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The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the second half of World War II (1943) until it was formally dissolved in 1992 (de facto dissolved in 1991 with no leaders representing it) amid the Yugoslav wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Croatiamarker, Macedoniamarker, Montenegromarker, Serbiamarker, and Sloveniamarker. In 1992, the two remaining states still committed to a union, Serbia and Montenegro, formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker, which had not been recognized as the successor of the SFRY by international leaders.

Under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia pursued a policy of neutrality during the Cold War and became one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Rising ethnic nationalism in the 1980s to the 1990s in the SFRY initiated dissidence among the multiple ethnicities, which led to the country collapsing on ethnic lines which were followed by wars fraught with ethnic discrimination and numerous human rights violations. The collapse of Yugoslavia and the wars that followed have left tense relations between the succeeding states and significant degrees of xenophobia exist particularly between ethnic groups which fought each other in the Yugoslav Wars.


The population of Yugoslavia spoke three languages, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene and Macedonian. The Serbo-Croatian language was spoken by the populations in the federal republics of SR Croatia, SR Serbia, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, and SR Montenegro - a total of 12,390,000 people at that time. Slovene was spoken by approximately 1,400,000 inhabitants of SR Slovenia, while Macedonian was spoken by 931,000 inhabitants of SR Macedonia. National minorities used their own languages as well, with 506,000 speaking Hungarian (primarily in a part of SAP Vojvodina), and 780,000 persons speaking Albanian in SR Serbia and SR Macedonia. Turkish, Romanian, and Italian were also spoken to a lesser extent.

The three main languages are mutually similar, so most people from different language areas were capable of understanding each other. Intellectuals were mostly acquainted with all three languages, while people of more modest means from SR Slovenia and SR Macedonia were provided an opportunity to learn the Serbo-Croatian language during the compulsory service in the federal army. Serbo-Croatian itself is made-up of three dialects, Shtokavian, Kajkavian, and Chakavian, with Shtokavian used as the standard official dialect of the language. Official Serbo-Croatian (Shtokavian), was divided into two similar variants, the Croatian variant and Serbian variant, with minor differences telling the two apart.

Two alphabets were used in Yugoslavia: the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet. Both alphabets were modified for use by the Serbo-Croatian language in the 19th century, thus the Serbo-Croatian Latin alphabet is more closely known as Gaj's Latin alphabet, while Cyrillic is referred to as the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet. Serbo-Croatian used both alphabets, Slovene used only the Latin alphabet, and Macedonian used only the Cyrillic alphabet. As for Serbo-Croatian, the Croatian variant of the language used almost exclusively Latin, while the Serbian variant used both Latin and Cyrillic.


The name "Yugoslavia", a transliteration of "Jugoslavija", is a composite word made-up of "jug" (pronounced "yug") and "slavia". The translation of the Serbo-Croatian word "jug" is "south", while "slavija" ("slavia") keeps its meaning ("land of the Slavs"). Thus a translation of "Jugoslavija" would be "South Slavia" or "Land of the South Slavs". The term unifies the six related South Slavic nations of Yugoslavia, Serbs, Croats, Muslims (as a nationality), Slovenes, Montenegrins and Macedonians. The official name of the country, however, varied significantly between 1943 and 1992.

The pre-WWII Yugoslavia, was formed under the name Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker. In January 1929, King Alexander I assumed dictatorship of the country and renamed it into the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker. After the Kingdom was occupied during World War II, the new Yugoslav state was proclaimed in 1943 and named Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (DF Yugoslavia, DFY), with its name leaving the question of republic or kingdom open. In 1946, it became the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPR Yugoslavia, FPRY), and in 1963 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFR Yugoslavia, SFRY). The state is most commonly referred to by this last full name (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), which it held for the longest period of all. Of the three Yugoslav languages, the Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian language name for the state was identical, while Slovene slightly differed in capitalization and the spelling of the adjective "Socialist". The names are as follows
  • Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian languages
    • Latin: Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija.
    • Cyrillic: Социјалистичка Федеративна Република Југославија.
  • Slovene language
    • Socialistična federativna republika Jugoslavija.
Due to the length of the name, abbreviations were often used to refer to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, though the state was most commonly know simply as "Yugoslavia". The most common abbreviation is "SFRY" ("SFRJ"), though "SFR Yugoslavia" was also used in official capacity, particularly by the media.


World War II

On 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers led by Germany, by 17 April 1941, the country was fully occupied and was soon carved-up by the Axis. As German forces moved to the east to invade the Soviet Union, Yugoslav resistance soon established in the form of the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia, known simply as the Partisans. The Partisan supreme commander was Josip Broz Tito (head of the KPJ), and under his command the movement soon began establishing "liberated territories" which attracted the attentions of the occupying forces. Unlike the various nationalist militias operating in occupied Yugoslavia, the Partisans were a pan-Yugoslav movement promoting the "brotherhood and unity" of Yugoslav nations, and representing the republican, left-wing, and socialist elements of the Yugoslav political spectrum. The coalition of political parties, factions, and prominent individuals behind the movement was the People's Liberation Front (Jedinstveni narodnooslobodilački front, JNOF), led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ). The Front formed a representative political body, the Anti-Fascist Council for the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia, better known simply as the AVNOJ (Antifašističko Vijeće Narodnog Oslobođenja Jugoslavije). The AVNOJ, which met for the first time in Partisan-liberated Bihaćmarker on 26 November 1942 (First Session of the AVNOJ), claimed the status of Yugoslavia's deliberative assembly (parliament).

During 1943, the Yugoslav Partisans began attracting serious attention from the Germans. In two major operations of Fall Weiss (January to April 1943) and Fall Schwartz (15 May to 16 June 1943), the Axis attempted to stamp-out the Yugoslav resistance once and for all. The battles, which were soon to be known as the Battle of the Neretva and the Battle of the Sutjeska respectively, saw the 20,000-strong Partisan Main Operational Group engaged by a force of around 150,000 combined Axis troops. On both occasions, despite heavy casualties the Partisan commander Josip Broz Tito succeeded in evading the trap and retreating to safety. Following the withdrawal of the main Axis forces, the Partisans emerged stronger than before and occupied a more significant portion of Yugoslavia. The events greatly increased the standing of the Partisans, and granted them a favorable reputation among the Yugoslav populace - leading to increased recruitment. On 8 September 1943, fascist Italy capitulated to the Allied powers, leaving their occupation zone in Yugoslavia open to the Partisans. Tito took advantage of the events by briefly liberating the Dalmatian shore and its cities. This granted the Partisans Italian weaponry and supplies, volunteers from the cities previously annexed by Italy, and Italian recruits crossing over to the Allies (the Garibaldi Division).

After the highly favorable chain of events, the AVNOJ decided to meet for the second time - now in Partisan-liberated Jajce. The Second Session of the AVNOJ lasted from November 21 to November 29 1943 (right before and during the Tehran Conference), and came to a number of significant conclusions. The most significant of these was the establishment of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, a state that would be a federation of six equal South Slavic republics (as opposed to the Serbian predominance in pre-war Yugoslaviamarker). The council decided on a "neutral" name and deliberately left the question of "monarchy vs. republic" open, ruling that King Peter II would only be allowed to return from exile in London upon a favorable result of a pan-Yugoslav referendum on the question. Among other decisions, the AVNOJ decided on forming a provisional executive body, the National Committee for the Liberation of Yugoslavia or NKOJ (Nacionalni komitet oslobođenja Jugoslavije), appointing Josip Broz Tito the Prime Minister. Having achieved success in the 1943 engagements, Tito was also granted the rank of Marshal of Yugoslavia. Favorable news also came from the Tehran Conference taking place at almost the same time in Iran, the Allied powers concluded that the Partisans would be recognized as the Allied Yugoslav resistance movement and granted supplies and wartime support against the Axis occupation.

As the war turned decisively against the Axis in 1944, the Partisans continued to hold significant chunks of Yugoslav territory. With the Allies in Italy the Yugoslav islands of the Adriatic seamarker were a haven for the resistance. On 17 June 1944, the Partisan base on the island of Vismarker housed a conference between Josip Broz Tito, Prime Minister of the NKOJ (representing the AVNOJ), and Ivan Šubašić, Prime Minister of the royalist Yugoslav government-in-exile in London. The conclusions, known as the Tito-Šubašić Agreement, granted the King's recognition to the AVNOJ and the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia and provided for the establishment of a joint Yugoslav coalition government headed by Tito with Šubašić as the foreign minister, with the AVNOJ confirmed as the provisional Yugoslav parliament. Belgrademarker, the capital of Yugoslavia, was liberated with the help of the Soviet Red Army in October 1944, and the formation of a new Yugoslav government was postponed until 2 November 1944, when the Belgrade Agreement was signed and the provisional government formed. The agreements also provided for the eventual post-war elections that would determine the state's future system of government and economy.

By 1945 the Partisans were mopping-up Axis forces and liberating the remaining parts of occupied territory. On 20 March 1945, the Partisans launched their General Offensive in a drive to completely oust the Germans and the remaining collaborating forces. By the end of April 1945 the remaining northern parts of Yugoslavia were liberated, and chunks of southern German (Austrian) territory, and Italian territory around Trieste were occupied by Yugoslav troops. The Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was now a fully intact state, including its six federal states: the Federal State of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FS Bosnia and Herzegovina), Federal State of Croatia (FS Croatia), Federal State of Macedonia (FS Macedonia), Federal State of Montenegro (FS Montenegro), Federal State of Serbia (FS Serbia), and Federal State of Slovenia (FS Slovenia).

Post-war period

The first Yugoslav post-war elections were set for 11 November 1945. By this time the coalition of parties backing the Partisans, the People's Liberation Front (Jedinstveni narodnooslobodilački front, JNOF), had been renamed into the People's Front (Narodni front, NOF). The People's Front was primarily led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ), and represented by Josip Broz Tito. The reputation of both benefited greatly from their wartime exploits and decisive success, and they enjoyed genuine support among the populace. However, the old pre-war political parties were reestablished as well. As early as January 1945, while the enemy was still occupying the northwest, Josip Broz Tito commented:

However, while the elections themselves were fairly conducted by secret ballot, the campaign that preceded them was highly irregular. Opposition newspapers were banned on more than one occasion, and in Serbia the opposition leaders such as Milan Grol received threats via the press. The opposition withdrew from the election in protest to the hostile atmosphere. In spite of this, the election ballot still included the option to vote for the opposition by way of printing with a "box without a list" representing the alternative to the People's Front. The election results of 11 November 1945 were decisively in favor of the latter, with an average of 85% of voters of each federal state casting their ballot for the People's Front. On 29 November 1945, second anniversary of the Second Session of the AVNOJ, the Constituent Assembly of Yugoslavia declared the state a republic. The Democratic Federal Yugoslavia became the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPR Yugoslavia, FPRY), and the prefixes to the names of the six republics changed accordingly, from "Federal State" to "People's Republic".

The Yugoslav government allied with the Soviet Unionmarker under Joseph Stalin and early on in the Cold War shot down two American airplanes flying over Yugoslav airspace on August 9 and August 19 of 1946. These were the first aerial shoot downs of western aircraft during the Cold War and caused deep distrust of Tito in the United Statesmarker and even calls for military intervention against Yugoslavia The new Yugoslavia also closely followed the Soviet Stalinist model of economic development in this early period, some aspects of which achieved considerable success. In particular the public works of that period organized by the government managed to rebuild and even improve the Yugoslav infrastructure (in particular the road system), with little cost to the state. Tensions with the West were high as Yugoslavia joined the Cominform, and the early phase of the Cold War began with Yugoslavia pursuing an aggressive foreign policy. Having liberated most of the Julian March and Carinthiamarker, and with historic claims to both those regions, the Yugoslav government began diplomatic maneuvering to include them in Yugoslavia. Both these demands were opposed by the West. The greatest point of contention was the port-city of Triestemarker. The city and its hinterland were liberated mostly by the Partisans in 1945, but pressure from the western Allies forced them to withdraw to the so-called "Morgan Line". The Free Territory of Trieste was established, and separated into Zone A and Zone B, administered by the western Allies and Yugoslavia respectively. Initially, the Yugoslavia was backed by Stalin, but by 1947 the latter had begun to cool towards the new state's ambitions. The crisis eventually dissolved as the Tito-Stalin split started, with Zone A being granted to Italy, and Zone B to Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, the Greek Civil War raged in Greece - Yugoslavia's southern neighbor, and the Yugoslav government was determined to bring about a communist victory in Greece. Yugoslavia dispatched significant assistance, in terms of arms and ammunition, supplies, military experts on partisan warfare (such as General Vladimir Dapčević), and even allowed the Greek forces to use Yugoslav territory as a safe-haven. Although the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, and (Yugoslav-dominated) Albania had granted military support as well, Yugoslav assistance was far more substantial. However, this Yugoslav foreign adventure also came to an end with the Tito-Stalin split, as the Greek communists expecting an overthrow of Tito refused any assistance from his government. Without it, however, they were greatly disadvantaged and were defeated in 1949.

The only communist neighbor of the People's Republic of Albania was Yugoslavia, and in the immediate post-war period the country was effectively a Yugoslav satellite. Neighboring Bulgaria was under increasing Yugoslav influence as well, and talks began to negotiate the inclusion of Albania and Bulgaria into Yugoslavia. The major point of contention was that Yugoslavia wanted to absorb the two as federal republics. Albania was in no position to object, but the Bulgarian view was that the new federation would see Bulgaria and Yugoslavia as a whole uniting on equal terms. As these negotiations began, Yugoslav representatives Edvard Kardelj and Milovan Đilas were summoned to Moscow alongside a Bulgarian delegation, where Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov attempted to brow-beat them both into accepting Soviet control over the merge between the countries, and generally tried to force them into subordination. The Soviets did not express a specific view on the issue of Yugoslav-Bulgarian unification, but wanted to ensure both parties first approved every decision with Moscow. The Bulgarians did not object, but the Yugoslav delegation withdrew from the Moscow meeting. Recognizing the level of Bulgarian subordination to Moscow, Yugoslavia withdrew from the unification talks, and shelved plans for the annexation of Albania in anticipation of a confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Informbiro Period

The Tito-Stalin, or Yugoslav-Soviet split took place in the spring and early summer of 1948. Its title pertains to Josip Broz Tito, at the time the Yugoslav Prime Minister (President of the Federal Assembly), and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. In the West, Tito was thought of a as a loyal communist leader, second only to Stalin himself in the Eastern Bloc. However, having largely liberated itself with only limited Red Army support, Yugoslavia steered an independent course, and was constantly experiencing tensions with the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav government considered themselves allies of Moscow, while Moscow considered Yugoslavia a satellite and often treated it as such. Previous tensions erupted over a number of issues, but after the Moscow meeting, an open confrontation was beginning.

Next came an exchange of letters directly between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (KPSS), and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ). In the first KPSS letter of March 27 1948, the Soviets accused the Yugoslavs of denigrating Soviet socialism via statements such as "socialism in the Soviet Union has ceased to be revolutionary". It also claimed that the CPY was not "democratic enough", and that it was not acting as a vanguard that would lead the country to socialism. The Soviets said that they "could not consider such a Communist party organization to be Marxist-Leninist, Bolshevik". The letter also named a number of high-ranking officials as "dubious Marxists" (Milovan Đilas, Aleksandar Ranković, Boris Kidrič, and Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo) inviting Tito to purge them, and thus cause a rift in his own party. Communist officials Andrija Hebrang and Sreten Žujović supported the Soviet view. Tito, however, saw through it, refused to compromise his own party, and soon responded with his own letter. The CPY response on 13 April 1948 was a strong denial of the Soviet accusations, both defending the revolutionary nature of the party, and re-asserting its high opinion of the Soviet Union. However, the CPY noted also that "no matter how much each of us loves the land of socialism, the Soviet Union, he can in no case love his own country less."

The 31 page-long Soviet answer of 4 May 1948 admonished the KPJ for failing to admit and correct its mistakes, and went on to accuse it of being too proud of their successes against the Germans, maintaining that the Red Army had "saved them from destruction" (an unlikely statement, as Tito's partisans had successfully campaigned against Axis forces for four years before the appearance of the Red Army there). This time, the Soviets named Josip Broz Tito himself, alongside Edvard Kardelj, as the principal "heretics", while defending Hebrang and Žujović. The letter suggested that the Yugoslavs bring their "case" before the Cominform. The KPJ responded by expelling Hebrang and Žujović from the party, and by answering the Soviets with the 17 May 1948 letter which sharply criticized to Soviet attempts to devalue the successes of the Yugoslav resistance movement. In a speech, the Yugoslav Prime Minister stated

On 19 May 1948, a correspondence by Mikhail A. Suslov informed Josip Broz Tito that the Communist Information Bureau, or Cominform (Informbiro in Serbo-Croatian), would be holding a session on 28 June 1948 in Bucharestmarker almost completely dedicated to the "Yugoslav issue". The Cominform was an association of communist parties that was the primary Soviet tool for controlling the political developments in the Eastern Bloc. The date of the meeting, June 28, was carefully chosen by the Soviets as the triple anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Field (1389), the assassination of Archduke Ferdinandmarker in Sarajevomarker (1914), and the adoption of the Vidovdan Constitution (1921). Tito, personally invited, refused to attend under a dubious excuse of illness. When an official invitation arrived on 19 June 1948, Tito again refused. On the first day of the meeting, June 28, the Cominform adopted the prepared text of a resolution, known in Yugoslavia as the "Resolution of the Informbiro" (Rezolucija Informbiroa). In it, the other Cominform (Informbiro) members expelled Yugoslavia, citing "nationalist elements" that had "managed in the course of the past five or six months to reach a dominant position in the leadership" of the KPJ. The resolution warned Yugoslavia that it was on the path back to bourgeois capitalism due to its nationalist, independence-minded positions, and accused the party itself of "Trotskyism". This was followed by the severing of relations between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, beginning the period of Soviet-Yugoslav conflict between 1948 and 1955 known as the Informbiro Period.

After the break with the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia found itself economically and politically isolated as the country's Eastern Bloc-oriented economy began to falter. At the same time, Stalinist Yugoslavs, known in Yugoslavia as "cominformists", began fomenting civil and military unrest. A number of cominformist rebellions and military insurrections took place, along with acts of sabotage. However, the Yugoslav security service led by Aleksandar Ranković, the UDBA, was quick and efficient in cracking down on insurgent activity. Invasion appeared imminent, as Soviet military units massed along the border with the People's Republic of Hungary, while the Hungarian People's Army was quickly increased in size from 2 to 15 divisions. The UDBA began arresting alleged Cominformists even under suspicion of being pro-Soviet.

However, from the start of the crisis, Tito began making overtures to the United States and the West. Consequently, Stalin's plans were thwarted as Yugoslavia began shifting its alignment. Welcoming the Yugoslav-Soviet rift, the West commenced a flow of economic aid in 1949, assisted in averting famine in 1950, and covered much of Yugoslavia's trade deficit for the next decade. The United States began shipping weapons to Yugoslavia in 1951. Tito, however, was wary of becoming too dependent on the West as well, and military security arrangements concluded in 1953 as Yugoslavia refused to join NATOmarker and began developing a significant military industry of its own. With the American response in the Korean War serving as an example of the West's commitment, Stalin began backing down from war with Yugoslavia.


During the 1950s Yugoslavia began a number of fundamental reforms, bringing about change in three major directions: rapid liberalization and decentralization of the country's political system, the institution of new unique state economics, and a diplomatic policy of non-alignment. The economic reforms began on 26 June 1950 with Prime Minister Tito's address to the Yugoslav Parliament, during which he announced for the first time the introduction of workers' self-management. The main ideologist behind the radical economic reforms was Edvard Kardelj, who developed the model in close cooperation with Tito himself. As a first step in decentralization, economic control was delegated to the individual republics, with government departments in Belgrade becoming coordination councils for cooperation. On 1 February 1951 the Federal State Control Commission, the main economic regulatory body, was abolished (along with its subordinate counterparts in the six republics). Its functions were transferred to the newly established workers' councils, and many aspects of the vast bureaucratic state apparatus were dismantled during the period. With the new system, workers' councils controlled production and the vast majority of the profits, which were in turn distributed among the workers themselves (as opposed to the state or owners/stockholders). Industrial and infrastructure development programs were implemented as well, as the country finally began to develop a strong industrial sector.

This and other significant economic reforms of the period, helped along by western aid, revived Yugoslavia and created an economic boom. Employment doubled between 1950 and 1964, with unemployment falling to 6% in 1961. Despite the new mass of industrial laborers, the annual increase in wages was 6.2% per year, while industrial productivity increased by 12.7% annually. Exports of industrial products, led by heavy machinery, transportation machines (esp. shipbuilding industry), and military technology and equipment, rose dramatically by a yearly increase of 11%. All in all, the annual growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) all through to the early 1980s averaged 6.1%. Literacy was increased dramatically and reached 91%, medical care was free on all levels, and life expectancy was 72 years.

Economic reform was followed closely by political liberalization, as the rapid pace of political reform caused increasing friction among the Yugoslav leadership. The massive state (and party) bureaucratic apparatus was being rapidly reduced, a process described as the "whittling down of the state" by Boris Kidrič, President of the Yugoslav Economic Council (economics minister). However, the new trend soon began taking on radical tendencies. The divide this caused became apparent at the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, held on 2 November 1952 in Zagrebmarker. During the Congress, the Yugoslav leadership formed two factions. One was the liberal faction led by primarily by Milovan Đilas and, to a lesser extent, Moša Pijade. Milovan Đilas was at the time the Deputy President of the Federal Executive Council (deputy prime minister) and was widely regraded as Tito's likely successor. The conservative faction was led by Edvard Kardelj, Aleksandar Ranković, and Ivan Gošnjak, who termed the new radical trend as "anarcho-liberalism". The Sixth Congress was however, conducted in the spirit of social liberalism in spite of the opposition, and the new mood led to the introduction of the 1953 "Basic Law" (in effect the new, second constitution), which emphasized the freedom of the "free associations of working people" and the "personal freedom and rights of man". The Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ), which was composed of six individual republic communist parties, changed its name at this time to the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ), now composed of six leagues of communists.

The new constitution created great problems however, as party discipline began to suffer. Tito quickly reacted and openly took the side of the conservatives. The Central Committe of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia convened in the Brijuni islands to "rein in the chaos". The Brijuni conclusions which followed were openly directed against Đilas, who soon responded by publishing his views in a series of articles in the Borba newspaper. The articles called for increased democratization and liberalization, condemned any and all violations of citizens' rights, and openly opposed the revised party doctrine of the Brijuni. The party leadership reacted by reprimanding Đilas and publicly criticizing his articles. When he refused to denounce his views even in the face of universal condemnation, he was stripped of all his state and party functions, effectively ending his political career.

Despite the internal conflicts, the economic development and social liberalization of the country were unhindered throughout the 1950s and '60s, continuing their rapid pace. The introduction of further reforms introduced a variant of market socialism, which now entailed a more policy of open borders. With heavy federal investment, tourism in SR Croatia was revived, expanded, and transformed into a major source of income. With these highly successful measures, the Yugoslav economy achieved relative economic self-sufficiency, and traded extensively with both the West and the East. By the early 1960s, foreign observers noted that the country was "booming", and that all the while the Yugoslav citizens enjoyed far greater liberties than the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc states.

After the breakaway from the Soviet sphere, Yugoslavia formed its own form of communism, informally called "Titoism". Under Titoist communism, some degree of free market enterprise was allowed internally in what was called Market Socialism. Also, Yugoslavia refused to take part in the communist Warsaw Pact and instead took a neutral stance in the Cold War and became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement along with countries like India, Egypt and Indonesia, and pursued one of its central-left influences that promoted a non-confrontational policy towards the U.S.

In the early sixties concern over problems such as the building of economically irrational "political" factories and inflation led a group within the communist leadership to advocate greater decentralization. These liberals were opposed by a group round Aleksandar Ranković. In 1966 the liberals (the most important being Edvard Kardelj, Vladimir Bakarić of Croatia and Petar Stambolić of Serbia) gained the support of Tito. At party meeting in Brijunimarker, Ranković faced a fully prepared dossier of accusations and a denunciation from Tito that he had formed a clique with the intention of taking power. Ranković was forced to resign all party posts and some his supporters were expelled from the party.

In 1968, protests were held in Belgrade as the first mass protest after the Second World War. After youth protests erupted in Belgrade on the night of 2 July 1968 students at Belgrade University went into a seven-day strike. Police beat the students and banned all public gatherings. Students then gathered at the university’s Faculty of Philosophy, held debates and speeches on the social justice, and handed out copies of the banned magazine "Student". Students also protested against economic reforms, which led to high unemployment and forced workers to leave the country and find the work elsewhere. Tito gradually stopped the protests by giving in to some of the students' demands and saying that “students are right” during a televised speech. But in the following years, he dealt with the leaders of the protests by sacking them from university and Communist party posts. The protests were supported by prominent public personalities, including film director Dušan Makavejev, stage actor Stevo Žigon, poet Desanka Maksimović and university professors, whose careers ran into problems because of their links to the protests. Protests also broke out in other capitals of Yugoslav republics - Sarajevomarker, Zagrebmarker and Ljubljanamarker - but they were smaller and shorter than in Belgrade.

In 1971, the alliance of the Croatian Communist Leadership, notably Miko Tripalo and Dr. Savka Dabčević-Kučar, with nationalist non party groups led to Croatian Spring. Tito, whose home constituent republic was Croatiamarker, responded with a dual action approach, Yugoslav authorities arrested large numbers of the Croatian protesters who were accused of evoking ethnic nationalism, while at the same time Tito began an agenda to initiate some of those reforms in order to avert a similar crisis from happening again. Ustaše-sympathizers outside Yugoslavia tried through terrorism and guerrilla actions create a separatist momentum, but they were largely unsuccessful, sometimes even getting the antipathy of fellow Roman Catholic Yugoslavs.

In 1974, a new federal constitution was ratified that gave more autonomy to the individual republics, thereby basically fulfilling the main goals of the 1971 Croatian Spring movement. One of the provisions of the new constitution was that each republic officially had the option to declare independence from the federation, subject to certain constitutional regulations. The other more controversial measure was the internal division of Serbia, by awarding a similar status to two autonomous provinces within it, Kosovomarker, a largely ethnic Albanian populated region of Serbia, and Vojvodina, a region with large numbers of ethnic minorities behind the majority Serbs, such as Hungarians. These reforms satisfied most of the republics, especially Croatia as well as the Albanians of Kosovo and the minorities of Vojvodina. But the 1974 constitution deeply aggravated Serbian communist officials and Serbs themselves who distrusted the motives of the proponents of the reforms. Many Serbs saw the reforms as concessions to Croatian and Albanian nationalists, as no similar autonomous provinces were made to represent the large numbers of Serbs of Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serb nationalists were frustrated over Tito's support of the recognition of Montenegrins and Macedonians as independent nationalities, as Serbian nationalists had claimed that there was no ethnic or cultural difference separating these two nations from the Serbs that could verify that such nationalities truly existed.

From 1971, the republics had control over their economic plans. This led to a wave of investment. This was accompanied by a growing level of debt and a growing trend of imports not covered by exports.

Post-Tito period

On 4 May 1980, Tito died and his death was announced through state broadcasts across Yugoslavia. While it had been known for some time that Tito had been increasingly getting ill, his death came as a shock to the country. This was because Tito was looked upon as the country's hero in World War II and had been the country's dominant figure and identity for years, his loss marked a significant alteration, and it was reported that many Yugoslavs openly mourned his death. In the Split soccer stadium, where Serb and Croat teams playing against each other in a match both stopped upon hearing of Tito's passing and tearfully sung the hymn "Comrade Tito We Swear to You, from Your Path We Will not Depart"

Tito's funeral was a national spectacle in Yugoslavia as the coffin was taken across Yugoslavia by train before being laid down in Belgrade, thousands of people went to see the traveling of the coffin throughout Yugoslavia until it reached Belgrade." Some of the attendance for the traveling of the coffin and funeral was state organized by the League of Communists but much was true spontaneous outpouring of grief.

After Tito's death in 1980, a new collective presidency of the communist leadership from each republic was adopted.

At the time of Tito's death the Federal government was headed by Veselin Đuranović (who had held the post since 1977). He had come into conflict with the leaders of the Republics arguing that Yugoslavia needed to economize due to the growing problem of foreign debt. Đuranović argued that a devaluation was needed which Tito refused to countenance for reasons of national prestige.

Post-Tito Yugoslavia faced significant fiscal debt in the 1980s, but its good relations with the United States led to an American-led group of organizations called the "Friends of Yugoslavia" to endorse and achieve significant debt relief for Yugoslavia in 1983 and 1984, though economic problems would continue until the state's dissolution in the 1990s.

Yugoslavia was the host nation of the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevomarker. For Yugoslavia, the games demonstrated the continued Tito's vision of Brotherhood and unity as the multiple nationalities of Yugoslavia remained united in one team, and Yugoslavia became the second communist state to hold the Olympic Games (The Soviet Unionmarker held them in 1980). However Yugoslavia's games were participated in by western countries while the Soviet Union's Olympics were boycotted by some western countries.

In the late 1980s, the Yugoslav government began to make a course away from communism as it attempted to transform to a market economy under the leadership of Prime Minister Ante Marković who advocated "shock therapy" tactics to privatize sections of the Yugoslav economy. Marković was popular as he was seen as the most capable politician to be able to transform the country to a liberalized democratic federation, later on he lost his popularity mainly due to big unemployment. His work was left incomplete as Yugoslavia broke apart in the 1990s.

Breakup and War

Since the 1974 Constitution reduced the powers of SR Serbia over its autonomous provinces of SAP Kosovomarker and SAP Vojvodina, nationalist sentiment in Serbia was on the rise, primarily centered on Kosovo. In SAP Kosovo (administered mostly by ethnic-Albanian communists) the Serbian minority increasingly put forth complaints of mistreatment and abuse by the Albanian majority. In Serbia, already agitated by the reduction of its powers, this provoked increasing anti-Albanian sentiments as ethnic hatred returned to Yugoslavia. In 1986 the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), published a controversial document known as the SANU Memorandum. In it, Serbian academics supported Serbian nationalist grievances inflaming ethnic tensions even among moderate Serbs. The League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ) was at the time united in condemning the memorandum, and resumed following its anti-nationalist policy.

In 1987, an official of the ruling League of Communists of Serbia (SKS) (SR Serbian branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia), Slobodan Milošević, was dispatched to SAP Kosovo to quell the latest demonstration by the Kosovar Serbs. Up to this point, all branches of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, including Slobodan Milošević himself, unanimously condemned all nationalist outcries. However, at this rally, Milošević abandoned party policy: he supported the claims of the gathered crowd - instantly casting himself as the "defender of the Serbs". This image was further promoted by his increasing personal control over the Serbian media, which he was establishing at this time. With his new-found popularity, Milošević managed to wrest control of the League of Communists of Serbia from his one-time political ally Ivan Stambolić, effectively becoming the most powerful politician in SR Serbia.

Having secured his position in SR Serbia, Milošević proceeded to take control of the governments of SAP Vojvodina, SAP Kosovo, and the neighboring Socialist Republic of Montenegro in what was dubbed the "Anti-Bureaucratic Revolution" by the Serbian media. Both the SAPs possessed a vote on the Yugoslav Presidency in accordance to the 1974 constitution, and together with SR Montenegro and his own SR Serbia, Milošević now directly controlled four out of eight votes in the collective head-of-state by January 10 1989. This situation severely aggravated the governments of SR Croatia and SR Slovenia, along with the ethnic Albanians of SAP Kosovo, all of whom soon found themselves in conflict with Milošević (SR Bosnia and Herzegovina and SR Macedonia remained relatively neutral).

During the extraordinary 14th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (January 1990), the delegations of the League of Communists of Croatia, led by Ivica Račan, and the League of Communists of Slovenia both walked-out of the congress frustrated by Milošević's stranglehold on the assembly. Thus the unitary League of Communists of Yugoslavia was dissolved, leading to the establishment of a multi-party system in the individual republics. The separate Leagues of Communists (most under new names), failed to win in the majority of republics. In SR Croatia, the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won the election promising to "defend Croatia from Milošević", and quickly reduced the status of the republic's large Serbian minority from "constituent nation" to "national minority" on 22 December 1990, causing great alarm among the Croatian Serbs.

Both Croatia and Slovenia under new nationalist governments declared publicly their intention to secede from Yugoslavia. After referendums (boycotted by Serbs), the two countries declared their secession on 25 June 1991, but were stalled for three months by international efforts (the Brijuni Agreement). Immediately after the Slovene declaration, the Yugoslav Presidency ordered the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) to take control over the international border crossings in Slovenia. Thus began the half-hearted JNA effort to prevent the Slovene secession known as the Ten-Day War. Frustrated by the Slovene Territorial Defence (TO), the federal army was denied permission to occupy the Republic fully, and soon withdrew.

In Croatia the Croatian War of Independence soon began, with Croatian Serb rebels (assisted by the JNA) consolidating their hold on chunks of Croatian territory, and declaring that their entities will not secede from Yugoslavia if Croatia follows through with independence (after the Brijuni Agreement three-month moratorium passes). In October 1991 Croatia and Slovenia finally declared independence, leading to full-scale war in Croatia. Serbian rebels and Serb-controlled JNA units succeed in occupying large chunks of Croatia. A temporary armistice took hold in January 1992, with attention quickly shifting to SR Bosnia and Herzegovina. In September 1991, Macedonia also declared its independence. Five hundred US soldiers were then deployed under the UN banner to monitor Macedonia's northern borders.

The federal institutions of SFR Yugoslavia by this time all but ceased to function. The state was still formally in existence, comprised of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It housed a vast majority of ethnic Serbs, and was completely controlled by Serbian President Slobodan Milošević. After Croatia's secession, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims no longer desired to remain in a completely Serb-dominated federation ("Serboslavia"), Bosnian Serbs on the other hand, were firmly against separation from Serbia (and the other Serb populations). This led to mutually boycotted referendums by the Muslim-dominated Bosnian government and the newly formed Serbian entity, the Republic of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the soon-to-be Republic of Srpska). Soon after its referendum, the Bosnian government declared its secession from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia triggering the Bosnian War between the mutually hostile ethnic-groups.

After the secession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia was officially dissolved by its two remaining members of Serbia and Montenegro. The two states then formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker (FR Yugoslavia, FRY), and claimed succession to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This move, however, was not granted legitimacy by the international community, and Yugoslavia was considered completely dissolved into five successor states: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and FR Yugoslavia (later renamed into "Serbia and Montenegro").



The Yugoslav Federal Assembly Building.
The defining document of the state was the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was amended in 1963 and 1974.

The League of Communists of Yugoslavia won the first elections, and remained in power throughout the state's existence. It was composed of individual communist parties from each constituent republic. The party would reform its political positions through party congresses in which delegates from each republic were represented and voted on changes to party policy, the last of which was held in 1990.

Yugoslavia's parliament was known as the Federal Assembly which was housed in the building which currently houses Serbia's parliament. The Federal Assembly was completely composed of Communist members.

The primary political leader of the state was Josip Broz Tito, but there were several other important politicians, particularly after Tito's death: see the list of leaders of communist Yugoslavia. In 1974, Tito was proclaimed President-for-life of Yugoslavia. After Tito's death in 1980, the single position of president was divided into a collective Presidency, where representatives of each republic would essentially form a committee where the concerns of each republic would be addressed and from it, collective federal policy goals and objectives would be implemented. The head of the collective presidency was rotated between representatives of the different republics. The head of the collective presidency was considered the head of state of Yugoslavia. The collective presidency was ended in 1991, as Yugoslavia fell apart.

In 1974, major reforms to Yugoslavia's constitution occurred. Among the changes were the right of any republic to unilaterally secede from Yugoslavia as well as the controversial internal division of Serbia, which created two autonomous provinces within it, Vojvodina and Kosovomarker. Each of these autonomous provinces had voting power equal to that of the republics, but unlike the republics, the autonomous provinces could not unilaterally separate from Yugoslavia.

Federal subjects

Internally, the Yugoslav federation was divided into six constituent Socialist Republics established in 1944 and two Socialist Autonomous Provinces (Kosovo/Metohija and Vojvodina) within the Socialist Republic of Serbia. The federal capital was Belgrademarker. In alphabetical order, the republics and provinces were:

Coat of Arms
Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevomarker
Socialist Republic of Croatia Zagrebmarker
Socialist Republic of Macedonia Skopjemarker
Socialist Republic of Montenegro Titogradmarker* |
[[File:Flag of SR Montenegro.svg|70px|border]]
[[File:SR Montenegro coa.png|40px]]
[[File:SFRY Montenegro.png|60px]]
|- |[[Socialist Republic of Serbia]] : {{smaller|[[Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo]]}} : {{smaller|[[Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina]]}} |style="font-size:90%;"|[[Belgrade]] : [[Priština]] : [[Novi Sad]] |
[[File:Flag of SR Serbia.svg|70px|border]]
[[File:SR Serbia coa.png|40px]]
[[File:SFRY Serbia.png|60px]]
|- |[[Socialist Republic of Slovenia]] |style="font-size:90%;"|[[Ljubljana]] |
[[File:Flag of SR Slovenia.svg|70px|border]]
[[File:SR Slovenia coa.png|40px]]
[[File:SFRY Slovenia.png|60px]]
|- |} {{smaller|* now Podgoricamarker.}}

Foreign relations

Under Tito, Yugoslavia adopted a policy of neutrality in the Cold War. It developed close relations with developing countries (see Non-Aligned Movement) as well as maintaining cordial relations with the United States and Western European countries. Stalin considered Tito a traitor and openly offered condemnation towards him. In 1968, following the occupation of Czechoslovakiamarker by the Soviet Unionmarker, Tito added an additional defense line to Yugoslavia's borders with the Warsaw Pact countries.

On 1 January 1967, Yugoslavia was the first communist country to open its borders to all foreign visitors and abolish visa requirements.

In the same year Tito became active in promoting a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. His plan called for Arab countries to recognize the State of Israelmarker in exchange for Israel returning territories it had gained. The Arab countries rejected his land for peace concept.

In 1968, Tito offered Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubček to fly to Praguemarker on three hours notice if Dubček needed help in facing down the Soviet Union which was occupying Czechoslovakia at the time.

Yugoslavia had mixed relations with the communist regime of Enver Hoxha of Albaniamarker. Initially Yugoslav-Albanian relations were forthcoming, as Albania adopted a common market with Yugoslavia and required the teaching of Serbo-Croatian to students in high schools. At this time, the concept of creating a Balkan Federation was being discussed between Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgariamarker. Albania at this time was heavily dependent on economic support of Yugoslavia to fund its initially weak infrastructure. Trouble between Yugoslavia and Albania began when Albanians began to complain that Yugoslavia was paying too little for Albania's natural resources. Afterward, relations between Yugoslavia and Albania worsened. From 1948 onward, the Soviet Union backed Albania in opposition to Yugoslavia. On the issue of Albanian-dominated Kosovo, Yugoslavia and Albania both attempted to neutralize the threat of nationalist conflict, Hoxha opposed nationalist sentiment in Albania as he officially believed in the communist ideal of international brotherhood of all people, though on a few occasions in the 1980s, Hoxha did make inflammatory speeches in support of Albanians in Kosovo against the Yugoslav government, when public sentiment in Albania was firmly in support of Kosovo Albanians.

In 1992, the United Nations imposed a sanction on Yugoslavia as a form of protest against the war brutalities going on. The sanctioned emcompassed everything from trade relations and even the national football team and clubs were banned from all international/continental competitions.


Despite their common origins, the economy of socialist Yugoslavia was much different from the economies of the Soviet Union and other Eastern European communist countries, especially after the Yugoslav-Soviet break-up of 1948. Rather than being owned by the state, Yugoslav companies were socially owned and managed with workers' self-management much like the Israeli kibbutz and the anarchist communes of Spanish Catalonia. Unlike the Soviet Union and East European economies, Yugoslavia's socialist economy was not centrally planned. The occupation and liberation struggle in World War II left Yugoslavia's infrastructure devastated. Even the most developed parts of the country were largely rural, and the little industry the country had was largely damaged or destroyed.

With the exception of a recession in the mid-1960s, the country's economy prospered formidably. Unemployment was low and the education level of the work force steadily increased. Due to Yugoslavia's neutrality and its leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement, Yugoslav companies exported to both Western and Eastern markets. Yugoslav companies carried out construction of numerous major infrastructural and industrial projects in Africa, Europe and Asia.

The fact that Yugoslavs were allowed to emigrate freely from the 1960s on prompted many to find work in Western Europe, notably West Germanymarker. This contributed to keeping unemployment in check, and also acted as a source of capital and foreign currency.

In the 1970s, the economy was reorganized according to Edvard Kardelj's theory of associated labour, in which the right to decision-making and a share in profits of socially owned companies is based on the investment of labour. All companies were transformed into organizations of associated labour. The smallest, basic organizations of associated labour, roughly corresponded to a small company or a department in a large company. These were organized into enterprises which in turn associated into composite organizations of associated labour, which could be large companies or even whole industry branches in a certain area. Most executive decision-making was based in enterprises, so that these continued to compete to an extent, even when they were part of a same composite organization. In practice, the appointment of managers and the strategic policies of composite organizations were, depending on their size and importance, often subject to political and personal influence-peddling.

In order to give all employees the same access to decision-making, the basic organisations of associated labour were also applied to public services, including health and education. The basic organizations were usually made up of no more than a few dozen people and had their own workers' councils, whose assent was needed for strategic decisions and appointment of managers in enterprises or public institutions.

The Yugoslav wars and consequent loss of market, as well as mismanagement and/or non-transparent privatization, brought further economic trouble for all the former republics of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Only Sloveniamarker's economy grew steadily after the initial shock and slump. Croatiamarker reached its 1990 GDP in 2003, a feat yet to be accomplished by other former Yugoslav republics.

The currency of the SFRY was the Yugoslav dinar.

GDP per Region: (source IMF/World Bank - 1990)

Region Economy
Region Number of citizens GDP/Billion of USD GDP/USD per capita
1 SR Slovenia 1,982,000 13.740 6,940
2 SR Croatia 4,784,000 25.640 5,350
3 SAP Vojvodina 2,021,000 7.660 3,380
4 SR Serbia 5,690,000 16.910 2,970
5 SR Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,364,000 10.870 2,490
6 SR Montenegro 652,000 1.520 2,330
7 SR Macedonia 2,021,000 4.420 2,180
8 SAP Kosovomarker 1,965,000 3.360 1,770
Total Yugoslavia 23,451,000 84.120 3,587


Like the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker that preceded it, the SFRY bordered Italymarker and Austriamarker to the northwest, Hungarymarker to the northeast, Romaniamarker and Bulgariamarker to the east, Greecemarker to the south, Albaniamarker to the southwest, and the Adriatic Seamarker to the west.

The most significant change to the borders of the SFRY occurred in 1954, when the adjacent Free Territory of Trieste was dissolved by the Treaty of Osimo. The Yugoslav Zone B, which covered 515.5 km², became part of the SFRY. Zone B was already occupied by the Yugoslav National Army.

From 1991 to 1992, the SFRY's territory disintegrated as the independent states of Sloveniamarker, Croatiamarker, Republic of Macedoniamarker and Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker separated from it, though the Yugoslav military controlled parts of Croatia and Bosnia prior to the state's dissolution. By 1992, only the republics of Serbiamarker and Montenegromarker remained committed to union, and formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker (FRY) in 1992.


The SFRY recognised "nations" (narodi) and "nationalities" (narodnosti) separately; the former included the constituent Slavic peoples, while the latter included other Slavic and non-Slavic ethnic groups such as Hungarians and Albanians.

The country consisted of six republics, with their appropriate constituent nations:

There was also a Yugoslav ethnic designation, for the people who wanted to identify with the entire country, including people who were born to parents in mixed marriages.


The armed forces of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia consists of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), Territorial Defense (TO), Civil Defense (CZ) and Milicija (police) in war time. Much like the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker that preceded it, the socialist Yugoslavia maintained a strong military force. In fact, socialist Yugoslavia was considered to be the 4th strongest nation in Europe before its collapse and under Tito's rule after the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and France.

The Yugoslav People's Army or JNA/JLA was the main organization of the military forces. It was composed of the ground army, navy and aviation. Most of its military equipment and pieces were domestically produced.

The regular army mostly originated from the Yugoslav Partisans and the People's Liberation Army of the Yugoslav People's Liberation War in the Second World War. Yugoslavia also had a thriving arms industry and sold to such nations as Kuwaitmarker, Iraqmarker, and Burmamarker, amongst many others. Yugoslavian companies like Zastava Arms produced Sovietmarker-designed weaponry under license as well as creating weaponry from scratch. SOKO was an example of a successful design by Yugoslavia before the Yugoslav wars.

As Yugoslavia splintered, the army factionalized along cultural lines, by 1991 and 1992, Serbs and Montenegrins made up almost the entire army as the separating states formed their own.

Beside the federal army, each of the six republics had their own respective Territorial Defense Forces. They were a national guard of sorts, established in the frame of a new military doctrine called "General Popular Defense" as an answer to the brutal end of the Prague Spring by the Warsaw Pact in Czechoslovakiamarker in 1968. It was organized on republic, autonomous province, municipality and local community levels.


Some of the most prominent Yugoslav writers were the Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Ivo Andrić, Miroslav Krleža, Meša Selimović, Branko Ćopić, Mak Dizdar and others. Notable painters included: Đorđe Andrejević Kun, Petar Lubarda, Mersad Berber, Milić od Mačve and others. Prominent sculptor was Antun Augustinčić who made a monument standing in front of the United Nations Headquartersmarker in New York Citymarker. The pianist Ivo Pogorelić and the violinist Stefan Milenković were internationally acclaimed classical music performers, while Jakov Gotovac was a prominent composer and a conductor. The Yugoslav cinema featured the notable theatre and film actors Danilo Bata Stojković, Ljuba Tadić, Fabijan Šovagović, Mustafa Nadarević, Bata Živojinović, Boris Dvornik, Ljubiša Samardžić, Dragan Nikolić, Milena Dravić, Neda Arnerić, Rade Šerbedžija, Mira Furlan, Ena Begović and others. Film directors included: Emir Kusturica, Dušan Makavejev, Goran Marković, Lordan Zafranović, Goran Paskaljević, Živojin Pavlović and Hajrudin Krvavac. Many Yugoslav films featured eminent foreign actors such as Orson Welles, Franco Nero and Yul Brynner in the Academy Award nominated The Battle of Neretva, and Richard Burton in Sutjeska. Also, many foreign films were shot on locations in Yugoslavia including domestic crews, such as Force 10 from Navarone starring Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw and Franco Nero, Armour of God starring Jackie Chan, as well as Escape from Sobibor starring Alan Arkin, Joanna Pacula and Rutger Hauer.Cultural events across the former Yugoslavia included Dubrovačke ljetne igre, Pula Film Festival, the Struga Poetry Evenings and many others. The Yugoslav pop and rock music was also a very important part of the culture. The Yugoslav New Wave was an esspecially productive musical scene, as well as the authentic subcultural movement called New Primitives. The former SFR Yugoslavia was the only communist state that was taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest and it was one of its oldest participants starting in 1961 even before some Western nations. Notable domestic popular music festival was the Split Festival. Prominent traditional music artists were the award winning Tanec ensemble, the Romani music performer Esma Redžepova and others.

Prior to the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Yugoslavia had a multicultural society based on the concept of brotherhood and unity and the memory of the communist Yugoslav Partisans' victory against fascists and nationalists as the rebirth of the Yugoslav people. In the SFRY the history of Yugoslavia during World War II was portrayed as a struggle not only between Yugoslavia and the Axis Powers, but as a struggle between good and evil within Yugoslavia with the multiethnic Yugoslav Partisans were represented as the “good” Yugoslavs fighting against manipulated “evil” Yugoslavs – the Croatian Ustaše and Serbian Chetniks. The SFRY was presented to its people as the leader of the non-aligned movement and that the SFRY was dedicated to creating a just, harmonious, Marxist world.Artists from different ethnicities in the country were popular amongst other ethnicities such as Bosniak Yugoslav pop-folk singer Lepa Brena from Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, who was popular in Serbia, and the film industry in Yugoslavia avoided nationalist overtones until the 1990s.


The SFRY enjoyed a strong athletic sports community, such as in football and basketball and there was great enthusiasm in Yugoslavia when the 1984 Winter Olympic Games were selected to be in Sarajevomarker.


  • Tito famously said of Yugoslavia, "I am the leader of one country which has two alphabets, three languages, four religions, five nationalities, six republics, surrounded by seven neighbours, a country in which live eight ethnic minorities."
  • Yugoslavia was also said to be surrounded "with worries" ("brigama" in Croatian and Serbian). That word could be constructed using the first letters of the names of the surrounding countries - Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Greece, Albania, Hungary (Mađarska in Croatian and Serbian) and Austria.
  • Yugoslavia shared the melody of its national anthem with Poland. Its first lyrics were written in 1834 under the title "Hey, Slovaks" and it has since served as the anthem of the Pan-Slavic movement, the anthem of the Sokol physical education and political movement, and the anthem of the WWII Slovak Republic, Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro. The song is also considered to be the second, unofficial anthem of the Slovaks. Its melody is based on Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, which has been also the anthem of Poland since 1926, but it is much slower and more accentuated.


File:Tito Nasser Nehru in Brioni.jpg|Tito with Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru, during summit on Brioni Islandsmarker, 1956.

File:Dolina heroja-Spomenik-Tjentiste2.JPG|Battle of the Sutjeska Monument at Tijentiste, Bosnia.File:Mostar Old Town Panorama.jpg|The Stari Mostmarker bridge in Mostarmarker, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, is a symbol of Brotherhood and Unity, a tourist attraction, and a UNESCOmarker site.File:NoviBG Nov30 2005.jpg|Pobednik (The Victor), a symbol of Belgrademarker.File:JAT Boeing 727.jpg|JAT (Yugoslav Airlines) Boeing 727.File:Plitvice-2003.JPG|Plitvice Lakesmarker, in Croatiamarker, a tourist attraction and a UNESCO site.File:Dubrovnik1.jpg|Dubrovnikmarker, Croatia, a tourist attraction and a UNESCO site.File:Montenegro-kotor03.jpg|Kotormarker, Montenegromarker, a tourist attraction and a UNESCO site.File:OhridCity.jpg|Ohridmarker, Macedoniamarker, a UNESCOmarker protected city, often nicknamed as Macedonian JerusalemFile:Jovan Kaneo.jpg|Church of St. John at Kaneo in Ohrid, MacedoniaFile:Mount Korab, Republic of Macedonia.jpg|Mount Korabmarker, the second highest mountain in the former country

See also


  1. Rose, Arnold M.; Institutions of Advanced Societies; U of Minnesota Press, 1999 ISBN 0-81660-168-2
  2. Benson, Leslie; Yugoslavia: a concise history; Palgrave Macmillan, 2001 ISBN 0-33379-241-6
  3. [1] Proclamation of Constitution of the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, 31. 1. 1946.
  4. Tomasevich, Jozo; War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: occupation and collaboration, Volume 2; Stanford University Press, 2001 ISBN 0-80473-615-4
  5. Lampe, John R.; Yugoslavia as history: twice there was a country; Cambridge University Press, 2000 ISBN 0-52177-401-2
  6. Martin, David; Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich; New York: Prentice Hall, 1946
  7. Ramet, Sabrina P.; The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918-2005; Indiana University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-25334-656-8
  8. Cold War Shootdowns
  9. Michel Chossudovsky, International Monetary Fund, World Bank; The globalisation of poverty: impacts of IMF and World Bank reforms; Zed Books, 2006; (University of California) ISBN 1-85649-401-2
  10. Barnett, Neil. 2006 Tito. Hause Publishing. P. 14
  11. Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia 1962-1991 S Ramet pp84-5
  12. Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia 1962-1991 S Ramet p85
  13. Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia 1962-1991 S Ramet pp90-91
  16. The Specter of Separatism, TIME Magazine,
  17. Yugoslavia: Tito's Daring Experiment, TIME Magazine, August 09, 1971
  18. Conspiratorial Croats, TIME Magazine, June 05, 1972
  19. Battle in Bosnia, TIME Magazine, July 24, 1972
  20. Jugoslavija država koja odumrla, Dejan Jokić p224-3
  21. Borneman, John. 2004. Death of the Father: An Anthropology of the End in Political Authority. Berghahn Books. p165-167
  22. Borneman. 2004. p167
  23. Borneman. 2004. 167
  24. Jugoslavija država koja odumrla, Dejan Jokić
  25. Lampe, John R. 2000. Yugoslavia as History: Twice there was a Country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p321.
  26. New Power, TIME Magazine, December 4, 1944
  27. Krupnick, Charles. 2003. Almost NATO: Partners and Players in Central and Eastern European Security. Rowman & Littlefield. P. 86
  28. Beyond Dictatorship, 20 January 1967.
  29. Still a Fever, 25 August 1967.
  30. Back to the Business of Reform, 16 August 1968.
  31. Flere, Sergej. “The Broken Covenant of Tito's People: The Problem of Civil Religion in Communist Yugoslavia”. East European Politics & Societies, vol. 21, no. 4, November 2007. Sage, CA: SAGE Publications. P. 685
  32. Flere, Sergej. P. 685
  33. Lampe, John R. P. 342
  34. Lampe, John R. Yugoslavia as History: There Twice was a Country. P. 342
  35. Paraphrased in: Altered in:

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