Home   |   Register               Web Search: by Google
channel navigation

 News Home Page
 Photo Galleries
 Weekly Sections
 News Digest
 Print Edition
 News Index

  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.


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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Back to the top