Post on Glenny’s, The Fall of Yugoslavia

November 29th, 2007

Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia: Third Balkan War, 3rd ed. (United States: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 33.

Misha Glenny’s The Fall of Yugoslavia is a highly engaging, yet tragic account of the armed conflict that occurred in Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Glenny discusses the role that nationalism played in causing the conflict. The focus of the book is on the time period roughly between the years of 1990-1993. During this period, relations between people became tense, which led to a senseless, bloody war that took the lives of many Serbians, Croatians, and Albanian Moslems. Read the rest of this entry »

A Carnival Atmosphere

November 28th, 2007

A Carnival of Revolution by Padraic Kenney

            Padraic Kenney’s work, A Carnival of Revolution, challenges some of the long-held beliefs about the fall of Communism in 1989. Approaching the collapse of Communism from an almost personal perspective of those taking part, Kenney argues that the fall of Communism was really not the surprising, spontaneous implosion sparked by outside forces. Nor was there truly a lack of political subversion and counterculture in those Eastern European countries, like Czechoslovakia, that seemed to suddenly erupt in revolutionary verve. What Kenney argues is that, in fact, the ideological underpinnings of these revolutionary movements had actually been long nurtured in the crumbling political societies of these communist countries. Additionally, the primary actors in this drama were not, as traditionally argued the intelligentsia, but more of a grass roots, personal movement that slowly came to realize the Soviet governments were not pushing back as vigorously as they once had. Steadily emboldened by this realization, common people created fertile ground for the revolutionary “end-games” that were about to unfold. Read the rest of this entry »

Padriac Kenny’s Carnival of Revolution

November 28th, 2007

By Laszlo Taba

Kenney, Padraic. A Carnival of Revolution:  Central Europe 1989 (2002)

                I have been waiting to read A Carnival of Revolution all semester. I read it for another of Dr. Kelly’s classes, and this time around I enjoyed it more and found it more thought provoking than before, especially after all of the readings and class discussions this semester.  I will keep my general comments about the book brief, as everyone in the class has read it.

                Kenney describes the Central European revolutionary movements in an interesting way. Unlike other books discussed this semester (Eastern Europe in Revolution), Kenney does not confine his discussion to top down analyses that focus on elite politics or economies. He approaches the revolutions from the bottom up, on revolutionary movements and even on single individuals.  For instance, in chapter one he introduces Wladyslaw Frasyniuk. Frasyniuk was an important member of Solidarity and played an important role in the revolutionary movement in Poland, but he is not as well known as, say, Pope John Paul II or Ronald Reagan. Read the rest of this entry »

Slavic Civilization

November 28th, 2007

Robert A. Rothstein. “Slavic Civilizations and Ethnic Consciousness.” In Slavic and East European Journal. Vol. 16, 1972.

Robert A. Rothstein considers in what ways American culture has changed in terms of ethnic consciousness.  In a way, this process is similar to that found in the nationalization of previously non-nationalistic individuals, the illusory realization of an identity defined by group agreement.  In a way, this is the nationalization of Americans, except these Americans are being nationalized (though usually not in a terribly militant way) to their ancestor’s nations.  Read the rest of this entry »

Heavenly Serbia

November 28th, 2007

Heavenly Serbia: From Myth to Genocide. By Branimir Anzulovic, New York and London: New York University Press, 1999. Pp. xiv, 233. $24.95

“What went wrong?”

It is the obligatory question when it comes to genocide and one that will be heard more often as research and debate surrounding the subject continue their crescendo as genocide becomes more, not less common as human civilization advances into the 21st century. As with revolutions, there is no one cause propelling a wave of genocidal violence. However, it can generally be agreed upon is the propellant role played by national myth. As genocide is a violent manifestation of a drive to assert not only dominance of one group over another but superiority, inevitably collective national myth becomes not only the driving force behind the fervor required to commit acts of mass murder, but to justify them afterward. Heavenly Serbia is Branimir Anzulovic’ effort to explain in a modern context the role played by near ancient Serbian national mythology in fueling the genocidal violence of the 1990’s. Read the rest of this entry »

Matt Hobbs – Glenny’s “The Fall of Yugoslavia”

November 27th, 2007

Trying to conceive of European metropolitan capitals and bucolic rural countryside as the setting for vicious genocide and internecine conflict at the close of the twentieth century can cause cognitive dissidence for those who have seen the Continent in casual tourism. Mental images in collective memory of the world wars leave grainy, black and white images of destruction and physical suffering, safely removed by decades of time. The breakup of the Yugoslav republic in the 1990s, however, challenged these conceptions by throwing stark light onto struggles of incredible violence and ferocity, enacted very publically in a part of the world which, while certainly not Paris is London, was certainly no backwater.

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Reading for November 29, Richard Holbrooke, To End A War, 1998

November 27th, 2007

Posted by Misha Griffith

I must admit political and diplomatic history is not my cup of tea. I find it fascinating, in the same way I find advanced physics and quantum mechanics fascinating, but it leaves me more bewildered than enlightened. Richard Holbrooke, in his portrayal of his peace-making excursions in the Balkans, wrote a rousing tale of diplomats moving delicately through warring regions and the mine fields of diplomacy. Read the rest of this entry »

Balkans Are Pawns Of the Great Powers

November 27th, 2007

Misha Glenny’s The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999, addresses the issue of Balkanization from two perspectives: the persistent negative characterization and stereotyping of the Balkan peoples and cultures; and, the Balkans have been nothing more than pawns and victims of the Great Powers, thereby resulting in their economic oppression. Glenny suggests that due to the Great Powers political, economic and military goals, their actions have forced the Balkans into situations and wars that they did not want or had no choice but to participate, if for nothing else, for survival. Glenny’s arguments are reminiscient of the argument Robert J. Donia and John V.A. Fine’s Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed and Dusan Bjelic and Obrad Savic’s Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation, where they suggest that the West has promoted through the media and history an image of the constant warring among a swirling cauldron of conflicting ideologies due to multiple ethnicities, religions, and competing nationalities that make peace an impossibility for the region and a place that has been a primary source for two World Wars. Similar to the other authors, Glenny challenges the negative stereotyping of the Balkans by the West. From the early nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, he traces the actions of both the individual Balkan nations or states, the Great Powers of Europe, and two non-European nations, the United States and the Ottomans, in an attempt to demonstrate that the Balkans consistently fought to develop their own nations and create and expand their own political space. Meanwhile the Great Powers played their own games among each other, always focusing on maximizing their self-interests while sacrificing the interests and political space of the Balkan countries.

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A Carnival of Revolution

November 27th, 2007

Kenney, Padraic. A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe 1989. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.

In the course on 1989 that some of us took this summer with Dr. Kelly we read A Carnival of Revolution, I found it to be very interesting and engaging but at times was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of names, organizations, and acronyms that Kenney deals with.  While this aspect of Kenney’s book is tough for the reader to deal with, it is necessary to accurately convey how opposition movements multiplied, and spread throughout Central European society.  Crossing the borders of nations, generation, and gender, there was an opposition movement for everyone and everyone could resist their respective regimes in their own meaningful way.  Read the rest of this entry »

Glenny – The Fall of Yugoslavia

November 27th, 2007

Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia; The Third Balkan War (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1994)


Working as the Central Europe correspondent of the BBC World Service, Misha Glenny was in a prime position to detail the collapse of Yugoslavia and the outbreak of war in Croatia and Bosnia during the early 1990s. Glenny’s style is informative, concise, and witty. He needs all of these attributes to help the reader make sense of such a confusing situation.

Glenny first chronicles the push for independence by Slovenia and Croatia that sparked the beginning of the violence. He then argues that the quick recognition of Slovenia and Croatia as independent countries by the rest of Europe and by the U.S. basically guaranteed that war would break out in Bosnia. Glenny’s point here is that with Slovenia and Croatia gone, the Bosnian government was forced to choose between staying in a rump Yugoslavia totally dominated by Serbia (an option that was unacceptable to the Croatian and Muslim inhabitants of Bosnia) or claiming Bosnian independence (an option that was equally unacceptable to Bosnian Serbs). The result of being forced into this choice was a bloody and brutal civil war.

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