Why was Serbia willing to let Macedonia secede in 1991-1992?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,570
SoCal
#1
Why was Serbia willing to let Macedonia secede in 1991-1992?

I know that Serbia was very eager to acquire Macedonia during the Balkan Wars in the early 1910s and fought Bulgaria back then for control of Macedonia. However, eighty years later, Serbia let Macedonia secede from Yugoslavia without much of a struggle. Thus, my question is this--what exactly changed between 1912 and 1992?

Was Serbia more eager to acquire and hold onto Macedonia in the 1910s because back then the Macedonian population was mostly illiterate and thus could more easily be reshaped into Serbs in comparison to the overwhelmingly literate Macedonian population at the start of the 1990s? Is that the main factor that changed over these eighty years--specifically the crystallization of a separate Macedonian national identity? Or was there another reason as to why Serbia eagerly wanted Macedonia in the 1910s and so willingly let Macedonia secede in the early 1990s?

Any thoughts on this?

Also, Yes, I know that Macedonia had few Serbs at the start of the 1990s. However, to my knowledge, this was also the case at the start of the 1910s--and yet, Serbia's attitude towards Macedonia was much different in the early 1990s than it was back in the 1910s. Heck, to my knowledge, maybe Bulgaria would have avoided joining the Central Powers in WWI had Serbia been willing to give Macedonia to Bulgaria--and yet Serbia still refused to do this during this time!
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,342
Republika Srpska
#2
I think it was a combination of the fact that there weren't many Serbs in Macedonia as you stated and the fact that Serbia already had its hands full with conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia where there was a sizable Serb presence. The Serbs really couldn't afford a new southern front. The fact that the new Macedonian government adopted a moderate, not an ultra-nationalistic stance, also helped.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
#3
I think it was a combination of the fact that there weren't many Serbs in Macedonia as you stated and the fact that Serbia already had its hands full with conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia where there was a sizable Serb presence. The Serbs really couldn't afford a new southern front. The fact that the new Macedonian government adopted a moderate, not an ultra-nationalistic stance, also helped.
But why was Serbia so eager to acquire Macedonia during the Balkan Wars and so eager to keep Macedonia during WWI? I mean, Serbia was busy fighting the Austrians and possibly the Germans as well in the north and yet it still refused to give up Macedonia in order to prevent Bulgaria from joining the Central Powers!
 
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Maki

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Jan 2017
2,342
Republika Srpska
#4
Two reasons:

1. The struggle for Macedonia was much fresher in the minds of Serbs in 1915 than in 1991.

2. In 1915, Serbia wasn't supposed to grant independence to Macedonia, but rather give it to Bulgaria, a hated country they had just fought over Macedonia.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
#5
Two reasons:

1. The struggle for Macedonia was much fresher in the minds of Serbs in 1915 than in 1991.

2. In 1915, Serbia wasn't supposed to grant independence to Macedonia, but rather give it to Bulgaria, a hated country they had just fought over Macedonia.
Why was Serbia so eager to fight for Macedonia during the Balkan Wars in the first place, though?
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,342
Republika Srpska
#6
Because that was the main goal of the Serbian foreign policy at the time:

Step 1: conquer (or liberate, according to interpretation) Kosovo and Macedonia.

Step 2: protect them from other Balkan powers that want to seize them.

The wish to liberate long-lost provinces of the Serbian Empire was a nationalistic and romantic goal not unlike the Greek Megali idea or the Bulgarian idea of a San Stefano Bulgaria.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,570
SoCal
#7
Because that was the main goal of the Serbian foreign policy at the time:

Step 1: conquer (or liberate, according to interpretation) Kosovo and Macedonia.

Step 2: protect them from other Balkan powers that want to seize them.

The wish to liberate long-lost provinces of the Serbian Empire was a nationalistic and romantic goal not unlike the Greek Megali idea or the Bulgarian idea of a San Stefano Bulgaria.
Was Macedonia historically a Serbian province? I know that Kosovo has a special importance for Serbs due to the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, but what about Macedonia?

As for the Greek Megali idea and the Bulgarian idea of a San Stefano Bulgaria, those concepts were largely based on ethnic grounds and were essentially national reunification movements.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,342
Republika Srpska
#10
Somewhat yes in Albania, during the Balkan Wars Serbia occupied much of Albania and established the County of Drač (Durres).
 
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