Before Yugoslavia was used as the name for the Balkan peninsula region of Europe it was known as the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes until World War I. Then it was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia which means land of the southern slavs in 1929 under the reign of King Alexander who was later assassinated in 1934. Then his son Peter II succeeded him who was only eleven years old and was the last king of the nation before his downfall in 1945.

What happened to Yugoslavia? The Aftermath of World War II

During World War II the Axis powers Nazi Germany, Italy, and the Hungarian forces invaded Yugoslavia in 1941 and break up the nation into different parts like the independent state of Croatia by the german. Apart from it, they also occupied other parts including Bosnia, Serbia, and Slovenia.

During wartime, the Yugoslav partisans were against the axis power’s invasion and control of the nation, guerrilla warfare under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito. The partisans throughout World War II carried the guerrilla with great success which included their victory in Neretva and Sutjeska. At the end of WWII in 1945, the partisans were able to get back the Balkans nation in its former form.

In the election of 1945, the communist Yugoslav partisan leader Josip Broz Tito became the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia and had the support of London and Moscow along with his strongest and huge force supporting him from Yugoslavia. The Tito government came to be known as the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia with its federal capital being Belgrade.

The government’s new constitution includes six republics, autonomous provinces, and districts under a strong central government and under the control of the communist party. Tito also managed to hold the diverse nation into one nation by solving its issues of nations and nationalities by providing everyone with equal rights and opportunities under his rule.

The Tito government was on good terms with the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin but after WWII the leaders started a conflict over ideological disputes and geographical and political clashes in the Balkans. This conflict between the two leaders came to be known as Tito- Stalin split and during this time Tito turned to the United States for military and economic aid.

Then later Tito served as the President of Yugoslavia and remained the forerunner of the communist party until his death in 1980. The nation also changed its name to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and more power was added to the communist government leaders and secretaries and even considered to have more power in politics than the elected Prime Minister.

This also led to many ministers disagreeing with the government office and also led to many protests by the students and protest for greater liberties and rights of all the republics from1968 to 1971. The protest demands were met by amendments to the constitution.

The Breakup of Yugoslavia: When did Yugoslavia Break Up?

Yugoslavia is known to be the home of many ethnic groups like Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and Albanians. They have been in many conflicts with one another but were still united under the rule of Tito during his government.

Tito was known for handling the ethnic and nationalities conflict of the nation’s diversity with peace and calmness, hence was able to put them under one roof without any disturbances. But what happened to Yugoslavia after Josip Broz Tito passed away in 1980? So let us see how and when Yugoslavia fell when the communist leader who kept it as one nation was no longer there to keep it going.

How and When did Yugoslavia Fall?

With the death of Tito, ethnic tensions grew in the nation with different ethnic groups protesting for more powers and demands. The first protest came from the Albanians of Kosovo as they demanded the status of a republic in 1981. Then the Serbs as the majority ethnic group of the nation called themselves the most numerous people in the nation and hence had more political power and influence over others.

Then when the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic stepped in as the successor of Tito, Slovenia and Croatia showed their disapproval and called it a hegemony of the Serbians. This uprising led to the anti-bureaucratic revolution by the supporters of Milosevic from 1988 to 1989. This revolution deposed the Vojvodina and Kosovo autonomous governments which again led to the 1989 Kosovo miners’ strikes by the Albanians. The protest also uproar conflicts between the Albanians and the non-Albanians of Kosovo and demanded a separate Kosovan republic.

In the League of Communists of Yugoslavia of 1990, where all the representatives of the republics gathered to discuss the reform of the nation’s political power but none of the republics were able to get into an agreement which led to the dissolution of the long-running communist party. With the dissolution of the communist party and constitutional crisis, all the republics now became stronger with their desire for nationalism and this led to the Yugoslav Wars.

Yugoslav Wars and the Breakup

The Yugoslav wars that lasted for ten years and seven months from 1991 to 2001 resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia into different small states. The wars consist of ethnic conflicts, independence wars, and rebellions and revolts between the ethnic groups and the republics which gained international attention and involvement for their massive damage to human life and the economy of the nation.

This war is considered one of the most destructive conflicts in the history of Europe after WW II with a massive genocide, ethnic cleansing, and sexual assaults which led to the involvement of the international body like the United Nation.

During the wars, the first republics to gain independence were Slovenia and Croatia on 25 June 1991 and came to be known as The Republic of Slovenia and The Republic of Croatia. Then followed by Macedonia on 8 September 1991 as The Republic of Macedonia, then Bosnia and Herzegovina on 3 March 1992 as The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Then Serbia and Montenegro declared themselves as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 27 April 1992 to keep the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia going but it came to an end when Montenegro declared itself as an independent nation on 3 June 2006 and Serbia on 5 June 2006. Then on 17 February 2008, another independent state was formed from Serbia, The Republic of Kosovo.

This is how the once big Balkans nation broke into seven different states, as we see it today with their own culture and own sovereignty.