Before I begin telling you about the next part of my trip we need to have a bit of a history lesson I think.
Prior to this trip, all I knew about Yugoslavia was the fact that there was once a country called Yugoslavia and now there isn’t.
I think this is mainly due to the fact that I was born and raised in New Zealand where (and please don’t think me selfish or stupid for saying this) as a child I was far enough away and removed from it that I didn’t need to know, and then when I was old enough, the focus had been put on new countries and places.
It’s a conflict that happened in my life time, in fact I would have been 3 when it started in April 1992 and 6 when it ended in 1995. During our trip we’ve talked to people who lived through it, not only older but some who are about mine or Ads age that can remember.
So this is my understanding of Yugoslavia from WW2 till
The former Yugoslavia was formed from 6 countries, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Macedonia.
In Montenegro we learnt all about Josip Broz Tito, how he fought in WW2 as leader of the Partisans (a guerrilla army), was the Bradley Cooper of his time and how he ended taking control of a Communist Yugoslavia.
What I’ve gathered talking to people was that during the time he ruled, till his death in 1980, Yugoslavia was a thriving country. However, if you didn’t agree with him or communism, then there was a problem and this meant death or jail. Tito was a prolific traveller and compared to Stalin in Russia, was respected and liked by leaders in the Western world as well as Africa and Asia. This was why, even when Russia did make threats of a takeover, Tito stood his ground knowing there was a good chance the USA would help him.
Fast forward to 1980 and his death (he is now buried in ‘The House of Flowers’ in Belgrade where you can see various presents given to him by other countries.) There was a need for a new leader and every republic wanted to put forward one. This led to increasing tensions, not just for religious reasons but due to each leader wanting to gain the most benefits for his republic rather then Yugoslavia as a whole.
In 1991, Croatia and Slovenia declared independence. Macedonia followed in January 1992.
Bosnia and Herzegovina declared their independence in 1991 but when finally recognised in 1992, Croatia and Serbia had already decided they weren’t ready to let it go.
Please note that this is my understanding of what I’ve gathered from the various tours I’ve done while visiting former Yugoslavia countries. It may seem rather one sided but that’s how it was told to me. If you’ve spotted an error, let me know or why not tell me what you know about this time.