the EU (June)
2007 Bulgaria and Romania join the EU (January)
Miroslav Lajcak named new head of OHR in Bosnia (July)
Montenegro signs SAA with the EU (October)
2008 Kosovo declares independence from Serbia (February)
EU approves deployment of EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX)
(February)
Serbia signs SAA with the EU (April)
Bosnia-Herzegovina signs SAA with EU (June)
2009 Valentin Inzko named new head of OHR in Bosnia (March)
Albania and Croatia join NATO (April)
Butmir talks on constitutional reform in Bosnia fail (October)
Notes
CHAPTER I
1. J oseph S. Roucek, The Politics of the Balkans (New York: M cGraw-H il l, 1939), 1.
2. O n the subject of'Balkanism see the seminal work of Maria Todorova, Imagining
the Balkans (Oxford: OUP, i997);J olm B. Al l cock,Constructing the Balkans, in
J ohn B. Allcock and Antonia Young (eds.), Black Lambs and Grey Falcons: Women
Travelling in the Balkans (New York: Berghahn Books, 2001), 21740; and Milica
Bakic-H ayden,Whats so Byzantine about the Balkans? in Dusan 1. Bjelic and
Obrad Savic (eds.), Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation
(Cambridge, Mass.: M I T Press, 2002), 6178.
3. There are several outstanding general histories of the Balkans in English, begin
ning with the now classic study of Leften S. Stavrianos, The Balkans since 1453
(New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1958); Robert Lee Wolff, I TieBalkans in
our Time (New York: W. W. Norton, 1967); Charles and Barbara J elavich, I he
Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804-1920 (Seatde and London:
University of Washington Press, 1977); Dimitrije Djordjevic and Stephen
Fischer-Galati, The Balkan Revolutionary Tradition (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1981); Barbara Jelavich, Flistory of the Balkans,2 vols. (Cambridge:
CUP, i983);Traian Stoianovich, Balkan Worlds:'Fhe First and Last Europe (London:
M. E. Sharpe, 1994); Stevan K. Pavlowitch, A Flistory of the Balkans, 1804-1945
(London and N ew York: Longman, 1999); Misha Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism,
War, and the Great Powers, 1804-11)91) (London: Granta Books, 1999); Mark
Mazower, The Balkans: A Short Flistory (New York: Random House, 2000);
Dennis P. I lupchick. The Balkans: From Constantinople to Communism (New York:
Palgrave, 2002); and J ohn R. Lampe, Balkans into Southeastern Europe: A Century
of War and Transition (New York: Palgrave, 2006).
4. On the Balkans as borderland and melting pot, see Andrew Baruch Wachtel, 7 he
Balkans in World Flistory (Oxford and N ew York: OUP, 2008), 19.
5. O n the importance and influence of geography, see Stavrianos, Balkans since
1453, 1- I 4
6. I bid. 12.
7. Wachtel, The Balkans, 6.
8. Stoianovich, Balkan Worlds, 133.
278 n o t e s t o p ag es 5-9
9. Anthony Pagden, Peoples and Empires: A Short History of European Migration,
Exploration and Conquest, from Greece to the Present (New York: M odern Library,
2003), pp. xxi iixxiv.
10. Wachtel, The Balkans, 56.
11. See Stanford J . Shaw, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic
(Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991), 312; and Esther Benbassa and Aron Rodrigue,
Sephardi Jewry: A History of the Judeo-Spanish Community, Fourteenth to Twentieth
Centuries (Berkeley-Los Angeles and London: University of California Press,
2000), 4.
12. Radovan Samardzic, Beograd i Srbija u spisima francuskih savremenika XVI XVI I
veka (Belgrade: I storijski arhiv, 1961), 135.
13. Benjamin Lieberman, Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making oj Modern
Europe (Chicago: I van R. Dee Publisher, 2006), p. xii.
14. I bid. 334.
15. I n the case o f ethnic conflict, the literature is voluminous and only some of
the more recent works will be cited here. While several of these works touch
on the Balkans, specifically the Yugoslav war of the 1990s, none treat patterns of
violence in the region as a whole. See Stuart J . Kaufman, Modern Hatreds: The
Symbolic Politics of War (I thaca, N Y : Cornell University Press, 2001); Daniel
Chirot and Martin E . P. Seligman (eds.), Ethnopolitical Watfare: Causes, Consequences,
and Possible Solutions (Washington, D C: American Psychological Association,
2001); Roger D. Petersen, Understanding Ethnic Violence: Fear, Hatred and Resentment
in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe (Cambridge: CUP, 2002); Monica Duffy
Toft, The Geography of Ethnic Violence (Princeton: PUP, 2003); and Milton J .
Esman, An Introduction to Ethnic Conjlict (Cambridge and Malden, Mass.: Polity
Press, 2004).
16. M ark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, i. I hc Meaning of Genocide
(London: I . B.Tauris & Co., 2005), 121; and Patricia Marchak, Reigns of Terror
(Montreal: M cGi ll-Q ueens University Press, 2003).
17. Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, ii. Hie Rise of the West and
the Coming of Genocide (London: I. B.Tauris & Co., 2005), 113.
18. I bid. 215.
19. Levene, Genocide, i. 18799.
20. See Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy : Explaining Ethnic Cleansing
(New York: CUP, 2005).
21. This is the convincing thesis articulated by Norman Naimark, Fires of Hatred:
Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth Century Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, 2001), 116,185- 99.
22. See Eric D.Weitz,The M odernity of Genocides: War, Race, and Revolutions in
the Twentieth Century, in Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan (eds.), The Specter
of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), 53-4.
23. Marchak, Reigns of Terror, 131.
n o t e s t o p a g e s 9 I I 279
24. Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 9. See also Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias
of Race and Nation (Princeton and Oxford: PUP, 2003), 502.
25. See Alan Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First
World War (Oxford: OUP, 2007).
26. This interpretation of Europes 20th century is put forth by both Voelker
Berghahn, Europe in the Era of Two World Wars, 1900-1950: From Militarism and
Genocide to Civil Society (Princeton: PUP, 2006); and Mark Mazower, Dark
Continent: Europes Twentieth Century (London: Penguin, 1998). It also underlies
the discussion in Cathie Carmichael, Genocide before the Flolocaust (New Haven
and London:Yale University Press, 2009).
27. Furthermore, the modernity of mass murder is rooted less in the nature of the
bureaucratic state than it is a reflection of modern mindsets. See Donald
Bloxham,'Bureaucracy and Organized Mass Murder: A Comparative Historical
Analysis, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 22/ 1 (2008), 20345.
28. For general studies of nationalism in the Balkans, see the essays in Peter F. Sugar
and I vo J . Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe 3rd edn. (Seatde and
London: University of Washington Press, 1994); Peter Sugar (ed.), Eastern
European Nationalism in the twentieth Century (Washington, D C: American
University Press, 1995); Miroslav Hroch, From National Movement to the
Fully-Formed Nation: The Nation Building Process in Europe, in Gopal
Balakrishnan (ed) , Mapping the Nation (London:Verso, 1996); George Schopflin,
'Nationalism and Ethnicity in Europe, East and West, in Charles A. Kupchan
(ed.), Nationalism and Nationalities in the New Europe (I thaca, N Y: Cornell
University Press, 1995), 37- 65;Janusz Bugajski, Nations in Turmoil: Confict and
Cooperation in Eastern Europe, 2nd edn. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1995),
1331; and Norbert Reiter (ed.), Nationalbewegungen auf dem Balkan (Berlin:
Otto Harrassowitz, 1983).
29. The literature on nationalism is immense and only some of the most significant
works will be cited here, including Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities:
Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, reev. edn. (London and N ew
York: Verso, 1991); Geoff Eley and Ronald Grigor Suny (eds.), Becoming National:
A Reader (New York: OUP, 1996); Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism
(I thaca, N Y : Cornel l University Press, 1983); Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and
Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge: CUP, 1990); Eric Hobsbawm and Terence
Ranger, The Invention ofTradition (London: Canto, 1983); Anthony D. Smith, The
Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986) and Nationalism: Theory,
Ideology, History (Cambridge and Oxford: Polity Press, 2001); and Rogers
Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New
Europe (Cambridge: CUP, 1996).
30. For typologies o f Balkan nationalism, see I vo Banac, Nationalism in
Southeastern Europe, in Kupchan (ed.), Nationalism and Nationalities in the New
Europe, 10721; and Peter F. Sugar, Roots of East European Nationalism, in
Sugar and Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 4454.
28o n o t e s t o PAGES I I 15
31. Banac,Nationalism in Southeastern Europe, 121.
32. Miroslav H roch.'From National Movement to the Fullv-Formed Nation", 79.
33. See Ernest Renan,What is a Nation?, cited in Eley and Suny (eds.), Becoming
National, 52-4.
34. Anthony D. Smith, Gastronomy or Geology? T he Role of Nationalism in the
Reconstruction of Nations, Nations and Nationalism, 1/ 1 (1994), 1819.
35. Miroslav Hroch, The Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe: A
Comparative Analysis of the Social Composition of Patriotic Groups among the Smaller
European Nations (Cambridge: CUP, 1985).
36. O n Ottoman rule in the Balkans, see Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe under
Ottoman Rule, 13541804 (Seatde and London: University ofWashington Press,
1977)
37. Derived from the Phanar (Lighthouse) district of Constantinople, which after
1601 was the seat of the Patriarch and a predominandy Greek merchant
district.
38. O n the millet system, see Michael Ursinus, Zur Diskussion um millet in
Osmanischen Reich, Sudost Forschungen, 48 (1989), 195-207; and Benjamin
Braude and Bernard Lewis (eds.), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire:The
Foundations of a Plural Society, 2 vols. (New York and London: Holmes & Meier,
1982).
39. Even in the predominandy Muslim Albanian lands, the phenomenon took on
extensive proportions and shook to its foundations the structure of Ottoman
provincial authority. For example, see Frederick F. Anscombe, Albanians and
Mountain Bandits , in Ansombe (ed.). The Ottoman Balkans, 1750-1830
(Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006), 87113.
40. Cited in Mirela-Lumini$a Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe
(Thessaloniki: CD RSEE, 2005), 26.TheVlachs are a Romance-speaking people
related to the Romanians, who live scattered across much of the southern and
western Balkans.
41. Marin V. Pundeff, Bulgarian Nationalism, in Sugar and Lederer (eds.),
Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 99100.
42. See Balazs Trencsenyi and Michal Kopecek (eds.), Discourses of Collective Identity
in Central and Southeast Europe, 1770-1945, i. Late Enlightenment Emergence of the
Modern National Idea (New York and Budapest: Central European University
Press, 2006), 210- 17.
43. The full tide of the latter work was The New Political Constitution of the Inhabitants
of Rumeli,Asia Minor, the Islands of the Aegean and the Principalities of Moldavia and
Wallachia.
44. I vo Lederer, Nationalism and the Yugoslavs, in Sugar and Lederer (eds.),
Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 413. O n Obradovic, see Andrija B. Stojkovic,
Zivotni put Dositeja Obradovica (Belgrade: I storijski muzej Srbije, 1989); and
G. R. Noyes (ed.), Life and Adventures of Dimitrije Obradovic (Berkeley, Calif.:
University of California Press, 1953).
n o t e s t o p a g e s 1 5 19 281
45. See I van Radev, Sofronii Vrachanski: Lichnost i tvorchesko delo (Sofia: Nauka 1
izkustvo, 1983); and Neofit Rilski,Bulgarian Grammar, in Discourses of Collective
Identity in Central and Southeast Europe, 24651.
46. O n the Greek War o f I ndependence, see C. M . Woodhouse, The Greek War of
Independence: Its Historical Setting (London: Hutchinson, 1952) and Capodistrias:
The Founder of Greek Independence 18211829 (London: OUP, 1973); and Douglas
Dakin, The Greek Struggle for Independence 1821-1833 (London: Batsford, 1973).
O n Greek nationalism, see Stephen G. X ydi s,M odem Greek Nationalism, in
Sugar and Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 20758; and Gerasimos
Augustinos,Hellenism and the M odern Greeks, in Sugar (ed.), Eastern European
Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, 163204.
47. Cited in Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 31.
48. Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims,
1821-1922 (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1995), 1012.
49. Lieberman, Terrible Fate, 810.
50. O n the development o f post-1830 Greece, see J ohn Anthony Petropoulos,
Politics and Statecraft in the Kingdom of Greece 1833-1843 (Princeton: PUP, 1968);
William W. McGrew, iMnd and Revolution in Modern Greece 1800-1881: The
Transition in the Tenure and Exploitation of Land from Ottoman Rule to Independence
(Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1985); Douglas Dakin, I hr Unification
of Greece 1770-1923 (London: Ernest Benn, 1972); and D. A. Zakythinos, The
Making of Modern Greece: From Byzantium to Independence (Oxford: OUP, 1976).
51. Cited in Murgescu (ed.). Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 623.
52. Dimitris Livanios, T he Quest for Hellenism: Religion, Nationalism and
Collective I dentities in Greece (14531913), Historical Journal, 3 (2006), 55.
53. I bid. 56.
54. Xydi s,Modem Greek Nationalism, 210- 15.
55. It is worth noting, however, that when the Greek national church, i.e. the
Church of the Kingdom of Greece, declared autocephaly in J une 1833, this act
set off violent debate within Greek religious and intellectual circles. The
proponents of a separate church believed that political independence necessitated
ecclesiastical independence rather than continued dependence on the
Patriarchate in Constantinople, which remained under Ottoman rule. The
opponents of autocephaly, like Konstantinos Oekonomos, railed against those
who would sever Greece from Greece and the Greeks from each other, frag
menting the nation and inducing religious discord which results in internal
maladies and dire wars among brothers. H e feared that a Greek national church
woul dshrink the state of Greeks within too narrow limits. Cited in Murgescu
(ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 77.
56. Cited ibid. 87.
57. T he quote is taken from a fifth-grade elementary reader authored by Galatia
Kazantzaki, cited in Valery Kolev and Christina Koulouri (eds.), 77te Balkan
Wars (Thessaloniki: CD RSEE, 2005), 121. O n the transformation of Greek
282 n o t e s t o p a g e s 20- 23
thinking toward Bulgarians in particular, see Dimitris Livanios, Christians,
Heroes and Barbarians: Serbs and Bulgarians in the M odern Greek Historical
I magination (1602- 1950), in D.Tziovas (ed.), Greece and the Balkans: Identities,
Perceptions and Cultural Encounters since the Enlightenment (Aldershot: Ashgate,
2003), 68-83.
58. O n the First Serbian Uprisi ng, see M ichael B. Petrovich, A History of Modern
Serbia 1804-1918, 2 vols. (New York: H arcourt Brace J ovanovi ch, 1976); and
Wayne S. Vucinich, The First Serbian Uprising, 18041813 (Boulder, Colo.:
Social Science M onographs, 1982). O n nationalism and national ideologies
in the lands of former Yugoslavia, see I vo J . Lederer, Nationalism and
the Yugoslavs, in Sugar and Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe,
396438; Dennison Rusinow, The Yugoslav Peoples, in Sugar (ed.), East
European Nationalism in the twentieth Century, 305- 412; I vo Banac, The
National Question in Yugoslavia: Origin, History, Politics (I thaca, N Y : Cornel l
University Press, 1984); and W ol f Dietri ch Behschnitt, Nationalismus bei
Serben und Kroaten, 1830-1914: Analyse und Typologie der nationalen Ideologie
(M unich: R. Oldenburg Verlag, 1980).
59. The Serb insurgent leader in Valjevo, Prota Mateja Nenadovic, describes in his
memoirs the generally good relationship between insurgents and Muslims in
the early phase o f the Serbian Uprising. See Mateja Nenadovic, The Memoirs of
Prota Matija Nenadovic, ed. Lovett Edwards (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969).
See also T i m J udah, The Serbs: Flistory, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia
(New Haven and London:Yale University Press, 1997), 50-3.
60. O n Karadzic, see Vladimir Stojancevic, Vuk Karadiic i njegovo doba: Rasprave i
tlanci (Belgrade: I storijski muzej Srbije, 1988); and Wilfred Potthoff (ed.), Vuk
Karadzic im europischen Kontext (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1990).
61. David M acKenzi e,Serbia as Piedmont and the Yugoslav I dea, 1804- 1914, East
European Quarterly, 28/ 2 (J une 1994), 15382.
62. O n Markovic, see Veselin Maslesa, Svetozar Markovic (Belgrade, 1945);
D. Prodanovic, Shvatanje Svetozara Markovica 0 driavi (Belgrade, 1961); LjiljanaT.
Slovic, SocioloSka misao Svetozara Markovica (Belgrade: Savremena administracija,
1977); Dusan Nedeljkovic, Nauini skup Svetozar Markovic, omladina i marksizam
(Belgrade: Srpska akademija nauka 1umetnosti, 1982); and I rina S. Voronkova,
Eshche raz o vzgliadah Svetozara Markovica na stroiletstvo novoii Serbii,
Tokovi istorije, 4 (2006), 330.
63. O f the nearly sixty Serbian saints, eighteen were tsars, kings, queens, and princes
of the royal house of Nemanja. Petrovich, History of Modern Serbia, i. 13.
64. O n school systems, textbooks, and South Slav nationalism, see Charles Jelavich,
South Slav Nationalisms: Textbooks and Yugoslav Union before 1914 (Columbus,
Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1990).
65. Cited in Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 79.
66. It should be noted, as Mark Mazower has done, that The Mountain Wreaths
glorification of the supposed extermination of Muslims in late 17th-century
N O T ES TO P AGES 23 28
Montenegro was a product o f poetic imagination rather than historical fact.
One must distinguish between the articulation of modern myths extolling old
sacrifices and spilled blood and supposed ancient hatreds and prejudices. H olm
Sundhaussen adopts a different interpretation, suggesting that both the subtext
and the messages contained in the epic are exclusionary in the extreme.
Mazower, The Balkans, 153; and H olm Sundhaussen, Geschichte Serbiens. 1921.
Jahrhundert (Vienna: BohlauVerlag, 2007), 104-8.
67. There is an ample literature on this theme. A useful introduction is Noel
Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History (London: Macmillan, 1998).
68. Zivota Djordjevic, Srpska narodna vojska: Studija 0 uredjenju narodne vojske Srbije
1861-1864 (Beograd: Biblioteka Studije 1monografije, 1984), 60.
69. Zivota Djordjevic, C)ukur-esma 1862:Studija o odlaskuTuraka iz Srbije (Belgrade:
Nolit, 1983), 235-40.
70. I bid. 273.
71. Svetozar Markovic, Srbija na istoku (Zagreb: Nakladni zavod N R Hrvatske,
1946), 4
72. Banac. National Question in Yugoslavia,73.
73. For studies of I llyrianism, see Elinor M. Despalatovic, Ljudevit Gaj and the
Illyrian Movement (Boulder, Colo.: East European Quarterly, 1975); and Jaroslav
Sidak, Hrvatski narodni preporod: Ilirski pokret (Zagreb: Skolska knjiga, 1988).
74. O n Starcevic, see Miijana Gross, Izvorno pravaStvo: Ideologija, agitacija, pokret
(Zagreb: Golden Marketing, 2000).
75. On Strossmayer, see J .J . Strossmayer and Franjo Racki, Polititki spisi, comp, by
Vladimir Koscak (Zagreb: Znanje, 1971); and Petar Korunic, Jugoslavizam i
federalizam u hrvatskom nacionalnom preporodu 18351875: Studija o politifkoj teoriji
i ideologiji (Zagreb: Globus, 1989).
76. On the Croato-Serb Coalition and Croatian Serb policies, see Nicholas J .
Miller, Between Nation and State: Serbian Politics in Croatia before the First World
War (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997).
77. There are several good studies of Bulgaria in English, beginning with those of
Richard J . Crampton, Bulgaria (Oxford: OUP, 2007 ),A Concise History of Bulgaria
(Cambridge: CUP, 1997),A Short History of Bulgaria (Cambridge: CUP, 1987),
and Bulgaria 1878-1918: A History (Cambridge: CUP, 1983). In addition, see
Mercia M acDermott, A History of Bulgaria, 1393-1885 (London: George Allen &
Unwin, 1962). O n Bulgarian nationalism, see Pundeff,Bulgarian Nationalism,
in Sugar and Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 93165; and Maria
Todorova, The Course and Discourses of Bulgarian Nationalism, in Sugar
(ed.), Eastern European Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, 55102.
78. M acDermott, History of Bulgaria, 14368.
79. I n Skopje eparchy 8,131 of 8,698 households opted for the Exarchate, while in
Ohrid and its environs 9,387 voted for the Exarchate while only 139 opted to
remain with the Patriarchate. See Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast
Europe,41.Although formed in 1870, the Bulgarian Exarchate went unrecognized
284
n o t e s t o p a g e s 2831
by the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1945; it was elevated to the status of a
patriarchate only in 1951.
80. His best-known work, Gorski Patnik (1857, often tr. as A Traveller in the Woods
or Forest Traveller), was a call to Bulgarians to rebel against Ottoman rule. See
Margaret H. BeissingerJ aneTylus, and Susanne LindgrenWofford, EpicTraditions
in the Contemporary World: The Poetics of Community (Los Angeles -Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1999),79; and M ari Agop Firkatian, The Forest
Traveller: Georgi Stoikov Rakovski and Bulgarian Nationalism (New York: Peter
Lang, 1996).
81. See Mercia M acDermott, The Apostle of Freedom: A Portrait of Vasil Levsky Against
a Background of Nineteenth Century (Sofia: Sofia Press, 1979).
82. Jelavich, Establishment of the Balkan National States, 137.
83. Kemal H. Karpat, Studies on Ottoman Social and Political Flistory: Selected Articles
and Essays (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 425. I n 187s Botev wrote of the need to end
the barbarous Turkish yoke, to get free from this inhuman slavery, but contin
ued to envision a future South Slavic confederation based on republican
principles. Cited in Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 42.
84. Cited in Firkadan, I he Forest Traveler, 159-60.
85. Stanford J . Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, Flistory of the Ottoman Empire and Modern
Turkey, ii. Reform, Revolution, and Republic: The Rise of Modern Turkey 1808-1975
(Cambridge: CUP, 1977), 162.
86. The number of casualties cannot be conclusively established and has led to a
range of estimates. Some place the number of Bulgarian casualties at 15,000.
See Shaw, Flistory of the Ottoman Empire, 162; and Hupchick, The Balkans, 264.
87. Lieberman, Terrible Fate, 1723.
88. M ark Pinson, Ottoman Colonization of the Circassians in Rumeli after the
Crimean War, Etudes Balkaniques, 3 (1973), 7185.
89. Vicki Tamir, Bulgaria and Her Jews.The History of a Dubious Symbiosis (New York:
Yeshiva University Press, 1979), 8190.
90. Omer Turan, Turkish Migrations from Bulgaria, in Ekaterina Popova and
Marko Hajdinjak (eds.), Forced Ethnic Migrations on the Balkans: Consequences and
Rebuilding of Societies (Sofia: I nternational Centre for M inority Studies and
I ntercultural Relations, 2005). 81.
91. See H upchick, I he Balkans, 265; and McCarthy, Death and Exile, 64, 85.
92. See the discussion in Claudia Weber,/ lufiii'r.S'uc fa- nach der Nation :Erinnerungskultur
in Bulgarien von 1878-1944 (Berlin: LI TVerlag, 2006), 37- 164.
93. M ary Neuburger, The Orient Within: Muslim Minorities and the Negotiation of
Nationhood in Modern Bulgaria (I thaca, N Y : Cornel l University Press, 2004), 3.
94. I bid. 6.
95. Article 37 of the Turnovo Constitution (1879) recognized Orthodoxy as the
official state religion of Bulgaria, although persons o f other faiths were acknow
ledged. See Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 789.
N O T ES TO P AGES 31 32 285
96. For studies of the Muslim minority in Bulgaria, in addition to the previously
cited study of M ary Neuburger, see Wolfgang Hopken, From Religious
I dentity to Ethnic M obilisation:The Turks of Bulgaria before, under and since
Communism, in Hugh Poulton and SuhaTaji-Farouki (eds.), Muslim Identity
and the Balkan State (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 54- 81.
97. On the Macedonian national movement, see Andrew Rossos, Macedonia and
the Macedonians: A History (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2008),
and his Macedonian Question and I nstability in the Balkans, in Norman
Naimark and H olly Case (eds.), Yugoslavia and Its Historians (Stanford, Calif.:
Stanford University Press, 2003); Krste Bitoski et al., Istorija na makedonskiot
narod, iiiv (Skopje: I nstitut za nacionalna istorija, 2003); Blaze Ristovski,
Istorija na makedonskata nacija (Skopje: M A N U , 1999) and his Makedonija i
makedonskata nacija (Skopje: Detska Radost, 1995); Nadine Lange-Akhund,
The Macedonian Question, 1893-1908, from Western Sources, tr. Gabriel Topor
(Boulder: East European Monographs, 1998); Loring Danforth, The Macedonian
Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World (Princeton: PUP, 1995);
Fikret Adanir, Die makedonische I-rage: ihre Entstehung und Entwicklung bis 1908
(Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1979), and hisThe Macedonians in the Ottoman Empire
18781912, in Andreas Kappeler (ed.), The Formation of National Elites:
Comparative Studies on Governments and Non-Dominant Ethnic Groups in Europe,
1850-1940 (New York: New York University Press, 1992); and Keith Brown,
The Past in Question .Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation (Princeton:
PUP, 2003). On I M RO , see Duncan Perry, The Politics ofTerror.The Macedonian
Liberation Movements, 1893-1903 (Durham, N C: Duke University Press, 1988).
98. Victor A. Friedman, Macedonian Language and Nationalism during the
Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, Balcanistica, 2 (1975), 83-98.
99. Danforth, Macedonian Conflict, 63-4. On Misirkov and his importance, see
Blaze Ristovski, Krste Petkov Misirkov, 1874-1926: Prilog kon pruiivanjeto na
makedonskata nacionalna misla (Skopje: Kultura, 1966).
100. See Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 523.
101. Vlad Georgescu, The Romanians: A History, ed. Matei Calinescu and tr.
Alexandra Bley-Vroman (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press,
1991), 11718. O n Romania generally, see Keith Hitchins, Rumania, 1866-1947
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994) and his The Romanians, 17741866 (Oxford:
Clarendon, 1996). O n Romanian nationalism, see Stephen Fischer-Galafi,
Romanian Nationalism, Sugar and Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern
Europe, 373-95; and James P. Niessen,Romanian Nationalism: An I deology of
I ntegration and Mobilization, in Sugar (ed.), Eastern European Nationalism in
the Twentieth Century, 273304.
102. O n the influence o f the Enlightenment in the Principalities, see Vlad
Georgescu, Political Ideas and the Enlightenment in the Romanian Principalities,
1750-1831 (Boulder, Colo.: East European Quarterly, 1971); and Veniamin
286 N O T ES TO PAGES 3 3 - 3 6
Ciobanu, Les Principauts roumaines et la politique europenne, 1699-1815, tr.
Melania Munteanu (Bucharest: Enciclopedic, 1984).
103. O n the Romanians of Transylvania, see Keith Hitchins, A Nation Discovered:
Romanian Intellectuals in Transylvania and the Idea of Nation, 1700-1848 (Bucharest:
Encyclopaedic Publishing House, 1999), and his A Nation Affirmed: The
Romanian National Movement in Transylvania, 1860-1914 (Bucharest:
Encyclopaedic Publishing House, 1999); and William O. Oldson, The Politics of
Rite: Jesuit, Uniate and Romanian Ethnicity in Eighteenth Century Transylvania
(Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs, 2005). See also Supplex Libellus
Valachorum (1791), in Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast
Europe, i. 27681.
104. These changes were also reflected in the Romanian Orthodox Church, which
declared autocephaly in 1872. This act was recognized by the Ecumenical
Patriarchate only in 1885.The Romanian Orthodox Church was elevated to
the status of a patriarchate in 1925.
105. For a discussion of the debates surrounding Romanian national essence, see
Katherine Verdery, National Ideology under Socialism: Identity and Cultural Politics
in Ceau$escus Romania (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1991).
27- 71.
106. I bid. 34.
107. Barbara J elavich, Russia and the Formation of the Romanian National State,
1821-1878 (Cambridge: CUP, 1984), 16-38.
108. Georgescu, The Romanians, 137.
109. I bid. 161.
no. J elavich, Russia and the Formation of the Romanian National State, 71-100.
i n . I bid. 153- 291.
112. I bid. 118- 19.
113. See Murgescu (ed.). Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 734.
114. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, 253.
115. Albanian national leaders were drawn from all three religious communities.The
Albanian Orthodox Church was in many respects the work of Fan Stilion Noli,
an Orthodox cleric ordained in 1908 and an important figure in the Albanian
national movement. I n 1922 the Albanian Church declared autocephaly under
Bishop Nol i; the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized this act in 1937.
116. The standard work on Albanian nationalism remains Stavro Skendi. The
Albanian National Awakening 1878-1912 (Princeton: PUP, 1967). Other relevant
studies include Tajar Zavalani, Albanian Nationalism, in Sugar and Lederer
(eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 5592; Bernd J . Fischer, Albanian
Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, in Sugar (ed.), Eastern European
Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, 2154; Peter Bartl, Die albanischen Muslime
zur Zeit der Nationalen Unabhngigkeitsbewegung 1878-1912 (1968), and J rgen
Faensen, Die albanische Nationalbewegung (1980). Isa Blumi provides an
interesting comparative study in Rethinking the Late Ottoman Empire: A
N O T ES TO PAGES 36 - 3 9
287
Comparative Social and Political History of Albania and Yemen, 1878-1918 (2003),
while George Gawrych looks at Albaniamsm from an Ottoman perspective in
The Crescent and The Eagle: Ottoman Rule, Islam and the Albanians, 18741913
(London: I. B.Tauris & Co., 2006).
117. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, ii. 199. O n the pro
gramme of the League of Prizren, see Program of the Albanian League of
Prizren, in BalazsTrencsenyi and Michal Kopecek (eds.), Discourses of Collective
Identity in Central and Southeast Europe, 1770-1945, i. Late Enlightenment
Emergence of the Modern National Idea (New York and Budapest: Central
European University Press, 2006), 34752.
118. See Komtzas letter to Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, Agenor Count
Goluchowski, in Murgescu (ed.), Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 86.
119. These included more schools, a promise that Albanians could perform
military service in their native provinces, no new taxes and military
conscription over the next two years, and that all Ottoman off icials in the Albanian
lands be conversant in Albanian. See Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and
Modern Turkey, ii. 2889.
120. See Ismail Kemal Bey, The Memoirs of Ismail Kemal Bey (London: Constable &'
Co., 1920).
121. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, ii. 289.
122. He authored Geschichte der Serben, tr.J . H. Schwicker (Leipzig: n.publ., 1878).
123. On the economic modernization o f Bosnia, see Peter Sugar, Lite Industrialization
of Bosnia-Hercegovina, 1878-1914 (Seatde: University ofWashington Press, 1963).
General aspects of Habsburg rule are covered in Robert J . Donia and J ohn V. A.
Fine, Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1994), 93119; Francine Friedman, The Bosnian Muslims:
Denial of a Nation (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996), 5788; and Robin
Okey, laming Balkan Nationalism: The Habsburg Civilizing Mission in Bosnia,
1878-1914 (Oxford: OUP, 2007). A discussion of political movements in this
period may be found in Robert J . Donia, Islam under the Double Eagle: The
Muslims of Bosnia and Hercegovina, 1878-1914 (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1981). O n general aspects of Bosnian development, see the essays in
Mark Pinson (ed.), The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina .Their Historic Development
from the Middle Ages to the Dissolution ofYugoslavia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, 1993).
124. T he most detailed study of the Kallay regime is Tomislav Kraljacic, Kalajev
rezim u Bosni i Hercegovini 1882-1903 (Sarajevo:Veselin Maslesa, 1987). O n the
Bosnian Muslim awakening and autonomist movement, see A ti f Purivatra.
Mustafa I mamovic. and Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, Muslimani i bosnjahvo
(Sarajevo: I T P Biblioteka Kljucanin, 1991); and Mustafa I mamovic, Historija
Bofnjaka (Sarajevo: BZK Preporod, 1997).
125. Cited in I van Lovrenovic, Bosnia: A Cultural History (New York: N ew York
University Press, 2001), 1512.
288 n o t e s t o p a g e s 42-49
126. Aurel C. Popovici, Die Vereinigten Staaten von Gross-sterreich: politische Studien
zur Lsung der nationalen Fragen und staatsrechtlichen Krisen in sterreich-Ungarn
(Leipzig: B. Elischer Nachfolger, 1906).
127. Charles Tilly, War M aking and State Making as Organized Cri me, in Peter
Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer and Theda Skocpol (eds.), Bringing the State
Back In (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), 170.
128. See Stathis Kalyvas, Ethnic Defection in Ci vi l War, Comparative Political
Studies, 41/ 8 (Aug. 2008), 1043-68.
129. As Kalyvas suggested in his 2008 study, additional research is warranted on
the identity consequences of civil war, rather than the much more common
emphasis on identities as a cause of civil war. I bid. 1060.
130. P. M . Kitromilides,I magined Communities, in Enlightenment, Nationalism and
Orthodoxy: Studies in the Culture and Political Thought of South-Eastern Europe
(Aldershot: Variorum, 1994), 54. For the autocephaly of the Greek church, and
the forceful reaction of the Patriarchate see Charles Frazee, TTic Orthodox
Church and Independent Greece, 1821-1852 (Cambridge: CUP, 1969).
131. For a fuller discussion of this point see Dimitris Livanios,Conquering the
Souls: Nationalism and Greek Guerrilla Warfare in Ottoman Macedonia,
19041908, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 23 (1999), 195- 221.
132. See the discussion on identity in Dimitris Livanios,The Quest for Hellenism:
Religion, Nationalism and Collective I dentities in Greece (14531913),
Historical Journal, 3 (2006), 33-70.
133. I stvan Dek, H ow to Construct a Productive, Disciplined, Monoethnic
Society: The Dilemma of East Central European Governments, I 9i 4- I 956,i n
Ami r Weiner (ed.), Landscaping the Human Garden -.Twentieth-Century Population
Management in a Comparative Framework (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University
Press, 2003), 205- 17.
CHAPTER 2
1. Reuben H enry Markham, Meet Bulgaria (Sofia:The author, 1931), 65.
2. William Miller, 7 he Balkans: Roumania, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro
(N ewYork and London: G. P. Putnams Sons &T . Fisher U nwin, 1907), p. vii.
3. Skender Rizaj, Struktura stanovmstva Kosovskog vilajeta u drugoj polovini
X I X stoleca, Vranjski glasnik, 8 (1972), 95- 110; and Marija Pandevska, Prisilni
migracii vo Makedonija 18751881 (Skopje: I nstitut za nacionalna istorija, 1993),
108- 9,117- 18.
4. This figure is taken from Dubravka Stojanovic, U spiralu zlocina: balkanski
ratovi, 7 M ay 2009, http:/ / www.pescanik.net/ content/ view/ 3092/ 143/ ; and
Milos J agodic, The Emigration of Muslims from the N ew Serbian Regions
1877/ 1878, Balkanologie, 2/ 2 (Dec. 1998), at http:/ / balkanologie.revues.org/
index265.html (both accessed Feb. 2010).
N O T ES TO P AGES 49~52 289
5. Nicole I mmig,The N ew Muslim Minorities in Greece: Between Emigration
and Political Participation, 18811886, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 29/ 4
(2009), 511- 22.
6. Charles and Barbara Jelavich, The Establishment of the Balkan National States,
1804-1920 (Seattle and London: University ofWashington Press, 1977), 212.
7. Marian Kent, The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire (London:
Roudedge, 1996), 77.
8. Markham, Meet Bulgaria, 63.
9. See Victor Roudometof, The Social Origins of Balkan Politics: Nationalism,
Underdevelopment, and the Nation-State in Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria,
1880-1920, Mediterranean Quarterly, 11/ 3 (Summer 2000), 144-63.
10. J ohn R. Lampe and Marvin R. J ackson, Balkan Economic History, 1550-1950: From
Imperial Borderlands to Developing Nations (Bloomington, I nd.: I ndiana University
Press, 1982), 211.
11. J . R. Lampe, Balkans into Southeastern Europe (New York and London: Palgrave,
2006), 25.
12. Lampe and Jackson, Balkan Economic History, 234.
13. It is worth noting, however, that Bulgaria today has over 1,000 mosques. See
Second Mosque in Sofia?, Sofia Echo (5 Dec. 2008). I n Romania several
mosques survived in northern Dobrudja, an Ottoman possession from 1420 to
1878, where the Tatar and Turkish minorities are concentrated. The Mangalia
Mosque (1525) is the oldest, while the Carol I Mosque in Costan(a (1910) was
reconstructed, as the name suggests, under King Carol I. See George Grigore,
Muslims in Romania, International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modem
World Newsletter, 3 (J uly 1999), 34.
14. Cited in M ann V. Pundeff,Bulgaria, in J oseph Held (ed.), 77ie Columbia Flistory
of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press,
1992), 68.
15. Diana Mishkova, Modernization and Political Elites in the Balkans before the
First World War, East European Politics and Societies, 9/ 1 (Winter 1995), 6389.
16. Victor Roudometof, Nationalism, Globalization, and Ortho doxy .The Social Origins
of Ethnic Conflict in the Balkans (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001),
165-6.
17. I bid. 26.
18. O n Balkan economic modernization in this period, in addition to the Lampe
and J ackson book, see Daniel Chirot (ed.), The Origins of Backwardness in Eastern
Europe: Economics and Politics from the Middle Ages until the Early Twentieth Century
(Los Angeles-Berkeley: University o f California Press, 1989); and Michael
R. Palairet, The Balkan Economies c. 1800-1914: Evolution Without Development
(Cambridge: CUP, 2004).
19. Gale Stokes,Social Origins of East European Politics, in Chirot (ed.), Origins
of Backwardness, 230- 1.
290 N O T ES TO P AGES 53 56
20. V Georgescu, The Romanians, ed. M . Calinescu and tr. A. Bley-Vroman
(Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University press, 1991), 1834.
21. On Stambolov, see Duncan M . Perry, Stefan Stambolov and the Emergence of
Modern Bulgaria, 1870-189% (Durham, N C: Duke University Press, 1993); and
Dimitr I vanov, Stambolov i Blgariia: Sbornik (Sofia: Ares pres, 1995).
22. R.J . Crampton, Short History of Bulgaria (Cambridge: CUP, 1987), 394o;Jelavich
and J elavich, Establishment, 15869.
23. See the discussion in Galia I .Valtchinova,Between a Balkan H ome and the
West: Popular Conceptions of the West in Bulgaria after 1945, in Andrew
Hammond (ed.), The Balkans and the West: Constructing the European Other,
1945-2003 (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2004), 13652.
24. See D. Mishkova, Literacy and Nation-Building in Bulgaria, 18781912, East
European Quarterly, 29/ 1 (1994), 86.
25. Roudometof, Nationalism, Globalization, and Orthodoxy, p. 167.
26. Richard Clogg, Parties and Elections in Greece: The Search for Legitimacy (Durham,
N C : Duke University Press, 1987), 117; J elavich and Jelavich, Establishment,
68-83.
27. Clogg, Parties and Elections in Greece, 34.
28. Cited ibid. 3-4.
29. I bid. 7. On the 1909 coup and the role of the Greek military, see S. Victor
Papacosma, The Military in Greek Politics: The 1909 Coup dEtat (Kent, Ohio:
Kent State University Press, 1977). A broader study of the development of the
Greek military is provided by Thanos Veremes, 77te Military in Greek Politics:
From Independence to Democracy (Montreal: Black Rose, 1997).
30. Roudometof, Nationalism, Globalization, and Orthodoxy, 166.
31. Mark Mazower, The Messiah and the Bourgeoisie: Venizelos and Politics in
Greece, 19091912, Historical Journal, 35/ 4 (1992), 885904.
32. Olga Popovic Obradovic, Parlamentarizam u Srbiji od 1903 do 1914 godine
(Belgrade: Sluzbeni list, 1988), 56; Andrej Mitrovic,'Problem! i pitanja modern-
izacije Srbije,i n H ans-Georg Fleck and I gor Graovac (eds .),Dijalog Povjesnicara-
Istoricara 2 (Zagreb: Friedrich Naumann, 2000). 817. Serbian domestic
developments are also covered in J elavich and Jelavich, Establishment, 5367.
33. Popovic Obradovic, Parlamentarizam u Srbiji, 5762.
34. O n the emergence of political parties in Serbia and their views on modern
ization, see Gale Stokes, Politics as Development: The Emergence of Political Parties
in Nineteenth-Century Serbia (Durham, N C: Duke University Press, 1990):
Dubravka Stojanovic. Nekohko osobina procesa modernizacije u Srbiji
pocetkom 20. veka, in Fleck and Graovac (eds.), Dijalog Povijesnicara-Istoricara
2, 1467; and Dubravka Stojanovic, Politicka kultura 1modernizacija u Srbiji
pocetkom 20. veka in Fleck and Graovac (eds.), Dijalog Povijesnicara-Istoricara 3
(Zagreb: Friedrich Naumann, 2001), 15867.
35. Latinka Perovic, Milan Pirocanac: Zapadanjak u Srbiji 19. veka, in Latinka
Perovic (ed.), Srbija u modernizacijskim procesima 19. i 20. veka, iii. Uloga elita
N O T ES TO P AGES 57~6 l 291
(Belgrade: I nstitut za noviju istoriju Srbije, 2003), n 72. The Progressives and
Radicals represented the first two generations of Serbian intellectuals to be
educated at European universities. See Ljubinka Trgovcevic-Mitrovic, Planirana
elita: O studentima iz Srbije na evropskim univerzitetima u 19. veku (Belgrade:
Udruzenje za drustvenu istoriju, 2003).
36. Popovic-Obradovic, Parlamentarizam u Srbiji, 62-94.
37. The standard work on the post-1903 period is Wayne S.Vucinich, Serbia between
East and\Vest:The Events of 19031908 (Stanford,Calif.: Stanford University Press.
1954). For recent reassessments of the period and Pasics role in particular, see
Dubravka Stojanovic, Nikola Pasic u Narodnoj skupstini: Novo doba, 1903-1914
(Belgrade: Sluzbeni list, 1997), her Srbija i demokratija, 1903-1914 (Belgrade:
Udruzenje za drustvenu istoriju, 2004), and I storijski problemi demokratizac-
ije: Primer Srbije, Forum Bosnae, 32 (2005). 8698.
38. On Apis and these societies,see David Mackenzie, Apis: The Congenial Conspirator.
The Life of Colonel Dragutin T. Dimitrijevic (Boulder, Colo.: East European
Monographs, 1989); and Milan Zivanovic, Solunski proces 1917 (Belgrade:
Savremena administracija, 1955), wluch chronicles his court martial and execu
tion by a Serbian military tribunal at Salonika in 1917.
39. For a recent history, see Elizabeth Roberts, Realm of the Black Mountain: A Flistory
of Montenegro (I thaca, N Y:Cornel l University Press, 2007); and J ohn D. Treadway,
The Falcon and the Eagle: Montenegro and Austria-Hungary, 1908-1914 (West
Lafayette, I nd.: Purdue University Press, 1998).
40. Jelavich and Jelavich, Establishment, 1834; ;|fid Georgescu, I he Romanians, 1512.
41. Hitchins, Romania, 94.
42. Georgescu, The Romanians, 1379.
43. For a discussion of the peasantry in the lands of former Yugoslavia, see the rel
evant sections of the classic study by J ozo Tomasevich, Peasants, Politics and
Economic Change in Yugoslavia (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1955).
See also Manuela Dobos,T he Nagodba and the Peasantry in Croatia-Slavonia ,
in I vanVolgyes (ed.), The Peasantry of Eastern Europe, i. Roots of RuralTransformation
(NewYork: Pergamon Press, 1979), 889.
44. Tomasevich, Peasants, 182, 250.
45. Dragutin Pavlicevic, Narodni pokret 1883 u Hrvatskoj (Zagreb: Liber, 1980), 2902,
352- 3
46. Cited in Dobos,The Nagodba', 95.
47. T he events of 1907 are vividly retold in R. W. Seton-Watson, A Flistory of the
Roumanians: From Roman Times to the Completion of Unity (Cambridge: CUP.
1934), 386-8; and Philip Gabriel Eidelberg, The Great Rumanian Peasant Revolt
of 1907: Origins of a Modern Jacquerie (Leiden: Brill, 1974).
48. Crampton, Short History of Bulgaria, 423.
49. Richard C. Hall, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, in Richard F. Hamilton
and H olger H. H erwig (eds.), The Origins of World War I (Cambridge: CUP,
2003), 391.
292 n o t e s p a g e s 61- 68
50. Leon Trotsky, The Balkan Wars, 1912-13: The War Correspondence of Leon Trotsky
(NewYork: Resistance Books, 1980), 121.
51. See J ohn D. Bel l, Peasants in Power: Alexander Stamboliski and the Bulgarian
Agrarian National Union, 1899-1923 (Princeton: PUP, 1977); Mark Biondich,
Stjepan Radic, the Croat Peasant Party and the Politics of Mass Mobilization, 1904
1928 (Toronto: University o f Toronto Press, 2000); and Tibor I van Berend,
History Derailed: Central and Eastern Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century (Los
Angeles-Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 23584.
52. Pamela Pilbeam,From Orders to Classes: European Society in the Nineteenth
Century, inT. C.W. Banning (ed.), The Oxford History of Modern Europe (Oxford:
OUP, 2000), 122- 5.
53. See the stimulating discussion in Alan Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction: Culture
and Mass Killing in the First World War (Oxford: OUP, 2007).
54. H enry L. Roberts, Eastern Europe: Politics, Revolution, and Diplomacy (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), 199200.
55. Ci vi l society is understood here as a society with a complex of autonomous
institutions distinguishable primarily from the state; a complex of relationships
between society and state and set of institutions which safeguard the sep
aration of civil society and state; and a widespread pattern of civil manners. See
Edward Shi l s,T he Virtue of Civil Society, Government and Opposition, 26/ 1
(I 99i ), 3- 20.
56. I n 1911 the six vilayets o f the Ottoman Balkans (Edirne, Selanik,Yenya, Monastir,
Kosova, and Iskodra) possessed, according to the Ottoman authorities, an
estimated population of 6.3 million with a slight Muslim plurality (3.2 million,
or 51%). O nly the largest vilayet, Edirne, possessed a Muslim plurality (55%).
Adherents of the Orthodox Patriarchate (Greeks) and Exarchate (Bulgarians)
numbered 1.5 and 1.2 million, respectively. These figures must be treated with
caution, however. Since the data reflected confessional groups rather than
nationalities, several groups (Albanians, Macedonians, Serbs, et al.) went
uncounted, others may have been undercounted and the data distorted for
political reasons. See Kolev and Koulouri (eds.), Balkan Wars, table 3, p. 26.
57. Sophia Koufopoulou,Muslim Cretans inTurkey:The Reformulation of Ethnic
I dentity in an Aegean Community, in Renee Hirschon (ed.), Crossing the
Aegean: An Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange between Greece
and Turkey (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2003), 211.
58. H enry N. Brailsford, Macedonia: Its Races and their Future (London: Methuen,
1906), 101.
59. N. Lange-Akhund, The Macedonian Question (Boulder, Colo.: East European
Monographs, 1998), 36, 423.
60. Thomas Comyn-Platt, The Turk in the Balkans (London: Alston Rivers, 1904), 34.
61. Beginning in the 1880s the Serbs established over seventy schools in Macedonia
and Kosovo, one seminary in Prizren (Kosovo), and several newspapers,including
Prizren (1871), Kosovo (1885), Carigradski glasnik (established in Constantinople,
N O T ES TO P AGES 68- 71
293
1895), and Vardar (established in Skopje, 1908). After 1908, the Serb National
Organization was centred in Skopje. These organizations, though less numerous
than their Greek and Bulgarian equivalents, revealed the degree to which the
Serbs were able to promote their national cause in a concerted fashion in the three
decades before the Balkan Wars. See Slavenko Terzic, Sinisao Kumanovske bitke
1912, Glas javnosti (29 Oct. 2002).
62. The Greek claim was rooted in the allegedly Greek cultural character of the
region since the classical period. Serb and Bulgarian claims were based on
multiple criteria. T he i4th-cent. Serbian empire was based at Skopje, while
the medieval Bulgarian church was based at Ohrid.
63. An 1889 Serbian study claimed that Serbs constituted 2 million of Macedonia's 2.8
million people, while a Bulgarian study published in 1900 claimed that there were
1.1 million Bulgarians among a total population of 2.2 million. A Greek study
from 1904 asserted that, of a total population of 1.7 million, Greeks were the single
largest nationality with 652,795 conationals. According to these incongruent esti
mates, the number of Muslims (Turks, Albanians, et al.) in Macedonia varied enor
mously while Macedonians did not exist. See Kolev and Koulouri, Balkan Wars,
table 13, p. 42. O n the politics of these statistics, at the time and since, see I akovos
D. Michailidis,The War of Statistics:Traditional Recipes for the Preparation of the
Macedonian Salad, East European Quarterly, 32/ 1 (1998), 9- 21.
64. As Duncan Perry convincingly demonstrates, I M RO was by no means indis
criminate in its violence and in those regions where it established a presence it
attempted to serve as a symbol of law and order. Perry, The Politics of Terror
(Durham, N C: Duke University Press, 1988), 206-9.
65. Walter Lacquer, Guerrilla Warfare, 2nd edn. (New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction,
1998), 183.
66. The Declaration is reprinted in Nations and States in Southeast Europe, 48.
67. Lacquer, Guerrilla Warfare, 183.
68. The discussion in this section relies considerably on Stathis N. Kalyvass impor
tant study on the dynamics of violence. Kalyvas demonstrates that violence in
civil wars, in particular the victimization of civilians, has a logic of its own and
cannot be dismissed as irrational. Violence in these circumstances tends to be
highly brutal and deeply intimate. See Stathis N. Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in
Civil War (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), 16- 32, 87-209.
69. O n the phenomenon of banditry in the modern period, see Wendy Bracewell,
The Proud Name of Hajduks: Bandits as Ambiguous Heroes in Balkan Politics
and Culture", in Norman Naimark and H olly Case (eds.), Yugoslavia and its
Historians (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003), 2236; and Andre
Gerolymatos, The Balkan Wars: Myth, Reality, and the Eternal Conflict (New York:
Stoddart, 2001), 85- 119.
70. See the discussion in Rodanthi Tzanelli, Haunted by the Enemy Within:
Brigandage, Vlachian/ Albanian Greekness, Turkish Contamination, and
Narratives of Greek Nationhood in the Dilessi/ Marathon Affair (1870) Journal
294
N O T ES t o P AGES 71 77
of Modern Greek Studies, 20/ 1 (2002), 47-74; and Gerolymatos, The Balkan
Wars, 859.
71. Bracewell,Proud Name of Hajduks, 27.
72. According to Nadine Lange-Akhund, 430 of 1,289 Bulgarian military officers
in the late 19th century were originally from Ottoman Macedonia. See Lange-
Akhund, Macedonian Question, 44.
73. See the essays by Milan Mijalkovski, Sinisa Antonijevic, Bozica Mladenovic,
and Aleksandar Zivotic, in M omcilo Pavlovic et al. (eds.), Gerila na
Balkanu: Borci za slobodu, buntovnici ili banditi (Belgrade: Institut za savremenu
istoriju, 2007).
74. J ohn Koliopoulos, Brigandage and I nsurgency in the Greek Domains of the
Ottoman Empire, 18531908, in Dimitri Gondicas and Charles Philip Issawi
(eds.), Ottoman Greeks in the Age of Nationalism: Politics, Economy and Society in the
Nineteenth Century (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1999), 14360; and his Brigands
with a Cause: Brigandage and lrredentism in Modern Greece, 18211912 (Oxford:
OUP, 1987).
75. See Douglas Dakin, The Greek Struggle in Macedonia, 1897-1913 (Thessaloniki:
I nstitute for Balkan Studies, 1966).
76. For a fuller discussion of this point see Dimitris Livaruos, Conquering the
Souls: Nationalism and Greek Guerrilla Warfare in Ottoman Macedonia,
19041908, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 23 (1999), 195221.
77. Cited W. M . Mazower, The Balkans (New York: Random House, 2000), 45.
78. Livanios,Conquering the Souls, 197.
79. The Serbian-Bulgarian negotiations are discussed in Andrew Rossos, Russia and
the Balkans: Inter-Balkan Rivalries and Russian Foreign Policy, 1908-1914 (Toronto:
University ofToronto Press, 1981).
80. Richard C. Hall, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, in Hamilton and H erwig
(eds.), Origins, 406.
81. Cited in See Kolev and Koulouri (eds.), The Balkan Wars, 578.
82. Cited in Slavenko Terzic, Smisao Kumanovske bitke 1912, Glas javnosti
(29 Oct. 2002).
83. The course of the war in the Thracian and Macedonian theatres is told in con
siderable detail by Richard C. Hall, The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: Prelude to the
First World War (London: Routledge, 2000), 2268. O n the Ottoman war effort,
see Edward J . Erickson, Defeat in Detail: Ottoman Army Operations in the Balkan
Wars, 1912-1913 (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003).
84. See Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 68. O n the occasion o f the ninetieth
anniversary of the Batde of Kumanovo, the Serb historian Slavenko Terzic of
the Historical I nstitute of the Serbian Academy remarked that the battle was
the finale of a long and difficult political and cultural struggle. Smisao
Kumanovske bitke 1912, Glas javnosti (29 Oct. 2002).
85. J elavich and J elavich, Establishment, 22234.
86. See Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 99- 101.
N O T ES TO P AGES 7 7 - 8 3 295
87. The standard works on the diplomacy o f the Balkan Wars are E. C. Helmreich,
The Diplomacy of the Balkan Wars 1912-1913 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, 1938); and Andrew Rossos, Russia and the Balkans: Inter-Balkan
Rivalries and Russian Foreign Policy, 1908-1914 (Toronto: University ofToronto
Press. 1981).
88. Hall, The Balkan Wars, 19121913,10729.
89. Kolev and Koulouri (eds.), The Balkan Wars, table 17, p. 120.
90. Carnegie Endowment for I nternational Peace, Report of the International
Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars (Washington,
DC: Carnegie Endowment, 1914), 418.
91. Kent, I he Great Powers, 15.
92. I bid. 58.
93. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 140.
94. I bid. 136.
95. Ginio Eyal, Mobilizing the Ottoman Nation during the Balkan Wars (1912
19x3): Awakening from the Ottoman Dream, War in History, 12 (2005), 156-77.
96. Kramer, Dynamic oj Destruction, 1356.
97. Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 76- 7.
98. Trotsky, The Balkan Wars, 1912-13: War correspondence, 120, 266-72.
99. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 1367.
100. M. Edith Durham, The Struggle for Scutari (Turk, Slav, and Albanian) (London:
E. Arnold, 1914), 296.
101. Carnegie Endowment, Report, 151.
102. I bid. 327.
103. I bid. 131.
104. I bid. 79.
105. Gerolymatos, The Balkan Wars, 240.
106. Carnegie Endowment, Report, 97.
107. Cited in Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 82.
108. Gerolymatos, The Balkan Wars, 241. O n the practice of forced conversions
during the Balkan Wars, see Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End
of Empire (London: Arnold, 2001), 934.
109. Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 77.
no. Gerolymatos, The Balkan Wars, 241.
i n . Carnegie Endowment, Report, 73.
112. I bid. 208-15.
113. O n these changes, see Safet Bandzovic, Ratovi i demografska deosmanizacija
Balkana, 19121941, Prilozi, 32 (2003), 179-229. Katrin Boeckh provides a
detailed discussion of the domestic ramifications of the Balkan Wars on these
states, highlighting the negative consequences for their domestic political evo
lution. See Katrin Boeckh, Von den Balkankriegen zum Ersten Weltkrieg:
Kleinstaatenpolitik und ethnische Selbstbestimmung auf dem Balkan (Munich:
R. OldenbourgVerlag, 1996).
296 N O T ES TO P AGES 8 3 - 8 7
114. Livamos,T he Quest for Hellenism, Historical Journal, 3 (2006), 67.
115. O n the SSDP, see Dubravka Stojanovic, Iskusavanje nacela: Srpska
Socijaldemokratska partija i ratni program Srbije, 1912-1918 (Belgrade:Timit, 1994);
Branko Nadoveza, Srpski socijaldemokrati i ideja balkanske federacije do 1918
(Belgrade: Zaduzbina Andrejevic, 2007).
116. Cited in See Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 46.
117. Cited in Richard C. Hall, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, in Hamilton and
H erwig (eds.), Origins, 391.
118. Kolev and Koulouri, The Balkan Wars, 46-7. The Balkan J ewish communities
of Salonika and Monastir (Bitola) have recendy been the subject of two com
pelling works. See M ark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims
and Jews, 1430-1950 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005); and Mark Cohen, Last
Century of a Sephardic Community: The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943 (New York:
Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture, 2003).
119. Boeckh, Von den Balkankriegen, 2278.
120. O n the South Slav Question, the classic study of R. W. Seton-Watson, The
Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy (London: Constable & Co.,
1911), is still worth the read. For a recent assessment of this problem
and related literature, see J anko Pleterski, The South Slav Question, in
M ark Cornwall (ed.), The Last Years of Austria-Hungary: A Multi-National
Experiment in Early Twentieth Century Europe (Exeter: University of Exeter
Press, 2002), 119- 48.
121. On Serbia and the origins of the Great War, see the overview provided by
Richard C. H all,Serbia, in Hamilton and H erwig (eds.), Origins, 92m .
122. R. J . Donia and J . V. A. Fine, Bosnia and Hercegovina (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1994), 118- 19; and Noel Malcolm, Bosnia: A Short History
(London: Macmillan, 1994), 158.
123. Christian Promitzer,The South Slavs in the Austrian I magination: Serbs and
Slovenes in the Changing View from German Nationalism to National
Socialism, in Nancy M . Wingfield (ed.). Creating the Other: Ethnic Conflict and
Nationalism in Habsburg Central Europe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2003),
193- 4
124. A good starting point for Serbia during the Great War is Andrej Mitrovic,
Serbias Great War, 1914-1918 (London: Hurst, 2007), which is a shorter version
of his Srbija u Prvom svetskom ratu (Belgrade: Stubovi kulture, 2004), and Nikola
P. Popovic, Srbi u Prvom svetskom ratu 19141918 (Belgrade: DMP, 1998). O n
the articulation of Serbian war aims, see M ilorad Ekmecic, Ratni ciljevi Srbije
1914 (Belgrade: Srpska knjizevna zadruga, 1973) and Dragoslav J ankovic,
Srbija i jugoslovensko pitanje 19141915 godine (Belgrade: I nstitut za savremenu
istoriju, 1973).
125. O n the Toplice Uprising, see Bozica Mladenovic (ed.), Toplicki ustanak 1917
godine (Belgrade:Vojnoistorijski I nstitute, 1997). O n desertion, resistance, and
the so-called green cadre, see Bogumil Hrabak, Dezerterstvo, zeleni kadar i
N O T ES TO PAGES 87-88 297
prevratna anarhija u jugoslovenskim zemljama, 1914-1918 (Novi Sad: Institut za
istoriju, 1990). The Swiss criminologist Rodolphe Archibald Reiss compiled
information related to violations of the customs of wars by the Central Powers.
See Rodolphe Archibald Reiss, The Kingdom of Serbia: Infringements of the Rules
and Laws of War Committed by the Austro-Bulgaro- Germans (London: George
Allen & Unwin, 1919). O n occupation policies and the victimization of civil
ians in Serbia and Macedonia, see also Benjamin Lieberman, Terrible Fate:
Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe (Chicago: I van R. Dee, 2006),
80-7; Milan Starcevic, Austrougarski zloHini u Srbiji, 19141918: Rodolf ArHibald
Rajs (Belgrade: Cer, 2007); Sladjana Bojkovic, Stradanje srpskog naroda u Srbiji,
1914-1918: Dokumenta (Belgrade: I storijski muzej Srbije, 2000); and M omcilo
Pavlovic, Pomenik zrtvama bugarskog terora na jugu Srbije 19151918 (Belgrade:
I nstitut za savremenu istoriju, 2007).
126. Reiss, Kingdom of Serbia, 19- 21, 35-42.
127. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 143. In the interwar era, the Yugoslav author
ities erected more than 200 memorials and monuments to commemorate the
Balkan Wars and Great War. See Melissa Bokovoy, Scattered Graves, Ordered
Cemeteries: Commemorating Serbias Wars of National Liberation, 1912
1918, in Nancy Wingfield and Maria Bucur (eds.), Staging the Past:The Politics
of Commemoration in Habsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present (West Lafayette,
I nd.: Purdue University Press, 2001), 23654.
128. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 140-4.
129. M. iikrii H anioglu, A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire (Princeton:
PUP, 2008), 173.
130. foseph Heller, British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1914 (London:
Frank Cass, 1983), 80.
131. Hanioglu, Brief History, 177. On the Ottoman Empire and the Great War, see
Ulrich Trurnpener,The Ottoman Empire, in Hamilton and I l erwi g (eds.).
Origins, 33755, and his Turkeys War, in H ew Strachan (ed.), World War I:
A History (Oxford: OUP, 1998), 80- 91.
132. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 139.
133. I bid. 146; N. Naimark, Fires of Flatred (Cambridge. Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 2001), 424. At the same time, Balkan Muslims, predominandy from
Macedonia and Thrace, continued to leave for the Ottoman Empire, with
nearly 140,000 doing so between 1914 and 1917. Although precise figures are
difficult to determine, it is estimated that in the years between 1912 and 1920,
i.e. from the Balkan Wars to the eve of the Greek-Turkish War, approximately
413,000 Muslims left the Balkans for Ottoman territory. Kolev and Koulouri,
The Balkan Wars, table 17, p. 120.
134. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 1446.
135. O n Croatian politics during the Great War, the only full-length study is
Bogdan Krizman, Hrvatska u prvom svjetskom ratu: hrvatsko-srpski politicki odnosi
(Zagreb: Globus, 1989).
298 N O T ES TO PAGES 88-91
136. I n the April 1915 Treaty of London the Entente promised several South Slav
territories to Italy, notably I stria and large parts of Dalinatia. Although the
agreement was secret, it was disclosed to Supilo and prompted him to con
stitute the Yugoslav Committees as a way of countering I talian pretensions.
See Kenneth J . Calder, Britain and the Origins of the New Europe, 1914i q i 8
(Cambridge: CUP, 1976), 358.
137. On the Corfu Declaration, see Dragoslav JankovicJugoslovensko pitanje i Krfska
deklaracija 1917godine (Belgrade: Savremena administracija, 1967).
138. See Richard C. H all,Bulgaria, Romania and Greece,i n Hamilton and H erwig
(eds.), Origins, 389-413.
139. On Bulgaria on the eve of and during the Great War, see Parashkeva Kishkilova,
BUlgariia 1913: krizata vv vlastta (Sofia: AI Prof. Marin Drinov, 1998); Nikola
Nedev. BUlgariia v svetovnata voina, 1915-1918 (Sofia: AN I K O , 2001); anti
Stancho Stanchev et al., Blgarskata armiia v Prvata svetovna voina (Sofia:
Voenno izd., 2005).
140. H al l ,Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, 3978.
141. I bid. 399405. On Romania and the politics of the Great War, see Nicolae
Petrescu-Comnen, The Great War and the Romanians: Notes and Documents on
World War I (Ia$i: Center for Romanian Studies, 2000); and Kurt W.Treptow,
Romania during the World War I Era (Iai and Pordand, Or. : Center for Romanian
Studies, 1999).
142. Hitchins, Rumania, 261.
143. H all,Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, 4045.
144. N. Petsales-Diomedes, Greece at the Paris Peace Conference (1919) (Thessaloniki:
I nstitute for Balkan Studies, 1978), 258.
145. O n Greece and the politics of the Great War, see George B. Leon, Greece and
the Great Powers, 1914-1917 (Thessaloniki: I nstitute for Balkan Studies, 1974);
Alexander S. Mitrakos, France in Greece during World War F.A Study in the Politics
0] Power (Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs, 1982); and Peter
Calvocoressi, Greece and Great Britain during World War I (Thessaloniki: I nstitute
for Balkan Studies, 1985).
146. Leon, Greece and the Great Powers, 29, 33, 626.
147. Hall, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, 410n .
148. I bid. 4x2- 14.
149. These were the Treaties o f Saint Germain (10 Sept. 1919) withAustria, Neuilly
(27 Nov. 1919) with Bulgaria, Trianon (4 J une 1920) with Hungary, and Svres
(10 Aug. 1920) with the Ottoman Empire, subsequendy revised by the Treaty
of Lausanne (24 J ul y 1923). T he terms of the treaties and their consequence
for the post-war Balkan states are discussed in Ch. 3.
150. The description is taken from Harold Nicolson, cited in Margaret MacMillan,
Peacemakers .The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and its Attempt to End War (London:
J ohn Murray, 2001), 367.
N O T ES TO P AGES 9 2 98 299
151. Cited in Giles M ilton, Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of Islams City
of Tolerance (2008), 121.
152. McCarthy, Ottoman Peoples, 12338,1458.
153. These events are documented in Giles M iltons Paradise Lost, but also useful
are Lieberman, Terrible Fate, 94-8; and Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 4252.
154. Rene Hirschon, Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe: The Social Life of Asia Minor
Refugees in Piraeus, 2nd edn. (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006),
p. xvi; and Rene Hirschon, Unmixi ng Peoples in the Aegean Region, in
Rene Hirschon (ed.), Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory
Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey (NewYork and Oxford: Berghahn
Books, 2003), 3- 12.
155. H irschon,Unmixing Peoples, 7.
156. Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction, 146; Naimark, Fires of Hatred, 526.
157. Mazower, The Balkans, pp. xxxvi i xxxvi i i ; and McCarthy, Ottoman Peoples,
149-62.
Chapter 3
1. Milovan Djilas, Wartime (New York and London: Harcourt, Brace,Jovanovich,
1977). 198.
2. There are several excellent surveys of the interwar Balkans. See the relevant
sections of J ohn R. Lampe, Balkans into Southeastern Europe: A Century of War
and Tradition (London: Palgrave, 2006); S. K . Pavlowitch, A History of the Balkans
(London and N ew York: Longmans, 1999), 230-306; B. Jelavich, History of the
Balkans (Cambridge: CUP, 1983), ii. 134246; the relevant sections of J oseph
Rothschild, East Central Europe between the Two World Wars (Seatde: University
ofWashington Press, 1974); and L. S. Stavrianos, The Balkans since 1453 (New
York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2000), 593760.
3. On the nationalizing state, see Rogers Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood
and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge: CUP, 1996), 55106.
4. O n interwar Yugoslavia, see I vo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia:
Origins, History, Politics (I thaca, NY, and London: Cornel l University Press,
1984); J ohn R. Lampe, Yugoslavia as History: Twice There was a Country
(Cambridge: CUP, 1996); Rusinow,The Yugoslav Peoples, in P. F. Sugar (ed.),
Eastern European Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Washington, D C:
American University Press, 1995), 305- 411; and the essays in Dejan Djokic,
Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918-1992 (London: C. Hurst & Co.,
2003). O n the cultural aspects ofYugoslavism, see Andrew Baruch Wachtel,
Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation: Literature and Cultural Politics in Yugoslavia
(Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998).
300 N O T ES TO P AGES 9 8 - I O 3
5. The interwar Yugoslav authorities did not recognize the existence of distinct
Bosnian Muslim, Macedonian, and M ontenegrin nationalities, meaning that all
three groups were subsumed within the Serbo-Croat category. This problem
can be partially overcome by associating the linguistic data with census inform
ation on religion, which enables a determination of the approximate number
of predominantly Catholic Croats and Serbo-Croatian-speaking Bosnian
Muslims. Establishing the exact number of Macedonians or Montenegrins is
more problematic, however.
6. Rothschild, East Central Europe, 202.
7. O n the Democrats, see Branislav Gligorijevic, Demokratska stranka i politifki
odnosi u Kraljevini Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca (Belgrade: Institut za savremenu istor-
iju, 1970); H rvoje Matkovic, Svetozar Pribicevic i Samostalna demokratska stranka
do sestojanuarske diktature (Zagreb: Institut za hrvatsku povijest, 1972); and Ljubo
Boban, Svetozar Pribicevic u opoziciji, 1928-1936 (Zagreb: Institut za hrvatsku
povijest, 1973).
8. O n the Communist Party ofYugoslavia, see I vo Banac, With Stalin Against Tito:
Cominformist Splits in Yugoslav Communism (I thaca, N Y, and London: Cornell
University Press, 1988); Aleksa Djilas, 7 he Contested Country .Yugoslav Unity and
Communist Revolution, 1919-1953 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
1991), 49-102.
9. Cited in Rezolucija o Nacionalnom pitanju, in Mosa Pijade (ed.), Istorijski arhiv
Komunisticke partije Jugoslavije (Belgrade: Centralni komitet, 1951), 68, 70- 1.
10. O n the Croat Peasant Party, see Mark Biondich, Stjepan Radic, the Croat Peasant
Party and the Politics of Mass Mobilization, 1904-1928 ( Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, 2000); and Ljubo Boban, Mafek i politika HSS, 1928-1941: I z
povijesti hrvatskog pitanja, 2 vols. (Zagreb: I nstitut za hrvatsku povijest, 1974).
11. O n the Slovene and Bosnian Muslim parties, see Banac, National Question,
34051, 35977; A ti f PurivMr.i.Jugoslavenska muslimanska organizacija u politickom
zivotu Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1974); Francine Friedman, The
Bosnian Muslims: Denial of a Nation (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1996), 89116;
and N oel Malcolm, Bosnia: A Short History (New York: N ew York University
Press, 1996), 156-^73.
12. The Vidovdan Constitution derives its name from the date of its promulgation,
St Vituss Day (orVidovdan, 28 J une).
13. Branislav Gligorijevic, Parlament i politicke stranke u Jugoslaviji, 1919-1929
(Belgrade: Institut za savremenu istoriju, 1979), 2789.
14. O n factionalism and the monarchs role, see Gligorijevic, Parlament i politicke
stranke u Jugoslaviji, 20410, 245- 7; and Nadezda Jovanovic, Politicki sukobi u
Jugoslaviji (Belgrade: Institut za savremenu istoriju, 1974), 12131, 14255,
171- 80.
15. Christian Axboe Nielsen, Policing Yugoslavism: Surveillance, Denunciations,
and I deology during K ing Aleksandars Dictatorship, 1929-1934, East European
Politics and Societies, 23/ 1 (2009), 34-62.
N O T E S T O P A G E S I 04I I I
301
16. O n the Ustasa movement,see J ozoTomasevich, War and Revolution inYugoslavia,
1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University
Press, 2001); Ladislaus H ory and Martin Broszat, Der kroatische Ustascha-Staat,
19411945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1964); H olm Sundhaussen,Der
Ustascha-Staat: Anatomie eines Herrschaftssystem, sterreichische Osthefte, 37/ 2
(1995), 497533; Bogdan Krizman, Ante Pavelic i ustafe (Zagreb: Globus, 1978),
Pavelic izmedju Hitlera i Mussolinija (Zagreb: Globus, 1980), and Ustaie i Treci
Reich, 2 vols. (Zagreb: Globus, 1982); and Fikreta J elic-Buti c, Ustae i Nezavisna
Drzava Hrvatska (Zagreb: Skolska knjiga, 1977).
17. See the unpublished Ph.D. thesis of Christian Axboe Nielsen, O ne State, One
Nation, One King: The Dictatorship o f King Aleksandar and His Yugoslav
Project, 19291935 (Columbia University, 2002).
18. O n interwar Romania, see Keith Hitchins, Rumania, 1866-1947 (Oxford: OUP,
1994), 377425; and I rma Livezeanu, Cultural Politics in Greater Romania:
Regionalism, Nation Building, and Ethnic Struggle, 1918-1930 (I thaca, N Y : Cornell
University Press, 2000). On Romanian nationalism in this period, see Niessen,
Romanian Nationalism, in Sugar (ed.), Eastern European Nationalism in the
Twentieth Century, 28591; and Fischer-Galati, Romanian Nationalism, in P.F.
Sugar and I .J . Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern Europe (Seatde and London:
University of Washington Press, 1994), 38995.
19. O n the history of the interwar Magyar community in Romania, see Franz Sz.
Horvath, Zwischen Ablehnung und Anpassung: Politische Strategien der ungarischen
Minderheitselite in Rumnien 1931-1940 (Munich: Verlag Ungarisches I nstitut,
2007).
20. The five general (first) secretaries of the Romanian party between 1924 and
1944 were drawn from the minorities and included two Magyars, two
Ukrainians, and one Bulgarian.
21. V. Georgescu, The Romanians (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press,
1991), 196.
22. I bid. 208-9.
23. On interwar Bulgaria, see Richard Crampton, A Short History of Modern Bulgaria
(Cambridge: CUP, 1987); and Stephane Groueff, Crown of!horns: The Reign of
King Boris I I I of Bulgaria, 1918-1943 (New York and London: Madison Books,
1987).
24. O n the Communist Party o f Bulgaria in this period, see J ohn D. Bell, The
Bulgarian Communist Party from Blagoev to Zhivkov (Stanford, Calif.: H oover
I nstitution and Stanford University Press, 1986), 2154; and J oseph Rothschild,
The Communist Party of Bulgaria; Origins and Development, 18831936 (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1959), 85116.
25. T he seminal work on Stamboliiski is still J ohn D. Bel l, Peasants in Power:
Alexander Stamboliski and the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union, 1899-1923
(Princeton: PUP, 1977).
26. Crampton, Short History of Modern Bulgaria, 86.
302 N O T E S T O P A G E S H I -118
27. Bell, Peasants in Power, 15483.
28. I bid. 184-207.
29. Crampton, Short History of Modern Bulgaria, 92.
30. I bid. 97.
31. I bid. 98-9.
32. O n Bulgarian nationalism and the nationalist discourse in this period, see
Todorova, The Course and Discourses of Bulgarian Nationalism, in Sugar
(ed.), Eastern European Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, 83-8; and Pundeff,
Bulgarian Nationalism, in Sugar and Lederer (eds.), Nationalism in Eastern
Europe, 13956.
33. Bell, Bulgarian Communist Party, 406.
34. The Bulgarian Communist Party reconstituted itself in 1927, following
Tsankovs resignation and under the new government ofLiapchev, who relaxed
some of the more oppressive measures of the regime.
35. Crampton, Short History of Modem Bulgaria, 104.
36. I bid. 107.
37. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, The Human Rights of Muslims in Bulgaria in
Law and Politics since 1878 (Sofia, 2003), available at http:/ / www.bghelsinki.org,
P 23.
38. M aria Todorova, I dentity (Trans)formation among Pomaks in Bulgaria', in
Beverley Crawford and R.D. Lipschutz (eds.), The Myth of Ethnic Conflict:
Politics, Economics and CulturalViolence (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California
Press, 1998), 476.
39. M . Neuberger, The Orient Within (I thaca, N Y : Cornell University Press, 2004),
47
40. Human Rights of Muslims in Bulgaria, 23, 28, 32; and Ali Eminov, Turkish and
Other Muslim Minorities in Bulgaria (New York: Routledge, 1997), 79.
41. O n the Nov. 1920 elections and the victory of anti-Venizelist forces, see Richard
Clogg, A Concise History of Greece (Cambridge: CUP, 2002), 95.
42. Thanos Veremis, Political Continuations and Realignments: T he Greek State,
in R. H irschon (ed.), Crossing the Aegean (New York and Oxford: Berghahn
Books, 2003), 53-5.
43. I bid. 568. For a detailed study of party politics in this period, see George Th.
Mavrogordatos, Stillborn Republic: Social Coalitions and Party Strategies, 19221936
(Berkeley-Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1983).
44. See Aristotle A. Kallis, Fascism and Religion: The Metaxas Regime in Greece
and the Third Hellenic Civilization , in Matthew Feldman, Marius Turda.
and Tudor Georgescu (eds.), Clerical Fascism in Interwar Europe (London:
Roudedge, 2008), 17- 34.
45. Augustinos,Hellenism and the M odem Greeks, in Sugar (ed.), Eastern European
Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, 1834.
46. See David E. Kaiser, Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War:
Germany, Britain, France, and Eastern Europe, 1930-1939 (Princeton: PUP, 1980).
N O T ES TO P AGES I I 9- I 25
47. O n Albania in this period, see Bernd J . Fischer, Albanian Nationalism in the
Twentieth Century, in Sugar (ed.), Eastern European Nationalism in the Twentieth
Century, 349; and MirandaVickers, The Albanians: A Modern History (New York
and London: I. B.Tauris, 1995), 98140.
48. Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
2003), 218.
49. Rothschild, East Central Europe, 350; and Crampton, Short History of Modern
Bulgaria, 105-6.
50. See Vassil Girginov and Peter Bankov, Fascist Political Athletes and the Body
Politic: Bulgaria Reborn, in J . A. Mangan (ed.), Superman Supreme: Fascist Body
as Political Icon: Global Fascism (London:Taylor & Francis, 2000), 82103.
51. See Marko Bulatovic,Struggling withYugoslavism: Dilemmas of I nterwar Serb
Political Thought, in J . R. Lampe and M . Mazower (eds.), Ideologies and National
Identities: The Case of Twentieth Century Southeastern Europe (New York and
Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004), 25476.
52. See Maria Falina, Between Clerical Fascism and Political Orthodoxy:
Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in interwar Serbia, in Feldeman et al.
(eds.), Clerical Fascism in Interwar Europe, 3546.
53. O n Romanian fascism, see Marius Turda, The Nation as Object: Race, Blood,
and Biopolitics in I nterwar Romania, Slavic Review, 66/ 3 (Fall 2007), 413- 41;
Marius Turda,N ew Perspectives on Romanian Fascism: Themes and Options,
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 6/ 1 (2005), 14350; Valentin
Sndulescu, Sacrilised Politics in Action: The February 1937 Burial of the
Romanian Legionary Leaders I on Mota and Vasile M arin, in Feldman el al.
(eds.). Clerical Fascism in Interwar Europe, 4758; Constantin I ordachi,Charisma,
Religion and I deology: Romanias I nterwar Legion of the Archangel M ichael',
in Lampe and Mazower (eds.), Ideologies and National Identities, 1953; Nicholas
M. Nagy-Talavera, Hie Green Shirts and the Others: A History of Fascism in
Hungary and Romania, 2nd edn. (Iai: The Center for Romanian Studies, 2001);
Stefan Logigan, Rumniens Eiserne Garde: Ein Legionr erinnert sich (Munich.
Universitas, 1996); LeonVolovici, Nationalist Ideology and Anti-Semitism .The Case
of Romanian Intellectuals in the i q j o s , tr. Charles Kormos (Oxford and N ew York:
Pergamon Press, 1991); and Radu loanid, The Sword of the Archangel: Fascist
Ideology in Romania, tr. Peter H einegg (Boulder, Colo.: East European
Monographs, 1990).
54. Constantin I ordachi, Charisma, Politics and Violence: The Legion of the Archangel
Michael in Inter- War Romania (Trondheim:Trondheim Studies on East European
Cultures and Societies, 2004), 138.
55. Nagy-Talavera, Green Shirts, 287.
56. I ordachi, Charisma, Politics and Violence, 138.
57. Nagy-Talavera, Green Shirts, 287.
58. On Legionary debates about violence, see I ordachi, Charisma, Politics and
Violence, 13745.
304
n o t e s t o p a g e s 1 2 6 - 1 3 1
59. I bid. 1425.
60. Stjepan Sarkotic, Radicevo izdajstvo (Vienna: n.publ. 1925), 27.
61. Nikola Rusinovic, Moja sjecanja tia Hrvatsku, comp, by Bozo Rude (Zagreb:
Meditor, 1996), 287.
62. Eugen Dido Kvaternik, Sjecanja i zapazanja, 1929-1945: Prilozi za hrvatsku
povijest, comp, by J ere Jareb (Zagreb: Hrvatski institute za povijest, 1995), 271.
T he need for such a struggle was buttressed by the bel ief that Croats were
demographically in decline vis--vis Serbs in Great Croatia. See Mladen
Lorkovic, Narod i zemlja Hrvata (Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1939), 1645.
63. O nly a few programmatic documents were issued in the 1930s, the two most
important of which were the Constitution of Ustasa, Croat Revolutionary
Organization' (1932) andPrinciples of the Croat Ustasa Movement (1933). For
a discussion of these documents, see J elic-Buti c, Ustaie, 229.
64. Pavelics 1936 memorandum The Croat Question, written in German with
the explicit intention of raising Berli ns interest in his movement, placed the
Ustase in the German revisionist camp. M ore important, however, was the
memorandums identification of the Serbian political establishment, J ewry,
freemasonry, and Communism as the four main opponents of the Croat libera
tion struggle. For the first time, J ews were explicidy identified by the Ustase as
an enemy of the Croat nation. The memorandum was published in Croatian as
Dr. Ante Pavelic riefio je hrvatsko pitanje, comp, by I vo Bogdan (Zagreb: Matica
Hrvatska, 1942).
65. Branimir J el i c,Tko j e kriv, neka ga ruse, Grit' (4 J une 1932), 1.
66. See the discussion in Mark Biondich,We were Defending the State: Nationalism,
M yth and M emory in Twentieth Century Croatia, in Lampe and Mazower
(eds.), Ideologies and National Identities, 60-6.
67. Zahtjevi nekih doseljenika vukovarskog kotara, Hrvatski narod (17 Nov. 1939), 1.
68. For basic biographical information on the Ustasa leadership, see Zdravko
Dizdar et al. (eds.), Tko je tko u NDH : Hrvatska 19411945 (Zagreb: Minerva,
1997)
69. Tomasevich, War and Revolution, 421, 431.
70. I bid. 423; M irko Persen, UstaSki logori, 2nd edn. (Zagreb: Globus, 1990), 356.
71. Pavelic published the book in I talian in Sienna under the pseudonym A. S.
Mrzlodolski. I t was published in Croatian as Strahote zabluda (Zagreb: Matica
Hrvatska, 1941).
72. See M ark Biondich, Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia, 19181945,
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 8/ 2 (J une 2007), 38399.
73. O n the Second World War in the Balkans, see Pavlowitch, History of the Balkans,
pp. 307-30; Stavrianos, Balkans since 1453, 761- 800.
74. On the wartime Romanian regime, see Dennis Deletant, Hitlers Forgotten Ally:
Ion Antonescu and his Regime, Romania 1940-44 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan,
2006); and Hitchins, Rumania, 426-50.
75. Georgescu, Romanians, 21617.
NO T ES TO P AGES 13 1 I 3 5
305
76. O n the Holocaust in Romania, see Radu I oanid, The Holocaust in Romania: The
Destruction of Jews and Gypsies under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944 (Chicago:
I van R. Dee, 1999); and the essays in Randolph L. Braham (ed.), The Destruction
of Romanian and Hungarian Jews during the Antonescu era (Boulder, Colo.: Social
Science Monographs, 1997).
77. Radu I oani d,The Holocaust in Romania: The Iasi Pogrom of J une 1941, in
David Cesaram and Sarah Kavanaugh (eds.), Holocaust: Critical Concepts in
Historical Studies, iii (London: Roudedge, 2004), 476.
78. I bid. 477.
79. I bid. 489.
80. I bid. 503.
81. I bid. 500; and Elie Wiesel et al., Report oj the International Commission on the
Holocaust in Romania (2004),ch. 5,pp. 1522,http:/ / www.ushmm.org/ research/
center/ presentations/ features/ details/ 2005 03- 10 (accessed March 2010).
82. Cited ibid. 31.
83. For a detailed study of this nationalizing war, see Vladimir Solonari, Purifying the
Nation: Population Exchange and Ethnic Cleansing in Nazi-Allied Romania
(Baltimore: J ohns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
84.