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The Hour of Europe

The Hour of Europe: Western Powers and the Breakup of Yugoslavia

Josip Glaurdić
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vm608
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  • Book Info
    The Hour of Europe
    Book Description:

    By looking through the prism of the West's involvement in the breakup of Yugoslavia, this book presents a new examination of the end of the Cold War in Europe. Incorporating declassified documents from the CIA, the administration of George H.W. Bush, and the British Foreign Office; evidence generated by The Hague Tribunal; and more than forty personal interviews with former diplomats and policy makers, Glaurdić exposes how the realist policies of the Western powers failed to prop up Yugoslavia's continuing existence as intended, and instead encouraged the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milošević to pursue violent means.

    The book also sheds light on the dramatic clash of opinions within the Western alliance regarding how to respond to the crisis. Glaurdić traces the origins of this clash in the Western powers' different preferences regarding the roles of Germany, Eastern Europe, and foreign and security policy in the future of European integration. With subtlety and acute insight,The Hour of Europeprovides a fresh understanding of events that continue to influence the shape of the post-Cold War Balkans and the whole of Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16645-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. Map of SFR Yugoslavia
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    “This is the hour of Europe—not the hour of the Americans…. If one problem can be solved by the Europeans, it is the Yugoslav problem. This is a European country and it is not up to the Americans. It is not up to anyone else.”¹ Those were the words with which Jacques Poos, the chair of the EC Foreign Affairs Council and the foreign minister of Luxembourg, staked Europe’s claim to the solution of the Yugoslav crisis in the early summer of 1991. The South Slav federation had been in political and economic agony for years, with violence steadily...

  7. 2 Taming the Balkan Gorbachev, 1987–1989
    (pp. 11-45)

    Slobodan Milošević took Serbia’s high politics by storm at a time when the whole Yugoslav federation was close to complete collapse. Yugoslavia’s economy was in free fall, its society in deep turmoil, and its political elites in bitter conflict over revisions of the federal constitution. For decades socialist Yugoslavia’s political competition had been defined by the process of steady differentiation between the elites of its nations and their six republics into a growing conflict over economic, national, and even ideological differences. By the mid-1980s, all bonds that used to keep that conflict under control were either gone or quickly disappearing....

  8. 3 Yugoslavia’s Cold War, 1988–1989
    (pp. 46-74)

    After Milošević’s speech at the six hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, the constellation of Yugoslavia’s political forces changed dramatically. The speech was not only the country’s defining event of that whole momentous year, but also a true turning point in the development of the crisis. It marked the celebration and consolidation of Milošević’s victories in his “anti-bureaucratic” battles and the launching of the next phase in his broader campaign for control over the whole Yugoslav federation. It also, however, marked the end of appeasement from the country’s political elites and the beginning of an assertive resistance to his...

  9. 4 Challenges of Democracy, 1990
    (pp. 75-118)

    Yugoslavia had struggled with the inefficiencies of the single-party system for decades, and the collapse of the federal League of Communists marked the final destruction of all the pillars of its political and economic existence. Nevertheless, the timing of the advent of real pluralism and democracy to Yugoslavia was hardly seen as ideal in a number of important quarters both within the federation and the international community. For all their talk of democracy and freedom, crucial Western policy makers were actually deeply concerned about who might take the Communists’ place. Moreover, as noted in chapter 3, their attention was diverted...

  10. 5 To the Brink and Back, October 1990–April 1991
    (pp. 119-147)

    Though the contours of the coming armed conflicts in Yugoslavia took shape over the course of 1990, most Western actors—and some optimists within the struggling federation—continued to believe that the different parts of the disintegrating South Slav state could still coalesce around some unifying program. As discussed in chapter 4, the CIA’s prescient National Intelligence Estimate of October 1990 asserted that “no all-Yugoslav political movement has emerged to fill the void left by the collapse of the Titoist vision of a Yugoslav state, and none will.”¹ Such analyses, however, had no effect on Western policy. Against all odds...

  11. 6 Descent to Dissolution, March–June 1991
    (pp. 148-172)

    The final failures of the federal government and the JNA to assert themselves as possible pan-Yugoslav solutions to the crisis did not result in any major retooling of the West’s approach to Yugoslavia. Throughout the spring of 1991—the last spring of its existence—the Yugoslav federation descended further toward disintegration and violence. Belgrade’s March protests shook the foundations of Milošević’s grip on power. They also led the Serbian president toward escalating the conflict between his Krajina proxies and the Croatian authorities in an attempt to divert and unify the Serbian electorate. For all intents and purposes, real war began...

  12. 7 Summer of Violence and Divisions, June–September 1991
    (pp. 173-214)

    The consequences of Western policy toward Yugoslavia turned catastrophic within days of Slovenia’s and Croatia’s declarations of independence. Encouraged by the West’s stubborn stance toward Yugoslav unity, Ante Marković and the Yugoslavist wing of the JNA’s High Command struck a deal to try and salvage the frontiers of the six-republic federation. Whereas until then armed conflict had been reserved for the “irrational inter-ethnic tensions” between the Croats and the Serbs, real war now came to Yugoslavia’s westernmost republic of Slovenia. The foreign policy makers of the European Community and the United States, however, did not easily or quickly learn the...

  13. 8 Diplomacy on the Edge, September–November 1991
    (pp. 215-248)

    The creation of the Conference on Yugoslavia as a forum for organized negotiations offered hope that some arrangement for peace among the Yugoslav parties might be achieved and that the public differences among the EC countries regarding the management of the crisis might settle down. Over the course of the autumn of 1991, such hopes proved to be illusory. War operations of the Serb coalition intensified on all Croatian battlefields, expanded into Bosnia-Herzegovina, and continued to shock the international community with their brutality and scant regard for human life or for the cultural heritage of places like Dubrovnik, Zadar, Šibenik,...

  14. 9 The End and the Beginning, November 1991–April 1992
    (pp. 249-302)

    Although the failure of the Conference on Yugoslavia led many to believe that the end of the crisis was distant, Carrington’s withdrawal did have the potential to open a path to real solutions. In the weeks after the conference’s collapse, the JNA’s war operations around Vukovar and Dubrovnik escalated to a shocking level. Their brutality convinced the bulk of the international community that the only path to a resolution of the crisis lay in the recognition of the Yugoslav republics as independent states. However, the final implementation of that conviction in mid-December 1991 resulted in an unprecedented diplomatic collision, leaving...

  15. 10 Conclusions
    (pp. 303-310)

    Today, years after the Yugoslav wars have ended, it is still difficult for many in the West and in former Yugoslavia to understand how it was possible for such horrors to take place in the center of Europe on the eve of the twenty-first century. How could all those “Balkan thugs” even dare to so brazenly and repeatedly defy the Western powers and the United Nations? This book suggests that the answer to that question is simple: they had every reason to believe they would profit from it. Many aspects of Western policy from the mid-1980s until the beginning of...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 311-406)
  17. Index
    (pp. 407-418)