Cultural Dictionary

Yugoslavia definition

Republic in southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula, bordered by Hungary to the north, Bulgaria and Romania to the east, Macedonia and Albania to the south, the Adriatic Sea and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Croatia to the northwest. Its capital and largest city is Belgrade.

Note: A union of six republics, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formally declared in 1918; the name was later changed to Yugoslavia.
Note: It was invaded by German troops in 1941 and occupied until 1944. During the German occupation, intense fighting occurred there between rival ethnic factions, especially Croats and Serbs.
Note: It became a communist state under the leadership of Tito and developed its own form of communism, independent of the Soviet Union.
Note: With the collapse of communism in East Europe and the Soviet Union, long-repressed nationalism came to the surface. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia declared their independence, leaving Serbia and Montenegro to form the new, truncated Yugoslavia, known since 1992 as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic stirred criticism by giving financial and military support to Serbian minorities in the newly independent republics and by pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing. In 1995, under pressure from the United Nations and the United States, Milosevic signed a peace agreement with leaders of Bosnia and Croatia in Dayton, Ohio. In the late 1990s, attention shifted to Kosovo, a southern province of Serbia with an ethnic Albanian majority. Seeking independence from Serbia, the Albanian-dominated Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) launched a guerrilla war against Serbian police and officials in Kosovo. When Milosevic ordered a fierce crackdown against the KLA, NATO intervened with air strikes against Serbia, the first military engagement in its history. After heavy air attacks, including attacks on Belgrade, Milosevic agreed to a pullout from Kosovo by the Serbian army. Milosevic was later deposed in an election and sent to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for trial on human-rights abuses.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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