The Balkan Century

The Balkan Century

Balkanization was a great word to describe what happened in Yugoslavia at the end of the 20th century. Curiously enough, It isn’t the origin of the term. That came a century earlier at the outbreak of the first two Balkan Wars. That clearly wasn’t the end. But where did it start? Continents are a vague categorisation at best. The definitions used say more about politics and culture than they do about geography. Europe is better described as a peninsula of peninsulas, dozens of the suckers big and small infest the coast like fractals with rich natural harbors in between and expose many Europeans to the wealth of over the ocean. Certainly more than most of the places it makes mastery of the water both a benefits and an imperative that is of course, if you’re exposed to it. the Balkan Peninsula is the fattest european peninsula and is surrounded by three major mountain ranges, The Carpathians, the Balkans, and the Dinarics. They create common adverse geography across the peninsula. Few plains and defensible flat lands capable of projecting power, or even uniting without significant force, but enough highlands to provide habitable refuge and prevent total assimilation to any power that will force itself into these weakened,and divided territories. Two notable empires did so, the Ottoman Turks and the Habsburg central Europeans as borderlands for empires, it was often more expensive to properly conquer each mountain and valley completely, than the benefit it would provide. Beyond that however, the Highlands provided no advantage. These people were poor. The lowlands accommodated the Imperial bureaucracies and armies who were somewhat better off but not wealthy by any standard this made hardy, rebellious, borderland raider societies Occasionally Balkan nations found a modicum of self-rule. The only consistently somewhat independent nations were the Romanian principalities When surprisingly this region was hardly populated until those problems would be overcome Religion gained authority in the borderlands that the Imperial authorities were only too happy to encourage Then as industry grabbed Europe the Balkans again lagged behind. One like Great Britain or the German Ruhr nor confluence of iron, coal, or other veins of resources provided a focal point for industrialization. Solutions were expensive like imports But the problem was empires didn’t like dealing with each other Trade was used as a tool in war meaning vulnerability not only to your own superior but also to that of an other Empire too. Balkans didn’t control their own supply lines for these industrial technologies. The best natural harbors were quickly snapped up by Adriatic empires because the Dalmatian coast has no natural hinterland with which to supply, or for retreat and defense, and any political core in the center of the peninsula is hindered by the mountains from intervening. From Trieste to Kotor, the west coast was usually dominated by ocean goers. Balkans remains landlubbers. Save the Greeks, whose central position and ocean-going advantages in antiquity had now become their own problems. There is only one significant navigable river for any particular length. The Danube. That was controlled upriver by Austria, an empire whose control of the industrial focuses of Bohemia and northern Italy and the general favorable geography to rail networks meant, they could project power around their empire and down the Danube too. At the mouth and delta, Russia and the Ottoman Empire contested the Black Sea region. The Romanian principalities were caught in the middle of their power games and the rest of the peninsula felt the reverberations. The Ottoman strategic position at the centre of Eurasia was less useful and wealth generating after the upheaval of trade in the Age of Exploration. They bought off disagreeable religious minorities with self-rule, bypassing the bureaucracy and dealing directly between minorities and the Sultan. The small amount of self-rule was therefore guaranteed by tribute to the head of the Ottomans. That was until larger Christian powers came along and promised them more. Russia’s victorious southward expeditions coincided with the interests of France and Great Britain in the eastern Mediterranean The pressure exerted by the interventions in the region by these three nations gradually peeled away of the Ottomans. Either direct accessions like Crimea or Cyprus, newly autonomous regions like Crete or Mount Lebanon or promoting previously subservient or minor tributary monarchs to fully protected independent ones, like Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, United Romanians and Greece Austria even got in on the act taking Bosnia, and later Italy took the Dodecanese, and it wasn’t long before these newly independent nations started their own campaigns. As products of a rising tide of nationalism or previously the subject of imperial wars divided and ruled over by powers from outside the region When these nations took their first baby steps on the land left between them by the retreating Ottoman Empire they decided to fight imperial wars and to divide and rule over as powers from outside the region. This Nation-Hungary Peninsula proved its volatility on a larger scale, pretty soon The serbist Black Hand’s assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand often gets the blame as the spark for World War one Although they were simply a symptom of the heights of nationalism and cruel war fever It’s a twist of cosmic irony that despite the war in 1918 their general ambitions came to fruition The retreating Austrians-Hungarians and Turks along with the general flattening of the Balkans by the Central Powers created a power vacuum and the perfect situation for a brand new government That vacuum was filled by the Belgradian pan-slavic nationalists, who didn’t find an issue with slamming together Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, and everyone else besides under the rule of the existing Serbian monarchy. During the next world war the Axis invasion meant the Reid (?) division into a croat puppet state with nominal self control and a Serb region with all the valuable veins of infrastructure ruled over directly by the Wehrmacht war machine This did nothing but deepen the divisions especially when the puppet Croatian state used the Croatian flag with Croatian symbols and the Croatian language in carrying out the dirty work of the Nazis Among the victims many Serbs, with whom they were once again forced to share a nation when war retreated and communism took over Yugoslavia became a national identity through brute central force and overlapped in time with other unifying features: the broader pan-slavic brotherhood, communism, and strongman figurehead politics with Josip Broz Tito the one man state. He stood up to the Soviets and formed a distinctly Yugoslav relationship with both sides of the Iron Curtain. The Socialist Federal Republic became the founding member of the non-aligned movement, a large bloc of countries flipping the bird to both east and west during the Cold War. All the best revolutionary leaders have mug shots It’s a symbol of their martyrdom that and their ideology are things to rally around Necessary for stability when all the previous century has generally been conflict to keep all parts of Yugoslavia onside Tito’s regime imposed a federal system Whereby the Republic’s maintained significant local control as long as national power remained in Belgrade with the single party state Now where have we heard that before? Tito’s power was further secured by his putting of national prestige above realpolitik. Actions to placate the nation and party from the escalating problems of economy and foreign debt that he put off indefinitely and would never have to end up facing himself. Upon his death, Tito could not be replaced by any single person Collective leadership but the Republics on equal footing with the party, and their influence only grew. These problems eventually culminated with collapses, recessions, and the retreat of communism Exposed with this sham of a nation for what it really was. Its inner workings exposed. When Belgrade could not guarantee prosperity, the republics took matters into their own hands and raise their own flags. To start with the two Slavic nations whose history pulled their languages and cultures ever so slightly out of alignment with the rest They pulled away relatively peacefully A Slovene nation in the north, closer in many ways to Vienna than Belgrade, and a southern nation calling itself Macedonia, and speaking about ancient Greek empires in a language resembling Bulgarian. And even then, the core, that shared the majority language was divided by religion along lines of Eastern Orthodoxy, Islam, and Roman Catholicism Evidence of the former empires from which Yugoslavia was built, and this isn’t even to mention anything about Kosovo Bosnia, at the center of the core, was tied by history and ideology in knots Neighboring communities set against each other, the desperate struggle for survival of the powers involved, resemble the death throes of genocides committed by other empires in a mortal panic on their spiral into oblivion. The unimaginable brutality committed nominally in the preservation of their nation-state was something we unfortunately see all too commonly For only the blink of an eye in human history as the “nation-state” type of country existed. A nation-state is the overlap of a culture with the highest authority in a certain space However you define those cultures is up to you but language and ethnicity are two of the most common. The authority or “state” is ostensibly duty-bound to progress the interests of the single culture for which it is named. But as we have them today, two cultures might occupy the same space Two states can’t do that. This is where these self-determination model of nationhood falls down It’s simply impossible in many cases, if different groups want to take different paths, the way nation-states work it leads to conflict of ideas, of words, and many times even more than that. So in the dominant nation or culture feels mortally threatened. The nation-state representing it will delve the depths in any desperate and illogical manner, up to and including the oppression, deportation, and ultimately extermination of foreigners from within. Nationalism isn’t the only precipitator of genocide, but it’s one of the most common and brutal in the age of the nation-state. Nationalism is, although a powerful motivating force, easily used in tyranny. And the sad thing is it used to work But for some reason people don’t seem to like genocide anymore. In the 20th century the amount of people killed by their own governments, was more than by all wars combined. Genocide is a disease on a civilizational scale that kills the body in which it appears. Here are seven risk factors: -Most happened during Wars -They also happen to a minority group to whom the dehumanization process has been applied The more ethnically exclusionary the government, the higher its likelihood. Is your country isolated, autocratic? Well, you’re in luck! And here are the steps that genocide takes Extermination. And finally, denial. Bosnia was where those involved plumbed the depths of humanity in the kind of acts that should always be nothing but a source of utter shame. And the fact that I said “should” speaks volumes. While in most areas of Europe, language or religion are the primary unifying features, and are so imposed and promoted by government from within. The imposes, the centers of power over the Balkans have learned outside of this area for far longer than they have ruled themselves. Vienna, Moscow, and Konstantin-Istanbul, and even Paris, Berlin, Rome, and London have often been at loggerheads with the Balkans dragged apart and caught in between. Those here with anything in common can find other things to divide them. Balkan cultures just like their states have no uncontroversial borders Unsurprisingly the places where the overlaps exist and the divides become unclear are where the conflict plays out more brutally While rhetoricians use historical events and stories about long dead people and states to justify positions in the present day They are but a thin veil for the truth and since these different people often share the same language in the Balkans, it’s not even possible to hide between translation and cultural difference the narcissism of small differences played out large It takes real balls to rise above the divides, to use selective history in your politics to justify your opinions is cheap, and attempts to recreate or gain revenge for history will not work The Balkans is one place where repetition of history should be avoided at any cost After all,

100 thoughts on “The Balkan Century

  1. So this video took a stupid amount of time. Hope you like it. And let's see where the comment section takes us.

    Don't forget to submit to the Q&A here: or here:

    I won't be using questions in the YT comments, just to make that clear.

  2. This was the first video of yours that I saw and I was so impressed by your knowledge of my homelands and the way you presented it, can’t believe you are gone may your memory live long in our hearts and minds. RIP❤️

  3. Sad we may never see your works, and hear your voice again, but you have granted us a favor by helping us learn in an easy way, rest easy, b4b.

  4. Pissing contest in the form of a peninsula. I find it laughable all of the wars waged in the region were because one people thought they were better than the other. Hate to break it to you Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Macedonians, and Bosnians but you're below basically the rest of the world, you're not special so stop killing each other thinking you're better because to reiterate you're not.

  5. The word Balkans is derogatory on so many levels. Its the Anglo West world taking the piss.
    Its like calling Inuit communities in Canada Eskimos. Its a word Ottoman Turks used in the 1800s to legitimise their claim to the Western portion of the Byzantine Commonwealth Zone. And then the British instead of asking the local people to self identify the region as they see fit, spread this word across the world dictating 'this' backward colonial image of a place filled with stupid people wearing red conical turbines… I mean that's essentially what the word implies :((((((

  6. im from greece i still hate most turks and skopjans dislike albanians and love serbs but its horrifying to see where our peninsula is we are again in a pre balcan war state we are all rearming some more like turkey some less like bulgaria but here history always repeats it self in the most horryfing way possible

  7. brain4breakfast says Constantine/Instambul, Moscow, Vienna, and even Paris, Berlin Rome and London have often been at loggerheads, with the balkans dragged appart, and caught in between.
    Madrid: Am I nothing to you?

  8. The countryball meme has been so abused by neonazis and other disgusting people that I was honestly surprised when you launched in that honestly really touching speech at the end.

    It's true. We really should avoid repeating history. And to do so, sadly, we need to remember the painful, inhuman and shameful places certain trends brought it towards.

  9. lol i am Balkan from Greece and Serbia, also we will always love you b4b, rest in peace, 2:45 Φ=F Π=P

  10. The sad thing is that the world power game of interests is still hitting the Balkans hard. Here in Serbia we have an authoritarian president who is a cash cow for Merkel and Putin, while the bondsteel military base in Kosovo is just a drug outlet. I have many Bosnian friends of all three religions and the situation there represents what Bosnia has become. A failed state. The thing is we had two chances to fix this. In 1915 at the London agreement regent Alexander had the option to persue a greater Serbian nation-state, and in 1941 when Užička republika existed there was a discussion on the idea of a Croat and Slovenian socialist federation, and a greater Serbia, but I guess we are doomed to always be in the shitter.

  11. 9:48 this is a really fake ethnic map Small hungary is fully hungarian 86-90 % hungarian
    Vojvodina not have 40 % hungarian but lots of hungarians live Vojvodina
    in Burgenland live 1 % hungarian
    North Hungary fully Hungarian and little gypsie ethnic
    Slovakia South border bigger than 65 -80 % Hungarian
    and Slovakian Bigger cities or very small villages have very very mixed hungarian-slovakian peoples
    Ruthenia have 10 % hungarian ethnic 150 000 only near the borther
    Romanian is scattered mix with Romanians thats mysterious
    but Seklerland not this form but this not important

    that map from 1941 not perfect the german population for 1950-2019 and have south transylvania have little more hungarians
    but almost this the nowadays

  12. tho turkish still hold like 25% of greek land greece does not have the military power to get it back cuz without war greece can't take back the land turskish own and even still erdogan will be a problem to have a change with politicals but even so cyprus IS greek and a part of greece and it is unfair for a country that would be so great to be so broken up

    -every greek said by a british…
    (don't assasinate me)

  13. Ye… we need the Balkan Federation thus we can all both love and hate our country and focus on removing Kebab 😀

  14. "Genocide is a disease on a civilaztional scale that kills the body in which it appears. Here are 7 risk factors.
    Most happen during wars. They also happen to a minority group to whom the dehumanization process has been applied. The more ethnically exclusionary the government, the higher the likelyhood, is your country isolated? Autocratic? Well your in luck! Then here are the steps genocide takes.
    Extermination… and finally denial."
    Rip b4b, the time this was uploaded I saw a shred of tears at that moment, but we all shred one to you. Rest in Peace Brain4breakfast, you're an angel now.

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