Balkan Peninsula

Dylan G, Rachel S, Tyler S

Region of Balkan Peninsula


  • The word “ Balkans ” comes from the Turkish word for mountains
  • Region is from Greece up through the Balkan Mountains up into Eastern Europe
  • Over the last centuries there have been many countries and divisions within the area because of the different ethnic and religious groups

Conflicts in Balkan

  • 14th century Ottoman Turks invaded and controlled the area for 500 years
  • Austro-Hungarian Empire took control of the north part of the Balkans through the 1800s
  • When the Ottoman Empire began to fall, the Balkan people fought for the independence in 1912 and 1913
  • Each group wanted independence from each other which continued war between ethnic and religious groups
  • Austro-Hungary tried to stop unrest by sending Archduke Ferdinand to the area in 1914, but he and his wife were assassinated by a Serb
  • Assassination of the Archduke lead to the start of WW1
  • Versailles Treaty ended WW1 and created the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
  • In 1929 the King renamed the country Yugoslavia, but the Serbs dominated this new government which made the Croatians mad and rebellious
  • WW2 broke out and the Croatians supported Nazi Germany against the Serbs, while the Serbs gained two leader to fight against the Germans, Tito and Mihailovic
  • Tito and Mihailovic also fought against each other in WW2, and Tito became the strongest leader by the end of WW2
  • 1945 Tito became the Communist Dictator of Yugoslavia and formed a federation of 6 ethnic groups to make up the new country
  • As a dictator, he kept them from fighting each other until his death in 1980, but the federation still held together for another ten years
  • 1992 the federation began to break up into the separate ethnic and religious groups and war and “ethnic cleansing” broke out as each group tried to gain controlled of their own territory
  • 1995 the EU put peacekeepers in place to try to end the conflicts
  • 1998 the Kosovo region rebelled against Serbia for their freedom and President Milosevic ordered the Serbian troops to ethnic cleanse Kosovo. The US bombed Serbia and Kosovo to end the conflict
  • 2000 President Milosevic lost his election, but refused to leave office until protesters forced the change. The new government sent him to the International Criminal Court for war crime trials
  • Now the Balkans have split into their ethnic groups after years of conflict
War in Balkan 1991-1995

Tito (1892-1980)

  • Born: May 25, 1892 - named Josip Broz Tito
  • Family: Poor peasant farmers, 7th of 15 children
  • Schooling: Elementary until age 12 then at 15 trained to be a locksmith while going to night school for high school
  • During WW1: Drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army; fought and was captured by the Russians; held as a POW; joined Red Army for the Russian Oct 1917 Revolution
  • After WW1: Returned to Croatia and joined Communist Party of Yugoslavia; arrested for being a communist; spent time in Soviet Union; 1937 became leader of Yugoslavia Communist Party
  • During WW2: Used Communist Party to lead attacks on the Germans and opposing Yugoslavians for control of the country
  • After WW2: Tito became Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and led nation as a dictator; 1953 was named First President of Yugoslavia; 1963 named President for life; attempted to keep Yugoslavia “neutral” between other countries during the Cold War
  • Died: May 4, 1980 in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia

Marshall Tito with Fidel Castro

Big image

Tito's message to the world on Yugoslavia

Message from Yugoslavia

Tito's Funeral

President Tito's Funeral, Yugoslavia ('Underground')

Rise of Milosevic

  • Born: August 29, 1941 in Pozarevac, Yugoslavia
  • Died: March 11, 2006 in The Hague, Netherlands
  • Family: 2nd son of a Montenegrin Orthodox preacher and Serbian Communist school teacher; his father committed suicide in 1962; his mother killed herself in 1974; his favorite uncle also committed suicide
  • Relationship with Tito: His wife was the niece of Tito’s secretary
  • Politics: Worked through the Communist Party until he was Party Chief of Belgrade in 1984; in 1986 he became Party Leader for Serbia; by 1987 he purged the Serbian Communist Party of all opposition
  • President: Became President in 1990 to 1997 while country was Serbia, then again until Oct 2000 while the country was Yugoslavia; in Oct 2000 after losing an election he was overthrown and forced out as President
  • Legacy: He used Serbian nationalism for ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and helped drive civil war in the Balkans; tried as a war criminal, but died before he was sentenced

Religious & Ethnic Impact

  • Serbia is mainly Eastern Orthodox
  • Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina are Muslim
  • Croatia and Slovenia are primarily Roman Catholic

Overall Percentages are as Follows
  • Eastern Orthodox: 65%
  • Muslims: 19%
  • Roman Catholic: 4%
  • Protestant: 1%
  • Other or No Religion: 11%

The religious differences fall mainly along ethnic lines which has also led to ethnic cleansing as each group wants only their people in their territory, and all are fighting for some type of political control by their ethnic group.

World's Actions in the 1990s

  • 1991: Slovenia and Croatia declared independence, the world reacted with the EU granting them recognition as nations
  • 1992: Bosnia was fighting for independence, the world reacted with a UN Security Council economic sanctions against Yugoslavia / Serbia
  • 1999: Kosovo was fighting for independence and to stop Serbian ethnic cleansing against them, the world reacted with NATO bombing Yugoslavia until Kosovo was left in peace. The US really led the NATO bombing effort

Current Conditions in Balkan Peninsula

Some nations such as Bulgaria and Romania have made peaceful transitions and are already members of the European Union (EU). Croatia will even join the EU within the next year.

However, there are lots of refugees from each of the territories still trying to rebuild from the wars and ethnic cleansing. Many people have lost everything including their homes and property in the wars.

While there is currently peace in the area, some Balkan political experts still see division even within nations such as Bosnia and Kosovo. They still refer to the Balkans as it was known in the 19th century as “the powder keg of Europe”.

Reconstruction in The Balkans

Bibliography & Essential Question

Essential Question: How has religion effect the people in Balkan?