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Reordering Yugoslavia, Rethinking Europe: A Transregional History of the Yugoslav Wars and the Post-Cold War Order (1991–1995)

Project partners: Leibniz Center for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin, Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies Regensburg, Humboldt University Berlin
Funding: Leibniz Association, program “Collaborative Excellence” (2024–2027)

The year 1991 was a profound watershed in the history of Yugoslavia, Europe, and the international order. The dissolution of the USSR marked the end of an era, ushering Europe and the world into a new age whose concrete form was impossible to predict. The far-reaching conflicts and tensions that erupted in the Yugoslav Wars that year proved to be fundamental challenges to the constitution of the post-Cold War order: nationality conflicts and ethnic cleansing, refugee movements and humanitarian emergencies, state collapse and military interventions. For contemporary actors, therefore, the Yugoslav Wars became a crucial experience that would have far-reaching implications for the reshaping of European norms, institutions, and security policies. To explore the interplay between the Yugoslav Wars and the transformation of the international order, this project takes a transregional, entangled history perspective that combines international history approaches with those of Southeastern European studies. Four subprojects focus on Southeastern, Central Eastern, and Western European actors and their attempts to reconfigure the post-Yugoslav space and the European as well as international political order. The titles of the four subprojects are:

  • Humanitarian Interventionism from Below: Civil Society, Local Authorities and Statehood in the Bosnian War (HU Berlin)
  • Crossing Borders and Re-ordering European Boundaries: Refugees from Yugoslavia in Germany and Austria (IfZ Munich/Berlin)
  • Making Its Way toward Europe by Distancing Itself from the Balkans? Czechoslovakia, Its Successor States, and the Yugoslav Wars (IOS Regensburg)
  • Europe in Search of Itself: The Reordering of the Post-Yugoslav Space and the Making of a Post-Cold War Order (IfZ Munich/Berlin)

Research on these questions will contributes to a comprehensive European history of the Yugoslav Wars while also considering the transatlantic context and global developments. Empirical archival work centers on the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina up to the Dayton Agreement of 1995. Other actors—such as the United States and Russia—as well as the Kosovo War of 1998–99 will be considered in a final conference and through the involvement of an international network of experts.



At IOS Regensburg, the following research will be conducted in the framework of the collaborative project:

Making Its Way toward Europe by Distancing Itself from the Balkans? Czechoslovakia, Its Successor States, and the Yugoslav Wars


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