Precursor to conflict: the cultural re-coding of Serbia
Patten, John Frederick
Teti, Frank M.
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This thesis examines the origins of the conflict which engulfed the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Findings will indicate that the violence within this culturally diverse and historically multi-ethnic region of Europe was not driven by ancient ethnic sentiments, nor was it a 'civil war' between 'traditional tribal rivals' --fighting for 'hundreds of years'--; but was rather the direct result of a within-group (intra-state/inter-cultural) political struggle. The study will demonstrate that the violence witnessed by the international community can be traced to the destructive strategies adopted by a threatened status-quo elite for political survival. Specifically, the source of this tragedy can be traced to the post-Tito struggle for power in the face of political and economic reform; with primary responsibility for the deterioration falling squarely on the shoulders of the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic'. Through extensive manipulation of the Serbian culture and its historical symbols, President Milosevic' created an external threat to Serbia, united the Serbs around him in a common fight for survival, and based his domestic and foreign policies on the defeat of this fabricated threat. Far from an inevitable and 'spontaneous combustion' of ethnic hatreds, the conflict began as a coldly premeditated, systematic, and violent power drive; flieled by hyper-nationallsm and employing 'ethnic cleansing' as Milosevic' sought to create and dominate an ethnically pure 'Greater Serbia'
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