Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina (1943–1946)
Demokratska Bosna i Hercegovina  (Serbo-Croatian)

People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1946–1963)
Narodna Republika Bosna i Hercegovina  (Serbo-Croatian)


Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1963–1992)
Socijalistička Republika Bosna i Hercegovina  (Serbo-Croatian)

Anthem: "Hej Slaveni"/"Hej Sloveni"
"Хеј, Слaвени"/"Хеј, Слoвени"
(English: "Hey, Slavs")
Locator map Bosnia and Herzegovina in Yugoslavia.svg
Location of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Yugoslavia.
Status Constituent republic of Yugoslavia
Capital Sarajevo
Common languages Serbo-Croatian
Government Titoist one-party socialist republic
Chairmen of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina  
 19451946 (first)
Vojislav Kecmanović
 19901992 (last)
Alija Izetbegović
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina  
 19451948 (first)
Rodoljub Čolaković
 19901992 (last)
Jure Pelivan
Legislature Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Historical era Cold War
25 November 1943
18 November 1991
  Republika Srpska formed
9 January 1992
1 March 1992
 Outbreak of Bosnian War
5 April 1992
6 April 1992
199151,129 km2 (19,741 sq mi)
ISO 3166 code BA
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Yugoslavia (1918-1941).svg Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg Independent State of Croatia
Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg

The Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serbo-Croatian : Socijalistička Republika Bosna i Hercegovina / Социјалистичка Pепублика Босна и Херцеговина), commonly referred to as Socialist Bosnia or simply Bosnia, was one of the six constituent federal states forming the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was a predecessor of the modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, existing between 1945 and 1992, under a number of different formal names, including Democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina (1943–1946) and People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1946–1963).

Within Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was a unique federal state with no dominant ethnic group, as it was the case in other constituent states, all of which were also nation states of Yugoslavia's South Slavic ethnic groups. It was administered under strict terms of sanctioned consociationalism, known locally as "ethnic key" (Serbo-Croatian : nacionalni ključ / национални кључ), based on the balance of political representation of 3 largest ethnic groups (Bosnian Muslims, [lower-alpha 1] Croats and Serbs).

Sarajevo served as the capital city throughout its existence and remained the capital following independence. The Socialist Republic was dissolved in 1990 when it abandoned its socialist institutions and adopted liberal ones, as the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina which declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was, up to 20 December 1990, in sole control of the League of Communists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian branch of League of Communists of Yugoslavia.

The borders of SR Bosnia and Herzegovina were almost identical to the one Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina had during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule that lasted until 1918. That year Bosnia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes and divided into several banovinas (regional administrative units), namely parts of Vrbas, Drina, Zeta and Croatia banovinas. With the establishment of a People's Republic, its modern borders were delineated.


During a meeting of the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ZAVNOBiH) in Mrkonjić Grad on 25 November 1943.[ clarification needed ] In April 1945 its name was formalized as the Federal State of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serbo-Croatian : Federalna Država Bosna i Hercegovina / Федерална Држава Босна и Херцеговина), a constituent unit of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. With DF Yugoslavia changing its name to the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia on 29 November 1945 as well as the promulgation of the 1946 Yugoslav Constitution two months later in January, its constituent units also changed their respective names. FS Bosnia and Herzegovina thus became known as the People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Narodna Republika Bosna i Hercegovina / Народна Република Босна и Херцеговина).

This constitutional system lasted until the 1963 Yugoslav Constitution. On 7 April 1963, Yugoslavia was reconstituted as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and PR Bosnia and Herzegovina changed its name to the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Socijalistička Republika Bosna i Hercegovina / Социјалистичка Република Босна и Херцеговина).

After independence on 1 March 1992, the country was renamed to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina . Following the Dayton Agreement that was in force, it became simply a federated state known as Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997.


Because of its central geographic position within the Yugoslav federation, post-war Bosnia was strategically selected as a base for the development of the military defense industry. [1] This contributed to a large concentration of arms and military personnel in Bosnia; a significant factor in the war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, Bosnia's existence within Yugoslavia, for the large part, was peaceful and prosperous. Being one of the poorer republics in the early 1950s it quickly recovered economically, taking advantage of its extensive natural resources to stimulate industrial development. The Yugoslavian communist doctrine of "brotherhood and unity" particularly suited Bosnia's diverse and multi-ethnic society that, because of such an imposed system of tolerance, thrived culturally and socially. The improvements to cultural tolerance throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina culminated with the selection of Sarajevo to host the 1984 Winter Olympics.


Though considered a political backwater of the federation for much of the 50s and 60s, the 70s saw the ascension of a strong Bosnian political elite. While working within the communist system, politicians such as Džemal Bijedić, Branko Mikulić and Hamdija Pozderac reinforced and protected the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their efforts proved key during the turbulent period following Tito's death in 1980, and are today considered some of the early steps towards Bosnian independence. However, the republic hardly escaped the increasingly nationalistic climate of the time unscathed. [2]

Following the death of Tito in 1980, rising nationalist ideas primarily noted in Serbian academia, pressured Bosnia to deal with allegations of rising nationalism in their own society. One of the most controversial events that were taken by a Bosnian political leadership was a so-called Sarajevo process in 1983 where, under significant pressure from Serbia's political leadership, Bosnian political elite used their influence to secure convictions for several Bosniak nationalists as a type of a political sacrifice to gain political points in the fight against Serbian nationalists.

The Sarajevo process centered on convicting Alija Izetbegović for writing "The Islamic Declaration", a literary work which was in the Yugoslav communist regime considered a radical approach towards socialist ideals of former Yugoslavia that were based on suppression of nationalism and any violation of that doctrine was punishable by law. Such trials in the communist regime were quite common and a typical practice of suppressing the right to free speech. Bosnian politicians used this practice to reaffirm their political opposition to Serbian nationalist tendencies and in particular opposition to the politics of Slobodan Milošević who was trying to revert the constitutional amendments of the 1970s that awarded the Bosniaks the status of a constituent ethnicity. [3]

The process also backfired as the Serbian lobby insisted that Bosnia was a "dark nation" where all those who oppose the government will be prosecuted, where Bosnian Muslim communists were prosecuting Muslim believers. That kind of propaganda attracted many Bosnian Muslims to their way of thinking. Others were interpreting the Sarajevo process as a way of removing the political amateurs who could end up disrupting the process of Bosnian independence.

The pre-war situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

With the fall of communism and the start of the break-up of Yugoslavia, the old communist doctrine of tolerance began to lose its strength, creating an opportunity for nationalist elements in the society to spread their influence.

On the first multi-party elections that took place in November 1990 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the three largest ethnic parties in the country won: the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action, the Serbian Democratic Party and the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the elections, they formed a coalition government.

Parties divided the power along the ethnic lines so that the President of the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was a Bosniak, president of the Parliament was a Bosnian Serb and the prime minister a Bosnian Croat.

Towards separation

After Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its sovereignty in October 1991 and organized a referendum on independence in March 1992. The decision of the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on holding the referendum was taken after the majority of Bosnian Serb members had left the assembly in protest.

These Bosnian Serb assembly members invited the Bosnian Serb population to boycott the referendum held on 29 February and 1 March 1992. The turnout in the referendum was 64-67% and the vote was 98% in favor of independence. Independence was declared on 5 March 1992 by the parliament. The referendum and the murder of two Bosnian Serb members of a wedding procession in Sarajevo the day prior to the referendum was utilized by the Bosnian Serb political leadership as a reason to start road blockades in protest. [4] Further political and social deterioration, leading to the Bosnian War followed.

The Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was renamed the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 8 April 1992, [5] losing the adjective "Socialist". [5] It established a multi-party system and began moving toward a fully capitalist economic system. The republic retained socialist realist symbols pending the end of the Yugoslav Wars. The republic was led by Alija Izetbegović in a fractious political environment. In 1992, the Republic declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Heads of institutions

[ citation needed ]

The Presidency Building in central Sarajevo Sarajevo BH-Presidency 2011-10-31 (3).jpg
The Presidency Building in central Sarajevo


Prime Ministers

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  1. Now known as Bosniaks. Bosnian Muslim was the official label for the group at the time.
  1. Sancaktar, Caner (Spring 2012). "Historical Construction And Development of Bosniak Nation". Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations .
  2. Armakolas, Loannis (March 2011). "The 'Paradox' of Tuzla City: Explaining Non-nationalist Local Politics during the Bosnian War". Europe-Asia Studies.
  3. Bergholz, Max (June 2013). "Sudden Nationhood: The Microdynamics of Intercommunal Relations in Bosnia-Herzegovina After World War II". American Historical Review.
  4. Blitz, Brad (26 October 2015). "Bosnia Revisited: A Retrospective on the Legacy of the Conflict". Forced Migration Review.
  5. 1 2 Uredba o izmjeni naziva Socijalističke Republike Bosne i Hercegovine. in: "Službeni list Republike Bosne i Hercegovine". I., br. 1, 9. aprila 1992., str. 1.

Further reading

Coordinates: 43°52′N18°25′E / 43.867°N 18.417°E / 43.867; 18.417