Why the Balkans Are So Violent

Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War

by Peter Maass
Knopf, 305 pp., $25.00

Nearly five years ago, I was taken to see the Svarc Hospital in Karlovac, a key military garrison town which defended the southern edge of the Habsburg Empire against the Ottomans until the end of the First World War. In July 1991, Karlovac was again a front-line town, this time just inside Croatian-held territory. The hospital was perilously close to the now-defunct Republic of Serbian Krajina, the Serbian enclave inside Croatia. Indeed, it was the first large building in the line of Serbian fire.

Seeing a civilian hospital severely damaged by heavy artillery was shocking enough; but I was there to investigate the claims of Croatian civilians, mainly peasants from the two adjoining regions of Kordun and Banija, that they and their compatriots had been the victims of atrocities by Serb paramilitary fighters during a recent offensive.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had finally succeeded in picking up the bodies of many dead Croats left lying in the streets under a scorching summer sun for an entire week. The mortuary at Svarc had just received three of them in a refrigerated truck when I arrived. I climbed the steps at the back of the truck and gazed upon three disemboweled bodies, one female and two male apparently, all in an advanced state of putrefaction.

At the age of thirty-three, I finally smelled the stench of a European atrocity, a part of our history which had fascinated me since my teens. This fascination was in no sense morbid. I was brought up trying to understand how, a mere two decades before I was born, the German and Soviet states could indulge in uninhibited violence against so many millions of people. While nothing before or since may compare with the extent of their crimes, they were not a mere historical aberration but part of a tradition. Modern Europe has a shamefully forgotten history of atrocities and massacres which, to judge by the wars of Yugoslav succession, has yet to be comprehended or exorcised.

The Balkan peninsula has long been known for its exceptionally violent culture. Yet every time a brutal war breaks out in the region, European and American observers—journalists, diplomats, and humanitarian workers—can hardly believe what they see. Early in Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War, Peter Maass, a Washington Post writer, describes his first encounter with a victim of “ethnic cleansing,” a Muslim woman who had walked for a month and a half from her home in the Bosnian town of Foca to Split on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast:

I wrote it down in my notebook but I didn’t believe it. How could she have been on the run with two children for forty-five days? During World War II people wandered for that long, even longer, but Bosnia’s war was a small-time affair, a few people killed, a few thousand refugees, it would be over in a couple of months, when the politicians would come to their senses again. She wasn’t marching from Russia to Poland. The year was 1992, not 1942, and Bosnia had smooth roads and fast cars with antilock braking systems and double-overhead cam engines. What was going on?

It seems odd that a newspaper correspondent arriving in the former Yugoslavia should have been quite so amazed by what he found. The war in Croatia had begun almost a year before the event he describes, and though it was not as destructive as the war in Bosnia, all the central features were present: gruesome mass murder, violent transfers of populations, the destruction of cities by artillery, and a death toll of some ten to twenty thousand people. Maass’s incredulity reflects the shock that anybody feels when they encounter unspeakable cruelty, but it also suggests that he was not fully prepared for the job he was about to do.

He is by no means the first journalist to arrive in the Balkans unaware of what awaited him. As far back as July 1876, John MacGahan, a gifted American reporter working for the London Daily News, traveled to the Bulgarian-inhabited provinces of the Ottoman Empire to inquire into stories of alleged massacres committed by Turkish troops during the Bulgarian Uprising of April 1876. These had been furiously denied by Disraeli, who was determined to prop up the decaying Ottoman Empire in order to resist the encroaching influence of both Russia and Austria in the Balkans. MacGahan was skeptical about the reports. Like Maass, he suspected that they were greatly exaggerated. He also assumed there was probably some truth to the claim that Bulgarians had been equally guilty of committing atrocities.

Even though he started visiting villages where atrocities had been committed some two months before he arrived, he uncovered nauseating evidence in the remote mountain village of Batak. He rode toward a plateau, he writes,

with the intention of crossing it, but all suddenly drew rein with an exclamation of horror, for right before us, almost beneath our horses’ feet, was a sight that made us shudder. It was a heap of skulls, intermingled with bones from all parts of the human body, skeletons, nearly entire, rotting, clothing, human hair, and putrid flesh lying there in one foul heap, around which the grass was growing luxuriantly. It emitted a sickening odour, like that of a dead horse, and it was here the dogs had been seeking a hasty repast when our untimely approach interrupted them…. We looked again at the heap of skulls and skeletons before us, and we observed that they were all small, and that the articles of clothing, intermingled with them and lying about, were all parts of women’s apparel. These, then, were all women and girls.1

MacGahan’s account had a significant effect on the debate between Disraeli and Gladstone over the British government’s policy toward the Eastern Question. Until MacGahan’s reports were published, Disraeli had unconditionally supported the Ottoman Empire’s suppression of the Bosnian and Bulgarian uprisings. Maintaining Ottoman power, he thought, was essential to prevent the expansion of the Habsburg Empire and Russia into the Balkans. When Gladstone, armed with MacGahan’s ammunition, led an attack in Parliament on this policy, Disraeli felt he had to distance himself from the Sultan’s actions. The Ottomans thereby lost their only international ally for a short but crucial period.

But MacGahan could not explain what had led the Turkish irregulars called Bashi-Bazouks and indeed the regular Turkish troops to act so mercilessly. A passionate Slavophile, he had simply believed that Turks, and Muslims in general, were by nature immoral. His work on the Bulgarian Uprising began a genre of descriptive writing about atrocities which has become a considerable industry during the last century.

Like MacGahan, most of the chroniclers of Balkan wars remain unable to explain what causes this type of violence. Maass, after describing many Bosnian Serb atrocities that read as if they could have come from Mac-Gahan’s account, quite rightly dismisses the theory that the wars in the former Yugoslavia are simply a product of “ancient hatreds.” But he replaces it with another which is equally superficial:

The rise of Serb nationalism is similar to what happened in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Anti-Semitism was always a strong factor in Germany, as in most European countries, but Hitler pumped it up until it became a violent force. The Holocaust was the outcome. No one would suggest, though, that the Holocaust was an inevitable outcome of German anti-Semitism. Without Hitler’s evil genius, it would not have happened. Likewise, without the evil genius of Slobodan Miloševic, the wars in Yugoslavia could have been avoided. Yes, Serbia contained plenty of nationalist troublemakers, just as Germany contained plenty of anti-Semites, but none were as clever as Miloševic, none could have accomplished what he accomplished. Whipping a nation into a nationalist frenzy, controlling what had been a feisty media, organizing a war successfully, keeping outside powers and internal rivals at bay—these are not easy tasks.

To support his argument, Maass quotes Warren Zimmermann, the former US Ambassador to Belgrade, and the British academic Jonathan Eyal. Neither of these men would deny the importance of Miloševic and his cynical manipulation of nationalist sentiment. But both, I suspect, would reject Maass’s claim that the wars in the former Yugoslavia can be adequately explained by Miloševic’s personal ambition. As Zimmermann’s forthcoming book, Origins of a Catastrophe, will demonstrate, Franjo Tudjman, the Croatian President, for one, also bears substantial responsibility.2

And it would still be wrong merely to shift the blame onto two men instead of one. There are fundamental differences between the imperial expansion of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and the collapse of a failed multi-ethnic state in the Balkans. Germany’s annexation of Austria and its occupation of Czechoslovakia and Poland are not analogous to the attempt of the Serbian leaders to dominate a centralized Yugoslav state and the decisions of the Slovenes and Croats to loosen the federation and then to secede from it.

Still, in discounting the theory of “ancient hatreds,” Maass has identified the most persistent and dangerous myth that clouds our understanding of the Balkans. Many commentators, some from the Balkans themselves, have encouraged the notion that the peninsula’s inhabitants are incorrigibly violent, mired in the blood of five centuries. It is true that the primitive codes of honor which have survived into the modern period in many parts of the Balkans contribute to and partly account for the vile practices which invariably emerge during Balkan wars.3 The most significant of these practices is the launching of vendettas against an entire family or clan in vengeance for the crimes of a single member. But a culture of blood feuds, also familiar from the Scottish Highlands or the American Appalachians, is not sufficient to cause mass atrocities in Bulgaria or Bosnia. Mass killing in the Balkans has always taken place in times of political and constitutional crisis whose origins are thoroughly modern. Specifically, they have been caused by the steady degeneration of both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires in the nineteenth century and the political consequences of imperial collapse in the twentieth century.

The first serious conflict to challenge Ottoman rule in the Balkans broke out in February 1804 after the Christian Serb peasants had suffered three years of intolerable arbitrary violence under the rule of the Muslim Dahis, the four self-appointed leaders of the Janissaries in the pashalik, or Ottoman administrative district, of Belgrade. The Janissaries were the strike force of the Ottoman army. Founded in the middle of the fifteenth century, the Janissaries were originally “culled” as boys from Christian families. They were converted to Islam and swore personal fealty to the Sultan. Most important, they were not allowed to marry to they could not pass on janissarial privilege to their issue. The last cull (devsirme) took place in the middle of the seventeenth century, at which point the degeneration of the Janissaries as a fighting force began. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, they had become an unruly threat to Ottoman stability, ignoring their military commitments and drawing on the Empire’s coffers to feed their now extensive families. Most of the Janissaries in Serbia were, in fact, Muslim Slavs. But their only loyalty was to personal greed.

The military struggle during the First Serbian Uprising, as it came to be known, followed a sequence that was to become familiar. The Christian peasants besieged towns inhabited primarily by Ottomans of the Islamic faith. When some, but interestingly not all, of the towns fell, the Serbs would engage in an orgy of violence against the Ottoman civilians. Some of their victims had been complicit in the violence of the Janissaries, but most were not.4

In 1813, when the Serb rebellion was finally defeated, the Ottomans took a terrible retribution against the Serbian civilian population. A few of these Serbs had organized pogroms against the Ottomans, but most had not. In the pattern that began to emerge, the question of the Janissaries’ initial guilt was no longer of political or even historical relevance—the atrocities and the desire for vengeance against the people who committed them had become central elements in a continuing political conflict, even if decades would separate one terrible rampage of killing from another.

The First Serbian Uprising began a long series of wars that were not engendered by great power competition but by administrative chaos inside the Ottoman Empire and by the new nationalist aspirations of the different religious and ethnic groups that sought to fill the vacuum this chaos created. These conflicts, in which the slaughter and forced expulsion of civilians were primary strategic aims of the combatants, became common first in Southeastern, then in Central and Eastern Europe. The scramble among the newly awakening nationalities to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of the Ottoman, the Austro-Hungarian, and, briefly, the Russian Empires frequently resulted in atrocities.

In 1821, nearly two decades after the outbreak of the First Serbian Uprising, the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire launched an insurgent war against Ottoman rule. Turkish mobs in Constantinople, Smyrna, and other cities close to the center of Ottoman power responded by massacring thousands of Greeks. The murder of the Greek patriarch in Constantinople and large numbers of Eastern Orthodox believers provoked outrage among the intelligentsia in Europe and the United States, inspiring young romantic revolutionaries to follow Byron’s example and take up the cause of philhellenism.

Almost simultaneously, the Greek rebels in the Peloponnese began killing and torturing the Ottomans of the peninsula. As one of the more objective philhellenes recorded, this summer of Hellenic shame culminated in the sack of the Peloponnesian capital, Tripolis:

In a few minutes the whole Greek army rushed to the walls, which were scaled in several places and the gates thrown open. A scene of fighting, murder, and pillage then commenced, unexampled in duration and atrocity even in the annals of this bloody warfare. Human beings can rarely have perpetrated so many deeds of cruelty on an equal number of their fellow-creatures as were perpetrated on this occasion…. Women and children were frequently tortured before they were murdered. After the Greeks had been in possession of the city for forty-eight hours, they deliberately collected together about two thousand persons of every age and sex, but principally women and children, and led them to a ravine in the nearest mountain, where they murdered every soul.5

But it would seem that not all atrocities are equal, and there was no sympathy in Europe for the Ottomans of the Peloponnese. Pamphleteers in Britain and France had written extensively about the massacre of Greeks in the Ottoman capital; the event was denounced by British members of parliament. In contrast, the carnage in the Peloponnese went largely unnoticed. The killing of Christians was considered a sin, while the killing of Muslims was seen as an inevitable byproduct of the great Christian uprising against the Ottomans. For some, it was an act of heroism. (As Peter Maass’s book demonstrates, this particular type of blindness continues to this day. Like many journalists covering these wars, he hasn’t a word of sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of Serb civilians in Croatia or Bosnia who have suffered during the war in the former Yugoslavia. He hardly seems aware that such Serbs exist.)

The growing incidence of pogroms and massacres was not at all peculiar to the Balkans. That a new wave of atrocities began there was mainly owing to the Ottoman Empire’s weakness. Had the Russian Empire cracked first, that is where the atrocities would have started. Over the next two centuries, very few regions of Europe would be immune to the human tendency to violently assert national claims when the central authority of multi-national rulers was crumbling.

Nonetheless, the Balkan peninsula, a region roughly the size of Texas, has had particularly large numbers of atrocities owing to three factors. First, the fluid migratory patterns in the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires allowed the members of many communities that later wanted to become nations to spread across large areas of the territory. This meant that when the newly self-conscious nations of the Balkans were attempting to establish their own states to replace the failing empires, the control of many regions with mixed populations was bitterly disputed on grounds both of demography and of history. In the late seventeenth century, for example, there was a large migration of Serbs to southern Hungary, the region which is now known as the Vojvodina in Yugoslavia. Serbs and Hungarians were able to live there in peace together under the absolutist Habsburg regime. When both Hungarians and Serbs challenged the existing order during the revolution of 1848, however, both immediately asserted their right to political primacy in the region. The dispute quickly degenerated into horrific violence in which both sides committed atrocities. The Balkans have many similarly disputed territories.

Secondly, most of the nation-states that emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries faced grave economic problems, and their politicians devised nationalist strategies partly as a means of dealing with them. The idea of a Greater Croatia, including most or all of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was created primarily to overcome the difficulties in transport and communication that the historical Triune Kingdom of Croatia—which corresponds roughly to the present-day Republic of Croatia—faced owing to its awkward crescent shape. In 1844, the most influential Serbian politician of the nineteenth century, Ilija Garašanin, wrote a secret document called The Plan (Nacertanije), which asserted Serbia’s claim to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Garašanin was not a naive nationalist. He wanted to annex Bosnia for one reason: to secure access to the sea and therefore reduce his country’s economic dependency on the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Almost all the new political leaders in the Balkans considered territorial expansion essential if their new nation-states were to survive economically.

Finally, there has been the persistent interference of more powerful countries, which hoped to gain economic or strategic advantage by encouraging, or manipulating, one or more communities aspiring to nation- statehood or to the role of regional policeman. This began in 1830, when Russia, Britain, and France wrote the constitution of the newly independent Greek state without even consulting the Greeks. The decisions about Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish, and other borders that were made by the Great Powers at the Congress of Berlin in 1878—again without the participation of the Balkan states themselves—led directly to the fearful Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913, among the most violent regional conflicts in modern history.

After World War I, Great Britain encouraged successive Greek governments to occupy parts of western Turkey in pursuit of the Megali Idea, the Great Idea—a Greek state that would encompass all the Greek speakers in the region. Convinced that British support could guarantee their territorial claims, the Greeks launched a catastrophic military campaign. After the Greek army had been soundly defeated by the Turks, the two sides were persuaded by the great powers, including Britain, to sign the Treaty of Lausanne, solemnly overseen by the League of Nations in 1923. The Western nations approved the transfer of 380,000 Muslims from Greece to Turkey while 1.3 million Orthodox Christians moved in the other direction.6

The exchange of Greek and Turkish populations destroyed overnight the culture of the Pontic Greeks, whose Black Sea settlements were more than 2,000 years old; it caused untold suffering to both Greeks and Turks affected by the upheaval. The exchange of populations was, in effect, an instance of controlled “ethnic cleansing,” but was nonetheless deemed a success by the international sponsors of the Treaty of Lausanne. It destroyed the ideology of the Megali Idea and stabilized Greek-Turkish relations. The precedent was followed in Eastern Europe after World War II when the Sudeten and Silesian Germans were expelled from their homelands and installed in the Federal Republic, putting an end to the ideology of Drang nach Osten.

In this century, Yugoslavia was the only country in southeastern Europe which continually resisted the tendency to national homogeneity among its component parts. Still, the destruction of Yugoslavia has followed the pattern of other Balkan cataclysms: unscrupulous nationalist leaders such as Miloševic and Tudjman were out to grab territory; powerful foreign nations intervened; the civilian populations had to bear the burden. Yet civilians were also willing to assist in carrying out atrocities. What could induce them to commit such crimes, which were at their most vicious during the Serbian attacks on the urban Muslims in northern and eastern Bosnia?

The main responsibility lies with the political authorities in Belgrade, Pale, and Zagreb who ordered the attacks and encouraged their co-nationals to join in the pogroms against their fellow citizens. Normal social and judicial standards were turned upside down: to kill was said to be legal and morally acceptable, and to protect a threatened minority was deemed criminal. To bring about this inversion of values, the nationalist leaders used all the means of propaganda at their disposal. In particular, Radio Television Belgrade and Croatian Television worked overtime to create a fictional image of “the enemy” so as to induce fear in their own populations. (A Serbian journalist called these two stations the “two greatest war criminals of all.”) By repeatedly claiming that the Muslims of Bosnia were preparing a jihad, or holy war, the nationalist leaders convinced the Serbs and Croats in the Bosnian republic that the best form of defense was attack. A small core of fundamentalists did exist within President Izetbegovicå«’s party, the SDA, and during the war it grew stronger. But it had only a very small influence over most of the Muslim population.

The culture of atrocities was also greatly encouraged by the practice of drafting criminals into the police and military. Gangsters like “Arkan,” the Serbian paramilitary leader, organized ethnic cleansing in order to accumulate vast fortunes from looting and from taking over industries that were part of the war economy. These people prolonged the war in order to maximize their profits.

In such an atmosphere of chaos and violence, it proved relatively easy to draw ordinary men and women first into accepting atrocities and then taking part in them. While many were often fearful about their own situation, it also seems that under such conditions people are able to tolerate and even enjoy the extreme suffering of others with whom they have often lived in peace for decades.

Yugoslavia lasted as long as it did partly because its very existence provided an apparently workable solution for two of the most difficult national problems ever to plague the Balkans: the claims of Bosnia and Macedonia. Assessing the Congress of Berlin, which was convened in 1878 to solve the Great Eastern Crisis, the British historian A.J.P. Taylor noted in 1954 that

Macedonia and Bosnia, the two great achievements of the congress, both contained the seeds of future disaster. The Macedonian question haunted European diplomacy for a generation and then caused the Balkan war of 1912. Bosnia first provoked the crisis of 1908 and then exploded the World war in 1914, a war which brought down the Habsburg monarchy.7

The collapse of Tito’s Yugoslavia reopened those same two wounds, since the integrity of both Bosnia and Macedonia was primarily dependent on some form of Yugoslav state to ward off the territorial claims of neighboring nations.

The Bosnian issue has, for now, been solved. The country has been partitioned into three parts. There remains the potential for further violence, but only as a means of making small changes in the partition borders. Notwithstanding the protests of its architects to the contrary, the Dayton Agreement sets the final seal on the principal aim of those who started and prosecuted these wars: the permanent transfer of populations, with national groups established on their own territory. The commitment made by all parties to the agreement to oversee the return of those expelled from their homes in Bosnia-Herzegovina is fundamentally undermined by the presence of three armies in the tiny state. This military arrangement, specifically recognized by the Bosnian-Croat Federation Agreement of March 1994 and the Dayton Agreement, precludes the possibility of Bosnia becoming a unified country. The armies will simply stop refugees from returning to their homes, and NATO forces will not intervene.

Just as the refugees in Bosnia will not return, most of the Serbs from the Croatian Krajina will never be persuaded or permitted to do so. The United States, for long the great rhetorical defender of the Bosniak Muslims, is now, with indecent haste, hurrying up elections in Bosnia that will almost certainly put the final stamp on partition.

Senior state department officials argue that the elections, although flawed, will at least confer some democratic legitimacy on the various leaderships in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is not an unreasonable point. However, that legitimacy will be very limited given the wanton manipulation of Dayton’s complex electoral process by the three ruling parties in Bosnia.

The recent elections held in Mostar have set a most disturbing, if predictable, precedent. The capital of Herzegovina is strictly divided between the Croat western half and the Muslim east. The two sides have been part of an alliance, the Bosnian Federation, sponsored by German and American diplomacy, since March 1994. The city itself has had two years of administration by the European Union, which has injected substantial funds into reconstruction projects. Despite these political and financial incentives, Mostar has never been further from reintegration. Elections held at the end of June gave the Muslims, who support unification, a majority over the Croats in the new municipal council, but for six weeks the Croats refused to accept the election results. The European Union warned that unless the two sides reached an agreement to establish a functioning city council it would pull out. Not only would this have meant another expensive debacle for the EU in the former Yugoslavia, it would have sounded the death knell for the Federation and by implication, as American and European diplomats tirelessly point out, the Dayton Agreement.

After grueling negotiations, Warren Christopher was finally able to announce in Geneva on August 14 that the Croats had agreed to disband their illegal parastate, Herzeg-Bosna. In theory this should have happened two and a half years ago, after the signing of the Federation Agreement. In addition, a date was set for the first session of Mostar’s city council. Without such a commitment both the Federation and the Dayton Accords would have been ruined. Yet time and again, solemn commitments made by both Tudjman and Izetbegović have foundered within days of being made. (The Bosnian Muslims also have a long record of undermining the Federation.)

The Mostar elections are an ominous precedent for the country-wide elections scheduled for September. At the moment conditions simply do not exist for a serious or fair challenge to the nationalist parties that dominate all three communities. Representatives from the body organizing the elections, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, are now close to admitting in public what they have long been saying in private: the elections have no hope of preventing the process of partition from accelerating.

This is not to suggest that the elections should be abandoned. Rather they have become irrelevant. By exploiting the evident contradictions in the Dayton Agreement, the three ruling parties are using the elections as instruments to consolidate their power—but they would have done this without elections as well.

The problem of Macedonia has changed since 1878. It is now closely linked with the problems of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, for the Albanian populations of Kosovo and Macedonia are the last large irredentist enclaves on the Balkan peninsula. With some justification, the Albanians may conclude that if the Dayton Agreement partitions Bosnia-Herzegovina in favor of Croatia and Serbia, then Kosovo and western Macedonia, which are both inhabitated predominantly by Albanians, should also be allowed to secede from Serbia and Macedonia respectively.

Unfortunately, this would almost certainly provoke the type of violence that accompanied the dismemberment of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The logic of secession and partition, which has, with tacit Western approval, bloodily succeeded in the northern Balkans, has also sown the seeds of violence in the southern Balkans. During the spring of 1991, the presidents of Yugoslavia’s six republics held a series of summit meetings in a halfhearted attempt to find a new constitutional arrangement that might have prevented the violent breakup of the country. Had they succeeded in finding a solution to the problems of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia, they would have also opened the way to an end of the Kosovo crisis. They failed to achieve anything whatever. At the moment, it is hard to see how the ethnic Albanians, Serbs, and Macedonians will find a peaceful solution to disputes among themselves over the rights of Albanians, although the relative weakness of Albania itself diminishes the possibility that a war will soon break out. But Albania and the Albanians will grow stronger over the next twenty years.

The danger of rising conflict was recently underlined by the emergence of a shadowy organization calling itself the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has claimed responsibility for the deaths of six Serbs in the last two months. Whether this is a genuine Albanian terrorist organization or whether it is an organisation provocatrice run by Serbs is not yet clear. In either case, it is contributing to an atmosphere of impending violence in the region.

It should, however, be in everyone’s interest to prevent another brutal struggle in the Balkans. This is why a sober examination of the history of atrocities in the region is so important. To reduce the causes of Balkan wars to “ancient hatreds” leads to irresponsible fatalism. To ascribe them, as does Peter Maass, to unscrupulous leaders who happen, arbitrarily, to emerge from time to time is to ignore the historical and cultural sources of hatred. Kosovo and Macedonia can be spared the fate of Bosnia, but only if the region’s politicians, in concert with the more influential powers, address the constitutional and political issues dividing the three national communities. It seems likely they will, at a minimum, have to grant the Albanian populations a considerable degree of autonomy. If they can do so, they will at least partly redress the balance of bitter failure in Bosnia.

August 22, 1996

  1. 1

    Januarius A. MacGahan, The Turkish Atrocities in Bulgaria (Geneva, 1946), pp. 44-46.

  2. 2

    Warren Zimmermann,Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers (Times Books, forthcoming).

  3. 3

    These are incidentally no different from the culture of the mafiosi in southern Italy. Indeed, historically they are closely related.

  4. 4

    This pattern of rural communities besieging urban settlements would be repeated by the Serbs against Muslims between 1992-1995 in Bosnia, where the Ottoman Slavs had stayed after the collapse of the Empire, unlike in Serbia.

  5. 5

    George Finlay, A History of Greece From Its Conquest By the Romans To the Present Time, B.C. 146 to A.D. 1864 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1877), Volume VI, pp. 218-219.

  6. 6

    The criterion used for the great population exchange was not language or national identity but religion.

  7. 7

    The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848-1918 (Oxford University Press, 1954), p. 252.