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The Disintegration of Yugoslavia: A Historical Perspective

Produced by Michael Delbuck, Venice High School, 1994


Topic: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Areas to be learned:

  1. Historical background: The roots of the conflict in the Balkans.
  2. Outbreak of war in 1991.
  3. International response.
  4. Discussion of roles United States could take.
  5. Appropriate readings in Literature.

The importance of this unit of study relates to the need for students to understand how political decisions and historical events, that may have occurred and been decided upon decades previous, could have effects on current events and wars which break out today.


  1. Discuss historical background of Yugoslavia dating back to its creation at the end of the World War 1.
  2. Use of maps and handouts to create a geographic and ethnic perspective.
  3. Use of contemporary readings from people who are involved in or are reporting about the conflict today.
  4. Discussion of the role the United States should take, if any, with regard to stopping the bloodshed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


  1. Lecture: Synopsis of historical events after WWI I which led to the breakup of Yugoslavia.
  2. Maps: Bosnia and surrounding countries. Ethnic majorities and the areas in which they live.
  3. Literature: "The Road to Ruin," The Economist May 29, 1993; "The Emptiness in Worse," by Ztatko Dizdarevic, New York Times Magazine April 10, 1994.
  4. Video: Romeo and Julliet in Bosnia. PBS 1993.
  5. Discussion: How should the U.S. respond.
  6. Resources:
    Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Arugment with Historical Illustrations. New York: Basic Books, Inc 1977. A well known modern consideration of just-war theory.
    "Who Will Fight for the World?" The Economist January 30, 1993, pp 15-16 argues for an important role for NATO in peacekeeping.
    "A Reader's Guide to the Balkans," The New York Times Book Review April 18, 1993, pp 1 & 30-33.
    "Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Yugoslavia: A Conference Report." Washington, D.C.: July 13-15, 1992. 39 pp. A readable summary of the history of the former Yugoslavia, the current crisis, and of attempts at conflict resolution.

Teachers Section:

"Role of the United States." There are four options:

  1. Use force to stop the Genocide.
  2. Press for a negotiated settlement.
  3. Contain the conflict to Bosnia.
  4. Keep our distance.

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