Alex Lappert
April 26, 2012

  1. A. Plan of Investigation

To what extent did the Serbian suppression of ethnic Albanian nationalism lead to the Kosovo War?
In order to answer the question of this investigation, it will be necessary to research the political and ethnic history of the Balkan Peninsula and the Kosovo region. In addition, study will be done on the events in Kosovo in the late twentieth century- especially the 1990’s. The two main sources used in this investigation will be Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries’ The Balkan’s: A Post-Communist History and the Public International Law and Policy Group’s report titled “Unbreakable Bond: Serbs and Kosovo”. These sources will be evaluated according to their origin, purpose, value, and limitations.

  1. B. Summary of Evidence
I. Historical Basis of Ethnic Conflict Between Kosovars and Serbs
  1. a. Kosovo is seen by Serbians as “the cradle of the Serbian nation. A long tradition of melodramatic Serbian epic poetry, folksong and religious art has celebrated Kosovo as a Serbian spiritual homeland”[1]
  2. b. The pivotal battle for Balkan independence against the Ottomans occurred in the Kosovo region in 1389- the Battle of Kosovo.[2]
  3. c. The battle merely delayed the Ottoman advance, but nevertheless it became the “focal points of South Slavic (especially Serbian and Montenegrin) traditions…that idealized the killing of non-Serb and non-Montenegrin neighbors.” [3]
  4. d. The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church remarked about the battle soon after that “It is better to die in battle than to live in shame…we call ourselves Christian soldiers, martyrs for godliness”[4]
  5. e. This turned the earthly Serbian state into a heavenly one. Thus making any territorial losses an affront against God.[5]
  6. f. “All of this was quite ruthlessly exploited by 20th century Serbian nationalists”[6]
  7. g. “The demise of the Serbian medieval state thus has been used as a touchstone in defining the Serbian people…further deepening the already strong impression [to Serbs] of past injustices and Serb victimization.”[7]
II. Communist Manipulation of Balkan Region
  1. a. “The faded ideology of Communism was gradually replaced by nationalism as the legitimate basis of rule"[8]
  2. b. Personal identification within Yugoslavia “remained focused on collective and group rights, gradually shifting from class to “national” (ethnic) rights...Radical nationalism was openly embraced by both the Communist elites and the fledgling opposition.”[9]
  3. c. “In that period [the 1980’s] the national mythologies vilifying other nations [within Yugoslavia] while glorifying one’s own were successfully built into the foundation of political power and strategies of local leaders. Instead of democracy, “national renewal” was offered as an alternative to the previous regime.”[10]
III. Milosevic’s Rise to Power and Concurrent Events
  1. a. The University of Pristina became the top center for Albanian higher education, eventually forming an Albanian intellectual elite.[11]
  2. b. Tito’s death led to the increase of requests for the granting of Kosovo the status of a full republic in the Yugoslav federation. [12]
  3. c. This reawakened historically sourced Serbian nationalism in Belgrade. This nationalism flourished after Tito’s death in 1980.[13]
  4. d. While addressing a Serbian crowd in Kosovo, Milosevic said “From now on, no one has the right to beat you”, instantly becoming the spokesperson for Serbs in Kosovo. [14]
  5. e. Upon Milosevic’s rise to the presidency of Serbia in 1989 he immediately enacts constitutional changes that subverted the multi-party system and revoked the autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina. [15]
IV. Foreign Policies Towards Kosovo
  1. a. “The international community conveniently disregarded the rising problems in Kosovo until they imposed themselves by the nature and magnitude of the violence which the problems spawned” [16]
  2. b. The United States was an exception, with US-Yugoslavian discussion about the status of Kosovo occurring since the second half of the 1980’s.[17]
  3. c. Both Presidents Bush and Clinton bluntly communicated to Milosevic in 1992 that “if this [the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo] happened the U.S reaction would not be limited to military targets in Kosovo only.”[18]
  4. d. This warning was effective in delaying major conflict in Kosovo for a further seven years.[19]
  5. e. “Kosovo was as much about the resolve of American leadership and the credibility of NATO as it was about the complexities of Balkan politics”[20]
  6. f. Due to international sluggishness in dealing with the Croatian and Bosnian conflicts, a precedent was set for the acceptance of ethnic cleansing and conflict in the Balkans.[21]

C. Evaluation of Sources

Bideleux, Robert, and Ian Jeffries. The Balkans: A Post-Communist History . New York: Routledge , 2007. Print.

Both Bideleux and Jeffries are professors at the Swansea University in the United Kingdom. Their specialties encompass topic areas such as Communism, post-communism, and democratization. This volume sets itself apart because it strays from cultural and societal explorations of the Balkans and focuses on entrenched power-structures and relations. Although the source does not include a great deal of historical context or explanation, there are other sources that cover that information. The main limitation of this source is that the sections are disjointed due to the fact the book is organized on a nation-by-nation basis.

Matic, Vladmir. Unbreakable Bond: Serbs and Kosovo. Public International Law & Policy Group. Public International Law & Policy Group, Dec. 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://publicinternationallawandpolicygroup.org/wp- content/uploads/2011/02/UnbreakableBondSerbsandKosovo1203.pdf>.

Vladmir Matic has been a Senior Lecturer and Visiting Professor at Clemson University since
1996. He has taught international relations and foreign policy, diplomacy and negotiation as well as comparative European politics. As a member of Public International Law and Policy Group, Matic also participates in the analysis of international events. The purpose of this report was to inform the international community of the background and then-current circumstances in relation to the Kosovo War. This field report is useful in that it gives and high quality yet succinct explanation of the war and it’s major players such as the various Yugoslav republics and individuals such as Slobodan Milosevic. The limitation of the source lies in the fact that the timeline the report’s discussion extends well in to the mid 2000’s.

BBC News. "Milosevic's Yugoslavia." BBC News. The BBC, 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.<http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/europe/2000/milose vic_yugoslavia/default.stm>.

This website is run by the British Broadcasting Company- one of the most prestigious and highly trusted news organizations in the world. “Milosevic’s Yugoslavia” is a timeline of Slobodan Milosevic’s rise to power from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to the Presidency of Serbia. This source is valuable because it isolates its coverage to a series of key events in Milosevic’s lifetime, but what makes this source especially valuable is that it contains references to BBC articles on the subjects in question. The main limitation of this website is that it is very brief in its historical accounts.

D. Analysis
Kosovo is a small, insignificant region in the backwaters of Europe. However, it has become the historical battleground between the Serbian nation and ethnic Albanians because Serbians see it as an ancient, integral part of Serbia. This is due the fact that the medieval Serbian state met its demise against the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. In traditional Serbian folklore, this battle became the venerated symbol of an ancient struggle between Christian Serbian forces and heretical foreigners. The head of the Serbian Church at the time said, in reference to the battle, “It is better to die in battle than to live in shame…we call ourselves Christian soldiers [and] martyrs.”[22] From the point of view of Serbs, this statement vaulted the Serbian Kingdom to that of not just an earthly, but also a heavenly kingdom. For generations Serbs were raised to idealize the Battle of Kosovo as the start point of perceived Serbian oppression. As a result, Serbians viewed and notion of an independent Kosovo as not just the loss of a small province, but as a robbery of blood-earned Serbian soil.
The Kosovo War resulted from the inherent weaknesses that were already present in the Yugoslav state. For much of their history, the people of the Balkans had only one unifying factor: their hatred of their Ottoman overlords. In the modern era, well after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of Yugoslavia was only possible due to the effects of Communist ideology and the iron fist of dictator Josip Tito. According to historians Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries, as Yugoslavia’s economy began to deteriorate in the 1970’s and 80’s, “the faded ideology of Communism was gradually replaced by nationalism as the legitimate basis of rule.”[23] As the people of Yugoslavia became disillusioned with the clearly non-functional Communist system, politicians scrambled to portray themselves as alternative to the old system. One of the most popular alternatives were politicians who began utilizing each separate member state’s history to gain popular support. These political organizations began selling, “instead of democracy, “national renewal”…as an alternative to the previous regime.”[24] This in turn reawakened Serbian nationalistic pride and, as Kosovo was central to their national identify, any notion of an independent Kosovo were stonewalled.
Three instrumental series of events in the late 1980’s had a direct effect on the Kosovo War. Firstly, during the period of official atheism under the Communist government, Albanian Muslims, who constitute a majority of Kosovo’s population, were free to flourish. By the late 1980’s, the University of Pristina had become the top center for higher education in the greater Albania. This lead to the establishment of an Albanian intellectual elite that was independent of the rest of Yugoslavia who would later lead the Albanian Kosovars in a struggle for independence. Secondly, the death of federalist strongman Josip Tito led to the increase of requests for granting Kosovo the status of a full member of the Yugoslav confederation[25]. Lastly and, perhaps, most importantly, was the rise to prominence of the Serbian politician Slobodan Milosevic. During ethnic riots in Kosovo between the Albanian majority and Serbian minority, Milosevic yelled to a group of Serbs “from now on, no one has the right to beat you.”[26] This instantly framed him as the advocate of Kosovo Serbs and rocketed both his popularity and career. Therefore, upon his rise to the head of the Serbian republic in 1989, he enacted new regulations that reversed many of the semi-autonomous rights that Kosovo had had for decades.
Foreign policy towards the Balkans during much of the 1990’s was lax, at best. International sluggishness in confronting the atrocious conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia earlier in the decade set a precedent, both for Milosevic (who led the Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia) and foreign powers, for the acceptance of the Kosovo War in 1999. Unfortunetly for the Kosovar freedom-fighters “the international community conveniently disregarded the rising problems in Kosovo until they imposed themselves by the nature and magnitude of the violence which the problems spawned.”[27] From an international standpoint, the Kosovo conflict was allowed to happen due to initial laziness on the part of those who could have prevented it (the US, EU, NATO, etc).

E. Conclusion
The Kosovo War wasn’t a result of the suppression of Albanian nationalism; it was the suppression of Albanian nationalism. The actual source of the wider conflict between Serbians and Albanians is layered throughout the violent, fluctuating, complex history of the Balkan Peninsula as a whole. One could say that the Serbian-Albanian conflict was simply one of several similar conflicts between the Serbians, who saw themselves as the rightful higher-power of the region, and breakaway ethnic groups like the Croats, Bosnians and Slovenes. Serbian suppression of Albanian nationalism in the Kosovo War merely conformed to a pattern of Serbian suppression of other nationalities in the Balkans in the 90’s.

F. Works Cited
BBC News. “Milosevic’s Yugoslavia.” BBC News. The BBC, 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/‌hi/‌english/‌static/‌in_depth/‌europe/‌2000/‌milosevic_yugoslavia/‌default.stm>.

Bideleux, Robert, and Ian Jeffries. The Balkans: A Post-Communist History . New York : Routledge , 2007. Print.

Matic, Vladmir. Unbreakable Bond: Serbs and Kosovo. Public International Law & Policy Group. Public International Law & Policy Group, Dec. 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://publicinternationallawandpolicygroup.org/‌wp-content/‌uploads/‌2011/‌02/‌UnbreakableBondSerbsandKosovo1203.pdf>.

“Milošević, Slobodan.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. 8. London, 2005. Print. 27 vols.

Ruga, Glenn, and Julie Mertus. History of war in Kosovo. Center for Balkan Development , Apr. 1999. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <http://www.balkandevelopment.org/‌edu_kos.html>.

Sulivan, Kimberly. Slobadan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia . Minneapolis : Twenty-First Century Books, 2010. Print.



[1]Bideleux, Robert, and Ian Jeffries. The Balkans: A Post-Communist History . New York: Routledge , 2007. Print.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Matic, Vladmir. Unbreakable Bond: Serbs and Kosovo. Public International Law & Policy Group. Public International Law & Policy Group, Dec. 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.
<http://publicinternationallawandpolicygroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/UnbreakableBondSerbsandKosovo1203.pdf>.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] BBC News. "Milosevic's Yugoslavia." BBC News. The BBC, 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.<http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/europe/2000/milosevic_yugoslavia/default.stm>.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Matic,Vladmir. Unbreakable Bond: Serbs and Kosovo.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid.
[23] Ibid.
[24] Ibid.
[25] Matic, Vladmir. Unbreakable Bond: Serbs and Kosovo
[26] BBC News. "Milosevic's Yugoslavia."
[27] Ibid


Alex Lappert
February 8, 2012
Source Annotation

Source:
Judah, Tim. Kosovo: War and Revenge . New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. Print.

Origin:
Tim Judah was the Balkan’s correspondent for the internationally renowned and syndicated publications The Times and The Economist. He was also an on-the-ground journalist during much of the Balkans Conflict throughout the 1990s, including the Kosovo War. Judah has also authored and coauthored a number of books on the Balkans conflict, including Kosovo: War and Revenge.
Purpose:
The purpose of this book is to inform the general populace about the on-the-ground situation of the Kosovo War in relation to civilian and military movements. Kosovo: War and Revenge also effectively sets the complete historical context for the not only the Kosovo War, but also the historical sources of the ethnic tensions between Albanians and Serbians in the tiny corner of Europe known as Kosovo.
Value:
Kosovo: War and Revenge explains the situation in which Kosovo became the crucible for perhaps the most brutal ethnic conflicts in Europe since 1945. The book explains how ethnic conflict led to the Kosovo War and the concurrent dissolution of Yugoslavia, but also how it involved one of the most powerful military alliances in the history of mankind. With first hand expertise, Tim Judah’s Kosovo: War and Revenge is an excellent source for the exploration of the Kosovo War and the Balkan conflict.
Limitations:
Due to the fact that this novel is a fairly small publication, it can only cover so much of the historical context before delving in to the details of the Kosovo War. Therefore it may not be a key resource when researching the history of ethnic tensions on the Balkan Peninsula, however it could be utilized as an account of the conflict in itself.


Alex Lappert
February 20, 2012
Source Annotation

“Miloševic, Slobodan.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 8. London, 2005. Print. 27 vols.

Origin
This encyclopedia entry is sourced from the internationally renowned encyclopedia compilers Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica has been used fro generations as a consistent and reliable source on an extremely wide range of topics compiled from reliable sources.
Purpose
The purpose of this entry is to inform readers about the life and activities of Slobodan Miloševic. This article also informs the reader as to his action’s impact on Balkan and international affairs.
Value
The value of this source lies in that it is succinct. The entry is an excellent starting point into researching more detailed accounts of Miloševic’s actions and their effects on the Kosovo War. Through this entry it is much easier to isolate and research specific events in the history of Balkans.
Limitations
The limitations of this source is also that it is succinct. Due to the fact that it does not go into much detail it is necessary to do much more research to gain an in-depth understanding of the
context and events that occurred around the life of Slobodan Miloševic.


Alex Lappert

February 26, 2012

Source Annotation #3


Sulivan, Kimberly. Slobadan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia . Minneapolis : Twenty-First Century

Books, 2010. Print.


Origin:
This book is part of the educational series of books titled Dictatorships. This volume in particular was written by Kimberly Sulivan. Sulivan is youth fiction and non-fiction author who studied political science at university. She has thus written many essays and books on prominent political topics, especially in a biographical context.

Purpose:
The purpose of this book conforms to that of the series of books: it is meant to educated high school and middle school readers about the life and actions of various dictators, including Slobodan Milosevic.

Value:

The value of this book is greater than the Encyclopedia Britannica article on the same topic because it delves into much greater detail about Milosevic. The political maneuverings and military decisions he executed are unpacked in easy to read and simple language, making the events easier to understand. The book also sets the cultural and ethnic context of the Balkans in very brief terms, merely enough to understand the hostility between the various ethnic groups.

Limitations:

Unfortunately, the broadness of the topics covered in this book work against its usefulness. The book is concerned with the entirety of Slobodan Milosevic’s life, not just his actions pertaining to the Kosovo War. Also, I believe the simplified language required Sulivan to dumb-down and over-simplify events that occurred in his life. Though this was probably necessary to keep the book succinct, it does not do very much good towards a historical analysis of a single event.


Bideleux, Robert, and Ian Jeffries. The Balkans: A Post-Communist History . New York: Routledge , 2007. Print.


Origin:

Both Bideleux and Jeffries are professors at the prestigious Swansea University in the United Kingdom. Their specialties encompass topic areas such as Communism, post-communism, democratization, European integration, migration, intercultural studies, Orientalism, post colonialism, and genocide.

Purpose:

This book is distinctive in it’s field because ti goes through country-by-country descriptions of all of the modern day nations and semi-autonomous territories of the Balkan Peninsula. This ultra-detailed volume sets itself apart further because it strays from traditional cultural and societal explorations of the Balkans and focuses on entrenched power-structures and power-relations. Conveniently, this book also avoids excessive pre-1980’s information on the Balkans and focuses exclusively on very recent history.

Value:

The Balkans: A Post-Communist History will be valuable to my historical investigation because it zooms in to extreme detail the events of not only a specific timeframe, but also on a nation-by-nation basis. Although the source does not include a great deal of historical context or explanation, there are a great deal of other sources that cover that information.

Limitations:

The main limitation of this source is that the sections are often times disjointed due to the fact the book is organized on a individual nation basis. Due to this, some of the information is repeated. However, this could also be seen as a plus if a reader is only interested in one or two sections.