|Yugoslavia 1989 showing ethnic distribution|
There is a short 10 day war in Slovenia which ends after Milosevic concludes that Slovenia is not of great interest having fewer Serbians in its population. In Croatia conflict breaks out initiated by local Serbian militia and Serbian members of the police force. They take control of the main highway between Zagreb and the south. Their action is immediately supported by Milosivic and the Serbian dominated Yugoslav armed forces. Croatia is hamstrung by a UN agreement which has been brokered, restraining them from accessing or importing military equipment. This is an attempt to allow time for a negotiated settlement but only results in Serbian troops gaining control of about one third of the country.
1991-1995. The war continues with the Croartians slowly gaining the upper hand. Tens of thousands of both Serb and Croats are displaced. Families of mixed heritage (Serb/Croat/Bosnian) who had embraced Tito's vision of an integrated multi ethnic society are riven with conflict, neighbours turn on each other believing the propaganda of their respective leaders.Towns are razed to the ground. Zagreb, Dubrovnic, Split and Zadar are shelled. The UN plays an ineffective role but by mid 1995 Croatia has regained control over all it former territory and hostilities cease.
This period also sees the fall of the Berlin wall (Novmber 1989) and the break-up of the Soviet Union.(December 1991).
And that's only part of the shit-fight. In Bosnia-Herzegovina a war rages (1992-1996) between Bosnian Serbs and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), backed by Serbia and Croatia respectively, each with aspirations to annex part of that state. The conflict becomes is three way with Croatian Serbian and Bosnian forces attacking each other until, with USA urging, Croatian and Bosnian forces unite to fight against Serbia..Massacres, ethnic cleansing, systematic rape as a strategy of both subjugation and social destruction take place. The most tragic element of the conflict is the siege of the capital, Sarajevo, where the city is totally destroyed and isolated for almost three years. 250,000 people die and two million are displaced. Milosovic maintains that he has not ordered any of this, merely spoken passionately of his vision for a Greater Serbia.
In 1995 a peace agreement is negotiated in Dayton Ohio USA and signed in Paris in December of 1995 by the Presidents of Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
|Dayton Accord signed 1995 - Paris|
|1998 ethnic distribution|
In 2002 Milosevic is extradited to The Hague to face charges of war crimes and genocide but dies in prison in 2006 of natural causes before his trial is completed.
Today there is little evidence of the war. It's a topic not discussed openly. There is a small museum devoted to the attack on Zagreb in 1991, but it's in a building with no signage whereas the many other museums in Zagreb trumpet their presence proudly. Kristina tells us she has friends from all ethnic backgrounds but the one "off limits" topic is the war. It's too risky, too raw. It would risk the friendships. I am impressed by Kristina. She is one of the brave ones. She is prepared to speak honestly about this tragic era.
I invite you to read a highly regarded book, "The Death of Yugoslavia" also available as a BBC five part documentary of the same name on youtube.
I apologize for any errors of fact and would welcome any feedback.