AKA ‘Butcher of the Balkans’.
Kill tally: Up to 230,000 killed and three million displaced.
Background: The southern Slavic states of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia begin to merge as a single nation following the First World War. But the legacy of a 400-year occupation by the Islamic Ottoman Empire and traditional tension between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians frustrate attempts for unity. Following the Second World War, Yugoslav communists led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito take control of the government, declaring the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia on 29 November 1945.
The veneer of Yugoslav stability begins to crumble when Tito dies on 4 May 1980. The prosperous northern states of Croatia and Slovenia start to agitate for autonomy. Macedonia and the Muslim majorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Serbian province of Kosovo repeat the call. Serbia has political power under the federation and does not want change. The poorer southern state of Montenegro supports the centralised federation and backs Serbia. More background.
Mini biography: Born on 20 August 1941 in Pozarevac, 60 km southeast of Belgrade, in Serbia, Yugoslavia. He is the second son of a former Orthodox priest from Montenegro and a Serbian communist schoolmistress. Both parents commit suicide, his father in 1962, 15 years after abandoning the family to return to Montenegro, and his mother in 1973. An uncle, his mother’s brother, also takes his own life.
While attending high school in Pozarevac Milosevic meets his future wife, Mirjana Markovic. A doctrinaire Marxist who comes to be known as the ‘Red Witch’ and the ‘Lady Macbeth of the Balkans’, Markovic has family connections to the upper echelons of the Tito government. She will be a driving force behind her husband. The couple marry in 1965. They will have two children, Marija and Marko. Read the rest of this entry »