The Main Reasons that Led to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia and Short Explanation of Failed Project of the Yugoslav Nation

14 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2013

See all articles by Milos Bokic

Milos Bokic

University of Vienna, Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 15, 2013


The project of Yugoslavia has failed. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has been broken down into five new states in the bloody civil war in the beginning of the nineties of the twentieth century. Many experts were searching for the reason of disintegration of Yugoslavia. Was the authoritarian rule of Josip Broz Tito the main reason that was preventing the aspirations for breaking the Yugoslavia? There is no doubt that Tito through his political engagement did a lot on the creation and strengthening of the Yugoslav state and Yugoslav nation, which were supposed to be one of the pillars for building the supranational state. The Yugoslav constitution from 1974, which many have described as the basis for the beginning of Yugoslav breakup, was adopted while Tito was still alive. In addition to national tensions that were skillfully suppressed by the Communist Party, the economic factor also did not go in favor of the proponents of the Yugoslav state. Despite the strong post-war industrial development and modernization of the state, Yugoslavia was forced to take significant amount of money as a loan from the Western European countries. Inside the country itself, it came to a significant economic gap between developed west and poor east where people were living mainly from state financial aid. Further historical events, which resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the communism, caught political leaders of Yugoslavia unprepared. The idea of the United Europe and erasing borders between East and West, capitalism and communism, did not find its support in the Balkans. In the Balkans, the border was started being written with the blood of citizens who were sharing the same country until yesterday and became enemies overnight. The federal government has failed to respond to the new circumstances and all the weaknesses of the existing political system came to the surface. Despite the massive support of the Communist Party, the creation of the Yugoslav nation was not making progress as politicians have planned. Despite the positive aspects - common cultural roots, similar language and same values, national conscience was a barrier to the creation of the Yugoslav nation that was too strong. Communist Party was trying to suppress individual ethnic identities and nationalities and impose the Yugoslav identity. Mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in other parts of former Yugoslavia, the creation of Yugoslav nation did not achieve great success. The Yugoslav idea existed even during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but they both suffered the breakdown at the beginning of the Second World War. Yugoslav communists were trying to build a strong state by placing the Yugoslav nation as a counterweight to ethnic tensions that existed in society at the time. Unfortunately, nationalist tensions escalated in the early nineties and it was clear that the idea of the Yugoslav nation has experienced collapse. The causes that led to the breakup of Yugoslavia will be the subject of further research and scientific debate. However, a large number of human casualties and terrible material destructions are the final result of an unsuccessful project.

Keywords: Dissolution, Yugoslav nation, Nationalism, Yugoslav Communist Party

JEL Classification: D74, H56

Suggested Citation

Bokic, Milos, The Main Reasons that Led to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia and Short Explanation of Failed Project of the Yugoslav Nation (April 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Milos Bokic (Contact Author)

University of Vienna, Faculty of Law ( email )

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