Serbia



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    -Belarum



  • Geography



  • History

    Early History

    The Serbian people where led south from their homeland, White Serbia, based in North-Eastern Central Europe by the man known as the White Archont to what is now known as the Balkans. The Serb people approached the Roman Empire asking for land to settle on in exchange for their manpower and loyalty. Now a province of the Roman Empire the Serbian State grew rapidly expanding its borders but as the Roman Empire was ravaged by barbarians Serbia declared its independence and paid tribute to the barbarian hordes that threatened to descend on the land. This was about the 7th century.

    Serbian Empire

    According to legend the Serbs were ruled over by the descendents of the White Archont but no proof has ever been recorded. King ?aslav is the first known king of Serbia but records show that their where others before him. ?aslavs? reign was a good one. He united the Serbian people that had been split into 4 states which creates modern day Central Serbia and he is also famed for introducing Christianity to Serbia. He died childless however and so ended the first dynasty (Vi?eslav-Vlastimirovi? dynasty).

    There was then a small war of succession with the Serbian state of Duklja winning and ruling over the four states once again. This dynasty is known as the dynasty of Vojislavljevi? (who, according to legend, they were descendants of the 1st dynasty). The first king was Mihailo I who ruled from 1077 to 1081. He made Christainity the state religion after the Pope at the time promised to support Serbia?s goal to expand into the other Balkan states which had been created by ethnic groups coming together.

    Dobroslav II took the throne from his father after his death and is widely known as the first king of the true Serbian Empire. Dobroslav expanded Westward into the Balkans. The Balkan states resisted but the Serbs performed a brilliant campaign and soon all the Balkan States and ethnic groups where under Serbian rule. This included the invasion of Kosovo. Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro including Kosovo and Vojvodina where under Serbian rule at its height in 1350. The Serbian empire lasted for over 200 years and is credited as Serbia?s golden age in which much of its famous works of art, inventions and organisations where founded. During that time it grew economically and was one of the biggest and strongest States in Europe.

    user posted image _King Dobroslav II _

    King Stefan Uro? V was the last ?true? king of Serbia. He is often known as Uro? the Weak. During the later years of the Empire the nobles and ethnic groups had demanded more and more independence and in 1568 he was forced to give in to his nobles and the Serbian Empire fragmented into a conglomeration of principalities. Uros died in 1571 childless.

    user posted image
    Extent of the Serbian Empire (1400 - 1500)

    Separate State and Ottoman Rule (1571 ? 1800)

    Serbia retained Kosovo much to the anger of the locals who where the victims of extreme prejudice due to the Serbian people viewing the other ethnic groups and Balkan States as traitors. During this time Serbia became stagnant ruled over by a number of Houses, or families. These families acted as the government but where highly seen as corrupt and useless as most of the actually governing was given to civil servants or favoured individuals and so Serbia was ruled by people who got there by bribing the correct pockets and may have been useless at the job.

    The Country faced vast economic problems with much of what was gained during the Serbian Empire was lost. In its weakened state Serbia was invaded by the nearby Ottoman Empire which enforced itself harshly on the Serbian people. They where horribly treated and used as a basic slave labour. The country did gain a number of benefits though such as security and stability which was desperately needed as it was feared if left alone anarchy could set in. However the Ottomans banned Christianity and enforced Islam. Many works of art where destroyed during this period.

    Serbian Revolution, France and Russian Rule and Ottoman Occupation (1800-1830)

    In 1801 a man named Kara?or?e Petrovi? began to incite hatred towards the Ottomans and promised a brighter future and soon mass demonstrations and protests took place but all signs of dissent where mercilessly crushed by the Ottomans. In 1804 Petrovi? led the First Serbian Uprising against the rule of the Ottomans. France and Russia both supported the revolt and aided it. It was a long and brutal campaign that lasted until 1817. It ended when in 1816 a joint Russian and French army arrived to support the rebels. The Ottomans where forced back and Serbia declared independence however it should be noted Kosovo was still under Ottoman rule.

    user posted image Kara?or?e Petrovi?

    After the declaration France and Russia discussed with Petrovi? about enacting a new government. Both Russia and France where desperate to have a direct input into how Serbia was governed as it was the gateway to the East and the Black Sea and so in 1818 a new Government was set up. It was a council of three members, Petrovi? for Serbia and then one member for both Russia and France. Petrovi? disliked his country being ruled by members of foreign nations but Serbia was in a serious condition and the help of the two superpowers was needed.

    Serbia became economically powerful once again but eventually Russia and France demanded Serbia to become a province. Petrovi? refused and expunged all French and Russian citizens from the nation which caused anger but before the French or Russians could avenge the Ottomans returned and invaded the country in 1826. The Ottomans had learnt their lesson and so gave a lot of freedom to Serbia which continued to grow and was declared the first Christian Kingdom under Muslim rule.

    However the Ottoman where unable to sustain the province due to threats closer to home and so Serbia was given independence ruled over by a Monarchy but also Kosovo and Vojvodina were given separate independence.

    2nd Serbian Empire (1831-1914)

    The Kingdom of Serbia was ruled by the House of Obrenovi? (except from 1842 to 1858, when it was led by Prince Aleksandar Kara?or?evi?). It was the only Balkan State the European Powers allowed to be ruled over by a domestic monarchy.

    During the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) the Serbian Empire almost tripled its territory by invading Vojvodina and Kosovo and adding them to the Empire. This period is seen as a pro-Russian era as the monarchy descended from Russia and as such began to tie closer bonds between the two states in trade, war and diplomatic issues and is the main reason that Serbia had such a well drilled and equipped army.

    First World War (1914 ? 1918)

    On 28 June 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. In defense of its ally Serbia, Russia started to mobilize its troops, which resulted in Austria-Hungary's ally Germany declaring war on Russia. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against Serbia activated a series of military alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations across the continent, leading to the outbreak of World War I within a month.

    The Serbian Army won several major victories against Austria-Hungary at the beginning of World War I, such as the Battle of Cer and Battle of Kolubara - marking the first Allied victories against the Central Powers in World War I. Despite initial success it was eventually overpowered by the joint forces of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria in 1915. Most of its army and some people went into exile to Greece and Corfu where they recovered, regrouped and returned to the Macedonian front (World War I) to lead a final breakthrough through enemy lines on 15 September 1918, freeing Serbia again and defeating Austro-Hungarian Empire and Bulgaria.

    user posted image Serbian soldiers crossing a bridge at the Battle of Kalubara

    Serbia (with its major campaign) was a major Balkan Entente Power which contributed significantly to the Allied victory in the Balkans in November 1918, especially by enforcing Bulgaria's capitulation with the aid of France. The country was militarily classified as a minor Entente power. Serbia was also among the main contributors to the capitulation of Austria-Hungary in Central Europe.

    Yugoslavia (1918-1936)

    After World War I the Balkan States where crippled horribly and so it was decided that they would once again unite and formed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Serbia was a major contributor to the talks and the main driving force behind the idea. It was decided that a constitutional monarchy would be set up and so in 1918 a new Constitution was written. A Parliament was to be set up but before the first election a Provisional Assembly was to be used made up of officials from the States. The Provisional Assembly agreed on a new government headed by Nikola Pa?i?. However when this was submitted to the approval of the regent it was rejected so producing the new state's first government crisis. All the parties regarded this as a violation of parliamentary principles but the crisis was resolved when they agreed to replace Pa?i? by Stojan Proti? who was a leading member of Pa?i?'s Radical Party.

    The new government came into existence on December 20, 1918.
    The first election was held in 1919 where the people elected the Radical Party but by a slim minority. The other parties banded together and all though didn?t overtake the Radical?s seat numbers they had enough. The coalition was called the Democratic Party who where against the Radical?s right-wing politics. The constant vetoing made the government horribly inefficient and it did very little and so the Democrats called for a Motion of No Confidence in 1920 which was passed and resulted in a forced election in which the Democrats won by a land slide.

    The party started strongly but in 1931, a year after the Democrats won their second election, things went wrong. The party had a majority, a big one but not as big as in 1920 but the main problem was that now the unity of the party began to fall apart and the differences re-emerged. In-fighting took place and the party began to look a lot like the Radical Government in 1919. The Communists and Socialists who had left the Democrats earlier that year (A major contributor to the drop in the share of the vote) banded together and called a Motion of No Confidence. It was passed and the Communists and Socialists looked forward to winning the next election. The Right hadn?t recovered and the center was split so the logical victor was the Left.

    They did win by the biggest majority since 1919 but the Regent (Alexander I of Yugoslavia) refused to acknowledge the new government and in the end used the excessive powers given to him in the 1918 Constitution to in fact destroy the Assembly and became the sovereign power. The people were angered by the events but where kept in line by the military which was loyal to Alexander.

    Second Revolution and Rise of the Left (1936-1939)

    In 1936 a man named Anto Tolik formed the People?s Communist Party of Yugoslavia. He wrote many books and novels which talked of collectivism, freedom and an equal and fair society. The people flocked to him and he became a major figure for Serbian politics. In 1937 Anto Tolik led a revolution against the Monarchy. Many citizens were killed in the fighting that ravaged the country but finally in 1938 the Palace was stormed and Alexander was killed.

    user posted image Anto Tolik

    Tolik established a new government similar to that of Stalin?s in the USSR and gained support from the Soviets who had actually assisted in the revolt. However other nations didn?t acknowledge the new government and sided with Peter II of Yugoslavia who had fled into exile in Austria.

    World War II (1939-1945)

    In 1939 Germany invaded Yugoslavia. Tolik?s new regime had only entered power and the shattered nation was shattered. Tolik had been in Serbia which he had named the capital state of Yugoslavia. Once news was heard of Germany crossing the border he ordered all loyal Serbs, Croats and other peoples of Yugoslavia to resist the Nazi invader however, the other Balkan States, in which Tolik had set up federal government, joined with the Nazis. The Nazis stormed through Yugoslavia before reaching Belgrade.

    Tolik had organised mass evacuations and had publically ordered everyone to flee best they could. He finished his final address by stating that dark days for Serbia where ahead but that one day a new age would rise. He also attacked the other Balkan States as cowards and traitors.

    During the Nazi occupation Serbia was ruled over by a puppet government. Over 70,000 Serbs were killed during the period. The war ended in 1945 and Serbia came out a shattered and destroyed nation far from the glimmering beacon of hope that Tolik had promised.

    Socialist Serbia (1945 ? 1980)

    In 1945 Serbia declared its independence from Yugoslavia feeling betrayed. A Serbian Assembly was set up and an election held. Tolik had returned to Serbia and led the new Socialist Party of Serbia to victory. Tolik was a brilliant statesman and soon Serbia was beginning to repair the dame done during the Second World War. Brilliant management of the economy maximized Serbia?s potential and it grew rapidly and quickly while the other states remained weak. Kosovo which had declared independence after the Second World War held its first election in 1946, the Serbian supported Communist Party won and united with Serbia once again.

    The country rapidly progressed with support from America as Tolik, during his exile had witnessed Stalin?s work in the USSR and had disagreed with it completely. The USSR where desperately trying to impose itself in the Balkans and had succeeded in many places but Serbia resisted to give in and even though it was Socialist America supported it with funds etc. Stalin became frustrated with Tolik?s stubbornness but unfortunately for the USSR Serbia was vital to them as it provided trade routes to the East and Black Sea and was invaluable for the USSR especially during the post war atmosphere.

    Tolik did try to persuade the other Balkan States against Stalinization but failed and so Serbia was left alone. The country grew strong once again but in 1980 support waned. Tolik was assassinated in 1978 by right wing fanatics. The Socialist Party without Tolik ground to a halt, its figurehead and rock had been removed and it fell apart. The party lost the next election in 1980, the Radical party winning but it should be noted turnout was at an all time low of 74% which was unheard of for a people that took their right to vote extremely seriously.

    Fascist Serbia (1980-1994)

    The Radicals won the election and quickly went about their work. Slobodan Milo?evi? led the cause and is now reguarly seen as one of Serbia?s national criminals. During this period Serbia progressed very little as a lot of labor and man power went to the creation of arms and to the army. The Socialist Party was banned and many of its members arrested. In 1982 Serbia reinvaded Kosovo which had separated once again in 1978. It then went on to invade nearby Bosnia and Croatia and the other Balkan States. This sparked the Second Balkan War which lasted from 1982 to 1984. Serbia had managed to secure a small empire no way as big as the old previous Empires.

    user posted image Slobodan Milo?evi?

    It is here that it the mass exterminations began which involved the destruction of all non-Serbians. Huge groups where executed causing public outrage from the foreign world. Serbia became a fascist dictatorship in which elections were rigged and freedoms reduced horribly until Serbia became a police state. A lot of progress made was once again lost and the landscape was scarred. In 1994 a NATO backed invasion took place in which a lot of damage was done but the dictatorship was finally overthrown and order and freedom restored.

    Slobodan Milo?evi? was arrested by NATO forces and is currently serving life imprisonment for war crimes along with some fellow colleagues. Protests took place in Belgrade campaigning for his execution. A new Constitution was composed which made Serbia into a parliamentary representative constitutional democracy.

    user posted image
    A skyscraper building in Belgrade on fire after being bombed by NATO aircraft.

    Republic of Serbia (1994-Present)

    The new republic was established, the far right and far left parties where thrown to the side and the Democrat party took the lead which was no longer a coalition but one party. However the PR system that was used meant coalitions had to be formed and so Parliamentary Groups where formed with For a European Serbia winning and the group has been in power ever since. A number of other groups formed and new political parties.

    The main aim of the government is to once again repair the damage again and so far they have done a good job as Serbia has slowly grown into one of the leading economies and an important state. The current government is hoping for EU acceptance later this year.


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