In 2018, historians were marking the one hundredth anniversary of the foundation of a nation-state in southeastern Europe remembered as Yugoslavia–the country of Southern Slavs. The multi-ethnic nation used to connect several European ethnic groups of the shared Slavonic ancestry yet were divided by three major religions and mutually exclusive ethnic nationalist ideologies. The Yugoslav national project lasted seven decades under various regime types in a sensitive balance often disturbed by wars. In the 20th century alone, the territory of the former Yugoslavia saw six major wars, three cycles of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and about fifteen various states and regimes, half of which have by now collapsed and disappeared from the map. In a wider historical perspective, this Europe’s periphery has left the lesson which world history curricula ought not to overlook: how the Southern Slavs united, rose out of obscurity and then ruined themselves. In addition to that lesson, another may be developing as the world order seems to be changing. The world today is not the same as that which was formed at the end of the Cold War. Since the state arrangements in the ex-Yugoslav space have always changed and restructured in response to major changes in international order, it is likely that the Balkans will go to war again, possibly, again, in the broader context of major regional or even world wars.
"Hundred Years Since Yugoslavia’s Birth: Lesson on Nationalism, Balkanization, and Religion in Europe’s Periphery,"
Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe: Vol. 39
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ree/vol39/iss1/3