This book traces up the break-up of Yugoslavia; going back to the roots/cause of the break-up & analysing everything that went wrong.
"The year 1992, scheduled to be a milestone on the road to European unity, saw Sarajevo and other European cities bombarded slowly to pieces and their inhabitants starved before the TV eyes of the world. It saw two million Bosnian Moslems threatened with Europe’s first genocide since World War II; most of them already driven from their homes by massacre, rape and terror. It saw Bosnia’s legal, multi-ethnic government treated as a mere ‘warring party’ and pressed to surrender by Western governments eager for peace at any price. And it also saw a liberal and left opinion in the West unable to offer any explanation for the continuing war beyond variations on the racist notion of an innate propensity of violence among the peoples of Yugoslavia, or indiscriminate lamentations about the evils of nationalism. Combining political analysis, reportage, polemic and personal reflection, this book provides the first inside account and analysis of the tragic path leading to Yugoslavia’s break-up. Against the background of events as they occurred since Tito’s death in 1980, it tracks the process whereby an equitable settlement between the country’s constituent was destroyed by an increasingly virulent Great-Serb nationalism, bent on recentralising the country under its own hegemony. The book is written not by a passive spectator but by a participant with a firm grasp of Yugoslavia’s history, which accounts for the breadth of its content. As the decade it covers draws to a close, Branka Magas’s initial cautious optimism changes to a growing intimation of impending tragedy, and finally to outrage at the slaughter visited on upon Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Serbian army, with the tolerance or complicity of Western chancelleries. The Destruction of Yugoslavia represents a unique documentary testimony to Yugoslavia’s regression towards disintegration, war, and the horrors of ‘ethnic cleansing’; a testimony which is frighteningly accurate."
That part is the description of the book & I must say that all of the above is true. She begins where it It all started, in Kosovo. Also after Tito’s death in the 80’s until the beginning of the 90’s it was evident that the country would sooner or later break-up.
"Will Yugoslavia survive?" is a question Branka Magas asks in her book & also answers:
"This is the question preoccupying the Yugoslavs, worrying their neighbors, and giving a headache to the European Community. The United States and the Soviet Union have likewise felt the need to come out publicly in favour of Yugoslavia’s unity. Since the end of the Cold War the strategic significance of Yugoslavia may have faded, but is future has become linked to that of another mulitinational state: the Soviet Union. Neither Europe nor the wider world is ready for a major reorganization of the continent’s borders.
The very fact that a state’s existence is being questioned sughests that its problems are not superficial, but fundamental. What, then, has gone wrong with Yugoslavia? Any Answer to this question must include three components: the fate of the Communist Part, the relationship between the constitutent nationalities, and the economy.
Up to the mid-1980’s, everything that happened was the exclusive concern of the Communist Part, which not only represented the country’s unity but also channelled its differences. In the second half of the 1980’s, the arrival of a sharp economic crisis, which the country’s leaders were unable to resolve, set off a chain reaction. Workers began to strike; the poorer republics and provinces went bankrupts; and the ruling party started to split along national lines. By 1990, two camps broadly speaking emerged: one seeking democratic, the other repressive solutions. The first camp was led by the republics of Slovenia and Croatia, the second by Serbia, Yugoslavia’s largest republic. Political differences now fused openly with national differences. In early March 1990 this polarization broke up the all-Yugoslav Communist Party into its national components. A central pillar of Yugoslav unity disappeared in a matter of days.”
Branka Magas have been writing about Yugoslavia over the past 12 years, the book above represents two-thirds of what she had written already. The quoted part above was written in April 1991.
To understand Yugoslavia’s disintegration is to understand the root(s) of the break-up in detail first.