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Up until 1990 six republics and two autonomous provinces created the state of Yugoslavia, However the next few years would see this relatively young country split and people who where once neighbours turn on each other with guns. In this essay I will examine the causes of this war by using level of analysis and other theories of the causes of war, basing my arguments using Kenneth Waltz theory of three different levels of analysis can explain the causes of war. Also I will compare Waltz theory with that of H. Hinsley theory and examine the differences if any on the causes of war. Factors such as history of the region known as the Balkans is a major factor I’ll be paying particular attention to certain events that happened during 1914 to 1990 and how this is related to the causes of war. In similar fashion I will examine how ethnic, religious, political and cultural factors have determined and lead to the situation that occur in the Balkans.

The area known as the Balkans has seen it’s fair share of war and incidents over history and has always been a hotspot for trouble due to the unique structure of the area. In the past the Balkans was an area to separate two superpowers, the Ottoman Empire and the thrown of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. It was it links with the Austrian-Hungarian Empire when the heir to the thrown the Arch Duke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914 that sparked the First World War.

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H.Hinsley also agrees with that the Balkans is a hotspot for trouble arguing “That some crisis and perhaps some war, was so likely to be generated by the Balkan problem that if the Sarajevo assassination had not sparked off a crisis in July 1914 then some other disturbance in the Balkans would have done so at no distant date”1. After the First World War a Yugoslav federation was created this was however unsuccessful and in 1929 the king dismantled parliamentary institutions and a dictatorship was forced on the population of Yugoslavia. The main reason for the collapse of the newly formed federation was what was the spoken language of the nation and “Yugoslav nationality did not come into existence”. (Jelavich II 1983 pp.151)

In 1941 the Nazi occupied the region and added tension between groups living there. The Catholic Croatian region was favoured with the occupying force and received assistance at sometimes, however the orthodox Serbian areas received harsh treatment. Military equipment was supplied to The Croatians and during the period of the Second World War (1941 to 1945) 700,0002 Serbians where killed at the hands of the Croatians, this was never forgotten by Serbians leaders.

Then after the Second World War the world was split by two major superpowers the Capitalist of the west and the Communists of the east. Yugoslavia opted for Communism however they rejected the Warsaw Pact and in 1948 Tito withdrew Yugoslavia from the Soviet bloc. Tito tried to create national identity through economic development. However according to Karen Mingst “Serbs felt that their economic development had been sacrificed as a result of federal government policies during the communist era under president Tito”3. This falls into the individual level of the causes of war4 as its biased decision making of an individual. Tito died in 1980 and without an identifiable leader Yugoslavia was “all that remained was the nation, and the ideology of nationalism”5

With the collapse of the Soviet bloc had rippling effects in Yugoslavia as the Yugoslav Communist Party collapsed along with the Soviet bloc. Leaving a power vacuum in Yugoslavia. This was really serious as due to the balance of power had kept the country together however with the collapse chaos would soon break out. “Nationalist and ethnic politics in the parts of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have led to an instability of the state system in Europe not seen since the 1940’s”6. At this level of analysis it is clear that “State/Society” have caused the problems of a power struggle in Yugoslavia. Without a clear party control of a country so diverse in religious, political and cultural views it is clear that some if not all the republics that create Yugoslavia would try and claim independence.

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