Places in World Most Likely to Secede Croatia

About Croatia a place in the world likely to secede from Yugoslavia, size, population, and history of conflict.




Size: 20,750 sq. mi. (54,163 sq. km.).

Population: 4.3 million.

One of Yugoslavia's six ethnic republics, Croatia is located in the northeastern and Adriatic coastal regions of Yugoslavia. The Croats are the second largest language and cultural group in Yugoslavia, after the Serbs, who number 8.5 million. The tourist center of Yugoslavia, Croatia is the wealthiest and most industrialized region of the country.

Formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Croatia was incorporated into the newly formed nation of Yugoslavia after W.W.I. Hostility between Croats and Serbs was generated by religious and cultural differences. Croats were mainly Roman Catholics who used the Latin alphabet, while Serbs were Greek Orthodox employing the Cyrillic alphabet. In W.W.II, during the German occupation, ethnic animosity was heightened when pro-Nazi Croats killed 100,000 Serbs in Croatia.

After W.W. II, Croatia became part of Josip Broz Tito's Communist Yugoslavia. In the late 1960s, Croatian intellectuals and radicals began agitating for an independent Croatia. They argued that Croatia was being economically exploited by Yugoslavia's federal government. In fact, 30% of Croatia's income was being drained off to develop poorer regions of Yugoslavia. Separatist sentiments spread and resulted in large-scale demonstrations and riots by Croatians in the city of Zagreb in November and December of 1971. This display of nationalism was secretly condoned by Croatia's Communist leadership, which used it to pressure Tito into granting Croatia greater autonomy.

Presently, Tito's regime is using economic concessions and an accelerated employment of the Yugoslavian secret police to combat Croatian nationalism. There are reportedly 400 Croatians in Yugoslav prisons for political offenses. Although he is a Croat himself, Tito is determined to keep Croatia from seceding from Yugoslavia. Croatian nationalists believe the best chance for independence will come at the death of Tito. Supporters of Yugoslavian unity point out that if Croatia openly fights for independence, the Soviet Union will use it as an excuse for intervening in and dominating all of Yugoslavia.

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