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  Time Lines
Balkans 1940s to 1999
    
To learn about the Balkans conflict, scroll down below.
To focus on an individual republic within the region, click on an icon above.


Post WWII
  1940s

Following WWII, the Balkan states (which included Yugoslavia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania) fell to the communists, leading to discussions of a wider Balkan federation – including Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Albania – united by communist ideology.

1946
Yugoslavia became a federated republic Jan. 1, and Marshal Josip Broz Tito became head of government; he was named president Jan. 13, 1953.

1948
Stalin feared Tito's growing power and in 1948 Moscow ousted Yugoslavia from the communist camp.


1980s
  1980
Tito died May 4, and the absence of the man who had unified an ethnically diverse federation led the region to drift into a decentralized system with some measures of self-government for Yugoslavia's six constituent republics – Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia – and to the Serbian province of Kosovo, which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian. The development stirred resentment among Serbs.

1987
Feeding off the resentment, political rising star Slobodan Milosevic sparked nationalism by promising Serbs they would reclaim Kosovo. In September, Milosevic became leader of the powerful Serbian Socialist (formerly Communist) Party.

1989
March
The Serbian National Assembly ratified constitutional changes in March that returned Kosovo's judiciary and police to Serbian control. Rioting in the province followed, killing more than 20 people.

May
Milosevic was named president of Serbia, the largest of Yugoslavia's six republics including Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia.

November
The Berlin Wall fell and communism crumbles across Europe. The eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union sparked nationalism in Yugoslavia's republics.


1990s
  1990
During a party congress, Communists from Slovenia walked out to protest actions of the party representing Serbia, led by Slobodan Milosevic. The action led to the collapse of the party's hold on power and highlighted its inability to stem the increased fighting among ethnic groups.

1991
Slovenia and Croatia and later the Muslim government of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared their independence. Bosnian Serbs threatened violence if the government split from the Yugoslavian federation.

1992
Fighting in Croatia spilled into neighboring Bosnia, where the republic's Serbs attacked Muslim towns and declared their own independent republic within Bosnia by April. The ensuing war pulled in Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats and became one of the bloodiest conflicts in European history since WWII.

1994
The Bosnian Muslims and Croats declared a cease-fire to end a 10-month-old war. Originally allied against the Serbs in the Bosnian conflict, both sides began fighting in April 1993 staking their own areas of control in preparation for a three-way partition of Bosnia proposed by international mediators.

1995
August
U.N.-declared safe areas in Bosnia fell to Serb forces; NATO began a month-long bombing campaign against Bosnian-Serb forces.

November
The presidents of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia initialed a U.S.-sponsored peace settlement for Bosnia in Dayton, Ohio, which ended the war and created two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and the Bosnian Serb Republic.

1996
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague handed down its first sentence in its effort to prosecute Balkan war crimes, to a Croat foot soldier guilty of helping execute more than 1,000 Muslim civilians in Bosnia.

1997
Ten Bosnian Croats indicted on war crimes charges surrendered to the war crimes tribunal. The group included Bosnian Croat political leader Dario Kordic, 37, one of Bosnia's most notorious war crimes suspects.

1998
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic launched a Serb offensive in February against ethnic Albanian separatists fighting for an autonomous Kosovo province.

1999
March
After unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a peace accord with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, NATO launched airstrikes against Yugoslavia, which marked its first attack against a sovereign nation since its creation 50 years ago.

April
Concluding a three-day summit meeting shadowed by war in the Balkans, NATO leaders vowed to lead a major reconstruction effort to help restore stability to southeastern Europe once the Kosovo conflict is resolved.

June
NATO suspended its 11-week air campaign on Yugoslavia June 11 after Yugoslav troops began withdrawing from Kosovo.

July
The United States and 40 other nations pledged at a special summit conference July 30 to work for stability and prosperity in the Balkans after a decade marked by unrelenting war.

August
Montenegro, the sole partner of Serbia in the Yugoslav federation, has proposed changes that would turn Yugoslavia into a loose association of the two republics and open the way for Montenegrin independence.

© 2000 The Washington Post Company

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