World War I (WWI) began in Sarajevo with the assassination of the
Austrian Archduke by a Serbian nationalist. This
act caused Austria-Hungary to react, followed by the defense
of Serbia by their allies, the Russians and
French; soon after war had begun. WWI devastated Serbia since much of it
was fought on Serbia land, but the result was a growing empire. After the war, Serbia
united with Montenegro,
Bosnia, Slovenia, and Croatia
to create what was later known as Yugoslavia, with Serbia acting as the dominant
force in the alliance.
In 1941 Yugoslavia was invaded and quickly overcome by Fascist Italy
and Nazi Germany. The Croatians
joined the Germans, while the Serbs united more closely with
Russia, creating hostility between the two countries, which
can still be seen today. After the war, Yugoslavia's government was ruled by
the communists, but weren't aligned with the Soviet Union.
Yugoslavia was dominated by Serbs prior to WWII, but in the
1950s and 1960s the Croatians and Muslims gained more power
and, as rights were extended to Muslims, Serbs were removed from power to accommodate
these changes, a move that created much hostility between the Serbs and the Muslims
In 1989 an ethnic Serb, Slobodan Milosevic came to power
in Yugoslavia and immediately began removing the rights of the countries within
Yugoslavia, including Slovenia, Croatia,
Bosnia, and Kosovo. This led to multiple independence
movements from these future countries and the outbreak of war and genocide. Only
Montenegro remained tied to Yugoslavia as Bosnia and
Kosovo were the focal point of the Serb-led government's attacks. This led to
Belgrade becoming a target for United Nation (UN) bombings through 1995.
Since independence Serbia has struggled to regain a positive
international image, lost Montenegro in 2006, and is
still rebuilding from the war.