Continued from Part I
In the end, as with most of the other successor-states of Austria-Hungary, it was the communists who emerged as the victors and Yugoslavia was forcibly put back together under the dictatorship of “Tito” and was even almost merged with Bulgaria in what would have been an even bigger witch’s supper but Stalin nixed that idea. For some reason which eludes me, some people romanticize Tito’s dictatorship but, while certainly not as bad as Albania or Cambodia, it was a communist tyranny with all of the injustice, cruelty and suffering that goes with that. Today, amazingly, many people view Tito as some sort of romantic, revolutionary figure or the “good” communist dictator, for seemingly no other reason than that he wanted to be a dictator and not simply the stooge of Stalin in Moscow. This is a dangerous mistake. Just because Communist Yugoslavia was not as bad as Pol Pot’s Cambodia does not mean it was a picnic and the member states have still not recovered from the impact of communist rule even today. Additionally, as we all know, when Tito died in 1980 the country began to fragment in the absence of the dictator and within ten years bitter and brutal civil war engulfed the region as the former Yugoslavia broke up.
It is also worth noting that most of the bitterness seen in the civil wars can be traced back to some extent with the creation of Yugoslavia itself but even more so events in World War II rather than to Austria-Hungary. After World War I there was some, for lack of a better word, “bullying” by the victors against their defeated foes. This was not uncommon; the Poles were sometimes unkind toward the Germans in their country, though in light of subsequent events they attract little sympathy. Then, during World War II, the tables were turned and horrible reprisals were meted out, often with the backing of the Axis powers, and then after the Axis defeat there were reprisals of the reprisals and hatred grew and grew. It is beyond the realm of possibility that this could have happened under Emperor Charles I or a potential “Emperor Otto”. A Hapsburg Emperor, and this is certainly in keeping with the character of Archduke Otto, would have discouraged nationalism and ethnic hatred and with his combined forces could have restrained such radicals were that to become necessary.
Concluded in Part III