Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 10,611,558 (1994 estimate). A
state in south Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea. Yugoslavia was formed on Dec.
1, 1918, from the union of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Dalmatia,
Montenegro and Slovenia, as the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In
1925, the name Yugoslavia was adopted. During World War II, Yugoslavia was
occupied by the Axis, with a number of German and Italian puppet states being
created, while the balance of its territory was annexed by its neighbors.
Resistance groups were active during the war. In late 1944, German forces were
driven from the country, and a people's republic was proclaimed. The communist
postwar regime, under the late Josip Broz Tito, broke with Moscow in 1948 and
maintained its independence from the Soviet Union. Under Tito's direction,
Yugoslavia's separatist tendencies were held in check, and the nation prospered.
After Tito's death, a collective leadership with a presidency rotating between
the major national groups was established that, for a decade, held the country
together. Ethnic strains increased steadily, however, and in 1991 popular
referendums in Croatia and Slovenia resulted in those regions announcing their
intention to become independent. In June 1991, both nations declared their
independence and were promptly invaded by Yugoslavian army forces, which were
dominated by Serbia. Yugoslav units withdrew from Slovenia, and that country was
allowed to go its own way, but fighting continued in Croatia. Yugoslav forces
also attempted to repress separatist movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a
bitter war, marked by atrocities on both sides (though mostly by the Serbs),
continued through 1995. The Dayton Accords of that year formalized the situation
that forces of arms had created in the preceding four years: Croatian
independence was recognized and Bosnia-Herzegovina became independent as a
fragile entity, with political power (and territorial control) carefully divided
among Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croatians, monitored by United Nations troops.
Yugoslavia today has been reduced to the territories of Serbia, Montenegro, and
Kosovo. Because of its atrocities against non-Serbian Bosnians and, more
recently, against the Albanian population in Kosovo, the Yugoslav government has
been under frequent trade embargoes through the 1990s and experienced NATO
military intervention in 1999. As of 4th February 2003 Yugoslavia no
longer exists. Both chambers of the Federal Parliament voted for the
establishing of a commonwealth named "Serbia & Montenegro". 84 members of the
parliament voted for, and 31 against the dissolution of the last remainders of
former Yugoslavia, that was created in 1992 after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia
and Bosnia left the federation, causing a civil war.