, with very harsh consequences.
Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire face separatist nationalisms
The Habsburg and Ottoman empires suffered a number of separatist nationalist movements. These two multi-national empires bordered on each other and both included members of the same "nations." However, there was a fundamental difference between the nationalist movements in the two empires. In the Habsburg Empire, the internal functions of coordination and mobilization were of particular importance, and the ideology of nationalism was highly developed. In the Ottoman Empire, the external function of legitimacy was of particular importance, and much of the ideological justification of the nationalist movement was borrowed from elsewhere, especially from the nationalist ideas elaborated in the Habsburg empire. Yet, although its internal functions were more weakly developed, nationalism in the Ottoman empire was more successful than in the Habsburg empire, at least until 1918.
The basic similarity between the two empires
is that they were home to a great variety of different cultural groups. Members of some of these groups, such as the Turks and the Greeks, the Maguars and the Germans, occupied a superior position. Others, such as the Czechs and the Bulgarians, were subordinate and were wholly located in one or other empire. Yet others, notably the Serbians and the Romanians, occupied subordinate positions and were located in both empires.
There were some important basic differences between the two empires
. Most of the European subjects of both were Christians, principally Catholic, Ortodox, and Uniate; significant Protestant minorities were found in the Habsburg Empire; most Orthodox peoples were in the Ottoman Empire. The Habsburg government was Christian, dominated by Catholics; the Ottoman government was Muslim 
The minorities in Austria‑Hungary
In the second half of the 19th century Austria‑Hungary was characterized by minority problems and a laboratory of attempts at their resolution. After the 1867 Compromise, when the Habsburg monarchy was divided into a western (or Austrian) part, and into an eastern (or Hungarian) part, each part pursued different policies in regard to minorities, and in neither part did the majority constitute a large majority.
In Hungary, even though a minority according to their numerical strength, the Hungarians were the politically dominant majority. The Hungarian language was the only official one, save for within the territory of Croatia‑Slavonia, which had certain autonomy. The Hungarian government pressured for assimilation of the minorities by the governing Hungarian community in order to create a purely Hungarian state. The Hungarians lived in the central part of the state, in the fertile valleys of the Danube and Tisa rivers, while around them the minorities, in the north and northwest the Slovaks, in the northeast the Ukrainians, in the east (in Transylvania) the Romanians, and in the south the Croatians and the Serbs, lived in compact groups.
But even in the regions where the minorities lived, they were mixed with other minorities. Thus, in the eastern part of Transylvania, among the large Romanian majority lived a Hungarian minority separated from the majority of the settlements of the Hungarians. The so‑called Saxons, a German minority, lived in the south. Other German minorities, most often called "Schwabs," lived in several parts of Hungary, in particular in the southern and central part. An even greater mix of minorities was characteristic of Banat, in south-eastern Hungary, where Hungarians, Serbs, Romanians, Germans, and others were "intertwined." 
Austria’s Constitution and "Nationalities' Law" contained a provision about "the inalienable right of every nationality to maintain and develop its nationality and language." Several decades prior to the First World War, Austria made many interesting and promising attempts, especially in the regions of Moravia and Bukovina, to resolve the problems with the minorities. However, minority problems existed in majority of Austrian provinces, where population was consisted of more than one nationality. Czechs and Germans lived in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, and, in the last, also Poles. In Stiria and Caryntia, Germans and Slovenians lived side by side. Along the Adriatic coastline, Italians and Slovenians were mixed in the north, and Croatians and Italians in the south. In Southern Tyrol there existed an Italian minority. Ukrainians, Romanians, and Germans inhabited Bukovina. The western part of Galicia was populated by Poles, while the eastern, mostly by Ukrainians.
Many of these minorities were supported by groups of their peoples outside the Austrian borders. Thus, for example, the Italian minority in Austria insisted upon having "special relations" with Italy. Some Croats and Serbs, especially after the 1908 Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (with large Serbian and Croatian populations), saw in the independent Serbian kingdom in the Balkans a possible centre for the unification of the Southern Slavs. Many Austrian Germans wanted to be included in Bismarck's German Reich.
As a result of the impact of nationalism on a mixed population and conflicting aspirations of the peoples, and after the victors of the World War I advanced the principle of national self‑determination, the Habsburg monarchy crumbled.
The minorities in Turkey
Ottoman rule over the larger part of the Balkan Peninsula lasted almost five centuries. During 19th
century, the Balkan peoples were awakening, assisted by the interventions and interests of the great powers, such as Russia and Austria‑Hungary. The essence of “Eastern question” lies in the fight among the great powers for the Turkish "heritage," that, because of the "balance of the different interests," enabled Turkey to retain the main part of its territory until the First World War.
The Ottoman Empire was a theocratic empire whose population was divided, not according to language, but according to religious affiliation. In essence, the Ottoman Empire, as opposed to western Europe, was non‑assimilationist and multinational, without technological and institutional possibilities for integration and unification of the subjugated peoples.
The Ottoman Empire was disintegrating under the thrust of the national awakenings and uprisings in the Balkans in the 19th century. After the Greek uprising in 1821 and the successful Greek defence against Turkish attacks, they could not avoid the recognition of Greece as an independent state in 1832. After Serbian uprisings in 1804 and 1813, Serbia attained an autonomous status within Turkey in 1832, and its full independence by the Berlin Treaty in 1878. With the Berlin Treaty came the collective recognition of Romania (which enjoyed autonomy since 1861) and Montenegro as independent states. In 1878, Bulgaria was granted autonomy; it united in 1885 with Eastern Rumelia and received full independence in 1908. 
In May 1876 and October 1878, Turkey faced Macedonian uprisings in Razlovci and Kresna, which had the aim of creating political autonomy for Macedonia. The formation of the Secret Macedonian‑Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (TMORO) in 1893 and the Ilinden Uprising in August 1903 brought about the creation of the Krushevo Republic, which, even though in existence for only ten days, expressed the state‑constituting aspirations of the Macedonian people through their struggle for national and social liberation. The uprisings had the motto "Macedonia for the Macedonians" and aimed to obtain statehood for their country. 
After Albanian uprisings in 1910 and 1911, during the First Balkan War, Albania came almost entirely under the military control of the Serbs and Montenegrins in the north and of the Greeks in the south. Albanian independence, proclaimed on November 28, 1912, in Valona, was recognized under the guarantees of the six great powers at the ambassadorial conference in London in July of 1913.
However, the struggles for independence of the peoples subjugated by Turkey often intensified the enmity among them. The rivalries of the new Balkan states reached their culmination in the struggle for Macedonia, which in the Balkan Wars in 1912/13 was partitioned between Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Part of western Macedonia was incorporated within the borders of the newly formed state of Albania.
The constituting of Greece
After conquering the Balkan Peninsula, the Turks left the control over the Church in Greek hands, in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which acted as a cohesive force for the Greeks, more so than for the other Christian peoples in the Ottoman Empire.
In the second half of the XVIII century the population of Greece increased significantly, and its geographic position was favourable for commerce. The insurgence against Turkish rule which took place in 1821 was more of a social and economic than of a national character. It was not a result of an excessive yoke, because the Greeks enjoyed as much freedom as the French under Napoleon, and significantly more than the Italians or the Poles.
The favourable strategic position of Greece, for which England and France showed interest, and the importance of Greek sea commerce, in spite of the mutual rivalry of the two great powers, led to their intervention with the Turks in support of the insurgents. Together with Russia, they gave a different measure of assistance to the Greek uprising, in stopping the Turks, initially, from crushing it, and later by contributing with their influence to the foundation of the independent Kingdom of Greece 
At the London Conference, on February 3, 1830, representatives of France, Britain and Russia signed a Protocol, by which Greece was created as a sovereign state. Even though Greece's borders were smaller in comparison with the previous territorial arrangements, part of Greece attained complete independence. In 1863 the Ionian Islands were added to Greece by the Accord signed by Britain, France, Russia and Denmark.
The Berlin Congress, held in 1878, promised an enlargement of Greece, which was realized in the negotiations between Athens and the Porte in 1881, and resulted in Greece obtaining Thessaly and part of Epirus. Namely, the Constantinople Convention, signed on May 24, 1881, between Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, Britain, Italy, Russia and Turkey, determined the Greek‑Turkish border, by sanctioning the incorporation of Thessaly into Greece. It contains provisions for the religious equality of the Muslims who were living on the territories which fell under the control of Greece 
The San Stefano “fiction” and the Berlin Congress in 1878
After the Russian-Turkish War in 1877-1878, fully incapable of continuing with the armed struggle, the Sultan accepted the conditions of the peace dictated by Russia in San Stefano. Under the terms of Treaty of San Stefano 
, Russia and Austria‑Hungary would have penetrated the Balkans significantly ‑ Russia by creating a Greater Bulgaria as its pawn, and Austria‑Hungary by penetrating into Bosnia and Herzegovina and Novi Pazar. However, Russian czarism obviously did not take into account interests of the other European great powers. Such an expansion of Russia in to the Balkans towards the Mediterranean threatened the aspirations of Germany and of Dual Monarchy in that direction, as well as Britain's interests in the Mediterranean, as it did not want Russia to control the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.
The San Stefano Peace Treaty never came into being. With the Berlin Congress, held from June 13 to July 13, 1878, under the chairmanship of the "impartial" Bismarck, and under the pressure from England and Austria‑Hungary, Russia was forced to agree to a revision of the San Stefano Treaty. Nevertheless, the Treaty of San Stefano remained a symbol of bargaining with foreign territories by the great powers, especially by Russia. It also became the symbol of Balkan nationalism, by not countering aggressive plans for the creation of a "Greater Bulgaria," to be effectuated by the complete enslavement of the Macedonian people and by the conquest of foreign territories.
With the Berlin Treaty of July 13, 1878, concluded between Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, Britain, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, the following important decisions were passed: a) the annulment of the borders of Greater Bulgaria, in the place of which (i) the princedom of Bulgaria was created to the north of the Balkan mountain under the supreme authority of the Sultan, and (ii) the region south of the Balkan mountain, under the name of Eastern Roumelia, attained autonomy within Turkey; b) Macedonia and Thrace remained within Turkey, which was obliged to carry out reforms within those territories; c) Serbia attained independence and territorial expansion, with the addition of the cities of Nish, Pirot, Vranje, Leskovac, and Prokuplje; d) Montenegro attained international recognition of its independence, an exit to sea, and doubled its territory; e) Austria‑Hungary attained the right to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina and to keep armed forces in Novi Pazar.
The decisions of the Berlin Congress were put into force. They were "more realistic" than the Treaty of San Stefano, in impeding the creation of a "Greater Bulgaria", but in a different way they incorporated the Balkans into the balance of the powers and the interests of the great powers. Their aim was to divide foreign territories and to create satellite states in the Balkans.
The formation of Serbia and Montenegro under the Berlin Treaty of 1878
At the beginning of the thirteenth century the autonomous Serbian Orthodox Church played an enormous role in the affirmation of the medieval Serbian state. Later, the Church lost its independence and fell under the jurisdiction of the Byzantine Greek Church and the Greek clergy. The foundation of the Pec Patriarchate and the regained independence of the Serbian church in the 16th century was of great importance to the formation of a Serbian state in the 19th Century.
Serbian nationalism existed in the two empires. The Serbian cultural revival centred upon the autonomous region of the Vojvodina in the Habsburg Empire, supported by an emergent class of traders in the region and stimulated by cultural contacts with the larger cities of the empire. By the end of the eighteenth century, the central Ottoman government was unable to exercise effective authority or protect its inhabitants from the depredations of the janissaries, the Ottoman soldiers. When they massacred Serbian notables and many others, local resistance was finally provoked 
After Serbian uprisings in 1804 and 1815, Serbia attained autonomous status within Turkey in 1832. Britain and Russia, as a result of Serbian nationalist activities to encourage foreign backing for its resistance movement, also supported Serbian autonomy. Serbia's full independence was recognized by the Berlin Treaty of 1878. With the Berlin Treaty, Montenegro, which because of its mountainous terrain in fact had a significant degree of autonomy, was also recognized as an independent state, although the Sultan had already confirmed its independence in 1799 
By creating new Christian states, the Berlin Treaty of 1878 sanctioned the policy of gradual replacement of Turkish rule in Europe. With the Berlin Treaty, Serbia and Montenegro were collectively recognized as independent states under the condition that they treat the members of different confessions as equal. The Serbian borders were extended east and south, into the regions of Nish, Pirot, Vranje, and Toplice, the second territorial expansion of Serbia in relation to Turkey 
. Montenegro was also enlarged, with the regions of Bar, Podgorica, Nikshic, Plav, and Gusinje.
The formation of Romania
In 1856, as a result of the national and political emancipation of the Romanians, and in terms of the interaction of the interests of the great powers, the two Romanian princedoms of Wallachia and Moravia attained autonomy. After their unification in 1859 in one Romania, the University in Yash was founded in 1860 and in 1864 the University in Bucharest.
Romanian national feeling was stimulated strongly by the fact that a large number of Romanians remained under Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania, whereas a smaller part of them found themselves in Bessarabia under Russian rule. The incorporation into an economic community with Austria-Hungary, the easier communication with Western Europe which this entailed, as well as the relatively well developed commercial organizations - made the Romanians from Transylvania more progressive than their brothers in the old Kingdom. The more they persisted to attain a power of their own in one national state, the more the Hungarians persisted in denationalizing them, and as a result of this nationalist agitation increased significantly on both sides. 
Romania participated actively in the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-1878 together with the Russian troops on its territory, but also in Northern Bulgaria. With the Berlin Treaty of July 13, 1878, Romania was recognized as an independent state. Even though it decreased significantly Russian influence in the Balkans, the Berlin Congress met some of the lesser requests of the Russian Czar, who regained in 1856 Bessarabia which it had lost to Romania. Romania received Dobrudja in compensation for southern Bessarabia, with an exit to the Black Sea through the port of Constanza, and in 1881 it was transformed from a princedom to a kingdom. It pursued the realization of the aims of a "Greater Romania", by the unification with the other territories with Romanian population: Transylvania, Bessarabia, Bukovina, Banat. After the Second Balkan War of 1913, Romania expanded territorially at the expense of the defeated Bulgaria, by obtaining southern Dobrudja.
The formation of Albania
The Albanians, being predominantly Muslims, belonged to a privileged stratum of the population in a theocratically structured Ottoman Empire. In the period 1875-1878, Turkey granted the Albanians a greater degree of freedom, which resulted in the opening of several Albanian schools. In Constantinople in 1878, a group of Albanians founded the Bashkimi society to support Albanian language and literature, and in 1878 the Albanian league was formed, intending to unify the Albanians in the Ottoman Empire 
. However, at the Berlin Congress in 1878, Albanian demands were practically ignored in favour of Montenegro and Serbia.
When Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid discovered that the League represented the nucleus of a new national movement, he disbanded the League. The success of Bashkimi brought about the reaction of the Sultan and the Greek patriarch, who in 1886 banned Albanian schools and publications (except one Albanian school), and threatened with excommunication of everyone who would read or write in the Albanian language.
In 1909 the Young Turks tried to stop Albanian demands for administrative autonomy, which they found to be clearly separatist, and replace it with their policy of "Ottomanization." An attempt to disarm the population in the north in 1910 was followed by an Albanian demand for autonomy, and, after it was rejected, a rebellion ensued. The war with Italy in 1911-1912, as well as the approaching war in the Balkans, forced the Turks to reach an agreement with the Albanians. When the peace concluded in the summer of 1912, the Albanians received broad powers of self government, which enabled them to open their own schools and to publish books and newspapers of their own. The territorial delimitation of the autonomous province of Albania, which was defined into four vilaets: Skadar (Scutari), Ioanina, Bitola (Monastir), and Kosovo
, was much to the satisfaction of the proponents of a "Greater Albania."
The accord for Albanian autonomy was drastically contrary to the expectations of its neighbours, since it would have caused a radical change in the actual situation in the Balkans. The neighbouring Balkan countries decided to divide Albania, seeing an Albania composed of four vilaets as only a design on paper 
. In the First Balkan War Albania found itself in the centre of the military operations. The Montenegrins and Serbs penetrated from the north and the Greeks from the south. In a short time they occupied the entire territory with the exception of fortifications in Ioanina and Scutari and the region of Valona. 
However, with the support and within the framework of the opposed interests of the great powers, Albania was proclaimed independent on November 28, 1912 in Valona and recognized at the ambassadorial conference in London on July 19, 1913 
The Balkan Wars 1912‑1913 and the partition of Macedonia
While the neighbouring Balkan peoples were gradually attaining their independence, the Macedonians remained under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Macedonia was the point where Greater Serbian, Greater Bulgarian and Greater Greece nationalisms met. The principle of Macedonian partition served as a basis for expansionist tendencies of the Balkan states and for their alliance against the Ottoman Empire during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. 
The First Balkan War began on October 18, 1912. Turkey was completely shattered by it (and forced to a truce on December 4, 1912), and the largest part of the actual Turkish dominions in the Balkans was divided among the allies. The most important military conflicts took place in Macedonian territory, near Kumanovo and in the vicinity of Bitola, as well as on the Thracian front. The Serbian army occupied the largest part of Vardar Macedonia and almost all of Albania, and gaining access to the Adriatic Sea before uniting with the Montenegrin army, which occupied the Sandjak of Novi Pazar and Metohija. The Bulgarian army occupied eastern Macedonia and a large part of Thrace, coming to within forty kilometers of Istanbul. The remaining part of Macedonia was occupied by Greece, whose army, like the Bulgarian one, entered Salonika 
. However, the Balkan allies soon conflicted over the question of the delimitation of their spheres of interest in Macedonia.
The successes of the allies, especially Serbia (which had to face the resistance of the Albanian people as well), surprised the great powers. The Albanians were also fighting for their independence from Turkey, with the support of Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Germany, who considered Albania a sphere of interest of their own. Serbia was forced to withdraw from the Adriatic Sea and from a part of Albania under pressure from Austria-Hungary. A great diplomatic battle was fought over Scutari, which was occupied by the Montenegrin army, but the great powers insisted that it remain within Albania. Thus, with the London Agreement of 1913, an independent Albania was created, while Turkey retained in Europe only a small territory including Istanbul and Adrianople 
Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece partitioned Macedonia in the Balkan Wars, not taking into account the participation of the Macedonian people fighting with them in the fight against Turkey. Within the armies of the Balkan states, separate units consisting of Macedonians were operated actively in the background of the Turkish army and assisted significantly the allied armies 
. The Macedonian people expected their struggle against Turkey would be respected by the allies, and their aspirations for freedom and independence would be realized. Such expectations were expressed openly by Jane Sandanski, who was acting independently with his cheats, advocating an autonomous Macedonia, in Salonika. The Macedonian colony in Petrograd and its prominent representative Dimitrija Chupovski expressed their demand in a special Memorandum, Macedonia to be free "so that the Macedonians, as an independent and equal state... could join of their own free will in the general alliance.” 
After signing the London Agreement in 1913, dissatisfied with the outcomes reached, Serbia and Greece concluded a secret alliance. Romania, with pretensions towards southern Dobrudja, joined the alliance, against Bulgaria to wrest away from it the Macedonian territories it had in its possession. This led to the Second Balkan War, which also saw the participation of Montenegro. Bulgaria started the hostilities first with a general attack against the Serbian and Greek armies on June 29, 1913, and hoping that with the help of Austria-Hungary it would "receive" the whole of Macedonia. In the brief, but very fierce, war, Bulgaria was defeated by the united Serbian, Montenegrin, and Greek armies. Romania and Turkey also joined in the battle and attacked Bulgaria, conquering Dobrudja and the territories in Thrace.
The long term three-way propaganda in Macedonia "exploded" into massive bloodshed. Battles were waged on the territory of Macedonia, with harmful consequences for the Macedonian people. Tens of places and towns, especially in the Aegean part of Macedonia, were plundered and burned. Many of them were never rebuilt. An enormous wave of refugees, in danger of massacred, abandoned their properties in order to save their skins.
After suffering a catastrophic defeat on the battlefield, the Bulgarians asked for peace. With the Bucharest Peace Conference, from July 28 to August 10, 1913, the five victorious powers (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, and Romania) dictated the conditions of the peace in the name of "the establishment of a just balance." Not taking into account at all the national, economic, and political or other rights of the peoples and territories in the drawing of the new borders of the Balkans, Macedonia was divided into three parts. Greece received the largest, the Aegean part of Macedonia, doubling its territory, with regions that were inhabited with barely 20% Greeks. Serbia took over the rule of the Vardar part of Macedonia, and Bulgaria was given the Pirin part with the region of Strumica. In addition, the Bucharest Peace made other territorial corrections to Bulgarian territory in Thrace and Dobrudja.
The partition of Macedonia represented the loss of the geopolitical, ethnic, and economic totality of the Macedonian people. It inflicted catastrophic blows to the Macedonian economy and the Macedonian national liberation movement, which was placed in extremely difficult conditions 
. In all three states (Serbia (later the Kingdom of SCS), Greece, and Bulgaria) the Macedonian people assumed the position of a minority, their rights negated and a harsh policy of systematic denationalization and assimilation executed.
The World War I and the Balkans
The First World War is in many ways linked to the situation in the Balkans. The Balkan Wars in 1912 and in 1913 were a prelude to the First World War, introducing imbalance into the relations between the Balkan countries and the great European powers. The considerable territorial expansion of Serbia, which became rather powerful, as well as the defeat of Bulgaria, which in the Second Balkan War lost the biggest part of previously conquered territories, caused dissatisfaction for Germany and particularly Austria‑Hungary. That is the reason why Bulgaria's Coburg ruling dynasty in the First World War, in 1915, entered the war against Serbia, on the side of the Central Powers, who promised it Macedonia and parts of East Serbia to the river Morava. In order to win Bulgaria over as an ally in the War, the forces of the Entente also "offered" the whole of Macedonia to Bulgaria, if it would join the war against Turkey. Thus, the Macedonian question played an important role during the First World War as well, and it was left to be settled by arms. However, in pursuing the ghost of San Stefano's "Greater Bulgaria," Sofia lost one more part of the territory as a result of the First World War.
After the First World War, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians was created through the association of the formerly independent Serbia and Montenegro with the former Austrian provinces Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as with Macedonia and Kosovo, conquered in the Balkan Wars with Turkey 
. However, territorial problems continued to burden the relations between the Balkan states and with their neighbors. For example, Transylvania was divided between Hungary and Romania where 1.5 million Hungarians, as well as German Saxons, Jews, and Bulgarians (in the annexed Dobrudza) remained. Bessarabia was divided between Romania and the USSR; Macedonia was divided among Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece; Kosovo among Albania and Yugoslavia; "southern Albania" or "northern Epir" between Albania and Greece; Istra was divided between Yugoslavia and Italy; Korintia between Yugoslavia and Austria; Vojvodina between Yugoslavia and Hungary. Dobrudja and Banat were divided between Romania and Bulgaria and Romania and Yugoslavia 
Redrawing of the Balkan borders during the World War II
During the World War II, the borders of several Balkan countries were changed by force - through occupation, annexation, creation of protectorates and dependent states, the dismemberment of some states, and the "enlargement" of others. However, the occupation of Yugoslavia, Greece, and Albania and the dismemberment or annexation of parts of the Balkan countries during the Second World War were contrary to international law. Occupation is a factual and not a legal situation: the territory of the occupied state does not become an integral part of the territory of the occupier, but the occupier has actual power (which is, in fact, military power) that cannot be used to change the political institutions 
, occupied by Italy as of April 7, 1939 with the status of its protectorate under Italian military and civil government, received in an accord with Italy: Ulcinj and a small border part of Montenegro, part of Sandjak, the largest part of Kosovo (without Trepcha, which was retained by Germany within Serbia), and western Macedonia. By annexing to Albania part of Yugoslavia (in June 1941 and in 1942) and part of Greece (in June 1941 and in 1942), Italy attempted to create a "Greater Albania" which would serve its own needs. However, the expulsion of the non-Albanian population (primarily the Serbs) was dictated by the Albanian leaders, not by the Axis. German diplomat Hermann Neubacher, the Third Reich’s representative for southeastern Europe, observed that: "Shiptars (i.e., Kosovo Albanians) were in a hurry to expel as many Serbs as possible from the country 
." Based on the forced Albanization of territories inhabited by a number of non-Albanian ethnic groups, the concept of a “Greater Albania” intended to forcibly assimilate or exile other ethnic and religious groups from “Albanian” territory.
also believed that with the help of the Axis Powers it would achieve its goals for a "Greater Bulgaria": in September 1940, it annexed southern Dobrudja; in May 1941, it occupied parts of Macedonia in Yugoslavia and Greece and the western part of Central Thrace; and in June 1942, south-eastern Serbia. Bulgaria annexed part of the regions of Zajechar, Pirot, and Vranje and the largest part of Macedonia, from which it formed the so-called Skopje and Bitola region and extended its power into these regions on "the basis of ethnic reasons." Later, Bulgarian rule was extended to the largest remaining part of Serbia because of Germany's inability to keep a large number of operative units in Serbia;
c) The Balkans saw the formation of the "Independent State of Croatia
," on April 10, 1941, under the command of the Ustasha "leader," Ante Pavelic. The Independent State of Croatia included Croatia, Slavonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a smaller part of Dalmatia. Formally, it was organized on the principles of totalitarian fascist states as an independent state, under the patronage of Italy; in actual fact, it was under the patronage of the Axis Powers, divided into an Italian and German occupation zone 
. Around 2 million Serbs lived on the territory of the "Independent State of Croatia," being - along with the Muslims, Romas and Jews - a main target of the racist policy of the fascist Ustasha forces 
So, the warring great powers in their movements in the Balkans during the Second World War toyed with something that looked like a "Greater Albania," "Greater Bulgaria," or "Greater Croatia." However, these three Balkans states disappeared as a result of the Axis defeat. Of the countries neighboring the Balkan states, "Greater Italy" and "Greater Hungary" also disappeared.
Greater Serbian vs. Greater Albanian nationalism
Even though in SFR of Yugoslavia Kosovo
was Autonomous Province within Serbia, with the 1974 Constitution it attained characteristics of a federal unit. The Albanians were guaranteed freedom of thought, speech, assembly, and association, as well as schools, a university, and media in their mother tongue, and freedom of movement in the country and abroad 
. It is paradoxically that Albanian success in the area of minority rights led in many cases to strong separatist feelings. Namely, the creation of the separate university in the Albanian language and the development of the cultural programs, also as a result of the cooperation with Albanians from Albania, made the Albanians in Kosovo more educated and more conscious of their identity. The University in Prishtina became a bastion of Albanian chauvinism and secessionism, a place for national indoctrination of the students who were fighting for a "Republic of Kosovo," rather than a place for educating university graduates, intellectuals, and experts.
Actually, in the early 1980s, in Kosovo, Albanian secessionists were continuing a terrorist campaign, driving thousands of Serbs from Kosovo. The 'N.Y. Times' reporter in 1982 interviewed a Yugoslav official in Kosovo, a man of Albanian ancestry, who said: "'The [Albanian] nationalists have a two-point platform... first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania." 
In 1986 “Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences” was published 
, that strongly criticized Tito and the SFR Yugoslavia for anti‑Serb policies. It served the Serbian nationalist project for “Greater Serbia”, involving anti-Croat, anti-Slovene, anti-Albanian, anti-Muslim and anticommunist ideas and sentiments. The Academy promoted the idea for unification of all Serbs in a single state in order to protect Serb nation. It condemned "genocidal" anti‑Serb policies in Kosovo, where the Serb minority was said to be oppressed by the Albanian majority. In 1986, Slobodan Milosevic became head of the Serbian Communist Party. He aimed to transform Yugoslavia from federalism to centralism under Serbian domination, as a tool for realization of the ultimate goal: unification Serbs in a “Greater Serbia” 
. Making a patriotic, pro‑Serbian speech in the meeting organized for around one million Serbs in Gazimestan (the Kosovo battle site) on 28 June 1989, Milosevic delivered nationalistic speech that praised Serbs and fanned the flames of Serbian nationalism.
The amendments to the Serbian Constitution in 1989 significantly limited and actually suspended Kosovo's legal, economic, and educational autonomy. After it, in March 1989 and in the beginning of 1990, there was an outbreak of mass protests and a real insurgence of the Albanian population, ending in clashes with the Serbian authorities, with a number of casualties, wounded, and arrested people. 
One of the main reasons for the actions of the Serbian authorities was the poor treatment of the Serbian and Montenegrin community of Kosovo by the large Albanian population, from harassment in everyday life to violent acts against individuals. However, instead of looking for a solution to the situation by punishing the culpable individuals in a effective criminal law system, the Serbian authorities responded against the entire Albanian population in Kosovo, violating the rights and freedoms of many innocent individuals. 
The Serbian government ruled over the province but was unable to control its population. The government and Parliament of Serbia took over the operations of local Kosovo institutions. Kosovo Albanians then formed a system of parallel government and public institutions, organizing a parallel society, with their own political institutions, educational and healthcare systems, taxation, and cultural and sport life.
After the disintegration of the SFR of Yugoslavia, the parties of the Albanian nationality in Kosovo, instead of the slogan "Kosovo-Republic," put forward the demand for Greater Albania: territorial unification with Albania and the creation of "one Albanian state in the Balkans with ethnic borders." The parallel structures in Kosovo encouraged radicalism among both Albanians and Serbs. The educational segregation strengthened the antagonism between the two communities in Kosovo. The closed school system taught several generations of young Albanians national exclusiveness and intolerance toward neighboring communities and ethnic groups. The increasing number of victims of the Kosovo Albanians was supposed to be a very convincing argument for internationalization of the Kosovo issue. At the same time, the Serbs (citizens or members of the security forces) killed or expelled by Albanians were used as alibi for state repression. The two practically authoritarian regimes, the Serbian and shadow government of Albanians, have nourished extremism on both sides. Greater Serbian nationalism was facing Greater Albanian nationalism.
As far as Albania
is concerned, collapse of its government, in February 1997, triggered by the collapse of so‑called "pyramid" investment schemes, and the ensuing anarchy caused the ruin of numerous institutions, enormous property damage throughout the country, the arming of a majority of the population, and the concomitant and tragic loss of many lives. Arms caches were broken into all over the country; local gangs torched banks, stores and houses in many cities, including Korce, Shkoder, Podgradec, Vlora, Sarande, and Berat 
. The dramatic rise in criminality, poverty, and massive unemployment affected all individuals, as did widespread corruption.
As in some other Balkan countries, economic and political crisis in Albania was followed by ideas of greater state nationalism. Similar to the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts of 1985 and the "Bulgarian National Doctrine" of 1997 
, the Albanian Academy of Sciences and Arts in the "Platform for Solution of Albanian National Question" of December 1998
deals with the idea of a Greater Albania. Aiming for control of the territories of Kosovo and part of Montenegro, as well as parts of Macedonia and Greece, as a program for action, this Platform cannot but bring huge troubles for the Balkans, underlining the ultimate goal of "Albanian national movement" as unification of "ethnic territories" with Albania: "Wherever Albanians are, from this or that side of the border," they should finally be "in one country." It stated that the international community should assist Albanians in achieving the goal of "correcting the injustice that for centuries has been done towards the Albanian people." In conclusion, there is a statement that the Albanian national question is still unresolved because "half of the territories are under the slavery of a few foreign countries." It is followed by an appeal for "just unification of Albanians in one state, through unification of all ethnics Albanian lands." 
2001 conflict in Macedonia – fighting for human rights or extreme Albanian nationalism
Succeeding not to participate in the war that followed the dissolution of former Yugoslavia, and gaining its independence by peaceful means, Macedonia was regarded by the international community as a unique example of conflict prevention in the Balkans. It succeed to avoid intra-state ethnic conflict as well, even during the peak of the Kosovo crisis in 1999 when 360,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees poured into the country threatening its ethnic balance.
In 2001 armed Albanian units infiltrate from Kosovo into southern Serbia proper and also across the border into Macedonia. After February 2001’s invasion of ethnic Albanian extremists from Kosovo, as well as violent conflicts in the regions of Tetovo, Kumanovo and near Skopje that followed, important components of the Kosovo conflict, like interethnic, interreligious and intercultural intolerance, began to spread to the Republic of Macedonia. It opened new phase of security and interethnic instability in Macedonia, and in the region.
The Macedonian Government officially rejected the domestic “ownership” of the rebellion claiming that the violence was the result of aggression planned and led from Kosovo and for which there was little support among local Albanians. It saw the roots of the conflict in the idea of a Greater Albania. The Albanian political parties, the DPA and the PDP, officially denounced the violence and called for a political solution to the inter-ethnic problems. 
Since February 2001, so called Nationalist Liberation Army (NLA) in its announcements openly declared the goal of their military offensive occupying territories (and creation “greater Albania”). As the former US Ambassador in the UN Richard Holbruck said, in the interview given for the Greek news magazine "To Vima", on March 24, 2001, the biggest danger for destabilization of the Balkans is the dream of creating "Greater Albania". He stressed that the most extreme Albanians stand behind the incidents in Macedonia and in southern Serbia and that they are in the process of attempting to realise their long-held dream of a Greater Albania, i.e. of creating an Albanian state on the parts of territories of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece. Fazli Veliu, a wealthy and influential businessman of the Albanian Diaspora in Switzerland who was actively involved in financial support for the Albanian guerrilla movements, first in Kosovo and later on in Macedonia, admitted that the war in 2001 was for dividing Macedonia and the realization of the pan-Albanian national goal. 
At a later stage, with the announcement no.6, NLA changed its objective for creating »greater Albania« (possibly because of tactical reasons), demanding more human rights and more rights for Albanian minority in Macedonia through constitutional changes. NLA officially claimed that it was fighting for the expansion of the rights of Albanians in Macedonia (the line supported by the already existing Albanian political parties), as well as the protection of the local population from Macedonian security forces. However, it was feared that the NLA’s hidden agenda was to divide the country as the first step towards the foundation of a “Greater Albania” or, alternatively, a “Greater Kosovo.”
The Ohrid Framework Agreement, reached on August 13, 2001, stopped armed conflict started with extremist violence by ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, establishing a series of political and constitutional reforms including: amending the Preamble of Macedonian Constitution, instituting double majority voting in parliament, increasing the representation of ethnic Albanians in the police force, stipulating the use of the Albanian language as a second official language in the country, etc.
Ohrid Framework Agreement established a clear population threshold of 20 percent in order for a minority population to be entitled to additional rights, including university education in its native language and recognition of its language as official. According to it, there is a second official language in addition to Macedonian in areas where ethnic Albanians (or another ethnic community) constitute more than 20% of the population 
. In practice this means that Albanian acquired official status in 25 of the 80 proposed municipalities, Turkish in three municipalities, and Serbian and Roma in one each. Macedonian capital Skopje also became 20% Albanian and bilingual.
It should be emphasized that minority rights in Macedonia, even before Ohrid Framework Agreement, have been uplifted to a level much higher than what European conventions and juridical practice in EU countries prescribe.
Conclusion – Balkanization, “Greater State” nationalisms or European integration
The concept of "balkanization
" came into being because the formation of states on the Balkan Peninsula was accompanied with mutual conflicts due to ethnic or territorial problems and represents a synonym of the divisions and atomization of the Balkan region. The concept of balkanization itself as "the division of a region into small, antagonist states" implies the involvement of foreign and major powers in such divisions and fragmentation, and not only the existence of some kind of quarrel-some and bellicose Balkan mentality. The creation of the state of the South Slavs, after the First World War, or the plans for creating a Balkan federation, by including in it Bulgaria and Albania, after the Second World War, were to have been processes contrary to balkanization. Their failure meant a continuation of balkanization, so that with the disintegration of SFR Yugoslavia in the Balkans, instead of the earlier six, the number of states is doubled.
However, in connection with the presupposed possible process of further disintegration of states, in the Balkans or beyond, the conclusion of the study prepared by the Council for Foreign Relations is significant: "While the creation of some new states can be indispensable or unavoidable, the fragmentation of the international community into hundreds of independent territorial entities is a recipe for an even more dangerous and anarchic world"
. If the powerful idea of self-determination were to be applied to ethnicities, and if such a combination was given legitimacy, in connection with the principle of human rights of groups, this would lead to many more conflicts in the world.
The Dayton Agreement, ending war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 1995, insisted emphatically on maintaining the territorial integrity of the country, so that "balkanization" would not continue neither along ethnic nor religious lines.
On the other side, there is a limited space for success of a greater states nationalisms
. Greater Serbian nationalism faced a series of defeats during the last decade of the 20-th century (in Croatia in 1991-1992 and 1995, in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992-1995, in Kosovo in 1999). It is impossible to create “greater” states in a space as small as the Balkans. Almost every Balkan state has had a dream to be greater than it is, very often involving the same territories. A Greater Albania, like Greater Serbia and some other well known expansionist adventures of the past, would be more likely to end up harming its intended beneficiaries, but also everyone else. Attempting to realize their dream of Greater Albania, or Greater Kosovo, Albanian extremists could imperil the stability in the region and in Europe.
Nationalism needs to be reduced to a minimum, while competitive patriotism needs to be encouraged in order to create harmonious living among ethnic groups. It is crucial to eliminate conflict and violence in the Balkans, as it has no place in a unified and prosperous Europe.
What is the future for the Balkans
as a region of huge potential and hopes, but with serious problems too. First of all, the future is to live together and live in peace by building Europe as a whole. Practically all Balkan countries, for the first time after their liberation from the Ottoman Empire, today aspire to the same aim - to be included in the European institutions and organizations. In the Balkan wars and in both World Wars the Balkan countries found themselves on opposite sides of the barricades. In times of peace in the XX century they belonged to different political and military alliances and to different social systems. In the time after the end of the Cold War and the crisis in former Yugoslavia, for the first time a new quality appeared in the Balkans: all Balkan countries accept the European framework, i.e. inclusion in European institutions such as: the Council of Europe, the European Union, NATO and the Partnership for Peace. Their gradual "entrance" into Europe can have a strong reverse effect on the coordination of their different interests and on overcoming traditional Balkan burdens. This could contribute significantly towards the resolution of the issues, in line with European standards, and towards the acceptance of economic development as an absolute national priority and, all in all, towards a turn away from the past to the future! 
European Union and the Balkans share a vision of a democratic Europe without borders, a Europe that would lead to vibrant and market-oriented Balkan democracies.
Europe is bringing back the Balkans into its sphere of politics. Continent seemed to be prepared to get the Balkans gradually in, instead of ghettoizing them. The results are already evident, a number of Balkan countries are full members of NATO and EU, and talks are under way for further progress.
However, today there are some concerns about trends in EU's selective implementation of international law and membership criteria regarding admission of new member states. There are examples of Turkey and Macedonia, to whom European Union imposed additional conditions and postponed their accession processes. Division of the Balkans in different categories of countries, members and non-members of NATO and EU, is worrying practice. It could either open the door to new fragmentation of the region, or create more space for greater state nationalisms.