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Authors

Maja Torlo

Abstract

This research concentrates on the Christian and Orthodox religion among the Serbs and Croats in former Yugoslavia and how it contributed to the outbreak of the Serbo-Croat war in 1992. This is done by assessing the main ways in which religion was abused and twisted to raise anger, fear, and enmity between Croats and Serbs by both nationalistic leaders and Church leaders in the period from the communist rule to the outbreak in 1992. Therefore, first, the following things are assessed: the consequences of (1) identification and grouping of people along religious and ethnic lines, (2) mass religious events, which estranged the nations, (3) minimization of the cultural similarities through striving to present each nation as fundamentally different and, to an extent, (4) the failure of ecumenical dialogue under communism. Furthermore, the contribution of the enforcement of homogenous identity and the fusion of religion and ethnicity into one is determined, allowing for a better understanding of the actual role religion played among the two ethnicities. Crucial for understanding the course of events is the conveyed characteristic that ethnicity and religion were so deeply interlaced that it was almost impossible to determine where one began and the other ended. And finally, the last and crucial phase during the disintegration of Yugoslavia is analyzed, as it is where nationalistic leaders worked hard to gain dominance among their people and turn one ethnicity against the other by playing on memories, past wars, the atrocities during World War Two, etc.

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