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Creation of Yugoslavia and Its Consequences, or

The Story of Serbs and Croats

Radoslav Ralevic
February 25, 2007
When deciding on the topic of this paper it came to me that someone from the Balkans

should try to understand and write about his/her regional problems rather than to discuss

global ones. Smaller nations should think more about how to fit in the new world rather than

discuss global and distant issues. I understand that the idea I have chosen to write about is

not modest to discuss in fifteen pages. However, I have tried to confine myself to writing about

relations between Serbs and Croats only. By writing about relations between two biggest and

closest nations in former Yugoslavia I have tried to explain that small differences can even

have more striking consequences than big ones. That was the case in former Yugoslavia. Two

nations, whose major difference is that ones are Orthodox and others Catholic Christians,

could not have found joint interest. The ideas described here, as I believe, express majority

opinion in Serbia. Understanding historic background is the only way to better understand

events in the joint state of Southern Slavs. I started historic journey from the mid nineteen

century since that was the period when the idea on joint South Slavic state ensued. I also tried

to explain social and political circumstances in the Balkans prior to the First World War, since

Yugoslavia arose from its outcome. I wrote about period between the wars, occurrences from

the Second World War, Socialist Yugoslavia and Balkan wars in 1990s.

While writing about this subject I tried to be fully aware of our national, and overall

Slavic mentality of crying over the spilt milk. It was not without reason that one of the most

prominent Serbian writers, Borislav Pekic, wrote: “When a Serb falls into a deep hole he asks

himself how come that the hole was on his way? How could have happened that he had fallen

into it? On the other hand, when a Westerner falls into a hole he first looks around to find if

there is any way out, then does everything to get out. If it is clear that he cannot leave the

hole, he starts making his home out of it.” Although I wrote about history of the Balkans, I did it

in order to acquire and provide more background information on the topic. The intent of this

paper was not to think about how we got into the hole but to figure out how to get out of it.
The paper is divided into two parts. In the first part I tried to present historical facts on

foundation of Yugoslavia, two world wars, periods between them and period after the WWII.

The other part is elaboration on consequences of Yugoslavia on people who lived in it

particularly on younger people who live in the new states.

The idea of a joint state of Southern Slavs originated from the period of national

romanticism in the middle of XIX century. Two most prominent figures who first discussed the

idea of the joint state were Serbian greatest poet, archbishop and leader of Montenegro,

Njegosh, and Catholic Church bishop in Croatia, Shtrosmeyer. But the most important

occurrence that brought Serbs and Croats closer together was signing linguistic agreement

and creation Serbo-Croatian language. The agreement was signed by Vuk Karadzic, Serbian

language reformer and Croatian Illyrian movement representatives in 1851. This occurred

during the period of building Serbian state, which resulted in recognition of independent

Serbia in Berlin Congress in 1878. The period from 1878 to 1918 in the Balkans was

characterized by Austro – Serbian conflict. The crucial moment for the conflict between

Austria-Hungary and Serbia was Austrian occupation of Bosnia, then deemed in Serbia as an

act of aggression against Serbian people who were majority population in Bosnia.

The second half of XIX century in Serbia was characterized by political struggles

between political parties and Obrenovic dynasty rulers. These conflicts ended by military coup

in 1903 when an organization called “Black Hand”, consisted of group of Serbian officers,

assassinated King Alexandar Obrenovic because of his pro-Austrian politics and neglect of

national interests. Peter Karadjordjevic, descendant of another royal ancestry was enthroned

and Nikola Pasic, the most famous and well-known Serbian statesman, became the Prime

Minister and led ten governments until the First World War. These years were the period of

economic and social prosperity of Serbia. Pasic’s years at the helm of the Serbian political

scene were marked by continuing dissent with the Serbian military, who were vocal in their
demands for Greater Serbia that would have required a determinedly aggressive foreign

policy.

In 1912 four Balkan states, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece, fought to

liberate their countrymen, who had still been under the Turkish authority. The result was Turks’

withdrawal from the Balkan, apart from Istanbul. Serbia liberated lands of Old Serbia, Kosovo,

and part of Macedonia. This was Serbia greatest success after the Turks conquered the

Balkan in 14th century.

The Balkan War debilitated Serbia, which led Austria to try to solve “the Serbian

question” once and for all. New war in the Balkan was being prepared. When “Young Bosnia”

member, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated Austria-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz

Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 (the date which is a holy day for Serbs, and remind them of the

lost battle against Turks in Kosovo in 1389 when Serbian empire ceased to exist), Austria-

Hungary got a motive to attack Serbia. Controversy continues today in determining Pasic's

involvement in the assassination, although it has generally been considered unlikely.

Nevertheless, Austria-Hungary - who was long displeased with Serbian agitation - saw an

opportunity to lay charges against the Serbian government, and to consequently take punitive

action. The Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with its ultimatum, the nature of which

prompted the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey to note that he had "never before

seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a

character." Austria-Hungary gave Serbia two days in which to reply to the ultimatum. Pasic's

reply was masterly. Although he recognized the inevitability of war - and consequently sought

assurances from Russia that she would upheld her pledge to protect her Slav friends - he sent

a reply which conceded virtually all of Austria-Hungary's demands save one or two minor

clauses. He succeeded however in placing responsibility for the coming war with Austria-
Hungary, while establishing the Serbian government's innocence. The war started on July 28,

1914 by Austrian attack on Belgrade.1 Soon most European countries were in war.

After initial victories against Austro-Hungarians, Serbian Army had to withdraw after

joint German and Austrian offensive in the end of 1915. Serbs had to pass over Albania

towards the Greek island of Corfu. This withdrawal was known as "Albanian Golgotha".

Hungry, exhausted and unprepared for the winter, constantly fighting against enemy Albanian

clans, around 275,000 Serbian soldiers died of hunger, froze or got killed in the snow-covered

mountain ranges of Albania. French Marshal Mr. Zhofre said: Withdrawal of our allies Serbs,

under the situation it was done surmounts by freights everything written in history.2 In the

meantime the persecution of the Serbs in occupied Serbia and Austro-Hungary, clearly

showed that this was an attempt at totally crushing Serbian resistance and definitely closing

the Serbian question in the Balkans.

As soon as the war started, Serbian Government planned a new state with all

Southern Slavs. On September 4th 1914, Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasic, sent a circular

letter to legations abroad saying "that Serbia should become a strong south-western Slav

state that would also include all the Croats and all the Slovenes". Only such a state could be

"in the interest of the annihilation of Germanic supremacy and penetration towards the east". 3

The war goal was epitomized in the Serbian government's declaration presented before the

Parliament in Nis, on December 7th 1914: "Convinced that the entire Serbian nation is

determined to persevere in the holy struggle for the defense of their homesteads and their

freedom, the government of the Kingdom (of Serbia) considers that, in these fateful times, its

main and only task is to ensure the successful completion of this great warfare which, at the

moment when it started, also became a struggle for the liberation and unification of all our

unliberated Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian brothers. The great success which is to crown

1
First World War Com
2
Arrival to Corfu – Carlo Sforza
3
Global Security Org – Yugoslavia and the World Wars
this warfare will make up for the extremely bloody sacrifices which this generation of Serbs is

making".4

Position of the Entente powers was that Serbia should have given part of Macedonia

to Bulgaria, and as reimbursement had got considerable territorial extensions at the expense

of Austria-Hungary: all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of Southern Hungary (Voivodina) and

most of Dalmatia. UK considered that, due to religious differences, the unification of the Serbs

and the Croats would be the source of new instability in the common state and in the entire

region. UK was not alone in this attitude. Namely, Russia believed that the religious

differences were such that it would be better to create a "Great Serbia". However, Serbia

persistently kept rejecting any kind of agreement.5

Among Serbs, creation of "Great Serbia" was advocated by the Black Hand, which, in

this regard, perhaps had the support of certain military circles in Russia. 6 The conflict between

the Black Hand, on the one side and the government and Prince-Regent Alexander on the

other, about who was to have political supremacy ended with a "rigged" trial and the

organization's liquidation and execution of its leaders in Thessalonica in 1917. This left no

strong opposition to Regent Alexandar, who was the strongest supporter of unification.

It is clear that most of Serbian political elite was supporting the joint state of South

Slavs, but what did Croats think about the same issue. At the outset of the WW I conservative

and clerical circles who were against the unification were more influential. As a response to

the prince regent Francis Ferdinand assassination, the Croats persecuted Serbs as unreliable

subjects in the Dual Monarchy (Austria-Hungary). Almost all Serbian shops in Sarajevo were

demolished, Serbian schools, private shops, cultural and educational societies were

destroyed. Anti-Serbian demonstrations in Zagreb lasted for four days and they resulted in the

terrorization of the Serbs and the plundering and demolition of their firms, shops and houses.

4
Serbian News, Nis, November 25
5
Dj. Stankovic, Nikola Pasic, Allies and Creation of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, Nolit 1984
6
Creation of Yugoslavia 1790-1918, vol. II - M. Ekmecic,
The press also called for pogroms against the Serbs. The Frankist newspaper "Hrvatska"

("Croatia") wrote on July 3rd 1914: "The people are announcing a battle to the death against

the Serbs, and for their expulsion from Bosnia and Herzegovina", and on July 29th, the same

goal was set out but in an even more radical form: "We must settle accounts with them once

and for all, and destroy them. For the Catholic 'Yugoslavs' this would not be 'national

liberation', but rather national slavery and death".7 In May 1917, Croatian and Slovenian

politicians, members of the Viennese parliament adopted a declaration which, "on the basis of

the national principle and the 'Croatian State Right', called for the unification of all the lands in

the Monarchy inhabited by the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs into one independent state body

that would be free from the nobility of the other nations and based on democratic foundations,

under the scepter of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, and it would invest all its efforts in order

for this request of its 'one-and-the-same nation' to be achieved." For an overwhelming

majority of the Serbs in the Monarchy, such a stand was not acceptable.8

In 1918 when it was obvious that Entente powers were winning the war, Stjepan Radic,

the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party tried to prevent the unification and proclaim an

independent Croatian state. Radic was preparing a petition for the creation of an independent

Croatia, claiming that he had collected as many as 200,000 signatures, but the Allies' reports

confirmed that there was no great resistance to the unification in Croatia.9

On the other side Yugoslav Committee, which comprised Serbs from Bosnia, Croatian

politicians from coastal region of Dalmatia, and several Slovenes, negotiated with Serbian

Government on forming Yugoslavia. The joint state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians was

agreed in Corfu in July 1917, and declared on December 1, 1918. However, big majority of

Croatian politicians, when they accepted unification pledged for a kind of federal state while

Serbs were asking for a centralized one.

7
Serbia and Yugoslav Question 1914-1915 - D. Jankovic, Belgrade Institute for Contemporary History, 1973
8
Documents - F. Sisic, p. 94; V.Corovic, History of Serbs, vol III, BIGZ, Belgrade 1989
9
The Balkan Piedmont – Serbia and Yugoslav Question – Dusan Batakovic, Institute for Balkan Studies,
Belgrade, 1994
Soon after creation of Yugoslavia, instability followed. First, Croatian Peasant Party,

which won most of the Croats votes refused to accept centralist organization of the state

imposed by Serbs. This was a clear expression of Croats’ opinion on the joint centrist state.

Political fights between Serbs and Croats resulted in murdering Radic by a Serbian MP, from

Montenegro, in 1928 and assassination of King Alexandar by Ustashe (Croatian fascists) in

Marseille in 1934. Compromise on federalization of Yugoslavia was achieved in 1939 and

Croatian province was created. This province covered present territory of Croatia and a part of

Bosnia where Croats were majority population.

The Second World War provided opportunity for larger and “independent” Croatian

state. Hitler attacked Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941 after Serbian people demonstrated and

toppled Government, which had adopted the pact with Nazi Germany. When entered

Yugoslavia, German troops were greeted in Zagreb as liberators. Hitler then installed

independent fascist puppet-state of Croatia under the brutal leadership of Ustashe leader Ante

Pavelic. Slovenia was partitioned with Italy, as was Dalmatia, while Voivodina was returned to

Hungary, Bosnia was joined with Croatia, Kosovo was joined with the Albanian puppet-state,

and Macedonia was given to Bulgaria. Ustashe storm troopers began a brutal campaign of

slaughter, which resulted in killing more than a million Serbs that lived in Croatia and Bosnia.

The killings were so brutal that they even appalled the Nazis, who regularly told Pavelic to

scale back. Italy even went so far as to occupy Herzegovina to prevent the Ustashe

campaigns there. The fact that fascist Italy and Nazi Germany went to such lengths to stop the

Ustashe campaigns is a real testament to how brutal the Ustashe really was.10

Meanwhile, several resistance groups developed. One group was known as the

Chetniks, who were under the leadership of Colonel Draza Mihailovic. They were Serbian-

nationalist, monarchist and strongly anti-communist. The other group was the communist-led

Partisans under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito. The Partisans drew support from all over

10
Global Security Org – Yugoslavia and the World Wars
Yugoslavia and could not really be tied to any single ethnic group. As resistance gained

strength, in Serbia first of all, the Nazis declared that they would execute 100 Serbs for every

German killed. While this led Chetniks to call off their attacks fearing that these reprisals would

lead to a Serbian holocaust, Tito decided that the Nazi policy of reprisals would encourage

more Serbs to join the ranks of the Partisans, and so he continued to engage the Germans.

This policy split led the Chetniks to break with the Partisans and soon Mihailovic turned

against the Partisans, considering them to be the primary threat.11

As a consequence of Churchill-Stalin agreement, by which Yugoslavia was to belong

to the Soviet interest zone, communists, with the support of the Red Army, “liberated”

Yugoslavia and proclaimed Socialist Yugoslavia. By the end of the war 1.7 million Yugoslavs,

most of them Serbs (11% of the pre-war population) had been killed. During 1944, 1945, and

post war years, communist killed more than 150,000 people, who were declared enemies of

the state.

After the above presentation of the historic data I would like to give an analysis of

these events and processes. From the above it is obvious that Serbs paid the highest price in

the First World War. Dusan Bajatovic, one of the prominent Serbian historians, explained this:

"After the unification in 1918, the Serbian national movement which invested the greatest

energy in its realization, is moving from a period of offensiveness towards a period of

defensiveness. Weakened and historically exhausted, it is unable to build new towers on the

foundations laid in 1918. All the energy was being spent on defending the set foundations.

The main reason for this stagnation is the loss of the Serbian population's biological basis.

Serbian losses in the WW I were more than 1.5 million people, which was around forty percent

of total population. The unification in 1918 was a Pyrrhic victory for the Serbian nation.12

11
Global Security Org – Yugoslavia and the World Wars
12
The Balkan Piedmont – Serbia and Yugoslav Question – Dusan Batakovic, Institute for Balkan Studies,
Belgrade, 1994
From the very beginning Serbs and Croats had different interests, which could not

have been reconciled. Serbs believed that their sacrifice gave them the right to do what

seemed natural to them, to create the joint state in which they would dominate. Croats

deemed unification as suppression. They stated, over and over, that Yugoslavia was a result

of Serbian imperial wish to rule and to be the strongest nation in the Balkans. “Serbs wanted

bigger and stronger country and even wanted to create Yugoslav nation, while Croats strived

for natural, cultural development, achievement of modern nation through independent state,

the one Serbia achieved a few decades before them.”13

The reason why Yugoslavia had problems from the very beginning was that

referendum on its creation was not organized in Croatia. Although the ratio of Croats who

were for and against the joint state was not known, on first elections in 1920 Croats elected

Croatian Peasant Party to represent their interests. CPP was strongly against joint state with

Serbs. These elections were a clear statement what Croatian people did not want. When CPP

realized that they could not have got independence, they negotiated to form federal state.

Neither this attempt was successful, due to first of all Pasic’s political skills, and diplomatic

connections. This leads to the conclusion that creation of Yugoslavia was not freely expressed

desire of all South Slavic nations. That was the main reason why this country went through

many ordeals and was in constant instability.

In the early years of Yugoslavia, we could follow basic group dynamics at work. This

model is clearly applicable at the level of big groups as nations. Serbs, as the strongest nation

and winners of the war, did not manage to recognize the needs of Croats, which were on the

losing side in the war. Of course that Croats felt jeopardized and got united before the external

threat. As time was passing there was less understanding between these nations and

frustration was growing.

13
On reasons of Yugoslav Crisis in History and Historiography – Momcilo Zecevic, Institute for Contemporary
History, Belgrade, 1995
Serbian leaders did not think about general political climate in Croatia. How else to

understand their belief in the project of joint state and one nation? Serbs as winners in the

WWI did not recognize that they should have provided better institutional arrangement to

Croats as a good will sign in order to create basis for good relations between these two

nations. They did not understand the paradox that in order to create unity, diversity has to be

emphasized. And if Serbian leaders wanted to empower their nation, they should have

strengthened Croats. Applying this paradox could have two possible solutions. The first one

could have been decentralized state. The other, for which I believe would be better one, would

be declaring separate states. The reason I plead for the latter is that I believe that Croats, as

any nation, wanted their own state as a frame for their social, cultural, and economic

development. They should have been allowed to form their own state, which means that

Serbia had to create smaller state and develop good relations with its neighbor. This is why I

believe the paradox, which states “that in order to generate possibility, set limits” is the one

that should have been respected. Limits set after the WW I were too natural. I find Serbian

elite responsible for creating Yugoslavia either naïve to believe in liberation of all “the South

Slavic brothers” or avaricious because they wanted to expand the state not understanding

possible costs.

The premise on which the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was founded was

“weak Serbia – strong Yugoslavia”. The Socialist Yugoslavia was organized as a federation of

six republics. New republics of Macedonia, and Montenegro were created out of Serbian

territory; Bosnia, too, was declared a republic. Serbia was further divided into central part and

two provinces: Kosovo and Voivodina. Genocide had to be forgotten and everybody had to

live in “Brotherhood and Unity”. The Constitution of 1974 further loosened the relationship and

the country factually became confederation, with most of responsibilities at the level of

republics. Serbia was further decentralized, since provinces got more authority. Serbian

territory and even nation was divided; new Montenegrin and Macedonian nations were formed
by Communist Party decisions. Serbs were fleeing Kosovo since the end of WWII and new

Albanian state was setting off. The situation was completely opposite from the one during the

first Yugoslavia. Serbs were the ones who felt jeopardized and weakened and they did not

succeed to thwart this scenario. Previous ethnic conflicts were hidden and everything was

going on as if nothing but a great revolution occurred. Tito managed to keep the country

together by using communist ideology, media, police, army as the pillars of the totalitarian

system. Yet, the only people in the country who did not like him could be found among Serbs.

In 2002 Tito was proclaimed the greatest personality in the twentieth century in Croatia. It is

obvious that the Second Yugoslavia frustrated Serbian feelings. Communist victory was a

national, social and economic catastrophe for Serbs.

The situation in the country seemed peaceful. Yugoslavs had better standard of living

than people in other communist countries because the country was not a member of the

Warsaw Pact and Josip Broz succeeded to balance between the West and the East, getting

grants and credits from the USA and oil and gas from USSR. During the 1980s the crisis of

planned economy was obvious in Yugoslavia just as in other socialist countries. As a

consequence nationalist movements grew stronger. At first free elections nationalists took

power in Croatia and ex communists with mixed nationalist ideology won elections in Serbia.

Croats and Slovenes were asking for independent states and Serbia wanted to protect the

federal organization and to keep all the Serbs in one state. A civil war occurred.

The consequences of better standard of living than in other socialist countries were

unpleasant. Older people, who were most regular voters, still believed that the old system was

good. They were the ones who supported Milosevic’s regime in Serbia. He seemed to them as

a Messiah who promised to reverse the political process and regain strong position for Serbs

in Yugoslavia. In order to confirm this view of him he chose six hundredth anniversary of the

Kosovo Battle to state to the people that Serbia would be great again. That was how Serbs

got into the myth in the end of the twentieth century. Everything matched for a bad outcome.
Milosevic was a consequence of strong belief that Serbs were the big losers in the Second

Yugoslavia and he was the one who was to reverse the wheel of history. Serbian people

entered pain – blame cycle. “They were killing us, we suffered immense losses that is why we

are right and that is why Bosnia belongs to us” were the most heard statements. The result of

such politics was loss of lives, refugees, loss of territory, destroyed economy and acquiring

image of bad guys in the international community.

In 1918 Serbia had a chance to create smaller but more coherent national state. But

Milosevic tried to achieve this in 1990s. He did not realize two very important issues: The first

one was that the world in the 1990s was not the same as it had been after the First or Second

World War. Being a communist with totalitarian mindset, he did not care about human rights.

The second issue was that he did not understand that there was no Soviet Union any more

and that only United States remained global power. In rejecting US as an ally in 1990 he

signed the defeat and disgrace for his people. Everybody is familiar about the results of the

wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and NATO bombing of Serbia.

In the meantime he managed to exploit old fears of genocide against Serbs in Bosnia and

Croatia to support his ideas. These fears were fed by Croatian nationalist rhetoric and public

statements of the leaders of the regime. Serbs in Croatia were truly afraid for their existence.

The role of Franjo Tudjman, Croatian nationalist president with personal bias towards Ustashe

movement, was as important as Milosevic’s in the Balkan’s happenings.

Relations between Serbs and Croats could be analyzed from another perspective.

These two nations are similar and religion was what generally made them two nations. It

would be interesting to mention the notion of small differences, which is often the reason for

conflict. Similar problems we could see in Northern Ireland. I also believe that the different

size of these two nations has played its role. Croats, who are smaller nation, were “afraid of

Serbian hegemony”. The outcome is known, Serbs today comprise less than three percent of

population in Croatia, while they comprised 24 percent prior to the WW II. Serbs, on the other
hand did not understand that the fact that they were the biggest nation in former Yugoslavia

was an initial obstacle for the joint state.

However, with toppling Milosevic in 2000 things have changed. Although there are still

misunderstandings between Serbs and Croats, it is up to their political and economic elites to

try to heal the wounds on both sides, and to work together on the their access to EU. This

process has already started and I hope that Serbia and Croatia will work more closely on that

matter.

In this paper I tried not to get deeper into another piece of the Balkan story. That is

Bosnia issue, which was a crucial matter of misunderstanding between Serbs and Croats

further complicated by Bosniak-Muslim population. But I feel that this paper would not be

complete without, at least, mentioning it. Both nations tried to include Bosnia into their state

from mid-nineteen century. I am still not sure if this issue has been solved. Today, after a

gruesome war, Bosnia is an independent country organized as confederation of Serb Republic

and Bosniak-Croatian Federation. Joint National Council has been created and no crucial

decision can be made if any one of three nations representatives is against it. It seems that

this could be a sustainable solution only in case of European prospect of the entire region.

Apart from this, it is crucial to attach to the principle of unchanging frontiers elsewhere in the

Balkans since it is well-known that these three nations do not want to live together and are

forced by the international community. They have accepted it because of international

pressure. Although Serbia and Croatia are heading towards EU, Bosnia is still in the mire

since three nations in it cannot agree on almost any key issue.

From the history of creation of Yugoslavia and its existence it is obvious that both first

and second Yugoslavia incited frustrations. The First with its centralist organization frustrated

Croats, who wanted their own state, or at least in the beginning, their own republic within the

state. The Second Yugoslavia produced frustrations within Serbs and led to the conflicts in the

nineties. I believe that for these conflicts both Serbian and Croatian political elites were guilty.
Milosevic did not understand the fact that the World had changed, that old concept of nations

and states were obsolete, and that new supra state of Europe was being built. On the other

hand, “one thousand years old dream” of Independent Croatia was stronger than any

understanding of modern flows in European societies. The stage for new conflict was

prepared and no mechanisms nor experience within the EU existed on how to prevent the

war. On the contrary, early recognition of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia as independent states

only worsened the situation in former Yugoslavia and tried to quench the fire with a bucket full

of petrol.

I would like to state that creation of Yugoslavia, communist victory in the WW II and

Milosevic’s regime in the 1990s were three tragic mistakes for Serbian nation that led to its

desolate position today. But now, we have to stop crying over what could have happened but

to understand the corollaries and help to stop pain – blame process in the region. The task of

present political leaders is to accept and recognize crimes achieved in the name of Serbian

nation and to open roads to cooperation with neighboring states. Croats and Bosniaks have to

take their piece of guilt and they should try to overcome still negative feeling towards Serbs, if

they think they belong in Europe. Our future depends on facing our past and getting beyond it.

It must not become a process of endless scapegoating and constant warfare.

To conclude, I believe that creation of Yugoslavia was a huge mistake for which Serbs

have paid the highest price. Their wish to make strongest state in the Balkan and one

Yugoslav nation was not a realistic experiment. Regardless of past hatred between Serbs and

Croats and present incidents during sport events I believe that cooperation of Croatia and

Serbia is possible and necessary. I do know that this new beginning has to be prompted by

political elites and followed by economic interests. Our future relationship should be founded

on the mutual recognition of differences and impossibility of creating stronger political ties.

One, and at this moment, the only solution is joining the European Union and adoption of

democratic standards of the developed Europe.