Throughout its existence, Yugoslavia was among the most complex countries in Europe. Uniting Catholic Croats and Slovenes, Orthodox Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, and a variety of less numerous peoples, Yugoslavia provided at various times in its history a model of synergetically integrated diversity as well as horrific examples of civil war and genocide. Its territory has also been the site of many fascinating innovations in modern European and world history, including the terrorism that sparked World War I, Communist Yugoslavia's unique system of socialist self-management, the 1990s neologism "ethnic cleansing," and contemporary Slovenia's distinctive "corporatist" economy.
The course is divided into four parts. The first investigates the "national awakenings" of the South Slavs from the late eighteeenth century to the emergence of the Yugoslav idea in the second half of the nineteenth century, culminating in the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes at the end of World War I. The second part assesses the functional dysfunctionality of this kingdom during the interwar period and the murderous struggle among Communist Partisans, royalist Chetniks, and Catholic fascists during World War II. The third part examines the establishment of Communist rule in Yugoslavia, the Tito-Stalin split, Communist manipulation of nationalism, reform Communism and self-management, and varieties of nationalist and non-nationalist dissent. Finally, we will confront the "why" and "how" questions of Yugoslavia's protracted break-up, the wars and atrocities of the 1990s, international indifference, the student-led "Bulldozer Revolution" of 2000, Yugonostalgia, the Slovenian exception, and European integration.