February 18, 2004 by

Warren Zimmermann

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Categories: Politicians

Warren Zimmermann, the last American ambassador to Yugoslavia before its breakup, died on Feb. 2 from pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
Zimmermann graduated from Yale and was a Fulbright scholar at Cambridge University. He entered the diplomatic corps in 1961, then spent the next three decades serving in France, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela and the Soviet Union. He was chairman of the United States delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and served as a deputy in negotiations with the Soviet Union over nuclear arms and space.
President George H.W. Bush named Zimmermann ambassador to Yugoslavia in 1989, where he remained until the outbreak of civil war in 1992. The war, which pitted the country’s Muslims, Orthodox Christian Serbs and Catholic Croats against each other, lasted until 1995 and killed 260,000 people.
When President Bill Clinton refused to intervene in the war in Bosnia, Zimmermann resigned in protest from the Foreign Service. Clinton later persuaded NATO to bomb Bosnian Serb artillery positions and brought the leaders of the warring parties together to negotiate a peace deal.
Zimmermann received several State Department citations and the Sharansky Award from the Union of Councils of Soviet Jews. His later years were spent teaching international diplomacy at the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and Columbia University, and publishing articles for The New York Review of Books and Newsweek. His first book, “Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers,” won the American Academy of Diplomacy Book Award in 1997. Zimmermann followed it up with “First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made their Country a World Power,” which received the Academy’s Douglas Dillon Award in 2003.

One Response to Warren Zimmermann

  1. Nevina At Stathi

    Today is decenber 28,2005. I am a graduate student and I am writing a paper on Us foreign policy toward Yugoslavia and the war in Kosovo in 1999. I read Mr. Zimmermannn’s book “Origins of a Catastrophe”. I enjoyed it a lot. His book was a very detailed and a very powerful source about Yugoslavia’s wars in the 90’s. I wanted to write to Mr. Zimmermann long time ago and to exprees my consideration about his book. Unfortunately , I am writing very late and this time to express my condolences about this big loss. In addition to that, I know what pancreatic cancer means. I lost my mother on March 21, 2005. She was only 62. My sympathy goes to you, Mrs. Zimmermann.

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