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The Yugoslav Wars: The Greatest Conflicts Since World War II Essay

Decent Essays
Known as Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II, the Yugoslav Wars (also known as the Wars of Yugoslav Succession, the Yugoslav Civil War, or the War in the Balkans) were a series of wars fought in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Though the entire conflict can be divided up into four distinct wars, they are related due to their common origin and the presence of the same ethnoreligious groups in the multiple wars. These wars have become notorious due to the atrocious war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all sides.
To better understand the atrocities of these wars, one must have knowledge of the definitions of certain terms and war crimes. The ideas of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” are often thrown
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Furthermore, these wars cannot be fully understood without a basic knowledge of the former Yugoslavia. Formally known as the Soviet Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, it was a federation that was comprised of six socialist republics: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Additionally, two autonomous provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, were established in Serbia. Many different ethnic groups called Yugoslavia home, namely the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosniaks, Albanians, and Montenegrins. However, the presence of large ethnic minorities across republic lines made things complicated, especially with the advent of rising nationalism among these different peoples. The borders of the republics had originally been of little significance; Josip Tito, the beloved leader of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia, decided the borders with little opposition from anyone, as the federation was supposed to be a centralized “dictatorship of the proletariat”. Only with later decentralization and democratization would any concern for the individual republics and nationalities be voiced and nationalism become an issue. Tito’s death in 1980 seemed to suddenly remind all the Yugoslav peoples that they had in fact retained their separate ethnic identities and that the ethnic identity of Tito’s successor would certainly affect them, whether positively or negatively, and inter-republic relations began deteriorating quickly. Tito and his communist
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