Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dominos, Dominos

Gavrilo Princip was hanging out with his fellow students getting really angry. As is the usual preoccupation in Serbia, they were upset about Serbian Nationalism. (In the past few decades an idea had become en vogue; you were part of a larger group, a nation; something that had always been. Before the mid 1800s there was no real idea of nations. You didn’t identify with
being American or English, you’d be a Virginian or a Scot.)

Gavrilo and his friends decided that if they could kill the guy in charge of their country, or the number two, that they might be able to break free and Serbia could be its own country. They even gave themselves a nifty nickname, The Band of the Black Hand!

That is how, on a warm June day in 1914, Gavrilo was eating a sandwich at a quiet cafe when the number two guy’s car accidentally turned down the wrong street right past that cafe. Gavrilo ran to the open motor coach of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and drew his pistol, shooting and killing the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife, Sophie, touching off a cascade of dominos that lead to:

  1. WWI
    1. Austria, and her ally Germany,
      moved to action against the Serbs, who naturally called on their fellow Slavs, the Russians.
    2. The ruin of Europe and the Ottoman Empire (15 million dead)
    3. Russia so mismanaged the war, 3.7 million Russians died (30% of the total WWI
      deaths) 5 million wounded, that a civil war broke out.
    4. Germany, forced to pay war reparations descended into chaos, and finally

  2. The Rise of Hitler, Fascism, and Communism
    1. The reparations and blame for WWI created the need of the German people to
      restore their dignity and place the blame of their situation on someone
      else. Just the impetus Hitler needed.
    2. Fascism rose all over Europe: Italy, Spain.
    3. The Bolsheviks won the Russian Civil war leading to a strict stripe of Communism that paved the way for
      Stalin, murderer of 20 million (during the 1930s) and 34-37 million over all.
  1. WWII
    1. Self-explanatory
      50 million dead.

  1. The Cold War
    1. Former WWII allies Russia and the U.S are on tenterhooks over Germany
      Russia is wary of Germany rising again, after two consecutive invasions, decides that it needs some buffer states between the motherland and Deutschland.
      The U.S., not understanding, decides on a policy of containing the Russians yielding iii. The Iron Curtain
    2. The Bomb.
    3. U.S. and USSR fight proxy battles all over the world.
      Korea, Algeria, Congo, you name it (OK.)
    4. When Russia invades Afghanistan the U.S. gives support, arms, and aid to the Mujahadin rebels fighting the communists, including a very militant wing of young freedom fighters called The Taliban.
    5. Dictators
      USSR allows totalitarian dictators to rule Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and others.
      The U.S. gives aid and comfort to such dictators as Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, the Shah of Iran, and Saddam Hussein.
      1. Buyer’s Remorse:
    6. The Soviet Union is effective at surpressing nationalistic feelings in her satellite states. i. When the USSR falls apart those feelings return causing

  2. Balkanization, Georgia, Rwanda, Congo, Chechen War, etc.
    1. Chechnya, wishing to break away from Russia launches a rebellion in the name of nationalism, which yields more than 300,000 dead including
      The 331 angel children murdered on the first day of school in Beslan after Chechen rebels seized the school.
    2. Yugoslavia breaks up (“Balkanization) into various Balkan states including Serbia
    3. A Serbian nationalist guy named Slobodan Milosevic decides that the Serbs have had enough of other people ruling them and starts a few wars resulting in
      The rape of women and children, torture and death of 300,000 people including
      The massacre of 8,100 little boys and men at Srebrenica.

So, let me ask you, what’s your opinion of Serbian Nationalism?

Because mine, let me tell you, ain’t good.


~j. said...

uh, Yikes. I had never really considered Serbian Nationalism before, but when you put it that way...

Kiki said...

It's my favorite thing.

rp said...

But does this make the case for why Serbians shouldn't be free? Perhaps they have never taken the correct approach (ie Milosevic), but a Serbian Gandhi could do the trick.

AzĂșcar said...

Serbia has been free from the forced Yugoslavian construct for seventeen years. Tito, their regional dictator died in 1980. Slobodan became president in '89. So what did Serbia do with their freedom? Slobodan and his cronies used nationalism as an excuse to ethnically cleanse their state and surrounding Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The conflict began as Serb v Croat and eventually engulfed the region. These wars were the first since WWII to be characterized as primarily genocidal in nature.

Serbia got a taste of its own medicine when Kosovo, under the influence of Albanian Nationalism, launched their own liberation fight against Serbia.

On the other hand, Serbia still won't hand over Mladic.

The question is: How far is too far when it comes to Nationalism?

Do we give each and every group a country/area of their own? The Basques have waged a terrorist liberation campaign (ETA) for thirty years from Spain. Who would be next? The Galicians? Cohesive countries could balkanize into tiny states. What is your opinion of the Quebec seceding from the union?

AzĂșcar said...

p.s. now you understand why that Balkans joke killed at that professor's party.

rp said...

I still can't accept Serbian Nationalism as the cause of both World Wars, Hitler, the rise of communism, and the Cold War. As you said, it was a domino effect, but knocking down the second or third domino is a means to the same end. Why were those dominos aligned in the first place?
In the first decade of the 20th century, Canadians were making hefty contributions to help fund the British navy fleet of Dreadnoughts, warships with 12" iron walls. The bomb was in place, and anything could have lit the fuse.
p.s. The Balkans joke must have been a zinger.

La Yen said...

Math is hard.