The Balkans: a Historical Drama in Progress, a Discussion on the Impact of History in the Formation of Eastern European States

Alice Naphtali

Dr. James Payton

History 107

14 April 2010

The Balkans: A Historical Drama in Progress
A Discussion on the Impact of History in the Formation of Eastern European States

Decades following the demise of Communism, its discarded iron veil, which had once engulfed Eastern Europe, managed to expose the simmering rivalries and concealed wounds festering beneath said disfigured states. As evident through Yugoslavia’s political turmoil in the 90s, recent outbreaks of violence in Bosnia, as well as genocides committed by all nations alike, the Balkans remain a region of impenetrable grievances not yet resolved over the past millennia. For too long a time, Westerners have neglected the past’s destructive nature, seeking to provide temporary aid sans desirable consequences due to ignorance, bias or desire for self-preservation. History performs a more significant role in forming present disputes than previously assumed. It successfully drove apart what was once a united Slavic populace, severing ties between Bulgarians, Serbians, Croatians, etc., in light of their conflicting religious fervencies, devastating political circumstances, relentless foreign invasion, and territorial rapacity.
Croatia has been acknowledged for its deep and intimate association with Roman Catholicism, even as Yugoslavia crumbled under their very eyes. They were one of the few Slavic states to sequester themselves from the Orthodox teachings of Cyril and Methodius, and fall under Hungary’s Western influence as a safety net against potential invaders. Croatia’s religious confusion thus spanned through the centuries, beginning first with fear against Turkish and Byzantine occupations, and gradually moulding their distaste for Greek Orthodox Serbs who were accused of supporting Communist Russia in preceding war-related decisions. Further aggravating ethnic hostilities, while under Habsburg rule, Serbian minorities were offered special treatment to preoccupy Croatian...