The Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia

181 TUTOR: Peter Williams (CMG OBE)

The former Yugoslavia lies on the fault-line between western and eastern Europe; its history is complex and has too often been bloody. This course examines why this has been so, focusing in particular on the 20thcentury, when a unified Yugoslav state emerged from the First World War, suffered occupation in the Second World War, and then prospered under Tito before splitting apart in the 1990s. Finally, the course looks at whether the peoples of the former Yugoslavia can now put their traumas behind them and face the future with confidence?


4 PM
PM course

Course Notes

Day One Health and safety issues; introductions by speaker and students; geography of the Balkans; ethnic and religious communities; early history of the region; faultline between Western and Eastern Roman empires; medieval Bogomilism; Ottoman encroachment; Lepanto and the Siege of Vienna; the Krajina concept; the issue of Macedonia

Day Two Revolts against the Ottomans; Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Serbian dissent; the Balkan war if 1912; the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo; Serbian defeat and exile; Salonika and the rebirth of Serbia; the foundation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Day Three The descent into occupation and the division of Yugoslavia between the Germans, the Italians, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians and the fascist regime in Croatia; the Holocaust in Yugoslavia; Royalists versus the Communist partisans; Allied intervention; Vis and the Balkan Air Force; the Trieste crisis; post-war retribution; diasporas in exile

Day Four Tito's death in 1980; gradual collapse of unified Yugoslavia; rise of Milosevic and extreme Serb nationalism; the Slovenian war of independence; the Serb reaction to Croatian and Bosnian declarations of independence; the siege of Sarajevo; UN Safe Areas and NATO's No Fly Zone; civil war in central Bosnia; Mujahideen; the role of international media; NATO finally steps in; multinational command and control; the Dayton Agreement

Day Five Kosovo's bid for independence; limited recognition even today; the Waterhouse scandal; the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague; 2001 unrest in Macedonia; mine clearance; Russian influence; the prospects for Bosnia and for the wider former Yugoslav republics.

Reading List

'Yugoslavia - 1985' by Fodor's Travel Guides (Hodder & Stoughton, 1984. ISBN 0679011668)

'The Companion Guide to Jugoslavia' by J.A. Cuddon (Companion Guides, 1986) ISBN 1900639157)

'Croatia: A Nation forged in War' by Marcus Tanner. (Yale University Press, 1997. ISBN 0300069332)

'Bosnia: A Short History' by Noel Malcolm. (Macmillan, 1994. ISBN 0333616774)

'Kosovo: A Short History' by Noel Malcolm. (Macmillan, 1998. ISBN 0333666127)

'The Siege of Vienna' by John Stoye. (Collins, 1964. No ISBN declared)

'One Morning in Sarajevo - 28 June 1914' by David James Smith. (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008. ISBN 139780297 851448)

'A Fine Brother: The Life of Captain Flora Sandes' by Louise Miller. (Alma Books, 2012. ISBN 9781846881848. eBook ISBN 9781846882302)

'The Embattled Mountain' by F.W.D. Deakin. (OUP, 1971.ISBN 0192131754)

'A Small War in the Balkans: British Military Involvement in Wartime Yugoslavia 1941-1945' by Michael McConville. (Naval & Military Press, 2007. ISBN 1847347134)

'Guerilla Surgeon' by Lindsay Rogers. (Collins, 1957. No ISBN declared)

'Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II'by John Corsellis and Marcus Ferrar.(I.B.Tauris, 2005. ISBN 9781848855342)

'Knights in White Armour' by Christopher Bellamy. (Pimlico, 1997. ISBN 0712673903)

'Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia' by Brendan Simms. (Allen Lane, 2001. ISBN 0713994258)

'Fighting for Peace' by General Sir Michael Rose. (Harvill, 1998. ISBN 1860465129)

'Balkan Odyssey' by David Owen. (Indigo, 1996. ISBN 0575400293)

'The Fall of Yugoslavia; The Third Balkan War' by Misha Glenny. (Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0140234152)

'Europe's Backyard War: The War in the Balkans' by Mark Almond. (Mandarin, 1994. ISBN 074316594)

'The Death of Yugoslavia' by Laura Silber and Allan Little. (Penguin/BBC Books, 1995. ISBN 0140249044)

'Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime' by Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both. (Penguin Books, 1996. ISBN 0140261656

'Broken Lives: A Personal View of the Bosnian Conflict' by Colonel Bob Stewart'. (Harper Collins, 1993. ISBN 0006382681

'The Kindness of Strangers: The Autobiography' by Kate Adie. (Headline, 2002. ISBN 0755310721)

'Merry Christmas, Mr Larry' by Larry Hollingworth. (Heinemann, 1996. ISBN 0434002909)


Course Tutor

Peter Williams


About Peter

After studying History at Cambridge University, Peter Williams spent over 30 years in the Coldstream Guards and enjoyed an unusually varied career. During the Cold War he specialised in intelligence, serving first in Berlin from 1973 to 1975 as a Regimental Intelligence Officer. He then studied Russian and German before spending more than four years in the 1980s in Berlin and East Germany as an officer in the British Commanders'-in-Chief Mission to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (known as BRIXMIS), in effect working as a military spy. In 1984 he was awarded an MBE for his success as an intelligence collector and analyst.

Ten years later he was given an OBE for commanding his battalion on peacekeeping operations in Bosnia during the civil war. He went on to complete two more 6-month tours in the former Yugoslavia with the United Nations and with NATO.

His final posting was from 2002 to 2005 in Moscow, where he started up and led NATO's Military Liaison Mission to the Russian Federation, working on military cooperation projects, including defence reform and peacekeeping issues, with the Russian armed forces. On leaving Moscow he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. He retired from the Army in December 2005.

He now enjoys giving talks on cruise ships, to military academies, schools and summer schools and to charity audiences about the Cold War and other current and historical issues; these include talks under the Government-sponsored pro bono 'Speakers for Schools'scheme. He also helps to train British military diplomats.

He is the Chairman of the BRIXMIS Association and was, until 2013 the editor of The Guards Magazine, the in-house journal of the British Army's Household Division (Household Cavalry and Foot Guards).

He is married to Anne, a language teacher and jewellery designer. They live in north Wiltshire and have three grown-up children and two grandsons.

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