The Macedonian Syndrome


I should like to express my appreciation to the Carnegie Corporation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for International Studies at M.I.T. for providing me with the support which made this study possible.

Part I

This study was undertaken in an effort to use data from Euro-pean history to develop a model that might prove useful for descri-bing, explaining, and predicting the patterns of political develop-ment and international behavior of some of the newly independent states of Asia and Africa. My interest in exploring the experiences of several European states grew out ot dissatisfaction with efforts to build development theories exclusively upon knowledge of the con-temporary developing areas in which the outcomes are unknown, where the periods of time with which we can work are often too short for testing any long-term development theories, and where we are often unable to distinguish between short-term, momentary changes and long-term, persistent patterns of growth or decay.

I was particularly interested in improving our theoretical understanding of the process of national integration in multi-ethnic societies faced with conflicts among castes, religions, tribes, lin-guistic groups, and races. These conflicts not only affect the deve-lopment of a sense of national identity - a familiar theme in almost all the contemporary literature on development - but they also have important consequences for the kind of central-local relationships that develop in a political system, for the pattern of economic development policy and educational policy, and, most important of all, for the very legitimacy of political institutions and political authority. Since the problems of ethnic conflict have been experi-enced by a number of European states, it seemed to me that an examination of the rich literature on these experiences might prove useful for understanding some of the contemporary problems of ethnic conflict in the developing areas.

Some historians would probably argue, however, that the po-litical problems faced by European states as they modernized were too different from those now faced by the developing countries to make analogies very useful. My first step in an attempt to meet the challenge of historic uniqueness was to single out for study a group of European countries that seemed most like those of the newly independent developing countries - the states of Southeast Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For one thing, these states were all former colonies. Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, Albania, and most of Yugoslavia had previously been ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and portions of both Rumania and Yugoslavia had been part of the Hapsburg Empire. Second as with other former colonies, they had initially borrowed political institutions from out-side, and since the major powers of Europe (except France) were monarchies, the new states became monarchies; in many instances they even recruited their kings from other countries. Third they were all economically backward states whose elites were acutely sensitive to their own underdevelopment. As in contemporary late-developing states, their elites were often torn between a desire to borrow from others and an urge to preserve their own distinctive heritage. Fourth they were all multi-ethnic states. They contained a mélange (or, as the French would more appropriately say, a ma-cédoine) of religious and linguistic groups and even, in the case of Albania, of tribes. And finally these newly independent states developed in the midst of great-power rivalries, as the British, Russians, Germans, French, and Italians were all cultivating their own interests in the region.

Of course, each of these states differed in some respects from contemporary developing states, and we would be hard put to find a perfect analogy say, Yugoslavia and Nigeria or between Bulgaria and Pakistan. The proportions of ethnic groups differ, and so do the forms and processes of government. Moreover, the Balkan states also differed from each other in many fundamental dimensions. Bulgaria and Yugoslavia had politically independent peasantries, whereas Rumania had a powerful aristocracy. Yugoslavia was a fragmented ethnic state; Rumania and Greece had a single domi-nant ethnic majority. Given these differences both in time and in space, how then is it possible to use the experiences of these states for illuminating contemporary problems of development?

Rather than drawing analogies - the most common method for utilizing historical cases for contemporary purposes - I have instead chosen to use the data from Southeastern Europe to create a descriptive model of political development. The utility and limits of such a model can best be understood by considering the ways in which physicians use descriptive models of diseases for clinical purposes. In clinical medicine, a well trained doctor has in his mined the names and characteristics, of a alrge number of diseases. The description of a disease is essentially a model that specifies the onset, symptoms, physical signs, anatomical involvement, course, and termination of the disease. These characteristics are understood as a result of the accumulation of a substantial number of case histories. A doctor familiar with a wide range of diseases, modern methods, and instruments of diagnosis has the capacity to identify the disease, predict its probable course, and recommend treatment. Even when the precise cause of the disease is not known, as in cancer, prediction and prescription are possible. Moreover, no ma-tter how precise the model, no matter how often is has been tested against accumulated case histories, no individual case need fit the model of the disease in every detail. Patients are in different conditions and have different susceptibilities to the same ailment. Some patients, for example, are left permanently damaged by polio, and others have no noticeable after-effects. Then, too, the doctor's predictions are statements of probabilities. Patients with measles rarely die, but it does happen, and there can be a spontaneous remission of the most "terminal" cancer case. Still, in spite of the varied ways in which patients respond to diseases, in spite of the varied forms a given disease may take, in spite of the difficulties of making fool-proof predictions, it is still invaluable to have des-criptions of diseases. Without such models, we could not study the causes of the disease; we would not know what we can typically expect; and the doctor would be unable to recommend a treatment to alleviate the symptoms, affect the speed of recovery, or change the outcome.

The Balkan cases provided me with the clinical materials for a descriptive model. No one case, not even the Balkan cases them-selves, will fit the model in every single respect, but I do belive that the model is close enough to reality to be useful for describing, predicting, and perhaps even explaining the probable patterns of political development of certain types of political systems.

As I studied the impact of ethnic conflicts on the political de-velopment of each of the Balkan states, I was struck with two facts of pervasive importance. The first is that the problems of ethnic conflict were particularly acute because each Balkan state con-tained minorities from neighboring states and in several instances had "kinsmen" living across the international border. Second, wit-hout exception, every Balkan state was engaged in a dispute with its neighbors over it boundaries, generally because the international boundary divided some ethnic group. These two facts - the trans-national character of ethnic groups and the disputes over boun-daries - seemed to me to be accompanied by certain characteristic patterns of development in both domestic and international affairs. I have brough together these regularities of behavior into a single model that I have chosen to call the Macedonian Syndrome, named after the region of the Balkans disputed by Greece, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria, and that provided me with an almost pure case history with which to build the model. I trust, needless to say, that no one will henceforth assume that each case is precisely like that of Macedonia.

Part II

The model assumes that two or more political systems con-tiguous to one another share a common ethnic group - that is, a tribe or a linguistic, religious, or culturally identifiable and self-conscious community. In at least one of the countries, the ethnic group must be a minority. In the other it may be either a minority or the majority. In the country or countries in which the ethnic group is a minority, the group is aware of its cultural distinctiveness in relation to the majority and is also aware of its affinities with its brethen in the neighboring country. Finally, for the model to be complete, one of the two states must be irredentist, that is, it must seek to revise the international boundaries so as to incorporate the ethnic minority in the neighboring state and the territory it occupies. This, then, is the model. It assumes a minimum of three actors: an irre-dentist state, an anti-irredentist neghbor and a shared ethnic group crossing the international boundary.

Three conditions for the model need to be emphasized. The first is that the ethnic group must feel itself to be a minority: it must be aware of its own independent identity in relation to others. One minimal condition for this feeling is that the two or more political systems in which the group lives have more or less defined mutu-ally exclusive territories that the governmental structures have penetrated and controlled, or are seeking to penetrate and control. In short, it must make a difference to an ethnic group that it is divided by an international boundary, a condition not yet met in many parts of Africa.

Second, it is necessary to stress the deliberative, policy as-pects of the model. One or more of the political systems must choose to press for boundary rectifications. Ethnic groups can cross international boundaries without any country's making irredentist demands or without the ethnic group's pressing for border revi-sions. The French do not claim the Walloon areas of Belgium or the French-speaking areas of Switzerland. The Dutch do not demand the Flemish region of Belgium. The Italians and Germans do not make claims upon Switzerland. I am concerned here not with why a governing elite chooses to make an irredentist claim, but rather with the consequences for the society and polity of the respective countries once such a claim is made. In the current fashionable jargon of political science, I am speaking here of the effects of the "output" of the political system.

Third, the irredentist demand, must have high salience for the elite and for the country as a whole. Unless the demand is taken seriously - admittedly a difficult notion to operationalize, but nonetheless recognizable in all but a few marginal cases - by all the relevant actors, then, the model is not valid. An irredentist demand may not be serious if (a) the irredentist country has simply lodged minor claims upon its neighbors, as is the case of several Southeast Asian states, or (b) the irredentist state is very small and weak and the anti-irredentist state is large and powerful. One such example is Rumania's claim upon Russia for Bessarabia, an area now incor-porated into the Ukraine. Though a source of irritation in the rela-tionship between the two countries, Rumania's claim upon the So-viet Union is not in itself serious enough to affect substantially the behavior of either country.

There are two major variants of the model.

First, there is the pattern in which an ethnic group is a mino-rity in one country, but a majority in the other. Among the historic examples of this pattern I include the Hungarians in pre war Ruma-nia the Greeks in Albania and Turkey, the Albanian and Itallans in Yugoslavia, and the Germans in Czechoslovakia and Poland. In each of these cases, the country involved sought to "redeem" [1] its ethnic kinsmen. Thus Hungary demanded the Vojvodina region of Yugoslavia and the Transylvania region of Rumania, both with large Magyar populations. The Greeks sought possession of the Greek-speaking areas of Southern Albania and the Greek-populated region around Smyrna in Turkish Asia Minor, And Albania claimed the Kosovo region of Yugoslavia, with Muslim Albanian population.

The second variant exists when an ethnic group is a minority in both countries disputing its possession: the Macedonians in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece; the Slovenians in Austria and Yugoslavia; and the Ukrainians in Szechoslovakia, Rumania, and the Soviet Union.

The two variants are not so clearcut as they may at first appe-ar, since there is often a controversy over whether the disputed ethnic group is culturally distinct from both countries or is the same ethnic group that constitutes the majority in the irredentist state. The Macedonian dispute a good example: Yugoslavs argued that the inhabitants of the disputed area were culturally distinct, the Bulgarians that they were predominantly Bulgarians, and the Greeks that they were Slavophones, that is Slav-speaking Greeks.

In contemporary Asia and Africa, there are several significant cases of irredentist disputes and a larger number of instances where ethnic groups straddle international boundaries, creating potential border disputes. Among the major contemporary instances of this kind of dispute are the conflicts between Pakistan and Afghanistan over the Pathan or Pushtu tribes stradding the northwest frontier, the disagreement between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, and Somalia's demand for the Somali-occupied territories of Ethiopia, Kenya, and French Somaliland. International boundaries also divide the Armenians among Turkey, the Soviet Union, and Iran; the Azerbaijani between the Soviet Union and Iran; and the Kurds among Turkey, Iran, and Iraq; all of these have from time to time, resulted in irredentist claims. Althought the present clams of the Arab states and of the Palestinian Arabs go beyond the disputed territories, the Arab-Israeli conflict over the territories occupied by Israel durring the six-day war can also be viewed as an irredentist dispute. Finally, though the dispute between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus is not, technically speaking, an irredentist issue since Cyprus is an independent state, Greece and the Greek population of Cyprus view Turkish hostility as the ostacle to union.

The model suggests that there are characteristic patterns of political development within both the irredentist and anti-irredentist states, that the states involved in irredentist disputes have a characteristic set of relations not only to one another but to other states as well, and that these various characteristics form a syndrome - that is, they are generally found together, are causally interrelated, and owe their origin to common factors. In short, we have a class or order to which a number of countries belong and whose members behave and develop in characteristic ways. The model isolates sixteen such characteristics.

Part III

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1. The irredentist state pressing, for a revision of the inter-national boundary will generally attempt to form alliances to thre-aten the state containing the ethnic minority. "Natural""allies are neighboring states of the "enemy" and other states that also seek to rectify international boundaries, or are anti-status quo with respect to the international or regional balance of power.

Bulgaria's dispute with her Greek and Yugoslav neighbors over Macedonia provides a classic example of this proposition. Macedonia was a disputed region of the Balkans spreading over three countries. It had not been an independent state since the fourth century b.c., but had been successively Byzantine and Turkish rule. From the very beginning of their national movement, the Bulgarians laid claim to Macedonia. The Russians, as patrons of the Bulgarians, pressed for the inclusion of Macedonia under Bulgarian rule in 1878, in the Treaty of San Stefano, but the western powers, fearful of an enlarged Bulgaria uder Russian influence, intervened at the Treaty of Berlin, in the same year and Macedonia remained under Turkish rule. In 1911 Bulgaria joined with two of her rivals, Greece and Serbia, in attacking Turkey and freeing Macedonia, along with other areas, from Turkish occupa-tion. In 1912, after this first triumph, Bulgaria turned against Serbia and Greece to fight for the spoils in a war Bulgaria lost at a con-siderable sacrifice of life. The Bulgarian governments from 1913 onward had an uncanny instinet for engaging in losing wars and allying with the losing side. In World War I, Bulgaria sided with the Central Powers against Russia, with the expectation that a German-Austrian victory would lead to her acquisition of Mace-donia. The persistence of this claim to Macedonia was e decisive factor in Bulgaria's decision to join with Austria, Hungary, and Germany in the second World War against Yugoslavia, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and the Allies. To the very end, Bulgaria's revisio-nist goals dominated her foreign policy, even when it meant becoming a supporter of German efforts to occupy all of the Bal-kans militarily. Bulgaria had literally cut off her own nose to spite her face. Moreover, Bulgaria's alliances with Germany ran counter to deeply felt historical, religious, and cultural associations with Russia, thus demonstrating the overwhelming role that irredentist sentiments have played in the choice of allies. There are numerous other examples of the way in which irredentist claims dictate patterns of alliance. Pre-war Albania so-ught an alliance with Italy because the two countries chared claims upon Yugoslavia. Pre-war Hungary allied herself with Germany in pursuit of her irredentist claims upon Rumania. More recently, the Egyptians have turned to the Soviet Union for support, the Pakis-tanis have joined with China against India, and Somalia has sought Soviet support in her quarrel with Ethiopia and Kenya. 2. The anti-irredentist state with the ethnic minority respond by attempting to form defensive alliances to preserve existing borders. "Natural" allies are neighbors of its irredentist neighbor and other powers that for one reason or another wish to preserve the status quo. During the interwar period anti-irredentist states generally sought support from Britain or France, since both these powers advocated the maintenance of the existing European balance of power. Thus, as Bulgaria's relations with Germany tightened, Yugoslavia pressed for British and French protection. However, the choice of allies for the antiirredentist countries of the Balakns often proved to be a contentious domestic political issue. In Yugoslavia, for example, the Serbs, staunch supporters of a united Yugoslavia, were fiercely anti-German and pro-Allied, whereas the Croatians, whose separatist tendencies had been encouraged by the Germans and Italians, were in favor of a Yugoslav-German pact. For the Rumanians, however, the choice of allies during the interwar period was somewhat simpler. Pressed by the Soviet Union on one side and by a pro-German irredentist Hungary on the other, Rumania sought support from the Allies, especially from France, with whom Romania also had strong cultural associations. Today, among the anti-irredentist states, India and Israel have each turned for support to the opponent of the country that has allied itself with her irredentist neighbor. India's growing ties with the Soviet Union are the result both of Pakistan's flirtation with China and of the Sino-Soviet dispute. Similarly, Izrael's growing military dependence upon the United States is closely tied to Egypt's growing dependence upon the Soviet Union. 3. Neighboring states and larger, more powerful countries are often drawn into irredentist disputes, sometimes to endorse the claims of one side or the other, sometimes formally to join one of the alliances, sometimes simply to establish more trade with, pro-vide more assistance to, or become friendlier with one state rather than the other. Few outside states are able to maintain equally cor-dial relations with both parties to the dispute. Outside states may enter the dispute for any one of a large number of reasons, not the least of which is that they are often invited to take sides. There are, of course, many occasions when an external power believes it lias much to gain by endorsing one side of a dispute. Thus, Italy had good reasons for endorsing Albania's claims upon Yugoslavia and Greece; the Italian government hoped that the disintegration of Yugoslavia would lead to an extension of Italy's territory to Trieste and establish Italy as the exclusive power on the Adriatic and a major force on the Mediterrancan. Similarly, Soviet involvement in the Middle East on the side of the Arab states is a device for extending Soviet influence into the Mediterranean and controlling the oil arteries to Western Europe and the United States. 4. As the irredentist power expresses its'concern for the status of the ethnic minority in the neighboring state, hope grows within the ethnic, minority that it will be incorporated into the revisionist state or that, with the support of the revisionist power, it may achieve separate statehood. But whatever the ultimate aim of the ethnic minority is (and in practice it is often divided), a substantial portion becomes increasingly hostile to efforts to nationalize it into the anti-irredentist state in which it lives. As irredentist demands grow, therefore, national integration of the ethnic minority into the status quo power is impaired. The pre-war Yugoslav case provides an almost classic exam-ple of the impact of irredentist claims on efforts to achieve national integration. Virtually every neighboring state made claims on some portion of Yugoslavia: the Bulgarians and Greeks demanded Mace-donia, the Albanians demanded the Albanian districts of southern Yugoslavia, Hungary demanded Vojvodina, and Italy demanded Trieste. The host of claims upon Yugoslavia led to a feeling of uncertain loyalties on the part of virtually all ethnic groups within the state Moreover, in the bitterly disputed area of Macedonia there arose political groups determined to undermine the Yugoslav poli-tical system and willing and able to employ assassins to achieve their ends. There are parallels in Kashmir and India. The persistence of Pakistan's claim upon India has generally undermined India's ef-forts to incoporate Kashmir into India's national political system; indeed, in the past decade a number of prominent Kashmiri poli-tical leaders who were once known for their pro-Indian sentiment have resisted integration with India and advocated some kind of autonomy as a political solution. 5. There are theoretically three possible responses by the eth-nic minority to irredentist claims. First, the minority can accept the existing international boundaries, strive for improving its status within the country in which it is a minority (often demanding greater autonomy or some kind of federal solution), and press for improved relations between the two countries, viewing itself as a "bridge" of possible friendship. Second, the minority can be ar-dently committed to union with its kinsmen across the border by supporting the claim of the irredentist power. Or third, if the ethnic group is a minority in both countries, it may favor union in a single state of its own. Which response is most likely to be supported by a majority of the leaders and of the masses among the ethnic minority? If the ethnic group is a minority in one state and the majority in the other, sentiment is more likely to be toward merger with the majority state. If the ethnic group is a minority in both states, sentiment is more likely to be toward independent nationhood. In either event, there is likely to be intense debate and conflict within the ethnic minority as to the character of its own identity and allinity or lack of affinity with other ethnic communities. The issue of identity has, for example, been intensely argued by Kashmiris and Macedonians. Kashmiris who stress their Islamic identity are likely to be pro-Pakistani, and Kashmiris who see themselves as a separate ethnic group are likely to favor an auto-nomous status or lean toward India Similarly the Macedonians were divided, between, those who saw themselves as a distinet "na-tionality" deserving their own state, and those who saw them-selves, politically or ethnically, as related to the Yugoslavs, the Bulgarians, or the Greeks. 6. As demands for revision of boundaries on the part of the irredentist power persist, the status quo power will become increasingly supspicious of the lovalty of its ethnic minority whose status is being disputed. There is a strong tendency to move in two directions simultaneously: to accelerate programs to "nationalize" schoolchildren, to press the minority to learn the majority language and in various ways to demand expressions of identification and loyalty by the minority toward the national government; and se-cond, to increase police surveillance and border patrols and in general impose more controls over the disputed minority commu-nity. The more intense the international dispute, the higher the costs of enforeing compliance upon the disputed population will rise. There is often disagreement within the country's governing elite as to how to treat the population under dispute. One group may advocate a federalist, decentralist policy aimed at increasing the autonomy and decreasing the fears of the minority, and another group will press for a centralist and assimilationist policy and an increased reliance upon coercion against dissident elements. The more threatening the revisionist power, the more likely it is that the centralist group will win. However, in practice, the policy most often pursued by the status quo government is erratic, alternating between centralist and decentralist policies. Since the central government is often divided as to which policy will be most efficacious in winning the loyalty of the minority, the course pursued is often the result of some suddent even - a mass outburst, a hostile declaration by a minority leader, or some incident between ethnic groups - rather than of any long-term deliberate policy. In Rumania the government has alternated between a policy of permitting cultural and educational autonomy to the Hungarian minorities residing in Transylvania and its present assimilationist policy. In Yugoslavia the trend has been in the opposite direction. The pre-war Yugoslav government was dominated by a Serbian centralist group that sought to make of Yugoslavia a "greater Ser-bia", whereas the present government has treated both Mace-donians and Albanians as distinct nationalities in Yugoslavia's multinational state and granted considerable autonomy to both Ma-cedonia and Kosovo. It should be noted, however, that Yugoslavia found it easier to pursue a decentralist policy when irredentist demands from its neighbors, subsided. 7. The revisionist power is easily aroused by steps taken by the neighboring state to assimilate, incorporate, integrate, organize any other significant (and sometimes insignificant) way to affect the status of the minority ethnic group. All acts of discrimination against the minority, acts of protest by members of the minority community, and relatively minor incidents are magnified by the press, by political parties, and by the government of the state de-manding territorial revision. There are countless examples of this proposition: the sensi-tivity of the Turkish government and press to the treatment of Turks in Cyprus, the reactions of Pakistanis to events in Kashmir (and to the treatment of Muslims within India), and of Egyptians, Syrians, and Iraqis to reports from Jerusalem and all Arab-populated areas occupied by Israel. 8. As the revisionist power becomes increasingly obsessed with the question of boundary rectification, this issue rather than matters of internal development, receives the highes priority. Although on other issues there may be differences among citizens and within the governing elite, the redemption of kinsmen and the correction of territorial injustice are sentiments on which vertually all nationals can agree. The central internal political issue, therefore, becomes one of how to bring about a change in the international or military situation in order to rectify the boundarics. In foreign policy, the government searches for allies and arms; in domestic policy, it gives high priority to military expenditures. The handful of politicians and intellectuals who advocate shifting priorities to internal development and to the establishment of cordial relations with their neighbor are generally of disloyalty and may even be faced with personal danger.

Though irredentist governments may view economic deve-lopment as a necessary condition for increasing their military power, they have often put aside development programs in pursuit of their irredentist objectives Gerschenkron, in his brilliant analysis of pre-World War I economic development policies in Bulgaria, concluded that a concern for foreign and military policy obstructed serious preoccupation with industrial development, so that the Bulgarian government let many opportunities pass unused. Thus, Gerschenkron reports that the premier, once a great advocate of economic development, turued his attention to preparing for a military attack upon the Turks, expressing the sentiment that he felt, in his own words, "responsible to History for the conclusion of the Balkan Alliance".[2]

The same readiness to sacrifice economic development pro-grams for military objectives has characterized both Egypt and Pakistan, both of whom had promising development activities in the 1960's.

9. When irredentist objectives are given priority over other public policies the internal power structure of the country is likely to develop in such a way as to favor those advocating order and unity at home and militancy abroad. Such groups generally include the military, the monarchy (if one exists), or some single leader with dictatorial tendencies. There is a strong tendency for the mi-litary to assume political power in irredentist political systems. There is a tendency for voluntary institutions and the mass media to become subservient to central authority, and a tendency on the part of the central government to resist genuinely free elections and a representative process that might change the existing power struc-ture. Frequently, opponents of the regime will be arrested and char-ged with espionage and collaboration with the enemy. In short, existing governing elites, whther "radical" or "conservative", are li-kely to use the irredentist issue to prevent competitive polities and changes in the existing power structure.

Few irredentist regimes have been able to establish and ma-intain a competitive political framework. In both pre-war Hungary and Bulgaria, pro-German authoritarian governments assumed po-wer. The one major political group in Bulgaria that opposed the irredentist policy and that sought to turn the attention of the country to internal development - the Peasant Union government of Stamboliski - was overthrown in a violent upheaval by a coalition of the army and an organization of the Macedonians. Similarly, many of Greece's frequent coups were organized by military officers critical of the government's failure energetically to pursue Greece's claims on neighboring countries. The military coup of 1909 was among the first of several direct interventions by the military into Greek political life following an abortive expansionist phase; the 1967 military coup in Greece is the most recent.

Among contemporary irredentist states, some form of mili-tary rule is common: in Pakistan (where one military regime was replaced by another after the unsuccessful 1965 war), Greece, and Egypt. In the Middle East, regimes became more authoritarian after the Israeli-Arab war, and in Greece the domestic political power of the military has increased during the period of Greek-Turkish conflict over Cyprus.

10. Just as the internal distribution of power and the ordering of priorities are shaped by irredentist demands, so is the political culture. In the irredentist state, the political culture of both the citizenry and the elite are molded by the desire to redeem the "repressed" minorities, to unite with one's kinsmen in order to make whole, so to speak, a national people. National loyalities be-come paramount. Militancy, self-sacrifice, and the readiness to die for one's country become highly valued. There is a growing hos-tility to all countries and foreigners who do not support the "just" demands of the nation, hostility to internal dissent because it weakens national unity, and affection for the military on which, ultimately, hopes for redemption rest. Finally, the rhetoric of public discourse becomes highly charged with emotion, so that rational discussion of alternative courses of action becomes impossible.

11. As emotional rhetoric grows, as it becomes apparent that the status quo power will not voluntarily cede the disputed territory, as frustration within the irredentist state increases, there develops a willingness within the governing elite, including the military, and within the populace as a whole, to take chances in international affairs without any careful calculations as to the probability of a successful outcome. Military skirmishes on the border are pro-voked. People on the border (particularly if they are a minority of the same ethnic composition as the disputed peoples) may be encouraged to make forays across the line. Commando units of vo-lunteers may be organized. Finally, the irredentist state may launch an ill-prepared and abortive military attack or deliberately enco-urage, at a very great risk to itself, military intervention in the region on the part of a major military power.

The irredentist state is most likely to launch a military attack, even if the military is aware of its own weakness in relation to the enemy, if it has reason to belive that support of some kind will be forthcoming from one of the great powers.

At least four dramatic examples of ineffective military ex-pansion by irredentist states come to mind. In 1912 Bulgaria attac-ked her Balkan neighbors in an effort to absorb Macedonia and the southern Dobruja - an unsuccessful war resulting in a considerable loss of life and property to Bulgaria. In 1922 a similar effort to expand led Greece to launch an attack upon Turkey, a move that resulted in the forcible exodus of over a million Greeks from Asia Minor. In 1965 the government of Pakistan unsuccessfully attacked India in an effort to regain Kashmir. Finally, in 1967 the Arab states threatened to liquidate Israel after their initially successful effort to deny Izrael the use of the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba, a situation leading to Israel's preemptive strike and the six day war.

In all four instances, we can see a general tendency at work: in their desire to achieve a dramatic military victory, governing elites of an irredentist power tend to overestimate the capacity of their own military (usually by exaggerating the high morale and moral fervor in their own military and underestimating them in that of their enemy) and the willingness of its geat-power allies to provide support.

12. If the irredentist government has armed its border people and exiles from the disputed territory, or allowed outsiders to provide them with arms, there is a high probability that this armed minority will turn their arms against their own government if in their judgment it fails to pursue a sufficiently aggressive expan-sionist policy. Most irredentist governments have been sufficiently aware of these risks to avoid permitting their most enthusiastic irredentists from becoming armed, but there are several notable exceptions.

In the 1920's the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organi-zation (IMRO) took control of a portion of Macedonia lying within Bulgaria, known as the Petrich Department, and assumed consi-derable power within the Bulgarian government. IMRO had its major support from immigrants who had fled into Bulgaria during the Balkan wars and who provided a reservoir of manpower on which IMRO could draw for its terrorist cadres. IMRO engaged in terrorist acts and assassinations in both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and deliberately sought to keep the region in such a state of unrest that news of it would constantly appear in the world press, so that the great powers would feel forced to redraw the Balkan frontiers. IMRO played a major role in overthrowing the Peasant Union government of Prime Minister Stamboliski, who had sought a rapprochement with Yugoslavia and had attempted to curb IMRO by arresting its leaders. IMRO leaders personally executed the Prime Minister.

Throughout the 1920's and early thirties IMRO continued to engage in assassinations and terrorism within Bulgaria and to exercise great influence at the highest levels of government. In a reaction foreshadowing the behavior of the Jordanian army in 1970, in 1934 the Bulgarian military launched a coup, dismissed par-liament, dissolved all political parties, censored the press, and suppressed IMRO.

In the Middle East, the policy of the Arab states to arm Palestinian Arabs has led to armed attacks by the Palestinians agains Arab governments in Lebanon and Jordan when these governmentst sought to restrain Palestinian commandos. Should the Palestinians take control over Jordan, it is likely that an aggressive irredentist Jordan would be prepared to take military risks considered unacceptable by some of its Arab neighbors, and would seek to trigger a larger war even if it provoked Soviet and Ame-rican intervention. Such a policy could lead to conflict between a Palestinian-dominated Jordan and some established Arab govern-ments, as well as to armed conflict within those Arab countries unwilling to support the Palestinians.

13. The effects of irredentist claims on the internal political structure and on the political culture of the anti-irredentist political system depend very much on the magnitude of the threat from the revisionist state and on the degree of ethnic homogeneity in the anti-irredentist country. Since the anti-irredentist state gives no priority at all to reordering the international boundaries and is only concerned with the issue because it is raised by the irredentist state (often asserting, in fact, that no "issue" exists), its internal politics are less likely to be affected than are the politics of the irredentist state. However, when the irredentist power is particularly thre-atening, the anti-irredentist state will increase its military expen-ditures. Since its military posture is defensive and military values do not permeate the society as they do in the irredentist state, the government is somewhat less likely to fall under military rule than is its irredentist neighbor. If the anti-irredentist country is fairly homogeneous ethnically (except for the ethnic group it shares with its neighbor), the majority may draw more closely together as a result of the external threat. If, on the other hand, the society is multi-ethnic and its integration incomplete, the persistence of an irredentist claim may lead one or more ethnic groups to feel that the political system is "tentative", and therefore to withhold their loyalty.

Integration in pre-war Yugoslavia, a formidable task in any event, was made virtually impossible by the irredentist demands of her neighbors. Yugoslavia was then, and probably still is, the most diversified European country west of the Soviet Union. There was Serbia, a monarchy with a well-developed administrative structure and political parties, independent through most of the mineteenth century; Montenegro, also an independent kingdom, a loose collection of tribes that had gradually become a bureaucratically administrative state; Croatia and Slovenia, both quasi-autonomous provinces of the Hungarian half of the Hapsburg monarchy; the province of Vojvodina, which had been an integral part of Hungary; Dalmatia, which had been part of the Hapsburg state; and Bosnia and Herzogovina, first under Ottoman rule and then under an Austro-Hungarian condominium. Each region was well-defined and commanded some identification from a majority of the popu-lation. Each had an operating legal and administrative apparatus and, in several instances, especially Croatia and Serbia, had its own functioning regional political parties prior to the creation of the new state of Yugoslavia in 1918.

The irredentist demands upon Yugoslavia from virtually eve-ry one of its neighbors, and the external support given to political-ethnic groups within Yugoslavia, left open the very question of whether there could be a Yugoslav state. Yugoslav foreign policy became dictated more by the need to prevent civil war than by considerations of external security. Thus, on the eve of a German invasion of the Balkans, the Yugoslav, government, in an effort to avoid a civil war with the Croatians and hoping to keep the Germans out, signed a treaty with the Germans, a decision soon followed by bouth a civil war and a german occupation!

14. Among all three actors in the system - the irredentist sta-te, anti-irredentist state, and the disputed ethnic group - there is li-kely to be a great concern, almost an obsession, with the past, as each actor seeks to define or justify its identity. The exact location and extent of historic kingdoms, the special merits attributed to historic heroes, and the historic distinctive qualities of the people - their language, literature… deeply revered values are all explored and publicized by the country's historians, poets, priests, poli-ticians, schoolteachers, and journalists.

There is often a tendency for poets to be hawks and the military to be doveish, for the literary elites are inclined to want to take military risks whereas sections of the military, aware of their own limitations, may prefer to be cautious.

In Israel, for example, the country's leading writers support the "Land of Israel Movement", whose manifesto of September, 1967, advocated retention of occupied territories, not only because of security considerations but on the grounds that these territories are part of an historic Jewish homeland .Similarly, among Arabs the strongest support for a policy of driving Israelis to the sea comes from newspaper editors, journalists, writers, and literary figures generally.

Since personal identity is intertwined with the identity of the community, individuals will react with extraordinary vehemence to what to an outsider would appear to be trivial historical points: whether a given work of art belonged to one cultural tradition rather than to another, the etymology of place ,names, and whether a particular deity, architectural form, or ancient social institution is indigenous or was borrowed from another culture. The dispute between the irredentist and anti-irredentist powers often centers on just such historic fine points. As the dispute accelerates and as tensions mount, each side sees the dispute as involving funda-mental moral issues on which compromise becomes impossible.

15. Among the actors, political leaders advocating a position contrary to the majority view are likely to be considered disloyal. Indeed, a kind of Gresham's law of leadership is at work. Political Leaders in the revisionist power advocating a military solution are likely to drive out those who want to end the dispute by accepting the status quo; in the status quo power, those who advocate a firm stand are likely to drive out those who wish to surrender the disputed territory; and within the contested ethnic group, those who advocate a policy aimed at unifying the divided community are likely to drive out those who are willing to accept partition.

16. Finally, there are several typical ways which the dispute can be terminated, all involving the use of violence or coercion, or the threat of their use. One possibility is that the irredentist power triumphs millitarily and (akes control over the disputed territory. If this take-over occurs the roles may be reversed, as the defeated state now makes its irredentist claims. The military defeat of the irredentists power does not seem to end its claims - unless, of co-urse, the irredentist power is permanently occupied or dismem-bered. A second possibility is that the ethnic minority in the dis-puted territory is physically withdrawn from the area. This removal may be accomplished through genocide, through forced internal population transfers, or through the expulsion of the minority group by either a forced exodus or an international exchange of popu-lations. A third possibility is that one or more outside powers mili-tarily impose a border settlement. A settlement can be imposed only by a credible threat that any country taking military measures to change the boundaries will be militarily occupied by an external power. Since the outcome depends upon the military power of each of the parties concerned and the interests, military power, and interrelationships of external powers, it is very difficult to predict which of these methods will terminate any particular dispute. But it is clear that the least likely way in which the dispute can end is through voluntary agreement on the part of the disputing parties.

None of the pre-war Balkan disputers can be said to have been resolved by the agreement of the contesting parties. If the Balkans have ceased to be the tinderbox of Europe, it is not because the Hungarians no longer desire Transylvania from Rumania, or because Bulgaria is content to see Macedonia remain a part of Yugoslavia, or because Albania and Greece are satisfied with their existing boundaries. None of the many proposals for finding a "rational" solution to these disputes plebiscites, a peaceful ex-change of minorities, or a federation of Balkan states into a single multicultural state ended the disputes among the Balkan states. Rather, it was only in the postwar era, when the Soviet Union emerged as the dominant power in the Balkans, willing to intervene to prevent one or another Balkan state from using force to assert its border claims and militarily capable of such intervention that peace was established in the region.

It seems equally unlikely that any of the contemporary irre-dentist disputes will be resolved simply through discussion and without the active involvement of third parties prepared to exercise their power to enforce a settlement. Although the hegemony of a single great power in a region in which disputes have in the past occurred has been a moderating force, no such condition exists in those areas in which irredentist disputes are now most virulent. So long as this void continues, the syndrome described here is likely to be operative whenever and wherever irredentist disputes arise.

Part IV

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Since the model is only an approximation of reality, we should not expect it to incorporate and explain every significant feature and variation in the behavior of irredentist and anti-irredentist states. Both in the natural universe and in human affairs, concrete cases are invariably unique, while all scientific con-ceptualizations are abstractions that never fully exhaust or reflect concrete reality. Moreover, any one of the characteristics enume-rated here can be explained in other ways. A given effect can have many different causes. What is distinctive about these characte-ristics is that they all tend to reinforce one another under specified conditions.

I have tried to construct a dynamic model. Events occur in sequences, and one event tends to lead to another. There is action and reaction, so that we can often see accelerator effects at work. Moreover, I have made an attempt to link domestic and inter-national developments inextricably, as they ought to be in any de-velopment model. Too many theories of development assume con-stancy or irrelevancy as far as the international environment is concerned, and assume also that internal political development or decay occur without regard to external factors. International events are often seen as interfering with development as if political or economic development occurred in isolation. This model assumes that we are dealing with a system of states in which the actions of one actor affect the actions of another, and that external actions affect and are affected by internal political developments. One of the objects of the model is to show the logical interconnection between the internal development of states and their interactions with their neighbors and with the great powers and, perhaps even more importantly to alert us to expect what so often appears to be (and often is) irrational and self-destructive behavior.


^ back to top [1] In Italian, the term irredenta was used. The Italian-speaking provinces outside the Italian peninsula were regarded as "unredeemed" or irredenta, and the supporters of "redemption" by union with Italy were called "irredentist", a word then applied to aspirations of other national minorities for separation from the state in which they live. [2] Alexander Gerschenkron, Economic Backivardness in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, Mass, 1962), 233.