1.IntroductionIn 1991 the country I was born in ceased to exist. The exceptionally violent and bloodymanner in which this happened gave many experts and even more numerous "experts" anopportunity to demonstrate their wisdom, stemming from the privilege of generals-after-the-battle, and to scientifically prove that Yugoslavia was an artificial creation and that itscollapse was inevitable. Three most common theories explaining what has happened werethe theory about "ancient hatreds" between the Yugoslav nations, the theory aboutmanipulative elites who destroyed Yugoslavia to grab power in the successor states, andthe theory about the increasing insecurity, following the total breakdown of socialistregime, which caused the outbreak of hostilities. Without harbouring any illusions that Iwill be able to present the ultimate and indisputable explanation of what "really happened"with the former Yugoslavia -- why it has collapsed and above all, why in such a violentmanner -- this thesis will attempt to sketch an alternative point of view, showing howtragically senseless Yugoslavia's collapse actually was.The Yugoslav hell was not unleashed because of some alleged "millennial nationalidentity" and consequent "historical right to full sovereignty"
nor because of "traditionaldiscrimination" and "genocidal terror"
supposedly threatening the Serbs, and even less so because Yugoslav peoples suddenly decided that they do not want to live with each other anymore. Nor was it unleashed because of nationalism. By highlighting countless episodesand events, noticed by numerous other authors, researchers and, most importantly, the UNCommission of Experts which compiled thousands of pages of material about the war, Iintend to show that the driving force behind the destruction of Yugoslavia was notnationalism, but greed (both for political power and material gains). Nationalism
a powerful force, which indeed fuels many wars, but its ability to ignite a war out of somecompletely intangible reason should be seriously questioned. In the case of Yugoslavia,nationalism was rather used as a mask under which a thorough criminalization of post-
"Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia," in
Yugoslavia through Documents: From itsCreation to its Dissolution,
ed. Snezana Trifunovska. Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff, 1994, p. 251
As defined in the 1986 Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (
Srpska Akademija Nauka i Umetnosti,
or SANU). Memorandum was written in 1986 as a team work of a group of most prominent Serbian intellectuals. It was basically an extensive list of Serbian national grievances, interpretingthe post-1945 history as an anti-Serb conspiracy. According to the Memorandum Tito (half Croat, half Slovene) and his right hand Edvard Kardelj (a Slovene) engineered Yugoslavia according to the policy of "strong Yugoslavia, weak Serbia." For this reason, Serbs were divided among several republics, andVojvodina and Kosovo were carved out from the "Serbian historic territory." Serbia was allegedly exploited by other republics, Serbs faced discrimination all over the country, in Bosnia and in Croatia their culture was being systematically destroyed and in Kosovo, they were victims of an organised "genocide." Parts of Memorandum are quoted in Olivera Milosavljevic, "The Abuse of the Authority of Science," in
The Road toWar in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis,
ed. Nebojsa Popov. Budapest: Central European University Press,2000, p. 279