Factors responsible for the outbreak of ethnic hostilities in former Yugoslavia

Former Yugoslavia may have been one of the most economic and political stable countries in the Balkan regions. Amongst the Yugoslavians, only 10% of the Yugoslavians used to call themselves Yugoslav while the rest considered themselves as Albanians, Serbians, Croatians, Slovenes, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Montenegrins or Macedonians. However, due to the large number of the Muslim Albanians in Kosovo, the 200,000 Orthodox Christian Serbians were faced with intense war against each other due to sectarian and ethnic reasons. There were institutional factors in play that could have been used to promote ethnic tolerance. However despite all these, political entrepreneurs evoked emotions including fear and hatred towards the other ethnic groups. Roskin, (2002) argues that "ethnicity embodies an element of emotional intensity that can be readily aroused when the group’s interests are thought to be at stake.” The bottom line was that the inter-ethnic competition of land and other resources lead ethnic hostilities.

Regulska, (1993) argues that there were many cases of persecution in which one ethnic either murdered, or raped the other. Additionaly, cases of job discrimination, intertribal clashes which culminated in the destruction of property. However far from the cited reasons, Roeder, (1999, pp. 854-82), states that the ethnic war were mainly mediated by the Yugoslav army and none has very researched on the role of the Yugoslav army on the war in the former Yugoslavia. For example, by demanding an ethnic pure public in 1881, the Yugoslav army demonstrated their preferences for the Albanian Yugoslavia; such was the ethnic hostilities that the other ethnic groups were alienated from many Yugoslavian activities (Hudson, Sekulic, &, Massey, 1994, pp. 1534-1558). For example, by 1984, the Albanians run the government offices, the police forces, court as well as 80% of the government institutions. This paper argues that sectarian and post communist factors lead to the eruption of ethnic conflict in southeastern part of Europe.

Research aims and objectives

The aim of this research is to analyze the role of sectarian differences in the former Yugoslavia. The research objectives are to:

Determine the main cause of sectarian war

Determine the role played by the Yugoslavian army in the sectarian war

To analyze how post communism agreement and disagreement could have contributed to the outbreak of ethnic hostilities in the former Yugoslav

To determine the role played by the larger Europe in the dynamics of interethnic relations in the former Yugoslav

Finally, the provide direction for future research.


Roeder, Philip. G. 1999. “Peoples and States after 1989: The Political Costs of Incomplete National Revolutions.” Slavic Review 58(4): 854-82.

Randy Hodson, Dusko Sekulic and Garth Massey. 1994. National Tolerance in the Former Yugoslavia. American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 99, No. 6 (May, 1994), pp. 1534-1558
Higley, John, and György Lengyel. 2000. Elites after State Socialism.Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Roskin, Michael G. 2002. The Rebirth of East Europe. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Regulska, Joanna. 1993. “Self-Governance or Central Control? Rewriting Constitutions in Central and Eastern Europe.” In Constitution Making in Eastern Europe, ed. A. E. Dick Howard: The Woodrow Wilson Center Press/The Johns Hopkins University Press.


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