Independence Essay

Serbia: Drive for independence

The Republic of Serbia has faced turmoil, war and bloodshed throughout its history and the ethnic differences within powered the drive for independence. Serbia’s borders and political relations have changed countless times in the ninety- year span separating 1918 from 2008. Ethnic groups formed the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slavs in 1918, but also brought about the separation and independence in the later years of the 20th century. World events, including World War I and World War II, played an important role in Serbia’s independence.

The assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, set off a series of diplomatic and military actions among the great powers that sparked World War I. Soon after World War I began; Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian forces occupied Serbia. When Austria-Hungary collapsed at the end of the war, Vojvodina and Montenegro united with Serbia, and former south Slav subjects of the Habsburgs sought the protection of the Serbian crown within the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. This kingdom was created to protect and make it harder for the Italians to claim land in the Balkans. Serbia was the dominant partner in this state, which in 1929 adopted the name Yugoslavia. The many ethnicities in the Balkans joined in order to preserve their independence from Italy.

The kingdom soon encountered resistance when Croatians began to resent control from Belgrade. This pressure prompted King Alexander I to split the traditional regions into nine administrative provinces. During World War II, the Axis powers occupied Yugoslavia. Royal army soldiers, calling themselves Chetniks, formed a Serbian resistance movement, but the communist Partisans, with Soviet and Anglo-American help, defeated Chetniks and forced German forces out of Yugoslavia by 1944. The Chetniks are an example of an ethnic group within Yugoslavia...