, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 167-182

Kosovo: Where It All Began

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Abstract

Kosovo, a largely ethnically Albanian province of the Serbian republic, played an important role in Yugoslavia's troubles in the last two decades of the twentieth century. Shortly after Tito's death in 1980, disturbances in Kosovo set the Albanians and the Serbs on a collision course and also polarized the country politically. Ironically, when Yugoslavia began to disintegrate in 1991, and as it fell into four years of warfare, Kosovo remained relatively calm. Only after the Dayton peace, in late 1995, did Kosovo's Albanians opt for a militant policy toward the Serbs. Meanwhile Serbs escalated their oppression of the local population. International diplomatic intervention failed to defuse tensions, and ultimately, NATO initiated military action to stop Serbia. NATO prevailed in the seventy-eight day engagement in 1999, while Kosovo acquired greater autonomy and was put under UN protection.