By Prof. Raymond Tanter, John Psarouthakis
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A fourth republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, declared its independence during 1992. 1 R. , Balancing in the Balkans © Raymond Tanter and John Psarouthakis 1999 16 BALANCING IN THE BALKANS THE FALL OF YUGOSLAVIA During the 1940s, Josip Broz Tito rose as a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia. He led an antifascist struggle with the help of a multiethnic peasantry to recreate a federal state of Yugoslavia. Tito governed Yugoslavia effectively and was able to contain the aspirations of competing ethnic groups until his death on May 4, 1980.
Such intra-alliance disagreements lowered the credibility of the Western resolve. The lack of resolve and the absence of force regarding Yugoslavia derived from a preoccupation among the European states to maintain a balance of power among themselves rather than to resolve conflicts in Yugoslavia. To some extent, a fear of German influence in Croatia and Slovenia drove British policy. London believed that the dissolution of Yugoslavia would give a newly united Germany an opportunity to expand its interest over those two republics.
By reinforcing Belgrade’s military superiority with diplomatic initiatives, Washington’s actions had the effect of encouraging the use of force by the regional actors. Divided over the issue of Croatian and Slovenian secession, the parties used the American approach as a springboard for launching hostilities. In short, unmotivated and motivated biases led to Western misperception of developments in the former Yugoslavia. The ancient ethnic hatred argument led to expectations that the current conflict 22 BALANCING IN THE BALKANS might not be resolved.